Archive for February, 2012

The Atlanta Hawks today signed center Erick Dampier to a second 10-day contract, according to Executive Vice President/General Manager Rick Sund.

The 15-year veteran has appeared in four games for the Hawks this season, after signing his first 10-day contract on February 9, averaging 2.5 rpg, 0.3 apg, 0.3 spg and 0.3 bpg in 6.5 mpg.

ESPN has apologized for using a racial slur in a headline for a story on Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin.

ESPN ran the headline “Chink in the Armor” after Lin had nine turnovers in New York’s loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night on its mobile website that could be seen on phones and tablet computers.

Lin is the NBA’s first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent.

– Reported by the Associated Press

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Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant
Scores. Wins. Likes wearing backpacks.

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant says he’s splitting from his longtime agent, Aaron Goodwin.

Durant said before Friday’s game against the Golden State Warriors that he appreciates what Goodwin has done for him “but it was time for me to move on.”

When he entered the NBA draft in 2007 after his freshman season at Texas, Durant signed with Goodwin’s Seattle-based Goodwin Sports Management. Goodwin helped negotiate Durant’s five-year, $86 million contract that Durant signed in July 2010.

– Reported by the Associated Press

J.R. Smith
JR Smith
Hopefully won’t anger Jeremy Lin

The New York Knicks have officially added a talented shooting guard with deep range, great athletic ability, and questionable decision-making skills.

Senior Vice President, Basketball Operations and Interim General Manager Glen Grunwald announced today that the team has signed free agent guard J.R. Smith.

Smith, 6-6, 220-pounds, returns to the NBA after playing overseas for Zhejiang of the Chinese Basketball Association.

He holds NBA career averages of 12.5 points, on .428 shooting from the field and .371 from three-point range, and 23.9 minutes in 503 games (129 starts) over seven NBA seasons with New Orleans/Oklahoma City and Denver. He averaged 12.3 points on .435 shooting and .390 from downtown (124-318), 4.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists over 24.9 minutes in 79 games (six starts) with Denver last season.

The Freehold, NJ-native was originally selected out of high school by the New Orleans Hornets in the first round (18th overall) of 2004 NBA Draft.

To generate roster space, the Knicks waived Renaldo Balkman. The 6-8, 225-pounds averaged 3.0 points and 8.2 minutes over 14 games off the bench for New York this season.

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Delonte West undergoes finger surgery

Mavericks guard Delonte West underwent surgery today at Texas Sports Medicine to stabilize the fracture to his right ring finger. He will have a subsequent procedure to remove the stabilizing pins prior to his return to basketball activity. There is no timetable for his return.

West (6-3, 180) has averaged 8.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 22.7 minutes per game in 29 games (20 starts) for Dallas this season.

Tony Parker opening a nightclub

Tony Parker
Tony Parker
Runs thangs

Tony Parker is taking a shot at a new venture with the launch of a nightclub called Nueve Lounge. Nueve is Spanish for nine, Parker’s jersey number.

The lounge is currently under construction and set to open March 9. It will occupy the former Chango’s Havana Club near Interstate 10 West and Boerne Stage Road.

The idea of opening a nightclub in San Antonio is something Parker, the all-star point guard for the San Antonio Spurs, had been discussing with his brothers, Pierre and TJ, for some time.

“My brothers were playing basketball in Europe, and they decided to retire in San Antonio. We had been talking about doing something together, and my brothers like the bar scene. We wanted to do a nice lounge with a New York or Las Vegas kind of style, you know, classy.”

– Reported by Valentino Lucio of the San Antonio Express-News Blog

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn confirmed in a triumphant press statement reports that Time Warner Cable and MSG Network had ended their nearly two-month long standoff as political and populist pressure intensified over the past few days thanks in large part to Linsanity.

“I want to thank the MSG-Network and Time Warner Cable for coming to a deal that will put the Knicks and the Rangers back on TV. Now, a million more New Yorkers will be able to go Linsane in the privacy of their own living room. I’m looking forward to watching the return of Carmelo Anthony for the Knicks and Henrik Lundqvist in goal for the Rangers.”

A Time Warner spokesman declined to comment on the reported deal and spokesmen for the MSG Network did not immediately return requests for comment.

– Reported by Nina Mandell of the New York Daily News

steve nash

The Phoenix Suns are a shadow of the frenetic scoring machine they were a few years ago. Maybe that makes the season Steve Nash is having all the more impressive.

Not surrounded by an abundance of talent, on a team that stood 12-18 going into Friday night’s game against the Lakers in Los Angeles, Nash leads the league in assists at 10.7 and is the top shooter among guards at 56 percent. That’s third overall among players at any position and would be his career best if it holds up for the season.

On his 38th birthday, Feb. 7, Nash had 18 points and 11 assist, including the game-winning layup with 5 seconds to go in a 107-105 win at Milwaukee. For the eighth time in his 16-year NBA career, he made the All-Star Game roster.

There has been one concession to his age. Coach Alvin Gentry held him out of Tuesday’s loss at Denver so he wouldn’t have to play three consecutive nights. The next night he had 22 points and 16 assists but his team faded down the stretch in a home loss to Atlanta.

“People are saying `Hey, you’re playing great for 38,”’ said Lon Babby, the Suns’ president for basketball operations. “My answer to that is `No, he’s just playing great—period.”

– Reported by Bob Baum of the Associated Press

Utah Jazz, Paul Millsap in a slump

Paul Millsap

It’s a chicken-or-egg question.

Is Paul Millsap struggling because the Jazz are playing poorly as a team, or are the Jazz struggling because Millsap isn’t dominating games the way he did earlier this season?

One thing is clear.

Millsap’s numbers have dipped recently and the Jazz can’t afford that trend to continue — not if they want to remain in the Western Conference playoff race during the final 38 games of the season.

Heading into Friday night’s game against Washington at EnergySolutions Arena, Utah has lost five of its last six.

In those defeats, Millsap averages 10.2 points and nine rebounds.

Not bad.

On the other hand, Millsap made only 18 of his 50 field-goal attempts. He journeyed to the free-throw line seven times in 114 minutes.

– Reported by Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune

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No big Timberwolves trade expected

Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol
Was in Wolves-related rumors

The NBA trade deadline is March 15. Don’t expect a major deal, Timberwolves’ basketball president David Kahn says.

“The likelihood of us doing something dramatic is miniscule,” Kahn said after the Wolves’ victory over Charlotte on Wednesday night at Target Center that moved them to within two games of a playoff spot.

“That doesn’t mean that maybe we do something minor. But the last thing I want to do is send a message to our players that they should be looking over their shoulders right now.”

The Wolves (14-16) are just three victories away from their total of last season. A rumor that has resurfaced is the Lakers trading Pau Gasol to Minnesota. The Pioneer Press reported last month that the Lakers offered Gasol to the Wolves as part of a proposed trade for Kevin Love before Love signed a $62 million contract extension. The Wolves never considered the deal.

– Reported by Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press

Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson
For 10 bucks, might play at your house

With hopes of getting one last shot in the NBA, former All-Star and league MVP Allen Iverson is contemplating playing minor league basketball, according to a person close to the situation.

Iverson is willing to play in the Caribbean, in South America or even in the D-League if it gives him a chance to return to the NBA, the source said.

“Allen only wants to play if there’s a possibility that it leads to the NBA,” the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “That’s the only way he would go to one of these lower leagues. He wants to get back to the NBA and leave the game on his terms.”

Iverson’s interest in returning comes as he faces some financial trouble. On Monday, a judge in Georgia garnished funds from Iverson’s bank account to repay about $860,000 that he owes a jeweler, according to multiple media reports.

– Reported by Chris Broussard of ESPN the Magazine

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that they have signed forward Lance Thomas to a second 10-day contract.

Thomas, a Duke University product, has appeared in seven games for the Hornets this season, averaging 2.0 points and 2.4 rebounds (1.6 offensive) in just under seven minutes per game. Thomas appeared in two regular season games with the Hornets before being released on December 31st, 2011, and in two preseason games with New Orleans (both starts), he averaged 3.5 points and 4.5 rebounds.

The 6’8” forward was originally re-signed by the Hornets to a 10-day contract February 6th from the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League. In 19 games (all starts) for the Toros this season, Thomas averaged 15.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 32.6 minutes of play and was selected to the 2012 NBDL All-Star game. The Scotch Plains, New Jersey native also played for the Toros during the 2010-11 season, averaging 12.6 points and 5.5 rebounds in 46 games (all starts).

President Obama is aware of Linsanity

Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin
Attention Whore (Just Kidding)

White House spokesman Jay Carney says President Barack Obama is tracking the exploits of Jeremy Lin, the sudden star of the New York Knicks.

The point guard from Harvard has come out of nowhere to lead the team on a winning streak and he’s captured widespread public attention.

Carney says Lin’s game-winning 3-pointer at the end of Tuesday night’s game against Toronto was the subject of conversation with the president aboard Marine One on Wednesday morning.

– Reported by the Associated Press

A source tells KING 5 News a press conference is scheduled at Seattle City Hall Thursday to announce a deal on a new sports arena complex.

Chris Hansen, a former Seattleite, and current San Francisco hedge fund manager who has approached Seattle about his interest, is reportedly in Seattle.

Hansen recently purchased property south of Safeco Field on Occidental Avenue South, south of Massachusetts Street.

Mayor Mike McGinn confirmed last week that negotiations are underway with Hansen to build a new arena in SODO.

– Reported by KING 5 News

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Emeka Okafor
Emeka Okafor
Fairly solid.

The New Orleans Hornets are a bit beaten up right now. Here’s their latest injury report:

Center Emeka Okafor (sore left knee), who missed Monday night’s game against Utah, is out tonight against Milwaukee. In addition, he will miss the remaining four games on the current road trip prior to the All-Star break.

Forward Carl Landry (second degree MCL sprain) and center Jason Smith (concussion) also did not travel with the team and will miss the five game road swing before the All-Star break.

Guard Jarrett Jack (bruised left knee) is out tonight against Milwaukke and is listed as questionable for Friday night’s game in New York.

Spencer Hawes

Sixers president Rod Thorn and coach Doug Collins said that starting center Spencer Hawes is seeking a second opinion on his strained left Achilles’ and will probably remain out of the lineup until after the February 26th All-Star game. The Sixers first game after that will be on Tuesday, February 28th in Detroit.

Hawes will miss his 15th of 17 games tonight when the Sixers play at the Orlando Magic. Sitting courtside while the players warmed up, Thorn said: “We haven’t made that determination for sure yet, but the odds are that he probably will (sit out until after All-Star break). He’s not ready to play yet and we certainly don’t want him to go back out there until he is ready to play. I think the chances are that he won’t play until after All-Star.”

– Reported by Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News (Blog)

Lakers assign Devin Ebanks to D-League

Devin Ebanks
Devin Ebanks
Very lanky

The 17-12 Los Angeles Lakers have decided they don’t need Devin Ebanks and might as well provide him with some game minutes down in the D-League.

The team today assigned the second-year forward to the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the Lakers’ NBA Development League affiliate.  The assignment marks the 37th time an NBA player has been assigned to his NBA D-League affiliate during the 2011-12 season and is the second assignment for Ebanks of his career.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News blog, “The moves comes a week after the Lakers waived backup power forward Derrick Caracter in a move to open a roster spot and also save the on payroll. Caracter’s contract of roughly $750,000 would have become guaranteed had he been on the roster as of last Friday.

Ebanks (6-9, 215, West Virginia) has appeared in 12 games for the Lakers this season, averaging 2.7 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.5 assists in 12.6 minutes.

Originally selected by the Lakers in the second round (43rd overall) in the 2010 NBA Draft, Ebanks appeared in 20 games for L.A. last season, averaging 3.1 points and 1.4 rebounds in 5.9 minutes.

Ebanks returns to the NBA D-League following a six-game assignment to the Bakersfield Jam last season when he averaged 16.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.5 steals in 27.7 minutes.

Chauncey Billups
chauncey billups
No retirement plans at this time

Los Angeles Clippers guard Chauncey Billups underwent successful surgery today to repair a torn left Achilles tendon.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Thomas Clanton at The Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado. Billups is expected to remain in Colorado for approximately four weeks following the surgery before returning to Los Angeles to begin the rehabilitation process.

The injury occurred with 5:48 remaining in the fourth quarter in the Clippers’ 107-102 win in Orlando on February 6th and will sideline Billups for the remainder of the 2011-12 NBA season. In 20 games played this season (20 starts), Billups has tallied 14.9 points, 4.0 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 30.4 minutes per game.

He won’t play again during the 2011-12 NBA season. According to several reports, Billups does not plan on retiring and hopes to resume his pro career once he heals.

LaMarcus Aldridge suffers ankle injury

LaMarcus Aldridge

Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge sprained his left ankle early in Portland’s loss to the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night.

Aldridge let out a yell and fell to the floor after landing on Trevor Booker’s foot less than two minutes into the first quarter.

The Blazers said X-rays on the ankle were negative, but he did not return and will not travel with the team to Golden State on Wednesday.

“I’m going to get back as soon as I can!” Aldridge wrote on his Twitter account after the game.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Tom Thibodeau
Tom Thibodeau
Defensive-minded

Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau will coach the Eastern Conference All-Stars for the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, to be played on Sunday, Feb. 26, at the Amway Center in Orlando.

The Bulls (24-7, .774) clinched the best record in the conference through games played Feb. 15 with their 121-115 win over the Sacramento Kings tonight at the United Center.

Thibodeau, the NBA’s reigning Coach of the Year, is in his second season on the sidelines in Chicago. Last season, he guided the Bulls to an NBA-best 62-20 (.756) record and earned the top seed in the NBA Playoffs. Chicago advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Thibodeau earned Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honors for games played in December/January. He owns a career record of 86-27 (.761).

Oklahoma City’s Scott Brooks will coach the Western Conference All-Stars.

Boston’s Doc Rivers coached the East All-Stars last season, and San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich coached the West All-Stars.

The 2012 NBA All-Star Game will air live on TNT and ESPN Radio in the U.S., and reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages.

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