Archive for August, 2013

Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol will sit out of the FIBA EuroBasket Championships in September in hopes of fully rehabbing his knees, but the Lakers forward plans to help his native Spain in a different way.

Madrid’s 2020 Olympic bid committee has appointed Gasol as one of its spokesman and will address International Olympic Committee during Madrid’s final presentation in Buenos Aires next month. Gasol provided an impassioned statement and indirectly suggested how hosting the Summer Games would provide a significant financial boost to Spain, which has battled a recession for most of the past four years and has a 26.3 percent unemployment rate.

“The Olympic Games are more than sport – I know this personally as an Olympian. Spanish sport and the people of Madrid need the boost the Olympic Games would provide, and Madrid is ready to face this challenge,” Gasol said in a statement. “But Madrid will also give something back to the Olympic Movement – we are a city that is prepared with a responsible bid plan that will help develop sport far into the future.”

Reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (Blog)

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra addresses the Seattle Seahawks

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra clearly has the football bug. He apparently also carries a message that resonates beyond basketball.

Three weeks after attending practice and then addressing the University of Tennessee football team in Knoxville as a favor to friend and Volunteers coach Butch Jones, Spoelstra was in Renton, Wash., on Tuesday, addressing the Seattle Seahawks.

“Just having him here in front of the team and just having him in meetings with us and having him out here in practice is an unbelievable experience for everybody,” quarterback Russell Wilson said after Tuesday’s practice. “For him to be able to talk about how his basketball team was successful and the way that they went about their business in terms of sacrificing . . . just that whole idea of sacrificing everything, the players, LeBron [James] coming to Miami, and Dwyane Wade sacrificing all that, all that type of sacrifice that it takes to be great and to be great so often, is kind of what he talked about for the most part. And having that discipline, as well, too, is something that he talked about, and just working hard, continuing to work hard, continuing to believe in yourselves and ignore the noise.

“That’s the main message he gave. And it clicked right with us.”

Reported by Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

The Indiana Pacers’ long playoff run this spring is making it easier for the team’s front office to sell tickets.

Todd Taylor, the team’s vice president of sales and marketing, said Tuesday that sales of season-ticket packages are up nearly 30 percent from this time last year. Packages are considered anything 11 games or more because they give the buyer a guarantee to purchase playoff tickets, he said.

Per club policy, the Pacers do not reveal total number of season tickets. But Taylor said the 30 percent bump includes about 1,200 new ticket holders.

Reported by Michael Pointer of the Indianapolis Star

Prosecutors have slapped down allegations that retired hoopster Scottie Pippen assaulted an autograph seeker outside a Malibu restaurant last June.

The Los Angeles District Attorney said Tuesday it will not press charges against the former Chicago Bull because the man who claims he was roughed up was legally drunk at the time, may have been the aggressor and did not have injuries consistent with the beatdown he claimed he suffered.

An investigator also found that while alleged victim Camran Shafighi complained of severe pain to his ankle and demanded a splint after the incident, staff at UCLA Medical Center later saw him walk without a limp.

The emergency room staff also said Shafighi faked seizures that would mysteriously disappear when a doctor ordered him to “stop it,” a DA filing obtained by the Daily News states.

Reported by Nancy Dillon of the New York Daily News

Bulls

The Chicago Bulls announced today that Jennifer Swanson has been named the team’s Director of Sports Performance.

Swanson will be responsible for overseeing the athletic training and strength and conditioning departments, as well as massage therapy, chiropractic care, nutritional support and any auxiliary services.

A native of Gilroy, Calif., Swanson spent the past five years as a Performance Physical Therapy Manager at Athletes’ Performance in Los Angeles, Calif. She was responsible for working with professional athletes from the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB, as well as a variety of international, collegiate and high school athletes. Prior to her tenure at Athletes’ Performance, Swanson completed a Sports Physical Therapy Residency at the University of Pittsburgh/Centers for Rehab Services, where she also spent time working as an intern with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Swanson earned her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Duke University (2004) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Psychology from the University of California, Davis (2001). She is a Board Certified Specialist in Sports and Orthopedics, as well as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Swanson is also an accomplished track athlete, as she is a six-time NCAA Division II All-American and was the National Indoor Pole Vault Champion in 2000.

antawn jamison

Antawn Jamison may have improved his odds of winning a first NBA title by moving to a team with zero championships.

The veteran free agent agreed to a one-year contract with the Clippers on Monday for the veteran’s minimum of about $1.4 million, bolstering a bench that last season was among the best in the league.

“Happy to stay in LA. But with the @LAClippers!” Jamison tweeted.

Jamison, a 15-year veteran who spent last season with the Lakers on another minimum deal, has stated his desire to play for a title contender at this point in his career. He has never reached the conference finals in previous stints with the Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards, Cleveland Cavaliers and Lakers.

Reported by Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times

Ronnie Brewer to sign with Houston Rockets

Forward Ronnie Brewer says he has taken a physical to sign with the Houston Rockets.

The 28-year-old free agent forward tells KRIV-TV of Houston that he has agreed to a two-year contract with the Rockets.

The 6-foot-7, 225-pounder out of Arkansas would be entering his eighth year in the NBA.

Reported by the Associated Press

Tracy McGrady has retired from NBA

Tracy McGrady retires from NBA

Seven-time All-Star Tracy McGrady announced his retirement from the NBA on Monday.

McGrady, who won two scoring titles, told ESPN that it was time to move on.

“It’s been 16 years playing the game I love,” he said. “I’ve had a great run, but it’s time for it to come to an end.”

McGrady, 34, played in China last season before signing with the San Antonio Spurs during the playoffs. He played six postseason games for San Antonio.

McGrady was the ninth pick in the 1997 draft out of high school and the NBA’s Most Improved Player award winner in 2001.

Reported by the Sports Xchange 

Whether he was pouring in 13 points in 35 seconds for Houston in 2004 or sitting on the bench and watching the San Antonio Spurs win another playoff game in June without needing him, that cool expression rarely changed. It all looked almost too easy for McGrady, even if it rarely was.

McGrady announced his retirement from the NBA on Monday, ending a 16-year career that included two scoring titles, seven All-Star appearances, injuries to his knee and back and zero playoff series wins while he was leading the way. The straight-from-high school project who blossomed into a dominant, two-way superstar will always be remembered, too, as a player who struggled with injuries.

”Thank all of you who have supported me over 16 NBA seasons, 7 All-Stars, and countless exciting moments,” McGrady tweeted on Monday morning. ”Retiring from NBA. Stay tuned.”

McGrady didn’t rule out continuing his career overseas, perhaps in China where he played last season.

Reported by Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press

“Officially retired from the NBA. Door’s still open,” replied McGrady, who played for the Qingdao Eagles in the Chinese Basketball Association during the 2012-13 season before his last NBA hurrah with the Spurs.

Often bracketed with Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter as the best players of his generation, McGrady played for the Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks and the Spurs during his NBA career.

A six-foot nine-inch shooting guard who could shoot or pass with devastating effect, he was the league’s scoring champion in 2003 and 2004 and an All-Star for seven consecutive years, from 2001 to 2007.

Reported by Reuters

Warriors

The Golden State Warriors announced today a variety of upgrades to Oracle Arena, the Warriors ground for all home games. This summer the Warriors are adding new theater boxes, a second row of floor seats and a new VIP Club.

“We are committed to continuing to invest in Oracle Arena and improve the game day experience for our fans,” said Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts. “The new theater boxes, floor seats and VIP Club are a great way for more fans to have a first-class experience at our games.”

During the offseason, the following additions and upgrades to Oracle Arena are being made:

- Theater Boxes – The 16 new Theater Boxes at Oracle Arena feature four (4) seats for all regular season Golden State Warriors games, world-class concerts and family shows, providing fans with a fantastic view for both basketball and concert events in a more intimate and private setting. Located on the south side of the Mezzanine Suite Level, the new suites include a private Chef’s table dining experience with concierge, bartender and personal service attendant, complimentary food and beverage, enhanced technologies including iPads and charging stations, access to the exclusive Courtside and Sideline Clubs and more.

- Floor Seats – The Warriors have sold out their inventory of floor seats for the past five (5) years and in order to increase premium seating options for fans, have created a second row of floor seats (114 seats). The second row of floor seats is directly behind the first row with fans still having the opportunity to have their feet on the hardwood as it has been extended past the second row of floor seats. There are now a total of 264 floor seats. Floor seat holders receive a personalized parking spot, name plates on their seat and exclusive access to the brand new VIP Club.

- VIP Club – To further enhance the experience of our floor seat holders, a new VIP Club space is being created. Floor seat holders can park in their personalized parking space and enter straight into the new 3,000 sq. ft. space located on the South side of the Event Level. The VIP Club, which features 11 high-definition flat screen televisions, will be open pregame and throughout the game serving complimentary food and beverage.

Deron Williams

On Sunday, the rookie coach revealed a statistical goal for Williams. It concerns passing, not surprisingly.

“I’m going to push him. I want the best for him,” Kidd said after signing autographs at the Nets’ merchandise store in Coney Island. “When we sit down and talk about goals, team goals and also individual goals, I’m going to push him and I want to get him back to double-digit assists.”

Williams hasn’t averaged at least 10 assists since 2010-11, which represented the fourth straight season he eclipsed that mark. Last season’s 7.7 assists per game was Williams’ lowest output since he was a rookie. And as the assist numbers dipped in the last two seasons, so did Williams’ shooting percentage.

But there was a tangible turning point, which Kidd referenced Sunday. After undergoing multiple procedures to his inflamed ankles during the All-Star break, Williams dropped about 15 pounds by changing his diet and exercise routine.

He was again spry and without ankle pain, capable of pulling off a reverse double-pump dunk after failing to record a single jam for the first five months of last season.

Reported by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (Blog)

Some may see the Sixers’ recent addition of Tony Wroten and think to themselves, “great, another point guard that can’t shoot.”

Yes, Wroten is a point guard, and no he doesn’t shoot very well (46.1% TSP last season), but his acquisition means more than that for the franchise.

Wroten will provide a challenge for rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams in the form of competition. His addition also furthers the Sixers’ commitment to player development.

Instead of going out and adding an aged veteran to tutor MC-W as he adapts to the NBA game, the team opted for a player that is even younger than the 21-year old Williams, and one that also needs a lot of work but has a high ceiling. The two can now develop together.

Reported by Michael Kaskey-Blomain of the Philadelphia Daily News

The Pistons are now offering four separate 10-game ticket plans for the upcoming season.

Plan A features games against nine playoff teams from last season, including Houston, now with Dwight Howard, the new-look Nets with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, the Clippers with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and the Heat.

Plans B and C includes many Friday, Saturday and Sunday games, the latter of which will have the Pistons wearing their new blue “Motor City” uniforms.

Reported by the Detroit Free Press

mavericks

The Mavericks are among eight NBA teams to commission the services of GPS tracking devices from the Australian company Catapult Sports, which hails itself as the leader in “athlete analytics.” The devices track player movements and body vitals and are designed to optimize training efficiency and mitigate injury risks.

“We just want to be able to get smarter about our players and how to train them and how to put them in a position to succeed,” said Mavs owner Mark Cuban. “So that’s just one component of a lot of different things that we’re doing.”

Athletes wear a cell-phone sized device on the inside of their jerseys between their shoulders, and it records their every movement in all directions as well as their heart rate. This gives coaches what Catapult’s Gary McCoy describes as a “dashboard” for players’ bodies.

Reported by SportsDayDFW.com

Lakers

Recently-signed Lakers rookie Elias Harris is spending off-season time with the coaching staff to improve his game before training camp.

“We see Elias almost every day, and he’s talking all the nuances of what (assistant coach) Dan D’Antoni is teaching him,” said Mark Madsen to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com.

Harris is working to make “his shot a more balanced and consistent shot,” according to Madsen. “His driving game is something he’s spending a lot of time with (player development coach) Larry Lewis on.”

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

Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin says he’s looking forward to pairing up with the Houston Rockets’ newly acquired star Dwight Howard.

Lin told reporters Sunday on a visit to Beijing that he saw a natural affinity in the pair’s affection for the pick-and-roll game.

“We’re not yet in Houston and haven’t trained together so I don’t know yet,” said the 25-year-old point guard, who was in China to oversee a basketball camp.

“But he really likes to play pick-and-roll and I really like to play pick-and-roll, so I hope we can work really well together and really happily learn how to play with each other,” Lin said.

Reported by the Associated Press

Sacramento Kings hire architect for new arena

After a highly competitive process involving some of the top architectural firms in the world, the Sacramento Kings today announced AECOM has been selected as the lead architect for the downtown entertainment and sports complex.

AECOM is renowned for designing some of the most state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venues in the world. AECOM is responsible for the acclaimed London 2012 Olympic Park and is also designing the Rio 2016 Olympic Park. AECOM has served as lead architect of 11 NBA arenas, including the Barclays Center – home of the Brooklyn Nets and the 2012 Sports Business Journal Facility of the Year. Locally, AECOM designed Aggies Stadium at the University of California, Davis.

“We have assembled the best artists in the world to design and build the new arena,” said Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé. “From the Bird’s Nest in Beijing to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, AECOM has the resume to design and create the most technologically advanced and fan-centric arena in the world.”

The Kings also selected ICON Venue Group as the project manager and Turner as the lead builder.

“We now have a world-class team in place and we look forward to developing what we believe will be an important civic space, and the loudest building in sports, right here in the heart of downtown Sacramento,” said Kings President Chris Granger.

AECOM plans to have conceptual renderings ready this fall and final design completed in early to mid 2014. AECOM will do all the architectural design work in Sacramento to ensure ongoing local input in the design process.

“We are thrilled to be selected to design the new downtown arena,” said Jon Niemuth, AIA, NCARB, LEED, Director of AECOM Sports, Americas. “For some of the best fans in the NBA, we are prepared to design an arena that will not only provide a tremendous home court advantage for the Kings, but that will also create an amazing experience for everyone who steps foot in and around the facility. This project will transform downtown and the entire region.”

“This is another huge win for the Kings and for Sacramento,” said Mayor Kevin Johnson. “AECOM’s selection continues to prove that the best and brightest in the world believe in this project and in our community. I applaud the Kings for an inspired selection and can’t wait to see what AECOM designs for the new arena!”

Get to know Magic PF Andrew Nicholson

Magic PF Andrew Nicholson

He has worked on his 3-point shooting this offseason, although it won’t be a staple of his game. He did hit 5-of-6 3s over a two-game stretch for his native Canada in exhibitions heading into the FIBA America’s Championships. He led Canada with 21 points in a loss against Puerto Rico recently.

Last season Nicholson delivered just as the Magic expected with his consistent scoring and unflappable demeanor. He provided more than teams usually receive from a No. 19 pick.

But if the Magic’s rebuild goes along as they plan, Nicholson will need to make some upgrades to his game to keep up with their progress.

2013-14 projection: Expect Nicholson’s scoring average to remain around 7 to 8 points per game. With the emphasis from the coaching staff on rebounding, his numbers should modestly climb. Playing time, though, could be tricky if Harris starts at power forward. The position will get crowded whenever Davis returns. Harris also could see time at small forward, allowing the team to further gauge Nicholson’s development.

Reported by Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel (Blog)

Among center Dwight Howard’s demands when he met with the Los Angeles Lakers before signing with the Houston Rockets were quieting or releasing star Kobe Bryant and firing coach Mike D’Antoni.

Comcast Sports Net Bay Area reported that Howard wanted the Lakers to either “muzzle” Bryant or amnesty him. Howard did not see eye-to-eye with the hyper-competitive Bryant.

Howard also wanted the team to cut ties with D’Antoni. It has been reported by several media outlets that Howard did not get along with D’Antoni and did not fit in with his high-tempo offense.

– Reported by the Sports Xchange

Miami Heat star LeBron James has evidence that he is trying to establish some chemistry with recently-signed center Greg Oden.

James posted a photo on Instagram of him and Oden working out in a weight room.

Oden, a former No. 1 draft pick who has not appeared in an NBA game since 2009 because of knee problems, signed a two-year deal with the Heat this summer.

– Reported by the Sports Xchange

Lamar Odom

TMZ are one of the world’s leading kings of gossip. They have extremely good sources, and a long period of time have proven themselves to be right far more often than they are wrong.

That said, we at InsideHoops.com hope that the following report about Lamar Odom is inaccurate:

The marriage of Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom is in crisis, and TMZ has learned … the core reason is hardcore drug abuse.

Multiple sources familiar with the situation tell TMZ … Lamar has had a problem for 2 years. It got so bad, last August Khloe pressured Lamar to go to rehab. Lamar went to a facility in San Diego, but he was so resistant Khloe hired private investigators to secretly stand guard at the rehab place to make sure he didn’t leave. The P.I.s stood guard 24/7.

Our sources say Lamar constantly threatened to leave and Khloe made several visits to prevail upon him to stay. We’re told after 3 weeks, Lamar left for good.

Reported by TMZ.com

We wish the best for Odom, and will keep an eye on this story if anything additional develops. 

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