Archive for July 29th, 2012

Glen Taylor, who has owned the Timberwolves for 18 seasons and the Lynx for 13, has found the successor he has been looking for. In the near future, Taylor will close a deal to sell 25 percent of the franchises, and eventually the new owner will own the majority.

Unfortunately, the buyer is from outside the Twin Cities, but Taylor insists he will continue to own a share of the two teams and will make sure that they don’t move out of the state.

“Yes, I have [found a buyer], and we’re working on trying to put a deal together, and it would be a deal that would leave me involved for a number of years yet, but it would be a good transition,” Taylor said Sunday.

“I will be an owner for a number of years but gradually bring in a partner, if this would work out. I’d bring in a partner and … we’d work together. In the initial years, he would have less than 50 percent and then in the later years he would have more than 50 percent and would have the ownership.”

– Reported by Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune

Luol Deng plays nearly every minute in Britain loss to Russia

Luol Deng always knew this Olympic experience would be about more than final scores.

So minutes after Great Britain opened preliminary round play at a raucous Basketball Arena Sunday night with a 95-75 loss to Russia, the All-Star Bulls’ forward offered as much postgame eloquence as he had in-game sweat while playing all but 63 seconds.

“It was a special moment,” Deng said after his 26-point effort. “For us growing up, basketball didn’t get much attention. We’re playing against the world where basketball is everything in their country. We have dreams. We want to develop the game. Hopefully, we have youngsters watching and following our footsteps.”

This is Great Britain’s first Olympic basketball appearance since 1964. It’s Deng’s first Games. He is playing in with a torn ligament in his left wrist as some way to repay the country that offered his family political asylum from war-torn Sudan.

“This is why I chose to do this,” Deng said.

– Reported by K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune

Deng led Great Britain with 26 points, but was unusually inefficient, shooting 8-of-27 from the field, including 2-of-11 from beyond the arc. Deng, one of only two NBA players on the national team (Joel Freeland), was forced to shoot early and often to try and keep pace with  the Russians. He also played a team-high 39 minutes in the loss.

Last year Deng’s shooting percentage dropped nearly five percentage points, from 46.0 to 41.2 percent.  It’s unknown whether Deng will require wrist surgery or opt to have it after the Olympics, which would cause him to miss 3-4 months.

– Reported by CSN Chicago

Olympic organizers scrambled on Sunday to quell a backlash over depressing TV images of half-empty stands at the London Olympics as a government minister said an urgent inquiry had been launched to identify just who had failed to show up and why.

Sports fans from all over Britain who had been charmed by the Olympic publicity offensive but let down by a complex ballot system for the 8.8 million tickets, have been outraged by footage of empty seats at key venues including Wimbledon, one of the hottest tickets in world tennis.

Chairman Sebastian Coe, who threatened to name and shame sponsors that did not fill their seats, said missing spectators were mostly officials from international sports federations, other Olympic officials, their families and friends.

“It doesn’t obviously appear to be a sponsorship issue at the moment,” Coe said, after Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt said he thought the vacant seats had belonged to sponsors.

Coe, a former Olympic gold medalist on the track, said that only eight percent of allocated tickets went to big corporate sponsors such as Visa and Coca-Cola and that 75 percent of tickets were in the hands of the public.

– Reported by Karolos Grohmann and Paul Casciato of Reuters

Hardly dreamy, still dominant.

Kevin Durant scored 22 points, LeBron James added eight assists and the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team opened tournament play with a rough-and-ragged 98-71 win over France on Sunday.

Seeking a second straight gold medal to match the one they won in Beijing four years ago, the Americans expected a tough test from a French team featuring San Antonio guard Tony Parker and five other NBA players.

The U.S. was never in real trouble, and after overcoming some major foul issues and sloppy play, the superstar-laden squad finally put France away in the second half…

With first lady Michelle Obama on hand to cheer on the U.S., Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler added nine rebounds apiece and Kevin Love finished with 14 points for the Americans. The U.S. will next play Tuesday against Tunisia, beaten 60-56 by Nigeria in the tournament opener.

As they left the floor, the U.S. players stopped to hug the first lady.

– Reported by Tom Withers of the Associated Press

A full recap will appear on the InsideHoops USA Basketball page later today.

Utah Jazz agree to sign Randy Foye

Randy Foye expected to join Utah Jazz

Utah Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor announced today that the team has agreed to terms with free-agent guard Randy Foye, pending the outcome of a physical. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not released.

The 28-year-old Foye (6-4, 213, Villanova) is entering his seventh NBA season and has played in 389 career games (214 starts) with Minnesota, Washington and the Los Angeles Clippers, owning career averages of 11.6 points, 3.2 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 27.1 minutes. A career 86.1-percent free-throw shooter, Foye twice has finished in the NBA’s top 10 in free-throw percentage (2009-10, 2010-11).

This past season Foye saw action in 65 of a possible 66 games (48 starts) for the Clippers, averaging 11.0 points, 2.2 assists and 2.1 rebounds in 25.9 minutes while helping L.A. to the best record in franchise history and a trip to the Western Conference Semifinals. Foye led the Clippers in three-pointers made and attempted (127-329, .386) last season, ranking seventh in the NBA in both categories, and scored 20-plus points on nine occasions, including equaling a Clipper franchise-record with eight made threes (8-15 3FG, 10-19 FG) in a 28-point effort at Dallas on April 2, 2012. Foye led the NBA with 46 made three-pointers from March 30 through the end of the regular season and averaged 15.3 points over the final 15 games of the season, hitting the 20-point mark five times in that span. He also had a streak of 21 straight games with at least one three-pointer from March 17 – April 22. Foye was teammates with recent Jazz addition Mo Williams the last two seasons in L.A.

Originally selected by the Boston Celtics in the first-round (seventh overall) of the 2006 NBA Draft, Foye was traded to Minnesota on a draft-night deal and was selected to the 2007 NBA All-Rookie First Team. He played for the Timberwolves from 2006-09, the Washington Wizards in 2009-10, and the Clippers from 2010-12.

Prior to the NBA, the Newark, N.J., native played four seasons at Villanova University (2002-06), where he averaged 14.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.51 steals in 131 games (128 starts). He finished his career as the eighth-leading scorer in Villanova history (1,966 points) and was an Associated Press First Team All-American his senior year as he led the Wildcats to a No. 1 seed in the 2006 NCAA Tournament and Elite Eight appearance.

Foye operates a charitable foundation, the Randy Foye Foundation (www.randyfoye.org), which raises funds and develops programs and projects aimed directly at improving the lives of the people, especially the kids, of Newark.

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