NBA team, D-League team affiliations announced

The National Basketball Association and the NBA Development League, the official minor league of the NBA, today announced the affiliation system for the 2009-10 season, including the announcement of a direct single-affiliation partnership between the Houston Rockets and Rio Grande Valley Vipers.  For the fifth consecutive year, each NBA team has one NBA D-League affiliate to which it may assign players in their first or second NBA season.

The Rockets became the first NBA team to enter into a direct single-affiliation partnership with an NBA D-League team, granting the Rockets full control over the basketball operations of the Vipers.  With the move, the Rockets will be the only parent-club of the team.

In a structure similar to other minor leagues, this new partnership model, previously referred to as the “hybrid affiliation,” allows for NBA teams to secure control over and cover the expenses related to the basketball operations of an NBA D-League team, while partnering with existing local ownership, who maintain responsibility for the off-the-court business operations of the team.

The list of affiliations is on our NBA D-League page.

Nets exercise Jarvis Hayes option

Nets exercise Jarvis Hayes option

The New Jersey Nets have exercised the team option on the contract of forward Jarvis Hayes for the 2009-10 season, Nets President Rod Thorn announced today.

“Jarvis was a key member of our rotation last season, providing instant scoring and the ability to stretch the defense,” said Thorn.  “We are pleased to have him continue as a member of our roster, and look forward to a similar contribution this season.”

Hayes, a 6-8 forward from the University of Georgia, signed as a free agent with the Nets on July 16, 2008.  In 2008-09, he played in 74 games including one start.  Hayes averaged 8.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in 24.8 minutes per contest while shooting a career-high .445 (257-577) from the field, a career-high .385 (94-244) from three-point range and .692 (36-52) from the line.

Hasheem Thabeet worked as a bouncer

Hasheem Thabeet worked as a bouncer

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports: Hasheem Thabeet did what he could to help his family. His father, an architect, had died of complications from diabetes, so Thabeet, at age 17 and all of 7 feet, found work as a bouncer outside a nightclub in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He was an intimidating presence at the door, blocking ill-advised attempts to get inside — a skill set that, as it turned out, would prove invaluable in the not-so-distant future. But he also harbored a secret. “When a fight started,” Thabeet said, “you wouldn’t see me.” … Thabeet spoke five languages, but academic transcript issues landed him at three prep schools in three states before he settled for good at Cypress Community Christian School outside of Houston. He was a project — he was used to kicking the ball with his feet instead of shooting it with his hands — but UConn coach Jim Calhoun was willing to take the risk. Thabeet’s potential was immense.

Former Rockets president group wants to buy Bobcats

The Houston Chronicle (Jonathan Feigen) reports: A group headed by former Rockets president and chief executive officer George Postolos has entered into negotiations to purchase the Charlotte Bobcats, a person with knowledge of the talks said Saturday. Postolos, who shepherded the Rockets through the arena referendum and move to the Toyota Center and helped the value of the franchise grow from $166 million to $422 million during his tenure, left the team in May 2006 after 7½ years to form The Postolos Group, a company that helps with the acquisition of sports franchises.

Jrue Holiday feels he should have been drafted higher

Jrue Holiday feels he should have been drafted higher

Philly Burbs/The Intelligencer (Tom Moore) reports: Jrue Holiday considers playing for the 76ers to be an ideal situation for him. The Sixers are looking for a young point guard to push the ball upcourt and defend, which Holiday believes are among his strengths. But Holiday is still bothered that he dropped to No. 17 in Thursday’s NBA Draft after he had been regarded as a top-12 prospect during nearly the entire pre-draft process of workouts and interviews. “Honestly, it’s motivation to do better,” said Holiday during Friday’s introductory news conference at PCOM. “I wasn’t expecting it. I wish I could’ve gone higher. I really don’t think there are 16 players in the draft better than me. All the teams I worked out for know what I can do.”

Omri Casspi is first Israeli player to make the NBA

Omri Casspi is first Israeli player to make the NBA

The Sacramento Bee (Ailene Voisin) reports on Omri Casspi, the first Israeli player who will play in the NBA: He can run. We know that. He plays both forward positions. He is long and wiry, 6-foot-9 and 220 pounds, and he must be as tough as his reputation suggests, because the second of the Kings’ two first-round draft choices (No. 23) is carrying an entire nation along for the ride. Forget the champagne and night-long celebration. Israeli President Shimon Peres called to offer congratulations. “I wouldn’t say I feel pressure, though,” said Casspi, 21, shortly after arriving with his mother, Ilana, from Tel Aviv. “Everybody is just trying to encourage me.” … Former Israeli stars such as Doron Sheffer, Oded Katash, Lior Eliyahu and Yotam Halperin either failed to make rosters or signed deals overseas.

Jazz happy to have Maynor

The Salt Lake Tribune (Ross Siler) reports:  The Jazz scouted six of Eric Maynor’s games his senior season, general manager Kevin O’Connor said. Wednesday’s interview, might have made the difference, though, when Maynor offered advanced answers in a Pick-and-Roll 101 quiz. There are questions about Maynor’s shooting and size, how he will adapt from VCU and how much he can expect to play as a rookie. Those answers can wait at least until Maynor reports for the start of summer-league practices next week in Orlando, Fla. “I’m not even going to look at it as being a rookie, just being an NBA basketball player,” Maynor said.

Ricky Rubio skips Minnesota Timberwolves draft press conference

The AP reports: Ricky Rubio was not present when the Minnesota Timberwolves introduced their 2009 draft class on Friday. Sixth overall pick Jonny Flynn and 28th pick Wayne Ellington attended with new president David Kahn. But the Timberwolves say Rubio decided to stay behind because of his contract situation. editor says: Rubio has a buyout that is reportedly around $6.5 million, give or take half a million. He may wind up staying in Spain for a year or two before coming to the NBA. And other teams are probably contacting the Timberwolves right now to see if they can get Rubio. According to several local newspaper reports, the Knicks will be one of those teams.

Amar’e Stoudemire to the Lakers? Doubtful

Phoenix Suns star forward/center Amar’e Stoudemire (I’m still getting used to typing the apostrophe in his first name) posted what I assume is a joke on Twitter around 3:30 p.m. ET on Friday, posting: “Breaking News! Amar’e Stoudemire to the Lakers!!”

While the Suns did just trade Shaquille O’Neal to the Cleveland Cavaliers and have reportedly made Stoudemire available, my immediate assumption was that he was kidding.

After maybe an hour, I did pick up the phone and call someone who knows a thing or two about a thing or two relating to someone or something, and I still won’t take it seriously until there’s reason to think otherwise.

If the Suns do wind up trading Stoudemire to a decent team, I hope it’s one of those squads that’s decent but would become good and occasionally very good with him on board. Like the 76ers, Heat, maybe the Bulls. If any of those squads got Amar’e they’d move a rung or two up the East ladder.