Archive for October 19th, 2013

Cavaliers waive guard Michael Lee

The Cleveland Cavaliers have waived guard Michael Lee, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant announced tonight. The Cavs roster now stands at 19.

The 6-9, 207-pound rookie guard from St. Bonaventure, appeared in three preseason games for the Cavs this year, averaging 1.7 rebounds in 4.3 minutes per game.

Amare Stoudemire cleared for contact

amare stoudemire

Amar’e Stoudemire took a big step toward getting back on the court Saturday, but his status for the season opener is still up in the air.

Stoudemire was cleared for contact and participated in half-court drills Saturday. It was the first contact for Stoudemire since he underwent surgery on his knee over the summer.

“I felt explosive. So we’ll see how the progress continues,” Stoudemire said.

Stoudemire collided with rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. in half-court drills and hit his head, but he seemed to be OK.

Reported by Ian Begley of ESPN New York

gerald wallace

“If it ain’t on the Xbox, I ain’t reading it,” said Wallace. “I couldn’t tell you anything about no magazines, newspapers, none of that.”

But try as he might to avoid the noise, even Wallace couldn’t help but acknowledge that few pundits expect Boston to be very competitive this season with most win projections — both locally and nationally — topping out in the high 20s.

“Our main thing is we want to try to get better,” said the 31-year-old Wallace, the Boston player with the most service time in the league (12 seasons). “We know nobody is picking us to win the championship; nobody is picking us to make the playoffs. Our main thing is we just gotta continue to get better. I told the guys, we’re like a sleeper team. We’re that team that everybody’s looking at on their schedule like, ‘OK, we can get a win,’ [or,] ‘We can rest, this might be a night off for us.’ We can surprise some teams and do some things. … A lot of teams are not going to be expecting it.”

Reported by Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston

John Henson

The Milwaukee Bucks have exercised the third-year contract option on John Henson (6-11, 220), and the fourth-year contract option on Brandon Knight (6-3, 189), General Manager John Hammond announced today.

Henson, 22, appeared in 63 games (nine starts) during his rookie season, averaging 6.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per contest. The 14th overall pick by Milwaukee in last year’s draft, Henson posted eight double-figure rebounding games in his rookie season, including 25 boards against Orlando on April 10 that stood as the high game by a rookie in the NBA last season. Henson added 17 points and seven blocks in that game, becoming the first NBA player with 17+ points, 25+ rebounds and 7+ blocks in a game since Shaquille O’Neal did so during the 2003-04 season. Henson also snared 18 rebounds at Miami on Nov. 21, giving him the top two single-game rebounding totals by a Bucks rookie in the last 25 years.

Knight, 21, joins the Bucks this season after playing his first two years for the Detroit Pistons, where he was selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. The third-year guard has started 135 of his 141 career games, with averages of 13.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists per contest. An All-Rookie First Team selection in 2011-12, Knight also participated in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge at both the 2012 and 2013 NBA All-Star Weekends. In four preseason appearance for the Bucks, Knight has posted 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 22.5 minutes per game.

Under the terms of the NBA’s current collective bargaining agreement, the first two years of a first round draft pick’s contract are guaranteed, while the third and fourth year of the contract are the team’s option.

Ryan Gomes hoping to stick with Thunder

Ryan Gomes

At 31, Gomes might have thought he was past the point of proving himself. But that’s precisely what he must now do to make the Thunder and cash in on his partially guaranteed contract.

“It’s a challenge that I’ve got to be ready for,” Gomes said. “I know it’s a performance league and you’ve got to go out there and perform and play well.”

Gomes finally got the chance to perform in the Thunder’s fourth preseason game Thursday night against New Orleans. He scored 11 points in 12 minutes, making all three of his 3-point attempts while displaying a good defensive disposition.

“I think I can provide that on a daily basis,” Gomes said.

Reported by Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman

Clippers

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers had the Lakers’ championship banners covered and had his players’ banners draped over them instead at Staples Center.

Rivers said it will be done whenever it’s the Clippers’ home game in the arena they share with the Lakers.

The Lakers have 12 championship banners — Minneapolis has its five titles on one banner — and 10 retired jerseys, including Chick Hearn’s microphone retired jersey.

“Well, I didn’t look at it as the banner thing,” Rivers maintained. “I just look at it as putting our guys up.”

Rivers had the banners of Jamal Crawford, Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick, DeAndre Jordan, Jared Dudley, Chris Paul and Matt Barnes all put up on the wall.

Reported by Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times

richard hamilton

Billups is surprised that no one signed Hamilton, who was waived by the Bulls in the off-season.

“I’m not sure what he’s going to do yet, but I am surprised,” Billups said this week. “I’m hoping that sometime soon somebody will pick him up. I worked out with him a lot this summer. He’s in great shape and looking like the Rip of old. He’s got his self healthy again, so I’m hoping. I know that he can really, really help somebody.”

Hamilton, 35, once was one of the top shooting guards in the NBA with the Pistons, but after declining as a player and becoming a disruptive presence, the Pistons bought him out at the conclusion of the 2011 NBA lockout.

Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

Jae Crowder brings defense to Mavericks

Jae Crowder

[Coach Rick] Carlisle said Crowder is in a tough spot because his offense suffers while he consistently tries to slow down scoring machines such as Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James.

“But that’s one of the reasons we like him,” Carlisle said. “He’s one of the best defenders we’ve got.

“He can guard guys that run off screens, he’s a good one-on-one defender, he’s got good size, he can guard different positions, he’s played some [power forward], he’s played some [shooting guard], and he mostly plays [small forward],” Carlisle said. “The flexibility that he gives us is a big plus.”

It’s a big plus that Crowder takes seriously. That’s why he took the initiative over the off-season to try to improve his defensive skills.

Reported by Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose believes the Bulls have only one main rival — and it’s the Miami Heat, not the Indiana Pacers.

Rose made his feelings known before Friday night’s preseason contest against the Pacers.

While being respectful regarding Indiana’s recent success, Rose acknowledged that he believed any rivalry with the Pacers is a thing of the past.

“People say that it’s a rivalry, but I don’t really see it,” Rose said before scoring 32 points in the team’s 103-98 win against the Pacers. “I say the team that is more like a rivalry is when Darren Collison was on the team. That one was more like a rivalry, but this team is a great team. They’ve already proven themselves last year by making it to the Eastern Conference finals.”

Reported by Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago

darren collison

Despite a 17-point outburst in the fourth quarter from Darren Collison, the Clippers couldn’t rally and fell, 94-84, to Portland Friday night in their Staples Center preseason opener.

Collison finished with 31 points and had six assists and two steals for the Clippers (3-2), who will play Denver Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Playing without J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes and Maalik Wayns and Willie Green, Collison took advantage of the 34 minutes Coach Doc Rivers gave him and made 8 of 16 shots from the field and 15 of 16 from the free-throw line.

Reported by Phil Collin of the Los Angeles Daily News (Blog)

rajon rondo

For the first time in 63 years, it is likely that the Boston Celtics will not have a formal captain this season. But just because first-year coach Brad Stevens prefers not to formally designate a leader doesn’t meant that this team won’t have one.

Stevens went out of his way Friday to again laud the guidance of Rajon Rondo, offering the latest vote of confidence for the rehabbing point guard.

“I don’t know what the leadership roles were like last year, because I wasn’t here,” said Stevens. “The guy that’s been the most vocal leader for us has been Rondo. I think he’s done a really good job of it.”

Rondo isn’t expected back on the floor until December — or whenever he feels his right knee is healthy enough to resume activity after undergoing surgery in February to repair a partial tear of the ACL — but he’s been an on-court presence for the Celtics every day since camp opened Oct. 1 in Newport, R.I.

Reported by Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston

Brooklyn Nets undergoing an attitude adjustment

The Brooklyn Nets are undergoing an attitude adjustment, with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett overseeing the transformation.

On Thursday against the defending champion Miami Heat, Pierce delivered a hard foul to longtime rival LeBron James in the first quarter of the Nets’ 86-62 win. Pierce said the playoff-type body check was “a message to the league” of what the Nets’ identity will be this season.

Garnett then delivered a stern postgame message to James by telling the Heat star to mind his own business after James commented about how Ray Allen was criticized for leaving Boston when discussing the trade that sent Garnett, Pierce and Jason Terry to Brooklyn earlier this week.

“He’s entitled to his own opinion,” Terry said about James on Friday, “which we don’t care about.”

Jason Kidd has to be smiling about not just the tough rhetoric but the more physical play. Upon taking over as Brooklyn’s rookie head coach, Kidd made it crystal clear that he wants his team to have a tougher, more physical and defensive-minded identity this season.

Reported by Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York

Quick glance at Mavs guard Wayne Ellington

Ellington will be a 3-and-D guy off the Mavs’ bench. His job is to space the floor on offense and defend well on the other end of the floor.

At 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, Ellington doesn’t have the size to guard small forwards who are scoring threats, but he’s an a good on-ball defender against shooting guards. That’s especially important considering that starting guards Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis didn’t arrive in Dallas with decent defensive reputations. Offensively, Ellington isn’t much of a creator, but he’s a catch-and-shoot threat who has hit 38.2 percent of his 3-point attempts in his career.

Reported by Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas

Derrick Favors

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has signed forward/center Derrick Favors to a multi-year contract extension. According to Yahoo Sports, the deal is for four years, $49 million.

That’s a lot of money for a young player who, while capable of rebounding, shot-blocking and playing good defense, still has a lot of developing to do.

According to Yahoo, “the deal includes bonus incentives that could push the package well over $50 million, sources said.”

“We have tremendous respect for and confidence in Derrick and see him as an important part of our future. He brings a toughness and defensive mindset that make him a key piece to what we are trying to build here,” said Jazz General Manager Dennis Lindsey. “Derrick is also a high-character individual and he has shown a dedication to continue to improve all aspects of his game.”

The 22-year-old Favors (6-10, 248, Georgia Tech) will be entering his fourth NBA campaign in 2013-14, and has improved his averages in every major statistical category over the previous year each of the last two seasons. Favors played in 77 games (eight starts) in 2012-13, averaging career-highs of 9.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.69 blocks in 23.2 minutes per game. Favors registered nine double-doubles on the season, scoring in double figures 34 times while grabbing double-digit rebounds in 16 games. In his eight starts last season, Favors averaged 10.1 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 2.25 blocks in 27.3 minutes.

Noted for his defensive mindset, Favors was chosen to participate in the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s National Team Mini-Camp held this past July in Las Vegas, Nev. The previous summer Favors was one of just 13 players chosen for the 2012 USA Men’s Select Team that trained against the USA Basketball Men’s National Team prior to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

“We have been impressed with Derrick’s hard work, development and strong desire to be a part of the future of the Jazz franchise,” said Steve Miller, President of Miller Sports Properties. “There was mutual interest in Derrick remaining part of our team moving forward and my family and I are excited to be able to announce his contract extension.”

A 2010 first-round pick (third overall) by New Jersey, Favors was acquired by the Jazz on February 23, 2011 and was selected to the NBA’s All-Rookie Second Team following his first year. During his second season with Utah, Favors was chosen to compete in the Rising Stars Challenge during 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando. The Atlanta native and former MVP of the McDonald’s All-American Game was selected as the 2010 ACC Rookie of the Year during his lone collegiate season at Georgia Tech.

“I would like to thank the Miller family and Jazz organization for their trust and confidence in me and my abilities to help lead this team into the future,” said Favors. “Utah has become my home and I am excited to be able to continue my career playing for the Jazz and the best fans in the NBA.”

Sixers face rough road ahead

Even if they don’t read the papers or worry about what is said in the electronic media, as forward-center Spencer Hawes advises, 76ers players and members of the organization won’t be able to escape the negative vibe following the team this season.

The team’s strategy is simple: clear as much cap space as possible and build with younger players on a road back to respectability.

It’s a route that often takes longer to travel than originally anticipated.

While that seems like a sound strategy, the reality is what the team faced last week, two blowout preseason losses in which the only things missing were the offense, defense, and any answers against two teams of differing skill levels.

Reported by Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer

Hall of Fame center Bill Russell was arrested this week at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after Transportation Security Administration officials found a loaded gun in his luggage.

Russell was arrested Wednesday night as he attempted to go through security. Airport spokesman Perry Cooper confirmed Friday night that Russell was cited for having a weapon in a prohibited area. Russell’s gun was confiscated and he was released.

Russell’s gun was a .38-caliber pistol and was loaded with six rounds, according to a TSA spokesman.

Reported by the Associated Press

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