Antoine Walker pleads guilty to casino debts

The AP reports:

antoine walker

Former NBA star Antoine Walker has pleaded guilty to passing bad checks in the form of unpaid gambling debts in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Sun reports the former all-star shooter who now plays for the NBA Development League’s Idaho Stampede will be put on probation and work toward paying off $750,000. editor says: In case you were wondering, no, he did not fire any off-balance, deep three-pointers at any point during the legal proceeding.

Memphis Grizzlies extend qualifying offer to Hamed Haddadi

Hamed Haddadi

The Memphis Grizzlies extended a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Hamed Haddadi, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

Haddadi, a 7-2, 265-pound center, completed his third NBA season with averages of 2.4 points and 2.2 rebounds on a career-high .517 shooting in 5.4 minutes in 31 games. The 26-year-old appeared in nine postseason games, posting 1.2 points, 0.9 rebounds and 0.56 blocks in 3.4 minutes.

The first Iranian-born player in NBA history, Haddadi owns career averages of 2.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 0.45 blocks on .457 shooting in 86 games, all with the Grizzlies. Memphis signed Haddadi as a free agent on Aug. 28, 2008.

Extending a qualifying offer prior to the June 30 deadline gives Memphis the ability to match any offer sheet a player signs with another team during the offseason.

OKC Thunder exercise options on Harden, Ibaka, Maynor, Mullens and Aldrich

James Harden

The Oklahoma City Thunder has exercised contract options on five players Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced today.

The Thunder exercised its fourth-year options on guard James Harden, forward Serge Ibaka, guard Eric Maynor and center Byron Mullens, as well as its third-year option on center Cole Aldrich.

Harden, who was selected third overall by the Thunder in the 2009 NBA Draft, averaged 12.2 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in his second season. Harden appeared in all 82 games for the Thunder and was selected to the 2011 T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam Sophomore Team.

serge ibaka

Ibaka, the 24th overall selection in the 2008 NBA Draft, appeared in all 82 games (44 starts) for the Thunder during the 2010-11 season. The Republic of Congo native averaged 9.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks (3rd in the NBA) per contest.

Maynor, who was acquired by the Thunder via trade on December 22, 2009, appeared in all 82 games for the team this season. The VCU product averaged 4.2 points and 2.9 assists in 14.6 minutes per game.

Mullens, the 24th overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft, appeared in 13 games for the Thunder during the 2010-11 season. Mullens made 14 appearances (14 starts) for the Tulsa 66ers, the Thunder’s D-League affiliate, where he averaged 14.9 points and 6.8 rebounds in 27.7 minutes per contest.

Aldrich, the 11th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, appeared in 18 games for the Thunder. The Kansas product appeared in 21 games (21 starts) for the Tulsa 66ers where he averaged 10.3 points and 8.6 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per game.

Golden State Warriors purchase Dakota Wizards

golden state warriors

The Dakota Wizards, Golden State Warriors and the NBA Development League announced today that the Warriors have purchased the NBA D-League’s Wizards and will fully control the team’s business and basketball operations beginning with the 2011-12 season. The Warriors will be the sole NBA affiliate of the Wizards and are now the fourth NBA team to own and operate its NBA D-League affiliate.

The Warriors become the eighth NBA team to have a ‘one-to-one’ affiliate in the NBA D-League, the official minor league of the NBA. The Los Angeles Lakers (Los Angeles D-Fenders), Oklahoma City Thunder (Tulsa 66ers) and San Antonio Spurs (Austin Toros) also fully own and operate their NBA D-League affiliates. The Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers), New Jersey Nets (Springfield Armor) and New York Knicks (Erie BayHawks) have ‘hybrid’ partnerships with their affiliates, controlling those teams’ basketball operations, while the NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks are solely affiliated with the Texas Legends.

“We thank Steve and Karen McCormick, as well as Dawn Kopseng, for bringing the Dakota Wizards to the NBA D-League and their tremendous efforts on behalf of the team and the league,” said NBA D-League President Dan Reed. “We’re very excited to welcome the Golden State Warriors and their new ownership group, led by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, to the NBA D-League. The Warriors have historically been ahead of the curve in utilizing the NBA D-League, so it’s only natural that they become the latest team in a growing number of NBA teams to own and operate their NBA D-League affiliate.”

The Warriors have named Jim Weyermann, current President of the San Jose Giants, as their Vice President of New Franchise Development. He will oversee all operational aspects of the Wizards.

“We’re really excited about the opportunity to acquire an NBA D-League team and view it as a proactive decision,” said Warriors’ owner Joe Lacob. “As we have previously mentioned, one of our goals is to provide our organization with any elements that we think could provide us an advantage. The fact that we will now operate our own D-League team – complete with our coaches and organizational philosophy – will put us in a better position to evaluate and develop potential NBA players, including any of our first or second year players who may spend a stint in the D-League. Additionally, we’d like to thank Steve McCormick and the ownership group of the Dakota Wizards for their professionalism during this process.”

The Wizards were affiliated with the Memphis Grizzlies and Washington Wizards during the 2010-11 season. Their new NBA D-League affiliates will be announced at a later date.

“We’re extremely proud of the tremendous support shown to us from the Bismarck community, and for that we thank each and every one of our fans and supporters,” said Dakota Wizards owner Steve McCormick. “We’re now excited to welcome the Golden State Warriors to Dakota.”

“I’m really encouraged by this acquisition of a D-League franchise and applaud Joe and Peter for their commitment in this area,” said Warriors’ Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Larry Riley.  “We have always emphasized the D-League as an organization and, quite honestly, have had very good results and success with the players that we have either signed or developed in the D-League.  I think this simply enhances our chances for that trend to continue.  The fact that we have an opportunity to align ourselves with an established organization in Bismarck will aid in the overall process.”

“I’m excited about this new opportunity and challenge,” said Weyermann.  “I have a great appreciation and understanding for how minor league organizations can serve as a tremendous resource for their parent clubs.  The Warriors are in the business to win basketball games and the acquisition of the Wizards will enhance their chances of achieving their long-term goals on the court.”

“First, I’d like to thank the tremendous fans of Bismarck for their continued support of the Wizards,” said Wizards’ owner Steve McCormick.  “The community has embraced the team for many years dating back to the CBA and IBA days.  The new ownership group that will soon be in place, headed by Mr. Lacob and Mr. Guber, is extremely committed and I can assure you that the organization is in capable hands.  Our fans will be the beneficiaries of that commitment during the upcoming 2011-12 season.”

Read fan reaction and discuss your own opinion in this forum topic.

Bobcats hire Rob Werdann as assistant coach

The Charlotte Bobcats today added Rob Werdann as an assistant coach on the staff of Head Coach Paul Silas.  Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Werdann brings eight seasons experience as either an assistant coach or a scout on the NBA level.  He spent last season as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors, after serving as an assistant coach for the New Orleans Hornets in 2009-10.  Prior to that, Werdann served as an advance scout for the Hornets from 2004-09.  He began his coaching career as an assistant coach with the Yakima Sun Kings in the CBA in 2000-01, before spending three seasons as an assistant coach with the Columbus Riverdragons of the NBA Development League from 2001-04.

“We’re excited to have Rob Werdann joining our staff,” Silas said.  “His experience as both a coach and a scout will benefit our team, especially our big men.”

Werdann, who played four seasons at St. John’s University and remains the school’s all-time leader in blocked shots, was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 46th overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft.  He played in 47 NBA games over three seasons with the Nuggets and New Jersey Nets.