Archive for March 1st, 2013

The Sacramento Kings today waived guard Aaron Brooks, according to Kings President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie.

Brooks, a 6-0, 161-pound guard, averaged 8.0 points (.459 FG%, .378 3FG%, .769 FT%), 1.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 20.8 minutes per game in 46 contests, of which he started 20 for the Kings.

The Kings roster now stands at 13 players.

Sioux Falls Skyforce forward Demetris Nichols has been named NBA Development League Player of the Month for games played in February.  The honor is the first of Nichols’ career.

Nichols (6-8, 215, Syracuse) led Sioux Falls (21-14) to a 7-3 record in February, averaging 22.7 points on 53 percent shooting from the floor, to go with 6.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 35.4 minutes.  He scored in double figures in eight of the team’s 10 games, including an NBA D-League-wide season-high 42 points in a 117-112 win over the Iowa Energy on Feb. 19.  He recorded one double-double during the month, scoring 26 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in a 115-107 road loss to the Erie BayHawks on Feb.  8.

A 2013 NBA D-League All-Star, Nichols scored 15 points in 21 minutes for the Prospects Team on Feb. 16 in Houston at 2013 NBA All-Star weekend.

Nichols has appeared in 35 games for Sioux Falls this season, averaging 18.5 points, good for 10th best in the NBA D-League, along with 5.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 35.0 minutes.

Other top NBA D-League prospects considered for the honor were Austin’s Cory Joseph, on assignment from the San Antonio Spurs; Bakersfield’s Jerel McNeal; Canton’s Jorge Gutierrez; Erie’s Henry Sims; Fort Wayne’s Tony Mitchell; Idaho’s Justin Holiday; Los Angeles’ Courtney Fortson; Maine’s Shelvin Mack; Reno’s Samardo Samuels; Rio Grande Valley’s Glen Rice, Jr.; Springfield’s Willie Reed; Texas’ Justin Dentmon; and Tulsa’s Rasual Butler.

jason smith

New Orleans Hornets General Manager Dell Demps announced Friday that backup forward/center Jason Smith will miss the remainder of the season with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He will have surgery to repair the injury early next week and details regarding a rehab schedule will be released then.

Smith has played through the injury since December after he blocked an attempted slam dunk by Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. He was expected to undergo surgery after this season but re-injured his shoulder during Tuesday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets. He did not play in Wednesday night’s 45-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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

andrew bynum

Out all season with bad knees, Andrew Bynum’s latest setback may be the one that finally ends his year.

Bynum admitted for the first time that he may not play for the Philadelphia 76ers because of swelling in his right knee. Bynum had been steadfast since training camp that he would eventually make his Sixers’ debut, even setting an All-Star break target date. Bynum backed off Friday because he still had swelling in his right knee from five-on-five drills last week. Bynum, an All-Star last season with the Lakers, refused to commit to a comeback.

“It’s getting really late,” he said. “I don’t know.”

Building around their 7-foot center, the Sixers (22-34) expected to contend for the Atlantic Division title and make a deep run in the playoffs. Without him, they have lost seven straight entering Saturday’s game against Golden State and are well behind the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Not even Bynum could help them salvage a playoff berth now.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Hawks re-assign Mike Scott to D-League

The Atlanta Hawks have assigned rookie Mike Scott to the Bakersfield Jam, their NBA Development League affiliate, Hawks President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Danny Ferry announced today.

Scott, a second round pick (43rd overall) from Virginia in the 2012 NBA Draft, has seen action in 25 games for the Hawks this season, averaging 3.0 points and 2.1 rebounds in 7.5 minutes per game (.452 FG%, .750 FT%).

The 6’8 forward was previously assigned to Bakersfield on Dec. 1, and recalled to Atlanta on Dec. 12 after averaging 13.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 29.0 minutes (.541 FG%, .684 FT%) in four games for the Jam.

Scott will be available for the Jam’s next game on Saturday night at Los Angeles.

The Miami Heat’s Erik Spoelstra and the Memphis Grizzlies’ Lionel Hollins today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in February.

Spoelstra led Miami to a league-best 12-1 (.923) record in February. The Heat scored 100 or more points 10 times on the month, and also won nine games in February by at least 10 points, including a 114-90 road victory against Philadelphia on Feb. 23. The Heat held opponents under 100 points seven times on the month, including a 111-89 home victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 8. After a 102-89 loss to the Pacers on Feb. 1, the Heat ended the month on a 12-game winning streak. At 41-14, Miami stands alone atop the East.

Hollins led the Grizzlies to a Western Conference-best 9-2 (.818) record in February. The Grizzlies held opponents under 100 points nine times on the month, including a 105-88 home victory against Minnesota on Feb. 10. After starting February 1-2, Hollins’ Grizzlies ended the month on an eight-game winning streak. At 38-18 on the season, Memphis has the fifth most wins in the league and sits fourth in the West.

Other nominees for Coach of the Month were Boston’s Doc Rivers, the Indiana Pacers’ Frank Vogel, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Scott Brooks, and the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich.

Heat assign Jarvis Varnado to D-League

The Miami Heat announced today that forward Jarvis Varnado has been assigned to the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA Development League. The Skyforce are the Heat’s D-League affiliate.

Varnado has appeared in 10 NBA games this season totaling eight points, three rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal in 37 minutes of action. He was previously signed by Boston earlier this season on December 14, appearing in five games with the Celtics, before being waived on January 6. He was then signed by the Heat to a 10-day contract on January 9 and then re-signed to a second 10-day contract on January 20 before Miami signed him for the rest of the season on January 30. Varnado was originally signed by Miami on September 7 and waived on October 26 after appearing in two games (one start) on the Heat’s 2012 Summer League team.

He appeared in 10 games (all starts) earlier this season for the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA Development League and averaged 14.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.90 blocks, 1.4 assists and 30.5 minutes while shooting 55.7 percent from the field.

Celtics sign Shavlik Randolph to 10-day contract

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed forward Shavlik Randolph to a 10-day contract.

Randolph, a 6’10” forward, appeared in 28 games for the Foshan Long Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association this season averaging 32.0 points, 14.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks in 36.5 minutes per game while shooting 53.1% from the floor.  Randolph is a veteran of five NBA seasons split between Philadelphia, Miami and Portland posting career averages of 2.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in 8.2 minutes over 95 games.

Randolph will wear #42 and is expected to be available for tonight’s game against Golden State.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have recalled forward Kevin Jones from the Canton Charge, the Cavaliers exclusively owned and operated NBA Development League team, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.

Jones played in yesterday’s Charge game against Idaho, recording 24 points to go along with nine rebounds in 39 minutes. He has appeared in eight games for the Charge this season, averaging 23.1 points and 12.1 rebounds in 39.8 minutes per game. He has six double-doubles for the Charge on the season.  Jones has played in 18 games for the Cavs this season and is averaging 2.1 points and 1.8 rebounds in 9.3 minutes per game.

For more than a year, Southern California grocery tycoon Ron Burkle and his business associates have pursued a plan to build a new arena in Downtown Plaza to cement the Kings’ future in Sacramento.

On Thursday, that interest finally burst into the open. Standing on a stage at the Memorial Auditorium in front of 3,000 cheering Sacramentans gathered for his State of the City address, Mayor Kevin Johnson announced that Burkle and 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov were teaming up on a bid to buy the Kings and construct an arena at the site of downtown’s lagging open-air mall.

The bid for the team, which will be filed with the National Basketball Association today, will serve as Sacramento’s counteroffer should the NBA board of governors next month reject the Kings’ deal to move the franchise to Seattle.

While the amount of the Burkle and Mastrov bid was not revealed Thursday, the mayor said it would be “very strong and competitive.” Seattle hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer have a binding agreement with the Maloof family to buy the Kings in a deal that values the franchise at $525 million, or about $341 million for the 65 percent they control.

A source familiar with the Mastrov offer said it’s expected that the NBA will look over the proposal and forward it to the Maloofs, who have the right to “entertain” other offers as backups in case the NBA rejects the Seattle bid. Beyond that, the process isn’t quite clear.

– Reported by Ryan Lillis, Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee

Sports icon Michael Jordan is facing a legal battle with a woman who claims he is the father of her 16-year-old son.

The basketball legend has been sued by Pamela Smith, who filed documents in Georgia on Feb. 6 alleging she fell pregnant with Jordan’s child in 1995, and gave birth to a son, Grant, in 1996.

– Reported by the Toronto Sun

rasheed wallace

Rasheed Wallace’s surgery in which a screw was inserted into his left foot Thursday at the Hospital for Special Surgery was done with his goal of returning sometime during the playoffs.

Wallace could have just called it a career, placed a cast on the foot for 12 weeks and been done with basketball. According to a source, he contemplated that possibility the last several days.

The Knicks, however, announced an eight-week timetable that could put him back on the court in the middle of the first round. But one leading medical expert said Wallace will not be at 100 percent healed after just eight weeks from surgery to repair a Jones fracture of his fifth metatarsal.

Dr. Anish Kadakia, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Northwestern University who specializes in Jones fractures, told The Post Wallace could be running in six weeks. Nevertheless, he wouldn’t be 100 percent for 12 weeks.

– Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

Bulls in talks with Louis Amundson

louis amundson

The Chicago Bulls are in talks with Louis Amundson about signing the veteran power forward, according to league sources.

A decision is expected Friday, sources told ESPN.com, with the Bulls and Amundson’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, scheduled to talk about specifics.

The Bulls are looking for an extra big man with Taj Gibson sidelined by a sprained left knee. And Chicago has just enough room under its hard salary cap of $74.307 million to sign Amundson, who is eligible to play for the Bulls in the postseason because he was waived by Minnesota before Friday’s 11:59 p.m. ET deadline.

– Reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.com

greg monroe

How the Pistons act this summer, with more than $20 million in cap space, will be a great factor in whether their curve for contending speeds up or regresses. Falk, having represented a who’s who of the biggest names (Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning), isn’t sure about the perception about Detroit not being an attractive destination for free agents.

“In my career, when Juwan Howard was a free agent (in 1996), we had serious talks with Detroit. Same with (Dikembe) Mutombo (in 1996),” Falk said. “You go to play, it’s your job. You have a finite amount of time to win. When Detroit was good, it was a very attractive place to play, guys wanted to go there.

“I can’t speak for every player, if they want to be actors and have commercials. Don’t you want to win? Who cares about that other stuff?”

As for Monroe’s future, contract talks with the Pistons could begin after his third year, which would be this summer, but Falk said the sides will put things off until July 2014, when Monroe will become a restricted free agent.

– Reported by Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News

Kobe Bryant

Starting with Kobe Bryant’s soaring dunk over Nikola Pekovic on their second possession, the Los Angeles Lakers jumped to a big lead against a woeful opponent and never fumbled it away while moving to the brink of a .500 record.

After the Lakers’ tumultuous season, such simple achievements qualify as serious progress toward a playoff spot.

Bryant scored 33 points and Antawn Jamison added 17 in the Lakers’ 21st consecutive victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, 116-94 on Thursday night.

The Lakers (29-30) have won 12 of 17 and five of seven while moving within two games of Houston for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with their longest stretch of solid play this year. They’re getting steady leadership from Bryant, who has reasserted himself as a scorer after working as a setup man for several weeks.

”I’ve been in attack mode since the break. It’s go time,” Bryant said. ”We’re getting a little closer, and we’re starting to get in more of a striking distance where you start watching (the playoff race).”

Bryant and Jodie Meeks each hit four of Los Angeles’ 16 3-pointers, and Meeks finished with 16 points. Bryant had 22 points in a strong first half for the Lakers, focused on scoring while the Timberwolves overcompensated defensively for the low-post absence of Andrei Kirilenko, who has a strained right calf, and Pekovic, who left early with an abdominal strain…

J.J. Barea scored 20 points and Luke Ridnour added 19 for the short-handed Timberwolves, who have lost four straight and 20 of 24. Ricky Rubio had 13 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds, but thanks to its latest injury woes, Minnesota never threated to get its first road win over the Lakers since Dec. 2, 2005.

– Reported by Greg Beacham of the Associated Press

The Lakers moved within two games of Houston for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. … Bryant had two steals to become the 15th NBA player with at least 18,000 for his career. … Bryant is 8-for-14 from 3-point range in the last three games after shooting 9-for-49 in his previous 18. … Dante Cunningham started in place of Kirilenko and finished with five points and three rebounds in 33 minutes.

– Reported by NBA.com

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau needed just three words to sum up Joakim Noah’s big night on Thursday.

“He was spectacular,” Thibodeau said.

Noah had 23 points, 21 rebounds and a career-high 11 blocks for his third career triple-double and the Chicago Bulls ended a two-game losing streak with a 93-82 victory over Philadelphia.

“His will from the start of the game until the end was just incredible,” Thibodeau said. “He was everywhere - blocked shots, switching, guarding everyone. Big-time multiple efforts.”

Noah also tied the Bulls record for blocks in a regulation game, previously set by Artis Gilmore in 1977.

“He was amazing,” Bulls forward Carlos Boozer said. “(But) we needed everybody to step up and we did. It was impressive.”

Boozer added 21 points and 12 rebounds while Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng had 15 and 12 points, respectively, as the Bulls completed a three-game regular season series sweep.

– Reported by the Associated Press

The Bulls swept the season series against the 76ers 3-0… The Bulls finished the month of February 5-8, the first losing month in the two-plus seasons Tom Thibodeau has been coach… the Bulls are just 16-14 at home this season… Noah’s triple-double was the first with at least 20 in two of the three categories since David Lee of the New York Knicks had 37 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists on April 2, 2010… it was the first triple-double with at least 20 in two categories for the Bulls since the team’s first triple-double by Guy Rodgers on Oct. 18, 1966 when he had 22 points, 21 assists and 10 rebounds.

– Reported by NBA.com

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