Archive for June 18th, 2012

David Stern is determined to stop the floppers, even if it takes until the next morning.

The NBA commissioner believes too many players are deceiving referees into calling fouls by falling down, or flopping. So he and the league’s newly reformed competition committee met Monday for a discussion about how it can be prevented.

One option, Stern said, is a ”postgame analysis” in which a player could be penalized if it was determined he flopped. The league retroactively upgrades or downgrades flagrant fouls after review, and along those lines he said that perhaps a player could receive a message from New York saying: ”Greetings from the league office. You have been assigned flopper status.”

”No, I’m joking, but something like that,” Stern said. ”That sort of lets people know that it’s not enough to say ‘it’s all part of the game.”’

The committee is made up of coaches Doc Rivers of Boston, Rick Carlisle of Dallas and Lionel Hollins of Memphis; owners Dan Gilbert of Cleveland and Joe Lacob of Golden State, and general managers Bryan Colangelo of Toronto, Sam Presti of Oklahoma City, Mitch Kupchak of the Lakers and Kevin O’Connor of Utah.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

Thunder vow to fight back vs Heat

Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant has vowed to make amends for his flawed performance in the last game of the NBA finals when the Thunder square off against Miami Heat in Wednesday’s fourth game.

The three-time NBA scoring champion was restricted to 25 points, including just four in the final quarter when the pressure was really on.

He was benched in the third quarter when he earned his fourth foul, shot just two from six in the fourth, and missed two free throws as the Thunder blew a 10-point lead to lose 91-85 and trail 2-1 in the best of seven series.

“I missed a three that went in and out, I missed a few shots going to the rim,” the 23-year-old said. “But I’m going to shoot until my arm falls off in the fourth.”

– Reported by Larry Fine of Reuters

Celtics might want center Omer Asik

omer asik

Asik is a restricted free agent on the books for a $2.3 million qualifying offer from the Bulls. If the Celtics bring back Garnett, they will almost certainly be over the cap and that means Boston will have only the taxpayer’s mid-level exception ($3 million) available to lure anything more than a minimum-salary player (at least for a free-agent of which they don’t already own the rights to). All of which is to say, Asik would almost certainly command more money from another team and — even if he didn’t — the Bulls can still match the price tag, so don’t expect an Asik-Garnett pairing. Now, if Garnett does not return, clearly the Celtics might be interested in a young defensive-minded center who already has knowledge of their system having played for Tom Thibodeau in Chicago. Alas, the question becomes whether Asik is a long-term answer worthy of an elevated price tag.

– Reported by ESPN Boston

Guillermo of the Jimmy Kimmel Live show took advantage of NBA Finals media availability to ask the type of questions reporters wish they were allowed to ask if being a media member was all about laughs and fun rather than the serious stuff.

This is great. Enjoy:

kris humphries

Kris Humphries’ ex-flame Myla Sinanaj threatened to release sordid details about her relationship with Kris … and TMZ has the voicemail.

Sources say … after photos of Myla and Kris began leaking, Kris broke off all contact with her. Myla became enraged after trying in vain 17 times to reach Kris and then called one of his friends.

Myla left a message, demanding that Kris stop stonewalling her and return her calls.

Myla says, “If he’s going to play me like that, I have way more sh*t I can put out.”

The voicemail does not show alleged extortion on Sinanaj’s part, as Humphries claims. Nonetheless, we’re told Kris’ lawyers gave it to the FBI when they made their extortion complaint.

– Reported by TMZ

scott brooks

For Brooks, everyone is clamoring for dramatic change now. They want Harden moved into the starting lineup, and he’s wisely not doing it. He understands his young team pressed at home, that the Thunder were caught up in the euphoria of a city that had never imagined hosting the NBA Finals so quickly. To lose Game 2 and then shift Harden into the starting lineup would exude a measure of panic that is the furthest thing from what these Thunder need now.

What’s more, Brooks is still working to solidify his own future as Oklahoma City coach. GM Sam Presti wants him back when his contract expires at the end of the Finals, but league sources say Presti has offered a three-year deal worth just under $11 million that Brooks and his agent weren’t willing to accept in the past. They’ve set aside talks for the playoffs, and compromise could come with a guaranteed fourth year. The Thunder needed to see Brooks take one more step with this young team before committing too far into the long term, and Brooks delivered with a conference final victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

It isn’t beyond possibility that Brooks tries to use the Portland and Orlando jobs as leverage at season’s end, but it’s hard to imagine him walking away from this Thunder core – with or without a title.

– Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports 

Iman Shumpert aims for January return

Iman Shumpert

Iman Shumpert is back on his feet, but he is a long way from getting back on the basketball court.

The Knicks guard, who made an appearance yesterday at a Sprint NBA Nation event at South Street Seaport, is back walking under his own power after surgery early last month to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. But he is still expecting to miss the first two months of the season.

“The target date [for my return] is January,” Shumpert told The Post.

That means Shumpert is expecting his return to be closer to eight months, the long end of the six-to-eight-month initial projection for his recovery from the surgery.

– Reported by Tim Bontemps of the New York Post

Remember Tim Donaghy?

Delco native. Ex-referee in the NBA. Recovering gambling addict. Felon.

Yeah, that guy. A Florida jury wants to make him a millionaire.

After 5 rough years that included banishment from the NBA, gambling and wire-fraud convictions for betting on basketball games, and even 2 weeks spent in solitary confinement “like Charles Manson” while serving a 15-month prison term, Donaghy can finally put one in the win column.

According to Donaghy and his lawyer, a St. Petersburg jury on Friday awarded Donaghy $1.3 million in his civil suit against Shawna Vercher and her now-defunct company VTi Group, which published Donaghy’s tell-all book about the NBA and its referees.

“The lady made my life a living hell and basically tortured me through the press by putting fictitious stories out there,” Donaghy said Sunday. “I knew, at some point, my time would come. And my time was Friday.”

– Reported by William Bender of the Philadelphia Daily News

The Atlanta Hawks announced today the promotion of three current team members. Phil Ebinger and Scott Wilkinson have each been promoted to Executive Vice President while Ailey Penningroth will now serve as Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the organization. The promotions are effective immediately.

“The Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena are fortunate to have three team members who have dedicated their time and talent to enriching our corporate strategy, and enhancing the experience of our guests and presence of our brands,” said Bob Williams, Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena president. “I look forward to our future with excitement about the opportunities that lie ahead as we continue to grow as an organization.”

Ebinger who has been with the organization since 2004 and previously served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will continue to oversee the finance and accounting related to the Hawks, Philips Arena and the Atlanta Hawks Foundation, in addition to now leading the organization’s Human Resources function. Prior to his role with the Hawks and Philips Arena, Ebinger held controllership positions at The Coca-Cola Company and served as Chief Financial Officer of Fitzgerald & Co, an Atlanta advertising agency that is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies. While at Coca-Cola, Ebinger was responsible for all financial matters relating to sports and entertainment marketing, advertising and media spending for the North America division.

Wilkinson, who formerly served as Senior Vice President/ Chief Legal Officer and Atlanta Hawks Assistant General Manager, will maintain responsibility of negotiation and drafting of contracts for players, coaches and other staff; trade research; salary cap management; collective bargaining agreement issues; insurance/risk management; and scheduling of the club’s preseason games. He will also continue to manage all legal matters for the Atlanta Hawks, HTPA Holding Company and the Atlanta Hawks Foundation. Wilkinson was previously Assistant General Counsel for Turner Sports, Inc., providing legal support to all Turner Sports properties, including the Hawks, the Atlanta Braves, World Championship Wrestling and The Goodwill Games.  Prior to that, he was a litigation attorney at Moore & Van Allen, PLLC; a founding partner and sports agent with the Buoniconti Sports Management Group and began his career as a defense counsel in the U. S. Marine Corps.

In her new role as Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Penningroth will oversee all marketing, advertising and brand strategy as well as corporate communications. Before joining the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena in 2004, Penningroth served in various roles for the National Basketball Association for seven years.

Jason Terry hopes to stay with Mavericks

jason terry

At a festive, daddy-daughter bash on Father’s Day, Jason Terry delivered some tough news for Mavericks fans to hear.

If the 2011 NBA champions elect to rebuild their team with one-year contract “rentals,” Terry will be playing elsewhere next season.

Terry, whose six-year, $57 million contract ends on July 1, when he becomes an unrestricted free agent, said Sunday he wants to sign another multiyear deal, preferably with the Mavericks. But as the Mavericks’ free-agent possibilities start to take shape, it won’t happen for one year.

“It’s a tough situation,” Terry said. “I’m finally in a position where I can kind of predict my own future, so to speak. I want to stay here in Dallas. That’s always been my goal. But it needs to be long-term. If they’re not ready to step up and do that, then I’ll have to make my home elsewhere.”

– Reported by Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News

The Heat had struggled at the free-throw line at times during the first three rounds of the playoffs.

But in the NBA Finals, shots from the stripe haven’t been much of a problem.

On Sunday night, Miami’s proficiency from the line might have been its salvation.

Miami was in danger of watching the visiting Thunder take control during the third quarter, yet 13 free-throw makes for the Heat kept the visitors at bay.

Miami then made 9 of 10 in the fourth, as it took its first lead in the Finals with a 91-85 victory in Game 3.

Game 4 is back in Miami on Tuesday night.

The Heat was an impressive 22 of 24 from the line in the second half and scored 31 of its 91 points via the free shot. Oklahoma City, however, hit on just 63 percent of its free throws (15 of 24).

– Reported by George Richards of the Miami Herald

InsideHoops.com note: The Heat finished Game 3 hitting 31-of-35 from the line.

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