Archive for November 13th, 2012

Darko Milicic

Through seven games in Boston, Milicic’s career with the Celtics consists of one appearance of less than five minutes.

In the past, Milicic would have sulked or complained about his predicament. But today, he seems to better understand that his time to help the Celtics may not come as quickly as he would like it to. And there is a consensus among the C’s and Milicic that sooner or later, an opportunity for him to contribute will manifest itself.

“I just have to stay ready,” Milicic told recently. “Just be ready to play when I get my chance. That’s all I can do.”

Austin Rivers banged up, but playing

Austin Rivers

After rolling his right ankle during Monday’s practice, New Orleans Hornets rookie shooting guard Austin Rivers participated in Tuesday’s practice without limitations. He is expected to start Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center.

Rivers said his ankle remains sore but is not serious enough to prevent him from playing. Prior to Monday, Rivers sprained his right ankle twice last month and he suffered a sprained left index finger that forced him to miss last week’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

“I just like to play,’’ Rivers said after Tuesday’s practice. “I can’t stand sitting there watching basketball. I have to do something to help.’’

– Reported by John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune

Bobcats trade Matt Carroll to Hornets for Hakim Warrick

Charlotte Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins announced today that the team has acquired forward Hakim Warrick from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for guard Matt Carroll.

“We are very excited to add a player of Hakim’s ability and overall NBA experience,” said Higgins. “His athleticism allows him to play multiple positions, which will make for a smooth transition into our current roster and style of play under Coach Mike Dunlap.”

Currently in his eighth NBA season, the 6-9 Warrick has career averages of 9.5 points and 4.1 rebounds, along with a career field goal percentage of .494 (1710-3464), in 499 games for the Grizzlies, Bucks, Bulls, Suns and Hornets.  He saw action in one game this season for New Orleans, scoring four points in seven minutes played, after being acquired by the Hornets in July in a three-team trade that also involved the Suns and Timberwolves.  Warrick, who was originally selected by the Grizzlies with the 19th overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, has averaged double-figure scoring in three of his seven previous seasons.

Carroll was acquired by the Bobcats from Dallas with Erick Dampier and Eduardo Najera on July 13, 2010, in exchange for Tyson Chandler and Alexis Ajinca. In 459 career NBA games with Portland, San Antonio, Charlotte and Dallas, Carroll has averages of 6.6 points and 1.9 rebounds, while connecting on .384 from three-point line and .841 from the free-throw line. Carroll, who previously played for the Bobcats from 2005-09, ranks second on the team’s all-time three-point percentage (.384) and free-throw percentage lists (.841). He also ranks third in three-point field goals made (338) and games played (397). Carroll initially signed with the Bobcats as a free agent on Feb. 23, 2005 after being called up from the NBA D-League.

“Matt Carroll has been a consummate professional both on and off the court during his tenures in Charlotte and we would like to thank him for everything he added to our franchise,” said Higgins. “We wish him well in New Orleans.”

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Jerry Colangelo, 2009-12 USA Basketball chairman and managing director of USA Basketball’s 2006-08 and 2009-12 men’s national teams, has been re-elected chairman of USA Basketball’s Board of Directors for the 2013-16 term. The announcement was made following completion of Tuesday’s USA Basketball annual Board of Directors meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Also announced as members of the 11-member 2013-16 USA Basketball Board of Directors were: NBA appointees Kim Bohuny, NBA Senior Vice President, Basketball Operations-International; and Mark Tatum, NBA Executive Vice President of Global Marketing Partnerships; NCAA appointees Dan Gavitt, NCAA Vice President of Men’s Basketball Championships; Mark Lewis, NCAA Executive Vice President of Championships and Alliances; and Chris Plonsky, University of Texas Women’s Athletics Director and Senior Associate Athletic Director of Men’s/Women’s Athletics External Services; Scholastic Director Bob Gardner, National Federation of High School Associations Executive Director; At-large/ Independent Director Billy Hunter, Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association; National Organizations Representative Jim Carr, NAIA President and Chief Executive Officer; and athlete representatives Chauncey Billups, co-captain of USA Basketball’s 2010 World Championship gold medalist team, and Katie Smith, three-time Olympic gold medalist (2000, 2004 and 2008) and three-time FIBA World Championship medalist (1998 gold, 2002 gold, 2006 bronze).

“I’m excited to again serve USA Basketball as chairman for the next four years,” said Colangelo. “I’m proud of the many successes USA Basketball’s coaches and players achieved over the past four years and I’m looking forward to helping keep that momentum going. We were not only successful in competitions, but in the manner in which everyone associated with USA Basketball represented our country on and away from the court. We focused on showing the utmost respect for the competitions and for our international opponents.

“Four years ago I remarked that there is a great legacy at USA Basketball and my goal was to continue growing the legacy and to continue growing the game on every level and that will remain the case the next four years.”

The USA Basketball Board of Directors is comprised of three Professional Directors (appointed by the NBA); three Collegiate Directors (appointed by the NCAA); two Athlete Representatives (elected by active athletes); one Scholastic Director (appointed by the National Federation of High School Associations); one At-Large/ Independent Director (nominated by the Nominating & Governance Committee and elected by the Board of Directors); and one Organizational Member Director (elected by other members of USA Basketball that meet the Amateur Sports Act’s definition of National Competition Organizations).

USA Basketball’s Nominating & Governance Committee currently consists of former USA Basketball president and former NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik; University of Delaware Director of Athletics and 2009-13 USA Basketball Board of Directors member Bernard Muir; and 2009-13 USA Basketball Board of Directors athlete representative and 2000 U.S. Olympic gold medalist Steve Smith.

Lakers decided to hire Mike D’Antoni, not Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson

On Sunday, a person familiar with the situation, speaking anonymously because the deal wasn’t complete, said the Lakers were 95% certain Jackson was their choice. By game time, the certainty had dropped to 70%, and the rest quickly disappeared in the next few hours.

Jackson laughed at media reports that said he had wanted to skip road games and demanded to have final say in personnel decisions.

“There’s nothing about that,” he said. “Jimmy [Buss] and I had an agreement when I came back for the second tenure that there would be complete transparency in personnel decisions. I did bring up there were a couple things that went by me that time and I would be part and parcel of such a thing this time.”

Jackson said Kupchak told him during the late Sunday phone call that the Lakers thought D’Antoni was the best coach for the team. Kupchak, Jim Buss and Jerry Buss were not available for interviews.

– Reported by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times

Timberwolves forward Chase Budinger will miss 3-4 months

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Chase Budinger underwent successful surgery today to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee. The surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews at the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in Gulf Breeze, Florida. Budinger’s injury occurred at the 6:00 mark of the fourth quarter in Minnesota’s game at Chicago on Nov. 10.

Budinger is expected to be out approximately 3-4 months.

Budinger is averaging 11.8 points and 3.5 rebounds in six games for the Wolves this season. He was acquired by Minnesota in a trade with Houston on June 26, 2012.

The Memphis Grizzlies announced today that Assistant General Manager Kenny Williamson has passed away. Williamson, who had been battling advanced cancer, was 65 years old.

Williamson, a respected and well-connected member of the basketball community with over 30 years of basketball experience, had just entered his sixth season with the Grizzlies serving as Assistant General Manager. Known affectionately in basketball circles as “Eggman,” Williamson previously served three seasons with the Charlotte Bobcats, leading the club’s scouting of college and high school prospects while assisting with the team’s international scouting efforts.

Williamson worked six seasons (1997-03) as a scout for the New York Knicks before joining the Bobcats and aiding the team’s preparations for the 2004 Expansion Draft and NBA Draft. Prior to the Knicks, he spent 21 years as an assistant coach in the collegiate ranks, including stints with legends Lou Carnesecca, Denny Crum and Jim Valvano. Williamson served as an assistant coach at St. John’s, Seton Hall, Columbia and Louisville and was associate head coach at Iona and Florida State under Pat Kennedy. During his college coaching tenure, he worked with numerous future NBA players including Sam Cassell, Doug Edwards, Pervis Ellison, Adrian Griffin, George Johnson, Jeff Ruland, Felton Spencer, Bob Sura, Irving Thomas and Charlie Ward.

A native of Harlem, N.Y., he was a well-known fixture at historic Rucker Park in Harlem and was featured in the television basketball documentary “Hallowed Ground,” as well as an NBA-produced film on the Entertainers Basketball Classic in Rucker Park. The graduate of City College of New York is survived by his wife, Nicole, as well as five children and four grandchildren. The Grizzlies will announce plans to honor Williamson in the upcoming 2012-13 season and funeral arrangements at a later date.

The team has issued the following statements on behalf of the team’s ownership, CEO Jason Levien, General Manager Chris Wallace and longtime friend and colleague, Director of Player Personnel Tony Barone, Sr. on the passing of Williamson:

“On behalf of the Grizzlies organization, I want to express our sincere condolences to the entire Williamson family, especially his wife Nicole, his five children and four grandchildren. Kenny and his vibrant personality touched so many people throughout his years in the basketball community and each and every one of us will miss him dearly. Not only was Kenny a great basketball mind, anyone who knew him knows he was a devoted family man, a trusted colleague and an outstanding friend to all.” - Memphis Grizzlies CEO and Managing Partner Jason Levien

“Anyone who ever met ‘Eggman’ will never forget him. He had a huge personality and was extremely well respected, both professionally and personally. Kenny was as true and committed a friend as one will ever have. He deeply cared for his friends and the youth of Memphis and of every community he touched. He was the greatest people person I have ever known. Every place I ever traveled with him, from Argentina to Turkey and throughout the U. S. he made an indelible impression and made countless friends. He was well known is all basketball circles, both domestically and internationally, and his presence will be sorely missed. - Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace

“The business that we are in is a very stressful and difficult business and one thing that I knew for a fact was that every day that I came into the office with Kenny, my day was going to be a better day. He was a caring person who thought more about other people than he thought about himself.” - Longtime friend and Memphis Grizzlies Director of Player Personnel Tony Barone, Sr.

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