Archive for February 21st, 2012

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.

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