Archive for September 6th, 2013

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman returned to China from Pyongyang Saturday after a five-day trip when he met North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, but without jailed American Kenneth Bae.

The flamboyant ex-Chicago Bulls player arrived at Beijing airport on a flight from North Korea, an AFP photographer witnessed, with a cigar clamped in his mouth.

He showed a waiting crowd of reporters dozens of pictures, some of them of him with Kim, the roughly 30-year-old leader of the rogue nuclear-armed state who Rodman describes as his “friend”, but quickly became angry, throwing insults before rushing to the parking lot.

“It’s not my job to bring him back,” he said when asked about Bae.

Reported by the AFP

OKC Thunder waive DeAndre Liggins

The Oklahoma City Thunder waived guard DeAndre Liggins, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Liggins appeared in 39 games for the Thunder during the 2012-13 season, averaging 1.5 points and 1.4 rebounds in 7.4 minutes per contest. He holds career averages of 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds in 56 career games.

Liggins is also currently dealing with unresolved legal woes, which may have played a factor in this move by the Thunder.

JR Smith

The NBA announced today that J.R. Smith of the New York Knicks has been suspended without pay for five games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program. Smith’s suspension will begin with the first game of the 2013-14 season for which he is eligible and physically able to play.

According to the New York Daily News, “the punishment suggests that Smith did not test positive for a performance-enhancing drug but instead tested positive for marijuana. According to the league’s drug policy a player is suspended five games after a third positive test for marijuana A second offense results in a $25,000 fine while first positive test calls for the player to enter a program. Smith, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year, is currently recovering from knee surgery and is not expected to be ready for the Knicks Oct. 30 regular season opener against the Milwaukee Bucks. In a statement released by the league on Friday, the NBA said “Smith’s suspension will begin with the first game of the 2013-14 season for which he is eligible and physically able to play.”

More from the Daily News: “Smith signed a three-year deal worth $17 million which includes a player option after the second year of the contract. Smith averaged a career high 18.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists during the regular season.”

minnesota timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the hiring of Milt Newton as the team’s General Manager.

“We are pleased to add Milt Newton to our organization.” said Flip Saunders, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. “I have followed Milt closely during his career and have always been impressed with his basketball knowledge, work ethic and professionalism. His front office experience in the NBA, as well as his ability to combine analytics evaluation with his basketball playing and scouting background will greatly benefit our organization.”

Newton brings a lengthy and varied list of basketball credentials to his General Manager position. He will assist Saunders in the evaluation and acquisition of players and in the overall management of all Basketball Operations for the Wolves. He spent the last 10 seasons with the Washington Wizards, most recently as the team’s Vice President of Player Personnel.

Prior to joining the Wizards organization, Newton was instrumental in spearheading the creation of the NBA Developmental League. In that role, he worked closely with NBA Commissioner David Stern and served as the NBADL Director of Player Personnel for three years. Newton previously spent one year as a Scout with the Philadelphia 76ers and was also the Assistant Director for the USA Basketball Men’s National Team programs from 1995-99. His duties with USA Basketball included coordinating the team trials, training camps, exhibition games and team competitions for the various level National Teams, and acting as liaison for the Men’s National Teams at international competitions.

In college, Newton was a starter for the 1988 University of Kansas NCAA National Championship team. He was named in 1988 to the NCAA Midwest Regional and Final Four All-Tournament teams. After serving as Team Captain and being selected as the Kansas MVP in 1989, Newton played professionally in the Continental Basketball Association for the Rockford Lightning and Grand Rapids Hoops.

Newton is well thought of by members of the basketball community:

“Milt possesses an extraordinary skill set that is a great fit for the Timberwolves organization,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “His exceptional work ethic and basketball acumen played a large role in the launch and success of the NBA Development League. I am extremely pleased for Milt and the Timberwolves who will no doubt benefit from the tremendous experience he brings to their front office.”

“Milt is like family to me, he’s a special person and I’m thrilled that he is getting this long-overdue opportunity,” said former NBA coach Larry Brown. “I admire Flip Saunders and Glen Taylor and think the Timberwolves are a phenomenal organization that is getting better on the court. Milt is a hard-working, loyal guy who will help them succeed.”

“I have great respect for Milt as a person,” said long-time NBA executive Wayne Embry Sr. “I have great respect for his basketball knowledge and his philosophy as how to build an organization and team. Milt will be successful because of his hard work, his dedication and tremendous people skill. The Timberwolves have made a good choice.”

“This is a well-deserved opportunity for Milt to further his career,” said Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld. “We wish him and his family the best and thank him for his contributions to the Wizards organization over the last 10 years.”
“Congratulations to Flip Saunders and the Minnesota Timberwolves on a terrific hire with Milt Newton,” said USA Basketball CEO/Executive Director Jim Tooley. “Milt was a tremendously valuable member of USA Basketball’s staff for over four years in the mid 1990’s and he is truly a team player. He was a highly recruited high school player, played at the University of Kansas and was a valuable member of their famed 1988 NCAA Championship team. He also went on to play professionally. Milt has a wealth of basketball experience, but what makes him so special is that he’s a person of character. He’s the consummate professional, a class act and he will be an incredible asset to the Timberwolves.”

Jeremy Tyler
Jeremy Tyler has foot surgery, out 8-10 weeks
Still trying to prove his place in the NBA

Knicks power forward Jeremy Tyler underwent surgery to repair the fifth metatarsal on his right foot Thursday and is expected to be out 8-10 weeks, according to the Knicks.

Tyler signed a contract with the Knicks that is not fully guaranteed. This is significant because New York can waive Tyler without paying him a full season’s salary. It is unclear if the Knicks have guaranteed a portion of Tyler’s contract. If so, they would have to pay him that portion if they were to release him.

Tyler, 6-foot-10, had a strong showing with the team in summer league and made an impression on the Knicks’ coaches.

Reported by Ian Begley of ESPN New York

Caron Butler
Caron Butler reflects on his troubled childhood
He made it.

Butler, a native of Racine, had the kind of childhood that leads to other places than the National Basketball Association.

By the age of 15 he had been arrested 15 times. But he was able to right himself and later play for Maine Central Institute before winning a scholarship to play for two seasons at Connecticut. His NBA career has spanned 11 seasons, with one championship (Dallas) and two all-star selections.

“Seeing is believing,” Butler said. “I have been through a lot of adversity throughout my life. I was a kid and a young man who had always been told what I couldn’t accomplish, what I couldn’t do. And to be in this position, and doing this at a high level over these years, is extremely special.”

Reported by Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Caron Butler
Caron Butler
An older player on a young, rebuilding roster

Caron Butler is expected to provide more than points for a retooled Milwaukee Bucks team that is firmly committed to a young nucleus.

Butler was introduced Thursday as a member of the Bucks at a hometown news conference with family, friend and students at Racine Park High School, where he played.

“We talked about trying to build a championship-caliber team and we’re really excited about some of the young pieces we have on our roster,” Bucks general manager John Hammond said. “And, we’re not going to stray from that. But, also at that time, we talked about needing veteran players that can help us in that process. A veteran player that can mentor, a veteran player that can help young guys. We know Caron can do that.

“But, make no mistake, he’s here for a lot more than just that. We need him on the floor. We project him to be our starting small forward, project him to play a lot of minutes for our team, project him to help us win games.”

Reported by Jim Hoehn of the Associated Press

Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry embraces leadership role with Warriors
Still looks 14. Has big-time game.

“I’m 25. Still young. But I know the drill. I know the expectations,” Curry said in a chat with local media after working out at the team facility Thursday. “For me to have the same coaching staff, the same leadership, for three straight years is big. … We have the stability for us to make that move (to another level), and I hope to lead that charge.”

Certainly, Curry’s not alone in leading the locker room. David Lee and center Andrew Bogut share the leadership load, and Andre Iguodala figures to eventually emerge as a leader. But not even Curry’s reputed humility can help him escape the pedestal on which he is now perched.

He’s been a hot commodity since the season ended, making numerous appearances and joining James Harden in a Foot Locker commercial. His ability to exist anonymously in public places is rapidly decreasing. And now he’s considered by many to be the best player on a team expected to be a factor in the Western Conference.

And if that’s not enough of a reminder of his elevated status, his little brother is living with him. Seth Curry, who went undrafted out of Duke, signed with the Warriors last month. His star big brother encouraged him to save his money and move in.

Reported by Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area News Group

Chris Copeland
Chris Copeland said his left knee is healing as hoped
Will be missed in New York

Chris Copeland said his left knee is healing and he’ll be ready to make his debut with the Indiana Pacers at the beginning of the season.

“Much improved,” Copeland said during a promotional appearance for the opening of a new St. Vincent Performance location in Carmel on Thursday. “I’ve been training hard. Everything is good. It’s not 100 percent, but definitely much better than last year.”

Copeland signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Pacers in July. They lured him from the New York Knicks, where he put together an impressive rookie season after playing overseas for five years.

Reported by Michael Pointer of the Indianapolis Star

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