Archive for June, 2013

Chris Paul will re-sign with Clippers

NBA free agent negotiations begin tomorrow, and the biggest name on the market is a little point guard. And as expected, even before his team managed to land coach Doc Rivers, CP3 is expected to stick with his squad and re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Chris Paul

Chris Paul got off the NBA’s free-agent board about as quickly as he gets down the lane for the L.A. Clippers.

To no one’s surprise, Paul has decided to stay with the Clippers, where he’s running the show and can sign on July 10 for a maximum contract worth $107.3 million over five seasons.

Once the Clippers had obtained Doc Rivers in a trade with the Celtics last week, Paul’s future in Los Angeles was cemented. Paul’s representatives sent out word on Saturday night, more 24 hours before the start of free agency, that he would not entertain any offers from other teams.

With Paul off the board, the biggest name to hit the open market will be Dwight Howard, who was scheduled to meet with the Houston Rockets at 12:01 Monday morning. Howard doesn’t want to stay in L.A. and is expected to become a Rocket. He will meet over the next few days with the Mavs, Hawks, Warriors and Lakers.

Reported by Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News

Each NBA free agency period, some local businesses around the country come up with some fun offers to make at players in the hope of luring them to sign with the local team. Whether these offers actually ever get fulfilled, nobody knows. But they’re fun. Here’s the latest example:

Dwight Howard

A Dallas fried chicken joint is really trying to give Dwight Howard the finger, or in this case, fingers.

Raising Cane’s, a chicken finger chain, is offering a lifetime of free chicken fingers to Howard in exchange for his signature on a contract with the Mavericks.

“These next few days, Dwight Howard will be making arguably the most important career decision of his life,” Adam Reed the marketing manager at Raising Cane’s said in a press release obtained by the Dallas Morning News. “So we thought we’d make Dwight an offer he couldn’t refuse to up the ante for a Dallas-bound decision.”

Reported by Bernie Augustine of the New York Daily News

Like all NBA teams, the Spurs have some difficult free agent decisions to make, mostly centered around aging former star Manu Ginobili. But they took care of some relatively simple business today.

The Spurs on Sunday submitted qualifying offers for center Tiago Splitter and reserve guard Gary Neal, making both restricted free agents upon expiration of their current contracts at 11 p.m. tonight, central time.

By doing so, the Spurs retain the right to match any offer either player receives during free agency.

Splitter’s offer, as prescribed by the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, is for $4.93 million.

A solid starting big man in a league in which size matters, Splitter could draw higher offers than that once the bidding opens tonight, forcing the Spurs to make a decision.

Reported by Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News 

The Los Angeles will go as far as Kobe Bryant will take them. Even if he’s past his prime, free agency of Dwight Howard aside, Kobe is the guy that can put the team on his shoulders.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant still has a long rehab ahead after tearing his Achilles’ tendon, but he’s rapidly improving over the off-season.

“It’s feeling really strong,” said Bryant on Friday in a video interview with Mike Trudell of Lakers.com.

“I can walk without a limp … I can go up the stairs and just stand on my toe, which shows a lot of strength in the tendon.” Bryant was injured on April 12 in a win over the Golden State Warriors.  He had surgery the following day, sidelining him for approximately six to nine months.

While the Lakers guard has said he’d like to return by opening night at the end of October, it could be November or December before he’s ready to play.

Reported by Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times (Blog)

Jerryd Bayless

Grizzlies guard Jerryd Bayless has exercised his player option and will return to Memphis for the 2013-14 season, the team announced today.

The scoring guard is able to provide explosiveness and points off the bench.

Bayless (6-3, 210) recorded 8.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists on .419 shooting in 22.1 minutes, playing in a career-high 80 contests (four starts) for Memphis last season.  The 24-year-old averaged 9.3 points in 15 appearances during the 2013 NBA Playoffs, scoring a postseason career-high 19 points on April 20 at LA Clippers in Game 1 of the first round.

The five-year veteran owns career averages of 8.3 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists on .414 shooting in 19.2 minutes in 309 games (40 starts) with the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Hornets, Toronto Raptors and Memphis Grizzlies.  After his freshman season at the University of Arizona, the Phoenix native was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in the first round (11th overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft and traded to Portland on draft night.  He signed with Memphis as a free agent on July 13, 2012.

Marreese Speights declines player option with Cavaliers

Marreese Speights has decided that diving into free agency is a better option for him than playing out his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Speights today declined his player option on the final year of his contract with the Cavs, the team announced today. Speights had until June 29th to exercise the option. The five-year NBA veteran is now an unrestricted free agent.

Speights was acquired by the Cavaliers via trade with the Memphis Grizzlies on January 22nd, 2013. The 6-10, 255-pound forward/center appeared in 39 games (one start) for the Cavs where he averaged 10.2 points on .457 shooting, and 5.1 rebounds in 18.4 minutes. Speights has played in 344 games (61 starts) over his NBA career with averages of 7.8 points, on .472 shooting, and 4.4 rebounds in 16.4 minutes.

aaron brooks

With NBA free agent negotiations starting tomorrow, the Houston Rockets are parting ways with a pair of players.

Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has waived guard Aaron Brooks and guard/forward Carlos Delfino.

Brooks (6-0, 161, Oregon) returned for his fifth season with the Rockets in 2012-13, averaging 1.4 points and 0.9 assists in seven games with Houston.

Delfino (6-6, 230, Argentina) averaged 10.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.01 steals in 67 games (five starts) in his lone season with the Rockets.

Boston Celtics waive Terrence Williams

terrence williams

The Boston Celtics are rebuilding, and are saying goodbye to some older players with big contracts as well as some young guys that don’t cost very much but aren’t considered part of  the future.

The team announced today that they have waived guard/forward Terrence Williams.

Williams, a 6’6” guard/forward, appeared in 24 games for the Celtics during the 2012-13 season and averaged 4.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 13.3 minutes per game. He also appeared in five games for the Celtics during the playoffs and averaged 1.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 9.6 minutes per game.

Udonis Haslem

Heat forward Udonis Haslem played through much of the second half of Miami’s season with a torn right meniscus, and told The Associated Press that surgery will be required to repair the previously undisclosed injury.

Haslem made the revelation Saturday after a promotional appearance where hundreds of Heat fans began lining up to see the Miami native five hours before he arrived. Surgery will occur soon, he said, and Haslem expects to be ready for training camp this fall.

”It forces me to be smart and take my time with recovery this summer,” said Haslem, who just completed his 10th NBA season, all with Miami. ”Obviously, I don’t heal like I used to so I’ve got to be a lot smarter and this forces me to be smart. My body’s a little weary right now, a lot more weary than it was after last year.”

Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

Lakers waive guard Chris Duhon

The Los Angeles Lakers have waived guard Chris Duhon, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

In 46 games (9 starts) last season with the Lakers, Duhon averaged 2.9 points, 1.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 17.8 minutes while recording three double-figure scoring games, 10-plus assists twice and one double-double.

In a surprising move, the Bulls will not renew the contract of lead assistant coach Ron Adams.

Adams, in his second stint with the Bulls, came to Chicago following a successful run as Scott Brooks’ lead assistant in Oklahoma City. A longtime friend of Tom Thibodeau’s, Adams left the Thunder to be closer to his family, who remained in the Chicago area for school reasons following Adams’ first stint with the Bulls under Scott Skiles.

According to sources, general manager Gar Forman made the decision, not Thibodeau. Forman informed Adams on Friday.

Reported by K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune

Mavs get their man in Shane Larkin

To hear the Dallas Mavericks say it, Shane Larkin is real close to being the second coming of JJ Barea.

Following a whirlwind day Thursday during the NBA Draft, the Mavs pat themselves on the back after they wound up with Miami Hurricanes point guard Shane Larkin. The same Larkin whose father, Barry, is in the Pro Baseball Hall of Fame.

The same Larkin who averaged 14.5 points and 4.6 assists while collecting ACC Player of the Year honors this past season. Larkin also was the ACC Tournament Most Valuable Player and a second-team All-American while leading the Hurricanes to the NCAA Sweet 16 and staking his claim as being one of the country’s best point guards.

“One of the things that’s really unique about him is from an analytic standpoint he’s one of the best guys we’ve seen coming out of college shooting off the dribble,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “And he can also get to places and get other guys involved, so I just think he’s good and he’s going to get better.”

Reported by Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Blog)

Knicks hope to keep J.R. Smith

JR Smith

The Nets stole the headlines on Draft Night with their sexier moves that have them threatening to replace the Knicks as Atlantic Division favorites.

But the Knicks aren’t done yet, as July’s free agency will determine whether they have lost ground to the Nets. The Knicks, who may have a trade up their sleeves, too, have to restock their roster with role players either by re-signing their free agents — J.R. Smith, Chris Copeland, Pablo Prigioni and Kenyon Martin — or adding to the roster.

Their No. 1 priority is re-signing Smith, the Sixth Man Award winner, who reportedly will get interest from the under-the-cap Bucks. Milwaukee can top the Knicks’ max bid of $5.4 million per season.

To date, the Nets’ starting five of Brook Lopez, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams has topped the Knicks for star quality, but the Nets have an unproven head coach in Jason Kidd.

Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

Bucks hope to re-sign Brandon Jennings

Brandon Jennings

Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that re-signing point guard Brandon Jennings is a priority.

The team plans to aggressively try to retain the free agent point guard.

Free agency begins Monday and players can officially sign with teams starting July 10.

The Bucks made a $4.3 million qualifying offer and can match any offers teams make to Jennings, who is a restricted free agent.

“It’s our intention for Brandon Jennings to remain a Milwaukee Buck,” Hammond said. “We’re hoping to negotiate with him fairly through the July process.

Reported by the Sports Xchange

Kirilenko opts out of final year of Wolves deal

Andrei Kirilenko has decided to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves and will become a free agent.

Kirilenko informed the Timberwolves of his decision on Saturday, the deadline that was written into the two-year deal he signed last summer. Kirilenko is declining the one year and $10 million left on his deal in an effort to get one last longer-term deal in his career.

Kirilenko averaged 12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game for the Wolves last year, his best season in the league since 2005-06.

Reported by Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press

Anthony Bennett wasn’t really all that interested in playing basketball. Yeah, it was cool dunking on guys, and a great way to make new friends after moving from Toronto to the city’s suburbs.

Then, he decided to get serious about six or seven years ago.

His future was calling.

”I just started growing,” Bennett said, flashing a smile while talking about his unique path to the NBA. ”And everyone said, ‘You should probably play basketball.’ So I said, ‘All right. I’ll give it a shot.’ Look where it got me now.”

Look indeed.

Bennett was formally introduced Friday by the Cleveland Cavaliers, who shocked the draft by selecting the UNLV power forward with the No. 1 overall pick on Thursday night.

Although he wasn’t regarded by many draft experts as the best player available, Bennett was always at the top of Cleveland’s board. They scouted the 6-foot-7, 240-pounder extensively all season, fell in love with his game and after getting rave reviews about his character, chose him over Kentucky center Nerlens Noel, Kansas guard Ben McLemore, Georgetown forward Otto Porter Jr. in a flawed draft.

Reported by Tom Withers of the Associated Press

Boston Celtics

Letting Doc Rivers go to the Los Angeles Clippers was the first sign. Getting rid of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett clinched it.

The Boston Celtics are rebuilding.

The Celtics have agreed to the terms of a deal that would send the two remaining members of the Big Three that won the 2008 NBA title to the Brooklyn Nets for a package of draft picks and players. Garnett is a future Hall of Famer, but it’s Pierce’s departure that signals the end of an era for the league’s most-decorated franchise.

”It’s sad to see everybody leave Boston. You just want them to go someplace where they have a chance to win, and they have,” Rivers said at Clippers draft headquarters late Thursday night. ”It’s a great trade for Boston, too; not now, later. Danny wanted to rebuild, and that’s what he’s doing.”

The longest-tenured member of the Celtics, Pierce is the team’s captain, a 10-time All-Star and a likely Hall of Famer. He is the second-leading scorer in the history of the NBA’s most-decorated franchise, and also is in the team’s top seven in rebounds, assists, steals, games and minutes played.

Garnett is also a future Hall of Famer, though only the last six years of his career were in Boston. It’s Pierce, who slipped to 10th in the 1998 draft and has been a Celtic ever since, who had a chance to spend his entire career with the franchise and add his name to a list that includes Hall of Famers Larry Bird, Bill Russell and John Havlicek.

Reported by Jimmy Golen of the Associated Press

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that they acquired the draft rights to forward Arsalan Kazemi (pronounced “are-suh-lahn kah-ZEE-me”) as part of a series of trades made during the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft, which took place last night.  Kazemi was selected 54th in the NBA Draft, becoming the first Iranian player drafted into the NBA.

(Hamed Haddadi, the first Iranian to play in the NBA, was not drafted, and entered the league as a free agent.)

The Sixers started by trading the 35th overall pick to Washington in exchange for the 38th overall pick and the 54th overall pick, where Kazemi was eventually selected.

The Sixers then traded the 38th overall pick to Milwaukee for the 43rd overall pick and Houston’s 2014 second round pick.

The Sixers then traded the 43rd overall pick to Dallas in exchange for Brooklyn’s 2014 second round pick.

Kazemi (6-8, 226) was the first Iranian-born player to compete in NCAA Division I men’s basketball.  Phoenix’s Hamed Haddadi became the first Iranian to play in the NBA as a member of the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008.

As a senior at Oregon last season, Kazemi averaged 9.4 points, a team-high 10.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 2.0 steals while shooting 59.5% from the floor in 35 games played.  He earned Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 and became the first Duck ever to be named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive team.

Kazemi spent his first three seasons at Rice, averaging a double-double as both a sophomore and a junior.  For his entire collegiate career, Kazemi had nearly as many steals (225) as turnovers (232).

Gerald Henderson

One of the few bright spots of the Charlotte Bobcats last season was solid production from their backcourt. And today, the team is making a move to hold on to a key contributor at the guard spot.

Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins announced today that the team has extended a qualifying offer to guard Gerald Henderson, making him a restricted free agent. The qualifying offer allows the Bobcats to match any offer he receives from another team.

Henderson was initially selected by the Bobcats with the 12th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.  He played in 68 games during the 2012-13 season, averaging a career-high 15.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, a career-high 2.6 assists and 1.0 steal in 31.4 minutes per game.  In his four NBA seasons, Henderson has played in 234 career games, averaging 11.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 25.6 minutes.

ray allen

The Miami HEAT announced today that guard Ray Allen has exercised his player option for the 2013-14 season.

Allen, a 17-year NBA veteran, appeared in 79 games with the HEAT this season, averaging 10.9 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 25.8 minutes per game. He led the team in free throw percentage (.886) and both three-point field goals made (139) and attempted (332). He ranked second on the team in games played and three-point field goal percentage (.419). During the HEAT’s successful playoff run, he averaged 10.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 24.9 minutes over 23 games.

Allen has appeared in 1,227 games (1,140 starts) throughout his NBA career, and has averaged 19.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.14 steals and 36.2 minutes, while shooting 45.2 percent from the floor, 40.1 percent from three-point range and 89.4 percent from the free-throw line.

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