Archive for August 8th, 2013

Larry Sanders hopes stay with Milwaukee Bucks

Bucks center Larry Sanders is eligible to sign a contract extension before Oct. 31 and there were indications Thursday that the process is moving along.

Sanders sent out two tweets hinting at the talks. The first said: “Well let’s get it done then! #Buck4Life

And the second followed: “I love the city of Milwaukee and I will stay as long as you’ll have me.”

Sanders is entering the fourth and final year of his rookie-scale contract and will be paid about $3 million next season. He is eligible to sign a four-year extension that would run through the 2017-’18 season.

Reported by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Blog)

New York Knicks sign Beno Udrih

New York Knicks sign Beno Udrih

New York Knicks Executive Vice President and General Manager Glen Grunwald announced today that the team has signed guard Beno Udrih. According to New York Newsday, the contract is a one-year deal worth the $1.272 million league minimum.

“Beno is a solid addition to our backcourt where he will give us more depth and flexibility,” Grunwald said. “He is a talented and experienced floor general who brings championship experience to our locker room.”

According to the New York Post, “the 6-foot-3 Slovenian point guard signed with the Knicks for less money, agreeing to his veterans minimum of $1.27 million as the Knicks put a solid capper to their summer maneuverings. They were desperate for a third point guard because they like to pair Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni together in the backcourt. After seasons with the Kings, Bucks and Magic, Udrih wanted to win again. His agent, Marc Cornstein, said Udrih had “many offers,’’ including at least one for more than the minimum.”

Udrih, 6-3, 205-pounds, holds career averages of 9.1 points, on 46.2-percent shooting, 3.6 assists and 2.2 rebounds over 23.5 minutes in 628 games (243 starts) over nine seasons with San Antonio, Sacramento, Milwaukee and Orlando. The two-time NBA champion (with the Spurs - 2005, 2007), recorded 8.2 points, 4.6 assists, 2.1 rebounds and a 2.80 assists-per-turnover ratio (13th best in NBA) over 66 games (nine starts) with the Bucks and Magic last season.

The native of Slovenia was selected by San Antonio in the first round (28th overall) of 2004 NBA Draft. Prior to the NBA, he played internationally in Slovenia (1998-2002), Israel (2002-03), Italy (2003-04) and Russia (2003-04).

JR Smith

J.R. Smith isn’t too worried about his knee, but he might be a bit concerned about the Nets.

The Knicks shooting guard addressed the media at a charity golf tournament in Lakewood, NJ on Thursday, seeming pleased with his progress since his knee surgery and eager to get back on the court, especially after Brooklyn’s offseason push to win the battle for New York.

“It’s an unbelievable move for J Kidd to have a team like that to start off with in his first year. I think they’ve got a great chance to compete for a title, but I think we’re still the marquee team in New York,” Smith said. “A lot of people are counting us out just like they did last year. We’ve got a lot to prove. I think we’re going to come out with a lot of edge and hopefully put it to positive use on the court.”

Reported by Stephen Lorenzo of the New York Daily News

Some Wizards salary and roster notes

The Wizards already have close to $70 million committed to 14 players and would only be able to sign a player on a minimum salary to stay below the luxury tax line. Owner Ted Leonsis said he is “willing to spend” but would probably want to have a contending team before making the Wizards a tax-paying team for the first time in franchise history — especially with the organization still on the hook for about $7 million to Andray Blatche.

If they look to make trades, Ariza and Okafor are both in the final year of their respective deals and Chris Singleton and/or Jan Vesely could also become expiring contracts if the Wizards decline the fourth-year option on either player. Ariza already believes the Wizards have had an eventful summer after closing out the season by winning 24 of their final 49 games.

Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post (Blog)

LeBron James reports for jury duty

lebron james

LeBron James plays the part of superhero on a basketball court, seemingly from October through June.

But he is a regular human being in the offseason, as those in an Akron, Ohio, courthouse were reminded Thursday morning when the Heat star forward reported for jury duty — just like everybody else has to.

“Jury duty time. Time to serve my civic duty” James tweeted.

Reported by the Miami Herald

James drew a buzz at the county courthouse in downtown Akron but was not seated on a jury for trial and left the building at 10:30 a.m., according to the Akron Beacon Journal.

He has been spending time in his hometown and working out for the past several weeks since returning from a promotional tour to the Philippines and China. This weekend James is hosting several charity events in the city.

Reported by Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com

Nets

During negotiations to create its current collective bargaining agreement, the NBA did its best to limit the amount of money its teams would be able and willing to spend on their rosters by implementing a much more punitive luxury tax system, one that officially goes into effect this season.

But that more punitive system wasn’t enough to prevent the Nets from shelling out millions of billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s personal fortune this offseason.

Between completing their blockbuster draft night trade with the Celtics, re-signing Andray Blatche and signing Andrei Kirilenko, Shaun Livingston and Alan Anderson, the Nets sent their payroll soaring to more than $100 million for the coming season, which means they’ve also committed to paying a massive luxury tax bill of roughly $87 million next year.

“I would say it’s no secret that we went into collective bargaining seeking a hard cap,” NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver — one of the main architects of the current CBA and who will replace David Stern as commissioner when Stern steps down Feb. 1 — told The Post Wednesday after speaking at the league’s Rookie Transition Program in Florham Park.

Reported by Tim Bontemps of the New York Post

Portland Trail Blazers sign Mo Williams

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed free agent guard Mo Williams, it was announced today by General Manager Neil Olshey.

Williams, 30, holds career averages of 13.8 points (44.0% FG, 38.6% 3PT, 86.9% FT), 2.9 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 0.95 steals in 10 seasons with Milwaukee, Cleveland, the L.A. Clippers and Utah.

“As a player, Mo is an explosive scorer and willing facilitator,” said Olshey. “As a person, his character and professionalism will set an outstanding example for our young players on the court, in the locker room and in the Portland community.”

An NBA All-Star in 2009, Williams averaged 12.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, a team-high 6.2 assists and 1.00 steal for the Jazz last season.

“I’m very excited to be back with Mo again,” said Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts. “He adds versatility, scoring and veteran leadership to the team.”

Williams (6-1, 195) played collegiately at Alabama and was selected by Utah with the 47th overall pick in the second round of the 2003 NBA Draft.

He will wear No. 7 for the Trail Blazers.

Timberwolves guard Shabazz Muhammad was sent home from the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program, reportedly for violating a rule by bringing a female guest to his hotel room.

The story was first reported by USA Today. Muhammad, the 14th overall pick in the 2013 draft, will be fined and required to return to finish the program next year.

“We have been made aware of the circumstances surrounding Shabazz Muhammad’s dismissal from the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program in New Jersey,” said Flip Saunders, the Wolves president of basketball operations, in a team news release. “The team fully supports the NBA’s rules and policies in all matters pertaining to this situation and we will abide by the league’s action.”

Reported by Kent Youngblood of the Minneapolis Star Tribune

Speaking of players, who is going to be on this roster?

Right now you’re looking at Thaddeus Young , Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and rookie Michael Carter Williams as possible starters. There is still no shooting guard on the roster – or any other legitimate shooter, either. Three players on the roster - Royce White (anxiety disorder), Jason Richardson (knee surgery) and Nerlens Noel (torn ACL) - may not even step foot on the court this season. Kwame Brown is under contract, but it would be a shock if he’s in the team’s plans at all. Justin Holiday is available and the team has an option to keep him at $790 thousand this season, but what is his future in the NBA? That leaves Lavoy Allen and Arnett Moultrie as the remaining serviceable players.

Not real enticing, huh?

The Sixers will have to sign some free agents to fill out the roster.

Reported by Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News

Alonzo Mourning excited about chance to work with Greg Oden

Alonzo Mourning spent Thursday morning at the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program in New Jersey talking to prospects about “the journey that they’re about to take.”

But it is a journey that is about to unfold in South Florida that has the former Miami Heat center and current Heat executive intrigued.

With the Heat a day earlier announcing the signing of free-agent center Greg Oden to a two-year contract, Mourning found himself captivated by the possibilities of the 25-year-old injury-plagued center.

“Extremely excited, extremely excited,” he said by phone, “because I understand the potential that he has.”

Mourning confirmed that he was among those in the organization who helped recruit Oden in recent months.

“I had some words with him, yes,” he said. “We were able to spend some time together.”

Reported by Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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