Archive for March 27th, 2013

Former Chicago Bulls 7-foot center Tom Boerwinkle, known for his crisp passes, determined rebounding and ability to facilitate the offense, has died at the age of 67.

Boerwinkle was the first-round pick of the Bulls (4th overall) out of the University of Tennessee in 1968. He played his entire NBA career for the Bulls, averaging 7.2 points, 9 rebounds and 3.2 assists from 1968-78 while setting hard picks to create scoring opportunities for the likes of Chet Walker, Bob Love, Jerry Sloan and Norm Van Lier.

The University of Tennessee announced that Boerwinkle passed away following a lengthy illness.

“Tom was a once-in-a-lifetime guy,” former Tennessee teammate Bill Justus said in a statement released by the university. “When you meet a guy like him and have him as a teammate, he becomes a brother to you, and there’s no replacing someone like that.

– Reported by Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune

Taj Gibson

It wasn’t the type of conversation Bulls forward Taj Gibson anticipated having when he accepted a spot on the USA Select Team last summer to work out against Team USA as it prepared for the London Olympics.

Then again, it isn’t often LeBron James tries to recruit you to join him with the Miami Heat.

‘‘We talked about it a lot because I was coming up on my contract, possibly becoming a free agent,’’ Gibson said. ‘‘We were kicking it around, and [James] was saying: ‘Come to Miami. Come in, and we’ll treat you right there.’ I was like, ‘Nah, I’m cool with the Bulls.’ ’’

At the time, he really wasn’t.

Gibson entered training camp with an uncertain future. The Bulls had until Nov. 1 to give him a contract extension or allow him to become a restricted free agent after this season. James knew that and was planting the seed.

– Reported by Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has signed guard Jerel McNeal of the NBA Development League’s Bakersfield Jam to a 10-day contract, the NBA’s 30th overall D-League Call-Up of the 2012-13 season and 26th different player called up. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

A 25-year-old two-time NBA D-League All-Star selection, McNeal (6-3, 200, Marquette) has averaged 18.1 points, 3.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists in 44 games (36 starts) in 2012-13 for the Jam, who acquired him in a trade with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers prior to the season. McNeal also tallied 13 points and seven assists for the Prospects team during the 2013 D-League All-Star Game on February 14 as part of NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston. In addition, McNeal was a D-League All-Star selection in 2011 while a member of the Vipers.

Undrafted in 2009, this will mark McNeal’s second career NBA regular-season stint, having previously spent 10 days with the New Orleans Hornets from March 9-19, 2011, although he did not appear in a game. McNeal attended 2012 training camp with the Toronto Raptors but was waived prior to the 2012-13 season, and has also participated in NBA training camps with the Los Angeles Clippers (2009) and Houston Rockets (2010). He has also played with Dexia Mons-Hainaut in Belgium (2009-10) and Sutor Montegranaro of the Italian League (2011-12), in addition to D-League seasons with Rio Grande Valley (2010-11) and Bakersfield (2012-13).

The Chicago native played four seasons at Marquette University (2005-09), averaging 15.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists during his tenure. McNeal finished his four-year career as Marquette’s all-time leader in scoring (1,985), steals (287) and games played (130). In his senior season (2008-09), McNeal was named an Associated Press Second Team All-American, First Team All-Big East, USBWA Distract 5 Player of the Year and Marquette University’s Most Valuable Player after averaging 19.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.03 steals.

McNeal becomes the 10th D-League Call-Up in Jazz history, joining Rusty LaRue (2000-01), Mikki Moore (2003-04), Louis Amundson (2006-07), Sundiata Gaines (2009-10), Othyus Jeffers (2009-10), Marcus Cousin (2010-11), Kyle Weaver (2010-11), Blake Ahearn (2011-12) and Travis Leslie (2012-13).

McNeal, whose first name is pronounced Jah-rell, will wear uniform #23 for the Jazz.

ron artest injured

The Los Angeles Lakers are fighting to make the playoffs in the West, but their chances just took a hit.

Lakers forward Metta World Peace, who injured his left knee in Monday night’s game against the Warriors in Oakland, will have surgery tomorrow for a torn lateral meniscus.

The surgery will be performed by team doctors Steve Lombardo and Dan Kharrazi of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Group in Los Angeles.

World Peace, who has averaged 12.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.70 steals in 70 games (64 starts) this season, is expected to be out a minimum of six weeks.

Even if the Lakers do make the playoffs, they’ll be a lower seed and will face a very tough first-round opponent, which is now an even harder task without the services of World Peace.

With the clock clicking down, the Sacramento City Council took its last shot at keeping the NBA Kings in California’s capital by approving a public-private deal Tuesday to build a new 18,500-seat arena and retail center downtown.

Approval of the arena was the last step in what has been a full court press by Mayor Kevin Johnson to keep the city’s only major league sports team from bolting to Seattle, where a new ownership group and arena deal awaits. He now must convince NBA owners to block the Maloof family from initiating the move, a deal made public in January.

Since then, the mayor, himself a former NBA All-Star, has scrambled to assemble a group to buy the team, convince Commissioner David Stern to consider a counter offer, and get approval for the financial deal that would build a $448 million arena on the site of a shopping mall - a development many say will revitalize a problem area in its bustling city core.

Next week, Johnson will present the arena plan and purchase offer to an NBA committee. The following week, the NBA Board of Governors will vote on whether the team can be sold, and whether it will stay or move.

– Reported by the Associated Press

There were no surprises at the City Council meetings that ended a few hours. Council members voted 7-2 to approve a term sheet detailing the public’s contribution to the proposed $448 million downtown sports and entertainment complex, with Kevin McCarty and Darrell Fong - both of whom expressed concern about the city’s risk and the lack of time to more closely vet the agreement - voting against the agreement.

Tuesday’s vote was the latest development in Mayor Kevin Johnson’s campaign to keep the Kings in Sacramento. The Maloofs already sold their majority interest in the team to the Seattle-based group headed by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, but the league’s other owners (as stated in the NBA by-laws) have to approve all sales and relocations. Within the past several weeks, Johnson, attempting to come up with a counter bid, has put together a potential Kings ownership group that includes billionaire Ron Burkle, 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, Golden State Warriors minority owner Vivek Ranadive and Steve Jacobs, founder of San Diego-based-Qualcomm.

– Reported by the Sacramento Bee

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