Archive for April 16th, 2013

San Antonio Spurs sign Tracy McGrady

San Antonio Spurs sign Tracy McGrady

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have signed forward Tracy McGrady.

T-Mac is playoff-eligible for the 58-23 Spurs, who have the second best record in the Western conference.

In 938 career NBA games, McGrady has averaged 19.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.21 steals in 32.7 minutes. The 6-8, 225-pound forward has suited up in 44 career playoffs games, averaging 25.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.16 steals in 38.5 minutes.

McGrady was named All-NBA First Team in 2002 and 2003, All-NBA Second Team in 2001, 2004 and 2007, and All-NBA Third Team in 2005 and 2008. He led the NBA in scoring in 2002-03 after averaging a career-high 32.1 points and again in 2003-04 with 28.0 ppg.

The seven-time NBA All-Star was drafted by the Toronto Raptors with the ninth overall pick in the first round of the 1997 NBA Draft. He has also suited up for the Orlando Magic (2000-04), Houston Rockets (2004-10), New York Knicks (2010), Detroit Pistons (2010-11) and the Atlanta Hawks (2011-12).

The 33-year old spent the 2012-13 season playing for Qingdao of the Chinese Basketball League. In 29 games he averaged 25.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.55 steals in 31.6 minutes.

McGrady will wear No. 1 for the Spurs.

Read NBA fan reaction and share your opinion in this basketball forum topic.

Kyrie Irving

Cavaliers All-Star guard Kyrie Irving apologized for skipping a postgame ceremony for fans following Cleveland’s final home game on Monday against Miami.

Irving was stripped of the ball by Norris Cole in the closing seconds of the 96-95 loss to the Heat, who rested LeBron James and most of their stars. Irving immediately ran off the floor and to the locker room instead of participating in a jersey giveaway on ”Fan Appreciation Night.” All the Cavs players handed out their game-worn jerseys and sneakers.

Irving, the league’s reigning Rookie of the Year, posted an apology on his Twitter account for missing the event.

”I want to personally apologize to all the Cavs fans for my actions yesterday,” Irving wrote. ”It was truly unfair to you guys. I’m very appreciative for all of you guys. Your love and passion for the organization and city is what pushes me to be great.”

– Reported by Tom Withers of the Associated Press

Fort Wayne Mad Ants rookie Tony Mitchell today was named the 2013 NBA Development League Rookie of the year as voted on by the League’s 16 head coaches.  The award recognizes a first-year professional who most significantly contributed to his team’s success during the course of the season.

Mitchell (6-6, 216, Alabama) played in 48 regular season games, 45 as a starter, for the Mad Ants, averaging a team-high 21.9 points to go with 6.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.4 steals and 35.3 minutes while shooting 42 percent from the floor and 32 percent from behind the three-point line.  His 21.9 points per game was good for second in the NBA D-League.

He led the team in scoring 21 times and was the leading rebounder in five contests.  A 2013 NBA D-League All-Star, Mitchell was the only player in the NBA D-League to record two 40-plus point games during the regular season when he scored 47 against the Austin Toros on March 22 and 49 against the Sioux Falls Skyforce on April 5.

“Tony is a talented player and he had a standout first season in Fort Wayne,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations and Player Personnel for the NBA D-League.  “His impressive ability to score, as well as his selection to the 2013 NBA D-League All-Star Game, solidified his position as a top young prospect in our league.  I congratulate him on a terrific start to his professional career and look forward to watching him to continue to develop into an NBA-caliber player.”

A two-time NBA D-League Performer of the Week selection and March’s NBA D-League Co-Player of the Month, Mitchell helped the Mad Ants to the team’s first postseason appearance, where he played in two games, averaging 30.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.0 steals and 39.5 minutes before the team fell to the Santa Cruz Warriors.

Knicks bring back Quentin Richardson

Knicks bring back Quentin Richardson

The playoff-bound New York Knicks have brought a familiar face back onto the squad.

Knicks Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations and General Manager Glen Grunwald announced today that the team has signed guard/forward Quentin Richardson for the remainder of the season, including the playoffs.

Richardson, 6-6, 220-pounds, holds career averages of 10.3 points, on 39.8-percent shooting from the field and 35.5-percent shooting from three-point range, with 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists over 26.5 minutes in 782 games (486 starts) over 12 seasons with the L.A. Clippers, Phoenix, New York, Miami and Orlando. He has appeared in 31 postseason games (21 starts), averaging 8.5 points and 4.3 rebounds over 28.5 minutes.

The Chicago, IL-native, last played in the NBA for Orlando during the 2011-12 season, averaging 4.5 points and 2.6 rebounds over 18 minutes in 48 games (three starts). He returns to New York after spending four seasons with the Knicks (2005-09), averaging 9.7 points and 5.0 rebounds over 28.2 minutes in 241 games (206 starts).

The Knicks, who clinched the No. 2 seed in the Eastern conference, have suffered multiple injuries recently, but expect to have some healthy big bodies back for the playoffs. Q-Rich adds depth at the wing spot.

The team recently waived Kurt Thomas, signed and then waived Solomon Jones, before signing Richardson.

Read NBA fan reaction or share your opinion in this basketball forum topic.

UCLA men’s basketball freshman Shabazz Muhammad has elected to forego his remaining collegiate eligibility and enter the 2013 NBA Draft. He is projected as a lottery pick by InsideHoops.com.

Muhammad led the Bruins with 17.9 points per game as a freshman in 2012-13, securing first-team All-Pac-12 Conference honors in addition to being named Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year. The 6-foot-6 guard/forward from Las Vegas helped lead UCLA to a 25-10 record, the Pac-12 regular-season title, a runner-up finish in the Pac-12 Tournament and an NCAA Tournament berth.

“I am so thankful for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play at UCLA and will always be proud to be a Bruin,” Muhammad said. “From a young age, I have dreamed of playing in the NBA, and I believe that this is the right time for me to move to the next level.

“I have had an unbelievable experience at UCLA and am eternally grateful to my teammates, my coaches and the program’s support staff for helping me become a better person and basketball player during my time in Westwood. It has been an honor and a privilege to play for coach Ben Howland.”

Muhammad had a decorated freshman campaign, scoring in double figures in 31 of 32 games. He scored at least 20 points in 14 games, guiding UCLA to a 12-2 record in those contests. He was one of eight finalists for the Freshman of the Year Award presented by the U.S. Basketball Writers’ Association (Integris Wayman Tisdale Award) and secured USBWA Freshman All-America honors in addition to being named a first-team NABC All-District 20 selection.

On the court, Muhammad emerged as one of the Pac-12’s most talented three-point shooters, finishing the season ranked 12th in the conference in three-point field goal percentage and fourth in scoring (17.9 ppg). Muhammad and Travis Wear tied for second on the team in rebounds per game (5.2 rpg).

The 2013 NBA Draft will begin at 4 p.m. (PT) on June 27 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

– Via UCLA Bruins

Bulls playoff opponent still undecided

By beating Orlando on Monday, the Bulls ensured their first-round playoff opponent will remain a mystery until Wednesday night.

The Bulls are a half-game behind Atlanta for fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but won the season series 2-1 and therefore own the tiebreaker against the Hawks.

Atlanta hosts Toronto on Tuesday night. As the Bulls discovered twice last week, the Raptors seem intent on finishing the season strong, so a Hawks win may not be a foregone conclusion.

An Atlanta loss to Toronto would put the Bulls in the driver’s seat. They could claim the No. 5 spot by beating Washington, regardless of what the Hawks do in their final game at New York on Wednesday.

– Reported by Mike McGraw of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald (Blog)

Nets coach says Andray Blatche needs to improve conditioning

After couple years of having his fitness criticized while playing with the Wizards – and logging an infamous DNP-Conditioning last season – Andray Blatche was lauded for getting himself into shape during the summer before signing his one-year deal with the Nets.

But the backup center was called out Monday by coach PJ Carlesimo for his conditioning, following a game when Blatche played 37 minutes and looked winded.

“Dray was the only one I felt bad about (playing a lot of minutes). And frankly, he needs conditioning,” Carlesimo said “So I thought it was okay. He needs some conditioning and he obviously wants to play against (the Wizards) because he played there. … We thought Dray was going good and the conditioning is good for him.”

– Reported by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News

Kobe Bryant provides encouraging words for Lakers teammates

The Lakers missed Kobe Bryant’s physical presence, but they sensed his influence permeate the locker room.

Before Saturday’s practice, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak shared with the team a 30-second video on his cell phone that showed Bryant outlining how the Lakers could win their 17th NBA championship without their star because of a torn left Achilles tendon that will sideline him at least six to nine months.

“It was classic Kobe with the way he inspired us,” Lakers reserve guard Darius Morris recalled. “Mitch brought a video of him right before he went into surgery just telling us we know we have to do. Just go out there and get it done. ”

The Lakers took that first step with a 91-86 victory Sunday over the San Antonio Spurs.

– Reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News

Shannon Brown

For a season and a half, Brown’s eyes widened when his play intensified for Phoenix. The topic of going from starter to bench fixture for two months also widens his eyes.

“I did what I needed to do as a starter and handled my business,” Brown said. “For some reason, they want to cut my legs from under me. I know I’m built for it. I did a great job of holding my composure and not letting it get to me to where I did something detrimental to my career. I showed a lot of character by sitting back while I was taken advantage of in a lot of ways. I’ve done everything asked of me in practice and made sure to show these people what time it is. It definitely hurts to sit on the bench, watching us lose night in and night out knowing I can help and being lied to. It’s been a crazy year. I’m just glad I made it through.”

Shortly after Lindsey Hunter became interim head coach, Brown moved to the end of the bench to create playing time for Wes Johnson, who is averaging 13.5 points as a starter. Brown made spot appearances in five of the past 27 games when Hunter was displeased with the team’s effort. Out of respect, Hunter said he would not use Brown in mop-up duty but also did not play him Saturday night when only nine other players were available at Minnesota.

“I was told that it would change,” Brown said. “It’s one thing hoping. It’s another thing being told that and it doesn’t happen. I could see if we were winning, but we just won our first game in 11 games.”

– Reported by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle rips O.J. Mayo

OJ Mayo

Rick Carlisle bolted a couple of steps onto the court, right in the path of O.J. Mayo dribbling up the sideline, to frantically call a timeout midway through the fourth quarter.

After the referee blew the whistle, Carlisle shot a disgusted stare toward Mayo. The Dallas Mavericks coach appeared to resist the urge to rip the ball away from his 25-year-old shooting guard, who had two sloppy turnovers and a weak foul on a made layup in the minute and a half before that uncomfortable moment.

“I called that timeout just to get you out of the game!” Carlisle screamed at Mayo in the huddle, according to one player.

Just in case Mayo didn’t get the message, Carlisle made his criticism loud and clear during his postgame news conference after the Mavs’ 103-97 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Mayo had a miserable performance against his former team, scoring only two points on 1-of-6 shooting and committing four turnovers before watching crunch time from the pine.

“I just want to see him show up,” said Carlisle, who was as harsh publicly with a player as he’s been since calling out Lamar Odom at the end of the his strange midseason sabbatical. “I just want to see him show up and compete. He didn’t compete tonight.

“And I tell you, with all the time we’ve put into helping him develop and bringing him along, in the biggest game of the year — an opportunity to be a winning team — for him to show up like he did tonight, I was shocked.

“Look, sometimes guys have bad nights, so make sure to put that in there, too.”

– Reported by Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas

Out of respect to all those who have been impacted by the tragic events in Boston, including members of the extended Celtics family, the Boston Celtics and the NBA on Monday night decided to cancel the game scheduled for Tuesday, April 16 between the Boston Celtics and the Indiana Pacers.

The game will not be rescheduled.  Instructions for any fans holding tickets to the game are provided on Celtics.com.

Our sincere sympathies go out to all those affected by this senseless tragedy. The entire Celtics organization would like to acknowledge the heroic efforts of the brave civilian, police, fire and medical personnel responding today in the City of Boston.

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