Archive for June 25th, 2013

The Miami HEAT announced today that both forward James Jones and forward Rashard Lewis, being smart to stick with a championship team — even one that barely gives them any minutes — have exercised their player options for the 2013-14 season.

Jones, a 10-year NBA veteran, appeared in 38 games with the HEAT this season, and has earned postseason berths in each of his five seasons with Miami, including two NBA Championships. The Miami native has appeared in 246 career games with the HEAT, averaging 4.2 points and 1.4 rebounds while shooting 39.8 percent from three-point range. He hit a career-high 123 three-point field goals during the 2010-11 season while capturing the 2011 NBA Three-Point Shootout title. Jones originally signed with the HEAT as a free agent on July 9, 2008.

Lewis, a 15-year NBA veteran, appeared in 55 games (nine starts) with the HEAT this season averaging 5.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 14.4 minutes while shooting 41.4 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from three-point range. He scored in double-figures 13 times this season,  including a season-high 19 points twice, first vs. Boston on April 12 and then at Cleveland on April 15. He appeared in 11 postseason games during Miami’s championship run this season totaling 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks while shooting 40 percent from the field in 47 minutes of action. He was originally signed by the HEAT as a free agent on July 11, 2012.

LeBron James has this summer on his mind, and is already starting to plan for next season.

The summer of 2014, that can wait.

James said Tuesday that he is not thinking about the possibility of becoming a free agent in 12 months, though he did acknowledge that the prospects of competing with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley for several more championships with the Miami Heat is more than a tiny bit intriguing.

”That’s the goal,” James said. ”That’s the ultimate finish. And we all hope that can happen, obviously.”

James’ final interview session of this season revealed plenty in 17 minutes, including that he’s already feeling an itch to get back on the basketball court after just a few days off, that he’ll stop at nothing to give longtime girlfriend Savannah Brinson anything she wants on their wedding day in a couple months, and that he’s making no secret of his hope that the Heat bring back at least the majority of this year’s championship roster.

The most interesting news, however, was when he spoke of his short- and long-term plans. First, he’s vowing to come back better next season, which is no small promise from someone with four MVP awards, two Finals MVP awards and who carries the tag of ”best player in the world.” And then next summer, it certainly sounds as if he’s going to give the prospects of staying in Miami a good, long look.

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

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

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

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)

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