Archive for November 22nd, 2011

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

Austin Rivers is a work in progress

The Duke Blue Devils are 5-0 after a hard-fought win against Tennessee in the opening round of the Maui Invitational. Mike Krzyzewski now has a historic 905 wins and counting.

But for Krzyzewski’s star freshman, Austin Rivers, things are still a work in progress. Rivers led all Duke scorers with 18 points Monday in Maui. But it was an inefficient 18. He shot 6-for-15 from the field, made critical turnovers and passed on wide-open jump shots for contested shots at the basket.

Four games into his career, he sometimes looks like the star he was billed to be. Other times like a former high school stud who suddenly finds himself in over his head at the next level.

Rivers’ inconsistency was on display for a huge contingent of NBA GMs and scouts to see. He started the game by missing five of his first six shots. He drove wildly into the teeth of the defense. He looked to shoot every time he touched the ball.

And just as quickly, as scouts started to shake their heads and jot down derogatory notes in their iPads, Rivers exploded. First it was a pair of 3-pointers toward the end of the first half. Later, in the second half, he hit a couple of beautiful floaters in the lane.

– Reported by Chad Ford of ESPN.com

InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner says: It’s too early to really judge Rivers or any other freshman one way or another. It’s certainly fine to start to form an opinion, but we will learn a lot more in the coming weeks and months.

76ers saying goodbye to mascot Hip Hop

Seeing as how there is no actual basketball to talk about during the NBA lockout, this qualifies as big Sixers news. After receiving hundreds of communications from fans, nearly all of them advocating the end of a symbol of a different era, the team’s new ownership will announce today that the never-beloved mascot has been put out to pasture, literally.

To spare the sensibilities of the one or two children who weren’t scared to death by the rabbit, the team will say that Hip Hop fell in love, married and moved away to start a family. Apparently, it either was that or announce that they were going to boil him in a pot on a really big stove in a remake of “Fatal Attraction.”

A decade ago, with Allen Iverson as the face of the franchise and Pat Croce rappelling the Walt Whitman Bridge as the out-there owner, Hip Hop arrived as a replacement for another mascot, Big Shot (whose demise wasn’t exactly mourned, either, if memory serves).

– Reported by Rich Hofmann of the Philadelphia Inquirer

InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner says: No word on if mascot Hip Hop will now cross over and become R&B.

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