Archive for October 9th, 2012

dirk nowitzki

A swollen right knee kept Dirk Nowitzki out of the Dallas Mavericks’ 99-85 loss at FC Barcelona Regal on Tuesday, with Pete Mickeal and Juan Carlos Navarro each scoring 19 points for the 17-time Spanish champions.

After only leading by two points at halftime, Barcelona outscored the Mavericks 32-16 in the third quarter to open up an 18-point gap. Center Chris Kaman led the Mavericks with 15 points. Darren Collison was next with 14, and Elton Brand had 10.

Nowitzki was expected to play but was ruled out just before tip-off.

”Last year I dealt with (swelling in the knee),” Nowitzki said. ”We did treatment twice and the swelling didn’t come back. Hopefully it will respond next week and I can play through the year.”

– Reported by Joseph Wilson of the Associated Press

The Orlando Magic have signed free agent forward Chris Johnson, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today. We presume, but have not confirmed, that this is just a training camp signing.

Johnson (6’6”, 201, 4/29/90) played in 138 career games during four years at the University of Dayton, averaging 10.6 ppg., 6.1 rpg. and 1.1 apg. in 24.9 minpg.  He was named the 2010 NIT Most Valuable Player and was a four-time Atlantic 10 Conference honoree during his collegiate career.

Johnson was waived by the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 7.

Orlando’s roster currently stands at 20 players.

Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade hopes to make his preseason debut Thursday when the Heat plays the Los Angeles Clippers at Beijing’s MasterCard Center.

Wade practiced with the team Tuesday in Beijing and said his knee has responded well to a gradual return from offseason knee surgery. The Heat will practice Wednesday before a final decision is made on whether or not Wade is ready to return.

On Tuesday, all signs pointed to him being medically cleared.

Wade bounced around with his teammates after practice, participating in a player-organized shooting contest geared towards building team chemistry. During practice, he ran with the team during offensive drills.

– Reported by Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald

J.R. Smith stars in music video

And now Smith has added a new layer of intrigue. He’s starring in a new music video called “How Deep Is Your Love,” which features Grammy award-winning reggae artist Sean Paul and popular R&B singer Kelly Rowland. Smith, who plays the love interest, said he didn’t even have to audition for the role.

“They just came to me and asked me to do it,” he told ESPNNewYork.com on Saturday. “From listening to the song, they just said I was the perfect person to play it.”

Smith said that Paul and Rowland filmed their own scenes in Los Angeles, and his was a one-day, six-hour shoot in NYC. While the experience made him want to continue acting, he’s not jumping into it again so fast.

“It’s hard,” he said. “A lot of people underestimate it. Acting is definitely a tough gig to have.”

– Reported by Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York

“How Deep is Your Love” video, featuring J.R. Smith

Joakim Noah back with Bulls

Joakim Noah back with Bulls

Joakim Noah was back to practice with the Bulls for Tuesday morning’s shoot-around, and according to head coach Tom Thibodeau, will now start tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies in their first preseason game at the United Center.

Noah had missed three days of practices for what the team called personal reasons, but on Monday, the Bulls big man used his Twitter account to explain that his grandmother had passed away and that’s why he put basketball on the backburner.

– Reported by Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times

Pau Gasol discusses near-trade from Lakers

“It’s very different to be in a situation where you are not in the middle of the hurricane as far as rumors, where there’s a big chance of you not being part of the team you’ve been through so much with,” Gasol said in a quiet moment Sunday before the Lakers’ exhibition opener. “With all that now aside and the addition of great players, it makes it much more enjoyable.”

Gasol didn’t have fun last season. He was shoved outside the key more often than not to make way for Andrew Bynum’s less-fluid presence down low. It was great for Bynum, not so much for Gasol. His three-year run as an All-Star ended.

“We all know how competitive and how hard it is to make the All-Star team, but we weren’t doing great as a team,” Gasol said with a sigh. “Obviously, I like to make the All-Star team every single year because I like to consider I’m one of the best players in the league and the world.”

Even the Lakers seemed to sympathize last March. “This has been a really hard, hard period for Pau,” said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak, who was put in the awkward position of welcoming Gasol back after the Paul trade fell through. – Reported by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times

Dirk Nowitzki having a nice career and becoming a legend in Spain?

Don’t laugh. It wasn’t as farfetched as it sounds.

Dirk Nowitzki

Back in the mid- to late-‘90s, when Nowitzki was just rising to prominence with his Wurzburg, Germany, club team, he was wined and dined by the FC Barcelona club that he will play against Tuesday.

“I was probably 17 or 18 and looking to come here maybe to develop and play here and make this a new home,’’ Nowitzki said Monday. “I decided to go toward the NBA instead.

“But I had a great time here. They showed me around the city and it was great.’’

– Reported by Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News

Chris Paul cleared for full contact

Clippers guard Chris Paul was cleared for full-contact participation before Tuesday morning’s practice at MasterCard Center.

“Chris practiced today pretty much the whole practice that obviously changes things when he’s out there,”

Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “He played well. He’s just got to get in better game condition. He’s been out for a while, but there’s no question he’s a factor when he’s out there no matter what kind of shape he’s in.”

– Reported by Eric Patten of Clippers.com

Former Detroit Pistons player and coach Donnie Butcher died today at the age of 76, according to his son, Denny, a basketball coach in Hartland.

Butcher was traded from the New York Knicks to the Pistons on Dec. 16, 1963 as a part of a three-team, four-player deal. He would play with Detroit until 1966. During the ‘66-’67 season, he was named Pistons head coach, replacing then player-coach Dave DeBusschere.

– Reported by the Detroit Free Press

Tracy McGrady likely signing in China

tracy mcgrady

Former NBA superstar Tracy McGrady is finalizing a one-year contract with a Chinese basketball club, Yahoo Sports reported on Monday.

The 33-year-old will likely complete the deal with the Qingdao Eagles in days, and could arrive in one or two weeks, the report said, quoting sources.

Sheng Xishun, manager of the club, confirmed the news to multiple media outlets on Tuesday morning, and revealed that McGrady will agree to the signing by Wednesday.

“Qingdao chooses McGrady for two reasons. One is that we hope he can help improve the team. The other is to take advantage of his influence to promote the team and the whole group,” said Sheng in a Tencent Sports interview.

– Reported by Yan Weijue of China Daily

Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh is still listed on the official Miami Heat roster as simply a forward. Coach Erik Spoelstra still treads lightly when discussing Bosh’s position.

But it’s OK. Bosh doesn’t need to be treated delicately. He admits he’s a center.

“I made my peace with it,’’ Bosh said.

Bosh has embraced it enough that he recently told FOX Sports Florida he wants to be listed on the NBA All-Star ballot at center. He now regards power forward as his old position.

There was a time when the 6-foot-11 Bosh wanted nothing to do with being known as a center. But then came last season.

– Reported by Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida

LeBron James is visiting China for the ninth time, which makes him one of the resident Miami Heat experts about the world’s most populous nation.

Specifically, the food choices there.

“If anyone comes back with any body fat from this trip, then I don’t know what they were doing on their free time,” said James, the NBA’s MVP.

So maybe it’s fortunate that the coming week won’t exactly include a ton of free time for the Heat, who arrived in Beijing on Monday night for a weeklong trip. The reigning league champions play the Los Angeles Clippers twice during the NBA China Games, starting in Beijing on Thursday and then again Sunday in Shanghai.

“Should be fun,” James said. “It’s a very long trip to be bonding together, but we’re going to use it and not waste an opportunity.”

The itinerary is hectic, with VIP receptions, a trip to the Great Wall of China and other excursions planned. The Heat are trying to ensure that players and personnel have time to experience some elements of Chinese culture on their own.

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

Basketball blog