Kobe Bryant MAY have verbal agreement to play in Italy during lockout

kobe bryant

Nothing is official, and verbal agreements to sign a contract pending the ability of the team owner to actually get the money to make it happen aren’t set in stone. But Kobe Bryant is now pretty close to actually signing in Italy. Wait and see if it materializes.

UPDATE: Already, this report is being shot down. It may not be true. Apparently the owners need a lot of magic to make this thing happen, and it probably won’t. But here’s the earlier report:

The AP reports:

Italian club Virtus Bologna has reached a verbal agreement with Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant to play in Italy during the NBA lockout.

The sides have settled on a $3 million contract for the opening 40 days of the Italian league season, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Friday.

Bryant, who spent much of his childhood in Italy, was in the country for sponsor appearances over the past two days but was flying back to the U.S. for labor talks with the NBA on Friday.

Bryant will get a work visa and return to Italy next week, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has still not been signed.

Virtus had been due to open the season Oct. 9 against Roma, but schedules now need to be reworked after Venezia was added to the league as a 17th team.

Deron Williams 15 points, 9 assists in win for team in Turkey

FIBA.com reports:

Deron Williams

Deron Williams captured a gold medal with Team USA at the Beijing Games and no doubt will want to be with the Americans when they try to defend their title next year in London.

A 27-year-old in the prime of his career, Williams is an NBA superstar and one of the best guards in the game.

Unlike his previous seasons as a professional, though, Williams is not in the United States getting ready for the new season.

Instead, he’s in Turkey.

Because of the NBA lockout and the uncertainty of the 2011-12 NBA season, Williams has signed for Besiktas and on Tuesday night, he helped the club move a step closer to playing in the Eurocup.

In the first leg of their Qualifying Round tie with Dexia Mons Hainaut in Istanbul, Williams made just three of his 15 shots from the floor but ended up with 15 points as Besiktas won 78-70.

He also handed out nine assists.

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Ben Wallace faces drunken driving, weapons charges

The Detroit Free Press reports:

Detroit Piston Ben Wallace is facing a 5-year felony charge of carrying a concealed weapon after police found an unloaded pistol in a backpack in his car as they arrested him on suspicion of drunken driving Saturday in Bloomfield Township.

When officers searched his car, they discovered an unloaded pistol in a backpack in the “passenger compartment” of the vehicle, according to a news release issued by the police department today.

Wallace, 37, is expected to appear Oct. 3 for a pre-examination conference in 48th District Court in Bloomfield Township, according to police. He has been arraigned on a 93-day misdemeanor charge of drunken driving and a 5-year felony charge of carrying a concealed weapon, police said, without specifying what day he appeared in court.

ClickOnDetroit reports:

Wallace was arraigned in Bloomfield Township Sept. 24 on charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and carrying a concealed weapon…

Police said the roadside investigation revealed that Wallace was intoxicated and subsequently taken into custody…

Police said a search of his vehicle revealed an unloaded pistol in a backpack, which was in the passenger compartment of the vehicle.

76ers will hire Jeff Capel Sr. as an assistant coach

Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News reports (via blog):

An NBA source has told the Daily News that the 76ers have hired Jeff Capel Sr. as an assistant coach. Capel, who will turn 58 in January, was the head coach at Old Dominion from 1994 to 2001 and at North Carolina A&T (1993-94) and Fayetteville State (1989-1993).

Capel is the father of Jeff Capel Jr., who starred for Duke from 1993-97. The younger Capel was a teammate of Chris Collins, son of Sixers coach Doug Collins.

Delonte West gets a job at a furniture store

Delonte West

Guard Delonte West, either genuinely lacking money or simply out of boredom to try new things during the NBA lockout, or just being a little out of left field, has gotten a job at a furniture store.

Here’s what he said on Twitter:

“Applied at Regency Furniture, need a 2nd job to stay afloat during the lockout.”

“I am now an official employee of Regency Furniture.”

Here is what Delonte wrote is a photo of him at his first day of work.

And a large photo of his job application.

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Earl Clark returns from China, will be an unrestricted NBA free agent

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reports:

earl clark

Former Orlando Magic forward Earl Clark will be released from his contract with a Chinese Basketball Association team and will be free to sign with an NBA team as an unrestricted free agent whenever the lockout ends, Clark’s agent said.

Happy Walters, who represents Clark, said the 6-foot-10 forward has returned to the United States because Clark’s girlfriend is seven weeks away from giving birth to a baby boy and is having some complications.

“He wanted to be there and was not comfortable being in China with problems happening,” Walters told the Orlando Sentinel via e-mail. “He is bummed, but family comes first.

“The team in China has been very supportive and understanding and they will release him from his contract,” Walters added.

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Reebok to pay $25 million to settle case over toning shoes

Jim Puzzanghera of the Los Angeles Times reports:

Reebok International Ltd. has agreed to pay $25 million in refunds to consumers to settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission that the company falsely claimed that its toning shoes and other products strengthened muscles.

“Consumers expected to get a workout, not to get worked over,” David Vladeck, director of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in announcing the settlement Wednesday.

Reebok is one of several companies that have marketed special fitness shoes designed to tone muscles. But their popularity has fallen off amid doubts and lawsuits about the health claims.

Vladeck would not say whether the FTC was investigating the claims of other marketers of the products.

The settlement covers several products from Reebok that the company said would provide specific health benefits. They include EasyTone walking shoes and RunTone running shoes that sold for $80 to $100 a pair, and EasyTone flip-flops that sold for $60 a pair.

Timberwolves officially introduce Rick Adelman as new head coach

rick adelman

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed Rick Adelman to be the 10th head coach in franchise history. Adelman ranks eighth all-time in NBA coaching wins with a 945-616 (.605 winning percentage) career record in 20 seasons as a head coach. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

“After a thorough search and interview process, we’re pleased to be bringing a coach of Rick Adelman’s stature on board to coach the Minnesota Timberwolves,” said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. “Rick has proven time and again that he is one of the top coaches in basketball — one of the top coaches in the history of our sport. We are excited to have him as the leader of our young and talented team.”

“From the start of the hiring process David (Kahn) identified Rick as the best man for the job,” said Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. “Rick has a proven track record of success in the NBA and we are pleased that he is our new head coach.”

Adelman, 65, has previously served as head coach of four NBA teams: Portland (1988-94), Golden State (1995-97), Sacramento (1998-2006) and Houston (2007-11). Some of his coaching highlights include: two NBA Finals appearances (1990 and 1992 with Portland), four Western Conference Finals (1989-90, 1990-91 and 1991-92 with Portland and 2001-02 with Sacramento) and four division titles (1990-91 and 1991-92 with Portland; 2001-02 and 2002-03 with Sacramento).

“I’m eager to start another chapter in my coaching career with the Minnesota Timberwolves,” Adelman said. “We have a good nucleus of young players that I feel can grow together and win. I’m looking forward to the challenge of building a playoff team here in Minnesota.”

Adelman’s teams have reached the NBA playoffs in 16 of his 20 seasons as a head coach, and he holds an all-time playoff record of 79-78 (.503 winning percentage). He is one of only five head coaches in NBA history to win 60+ games in a season with two different teams (Portland and Sacramento). Adelman has been runner-up for the NBA Coach of the Year award four times. Most recently, Adelman was the head coach of the Houston Rockets the past four seasons, leading Houston to a 193-135 record. His .588 winning percentage was the highest in franchise history.

Adelman’s trademark offenses have finished among the top five in the NBA in scoring on 13 occasions over his head coaching career. He has had four additional teams rank in the top 10 in points per game. His teams have also shown a great balance on the defensive end of the floor. Adelman has had seven squads finish in the top five in scoring defense. Adelman, who will report to Kahn, will announce his Timberwolves coaching staff at a later date.

Adelman began his coaching career at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon, where his teams amassed a 141-39 record over six seasons (1977-83). Chemeketa won or shared in three Oregon community college championships and one regional title.

As a player, Adelman spent seven seasons in the NBA with the San Diego Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Jazz and Kansas City-Omaha Kings. Selected by the Rockets in the seventh round (79th overall) of the 1968 NBA Draft, the 6-2 guard averaged 6.7 points, 3.1 assists and 2.7 rebounds in two seasons as a reserve in San Diego. Adelman was taken by Portland in the 1970 NBA Expansion Draft and was made the first team captain in Trail Blazers history. Traded by the Trail Blazers to the Bulls prior to the 1973-74 campaign, Adelman was again dealt to the Jazz early in the 1974-75 season. Looking for veteran leadership in their run to the 1975 NBA Playoffs, the Kings made a late-season acquisition to obtain Adelman. He retired in 1975 with career averages of 7.7 points, 3.5 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 462 regular season games.

Adelman began his playing career at St. Pius X High School in Downey, California, before attending Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he was named MVP of the West Coast Athletic Conference as a senior in 1967-68.

Brooklyn Barclays Center to host A-10 Basketball Tournament starting in 2013

brooklyn nets

The Atlantic 10 Conference announced that it has formed a five-year partnership with the Barclays Center to bring the A-10 men’s basketball tournament to Brooklyn and the new arena, beginning in 2013.  The joint announcement was made Wednesday afternoon at the Barclays Center Showroom in Manhattan, N.Y.

It will mark the first time the A-10 Championship, which sends its champion to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, will be held in metropolitan New York City and the first time it will be played in a state-of-the-art new facility.

“The opportunity to partner with the Barclays Center and bring the Atlantic 10 Basketball Championship to New York has unlimited possibilities. Our teams will compete in the newest, state-of-the-art facility within the Atlantic 10 footprint and the number-one media market in the country,” stated Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade.

Currently under construction, the Barclays Center will be a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue and the future home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. The Barclays Center will offer approximately 18,000 seats for basketball and will have one of the most intimate seating configurations ever designed into a modern multi-purpose arena. The last time the Atlantic 10 Tournament was in an NBA building was in 2002 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia.

“We are thrilled for the Barclays Center to play host to one of men’s basketball’s most prestigious conference tournaments,” Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said. “We appreciate our alliance with the Atlantic 10 as we position the Barclays Center as a significant national collegiate sports venue.”

The highest concentration of Atlantic 10 alumni of any region in the county live and work in the New York metro area. There are 2.5 million people total in Brooklyn and 8.1 million total people in New York, an opportunity for the A-10’s premier event to be played on the biggest stage in the nation.

“Brooklyn and the surrounding metropolitan New York area is home to over 100,000 Atlantic 10 alumni; this combined with the eight-million plus population will give the Atlantic 10 an opportunity to grow the Championship to new heights,” said McGlade.

The move also places the championship into the largest media market in the nation and home to CBS Sports, the Atlantic 10’s television partner for the men’s basketball championship.  CBS Sports carries several regular season A-10 games and the league’s championship title game is aired on CBS as part of the network’s Selection Sunday package.

The Atlantic 10 is one of the most successful and well-respected leagues for basketball. The A-10 has averaged more than three teams per year in the top 50 of the RPI, equal to the Southeastern Conference. For the last four years, the Atlantic 10 earned three bids into the NCAA Tournament, one of only six Division I conferences to do so. Over the last six years, the league has had 10 at-large selections – the seventh most in Division I – behind only the big six BCS leagues.