Archive for September 5th, 2012

Derrick Rose gets into the pizza business

Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, who is expected to miss the majority of the 2012-13 NBA season recovering from injury, has found a place to invest some money.

According to Darren Rovell of, “Deep dish pizza company Giordano’s will announce on Thursday that the Chicago Bulls point guard has become an equity partner in the restaurant franchise. “The pizza business is a cash flow machine; we just have to make it grow,” said Richard Levy, managing partner of Victory Park Capital Advisors, which bought the stalwart Chicago brand last year. So Giordano’s, which is looking to branch out from the Chicagoland area, will lean on Rose to give it a boost as it moves outside of its comfort base.”

Bulls fans just have to hope D-Rose doesn’t spend too much time sampling the product during his recovery.

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed rookie center Greg Somogyi and rookie forward Reeves Nelson, it was announced today. The deals are likely just training camp contracts, so the players will still have to prove themselves to make the regular season roster.

Somogyi, a 7-3 center out of UC Santa Barbara, played all four years for the Gauchos where he posted career averages of 3.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 12.2 minutes. Somogyi most recently played for the 2012 Lakers Summer League team where he averaged 1.2 points, 1.6 rebounds in 7.2 minutes.

Nelson, a 6-8 forward out of UCLA, was also a member of the 2012 Lakers Summer League team where he averaged 4.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in 16.3 minutes of play. Named to the All- PAC 10 first team following his sophomore year, Nelson played in 68 games for the Bruins averaging 12.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 27.0 minutes.

Mike Bantom, a 23-year NBA executive and former NBA player, has been named Executive Vice President, Referee Operations, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced today.

Bantom will oversee the NBA’s officiating program, including the recruiting, training and development of all NBA officials. He will report to Joel Litvin, NBA President, League Operations and his new role will begin immediately.

“Mike has been an invaluable part of the NBA for over 20 years and has excelled in leadership positions across both our domestic and international businesses,” said Stern. “That experience, together with his considerable accomplishments on the court and his respect in the basketball community, make Mike an outstanding choice to lead the NBA’s officiating program.”

Since 1999, Bantom has served as the NBA’s Senior Vice President of Player Development in which he directed the league’s player programs including the Rookie Transition Program, the NBA Continuing Education Program, and the Player Substance Abuse Program. Under Bantom’s direction, the NBA established the first-ever Team Player Development Program under which each team created a new front office function devoted to working with the team’s players in managing all aspects of their off-court responsibilities.

Prior to heading up the league’s player development programs, Bantom served as Vice President of NBA Events and Attractions from 1997 to 1999, where he was responsible for major NBA interactive events, including NBA All-Star Jam Session. Bantom, who joined the NBA in 1989 as Licensing Manager for NBA International after a 16-year professional playing career in the NBA and in Europe, helped establish the NBA Europe headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, where he worked from 1994 to 1997. Integral to helping grow the sport globally, Bantom established the Converse/NBA 3-on-3 World Tour and from 1992 to 1994, managed the NBA Africa Tour and NBA Coaches Clinics Tour to Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, and South America.

Bantom averaged 12.1 points and 6.4 rebounds in his nine-year NBA playing career. He made the NBA All-Rookie team after Phoenix drafted him with the eighth overall pick in the 1973 NBA Draft. Following his NBA career, Bantom competed seven more seasons in the Italian Professional League before retiring in 1989. The Philadelphia, Pa. native was a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic basketball team and collected All-American honors during his collegiate career at St. Joseph’s University.

Orlando Magic owner and Amway cofounder Rich DeVos is recuperating following what was described as a mild stroke last month.

Michigan-based direct-sales giant Amway said in a statement Wednesday that the 86-year-old DeVos was taken Aug. 19 to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids after having a stroke. The company says he was kept for tests and observation before being released Aug. 21.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Avery Johnson

At no point leading up to this summer’s crucial free agency period was Brooklyn coach Avery Johnson comfortable enough to believe that point guard Deron Williams was a lock to re-sign with the Nets.

Williams grew up in the Dallas suburb of The Colony and narrowed his free agent choices to the Dallas Mavericks and the Nets. Eventually, Williams signed a five-year, $98 million contract with the Nets after seriously considering returning home to play for the Mavericks.

Johnson, who spoke Tuesday at the Fort Worth Dunbar High School assembly, said he and Nets general manager Billy King were never overconfident about Williams’ desire to remain a part of the Nets.

“We felt we were going to be able to re-sign Deron,” Johnson said. “We felt it was like 80-90 percent, but it was the 10 percent that you were worried about.”

– Reported by Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Taj Gibson may have bigger role on Bulls

Entering his fourth season, Gibson said he and Thibodeau expect more of him this season. Gibson averaged 7.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 20.4 minutes last season.

“Thibs already told me he wants my role to change, be more of a leader now,” Gibson said. “I worked out with him a lot during the summer. I worked out with him before the (Team) USA camp. He just wanted me to work out this whole year, build confidence and get better. He thinks I can do a lot more on and off the court. I’m ready to take that next step.”

Gibson thought the next step was being more of an all-around player.

“Just playing more solid, just coming in knocking down some 15-footers, back-to-the-basket play, a lot of stuff like that I’ve been working on during the offseason, a lot of stuff like that in the USA camp,” Gibson said.

– Reported by Scott Powers of ESPN Chicago

A millionaire former Brooklyn hoops star who played in the NBA will be dragged into Family Court today in a bid to get him to cough up child support for his daughter.

Quincy Douby, 28 — a one-time guard for the Sacramento Kings who reportedly raked in $2 million last year playing in China — is being sued by ex Tanya Raymond, 28, for $15,000 a month in child support for their daughter, Quinn, 5, according to Brooklyn court papers and Raymond’s lawyer, Steven Gildin.

“Things are so bad that now my daughter is on Medicaid,” Raymond says in the suit. “That’s right — her father makes millions of dollars a year playing professional basketball . . . and she has public-funded health care!”

– Reported by Josh Saul of the New York Post

Former UCLA forward Reeves Nelson will be invited to the Lakers training camp that begins in early October after he signs a one-year, non-guaranteed contract, potentially worth about $700,000 with the team, Nelson told The Times on Tuesday.

Nelson would probably be considered a long shot to make the Lakers. But he considers the training camp invitation to be a blessing, particularly because he was dismissed from UCLA in December of 2011, largely for his disruptive attitude.

“I’m very grateful,” Nelson said. “It’s nice because I’m pretty sure that virtually no one thought I could get this far, so it’s pretty gratifying.”

– Reported by Baxter Holmes of the Los Angeles Times

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