Archive for October 6th, 2013

The Memphis Grizzlies waived Josh Akognon and Derrick Byars, the team announced today.

Akognon (5-11, 185) averaged 1.7 points in 3.0 minutes in three games for the Dallas Mavericks and also played for the Liaoning Jiebao Hunters in China last season. The 27-year-old Cal State Fullerton product was claimed off waivers by Memphis on July 23 after he was waived by Dallas on July 21.

Byars (6-7, 220) competed for ALBA Berlin in Germany and Caciques de Humacao in Puerto Rico last season. Memphis signed the 29-year-old Vanderbilt product as a free agent on Sept. 29.

The Grizzlies’ roster now stands at 16 players.

Mayweather was a surprise guest at Heat practice Sunday morning, sitting courtside with team president Pat Riley, managing general partner Micky Arison and other members of the franchise’s brain trust. It’s rare for any outsider to get invited into Heat practice, though Mayweather’s resume - unbeaten in 45 fights and generally considered the best fighter of his era - certainly earned him the ultra-VIP access.

”We’re trying to defend two titles. He’s been defending for a long time,” Heat star LeBron James said. ”He definitely knows where we’re coming from. It’s exciting at the end of the day to have someone, one of the greatest of all-time, to be in the presence. It’s something you can talk about years from now. … We’re honored and blessed to have him in the building.”

Mayweather, who left just as practice was ending, gave the Heat a brief speech, reminding the two-time defending NBA champions about the need for hard work and dedication.

Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

Danny Granger will have important role on Pacers, whether he starts or not

Although Lance Stephenson walked out on the floor with the starters on Saturday night, Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel has not yet settled on his top five.

“Obviously, if Danny Granger comes back to the level that he was playing at before, then he’s our starter and it’s going to be an exciting group, and Lance comes in and gives us some spark off the bench,” Vogel said. “But look, there’s a lot of different ways that you can use guys, and I haven’t made any final decisions.”

San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili and James Harden, during his time with Oklahoma City, set the precedent of sixth men who play major minutes and finish games. If Granger were to remain on the bench, he would play a similar role.

Reported by Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star

New-look Detroit Pistons already having fun

The scene, featuring a boisterous, wise-cracking bunch of players, was a glimpse into how things are going under Cheeks, who completed his first training camp as Pistons coach Saturday with an open scrimmage at the Palace.

The work is getting done, but it’s being done with an energy and sense of fun that has been lacking in Pistons territory for quite some time. And the players who have been around for a while say it’s attributable to the presence of Cheeks, the fourth coach in six seasons.

Cheeks scoffed at his impact and said all 30 teams are probably having fun this time of year.

“It’s zero-zero so it’s a lot of fun for everybody right now,” Cheeks said. “I don’t know if it’s something I’ve done or not.

Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw has no regrets about not landing Lakers job

“Regardless of how it ended, I don’t have any regrets,” Shaw said. “Those were some of the best times that I experienced. I will always cherish them.”

Asked if there were any hard feelings lingering now, two years after being passed over for the head coaching job with the Lakers after Jackson’s retirement in 2011, Shaw said: “No, no. You know, it’s the nature of the business. I found that out pretty quickly. I preach to our players to get on to the next play; let that last play go, and I try to do the same thing, too. Every decision is not my decision. It’s not going to work out the way I want it to work out. So I’ve just got to move on.”

Shaw not only moved on, he also flourished with the Pacers. Indiana coach Frank Vogel was big on giving his assistants a significant voice. Shaw ran with that responsibility. The Pacers’ success during his two years there vaulted him into a select group of “next in line” for a head coaching job.

The Nuggets landed him after firing George Karl following the team’s first-round playoff ouster.

Reported by Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post

Derrick Rose enjoys successful return for Bulls in preseason

Now do you believe him? Now that you’ve seen Derrick Rose challenge 7-2 Roy Hibbert at the rim, get knocked down and bounce up to shoot his free throws in Saturday’s 82-76 Bulls win over the Indiana Pacers.

Now that you’ve seen him crossover George Hill, leaving Hill reaching and the entire Pacers’ defense coming at Rose and Rose pounded at the rim. Now that you’ve seen him go full court and dunk, though two handed? Nothing fancy yet, Rose said. And now that you’ve seen him run the wing with Kirk Hinrich and finish, double pump on a drive and put in the layup and a finger roll, score 13 points in just over 20 minutes and complain to Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau he didn’t want to leave the game.

Now will you believe Derrick Rose when he says he’s back? And maybe even, as incredulous as it may seem, as good or better than he was some 18 months ago before he suffered the ugliest of basketball injuries, a torn anterior cruciate ligament?

“He got mad at me,” Thibodeau said about removing Rose from the game for good with 7:07 remaining in the third quarter and the Bulls ahead 50-49. “That’s when I knew we were good. Now I know things are normal.

“Like we’ve been seeing in practice,” said Thibodeau. “Hit the floor, aggressive. That’s the way he played before the injury and he’s back playing like that. For him, that’s his game, the speed, the quickness, but the power to go along with it. That’s what makes him so special and unique. There’s no one like him.”

Reported by Sam Smith of the Blog

Shareef Abdur-Rahim is a busy man

Shareef Abdur-Rahim is a busy man

The lone front-office holdover from last season is a busy man.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim was an assistant general manager under Geoff Petrie and was retained by new general manager Pete D’Alessandro as director of player personnel.

Abdur-Rahim is also the general manager for the Kings’ D-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns. Abdur-Rahim’s primary focus is on the Kings during training camp, but he is always monitoring players that might fit in with Reno.

“With Reno, we’re always in the process of keeping our eyes open in regard to guys who might fit what we’re doing here (with the Kings),” Abdur-Rahim said. “It’s a different process because we have to let what happens in the NBA training camps materialize first before you can really identify all your guys.”

Now that the Kings run the Bighorns, there is more emphasis on finding young players the Kings can develop in the D-League into contributors in Sacramento in the future.

Reported by Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee

trail blazers

Portland Trail Blazers rookie CJ McCollum broke his foot during practice Saturday and is out indefinitely

Terry Stotts initially told the media following practice Saturday that McCollum had sprained his foot and left practice early.

However, the Trail Blazers public relations department later announced via twitter around 4:30 this afternoon that McCollum sustained a fracture of the 5th metatarsal bone. The Trail Blazers announce that a date has not been announced for surgery.

Reported by Erik Gundersen of the Columbian

Sixers sideline Lavoy Allen

Sixers sideline Lavoy Allen

The 76ers will play their preseason opener minus Lavoy Allen.

The reserve post player will be held out of Sunday’s exhibition game against Bilbao Basket at the Bizkaia Arena due to a lingering knee injury. He’s expected to play Tuesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Manchester, England.

Reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer

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