Archive for October 7th, 2011

Philadelphia 76ers executive Ed Stefanski is engaged in advanced talks with the Toronto Raptors to take over as general manager, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Stefanski would move into the franchise’s No. 2 basketball executive job under president Bryan Colangelo. Stefanski, who is in the final year of his deal in Philadelphia and has the GM title, knows he probably won’t be retained after his contract expires, sources said. Stefanski lost his spot as the Sixers’ top decision maker a year ago to Rod Thorn, and now the franchise is waiting for the NBA to approve the team’s sale to a New York investment group.

– Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports

Kobe Bryant

According to a post on the UC Irvine athletic department’s Facebook site, Bryant plans to appear on an episode of ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition, during which he will help coordinate rebuilding efforts for residents in the Joplin, Mo., area. A reported 160 people died from a tornado that swept through that region on May 22 and has been considered the seventh deadliest in U.S. history.

It remains unclear when filming will take place.

– Reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times

utah jazz

When Tyrone Corbin was hired to be Jerry Sloan’s successor in February, the new Utah Jazz coach received a congratulatory phone call from an old friend.

About two months later, the same buddy — whom he played alongside two decades ago — dialed Corbin’s digits for a much different reason.

“Now,” Sidney Lowe told Corbin in that second conversation, “I’m calling for a job.”

Any extra-minute fees or roaming charges incurred back then proved to be well worth it.

Lowe, Corbin’s teammate in 1989-90 during Minnesota’s inaugural season, was introduced Thursday as the Jazz’s third assistant coach.

It took half of a year for Lowe’s job-seeking call to result in an offer, but the two-time NBA head coach and his new boss couldn’t be happier that the feeler chat led to them being on the same team again.

– Reported by Jody Genessy of the Deseret News

After Bill Walton made a speaking appearance Thursday in Costa Mesa, I asked him if he had any thoughts on the continuing NBA lockout that threatens the start of the 2011-12 regular season.

He said he didn’t want to comment on it then, hinting anything he said would soon become outdated.

“They’re close,” he said, grinning widely, as if he knew something he couldn’t share about the negotiations between owners and NBA Players Association.

Does that mean he is confident there will be a full season?

“Oh, yeah,” Walton said, grinning again. “They’re close.”

– Reported by Randy Youngman of the Orange County Register

NBA lockout hitting some cities hard

The loss of one game, let alone 10 or maybe all 82, will have a devastating impact on workers with jobs dependent on pro basketball’s six-month-plus season. A few teams have already trimmed their staffs and more layoffs could be forthcoming if the discussions drag on. Then there are those who don’t work directly for an NBA team but who still depend on the excitement the league brings to town.

Ushers, security personnel, parking lot attendants, concession workers, restaurant employees and others all stand to have their hours cut or join the country’s 14 million unemployed.

“Yeah, financially, I’m worried,” said waitress Jeannette Lauersdorf, a single mother of two, who on a quiet Wednesday afternoon is serving six guests at three tables inside Harry Buffalo. On a night the Cavs are playing, the place has a 30-minute wait for a table. “We’ve got bills to pay.”

Nerves, already frayed in a depressed economy, are unraveling.

As it was during the NFL’s labor dispute, certain cities around the league will bear more of a burden than others until the NBA gets bouncing again. Markets like Orlando, Memphis, Salt Lake City and Portland, with no other income being generated by a major professional sports franchise, could be facing a long winter.

At this point, there’s no telling how long the lockout will last, but NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver projected losses if the season’s opening two weeks are canceled in “the millions of dollars.”

– Reported by Tom Withers of the Associated Press

Zaza Pachulia likely signing in Turkey

zaza pachulia

According to the Sportando blog, Zaza Pachulia reached an agreement with Turkish team Galatasaray Istanbul, where he will be playing until the end of the NBA lockout. Pachulia spent the last eight seasons in the NBA averaging 6.8 ppg and 5.1 rpg in 579 games. He’s played with the Atlanta Hawks since the 2005-06 season.

Spirou Charleroi tried to sign him as well, but Pachulia preferred to pen a deal in Istanbul, the city where he grew up.

The deal will be official soon.

– Reported by Sportando

portland trail blazers

After more than four months of research and interviews, the Trail Blazers’ ongoing search for a new general manager has come to this: The team is starting over.

A league source said the Blazers have decided against hiring any of the candidates they have interviewed to date and that Blazers president Larry Miller spent Thursday calling them to relay the news they were no longer being considered for the job.

The Blazers have compiled a new list of candidates, with a strong emphasis on people with extensive general manager experience, and will, essentially, restart the search.

“I don’t want to get into specific details, but what I will say is that we are expanding our search,” Miller said. “We’re going to expand our candidate pool.”

– Reported by Joe Freeman of The Oregonian

Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan plans to promote advance scout Larry Greer to assistant coach to replace the departed Bill Bayno, a team source has told The Oregonian.

The Blazers are finalizing Greer’s contract, but it is 99 percent complete and the source expects the deal to become official within the next few days.

Greer has been an NBA scout for six seasons, including the last four with the Blazers. He worked two seasons with the Houston Rockets, under coach Jeff Van Gundy, prior to joining the Blazers.

Before arriving in the NBA, Greer was a college college coach for roughly 15 years, including a nine-year stint as an assistant at Boston University.

– Reported by Joe Freeman of The Oregonian

mike brown

Mike Brown envisions an offense called “strong corner.”

“At the start of the shot clock, it will be ‘four out, one in,’ meaning that if we get the ball down the floor quick enough, we’ll have four guys along the perimeter and one of our bigs in the low post,” he said. “If the ball does go in at an early point in the shot clock, hopefully that big will have a chance to go to work without the double team.”

It certainly isn’t Jackson’s triangle offense.

Brown also plansto use assistant coaches differently than Jackson, who designated a defensive coordinator and gave the other coaches specific positions to monitor (forwards, centers or guards).

Brown’s assistants won’t have specific on-court responsibilities. He wants them to “just coach the game of basketball. Whatever they see offensively, speak up. Whatever they see defensively, speak up.”

– Reported by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times

andrew bogut

Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut will not play for the Sydney Kings or any other Australian team due to insurance issues, Bogut’s agent, David Bauman, confirmed Thursday.

Bogut had hoped to play for the Sydney team in the Australian national league (NBL). Two other teams - Adelaide and Gold Coast - also had expressed interest in signing Bogut.

Bauman said Bogut needed coverage for the $39.5 million and three years remaining on the 7-foot center’s contract with the Bucks.

“If Andrew goes back with a broken leg or a broken ankle, the Bucks might say, ‘Cancel the contract,’ ” Bauman said in a phone interview Thursday. “This is something players get, but the Bucks still might be in a position, given a new CBA (collective bargaining agreement), to terminate the deal.

“There was no way to resolve that type of issue. It was too much of a risk.”

– Reported by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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