Archive for July 18th, 2011

Nancy Lieberman has been a collegiate National Champion, an All-American, Olympian, the first woman to play in a men’s professional league, WNBA player, Hall-of-Famer, WNBA head coach, and the first female coach of a men’s team under the NBA umbrella.  Today, the team’s first head coach has accepted a new position as the Legends’ Assistant General Manager.

Lieberman led the Legends to a playoff berth in their inaugural season last year – becoming only the third coach in the NBA or NBA D-League to lead an expansion team to the play-offs. Now, she will have an opportunity to contribute to even more success from the front office.

“Nancy took on a tremendous challenge in becoming our head coach,” Legends owner Donnie Nelson commented. “And she embraced that challenge like she has throughout her life.  She was everything I could have hoped for as a head coach.”

Lieberman’s path from the coaching bench to the front office mirrors Nelson’s successful move of the same nature in 2001. After nine seasons as an assistant coach in the NBA, Nelson moved to the Dallas Mavericks’ front office, where he is now President of Basketball Operations and General Manager of the NBA champions.

“I have no doubt that Nancy will be successful in her new capacity,” Nelson added.  “Her experience as a coach will only make her a stronger asset in the front office.”

Lieberman’s 31 years in professional basketball have been filled with firsts, including her role as the first woman coach of a professional men’s team in the NBA or NBA D-League. She was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996.

“Coaching with the Legends has been a dream,” Lieberman commented. “The players did a tremendous job throughout the season.  Their respect for the coaching staff, work ethic, and team-first attitude was everything I wanted to see in a team.  That being said, I have always been very intrigued with management at the NBA level.  The opportunity to work with Donnie in this capacity is too great an opportunity to pass up.  I am looking forward to continuing to build the Legends organization and strengthening its reputation as the standard-bearer in the NBA D-League.”

The move not only moves Lieberman into management with a team under the NBA umbrella, but also will allow her to spend more time with her son as he finishes high school.

“My family is tremendously important to me,” Lieberman added.  “The challenge of balancing my family life with my professional aspirations has long been one that I have embraced.  I truly believe that every woman can attain both their personal and professional goals.  My position as Assistant General Manager allows me to balance my schedule while maintaining my professional goals.  I look forward to working with Donnie, Del, and Spud as we move towards our goal of winning an NBA D-League championship.”

Lieberman joins basketball legends Del Harris (1995 NBA Coach of the Year) and Spud Webb (1986 NBA Slam Dunk Champion) in the Legends front office.  Lieberman, Harris, and Webb will play an integral role in a national search for her replacement as Legends’ head coach.

“Nancy has left big shoes to fill on the sidelines,” Nelson concluded.  “She will have a lot of valuable insight for the next head coach.  I’m excited as our team only gets stronger with Nancy taking on this new responsibility.”

Sacramento Kings

Maloof Sports & Entertainment (MS&E) and the Sacramento Kings today announced that it has promoted John Rinehart to Executive Vice President of Business Operations.  Rinehart, who joined MS&E 11 years ago after serving in finance roles for the Anaheim Angels and Mighty Ducks as well as the San Francisco Giants, will now oversee all financial, business administration, arena programming and building operations for the Kings and Power Balance Pavilion.

Craig Amazeen, who joined the Kings in November 2002 as the Director of Broadcasting, has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Broadcasting and Brand Development.  Under his leadership, the Kings broadcasting department has won seven Emmy Awards, including the 2005 Emmy for Outstanding Live Broadcast.

“These promotions recognize the valuable role John and Craig have played in the success, growth and renewal of the Kings organization,” said Matina Kolokotronis, President of Business Operations for the Kings in the release sent to  “We are a smarter, more creative and effective organization because of them.”

Additionally, Jeff David who has served in the NBA’s global marketing partnership as Senior Director of Business Development for the past year will return to the Kings as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Prior to joining the NBA, David worked three seasons for the Kings as Vice President of Corporate Partnerships. He has strong experience in sports marketing, ticket sales and sponsorship, cultivated through earlier stints at the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer and the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball.

“It’s great to have Jeff back,” said Gavin Maloof, owner of the Sacramento Kings.  “Jeff’s knowledge of the Sacramento community combined with the experience he has gained at the NBA will help us further build the momentum and excitement we’ve got going.”

“Bringing on Jeff and promoting John and Craig further strengthens this very effective, hard working team,” said Chris Granger, Executive Vice President of the NBA’s Team Marketing and Business Operations, who has been in Sacramento working with the MS&E team the last two months.  “We look forward to continued collaboration with them.”

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Brian Shaw

Indiana Pacers Head Coach Frank Vogel announced his coaching staff, naming Brian Shaw as associate head coach and Jim Boylen and Dan Burke as assistant coaches.

“This is a well-rounded, experienced staff,” said Vogel. “Each individual brings something different, yet collectively they all fit. Everyone will contribute, whether it’s offense, defense, player development or game preparation. All three are very capable of handling any responsibility. There was a lot of interest from other teams in all three of these coaches. The fact they chose to be here is indicative of what we’re building.”

Shaw comes to the Pacers after being an assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers since 2004. The 45-year-old Shaw played with Boston, Miami, Orlando, Golden State, Philadelphia, Portland and the Lakers in his NBA career. He was part of five championship teams with the Lakers, three as a player and two as a coach.

Boylen is 46 years old with a wealth of coaching experience at the collegiate and professional levels. Collegiately, Boylen was an assistant at Michigan State and most recently, head coach at the University of Utah. In the NBA, he was an assistant at Houston, where he was part of two championship teams, Golden State and Milwaukee.

Burke will be entering his 15th season with the Pacers after joining Larry Bird’s coaching staff in 1997. The 52-year-old Burke has 22 years of NBA experience, getting his start in Portland where he worked for eight years before coming to Indiana.

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Knicks may want Lawrence Frank

Alan Hahn of New York Newsday (blog) reports:

Lawrence Frank

Whatever happens in Detroit could trigger Mike D’Antoni’s activity in searching for a defensive assistant coach.

All eyes will be on what happens with the Pistons head coaching position, as the finalists appear to be Mike Woodson and Lawrence Frank.

From what we’ve been hearing, D’Antoni personally likes Frank and there is a strong mutual interest there for many reasons.

First of all, whomever the Knicks hire would have to accept a one-year deal because D’Antoni is going into the final year of his contract and there is some uncertainty about his future. Frank, unlike most, would likely be amenable to accepting a one-year contract because it gives him the freedom to continue to look for head coaching jobs.

Frank might also prefer New York over returning to Boston for proximity reasons, as well, because he could be home full-time in New Jersey, where his wife and two daughters remained last season when he worked for the Celtics.

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Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman reports:

Cole Aldrich

The Thunder dealt two first-round picks to trade up to snag Aldrich at No. 11 in the 2010 draft, and the organization hasn’t put Aldrich on any sort of timetable for when he should sprout. If anything, though, Mohammed’s presence should speed Aldrich’s development rather than delay it.

But because Aldrich was limited to 18 games and only 7.9 average minutes in his rookie season, it becomes easy to view Mohammed’s return as a detriment. A better way of looking at Mohammed’s re-signing, however, is to focus on the impact he can have on a young player.

There is no guarantee that Mohammed remains ahead of Aldrich in the rotation. It’s possible Aldrich bumps Mohammed next season and becomes the full-time backup center to Kendrick Perkins. But even if Aldrich doesn’t crack the rotation, he’ll have Perkins and Mohammed, as well as Nick Collison, to learn from in practice.

And Aldrich has proved to be a willing learner.

“He’s a humble guy, he works hard and he can play,” Perkins said. “I think he’s going to provide some good minutes for us next year. He’s just got to be ready. One thing I’ve learned about Coach (Scott) Brooks is he’s not just going to give you minutes. He’s going to have to come in and earn his minutes.”

Aldrich has dedicated this summer to sharpening his skills. He said his main goal is “just to get better.”

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Terry Foster of the Detroit News reports:

Ben Wallace

Ben Wallace wants to be the first friendly face a troubled youth sees when he is on the wrong side of the law.

He’ll be dressed in his best blue suit with briefcase in hand, ready to tackle another case in court. When Wallace hangs up his basketball sneakers, he wants to go to law school.

But will the Pistons want Wallace for the one more season he would like to play? NBA players are locked out, so Wallace packed up and headed to his Virginia home. He can’t work out at the Pistons’ practice facility and can’t have contact with Pistons personnel. Until the lockout is over and Wallace has a conversation with Pistons president Joe Dumars, Big Ben won’t know if he’ll get one more shot in Detroit.

“We will see how it goes,” Wallace said.

He knows the end of his NBA career is just around the corner. Wallace, 36, averaged just 2.9 points and 6.5 rebounds in 22.9 minutes over 54 games last season. But Wallace believes he still can be a mentor to young Pistons like Greg Monroe.

Wallace not only wants to represent clients, he wants to tell them his long-shot story and make them realize their lives are not over despite youthful mistakes. Wallace is doing plenty of research now into law schools. The thought has been brewing for years, and he even spoke to former Pistons coach John Kuester about it three years ago when Wallace played in Cleveland.

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