Archive for November, 2011

Andrei Kirilenko

With a brilliant team-oriented performance that set a new standard for efficiency, CSKA Moscow forward Andrei Kirilenko made sure to keep his team undefeated while garnering Week 5 bwin MVP honors. Though Kirilenko, who was also the opening week MVP as well as the winner of the October MVP title, only recorded 3 shot attempts during his 35 minutes on the floor of CSKA’s 77-66 victory, he managed to score, rebound and play defense to the fullest. Kirilenko finished the night with 17 points on near perfect shooting – 1 of 2 two-pointers, 1 for 1 from behind the arc and 12 of 13 on free throws – plus 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 6 steals, 3 blocked shots and 7 fouls drawn to amass the highest performance index rating in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague yet this season: 39. Kirilenko now leads the league in performance index rating with an average of 29.4 per game. He is also the league-leader in both rebounding (9 rpg.) and blocked shots (3.2 bpg.) and ranked third in steals (2.2 spg.).

– Reported by Euroleague.net

dwyane wade

Dwyane Wade is ready to play basketball. Preferably in Miami.

And if that’s not an option, he’s preparing himself to start looking elsewhere.

Wade said Thursday that he has authorized agent Henry Thomas to listen to any viable offers that may be out there for him to play internationally this season — with the caveat that, until such time as all hope for an NBA season is gone, he won’t be signing any deal with any other club.

“I told my agent to just take a peek,” Wade said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It’s time. There’s a possibility that we’re not going to have a season. We’ve got to see what’s out there, what the possibilities are. I want to play competitive basketball this year. I’ve missed a year of basketball in my life before. I’m not trying to miss another. I don’t have too many years of basketball left.”

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

NBA owners hold conference call

NBA logo

NBA owners held a conference call Thursday to receive an update on the lockout, a person with knowledge of the details said.

Also Thursday, the antitrust lawsuit filed by players in California was reassigned to U.S. District Judge Samuel Conti. The first case management conference has been scheduled for March 9.

Though that would be too late to save the season, the sides could request the date to be moved up, or they could settle before it ever got that point. Attorney David Boies, representing players in an antitrust lawsuit against the league in California, said he hoped it wouldn’t be necessary to litigate the case all the way through.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

Shaq rejected entrance by NYC club

shaquille o'neal

Shaquille O’Neal couldn’t power his way through the lane at a New York nightclub this weekend — getting TURNED AWAY at the door … all because he was dressed like a lumberjack.

TMZ has learned … Shaq rolled up to nightclub/restaurant Mars 2112 on Saturday night wearing jeans, a sweatshirt, tennis shoes and a beanie (pictured above with random fan later that night).

But according to the club promoter, Mike Mogul, Shaq’s attire wasn’t up to club standards … so security politely informed the retired NBA star that he would not be allowed inside.

– Reported by TMZ

Suns guard Aaron Brooks signs in China

Aaron Brooks

Phoenix Suns restricted free-agent guard Aaron Brooks has agreed to a one-year deal with Guandong of the Chinese Basketball Association, sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Brooks is a popular player in China from his days of playing with Yao Ming in Houston. He’s been talking on and off with Chinese teams for several months, and finally agreed to a deal believed to be worth more than $2 million for the season…

Brooks will play with Washington Wizards free agent Yi Jianlian in Guangdong. The roster also includes Americans Fred Jones and Lester Hudson.

– Reported by  Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports

J.J. Barea gets contract offer in China

Jose Juan Barea

The Xinjiang Flying Tigers in China this week added J.J. Barea to their wish list and have extended a contract offer to the Dallas Mavericks free-agent guard, according to sources close to the situation.

ESPN.com reported Monday that Xinjiang was also chasing Atlanta Hawks free agent Jamal Crawford to fill the void created by a long-term wrist injury suffered by former Sacramento Kings first-round pick Quincy Douby.

Crawford has since said in multiple interviews that he’s considering the offer, but Xinjiang wants to move fast after losing Douby — one of the best players in the Chinese Basketball Association last season — just days away from the Nov. 19 season opener.

Barea, though, has expressed interest in playing in Spain and, according to sources close to Puerto Rico national team star, continues to explore his options there as well.

– Reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.com

Freshman guard Austin Rivers came to Duke as one of the nation’s top players, the kind of lofty status that always generates a bunch of one (year) and done talk.

But with the NBA lockout already wiping out hundreds of games already - and more likely to come in the coming weeks - you have to wonder if he or any other highly-touted player is all that eager to make that jump.

Austin’s father, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, said his son hasn’t really paid too much attention to the many issues that have factored into the stalemate between the owners and the union.

“He’s just trying to be a better player. He’s had good games and bad games already as a freshman,” the elder Rivers said. “He’s just trying to not be a freshman.”

In three games for the Blue Devils (3-0), Rivers has averaged 12 points per game while shooting 37.5 percent from the field.

– Reported by A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE

Dirk Nowitzki

Dallas Mavericks’ German power forward Dirk Nowitzki, MVP in the Mavericks’ NBA finals triumph in June, is not ruling out the possibility of a move to Europe if the current NBA lock-out continues.

“This week we are going back to work, Dirk has not touched the ball since the European Championship at the end of September,” declared Nowitzki’s personal coach Holger Geschwindner, who also said the player was “ruling nothing out, even if he has no concrete ideas” about a switch to Europe.

“At the moment, Dirk is out of shape. We are going to work hard over the nex two weeks,” added Geschwindner.

“If he goes anywhere, he will be going there for the whole season.”

– Reported by AFP

Luol Deng may sign overseas

Luol Deng

Add Luol Deng to the list of players more seriously considering European offers now that the NBA lockout is in the hands of lawyers.

Deng, who has been receiving offers for weeks to play overseas, is seriously considering four to five offers and could make a decision as early as next week, according to his Chicago-based agent Herb Rudoy. Any offer Deng signed would contain an opt-out clause should the NBA lockout end to salvage a shortened season, Rudoy said.

Deng, who is currently visiting family and overseeing charity work in his native Sudan, is a British citizen who has become the face of Great Britain’s national team since that country granted his family political asylum years ago. The offers that Deng is most seriously considering are based in Europe.

– Reported by K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune

Kevin Durant

The agent for Kevin Durant confirmed an overseas media report Thursday that the Oklahoma City Thunder star is in talks with BBC Bayreuth about playing in Germany during the ongoing NBA lockout.

Agent Aaron Goodwin told ESPN.com on Thursday night that talks between the teams are “ongoing” but said the deal is not in the final stages as described by SPOX.com.

The SPOX report quoted Bayreuth general manager Bayreuth GM Uli Eichbaum as saying: “We’re in the final stages of a deal and I’m an optimist. It’s not looking bad.”

Over the weekend, Durant told Yahoo! Sports that he was also weighing offers from Maccabi Tel-Aviv in Israel and Valencia in Spain.

“I’m right on the fence with playing overseas and I’m about to jump over,” Durant said.

– Reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.com

shaquille o'neal

Former Knick and NBA coaching legend Phil Jackson, who has been rumored to be Mike D’Antoni’s replacement ever since he stepped down from the Lakers, could make a third comeback. That’s according to one of Jackson’s most prominent ex-players, Shaquille O’Neal.

O’Neal, who was in New York City on Wednesday taping a segment for Yes Network’s “CenterStage” show to promote his new book Shaq Uncut, told a small group of reporters to never rule out Jackson’s return to the bench.

“He may come back,” O’Neal said. “Phil always says he’s never coming back.”

O’Neal said Jackson “changed my NBA career,” and that lasting impact would mean something to Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. That’s because Jackson has had plenty of experience managing and developing two superstars, and getting them to gel with each other, from Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen to O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. O’Neal credited Jackson’s scientific approach, from his demeanor to his routine, for how he became the Zen Master.

– Reported by Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York

With the NBA lockout heading to the courtroom and the 2011-12 season seemingly one step away from Armageddon, the Trail Blazers have decided to suspend their search for a new general manager, an NBA source familiar with the team’s plans told The Oregonian.

The Blazers already had slowed their search in recent weeks, as the NBA and its players dug into intense negotiations designed to salvage the season. And when the players shot down the NBA’s most recent offer Monday and elected to dissolve their union, the Blazers decided it was most appropriate to halt their search, in part to protect jobs.

After all, the salary of a new GM — possibly millions of dollars a year — would be equal to the costs of countless other jobs in the organization.

– Reported by Joe Freeman of the Oregonian

Cuttino Mobley

Former NBA guard Cuttino Mobley sued the Knicks Wednesday in federal court, claiming the team “saved millions” by sending him to a doctor “they knew would disqualify him from playing” due to a heart condition soon after trading for him in 2008.

Mobley claims the Knicks pulled that stunt to save money in payments toward the NBA’s “luxury tax” for teams with high payrolls, and also to clear “room under the salary cap in their request to retain the services of other [marquee] players.”

“Mobley’s career was effectively ended,” says the disability discrimination suit in Manhattan federal court filed by the retired journeyman guard, who before being signed by the Knicks in 2008 had played for the Los Angeles Clippers, leading them to within a game of the Western Conference Finals in 2006.He also played for the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic and Sacramento Kings…

The Knicks, in a statement, strongly denied the allegations that they purposely engineered Mobley’s disqualification from playing as a means to save $19 million in related luxury tax and and salary costs. And the contention in the suit that Mobley’s retirement helped them get under the salary cap to sign players is flawed. Mobley’s contract expired after the 2008-2009 season and the Knicks were attempting to get under the cap to sign players by the summer of 2010. Mobley’s retirement was irrelevant to that strategy.

– Reported by the New York Post

NBA cancels December 1-15 games

The National Basketball Association has notified teams that regular season games through to Dec. 15 have been canceled because of the labor dispute that has locked out players for nearly five months, a league spokesman said on Tuesday.

The NBA had already scrapped the first month of a regular season that was originally scheduled to begin Nov. 1 and the latest move came a day after players rejected a contract offer that included plans for a shortened season.

Only the first month of the regular season has offically been scrapped but NBA Comissioner David Stern said last week that the 2011-12 campaign would start in mid-December if a deal with players was reached.

– Reported by Frank Pingue of Reuters

NBA players filed an antitrust complaint against the league in Minnesota and plan to file another complaint in California later Tuesday.

The first antitrust suit vs. the NBA was filed in Minneapolis, where NFL players had some level of success in a similar court proceeding this summer.

Timberwolves forward Anthony Tolliver, Pistons guard Ben Gordon, free agent forward Caron Butler and Derrick Williams, the second overall draft pick by Minnesota in June who has yet to sign a rookie contract because of the lockout, are listed as plaintiffs in the Minnesota case.

NBA players’ association executive director Billy Hunter said another complaint will be filed in the Northern District of California. Those plaintiffs include Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Leon Powe.

According to the Minnesota complaint, the class-action lawsuit has been broken up into “subclasses” because they are “so numerous and geographically so widely dispersed that joinder of all members is impracticable.”

The plaintiffs argue that the lockout “constitutes an illegal group boycott, price-fixing agreement, and/or restraint of trade in violation of the Sherman Act” and that the owners’ final offer for a new CBA would have “wiped out the competitive market for most NBA players.”

– Reported by the Associated Press

David Robinson’s real estate fund has made its first purchase in the Houston area with the acquisition of a Hilton Hotel.

Hearst blog sister Nancy Sarnoff of the Houston Chronicle’s “Prime Property” real estate blog  reports that Robinson’s San Antonio-based Admiral Capital Real Estate Fund LP has acquired an interest in the Hilton Garden Inn at 12245 Katy Freeway. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Express-News staffer Valentino Lucio reports the property is along Interstate 10.

“We’re always looking to build long-term partnerships with like-minded people,” Christopher Nassetta, chief executive officer of Hilton Worldwide, said in a statement.

This is the group’s third acquisition and first investment in the hotel sector.

– Reported by Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News Blog

stephen curry

Warriors point guard Stephen Curry is now considering going overseas to play, since it’s looking as if NBA action appears to be a ways away.

Curry said via text message he is currently weighing his options. He will not only consider where to play and for how much, but when. Curry is enrolled at Davidson College and wants to finish the semester.

– Reported by Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times Blog

Sacramento Kings’ President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie today announced the hiring of Keith Smart and Bobby Jackson as assistant coaches on Head Coach Paul Westphal’s staff. Additionally, the Kings hired Dwayne Wilson (equipment manager) and announced the promotions of Pete Youngman (director of sports medicine) and Manny Romero (head athletic trainer).

Smart, who brings 22 years of professional basketball experience as either a coach or player, joins the Kings after spending last season (2010-11) as head coach of the Golden State Warriors. Prior to his appointment as head coach, Smart served seven seasons as an assistant coach for the Warriors, giving him the longest tenure of any assistant coach in Golden State history. Smart, 47, originally joined the Warriors prior to the 2003-04 campaign after spending the previous three seasons as an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was named the Cavaliers interim head coach in the middle of the 2002-03 season upon taking over for John Lucas. At the time, he was second-youngest head coach in the NBA.

Before joining the Cavaliers, Smart spent three seasons as the head coach of the CBA’s Fort Wayne Fury, compiling a record of 85-83 (.506) and guiding the team to its first back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history in 1997-98 and 1998-99. In his first campaign as a head coach at any level in 1997-98, he guided the Fury to a franchise-record 31-win season and a trip to the playoffs. The club made the playoffs again in 1998-99, despite having a single-season franchise record nine players signed to NBA contracts. He was awarded the American Conference Coach of the Month Award five times during his tenure with Fort Wayne and had a CBA-high 21 players signed to NBA contracts. During his professional basketball playing career, Smart spent six seasons in the CBA, two seasons in France and one in Venezuela. He also played briefly with the San Antonio Spurs during the 1988-89 season. Smart was originally drafted by the Warriors in the second round (41st overall) of the 1988 NBA Draft out of Indiana University. He is widely remembered for his Final Four heroics in 1987, in which he was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four after leading Indiana to a National Championship with his game-winning shot versus Syracuse in the title game.

Jackson, who enjoyed a 12-year career as a player in the NBA, begins his first season as an assistant coach for the Kings. He spent the past two years working as the Kings’ basketball operations special  assistant where his responsibilities included assisting in the areas of scouting, handling player evaluations and preparing for the NBA Draft. Jackson played six of his 12 NBA seasons with the Kings, averaging 10.6 ppg (.440 FG%, .356 3pt%, .810 FT%), 3.2 rpg, and 2.2 apg in 365 games with Sacramento. Drafted by the Seattle Sonics (now Oklahoma City) with the 23rd overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft and then traded to Denver on the night of the Draft, Jackson played for six teams in his NBA career — Denver, (1997-98), Minnesota (1998-99 - 1999-00), Sacramento (2000-01 - 2004-05, 2008-09), Memphis (2005-06), New Orleans (2006-07 -2007-08), and Houston (2007-08).

When he retired, Jackson ranked fifth in three-pointers made (381) and sixth in attempted (1,070) in Kings’ franchise history. He also ranked 10th in steals (356) in the Sacramento era. Jackson averaged 9.7 ppg (.417 FG%, .354 3pt%, .793 FT%), 3.1 rpg, and 2.6 apg in 755 career games. In eight of his 12 seasons, Jackson played in the NBA Playoffs and averaged 9.2 points (.405 FG%, .270 3pt%, .807 FT%), 2.8 rpg, and 2.1 apg in 58 contests. His best season came in 2002-03 when he earned the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award after averaging a career-best 15.2 ppg (.464 FG%, .379 3pt%, .846 FT%), 3.7 rpg, and 3.1 apg in 59 games. He became just the second point guard in league history to win the award, joining Orlando’s Darrell Armstrong (1999). Jackson remains one of the most beloved players in Sacramento-era history for his efforts both on and off the court. He established the Bobby Jackson Foundation in February 2004, a community-based organization created in honor of his mother, Sarah, who passed away in January 2002 after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. Additionally, he serves as the local spokesman for the Sacramento affiliate Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in memory of his mother.

Wilson enters his first season as the Kings’ equipment manager after serving in the same capacity for the Milwaukee Bucks for the past six seasons. With Milwaukee, Wilson also assisted the team’s strength and conditioning coach with player development. He was originally hired by the Dallas Mavericks as an assistant strength and conditioning coach in 1998. Wilson added the title of equipment manager in 1999 and served as both until the summer of 2004.

Youngman enters his first season as the Kings’ director of sports medicine after serving as the team’s head athletic trainer the previous 15 seasons. He spent three seasons as the club’s assistant to former head trainer Bill Jones before accepting the head post in June of 1996. Youngman joined the Kings after spending the previous nine years with the Boston Red Sox professional baseball organization at all levels of their minor league system.

Romero begins his first season as the head athletic trainer and his ninth overall with the team. He served as the Kings’ assistant athletic trainer/performance enhancement specialist the previous five seasons. Prior to joining the Kings, Romero worked seven seasons as a part of the Los Angeles Lakers training staff.

allen iverson

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit against former NBA star and Detroit Piston Allen Iverson over a 2009 bar fight.

The Detroit News reports Tuesday that federal Judge Nancy Edmunds found no evidence that Iverson punched an Ohio man or that the man who struck him was linked to the player.

Lawyer Michael Cafferty said Iverson feels vindicated. Guy Walker plans to appeal.

– Reported by the Associated Press

76ers hire Jeff Capel as assistant coach

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that Jeff Capel has joined Doug Collins’ staff as an assistant coach.  Capel was previously an assistant coach with the Charlotte Bobcats, a position he held since their inaugural season in 2004-05.

In his last full season with Charlotte in 2009-10, Capel was a member of Larry Brown’s staff and helped guide the Bobcats to a franchise-record 44 wins and their first playoff appearance.  That season, Charlotte led the league in fewest points allowed and ranked sixth in opponent’s field goal percentage.

Prior to joining the Bobcats, Capel was head coach of the Fayetteville Patriots of the NBA Development League and guided the team to the D-League Finals in his first full season in 2002-03.

At the collegiate level, Capel spent 12 years as head coach of Fayetteville State, North Carolina A&T and Old Dominion, posting a combined mark of 201-162 (.554).

Capel’s son Jason is in his second season as the head men’s basketball coach at Appalachian State University while his older son, Jeff Capel III, serves as an assistant coach on Mike Krzyzewski’s staff at Duke.  Doug Collins’ son Chris is the associate head coach at Duke.

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