Archive for August 2nd, 2011

Boniface N`Dong re-signs in Spain

Euroleague.net reports:

Spanish League champion FC Barcelona Regal has retained another big man who helped win the Euroleague title in 2010, center Boniface Ndong, for one more year, the club announced Tuesday. Ndong (2.13 meters, 33 years old) averaged 6.2 points and 12 minutes per game last season. As such, his scoring average per 40 minutes was 22.8 points, the fourth-best among all Turkish Airlines Euroleague players. Ndong joined Barcelona for its run to the title in 2009-10 after having played his first two Euroleague seasons with another Spanish team, Unicaja. Before that, he played in four other countries since having discovered basketball as a teen in his homeland, Senegal. He started playing professionally in Germany with Rattlesdorf and Breitengrussbach.

Darren Rovell of CNBC reports:

A class action lawsuit filed by former college athletes against the NCAA and Electronic Arts could take a huge bite out of the video game maker’s revenues, should the athletes win the case.

A California District Court judge recently denied Electronic Arts’ motion to dismiss the combined case filed by former Nebraska and Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller and former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon.

The case centers on whether licensees like EA unlawfully used athletes’ likenesses without their consent. The case is already two years old and there’s plenty more to go, but if the judge eventually rules that EA did in fact violate the players’ intellectual property rights, there could be huge financial damages.

EA has not specifically disclosed any numbers related to the lawsuit to its shareholders, but the damages they could have to pay might be as much as $1 billion, which equals 25 percent of its annual revenue. EA spokesman David Tinson declined to comment on any details about disclosures related to the case.

Chris Paul

The New Orleans Hornets announced the hiring of assistant coach Dave Hanners to the coaching staff. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not released.

“Dave is an experienced coach both on the collegiate and professional level who has won a championship on each level,” said Hornets Head Coach Monty Williams. “He brings many tools that will help strengthen our coaching staff and help grow our players. Dave has learned from two of the best coaches in the game, Larry Brown and Dean Smith, and will be a valuable resource to our organization.”

Hanners spent the last two and a half seasons with the Charlotte Bobcats as the lead assistant coach under Larry Brown. He also served as an assistant coach with Brown for six prior seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers (2000-03), Detroit Pistons (2003-05) and New York Knicks (2005-06). Hanners spent two additional seasons on the Knicks bench (2006-2008), was an assistant coach for Detroit’s 2003-04 NBA Championship team, as well as the 2000-01 76ers and 2004-05 Pistons teams that won Eastern Conference titles. He also served as video coordinator and advance scout for the 2004 U.S. Olympic team that won a Bronze Medal in Athens and was an assistant coach for the East squad at NBA All-Star 2001 in Washington.

“I am extremely happy to be a part of the Hornets organization,” Hanners said. “Monty is a gifted, young coach in this league who is a tireless worker and always strives to be better. I was fortunate enough to coach him for a season and now will be fortunate to work with him as he continues to build the Hornets into a consistent, winning organization.”

In New Orleans, Hanners reunites with lead assistant coach Randy Ayers, with whom he coached alongside as a fellow assistant for three years between 2000-03 with the Philadelphia 76ers under Brown. The 2002-03 76ers squad featured Hornets Head Coach Monty Williams playing his final professional season as well.

Prior to his NBA career, Hanners spent 11 seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, the University of North Carolina. During Hanners’ tenure under Hall of Fame Coach Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge from 1989-2000, the Tar Heels won the 1993 NCAA Championship and four ACC titles, while appearing in six Final Fours.

Hanners played guard at UNC under Smith from 1972-76. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Tar Heels from 1976-78, then spent three seasons as an assistant coach at UNC-Wilmington, two seasons at Furman and four seasons at East Tennessee State before returning to UNC in 1989 as an assistant coach. Hanners also served as head coach of UNC’s junior varsity team three different times – 1976-78, 1994-96 and 1999-2000.

Lawrence Frank

Early Wednesday afternoon, the Detroit Pistons will introduce Lawrence Frank as their new head coach.

As Vincent Goodwell of the Detroit News reports, “Detroit native Steve Smith said Pistons coach Lawrence Frank’s first order of business is to wipe away the bad taste from the past two seasons. “The best course of action is he has to come in with a clean slate,” said Smith, an analyst for NBA TV who played 14 seasons in the NBA. “He has to give those guys a clean slate, too.” Whenever the NBA lockout ends, Smith said Frank will have to address the team, collectively and individually, to let them know what happened in the past won’t be held against them, but a repeat won’t be tolerated. “Some of the problems you’ve heard about you do address,” Smith said. “You listen and you don’t interject.”

It’ll be a difficult job for Frank, as the team is in transition and in need of a serious rebuild. They were led last season by guard Rodney Stuckey (15.5 points, 5.2 assists per game), forward Tayshaun Prince (14.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg), and guard Richard Hamilton (14.1 ppg, 3.1 apg). Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva also contributed in the scoring department.

One of the lone bright spots for the Pistons last season was the play of center Greg Monroe, who has been steadily improving. He’s still not a real building block, however. He may develop into one in the near future, but for now he’s merely a supporting player.

But the journey for Frank begins Wednesday at noon in Michigan. And when the NBA lockout ends, his real test begins.

Joakim Noah

The AP reports:

Injured Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah should be ready to join his France teammates later this week, the French Basketball Federation said.

Noah has been having treatment in Los Angeles on his right ankle. The French team’s osteopath and the Bulls’ physiotherapist are said to be happy that Noah’s injury has responded well to treatment.

“After seeing the conclusions from the two specialists, the franchise (Chicago Bulls) doctor should give his accord for Joakim Noah to return to the France team, without having to go to Chicago,” the FFBB said Monday on its website.

France is training in Pau this week ahead of the European Championship. France will play Latvia on Aug. 31.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Just to clarify, this has basically nothing to do with the NBA lockout. This is just the European championship and has nothing to do with next season, in the NBA or elsewhere.

The NBA filed two claims today against the National Basketball Players Association: an unfair labor practice charge before the National Labor Relations Board, and a lawsuit in federal district court in New York. The unfair labor practice charge asserts that the Players Association has failed to bargain in good faith by virtue of its unlawful threats to commence a sham “decertification” and an antitrust lawsuit challenging the NBA’s lockout. The federal lawsuit seeks to establish, among other things, that the NBA’s lockout does not violate federal antitrust laws and that if the Players Association’s “decertification” were found to be lawful, all existing player contracts would become void and unenforceable.

“These claims were filed in an effort to eliminate the use of impermissible pressure tactics by the union which are impeding the parties’ ability to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Adam Silver. “For the parties to reach agreement on a new CBA, the union must commit to the collective bargaining process fully and in good faith.”

Update: In response to the above, here is a statement from NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter regarding the legal actions filed by the NBA: “The litigation tactics of the NBA today are just another example of their bad faith bargaining and we will seek the complete dismissal of the actions as they are totally without merit.  The NBA Players Association has not made any decision to disclaim its role as the collective bargaining representative of the players and has been engaged in good faith bargaining with the NBA for over two years.  We urge the NBA to engage with us at the bargaining table and to use more productively the short time we have left before the 2011-12 season is seriously jeopardized.”

Kevin Durant scores 66 at Rucker Park

Monday night in New York City, a special thing happened at Harlem’s famed Rucker Park basketball court. A lanky, unguardable king of hoops by the name of Kevin Durant stepped onto the court. It was Durant’s debut game in the Rucker streetball world. And he made an impression on fans that will last a lifetime. Racking up 38 points through the first quarter quarters, Durant went insane in the fourth and finished with 66 points.

According to Joseph Staszewski of the New York Post, “The Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star shook off a slow start and poured in an astounding 66 points to lead DC Power to a 99-93 win over the Sean Bell All-Stars in front of a standing-room only crowd at the Entertainers Basketball Classic on Monday night at streetball’s most famous park. Durant, who led the NBA in scoring last season, connected on 9-of-11 3-pointers, including five straight from well beyond NBA range, early in the fourth quarter. The 6-foot-9 forward was mobbed on the court by fans standing along the sidelines after a fifth straight trey.”

According to Adry Torres of ESPN Deportes, “He opened up the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and followed that by making one of two free throws. The NBA All-Star then added two points on a layup before lighting up the opposition with a barrage of four 3-pointers while doubled and even triple-teamed. The last bomb made the crowd react by spilling onto the court, mobbing Durant. DC Power’s point guard Randy (White Chocolate) Gill has known Durant since the scoring wiz was 15-years-old. He said he took a step back and let Durant do his thing. “It’s an honor and pleasure playing with the greatest player in the world, Kevin Durant. He’s young and hungry and it makes your job real easy playing with a guy like that,” Gill said after the game. “Most of the time just give him the ball and get out of the way. Go spot up and then when they’re doubling, triple teaming him, you know he’s even scoring on that. He’s an explosive scorer, a great shooter and the greatest player in the world,” he added.”

“So while NBA owners/players struggle to divide billions, the league’s No.1 scorer is dropping 66 for free in the park,” said InsideHoops.com on Twitter.

We’ll add to this on Tuesday, so reload this page, but for now, here are the available videos:

Kevin Durant Rucker Park video clips:

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