Archive for July 30th, 2012

One vote down and plenty more to go in the quest to build a new arena that could bring the NBA back to Seattle.

The Metropolitan King County Council took the initial step on Monday afternoon, approving the amended proposal from investor Chris Hansen by a 6-3 vote. After four hours of public testimony and statements from council members, the Hansen’s proposal - with a few tweaks - got the required number of votes to move forward.

Now the plan goes to the Seattle City Council, but if its actions earlier Monday are any indication, Hansen’s $490 million arena plan that includes nearly $300 million in private funds and $200 million in public contribution has plenty of adjustments and changes yet to come.

– Reported by Tim Booth of the Associated Press

The Utah Jazz and veteran Raja Bell are generously providing fans with some off-season drama.

Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune reports:

The Salt Lake Tribune learned Monday that Bell has not accepted a buyout with the Jazz, despite the veteran guard saying July 8 a verbal agreement had been reached between the sides and only formalities remained.

“We’ve been given the greenlight by Utah to go ahead and find something that works for us. We’ve agreed to the terms,” Bell said in July. “So I think it’s safe to say now we are in the market again and we’re entertaining our options at this point.”

Jazz General Manager Kevin O’Connor would not discuss Bell’s buyout when recently asked about the situation during Summer League in Orlando, Fla. But a league source confirmed Monday the Jazz have officially offered Bell a buyout. He has refused to accept the deal, though, stalling an already long-delayed process.

Eight of nine Seattle City Councilmembers have sent a letter to the investor seeking public help to build a new sports arena in the city, saying changes must be made to a proposal before they can support it.

The Council wants to alter a memorandum of understanding between Chris Hansen and the city to ensure that a portion of tax revenues generated by a new arena would help pay for local transportation improvements. Currently, the proposal calls for those taxes to be used to pay off the $200 million in city and county bonds that would be issued to help pay for the $490 million arena.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Guard Marcus Williams signs in Spain

Guard Marcus Williams signs in Spain

Unicaja Malaga kept building its roster for the new Turkish Airlines Euroleague season by announcing Monday the addition of point guard, Marcus Williams, who signed a two-year contract with the Spanish club. Williams (1.91 meters, 26 years old) arrives to Unicaja from a season spent in China with the Jiangsu Dragons, with whom he averaged 11.1 points, 3.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds. Unicaja will become the second European club for Williams, who played the 2010-11 season with Enisey Krasnoyarsk of the Russian League. In Krasnoyarsk, he averaged 15.3 points, 6.8 assists and 3.6 rebounds over 28 games.

– Reported by Euroleague.net

Raptors sign forward Alan Anderson

The Toronto Raptors announced Monday they have signed free-agent forward Alan Anderson.

Anderson was signed to a 10-day contract by the Raptors on March 26 and then for the remainder of the season April 16. He averaged 9.6 points, 2.0 rebounds and 27.1 minutes in 17 games with Toronto. He made 12 starts from April 4-26, averaging 11.8 points, 2.2 rebounds and 33.0 minutes. Anderson tallied a season-best 20 points, making a career-best five three-pointers on a career-high nine attempts, April 26 versus New Jersey.

Anderson, 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, has averaged 6.7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 18.3 minutes in 70 appearances (19 starts) with Charlotte and Toronto. He is shooting .381 (55-139) from three-point range and .827 (81-98) from the charity stripe in his NBA career. He signed with Charlotte as an undrafted free agent in 2005 and appeared in 53 games over two seasons with the Bobcats, averaging 5.8 points, 1.9 rebounds and 15.1 minutes.

Anderson was playing with the NBA D-League’s Canton Charge before joining the Raptors. He averaged 21.5 points and 4.6 rebounds in eight appearances, and ranked 11th in the league in scoring, while shooting .550 (60-for-109) from the field and .800 (40-for-50) at the charity stripe.

In addition to his time in the NBA and three NBA D-League stints, Anderson has also played overseas with stops in Italy (Bologna), Russia (BC Triumph Lyubertsy), Croatia (KK Cibona), Israel (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Spain (Regal Barcelona) and China (Shandong Lions).

Anderson was a four-year starter at Michigan State, where he helped the Spartans reach the 2005 Final Four.

Hawks sign-and-trade Willie Green to Clippers

The Atlanta Hawks today completed a sign-and-trade transaction that sends Willie Green to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for the rights to Sofoklis Schortsanitis, it was announced by President of Basketball Operations/GM Danny Ferry.  The move also creates a trade exception for the Hawks.

A nine-year NBA veteran, Green has averaged 9.1 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists over his career.  In 53 games played for the Atlanta Hawks last season, Green tallied 7.6 points in 17.4 minutes per game.

Green was originally drafted by the Seattle Super Sonics with the 41st overall selection in the 2003 NBA Draft out of the University of Detroit Mercy.  He was traded on draft night to the Philadelphia 76ers where he would play for seven seasons before being traded to the New Orleans Hornets prior to the start of the 2010 season.  Green spent one season in New Orleans teaming up with Clippers’ point guard Chris Paul before signing with Atlanta as a free agent prior to the start of the 2011-12 NBA season.

Schortsanitis  was drafted by the Clippers with the 34th pick of the 2003 NBA Draft but never played for the team. Schortsanitis  most recently played for Panathinaikos Athens in Greece and Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel.

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The Game chalked up two points … and two broken bones … during a basketball game in L.A. this weekend … when a slam dunk went terribly wrong.

TMZ has learned … Game broke a bone in his thumb and his wrist during a playoff game in the famous Drew League in Los Angeles.

According to our sources, Game fell after a slam dunk … and while he was on the ground, somebody accidentally stomped on his right hand … crushing the bones.

– Reported by TMZ

Sixers expected to sign Maalik Wayns

Maalik Wayns left Villanova a year early to pursue his dream of playing in the NBA. It appears that dream will come true, in his hometown no less.

A source confirmed Saturday that Wayns has agreed to a free-agent deal with the 76ers.

The deal reportedly is similar to the one Lavoy Allen received after the Sixers took him in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft, No. 50 overall, the source said. Allen reportedly received a $60,000 signing bonus and then received the rookie minimum of $473,604 after making the team.

– Reported by Terry Toohey of the Times Herald

LeBron wants Durant to shoot a lot

Kevin Durant, the scoring champ in question, has not played in an Olympics before. Like any newcomer, he wants to be liked. So time and again during the U.S. team’s brief time together this year, Durant has passed up the sort of open shots that he drills with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“I told KD (Durant) to just be himself,” LeBron James said Sunday after Durant led the U.S. with 22 points and added nine rebounds in a game that was only close for one quarter. “On a team like this you can kind of shy away because there are so many great players here. But KD’s on this team for a reason. He’s one of the best players the world has and he’s a three-time scoring champ. So we don’t want the KD that defers. We want the KD that he is in Oklahoma City.”

James seemed determined to make that KD show up on Sunday. He threw the ball to Durant every time he could, passing up one open shot after another to get the ball to Durant. It was a bit ironic, considering that Durant and James went head-to-head in the NBA Finals this season when the Miami Heat defeated the Thunder.

– Reported by Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer

Andre Iguodala passed up on playing for Team Nigeria

Andre Iguodala is competing in his first Olympics here. But he might have been able to play in 2004 and 2008, if he’d wanted to.

Thing is, he wouldn’t have been playing with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. He would have been playing against them.

Iguodala’s father is Nigerian. So he was invited to try out for - and in this case, “try out for” means “make” - the Nigerian Olympic squad. That team, which includes Penn grad Koko Archibong, will compete in these Games with nine American-born players on its roster.

This is the first time Nigeria qualified for the Olympics, but with Iguodala aboard, who knows if the team would have made it sooner?

– Reported by Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer

Nic Batum says Team USA can be beat

Nic Batum says Team USA can be beat

Moments after Team USA’s men’s basketball team fried the French yesterday, 98-71, in its Olympic opener yesterday before 12,000 at Olympic Park’s basketball arena, Nicolas Batum wasn’t convinced.

The Frenchman and rising NBA star said the American juggernaut can be beaten — not by only one Olympic club, but several.

“You have to play a 40-minute game [to do it],’’ said Batum, who plays for the Trail Blazers. “Rebound, take care of the ball and play good defense. Some team can do it. I think some team can beat them, really. Spain, Argentina, Brazil. A lot of teams can beat them.’’

Oh those French. USA looked invincible after the first quarter as it forced France into 18 turnovers and outrebounded it, 56-40, to get off to an Olympic start as sweet as fresh French pastry.

But a 27-point win against a good French club wasn’t good enough for Batum, who may want to watch when the Americans face Tunisia tomorrow in what will be the Olympics’ biggest mismatch.

– Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

Yao Ming glad Jeremy Lin joined Rockets

Yao Ming glad Jeremy Lin joined Rockets

Yao Ming doesn’t give many interviews anymore, but he stopped long enough yesterday as he entered the Olympic Park’s basketball arena to give a thumbs up to Jeremy Lin leaving the Knicks and joining his former club, the Rockets.

The 7-foot-6 Yao is doing Olympic commentary for Chinese TV and worked Spain’s 97-81 victory over China. When asked what he thought of Lin joining the Rockets, Yao told The Post, “It will be good for both of them, Jeremy and Houston.’’

Yao declined further comment, saying he is here for the Olympics.

– Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

Andrei Kirilenko scores 35 for Russia

Andrei Kirilenko scores 35 for Russia

Slashing to the rim, blocking shots and getting out in transition in Russia’s first game of the Olympics, Andrei Kirilenko looked every bit the all-around force he was as a young man with the Utah Jazz.

“I feel great,” Kirilenko said after scoring 35 points on 14-for-17 shooting against Britain on Sunday. “Look at me. I’m running like a young deer.”

The only people happier with his performance than the Russians had to be the Minnesota Timberwolves. After skipping last season to play in his native Moscow, Kirilenko signed a two-year, $20 million contract with the Wolves on Friday.

Kirilenko will be bringing Russian teammate Alexey Shved with him to the Timberwolves next season. Shved had 16 points and 13 assists against overmatched Britain.

“If I’m the Minnesota Timberwolves, I have a big, fat smile on my face,” Russian coach David Blatt said.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Sonny Weems signs with CSKA Moscow

Sonny Weems signs with CSKA Moscow

One of the competition’s most productive wing players last season switched Turkish Airlines Euroleague clubs on Monday when CSKA Moscow announced the arrival of small forward Sonny Weems, who inked a three-year deal with his new team. Weems (1.98 meters, 26 years old) arrives from Zalgiris Kaunas, where he averaged 15.5 points and 5 rebounds in 15 Euroleague games last season, his first in the competition. He was the third-best scorer in the 2011-12 Euroleague, trailing only Alphonso Ford Top Scoring Trophy winner Bo McCalebb and Final Four MVP Vassilis Spanoulis. Weems came to Kaunas from Toronto of the NBA, where he averaged 9.2 points and 2.6 rebounds in 59 games in 2010-11.

– Reported by Euroleague.net

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