Archive for June 21st, 2011

Spero Dedes to become Knicks broadcaster

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register reports:

Spero Dedes had hoped in April a deal would work out for him to move from radio to the Lakers’ TV job. But things changed during negotiations that included Dedes wanting to continue periodic work for CBS on the NFL and college basketball and other national jobs — and Dedes is instead headed to be a radio and TV play-by-play man for the New York Knicks, who will allow him to do some national work.

“We had a verbal agreement with Spero to be our new TV play-by-play announcer,”  Lakers spokesman John Black said. “However, prior to getting a finalized contract, he had a change of heart and decided to pursue another job.”

Joe Lacob, co-Executive Chairman and CEO of the Golden State Warriors, announced today that President Robert Rowell has elected to step down from his position as top executive of the club’s business operations to pursue other business endeavors. The 2010-11 NBA season marked Rowell’s eighth season as the team’s president, and 16th overall with the NBA franchise.

As part of the mutual agreement Rowell will remain on an interim basis to assist Lacob and co-owner Peter Guber in their transition, as an executive search for his replacement will begin immediately.

“Peter and I felt that this was really the right time to mutually come to this decision,” Lacob said. “Bob Rowell has done a good job running the business side of this organization for many years. He has been extremely professional and diligent since the first day that we met him in the acquisition process. We spent a lot of time evaluating this decision and believe that now is the appropriate time for the new ownership team to put our complete stamp on the entire organization.

I want to personally thank Bob for 16 years of commitment to this organization. We believe that previous ownership really put him in a publicly challenging position over the past few years and I have a great deal of respect for how he has conducted himself as a professional.”

“I am thankful for the opportunity to have worked with the best, brightest and most dedicated staff in professional sports,” Rowell said. “Together we were able to achieve many of our business objectives and goals, and laid the framework for some of the future success of this franchise. I also want to thank the many great Warriors fans, as well as the many Bay Area business and community partners, for their unconditional support of Warriors Basketball.

I wish Joe and Peter all the best in their quest to raise the next banner at Oracle Arena, and know that great things lay ahead for this franchise under their commitment and leadership.”

The Los Angeles Lakers have hired longtime Southern California area broadcasters Bill Macdonald (television) and John Ireland (radio) as the team’s play-by-play announcers for the upcoming 2011-12 season.

A four-time local Emmy Award-winning announcer and host, Macdonald will call all televised Lakers games on FS West and KCAL 9 alongside former Laker and long-time color commentator Stu Lantz, who will be entering his 25th season broadcasting Lakers games.

A fixture on FS West/Prime Ticket since its inception in 1985, the versatile Macdonald has broadcast in a variety of capacities for the network over the years as host, field reporter and play-by-play announcer for professional basketball, baseball and hockey among other sports.  The current host of FS West’s pre- and post-game shows “Lakers Live,” “Angels Live” and “Ducks Live,” Macdonald has also served as the play-by-play voice for UCLA men’s basketball and football and Los Angeles Avengers football.  A graduate of the University of Southern California, Macdonald has filled in as the Angels, Ducks and Kings play-by-play announcer over the years as well as the Lakers play-by-play announcer on both television and radio, most notably calling Kobe Bryant’s historic 81-point game on January 22, 2006.

Ireland, the team’s sideline reporter on KCAL 9 since the 2002-03 season, will call each and every Lakers game on 710 AM ESPN Radio alongside former Laker and two-time NBA Champion Mychal Thompson, who will be entering his ninth season as the Lakers radio color commentator.

Another winner of four local Emmy Awards for best sports reporting, Ireland currently co-hosts the Mason and Ireland Show on 710 AM ESPN Radio while also serving as a regular sports anchor and reporter for the KCBS/KCAL sports team.  A UCLA graduate, Ireland’s career path took him to stations in Monroe (LA), Beaumont (TX) and San Diego (CA) before ultimately finding a home at KCAL 9 in 1995.  In 1997, Ireland added the Los Angeles Clippers radio play-by-play announcer responsibilities to his resume, working five seasons in all for the team on a fill-in basis before joining the Lakers beat as sideline reporter in 2002.  A two-time recipient of the Southern California Sports Broadcasters (SCSB) Irv Kaze Radio Talk Show Host Award, Ireland has also previously filled in on radio play-by-play duties for both UCLA and Lakers basketball games.

Fernando Gonzalez, entering his 15th season as Lakers Spanish play-by-play announcer, and Jose “Pepe” Mantilla, who has served as color commentator for Lakers Spanish broadcasts since 1993, will once again broadcast every game on 1330 ESPN Deportes, the team’s Spanish language flagship.

The Milwaukee Bucks have made a qualifying offer to restricted free agent forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (6-8, 230), General Manager John Hammond announced today.  The offer gives the Bucks the right to match any contract offers made to Mbah a Moute by other NBA teams.

In 79 games (52 starts) last season, Mbah a Moute averaged 6.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 46.3 percent from the field.  He recorded a career-high eight point/rebound double-doubles, and led the team in steals 17 times and in rebounds in 11 games.

A second round draft pick (37th overall) from UCLA in 2008, Mbah a Moute, 24, has appeared in 234 games (166 starts) over his three year NBA career.  He has averaged 6.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 26.0 minutes per game, while shooting 46.7 percent from the field and 71.3 percent from the free throw line.

Does an NBA superstar need some sort of clearly-defined go-to move? A first-option offensive maneuver that the player almost always tries to execute before he allows the defense to force him to try something else?

Pat Riley says no.  Not if a player’s entire game is one giant go-to entity of sheer awesomeness.

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports:

lebron james

As difficult as the ending was for the Miami Heat just over a week ago, coming up two victories short against the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals, the Heat’s president said Tuesday he does not envision the need for dramatic changes.That includes the need for LeBron James to reinvent himself, as some have suggested.

“He’s got a go-to game. He doesn’t have to have a go-to move,” Riley said during an informal season-ending media session at AmericanAirlines Arena. “I mean, I love reading all the people who’ve never coached in their life, that all of a sudden became experts about he needed a ‘go-to.’ He’s got a go-to game.

“He knows what he needs to do to get better as a player. He’s 26 years old and I think there’s another huge upside for him.”

LeBron is definitely capable of scoring at will when he actively and aggressively attacks the rim. But when he just stands outside like he did for stretches of the Finals? Not so much.

What’s your opinion? Read fan reaction and discuss it in this forum topic.

dwane case

The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday they have named Dwane Casey as the club’s new head coach. Casey becomes Toronto’s eighth head coach joining the Raptors from the 2011 NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks. Per team policy, financial terms were not announced. Casey’s contract runs through the 2013-14 season.

“After a lengthy and detailed search for our new head coach, it became very clear that Dwane Casey embodies every aspect of what we defined as an ideal candidate,” said Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo. “Dwane’s 16-plus years in NBA coaching circles working with some tremendous basketball mentors coupled with his proven ability as a defensive architect will serve as a great backdrop for the future approach of this team.”

Casey, 54, has served as a head coach, associate head coach and assistant coach in the NBA 16 of the past 17 years. Twelve of his teams have finished in the top half of the league in fewest average points allowed and 10 have been in the league’s top 15 in lowest opponent field goal percentage. He has coached in two NBA Finals (1996 and 2011) and two NBA All-Star Games (1996 and 1998).

“I am grateful to Bryan Colangelo for this opportunity and excited to come to the Raptors to work with this young team,” said Casey. “My number one goal is to create a defensive identity and an atmosphere of hard play. It is very, very important in the NBA to establish that culture of hard work.”

Casey has been an assistant with the Mavericks for the past three seasons, helping lead Dallas to a 162-84 (.659) mark. The Mavericks won 50 or more games in each of his three seasons with the team. Casey was in charge of a defensive unit that held its opponents to 96.0 points per game (sixth in the NBA) and.450 per cent shooting from the field (eighth in the NBA) this past season.

In the 2011 postseason, Casey’s defense posted series victories over offensive powers the likes of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Dallas held its playoff opponents to 92.5 points per game and .447 per cent shooting from the floor.

Casey was named head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves on June 17, 2005. He posted a 53-69 mark (.434) in two seasons. He had the club in playoff contention with a 20-20 record when he was replaced January 25, 2007. His 2005-06 squad finished in the Top 10 in fewest average points per game and lowest opponent field goal percentage.

In 2008, Casey traveled throughout Europe, attending Euroleague games and practices while studying various basketball concepts.

Casey began his NBA coaching career in 1994 as an assistant with the Seattle Supersonics. He spent 11 seasons with the Sonics where he served under longtime NBA head coaches George Karl, Paul Westphal and Nate McMillan. He was promoted to associate head coach in November 2000. Nine of his teams in Seattle finished above .500 with five winning 50 or more games.

In 14 seasons as an NBA assistant, Casey’s teams have recorded a 689-427 record (.617) with eight campaigns of 50 or more wins.

Prior to joining the Sonics, Casey spent five years as a head coach in Japan. He also coached Japan’s National Team with basketball legend Pete Newell. In the summer of 1998, Casey coached the team to its first World Championship appearance in 31 years.

From 1985-90 Casey was an assistant under legendary collegiate coach Eddie Sutton at the University of Kentucky. He also served as an assistant under Clem Haskins at Western Kentucky University from 1980-85.

Casey began his coaching career at Kentucky in 1979 as a graduate assistant under Joe B. Hall. While at UK, he recruited and coached eventual NBA players Winston Bennett, Sam Bowie, Rex Chapman, LeRon Ellis, Shawn Kemp, Chris Mills, Dirk Minnifield, Irving Thomas and Melvin Turpin.

Casey played collegiately at Kentucky and helped the Wildcats register a 30-2 record in his junior season and capture the 1978 NCAA Championship. A four-year letterman, Casey was named team captain his senior year and won Kentucky’s all-academic award.

A native of Morganfield, Kentucky, Casey earned a degree in business administration from Kentucky in 1979.

The AP reports:

serge ibaka

Defending champion Spain included Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka in its preliminary team on Tuesday for the European championship.

Ibaka, who was born in the Republic of the Congo, is still waiting to become nationalized by Spain before the championship begins on Aug. 31 in Lithuania.

“We hope he can play, even though we are not sure that he will be able to,” Spain coach Sergio Scariolo said. “We are in the phase of waiting for the paperwork to go through.”

Ibaka played for Spanish clubs for three years before moving to the NBA in 2009. According to Spanish media reports, he maintains a residence in Barcelona.

Pat Riley says he will not coach again

Whenever an amazing coach has called it quits and moved on to another line of basketball-related work, you can’t help but to wonder if he’ll eventually make a comeback to the profession.

Especially if the team he works for has a loaded, star-studded roster like the Miami Heat.

But Pat Riley will reportedly stick to executive offices.

The AP reports:

Heat President Pat Riley says he will not return to coaching, and says the team has a strong leader in Erik Spoelstra.

Riley spoke Tuesday at his annual end-of-season wrapup and touched on several topics including the disappointment of Miami’s loss in the NBA finals to the Dallas Mavericks. He lauded the Mavericks for winning the title, plus says he still believed the first Heat season with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as teammates was “a great year.”

This has nothing to do with Riley or the Heat, but I wonder if we’ll ever see Jerry Sloan on the sideline again.

Kemba Walker supports Rice High School

Legendary CHSAA basketball powerhouse Rice High School in New York City is expected to close, but some supporters are still keeping hope alive and rallying to keep it open.

Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News reports:

kemba walker

Kemba Walker led UConn to an improbable NCAA title this past season, and graduated from college in just three years. On Thursday, he’s expected to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft.

But if Walker hadn’t attended Rice High School, he says, much of that success wouldn’t have happened.

“It meant everything,” he said. “It made me the man who I am today.”

That’s why the Bronx product couldn’t say no when his former basketball coach asked him to swing by the school at the corner of Lenox Ave. and W. 124th St. Monday. Walker, 21, spent the afternoon outside the building along with about 75 other students, parents and alumni at a rally designed to raise awareness about Rice’s plight.

Unfortunately, despite the well-wishes of Walker and many others, Rice HS will still likely fade into history. But the show of support is cool.

The Boston Celtics have enjoyed success while forward Glen Davis has been a key part of the rotation.

And, they’ve done just fine while he was sitting on the bench, watching the action.

He’s definitely a useful player. But whether he’ll remain in Boston or not remains to be seen.

Evans Clinchy of NESN reports:

glen davis

Glen Davis sounds as though he’s got one foot out the door after four years as a Boston Celtic. Maybe a foot and a half, even.

He also sounds perfectly OK with that.

Speaking with reporters at a charity event this week in Medford, Mass., the C’s youngster known as “Big Baby” had a few interesting words to say about his upcoming free agency.

“I can be Glen Davis wherever,” he said when asked about being himself in Boston. “It depends on the system, the people around the system, who is going to let Glen Davis be Glen Davis, not let Glen Davis be something they think he should be.”

It’s not just Davis’ 295-pound body that’s grown a lot over these last few years. Clearly it’s his ego, too.

Davis is just a bench guy. In 277 career games, he’s started 31 of them, only sneaking into the Celtics’ first unit when Kevin Garnett has been injured. But he’s become one of the league’s very best bench guys, finishing fourth last season in the voting for Sixth Man of the Year.

He’s a unique player, and no matter where he goes, Davis should keep making his mark.

The NBA Draft is awesome and, perhaps aside from the first day or so of free agency is the biggest roster-related day of the year. And it’s coming, this Thursday.

This is considered a down year when it comes to new talent, but there are still plenty of players to be excited about. Especially the guy probably going first overall.

Al Iannazzone of the Bergen Record reports:

kyrie irving

As the NBA Draft nears, Kyrie Irving has been looking back on all he’s experienced. But the former Duke point guard anxiously looks forward to Thursday.

Irving grew up in West Orange, attended Montclair Kimberley Academy and graduated from St Patrick High School in Elizabeth. On Thursday night, when commissioner David Stern announces the draft’s first pick in Prudential Center — which is less than 15 minutes from Irving’s house — Kyrie’s name is expected to be called.

“It’s something I’m thinking about every single day now,” Irving said. “I don’t really think about my reaction. I think about my sister’s and my father’s reaction.

“It will be a dream come true.”

Irving lost his mother when he was 4 years old and is very close to his father, Drederick, and sister, Asia. They will be among roughly 100 family and friends attending that night.

If the Cleveland Cavaliers use the No 1 pick on Irving, who averaged 17.5 points and 4.3 assists as a Duke freshman, he would be the first New Jersey high school graduate to be taken No. 1 overall. Shaquille O’Neal, the No. 1 choice in 1992, is from Newark, but graduated from San Antonio’s Cole High School. Plainfield’s Jay Williams, who also attended Duke, went second in 2002.

Can’t wait to see what happens.

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