Archive for June 15th, 2012

Anthony Davis

Wasserman Media Group’s Vice Chairman, Arn Tellem, today announced that projected #1 NBA draft pick, NCAA National Champion, consensus player of the year, and University of Kentucky super-star center/forward Anthony Davis, has signed with the agency for comprehensive representation.

“We are thrilled that Anthony has chosen Wasserman and very much look forward to helping him launch what will undoubtedly be a hugely successful NBA career,” said Thad Foucher, EVP, Team Sports and Anthony’s agent along with Tellem.

This signing continues Wasserman’s streak of representing the top pick in multiple sports in 2012, including the NFL’s Andrew Luck, MLB’s Carlos Correa, and MLS’s Andrew Wenger.

“I know that this decision is a critical one to help me get on the right track for the next stage of my basketball career and I did not come to it easily,” said Anthony Davis. “After speaking with many agents and advisors, it became clear to me that Wasserman was the best place for me. I am excited, and also relieved to have made this choice and look forward to starting my career knowing I am in great hands.”

Jason Maxiell

As the Pistons continue to evaluate first-round talent for the June 28 draft, forward Jason Maxiell still hasn’t decided whether to pick up his option for next season.

Maxiell, 29, is due to make $5 million next season and is coming off one of his best seasons in years — as he stayed in shape and received consistent minutes next to Greg Monroe. He averaged 7.6 points and 5.5 rebounds after the All-Star break, at which point he became a permanent fixture in the starting lineup.

His agent, Andy Miller, said he’s still evaluating what kind of market there will be for Maxiell if he were to hit free-agency. The deadline for Maxiell to decide is June 30, the eve of free agency.

Right now, Maxiell is in his hometown of Dallas with his wife and infant son.

– Reported by Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News

Dwight Howard can finally relax — because his baby mama Royce Reed just got her ass axed from [VH1] “Basketball Wives” … along with two other stars on the show.

Sources connected with production tell TMZ, Jennifer Williams and Kesha Nichols also got the chop — and will be replaced next season. It’s unclear who’s in line to take their spots.

According to sources, producers will be giving the girls their walking papers any day now to drop what they called “dead weight” from the show.

– Reported by TMZ

The purchase of the New Orleans Hornets by Tom Benson was completed today after having been approved by the National Basketball Association’s Board of Governors. Tom Benson is now officially the new owner of the New Orleans Hornets.

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, “On April 13, Benson, who also owns the Saints, signed an agreement to purchase the Hornets from the NBA for $338 million. In the intervening months, the legislature debated, and eventually included, capital improvement funding for the arena, which will eliminate state subsidies of potentially $7 million to $8 million annually to assist the Hornets financially, money the team received under terms of the existing lease in the event certain financial levels were not achieved.”

In conjunction with the finalization of the ownership transaction, the Hornets’ lease extension with the State has been approved by Governor Bobby Jindal and the Louisiana legislature. The extension will keep the Hornets in New Orleans long term, as well as provide funding for upgrades to the New Orleans Arena. The agreement also included the elimination of all exit options, attendance benchmarks, and financial inducements.

The announcement of the finalization of the sale comes on the heels of the Hornets receiving the #1 pick, as well as the #10 pick, in the 2012 NBA Draft on June 28. In April, it was announced that New Orleans will be the host city for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game.

“I’m thrilled to have become the owner of the Hornets,” Benson said. “There is a lot of excitement in the region about the franchise, especially after winning the #1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft. We have been successful with the Saints and I know we can translate that success to our NBA team as well. We have the best, most dedicated fans in the world and will need them along the way as we work as an organization to make them proud. Championship performance is tied to fan support and the passion of the New Orleans sports fan is second to none. We look forward to joining up with all of our valued current fans and also introducing this great team game to many more residents of our city and region.”

A horse co-owned by Los Angeles Lakers stars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol is set to run in Sunday’s first race at Betfair Hollywood Park.

[Siempre Mio] is trained by Doug O’Neill, who guided I’ll Have Another to recent victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

[Siempre Mio] will take on five other older horses at six furlongs in the $12,500 claiming race. He will be ridden by Joy Scott. The 4-year-old gelding won his March 31 start by 2 1/4 lengths at Santa Anita.

Bryant and Gasol are part-owners along with Santa Anita CEO Mark Verge, who says Gasol has been a regular visitor at O’Neill’s barn since the Lakers lost in the second round of the playoffs.

– Reported by the Associated Press

tony parker

San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker suffered an eye injury during a nightclub fight, but it will not stop him from playing in this summer’s Olympics.

Parker told multiple media outlets that he got some shards of glass in his eye during the incident Wednesday in Manhattan.

“I was there with a bunch of friends when a fight broke out. They started to throw bottles about … I got it all,” Parker said.

“The cornea has been touched. I can’t do anything for seven days. … But I was lucky. The injury won’t prevent me from competing the Olympics in any way.”

– Reported by the Associated Press

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brandon bass

You can now officially add Brandon Bass to the list of free agent targets for the Celtics.

While there has been considerable speculation as to what Bass will do this summer, his agent tells CSNNE.com that the 6-foot-8 forward plans to opt-out of the final year of his contract, and thus test the free agent waters.

However, all indications are that Bass is hoping to return to the Celtics with a multi-year deal.

“Oh absolutely,” his agent Tony Dutt said when asked if Boston was his client’s first choice. “Without question, he would love to go back.”

The decision to not pick up the final year of his contract, worth $4.25 million, is driven by Bass’ desire to sign a long-term deal with the C’s.

– Reported by A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE

jerry sloan

Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan pulled out of the mix for the Charlotte Bobcats head-coaching job Thursday, making it a two-man race between Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw and Los Angeles Lakers assistant Quin Snyder.

Both Shaw and Snyder had second interviews this week, to involve Bobcats owner Michael Jordan in the process. Jordan was involved with Sloan’s initial interview in Salt Lake City, but was not part of the discussion when Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins and general manager Rich Cho first interviewed Shaw and Snyder.

There were no indications early Thursday night that Bobcats management had yet made a decision between Shaw and Snyder.

– Reported by Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer

Chris Hansen walked on stage and was greeted with the kind of reception normally reserved for the musicians and athletes who were waiting backstage.

Hedge-fund managers don’t normally get rock star ovations.

“I was about to tear up actually. It was inspiring,” Hansen said.

While former SuperSonics stars Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp got the loudest ovations, it was Hansen left accepting the most praise at a rally in downtown Seattle on Thursday afternoon to support the push for a new arena that could eventually bring back the NBA.

The late-day rally crammed green and gold clad fans into Occidental Park just a few blocks north of Seattle’s stadium district where CenturyLink and Safeco fields currently sit. Hansen’s proposal before the King County and Seattle city councils calls for a $490 million facility just south of the Mariners’ Safeco Field with nearly $300 million in private investment.

Hansen said he was overwhelmed by the turnout, with estimates of about 4,000 in attendance at the peak of the event. The rally ended with chants of “Thank you Chris!” and included appearances by Payton, Kemp and fellow former Sonics player Detlef Schrempf.

– Reported by the Associated Press

shane battier

Shane Battier has done most of the damage for the Heat from three-point range this series; the 33-year old forward out of Duke has gone 9 of 12 from downtown in the first two games of the series.

During the regular season, Miami finished ninth in three-point field-goal percentage at 35 percent, but that number dropped a bit to 33 percent in the playoffs. But in Miami’s playoff wins this season, its has averaged 41 percent from three-point range compared to just 24 percent in its losses.

Battier, who was a acquired in free agency last summer after playing the last season for the Memphis Grizzlies, struggled from long range during the regular season, hitting his second worst percentage of his career at .339 percent.

But the veteran has turned it on in the playoffs; hitting 50 percent combined against the Celtics and the Thunder.

– Reported by Adam Kemp, special to the Miami Herald

chris bosh

Chris Bosh hadn’t started a game since May 13 and hadn’t recorded a double-double since April 16. By the end of the first half on Thursday night, those uncharacteristically long streaks had ended.

Heat coach Erik Spoelsta, stubbornly keeping his lineup secret pregame, finally pulled the expected trigger, inserting the seven-time All-Star into the starting lineup.

Bosh rewarded that trust, grabbing 10 points and 10 rebounds in the first half, en route to a 16-point, 15-rebound effort.

“I kind of put it in my mind that I knew that I had to really give the effort that I had been giving before, whether I was ready or not,” Bosh said. “Fortunately things went well for us, it went well for me individually.”

– Reported by Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman

lebron james

LeBron James needed some help, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh provided it.

The Miami Heat finally rediscovered the formula to winning in the NBA Finals - barely.

James had another finals career high with scored 32 points, Wade rebounded from a poor opener to add 24 and the Heat built a huge early lead before holding off a furious fourth-quarter rally behind their three All-Stars to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 100-96 on Thursday night, tying the series at one game apiece.

Bosh had 16 points and 15 rebounds in his return to the starting lineup for the Heat, who snapped a four-game finals losing streak with their first victory since Game 3 against Dallas last year…

kevin durant

Kevin Durant scored 32 points for the Thunder, but missed a shot after appearing to be bumped with James that would have tied a game the Thunder trailed the entire way. Russell Westbrook finished with 27 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, but shot 10 of 25 from the field.

James Harden tried to keep the Thunder in it early and finished with 21 points, but this time the Thunder couldn’t come back from a double-digit deficit after spotting Miami a 17-point advantage during their worst first half of the season…

Durant nailed a 3-pointer and drove into the lane to throw down a dunk over Battier that cut it to 82-74 with 8:22 remaining. His 3-pointer from the wing trimmed it to 90-86, and the Thunder got it all the way to 94-91 when Westbrook dunked Durant’s miss with 1:48 to go.

James answered by banking in a jumper for his first basket of the final period, as the Big Three combined for all but one of Miami’s seven field goals in the fourth quarter.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

The Heat outscored the Thunder 48-32 in the paint and seemingly executed every adjustment it wanted to make after its collapse in Game 1 but still, somehow, Miami watched it nearly all unravel in the final seconds. The Heat led 98-91 with less than 50 seconds to play when Russell Westbrook cut it to a two-possession game with a driving layup. The Heat then fumbled away the ball bringing it up the court, and Kevin Durant scooped it up for an easy three-pointer with 37.5 seconds. It cut the Heat’s lead to 98-96.

Suddenly, after so much had gone right for the Heat, it was dangerously close to going down 2-0 in the series. Durant, who finished with 32 points, had the ball in his hands with less than 10 seconds to play but missed a seven-foot bank shot. James desperately grabbed the defensive rebound and was fouled immediately by Westbrook. James made his final free throws of the night to seal the victory.

“Well, that’s competition, and that’s what it’s about,” Spoelstra said.

dwyane wade

Dwyane Wade, critiqued for looking a little past his prime in Game 1, responded with 24 points, including 13 in the first half. Wade was 10 of 20 from the field and 4 of 6 from the free-throw line.

Starting his first game since the Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Chris Bosh had 16 points and 15 rebounds, including seven offensive boards. He breathed life into the Heat’s half-court offense from the beginning of the game and settled the defense on the other end.

– Reported by Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald

The Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t just get out to a slow start in Game 2. They got punched in the mouth. Then when they didn’t punch back right away, they got punched again.

Ironically it wasn’t until Kevin Durant, the Thunder’s go-to scorer and Russell Westbrook, their other go-to scorer had to sit down with two early fouls each that the Thunder started to cut into the deficit.

Not so ironically, it was the same duo that would bring the Thunder back getting them all the way back to within two, but that was as close as they would get as Miami held on for a 100-96 win and a split of the series.

The Heat, desperate as they might be, are still a team capable of having their way with anyone and even after the Thunder seemed to be on the way to righting the ship, Miami found the strength to hold them off.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra set the desperate tone for the night when he put Chris Bosh back in the starting lineup alongside Shane Battier in the frontcourt.

– Reported by Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun

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