Archive for May 29th, 2012

76ers will not keep Craig Brackins

Team president Rod Thorn confirmed Tuesday via email that second-year forward Craig Brackins “will not be back” with the 76ers next season.

The Sixers declined to pick up the third-year option for $1.5 million on the 6-foot-10 Brackins, making Brackins a free agent.

Brackins was deactivated in favor of Xavier Silas for the Celtics’ playoff series. The Sixers signed Silas, a combo guard, for the final two games of the regular season.

– Reported by Tom Moore of Philly Burbs

Lakers may name new assistant GM

After parting ways with several longtime employees last summer because of the NBA lockout, the Los Angeles Lakers are continuing to restock their cupboard with new staff.

The Lakers are in discussions to promote Glenn Carraro from general manager of the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the Lakers’ D-League affiliate, to assistant general manager for the Lakers, according to multiple sources.

Carraro would fill the position of assistant GM that has been unoccupied since the Lakers did not renew Ronnie Lester’s contract last year. Lester spent 10 seasons as assistant GM after working his way up the organization from being hired as a regional scout in 1987.

“Ronnie was a dear friend and I thought we really worked well together, but the people that I work with now I have a great relationship with and you have to move on,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak told reporters after the team’s exit interviews last week.

– Reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman might soon find himself working with at-risk teens or cleaning up streets.

The flamboyant former player known for his rebounding skills and wild, off-court behavior was sentenced Tuesday to 104 hours of community service after being found guilty last year of four counts of contempt for failing to pay child support.

The ruling also placed Rodman, 51, on three years of informal probation on the condition he keep up his child and spousal support payments.

It was the latest development in a series of legal disputes that began in 2004, when Rodman’s wife at the time filed for divorce.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Vinny Del Negro will be back as coach of the Los Angeles Clippers next season.

The team said Tuesday that it has exercised its contract option on him to return for a third season. Del Negro led the Clippers to a 40-26 record during the lockout-shortened season and the second round of the playoffs, where they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs.

Their winning percentage of 60.6 this season was the highest in franchise history.

– Reported by the Associated Press

The Portland Trail Blazers, the Idaho Stampede, and the NBA Development League announced today that the Trail Blazers and Stampede have entered into a single affiliation partnership beginning with the 2012-13 season.  Portland will be Idaho’s sole NBA affiliate and will have full control over the team’s basketball operations.

This partnership, also referred to as the “hybrid affiliation,” allows for NBA teams to secure control of, and cover the expenses related to, the basketball operations of an NBA D-League team while partnering with existing local ownership, which maintains responsibility for the team’s off-the-court business operations.

The Trail Blazers are the fourth NBA team to enter into a hybrid affiliation with an NBA D-League team, joining the Houston Rockets with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Brooklyn Nets with the Springfield Armor, and the New York Knicks with the Erie BayHawks.

Six other NBA teams are singly affiliated with their NBA D-League affiliates.  The Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs fully own and operate the Canton Charge, Dakota Wizards, L.A. D-Fenders, Tulsa 66ers and Austin Toros, respectively, while the Dallas Mavericks and Texas Legends are one-to-one affiliates.

“In establishing this exciting relationship with the Idaho Stampede, the Trail Blazers become the record 10th NBA team to acquire an exclusive ‘one-to-one’ relationship with its NBA Development League affiliate next season,” said NBA D-League President Dan Reed. “Having one-third of NBA teams invested in their NBA D-League affiliates is a strong testament to our league’s ability to help NBA teams find and develop top talent.”

The Stampede and Trail Blazers have been affiliated since the 2007-08 season, sharing the affiliation with the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz during the 2011-12 season.  New affiliates for the Jazz and Nuggets will be announced at a later date.

“This investment in the development of our young players will pay dividends on the court and we’re excited about working with the Stampede,” said Trail Blazers President Larry Miller. ”The hybrid partnership is closer in structure to minor league baseball with a parent club and affiliate relationship, so we feel this is an arrangement that will help us utilize the NBA D-League system more effectively.”

Portland’s partnership with Idaho follows the NBA D-League’s 11th and most successful season, where records were set with 60 GATORADE Call-Ups and 67 assignments, while 27 percent of players on 2011-12 NBA end-of-season rosters spent time in the NBA D-League. For the third consecutive year, the NBA D-League saw more than one million fans attend games across its 16 cities.

“The partnership with Portland is another large step toward the Idaho Stampede becoming more involved with the NBA and one of its premier teams in the Trail Blazers,” said Stampede Managing Investor Bill Ilett. “It will add to the experience on and off the court for our community and basketball fans throughout the Treasure Valley.”

ray allen

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday he was considering sitting ailing shooting guard Ray Allen for a game during the Eastern Conference finals.

In an interview with ESPNBoston.com’s Jackie MacMullan, Rivers acknowledged the dilemma the team was facing with Allen, who has painful bone spurs in his ankles and has struggled mightily this postseason because of them.

“It’s a tough call with him,” Rivers said Tuesday afternoon. “We’re trying to figure out a different minute rotation for him, maybe that will help him. We’re even considering sitting him for a game, getting him a longer rest and then playing him, and then sitting him for a game. We don’t know what the right thing is.”

Allen scored just 6 points on 1 of 7 shooting (including 1 for 4 beyond the arc) over 39 minutes against the Miami Heat in Game 1 on Monday and was 3 for 7 from the free-throw line.

– Reported by ESPN Boston

Celtics ready to use zone defense again

For most of Boston’s Game 1 loss to Miami, the Heat got any and every shot they wanted.

So as the fourth quarter rolled around and C’s coach Doc Rivers had seemingly exhausted just about every tweak and twist he could to his team’s leaky man-to-man coverage, he played his final card: the zone defense.

It didn’t provide the kind of game-changing impact the Celtics would have liked, but it did at the very least provide enough of a disruption to the Heat’s offensive flow to keep the game relatively close down the stretch.

So much so that Rivers made it clear afterward that the cameo appearance by the Celtics’ zone defense was not going to be a one-night only performance.

“You’ll see it,” Rivers said when asked about its use throughout this series. “We like it. We’ve been working on zone all year even though we’ve played it probably five times, six times all year.”

– Reported by A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE

Flamboyant former NBA star Dennis Rodman is due in family court Tuesday to be sentenced on four counts of contempt for failing to pay child support.

The retired professional basketball player will likely face a sentence of community service, said Mary Ann Noiroux, an attorney for Rodman’s ex-wife Michelle. He could also be ordered to pay more than $800,000 in back child support, Noiroux said.

”For somebody like that, they could even have him help out with a Boys and Girls Club teaching basketball,” she said.

Noiroux said Rodman also faces additional contempt charges for other missed payments, and another conviction could land him in jail.

– Reported by Amy Taxin of the Associated Press

James Augustine signs in Russia

Eurocup champion BC Khimki Moscow Region kept adding frontcourt strength for its Euroleague Basketball return by inking rebounding ace James Augustine to a two-year deal on Tuesday. Augustine (2.08 meters, 28 years old) arrives from UCAM Murcia of Spain, where he averaged 12.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in 34 Spanish League games last season. He led the Spanish League in performance index ranking (18.6) and rebounds, while also ranking fourth in two-point percentage (61.4%). Augustine played the 2010-11 Euroleague with Power Electronics Valencia, averaging 3.4 points and 3.1 rebounds and helping his team to reach the quarterfinals.

– Reported by Euroleague.net

kris humphries

If the Sixers do agree to let Elton Brand walk under the NBA’s amnesty clause, they will be in position to add a power forward from the crop of potential free agents in the 2012 class. Amnesty allows a team to pay a player his salary – something even wealthy team owners don’t look upon favorably – while it comes off the team’s salary cap.

The power forward who has risen to the top of that list is believed to be New Jersey unrestricted free agent Kris Humphries. Just 27, the 6-9, 235-pound Humphries averaged 13.8 points and 11.0 rebounds for the Nets in the recently completed season.  He shot better than 48 percent from the field.

He is a very good offensive rebounder – something the Sixers sorely need – and he is an improving defender.

The Sixers will almost certainly have their name mentioned in connection with Humphries because, if Brand comes off the books, they’ll have plenty of cash below salary cap, which should be in the range of $58 million when it is determined later this summer.

– Reported by John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Blog)

Kyle Lowry

The Raptors are extremely high on Lowry, so there is little doubt – despite Morey’s desire to keep Lowry in the fold – that he and Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo will discuss a Lowry deal. If that falls through the Raptors could instead pursue Dragic, though I do not know if he is a favourite of theirs like Lowry or not.

After Lowry burned the Raptors for a game-high 26 points (including 4-for-4 from three) in a three-point win in Houston, I asked Raptors head coach Dwane Casey what he thought of Lowry and Casey lauded the guard for his toughness and ability.

“He’s a hell of a competitor. He’s their heart and soul and spirit of their team and I love the way he plays,” Casey said.

Long-time Raptor Alvin Williams, now a scout with the team, is extremely close with Lowry and is one of his mentors. Both are from Philadelphia and both played for Villanova. “Alvin is my main man,” Lowry once said.

Complicating a potential deal would be the fact that Houston would have to be sure Dragic will re-sign long-term with the club to be its starter before opting to trade Lowry.

– Reported by Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun (Blog)

Orlando Magic waive Von Wafer

The Orlando Magic have announced that the team has waived guard Von Wafer.

Wafer (6’5”,209,7/21/85) appeared in 33 games (one start) with Orlando this season, averaging 5.9 ppg. and 1.4 rpg. in 14.2 minpg. He also played in one playoff game, tallying six points and one rebound.

Originally selected in the second round (39 th overall) of the 2005 NBA Draft by the L.A. Lakers, Wafer has played in 200 career regular season games with the Lakers, L.A. Clippers, Denver, Portland, Houston, Boston and Orlando, averaging 5.3 ppg. and 1.2 rpg. in 12.4 minpg. Wafer has also appeared in 17 career playoff outings, averaging 6.6 ppg. in 11.3 minpg.

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