Archive for June 22nd, 2011

Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times (blog) reports:

Lamar Odom

The Lakers tried to move up in Thursday’s NBA draft by offering forward Lamar Odom to Minnesota for the Timberwolves’ No. 2 overall pick, but Minnesota turned them down, according to two NBA officials who were not authorized to speak publicly about the trade talks.

The Lakers wanted to use the No. 2 pick to select Arizona’s forward Derrick Williams, the officials said.

However, Minnesota didn’t want Odom, the NBA’s sixth man of the year last season, because the Timberwolves have Kevin Love at power forward and see him as part of the franchise’s cornerstone.

matt barnes

Lakers forward Matt Barnes exercised his option to extend his contract for the 2011-12 season, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Barnes, signed by the Lakers as a free agent on July 22, 2010, averaged 6.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 19.2 minutes over 53 games last season.

Originally selected by the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round (46th overall pick) of the 2002 NBA Draft, Barnes has averaged 7.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 497 career games.

Tyreke Evans

The Sacramento Kings have exercised the rookie contract options on guard Tyreke Evans, forward Omri Casspi and center DeMarcus Cousins for the 2012-13 season, Kings’ President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie announced today.

All of these moves were expected, says InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner.

Evans, a two-year NBA veteran, averaged a team-high 17.8 points (.409 FGs, .291 3FGs, .771 FTs), 4.8 rebounds, a team-leading 5.6 assists and 1.49 steals per game through 57 outings with the Kings this past season. He was the winner of the 2009-10 NBA Rookie of the Year Award and became only the fourth player in NBA history to average 20 points, five rebounds and five assists as a rookie.

Casspi, a two-year NBA veteran, averaged 8.6 points (.412 FGs, .372 3FGs, .673 FTs), 4.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game through 71 contests this past season with Sacramento, of which he started 27. He is the first Israeli-born athlete to play in the NBA after being selected by the Kings with the 23rd overall pick in the 2009 draft.

Cousins, who recently finished his rookie campaign with the Kings, averaged 14.1 points (.430 FGs, .167 3FGs, .687 FTs), a team-high 8.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.05 steals per game through 81 outings, of which he started 62. He set a new Sacramento-era rookie record for total rebounds in a season (699).

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that they have extended qualifying offers to center Spencer Hawes and forward Thaddeus Young.  Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed.

In accordance with the league’s collective bargaining agreement, in order for a team to retain its right of first refusal with respect to a restricted free agent, the team must tender the player a qualifying offer prior to June 30. A restricted free agent may sign an offer sheet with any team, but is subject to a right of first refusal with the team for which the player last played.

Hawes started all but one game for the Sixers this past season, averaging 7.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 21.2 minutes per game.  The Sixers were 14-6 when he scored in double-figures.  Hawes was originally the 10th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by Sacramento.  He was acquired via trade from the Kings along with Andres Nocioni in exchange for Samuel Dalembert on June 17, 2010.

Young – who finished third in the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year voting this season – appeared in all 82 games for the Sixers in 2010-11, averaging 12.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.10 steals in 23.3 minutes per game.  He ranked ninth in the league in field goal percentage (54.1% FGs) and is shooting 50.8% for his career.  The Sixers were 12-3 when Young scored 20-plus points this past season.  He was originally the 12th overall pick by Philadelphia in the 2007 NBA Draft.

Jeff Teague

The Atlanta Hawks have exercised the contract option for the 2012-13 season on guard Jeff Teague, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Rick Sund.  Per team policy, financial terms were not disclosed.

Teague, the 19th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft out of Wake Forest, has seen action in 141 career regular season games for the Hawks averaging 4.2 ppg, 1.8 apg and 1.2 rpg (.420 FG%, .808 FT%).

He has also played in 17 career postseason contests, putting up 6.5 ppg, 1.9 apg and 1.1 rpg (.473 FG%, .826 FT%).

In last season’s Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Bulls, Teague tallied 14.8 ppg, 4.2 apg and 2.8 rpg (.537 FG%, .842 FT%), starting all six games.

Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel (blog) reports:

Gilbert Arenas

Gilbert Arenas needs to take some time away from basketball this summer. That’s what Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith says.

Smith, in an interview with Brian Fritz and Dante Marchitelli on the Open Mike radio show, said it’s important for Arenas to stop playing basketball and focus on improving his body.

Smith wants Arenas, who weighs about 225 pounds, to lose 10 to 15 pounds this summer. And he wants Arenas to continue strengthening his injured knee. Smith called both of those goals a “non-issue” and something he has no worries about.

What Smith does worry about, however, is Arenas playing basketball too much.

Spurs deny shopping Tony Parker

If the phone rings, you answer it. And assuming the voice on the other end of the phone is familiar, you say hello, and you listen to what the person says to you.

And that’s all the San Antonio Spurs say they’re doing in regard to star point guard Tony Parker.

Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News (blog) reports:

tony parker

Responding to an internet report about discussions the Spurs have had regarding potential trades, Spurs general manager R.C. Buford on Wednesday denied that the club actively is seeking a trade that would involve All-Star point guard Tony Parker.

“We’re not shopping anyone,” Buford said, via text message. “We’ve received calls on a lot of our guys and we’ve answered the phone.”

YahooSports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Spurs had been “in discussions” with with Raptors and Kings for a deal involving Parker.

An executive of a team not involved in the discussions said he had no knowledge that the Spurs were seeking deals for Parker, but confirmed the belief they were “gauging the interest” of teams that called about him.

With Tim Duncan looking old and the Spurs championship window probably closing, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Spurs scrap their team and rebuild. Though it’s still amazing how the team enjoyed a fantastic regular season, only to get upset by the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs.

Ricky Rubio has finally arrived in North America.

To play basketball! As opposed to, say, taking a vacation.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are excited. As well they should be, because even if Rubio is still merely just a kid, he’s got flash and adds some excitement to a team that’s done plenty of losing lately.

Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports:

ricky rubio

The Savior arrived at Target Center on Tuesday, and that can mean only one thing. Well, other than the fact that I must have slept through that whole Rapture thing. Yes, Ricky Rubio finally has made it to Minnesota.

He was charming, humble, determined and clearly delighted to be here. Rubio even joked about already having bought a heavy jacket in anticipation of his first Minnesota winter. Of course, the first time he walks out of the arena after a game and his face falls off, he’ll realize that he needs more than a heavy jacket. But we’ll deal with that when the time comes. For now, things couldn’t be better.

“Of course, I’m going to have pressure,” Rubio said with an innocent smile. “But I’ve been playing professionally since I am 14 years old.”

David Kahn and the Timberwolves might have hit the jackpot. And Rubio doesn’t even have to become a superstar, although that would be lovely. I can’t recall running across a 20-year-old with such charisma. This kid has enough pizazz to reinvigorate the franchise. He is exactly what the Wolves need. He might even become the most popular athlete in any sport in the Twin Cities.

Kahn, who takes a lot of heat for a lot of things, deserves credit for getting him signed under less-than-ideal circumstances. The team has struggled for the past two years while Rubio has played in Barcelona. People were justifiably impatient and maybe even a bit panicked, considering all the rumors flying around. But Kahn maintained a calm public demeanor while working behind the scenes to develop ties with Rubio and his family.

I look forward to seeing the kid play next season. I don’t expect much in the way of points, though. But if nothing else, Rubio should help provide a pulse.

Suns say they will not trade Steve Nash

Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports:

Suns say they will not trade Steve Nash

Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby had an emphatic response to a Wednesday morning espn.com report that the Suns have discussed trading Nash to Minnesota in a package for the No. 2 pick in Thursday’s draft. It came on the heels of denying another espn.com report that the Suns explored sending Marcin Gortat to Minnesota.

“We are not trading Marcin Gortat. Period. End of sentence,” Babby said Wednesday morning. “We are not trading Steve Nash. Period. Exclamation point.”

The espn.com article did note how doubtful it is that Nash would be dealt to Minnesota, a 17-65 team last season, based on the presumption that Nash would want to play for a contender if he asked for a trade and that the Suns would abide.

The AP reports:

Boris Diaw

Charlotte Bobcats forward Boris Diaw has exercised his player option for next season that will pay him $9 million.

Agent Doug Neustadt said Tuesday they informed the Bobcats of the decision earlier this week.

Diaw said after the season that with the potential labor uncertainty this summer, it was a “no-brainer” to pick up the option and avoid becoming a free agent until 2012.

The Dallas Morning News reports:

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki is considering joining the German national team this summer to help their chances of qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Nowitzki told ESPN 103.3 FM on Tuesday that he would decide within a few weeks.

Germany must finish among the top six of the 24 teams at the EuroBasket tournament to be eligible to qualify for the next Olympics.

Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:

kevin love

“Absolutely not, no ifs ands or buts,” Kahn said. “Kevin will be on this team next year and I expect Kevin, as I’ve said numerous times, to be on this team for many, many years. I see him as being a very important part of our future.”

He took the same stance on Rubio, even though it’s conceivable Cleveland could take Arizona’s Derrick Williams first in Thursday’s NBA draft. That would leave Duke point guard Kyrie Irving available two days after the Wolves welcomed Rubio to the franchise.

“Ricky Rubio will not be traded by the Timberwolves,” Kahn said. “You can go to sleep on it. He’s here for a long, long time.”

Grizzlies rejecting offers for Rudy Gay

Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports:

Grizzlies rejecting offers for Rudy Gay

The Griz are reluctant to part with players in their rotation, according to a source with knowledge of Heisley’s thinking. Heisley has swiftly rejected any trade offers for Gay. He’s also panned deals for O.J. Mayo because they haven’t presented a significant upgrade over the third-year guard.

Heisley is said to have informed the Grizzlies’ front office that he will no longer sign off on any deals he perceives as cheap, like the failed February transaction that would have sent Mayo to Indiana for forward Josh McRoberts and a first-round pick.

However, the Griz have gauged interest in Mayo, and he appears to be the player most likely to be moved this summer if offers for him improve.

Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times reports:

For the last several days, there have been rumors the Bucks were seriously exploring the possibility of moving back from their No. 10 position in Thursday night’s NBA draft.

Bucks general manager John Hammond conceded he’s had on-going discussions with several teams but declined to go into details. There has been widespread speculation the Bucks have had in-depth talks with the Houston Rockets, who have two first-round picks — Nos. 24 and 23 — and are desperately trying to move up in an attempt to select a much-needed center.

But it appears discussions between the Bucks and Rockets involve more than just exchanging picks. The scuttlebutt is both teams are receptive to swapping players as well.

The teams have tossed around different trade scenarios with Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova being prominently mentioned.

Basketball blog