Archive for August 19th, 2012

LeBron James wants to step inside the Olympic rings a fourth time.

Fresh off winning a gold medal in London with the U.S. men’s team, the NBA’s reigning MVP said Sunday that if he’s healthy - and if the rules allow - he would like to play again at the Rio Games in 2016. James said he’s ”done the math, and I’ll be 31,” but he’d love the opportunity to represent his country again. James is one of just three players to be on three U.S. Olympic teams.

– Reported by Tom Withers of the Associated Press

Brandon Jennings seeks contract extension from Bucks

Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings is hoping to have a contract extension in his pocket by the time the regular season opens on Nov. 2 in Boston.

Jennings is entering his fourth NBA season and is in line for an extension that could keep him with Milwaukee for four additional seasons.

But the 23-year-old had more than his contract on his mind during an interview Sunday morning at Homestead High School. Jennings was on hand to supervise a group of 200 youngsters on the second day of the Brandon Jennings Basketball ProCamp.

“It would be something I’d love to get done with and over with so I don’t have to worry about it,” Jennings said of the contract extension. “But the main thing is just to come into training camp a better player, a better leader … just lead the team to the playoffs.”

– Reported by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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Former NBA Players Association executive director Simon Gourdine has passed away.

Gourdine joined the NBA in 1970, and was named NBA Deputy Commissioner in 1974, becoming the highest ranking African American executive in sports at the time.

– Reported by NBA.com

New Orleans Hornets sign coach Monty Williams to contract extension

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that they have signed head coach Monty Williams to a new multi-year contract extension. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, it’s a four-year deal that will keep Williams with the team through 2016.

“We are proud to announce that Monty Williams will be the head coach of the New Orleans Hornets for years to come,” said Hornets Owner Tom Benson. “We could not be any happier to have someone of Monty’s quality – both professionally and personally – involved in the resurgence of this franchise.”

“The Hornets have a promising future and an exciting young nucleus,” said Hornets Executive Vice President Mickey Loomis. “It is our opinion that Monty is the perfect coach to develop and lead this group of talent going forward.”

“I would like to thank Mr. Benson, his family, Mickey and Dell for putting their trust in me and showing me their commitment,” said Williams. “The love and support the city and its fans have shown me and my family in the time we have been here has been incredible and I look forward to continuing to work to make the city and the Benson family proud of the Hornets.”

Williams, hired by the Hornets on June 7, 2010 as the ninth coach in franchise history, is entering his third season at the helm with a career record of 67-81 (.453), including his debut season with the club in 2010-11 where he led New Orleans to a 46-36 record and earned the team a playoff appearance. Williams placed seventh in Coach of the Year voting after that season and was named the NBA’s Western Conference Coach of the Month for January 2011. Last season, Williams’ squad improved its win total each month and finished the 2011-12 campaign with a 6-1 stretch at the New Orleans Arena.

A native of Fredericksburg, Va., Williams came to the Hornets after five seasons as the assistant coach under Nate McMillan of the Portland Trail Blazers, including serving as the head coach for the Blazers summer league team in the NBA Summer League in both 2007 and 2008. Prior to his time in Portland, Williams spent one season as a coaching intern under Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs in 2004-05, helping the Spurs capture the NBA Championship. He was also the head coach for the Spurs summer league entry team in the 2005 Rocky Mountain Revue.

Williams played in the NBA for 10 seasons before chronic knee problems forced him into retirement in 2003. Selected by the New York Knicks in the first round (24th pick overall) of the 1994 NBA Draft out of Notre Dame, Williams played for the Knicks, Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers. His best season was with the Spurs in 1996-97, when he averaged 9.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 65 games. For his career, Williams averaged 6.3 points in 456 games. Williams was an honorable mention All-American at Notre Dame after averaging 22.4 points and 8.4 rebounds during his senior season.

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JaVale McGee learns from Hakeem Olajuwon

JaVale McGee learns from Hakeem Olajuwon

And so, the Nuggets center is spending some of his summer at the home of Hakeem, which for McGee is, pun intended, a dream.

“It’s definitely an honor to be working with him,” McGee said.

McGee has spent a couple of weeks on Olajuwon’s ranch near Houston, where Denver teammate Kenneth Faried is expected to work out as well this month.

Olajuwon has become sort of a hoops whisperer, teaching his intricate moves to some of the NBA’s best bigs, including Dwight Howard and Amar’e Stoudemire.

“No question, I see him as another star,” Olajuwon said to the Fox affiliate in Houston about McGee. “That guy should dominate the league.

– Reported by Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post

Sixers may want Mike Zarren for GM job

The Sixers may have just swung a deal for Andrew Bynum, but they’re still looking for a new general manager.

Boston Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren has emerged as a candidate for the job, a source confirms to CSNPhilly.com’s John Finger.

Zarren’s involvement was first reported by Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick, who described Zarren as “an intriguing addition to the field of prospects; a widely-respected purveyor of advanced player statistics in the NBA who is one of the least-known yet most-influential members of the Celtics’ front office group,” and the “right-hand man of [Celtics GM] Danny Ainge.”

– Reported by CSN Philly

Suns may have shot at someday landing James Harden

News that Serge Ibaka reached agreement on a four-year contract with Oklahoma City should catch the attention of Suns fans.

The amount of the deal, $48 million, will make it trickier for the Thunder to secure James Harden, who could command a maximum contract as a restricted free agent after the 2012-13 season. That could open the door for the Suns, who have maintained $15 million in cap space for next summer’s free-agency period and who have expressed interest in Harden behind the scenes.

Much will hinge on what becomes important to Harden. No one could fault him for chasing the money if a max deal (roughly $60 million over four years) is offered. But would the appeal of sticking it out with his Thunder teammates make him willing to stay for say, $52 million?

– Reported by Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic

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