Archive for June, 2013

Two days before the NBA draft, Pacers coach Frank Vogel was handed a new task - finding another assistant coach.

A day after word leaked that Vogel’s top assistant, Brian Shaw, had been hired as Denver’s new head coach, Vogel told reporters he already has a list of potential replacements. The goal: Make a quick hire.

”I’m thinking like 3 or 4 o’clock this afternoon,” Vogel joked Tuesday when asked about having a timetable for the hire. ”Seriously, we’d like to do it as quickly as the process allows, making sure, of course, that we do our due diligence on the people we’re bringing in here.”

Vogel did not drop any hints of who might be on his list of candidates, but he did talk about a few essential skills the next assistant will need.

He wants someone who fits in with a young team that appears to be on the verge of becoming a perennial championship contender.

– Reported by Michael Marot of the Associated Press

Miami-based Carnival Corp. & PLC announced Tuesday that longtime Chairman and CEO Micky Arison will step down as company CEO, but continue as chairman in a move to split the two roles.

Carnival said business leader and 12-year board member Arnold W. Donald will assume the CEO role effective July 3, Carnival said in a news release Tuesday.

Arison has held the role of CEO since 1979, and as chairman he’ll continue to provide board level oversight and will remain the company’s largest shareholder, Carnival said.

Donald in turn will lead the executive team, focusing initially on achieving the company’s long-term strategic goals.

Carnival said the move to split the roles has received unanimous approval from the company’s nominating and governance committee as well as the full board of directors.

Reported by Arlene Satchell of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Cavs and Bucks interested in Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce

The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Milwaukee Bucks are among the teams that have expressed trade interest in Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce, according to sources with knowledge of the talks.

But sources told ESPN.com that Pierce is most likely headed to neither one of those teams if he leaves the Celtics this week.

The Celtics do remain hopeful of acquiring a first-round pick for Pierce this week in conjunction with Thursday’s draft. But sources said the Celtics have shown an inclination to try to work with Pierce to get him to a favorable destination — which essentially translates to a contending team — if they indeed decide to trade him by week’s end. The team faces a June 30 deadline to either pick up Pierce’s $15.3 million option for next season or buy him out for $5 million.

Reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.com

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The Kings basketball team has a new lease on life in Sacramento - with new owners, a new coach and plans for a new downtown arena. By week’s end, officials say they expect to have solid evidence that their fan following has dramatically swelled as well.

The team is opening Sleep Train Arena doors this week for season ticket holders to write checks and pick out their seats for next season.

More than 90 percent of last year’s season ticket holders have renewed, team spokesman Chris Clark said, and several thousand new season ticket buyers are expected to select seats as well today and Wednesday.

By Friday, Clark said the team may see season ticket sales approaching the numbers the team had in its playoff years.

Reported by Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee

Manu Ginobili

Writing a first-person commentary for the Argentine newspaper “La Nación,” veteran guard Manu Ginobili made his strongest comments yet about his desire to return for another season with the Spurs.

Ginobili admitted it took him three days after the conclusion of the NBA Finals, a Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat, before he could focus on his future.

Now, he can’t see himself not continuing his Spurs career.

“After much thinking, going over and over the bad plays, I feel better and content in spite of the bad outcome, and I find it difficult to believe that I won’t play anymore,” he wrote in La Nación.

“I don’t feel exhausted or frustrated playing basketball, I mean not enough to say I’m done. I don’t know about everything; I haven’t made a decision, but I see it is unlikely that I will not play anymore.

“I try not to let the tree in front of me block the forest. This is practically an unbeatable situation in sports. A moment of anger and frustration should not cloud the day-to-day and how well I am doing over here.”

Reported by Mike Monroe and Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News

The Brooklyn Nets will play against the Atlanta Hawks in London at The O2 on Thursday, January 16, 2014 as part of NBA Global Games London 2014.

This will be the Nets’ third trip to London, which has included a preseason game in 2008 and two regular season games vs. the Toronto Raptors in 2011, the league’s first regular-season games in the UK.  The Nets-Hawks game will be the eighth NBA game played at The O2 since 2007.

“We are very excited to once again represent the NBA in London,” said Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King. “The fans have always been very supportive, and we look forward to once again entertaining them with Brooklyn Nets basketball.”

“It is always an honor to represent the league overseas,” said Nets guard Deron Williams. “Playing in London has a playoff-like intensity, and the energy in the building is great for the players on both teams. It should be very exciting.”

Since Mikhail Prokhorov’s majority purchase of the team in May 2010, the Brooklyn Nets have continued their commitment to extending their global brand. In addition to their games in London, the Nets played two preseason games in Beijing and Guangzhou in the NBA China Games in 2010.

Globalization extends to the Nets dance team, the Brooklynettes, which has performed in seven different countries in the past year, as well as to the Brooklyn Nets Web site, which has been made available in Russian at www.netsrussia.com.

Reinforcing the global appeal of the team, the Nets home borough of Brooklyn has become a melting pot with more than 150 nationalities. Furthermore, Barclays, the naming rights partner for Barclays Center, the team’s home arena, is based in London.

Tickets for the game in London will go on sale in October.

Brian Shaw

At long last, Brian Shaw is getting his first chance to coach an NBA team.

The former guard for the Los Angeles Lakers and Phil Jackson pupil has agreed to succeed George Karl as coach of the Denver Nuggets, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Monday night because the deal hadn’t been officially announced.

Still, it was the buzz of the basketball world.

“I think the Nuggets are going to benefit from his tenure,” Jackson tweeted.

“So great to see Brian Shaw rewarded with this long overdue opportunity,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel told The AP in a text. “Congrats to Brian and the Nuggets. Denver just got one of the best head coaches this league will see for years to come.”

The Denver Post first announced the agreement with Shaw, the Indiana Pacers assistant who told the newspaper he’s been “prepared by the best of the best” for his first NBA head coaching job, adding “I feel like I’ve waited and paid my dues.”

Reported by Arnie Stapleton of the Associated Press

Antoine Walker

Former Celtic Antoine Walker said Monday night he was “serious” after tweeting Monday morning that he was interested in the Celtics head coaching job.

Walker, 36, more recently known for his well-chronicled financial issues and a premature end to his career, said he wants to work in the NBA and has head-coaching aspirations.

“I want to be back in the game, I love the game and am a student of the game,” he said. “I want to stress seriously that I do want to become a coach . . . there’s a lot of guys starting to get opportunities and so the league is getting younger coaches. Obviously I’m lacking in experience but we’ve all got to start from somewhere.”

Reported by Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe

InsideHoops.com editor says: Walker would start from the bottom of the assistant coaching ladder, and work his way up. Jumping right to head coach is extremely unlikely.

It’s been two months since the 76ers ended the season with a disappointing 34-48 record.

And while some fans are still upset about how the season played out, many are ready to move on and are looking forward to the moves the team will make over the next few months.

Monday was confirmation of just how determined the Sixers are to change their ways.

In pursuit of a coach used to battling for NBA titles, they asked for and received permission to interview San Antonio Spurs assistant Brett Brown, according to Yahoo Sports.

It is unclear when Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie will meet with Brown. The team did not did not confirm the report.

Reported by Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer

After initially refusing to comment, the Sixers waited hours before denying Monday night that Adam Aron has been fired as chief executive officers.

Then around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aron gave this response on Twitter: “Just minutes ago, I got off a plane from vacation in Africa and saw press reports. Ala Mark Twain, rumors of my demise greatly exaggerated.

“I’m delighted to report that this is an immensely exciting time in my career, Moral of story: don’t go on a faraway vacation.”

Reported by Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Blog)

Nuggets hiring Brian Shaw as head coach

Denver Nuggets hiring Brian Shaw as head coach

Brian Shaw was hired as the coach of the Denver Nuggets on Monday night, securing his first NBA head coaching job after nearly a decade as an assistant.

Shaw confirmed that he had been hired by Denver during an exclusive interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Ramona Shelburne.

“I’m so appreciative for the opportunity to be able to lead this team and for the faith that [Nuggets team president] Josh Kroenke and [general manager] Tim Connelly have put in me,” Shaw told Shelburne. “It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been prepared by the best of the best for a long time. I’m just really looking forward to it.”

Shaw will replace George Karl, the NBA’s reigning Coach of the Year who led the Nuggets to a 57-win regular season but was fired following Denver’s opening-round elimination in the playoffs.

Reported by ESPN.com

Former Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen was involved in a fight outside of a well-known sushi eatery in Malibu over the weekend that landed one man in the hospital, authorities said.

The altercation occurred about 6:30 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot of Nobu restaurant, said Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. There was an argument between Pippen and the man, who was taken to a hospital with unspecified injuries, Whitmore said. His condition was not immediately available.

Investigators were interviewing several witnesses who apparently saw what transpired and criminal charges could be filed, Whitmore said. It wasn’t known if Pippen has spoken with authorities.

Reported by the Associated Press

Kings keep Shareef Abdur-Rahim on staff

shareef abdur-rahim

Whether in Denver or Sacramento, Pete D’Alessandro wanted to work with Shareef Abdur-Rahim.

Abdur-Rahim, a former Kings forward and NBA All-Star, was an assistant general manager under Geoff Petrie and is the only holdover from Petrie’s staff.

Abdur-Rahim and new assistant general manager Mike Bratz give D’Alessandro more of a staff than he had anticipated entering Thursday’s NBA draft.

“(Bratz was) the guy I wanted,” D’Alessandro said. “And when I thought I had a shot at the Denver job and I saw things going on here, to take it a step further, I actually wanted Shareef as well. I wanted to bring Mike and Shareef over there, and when I got the position over here, it’s just the way it lined up.”

Reported by Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee

For the past several months, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has been looking for a buyer for the club who would originally own a portion of the team and then eventually would take over majority ownership.

But after not finding a suitable partner, Taylor changed his mind and bought the stock holdings of six partners who wanted out.

“I was looking at bringing somebody else in to do that, and it never worked out,” Taylor said. “So I just had told the partners that wanted to sell out, that had been with me for about 18 years, that if they wanted to sell out that I would buy their stock. I had about half of them do that, the other half stayed in. I just left that option up to them. They made their decisions, and everybody is happy with how it worked out.”

So now with the hiring of Flip Saunders as president of basketball operations, Taylor seems more involved than ever and he is probably more excited about this draft than any in recent memory.

Reported by Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant has consistently suggested he’ll play just one or two more seasons before retiring.

Currently on a trip to Brazil, the Lakers guard may have revealed a different plan altogether.

“I could easily see myself playing another three or four years,” he said on Brazilian television in a segment produced by Glenda Carqueijo (2:30 in the video).

The All-Star guard is currently recovering from a torn Achilles’ tendon, suffered April 12.  He’s expected to return to the court by November or December.

Reported by Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times

One of the NBA’s sleeper free agents is becoming more and more of a common name.

Point guard Gal Mekel, fresh off leading little Maccabi Haifa to an upset of Euroleague Final Four regular Maccabi Electra Tel-Aviv for the Israeli championship earlier this month, appears to be inching closer to an NBA roster for next season.

Mekel had an eye-opening workout last week with the Milwaukee Bucks, according to sources close to the situation, and will audition Monday for the Dallas Mavericks. Sources told ESPN.com that the Toronto Raptors, meanwhile, are the latest team to express interest in Mekel, who has made major progress since his days at Wichita State from 2006-2008 and increasingly appeals to NBA teams thanks to his size, ability to read the game and, most of all, his pick-and-roll proficiency.

Reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.com

Kyrie Irving praises Jason Kidd

jason kidd

Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving did not want to speculate on the future — not a possible future with LeBron James, something that is always fodder for supposition. He didn’t even want to look as far ahead as Thursday and who might be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, a slot held by Cleveland.

But if you want to hear about Jason Kidd, one of the game’s greatest point guards and a guy who recently turned coach, then Irving went from being Mr. Mum to Chatty Charlie yesterday.

“He’s a tremendous leader. Obviously, Brooklyn sees something in him especially from a leadership standpoint,” Irving said of Kidd going from player to coach after 10 days of retirement. “He’s coming straight off the court, but I feel the last few years he was definitely a coach out there on the court. The transition, I think, will be easy for him. I’m looking forward to see how he does.”

Reported by Fred Kerber of the New York Post

Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers is abandoning his sinking ship and switching coasts. It’s the end of an era in Boston.

In a deal forced by his unwillingness to endure rebuilding, Rivers bailed on Boston and agreed Sunday to coach the Clippers, according to multiple sources. As compensation, L.A. gave up a 2015 first-round pick — and, in the process, presumably solidified Chris Paul’s return as a free agent — clearing the way for Rivers to resume title-hunting while the Celtics go about rebuilding around Rajon Rondo, who will return next season following ACL surgery.

The Clippers are picking up the three years and $21 million remaining on Rivers’ contract, following interviews with candidates Byron Scott, Brian Shaw and Lionel Hollins.

The next big question is what happens to future Hall of Famers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, both of whom don’t fit into Boston’s long-term plan. The Clippers were also negotiating a deal to land Garnett for DeAndre Jordan, but that was blocked by the NBA because it was deemed part of a coach trade. Any subsequent deals sending Garnett to the Clippers would also be blocked, according to commissioner David Stern.

Reported by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News

monta ellis

Monta Ellis’ decision last week to opt out of the final year of his contract did provide some clarity for the Bucks. It instantly made the shooting guard position a priority, whether in the draft or free agency. Ellis started all 82 games at the 2 guard spot last season and played major minutes.

“It gives us options in the draft of different positions we can look at,” McKinney said. “There should be players at 15 of different variety that could help us.

“I think it’s a very good group (of guards). When you talk about the point guards, the shooting guards, the swing players, we’re comfortable.

“We’re still doing some homework on the selection at 15. But we feel much more comfortable now than we did even a week ago.”

Point guard Brandon Jennings is a restricted free agent and other NBA teams will be able to start discussions with his agent, Jeff Schwartz, on July 1.

And backup guard J.J. Redick is an unrestricted free agent as is sixth man Mike Dunleavy.

Reported by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

lawrence frank

The Brooklyn Nets are “pretty close” to hiring Roy Rogers as an assistant coach on Jason Kidd’s staff, a league source confirmed Saturday.

The team is still awaiting a decision from Lawrence Frank on the other assistant coaching spot. The Nets interviewed both Rogers and Frank on Tuesday, Kidd said earlier this week.

Rogers was an assistant under Frank for two seasons with the New Jersey Nets. Most recently, Rogers served as an assistant to Frank with the Detroit Pistons.

Reported by Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York

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