Archive for June 25th, 2012

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

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