Archive for December 7th, 2011

Roger Mason

The Wizards are close to bringing back District native Roger Mason Jr. Players are unable to reach oral or written deals with teams until the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified but Mason is set to have his second run with his hometown team, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation.

One person, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions, said on Wednesday that Mason is expected to join the team for the first day of training camp on Friday. The deal is expected to be for one year at the veteran minimum.

– Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post (Blog)

Atlanta Hawks will sign Tracy McGrady

Tracy McGrady

Veteran free agent forward Tracy McGrady plans to sign a one-year contract with the Hawks, according to a person with knowledge of McGrady’s intentions.

The person did not want to be identified because NBA teams are not allowed to agree to terms until Friday, after the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified by players and owners. However, the person said McGrady told the Hawks he would sign a contract for the veteran’s minimum once the rules allow it.

McGrady, 32, was the No. 9 overall pick by Toronto in the 1997 draft. He was an All-Star for Orlando and Houston from 2000-01 to 2006-07, but a series of injuries contributed to his steady decline.

McGrady rejuvenated his career last season in Detroit, where he started 39 of 72 games and averaged eight points and 3.5 assists while shooting 44 percent from the field. McGrady served as a so-called “point forward” for the Pistons because of his ballhandling and passing skills.

– Reported by Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Ricky Rubio

On his first winter morning in Minnesota, Ricky Rubio could have taken one of the many skyways that connect his downtown hotel to Target Center to avoid the cold.

Instead, Rubio decided to walk the couple of blocks outdoors to take in all the sights, sounds, and goose bumps that his new home brings with it.

“When I came to Target Center I decide to come in the street because I want to feel the weather,” Rubio said on Wednesday before going through a light workout. “It was a cold, a little.”

The NBA’s owners and players are still ironing out the details of a tentative labor agreement they reached over Thanksgiving weekend that would end the five-month lockout. In the most obvious sign yet that there are still wrinkles to be taken care of, Rubio was locked out of the arena when he arrived on Wednesday.

Literally.

“I was knocking on the door and nobody was opening,” he said with a chuckle. “I was like, `Cmon man.”’

Several Minnesota Timberwolves trickled into Target Center for voluntary workouts on Wednesday, two days before training camp is tentatively scheduled to begin. Wes Johnson, Anthony Tolliver, Michael Beasley, Darko Milicic and Nikola Pekovic joined All-Star Kevin Love, who has been in town for a couple of days.

– Reported by Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press

Clippers hire new assistant trainer

The Los Angeles Clippers today announced that Joe Resendez has been named the team’s Assistant Athletic Trainer/Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach. Resendez spent the last four seasons as the Athletic Trainer/Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League. He came to the Vipers for their inaugural season after a two-year stint as the men’s basketball athletic trainer at Louisiana Tech, where he earned his Master of Science in Exercise Physiology in 2006.

After earning his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology with an emphasis in sports medicine from the University of Texas-Pan American in 2003, the Brownsville native spent one season as the Assistant Athletic Trainer at the University of Texas-San Antonio.

Resendez is a certified athletic trainer through the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) and as a performance enhancement specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). He also served as physiotherapist for the Great Britain National Futures team during the summer of 2010.

Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry said he got assurances from general manager Larry Riley and coach Mark Jackson that he’s staying with the Warriors. The point guard has been rumored as part of a trade package that would bring Chris Paul from New Orleans.

Question: Have you talked to anyone with the Warriors about the rumors?

Stephen Curry: “I’ve talked to Larry (Riley), and I’ve talked to Coach (Mark) Jackson. They told me that I’m safe and secure here with the Warriors. They want me here. Obviously, this is a business and there are things can happen where a GM has to make a decision in the best interest of the team. When you have a guy like, Chris Paul, who is a franchise-changer, it’s something you have to think about with anybody on your roster. I understand that, and I’m not going to be upset if they entertain it. It’s nice to be in the conversation with a guy like that. It’s something that is going to happen when you’re in this business, and you have to run with it.”

– Reported by Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle (Blog)

Carlos Arroyo interested in Knicks

Carlos Arroyo

In addition to a starting center, the Knicks have been on the hunt for a solid backup point guard for Chauncey Billups, and they’ve reportedly contacted unrestricted free agent J.J. Barea.

But there’s another Puerto Rican who would fit well in New York: Carlos Arroyo, who played for the Heat and Celtics last season.

“I love New York,” Arroyo told ESPNNewYork.com. “It would be a great situation for me — aside from being the largest Puerto Rican population in the U.S. (laughs). I have a great relationship with Chauncey, Melo and Amare, especially with Chauncey since we played together in Detroit [from 2004 to ‘06].”

– Reported by Jared Zwerling of ESPN NY

Kings hire Jim Todd as assistant coach

Sacramento Kings’ President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie today announced the hiring of Jim Todd as an assistant coach. He joins current assistant coaches Jim Eyen, Keith Smart and Bobby Jackson on Head Coach Paul Westphal’s staff.

Todd coached in China last season and also served as an assistant coach for the Canadian National Men’s Basketball team at the 2010 FIBA World Championship Games in Turkey. He has been involved in coaching at the high school, college and pro level since 1976. Todd, who is no stranger to coaching in the NBA, was an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks from 2008-2010. Prior to his assignment in Atlanta, he spent the 2007-08 campaign as an assistant coach for Milwaukee in his third stint with the Bucks. Todd spent three seasons as an assistant coach with Toronto (2004-2007), and the Raptors won a franchise-record 47 games and the Atlantic Division title in his final season. He began his NBA career as an assistant coach under Chris Ford with the Bucks from 1996-98. Todd followed Ford to the Los Angeles Clippers in 1998, and was named interim head coach of the Clippers on February 3, 2000.

An assistant coach at DePaul University in 2001-02, Todd then returned to Milwaukee as an assistant

coach the following two seasons, helping guide Milwaukee to back-to-back playoff trips.

After graduating with a Masters in Education from Fitchburg State (his alma mater) in 1976, Todd led

Notre Dame (MA) High School to a 26-2 record and the state title. From 1977-86, he worked as a head coach at Fitchburg State, an assistant at Columbia University and Marist College, and an associate head coach at Manhattan College. He helped lead Marist to its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance, and worked with future NBA center Rik Smits.

Todd was head coach at Salem State from 1987-96, recording a 192-57 (.771) mark, including a 110-10 (.917) record in Conference play. He led the school to eight Division III NCAA tourney appearances, and was named NCAA New England Coach of the Year in 1990. He also coached Salem State’s golf team, leading them to three NCAA appearances.

A member of both the Salem State and Fitchburg State Halls of Fame, Todd was recently inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.

Richard Jefferson

The Richard Jefferson era in San Antonio appears over.

According to an NBA source, the Spurs plan to exercise their amnesty provision on Jefferson’s contract, once that option becomes available to them upon completion of the new collective bargaining agreement. A source familiar with the Spurs front office’s thinking said the team is awaiting to see the finalized amnesty rule before coming to a final decision, but the team is strongly considering jettisoning Jefferson.

The move, first reported by Yahoo! Sports, would wipe from the books the remaining three years of  Jefferson’s contract worth nearly $30.5 million, $9.2 million of which is due this season, and give the Spurs financial freedom to pursue a new starting small forward in free agency.

That  replacement, in fact, might be already be in San Antonio.

Not long before word of Jefferson’s impending release broke, free agent Caron Butler wrapped up a visit in San Antonio his agent, Raymond Brothers, said “went flawlessly.”

– Reported by Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-New Blog

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Bob Vander Weide, whose leadership watch included seven 50-win seasons, five division championships, two Eastern Conference titles and 13 playoff berths, announced his retirement as Chief Executive Officer/Vice Chair of the Orlando Magic today.

Vander Weide will continue to serve the Magic in a consulting role. Vander Weide has served on the NBA’s Labor Relations Committee, as well as the Planning Committee, which is developing the league’s new revenue sharing plans.

Rich DeVos will serve as the Senior Chairman of the Orlando Magic, while Dan DeVos will take on the responsibilities of Chairman.

Alex Martins has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer and will continue is his role of running the local operations and day-to-day business of the organization, while Otis Smith will continue as President of Basketball Operations/General Manager, reporting to Martins.

Dan DeVos will serve as the Magic’s lead representative on the NBA’s Board of Governors, while Dick DeVos and Martins will serve as Orlando’s Alternate Governor to the NBA’s board and member of the NBA’s Team President Advisory Council.

“It’s been an incredibly exciting and fulfilling 20 years,” said Vander Weide, who also oversaw the creation of the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation, which has distributed more than $16 million to the local community. “Now, it’s time to focus my energy and efforts in Grand Rapids (Mich.), as well as some charitable and business endeavors. I am certainly looking forward to this next chapter and have great confidence in Dan, Alex and Otis and the leadership of this organization going forward.”

“We truly thank Bob for his dedication, leadership and strategic vision, “  said Dan DeVos. “He has created a culture of winning, and admirably led the family’s commitment to community, while also working diligently to ensure that our customers and stakeholders have a first-class experience. Like Bob, we look forward to our continued journey and achieving our ultimate objective of winning an NBA Championship, while putting a product on the floor that all of Central Florida can be proud of. The DeVos’ commitment to team ownership and the Central Florida community is truly multi-generational.”

Vander Weide, 53, and a native of Grand Rapids, Mich., began his career with the Magic in 1992 as Vice President of Basketball Operations and was named President in 1994, before shifting to his current role of CEO/Vice Chair. He currently resides in Grand Rapids with his wife, Cheri, and their 5 children.

Vander Weide, along with Alex Martins, played a key role in securing and developing the state-of-the-art Amway Center. Vander Weide developed a Magic culture which emphasizes winning, commitment to community and a first-class customer experience.

During its most recent years, the Magic have recorded four straight 50-win seasons, the longest stretch in franchise history, while having more wins and more playoff wins than any team in the NBA with the exception of the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers over the last four seasons.

In addition, Magic community relations programming under their direction impacts an estimated 100,000 kids each year, while the front office staff commits more than 6,000 volunteer hours in the community.

From a business perspective, the Magic have recorded 120 straight sellouts, while doubling its season ticket base to a franchise record 14,000 over the last five years. In addition, under their direction they have maintained multiple affordable ticket options, including 2,500 seats priced $20 or less. In its eighth annual Ultimate Sport Rankings, ESPN ranked the Magic first among all NBA teams and second among all NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL franchises in “best sports experiences.” The standings were tabulated on a variety of categories, including: fan relations, affordability, ownership commitment, on-the-court performance and stadium experience. In its ninth annual rankings last year, the Amway Center was ranked No. 1 in the NBA.

Vander Weide was also instrumental in bringing professional hockey and professional women’s basketball to Orlando. From 1995-2001, the Orlando Solar Bears of the International Hockey League captured one divisional title, three Eastern Conference crowns and the IHL’s Turner Cup Championship in 2000-01. In April of 1998, Orlando was granted a WNBA franchise. The Miracle finished its inaugural season in 1999.

Besides handling his Orlando Magic duties, Vander Weide also maintains several business responsibilities in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich. Vander Weide has also stayed involved in a variety of Orlando civic and community organizations. He was named the 1997 “Orlandoan of the Year” by Orlando Magazine and chaired the 2000 Heart of Florida’s United Way Campaign.

As Chairman, Dan DeVos responsibilities include long-term strategic planning for the organization and new business initiatives.

DeVos is chairman, president and CEO of DP Fox Ventures, LLC, a diversified business development and management company with interests in real estate, transportation and sports and entertainment in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  DP Fox employs more than 500 professionals through companies including Fox Insurance Agency, Fox Powersports and Fox Motor Group, a retail automotive group representing 40 manufacturers at 20 locations.

DeVos also serves as co-owner, president and CEO, governor of the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, the top affiliate for the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. He led the way for the return of professional hockey to West Michigan in 1996. Since then, the Griffins organization has strived to meet a standard of excellence in everything it does, while providing a fan experience focused on family fun and entertainment. That excellence begins on the ice, where the team has won five division titles in either the AHL or the International Hockey League over the last 12 seasons.

DeVos is a member of the AHL’s executive committee and a member of the West Michigan Sports Commission’s board of directors. He was named the IHL’s Executive of Year in 1997 and served as the league’s chairman of the board during its final two seasons.

A member of the board of directors of Alticor Inc., the parent company of Amway Corporation, DeVos also serves as president/CEO of Powell Pointe Resort, the developer of Cape Eleuthera, and of Cape Eleuthera Properties, the manager of the Princess Cays facility, on the island of Eleuthera, The Bahamas. Additionally, serves as a partner for the Georgian Automotive Group, based in Barrie, Ontario, as well as a partner for CWD Real Estate Investments.

In honor of the impact that he, his brothers and their father, Rich, have made on the sports landscape both locally and nationally, the DeVos family was inducted into the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame in the team category in 2011.

DeVos is involved in a variety of local business and civic organizations, including serving as the board of trustees president for Hope Network, co-chair of the Children’s Miracle Network, and as a member of the Grand Valley University Foundation. He also serves as vice chair on the board of trustees for Northwood University,

The Portland Trail Blazers announced today that Head Coach Nate McMillan has finalized his coaching staff for the 2011-12 season by retaining Bernie Bickerstaff, Bob Ociepka, Buck Williams, Kaleb Canales and Dean Cooper, while adding Larry Greer as assistant coach and Dan Dickau as player development assistant.

Greer has spent the past four seasons as an advance scout with the team and Dickau, a former Trail Blazer who played in the NBA for six seasons, begins his first year on the coaching staff.

Bickerstaff returns for his second year in Portland after spending the previous two seasons as an assistant coach with Chicago. Bickerstaff’s 38-year NBA career includes head coaching positions with Seattle (1985-90), Denver (1995-96), Washington (1997-99) and Charlotte (2004-07). He has also served as general manager of the Denver Nuggets (1990-97) and Charlotte Bobcats (2004-07), and as Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Bobcats (2007-08).

Ociepka also enters his second season with the Trail Blazers after a two-year stint as an assistant coach in Chicago. With 21 years of NBA experience, Ociepka has spent time as an assistant coach with Minnesota (2006-08), Milwaukee (2003-06), Detroit (1998-99, 2001-03), Cleveland (1999-2001), Philadelphia (1996-97), L.A. Clippers (1993-96) and Indiana (1989-93).

Williams, one of Portland’s most beloved former players, joined the Trail Blazers coaching staff last season. The team’s power forward from 1989-96, Williams helped lead Portland to the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992 as Western Conference Champions. Williams is the team’s all-time leader in field goal percentage (55.0%), ranks fourth in rebounds (4,861) and seventh in games played (557).

Canales is set to begin his third year as Trail Blazers assistant coach and eighth overall with the team. He joined the team as a video intern in 2004 and spent the next three seasons as the team’s video coordinator, where he prepared scouting video for coaches. He was promoted to assistant coach/video coordinator in 2008-09. The Laredo, Texas, native guided the Trail Blazers to a 4-1 record as head coach of Portland’s 2010 NBA Summer League entry in Las Vegas.

Greer, entering his first season as assistant coach in 2011-12, joined the Trail Blazers in 2007 as an advance scout. Prior to his time in Portland, Greer served as advance scout for Houston from 2005-07. A graduate of Northeastern University in 1989, Greer spent the first 16 years of his career in college basketball, including assistant coaching roles with Wright State (2003-05) and Boston University (1994-2003).

Cooper will serve as the team’s player development director for a second season in 2011-12. In that role, Cooper works closely with the coaching staff to track each player’s individual development and improvement on the court. Cooper’s 12-year NBA career includes two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2008-10 and nine years in several roles with the Houston Rockets from 1999-2008.

A Portland area native who starred at Prairie High School, Dickau played six seasons in the NBA from 2002-08, including parts of two seasons with the Trail Blazers (2003-04, 2006-07). In his new role as player development assistant, Dickau will work with Cooper on player development, focusing on the team’s point guards. He finished his NBA career with averages of 5.8 points, 1.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 300 games (57 starts) with Atlanta, Portland, New Orleans, Dallas, Boston and the L.A. Clippers. A graduate of Gonzaga University, Dickau was selected with the 28th overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft by Atlanta.

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