Archive for March 16th, 2012

The AP reports:

Tyson Chandler scored 16 points, Jeremy Lin had 13, and the New York Knicks rolled to their second straight dominant victory under Mike Woodson, beating the Indiana Pacers 115-100 on Friday night.

Reserves JR Smith (16 points) and Steve Novak (12) had big games again for the Knicks in the opener of a home-and-home series. Two nights after beating Portland by 42 on the day Mike D’Antoni resigned, New York led this one by as much as 32 and shut down Pacers star Danny Granger , who had angered them by saying Friday and Saturday were two “very winnable games.”

Instead, the Pacers never led and had their two-game winning streak snapped. Granger shot 4 of 15 for nine points, while All-Star Roy Hibbert was 2 of 8 and scored four. Darren Collison led Indiana with 15 points.

Carmelo Anthony , expected to have a bigger role in Woodson’s offense, shot as poorly as he was under D’Antoni and finished with 12 points on 4-for-12 shooting. Amare Stoudemire was only 3 of 9 for eight points, but neither played more than 28 minutes in the blowout.

The AP reports:

Memphis forwards Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay were both in uniform for Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors, putting the Grizzlies at full strength for the first time since Jan. 1.

Randolph, an All-Star last season, has been out since tearing the MCL in his right knee on New Year’s Day in Chicago. He was averaging 14.8 points and 7.5 rebounds in the four games before the injury. Last season, Randolph led the team with 20.1 points and 12.2 rebounds per game.

Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said Randolph will not start. Marreese Speights , who the Grizzlies picked up Jan. 4 in a trade with Philadelphia, has filled in for Randolph at power forward, averaging 9.3 points and 6.4 rebounds.

Brendan Haywood

The Mavericks are going to be without Brendan Haywood again for a while.

Coach Rick Carlisle said Friday that the veteran center will miss at least the next five games because of a sprained right knee he suffered in Thursday night’s game against Charlotte.

The next five games are against San Antonio, at Denver, home against the Lakers, at San Antonio and at Houston. Haywood’s first game back could be March 27 at home against Houston.

Haywood missed four games last week because of a sprained left ankle.

– Reported by Carlos Mendez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

new orleans hornets

Governor Bobby Jindal and the New Orleans Hornets announced today an agreement in principle that will keep the team in New Orleans through 2024, subject to the conclusion of the NBA’s sale of the team to a new owner and legislative approval. Governor Jindal said the agreement will include funding for upgrades to the New Orleans Arena and eliminate all exit options, attendance benchmarks, and financial inducements. Compared to the current lease, the terms will save the state at least $72 million in operating subsidies over the life of the lease, and no new taxes will be required to fund any aspect of the proposed agreement. When completed, the agreement would also guarantee at least one NBA All-Star Game over the course of the lease.

Governor Jindal said, “We’re proud to announce that we have an agreement that keeps the Hornets in Louisiana, and is in the best interest of the state and Louisiana taxpayers. This proposed agreement shows that we’re changing the way we do business with our sports teams. We are investing in our capital assets to allow the Hornets the opportunity to earn more money, which reduces the risk for the state and our taxpayers.

“By upgrading the New Orleans Arena, we will help the Hornets earn more revenue and also make the site more competitive to attract entertainment and sporting events that generate economic development for the city and the state. The Hornets have been an incredible asset in the rebirth of the City of New Orleans and the team provides an enthusiasm and energy that enhances this great city’s spirit and unique culture.”

“We appreciate the strong support the Hornets enjoy in New Orleans and throughout the State of Louisiana,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “Today’s announcement is an important and necessary step toward reaching an agreement with a new owner.”

Hornets Chairman Jac Sperling said, “This agreement is an evolution of the great partnership between the Hornets, state and local leaders and all our fans. Governor Jindal deserves a tremendous amount of credit for demonstrating that the state wants this team to remain here so Hornets fans can continue to cheer for years to come.”

“We take pride in being a high-revenue producing business for Louisiana that provides over 2,000 jobs and opportunities and relish the chance to experience daily how New Orleans is emerging as a new force in business development and entrepreneurship,” said Hornets President Hugh Weber. “Knowing the Hornets will be here for our children and their children mean many more will grow up enjoying the excitement and memorable experiences at Hornets games.”

“I am thrilled at the prospect that the Hornets will continue to call New Orleans home through the next decade,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.  “On top of employing over 2,000 men and women in our city, the team has proven to be a great partner with local businesses and the Greater New Orleans community.  This season, New Orleans proved it was “in” by achieving the ambitious goal of selling 10,000 season tickets for the 2012 season. This agreement in principle ensures the Hornets will continue to play a part in creating a New Orleans of our dreams.”

Subject to closing conditions, the lease will go into effect on July 1, 2012 and will significantly limit the financial exposure to The Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District. Under the current agreement, the LSED is responsible for paying up to $7.9 million annually, but under the new agreement, that obligation will be reduced to $2.8 million that will go towards revenue generating opportunities for the LSED. The Hornets will be required to produce 15 events per year in Champions Square with the revenues going to the LSED, and the LSED will also receive certain television, radio and electronic advertising benefits from the Hornets to promote live entertainment including concerts, family shows and other sporting events. These events and benefits will allow the LSED to recapture a portion of its payment.

The state will also be extending the Quality Jobs Tax Credit for the Hornets through the duration of the lease term. This extension is subject to legislative approval and based on the payroll and the jobs that the Hornets create in Louisiana.

Governor Jindal also said he is working with the Legislature to include $50 million in capital outlay funds to make improvements to the New Orleans Arena. These funds will be phased in over two NBA off-seasons. The improvements to the New Orleans Arena will provide the Hornets with additional opportunities to generate revenue, which allows the Hornets to assume greater financial risk as opposed to the state bearing that burden. Governor Jindal said these upgrades will also help the New Orleans Arena remain competitive with newer arenas around the country so the Arena can continue to attract major entertainment and sporting events.

The lease agreement also includes an option where the Hornets can receive up to $10 million in capital outlay funds in 2013 that can be used for either additional improvements to the New Orleans Arena or for the Hornets training facility.

A UNO study found that the Hornets generate over $300 million annually to the economy and over $10 million in annual tax dollars.

Louisiana State Senate President John Alario said, “It has always been our goal to keep the Hornets in New Orleans and today’s announcement is an important step forward for our city and the fans. This agreement makes good financial sense for Louisiana taxpayers and the Hornets.”

House Speaker Pro Tempore Walt Leger said, “This is exciting news for the city, region, and state.  The agreement strikes a good balance by reducing the financial burden on the state, making investments in a state asset, and keeping the Hornets here at home for the foreseeable future.”

State Senator J.P. Morrell said, “It fantastic that the State of Louisiana has put together a competitive, but fiscally responsible package, that maximizes investment in the infrastructure to keep the Hornets in New Orleans without sacrificing general fund dollars that we need for K-12, higher education, and healthcare.”

State Senator David Heitmeier said, “It’s great that the Hornets are staying in New Orleans and this agreement is good for the taxpayers and good the sports fans of this state.”

State Representative Jared Brossett said, “The Hornets have been a great partner in helping to rebuild the City of New Orleans and I’m excited that the state and the team have put together an agreement that will keep the team in Louisiana and reduce the financial burden to our taxpayers.”

State Representative Cameron Henry said, “I am excited that we have the opportunity to keep the Hornets here through 2024. They are an important economic development asset to our state and additionally, reducing the financial incentives to the team is in the best interest of taxpayers.”

State Representative Neil Abramson said, “This agreement is a great step towards keeping the Hornets in Louisiana, reducing the financial burden on taxpayers and ensuring Louisiana sports fans have the ability to enjoy professional basketball in our state.

State Representative Jeff Arnold said, “I’m glad to see that the state and the Hornets put a deal together that will help keep the team here at home and is in the best interest of Louisiana taxpayers.”

ricky rubio

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that guard Ricky Rubio will undergo surgery to reconstruct a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his left knee on Wednesday, March 21. The surgery will be performed by Dr. Richard Steadman at The Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colo. The injury occurred with 16 seconds remaining in the Timberwolves game vs. the L.A. Lakers on Friday, March 9.

Rubio, acquired by Minnesota with the fifth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, appeared in 41 games (31 starts) for the Wolves this season, averaging 10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 2.22 steals. The rookie compiled 12 point/assist double-doubles and dished out 10+ assists on 15 occasions. At the time of his injury, Rubio ranks 3rd in the NBA in steals and 5th in assists.

Greg Oden
greg oden
Knees are made out of potato chips

Just because Greg Oden has had about eight thousand injuries doesn’t mean he’s ready to give up on his NBA career.

The Associated Press reports the following:

Greg Oden’s agent says his client is committed to playing basketball again despite his latest injury.

The Portland Trail Blazers waived the former No. 1 overall pick Thursday after an injury-plagued five-year run. He recently underwent his third microfracture knee surgery, the second on his left knee.

Mike Conley Sr., says his client is recovering in his hometown of Indianapolis.

Sean Williams

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have recalled forward Sean Williams from the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League.

Williams (6-10, 235) has played seven games with the Mavericks after signing on Dec. 21.  In those appearances, he averaged 4.1 points, 1.9 rebounds and 9.0 minutes while shooting .750 (12-16 FGs) from the field and .833 (5-6 FTs) from the free throw line.

On March 13, Dallas assigned Williams to the Legends, but recalled him after center Brendan Haywood suffered a right knee sprain on March 15 against the Charlotte Bobcats.

Williams has played 24 games with 23 starts for Texas and averaged 14.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.54 blocks and 1.0 assist in 28.5 minutes while shooting .496 (132-266 FGs) from the field and .766 (85-111 FTs) from the free throw line.

The Los Angeles Lakers have recalled guard Darius Morris from the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Morris was assigned to the D-Fenders on March 7th and played in one game with the team, helping defeat the Dakota Wizards 99-98 on March 10th.  In 28 minutes, Morris totaled a team-high 21 points on 7-of-16 shooting, a rebound, four assists and a steal.

Morris was the third Lakers’ player assignment of the season for the D-Fenders, who at 30-11, currently own the best record in the D-League.

A rookie out of Michigan, Morris has appeared in 13 games for the Lakers this season, averaging 2.7 points and 1.1 assists in 10.3 minutes.

Houston Rockets waive Terrence Williams

Terrence Williams

The Houston Rockets have decided they no longer require the services of one of their bench reserves.

Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has waived guard/forward Terrence Williams.

Williams (6-6, 220, Louisville) averaged 4.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 12 games with the Rockets this season.

The Rockets are currently 24-20 and are 7th in the Western conference. They are led by  Kevin Martin (17.1 ppg), Kyle Lowry (15.9 ppg, 7.2 apg) and Luis Scola (15.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg).

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Thursday night that he worked on deals of all varieties — big and small; for now and for the future — but ultimately couldn’t hammer out a swap that made sense for Boston and its potential trade partner(s) before the NBA’s 3 p.m. deadline passed.

“I guess what prevented any trade was making at least two teams in a deal happy, or satisfied that a deal was worthwhile,” said Ainge. “But as late as 2:57, there was still trades that were possible and being negotiated. We were close to handful of different types of trades — small to bigger — that just couldn’t be resolved. That happens often.”

Asked later if he approached the deadline as a buyer or a seller, Ainge added, “I was looking at both opportunities, to strengthen our team for the playoff run this year and/or build some chips and some assets for future. We actually had a lot of conversation on both sides, but nothing seemed good enough to do.”

– Reported by Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston

carmelo anthony

The day after receiving most of the blame for Mike D’Antoni’s resignation as Knicks coach, Carmelo Anthony tried to defend himself and his reputation.

Anthony said he did what D’Antoni asked of him and doesn’t want to be known as a coach-killer.

“That bothers me because I never want that label on me,” Anthony said Thursdayafter Mike Woodson’s first practice as Knicks interim coach. “I did everything in my power to try and communicate with coach Mike, talk with coach Mike, have a great relationship with coach Mike. Even right now, I feel we have a great relationship.”

Amar’e Stoudemire said D’Antoni left because he became “frustrated” that “everyone wasn’t buying into his system,” but Anthony denied that there was division in the locker room.

Anthony also became very defensive when a reporter said he proved not everyone can thrive in D’Antoni’s offense. The Knicks went 26-37, playoffs included, with Anthony in the lineup under D’Antoni. His defensive stance continued when he was asked to react to his ex-coach reportedly feeling he couldn’t get the best out of him.

– Reported by Al Iannazzone of New York Newsday

Lakers almost traded for Michael Beasley

michael beasley

The Lakers were seven minutes from acquiring Minnesota forward Michael Beasley, but Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor blocked an agreed-upon three-team trade right before the deadline that would have sent Fisher to Minnesota, not Houston, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The trade also would have involved Portland.

“It was whisker-close,” said the person, who did not want to be identified.

The Lakers responded by quickly sending Fisher to the Rockets, barely beating the noon deadline. They are not expected to re-sign Fisher if he takes a buyout with the Rockets.

Sessions, 25, is a quick penetrator with an unremarkable outside shot. He lost playing time to rookie Kyrie Irving, the top pick in last year’s draft, and was averaging 10.5 points and 5.2 assists but shooting only 39.8%.

– Reported by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed guard Donald Sloan from the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League for the remainder of the 2011-12 season, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant announced today. The signing of Sloan marks the 34th GATORADE Call-Up of the 2011-12 season.

In eight games (all starts), Sloan has averaged 22.8 points on .496 shooting, 5.1 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 1.4 steals in 38.6 minutes per game with the BayHawks. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound guard from Texas A&M has appeared in eight NBA games this season, playing five games for the Atlanta Hawks and three games for the New Orleans Hornets. In eight NBA games, Sloan averaged 2.3 points, 1.0 rebound and 1.6 assists in 7.4 minutes per game.

The 24-year-old spent the 2010-11 season with the Reno Bighorns of the NBA Development League, playing in 49 games (33 starts) and posting averages of 10.7 points on .483 shooting, 3.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 27.7 minutes per game.

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have signed Eric Dawson from the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League to a second 10-day contract. Dawson signed his first 10-day contract with the Silver and Black on Feb. 20.

Dawson saw action in two games in his first stint with the Spurs, averaging 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 17.0 minutes.

A 6-9 forward, Dawson has appeared in 24 games with the Toros this season, averaging 16.9 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.71 blocks and 1.29 steals in 29.1 minutes while shooting .556 (165-297) from the field and .779 (74-95) from the foul line. Since returning to the Toros on March 1, Dawson has averaged 19.8 points and 11.3 rebounds in six games. In his most recent game he finished with 25 points (10-19 FG, 5-7 FT), a season-high 17 rebounds and 4 steals in 35 minutes vs. Rio Grande on March 14. Dawson has posted 18 double doubles (second in the D-League) and has scored 20-or-more six times.

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.

jeremy lin

Jeremy Lin may be a global phenomenon, but he is no longer a Knicks phenomenon. Linsanity was the flavor of February, but he appears not to be new interim coach Mike Woodson’s favorite dish.

Woodson, calling Lin “in a learning stage,’’ said yesterday he is turning the focus of his new deliberate offense to his bread and butter: Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, the Knicks’ two stars who combine to make $37 million this season.

Lin is expected to remain the starting point guard for now, but Woodson indicated he’s all about veterans. That could mean backup point guard Baron Davis or even his former Hawks favorite Mike Bibby, who has been out of the rotation, could supplant Lin eventually as the starter.

In fact, the de-emphasis of Mike D’Antoni’s speedball system that relies heavily on a penetrating point guard could affect whether the Knicks want to spend all or part of their $5 million mid-level exception on keeping their cash cow, Lin, next season.

– Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

Nets sign Jerry Smith to 10-day contract

The New Jersey Nets have signed free agent guard Jerry Smith from the D-League’s Springfield Armor to a 10-day contract, Nets General Manager Billy King announced today.

Smith, who is the Nets’ fifth D-League call-up to sign with the team this season, has played 32 games with the Armor in 2011-12.  He is averaging 19.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 35 minutes per game.

The 6-2 point guard from Louisville was signed to the Nets’ 2011-12 training camp roster, and he participated in one of the team’s two preseason games, scoring one point in three minutes against the Knicks.  Smith took part in the 2012 D-League All-Star Game, where he scored 14 points, grabbed five rebounds, and dished out six assists in 23 minutes.

He was named D-League Player of the Month for February, leading the Armor to a perfect 8-0 record while averaging 22.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 35.4 minutes.  Smith scored in double figures in all eight games, recording back-to-back double-doubles on Feb. 2 and Feb. 3 and finished with more than 20 points in five contests.  In 78 career D-League games, Smith holds averages of 15.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.5 steals per game.

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