Archive for August, 2012

It’s game, set, heartbreak for Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova.

The blond beauty confirmed Friday that she and former Nets player Sasha Vujacic called off their engagement and that she has been on her own “since the end of spring, actually.”

“I was waiting for someone to actually ask me that question, but nobody did, directly,” she said. “It was obviously a challenging decision, you know, from both of our ends.”

– Reported by Kevin Armstrong of the New York Daily News

C.J. Watson earns diploma from Tennessee

C.J. Watson recently tweeted out a picture of his diploma.

Six years after leaving Tennessee to pursue his dreams of being a professional basketball player, the Nets guard now holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the university.

“Every year since [I left] I’ve been going back and doing classes every summer,” Watson told the Post on Friday in a phone interview from Johannesburg, South Africa, where he’s participating in Basketball without Borders. “This summer I didn’t have to go back to campus, I could do it online.

“It feels great. It feels like a little burden off my shoulders. I’m glad that I’ve got it over and done with.”

– Reported by Tim Bontemps of the New York Post

Hilton Armstrong signs in Greece

Hilton Armstrong signs in Greece

Panathinaikos Athens fortified its frontline by signing center Hilton Armstrong, who will make his Turkish Airlines Euroleague debut this season with the Greens. Armstrong (2.08 meters, 27 years old) arrives from Asvel Basket Lyon Villeurbanne, with whom he played his first season in Europe last year. He averaged 10.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and was fifth in the Eurocup with 1.3 blocks in 11 Eurocup games last season, including a pair of impressive outings against Greek side Aris Thessaloniki. In fact, Armstrong earned Eurocup Last 16, Game 4 MVP honors after posting an 18-point, 8-rebound effort against Aris.

– Reported by Euroleague.net

Gregg Popovich sees big future for Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard, future star?

Fan Question: What kind of season do you see Kawhi Leonard having next season? Also, where do you see him in five years?

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: I think he’s going to be a star. And as time goes on, he’ll be the face of the Spurs I think. At both ends of the court, he is really a special player. And what makes me be so confident about him is that he wants it so badly. He wants to be a good player, I mean a great player. He comes early, he stays late, and he’s coachable, he’s just like a sponge. When you consider he’s only had one year of college and no training camp yet, you can see that he’s going to be something else.

– Reported by Spurs.com

Jacob Pullen signs to play in Israel

Jacob Pullen won’t play in the Euroleague next season with Serbian Partizan Belgrade but in Israel with EuroCup regular Hapoel Jerusalem, as reported by David Pick. The ex-Kansas State combo guard who spent his pro rookie season in Italy’s Seria A with Angelico Biella, agreed to join Jerusalem over a tempting offer from Euroleague’s Partizan. The Chicago native will enjoy Jerusalem’s two games per week schedule, competing both in the Israeli Domestic League and the EuroCup competition

– Reported by Sportando.net

Bobcats working out Josh Howard

Bobcats working out Josh Howard

Former Wake Forest forward Josh Howard is doing some workouts with the Charlotte Bobcats this week, president of basketball operations Rod Higgins confirmed.

The Bobcats’ interest in Howard is still exploratory, as they consider ways to fill out their roster. The Bobcats would like to have another power forward, and have previously considered Antawn Jamison, Kris Humphries, and Carl Landry, who all signed elsewhere. Howard, 6-7, has played both power and small forward.

– Reported by Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer

The Los Angeles Lakers will hold ceremonies to honor three of their all-time great players during the 2012-13 season, it was announced today.

In the first of these events, on Friday November 16, the Lakers and STAPLES Center will unveil a statue of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at Star Plaza outside STAPLES Center. Kareem’s statue will join those of former Lakers Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Jerry West, former Kings hockey great Wayne Gretzky, boxer Oscar De La Hoya and former Lakers broadcaster Francis “Chick” Hearn.

On Friday December 28, in a half-time ceremony, the Lakers will retire jersey #52 in honor of Jamaal Wilkes, and on Tuesday April 2, will retire jersey #34 in honor of Shaquille O’Neal.

Abdul-Jabbar was a member of the Lakers from 1975-1989. He finished his career as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer (38,287) a record that still stands today. His accolades include six NBA Championships (1971, 80, 82, 85, 87 and 88); six-time NBA MVP (1971, 72, 74, 76, 77 and 80); 10-time All-NBA First Team; Five-time All-Defensive first team; Six-time All-Defensive Second Team and 19-time All-Star. Abdul-Jabbar was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995.

Wilkes was a member of the Lakers from 1977-1984. Wilkes finished his NBA career as a four-time NBA Champion (1975, 80, 82 and 85); three-time NBA All-Star (1976, 81, and 83); two-time All-Defensive Second Team and Rookie of the Year (1975). On April 2, 2012, Wilkes was announced as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction class of 2012.

O’Neal was a member of the Lakers for eight seasons (1996-2004). During his career in Los Angeles, O’Neal was named NBA Most Valuable Player once (2000), Finals Most Valuable Player three times (2000, 2001, and 2002), All-NBA First Team on six occasions (1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004) and NBA All-Star seven times. As a Laker, O’Neal posted averages of 27.0 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.49 blocked shots while winning three NBA Championships (2000, 2001 and 2002). The NBA’s sixth leading scorer of all-time (28,596), O’Neal earned a fourth NBA Championship in 2006 as a member of the Miami Heat.

Nick Collison is part of a hefty Thunder presence in Africa this week. Four of the seven NBA players participating in Basketball Without Borders this year are from the Oklahoma City roster. Serge Ibaka, a native of the Republic of Congo, joins Collison, Thabo Sefolosha and Cole Aldrich as camp coaches.

Chicago’s Luol Deng, Milwaukee’s Luc Mbah a Moute and Brooklyn’s C.J. Watson are also participating in the basketball clinic for 60 African boys and girls, and helping life skills seminars and education on HIV and AIDS.

”We’re out here to not only change other people’s lives but also to change ours, to give us a different perspective on other how other people live,” Aldrich said. ”Serge grew up in a totally different lifestyle than any of us did, and we’re learning a little bit of that through this trip.

”It’s been so much fun, there’s a lot of things we’ve got to continue to do and we’re just trying to spread the word of basketball and just help people that need help.”

– Reported by Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press

The Orlando Magic have named James Borrego, Wes Unseld Jr. and Brett Gunning as assistant coaches, General Manager Rob Hennigan and Head Coach Jacque Vaughn announced today.

In addition, Laron Profit and Luke Stuckey have been named assistant coaches/player development, while Gordon Chiesa has been named special consultant to the head coach.

“Each coach brings a unique skill set to the staff,” said Vaughn.  “Collectively, this staff possesses a diverse basketball background. We are truly fortunate that these men have decided to join our Magic family.”

Borrego spent the last two seasons (2010-12) as an assistant coach with the New Orleans Hornets.  Prior to joining New Orleans, he spent seven seasons with the San Antonio Spurs from 2003-10.  Borrego started as an assistant video coordinator in the summer of 2003 and finished his tenure as an assistant coach.  During those season seasons, he was a part of two NBA World Championship teams in 2005 and 2007.

Borrego began his coaching career at the University of San Diego, where he was an assistant coach for two seasons from 2001-03.  During the 2002-03 campaign, San Diego captured the West Coast Conference Championship and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Borrego played three seasons at the University of San Diego, and during his senior season (2000-01), was named to the West Coast Conference All-Academic Team.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in leadership studies from USD.

Born and raised in Albuquerque, N.M., Borrego led Albuquerque Academy to a pair of state championships.

Unseld spent the 2011-12 campaign as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors.  Prior to joining Golden State, he spent 13 seasons with the Washington Wizards, including six seasons as an assistant coach from 2005-11.  Unseld played a key role in player development for the Wizards, helping Washington to four consecutive playoff appearances from 2004-08.  His scouting reports were also vital in the team’s game planning and preparation.

Unseld began his NBA career in 1997, just four days after graduating from John Hopkins University, as a professional and college scout for Washington.  He was promoted later that same year to advance scout.  In addition to his nine-year tenure as advance pro scout for the Wizards, he also spent three seasons (1998-2000) as an advance scout for the WNBA’s Washington Mystics.  In 1998, Unseld spent part of the season serving as an assistant coach for the Mystics.

A native of Maryland and the son of Hall of Famer Wes Unseld, Unseld Jr. played on the men’s basketball team at John Hopkins for three seasons.

Gunning spent the last four seasons (2008-12) in various capacities with the Houston Rockets.  He began with Houston in 2008 as the team’s director of player development, where he was responsible for improving player performance through on-court, one-on-one skill development and the use of video analysis.  Gunning was then named an assistant coach prior to the 2011-12 campaign.

Prior to joining the Rockets, Gunning spent seven seasons (2001-08) as a member of the coaching staff at Villanova University under Jay Wright.  During his time with the Wildcats, Gunning played a vital role in recruiting and developing a unit that secured four straight NCAA Tournament berths and made three trips to the Sweet 16.  He was named associate coach in 2005 and was recognized following the 2007-08 season as one of the top 25 assistants in the nation by Rivals.com.  Gunning’s responsibilities with Villanova included on-court teaching, recruiting and scouting.

Gunning was also a member of Wright’s staff at Hofstra University for seven seasons from1994-2001.  He was a part of a staff that turned Hofstra into an American East powerhouse, posting a 72-22 (.766) record from 1998-2001.  Gunning, who assisted with recruiting, individual instruction, scouting and film analysis at Hofstra, was also instrumental in the development of the Pride players.

A native of Broomall, Penn., Gunning graduated from Malvern Prep in 1990 and spent two years as a team manager during his undergraduate studies at Villanova, before accompanying former Wildcats Head Coach Rollie Massimino to UNLV in 1992.  He then served as a student assistant for two years with the Runnin’ Rebels, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1994.

Profit played in 135 regular season games during his four-year NBA career with Washington and the L.A. Lakers, averaging 3.3 ppg., 1.5 rpg. and 1.2 apg. in 11.4 minpg.  He was originally selected in the second round (38th overall) of the 1999 NBA Draft by Orlando, but was traded to Washington prior to the 1999-2000 season and never played for the Magic.  Stuckey has served as varsity head coach at San Dieguito Academy in Encinitas, CA, a suburb of San Diego, for the last four seasons.

Last season, Chiesa served as a consultant for the NBA Development League.  He is best known in NBA circles from his time as an assistant coach with the Utah Jazz, a position he held for 16 seasons from 1989-90 to 2004-05.  During his tenure, he helped guide Utah to two Western Conference crowns, three Midwest Division championships, a regular season record of 809-471 (.632) and 14 consecutive postseason appearances, including 149 playoff games.  Chiesa has also been an assistant coach with Seattle and Memphis, and was the Grizzlies’ director of pro scouting.

Eddy Curry works out for Nets

Seeking to fill the lone remaining hole on their roster — a backup center behind Brook Lopez — the Nets could give Eddy Curry a second-chance in New York.

Curry, along with Hilton Armstrong, worked out for the Nets Wednesday, according to Yahoo! Sports. Curry, the much maligned former Knick, spent last season with the Heat, playing 14 games and averaging 2.1 points while riding the coattails of LeBron James to his first NBA title.

Curry, 29, played a combined 10 games in his final three seasons with the Knicks before his contract was used as salary ballast in the Carmelo Anthony deal in February 2011.

– Reported by Tim Bontemps and Fred Kerber of the New York Post

Andrew Bynum should do big things for Sixers

For the first time since the days of Moses Malone, the Sixers have a true scoring center in 24-year-old Andrew Bynum.

To be clear, Malone is a Hall of Famer. Bynum has been an All-Star once in his young career. Still, Bynum opens a world of offensive opportunities for a team that struggled to put points on the board a year ago.

The 7-foot center commands a double team in the low post. Since his rookie season, when he shot 40 percent from the field as an 18-year-old, Bynum has never shot below 56 percent.

But Bynum wasn’t the focal point of the offense in Los Angeles. The Lakers were – and still are – Kobe Bryant’s team. That didn’t change when Bynum was selected 10th overall in the 2005 NBA draft.

Last year, when Bynam averaged a career high 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds, he was the team’s second-leading scorer and his 13 field goal attempts per game were third on the team behind Bryant and Pau Gasol.

– Reported by Dei Lynam of CSN Philly

Curtis Jerrells signs in Turkey

Turkish champs Besiktas JK Istanbul announced on Wednesday the addition of point guard Curtis Jerrells for the upcoming season, in which the team will make its Turkish Airlines Euroleague debut. Jerrells (1.85 meters, 25 years old) arrives from UCAM Murica of Spain, where last season he averaged 7.5 points and 1.5 rebounds in 2 games just before breaking his foot and missing the rest of the season. However, Jerrells had started the season with Fenerbahce Ulker also of Turkey, as he averaged 8.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 14 Euroleague games.

– Reported by Euroleague.net

Shelden Williams signs overseas in France

Elan Chalon fortified its frontcourt with the signing of big man Shelden Williams. Though this will be his first season playing in Europe, Williams (2.06 meters, 28 years old) has the right people to fall back on for knowledge; His brother-in-law is three-time European champion and two-time Euroleague MVP Anthony Parker. Williams has spent his entire professional career to date in the NBA, where he has totaled 361 regular season games over six seasons with seven teams. Last season he averaged 4.6 points and 6 rebounds over 58 games with New Jersey. He was a college basketball star at Duke University, where Williams remains the Blue Devils’ career leader in rebounds (1,262) and blocked shots (422). He was named Atlantic Coast Conference defensive player of the year and to the All-ACC First Team in both 2005 and 2006.

– Reported by Euroleague.net

Darius Songaila signs in Ukraine

BC Donetsk made veteran big man Darius Songaila its third addition to its frontline in the past week with the announcement that the sides signed a one-year contract. Songaila (2.06 meters, 34 years old) joins D’or Fischer and Kaloyan Ivanov as the newest Donetsk players. His contract is guaranteed for two months, after which both sides have the option to terminate the deal. With the Ukrainian champs, Songaila will attempt to navigate the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds for the second straight season. Last season he helped Galatasaray Medical Park win three straight games to qualify for the Euroleague regular season and then averaged 6.5 points and 2.8 rebounds over 15 minutes in 10 games as the club reached the Top 16 for the first time. He finished the season in Spain, where Songaila averaged 9 points and 4 rebounds in 10 games for Valladolid.

– Reported by Euroleague.net

Kris Humphries has just been sued by a woman who claims he gave her herpes … TMZ has learned.

Kayla Goldberg claims she met Kris in August, 2010 at the Newsroom Cafe on Robertson Blvd. in L.A.  They flirted, exchanged numbers, and she claims that night they met up at Trousdale nightclub on the Sunset Strip.

According to the suit, Kris came on to Kayla, touching, kissing and dancing with her.  Kayla claims he took her to his hotel and they had sex multiple times … including oral sex.  The suit claims during a portion of the sexual encounter Kris did not wear a condom.

– Reported by TMZ.com

AUGUST 30 Update — E! Online reports: Here’s some interesting news for you: Kris Humphries’ rep tells E! News that the NBA star does not have herpes.

Good to hear, but why even bring it up?

That would be because a woman has filed a lawsuit today in Los Angeles Superior Court against the basketball player for allegedly infecting her with sexual disease.

Portland Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts has added Dale Osbourne to the coaching staff, it was announced today by the team.

“I’m very excited about Dale joining our staff,” said Stotts. “His diverse coaching background and experience at the college and D-League level will be very valuable in the development of our younger players both on the court and off.”

Osbourne joins the Trail Blazers from the Tulsa 66ers, where he served as head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s NBA Development League affiliate. USA Basketball selected him as an assistant coach for the 2011 Pan American Games, where the team medaled for the first time since 1999.

Osbourne spent parts of three seasons as an assistant in Tulsa before being promoted to head coach in December 2011. He has also been an assistant with the D-League’s Utah Flash and Austin Toros, in addition to coaching tenures in the WNBA, CBA and USBL.

In seven years as an assistant at the University of South Alabama, Osbourne helped guide his alma mater to a pair of Sun Belt Conference titles.

Osbourne joins Kaleb Canales, Jay Triano, David Vanterpool and Kim Hughes on the Portland coaching staff.

The Trail Blazers tip-off training camp Tuesday, Oct. 2, in preparation for the NBA season opener vs. the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, Oct. 31.

Houston Rockets waive forward Sean Williams

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has officially waived forward Sean Williams. He was acquired by Houston from the Boston Celtics as part of the Courtney Lee sign-and-trade on July 20.

Williams (6-10, 235, Boston College) owns career averages of 4.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 137 games (29 starts) with New Jersey, Dallas and Boston. He was originally selected by the Nets with the 17th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

Washington Wizards sign Martell Webster

Washington Wizards sign Martell Webster

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed free agent guard/forward Martell Webster. It’s a one-year deal for $1.6 million, according to the Washington Post.

“Martell brings a combination of versatility and shooting in addition to his experience,” said Grunfeld.  “Adding him to the roster provides us with another solid veteran presence and gives us flexibility with our lineups at both the shooting guard and small forward positions.”

Per the Post, “the Timberwolves bought out Webster for $600,000 last month rather than pay him the $5.7 million he would’ve earned, making him a free agent. He impressed the Wizards during a workout last week at Verizon Center and agreed to a deal shortly thereafter.”

Webster (6-7, 230) holds career averages of 8.4 points and 3.2 rebounds while shooting .374 from three-point range in 394 games (191 starts) over seven seasons with Portland and Minnesota.  He was originally selected by the Trail Blazers with the sixth overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft as an early-entry candidate out of Seattle Prep High School.  Webster averaged 9.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and a career-high .417 three-point percentage for the Timberwolves in 2010-11 and averaged career highs of 10.7 points and 3.9 rebounds for the Trail Blazers in 2007-08.  He averaged 6.9 points and 3.6 rebounds in 47 games (26 starts) for Minnesota last season.

The Wizards’ roster now stands at 14 players.

For the first time since he underwent July 9 arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade has resumed court work.

Says who? Says Wade.

Tuesday evening, during the break between his charity events this past weekend in Chicago and his upcoming book tour, Wade posted on Twitter:

“Whew..first day on the court since my surgery..oh and that look on my face was b4 the workout started..haa.”

Wade then posted a picture (at left) of him working out with Heat assistant coach David Fizdale.

– Reported by Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Don Nelson happy to be retired

Don Nelson never knew just how much he would love retirement. In the Maui plantation town of Paia, he is far from the pressures of the fast-paced NBA lifestyle in which he thrived to become the game’s all-time winningest coach.

These days, he’s Nellie, the entrepreneur. From his new shaved ice stand, to coffee plants and koa trees, to all his rental properties and a wedding venue in the works right off the beach, the 72-year-old Nelson is about as far removed from his old basketball life as he could be.

– Reported by Janie McCauley of the Associated Press

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