Archive for February 26th, 2012

At the halfway point of an already whirlwind season,union leader Billy Hunter is pleased overall while still reserving judgment about the game in the aftermath of the prolonged lockout.

“Obviously the TV ratings are up. The attendance is up. Merchandising is up. So all the signs are positive,that’s what I’m getting from [commissioner] David [Stern],’’Hunter said yesterday. “The early report is that things are positive.’’

After a summer and fall spent haggling mostly over revenue sharing,Hunter said the union is waiting to see the first official revenue figures from the league.

Hunter said he’s not at all surprised that the league has rebounded so swiftly after a contentious summer.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Along with points and assists, New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin is piling up something less desirable lately —apologies to him for racially questionable references.

The first American-born NBA player of Taiwanese descent received another apology this weekend,this time from the famous Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company,which is known for coming up with funky names for its flavors.

Its Cambridge,Mass.,store attempted to honour the Harvard alum’s increasing notoriety with a “Taste the Lin-Sanity” frozen yogurt flavor in Harvard Square. But it included fortune cookies in the flavor before changing the fortune cookies to waffle cones and later issuing an apology.

– Reported by Reuters

Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob walked over to chat, and when his perspective on his neighbor’s arena situation, offered strong support for keeping the Kings in Sacramento. “We want the team in Sac because that market supported that team (very nicely) in the past,” he said, “and should be able to do so again in the future. For us, having them there is a rivalry. We don’t see it as competition even though both teams are in Northern California. I really hope it works out.”

– Reported by Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee Blog

Progress in upcoming sale of Hornets

In his annual state of the league address Saturday night, NBA Commissioner David Stern declined to confirm or identify if the group led by Los Angeles area businessman Raj Bhathal has emerged as a top candidate to purchase the New Orleans Hornets.

But Stern did say they are in discussions with one group and they have another group in sort of second place that is waiting to see how discussions go forth with group one.

Asked if the second group was from Seattle, which is pushing to get back to the NBA after losing the SuperSonics in 2008 when the franchise relocated to Oklahoma City, Stern said, “No.”

Sources confirm that Bhathal, who founded one of the country’s leading swimwear manufacturing companies, is the frontrunner. The group includes Larry J. Benson, brother of Saints owner, Tom Benson and former NBA coach Mike Dunleavy.

The second group is headed by former Hornets minority owner Gary Chouest, the billionaire owner of Edison Chouest Offshore who was forced to sell his 35 percent stake in the team in December 2010 when the league purchased the team from former majority owner George Shinn.

– Reported by John Reid of the New Orleans Times Picayune

Bobcats focused on long-term success

Charlotte Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins promises no “hard right turns” in reaction to his team having the worst record in the NBA at the All-Star break.

By that, Higgins means no trades that could make them cosmetically better the last 30 games of the season without having long-term value. The Bobcats could have up to $21 million in space under the salary cap next summer, and Higgins says they won’t botch that with something short-sighted between now and the March 15 trade deadline.

“Panic doesn’t exist for us,” Higgins said Wednesday. “Once we made those trades (exchanging veterans Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson for packages that included draft picks), we have to see it through, the path we’ve taken: Get assets, create (cap) flexibility.

“The season is going in a direction that maybe some of us didn’t envision. A disappointment, you might say. But with that being said, you cannot make that hard right and forget about what you’ve already done.”

– Reported by Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer

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