Archive for January, 2014

Denver Nuggets guard Nate Robinson underwent surgery this afternoon to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, Nuggets General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced tonight.

“It’s always tough to see one of your players go down with an injury,” Connelly said. “Nate is known for his heart and determination, so I have no doubt he will work hard to get back on the court as soon as possible. He has the full support of our team and organization.”

The procedure was performed by team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Steve Traina at Midtown Surgical Center.

Robinson, signed by Denver as a free agent on July 26, 2013, averaged 10.4 points and 2.5 assists in 44 games with the Nuggets this season.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are struggling this season. Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting on Cavs star point guard Kyrie Irving:

Kyrie Irving conceded this season has been more difficult than he imagined, he’s upset so much attention has been placed on his contract and he admitted he doesn’t always have all the answers to what is plaguing the Cavaliers this season.

“I needed this. It was more or less a wake-up call,” Irving told the Beacon Journal following practice on Friday. “I got away with so much my first two years. It wasn’t a breeze, but everything came easy. This is the first year where every single night it’s going to be a challenge. That’s one of the things I’m getting used to and I’ve accepted.”

Irving has come under fire throughout the past week, particularly after a Beacon Journal story last Sunday questioning the progress he’s made this season, followed by an ESPN report on Thursday that Irving wants out of Cleveland.

“Everybody has all these rumors and stories they’re coming out with and it’s all based on me,” Irving said. “It’s not really about me. It’s about the team and what we’re going through as a team together. Obviously some things will be put on me and I take responsibility for that, but all that extra stuff that comes with it… It’s the business. I understand that. But that’s one of the things I wish I could change. It’s definitely not about me, it’s about my teammates and what we can accomplish.”

Here is the Indianapolis Star reporting on Pacers guard Lance Stephenson, who has steadily emerged as a legit force in this league. And was deemed worthy by the basketball masses of perhaps being named an All-Star this season, but was not named a reserve by NBA head coaches:

“I’m mad,” Stephenson said. “I feel like I had my breakout year last year. I showed I can play with anyone on the floor and I felt like this year, I brought a little bit more to my game.

“But other people saw it differently. I’m just going to keep working hard and prove everyone wrong.”

Stephenson not being included among the All-Star reserves was the talk of the league when they were announced Thursday night. Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley chimed in with: “That’s a joke. I see why they’ve got so many crappy teams in the East because the coaches don’t know what they’re doing.”

No Pacers player thrives off emotion more than Stephenson. He plays with an edge. Some, including Vogel, thought that emotion may have turned off coaches and convinced enough not to vote for him.

Knicks assign Toure Murry to D-League

New York Knicks President and General Manager Steve Mills announced today that the team has assigned guard Toure’ Murry to Erie of the NBA Development League.

Murry, 6-5, 195-pounds, is averaging 2.9 points and 1.2 assists over 8.1 minutes in 28 games for the Knicks this season. He is expected to be in uniform tonight when the BayHawks take on the Springfield Armor at MassMutual Center in Springfield, MA at 7 p.m.

Here is ESPN.com News Services reporting on the Houston Rockets and failed draft pick Royce White:

royce white

Royce White is the NBA draft’s “worst first-round pick ever,” according to the man who picked him.

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey selected White with the 16th overall pick in the 2012 draft, but White has yet to appear in an NBA game.

“I take some sort of pride in that you could argue that Royce White is the worst first-round pick ever,” Morey said in a Q&A discussion with Houston season ticketholders, according to the ClutchFans.net blog.

White, who is 6-foot-8, has struggled with an acknowledged anxiety disorder that would make it a challenge for him to play a full NBA season.

Here’s the New York Post reporting on Knicks forward Andrea Bargnani, who is out injured. His team, however, is doing just fine lately, and pounded the Cleveland Cavaliers for their 4th straight win:

Andrea Bargnani has no idea when he will return for Knicks

Andrea Bargnani, in breaking his silence, showed off his new black elbow brace, admitted his injury was “terrible’’ and said a timetable for his return from rehab is tricky because the ligament is completely torn…

Bargnani spoke for the first time and said he doesn’t want to commit to a return date. An elbow surgeon interviewed by The Post said usually 3-to-6 weeks of therapy will do the trick.

Bargnani said his doctors are talking to him more cautiously but confirmed there’s no plans for surgery.

“I have no idea [on a return date],’’ Bargnani said. “It’s a ligament broke and you see how it heals and how strong the arm gets. You got to make sure it’s 100 percent. I really don’t know the timeline.’’

The first thing to remember about NBA All-Star selections and players being “snubbed” is, players that didn’t make the team have to actually be more deserving of a spot than at least one of the players who actually did make it. Or else it isn’t really a “snub.”

Does Kyrie Irving want to leave the Cavs? Well, probably. They simply don’t have a competitive roster. But he’s still their building block. They’re not trading him. That’s that, for now.

I’m not writing Cavs rookie Anthony Bennett off yet. Haven’t seen him play enough to do that. Put him out there for 30 minutes a game for a couple weeks and then I’ll judge. But yeah, of course being the No. 1 pick in the entire 2013 NBA Draft, he’s certainly been a disappointment so far.

Tim Hardaway Jr is one of my favorite Knicks, on a per-minute basis. Athletic, cuts, moves without the ball smartly, hustles, runs the fast break, finishes like a baller. And hits three-pointers. His future appears bright.

Best thing during NBA game timeouts — other than the dance team performing — is the Dance Cam. As far as sheer excitement goes, of course the t-shirt toss wins.

David Stern is retiring as NBA commissioner soon. Adam Silver takes over. I really hope Stern stays involved, visibly. When Silver does press conferences, it would just feel right to at least see Stern in the back of the room, maybe off to the side, giving an occasional head-nod of approval. Just to remind us that we’re safe, and the future is bright, and everything is going to be OK.

2014 NBA All-Star game reserves

Dirk Nowitzki

The Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki and the Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh headline the list of 14 players that have been selected by the coaches as reserves for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game, the NBA announced today. Nowitzki earns his 12th selection, which ties him for sixth all-time with nine players, while Bosh secures his ninth trip to the All-Star Game in 11 NBA seasons.

The 63rd NBA All-Star Game will be exclusively televised on TNT from New Orleans Arena on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. The All-Star Game, also broadcast live on ESPN Radio, will collectively reach fans in 215 countries and territories in more than 40 languages.

Three first-time All-Stars join Bosh as reserves in the East: DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), Paul Millsap (Atlanta Hawks) and John Wall (Washington Wizards). The Brooklyn Nets’ Joe Johnson earns his seventh selection, while the Indiana Pacers’ Roy Hibbert and the Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah are All-Stars for the second time in their careers.

Joining Nowitzki as reserves in the West are LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers), James Harden (Houston Rockets), Dwight Howard (Rockets), Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers), Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs) and Chris Paul (L.A. Clippers). It’s the eighth selection for Howard, in his first season with the Rockets, while teammate Harden earns his second straight trip to the All-Star Game. Paul garners his seventh All-Star nod, while Parker is an All-Star for the sixth time in his career. Aldridge captures his third All-Star berth, while teammate Lillard is the lone first-time All-Star among West reserves.

Selected to start in the East – through NBA All-Star Balloting 2014 presented by Sprint – were Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Dwyane Wade (Heat), LeBron James (Heat), Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks) and Paul George (Pacers). Voted to start in the West were Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Kobe Bryant (L.A. Lakers), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), Blake Griffin (Clippers) and Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves).

The NBA Commissioner will select the replacement for any player unable to participate in the All-Star Game. If the injured player is a starter, the head coach of that team will determine who replaces him in the starting lineup.

The 14 reserves were chosen by the 30 NBA head coaches, who were asked to vote for seven players in their respective conferences – two guards, three frontcourt players and two players regardless of position. They were not permitted to vote for players from their own team.

The East and West All-Star coaches and coaching staffs were determined by the best record in the conference through games played Sunday, Feb. 2. Indiana’s Frank Vogel and his staff will coach the East, with Oklahoma City’s Scott Brooks and staff leading the West. The Heat’s Erik Spoelstra and the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich coached the East and West squads, respectively, last season and were ineligible for the honor this year.

Here’s ESPN Chicago reporting on Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, who for whatever reason isn’t interested in urging other good players to join his team:

Derrick Rose says he will not recruit for the Bulls

Chicago Bulls vice president John Paxson said Wednesday he would never ask Derrick Rose to recruit and doesn’t believe the star guard’s reluctance to do so will prevent the team from landing free agents.

“I personally would not have been comfortable doing that as a player. That was me, so I expect and appreciate where Derrick is coming from,” Paxson said on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN Chicago 1000.

“I would never tell a player, I don’t think [owner] Jerry Reinsdorf or [general manager] Gar [Forman] would tell a player, ‘Look, you have to do this.’ If a player wants to do it, great. If he doesn’t, that’s his choice.”

Paxson said players being around Rose during offseason workouts offers an indirect way to sell them on the Bulls…

“I don’t recruit. If anyone wants to play with me, I don’t mind playing with, it could be anyone in the NBA, but as far as recruiting, I never did and never will,” Rose told rappler.com, a social news network.

Kevin Durant free agency will be fun

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on the eventual Kevin Durant free agency. Like every other team in the league, the Brooklyn Nets wouldn’t mind landing him:

On Friday, the Nets will chase Kevin Durant around the Barclays Center court, hoping to contain the NBA’s most dynamic scorer. And some two years from now, they likely will be joining the crucial chase for his signature on a contract.

The impending Durant free agency bonanza should start picking up steam next season and will undoubtedly engulf the NBA in the summer of 2016. And make no mistake: the Nets are targeting Durant, the 25-year-old offensive juggernaut, even if it’s too early to predict their odds.

The Nets could be committed to no salary when Durant becomes a free agent, depending on whether Deron Williams picks up his one-year option for the 2016-17 season. Everybody else is off the books.

Durant, who hired former Nets minority owner Jay Z as his agent last year, plays in one of the NBA’s smallest markets, if not the smallest, with a dedicated fan base and an owner who has been intent on avoiding the luxury tax.

Here’s ESPN Chicago reporting fun stuff on Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who is a great quote when he’s actually willing to really speak his mind:

gregg popovich

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich dislikes employing a “Hack-a-Shaq” type fouling strategy, but he’s going to do it anyway.

Popovich, who ordered his team to foul Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard seven straight times in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night’s 97-90 loss, is not a fan of sending guys to the line — but concedes it’s part of the game.

“I hate it,” Popovich said of the strategy before Wednesday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls. “I think it’s awful. I hate doing it. Seriously. I think it’s a pain in the neck, fans don’t like it, I don’t like it, nobody likes it. It disrupts the flow of the game. If there’s an equitable way to get rid of it, I’m all for it.

Cavs assign Sergey Karasev to D-League

The Cleveland Cavaliers have assigned guard/forward Sergey Karasev to the Canton Charge, the Cavaliers exclusively owned and operated NBA Development League team, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.

Karasev has appeared in six games for the Charge and is averaging 13.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 28.8 minutes per game.

Karasev will be available for Friday night’s Charge game against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants at the Canton Memorial Civic Center at 7:00 p.m.

New York Knicks President and General Manager Steve Mills announced today that the team has assigned center Cole Aldrich, guard Toure’ Murry and forward Jeremy Tyler to Erie of the NBA Development League.

This may be a very brief assignment, and may just be for workout reasons. According to several reports, all three players may be back with the Knicks a day later.

For the Knicks this season, Aldrich, 6-11, 245-pounds, has recorded 16 points and 45 rebounds over 95 total minutes in 21 games and Murry, 6-5, 195-pounds, is averaging 3.0 points and 1.1 assists over 8.2 minutes in 27 games.

Tyler, 6-10, 250-pounds, averaged 18.0 points and 10.2 rebounds in six games for the BayHawks early this season, and is averaging 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds over 8.6 minutes in 10 games for the Knicks.

The National Basketball Association game scheduled for this evening between the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena has been postponed due to severe weather conditions in the Atlanta area.

The game will be rescheduled at a later date.

Wizards bring Glen Rice Jr back from D-League

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that guard Glen Rice Jr has been recalled from the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League. Rice will be with the team for tonight’s game in Golden State.

Rice appeared in three games with the Energy, averaging 24.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 2.7 blocks in 36 minutes per contest. Washington’s 2013 second round pick was assigned to Iowa on January 20.

Rice is averaging 2.9 points in 10 minutes per contest in 11 games (one start) with the Wizards this season.

Nikola Pekovic out at least 7-10 days

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that center Nikola Pekovic underwent an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Image) this morning at TRIA Orthopedics in Bloomington, Minn. that revealed bursitis in his right ankle. Pekovic will be withheld from basketball activities for 7-10 days and will be reevaluated at that time. He will be sidelined indefinitely.

Pekovic left last night’s game at Chicago at the 6:00 mark of the first quarter and did not return.

The 6-11 center has appeared in all 44 games this year for the Wolves, averaging career highs in points (18.0 ppg), rebounds (9.1 rpg) and minutes (32.5 mpg).

With a 26-18 record, the Phoenix Suns have been one of the league’s biggest surprises this season. They recently brought back speedy guard Leandro Barbosa, on 10-day contracts. And today decided to keep Barbosa on the squad for the remainder of the season.

More info: Suns sign Leandro Barbosa for rest of season

With David Stern soon stepping down as NBA commissioner and Adam Silver taking over, the league will need a new deputy NBA commissioner. Here’s ESPN.com on who is expected to get the job:

Incoming NBA commissioner Adam Silver is expected to promote league executive Mark Tatum to deputy commissioner, multiple sources told ESPN.

Tatum, who would become one of the highest-ranking African-Americans in professional sports, has been with the NBA the past 14 years and previously worked for Major League Baseball. He’s currently executive vice president of global marketing partnerships and focuses on the league’s relationship with top sponsors and its television and media partners.

Tatum, 45, also manages the partnership between the NBA and USA Basketball.

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed guard/forward Chris Johnson to a second 10-day contract.

Johnson, a 6’6” guard/forward, has appeared in four games for the Celtics and has averaged 10.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 assist in 26.6 minutes per game. He posted a career-high 12 points against Brooklyn on January 26 and recorded a career-high four steals against Washington on January 22. Johnson originally signed a 10-day contract with the Celtics on January 17 after he had appeared in 20 games for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League where he had averaged 19.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.0 block in 37.2 minutes per game.

The Celtics are 15-31 this season, which is the fourth worst record in the league.

Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Jan. 20, through Sunday, Jan. 26.

Millsap led the Hawks to a 3-1 week behind averages of 21.3 points (ninth in the conference) on .508 shooting from the field, 7.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.5 steals (fifth in the conference) and 2.0 blocks (fourth in the conference). Millsap collected five blocks in a road win over the Orlando Magic on Jan. 22, and filled the stat sheet with 26 points, seven rebounds and four assists on Jan. 20, in a win over the Miami Heat.

Durant led Oklahoma City to three wins during a 4-0 week, having missed the 101-83 win over the Celtics on Jan. 24 (shoulder). He averaged a league-leading 38.0 ppg and added 8.7 rebounds and 6.3 assists. Durant collected a triple-double with 32 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists during a 103-91 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 25.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Brooklyn’s Mirza Teletovic, Charlotte’s Al Jefferson, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Memphis’ Zach Randolph, Miami’s Chris Bosh and LeBron James, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, New York’s Carmelo Anthony, and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross.

Basketball blog