Archive for July 7th, 2011

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers will own and operate their new NBA Development League franchise in Canton, Ohio. The announcement was made today by NBA Development League President Dan Reed, Cavaliers/Quicken Loans Arena President Len Komoroski, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant and Canton Mayor William J. Healy II. The Cavaliers acquired the former New Mexico Thunderbirds franchise, which has ceased operations, and will now become the 5th NBA team to currently own and operate their own NBA D-League affiliate, joining Golden State, the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City and San Antonio.  As owner/operators, the Cavaliers will have exclusive control over all basketball and business elements for the franchise.

“Having the ability to own and operate a D-League franchise in Canton once again illustrates our ownership’s outstanding commitment to creating a culture of success,” said Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant. “Player development is at the core of our process and being able to operate our own franchise so close to home will place us in the most strategic position to take an active part in the player development process.”

Jeff Lenchiner, the editor of InsideHoops.com, sees this as a positive move for the Cavs.

Entering its 11th season, the NBA Development League is the NBA’s official minor league. Canton becomes the 16th team in the league and will begin play in the upcoming 2011-12 season at the Canton Memorial Civic Center.

“We are thrilled to be the home of minor league basketball for the Cleveland Cavaliers.  This is an incredible opportunity for the citizens of Canton to experience professional basketball in their hometown, and I am grateful that the Cavaliers recognized Canton as an ideal market for their next generation of basketball operations,” said Mayor Healy. “Thanks to the hard work of the Cavaliers, the NBADL, SMG, and the City of Canton, I believe that the Cavaliers have secured a fan base that is hungry to support minor league basketball for years to come.”

Last season, the Erie BayHawks were the Cavaliers’ D-League affiliate and that affiliation was shared with the Toronto Raptors. The New Mexico Thunderbirds served as the affiliate for the New Orleans Hornets and Orlando Magic.

“We’re very excited to welcome the Cleveland Cavaliers to a rapidly-expanding group of NBA teams realizing the advantages of an exclusive relationship with their NBA D-League affiliate,” said NBA D-League President Dan Reed. “The combination of supportive city leadership and an outstanding organization in the Cavs leads us to believe the future of the team in Canton is very bright.”

Leading the new Canton team’s local business operations as senior vice president and chief operating officer will be Scott Woodruff. Woodruff is a veteran of the Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena organization and spent the past two seasons with the American Hockey League’s Lake Erie Monsters as the vice president of ticket and corporate sales. The Monsters are part of the Dan Gilbert family of sports and entertainment interests. Business offices for the franchise will also be located in the Canton Memorial Civic Center.

“We are very excited and looking forward to a great partnership with the City of Canton, fans and the surrounding community,” said Cavaliers President Len Komoroski.  “We have a strong connection with the Canton regional market and we are excited to further engage our fans with a first-class basketball and entertainment experience. We will be active in the community and will work hard to earn support from our fans here.”

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Deron Williams may play in Turkey

The New York Daily News reports:

Deron Williams

With seemingly no end to the lockout, Nets guard Deron Williams has agreed in principal to a contract to play in Turkey, a source confirmed to the Daily News.

The signing was first reported by a Turkish TV station. The contract would pay the Nets star on a monthly basis.

The team, Besiktas, also signed Allen Iverson to a two-year, $4 million deal in October of last year.

“We are in talks with Williams. He is a bigger star than Iverson and would be the best player in Europe. We are close to an agreement,” the coach of Besiktas told Turkish TV.

Williams has an out clause in the event the NBA kicks off on time in late October, according to the Turkish TV report. Earlier this week, Dallas’ Rudy Fernandez considered playing in Spain, but decided not to go overseas, at this point.

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Indiana Pacers to hire Brian Shaw

Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star reports:

Three of the pieces are in place, now all Frank Vogel has to do is find his final assistant to complete his coaching staff.

Vogel was introduced as coach of the Pacers on Wednesday during a press conference that didn’t reveal a lot since team officials are not permitted to talk about players due to the current NBA lockout.

Brian Shaw

Vogel and Larry Bird both said they hope to be able to announce the rest of the coaching staff next week. Brian Shaw will be the associate head coach and long time assistant Dan Burke will be on Vogel’s staff.

Vogel interviewed former University of Utah coach and NBA assistant Jim Boylen for the final assistant job earlier this week.

Maciej Lampe signs in Spain

Euroleague.net reports:

Maciej Lampe

One day after its starting center transferred elsewhere, Caja Laboral reacted with a big signing of its own by grabbing Maciej Lampe for two seasons. Lampe (2.10 meters, 26 years old) arrives from Eurocup champion Unics Kazan, where he spent the past two seasons. Lampe averaged 15.6 points and a competition best 8.1 rebounds last season as he was named to the All- Eurocup First Team. For the season, Lampe ranked second in the Eurocup in average performance index rating at 19.6 per game.

Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports:

Former Ohio State and Villa Angela-St. Joseph star David Lighty apparently will sign a two-year contract to play with Cantu, Italy, in the Euroleague next season, according to various sources.

The deal is believed to be worth $300,000 for the two seasons. It would also not allow him to return to the NBA this season, one NBA source said.

Lighty and his agent, Joel Bell, did not return phone calls to The Plain Dealer on Wednesday, but Lighty’s mother, Emily, confirmed that Lighty probably would sign with Cantu this week.

“We’re not giving up,” she said of her son’s dream to play in the NBA. “But it’s the Lord’s plan for him to take a different route. Everything happens for a reason.”

Cavs to buy a D-League team

Duane Rankin of the Erie Times-News reports:

The Cleveland Cavaliers are expected to announce Thursday afternoon a single-affiliation partnership with a D-League team that will play in Canton, Ohio, for the 2011-12 season.

The Cavs e-mailed a news release tonight stating there will be a news conference Thursday at noon at the Canton Civic Center. It’s expected the Cavs have bought the New Mexico Thunderbirds and will move them to Canton.

The Erie BayHawks were affiliated with the Cleveland Cavaliers in their first three seasons in the D-League before establishing three-year hybrid partnership deal with the New York Knicks last month.

The BayHawks were also affiliated with the Philadelphia 76ers during their expansion 2008-09 season and the Toronto Raptors the past two D-League seasons.

UPDATE: The deal is done. Full info is here.

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