Archive for July 6th, 2011

The AP reports:

michael beasley

Michael Beasley’s first season in Minnesota was quiet off the court, an encouraging sign for the Timberwolves as they hoped to see him mature and emerge as a go-to player for a franchise that desperately needs one.

His first full offseason here isn’t off to a good start.

Beasley was ticketed for possessing marijuana and speeding in the Minneapolis suburb of Minnetonka last week, police said on Wednesday.

Capt. Scott Boerboom said that an officer stopped Beasley around 3 a.m. on June 26 on Interstate 394 after clocking him going 84 mph in a 65 mph zone. He said the officer smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the car.

The officer allegedly found 16.2 grams of the drug in a plastic bag under the front passenger seat of Beasley’s car. Beasley told police the marijuana was not his, but belonged to a friend whom he had just dropped off. According to the report, Beasley cursed when an officer pulled out the bag.

The possession charge is a petty misdemeanor that carries a fine of $128.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:

In February, Beasley was cited in Hennepin County for driving 70 mph in a 55 mph zone. He paid a $117 fine in that case.

In July 2010, after Beasley’s trade to Minnesota from Miami, Timberwolves basketball boss David Kahn said in a radio interview that one of his new player’s problems in Florida was that he “smoked too much marijuana.” The NBA responded by fining Kahn and the team $50,000 each. The league called the comments “inappropriate.”

Kahn, also in the interview on 1500ESPN, suggested that Beasley would be a changed man once he arrives in Minnesota.

“He’s a very young and immature kid who smoked too much marijuana and has told me that he’s not smoking anymore,” Kahn said, “and I told him that I would trust him as long as that was the case.”

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Former NBA forward Armen Gilliam dies

WTAE Pittsburgh reports:

Armen Gilliam, a 6-foot-9 forward from Bethel Park who was known as “The Hammer” for his physical style of basketball, died Wednesday night. He was 47.

Police said Gilliam had a heart attack and collapsed while playing basketball at LA Fitness in Collier Township. He was rushed to St. Clair Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

In college, Gilliam starred on the No. 1-ranked UNLV Runnin’ Rebels team that won a record 38 games and went to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament in 1987.

The Phoenix Suns chose Gilliam with the No. 2 overall pick in the first round of the NBA Draft in 1987. He also played for the Charlotte Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz before retiring in 2000.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Wow, this is tragic. Armen was an EXTREMELY nice guy. He and I met February in Los Angeles during 2011 NBA All-Star weekend. He had just called me recently, looking to reach out and see what’s up. Earlier today, when I heard the news, I texted him, really hoping to not receive silence in return… But, he’s gone… I’m sorry, and wish all the best to his friends and family.

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Coach Frank Vogel

The Indiana Pacers announced Wednesday that Frank Vogel has been named head coach. Per club policy, terms of Vogel’s contract are not released.

The 38-year-old Vogel compiled a 20-18 record as an interim coach at the end of the 2010-11 season after replacing Jim O’Brien, Jan. 30. Vogel helped lead the Pacers to their first playoff appearance since 2006 where they lost to the Chicago Bulls, 4-1, in a competitive best-of-seven series.

“We’re very happy to have Frank as our coach,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “As I stated after the season, I was in no hurry regarding the coach, mainly because I knew I had a good candidate in Frank. But we wanted to get through the draft and I wanted to have numerous conversations with Frank about a staff that will cover all areas. I feel strongly he is doing that and this coaching staff, as a whole, will help this franchise continue to move forward.”

“I’m very grateful to (team owner) Herb Simon, Larry Bird and (general manager) David Morway for giving me this opportunity,” said Vogel. “Our team last year finished strong with a positive playoff showing and it’s something we all can definitely build on. This is a challenge I embrace and look forward to.”

Vogel came to the Pacers as an assistant coach when O’Brien was named head coach in 2007. He will be entering his 15th NBA season with his previous experience as an assistant coach (nine years), scout and video coordinator.

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Rudy Fernandez to stay with Mavericks

The Forth Worth Star-Telegram reports:

Rudy Fernandez

The Spanish sports site Marca.com has reported that swingman Rudy Fernandez, acquired by the Mavericks in a draft-day trade, will honor his NBA contract and stay with Dallas rather than sign a lucrative contract overseas with Real Madrid.

Fernandez is scheduled to earn $2.18 million next season and would be a restricted free agent the following season with an option for $3.18 million. Fernandez, who was born in Spain, was being courted by Real Madrid with a six-year contract reported to be worth close to $4 million a year.

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Under Armour Signs Kemba Walker

Darren Rovell of CNBC reports:

Kemba Walker

Still looking for its can’t miss star a year less than a year after debuting its first basketball shoe, Under Armour agreed to terms with Kemba Walker, sources told CNBC.

Walker, who was named the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after leading the University of Connecticut to its first title in seven years, is the first player in this year’s draft class to sign with a shoe company.

If Walker turns out to be the real deal, it might get a little bit awkward. He was selected ninth in the draft last month by the Charlotte Bobcats, which is of course owned by Michael Jordan, the greatest shoe endorser of all time.

Joe Kemp of the New York Daily News reports:

A newly minted sportscaster for the New York Knicks was arrested for drunken driving after he was pulled over for speeding down a Hamptons street, authorities said.

Spero Dedes, 32 - who just replaced Mike Crispino on ESPN 1050 radio - was pulled over by Southampton Town police on Sunday near Tuckahoe Road and Country Road 39 about 4:15 a.m., authorities and his lawyer said.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports:

Dedes’ lawyer, Colin Astarita, told The Post yesterday that he believes a “complete dismissal” will take place, saying, “The early stages from the police paperwork show inconsistencies with the police allegations and what actually transpired that night.”

Dedes was stopped by Southampton police at 4:12 a.m. Sunday morning for speeding, according to the arrest report, while driving a 2006 BMW. The 32-year-old ex-Net broadcaster was then charged with DWI. He posted $500 bail Sunday and a hearing will take place today.

Sonny Vaccaro is pretty much retired

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports reports:

The excitement and storylines are mostly gone because Vaccaro, widely regarded as the godfather of grassroots basketball, no longer is involved and available to play nemesis to the power structure. He’s instead traveling the country with his wife, Pam. He speaks a lot and relaxes often.

At 71, he has no need for the daily grind it took to run his legendary ABCD Camp outside of New York that annually highlighted the beginning of July or the Big Time tournament in Las Vegas that headlined the end.

But the tug-a-war?

Yes, Vaccaro misses that.

He’s like a fighter without a fight.

“And I miss the fight,” Vaccaro said. “I do miss that.”

The fight began in the early 1990s when Vaccaro left Nike for Adidas and began competing against the outfit he very literally helped build into the most influential sports apparel company in the world by, among other things, convincing Phil Knight to tie his brand to a young basketball player named Michael Jordan.

While with Adidas — and subsequently Reebok — Vaccaro was able to challenge and, in most cases, beat Nike for summer relevance based on his reputation and relationships he spent decades establishing.

The Salt Lake Tribune (blog) reports:

Enes Kanter

Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter has officially been named to Turkey’s 2011 EuroBasket roster.

Kanter will join Hedo Turkoglu (Orlando), Omer Asik (Chicago), Semih Erden (Cleveland) and Ersan Ilyasova (Milwaukee) on the team.

The tournament is scheduled August 31-September 18 in Lithuania.

Joe Bryant would love an NBA job

Baxter Holmes of the Los Angeles Times reports on Kobe Bryant’s dad Joe, aka Jellybean Bryant:

He has been in the game almost 40 years. First, as a player — eight seasons in the NBA with the 76ers, Clippers and Rockets — then as a coach, with the WNBA’s Sparks and in Japan. Now, Bryant is back with the Sparks as an assistant.

For all his travels, Bryant has never escaped his son’s shadow. Is he OK with that?

“Yeah, because he’s my son,” he says.

Bryant was estranged from Kobe after his son’s marriage to Vanessa, but Joe says they are now on pretty good terms.

One day, Bryant would like an NBA job, not as a coach, but perhaps in a player development role where he could work with young players.

But to get there, he might have to deal with a double-edged sword: his lineage. That alone can give him instant credibility.

“Absolutely, hell yeah it should, because the first thing I wanted to know was, what drills did you do with Kobe?” says former Sparks center Lisa Leslie, who was the 2005-06 WNBA most valuable player when Bryant was her head coach.

But it may lead some to question his credibility.

“They’re probably thinking, ‘Just because your son is good doesn’t make you a great coach,’” Sparks General Manager Penny Toler says.

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