Archive for November, 2011

Brandon Roy

The Trail Blazers have not made any decisions on using the amnesty provision to waive Brandon Roy.

Team president Larry Miller, in a packed news conference at the Rose Garden on Wednesday, was adamant a that column by The Oregonian’s John Canzano — which quoted a source saying Portland had decided to waive Roy — was dead wrong.

“We have not, and regardless of what’s been said by John Canzano and others out there, (made a) decision on amnesty as of yet,” Miller said.

In addition to Canzano, KATU.com and at least one national website reported that the Blazers intended to use the amnesty clause to jettison Roy’s contract from the salary cap.

– Reported by Mike Tokito of the Oregonian

Tyson Chandler expects to leave Mavs

Tyson Chandler

In a surprise development on the first day that NBA teams and agents could start talking about new contracts, Tyson Chandler came away convinced that his time with the Dallas Mavericks is coming to an end.

“I really think I’m going to be on a new team come training camp,” Chandler told ESPN.com in a telephone interview Wednesday night. “I’m really taking a hard look at all of my options, trying to see what best suits me.”

Chandler’s doubts about the Mavericks’ willingness to re-sign him to a lucrative long-term deal will be welcome news for organizations throughout the league. Chandler and Denver center Nene rank as the two most coveted unrestricted free agents in the 2011 class, but the overwhelming sentiment in many front offices has been that Chandler’s return to Dallas was essentially a done deal after the 7-footer’s role in helping the Mavericks win their first championship.

Chandler, though, insisted Wednesday that such assumptions are a misnomer and admitted for the first time that he’s disappointed by the club’s decision not to offer him a contract extension after he was widely credited — most notably by Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki — for changing the team’s defensive culture after three first-round exits in the previous four years.

– Reported by Chris Broussard and Marc Stein of ESPN.com

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Nene

Denver Nuggets General Manager Masai Ujiri said he will try to re-sign free agents Nene and Arron Afflalo when teams can agree to terms with players starting Dec. 9.

Nene opted out of the last season of his contract and is one of the most sought-after players on the market. Ujiri said he has contacted the center’s agent and wants to bring him back.

Afflalo is a restricted free agent.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Kris Humphries

TMZ has learned … Kris Humphries just filed for an annulment against Kim Kardashian, on grounds Kim defrauded him into marrying her.

Sources close to Kris tell TMZ … Kris was not in on the alleged fraud, meaning he did not stage the marriage for Kim’s reality show.  We’re told Kris wanted this to be a genuine marriage, but Kim was never really on board.

Kim has already filed for divorce — but according to the docs, obtained by TMZ — Kris wants Kim to pay his attorney’s fees.

– Reported by TMZ

Nets GM denies Dwight Howard trade talks

Dwight Howard

Nets general manager Billy King vehemently denied rumors Wednesday that he was in trade discussions with the Orlando Magic regarding All-Star center Dwight Howard.

“I’ll go on the record that I haven’t talked to Orlando about a trade since February, right before the trade deadline,” King said at a press conference at the team’s practice facility. “I have not had any conversations at all with my good friend Otis (Smith, the Magic general manager).

“So, I don’t know where that is coming from.”

There were published reports which stated the Nets were in talks with the Magic about trading two first-round draft picks and center Brook Lopez in return for Howard, who is in the final year of his contract and will be a free agent next June.

King also promised that if a trade does happen involving any Nets, it won’t be a long, drawn-out process like the three-month pursuit of Carmelo Anthony was last season. Several Nets were subjected to daily rumors throughout the early part of last season and Anthony eventually ended up landing with the Knicks.

– Reported by the Associated Press

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LeBron James

The Las Vegas oddsmakers are banking on LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat to get back to the NBA Finals in 2011-12, and once again the folks in Sin City view the Heat as the favorites to win it all.

Miami’s Big Three, runners-up a year ago, are listed at 2-to-1 to take home the title in the truncated NBA season.

“There was very heavy betting on the Heat at the start of last season because you have LeBron and Chris Bosh and they’re saying that they’ll win seven championships,” Benjamin Lee Eckstein of AmericasLine.com said. “Once again this year they’re the immediate favorites.”

– Reported by Bernie Augustine of the New York Daily News

InsideHoops.com editor says: We have a ton of NBA free agents who still need to find homes and plenty of trades that may materialize, but just based on the core players each team has under contract right now, this certainly seems reasonable.

Suns want to re-sign Grant Hill

Grant Hill

More than most NBA executives, Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby knows the importance of the impression that this morning’s calls to agents gave.

Babby was an agent. He was Grant Hill’s agent. But Wednesday, his Suns were the ones sending out a message to Hill’s current agent about how badly Phoenix wants to re-sign him.

At 7 a.m. Phoenix time, the Suns began talking to agents of players. That meant checking in on some of their own guys but the first calls needed to go to the agents of free-agent players to show the Suns’ interest. The Suns will be feeling out the market for a scoring wing player and a backup point guard but there will be no spending that disrupts the salary-cap space they have set up for the summer of 2012. The free agent priority is getting an agreement with Hill, who is still represented by Babby’s former firm with Jim Tanner acting as Hill’s agent.

“Grant is an absolute first order of business and top priority,” Babby said of Hill.

– Reported by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic

NBA age limit issue still being debated

While it has been widely held that the NBA would like to push the age limit to 20, sources familiar with the dialogue between the two sides now say it is expected to remain at 19 for at least the first two years of the new deal and possibly beyond that.

Several alternatives have been discussed, sources said. One option would be to allow players to enter the draft directly out of high school but have the option to withdraw and go to college, similar to the draft rule used by Major League Baseball. Under this concept, a player would next be required to attend at least two years of college before entering the draft again.

Another option would be to revise the rookie salary scale by adding incentives to stay in college longer, a source familiar with the labor talks said. Potential incentives would include increasing the salary range for each year a player stays in school or allow him to qualify for free agency sooner.

– Reported by Ric Bucher of ESPN the Magazine

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Derrick Rose

The Chicago Bulls’ “top priority” during Wednesday morning’s initial contact period between teams and agents will be to set up the framework of Derrick Rose’s contract extension, according to a league source…

No matter when he officially signs, Rose is due for a mammoth raise from his rookie contract, based upon a new wrinkle to the collective bargaining agreement, which is expected to be ratified at some point in the next few days.

“The Derrick Rose Rule,” as it’s being called around the league, rewards players of Rose’s caliber by enabling a player finishing his rookie contract to make 30 percent of a team’s salary cap — up from 25 percent — if he’s been voted an All-Star starter twice, made two All-NBA teams or won an MVP award.

– Reported by Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago

Chris Paul

All of the chatter about Boston’s interest in Chris Paul is a moot point because the All-Star point guard will not sign a long-term contract extension with the Celtics, according to a person close to the situation.

Paul, who will become a free agent after the coming season, essentially has veto power over any trade because no team will give up valuable assets for him without assurance that it can sign him for the next several years.

Boston would love to acquire Paul for a package built around point guard Rajon Rondo, and has been seeking a third trading partner to sweeten an offer to New Orleans. But Paul’s reluctance to commit to Boston long-term should quickly put an end to the scenario.

– Reported by Chris Broussard of ESPN the Magazine

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Russell Westbrook

ESPN’s Chris Broussard dug up yet another interesting Celtics tidbit for us this evening, one that casts last season’s Kendrick Perkins-for-Jeff Green trade in an entirely new light.

After last season’s playoffs, the Celtics offered Rajon Rondo and Green to Oklahoma City for Russell Westbrook and Perkins, sources told Broussard. The Celtics, looking for another scorer who can create his own offense, thought Westbrook might be available after his erratic postseason play. But Oklahoma was not interested in the deal.

– Reported by ESPN Boston

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NBA arenas are about to be unlocked.

For the first time since the lockout began on July 1, NBA players are going to be welcomed back to their team facilities, league spokesman Tim Frank said. The league sent a memo to clubs yesterday announcing the move, plus giving teams permission to begin speaking with agents at 9 a.m. today - though deals cannot yet be offered, and no contracts can be signed before Dec. 9.

Teams may host “voluntary player workouts” and physicals. Training camps will not open until Dec. 9, and the regular season is expected to begin Christmas Day with marquee matchups, including a Miami-Dallas rematch of last season’s NBA Finals.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Chris Paul

Despite swirling speculation he may soon leave, Chris Paul insisted on Tuesday that his heart is in New Orleans.

Paul can opt out of his contract with the team and become a free agent at the end of the season.

He was asked at a charity event in Brooklyn about speculation that he could soon join the New York Knicks.

“I try not to pay attention to all that different type of stuff,” Paul said. “My heart is in New Orleans.”

Paul, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony were in New York on Tuesday to help deliver 800 meals to families in conjunction with Anthony’s foundation, Feed the Children and The Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Sources have told ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard that Paul would eventually like to end up in New York permanently.

Sources told Broussard that Paul’s first choice is to team up with Anthony and Amare Stoudemire in New York to form a “Big Three” similar to the Miami Heat’s trio of James, Wade and forward Chris Bosh.

– Reported by Ian Begley of ESPN New York 

Dwight Howard

The Nets see the Knicks holding Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire and hope to raise the stakes with Deron Williams and Dwight Howard.

As they prepare for their long-awaited move to Brooklyn next year, the Nets are set to offer a trade package which included center Brook Lopez and two future first-round picks to Orlando for Howard, the superstar center, before he becomes a free agent in 2012, according to an ESPN.com report.

Howard’s presence would be another lifeline for a franchise that has won 36 games over two years. The Nets believe Howard would lead to Williams, who can opt out after this season, into signing up long term, but right now, the best chip the Nets have is money. Williams ultimately can get five years and $100 million for the Nets. Other teams could pay $70 million over four. Howard and Williams together could give the Nets the needed big splash for their Brooklyn move.

The report said the Nets, to make the deal work, would slap their amnesty clause on Travis Outlaw and would take back Hedo Turkoglu with three years and $35 million remaining. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, if the Nets were able to acquire Howard before his opt-out decision, they only could extend his deal one year.

– Reported by Fred Kerber of the New York Post

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Rajon Rondo with CSN's Carolyn Manno

As Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge aggressively pursues possible deals for Rajon Rondo, the Indiana Pacers have emerged as an intriguing suitor for the point guard, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

For the past few days, Pacers officials – and third-party surrogates – have been making calls and gathering information and insight into Rondo’s reputation as a teammate and leader, sources said.

The Pacers and Celtics have discussed the preliminary framework of a deal, but two sources said Indiana would need a third team to provide Boston with the talent it wants to do a deal. The Celtics are likely trying to gather the necessary pieces to make a bid for Ainge’s ultimate target: New Orleans point guard Chris Paul, sources said.

It was unclear if the Pacers had begun to reach out to broaden discussions, but there was an expectation they would do so.

– Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports

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Kyle Singler

Kyle Singler, the 33rd overall pick in the June NBA draft, has reached agreement with Real Madrid and won’t play for the Detroit Pistons this season, agent Greg Lawrence of Wasserman Media Group told Yahoo! Sports.

Singler, a forward out of Duke, will sign a contract for the remainder of the season in the Spanish ACB League, replacing the Dallas Mavericks’ Rudy Fernandez on the Real Madrid roster.

After an outstanding showing with Alicante in the same league – where he averaged a team-leading 15 points on 47 percent shooting – Singler decided to take the Real Madrid offer on Tuesday.

– Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports

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Celtics and Leo Papile part ways

The Celtics and Leo Papile have parted ways after more than 14 years.

The team has made no official announcement, but sources confirmed he is no longer with the club.

Papile had no comment when reached last night, but other people close to the situation said it was time for both to move on.

Since coming aboard in 1997 with the hiring of Rick Pitino, Papile has served under various titles but mainly has been a talent evaluator.

Having founded the Boston Amateur Basketball Club in 1977, his AAU ties gave him good access to on- and off-court information regarding young players who might come on the Celtics’ radar as draft picks or free agents. Papile was last listed as senior director of basketball operations.

– Reported by Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald

Kurt Thomas

Kurt Thomas knows there is a good chance he could be playing on Christmas Day. He just doesn’t know where.

Thomas, the league’s oldest player at 39, could end up with the Knicks, Bulls, Heat or his hometown Dallas Mavericks.

“That’s the great thing about free agency,” Thomas said Monday. “A lot of things can happen. Teams have to make a decision on players but I also have a say in where I might end up.”

Thomas spent last season with the Chicago Bulls and the club is interested in re-signing the 6-9 forward/center.

– Reported by Frank Isola of the New York Daily News

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Yao Ming now focused on wine-making

Yao Ming

Yao Ming is now battling with Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Mario Andretti and Greg Norman.

But this isn’t some made-for-television poker game featuring former sports greats. Yao is joining the ranks of retired athletes with their own winery. This week the eight-time NBA All-Star is launching Yao Family Wines, a California outpost that will be focused on the Chinese market.

“I really like Napa Valley,” Yao told the Wall Street Journal. “California represents vacation, casual [living], sunshine — everything related to a good quality of life.”

Not that the 31-year-old always had a taste for the finer things in life. He knew very little about wine growing up and watched as the people around his hometown of Shanghai poured it over ice cubes. It took a lesson from former teammate Dikembe Mutombo, who was swirling his glass at dinner, to kick-start his interest.

– Reported by ThePostGame.com

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Grizzlies hope to re-sign Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol

Memphis has already committed lucrative deals to Rudy Gay, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph. Locking up Gasol, entering his fourth season, is considered the final move toward solidifying the team’s nucleus.

But there doesn’t seem to be any reason to fret about Gasol’s signing.

The Grizzlies can sign Gasol to a longer contract and pay him more money than any other team. Memphis also has the right to match any offer sheet Gasol signs with another team.

People with knowledge of Heisley’s thinking are convinced that the Grizzlies will match any offer sheet Gasol signs with another suitor. Memphis would have three days to match under the proposed collective bargaining agreement.

The Griz also will look to fill assistant coaching positions vacated by the departure of Johnny Davis and Damon Stoudamire, re-sign unrestricted free agent Shane Battier and negotiate a contract with rookie Josh Selby.

– Reported by Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal

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