Archive for July 13th, 2011

76ers

Comcast-Spectacor today announced it has reached an agreement to sell the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team to a group led by Joshua Harris, Co-Founder of Apollo Global Management, LLC. Terms of the agreement, which is subject to approval by the National Basketball Association’s Board of Governors, were not disclosed.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, sources have put the value of the deal at $280 million for full, 100 percent team ownership.

The acquisition does not include the Wells Fargo Center or the Philadelphia Flyers, which are owned by Comcast-Spectacor.  The team will remain a long-term tenant of the Wells Fargo Center and will have a long-term cable broadcast agreement for its games with Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to be affiliated with this storied franchise,” said Harris.  “As a basketball fan who attended college in Philadelphia, and with family roots here, I have always felt a strong connection to this City and the 76ers.  We look forward to helping the 76ers organization build on this past season’s accomplishments in the years ahead.  The ownership group also looks forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Comcast-Spectacor.”

The new ownership also includes David Blitzer, a Senior Managing Director of The Blackstone Group, who commented, “We are excited to become associated with this iconic team and to have the chance to serve the great City of Philadelphia and its loyal basketball fans.”

Other members of the investor group include Art Wrubel and Jason Levien.  Harris, Blitzer and the other investors are making personal investments; Apollo and Blackstone are not involved in the transaction.

The transaction is expected to close later in 2011, subject to NBA approval and customary closing conditions.

Comcast-Spectacor is the Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment company which owns the Philadelphia Flyers; the Philadelphia 76ers; the home for both teams, the Wells Fargo Center; and four Flyers Skate Zone community ice skating and hockey rinks. In addition, Comcast-Spectacor is also the principal owner of Global Spectrum, the fastest growing firm in the public assembly management field with more than 100 facilities throughout the United States and Canada; Ovations Food Services, a food and beverage service provider; New Era Tickets, a ticketing and marketing company for public assembly facilities; Front Row Marketing Services, a commercial rights sales company; and Paciolan, the leading provider of venue enablement, ticketing, fundraising and marketing technology solutions.

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Dwyane Wade staying busy during lockout

The AP reports:

Dwyane Wade

“I don’t miss it yet,” Wade said of his inability to work out at 601 Biscayne Boulevard in Miami, the address of the arena that the Heat call home. “I’m only a month away from the game. I’m cool. I’ve got two more weeks to relax before I get back into it. But when the time gets to where we’re still going, I will miss it and most importantly I think everybody will miss it because you’re used to getting into a rhythm, used to getting into a schedule. And when that schedule is starting off, everything is off.”

Still, a month removed from losing in six games to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA finals, Wade is a long way from forgetting the pain of coming up short with a title at stake.

He’s been busy since: A European trip has already been completed, as has a camp he co-hosted with NFL star Devin Hester in Chicago and a commercial shoot in Los Angeles, all preceding his annual camp at Nova Southeastern University— which added a twist this year, a cheerleader camp led by Katina Taylor, the wife of NFL defensive end Jason Taylor.

And soon, Wade will head back to China for the first time since the U.S. won gold at the 2008 Beijing Games. Much of that trip will be built around Wade’s work with Nike’s Jordan Brand, although he has several other business meetings lined up there as well.

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Los Angeles Lakers rookie forward Ater Majok was in New York City Monday to play for the D.C. Power streetball team in the Entertainers Basketball Classic at Rucker Park. InsideHoops.com was at the park and watched the whole game.

Majok blocked plenty of shots, mostly as a help defender, but didn’t really stand out in other aspects, missing plenty of shots to finish with seven points and committing a fair amount of turnovers. He was solid as a rebounder as well, though simply by watching it was tough to say he really stood out on the glass.

But, this was not one of the better games, even by streetball standards, so of course it makes little sense to put much stock into Ater’s skills and future potential in the NBA based on one game in the park.

There weren’t many game highlights involving Majok worth showing, but here are two InsideHoops.com video clips.

Majok is No.12 in orange, with the mini-mohawk. Here he is blocking a shot, then rushing out to to defend a jumpshot (which misses) from the right baseline:

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Here, in the game’s final seconds, Majok gets to toss down an open dunk:

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Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday the club has hired Johnny Davis, Eric Hughes, Micah Nori, Scott Roth and Tom Sterner as assistant coaches on new head coach Dwane Casey’s staff. Hughes, Nori and Roth were retained by Casey from Jay Triano’s coaching staff.

“I am excited to announce the hiring of what I believe is a strong, well-balanced and experienced coaching staff,” said Casey. “We have a good mixture of former players, head coaching experience and on-court teachers who have a wealth of technical knowledge.

“Since we have such a young team I thought it was necessary to hire a group of coaches who can effectively mentor, communicate, motivate and teach on-and-off the floor.”

Davis completed his 35th season in the NBA in 2010-11. He has been a player, assistant coach, front office executive and two-time head coach.

Last season marked Davis’ fourth with the Memphis Grizzlies and his 19th in an NBA assistant coaching capacity. In addition to Memphis, Davis has been an assistant coach with Atlanta, the Los Angeles Clippers, Portland, New Jersey, Orlando, Minnesota and Indiana. In 2005-06, he served on Casey’s staff in Minnesota.

Davis was the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers in 1996-97 and the Orlando Magic for parts of two seasons (2003-05) compiling a 73-146 mark (.333). He was honoured as Eastern Conference Coach of the Month in November 2005 while with the Magic. He also served two games as the Grizzlies’ interim head coach.

The 22nd overall pick in the second round of the 1976 NBA Draft, Davis played with Portland, Indiana, Atlanta and Cleveland in his 10 seasons. He was a member of Portland’s 1977 NBA Championship team.

Sterner has been an NBA assistant coach for 13 seasons, working for Dallas, Orlando and Golden State. He served two seasons with Casey as an assistant coach on Rick Carlisle’s staff in Dallas (2008-10). He spent last season as an advance scout with Philadelphia.

The majority of Sterner’s tenure as an assistant coach was in Orlando where he was on the bench for 11 campaigns. He helped the Magic to the 1995 NBA Finals and served as an assistant coach for the Eastern Conference during the 1995 All-Star Game.

Sterner was the top assistant coach for Golden State from 2002-04. In 2002-03, he led the team’s offense that ranked second in the league in scoring, averaging 102.4 points per game. The following season he changed his focus to defense where the Warriors became the NBA’s most improved defensive squad, allowing 9.6 fewer points per game than the previous season.

Roth completed his first season with the Raptors after being named an assistant coach August 16. He has been as a player, scout and coach overseas and in North America for more than 25 years.

Roth was as an assistant coach with Golden State in 2009-10. Prior to joining the Warriors’ staff he was the head coach of the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA D-League in 2008-09 and guided the team to its first post-season appearance with a 26-24 record.

Roth has also worked as an assistant coach with Dallas (1996-2000) and Vancouver/Memphis (2000-02), and four seasons as scout and advisor for Milwaukee.

Nori concluded his second season as an assistant coach for the Raptors in 2010-11 and his 14th overall with the organization. In addition to his duties as an assistant coach, Nori heads the advance scouting operations for the club. He was promoted July 1, 2009 after serving as the team’s Director of NBA Scouting.

Nori had been the team’s advance scout since 2000 where he was responsible for scouting upcoming opponents and preparing reports for both the coaching staff and players. Prior to becoming the team’s advance scout, he served as assistant to the coaching staff from 1998-2000.

Hughes joined the Raptors in 2007 and was promoted to Assistant Coach/Basketball Development on July 1, 2009. He will continue in that role under Casey.

Previous to joining the Raptors, Hughes had worked as the director of summer player development for Goodwin Sports Management, creating workout programs and training NBA players. He had also been the head coach at Spokane Community College in Spokane, Washington during that time, compiling an 88-61 (.590) mark in his five seasons.

Hughes has served as the head coach for the Raptors’ entry in the Las Vegas Summer League the past three summers. His 2010 team finished 5-0 and led the league in scoring.

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Christina Miller has been named general manager of NBA Digital, it was jointly announced today by David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc, and Adam Silver, NBA deputy commissioner.  She will continue to serve as senior vice president of Turner Sports Strategy/Marketing/Promotions, reporting directly to Lenny Daniels, chief operating officer and executive vice president, Turner Sports.

As part of her new responsibilities, Miller will now oversee the day-to-day operations for the NBA Digital portfolio, which includes NBA TV — the league’s 24-hour digital television network, NBA.com, WNBA.com, NBADLeague.com, NBA League Pass, as well as the league’s broadband and wireless businesses. She will provide leadership for all aspects of the business, including programming, operations, editorial, ecommerce and marketing.

Miller replaces Bryan Perez who recently departed the company after three years in the role to join a leading sports and entertainment company.

“Christina’s strategic leadership, creative guidance, consumer insights and smart business sense have significantly contributed to the recent growth of Turner Sports’ linear and digital portfolios and will be pivotal in the continued growth of NBA Digital,” said Levy.  “She is a respected and decisive leader and is the right person to lead the NBA Digital portfolio into the future.”

“Christina is an ideal fit to oversee the day-to-day operations of our digital assets,” said Silver.  “Coming off a record breaking season for NBA Digital, Christina’s expertise and leadership will continue to fuel our success and provide NBA fans with an unmatched experience across all of our platforms.”

Miller’s duties as senior vice president of Turner Sports Strategy/Marketing/Promotions include managing relationships with league partners, Turner networks and their digital extensions, as well as the strategic planning and scheduling of on-air sports programming and developing marketing programs for the division’s linear and digital properties.  In her new role with NBA Digital, Miller will report directly to Daniels and Silver.

With her new responsibilities, Miller will step down as SVP of Cartoon Network Enterprises (CNE), where she directed Turner’s youth and young adults consumer products and home video business in the United States, including global licensing partnerships and merchandising strategies and retail business development for Cartoon Network and Adult Swim properties.

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

Steve Aschburner of NBA.com reports:

Escrow money withheld from all NBA players’ paychecks each season will be returned to them this offseason for the first time, providing a $160 million infusion of cash in the midst of the league’s labor lockout.

The escrow funds — representing eight percent of each NBA player’s salary — are held back each season to ensure that the players’ share of basketball-related income does not exceed the contractually agreed-upon percentage, currently 57 percent. This year, for the first time since the system was introduced in the collective bargaining agreement that came out of the 1998-99 lockout, the cut to players will fall short, sources with the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association confirmed.

When a final audit is completed later this month, the players will have been paid less than 57 percent of BRI and will be due the entire $160 million. It’s the first time the players will have the full escrow returned, a union spokesman said.

That cash could ease or delay the point at which some players begin to feel financial hardship from the lockout. Based on the “average” NBA salary of $5.7 million, the escrow rebate would be worth $456,000. A minimum-salaried player ($473,604) would be due $37,888 while a $16 million superstar could expect $1.28 million coming back.

Euroleague.net reports:

Lawrence Roberts

Lietuvos Rytas improved its frontcourt for the upcoming Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds by inking power forward Lawrence Roberts to a two-year deal, the club announced Tuesday. Roberts (2.06 meters, 28 years old) arrives from Anadolu Efes, where he averaged 6.5 points and 5.1 rebounds in 16 Euroleague games last season. Before that, Roberts was a major contributor as Partizan Belgrade made an historic run to the 2010 Final Four. He was the Euroleague’s second leading rebounder in the 2009-10 season with 7.4 boards per game to go with his 9 points on average. He also led the 2009-10 Top 16 in rebounding at 7.8 boards per night and won the Serbian Cup, Serbian League and Adriatic League titles with Partizan.

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