Archive for September 21st, 2012

The buyout that was expected to come in July still hasn’t arrived for Raja Bell. Because of that, the veteran guard recognizes that even a possible move into free agency might not mean the opportunity to suit up for his hometown Miami Heat.

The defensive-minded swingman with 3-point range said Friday that he remains hopeful of receiving his release from the Utah Jazz in advance of next week’s start of training camp and that few teams hold the allure of the Heat.

“They would be on the top of my list, for sure,” he said on 640 Sports’ Andy Slater Show. “Again, hometown crowd, my kids are in elementary school here. It’d be great for me to get a chance to play here in Miami where I grew up and I know a lot of people, and be a part of this history that they’re going to make for the city. But that’s not always just up to me.”

Facing a diminished role amid an uneasy relationship with the Jazz staff, the native of St. Croix, who attended both Killian High and Florida International University, appeared poised for a buyout early in the free-agency period. He is due $3.48 million this coming season from Utah on the final year of his contract.

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

Brooklyn Nets open doors to new arena

Big-time professional sports returned to Brooklyn for the first time in more than 50 years on Friday, when the Brooklyn Nets finally unveiled their new stadium after a decade-long fight with neighbors.

The 675,000-square-foot, 18,000-seat Barclays Center will officially open on September 28 with a concert by rapper Jay-Z, and the Nets - formerly the New Jersey Nets - will play their first game at the arena, against the New York Knicks, on November 1.

The team’s arrival marks the first time in 55 years the borough can lay claim to a major professional sports team, following the removal of the celebrated Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles, a move that outraged local baseball fans.

– Reported by Eidth Honan of Reuters

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations Tony DiLeo has been promoted to General Manager.

“We are proud to announce that, effective immediately, we have promoted Tony DiLeo to the role of 76ers General Manager and at this time he will work alongside Rod Thorn, who continues his duties as President of Basketball Operations,” said Sixers Owner Josh Harris. “We are very confident that Tony has the experience and knowledge to flourish in his new role, and we will continue to provide him with the necessary tools and resources - including enhancing our capabilities in analytics - to strengthen our basketball operations department.”

“I am very excited about being named General Manager of this organization and look forward to building upon our recent success,” DiLeo said. “I would like to thank Josh Harris and the ownership group for providing me with this opportunity and I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure we put a team that our fans will be proud to support, both this season and in the future.”

DiLeo, who is entering his 23rd season with the 76ers, becomes the team’s 12th General Manager in franchise history. He was promoted to his current position after serving as the team’s senior vice president of basketball operations since September of 2003, following a four-year run as the team’s director of player personnel from 1999 to 2003.

During the 2008-09 season, DiLeo stepped in as head coach following the Sixers 9-14 start and guided the team to a 32-27 mark the rest of the way. Of the eight teams which changed coaches during that season, the Sixers were the only one to make the playoffs.

During DiLeo’s time as senior vice president of basketball operations, he was actively involved in player procurement, including the recent four-team trade that brought Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia. Additionally, his evaluation of amateur and professional talent and supervision of the team’s draft recently produced the likes of Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young, Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. In addition, DiLeo was instrumental in drafting Allen Iverson and surrounding the future hall-of-famer with the talented roster which produced 56 wins in 2000-01 and captured the Eastern Conference Championship.

Prior to joining the Sixers in 1990-91, DiLeo built his extensive international experience through 10 years of playing and coaching in West Germany. He coached both men’s and women’s teams during that span, winning nine nationals titles in the country’s top division. DiLeo also served as the West German Federation National Coach from 1981 though 1985 and was named the country’s coach of the year in 1987.

In 1984, DiLeo wrote and published the European Basketball Handbook, a guide designed to help acclimate Americans playing overseas. He also has written a manual on rule differences among international basketball, the NBA and the NCAA.

Portland Trail Blazers sign Adam Morrison

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed Adam Morrison, Demonte Harper and Dallas Lauderdale, it was announced today by General Manager Neil Olshey.

Morrison (Forward, 6-8, 205) was selected with the third overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Bobcats out of Gonzaga, earning NBA All-Rookie Second Team honors in 2006-07. He has career averages of 7.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 161 games over four seasons with Charlotte and the L.A. Lakers. He played in Serbia and Turkey before joining the Brooklyn Nets and L.A. Clippers summer league squads in July. Morrison averaged 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 30.0 minutes in five games with the Clippers.

Harper (Guard, 6-4, 195) was a four-year standout at Morehead State, where he finished his collegiate career in 2010-11 by earning All-Ohio Valley Conference First Team and conference tournament MVP honors his senior year. He spent last season playing in Croatia before playing for the Denver Nuggets NBA Summer League squad in July.

Lauderdale (Forward, 6-8, 260) also made a 2012 NBA Summer League roster, appearing for the Golden State Warriors. He played collegiately at Ohio State from 2007-11, finishing his four-year career with the Buckeyes averaging 4.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per game. Lauderdale spent the 2011-12 season playing in Poland.

With today’s signings, the Trail Blazers training camp roster stands at 18 players.

The Toronto Raptors announced Friday they have signed guard Jerel McNeal and forward Chris Wright.

McNeal, 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, played last season in Italy with Fabi Shoes Montegranaro. He averaged 10.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.6 steals in 32 outings.

McNeal signed a 10-day contract with New Orleans in March 2011 but did not see any game action. He appeared in 47 NBA D-League contests with Rio Grande Valley, averaging 19.4 points, 4.4 assists and 34.4 minutes.

A 2009 product of Marquette University, McNeal finished his collegiate career as the school’s all-time leader in points (1,985), steals (287) and games played (130). He was named to the All-Big East First Team as a senior averaging 19.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.0 steals in 35 games.

Wright, 6-foot-9, 230 pounds, participated with the 2011 Raptors’ NBA Summer League entry. He started in all four of his appearances averaging 9.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals.

Wright split last season between Golden State and the NBA D-League. He was signed by the Warriors as a free agent December 10. He appeared in 24 games with Golden State where he averaged 2.9 points and 1.9 rebounds. He posted season highs of 25 points, 11 made field goals, eight rebounds and 46 minutes in his lone start in the season finale April 26 versus San Antonio.

Wright also appeared in 13 NBA D-League games with Maine and Dakota where he averaged 17.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.38 blocks.

Wright averaged 13.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 123 career outings at Dayton. He earned third-team All-Atlantic 10 honours as a senior, first-team as a junior and second-team as a sophomore.

Photo: New Brooklyn Nets court

Photo from editor Jeff Lenchiner taken today of the new Brooklyn Nets court in the Barclays Center

brooklyn nets court

In the Brooklyn Nets Barclays Center arena for the first time

brooklyn nets arena

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