Archive for September 4th, 2013

Lakers, Clippers may be interested in Lou Amundson

Free agent forward Louis Amundson has sparked interest from several teams, including the Lakers and Clippers, according to his agent, Mark Bartelstein.

Bartelstein said in an interview with the Los Angeles Newspaper Group that his client plans to finalize a deal with a team within the week, though he wouldn’t go into exact specifics what role and terms would best suit Amundson.

Amundson had meetings with the Lakers and Clippers and even worked out at the team’s respective facilities in recent weeks, but it remains unclear if he winds up playing in Los Angeles.

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

golden state warriors

The Golden State Warriors have named Kenny Lauer as Vice President, Digital and Marketing, it was announced today. Lauer, who has begun his duties in this newly created role this week, will oversee all digital strategies and all day to day management of marketing, game operations, youth basketball camps, and retail. In addition, he will drive all experience and ideation initiatives related to Oracle Arena and future development for the team’s proposed arena in San Francisco on Piers 30-32.

“This appointment will accelerate the integration of digital throughout our entire business operation,” said Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts. “The creation of this new role and hiring of Kenny is an important step in our goal of growing into the most ‘digitally fit’ organization in the sports and entertainment industry.”

Lauer joins the Warriors most recently from George P. Johnson, where he was Vice President, Digital Experience. Lauer ran the worldwide Digital Experience group where he was responsible for the creation and threading of digital experiences in both the live and virtual marketing efforts of some of the largest companies in the world.

“I am honored to join the Golden State Warriors,” said Lauer. “The opportunity to truly revolutionize how our fans experience the Warriors and deeply embed digital strategies into that fan experience has never been greater—both in the mindset of owners, the executive management, and running through everyone that works to support the team. There is no doubt that the engagement of fans, the deepening of brand relationships, and the driving of results is through powerful experiences created and maintained through the blending of our physical-digital realities.”

Lauer’s diverse background includes an array of creative and quantitative roles at agencies and within corporate marketing teams. Lauer started his career at Apple Computer, previously was an enterprise strategic Consultant at KPMG and a CRM strategist at Peppers and Rogers Group where he assisted clients such as Ford, E*Trade, Adobe, Hewlett Packard and SAP build better customer relationships. He also was co-founder, CVP at Top Niche Partners, an online performance marketing agency specializing in helping clients improve the performance of their online properties and marketing programs. Prior to his role at Peppers & Rogers Group, Lauer was the Director of Consulting Services for Prospero Technologies, an interactive technology and services firm where he led Fortune 500 clients through the strategic process of building better relationships through online communities.

A graduate from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Psychology, Lauer is also an active member of The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Emmys), Interactive Media Peer Group; an Advisory Board Member to the SXSW Interactive Festival; and was awarded the “Certified Experience Economy Expert” designation from Strategic Horizons.

Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol remains an avid traveler and a highly-cultured person, ranging from reading historical novels, making trips to countries in need as a UNICEF ambassador and attending operas. But Gasol’s latest excursion serves a different person.

He landed Wednesday in Buenos Aires, Argentina where he will represent Madrid’s 2020 Olympic bid committee in hopes that his native Spain can host those Summer Games.

Madrid will compete with Tokyo and Istanbul for the 2020 Summer Games. The International Olympic Committee will announce its decision Saturday in Argentina.

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

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks will begin training camp for the 2013-14 season in October. The first preseason game is Oct. 7 at the Heat.

Lighty, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard, played collegiately at Ohio State from 2006-11. He most recently played professionally for JSF Nanterre in France’s LNB Pro A League.

Dawson, a 6-9 power forward/center, played collegiately at Midwestern State from 2003-07. He has played professionally with the Spurs on two 10-day contracts in 2012.

Reported by Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (Blog)

NBA player Royce White — who famously missed his rookie season with the Houston Rockets due to mental health issues — is at the center of a criminal investigation in Texas after allegedly beating up his then-girlfriend … TMZ has learned.

We know … White’s ex-girlfriend Tania Mehra — a Maxim model — filed a police report on August 30 to report an incident that went down at Royce’s Houston-area home back in June.

According to law enforcement, records show someone called 911 on June 22, 2013 to report a laceration above Tania’s right eye. Cops say at the time, Tania claimed she suffered the injury from an “accidental fall.”

Reported by TMZ.com

The Detroit Pistons said this morning that there is no change in Maurice Cheeks’ status as the team’s coach after reports surfaced that he was questioned in a domestic incident Friday night in Birmingham.

Cheeks, 56, was brought to the Birmingham police station, questioned and released but not arrested after police were called to a Woodward Avenue address, according to WXYZ-TV.

“He’s our head coach, so nothing changes with his status,” Pistons spokesman Kevin Grigg said today. “We are not commenting on the situation.”

Reported by Tammy Stables Battaglia of the Detroit Free Press

EuroBasket: Goran Dragic ready to go in Slovenia

Goran Dragic has been preparing for this moment all summer and anticipating it even longer.

Today, with Slovenia across his chest, the Suns guard will lead his national team into a Celje Arena filled with 5,200 green-clad, raucous fans for a European Championship opener.

Slovenia is more than just the host country. It is a team striving to medal after reaching the quarterfinals in the past four European Championships, placing as high as fourth in 2009 without Dragic.

Dragic has evolved into the team’s star, the face of Slovenian basketball like his mentor, Beno Udrih, once was. He has led his Slovenian team to an 11-1 record in the summer’s exhibition games, including a game in which he made a game-winning shot and another that he got ejected for a retaliation shove into a Turkish player’s back.

Slovenia faces Czech Republic today at noon Arizona time to open pool play. Slovenia will also face defending champion Spain, former Suns assistant coach Igor Kokoskov’s Georgian team, Croatia and Suns teammate Marcin Gortat’s Polish team this week in pool action before the elimination tournament leads to the Sept. 22 championship.

Reported by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic (Blog)

The Sacramento Kings ownership group and labor unions have come to an agreement over the use of unionized labor in the construction of a new arena at Downtown Plaza.

Officials with the Kings, the city, building trades unions and Turner Construction - which has been signed on to lead construction of the arena - will announce the labor agreement at a noon press conference today at Downtown Plaza, according to a source briefed on the agreement.

It is unclear if the agreement involves using exclusively unionized labor in the arena construction, or if some of the work would be done by non-union workers.

The agreement triggered immediate controversy. An anti-union group called the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, which opposes these labor agreements, blasted the deal and hinted that it would assist the group that is pushing a ballot initiative on taxpayer funding for the arena.

Reported by Ryan Lillis and Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee

milwaukee bucks

Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond announced today that Jim Cleamons, Scott Williams and Josh Oppenheimer will complete Larry Drew’s coaching staff as assistant coaches. They join Bob Bender and Nick Van Exel, who were named to Drew’s coaching staff earlier in the summer. In addition, Scott Barthlama has been named head athletic trainer, Chris McKenzie has been named director of physical therapy and athletic trainer, and Robert Hackett has been named strength and conditioning coach.

“I’m excited to be able to assemble this strong coaching staff in Milwaukee,” said Drew. “Jim, Scott and Josh all bring their unique experiences to the Bucks bench as well as diverse coaching skills. I’m pleased to have our staff, including assistant coaches Bob Bender and Nick Van Exel, together as we prepare for the upcoming season.”

Jim Cleamons brings over 30 years of NBA experience and 10 NBA Championships to the Bucks bench. His most recent coaching assignment came in the Chinese Basketball Association with Zhejiang Guangsha, after spending much of the previous two decades assisting on Phil Jackson’s staffs with both the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. As a member of the Bulls coaching staff from 1989-96, Cleamons helped lead Chicago to four NBA titles in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1996, with the Bulls compiling a record of 414-160 (.721) over that span. He also teamed with Jackson on the Lakers bench from 1999-2004 and again from 2006-2011, with Los Angeles earning five more championships in that time frame (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010).

In addition to his time as assistant under Jackson, Cleamons also served as the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks during the 1996-97 season, and as an assistant under Byron Scott in New Orleans from 2004-2006. He also spent the 1998-99 season as the head coach of the Chicago Condors professional women’s team that played in the now defunct American Basketball League.

A 15-year NBA veteran and three-time NBA Champion with the Chicago Bulls, Scott Williams spent the 2012-13 season as an assistant coach to for the Idaho Stampede of the D-League. As a player, he appeared in 746 career games with the Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers, holding career averages of 5.1 points and 4.7 rebounds in 16.4 minutes per game. Williams appeared in 94 playoff games in eight postseason appearances, including 17 games with Milwaukee in its run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2001.

Williams’ playing career spanned from 1990, signing with Chicago after a four-year college career at the University of North Carolina (1986-90), until 2005, playing his final season with the Cavaliers. Williams transitioned to a career in television, broadcasting games as an analyst for the Cavs for two seasons prior to joining the Bucks television broadcast team for the 2007-08 season. From 2008-12, Williams was the television color analyst for the Phoenix Suns.

Josh Oppenheimer begins his first season as an NBA assistant coach/player development, coming to the Bucks with over 30 years of basketball playing, coaching and skill development training experience. Oppenheimer played collegiately at the University of Rhode Island and later Northern Arizona before embarking on a professional career in the United States and Europe, including six seasons with Maccabi Tel Aviv. He has coaching experience in the college ranks at Duquesne, Delaware, DePaul and Kent State, and most recently ran his own basketball skill training company, Excel Basketball.

Head Athletic Trainer Scott Barthlama begins his sixth season with the Bucks and first in his current role. He spent the previous five years as the assistant athletic trainer and assistant strength and conditioning coach in Milwaukee.

Prior to joining the Bucks, Barthlama spent 10 seasons on Northwestern University’s athletic training staff, where he was a certified athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach for men’s basketball along with men’s and women’s golf.

He graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology as well as secondary physical education and received his Master of Science degree in athletic medicine from the University of Oregon. Barthlama is a member of the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA), and is a performance enhancement specialist and a corrective exercise specialist by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

Chris McKenzie joins the Bucks as the Director of Physical Therapy and Athletic Trainer. He has over 25 years of experience working in the field of sports medicine, most recently at The Ohio State University. He served as an adjunct assistant professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Orthopedics, as well as a clinical instructor in the School of Allied Medical Professions, Division of Physical Therapy.

His rehabilitation experience includes working with athletes from the NBA, NFL, MLB, USFL and Olympic programs, as well as all levels of collegiate and amateur sports. He also has professional baseball experience conducting research for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians.

He received his bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from Ohio University and his Masters of Health Science, orthopedic physical therapy, from Indianapolis University (IN). In 2007, McKenzie was honored as the “Outstanding Physical Therapist of the Year” by the Ohio Physical Therapy Association.

Milwaukee native Robert Hackett joins the Bucks as head strength and conditioning coach after serving in a similar role with the Dallas Mavericks for 11 seasons, including the NBA Championship season in 2011. From 1995-2002, Hackett was the strength and conditioning coach for the Memphis Grizzlies. Prior to his work in the NBA, he designed and directed the strength and conditioning programs at the University of Wisconsin for the men’s and women’s basketball, football and track teams. He also served as an assistant track coach for three years for the Badgers. Hackett graduated from the University of Wisconsin and competed for the Badger track team where he was NCAA Champion in the 100 and 200 meter races and a three-time USA Olympic Trial Qualifier.

Canada hasn’t been rolling like this since Steve Nash was a young pup.

The senior men’s hoops squad picked up its third win in four games at the FIBA Americas tournament Tuesday with a blowout 93-67 win over Uruguay.

Canada clinched second place in its pool at 3-1 (though one win will not be carried forward because it came against a team that has been eliminated) with its second convincing win in four contests and heads forward in great shape.

Four of the eight remaining teams will be knocked out, while the other four will advance both to the semi-finals and to next year’s FIBA World Cup in Spain.

Reported by Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun

Jay-Z selling his Brooklyn Nets ownership stake to Jason Kidd
Jay-Z selling his Brooklyn Nets ownership stake to Jason Kidd

Jay Z is selling his minority ownership in the Brookyn Nets to coach Jason Kidd, sources exclusively tell Page Six.

We’re told Kidd will take over Jay’s .067 percent (1/15th of a percent) stake in the team for about $500,000.

The move comes as Jay was forced to sell his Nets shares over a conflict of interest after he started a sports agency, Roc Nation, signing clients including Yankee Robinson Cano and Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant.

A source told us, “Other owners want to give Jason a part ownership of the team, and urged Jay to sell his shares to him.”

Reported by Page Six of the New York Post

An apologetic Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger is free on $5,000 bail after he was arrested yesterday on charges of assaulting his longtime girlfriend last weekend after she “found evidence on his cellphone that he was cheating on her,” Waltham cops said.

Sullinger pleaded not guilty in Waltham District Court yesterday to assault and battery, destruction of property of more than $250 and witness intimidation.

“The experience was humbling and embarrassing for me,” Sullinger said in a statement. “Yet I know that this situation has brought both sorrow and embarrassment to my girlfriend, my family, the Boston Celtics organization, my teammates and my fans. To all of you, I apologize from the bottom of my heart.”

Reported by Antonio Planas of the Boston Herald

The Boston Celtics’ Jared Sullinger stood stone-faced and wearing handcuffs in the dock of Waltham District Court on Tuesday as prosecutors said the 6-foot-9-inch, 260-pound power forward pinned his girlfriend to a bed and to the floor of their townhouse last weekend and then snatched and smashed her cellphone when she tried to call police.

“During this heated argument in the bedroom, Jared pushed her down onto the bed and got on top of her,” Waltham police wrote in their report of the confrontation. Sullinger’s girlfriend said “she tried several times to get up, but he kept pinning her down and would not let her up.’’

Reported by David Abel and John R. Ellement of the Boston Globe

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