Archive for February, 2012

Kobe Bryant
kobe bryant
Not lacking in confidence

Shawn Marion is a good defender, but Kobe Bryant wasn’t about to give the Mavericks’ defensive anchor any credit.

After the Lakers’ shootaround, Bryant held court - pulling about 20 media members away from coach Mike Brown just as Brown was getting going with his interview scrum - and his best line came when he was asked about Marion and the Mavericks’ touting Marion as a defensive player of the year candidate.

“Oh, man, I agree,” Bryant said, sporting a grin. “I think tonight they should not double me at all or zone me. Just play one on one because he’s such a terrific defender, he doesn’t need any help.”

The sarcasm was dripping.

– Reported by Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News

Shawne Williams

New Jersey Nets forward Shawne Williams underwent successful left foot surgery today to repair an old fracture and remove two small bone fragments, Nets General Manager Billy King announced today.  The surgery, performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan by foot specialist Dr. Martin O’Malley and Nets team orthopedist Dr. Riley Williams III, involved the insertion of three small screws to repair the fracture.

Williams will miss the remainder of the season and should make a full recovery in time for the beginning of training camp.

Williams was signed as a free agent prior to the 2011-12 season.  He appeared in 25 games, averaging 4.5 points and 2.7 rebounds in 20.6 minutes of action per contest.

Jeremy Lin now living in swanky NY hotel

Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin
They see him rollin’

Breakout Knick star Jeremy Lin is renting an all-inclusive, impeccably furnished pad at the W Hotel in the Financial District, sources told The Post…

[… A vast improvement] over crashing on a couch at his brother’s Lower East Side pad, which was Lin’s living situation just weeks ago.

The two-bedroom W suite comes outfitted with $30,000 to $35,000 worth of Tui Lifestyle furniture.

Rents there range from $3,600 to $8,900 a month, according to Streeteasy.com. The owner of Lin’s unit had put the two-bed, two-bath apartment up for sale for $2.315 million before renting it out.

– Reported by Jennifer Gould Keil of the New York Post

Jeremy Evans
Jeremy Evans
Has crazy hops

The 2012 NBA Slam Dunk contest just got shaken up a bit, with one of the bright young stars unable to throw down for the weekend.

The NBA announced today that Utah Jazz forward Jeremy Evans has been added to this year’s dunk contest that will be held on Feb. 25 at Amway Center in Orlando (TNT, 6 p.m. MT).  Evans joins a group of three other players in the Slam Dunk that features a series of firsts, including four first-time participants, a new single-round format in which the winner will be chosen solely by fan vote, and the introduction of fan voting via Twitter.

A 2010 second-round draft pick (55th overall) out of Western Kentucky, 61 of Evans’ 88 made shots over his first two years have been dunks, 30 of those on alley-oops.  His dunk percentage of 69.3 percent is the highest in the NBA over the last two seasons.  The 6-9, 194-pound high-riser owns career averages of 3.2 points and 1.7 rebounds per game.

Evans becomes the sixth player in Jazz history selected to participate in the event, joining Darrell Griffith (1984, 1985), Blue Edwards (1990, 1991), David Benoit (1993), Jamie Watson (1995) and DeShawn Stevenson (2001).

In addition to Evans, the three other players who will vie for the Sprite Slam Dunk championship include the Houston Rockets’ Chase Budinger, the Indiana Pacers’ Paul George and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Derrick Williams.

A new format will be implemented for the 2012 competition. The contest will consist of only one round and each competitor will execute three dunks. Fan voting will open after all four players have completed their first dunk. Previously, the Sprite Slam Dunk contest consisted of two rounds, with the first round scored by a panel of judges which determined two finalists.

Full coverage of the weekend is on InsideHoops.com.

Read NBA fan opinion and share your views in this basketball forum topic.

joe johnson

Hawks guard Joe Johnson underwent an MRI yesterday in Atlanta, and he was diagnosed with left knee tendinitis. As previously announced, he’ll miss the Hawks’ next two games (tonight in New York, tomorrow vs. Orlando).

In addition, Johnson won’t participate in this weekend’s All-Star game and activities in Orlando. He’ll be re-evaluated prior to Atlanta’s first game after the All-Star break (Wednesday the 29th vs. Golden State).

InsideHoops.com speculates that if the league wants to pick the most deserving East All-Star replacement regardless of position, it just might be Johnson’s teammate on the Hawks, forward Josh Smith. There are also some worthy guards, including Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics — though he’s missed games this season due to both injury and suspension.

Derrick Favors

The NBA announced today that Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors has been added to the 2012 NBA Rising Stars Challenge that will take place on Friday, February 24 in Orlando, during NBA All-Star 2012. Favors will join teammate Gordon Hayward, who was previously selected to the game, on TEAM CHUCK. The two will be Utah’s first participants in the event since Ronnie Brewer and Paul Millsap played for the sophomore team during the 2008 NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.

A 2010 first-round draft pick (third overall) out of Georgia Tech, Favors is currently averaging 8.1 points and 5.0 rebounds in 19.6 minutes per game this season. The 6-10, 246-pound forward has scored in double figures nine times this season, grabbed 10+ rebounds four times, and registered a double-double on three occasions. On December 30, Favors notched a new career-high scoring 20 points while pulling down 11 rebounds vs. Philadelphia.

Favors and Hayward will be the sixth and seventh players in Jazz history to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge (formerly the Rookie Challenge), joining Bryon Russell (1994), Andrei Kirilenko (2002, 2003), Deron Williams (2006, 2007), Paul Millsap (2007, 2008) and Ronnie Brewer (2008).

This year, a new format is being implemented to a game that has historically featured NBA rookies facing off against sophomores. For the first time, rookies and sophomores will be mixed together on teams. TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal are serving as the general managers of the two opposing teams - TEAM CHUCK and TEAM SHAQ – having held a draft on Feb. 16.

Magic Johnson to launch TV channel

More than 20 years after he last played pro basketball, former Lakers star Magic Johnson is ready for a whole new game: running his own TV network.

The Hall of Famer, who has become a successful business mogul, is preparing to launch Aspire, a 24-hour channel with a focus on what Johnson called positive, uplifting images of African Americans. The basic cable outlet will join other channels targeting black viewers, such as BET and TV One, and will offer opportunities for blacks who have struggled to find work in mainstream Hollywood.

“This is so exciting for me, I’m pinching myself,” Johnson said in a phone interview. “This is big for myself, for the African American community and the African American creative community. I wanted a vehicle to show positive images and to have stories written, produced and directed by African Americans for our community. Aspire — that’s how I’ve been leading my life.”

Aspire’s mix will include film, TV, music and comedy, with a combination of acquired projects and original programming. “There will some performing arts and shows about faith,” Johnson said.

– Reported by Greg Braxton and Meg James of the Los Angeles Times

DeMarcus Cousins
demarcus cousins
Wears a headband

As their season of promise (literally) quickly slips away, with their veteran roster unable to consistently win close games and their chance at recovery damaged by the possibility that their 2012 draft pick is ticketed for Utah, the Warriors are pursuing a deal before the March 15 trade deadline, general manager Larry Riley said.

“We’re working day and night and we’re hopeful,” Riley told NBA.com on Monday night. “But what will not happen is, we won’t do something that sets us back just to do a deal. We want to find the right deal, and if we get one of those we’ll do it. I don’t know what the odds of it are right now.”

Stephen Curry is the closest to untouchable — plugged-in beat writer Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area News Group reported Golden State would not include Curry in a potential Hornets deal without assurance it could keep Paul beyond this season — but the best assets are still in the backcourt. Monta Ellis has long been the focus of trade speculation, and now his backup, rookie Klay Thompson, is playing better by the week and drawing glowing reviews within the organization.

– Reported by Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com 

Shawne Williams

New Jersey Nets forward Shawne Williams will undergo surgery on Wednesday, February 22 to remove a bone fragment from his left foot, Nets General Manager Billy King announced today.  The surgery will be performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan by foot specialist Dr. Martin O’Malley and Nets team orthopedist Dr. Riley Williams III.

A timetable for his return will be determined following surgery.

Williams was signed as a free agent prior to the 2011-12 season.  He appeared in 25 games, averaging 4.5 points and 2.7 rebounds in 20.6 minutes of action per contest.

Wilson Chandler
Wilson Chandler
Can now identify authentic Chinese food

Upon seeing Wilson Chandler in the Denver locker room, Nuggets coach George Karl greeted him with a handshake and a smile.

“I could’ve used you tonight,” Karl said.

That wish could soon be a reality.

Chandler, a restricted free agent, attended Denver’s 103-101 overtime victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night and said he hopes to sign a new contract with the Nuggets “in the next week or so.”

Chandler, 24, finished last season with the Nuggets but spent the past several months playing in China, where he averaged 26.6 points and 11.6 rebounds in 32 games with the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions.

– Reported by Aaron J. Lopez of Nuggets.com

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed guard Manny Harris from the Canton Charge of the NBA Development League to a 10-day contract, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant announced today. The signing of Harris marks the 27th D-League to NBA Call-Up of the 2011-12 season. Harris will wear No. 6 for the Cavaliers and is available for tonight’s game against the Detroit Pistons.

In 17 games (12 starts) with Canton this season, Harris is averaging 21.4 points on .470 shooting with 7.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.7 steals in 32.9 minutes per game.  He currently ranks third in the D-League in scoring. Yesterday, he was named the NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played from February 13-19.  Harris also earned the honor on January 30th, making him the only player in the league to do so twice this year. In two games last week, he averaged 41.0 points on .574 shooting with 9.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 3.5 steals in 44.5 minutes per contest.

The 6-foot-5 guard spent the 2010-11 season with the Cavaliers, playing in 54 games (15 starts) and averaging 5.9 points on .374 shooting, 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 17.2 minutes per game.

Pau Gasol
pau gasol
Finesse big-man

In response to comments made by Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol after last night’s game against the Phoenix Suns, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak issued the following statement today:

“As a former player, I understand how the days leading up to the trade deadline can be nerve-wracking for an NBA player.  Nonetheless, as General Manager of the Lakers, I have a responsibility to ownership, our fans and the players on this team to actively pursue opportunities to improve the team for this season and seasons to come.  To say publicly that we would not do this would serve no purpose and put us at a competitive disadvantage.  Taking such a course of action at this time would be a disservice to ownership, the team and our many fans.

According to the Los Angeles Times Blog, Kobe had said the following: “It’s just tough for a player to give his all when you don’t know if you’re going to be here tomorrow. I’d rather them not trade him at all but if they’re going to do something, I wish they would just … do it.”

Greg Oden
greg oden
Knees are made out of pretzels

The Portland Trail Blazers have announced that center Greg Oden underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee today. The surgery was performed by Dr. Richard Steadman in Vail, Colo. Oden will miss the remainder of the 2011-12 NBA season.

“Initially, Greg was undergoing a procedure similar to the one he had a couple of weeks ago to have debris cleared from his right knee,” said Acting General Manager Chad Buchanan . “However, once the doctors were inside Greg’s left knee, they unfortunately found articular surface damage and determined microfracture was necessary.”

Oden, who will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, was selected by the Trail Blazers with the first overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. In 82 career games (60 starts), Oden has averaged 9.4 points (57.7% FG), 7.3 rebounds and 1.43 blocks in 22.1 minutes per game.

“This is not the news we were hoping for Greg or the organization,” said Trail Blazers President Larry Miller. “It’s hard to put into words the heartbreak for everyone involved, but especially for Greg. He’s a young man who has experienced a great number of physical challenges in his playing career and today is yet another significant setback for him. We have a lot of empathy for Greg and his family during this difficult time.”

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Manu Ginobili injured, out two weeks

Manu Ginobili
Manu Ginobili
Has played just 9 games this season

Manu Ginobili was examined by team physician Dr. David Schmidt today in San Antonio. An MRI confirmed that Ginobili suffered a left internal oblique strain. The injury occurred during the second half of the Spurs-Clippers game on 2/18. Ginobili will remain in San Antonio for the remainder of the Spurs road trip. He is expected to be approximately two weeks.

Tiago Splitter has been diagnosed with a right calf strain. The injury occurred during the first half of the Spurs-Clippers game on 2/18. Splitter started his rehab process today in Salt Lake City and will remain with the team for the balance of the road trip. He is expected to miss approximately two weeks.

Rajon Rondo
rajon rondo
Apparently pretty good at dodgeball

Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics has been suspended two games without pay for throwing a ball at an official and striking him in the chest,it was announced today by Stu Jackson,NBA Executive Vice President Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred with 3:00 remaining in the third quarter of the Celtics’96-81 loss to the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Feb. 19.

Rondo will serve his suspension tonight when the Celtics play the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center and Wednesday,Feb. 22 when Boston plays the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Read NBA fan reaction and share your views in this basketball forum topic.

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that forward Marcus Morris has been recalled from Houston’s single-affiliation NBA D-League partner Rio Grande Valley. Morris had re-joined the Vipers on Feb. 3.

Morris (6-9, 235, Kansas), who was selected by Houston with the 14 th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, averaged 22.8 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.40 steals in the 10 full games he has played with Rio Grande Valley this season. He made his debut with the Vipers by posting 33 points (13-24 FG), 16 rebounds, five assists and two steals vs. Dakota (1/6/12).

Yet another knee surgery for Greg Oden

The Portland Trail Blazers center was scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery to “remove debris” from his left knee. The team announced that the former No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft was to have the surgery Monday in Vail, Colo.

The often-injured 7-footer had the same procedure on his right knee earlier this month.

Over the course of his NBA career, Oden has had microfracture surgeries on both knees, surgery to repair a fractured left kneecap and now the two procedures this month.

Oden, who has hot played in an NBA game since Dec. 5, 2009, has appeared in 82 career games for the Blazers, averaging 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds.It was expected that he might be able to play for the Blazers this season, but a checkup before the start of training camp in December reportedly revealed concerns about a non-weight-bearing ligament in the left knee, further setting back his rehabilitation. Since then, he has turned down repeated interview requests.

– Reported by the Associated Press

The New Orleans Hornets, struggling badly with a 7-23 record, made a very minor roster move today. The team announced they have signed guard Donald Sloan to a second 10-day contract.

Sloan, a Texas A&M University product, was originally signed by New Orleans on February 8th and has appeared in three games, averaging 4.0 points, 2.7 assists and 1.0 rebounds in just under 14 minutes per game. Sloan previously appeared in five regular season games with the Atlanta Hawks this season before being released on January 27. Originally signed by Atlanta on December 9, 2011, Sloan averaged 1.2 points, 1.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 4.0 minutes of play with the Hawks.

The 6’3” guard also played five games (all starts) for the Erie Bayhawks of the NBA D-League this season, averaging 24.8 points, 8.4 assists and 5.2 rebounds in 40.9 minutes of play. Born in Shreveport, LA, Sloan has appeared in 54 games (38 starts) in the D-League, with career averages of 12.0 points and 4.7 assists.

Sloan, who grew up in the Dallas area, was a first-team Big 12 Conference selection his senior season at Texas A&M, averaging 17.8 points.

Manny Harris of the Canton Charge was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Feb. 13-19, when the Charge went 2-0.  The announcement marks the second time Harris has been named NBA D-League Performer of the Week.  He also earned the honor on Jan. 30.  With the honor, he becomes the first player to twice be named NBA D-League Performer of the Week during the 2011-12 season.

Harris, a 6-5, 185-pound guard from Michigan averaged 41.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists while shooting 58 percent from the floor last week. He recorded a season-high 46 points in a 136-113 win over the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Feb. 16 before finishing the week with a 36-point outing on Feb. 18 as the Charged swept the two-game series with the Vipers 135-132.

For the season, Harris is averaging 21.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 17 games for Canton.

Other top performers considered included Canton’s Antoine Agudio, who averaged 26.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in two games; Maine’s Morris Almond, who averaged 124.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in two games; Idaho’s Marcus Banks, who averaged 17.0 points and 5.0 assists in four games; Rio Grande Valley’s Will Conroy, who averaged 16.0 points and 16.3 assists in three games; Texas’ Antonio Daniels who averaged 11.7 points and 12.3 rebounds in three games; Dakota’s Marcus Dove, who averaged 19.0 points and 8.5 rebounds  in two games; Iowa’s Mike Efevberha, who averaged 27.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in three games; Bakersfield’s Osiris Eldridge, who averaged 24.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in two games; Sioux Falls’ Trey Gilder, who averaged 28.5 points and 14.5 rebounds in two games; Los Angeles’ Gerald Green, who averaged 22.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in two games; Springfield’s Dennis Horner, who averaged 18.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in two games; Fort Wayne’s Ron Howard, who averaged 20.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in three games; Erie’s D.J. Kennedy, who averaged 23.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in two games; Tulsa’s Marcus Lewis, who averaged 18.0 points and 11.0 rebounds in three games; Austin’s Leo Lyons, who averaged 20.3 points and 10.5 rebounds in four games and Reno’s Bobby Simmons, who averaged 19.0 points and 12.0 rebounds in two games.

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have signed Eric Dawson from the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League to a 10-day contract.

Dawson, a 6-9 forward, has appeared in 18 games with the Toros this season, averaging 15.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.72 blocks and 1.33 steals in 29.3 minutes while shooting .563 (121-215) from the field and .741 (43-58) from the foul line. Dawson has posted 13 double doubles (second in the D-League) and has scored 20-or-more three times. He finished with a season-high 28 points to go along with 11 rebounds vs. Springfield on Dec. 29, 2011.

Dawson has spent five seasons with the Toros dating back to 2007-08. In 67 career games, he has averaged 11.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.18 blocks. He has also played internationally in Slovenia, Japan, South Korea and the Dominican Republic.

Born and raised in San Antonio, Dawson attended Sam Houston High School and attended Midwestern State University. Dawson was named a Division II Second Team All-American in 2007 and earned Lone Star Conference First Team honors in 2006 and 2007. He is the Mustangs all-time leader in blocked shots with 170.

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