Archive for June 24th, 2012

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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