Archive for August 15th, 2012

Jermaine O'Neal

For a man who has missed 39 percent of his teams’ games over the past eight seasons, any presumption of improved health is taken with great caution, but O’Neal said he feels five years younger.

He credits Boston doctors for a surgery that healed his left wrist. After getting a testimonial last year from Kobe Bryant, O’Neal went to Germany after the season to undergo Regenokine treatment on both knees, with the left being his primary concern.

The Suns have that visit and former captain Grant Hill to thank for landing O’Neal. Hill, now with the Los Angeles Clippers, was getting the treatment simultaneously and told O’Neal how he should consider the Suns because of the athletic trainers. They have performed wonders on 30-something players with health issues such as Hill, Steve Nash, Shaquille O’Neal and Antonio McDyess.

“I always knew the training staff was phenomenal,” O’Neal said. “That’s the word around the league among players. They really take the body and put three, four years on it by the things they do to the body.”

– Reported by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic

Houston Rockets waive Josh Harrellson

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has waived center/forward Josh Harrellson. He was acquired by Houston from the New York Knicks as part of the Marcus Camby sign-and-trade on July 11.

Harrellson (6-10, 275, Kentucky), who saw action in two games with the Rockets at 2012 NBA Summer League, averaged 4.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 37 games (four starts) with New York in 2011-12.

Originally selected by the New Orleans Hornets in the second round (45th overall) of the 2011 NBA Draft, he had his draft rights acquired by New York for cash considerations in a draft-night deal (June 23, 2011).

Andrew Bynum receives big Philly welcome

Andrew Bynum heard the roar from hundreds of Philadelphia 76ers fans chanting his name the moment he stepped into the National Constitution Center.

No wonder he wants to stick around.

Bynum says about Philadelphia, he’s ”leaning toward making this my home.” That brought even louder cheers from an event that was more pep rally than press conference.

– Reported by Dan Gelston of the Associated Press

Orlando Magic re-sign guard Ish Smith

The Orlando Magic have re-signed free agent guard Ish Smith, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

Smith (#10, 6’0”, 175, 7/5/88) played in 26 combined games last season with both Golden State and Orlando, averaging 2.8 ppg., 1.6 apg. and 1.3 rpg. in 9.0 minpg. He played in six games with the Warriors, averaging 4.5 ppg., 1.5 rpg. and 1.5 apg. in 10.5 minpg., before being waived on Jan. 13. Smith was signed as a free agent by Orlando on Feb. 2. In 20 outings with the Magic, he averaged 2.3 ppg., 1.6 apg. and 1.3 rpg. in 8.6 minpg. Smith also played in one playoff game (May 2), tallying one rebound and one blocked shot in five minutes.

Smith led (or tied) the Magic in assists twice. He dished out a career-high-tying seven assists on Apr. 9 vs. Detroit. Smith also recorded a career-high-tying three steals on Apr. 9 vs. Detroit.

Originally signed as a free agent by Houston on Aug. 23, 2010, Smith has appeared in 69 career NBA regular season games with Houston, Memphis, Golden State and Orlando, averaging 2.5 ppg., 1.7 apg. and 1.2 rpg. in 9.8 minpg. He has played in six playoff outings, averaging 0.7 ppg. in 2.5 minpg. Smith also played in eight games (five starts) with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League in 2010-11, averaging 12.5 ppg., 7.9 apg., 4.3 rpg., 1.50 stlpg. and 1.25 blkpg. in 32.9 minpg.

Smith appeared in 121 career games (91 starts) during his four-year collegiate career at Wake Forest, averaging 9.2 ppg., 5.1 apg., 3.7 rpg. and 1.26 stlpg. He became the first player in Wake Forest history to post more than 1,000 points (1,114) and 600 assists (612) during his career. Smith finished his career ranked second all-time on the Demon Deacons’ list in assists.

When the 6-foot 2-inch Koufax graduated from Lafayette High School in 1953, his yearbook declared that he “has been scouted and will most likely be a professional basketball player.” The NBA was a backwater in the mid-1950s, but Koufax’s friend, the talk-show host Larry King, class of ’51 and team manager from an earlier Lafayette class, said that Koufax aspired to play for the Knicks.

Yes, Koufax also played baseball at the time, manning first base for the school team, but he was not much of a hitter. And no one had any premonition that he would become the pitcher that he did.

Instead, it was mostly basketball. In a Lafayette team photo, Koufax, No. 16, his biceps rippling, stands smiling beside his pal Fred Wilpon, No. 5, the future owner of the Mets and star pitcher on the baseball team. The Frenchies at the time were nearly all Jewish: Abramowitz, Weiss, Levine, Stolzenberg, Horwitz, Lichtman, Lichtenstein. And Koufax, whose yearbook entry featured these rather modest goals: “To be successful and make my family proud of me.”

–Reported by Richard Sandomir of the New York Times

A funeral is planned Friday in Norcross for NBA veteran Dan Roundfield.

The former Atlanta Hawk spent 11 seasons in the NBA and had three consecutive All-Star seasons. He drowned Aug. 6 off the Caribbean island of Aruba while helping his wife as she struggled in rough water. He was 59.

The Hawks announced that his funeral will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Norcross. The service is open to the public.

– Reported by the AP via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A look at the Dallas Mavericks rotation

A look at the Dallas Mavericks rotation

So let’s begin this exercise with the known, or at least what we suspect to be the known: The five starters will be Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman. There was some early politically correct whispering within the organization that Beaubois would compete with Collison for the starting job, but that is more likely wishful thinking. President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson has said Collison is “penciled” in as the starter.

Those figuring to have clearly defined backup roles include: Delonte West, Elton Brand and Vince Carter.

Those figuring to have less defined backup roles include: Dahntay Jones, Rodrigue Beaubois and Brandan Wright.

– Reported by Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas

The teams owned by the Kroenke family, including the Nuggets, are donating $100,000 to benefit the victims of the two tragedies that have struck Colorado this summer – the July 20 theater shootings and the rampant wildfires.

“On behalf of the Kroenke family and KSE, we would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to all of those affected by these tragedies,” said KSE President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Martin in a statement. “We feel privileged to be part of this wonderful community and it is our responsibility to help in this time of need.”

In the Pepsi Center regular-season openers of the Nuggets and Avalanche, KSE will honor the victims, the victims’ families and first responders.

– Reported by Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post

The Cleveland Cavaliers have named Koby Altman Pro Personnel Manager, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.

In his role as Pro Personnel Manager, Altman will coordinate the team’s domestic professional scouting efforts and will assist General Manager Chris Grant and Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin with other player personnel related matters.

Altman, 29, joins the Cavaliers from Columbia University, where he served as an assistant coach for the past two seasons, while also leading Columbia’s developmental basketball program.

In addition to his duties at Columbia over the past two seasons, Altman has extensive experience with the USA Basketball program. In the summer of 2010, he served as the Operations Manager for USA Basketball’s Under-17 team at the inaugural FIBA Under-17 World Championship in Hamburg, Germany. That 17-and-under squad won the first gold medal to ever be awarded for that age group and featured three players selected among the top 10 in the 2012 NBA Draft. In 2009, he assisted Team USA’s 19-and-under team in the FIBA Under-19 World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand. That squad also won the gold, its first in that age group since 1991.

Prior to joining Columbia, Altman spent the 2009-10 season at Southern Illinois as a graduate assistant after earning his master’s degree in sport management at UMASS-Amherst, where he also coached for two seasons and helped guide the team to a 48-11 record. He played collegiately at Middlebury College, where he was a three-year starter at point guard.

76ers attendance increased last season

The season prior, the Sixers finished 25th out of the NBA’s 30 teams in average home attendance, drawing 14,751 a night. That figure was good enough for dead last in percentage of arena capacity filled. Believe it or not, those numbers were an improvement from the season before that, when the team drew just 14,224 per game and finished not last, but second to last in percentage of capacity.

After the league settled a frustrating lockout and began a condensed season last December, the Sixers jumped out to a most unexpected and welcome 16-6 start to lead the Atlantic Division. Granted, the team lulled badly shortly thereafter, coming back to the pack — and Earth, for that matter — as the season wore on, but its performance was good enough to make a difference in ticket sales. The Sixers jumped from 25th to 14th in the warm body count last season, accounting for 17,502 a night.

– Reported by Nick Menta of CSN Philly

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the club has signed 2012 second-round draft selection Khris Middleton to a contract.

Middleton, who was selected as an early-entry candidate with the 39th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, played three seasons at Texas A&M averaging 11.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 87 career games.  The a 6-7 forward posted averages of 13.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists last season for the Aggies as a junior, scoring 16.1 points per game over the season’s final seven games.  Middleton averaged a career-high 14.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists as a sophomore and earned Second Team All-Big 12 and All-District selections.  The Charleston, South Carolina native who is known as a creative scorer that excels in the mid-range game shot 36.1% from three-point range (39-108 3FG) during the 2010-11 season and 32.1% (92-287 3FG) for his collegiate career.

Celtics still expected to sign Jeff Green

Let’s start with the obvious here: Jeff Green (still) isn’t formally a member of the Boston Celtics. Yes, his deal has been termed imminent since early July and, yes, a month later, there’s still wrinkles to be ironed out.

What exactly those hurdles are isn’t clear, but those close to the situation have hinted that its simply contract language, something that’s slightly more difficult after Green missed all of last season due to a heart ailment.

That said, neither the Celtics nor Green’s camp have given any reason to believe that a deal won’t eventually be consummated — and neither seems in a particular rush to finish it up. Green attended an introductory press conference last month and hasn’t shied away from talking about his excitement to play for the Celtics next season.

But here’s one reason his contract is truly noteworthy: Whenever this deal is finalized, it’s expected to be the biggest total payday the Celtics hand out this offseason with a reported four-year pact at a value of upwards of $9 million per season. With a deal like that, Boston is essentially committing to Green as a core member of their future (a four-year deal would run longer than even the three years remaining on Rajon Rondo’s current deal).

– Reported by Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston

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