Javaris Crittenton reportedly robbed of $55,000 worth of jewelry in April

Javaris Crittenton

A former NBA player who is accused of shooting an Atlanta woman to death appeared to be retaliating for being robbed of $55,000 worth of jewelry, police said.

Javaris Crittenton, who was suspended from the NBA along with his ex-teammate Gilbert Arenas for having guns in a locker room, was arrested late Monday at a Southern California airport. He has been charged with murder in the Aug. 19 shooting death of Jullian Jones outside her house in Atlanta, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

Crittenton’s attorneys have said he will exonerated.

Crittenton told police he and a friend were leaving a barbershop around 10:50 p.m. April 21 when two teenagers surprised them as they returned to their car, according to police report released to The Associated Press.

One teenager held Crittenton at gunpoint and ordered him to “give me what you got,” he told police. He said he handed over a $25,000 black diamond necklace, a $30,000 black diamond watch, an iPhone and $25 cash, according to the report.

— Reported by the Associated Press

Bruce Pearl chooses working for wholesale grocer over Texas Legends

Former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl has turned down owner Donnie Nelson’s offer to coach the D-League Texas Legends, citing a desire to remain with his children and enter the private sector in Knoxville.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported early this afternoon that Pearl accepted a job as vice president of marketing with Tennessee-based wholesale grocer H.T. Hackney Co.

The company’s chairman, Bill Sansom, formerly sat on the board of trustees at Tennessee, which fired Pearl in March after he admitted misleading NCAA investigators who were looking at recruiting irregularities at the school.

“I’ve known Bruce Pearl for years — his leadership, competitiveness and understanding of marketing is a great fit for our organization,” Sansom said in a statement released by the company.

— Reported by Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News

Over 61,000 fans bounce basketballs at the same time

As EuroBasket 2011 was officially launched with the Opening Ceremony in Lithuania’s capital city of Vilnius on Monday, thousands around the country helped make it a memorable day by helping set a new Guinness world record.

More than 61,000 fans bounced a basketball simultaneously for a period of five minutes in six cities that play host to the EuroBasket.

The record needs to be verified by the Guinness Record committee that oversees such attempts, something which was expected to happen on Tuesday.

— Reported by FIBA Europe

Javaris Crittenton arrested in California


The sad saga of former NBA player Javaris Crittenton continues.

The AP reports:

Former NBA player Javaris Crittenton, who was suspended from the league for having guns in a locker room with teammate Gilbert Arenas, was arrested Monday in Southern California to face a murder charge in a deadly Atlanta shooting, an attorney said Monday.

Crittenton was taken into custody at about 8 p.m. at John Wayne Airport in Orange County after checking in for a Delta Air Lines flight to Atlanta, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

Eimiller said he was arrested without incident by FBI agents with assistance from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities were trying to determine whether Crittenton will make an initial appearance in federal court, or be taken directly to Atlanta to face state charges there.

“He offered to turn himself in,” Lawyer Brian Steel told The Associated Press earlier Monday. “He’s not guilty. We look forward to getting it to the courts.”

We at continue to hope that it turns out Javaris didn’t do it, and is found innocent.

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Wilson Chandler signs with basketball team in China, no NBA-out clause


Wilson Chandler said he has signed a contract with the Zhejiang Guangsha of the Chinese Basketball Association, a move that would essentially preclude him from participating in the 2011-12 NBA season if the lockout ends and the games begin.

The Chinese Basketball Association will not allow players with existing contracts to sign with its teams, so playing in China is only an option for free agents such as Chandler, a restricted free agent who finished the 2010-11 season with the Denver Nuggets.

In addition, the CBA will not allow escape clauses that would allow players to leave the Chinese league in the event the NBA resumes operations. So Chandler would not be a part of the NBA if the season begins on time or even with an abbreviated schedule starting in January or February.

“Maybe I’ll lose out,” Chandler said. “But I think it can be a great experience. I haven’t been in any [labor negotiation] meetings. I can’t call it. I’m just taking a risk, at the end of the day.”

— Reported by J.A. Adande of ESPN

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Knicks hire Mike Woodson as assistant coach

Pacers Hawks Basketball

The New York Knickerbockers announced today that Mike Woodson has joined Head Coach Mike D’Antoni’s staff as an assistant coach. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“I was extremely encouraged after meeting with Mike that he would be a great addition to our coaching staff and we are pleased to welcome him back to New York,” D’Antoni said. “Mike brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our team and we are confident that he will help us as we continue towards our goal of building a championship team.”

Woodson joins the Knickerbockers after serving as the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks for six seasons from 2004-2010, where he guided the Hawks to the playoffs in each of his last three seasons. In six seasons in Atlanta, Woodson amassed a 209-286 (.419) coaching record in 492 games while posting an 11-18 record in 29 playoff games. Prior to joining the Hawks, Woodson served as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks (1996-99), Cleveland Cavaliers (1999-2001), Philadelphia 76ers (2001-03) and the 2003-04 NBA Champion Detroit Pistons.

“I consider Mike D’Antoni to be one of the top coaches in our game and I am thankful for this opportunity,” Woodson said. “I’m excited to re-join this great franchise where my professional career started and will work to build off of the success they had here last season.”

Woodson was drafted by New York with the 12th overall selection in the 1980 NBA Draft out of Indiana University and averaged 14.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 786 career games over 11 NBA seasons with New York, New Jersey, Kansas City-Sacramento, L.A. Clippers, Houston and Cleveland. In his rookie season with New York, Woodson averaged 4.7 points in 81 games under the legendary Red Holzman.

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Pacers guard George Hill to play Texas Fuel ABA exhibition game during lockout

George Hill

The ABA Texas Fuel today announced that George Hill, the former San Antonio Spurs guard recently traded to the Indiana Pacers, is scheduled to play for the Texas Fuel pending the NBA lockout.

It appears that Hill, so far, has only agreed to play in one exhibition game. Not for the actual ABA season.

The Texas Fuel will open its pre-season on Sunday, October 16th vs. the West Texas Whirlwind at Manual Garza B. Gymnasium at the University of Texas at Brownsville, TX and Texas Southwest College.

“We are very pleased to have George as part of the Texas Fuel while the NBA lockout continues,” stated Marlon Minifee, Texas Fuel GM. “He is a great player and a terrific young man who has done so much for the community; I know we will miss seeing him play for the San Antonio Spurs, but we are excited about his being able to return home to Indianapolis when the NBA resumes play. For now, he will add so very much to our team.with his skills and leadership.”

The exhibition game will start at 6pm; adult tickets are $10, kids under 13 are $5.

Paul Millsap will enter Louisiana Tech Hall of Fame


Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap will be inducted Oct. 1 into the Louisiana Tech Hall of Fame.

Millsap led the NCAA in rebounding three consecutive seasons (2003-04 to 2005-06) while starring for the Bulldogs. He left the school after his junior year, and was selected by Utah with the 47th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft.

Millsap will join Jazz legend Karl Malone and NFL great Terry Bradshaw in Louisiana Tech’s Hall of Fame, and will be honored at halftime of the Bulldogs’ home football game Oct. 1 against Hawaii.

— Reported by Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune

Movie starring Kevin Durant will be filmed in Baton Rouge

Kevin Durant

It appears the NBA lockout has cost Oklahoma City a date with Hollywood.

The bulk of filming for the feature-length Warner Bros. film that Thunder forward Kevin Durant has agreed to star in will be filmed in Baton Rouge, La. rather than OKC.

It’s likely that the final few days of filming will be shot in Oklahoma City. But by losing the majority of the project, both Oklahoma City’s economy and its growing status as a bustling city on the rise has been dealt a blow.

The entire project couldn’t be shot in Oklahoma City because of a snag with state incentives for film production. The state of Louisiana offers a tax credit of 85 cents on the dollar, making the state a premier destination for filming. Oklahoma offers a 37 percent rebate for companies filming in the state, but the Oklahoma Film & Music Office had already run out of funding for this fiscal year.

— Reported by Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman.

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Sixers players work out in Los Angeles

Elton Brand

It’s perfectly logical for NBA players during the lockout to meet up with friends or teammates and, well, play basketball. And work out. And do other stuff, too.

The latest to do this are most of the Philadelphia 76ers players.

Dei Lynam of CSN Philly reports:

For those of you familiar with destination weddings, consider the Sixers’ weekend in Los Angeles, where eight current team members met to practice, a destination basketball workshop for family only. These pick up games were not about having as many NBA players participate as possible, rather about having as many Sixers be in attendance as possible.

“The guys came out. We are having a great time together, bonding together. That’s what it is about,” said Elton Brand who, along with Lou Williams, organized the gathering.

“I think that creates a winning environment, having each others back out there,” Brand continued. “So you have to care, you have to grow, you have to know where someone likes the ball. When a guy can’t play defense or can’t show as well on a pick you have to know that. You have to know that. You have to be there to help your guy and have their back.”

Along with Brand and Williams, in attendance were Andre Iguodala, Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Jodie Meeks, Spencer Hawes and Craig Brackins. That list includes last year’s starting five, their sixth man and a rookie who will likely earn a starting spot whenever the upcoming season does get underway.

I would think other squads should aim to do this as well. Why not?