Archive for July, 2011

The Arlington Heights Daily Herald (blog) reports:

Chicago Bulls draft pick Nikola Mirotic produced 29 points and 11 rebounds, leading Spain to an 82-70 win over Italy in the [Under-20] European championship game.

The 6-foot-10 Mirotic was the tournament’s leading scorer. In nine games, he averaged 27 points, 10 rebounds, shot 59.5 percent from the field, 85.1 percent at the foul line and knocked down 10-of-25 attempts from 3-point range.

The Bulls traded two picks and cash to Minnesota in order to select Mirotic with the 23rd pick of this year’s draft. The Montenegro native is under contract with Spain’s Real Madrid and not expected to join the NBA for a few years.

FIBA Europe reports:

Nikola Mirotic, the announced MVP of the tournament, was everywhere once again and made a huge difference in favor of his team, as he did on every night of this championship.

Tonight he wrote yet another double-double, his sixth in the competition, and reached 29 points and 11 rebounds.

Spain missed their second best scorer in Joan Sastre who got injured after one minute and didn’t return to the floor.

His absence makes the double-digit win even more impressive.

Josep Franch stepped up to take over Sastre’s points and finished with a tournament high of 19 points, just in the right time, next to seven assists and five rebounds.

Alejandro Barrera added 10 points.

For Italy, it was Alessandro Gentile who finished with only 14 points after a streak of four games with more than 20.

Riccardo Moraschini tried to fill his spot and scored 17 points, that weren’t enough.

Brandon Roy still working his way back

Many people have given up on Brandon Roy ever returning to his former glory as a star guard in the NBA. No one is happy about it. Brandon is a likeable guy and a player to root for. Hopefully those doubters are proven wrong, and B-Roy is able to ball out like he did before his knees became a real issue.

As for the latest on Roy, here’s Jason Quick of The Oregonian:

Brandon Roy

Brandon Roy said he had mixed results recently after resuming basketball drills. The bad news? He says he doesn’t have the same lift on his jumps as he did during his run of three All-Star appearances. The good news is that he has surprised himself with his mobility, and he has been free of pain and swelling. Plus, his knees feel stronger than they did during the season — in part because of the nearly three months since the season ended and in part because the January surgeries are even further in the past.

So where does all this leave him and his expectations for next season, when he will make $15 million?

Again, no headlines. No expectations.

“Wait and see,” Roy said. “I’m not going to put a limit on anything. People ask, ‘Are you going to come off the bench?’ Got to wait and see. When training camp comes, I’m going to work, and that way I will put myself in a position to give myself a chance. But I don’t want to put myself in a position where I’m saying, ‘I’m going to come off the bench.’ Or, ‘I’m going to start.’

“I just want to go out there and play, and that way, Coach can say, ‘Wow, he looks this way.’ Or ,’Wow, maybe not’ … Then we will go from there.”

Until there’s reason to believe otherwise, I’m thinking Roy is best used as a Blazers sixth man, for solid contributions off the bench, with occasional flashes of brilliance here and there.

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

Ex-UCLA center Carl Kraushaar dies

The AP reports:

Carl Kraushaar, starting center for the late John Wooden’s first two years as coach of UCLA, has died, the school said Saturday.

Kraushaar died of natural causes surrounded by his family in Newport Beach on Thursday, UCLA spokesman Marc Dellins said in a statement. He was 84.

Transferring from Compton College the same year the coach later known as the Wizard of Westwood arrived from Indiana State for the first of his 27 seasons, Kraushaar began what was to become a storied spot — center at UCLA under Wooden. The position would later be filled by Bill Walton and Lew Alcindor, later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Knicks manage to avoid paying luxury tax

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports:

Knicks

Give former Knicks president Donnie Walsh a pat on the back. The NBA announced yesterday its audit for the 2010-11 season is complete and, according to a person familiar with the situation, the Knicks did not pay a luxury tax for the first time since the now-expired collective bargaining agreement was reached in 1999.

According to a person debriefed on the audit, the Knicks 2010-11 payroll finished over the salary cap following the Carmelo Anthony bonanza, but finished at $67 million — $3 million less than the luxury-tax threshold.

During the Isiah Thomas and Scott Layden years, the Knicks paid a dollar-for-dollar luxury tax of $24-30 million annually, when their payroll skied above $100 million, leading to Walsh’s hiring and his massive cap-cutting. A source said the three luxury-tax victims were the Lakers, Orlando and the NBA champion Mavericks, each paying around $20 million.

Read NBA fan opinion or share your own reaction in this forum topic.

Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reports:

His demeanor always has been quiet, low-key and professional, always the loyal Lakers employee for 24 years, the last 10 as the team’s assistant general manager.

Now Ronnie Lester is speaking out — and not just for himself, but also for other longtime Lakers employees who must find jobs after the team parted ways with them because of the NBA lockout.

Some were told their contracts would not be renewed and some were laid off. All told, about 20 Lakers employees are, or soon will be, looking for jobs, including some of Phil Jackson’s former coaching staff.

It was the manner in which they were let go by one of the most successful and profitable franchises in the NBA that bothered Lester.

“You think of the Lakers and you think they are a great organization,” Lester said. “But if you work inside the organization, it’s only a perception of being a great organization. It’s probably not a great organization, because great organizations don’t treat their personnel like they’ve done.”

Lester’s contract runs out at the end of this month. He said he has sold his house in Los Angeles and plans to move out of the city while he seeks another job in the NBA. Lester said he will hire an agent…

Rudy Garciduenas had been the Lakers’ equipment manager for 26 years before he was laid off.

Other Lakers employees who will be unemployed at end of the month include scouts Irving Thomas (10 years with the team), Adam Filippi (10 years), Gary Boyson (six), Gene Tormohlen (43) and Kevin Grevey (10).

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

Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas reports:

Jason Terry

Terry, wearing a No. 31 Rangers jersey and holding a bat signed by Josh Hamilton to be used for an auction supporting Terry’s charity, said his top offseason priority if he were running the team would be to re-sign center Tyson Chandler.

“Chandler is No. 1 for me,” Terry said. “We want to get all our guys back, but especially what Chandler has meant to this organization. It was something we hadn’t had and once we got him, you could see what it did for us. So we got to get him back.”

Terry said he’s spent his offseason with his daughters, including coaching an AAU team and stopping by the ESPY Awards last week.

Terry also spent 48 hours with the Larry O’Brien Trophy and admitted that he slept with it one night.

“At 47 (hours), (Mavs owner Mark) Cuban was in my driveway knocking on the door,” Terry said. “It was fun. That’s where it soaked in what we had accomplished — seeing my daughters and how much it meant to my family. They took tons and tons of pictures.”

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association completed the 2010-11 NBA season audit of Basketball Related Income (BRI) and player compensation.  Among the results from the audit sent to InsideHoops.com:

- BRI increased by 4.8% from $3.643 billion in 2009-10 to $3.817 billion in 2010-11.

- Total player compensation also increased by 4.8% from $2.076 billion in 2009-10 to $2.176 billion in 2010-11.  This marks the sixth consecutive season that player compensation increased under the expired CBA.

- Total player compensation equaled 57% of BRI.

- The average player salary for the 2010-11 season was $5.15 million. Over the six-year term of the expired CBA, the average player salary increased by a total of 16%.

Read NBA fan opinion or share your own views in this forum topic.

Miami Heat promote Nick Arison to CEO

The Miami HEAT today announced the promotion of Nick Arison from Vice President, Basketball Operations to the newly created position of Chief Executive Officer. In his new role, Arison will oversee the day-to-day operations of the franchise and report directly to Micky Arison, who will remain the team’s Managing General Partner and Governor at the NBA’s Board of Governor meetings. Nick Arison has been a limited partner of the team and has served as the alternate governor since the 2005-06 season. The move is a natural progression for Nick, who has grown up with the HEAT. His grandfather, Ted Arison, was one of the team’s original founders and his father, Micky, bought the controlling share of the franchise and was named Managing General Partner on Feb. 13, 1995. Nick first started working for the organization as a team attendant for four seasons from 1995 through 1999, and upon his graduation from Duke University became a full-time staff member in 2003.

“This is something Nick has been working towards his whole life. He’s more prepared for this job than I was at his age when I became CEO of Carnival,” expressed Micky Arison. “I have the utmost confidence that Nick will continue to lead the HEAT as a model NBA franchise for many years to come.”

Nick Arison has served the HEAT in a variety of positions over the years, learning the business from the ground up. After first joining the HEAT as a team attendant and later serving summer internships in the Arena Operations, Community Affairs, and Sales and Marketing departments, he became a full-time staff member on the business side in 2003 as an Account Manager, Premium Partnerships. In 2006, he was promoted to Director, Corporate and Premium Services where he oversaw the Account Management Team. Prior to the 2008-09 season he was named Vice President, Basketball Operations where he worked directly with HEAT President Pat Riley and Assistant General Manager/Senior Vice President, Basketball Operations Andy Elisburg in overseeing the basketball side of the organization and played an active role in the recruiting and procurement of talent.

“I have been working for the Arison family for 16 years,” said Riley. “The Miami HEAT is truly a family organization and that is what makes it a desirable franchise to work for. The HEAT are the Arisons. Like his grandfather Ted and father Micky, Nick is an extraordinary, special young man and will serve the HEAT in a highly professional manner as those men did. Congratulations to Nick. He has earned it.”

“Micky, Nick and I have discussed this possibility for the last year, so I am not surprised at all by Micky’s decision. Nick has worked very hard over the last eight years and is prepared for this opportunity,” continued Riley. “As far as the decision making process goes concerning coaches, training staff and players, that will remain my responsibility as it has the last 16 years. Over the years, we as a front office have always come to a consensus, along with Micky and Nick, on personnel moves and Nick has played a major role in those transactions. I will continue to support Nick in all ways possible”.

In addition to his responsibilities with the HEAT, Nick served as a member of the United States Men’s Senior National Team support staff from 2004-08. He assisted with the day-to-day operations for USA Basketball’s bronze medal winning team at the 2004 Olympics, the bronze medal winning 2006 World Championship team, the 2007 gold medal winning FIBA Americans Championship team and the 2008 Olympic Team which captured the gold medal in Beijing, China.

“Nick has certainly earned the respect of the basketball community through his leadership in the operations of the Miami HEAT,” said Duke University head men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. “I’m thrilled for the organization in recognizing his hard work ethic, lofty visions, and commitment to the profession. I consider Nick and his family to be very close friends and we’ve been fortunate to share several championship experiences together at Duke University (2001 NCAA Championship) and with the U.S. National Team (2008 Beijing Olympics). As the CEO of the HEAT, I am positive that Nick will continue to help lead the franchise towards its goal of winning another NBA Championship as well.”

Arison began his basketball career while attending Duke University. He spent four years as a team manager of the Blue Devils men’s basketball team and was named the head team manager during his senior year. Over that four-year span, Arison became the only team manager in Atlantic Coast Conference history to be a part of four straight ACC Championships and was a manager for Duke’s 2001 NCAA Championship team.

“I’m very excited and thankful for this opportunity and look forward to a seamless transition in my new position,” said Nick Arison. “Pat Riley is one of the greatest coaches and leaders in NBA history and will continue to run the basketball side of the team and Eric Woolworth the business side, just as they have for my father.”

Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:

Rick Adelman

According to league sources, former Houston coach Rick Adelman will be the fourth candidate to interview with the Wolves when he comes to town tomorrow to see David Kahn and owner Glen Taylor.

Adelman all along has looked like the dream hire who’d solve a lot of the Wolves’ problems, if he’s interested.

Well, it looks like he is now, at least enough to listen.

Why is he the best they can do with this hire:

- He has a track record, and a .605 winning percentage (945-616) in 20 seasons with Portland, Golden State, Sacramento and Houston. His Portland teams made the NBA finals twice and his Sacramento teams pushed the Lakers to the brink out West.

- Believer in a passing offense similar in many ways to what Kurt Rambis believes, he has shown a willingness for his teams to play fast. Those Kings teams with Bibby, Webber, Vlade were fun — and fast — to watch.

- Most importantly perhaps is this: He has known Kevin Love for years and his hiring would be a BIG step toward convincing Love to sign a long-term contract extension.

InsideHoops.com editor says: I’m an Adelman fan. I want this guy coaching my team. Though, the core Wolves parts are so young, they have a lot of growing to do before any real success is possible. They primarily need a skills teacher. And permission slips to see PG-13 movies.

Read NBA fan opinion or share your own views in this forum topic.

Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:

Bernie Bickerstaff

Portland Trail Blazers assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff is scheduled on Friday to become the third candidate to interview for the Timberwolves’ head coaching job.

President of basketball operations David Kahn and owner Glen Taylor interviewed former Timberwolves guard Terry Porter on Monday and former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson on Tuesday. They are expected to interview Don Nelson and perhaps one or two other candidates this weekend or early next week.

Bickerstaff, 67, owns a .445 winning percentage (415-517) in 13 seasons as head coach with Seattle, Denver, Washington and Charlotte. He last was a head coach for the Bobcats in 2007, when his team went 33-49.

He also has worked as an NBA general manager and team president.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports:

Alonzo Mourning

Alonzo Mourning’s 15th-annual charity weekend will be missing its most popular event: the Zo’s Groove basketball game. The game was not scheduled this year because the ongoing lockout prohibits interaction between team employees and players.

Mourning serves as the Heat’s vice president/player programs.

As a result, no NBA players are scheduled to appear at any of the events.

Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reports:

Los Angeles Clippers forward Al-Farouq Aminu wants to play basketball next season. But if he doesn’t, he isn’t overly concerned about his financial situation.

Aminu, a rookie last season, is one of four clients of agent Raymond Brothers who spread their 2010-11 NBA salaries over 18 or 24 months to continue receiving paychecks if the league-imposed lockout forces the cancellation of games.

zach randolph

Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph, Dallas Mavericks forward Caron Butler and Detroit Pistons guard Ben Gordon, all Brothers clients, have similar setups.

If games in 2011-12 are lost, “They will not know financially that they’re in a lockout,” Brothers said. “If there is a lockout, you’ll able to pay your bills. And you’re already used to a certain way of living because your paychecks will be consistent.”

Players normally receive bi-weekly paychecks from Nov. 15 to May 1, although some opt for a November to November schedule. But Aminu will receive payments from last season until Nov. 1, 2012. Randolph will be paid through May 1, 2012.

InsideHoops.com editor says: I am happy to announce that I will continue to pay myself during the lockout as well.

Chris Broussard of ESPN reports:

LeBron James

Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard are among the superstars who are reportedly willing to consider playing overseas. One superstar who, at least for now, is not looking into playing elsewhere is LeBron James, according to sources.

Other agents weren’t so high on the idea of playing overseas. Some felt it wasn’t worth it for a superstar player with a large NBA contract to risk injury by playing overseas. Sure, he can get insurance in case of injury, but the premiums on a contract worth $30, $40, $50 million is not cheap.

One agent said he’s trying to get clients who are free agents jobs overseas, but he’s advising those who are signed to NBA clubs to stay in America.

InsideHoops.com editor says: To please some spiteful fans who dislike LeBron out there, I will now suggest you feel free to make up your own joke about Euros and 4th quarters or something, and then laugh heartily about it.

Sportando reports:

Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman announced that they will play with German National Team at Eurobasket 2011 in Lithuania.

Both players will join soon the team coached by Dirk Bauermann.

TalkBasket.net reports:

Both players are expected to be ready to play for the Germany NT in the BEKO-Supercup tournament in Bamberg (together with Turkey, Greece, Belgium), during August 19-21.

Dirk was pleased with his decision and said: “The rest was short but I would like to help the young German NT to gain success in Eurobasket. I will do everything to keep fit and I’m looking forward to spending time with the guys”.

Chris Kaman stated: “Playing for Germany in 2008 was a lot of fun, I think I can help the team and we can achieve things”.

InsideHoops.com editor says: I’ve heard that Nowitzki and Kaman were a package deal for Team Germany. Meaning, they or their representatives were in touch with each other and either both were going to play, or neither one was. I haven’t actually confirmed this, though. But don’t be surprised if you read something about this in the near future.

OKC Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association and Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) today jointly announced a long-term naming rights partnership for the home of the Thunder. As a result, the downtown Oklahoma City arena will be named “Chesapeake Energy Arena”. Besides being home to the Thunder, the arena regularly hosts a variety of concerts, sporting and other world-class events, attracting more than a million guests per year. Chesapeake is one of the Thunder’s five Founding Partners, which also include Devon Energy Corporation (NYSE:DVN), MidFirst Bank, The Oklahoma Publishing Company and SandRidge Energy, Inc. (NYSE:SD)

Clayton I. Bennett, Thunder Chairman, said, “On behalf of the entire Thunder organization, we are extremely proud to enhance our already strong partnership with Chesapeake Energy. Besides being a leader in the national and international energy industry, Chesapeake is a dynamic business and community leader in Oklahoma. Together with the Thunder’s commitment to the community, it makes the naming rights partnership a natural fit. The Thunder looks forward to many exciting years ahead playing in Chesapeake Energy Arena in downtown Oklahoma City.”

kevin durant

Martha A. Burger, Chesapeake’s Senior Vice President - Human and Corporate Resources, added, “This is an exciting day for Chesapeake and its employees. We are thrilled that the arena will bear the name of our company. The Thunder represents the values we embrace at Chesapeake – integrity, teamwork, commitment, hard work and service.  The Chesapeake Energy Arena and the Thunder are both strong reminders of the incredible progress our city has made in the past decade as well as the energy our citizens have demonstrated to keep building an even better and stronger Oklahoma City in the years ahead.”

Burger continued, “The naming rights also provide a powerful natural gas branding opportunity for our company, particularly when you consider the national, and even global, reach of the Thunder. To see Chesapeake’s distinctive and recognizable blue flame logo as a visually prominent part of downtown Oklahoma City supports our commitment to community and our corporate message that the abundance of natural gas offers our nation the best opportunity to  achieve energy independence.  We are pleased to be actively participating in the continued revitalization and transformation of downtown Oklahoma City currently led by the Devon Energy Center, SandRidge Energy Commons, Continental Resources, the Boathouse District, Myriad Gardens, Project 180, MAPS 3 and the City’s ongoing renovation of Chesapeake Energy Arena.”

InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner has said that Thunder fans in OKC have been fantastic in supporting their team, and that the arena is definitely worthy of a big sponsorship.

The 12-year naming rights agreement has an initial annual cost of $3.0 million with a 3.0% annual escalation. The agreement includes Chesapeake branding throughout the building including on the basketball court, prominent premium placement on the high-definition scoreboard and new state-of-the-art interior and exterior digital signage. Most of the signage will be in place by the start of the Thunder’s 2011-12 season.

Opened in June 2002, Chesapeake Energy Arena is managed by SMG and owned by the City of Oklahoma City. The arena was the premier project of Oklahoma City’s first capital improvement program (MAPS) passed in 1993 to finance new and upgraded sports, entertainment, cultural and convention facilities with a 1-cent temporary sales tax. In March 2008, Oklahoma City voters overwhelmingly approved another temporary 1-cent sales tax to fund significant upgrades to the arena.

Kyle Weaver signs in Germany

Sportando reports:

Alba Berlin made official the signing of Kyle Weaver for the coming season. Former Thunder spent most of the season 2010-11 in NBDL with Iowa Energy and Austin Toros. With Energy he recorded averages of 16.6ppg, 5.9rpg and 3.5apg in 25 games while with Toros he scored 13.2ppg and grabbed 5rpg.

Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports:

chris paul

Already accustomed to international basketball, thanks to his 2008 Beijing Olympic experience, New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul this weekend is heading to the Philippines for a two-game exhibition series, and said Wednesday he’s keeping his options open about playing overseas this fall if the NBA lockout persists.

Paul is joining fellow Olympian Kobe Bryant, along with players such as Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher, Oklahoma Thunder forward Kevin Durant and reigning league Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, for two games in Quezon City’s Araneta Coliseum that will benefit the MVP Sports Foundation, a group committed to aiding youth sports.

“The (foundation) over there is all about giving back and helping out kids,” Paul said Wednesday, adding he committed to the event just in the past week. “That’s something I feel strongly about also. I’m going over there with a few other guys, and we’re going to play. I found out about this through D-Fish (Fisher). He let me know about it.”

The timing of the event coincides with the recent flurry of NBA players such as Paul’s close friend, New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams, signing on with European teams because of the lockout that began July 1. Several of Paul’s former Hornets teammates, including Hilton Armstrong, Darius Songaila and David Andersen, also are heading overseas to play this fall.

InsideHoops.com editor says: One by one, NBA players, when asked about it, will mostly say that yes, they are “open” to playing overseas. It simply makes no sense for most guys to flat-out reject the possibility. I’d say that players who are on the NBA fringe and maybe in trouble of falling out of the league might be the only ones to maybe say they won’t go overseas, but that’s because if they do, they might not be able to get back into the league. But for all the players who know they have a place in the NBA for years to come, there’s no reason to absolutely, firmly reject global possibilities.

lawrence_frank

Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News reports:

The Pistons have decided to hire ex-Nets coach Lawrence Frank as their new head coach, according to league sources.

Frank, 40, will succeed John Kuester, who was fired after failing to get the Pistons to the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. Frank coached the Nets from 2003-09 and posted a 225-241 record.

Frank, who spent last season with Boston as Doc Rivers’ top defensive coach, beat out former Atlanta coach Mike Woodson. Frank and Woodson were the only two candidates who had the head coaching experience the Pistons were seeking.Read fan reaction and discuss your own opinion in this forum topic.

By Jeff Lenchiner

Wednesday evening in New York City I paid a visit to Dyckman Park for some streetball action. It was a big matchup of some top teams that has been anticipated for weeks, so the park was packed. Included in the crowd were rapper Jadakiss, Denver Nuggets forward Al Harrington, and the head of the NBA Players Union, Billy Hunter, among others.

Before the game, Hunter, bravely attempting to communicate as some top-notch rap music blasted from the park’s booming speakers at full volume, gave InsideHoops.com a very quick update on the current NBA lockout situation:

InsideHoops.com: What’s the latest?

Billy Hunter: We’re trying to find some way to re-open the negotiations. We’re not making very much progress. It looks like we’re going to be where we are, I would assume probably [until] August before we actually end up getting back together.

InsideHoops.com: How long might the lockout last?

Hunter: It’s unpredictable. It’s hard to say how long it’s going to go.

It sounds like NBA fans should not hold their breath waiting for positive developments just yet.

NBA 2K12 covers: Jordan, Bird and Magic

2K Sports announced today that NBA 2K12, the next installment of the top-rated and best-selling NBA video game simulation franchise, will offer three separate covers for the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system featuring three of the NBA’s greatest legends of all time, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.

The new stylized NBA 2K12 covers are a unique, one-time departure from the traditional 2K Sports brand artwork, and will spotlight each legendary athlete on his famous team: the Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics, and Los Angeles Lakers. The covers featuring Bird and Johnson will be available at launch in a limited quantity.

“Bringing Michael Jordan to the virtual hardwood last year was a huge success for NBA 2K11; however, we didn’t want to stop there,” said Jason Argent, vice president of marketing for 2K Sports. “We’re bringing ‘His Airness’ back to the NBA 2K franchise as part of a multi-year extended partnership, along with two other legendary icons – Larry Bird and Magic Johnson – for a special cover athlete collection representing the NBA’s greatest heroes.”

Here they are:

Have a reaction? Read video game fan opinions in this forum topic.

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