Archive for January, 2012

Carmelo Anthony to sit out a few games

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony is hurting, and the struggling New York Knicks are going to be without their leading scorer for at least a few days.

Anthony will not play Friday night when the Knicks visit Miami because of an array of thumb, wrist and ankle problems, and is not expected in the lineup when New York heads to Houston on Saturday.

“I’ve just got to be smart,” Anthony said Friday morning. “I think I was trying to be a superhero and trying to prove to my teammates that I can play hurt, trying to hide it. But at the end of the day me doing that, it wasn’t really doing nothing but hurting the team. … Me being limited out there on the court, it wasn’t doing anything for me, for my psyche, for my body. It was just making it worse.”

Potentially making matters even worse for the Knicks on Friday: Heat guard Dwyane Wade may return to Miami’s lineup, after going through the team’s morning shootaround practice and getting several sessions of on-court conditioning in this week while trying to recover from a sprained right ankle. Wade has missed Miami’s last six games because of the sprain.

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

Andrea Bargnani

Raptors forward-center Andrea Bargnani reinjured his strained left calf in the first overtime of Wednesday’s double-overtime victory at Utah. Tests done Thursday in Denver revealed no significant damage to the calf. Bargnani will be treated symptomatically and is expected to be sidelined for an indefinite period of time.

Bargnani originally injured his calf January 11 against Sacramento. He missed six games from January 13-22.

In 13 games this season, Bargnani has averaged a team-leading 23.5 points with 6.4 rebounds, second on the team, in a team-high 36.1 minutes. He has scored 30 or more points in four contests, including 36 in his return to the lineup Tuesday in Phoenix.

Ron Artest

After game after game of uninterested play, World Peace suddenly was the same tough, defensive-minded small forward that the Lakers signed in 2009 and helped them win an NBA title.

“I had gotten bored with defense because it was so easy to stop people over the years,” World Peace said. “I mean, I got real bored with it. When you are stopping guys every single time, what else are you going to do? It caught up to me.”

So World Peace slacked off and let his focus wander and his conditioning slip in his role as the team’s sixth player. His shooting percentage fell off and his defense suffered. He said, though, that he feels “almost back to where I want to be.”

“I played 38 minutes yesterday and didn’t come out of the game and I was like ‘Wow’,” he said.  “I was able to play hard and help the defense. … I didn’t think I would be able to play 38 minutes this early.”

– Reported by Janis Carr of the Orange County Register

Hornets still hope to keep Eric Gordon

Eric Gordon

Gordon, 6 feet 3, 215 pounds, will become a restricted free agent July 1, and General Manager Dell Demps said they are going to make a strong push to re-sign him.

“I’m still very optimistic that we will make Eric a big part of our team for years to come, and hopefully, we’ll get something done this summer,” Demps said.

The Hornets can match any offer Gordon gets, and there already are reports surfacing that the Indiana Pacers are planning to make a push to sign Gordon, who is from Indianapolis

Gordon said last week that he was willing to sign a long-term extension with the Hornets. Sources said Gordon wanted a maximum-money, four- to five-year contract. But the Hornets and the NBA, who currently owns the franchise, weren’t willing to offer him a four-year, $62 million deal.

“We all worked hard on the extension, but sometimes business is business,” Gordon said in a statement. “Right now, my sole focus is on staying in great shape and making sure I get back to 100 percent health as quickly as possible, so I can return to playing and helping my teammates and Coach Monty win games. This is really what it is all about right now for me.’’

– Reported by John Reid of the New Orleans Times Picayune

The insinuations of basketball inadequacy are potentially harmful for the Prudential Center, if only because the city of Newark — which owns the arena — wants to lure a permanent NBA team once the Nets leave.

According to a source familiar with the situation, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and former Newark resident Shaquille O’Neal have spoken several times about the subject and are in the process of arranging a meeting with the league.

One potential obstacle is the Nets, who don’t want a team just 13 miles away from the Barclays Center so soon after their own transition.

As a response to the various comments from the Nets, a spokesperson for the Prudential Center released a statement lauding the arena’s history — which included “more basketball games (last year) than any other arena in the U.S. but for Staples Center,” thanks in part to WNBA and NCAA Tournament games — while strategically mentioning the Barclays Center’s competition in midtown.

“Like Staples, the Garden and other new, big-city arenas, the Rock is a state-of-the-art facility meant to host all kinds of world-class sports and entertainment events. That’s why we have become one of the 10 busiest arenas in the world.”

– Reported by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News

76ers sign center Francisco Elson

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that they have signed free agent center Francisco Elson.  With the addition of Elson, the Sixers roster now stands at 14.

“We are happy to pick up Francisco Elson, a veteran big man who can help bolster our front court,” Sixers President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn said.

Elson (7-0, 240) has appeared in 467 games with 149 starts while averaging 3.7 points (47.8% FGs, 70.0% FTs) and 3.5 rebounds in 15.4 minutes per game.  In 2006-07, he saw action in 70 games with 41 starts for the NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs.

This is Elson’s second stint with the Sixers.  He was acquired via trade from Milwaukee along with Jodie Meeks in exchange for Primoz Brezec, Royal Ivey and a second round pick on Feb. 18, 2010.  The native of the Netherlands only appeared in one game for the Sixers following the trade but played in 62 games for Utah last season.

Milwaukee Bucks General Manager John Hammond announced the following information on the injury to Andrew Bogut (7-0, 260):

“Andrew returned to Milwaukee this morning to be evaluated by Bucks orthopaedic physician Michael Gordon, M.D., and to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam on his left ankle.   The results of the MRI identified a left ankle fracture which will keep Bogut out indefinitely.”

The seventh-year center was injured in last night’s win at Houston when his left foot landed awkwardly on a Rockets player’s foot after attempting to block a shot in the first period.  Playing in his 400th career NBA game last night, Bogut left the contest with three points, four rebounds and three blocked shots.  In 12 games this season, Bogut averaged 11.3 points, a team-high 8.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.0 steal and a team-high 2.0 blocked shots (T-7th in NBA) in 30.0 minutes per contest.

Eric Gordon

Hornets guard Eric Gordon will be sidelined for an additional three-to-six weeks the team announced. After undergoing further tests on his right knee, it revealed a right knee contusion. Team doctors recommended rest for his knee. Gordon is expected to resume full basketball activities and return to the court once the recommended rest time is up. The injury occurred in the second half of the team’s opening night game in Phoenix.

In two games this season, Gordon averaged a team-best 21.0 points per game, including hitting the game-winning 20-foot jumper with 4.2 seconds remaining against the Suns on 12/26.

Brian Scalabrine

Derrick Rose said he’d make the pass again. Coach Tom Thibodeau said Rose made the right basketball play.

And fans keep asking: What in the world is Brian Scalabrine doing taking the go-ahead shot in the waning seconds?

To review: The Chicago Bulls lost to the Indiana Pacers 95-90 on Wednesday, their first home loss this season. Thibodeau had inserted Scalabrine for Carlos Boozer in an offense/defense switch on the Pacers’ previous possession. The Bulls got their stop when Joakim Noah rebounded a David West miss.

Eschewing their final timeout, Rose dribbled the ball upcourt, went to attack the left side and fired a crosscourt pass to a wide-open Scalabrine when Roy Hibbert and the Pacers’ defense collapsed on him.

“It’s a make-or-miss league,” Thibodeau said. “We missed.”

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

Chris Paul and Pau Gasol trade barbs

Chris Paul

If the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers didn’t have a rivalry before Wednesday night, they certainly appear to have one now.

After Clippers forward Blake Griffin fouled Lakers forward Pau Gasol with 1.1 seconds remaining in the Lakers’ 96-91 win, Clippers guard Chris Paul tried to grab the ball from Gasol’s hands as the two began jawing at one another. Gasol and Paul continued to talk while Lakers guard Kobe Bryant got in front of the two as Gasol walked to the free throw line.

Before Gasol stepped to the line, he smiled and put his hand on top of Paul’s head. Paul immediately shoved Gasol’s hand away and tapped Gasol on his head.

“He tried to touch the top of my head. I don’t like that,” Paul said after the game. “I got a son of my own. I don’t know if Pau got kids, but don’t touch the top of my head like I’m one of your kids. I don’t know what his intentions were, and it doesn’t matter. I don’t know if he’s got kids, but I’m not one of them.”

– Reported by Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles

And according to the Associated Press, “Gasol, who has no kids, insisted he was misunderstood. “I’m sorry he felt that way,” the Spanish 7-footer said. “I do that all the time with my teammates. Nothing mean about it.” When asked what Paul yelled at him after the game, Gasol called it “just trash.”

VIDEO OF PAU GASOL TOUCHING CHRIS PAUL’S HEAD

Roy Hibbert

Indiana Pacers guard George Hill and center Roy Hibbert will have to wait until the summer to get their next contracts and find out where they’ll be playing next season.

The deadline for contract extensions passed Wednesday night with neither player agreeing to a new deal.

They will be restricted free agents, meaning the Pacers can match any offer made to them, this summer.

“We’ll just wait until this summer and see what we can do,” Pacers President Larry Bird said.

It’s not surprising that Hibbert didn’t agree to an extension. He and agent David Falk said last week that they would prefer to wait until this summer to work on a new contract.

Hill’s status, on the other hand, is somewhat surprising.

– Reported by Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star

Nicolas Batum

The 9 p.m. Wednesday deadline for the Trail Blazers and Nicolas Batum to agree on a contract extension came and went without a deal, raising questions about the small forward’s future with the organization and rankling his agent.

After weeks of negotiations that included talks throughout the day Wednesday, the Blazers and Batum’s agent, Bouna Ndiaye, could not find middle ground, guaranteeing that Batum will become a free agent after this season. And Ndiaye says Batum will explore every available opportunity on the market.

“They say they love him but they didn’t offer him something fair, so that’s it,” Ndiaye said. “We tried and there’s no deal. On July 1 we’re going to look at the market first before we come back to the Blazers. That’s for sure.”

Wednesday’s development does not necessarily signal an end to Batum’s tenure with the Blazers, even if Ndiaye lands an offer from another team, but it does create uncertainty. Assuming the Blazers tender Batum a qualifying offer after the season — a virtual lock — he will become a restricted free agent on July 1. At that point, the Blazers would have the right to match any offer from another team.

– Reported by Joe Freeman of the Oregonian

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andrew bogut

Andrew Bogut was healthy and Bucks coach Scott Skiles was talking earlier Wednesday about ways to increase the big man’s scoring production a few points a game.

Then it happened, without warning late in the first quarter of the Bucks’ game against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.

Bogut went up to try to block a shot by Rockets guard Kyle Lowry and came down on Lowry’s foot. The 7-foot center twisted his left ankle and limped off the court with the help of Bucks trainer Marc Boff.

After the game, Bogut sat in front of his locker with a grimace on his face and a large black boot on his left foot.

“It wasn’t good,” Bogut said.

– Reported by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Blog

Eric Gordon

Guard Eric Gordon has turned down a four-year extension offer from the New Orleans Hornets, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The person, who spoke to The Associated Press late Wednesday night on condition of anonymity because negotiations had not been discussed publicly, didn’t disclose the financial terms of New Orleans’ offer.

Gordon, who turned 23 last month, came to New Orleans as a key component of a multiplayer trade shortly before the regular season that sent four-time All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers. Under NBA rules, the Hornets had until midnight Wednesday to come to terms with Gordon on an extension in order to prevent him from becoming a restricted free agent after this season.

– Reported by the Associated Press

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The Denver Nuggets have signed center Kosta Koufos to a multi-year contract extension, Nuggets Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri announced today. According to the Denver Post, the deal is for three years and $9 million.

Koufos, 7-0, 265, is averaging 3.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in 11 games (five starts) this season. In 145 career games with the Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz, he has averaged 3.3 points and 2.4 rebounds in 8.9 minutes per game.

In 27 NBA games in which he has played at least 17 minutes, Koufos is averaging 9.2 points, 6.1 rebounds 1.22 blocked shots. He recorded his first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds against the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 4.

The Nuggets acquired the 22-year-old Koufos from Minnesota as part of a 13-player, three-team trade on Feb. 22, 2011.

Koufos was drafted 23rd overall by the Jazz in 2008 after playing one season at Ohio State. In his only college season, he averaged 14.4 points while helping the Buckeyes to the 2008 NIT championship.

Eric Gordon out at least 3 more weeks

Eric Gordon

New Orleans guard Eric Gordon will miss at least another three weeks as he recovers from a bruised right knee.

“Eric is going to probably be out for another three weeks,” New Orleans coach Monty Williams said Wednesday night before the Hornets faced the Thunder. “We will re-evaluate after that time. Doctors think he needs more time. It’s prudent for us as an organization is to make sure he’s right before he comes back.”

Gordon came to New Orleans as part of a multiplayer trade shortly before the regular season that sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Danilo Gallinari

The Denver Nuggets have signed forward Danilo Gallinari to a multi-year contract extension, Nuggets Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri announced today. According to the Denver Post, the deal is for four years and $42 million.

Gallinari, 6-10, 225, has appeared in 17 games this season (all starts) and is averaging career-highs in points (17.4), rebounds (5.2), assists (2.8), steals (1.71), field-goal percentage (.462) and minutes (34.2). He ranks 22nd in the NBA in scoring, 13th in free-throw percentage (.892) and 13th in steals.

Gallinari, 23, was drafted sixth overall by the New York Knicks in 2008. He was acquired by Denver as part of a 13-player, three-team deal on Feb. 22, 2011.

“Gallo has been excellent and done everything we have asked since we made the trade last February,” Ujiri said. “Everybody is seeing how talented he is, and he’s only 23 years old. He is only going to get better.”

Gallinari recently put together one of the best games of his young career, scoring a career-high 37 points (18-of-20 FTs, both career-highs) and grabbing 11 rebounds in a double-overtime victory over the Knicks on Jan. 21. So far this season, he has scored 20-plus points seven times (30-plus twice), registered two double-doubles and attempted 10-or-more free throws four times.

In 2010-11, the native of Italy appeared in 62 games (60 starts), averaging 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 33.9 minutes per game. He scored at least 20 points 28 times, including two 30-plus performances.

Kevin Love signs Timberwolves extension

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that the team has signed forward Kevin Love to a four-year contract extension. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the deal is worth $62 million and gives Love the option to opt-out after the third season.

“We are pleased to have signed Kevin to a contract extension,” said Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn. “Kevin has improved every year that he’s been in the league, to the point where he’s now one of the top players in the NBA. In Kevin, we have a core player that we can build around as we continue to improve our team.”

“I’m excited to be staying with the Timberwolves and playing in front of our fans. They have been great to me and my teammates during my years here and I thank them for their support,” Love said. “I like the direction our team is going, and I feel that big things are ahead of us. I look forward to being a part of this team as we continue to develop and grow.”

Love was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player last season after averaging 20.2 points and a league-leading 15.2 rebounds per game. He became the first NBA player since Moses Malone in 1982-83 to average 20+ points and 15+ rebounds. This season, Love is averaging 24.9 points and 13.9 rebounds. Love leads the NBA with 16 double-doubles and also ranks fourth in scoring, second in rebounding, second in free throws made (122) and first in minutes per game (39.4).

Love was selected with the 5th overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft out of UCLA by the Memphis Grizzlies and traded to the Wolves later that night. He averaged 11.1 points and 9.1 rebounds during his rookie season in 2008-09. In 2009-10, the 6-10 forward upped those averages to 14.4 points and 11.0 rebounds. Last season, Love recorded 64 point/rebound double-doubles, including a franchise record 53 consecutive double-doubles. For his career, the 23-year-old is averaging 15.8 ppg and 11.9 rpg.

Robin Lopez

Robin Lopez of the Phoenix Suns has been suspended one game without pay for improper conduct towards a game official, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President Basketball Operations.

The incident, in which Lopez made contact with an official, occurred with 8:14 remaining in the second quarter of the Suns’ 99-96 loss to the Toronto Raptors at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Ariz. on Jan. 24.

According to the Arizona Republic Suns blog, “Lopez’s temper was stoked when he missed a post-up attempt against Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani and felt he was fouled on the play. Lopez raced back on defense and needlessly reach in to foul big man Linas Kleiza about 40 feet from the basket before turning his ire and glare toward Mott. A time out whistle stopped play. As Lopez walked toward the Suns bench, he brushed Mott with his left shoulder as Mott backed away. Lopez did not appear to make an attempt to avoid Mott, who then ejected Lopez. The three game officials had a brief conference and the decision stood.”

Lopez will serve his suspension Friday when the Suns visit the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Los Angeles Lakers have assigned forward Derrick Caracter to the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Caracter, who underwent surgery on December 14th to remove part of a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, originally sustained the injury two days prior during Lakers training camp.

Selected by the Lakers in the second round (58th overall) of the 2010 NBA Draft, Caracter appeared in 41 games last season, averaging 2.1 points and 1.0 rebounds in 5.2 minutes.

The D-League assignment is the third of Caracter’s career, having twice been assigned to the Bakersfield Jam last season.  In three regular season games with Bakersfield a year ago, Caracter averaged 8.7 points and 6.0 rebounds in 19.7 minutes.  In two playoff games with the Jam, he averaged 7.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.50 blocks in 21.5 minutes.

The 6’9” forward out of UTEP will be available to play tomorrow night when the D-Fenders go on the road to face the Bakersfield Jam.

This is the first Lakers’ player assignment of the season for the D-Fenders, who at 17-8, currently have the third best record in the D-League despite having three players (Jamaal Tinsley (Utah Jazz), Malcolm Thomas (San Antonio Spurs) and Courtney Fortson (Los Angeles Clippers)) called up to NBA teams.

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