Archive for September, 2011

Steve Javie retiring as NBA referee

Ric Bucher of ESPN the Magazine reports:

Although NBA referees, after agreeing to a new five-year contract earlier this week, are assured of returning whenever the league resumes play, veteran Steve Javie will not be among them.

Javie, rated as one of the league’s top officials during the past 15 years, is retiring because of an arthritic right knee.

The injury forced him to miss the end of the 2009-2010 season, but he returned last fall with the hope of making it to the 25-year mark as an NBA referee.

He accomplished that, but filed his retirement papers when the pain in his right knee and his doctors convinced him a 26th year was not realistic.

An NBA referee must submit his papers within 30 days of the last Finals game if he does not plan to return.

The AP reports:

javaris crittenton

Former Washington Wizards guard Javaris Crittenton is back in Atlanta to face a murder charge in the shooting death of a woman.

Crittenton is charged in the death of 22-year-old Julian Jones, a mother of four who was hit by gunfire during a drive-by shooting. Police say the shots apparently were aimed at someone walking with her.

Fulton County sheriff’s office spokeswoman Tracy Flanagan says Crittenton arrived Thursday night from Los Angeles. He’s being held at the county jail.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports:

Christian Laettner

Former Timberwolves Christian Laettner and Brian Davis have been ordered to a Washington courtroom today to explain to a judge why they shouldn’t be held in contempt.

If their answers don’t satisfy the judge, the former Duke University stars could be sent to jail - an outcome few could have predicted four years ago when they were basking in the success of their West Village development in downtown Durham, N.C.

Even now, as Laettner and Davis try to fend off angry creditors, West Village remains the jewel in their crumbling real estate empire. Its mixture of apartments, restaurants and offices continues to thrive, making it attractive to investors and to those angry creditors determined to pursue Laettner and Davis’ assets.

Today’s court hearing relates to a $671,309 judgment awarded to California investors J.D. Holdings in June.

The AP reports:

derek fisher

NBA players will remain unified and calm in what could be a lengthy pursuit of a labor agreement, union president Derek Fisher vowed Thursday.

About 40 players got an update on collective bargaining talks from Fisher and executive director Billy Hunter in what Fisher described as “a very colorful and engaging meeting” at a casino. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith also spoke to the players, who were mostly in town to play in an Impact Basketball academy league.

“There is not the fracture and the separation amongst our group that in some ways has been reported,” said Fisher, the Los Angeles Lakers point guard. “We just want to continue to reiterate that point.”

The players echoed their leaders’ stance, promising they won’t allow the union to splinter when the players start missing paychecks in a few weeks. NBPA members have been educated for several years about the steps necessary to survive a long lockout, and Fisher said the union will continue to protect the rights of players who sign overseas this fall.

“I’ve never seen this union as strong as we are collectively right now,” said Boston Celtics center Jermaine O’Neal, among the few remaining players who participated in the 1998-99 labor dispute. “A lot of our young guys are wide-eyed when they see the numbers at first, but now they’re educated. We don’t need to make a temporary, emotional decision. We need to make a long-term decision for a bigger purpose.”

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports:

Pistons

The Detroit Pistons have completed their search for assistant coaches.

Brian Hill, who spent the last two seasons under former coach John Kuester, will return to the bench under new coach Lawrence Frank.

He joins John Loyer, Roy Rogers and Dee Brown on Frank’s staff.

Hill, 63, is an NBA veteran, having served as a head coach with the Orlando Magic (1993-97 and 2005-07) and the Vancouver Grizzlies (1997-99).

Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:

Timberwolves

Rick Adelman hasn’t been introduced yet as Wolves coach, but his staff is starting to take shape:

According to league sources, Portland assistant coach Bill Bayno is expected to join a staff that also could include  Adelman’s son R.J., Jack Sikma and T.R. Dunn from Adelman’s Houston staff.

Bayno, 49, is a former UNLV and Loyola Marymount head coach who also was a longtime assistant for John Calipari at UMass.

Bayno worked as a graduate assistant under P.J. Carlesimo at Seton Hall and Larry Brown at Kansas early in his career.  He has worked two stints with the Blazers as a scout, player personnel coach and assistant coach and also has knocked around the American Basketball Association, the Continental Basketball Association and a league in the Philippines.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports (via blog):

amare stoudemire

Amar’e Stoudemire has been spending some quality time with Isiah Thomas.

ESPN reported that Stoudemire was working out at FIU which happens to be the school Isiah coaches when he isn’t serving as a de facto GM of the Knicks.

There were several NBA players working out at FIU, including Atlanta’s Joe Johnson. None of this is surprising since FIU is located in a favored city among NBA players: Miami.

Plus, Isiah continues to share a close relationship with some of the league’s top players. That would including Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e and more importantly, Chris Paul.

This is the reason James Dolan continues to lean on Isiah for advice, even though Isiah doesn’t have an official position with the Knicks. (If he did, Isiah would be in violation of NBA bylaws for having contact with players during the lockout).

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News blog reports:

Late last week, thanks to a tweet both misplaced and misconstrued, Roger Mason Jr. became the inadvertent face of hope in the NBA players union’s ongoing labor battle with league owners.

By Wednesday afternoon, hope had seemed to vanish from Mason’s vocabulary.

Calling the good vibes that led up to Tuesday’s stalled bargaining session with owners “a false sense of optimism,” Mason — vice president of the players union and a former Spurs guard — said there was “absolutely” a possibility the entire 2011-12 season will be erased by the lockout.

“I’m an optimistic person at heart,” Mason said after a game in the Impact Competitive Basketball Series in Las Vegas. “But what would make me think we’d have a season?” …

“Right now, it’s looking like we’re going to miss training camp and some preseason games,” Mason said. “Unless some things change, we could lose the season. There’s no reason for me to think otherwise.”

Joe Johnson

Here is Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson speaking to Stacey Pressman of ESPN the Magazine on his huge shoe collection and the massive closet it lives in:

“I wanted to display all of my shoes, so I had this 500-square-foot closet made. I just thought this would be a cool idea, and it would almost look like a museum. I had a fingerprint sensor put on the door to make sure I’m the only one who can get in here. I mostly wear Air Jordans. All of the Jordan guys are selected by Michael Jordan himself. It’s kind of hard to tell MJ no. I have 436 pairs of sneakers in here, and they’re mostly unworn. I’ll wear all of them eventually.”

And, here’s Johnson on some of his jewelry:

“I bought this chain 10 years ago when I was 20. It’s probably worth at least $150,000 now. It reminds me of the decisions I made when I was younger. I still like the chain and still wear it sometimes, but it’s not a purchase I would make today.”

NBA players union president Derek Fisher has written a letter to all the players, setting the record straight on a few key NBA lockout-related issues.

The letter was obtained by Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated:

Derek Fisher’s Letter to Players:

To Each & Every Player,

After the latest round of meetings, I thought it would be best to update you personally as to where the leadership of the National Basketball Players Association stands, where the negotiations stand where we are headed and the reasons why.

Without a doubt, someone will be leaking this. I know it. The moment you read this you will know it. So, I say all with the fullest transparency.

I was elected as your President. By you. For you. I take great pride and am honored to serve the over 400 members of our association. I and our Executive Committee take this job and this role seriously and will not agree to an unfair deal on behalf of you and our players. Period.

I’m not looking out just for the marquee guy, I’m looking out for the guy that dreams of being a professional basketball player and gets a minimum deal. I’m not just trying to protect the guy on a team in a huge market. I’m protecting the player that is in a small market with incredibly loyal fans.

I’ve made it clear, I want to play. You have each made it clear, you want to play. The fans have been unwavering, they want their basketball. The thousand of employees that work in the arenas, the ticket offices, the concession stands, they want a season. We all want to go back to work.

The league and the team owners have locked us out. This was not our choice. Our employers decided to stop allowing us to do our jobs.

My job since July 1st is to find a solution. To find an outcome that protects each of you and your livelihoods and continues to allow us to play the game we love so much and the fans love supporting.

Since before the lockout began, I have spent hours upon hours, days, months, years, working on preparing you, the fans and the media about the possibilities. Now as the lockout has set in, reality of the situation is here.

The most recent meetings in New York were effective. What you have been told by your agents, representatives and the media is probably speculative and inaccurate.

What actually happened in those meetings was discussion, brainstorming and a sharing of options by both sides. The turning point this past Tuesday was not a disagreement between the players and the owners. It was actually a fundamental divide between the owners internally. They could not agree with each other on specific points of the deal and therefore it caused conflict within the league and its owners.

So it is our hope that today, Thursday, at the owners meeting in Dallas that they work out their differences, come up with a revenue sharing plan that will protect their teams and are then ready to come together and sign off on the agreement we as a smaller group deemed reasonable.

Decertification seems to be a hot button issue today in the media. So I’d like to address it. I’ve read yesterday’s stories and find the position of these agents interesting. I have made myself available to each and every agent. But not once have I heard from them. If they are so concerned about the direction of the union, then why have they not contacted me? Each and every one of them mentioned has been in meetings with me. I’ve answered their questions, I’ve been told they support you, their players and our Players Association. So if there is a genuine concern, a suggestion, a question, call me. Email me. Text me. I’m working tirelessly each and every day on behalf of the over 400 players that they represent. Working for nothing but the best interests of THEIR guys. I don’t make a commission, I don’t make a salary for serving as President. I have NO ulterior motives. None.

It is because they have not come to me once that I question their motives.

I work every day on these negotiations. I work so that each player from Blake Griffin to Tyler Hansbrough, Pau Gasol to De’Andre Jordan, Dwight Howard to Jrue Holiday, Taj Gibson to Danny Granger, Steve Nash to Luke Babbit and every single player get a fair and reasonable deal. Not just for this year, not just for next year but for years to come. So that the league that WE the players largely helped build, continues to grow and thrive.

So to address the agents that have decided to say their piece yesterday, I don’t mind. Perhaps they are trying to make news. Perhaps they just want to show you, their clients, they are working hard. But what would be appreciated by the 400+ players would be the support of our agents and constructive ideas, suggestions and solutions that are in our best interests. Not the push for a drastic move that leaves their players without a union, without pensions, without health care. We just aren’t there.

I will remain committed to finding resolution to this because I know how important this is. I ask you to remain united with me and your over 400 allies, friends, brothers and colleagues. We are a powerful group if we remain united and focused on the task at hand.

I urge every single one of you to call me, text me, email me with anything. An idea, a suggestion, a concern, a question. I represent you. I work for you.

So to each player, each fan, each agent, each media member who ends up reading this…I stand behind this message. It comes from me, a 15 year veteran of basketball, the game I dreamt of playing as a kid, the game I love so much. I’m a teammate, I’m a father, I’m a son, I’m a husband, I’m a brother, but right now, the role I must work so hard to honor is the one as PA President. And I ask each of you to stand with me, stand by me and urge the league and the owners to come together and allow the game of basketball to continue to grow and thrive. We’re ready.

Sincerely,

Derek

NBA reaches labor deal with referees

The NBA has announced the following to InsideHoops.com and other media:

The NBA and the National Basketball Referees Association announced today that they have entered into a new labor agreement.

The five-year agreement, which will run through the 2015-2016 season, has been ratified by the NBA Board of Governors and by the NBRA.

The AP reports:

The NBA and its referees agreed to a new five-year deal Thursday, just two years after a contract dispute nearly caused the league to open the season with replacements.

A person familiar with the negotiations says the referees approved the deal last week, and owners are scheduled to vote on it later Thursday at their meeting in Dallas. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been approved yet.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo reports:

The existing two-year labor agreement between the NBA and referee’s union expired Sept. 1, and the league was facing the possibility of using replacement officials for the second time in the past four years. Replacement referees were used in the 2009-10 preseason, but a deal was ratified before opening night of the season.

This agreement clears the way for the NBA to focus solely on its negotiations with the National Basketball Players Association. The NBA locked out the players on July 1, and talks have broken down between the two sides. It appears almost impossible for the NBA’s training camps to open as scheduled on Oct. 3.

Sam Gardner of Fox Sports Florida reports:

When Brian Eduardo took the field for his weekly flag football game Monday night at Chelsea Park in New York City, he expected it to be just like every other Monday night, and it was.

lebron james

That is, until LeBron James showed up.

Eduardo was one of about 40 people playing in a New York City Social Sports Club league that had just wrapped up their games for the night when the 6-foot-8 Miami Heat forward happened to walk by and asked if he could play.

“Our games were done,” Eduardo said. “We were putting our flags away and he stepped up to everybody and said, ‘Hey, are you guys done?’ and we looked up and we were like, ‘Oh my God, that’s LeBron James. No, no, no, we’re not done, we’re not done.’ ”

Minutes later, two of the four teams in attendance — the Untouchables and WRTL — were on the field for a two-hand touch game with LeBron.

James played on Untouchables side of the ball and Eduardo played for the WRTL team as the other two squads watched from the sidelines. LeBron played quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back, and — as you might expect — he did just fine.

Chris Mullin

The Golden State Warriors will retire Chris Mullin’s jersey, #17, in a special ceremony on January 20, 2012, when the team plays host to the Indiana Pacers at Oracle Arena, it was announced this evening.  Plans to retire Mullin’s jersey were first made public tonight by Owner Joe Lacob, who broke the news to a crowd of the team’s Season Ticket Holders that were gathered at Oracle Arena for an exclusive Season Ticket Holder event.

“We are looking forward to adding another former Warriors’ icon, Chris Mullin, to our exclusive list of players who have had their number retired,” said Lacob.  “Our history has been dotted with many terrific players who have had an incredible impact on our franchise over the years and Chris certainly falls into this prestigious category.  His contributions to this organization – both on the floor and in the community – are quite impressive and have certainly made him one of the most beloved figures in Bay Area sports history.   His recent Hall of Fame induction solidified his role as one of the greatest players in the history of the game on a global scale and we hope that this deserving honor on January 20th will help ensure that his many outstanding accomplishments are never forgotten here at home.”

Mullin, who spent 13 years of his 16-season NBA career as a member of the Golden State Warriors, will become the sixth player in team history to have his jersey number retired, joining Alvin Attles (#16), Rick Barry (#24), Wilt Chamberlain (#13), Tom Meschery (#14) and Nate Thurmond (#42).  Chamberlain’s jersey was the last to be retired by the organization, as the former Warriors’ great and NBA legend was honored posthumously on December 29, 1999.

The jersey retirement serves as just the latest honor celebrating Mullin’s illustrious NBA career, as the Brooklyn, NY, native was inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on August 12, 2011.

“This is certainly a tremendous honor and one that I will cherish, especially when you consider the few, elite gentlemen who have preceded me,” said Mullin. “I consider it a huge privilege to join the likes of Al Attles, Rick Barry, Wilt Chamberlain, Tom Meschery and Nate Thurmond and I appreciate the fact that Joe Lacob and the Warriors’ new ownership group have asked me to be a part of this select group.  I look forward to the night and sharing this honor with the great Bay Area fans, who have been so supportive and inspirational to me over the years.  In my mind, this night will be just as much for them as it will be for me and my family.”

Originally selected by the Warriors in the first round of the 1985 NBA Draft (# 7 overall), Mullin spent the first 12 years of his NBA career in Golden State. A five-time NBA All-Star (1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993), he averaged a career-high 26.5 points during the 1988-89 season, the first of five consecutive campaigns in which he averaged 25-plus points (a feat matched by only Wilt Chamberlain in franchise history). He currently ranks among the club’s Top-10 all-time leaders in nearly every statistical category, including games played (first at 807), steals (first at 1,360), free throw percentage (second at .862), points (fourth at 16,235), assists (fourth at 3,146) and scoring average (10th at 20.1).

Prior to re-joining the Warriors for his final NBA season in 2000-01, Mullin spent three seasons with Indiana (1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-00), helping the Pacers advance to the 2000 NBA Finals.  He concluded his 16-year NBA career boasting career averages of 18.2 points and 4.1 rebounds in 986 games.

Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times blog reports:

Derrick Caracter

He averaged only two points on 48.5% shooting in 5.2 minutes a game his rookie season, and admitted lacking the necessary conditioning and preparation to excel in the NBA. Yet, Lakers backup center Derrick Caracter remains optimistic the Lakers will exercise their $788,872 option to keep him next season.

“I’m pretty confident that they’ll pick it up based on our conversations [in my exit interview],” Caracter said in a phone interview. “If they don’t, I’m still Derrick Caracter and the basketball player I’m trying to be. My goal in trying to get better doesn’t change.”

That’s why Dan Barto, the IMG Basketball Academy’s pro/college training coordinator who has worked with Caracter for the last three summers, views his stint with the Impact Basketball Academy league in Las Vegas as particularly important in showing he can defend, rebound consistently and finish in the post.

Cavaliers still searching for assistant

Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports:

Cavaliers coach Byron Scott has spoken informally to a handful of candidates for the club’s vacant assistant coach job, but no hiring is imminent.

With NBA owners and the players union at loggerheads, the Cavs aren’t rushing to fill the hole created by the departure of Chris Jent, who joined the Ohio State staff.

Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports:

Drug- and pellet gun-possession charges against Charlotte Bobcats forward Dante Cunningham were dropped Tuesday, regarding an April traffic stop in a Philadelphia suburb.

After those charges were withdrawn, Cunningham paid a $225 fine to resolve additional charges of unsafe equipment on his car and a noise violation.

In a brief statement to the Observer on Tuesday, Cunningham’s attorney, Theodore Simon, emphasized the drug and gun charges were “unequivocally withdrawn” and the equipment and noise violations “are not criminal offenses.”

Mike Mattson, a spokesman for the Delaware County district attorney’s office, said the arresting officer and presiding judge signed off on withdrawing the three charges against Cunningham.

Colin Stephenson of the Newark Star-Ledger reports:

Assistant coach John Loyer has left the Nets to join Lawrence Frank’s coaching staff in Detroit and Sam Mitchell is still on the Nets’ staff, for now, Nets coach Avery Johnson said today in an informal sit-down session with reporters at the team’s East Rutherford practice facility.

“John Loyer is going to Detroit,” Johnson said. “We’ll have Popeye Jones taking John’s spot. We’ll figure out where we go from there with the rest of the bench.”

Jones was on the Nets’ staff last season, but he will now be moved up to the front row of the bench, sitting in Loyer’s spot.

Mitchell, who was the lead assistant last season, was a candidate for the head coaching job of the Minnesota Timberwolves until the T-Wolves settled on Rick Adelman to take over for the fired Kurt Rambis. Asked whether Mitchell would return to the Nets, Johnson said yes. Asked if he will be with the team when training camp begins (after the lockout ends), Johnson said, “As of right now, yes. That’s what we anticipate.

The San Antonio Express-News blog reports:

So much for that optimism that the players and owners were getting closer to a settlement that would end the lockout.

After Tuesday’s meetings with owners, NBPA executive director Billy Hunter advised players to prepare to miss at least half the upcoming season.

NBPA president Derek Fisher was just as bleak in his assessment.

“We can’t come out of here thinking that training camps and preseason are going to start on time at this point,” Fisher told CBS Sports.com after the meeting.

NBA owners also agreed with the players union (see this page) that Tuesday’s huge Collective Bargaining Agreement meeting between the two sides did not result in positive developments.

Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports the following via Twitter:

David Stern: “We reiterated to the players that we needa system that is economically feasible ..”

Stern: Felt going in there was an economic deal “within view.” Thought there were economic goals they could mutually meet.

Stern said concern came from players stating the cap system had to remain exactly as it is today for them to accept economic concept.

Stern: Owners huddled and were not unanimous on concepts. But all owners unified they need system allowing 30 teams to compete.

Stern: “We agreed to be in touch.”

Stern: “We did not have a great day.”

Stern says it’s “still our goal” to start season on time.

Stern says players did make proposal last week that formed discussions.

Stern says not accurate that owners are still sitting on same proposal from June.

Adam Silver says players’ proposed economic move was “preconditioned for acceptance” that system remains the same.

Silver: “You don’t hear us using terms like ‘blood issue’ and ‘non-negotiable.’ Frankly, we don’t understand.”

Players’ proposed economic concession is “on the road,” and “we know how to negotiate dollars.”

Silver: “A GM that’s given $100m to spend compared to a GM with $50m to spend is at a huge competitive advantage.”

Stern says players’ stance against hard cap is “an emotional attachment.”

Stern: Owners spent “substantial time” discussing revenue sharing plan amongst themselves.”

Stern: We won’t cancel camps/preseason at Thursday’s BOG meeting in Dallas.

There was apparently no progress at all in Tuesday’s huge Collective Bargaining Agreement between David Stern, Adam Silver and NBA owners, and Billy Hunter, Derek Fisher and the players union. It seems there is no end in sight to the ongoing NBA lockout that threatens to erase 2011 NBA preseason and some of the regular season.

Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports the following via Twitter:

The biggest factor remains the calendar. Time is getting short, but we’re still about a month away from real games being canceled.

Billy Hunter: “We came with intent to negotiating … prepared to compromise. …”

Hunter: “Unfortunately, we’re a bit pessimistic.”

Hunter: “The owners are unwilling to move off of the position on which they’ve anchored themselves.”

Hunter says two sides remain at odds on two key isssues: economics and the system. No future meetings scheduled.

Hunter: “As of this moment there doesn’t appear to be any progress that we can predict.”

Hunter said lines of communication will remain and players will meet again if the need arises. As of now, not enough progress to warrant.

Derek Fisher: “It’s discouraging and unfortunate, but that’s the reality that we’re facing.”

Fisher: Players remain committed to process. “We’re not walking way from the table.”

Hunter: “We were prepared to make a significant move and it was conditioned on certain things.”

Hunter said players were prepared to move on economics, but owners insisted on major changes to system.

Hunter: Owners did not make a formal proposal and remain in the same place they were June 30 before lockout began.

Fisher: “We’re not marching towards a deal at this time or at any time we an predict.” That’s a killer quote.

Fisher: “We can’t come out of here thinking that training camps and preseason are going to start o time at this point.”

Hunter: “We’ve never had any discussions about decertification.” Waiting for NLRB reponse to players’ unfair labor practices charge.

Hunter bombshell: “We’ve advised (players) they may have to sit out half the season before we get a deal.”

Hunter says hard cap “highly untenable. … It could be characterized as a blood issue.”

Hunter and Fisher say economic concessions were contingent on system remaining the same or similar. Owners not willing to move on hard cap.

Hunter remains hopeful NLRB decision will move process forward. Not revisiting decision not to disclaim interest or decertify.

Hunter says there’s a “division of interest” within ownership. Owners spent three of 5 1-2 hours meeting amongst themselves.

Hunter: Hard cap would mean “at any whim,” players on non-guaranteed deals would be “out the door. And we’re saying, ‘No way.’”

Union VP Mo Evans on overseas deals: “As time goes by, guys are definitely going to defect.”

Matt Bonner of exec committee: “Given the calendar, we saw a window here. Unfortunately I don’t think the owners were willing.”

David Aldridge of Turner Sports reports via Twitter:

Billy Hunter: “pessimistic” that season will start on time, despite “robust” discussions today. No further talks scheduled.

Hunter said union was willing to move off if its current proposals, to no avail.

Derek Fisher: “it’s discouraging and it’s unfortunate, but that’s the reality of where we are right now.”

Hunter: owners were receptive 2 player proposal on economics, not willing to make concessions on their proposal on the system-a union must.

Fisher: “..obv b/c of the calendar, we can’t come out of this thinking that training camps and the season will start on time.”

Bottom line: union was willing to give up more money from its previous proposal ($100m/yr in concessions) to keep current system in place.

League previously called union proposal “modest” and claimed players wouldn’t be really giving back $100M annually.

Fisher: “this is a position we expected to find ourselves in two years ago.”

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