Archive for June 12th, 2014

charlotte hornets

The Charlotte Hornets today announced that Rod Higgins has stepped down as the team’s President of Basketball Operations, effective immediately.

“I would like to thank Rod for his seven years of dedication to this organization,” said Charlotte Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan. “Rod has been a consummate professional throughout his time with the team. Thanks to his hard work and commitment, we have an improved roster and we are poised for success in the future. Rod was of great help to me as I navigated my first four years as majority owner of this franchise. I wish him all the best.”

Rich Cho will remain in his capacity as General Manager and assume responsibility for the team’s basketball operations. He will report to Jordan and Vice Chairman Curtis Polk.

Jeff Potter, president of the 2014 NBA Development League champion Fort Wayne Mad Ants, was today named the 2014 NBA Development League Team Executive of the Year, NBA D-League President Dan Reed announced. The NBA Development League Team Executive of the Year is determined by peer voting and teams are not allowed to vote for themselves.

“We are very pleased to honor Jeff with the Team Executive of the Year Award in recognition of the Mad Ants’ milestone year both on and off the floor,” said Reed. “Under Jeff’s leadership, the team has become an integral part of the Fort Wayne community and established itself as part of the rich tradition of Indiana basketball.”

As president of the Mad Ants, Potter oversees all business and basketball operations for the team. Through his leadership, the Mad Ants captured their first NBA D-League title after a benchmark season in which the team had the best regular season record (34-16) for the league and won its first Eastern Division crown. Potter’s squad, which set a team regular season record for wins and swept their opponents in the postseason (6-0), also featured the league’s Co-Most Valuable Player and Sportsmanship Award recipient Ron Howard and Coach of the Year Conner Henry. In addition, five Mad Ants earned postseason honors including All-NBA D-League selections Howard (First Team), Tony Mitchell (third team), and Tim Ohlbrecht (honorable mention); All-Rookie selection Trey McKinney-Jones (third team); and All-Defensive Team Sadiel Rojas (second team).

A member of the Board of Directors for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Potter’s impact stretched beyond the court as he forged a longtime partnership with Lutheran Health Network, the first presenting sponsorship in the team’s history, and enhanced the team’s social responsibility initiative, which included over 160 community service projects in the area. In recognition of the team’s commitment, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry proclaimed Wednesday, April 30, 2014 as Fort Wayne Mad Ants Day following their triumph in the NBA D-League Finals.

“I am deeply honored, humbled, and thankful that my peers voted to give me this wonderful award,” said Potter. “It has been a banner year for the Mad Ants both in our business and on the court, and it does not happen without my fantastic staff, which helps make this job the best in the world. I share this award with them and our entire Mad Ants family.”

Previous winners of the award include Bill Boyce (Texas Legends, 2013), David Higdon (Bakersfield Jam, 2012), Bert Garcia (Rio Grande Valley Vipers, 2011) and Jon Jennings (Maine Red Claws, 2010).

Hornets Sports & Entertainment President & COO Fred Whitfield today announced that the Charlotte Hornets will play a regional home contest in Greenville, SC, for the first time as part of the team’s 2014 preseason schedule. The Hornets will take on the Washington Wizards on Friday, October 10, at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. The game will tip off at 7:00 p.m.

“As we transition to the Charlotte Hornets, we continue to look for opportunities to bring NBA basketball to cities across the Carolinas,” said Whitfield. “We are pleased to be playing in Greenville for the first time and are excited to showcase our games to new locations throughout the region.”

Here’s the blog reporting on Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who spent most of last season injured:

Rajon Rondo healthy for next Celtics season

At long last though, Rondo looks healthy and has been a regular visitor to the team’s practice facility and draft workouts all summer. His constant presence has been welcome sight for Stevens and the rest of the team’s coaching staff.

“He’s been great,” [Celtics head coach Brad] Stevens said. ““Physically, he looks fantastic. That really sets a tone having him come in. That really is helpful.”

Stevens continued: “I think Rajon is anxious to get back out there playing. You can tell that from his work ethic. He’s been with our small groups a lot in the last 8-10 days. That’s not always the case with a guy as seasoned and accomplished as him.”

Here’s reporting on the latest Donald Sterling news:

A Los Angeles County probate judge has scheduled a four-day trial for July 7-10 to determine whether Los Angeles Clippers co-owner Donald Sterling was properly removed as a trustee from the Sterling Family Trust, which agreed to sell the franchise to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on May 29 for a record $2 billion.

The lawyers for Shelly Sterling, who assumed the role of sole trustee and negotiated the sale with Ballmer after two neurologists determined Donald Sterling was mentally incapacitated and no longer able to conduct his own legal and business affairs, requested an expedited hearing so that the sale could be approved by the NBA Board of Governors by July 15 and closed by September 15, as outlined in the purchase agreement. Both Ballmer and Shelly Sterling have agreed to a grace period that allows for board approval by September 15.

Should the sale not be closed by September 15, Ballmer theoretically could pull out of the deal and the NBA would be forced to begin termination proceedings against Sterling again, then sell the team itself. However, sources say there is no indication Ballmer would do that.

Ballmer has not yet funded the $2 billion sale, except for the $300 million he put in escrow during the bid process.

The court denied Shelly Sterling’s request for relief. However, according to the ruling obtained by ESPN, “… given the upcoming deadlines regarding the proposed acquisition of the Los Angeles Clippers, the Court, on its own motion, sets the matter on shortened notice for a contested evidentiary hearing” before Judge Michael Levanas. A trial conference, where a list of witnesses will be submitted, is set for June 23.

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