Archive for July 14th, 2013

Ron Artest

Metta World Peace wants to play for the New York Knicks, according to a person close to the veteran small forward.

World Peace cleared waivers late Sunday afternoon, making him an unrestricted free agent. A source told ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst that the Knicks, who can offer him part of their taxpayer mid-level exception [roughly $1.7 million], already have reached out to the former Los Angeles Laker.

While the Knicks are World Peace’s first choice, he is also holding onto the Los Angeles Clippers and China’s Shanghai Sharks as possible teams to join next season.

World Peace spoke Sunday with Yao Ming about playing in Shanghai, a source said.

Reported by Chris Broussard of ESPN the Magazine

Charlotte Bobcats guard-forward Jeff Taylor had a weight problem. Just not the kind most of us experience.

After traveling around the country last spring for predraft workouts, he wasn’t himself. He had dropped about 15 pounds from his playing weight at Vanderbilt and he never gained it back during his rookie season.

“Last year I felt weak and never had a chance to build back up,” Taylor said at a practice Saturday on UNLV’s campus. “During the season it’s hard to start gaining weight.”

Last season the 6-foot-7 Taylor was down to 208 pounds. Now he’s back up to 222, and he’s performing better.

Reported by Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer

In April, Bender launched a company based on an odd-looking device he invented to help others avoid the knee troubles that put an end to his promising NBA career. Already, he’s brokered a deal with California-based Relax The Back retail chain, which sells wellness, fitness and medical items coast to coast.

On that day sitting in front of Simon’s house, Bender, who passed on college to leap to the NBA, took his first business course. And it wasn’t just Simon’s riches that fascinated the teen. There was something else.

“He was self-made,” Bender told the Indianapolis Business Journal. “Down in Picayune, there aren’t many role models like that — people who have picked themselves up and created a process, a plan for the rest of their lives, and made a legacy to benefit others.”

Benefiting others for Bender includes people in Indianapolis. While he and his company are based in Houston, the foundation he formed in 2007 provides children in Indianapolis, Picayune, New Orleans and Houston with skills to succeed in business and life.

Reported by the Associated Press

Having awoken to find that their signing of Dwight Howard was not all a dream, the Rockets were close Sunday to bringing The Dream back to the organization.

Hakeem Olajuwon, a key part of the Rockets’ recruiting efforts to land Howard and a large part of the festivities on Saturday after Howard signed, will rejoin the Rockets in an official capacity for the first time since he spent the final season of his career with the Toronto Raptors.

Olajuwon’s duties and title are still being discussed and he will continue to spend much of the year at his home in Jordan. But he will work with the Rockets interior players, as he does with big men around the NBA each off season, as a team employee.

“We are going to bring him in as full time as is possible,” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said on Sunday. “It’s not done, but we have mutual interest to get it done and we’ve have some early discussions. We want him to work with Dwight and Omer (Asik) and he wants to do that.”

Reported by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle

Toronto Raptors want to toughen up

If there is one word Dwane Casey will not have associated with his team this season, it’s the word ‘soft.’

Or any variation of that word.

In Casey’s world, a soft team is a team that is not playing well defensively, and Casey already saw that team last season. He is determined never to see that again.

“We’re adding more players to do that now,” Casey said. “We’re adding Tyler (Hansbrough). We’re going in with a defensive mentality that we did in Year 1 ( two years ago) .

“We have to have people thinking: ‘Ah, man, I don’t want to go play Toronto tonight’ and do it legally without having a lot of fouls, but do it physically in a legal way. I thought we accomplished that in Year 1 and I thought last year we took a step back. Now we have to get back to our core.”

But Psycho-T alone isn’t going to get the job done and Casey is well aware of that.

“Tyler does it, Quincy (Acy) does it, Amir (Johnson) does it, JV (Jonas Valanciunas) is going to be a year better at it,” Casey said of playing tough defence that makes an opponent know you’re there in the most direct terms. “That’s going to be our focus from Day 1, back to a defensive identity. And it’s going to be laid out. If you don’t play defence you are not going to play. You can’t. We can’t win without a defensive mentality.”

Reported by Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun

Mbah a Moute likes new home with Kings

“I kind of saw from afar a new owner, a new coach, and I saw the moves they were making,” [Luc] Mbah a Moute said. And I was one of the moves that they were making.

“When I found out I was a part of it, I was really excited. I feel like I fit right in. What I bring to the team is something the team needs and values, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Mbah a Moute was acquired for his defense. The Kings were bad in most defensive categories last season and allowed a league-worst 105.1 points per game.

The 6-foot-8, 230-pound Mbah a Moute is expected to play small forward, adding length on the perimeter defensively.

Mbah a Moute, who averaged 6.7 points last season, said he continues to work on his offense and becoming a player who can make the corner three-pointer. He shot 35.1 percent from beyond the arc last season.

Reported by Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee

Should Knicks add Metta World Peace?

Should Knicks add Metta World Peace

Knicks executive Larry Johnson admittedly is worried, unsure the Knicks have done enough to keep pace with the Eastern Conference stalwarts, specifically the Nets. And he said he believes the addition of Metta World Peace would be a perfect step.

Johnson, who spends his summers in Las Vegas as UNLV’s most famous basketball alum, is with the Knicks summer league team while aiding MSG Network’s coverage.

“I think that’s what we need to do,’’ Johnson told The Post of adding World Peace, who was amnestied by the Lakers. “That would be a great addition for us. This guy is a proven champion. He’s won. Off the floor, he had some problems. He did some things off the floor that wasn’t supposed to be done, but I think he’s got this life in the right place.

“To get him right now would be a great addition to our team as far as strength, outside shooting, perimeter defense instead of [Iman Shumpert] always guarding guys.’’

Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

Knicks interested in Samuel Dalembert

Knicks interested in Samuel Dalembert

The Knicks are interested in one of the best centers still available in free agency, Samuel Dalembert, according to a player source.

On Friday, the first day of the NBA summer league at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion, Knicks GM Glen Grunwald and Dalembert’s agent, Marc Cornstein, were spotted chatting. The Knicks currently have no real backup behind Tyson Chandler, as Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace are all gone, and Kenyon Martin and Earl Barron are still free agents.

At this point, however, the Mavericks are the front runners to land Dalembert, who averaged 6.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 16 minutes per game last season for the Bucks. Sources indicated to ESPNDallas.com that the Mavs are optimistic they will reach an agreement with Dalembert soon.

Reported by Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York

Jeremy Tyler trying to earn spot with Knicks

The Knicks need a banger up front to contend with the Pacers’ Roy Hibbert. The 6-foot-10, 260-pound Jeremy Tyler is trying to prove he’s the guy.

Tyler, who played for the Warriors and Hawks last season, got off to a great start Friday in the Knicks summer league opener against the Pelicans with a 10-point, 11-rebound performance. He started at power forward, played 23 minutes and had five offensive rebounds.

The Knicks may re-sign aging Kenyon Martin but there’s a big chance the younger, taller Tyler will be invited to training camp — maybe even with a partial guarantee. Ironically, he grew up a fan in San Diego.

“The Knicks have always been my favorite team,’’ Tyler said. “I’d love to be part of the organization. People would say, ‘you’re from San Diego. Why aren’t you a Lakers fan?’’’

Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

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