Archive for November 16th, 2011

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

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