Archive for January 23rd, 2013

Miami Heat to visit Obama on Monday

The Miami Heat will be in suits and ties when they visit the White House on Monday. Unless, of course, someone invites them to play some ball.

After all, President Barack Obama does enjoy some pickup games.

”Everybody will bring their shoes - just in case,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

The basketball-fan-in-chief will be providing his personal congratulations to the Heat on Monday, when the team picks up one of the traditional perks of winning a championship. Miami will fly to Washington after playing in Boston on Sunday night, then remain in the city for parts of two days before heading back north for a game in Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

”I’ve never been to the White House,” Heat forward Mike Miller said. ”It’ll definitely be an interesting experience that I’ve always wanted to do.”

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard said on Wednesday that things will be different now, adding that he plans to take more responsibility for the team’s success, according to an ESPNLosAngeles.com report.

“I think this will be the start of a new season for us tonight,” Howard said Wednesday morning, according to the report. “Hopefully our effort and energy is where it needs to be tonight. But, it starts with me. I have to bring it.

“I just think it will be different. Our mentality might be a little bit different.”

– Reported by the Sports Xchange

The Milwaukee Bucks have extended the contract of General Manager John Hammond, the team announced today. The agreement will keep Hammond in his position with the Bucks through the 2015-16 season.

“John does a terrific job for our basketball team,” said Herb Kohl, team president. “He and his staff have assembled a roster of very talented players who are also very good people, which our fans appreciate and enjoy watching. John is highly respected by the players and among his peers and I’m happy he will continue to lead our basketball operations department.”

Hammond was hired by the Bucks on April 11, 2008, and was awarded the 2009-10 NBA Executive of the Year Award, voted on by his peers in the NBA, following the team’s 46-36 season. He has more than 30 years of coaching and administrative experience, including seven seasons with the Detroit Pistons that included an NBA Championship (2004), another NBA Finals appearance and three other Eastern Conference Finals appearances.

Jordan Hill

Lakers forward Jordan Hill underwent surgery this morning in Nashville on his injured left hip.  The surgery, performed by Dr. Thomas Byrd, included the removal of loose fragments, repair of a torn labrum and a microfracture procedure to repair damaged cartilage.

Hill will be re-evaluated by Dr. Byrd in a month, but is expected to be out approximately six months.

royce white

Rookie forward Royce White is close to returning to the Rockets and to reporting to their D-League affiliate.

In a call in to a morning show on 97.9 The Box, White said he plans to report to the D-League on Feb. 11, pending “paper work” on a plan with the team.

According to a person with knowledge of the plan, the Rockets are close to making an announcement in which White would return to the team under a written agreement that includes key elements of the protocols that White wanted to have as an addendum to his contract. That agreement would not, however, give authority for decision-making to an individual outside the organization, as White wanted.

Under the agreement, writing with input from the NBA and the NBPA, White would resume workouts to prepare for the D-League assignment. He had been working out for several days this month with basketball staff intern Derrick Alston but was suspended Jan. 6, one week after he said he would refuse his assignment to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said White was suspended “for refusing to provide services as required by his Uniform Player Contract.”

– Reported by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (Blog)

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have assigned guard Cory Joseph to the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League.

Joseph, who has now been assigned to the Toros four times this season, has appeared in 14 games with Austin, averaging a team-high 20.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.29 steals in 39.2 minutes while shooting .465 (100-215) from the field, .442 (19-43) from three-point range and .780 (71-91) from the foul line.

The University of Texas product has appeared in 10 games this season for the Spurs, averaging 1.9 points, 1.3 assists and 1.0 rebounds in 6.8 minutes.

Fight to keep Kings in Sacramento continues

Billionaire Ron Burkle and Bay Area investor Mark Mastrov are in serious discussions to team up on a bid to buy the Sacramento Kings and partner with the city of Sacramento on a plan to help finance a new downtown sports arena, The Bee has learned.

A source familiar with the negotiations told The Bee that Burkle and Mastrov are both committed to keeping the team in Sacramento and building the Kings into a contender. The teaming of Burkle and Mastrov is seen by city officials as a “dream team” counter offer to the group that this week agreed to buy the Kings and move the franchise to Seattle, the source said.

Burkle, who owns the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, has been mentioned by both Mayor Kevin Johnson and NBA Commissioner David Stern as a potential suitor of the Kings. Mastrov, the founder of the 24 Hour Fitness chain, made an unsuccessful bid to buy the Golden State Warriors in 2010 and until now had been the only person to publicly express interest in buying the Kings and keeping them here.

– Reported by Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee (Blog)

Ray Allen unsure when he will retire

Ray Allen

The old saying, “Once a shooter, always a shooter” definitely applies to Ray Allen.

Even at the tender age of 37, Allen remains unequivocally one of the elite shooter in the game. Just check his 3-point shooting percentage this season: It’s .432 — the seventh-best in the league.

Yet, while it appears Allen still has more than fumes in his tank, the Miami Heat reserve guard acknowledges he may be closer to his career finish line than people think.

“I don’t know when I’ll retire,” said Allen, who began his pro career in Milwaukee in 1996 and spent six-plus productive seasons with the Bucks before being dealt to Seattle. “I’d like to get through the year first. I feel great; my body feels good. I just got to get through.

“I’m at a point where I’ve been pretty successful and I’ve gotten to the point where I really understand the game and how to play it.

“But I’m not going to be that guy who just hangs on. At some point, I can let it go.”

– Reported by Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times

The Memphis Grizzlies signed free agent guard/forward Chris Johnson of the NBA Development League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers to a 10-day contract, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

Johnson (6-6, 201) joins the Grizzlies after averaging 12.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.81 steals on .439 shooting (.419 3FG shooting) in 29.0 minutes in 21 games (nine starts) for Rio Grande Valley this season.

The 22-year-old ranks fourth in the D-League in three-pointers made (54) and is tied for sixth in steals (38).  Among qualifying D-League players, he places sixth in three-point field goal percentage, 12th in steals per game and tied for fourth in steal-to-turnover ratio (1.58).

Johnson enjoyed a four-year collegiate career at Dayton University (2008-12), where he averaged 10.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists in a school-record 138 games.  The Orlando native helped guide the Flyers to the 2010 NIT Championship and captured tournament MVP honors.

After going undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft, Johnson played for the Los Angeles Clippers and the Orlando Magic during the preseason.

The Grizzlies’ roster now stands at 12 players.

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