Archive for November, 2011

An expected windfall for NBA contending teams in search of affordable talent could wind up short-circuited by the league’s soon-to-be-approved collective-bargaining agreement.

The Sun Sentinel confirmed Sunday that instead of players being released under the league’s “amnesty” provision going directly to the open market, a bidding system has been put in place for teams operating below the league’s salary cap to add such players at a deep discount.

“That’s what the clause is in there for,” a party familiar with the impending process Sunday told the Sun Sentinel. “It’s so the Lakers can’t go in and scoop up all the players.”

Under the amnesty program, a team can waive a player in order to remove his salary from its salary cap and luxury tax, while still paying out the balance of that contract. It had been widely assumed that such players then would immediately hit the open market…

However, in an outline of the proposed collective-bargaining agreement obtained by the Sun Sentinel, the NBA instead has instituted “a modified waiver process” that would allow teams operating below the salary cap to “submit competing offers to assume some but not all of the player’s remaining contract…

“Some of it is still not 100-percent worked out,” a party familiar with the impending policy told the Sun Sentinel.

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

Nenad Krstic

For the first time in its eight-year history, the Euroleague Basketball’s award for the best player each month will go to the same team twice in a row as Nenad Krstic of CSKA Moscow has been chosen bwin MVP for November. CSKA is one of just two Turkish Airlines Euroleague teams undefeated through six games, and Krstic has had everything to do with preserving that perfection in November.

The 28-year-old center, playing his first season for CSKA, got more and more efficient as the month progressed. CSKA followed a pair of road victories, over KK Zagreb and Panathinaikos Athens, with a pair of home wins against Unicaja and Zalgiris Kaunas. Krstic had a key role in all four games, but was biggest when it counted most. In the middle of the month, he posted his first double-double of the season against previously undefeated Panathinaikos. To end it, he had his career-high performance index rating against Zalgiris days after CSKA faced the sudden loss of its leader and the bwin October MVP, forward Andrei Kirilenko, to a broken nose and concussion.

In the precise game when teammates could have been brought down by uncertainty, Krstic stepped up to make CSKA the first team to qualify for the Top 16. His extraordinarily solid, month-long effort was more than enough for Krstic to be chosen the bwin MVP for November…

By the time November was over, Krstic ranked fourth among all Euroleague players during the regular season in average index rating (21.7 per game), 13th in scoring (15.2 ppg.), 10th in rebounds (6.7 rpg.) and second in offensive rebounds (4 orpg.) On a per-minute basis, he ranks behind only Kirilenko in performance index rating, a remarkable coincidence of two ultra-efficient big men on the same team. And CSKA fans will get to celebrate their good fortune when Nenad Krstic receives his bwin MVP award for November at an upcoming home game.

– Reported by Euroleague.net

Samuel Dalembert

The 6-foot-11 Dalembert is a free agent. And the Heat is high on his list for when the free agency signing period is expected to begin Dec. 9 following a five-month lockout.

“That would be fantastic,” Dalembert said in an interview Sunday night from Haiti with FOX Sports Florida about the possibility of joining Miami, which is where more than 50 of his relatives live and is about one hour south of his Boca Raton, Fla., home.

As for the volunteering part, it likely would require a big pay cut for Dalembert to join the Heat, which will be over the salary cap. Dalembert, who made $13.43 million last season for Sacramento, might have to sign for the $5 million mid-level exception…

Dalembert said he’s not going to “put my eggs all in one basket” regarding the Heat. So he also named New York and Houston as teams he will consider in free agency.

“It’s one of my options as well,” Dalembert said of New York, where he spent portions of the offseason working out with Elton Brand, once his teammate in Philadelphia. “It’s a building process. It can be similar to Miami when they get all the pieces together. It’s something that can work and they need a big (man)… (Amare Stoudemire) can go to a comfortable situation (if the Knicks get a quality center and Stoudemire can play less at center and more at his natural position of power forward).”

– Reported by Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida

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Syracuse fires Bernie Fine

Syracuse University fired associate head basketball coach Bernie Fine on Sunday in the wake of an investigation of child molestation allegations against him.

“At the direction of Chancellor Cantor, Bernie Fine’s employment with Syracuse University has been terminated, effective immediately,” Kevin Quinn, the school’s senior vice president for public affairs, said in a statement.

The 65-year-old Fine was in his 36th season at his alma mater. He had the longest active streak of consecutive seasons at one school among assistant coaches in Division I.

Fine’s firing comes in the wake of new revelations Sunday, including a third accuser. Syracuse had placed Fine on paid administrative leave when accusations first surfaced.

“The allegations that have come forth today are disturbing and deeply troubling. I am personally very shocked because I have never witnessed any of the activities that have been alleged,” said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim in a statement. “I believe the university took the appropriate step tonight. What is most important is that this matter be fully investigated and that anyone with information be supported to come forward so that the truth can be found. I deeply regret any statements I made that might have inhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims of abuse.”

– Reported by ESPN.com

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Kobe Bryant needs to keep pacing himself

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant received an innovative procedure on his surgically repaired right knee, and teammate accounts suggest the Lakers star appears healthy. But that doesn’t mean Bryant’s immune from future injuries.

Bryant remains a stubborn and determined force, willing to find any nuance or edge to maintain dominance. But that doesn’t mean he won’t continue facing his physical decline.

The Lakers’ star isn’t done. He has the goods and a healthier body to put together an MVP-caliber season. For Bryant to reach that point, however, Coach Mike Brown must decide how he should play Bryant in the 2011-2012 campaign without seriously compromising his body.

– Reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times Blog

Heat may waive Mike Miller

Mike Miller

According to league sources, the Heat had planned to waive Miller and had let him know through back channels so he could prepare. This information was not all that secret — teams in need of shooters were already doing background research on Miller and considering bringing him in. Miller had a number of suitors when he was a free agent a year ago, including the Chicago Bulls.

He may not want to take his house off the market just yet, though. With the expected luxury-tax changes, the Heat still may end up waiving Miller with the amnesty clause before next season to allow them to free up enough space to use the mid-level exception again. But considering they will be paying Miller either way, they would much prefer to have him on the roster and see if offseason surgeries to his thumb and shoulder will allow him to return to his form from two years ago, when he was one of the best shooters in the league.

– Reported by Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com

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Greg Oden

First, about Oden’s health: The restricted free agent center has not been cleared to participate in scrimmages or any basketball-related activities that include contact, according to his agent, Mike Conley. He has been cleared to run, ride a bike and participate in non-contact basketball drills — shooting, dribbling, etc. — but there remains no time line for a possible return.

“There have not been any setbacks,” Conley said Saturday of Oden’s health. “That’s the best way to word it. Doctors really did not give him a hard time line (for a return) … but he’s working hard and trying his best to get back.”

Oden has played just 82 games over his first four NBA seasons because of three separate knee surgeries. The last came Nov. 19, 2010, when he underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee.

Despite this, the Blazers have expressed a desire to keep Oden with the hope that he avoids further injury and develops into the player they projected he would become when they drafted him No. 1 overall in the 2007 NBA Draft.

– Reported by Joe Freeman of the Oregonian

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The sides reached a tentative agreement early Saturday to end the 149-day lockout and hope to begin the delayed season with a marquee tripleheader Dec. 25. Most of a season that seemed in jeopardy of being lost entirely will be salvaged if both sides approve the handshake deal.

Barring a change in scheduling, the 2011-12 season will open with the Boston Celtics at New York Knicks, followed by Miami at Dallas in an NBA finals rematch before MVP Derrick Rose and Chicago visiting Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.

Neither side provided many specifics about the deal, and there are still legal hurdles that must be cleared before gymnasiums are open again.

“We thought it was in both of our interest to try to reach a resolution and save the game,” union executive director Billy Hunter said.

After a secret meeting earlier this week that got the broken process back on track, the sides met for more than 15 hours Friday, working to save the season. Stern said the agreement was “subject to a variety of approvals and very complex machinations, but we’re optimistic that will all come to pass and that the NBA season will begin Dec. 25.”

The league plans a 66-game season and aims to open training camps Dec. 9, with free agency opening at the same time. Stern has said it would take about 30 days from an agreement to playing the first game.

“All I feel right now is `finally,”’ Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade told The Associated Press.

Just 12 days after talks broke down and Stern declared the NBA could be headed to a “nuclear winter,” he sat next to Hunter to announce the 10-year deal, with either side able to opt out after the sixth year.

“For myself, it’s great to be a part of this particular moment in terms of giving our fans what they wanted and wanted to see,” said Derek Fisher, the president of the players’ association.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

NBA owners and players resumed talks Friday aimed at ending the 148-day lockout in time to save the league’s Christmas Day schedule.

That deadline has created a sense of urgency because the Dec. 25 schedule is traditionally a showcase for the league. This season’s three-game slate was to include Miami at Dallas in an NBA final rematch, plus MVP Derrick Rose leading Chicago into Los Angeles to face Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.

After a secret meeting earlier this week, the sides have returned to the table for more discussions. Commissioner David Stern has said the league needs about 30 days from an agreement to when games could be played.

Participating in the talks for the league were Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver, Spurs owner Peter Holt, the chairman of the labour relations committee, and lawyer Rick Buchanan and Dan Rube. The players were represented by executive director Billy Hunter, president Derek Fisher, vice-president Maurice Evans, attorney Ron Klempner and economist Kevin Murphy.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

steve nash

Steve Nash and Jason Kidd are planning to stage a star-studded Dec. 10 charity game at University of California-Berkeley, Kidd’s college, to benefit each player’s youth foundation.

“Excited to go back to the Bay Area with Jason to play for the fans and raise money for the children our foundations benefit,” Nash said. “We go way back to college so to see the distance we’ve both come and to take it back to those days will be a lot of fun and for a good cause.”

Yahoo! writer Marc Spears tweeted today that the rosters will include Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Stephen Curry, David Lee, DeMar DeRozan, Corey Maggette, Trevor Ariza, Ricky Rubio, Shawn Marion, Michael Beasley and likely Amar’e Stoudemire and Kevin Durant.

– Reported by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic

Mark Cuban to publish e-book on business

Internet billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will publish a 30,000-word “e-book” focused on business and success, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The e-book, called “”How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It,” will be available for $2.99 through online digital-book retailers, the paper said in an article published to its website Sunday. It did not specify the release date.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Juan Carlos Navarro

F.C. Barcelona Regal superstar Juan Carlos Navarro on Thursday night became the all-time leading scorer since the Euroleague was founded in 2000! Navarro’s left-handed layup off a Chuck Eidson steal at 5:30 of the third quarter of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague game against Union Olimpija at Palau Blaugrana in Barcelona gave him the record of 2,716 career points, previously held by recently-retired Marcus Brown. And with plenty of time left in this game and the season, he will keep adding to the record every time he takes the court.

Navarro, 31, has played his entire 11-season Euroleague career with his hometown club, F.C. Barcelona. Already a legend of the game, “La Bomba” adds this record to an impressive career haul of achievements. He is a two-time Euroleague champion and was the 2008-09 Euroleague MVP and the 2010 Euroleague Final Four MVP. All told Navarro has played in five Euroleague Final Fours and been named to the All-Euroleague First Team a record five times.

– Reported by Euroleague.net

The National Basketball League of Canada is thrilled to appoint John Kennedy as the league’s first commissioner.

“We’re excited to welcome John to the NBL Canada team,” said President and CEO of NBL Canada, Andre Levingston. “John has an extensive background working in professional sports as a business development manager, strategic planner, event marketer and scout. Over the years, John has developed many important business relationships and the league looks forward to flourishing under his leadership.”

As commissioner, Mr. Kennedy will act as NBL Canada’s governing body and will help raise awareness of the league by building strong business and community relationships in all seven of the leagues markets and across the country.

“I’m excited and honored by the faith shown by the ownership group in my abilities to positively impact NBL Canada as a viable sports and entertainment organization,” said Kennedy. “I look forward to building relationships with the many fans of professional basketball in Canada, and also with prospective sponsors.”

Born and raised in Windsor, Ontario, Kennedy joins NBL Canada after founding J. Kennedy and Associates nearly twelve years ago. J. Kennedy & Associates is a sports and entertainment marketing company based out of Los Angeles.

Some of Kennedy’s clients included the Los Angeles Lakers, Magna Entertainment, Horse-­-Racing Television and the Asian and European PGA Tours.

Prior to starting J. Kennedy and Associates, Kennedy worked on a variety of projects dealing with strategic advertising and media sales, integrated corporate partnerships, new business development, event marketing, merchandising and promotions.

The inaugural NBL Canada regular season kicked-­-off October 29, 2011 in Quebec City. For up-­-to-­-date scores, schedules, statistics, and ticket information or to watch live game webcasts, visit www.nblcanada.ca.

New plan calls for 66-game NBA season

Talks aimed at ending the NBA lockout have resumed, two people with knowledge of the situation said Wednesday, with a quick settlement necessary to start the season by Christmas.

The discussions began quietly Tuesday and are expected to continue through the Thanksgiving holiday, the people told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the talks were supposed to remain confidential.

The talks between representatives of the owners and players are now centered on settling their lawsuits: The players filed an antitrust lawsuit against the league in Minnesota and the league filed a pre-emptive suit in New York, seeking to prove the lockout was legal…

The plan now would be for 66 games if a resolution comes soon. The league played a 50-game schedule in 1998-99 during its last lockout, when a deal didn’t come until January, so there’s still hope of some games this season even if it doesn’t include Christmas.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

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After two days of meetings, NBA officials and players will resume talks on Friday to try to end the lockout and resume play on Christmas Day, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Representatives of the owners and players met in New York on Tuesday and Wednesday, as Y! Sports first reported, and discussed the possible settlement of the players’ recent antitrust lawsuits – which would essentially be an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement. These are no longer considered collective bargaining talks but rather a settlement of pending litigation.

While the two sides have enough time to negotiate a deal for a shortened schedule for the 2011-12 season, they likely would have to reach agreement no later than this weekend if the league also hopes to save its showcase games scheduled for Christmas. NBA commissioner David Stern has repeatedly said the league would need about 30 days after an agreement is reached before the season could start. The league could still find a way to start on shorter than 30 days notice, but not more than several days, sources said.

Negotiations between the two sides broke off on Nov. 14 after the union decided to disband. Players Association president Derek Fisher(notes) wasn’t in New York for the meetings this week, but could return as soon as Friday, sources said.

– Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports

TMZ has learned …”Pawn Stars” honcho Rick Harrison is adamant that he wants to help a struggling, talented, out-of-work NBA player earn a paycheck during the never-ending lockout.

We’re told the job would require the baller to work the counter just like everyone else in the shop. As for salary — we’re told Rick will work out the details depending on who applies for the gig.

– Reported by TMZ

Besiktas in Turkey now wants Lamar Odom

Lamar Odom

The Turkish team that features New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams is pushing now to add Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom to its roster, according to sources close to the situation.

And Odom, sources said, is giving the offer real consideration after Minnesota’s Kevin Love turned down the chance over the weekend to join Williams with Istanbul-based Besiktas.

Besiktas has been trying for days to acquire a top-flight big man to pair with Williams, who erupted for 50 points Tuesday in a EuroChallenge game. Yet in that victory over Gottingen of Germany, Besiktas lost Cleveland Cavaliers forward Semih Erden to a thumb injury that only increases its need for a frontcourt boost.

– Reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.com

Second-round pick Jordan Williams became the latest Net to sign overseas during the lockout, announcing through his agent via Twitter over the weekend that he has signed with a team in Poland. It’s a risk for the former Maryland power forward because he has yet to sign an NBA contract, leaving him without a safety net if he gets injured.

But there’s also no guarantee the 36th overall pick would get a spot on the Nets roster, especially if the season is canceled and he joins two draft classes and two free agent classes in what would be a maelstrom of player movement in the summer of 2012.

– Reported by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News

T.J. Ford to play in Croatia

TJ Ford

Indiana Pacers free-agent guard T.J. Ford is headed to Croatia to join KK Zagreb while the NBA lockout drags on.

After playing in a charity game Sunday night in his native Houston organized by John Lucas and son John Lucas III from the Chicago Bulls, Ford told ESPN.com that he’s headed to Croatia to join a team that also employs former Charlotte Bobcats lottery pick Sean May.

The deal includes an out to return to the NBA if the lockout ends.

– Reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.com

Juan Carlos Navarro

FC Barcelona Regal announced Monday that it has agreed to terms with star guard Juan Carlos Navarro on a contract extension through 2015. Navarro (1.91 meters, 31 years old) will appear with club president Sandro Rosell at a press conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss the signing. The extension comes days before Barcelona’s Turkish Airlines Euroleague Week 6 game against Union Olimpija, which Navarro enters needing just 14 points to become the competition’s career scoring leader. He has spent all but one season with his hometown club with whom he has won the Euroleague twice as well as six Spanish League titles, five Spanish King’s Cups and the 1999 Korac Cup. On an individual note, he was the 2008-09 Euroleague MVP, the 2010 Euroleague Final Four MVP and been named to the All-Euroleague First Team a record five times.

– Reported by Euroleague.net

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