Archive for June, 2012

Kings draft Thomas Robinson 5th overall

The Sacramento Kings selected Kansas forward Thomas Robinson with the fifth pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night.

Robinson was considered perhaps the most NBA-ready player in the draft and the Kings need plenty of immediate help after missing the playoffs for a sixth straight season.

Robinson, the first unanimous first-team All-American since Blake Griffin, led the Jayhawks to the national championship game against Kentucky, where they lost 67-59. He averaged 17.9 points and 11.8 rebounds per game in 31.8 minutes in his junior season and led the nation with 27 double-doubles.

Robinson broke down and hugged his 9-year-old sister, Jayla, after Commissioner David Stern announced the Kings had drafted him in an emotional scene.

– Reported by Josh Dubow of the Associated Press

Cavs draft Dion Waiters with No. 4 pick

The Cleveland Cavaliers have selected Syracuse guard Dion Waiters with the No. 4 overall pick in the NBA draft.

The Cavs envision Waiters as a perimeter scorer and backcourt running mate for point guard Kyrie Irving, last year’s No. 1 overall pick who didn’t disappoint this season and was named rookie of the year.

Waiters didn’t start a single game last season for the Orange, averaging 12.6 points in 37 games. At 6-foot-4, 221 pounds, he’s not afraid to drive to the basket and many feel he’s got a pro-ready game.

– Reported by Tom Withers of the Associated Press

Wizards select Bradley Beal 3rd in Draft

The Washington Wizards have chosen Bradley Beal of Florida with the No. 3 pick in the NBA draft.

The 6-foot-4 freshman guard averaged 14.8 points and 6.5 rebounds for the Gators last season. Beal, who turned 19 on Thursday, joins a backcourt headlined by John Wall, the first selection in the 2010 draft.

The Wizards finished were 20-46 last season. Washington closed the season on a six-game winning streak, but missed the playoffs for a fourth straight campaign.

Lamar Odom is headed back to Los Angeles for a second chance with the Clippers and Mo Williams will be reunited with the Utah Jazz, a person with knowledge of the deal said Thursday night.

That person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because a three-team deal between the Dallas Mavericks, Clippers and Jazz is contingent on Williams exercising his $8.5 million player option for next season. That person said that was expected to happen by Friday.

Williams was drafted by the Jazz in 2003, and played 57 games as a rookie before going to Milwaukee, Cleveland and then the Clippers.

– Reported by Stephen Hawkins of the Associated Press

Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats have selected Kentucky small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with the second overall pick in the NBA draft, marking the first time two players from the same school have gone first and second overall.

The Bobcats had been in trade talks with several teams regarding the No. 2 pick before making Kidd-Gilchrist their highest draft pick in franchise history since selecting Connecticut center Omeka Okafor second overall in 2004.

– Reported by Steve Reed of the Associated Press

The New Orleans Hornets have selected Kentucky forward Anthony Davis with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.

Davis will begin his pro career in the same city where he ended it with a national title. College basketball’s player of the year as a freshman was the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four despite shooting just 1 for 10 from the field in the championship game, grabbing 16 rebounds and blocking six shots in the victory over Kansas.

The 6-foot-10 Davis averaged 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.7 blocks, becoming a dominant defender after growing 7 inches from the start of his junior year of high school.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

Sacramento Kings’ forward Tyler Honeycutt had X-rays taken today at the UC Davis Sports Medicine Clinic, which revealed a stress fracture in the head of the second metatarsal on his right foot. He will use a walking boot for the next three weeks and be out of action for approximately four to six weeks overall.

Honeycutt finished his rookie campaign (2011-12) averaging 1.3 points (.333 FGs,.333 3FGs,.600 FTs) in 15 games off the bench for the Kings.

dwyane wade

Dwyane Wade needs surgery on his ailing left knee and will not play in next month’s London Olympics.

The Miami Heat guard called USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski on Thursday to break the news, which was not totally unexpected after Wade played through pain in the postseason. He appeared in all 23 Heat playoff games despite the knee problems, averaging 22.6 points during Miami’s five-game win over Oklahoma City in the NBA Finals.

”I’ve decided to listen to my doctors and get the procedure I need on my knee,” Wade told The Associated Press on Thursday. ”USA Basketball said I had to what was best for me. They want me to be obviously as healthy as possible so I can continue to play this game at a high level. They were very supportive and told me if I ever want to come around the team, I’m welcome and that I’m part of the family.”

Wade and his doctors are in the process of scheduling the surgery. Wade has been told it will be basically a ”cleanup” procedure and should have him on crutches for only about a day afterward.

If all goes according to plan, Wade will be ready for the start of training camp with the Heat this fall.

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

STATEMENT FROM GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

In response to media inquiries, Golden State Warriors Head Coach Mark Jackson today confirmed that he and his family were the victims of an extortion scheme attempting to blackmail them in exchange for money. The suspects were arrested on June 25 by the FBI.

Jackson informed the Warriors of the extortion scheme in late April – three weeks after his first encounter with the extortionist – and solicited help from the organization.  At that point, Jackson and the Warriors immediately contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Although not condoning his previous actions that led to the extortion attempt, the Warriors fully support Coach Jackson during this time and thank law enforcement authorities and the FBI for their prompt assistance in helping Coach Jackson and his family.

Due to the fact that this is an ongoing legal matter, the Warriors will have no further comment at this time.

robin lopez

The Phoenix Suns today extended qualifying offers to center Robin Lopez and guard Aaron Brooks, making both players restricted free agents, the club has announced.

Originally selected by the Suns with the 15th overall pick in the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft, the 7-0, 255-pound Lopez has spent all four of his professional seasons with Phoenix, compiling averages of 5.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 14.4 minutes in 242 games (94 starts).  Lopez is a career 51.7-percent shooter from the field who enjoyed his best statistical campaign in 2009-10 when he averaged career highs of 8.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.00 blocks in 51 games (31 starts) and helped lead the Suns to the Western Conference Finals.

A two-year collegiate standout at Stanford, both Robin and twin brother Brook were 2008 NBA first-round picks; Brook was selected 10th overall by the Brooklyn Nets.

The 2009-10 NBA Most Improved Player, Brooks was acquired by the Suns from the Houston Rockets at the 2011 trade deadline and appeared in 25 games with Phoenix, averaging 9.6 points and 4.2 assists in 18.9 minutes.  The 6-0, 160-pound guard spent the 2011-12 season with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, leading his team to the 2012 CBA Finals and earning a berth in the league’s All-Star game.

Brooks owns career NBA averages of 12.5 points and 3.6 assists in 272 games and is a career 36.3-percent shooter from three-point range.  His best statistical season came in his decorated 2009-10 campaign in which he averaged 19.6 points and 5.3 assists in 82 games.

In accordance with the league’s collective bargaining agreement, in order for a team to retain its right of first refusal with respect to a restricted free agent, the team must tender the player a qualifying offer prior to June 30. A restricted free agent may sign an offer sheet with any team, but is subject to a right of first refusal with the team for which the player last played.

ryan andreson

The Orlando Magic have extended a qualifying offer to forward Ryan Anderson, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

By extending a qualifying offer to Anderson prior to the June 30 deadline, Orlando owns the right to match any offer sheet he may sign with another team.  Anderson will become a restricted free agent on July 1.

Anderson (6’10”, 240, 5/6/88) played and started in 61 games last season with the Magic, averaging career-highs of 16.1 ppg. and 7.7 rpg. in 32.2 minpg.  He shot .393 (166-422) from three-point range and .877 (150-171) from the free throw line.  Anderson led the NBA in both three point field goals made and attempted, and captured the 2011-12 NBA Most Improved Player award.

The NBA today announced the resignation of its Senior Vice President, Referee Operations, Major General Ronald L. Johnson, effective at the end of July.

Following a distinguished 32-year career as an Army combat engineer, Johnson, a two-star General, joined the NBA in 2008 to lead the league’s newly formed Referee Operations department.

“When I was hired, Commissioner Stern asked me to apply my military and engineering background to improve the management processes and methods of an already superior officiating program,” General Johnson said.  “I feel I have accomplished that mission and, with great pride in having led the best referees in the world, I am ready to move on to my next challenge.”

“From day one, Ron has worked tirelessly to maximize the on-court performance of NBA referees, while fostering a culture of compliance and discipline that is at the core of any officiating program’s success,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “We deeply appreciate Ron’s contributions during his tenure and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

The NBA will begin the process of identifying a replacement for General Johnson.

Perry Jones may have knee issue

It looks as if Jared Sullinger isn’t the only big-time NBA draft prospect to have medical issues potentially hurt his stock.

Multiple league sources say NBA team doctors are concerned about a meniscus issue in the knee of Baylor forward Perry Jones III.

While opinions among NBA doctors vary on the ramifications of the issue, some teams believe the knee could pose a problem down the road and at some point require surgery.

– Reported by Chad Ford of ESPN.com

Pat Cummings, who played with five NBA teams over a 12-year career after being selected Metro Conference Player of the Year at Cincinnati, was found dead in a New York apartment, according to police. He was 55.

The 6-foot-9 Cummings, a native of Johnstown, Pa., was found Tuesday afternoon, police said Wednesday. They said the cause of death was to be determined but foul play wasn’t suspected…

He was drafted by Milwaukee in the third round and was traded to Dallas in 1982. He signed with the New York Knicks as a free agent in 1984 and also played for Miami and Utah.

– Reported by the Associated Press

The Milwaukee Bucks have acquired 10-year veteran center Samuel Dalembert, the 14th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, a future second round pick and cash considerations from Houston in exchange for forward Jon Brockman, forward Jon Leuer, guard Shaun Livingston and the 12th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, General Manager John Hammond announced today.

In 65 games (45 starts) with Houston last season, Dalembert (6-11, 250) averaged 7.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks (10th in NBA) in 22.2 minutes per game, while shooting 50.6 percent from the field and 79.6 percent from the free throw line. In 727 career NBA games, Dalembert, 31, has career averages of 8.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots for the 76ers (2001-10), Kings (2010-11) and Rockets (2011-12). He has finished eight of his last 10 seasons ranked in the NBA’s top-10 in blocked shots.

A native of Haiti, Dalembert was the 26th overall pick by Philadelphia in the 2001 NBA Draft. He played eight seasons with the 76ers before being traded to Sacramento prior to the 2010-11 season. He signed with the Rockets as an unrestricted free agent prior to last season. He was named the recipient of the 2009-10 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award by the Professional Basketball Writers Association in recognition of his outstanding charitable works and tireless relief efforts in his native Haiti.

Brockman, 25, finished his third NBA campaign and second with Milwaukee last season. In 150 career NBA games, he has averaged 2.1 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. Originally drafted by Portland in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft, Brockman was traded to Sacramento where he played his rookie season and averaged 2.8 points and 4.1 rebounds. He was traded to Milwaukee prior to the 2010-11 season for Darnell Jackson and a 2011 second round pick.

Leuer, 23, appeared in 46 games during his rookie season with the Bucks and averaged 4.7 points and 2.6 rebounds while shooting 50.8 percent from the field. He was the 40th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft after a stellar four-year collegiate career at the University of Wisconsin. He left the school ranked 12th in career points (1,376) and was named a First Team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and an honorable mention AP All-American as a senior.

Livingston, 26, appeared in 58 games (27 starts) last season for Milwaukee and averaged 5.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He was the 4th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers and has played 324 career games with six teams including the Clippers, Miami, Oklahoma City, Washington, Charlotte and Milwaukee over seven seasons. His career averages are 6.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

josh smith

The Atlanta Hawks have aggressively tried to trade power forward Josh Smith to the Lakers for Pau Gasol, initially expressing interest in Gasol shortly after Oklahoma City eliminated the Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals, The Times has learned.

Smith has been unhappy in Atlanta for more than a year, his dissatisfaction starting after the 2010-11 season because he felt he was an unfair target of criticism by coaches and media members.

In separate activity leading up to Thursday’s amateur draft, the Lakers are also open to trading Gasol to a team with a high first-round pick because they covet Kentucky freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Atlanta holds the 23rd pick and cannot help in that area.

No deals were imminent for the Lakers, who hold only the 60th and final pick in the draft. They have not had a first-round pick since taking Javaris Crittenton in 2007.

– Reported by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times

The Houston Rockets and Clear Channel Media & Entertainment Houston announced today a multi-year rights agreement that establishes SportsTalk 790 as the new flagship radio home of the Rockets. Under the new agreement, SportsTalk 790 will air all Rockets games with a number of contests being simulcast on NewsTalk 740 KTRH or SUNNY 99.1 FM.

“We are very excited about our partnership with SportsTalk 790 and the Clear Channel family to bring Rockets games, as well as a broad range of shoulder programming, to fans throughout Houston and beyond,” said Rockets CEO Tad Brown. “With a great draft coming up, NBA All-Star ‘13 at Toyota Center and a talented young team looking to take the next step, the future is very bright for Rockets fans everywhere. We greatly appreciate the partnership with Clear Channel to deliver unique, compelling programming to our fans.”

The new era of Rockets basketball on SportsTalk 790 launches on Thursday, June 28, with live coverage of the 2012 NBA Draft. The special live broadcast from Toyota Center airs from 6:00-10:00 p.m. and will feature SportsTalk 790 hosts joined by members of the Rockets broadcast team.

“I’m elated with our new partnership with the Houston Rockets,” said Eddie Martiny, President/Market Manager, Clear Channel Media & Entertainment Houston. “Clear Channel Media & Entertainment and the Houston Rockets both have track records of striving for excellence. The excitement will start Thursday with one of the most anticipated drafts in Rockets history. We look forward to providing Rockets fans with the highest quality game broadcasts, as well as an incredible environment to voice their opinions on Houston’s new ‘Home of the Rockets’ SportsTalk 790.”

Craig Ackerman will return for his fifth season of calling play-by-play on all Rockets radio broadcasts. He will be joined on SportsTalk 790 broadcasts by Joel Blank, who enters his fourth season as analyst and studio host. Game broadcasts will continue to feature pre- and post-game shows, as well as a fan feedback segment following each Rockets outing. In addition to airing games, SportsTalk 790 will carry a number of ancillary Rockets radio programs, including a weekly Rockets show, a weekly Rockets personnel show and a weekly coach’s mid-day program that will all run during the season.

The Indiana Pacers announced Wednesday changes in the basketball front office. Larry Bird, President of Basketball Operations for the last nine years, will step down, former team President Donnie Walsh returns as President of Basketball Operations, and Kevin Pritchard will be the General Manager, replacing David Morway, who resigned Tuesday.

“I fully understand Larry’s decision to step away and can’t thank him enough for what he has done for the Pacers,” said Pacers Owner Herb Simon. “I can’t ask for a better transition at this time than to have Donnie back to work with Kevin in overseeing the basketball side.”

“I’m going to take some time off and evaluate what I will do in the future,” said Bird. “This has nothing to do with any conflict or anything else, it’s just time. I considered leaving last year, so this shouldn’t be a surprise. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, I like the position this team is in and with Kevin and Donnie, the basketball side won’t miss a beat.”

Walsh left the Pacers in 2008 to serve as President, Basketball Operations, for the New York Knicks for two years. He was a consultant with the Knicks last season. Walsh was the Pacers’ General Manager from 1986-88 before becoming the franchise president from 1988-2008.

“After discussing this with Herb and Larry, I’m very comfortable in coming back and doing whatever I can to help the Pacers continue their return to prominence in the NBA,” said Walsh. “This is home in so many ways and I couldn’t be more proud about coming back and being part of this great franchise again.”

Pritchard joined the Pacers prior to last season as Director of Player Personnel. The native Hoosier (born in Bloomington, Ind.) was Portland’s general manager from 2007-10 prior to joining the Pacers.

“This is a great opportunity,” said Pritchard. “To be able to work with someone like Donnie Walsh, whose record with the Pacers and Knicks speaks for itself, and to continue to build on what Larry has done here is a great honor.”

There will be no other management changes in Pacers Sports & Entertainment with Simon continuing as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jim Morris as President and Rick Fuson as Chief Operating Officer.

Clippers in trade talks for Lamar Odom

lamar odom

The Los Angeles Clippers have engaged in trade discussions to bring Lamar Odom back to the L.A. team that drafted him, according to sources close to the situation.

Yet the deal, sources said, could hinge on the willingness of a third team to take on the contract of Clippers veteran guard Mo Williams, which would allow the Dallas Mavericks to send Odom to the Clippers with no significant money coming back to the Mavericks.

With a Friday deadline looming for the Mavericks to buy out the final year of Odom’s contract for $2.4 million, Dallas officials have green-lighted Odom’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, to try to find a new home for Odom this week via trade. The Mavericks and Schwartz also have discussed pushing the deadline back into July if an Odom trade can’t be struck before Friday.

The Mavericks’ interest in an Odom deal, though, is purely to gain financial flexibility, which likely necessitates a third team to take on Williams. If no trade can be struck, either this week or before an adjusted deadline, Dallas is expected to eventually buy Odom out and make him a free agent, with big-market teams such as Miami and New York also planning to pursue him in that scenario.

– Reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.com

brandon rush

The Golden State Warriors have extended a qualifying offer to guard/forward Brandon Rush, making him a restricted free agent, the team announced today.

Rush, 26, appeared in 65 games last season (one start), averaging a career-high 9.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 26.4 minutes per contest. He ranked sixth in the NBA in three-point percentage by shooting a career-high .452 from behind the arc, while also posting career-highs in field goal percentage (.501) and free throw percentage (.793).

A four-year NBA veteran, Rush was acquired by Golden State from Indiana on December 19, 2011, in exchange for Lou Amundson. For his career, the Kansas City, MO, native owns averages of 9.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 289 regular-season games with the Pacers and Warriors.

By extending a qualifying offer to Rush prior to the June 30 deadline, the Warriors retain the ability to match any offer sheet that he signs with another team this offseason.

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