Archive for April 18th, 2013

Trail Blazers waive Jared Jeffries

Trail Blazers waive Jared Jeffries

The Portland Trail Blazers have waived forward Jared Jeffries, General Manager Neil Olshey announced today.

In 38 games during his only season with the Trail Blazers, Jeffries averaged 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 9.2 minutes per game in 2012-13.

In 11 career NBA seasons, Jeffries has averaged 4.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 21.6 minutes in 629 games (335 starts) with Washington, New York, Houston and Portland.

The New York Knicks’ Mike Woodson and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Mike D’Antoni today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in April.

Woodson led the Knicks to an 8-2 month, tied for the most wins in the league in April with the Miami Heat. New York collected wins over four Eastern Conference Playoff teams — Atlanta (twice), Indiana, Miami and Milwaukee and finished the season 54-28 (.659). The Knicks surpassed the 50-win plateau for the first time since 1999-2000 under Woodson, and notched the best home record in the East at 31-10 (.756).

D’Antoni guided the Lakers to a share (Denver, Los Angeles Clippers) of the best record in the conference in April at 7-1 (.875). The Lakers won five straight games to close the season, including three over Western Conference playoff teams – Golden State, San Antonio and Houston, the final two without the services of Kobe Bryant (torn Achilles tendon). The seventh-seeded Lakers finished the season 45-37 (.549).

Other nominees for Coach of the Month were Brooklyn’s P.J. Carlesimo, Denver’s George Karl, Memphis’ Lionel Hollins, Miami’s Erik Spoelstra and Oklahoma City’s Scott Brooks.

Detroit Pistons fire coach Lawrence Frank

Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced today that Lawrence Frank will not return as the team’s head coach.

“We thank Lawrence for his hard work and dedication, but we feel it is in the best interest of the franchise to make a change at this time,” said Dumars.  “Decisions like this are never easy and we wish Lawrence well in the future.”

Frank, who was named head coach on August 3, 2011, tallied a regular-season record of 54-94 (.365) in two seasons with the Pistons.

This past regular season, which ended yesterday, the Pistons compiled a 29-53 record, tied for 23rd best in the league out of 30 teams.

NBA anti-flopping rules for playoffs

The NBA has set the league’s anti-flopping disciplinary schedule to be used during the 2013 Playoffs, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations Stu Jackson announced today.

“Flopping” is defined as any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player.  The primary factor in determining whether a player committed a flop is whether his physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact.

The NBA’s anti-flopping rule, adopted at the beginning of the 2012-13 season, had 24 violations during the 2012-13 regular season. Fourteen players received warnings while five players received a $5,000 fine for violating the anti-flopping rule twice.

Physical acts that constitute legitimate basketball plays (such as moving to a spot in order to draw an offensive foul) and minor physical reactions to contact are not deemed to be flops.

Any player who is determined to have committed a flop during the 2013 Playoffs will be subject to the following:

Violation 1:                                                                        $5,000 fine

Violation 2:                                                                        $10,000 fine

Violation 3:                                                                        $15,000 fine

Violation 4:                                                                        $30,000 fine

If a player violates the anti-flopping rule five times or more, he will be subject to discipline that is reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension.

Following last night’s final game of the 2012-13 season, the New Orleans Hornets officially took on the team’s new identity as the New Orleans Pelicans. The team will participate in its first NBA event as the Pelicans on May 21 at the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery.

“We have been looking forward to this day since we announced the Pelicans as the new name,” said Owner Tom Benson. “The Pelican is a symbol for our city and region and we’re excited to start a new era in Louisiana basketball history. This off-season is going to be a special time for the Pelicans.”

Benson announced on Jan. 24 that at the conclusion of the 2012-13 season, the name of the team will become the Pelicans, adopting an identity that will represent the culture and resolve of the Gulf Coast region while also symbolizing Louisiana’s most pressing initiative of coastal restoration and wildlife conservation. Benson introduced the team’s new logos, as well as color scheme, during the announcement.

The Pelicans’ colors are blue, gold and red. The team’s primary color, blue, is taken from Louisiana’s state flag. The Pelicans and Saints share the color gold, uniting the organizations, while celebrating the spirited life of New Orleans and its many celebrations (gold is also a commonly found color on the “crown” of the pelican). Red represents fraternity and is indicative of the blood provision of the mother pelican and the vibrant color underneath the pelican’s throat. All three colors are found on the flag of the City of New Orleans.

byron scott

The Cleveland Cavaliers have released Head Coach Byron Scott, the team announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts. The announcement was made by Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant.

“I have tremendous respect for Byron professionally and a great deal of admiration for him personally. At the same time, it is critical for where we are as a team to ensure that we capitalize on every opportunity for development and success and we have fallen short of that on the court,” said Grant. “I believe we needed to make this change in order to get to a better position to achieve our goals. I know I speak on behalf of the entire Cavs organization and the Cleveland community, in thanking Byron for his three years here and his hard work and many contributions on and off the court. We wish Bryon and his wife, Anita, the best.”

Scott, 52, was named the 18th head coach in Cleveland Cavaliers history on July 1, 2010. The Cavaliers’ record during Scott’s tenure as Head Coach was 64-166.

“I want to thank Chris Grant, Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers organization for the opportunity I had to coach this team the last three seasons,” said Scott. “Anita and I have enjoyed our time here in Cleveland and greatly appreciate the support we received from this special community and the many friendships we developed. I am certainly proud of the progress that many of our players have made and greatly appreciate the dedication of my coaches and our team in our efforts to attain the success we all desired.”

The Cavaliers will immediately commence a search, led by General Manager Chris Grant, for the team’s next head coach.

“I wish Byron Scott and his entire family the best going forward. Byron is a class guy, both on and off the court, and I thank him for his three years of coaching the Cavaliers,” said Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert.

“I fully support the difficult move that was made today. Although we saw progress with young individual player development, we did not see the kind of progress we expected on the team level this past season. We understand it was challenging with the injuries, but when you are at our stage in the building process, you don’t only measure team progress in wins and losses.

It has been our strong and stated belief that when our team once again returns to competing at the NBA’s highest levels it will be because we have achieved our goals on the defensive side of the court.

Our fans have been incredibly loyal and supportive during these transition years. They deserve better than we have been delivering as of late and it is our full intent to deliver them the kind of competitive team that they expect to see on the court beginning next season,” Gilbert concluded.

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

Tracy McGrady has chance to finally progress in playoffs

Let’s start with the playoff thing. Because that’s where any discussion of Tracy McGrady usually starts, and often ends.

The playoff thing has dogged McGrady at practically every stop of his high-scoring career, whether it’s his six previous NBA destinations or, most recently, to the other side of the world in China.

The 33-year-old swingman signed by the Spurs on Tuesday for the postseason push bears this ignominious distinction: He is the only scoring champion in NBA history never to have won a postseason series.

That fact is a fact, and McGrady has found it to be inescapable.

“I think so much is made (about) I’ve never got past the first round,” McGrady said Wednesday morning after his first practice in San Antonio, “but it takes more than just me.”

Still, the playoff thing is an albatross. Nil-for-eight in previous postseasons, McGrady has been gifted with a chance to exorcise that pockmark from his otherwise sterling NBA résumé, but with a twist.

If the Spurs, seeded second in the upcoming Western Conference playoffs, do advance to the second round this season, McGrady won’t be the one driving them there. He is a passenger, only along for the ride.

– Reported by Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News

OJ Mayo

Eight or nine players from the Mavs’ final roster will be free agents, depending on whether O.J. Mayo exercises his option to return for a $4.2 million salary or tests the market for the second straight summer. Almost to a man, they say they’d like to be back in Dallas, but that’s not the way the business works.

The Mavs, depending on Mayo’s decision and the salary cap figure the NBA sets, will have somewhere between $13 million and $18.7 million in spending money this summer — unless they create more space with salary-dump deals. They need significant upgrades to have a serious chance of competing at the level they had become accustomed to over the previous dozen seasons.

“I’ve been saying it all season long: It’s a big summer for us,” said Dirk Nowitzki, who is the only player guaranteed to return to Dallas next season. “We’ll see what Mark and Donnie can come up with. They’re always geniuses at making stuff happen. We need a big summer, obviously, to compete again for the championship and not for the eighth seed.”

– Reported by Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas

Chris Andersen fitting in with Heat

Chris Andersen

Andersen sports a Mohawk haircut and who-knows-how-many multicolored tattoos, has been known to flap his arms as if they were wings — a nod to his “Birdman” nickname — and can be more than a little intimidating. At first glance, the idea of him fitting into a Heat organization that prides itself on doing everything in a first-class manner might have seemed absurd.

But the Heat looked at the big picture, how another energy-and-effort guy with size and strength would clearly help their chances of winning a second straight title. With that in mind, they offered him a deal, Andersen accepted, and he’s made the Heat look like geniuses for the move ever since.

“He’s perfect. Perfect,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. “When you see his production, you get it. When you look at everything that Birdman is, what people say he is and even what he is to a certain extent, it doesn’t match. But when you look at how he plays and the production on the court and what we need, it’s a perfect fit.”

– Reported by the Associated Press

Fate of Pistons coach to be decided soon

lawrence frank

Although his team isn’t headed to the postseason, Wednesday’s finale against the Nets offered at least a small bit of good news for Pistons coach Lawrence Frank.

He won’t have to take any more questions from the media about his job status.

He knows it’s out of his hands, and he can only hope that team owner Tom Gores shows patience and gives him a third season on the Pistons’ bench.

“Unfortunately, it’s been too long a talk for too long,” Frank said when asked if it crossed his mind that Wednesday might have marked his final moments as Pistons coach. “It’s been going on for awhile, so it’s not like this just jumped up and it’s news flash.

“Because you have to answer the question every day, it’s something you do give some thought to.”

The answer will come quickly — today, very likely — and indications are strong the odds aren’t with Frank, especially when you consider a strange twist Wednesday night. Yahoo! Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski reported late Wednesday that Frank is demanding the Pistons pick up his fourth-year option for $4 million as a condition for his returning for his third season.

– Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

Combine the Charlotte Bobcats’ 105-98 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers with the Orlando Magic’s loss to the Miami Heat, and the Bobcats top the Magic by a game in the standings.

Small potatoes, maybe. But after going 7-59 last season – worst record in NBA history – 21-61 felt OK Wednesday night.

“Absolutely we wanted to avoid that worst record. It was definitely one of our small goals down the stretch,” said Bobcats co-captain Gerald Henderson (15 points and six assists). “Obviously things didn’t go as well as we hoped, but we played hard.”

“Coming down the stretch, we played as pros.”

True enough. They won six of their last 15, and in doing so might have saved their rookie coach’s job. Nothing has been decided one way or the other, but the relatively strong finish spruces up Dunlap’s short-term resume a bit.

– Reported by Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer

stephen curry

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry has established a new NBA single-season three-point record with 272 three-pointers made, surpassing the previous record of 269 set by Ray Allen for the Seattle SuperSonics in 2005-06.  Curry established the new mark in tonight’s regular-season finale at Portland, connecting on 4-of-11 attempts in a 99-88 Warriors victory over the Trail Blazers. He entered the contest needing one three-pointer to tie, and two to surpass, the previous record. Curry broke Allen’s record despite attempting 53 less three-pointers than Allen did in 2005-06.

Curry, 25, not only led the NBA in three-pointers made in 2012-13, but also finished third in three-point field goal percentage by connecting on 272-of-600 (.453) attempts from long range. The 6-3 guard is the first player in NBA history to hit 250 three-pointers and dish out 500 assists in a single season and is the second player in league history to hit 200-or-more threes in a season on 45 percent-or-better, joining Glen Rice, who did so in 1995-96.

Overall, Curry averaged career highs of 22.9 points (7th in NBA) and 6.9 assists (T-15th) to go with 4.0 rebounds, 1.62 steals and 38.2 minutes (7th) in 78 games during the regular season.

Earlier this season, Curry announced that for every three-pointer made he would donate three life-saving bed nets to the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign, which distributes insecticide-treated mosquito nets to protect families across Africa from malaria.  A committed champion of Nothing But Nets since his time at Davidson, Curry’s record-setting season translates to 816 bed nets that will help hundreds families sleep safe from infection.

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