Archive for September, 2014

Rick Fuson named president of Pacers

Jim Morris, president of Pacers Sports & Entertainment, will move into the role of vice chairman and Rick Fuson will succeed Morris as president in addition to continuing his role as chief operating officer, PS&E chairman and CEO Herb Simon announced Tuesday.

Both moves are effective immediately.

“This is not about change but continuity,” Simon said. “Jim Morris will maintain his important leadership role in fostering and sustaining relationships in the community and throughout the state of Indiana. Rick Fuson over many years has shown himself to be a brilliant manager and trusted steward of PS&E and all its assets and will continue to do so.”

Fuson, 61, joined the Pacers’ organization in 1984 as director of special events for Market Square Arena. He oversaw the construction and opening of Bankers Life Fieldhouse in 1999. He was promoted to executive senior vice president of PS&E in 2001 and chief operating officer in 2008. He is responsible for the operation of all aspects of the business and facilities elements of PS&E and Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Morris, 71, a long-time community and civic leader and one of the principle architects of Indianapolis highly acclaimed strategy of using sports to foster economic development, joined PS&E in 2007 as a special consultant to then President/CEO Donnie Walsh. He was named president in 2008.

“I am honored and humbled by this tremendous opportunity,” said Fuson. “We are extremely fortunate to have Jim Morris in the role of vice chairman. He is an exemplary representative of PS&E and a pillar of our community. I am grateful to have worked side by side with Jim, Donnie Walsh, Larry Bird, Kelly Krauskopf and the great people of PS&E for over 30 years and I so look forward to our future. There is no better owner in sports than Herb Simon and his commitment to our franchises and community makes this a great place to work and live.”

“Pacers Sports & Entertainment was strong before I got here and I am proud of every piece of the operation: the ongoing success of the Pacers and the Indiana Fever, the multitude of entertainment events we host, the sales and marketing team, the finance department, our community relations efforts and Bankers Life Fieldhouse itself, which is operated so efficiently and magnificently,” said Morris. “It is an absolute thrill to work for an extraordinary owner in Herb Simon, and with such gifted people as Rick Fuson, Larry Bird and Kelly Krauskopf. PS&E is in terrific hands.”

The Denver Nuggets will open training-camp with 19 players after signing forwards Jerrelle Benimon, Alonzo Gee, Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Marcus Williams, Nuggets General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.

Benimon, 6-8, 245, went undrafted in 2014 out of Towson University where he was named the CAA player of the year in both his junior and senior seasons. The forward averaged 18.7 points while ranking second in the nation in rebounds (11.2 rpg) and third in double-doubles (21) during his final collegiate campaign in 2013-14. Benimon played for the Miami Heat in the Orlando Summer League and for the Nuggets in the Las Vegas Summer League, averaging 10.7 points, 11.3 rebounds (2nd overall) and 1.7 assists in three games.

Gee, 6-6, 219, has appeared in 277 career NBA games (173 starts), posting averages of 7.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.00 steals in five seasons with the Cavaliers, Spurs and Wizards. Gee was undrafted in 2009 after playing four years at the University of Alabama. He averaged 15.0 points and 7.2 rebounds and was named Second Team All-SEC as a senior. Gee appeared in 65 games (24 starts) for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2013-14.

Mensah-Bonsu, 6-9, 235, has four years of NBA experience and three seasons of international experience after going undrafted out of George Washington University in the 2006 NBA Draft. He’s appeared in 62 career NBA games for New Orleans, Toronto, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas, averaging 2.9 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. Mensah-Bonsu averaged 8.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in 55 games for Galatasaray of the Turkish League during the 2013-14 season.

Williams, 6-7, 203, was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs with the 33rd overall pick of the 2007 NBA Draft after he averaged 16.6 points and 6.7 rebounds as a sophomore at the University of Arizona. The forward has averaged 1.1 points and 3.0 minutes in 13 career NBA games over parts of two seasons with the Spurs and L.A. Clippers. He also appeared in 89 games for the Austin Toros of the NBA D-League from 2007-2010, averaging 21.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists. Williams has spent the last three seasons with the Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association.

There are no basketball reality TV shows that we know of on any television network these days, aside from the occasional NBA TV special that goes behind the scenes of various players, but a series in that general universe is coming to TBS in Spring of 2015: “The Smiths,” starring Kenny Smith along with his wife and kids.

It would be cool if an actual real basketball reality TV show existed — one that showed the reality of life as a baller, or agent or something. This sounds like it’ll mostly be about family.

Here’s full details:

Justin Hamilton

The Miami HEAT announced today that center Justin Hamilton underwent a procedure at South Miami Hospital on Monday to repair an atrial flutter (abnormal heart rhythm).

After experiencing light-headedness during practice, he was sent to Doctors Hospital where the diagnosis was discovered.

He will remain sidelined for a few days and can then begin non-contact exercises for approximately three weeks before being re-evaluated prior to re-joining the team for practice. Hamilton is expected to make a full recovery.

Here’s the Washington Post blog reporting from Monday’s Wizards Media Day:

Bradley Beal says Wizards have best backcourt in NBA

“I think we’re definitely the best back court in the league,” Beal declared at his team’s Media Day at Verizon Center Monday. “Just in terms of what we’re capable of doing, the confidence that we have in that. At the same time we got to prove it.”

Beal and Wall have a case. They are the Wizards’ cornerstone players and led the team to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2004-05 last spring.

Wall, 24, enjoyed the breakout season many have been waiting for since he was drafted first over all in 2010, becoming an all-star for the first time and leading the NBA in total assists.

Here’s the Bay Area News Group reporting on the Golden State Warriors:

David Lee not mad at past trade rumors

Warriors forward David Lee heard the offseason trade rumors involving Kevin Love and said they didn’t leave him feeling unwanted by the team.

“There was no hard feelings,” Lee said Monday. “There can’t be. Our front office is trying to improve the team, and Kevin Love is a great player.

“It happened, and I’m not mad at anybody. I don’t feel bad. It’s just this is a business.”

Lee, the Warriors’ highest-paid player making $15 million this salary, would have likely been shipped to Minnesota had the trade gotten done. Instead, Love was dealt to Cleveland and Lee got to joke about pondering a move to the Midwest that wasn’t to be.

Jason Terry sees big things for Rockets

There is optimism and there is OPTIMISM. New Rockets guard Jason Terry predicts big things for his squad. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting:

Jason Terry sees big things for Rockets

“As far as the roster goes, when you have two studs such as James Harden and Dwight Howard, you have a realistic shot at winning the championship,” Terry said.

“That’s what it’s about for me. I have one. I lost one. Now I just want another opportunity.

“I see us going all the way. If you look at the Western Conference, everybody’s gotten better. People look at our team and they’re trying to figure us out. I just think we have the talent. I think it’s about us going out every day, competing against each other, creating a championship environment. If we do that, I think we’ll put ourselves in a position at the end of the year to do something very special here.”

Here’s the Miami Herald Blog reporting on the Heat, whose players met with the media Monday:

Wade called Norris Cole “a monster” defensively, and said the next step in his career would be learning “how to be effective as a point guard and as a scoring guard.”

“He’s got to figure out the perfect way to do that, and it’s not always easy for guys,” Wade said. “But if he can figure it out, he can be very dangerous for us. But I’m very confident. He’s a kid who loves to work, and he wants to be as great as he wants to be. So, I think he’ll figure it out.”

Here’s ESPN New York reporting on the Knicks and J.R. Smith:

JR Smith

Head coach Derek Fisher has not committed to a starting five yet. Smith and Iman Shumpert should have a healthy competition in training camp if Fisher opts to start just one of them. Tim Hardaway Jr. also will push for minutes after an impressive rookie season.

Smith, the Sixth Man of the Year in 2012-13, believes he and Shumpert will elevate their games.

“I don’t look at it as a rivalry,” Smith said of the competition with Shumpert. “I think it’s great for the game of basketball. If I don’t push him and he doesn’t push me then we’re both wasting each other’s time. And I don’t think we want to do that.”

“I think we can hit people from three totally different angles,” Smith added of himself, Shumpert and Hardaway Jr. “I think there’s not a team in this league that has what we have at the shooting guard spot and I think that’s very unique … you should look at it as a dynamic trio like people do with running backs in football.”

Monday was “Media Day” for most of the league’s teams. As you’d guess, that’s when players around the league tell media members how excited and optimistic they are for the upcoming season. Here’s CSN Washington reporting on new Wizards addition Paul Pierce:

Bradley Beal speaks on new Wizard Paul Pierce

So what have Wall and Beal learned from him in this short time?

Beal: “I’m going to take his cockiness, his arrogance, his trash-talking implement it all into my game and try to be like him. … For us to be able to have him on this team, it’s a great look for us. It just shows what we’re capable of doing. This is a young team on the rise and he wanted to be a part of it.

“This is John’s and (my) team. It starts with us. We have to lead by example and be vocal leaders as well. The ship doesn’t move unless we both move. For Paul to say that, it’s a little bit of pressure but it’s expectations we’ve already put on ourselves.”

Tons of NBA signings today

There was a ton of NBA signings today. Most of the moves were training camp deals, on non-guaranteed, very small contracts. The vast majority of players signed to such deals will not make the regular season roster, and will likely being playing overseas next season.

We posted every transaction, but in our main articles section today, not this blog section. To see what went down, hit our front page.

aaron gray

The Detroit Pistons announced today that Aaron Gray will miss training camp while rehabbing from a cardiac episode suffered following a voluntary workout in late August.

The 7-0, 270-pound center has undergone a full evaluation and is currently seeking additional medical assessments from cardiac specialists to determine a timetable for a return to action.

Gray is a backup, and not likely to play a big role on the Pistons this season. As for his health, hopefully doctors figure out the problem — if there is one — and Aaron turns out to be fine and can play soon.

The Orlando Magic have signed free agents Kadeem Batts, Drew Crawford, Seth Curry and Peyton Siva, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

These are likely all non-guaranteed deals that bring the players to Magic training camp.

Orlando’s roster now stands at 19 players. NBA regular season rosters have a maximum of 15 players.

Training camp for the Magic begins on Tuesday, September 30.

The Golden State Warriors alternate uniforms for the 2014-15 season were unveiled tonight.

The Warriors 2014-15 alternate uniforms feature a new color for the NBA, Slate, which is being added to the team’s identity for the 2014-15 season. Slate represents not only the technology and innovation synonymous with the Bay Area, but also the body armor for the team on the court.

The Warriors will debut the Slate Alternate Uniforms when the team faces the Charlotte Hornets at home on Saturday, November 15, and continue to wear the Slate Alternate Uniforms on Saturday games throughout the 2014-15 regular season (Does not include Opening Night).

Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich are two of the best at their respective NBA jobs, and it’s a pleasure seeing them operate. Getting Popovich to explain himself in press conferences isn’t quite as enjoyable, but of course that takes nothing away from his coaching. Here’s the San Antonio Express-News blog with more as the 2014-15 NBA season approaches:

They first joined forces in 1997, Tim Duncan as the fresh-faced franchise savior, Gregg Popovich as the not-so-fresh-faced usurper still trying to prove his worth as an NBA head coach.

Seventeen seasons and five championships later, they’re still going strong, both bound for the Hall of Fame and eager to embark on what could be, with Duncan’s contract set to expire next summer, their final campaign together. The sheer weight of that partnership gave Popovich pause as the Spurs opened training camp on Saturday, the first official day of their championship defense.

“I asked Timmy before (practice), what camp is this?” he said. “He said, ‘This is the 18th camp in a row.’ I said, ‘My gosh. What do you think the first drill is going to be?’ He said, ‘Is it going to be the same stupid one we do every year?’ I said, ‘Yeah, we’re going to start at the beginning.’”

“So some of this stuff is boring. But it’s all about starting at the beginning every year, not skipping steps. You’ve heard me say it a million times, but it really is true. You have to build it all over again. You can’t assume you’re going to start where you left off. Luckily, I have a group that understands that.”

Here’s the Charlotte Observer with a long look at new Hornet Lance Stephenson. Much more on the original article page link:

Lance Stephenson ready to battle for Hornets

As a Coney Island teenager given the nickname “Born Ready,” he became New York City’s best high school basketball player. After a quick stop in college, he has toiled in relative obscurity in the Midwest up until last season with the Indiana Pacers.

Now, Stephenson, the Charlotte Hornets’ big free-agent signing this offseason, is poised for a breakout with his new team. But his talent has always been belied by his outbursts.

Reserved away from the court, Stephenson displays a passion on the floor that results in triple doubles and ankle-breaking moves – but also technical fouls and head-shaking antics.

More than basketball, he also wants to make movies and music. He just released a music video for his new rap song, a remake of the popular rap song, “Hot N—a.” He has ambitions of doing more songs.

New head coach set to lead Jazz

Here’s the Deseret News reporting on the Utah Jazz, who in the 2014-15 season will be led by new head coach Quin Snyder:

utah jazz

Not only did Snyder replace Tyrone Corbin, who was contract-not-renewed the week after the season ended following his 3 1/2-year stint. But a couple of guys got promotions and multiple new faces were also added to Utah’s bench to help the former Duke point guard in his first NBA head coaching gig.

After advancing to become one of four finalists for the coaching vacancy, Jazz assistant coach Brad Jones was retained by the organization and moved up to be Snyder’s right-hand man. Former Ute star and player development coach Alex Jensen was also promoted as an assistant to join Jones on the bench.

Ex-Duke big man Antonio Lang, who had been coaching in Japan, was tabbed as the third bench coach. Also, the Jazz retained former Utah point guard Johnnie Bryant and hired Mike Wells as their player development coaches. Wells has years of NBA experience with the Rockets, Lakers and Spurs.

The Brooklyn Nets 2014-15 roster looks weaker than last year’s edition. They need everybody healthy, and that includes Andrei Kirilenko, who may play an increased role from now on. But he’s not ready to go just yet, reports ESPN New York:

Andrei Kirilenko feeling tightness in back

Brooklyn Nets small forward Andrei Kirilenko, who was working with the starters on the first day of training camp, has tightness in his lower back, which he believes could keep him out for the next 7-10 days.

Kirilenko missed 25 straight games early last season due to back spasms. Overall, he missed 37 games in 2013-14 due to injury.

“I mean I’m trying to be positive,” Kirilenko, who worked with the training staff to strengthen his back in the offseason, said Sunday.

Cavs sign Chris Crawford, Shane Edwards for training camp

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed guard Chris Crawford and forward Shane Edwards, Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.

Crawford played in 140 games (84 starts) over his four-year career at The University of Memphis with averages of 8.7 points, 3.3 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 27.9 minutes per game. His 242 three-pointers made are tied for third in school history, while he also ranks fourth in total steals (223) and sixth in games played. The 6-4 guard went undrafted in this year’s NBA Draft and appeared in five contests for the Houston Rockets summer league team in Orlando with averages of 10.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.2 steals in 24.4 minutes per game.

Edwards signed a 10-day contract with Cleveland in 2013-14 when he played in two games with the Cavaliers after spending most of the season with the Canton Charge, the Cavaliers’ D-League affiliate. In 46 games (38 starts) with the Charge, he averaged 14.2 points on .551 shooting, 5.4 rebounds and 1.0 steal in 28.8 minutes per game.

Hornets sign Jason Maxiell

Hornets sign Jason Maxiell

Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has signed free agent forward Jason Maxiell. The training camp roster now stands at 18.

The 6-7 Maxiell spent last season with the Orlando Magic, averaging 3.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 14.4 minutes in 34 games.  Originally selected with the 26th overall pick of the 2005 NBA Draft by Detroit, Maxiell spent his first eight seasons with the Pistons, appearing in 523 career games (175 starts), with averages of 6.1 points and 4.4 rebounds in 19.1 minutes.

Over his nine-year career, Maxiell has appeared in 557 games (188 starts), averaging 5.9 points and 4.3 rebounds in 18.9 minutes, while shooting .501 (204-457) from the field.

Collegiately, he averaged 12.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 129 career games for Cincinnati. While with the Bearcats, he was named Second Team All-Conference USA twice (2004 and 2005), Conference USA All-Tournament (2004), Conference USA Sixth Man of the Year (2002) and Conference USA All-Freshman Team (2002). Maxiell played in 129 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in school history, and started the last 77 contests he played.

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