Archive for June, 2012

chase budinger

The Minnesota Timberwolves today acquired 6-7 guard/forward Chase Budinger and the draft rights to 6-9 forward Lior Eliyahu from the Houston Rockets in exchange for the 18th overall pick in Thursday’s draft.

“We’re excited to add a player like Chase who is a proven shot-maker and also has an excellent all-around game,” said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. “Chase knows Rick Adelman’s system well after playing for him in Houston, and he will be a good fit on our team.”

“Chase was an integral part of our team in Houston my last two years as coach there,” Adelman said. “He will help our perimeter game with his athleticism and shooting ability. Chase’s game has improved in each of his first three seasons in the NBA and we look forward to that continuing here in Minnesota.”

The 24-year-old Budinger played three seasons in Houston and has career averages of 9.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in 210 games (35 starts). The 44th overall selection by the Detroit Pistons in the 2009 NBA Draft, Budinger was traded on draft night to the Rockets for a future second-round pick and cash. In 2011-12, Budinger established career highs in field goal percentage (.442) and three-point field goal percentage (.402). He also owns a career free throw percentage of .810.

An Encinitas, Calif., native, Budinger played three years at the University of Arizona where he averaged 17.0 points and 5.8 rebounds in 100 games for the Wildcats.

Eliyahu, a native of Israel, has played the past two seasons for Maccabi Tel Aviv, and averaged 11.3 points, on .579 shooting, and 4.1 rebounds in 69 games (56 starts) in 2011-12. The 26-year-old is a member of the Israeli national basketball team. Eliyahu was drafted with the 44th overall pick by the Orlando Magic in the 2006 NBA Draft and his rights were traded to Houston for cash considerations.

adonal foyle

The Orlando Magic continued their front-office housecleaning Monday, firing Adonal Foyle after two seasons as the team’s director of player development.

“Today was my last day with the Orlando Magic as I was let go,” Foyle wrote on his Facebook page. “Thank you to the people of Orlando for your incredible support. I’m looking forward to my next adventure.”

Foyle, 37, played two seasons for the Magic and also was injured for the entire 2009-10 season.

– Reported by Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel

ben gordon

Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced today that the club has acquired forward Corey Maggette from the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for guard Ben Gordon and a future first-round draft choice.

“We welcome Corey Maggette to our organization in a transaction that provides us with a veteran scorer and defender in addition to increased roster flexibility moving forward,” said Joe Dumars, President of Basketball Operations. “We thank Ben Gordon for his commitment to our organization over the last three years and wish him the best in the future.”

Maggette, a 6-6, 225-pound forward, averaged 15.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 32 games with the Charlotte Bobcats last season. In 809 career games, the 13-year NBA veteran has averaged 16.2 points (.454 FG, .325 3FG, .823 FT), 4.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists. Maggette averaged a career-high 22.2 points in 2004-05 as a member of the L.A. Clippers and has averaged 20-plus points three times and 15-plus points nine times during his career. Drafted 13 th overall in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Seattle Supersonics, his draft rights were then traded to Orlando where he played one year before being traded to the Clippers where he played eight seasons (2000-08). Maggette also played two seasons with the Golden State Warriors (2008-10) and one with the Milwaukee Bucks (2010-11).

Gordon, 29, averaged 12.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 26.9 minutes in 52 games last season (21 starts). He scored a season-high 45 points at Denver (3/21), tying his own NBA record with nine consecutive three-point field goals made without a miss. He also made a franchise-record seven three-pointers in the second quarter vs. Philadelphia (4/26) and tied the franchise record for three-pointers in a half (7). In three seasons with the Pistons, the former Connecticut product averaged 12.4 points, 1.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 26.8 minutes in 196 games. After tallying 15-plus points per game during five seasons in Chicago, where he was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2004-05, Gordon’s best year with Detroit came during the 2009-10 campaign when he averaged 13.8 points and 2.7 assists in 62 games.

The Indiana Pacers announced Tuesday that David Morway has resigned as General Manager of the franchise.

Morway was originally hired in January, 1999, as Vice President of Basketball Administration and was promoted to General Manager in April, 2008. When Morway was hired as General Manager of the Pacers, the franchise initiated a rebuilding plan that culminated this year with a 42-24 record and an appearance in the second round of the playoffs against the Miami Heat.

“I’ve had a terrific 13-plus years with the franchise,” said Morway. “The performance of this year’s team both on and off the court was incredibly rewarding. To experience Bankers Life Fieldhouse full to the rafters again, with an energy reminiscent of the late 90s, and to see our fan base re-engaged and proud made it all worthwhile.

“While I deeply care about this franchise, sometimes change is important for everyone concerned. For the past year I have carefully and thoughtfully considered my personal, family and professional goals. After discussing all of these issues with our owner, Herb Simon, and Larry (Bird, President of Basketball Operations), I believe this is the right time to step away.

“I want to thank Mr. Simon, Larry, (former team president) Donnie Walsh and (team president) Jim Morris for the opportunity they gave me and the friendship and mentorship they provided. I also want to thank everyone associated with the franchise, including all of the players, our coaches and our terrific staff as well as the Indianapolis community and all of our fans for giving me and my family the opportunity to be part of Pacers’ basketball for the last 13-plus years”

“We are very appreciative of David’s efforts the entire time he has been here,” said Simon. “His work ethic and dedication to making this franchise better was unwavering through many good times and some difficult times. Whatever direction his professional future takes him, I’m certain he will have success and a positive impact.”

A wax replica of New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony was unveiled today at Madame Tussauds in Times Square, in the middle of Manhattan.

In case you can’t tell, the real Melo is the guy in the suit on the right.

Larry Bird will leave the Indiana Pacers

larry bird

Larry Bird has decided to call it quits as president of the Indiana Pacers.

Bird is “100 percent sure” he will not return as president of the team, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Star on Monday.

Bird, 55, is expected to meet with owner Herb Simon today to finalize his departure.

Bird’s departure will end what had become annual speculation about his future. He and Simon operated under a yearly handshake agreement because Bird was not interested in a long-term commitment.

– Reported by Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star

Bobcats open to trading no.2 pick

New Charlotte coach Mike Dunlap says the idea of trading down from the No. 2 spot in the NBA draft to acquire extra picks “makes a lot of sense” for a young team like the Bobcats.

After finishing 7-59 and with the worst winning percentage (.106) in NBA history, the Bobcats have a variety of holes to fill this offseason.

Dunlap recognizes that.

That’s one of the reasons he said the Bobcats are taking a “hybrid thinking” approach to Thursday night’s draft, which means evaluating the talent available at No. 2 while simultaneously looking into the feasibility of moving down and picking up an additional first-round draft pick.

He said the option of trading down “is on the board.”

– Reported by the Associated Press

Bulls have considered trading Luol Deng

luol deng

The Bulls have considered the possibility of trading Deng for a high pick in this year’s draft. The reason has nothing to do with how much they appreciate Deng or any disappointment that he’s planning to postpone wrist surgery to play in the Olympics. It’s more about creating some financial flexibility on a team with four high-salaried players – Deng, Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah.

So far, it looks like there aren’t any takers. It’s very possible no team wants to take on that much salary ($27 million over the next two years) for a guy who’s likely to miss the start of next season recovering from wrist surgery.

There was talk that Golden State, with the No. 7 pick, was interested. But that makes no sense because the Warriors already have a bloated payroll featuring Andrew Bogut, David Lee, Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins – not to mention a pending extension for Stephen Curry.

– Reported by Mike McGraw of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald

Ex-Knicks president Donnie Walsh, ousted by Garden chairman Jim Dolan last June after he was offered a 40% pay cut, is returning to the Indiana Pacers.

Walsh, the long-time Indiana CEO before he came to New York to rebuild the Knicks, will be leading the Pacers in their efforts to land free agents starting when the period opens Sunday, league sources said Monday. The team’s No. 1 priority is to re-sign point guard George Hill, a restricted free agent, and sources said Walsh will be spearheading the team’s efforts to keep Hill.

Walsh, 71, has a close relationship with Pacers owner Herb Simon and has been attending the team’s pre-draft workouts in recent weeks.

– Reported by Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News

Nicolas Batum

The Portland Trail Blazers have extended a qualifying offer to forward Nicolas Batum, it was announced today by General Manager Neil Olshey.

Batum will become a restricted free agent on July 1, ensuring that the Trail Blazers will have right of first refusal should another team try to sign him. The move gives Portland the right to match any contract offer he will receive.

Batum, 23, holds averages of 10.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 26.2 minutes in 255 games (202 starts) with the Trail Blazers over four NBA seasons. A native of Lisieux, France, Batum was acquired by Portland in a draft day trade with Houston in June 2008.

jason thompson

The Sacramento Kings today extended a qualifying offer to Jason Thompson, making him a restricted free agent, according to Kings President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie.

Thompson averaged 9.1 ppg (.535 FG, .602 FT), 6.9 rpg and 1.2 apg through 64 outings with the Kings last season, of which he started 47. He was selected by Sacramento with the 12th overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft and is averaging 10.5 ppg (.498 FG, .663 FT), 7.2 rpg, and 1.3 apg over his four-year career.

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.

grant hill

President Obama announced the Presidential Delegation to the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, which will include Phoenix Suns forward and 1996 Olympic gold medalist Grant Hill.  First Lady Michelle Obama will lead the delegation this summer, accompanied by Olympic and Paralympic greats to attend the Opening Ceremony, meet with U.S. athletes, and encourage American children to be active in their daily lives.

The First Lady is working to turn the inspiration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games into action by getting more kids healthy and active.  In May, the First Lady joined U.S. Olympians, Paralympians, and London hopefuls to announce a nationwide commitment to get more than 1.7 million American children active as part of her Let’s Move! initiative to solve the problem of childhood obesity in a generation. In March, Mrs. Obama welcomed Mrs. Samantha Cameron, wife of British Prime Minister David Cameron, to the United States by hosting a mini-Olympic event for local school children and in April, Mrs. Obama spoke at the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Warrior Games.

“This summer I’ll be cheering on Team U.S.A. at the Olympic Games in London with this distinguished group of champions who truly represent the best of our country,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Olympians and Paralympians are true American heroes and role models for all of us, especially our young people. And I know that this delegation will help inspire a generation of young people to get into the Olympic spirit by getting active and healthy so they can reach their fullest potential and reach their dreams.”

Members of the Delegation

- First Lady Michelle Obama

- The Honorable Louis B. Susman, United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

- Ms. Brandi Chastain, 2-time Olympic gold medalist (1996, 2004), 1-time Olympic silver medalist (2000), Women’s Soccer

- Ms. Dominique Dawes, Co-chair of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and Olympic gold medalist (1996), 3-time Olympic bronze medalist (1992, 1996, 2000), Women’s Gymnastics

- Mr. Gabriel Diaz de Leon, Paralympic javelin gold medalist (1992), Paralympic discus silver medalist (1992), Paralympic shot put and discus bronze medalist (1988, 1996, 2000)

- Mr. Grant Hill, Member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and Olympic gold medalist (1996), Men’s Basketball

- Ms. Summer Sanders, 2-time Olympic gold medalist (1992), 1-time Olympic silver medalist (1992), 1-time Olympic bronze medalist (1992), Women’s Swimming

The Atlanta Hawks announced today that Danny Ferry has been named President of Basketball Operations and General Manager.

“Over the past nine years Danny Ferry has earned tremendous respect as a front office executive in the NBA,” said Atlanta Hawks partner, Bruce Levenson.  ”His philosophy, character, and commitment to creating enduring and successful organizations exemplify exactly what we are looking for in a leader of the Atlanta Hawks. Danny’s systematic and value driven approach has helped him become one of the preeminent minds in basketball.  He is passionate about building an organization the right way, knows how to win and knows how to forge winning teams. We look forward to having him as our leader of basketball operations.”

Ferry was previously with the San Antonio Spurs serving as the team’s vice president of basketball operations from 2010-2012.  Prior to the Spurs, Ferry held the role of General Manager for the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2005-2010, where the Cavaliers posted a 272-138 (.663) record, enjoyed the NBA’s best regular season record in both 2008-09 and 2009-10 and advanced to the 2007 NBA Finals, marking the franchise’s first, and only, trip to the NBA Finals.

Ferry’s NBA career included playing for the San Antonio Spurs (2000-2003) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (1990-2000). In his 13-year NBA career, Ferry averaged 7.0 points and 2.8 rebounds in 917 career games.   Shortly after winning an NBA Championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003, Ferry then began his NBA front office career with the team as director of basketball operations.  He remained with the Spurs through the 2004-05 season, when the team captured its third Championship.

“My family and I are thrilled to join the Hawks organization and Atlanta community,” said Hawks new President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Danny Ferry.  ”There were many components that made this the right fit for me but clearly my confidence in the ownership group and their dedication to building a Championship caliber franchise was most important.  They are committed to building with the right people and investing in critical areas for development; both essential elements if we want to create sustained success. ”

A native of Hyattsville, MD, Ferry played four seasons at Duke (1985-1989) where he was named a First Team All-American as both a junior and a senior, received the 1989 Naismith Award and was inducted into the Duke Sports Hall of Fame in September of 2004.

Ferry’s contract is a multi-year deal the specifics of which were not disclosed.

New Orlando Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan has started to reconfigure the franchise’s basketball operations department.

On Sunday, Hennigan fired Assistant General Manager Dave Twardzik and six scouts.

In addition to Twardzik, regional scout Tom Conrad, international scout Rudy D’Amico, international scouting coordinator Sam Foggin, pro scout Bob Staak, regional scout Greg Stratton and NBA advance scout Al Walker were let go, team spokesman Joel Glass confirmed.

Scouting coordinator Brian Wright will remain on the staff, Glass said.

Hennigan declined to comment.

Glass said Twardzik has been given the option to remain with the team through Thursday’s NBA draft, but it’s unclear whether Twardzik will do so.

– Reported by Josh Robbins and Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel

tony parker

French basketball team leader Tony Parker could miss the Olympics because has not recovered as fast as expected from an injury to his left eye.

The San Antonio Spurs guard was injured in a New York nightclub 10 days ago and said he eventually had to undergo surgery to have a shard of glass removed from his eye, which he was at risk of losing.

Parker had expected to be back training after a week-long rest but said on Sunday he was still sidelined and may have to withdraw from the London Games.

“As required by the Spurs, I will go back to the U.S. on July 5… I will visit a specialist in New York, hoping he will give the green light to compete at the Games,” Parker said on his official website (www.tp9.net).

– Reported by Reuters

Luol Deng

Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng revealed this weekend that he will not be surprised if the Bulls trade him this offseason.

While at training camp in Texas with Great Britain’s national team preparing for the London Olympics, Deng said he does not believe the Bulls are shopping him in retaliation for his decision to delay the wrist surgery he needs until after the Games.

But Deng, 27, did acknowledge that he’s not dismissing recent reports suggesting the Bulls are willing to trade him for a top pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, with speculation mounting that Chicago could send Deng to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for the No. 7 overall pick.

“I believe there is always to some extent truth behind rumors,” Deng said. “But as an athlete, if you get caught up in them, you are really wasting your time because it’s not something you can control.

“If it’s not true, a GM could always come out and say it’s not true. But if a GM doesn’t come out and say it, there are probably talks. And there should be. If I was a GM I would be shopping players around too. I’ve got to show that I’m doing something.”

– Reported by Ian Whittell, special to ESPN Chicago

The Charlotte Bobcats’ new database scouting system has over 50,000 web pages.

You can instantly look up year-by-year statistics for Boston Celtics great Bill Russell … or any other player in NBA history. You can check the injury archive of a Slovenian playing in the Spanish league or whether a forward in the Development League was ever busted for drugs.

This is Charlotte Bobcats general manager Rich Cho’s baby, an Internet-friendly system that took six months and a six-figure cost to develop. Now it evolves daily and gets put to the test in Thursday night’s NBA draft, when the Bobcats select second and 31st following a 7-59 season.

Cho’s boss, president of basketball operations Rod Higgins, has a simple description for this complex tool: “One-stop shopping.”

The result, the Bobcats hope, is that quicker access to a buffet of information offers a competitive advantage in player evaluation.

When Cho interviewed with the Bobcats a year ago, he told Higgins and team owner Michael Jordan he thought the front office needed more staffing and fresh technology. When you’re dealing with decisions as consequential as the No. 2 pick, don’t you want the best tools available?

Jordan agreed, approving the hiring of three new support staff, including a Harvard graduate to oversee statistical analysis. Then Jordan tasked Cho with reviewing the Bobcats’ scouting system, to see whether it should be replaced.

The Bobcats were using “Hawkeye,” one of several plug-in scouting tools NBA teams can buy and adapt to their needs. Cho thought it wiser to start from scratch, to customize a Bobcats-only system. Among NBA executives, he has a rare background that qualifies him to do just that.

– Reported by Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer

scott brooks

The Thunder enter the offseason with coach Scott Brooks’ contract about to expire, Sixth Man of the Year James Harden and NBA blocks leader Serge Ibaka eligible for new deals and the future of veterans Derek Fisher and Nazr Mohammed up in the air.

It will be up to general manager Sam Presti to determine whether they all can still fit on a team where All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are already locked into expensive, long-term deals.

“It’s going to be difficult decisions but we’ll see what happens,” forward Nick Collison said Saturday. “Obviously, we want everybody back. We feel like we’ve got a really good core group and we feel like we can get it done with our group, so hopefully it can happen.”

Brooks’ situation is the most urgent, with his deal expiring at the end of the month.

“I’m sure in the next couple of days we will sit down and get together. Definitely, I wish I was preparing or just finishing up practice going into Game 6,” Brooks said. “You definitely need a few days just to reflect on what we’ve done this year. But the next couple of days, we plan on getting together.”

– Reported by the Associated Press

james harden

The reigning Sixth Man of the Year says he doesn’t plan to be coming off anyone’s bench but Oklahoma City’s.

James Harden said Saturday that he “loves it” with the Thunder and expects a contract extension to be worked out between his agent and Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti.

“They’ll do a pretty good job of working it out,” Harden said. “I’m focused on several other things right now. But when the time is (right), they’ll figure it out and it’ll be done.”

In his third season, Harden averaged 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists while coming off the bench for the Western Conference champions and proved to be a key piece for the young and talented Thunder.

– Reported by ESPN.com news services

Deron Williams prefers Nets, Mavericks

deron williams

When NBA free agency begins at midnight July 1, Brooklyn Nets star guard Deron Williams will be choosing from a two-team list that only features the Nets and the Dallas Mavericks, according to sources close to the situation.

Sources told ESPN.com on Saturday night that, while this summer’s No. 1 free agent remains “up in the air” about which team he’ll ultimately chose, Williams already has made the decision to narrow his list of potential destinations to those two franchises.

Other teams, including the Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets, had been hoping to lodge their own bids for Williams once free agency begins, sources said. The Los Angeles Lakers, likewise have continued to express interest in a sign-and-trade package built around Pau Gasol for Williams, sources say, despite the Nets’ longstanding insistence that they have no interest in Gasol and would only consider such a move if they were getting back All-Star center Andrew Bynum, whom the Lakers have not made available.

Sources say Williams, in any case, already has instructed his representatives to advise any team that calls starting at 12:01 a.m. July 1 that he intends to either re-sign with the Nets or return to his hometown with the Mavericks after a glittering high school career in the Dallas area.

– Reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.com

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