Archive for September, 2011

CSN Philly reports:

After hearing there was a possibility that Allen Iverson might be a participant in Sunday’s “Battle of I-95″ at the Palestra, I had two thoughts: logically he could play for either team given his Newport News upbringing and Georgetown attendance for college (Team Melo candidate) or because of his accolades as a Philadelphia favorite son over his 10-plus seasons as a Sixer (Team Philly candidate).

The second thought is he really going to play? The answer to that thought is no. Gary Moore, Iverson’s longtime friend and manager, confirmed that the now 36-year-old Answer will not participate.

Iverson last played in an NBA game Feb. 20, 2010. He was playing for the Sixers in his second stint that lasted a total of 25 games and it had an unceremonious ending with Eddie Jordan’s team falling by 32 points to the Bulls. Iverson scored 13 points and had three assists in that one. No one knew that night would be his swan song in the National Basketball Association.

Grizzlies lay off 7 amid NBA lockout

Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports:

Seven people were laid off by the franchise although some workers will have an opportunity to return to work whenever the league’s labor dispute is resolved.

Video coordinator Trish McGhee, assistant equipment manager Vince Ford and scouting coordinator Wendy Smith were among the workers relieved of their duties. The Griz also released a receptionist, mail clerk and members of the claim services staff.

Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman reports:

Kevin Durant

Although no official announcement of the film’s title and plot has been made, it appears both have trickled out through various websites.

According to imdb.com, the movie is titled “Switch.” Its director is John Whitesell. It was co-written by Eric Champnella and Jeff Farley. Whitesell has directed such films as “Malibu’s Most Wanted,” “Big Momma’s House 2” and “See Spot Run.” Champnella is credited for writing “Mr. 3000” and the screenplay for “Eddie,” the 1996 basketball-themed film starring Whoopi Goldberg.

The three-man lineup looks to be a dream team of sorts for what is shaping up to be a family-friendly film. Details of the film’s plot appear on caballerocasting.com, which is seeking background actors for the movie.

“In a magical twist, Kevin Durant switches all of his basketball-playing skills with an enthusiastic young fan who becomes the star of his high school team … and leaving Durant and the Thunder helpless,” the website explains. “With the playoffs approaching, they need to discover what it is that brought them together before the early end to the Thunder’s season.”

Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News reports (via blog):

Tony Parker

Actress Eva Longoria told Ellen DeGeneres that her relationship with her former husband Tony Parker has come to an abrupt conclusion over the past several months.

Longoria told DeGeneres that she no longer communicates with Parker, with whom she was married from 2007-10.

She told GeGeneres that she learned a hard lesson during her marriage.

“Being a woman, I realized you cannot identify yourself through a man or through your marriage,” Longoria said, prompting DeGeneres to high-five her.

Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports:

Semih Erden has become the first Cavaliers player to find work overseas during the NBA lockout. He won’t have to leave his hometown to earn a paycheck.

The 7-foot forward is planning to play for Besiktas, a Turkish team that also signed New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams. The club is located in Erden’s native Istanbul.

He was expected to finalize the contract either Tuesday or Wednesday.

Under terms of the agreement, he can return to the Cavaliers once the lockout is resolved. Agents for several Cleveland players have said their clients are considering European options as the league’s work stoppage threatens the start of the season.

Kevin Seraphin signs in Spain

Euroleague.net reports:

Caja Laboral addressed a need for frontcourt players with the signing of Kevin Seraphin. The big man comes off a silver-medal winning performance at EuroBasket 2011 with the French national team. Seraphin (2.05 meters, 21 years old) averaged 4.7 points and 1.9 rebounds over nine games in Lithuania for les Bleus. He spent last season for Washington in the NBA where he produced 2.7 points and 2.6 rebounds over 58 appearances. A native of French Guiana, Seraphin developed at Cholet Basket where he made his professional debut as a teenager.

The AP reports:

Rudy Fernandez

Dallas Mavericks forward Rudy Fernandez has signed with Real Madrid’s basketball team during the NBA lockout.

Madrid says Fernandez has agreed to play in Spain during the labor negotiations. The deal includes an option for Fernandez to play with Madrid once his contract with the NBA champions ends.

Dallas acquired Fernandez in June after three seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Springfield Armor today announced that Chris Carrawell has been named the team’s assistant coach under Head Coach Bob MacKinnon, Jr. Carrawell, who was a four-year standout at Duke University under Hall of Fame Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski, joins the Armor as the team’s second assistant coach in team history.

“Chris is an excellent addition to Bob’s staff,” said Nets General Manager of Minor League Operations Milton Lee. “He is a young, aggressive coach who comes to the Armor from a storied college basketball environment, and his passion and energy will be an invaluable asset to our players.”

Carrawell, 33, joins the Armor after four years of working at his alma mater in a variety of administrative roles. Carrawell served as the athletic community outreach coordinator for Duke’s athletic department from 2007-08 and then became a graduate assistant manager for the Duke men’s basketball program from 2008-10. Carrawell also held roles with the men’s basketball program as an assistant strength and conditioning coach, as well as an assistant video coordinator, for the 2010-11 season. Prior to accepting a position with the Armor, Carrawell had been serving as a special assistant to the Duke women’s basketball program.

“We are so happy for Chris. He’s the consummate team player who became ACC Player of the Year. He has a great understanding of the game and loves to teach it,” said Duke University and USA National Team Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski. “This position is absolutely perfect for him.”

A native of St. Louis, MO, Carrawell earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology after a stellar four-year career at Duke. Carrawell started all four years from 1996-2000, capturing Associated Press and First Team All-American honors, as well as the ACC Player of the Year award during his senior season. Duke advanced to the NCAA Tournament all four years Carrawell was in school and captured four straight ACC regular season titles. During Carrawell’s collegiate career, the Blue Devils compiled a record of 133-24, including a 58-6 mark in ACC play. Carrawell started every game during the 1998-99 season when Duke compiled a 37-2 record, eventually falling to the University of Connecticut in the 1999 national title game.

Following his collegiate playing career, Carrawell was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs with the 41st overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft. Carrawell began a lengthy overseas career that same season, starting in Italy during the 2000-01 season. Carrawell returned stateside the following year to play in the inaugural season of the NBA Development League with the Asheville Altitude. Over the next six years, Carrawell played in Lithuania, Germany, Australia, the Philippines, the American Basketball Association (ABA) and the Netherlands before retiring in 2007.

“Chris is an outstanding person and possesses all the qualities you look for in an assistant coach,” said Armor Head Coach Bob MacKinnon, Jr. “(Chris’) experience at Duke University, as both a player and as a coach, will be invaluable towards his development of our players here in Springfield. This is another exciting step toward establishing the Armor as one of the elite teams in the NBA Development League.”

The 2011-12 season will open on Friday, November 25 when the Armor host the Maine Red Claws at 7:00 p.m. at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.

J.J. Barea wants to remain a Mav

Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas reports:

Jose Juan Barea

Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea, a first-time free agent whenever the NBA lockout is lifted, strongly believes he will be back to defend the franchise’s first championship.

“If you want to go by percentages, I think 75 percent I’ll be back in Dallas and 25 percent something else happens,” Barea said, now back home in Puerto Rico after a bid to qualify for the 2012 Olympics fell painfully short with a semifinals loss to host country Argentina at the FIBA Americas Tournament. “… My first option is going to be Dallas.”

That comes as little surprise. Immediately after Barea helped the Mavericks capture the title with a fearless postseason run that surely worked to increase his value on the free agent market, Barea said his loyalty belongs to Dallas, the team that signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Northeastern five years ago.

In a typical year, Barea likely would have locked up his future two months ago, since free agency normally begins on July 1. However, this year that was the date that NBA’s collective bargaining agreement expired, the owners locked out the players and league business ceased.

The AP reports:

Danillo Gallinari

Former Knicks forward Danilo Gallinari is reportedly close to rejoining his former Italian team Olimpia Milano during the NBA lockout.

Both sides are working out insurance details before Gallinari signs a contract, the Gazzetta dello Sport reported Tuesday.

Gallinari has already agreed to travel with Olimpia to a preseason camp in Spain on Thursday, according to the Italian sports daily.

Olimpia spokesman Flavio Suardi told The Associated Press that no deal had been finalized yet.

Olimpia’s new coach is Sergio Scariolo, who guided Spain to the European Championship on Sunday in Lithuania. Along with fellow NBA players Andrea Bargnani and Marco Belinelli, Gallinari was on the Italy squad that failed to advance to the second round.

Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) and the Minnesota Timberwolves, along with AEG Facilities, announced today they have extended the Target Center naming rights partnership through 2014. The three-year extension allows the parties to gain a better understanding of the potential for future renovations to Target Center.  
 
“Target is pleased to continue our sponsorship of the Target Center and help provide our hometown with a facility where guests can experience exciting sports, entertainment and events,” said Shawn Gensch, vice president, marketing, Target. “Target Center is important to the vibrancy of downtown Minneapolis, and we look forward to carrying on our great relationship with the Timberwolves.”
 
Target has been the sole naming-rights holder of Target Center since the building opened in 1990.
 
“We are excited to extend our partnership with Target for the naming rights of Target Center,” said Timberwolves President Chris Wright. “This short-term extension allows both Target and the Timberwolves to fully understand the future renovation plan to Target Center. Target has been a tremendous partner for our franchise and this agreement demonstrates Target’s continued commitment to the building, downtown Minneapolis and the Timberwolves.”
 
The Target Center is managed by AEG Facilities and owned by the City of Minneapolis.

Former NBA players Rodney Buford and Eddie Robinson have signed with the Halifax Rainmen of a new Canadian League that begins play next month.

The 33-year-old Buford, a 6-foot-5 guard, played five seasons in the NBA with Miami, Philadelphia, Memphis, Sacramento and New Jersey. He also played in Greece, Israel, Ukraine and Germany.

Robinson, 35, spent a season with the Charlotte Hornets and three with the Chicago Bulls. He hasn’t played professionally since 2008.

Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman reports:

Despite the NBA lockout threatening to postpone the regularly-scheduled start of training camp, 10 of the Thunder’s projected 15-man roster got together for what became a voluntary minicamp.

It happened two weeks before camp is scheduled to start. It took place in Austin, Texas on the campus of the University of Texas. It lasted four days…

Nick Collison

According to the Twitter account of forward Nick Collison, veteran guard Royal Ivey organized the meet up. Both Ivey and Kevin Durant are Texas alums who return to Austin to work out for stretches each summer. Together, they tag-teamed last week as hosts to their teammates.

Ivey, Durant and Collison were joined by James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Nazr Mohammed, Eric Maynor, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and rookie Reggie Jackson.

Of the five who were absent, Serge Ibaka is competing overseas, Thabo Sefolosha resides in his native Switzerland in the offseason and Byron Mullens was busy, well, enjoying his newlywed status. Nate Robinson and Kendrick Perkins also were not in attendance.

The AP reports:

Juan Carlos Navarro stole the spotlight from what was supposed to be a big matchup between Pau Gasol and Tony Parker, leading Spain to it second straight European basketball championship.

Navarro scored 27 points to lead Spain to a 98-85 victory over France in the final on Sunday…

Pau Gasol

Gasol chipped in with a double-double, adding 17 points and 10 rebounds for Spain, which became the first repeat champion since Yugoslavia in 1997…

Another difference maker in the final was Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka, who had five blocks in a five-minute span in the second quarter when Spain built a 10-point lead that it never relinquished. Ibaka, a native of the Republic of Congo, was playing his first tournament for Spain after being granted citizenship in July…

Parker scored 26 points for France but the San Antonio Spurs’ star got little help and could not bring his team its first continental title. France came within six points in the third period but a 7-0 run keyed by a 3-pointer from Navarro restored Spain’s double-digit lead…

Navarro also had five assists to lead a balanced Spanish effort. Guard Jose Calderon of the Toronto Raptors added 17 points while the Dallas Mavericks’ Rudy Fernandez had 14 and the Memphis Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol—Pau’s younger brother— scored 11…

Boris Diaw of the Charlotte Bobcats had 12 points for France, Chicago Bulls star Joakim Noah had 11 and eight rebounds and Nicolas Batum finished with 10 points.

Read NBA fan discussion of the game in this basketball forum topic.

The AP reports:

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant made his points on the court and off it Saturday, throwing down several thunderous alley-oops during a charity pickup game and saying afterward that the players will not give in to the owner’s demands in the ongoing NBA labor negotiations.

Durant, John Wall and other NBA players headlined the “Clash of the Superstars” at Coolidge High School in Washington, D.C.

“I think we’re going to stand up and stick to what we want,” Durant said. “I don’t think we’re just going to give in to a deal just because we want the season to start.

“I know fans may not want to hear that, but it’s kind of tough to put us in that position, but hopefully, like I said, everything gets resolved.”

Several hundred people watched the glorified scrimmage, one of numerous games players have organized across the country to reach out to fans and keep their skills sharp while they wait for the union and the league to reach a new collective bargaining agreement.

The AP reports:

Dave Gavitt had an impact on the world of basketball. From a career as a successful coach to changing the face of college sports to introducing the Olympics to a Dream Team, Gavitt’s touch was everywhere.

His death Friday night after a long illness was confirmed by his family Saturday. He died in a hospital near his hometown of Rumford, R.I. He was 73.

Gavitt coached Providence to the NCAA tournament five times, including the Final Four in 1973. He was the driving force behind the formation of the Big East Conference and was its first commissioner. He was selected to coach the U.S. Olympic team in 1980, but the United States boycotted the Moscow Games. Gavitt was president of USA Basketball and oversaw the introduction of NBA players onto the U.S. Olympic roster, including the Dream Team at the 1992 Games.

“He was not only a great basketball coach and organizer of the Big East but he was a great, great statesman for basketball, college and international,” former St. John’s coach and fellow Naismith Hall of Famer Lou Carnesecca said Saturday.

The AP reports:

Defending champion Spain and first-time finalist France will compete for the European basketball title on Sunday and have qualified for next year’s Olympics in London.

Juan Carlos Navarro scored 35 points in a performance his coach called a “masterpiece” as Spain beat Macedonia 92-80 in the first semifinal on Friday.

France got 22 points from Tony Parker to beat Russia 79-71 in the late game. Nicolas Batum added 19 points for France, which reached the championship game for the first time.

“I’ve been chasing this for 11 years and I’m very happy that I can finally say I’m going to the Olympics,” Parker said.

France won a silver medal in 1949 but the tournament was played in a different format and did not have a final.

France went on a 10-2 to finish the third quarter and pull away. Going into the fourth, the run was 16-4, with eight points coming from Ali Traore.

Pau Gasol had 22 points and 17 rebounds for Spain.

Navarro scored 19 points in the third quarter to break open a close game. Spain coach Sergio Scariolo did not hold back in praising his point guard.

The AP reports:

A federal jury on Friday found that an upscale Atlanta restaurant did not violate the civil rights of an ex-NBA All Star and a friend who claimed they were expelled from the bar because they were black.

A panel of nine white members and three black deliberated just 15 minutes before deciding that Joe Barry Carroll and Joseph Shaw were not subject to racial discrimination. Their attorney Jeffrey Bramlett had been seeking at least $3 million in damages for the humiliation and embarrassment he claims his clients suffered when a security guard escorted them from the Tavern at Phipps in August 2006 after they refused to give up their seats to two white women.

Defense lawyer Ernest Greer said the establishment was following a longstanding policy rooted in Southern hospitality, in which men routinely give up their bar seats for women when the bar becomes crowded. Over the past 20 years, thousands of men, from stars like Michael Jordan to several sitting at the bar that night, have complied with the “good manners” policy, Greer said.

It was Carroll and Shaw who injected race into the exchange, he said.

“This incident didn’t happen because they were black,” Greer said. “This incident happened because Mr. Carroll and Mr. Shaw wanted to be treated better than anyone else that evening.”

J.R. Giddens signs in Greece

Euroleague.net reports:

PAOK Thessaloniki added some scoring punch by signing swingman J.R. Giddens for the season. Giddens (1.96 meters, 26 years old) made his Turkish Airlines Euroleague debut last season with Asseco Prokom, for whom he averaged 9 points on 47.4% three-point shooting and 5.2 rebounds in 10 games. His best game was his very first: 20 points on 9-for-9 two-point shooting and 10 rebounds in a losing effort against Khimki Moscow Region. Later in the season Giddens briefly joined Valencia Basket in Spain, but left before ever appearing in a game for the Spanish club.

Xavier Silas signs in France

Euroleague.net reports:

BCM Gravelines made a change at the shooting guard spot with the addition of rookie Xavier Silas and the release of Osiris Eldridge, who had signed for the club last month. Silas (1.95 meters, 23 years old) comes from Northern Illinois University, where he spent the past two seasons. He earned All-Mid-American Conference First Team honors last season. Silas was the conference’s leading scorer and ranked seventh in all of college basketball with 22.3 points per game. Before joining the Huskies, he played two seasons of college basketball at Colorado University.

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