Kevin Garnett still plans to play in World All-Star Classic

kevin garnett

The World All-Star Classic has lost some of its shine recently, with some of the NBA’s top players opting to not participate.

But there’s one perennial all-star  – Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett – who, according to his agent, is very much still in the mix…

Others tentatively scheduled to participate include Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Steve Nash, Carlos Boozer, Amar’e Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, Tyson Chandler and Chris Kaman.

— Reported by A. Sherrod Blakely of the CSNNE Blog 

Sale of Atlanta Hawks hits snag with NBA

The proposed sale of the Atlanta Hawks to Los Angeles businessman Alex Meruelo has hit a significant snag in the NBA approval process, according to people familiar with the situation.

It not clear at the moment whether the deal, announced Aug. 7 subject to NBA approval, will get completed.

“I have more than ample resources to purchase and operate the Hawks in a first-class manner,” Meruelo said in a statement provided to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tonight.

— Reported by Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Toronto Raptors hire Ed Stefanski as VP of basketball operations

The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday they have hired Ed Stefanski as the team’s executive vice president of basketball operations. Stefanski joins the Raptors from upper management positions with the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets, where his teams qualified for the NBA playoffs in eight of the past nine seasons. In his position, Stefanski will report to Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo.

“Ed Stefanski embodies everything I was hoping to attain when the search began for a top level basketball executive to join our staff,” said Colangelo. “Ed brings to the table experience, smarts and a great feel for the game and of people.”

“I am very excited to join Bryan Colangelo and the Raptors organization,” Stefanski said. “Toronto is a world class city and the Raptors fans are strong supporters.

“The team has a young nucleus of players that have a big upside. And with the addition of Head Coach Dwane Casey I am looking forward to witnessing their growth and improvement.”

Stefanski, who has earned a reputation throughout the NBA as an excellent evaluator of talent, spent the past four seasons in a president and general manager role with Philadelphia. With the 76ers, Stefanski returned the franchise to playoff status via trades, the re-signing of key performers and the acquisition of athletic, younger players in the NBA Draft. Despite having only mid-first round picks in three of his four drafts, Stefanski was able to add lottery-level talent to the team.

Prior to joining Philadelphia, Stefanski spent nine seasons with the Nets. He was promoted to general manager of the club in the summer of 2004 following a one-year stint as the team’s senior vice president of basketball operations and four seasons as the team’s director of scouting.

While with the Nets, Stefanski oversaw the team’s basketball operations and was heavily involved in the club’s roster development and player personnel matters. He helped to build New Jersey’s back-to-back Eastern Conference Championship teams in 2002 and 2003.

A 1976 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School of Business), Stefanski played three seasons for Penn, where he was coached by Hall-of-Famer Chuck Daley. Stefanski was a member of two Ivy League Champions (1974 and 1975), helping the Quakers reach the NCAA Tournament in both of those seasons.

In 1979, Stefanski also began a 20-year run as a colour analyst for Big Five basketball and ESPN’s Atlantic 10 basketball coverage.

LeBron, Melo, CP3 will not play in NBA world lockout tour

lebron james

The proposed world tour of NBA elite amid the league’s lockout won’t include at least one of the Miami Heat’s Big Three.

LeBron James, whose name had been thrown into the mix for the two-week tour that opens Sunday in Puerto Rico and is scheduled to then include stops in London, Macau and Australia, will not be among the participants.

A source close to the Heat forward Wednesday told the Sun Sentinel that James had never committed to the tour and added that James is not participating, “due to previous commitments.”

In the wake of the Sun Sentinel being informed of James not joining the tour, ESPN reported that New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul also would not be participating. With Wade close to those two, his interest could also be waning.

— Reported by Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Raptors close to hiring Ed Stefanski

The Toronto Raptors are finalizing an agreement with former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Ed Stefanski to take over as the franchise’s executive vice president of basketball operations, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Stefanski, who was fired as the 76ers’ GM a week ago, will report to Raptors president-GM Bryan Colangelo, who will still have final say on basketball matters. Stefanski will ultimately replace Masai Ujiri, who left Toronto to become the Denver Nuggets GM last year.

Colangelo conducted a lengthy search and ultimately targeted Stefanski in recent weeks for the job. Former New Orleans Hornets GM Jeff Bower was the runner-up. San Antonio Spurs assistant GM Dennis Lindsey had been a strong candidate, too.

— Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports

Chris Paul and family to appear on Family Feud

Chris Paul

New Orleans Hornets star Chris Paul and his family will play “Family Feud” next week to benefit Paul’s CP3 Foundation. The episode is scheduled to air at 3 p.m. Tuesday (Nov. 1) on WGNO…

Family members participating in the game show will be Chris, brother C.J., dad Charles, mom Robin and aunt Rhonda.

The opposing team will be the O’Haras from Revere, Mass. They’ll play for $100,000 and a car.

— Reported by Dave Walker of the New Orleans Times-Picayune

NBA may rebuild entire schedule from scratch once lockout ends

More N.B.A. games will be canceled soon, perhaps today or tomorrow or next week. The timing hardly matters anymore. The schedule, at least as it was presented in July, is already worthless.

Two weeks of games have been canceled. The rest of November’s games will be wiped out soon. And at least two arenas, in Los Angeles and Chicago, have reassigned some December dates for other events, with the N.B.A.’s blessing.

To be clear, the league is not secretly canceling the December schedule — the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls were assured of alternate nights to replace those they surrendered — but the decision to release those arena dates underscores the obsolescence of the published schedule.

Lead negotiators for the N.B.A. and the players union will meet again Wednesday, just six days after talks collapsed, in another attempt to end the lockout, according to a person briefed on the talks.

Whenever the lockout is resolved, the N.B.A. will build a new schedule from scratch, using all arena dates that are still reserved, according to people who are aware of the league’s plans. N.B.A. officials declined to discuss the issue Tuesday.

Thus, the decision to formally announce cancellations is an academic exercise, and perhaps a bit of political theater. The announcements are a warning shot to the league’s 430-plus players, a reminder that they are losing hundreds of millions of dollars.

— Reported by Howard Beck of the New York Times

Derrick Rose wants no NBA rookie salary cap

derrick rose

Derrick Rose, in Hawaii this week visiting military personnel as part of the Hoops for Troops USO Tour, will undoubtedly earn a lot more when he becomes a free agent at the end of his four-year, $22.5 million contract, depending on the new agreement, of course.

“I wish it was back like where it was in the old days where there wasn’t a cap,” Rose told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “Back in the day, they were giving guys coming out of college with multimillion-dollar contracts, so why stop it now? The game is growing. There’s no need to stop it.”

The union would like players to get out from the rookie salary scale quicker than five years. On Monday, union executive director Billy Hunter mentioned Rose and Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin during an hour-long podcast with as examples of players who are underpaid because there are still locked into their scale figures.

The league said it has proposed a new bonus pool for top-performing rookie scale players who earn league honors as such as MVP or are on the All-NBA first, second or third teams.

— Reported by Jaymes Song of the Associated Press