SBS's blog on news opinions and developments in the NBA, with a focus on business.

Zennie62 On YouTube

Monday, April 30, 2007


Warriors put Mavs on ropes

Janny Hu, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, April 30, 2007

The Warriors might want to add more words to their playoff slogan:

We Believe ... in the Unbelievable.

Like Baron Davis banking in a three-pointer from near midcourt to end the first half.

Like the Warriors erasing nine-point deficits in both the second and third quarters.

Like the Warriors -- the eighth-seeded, underdog, we're-just-happy-to-be-here Warriors -- suddenly one win away from one of the biggest upsets in playoff history after rallying one last time for a 103-99 thriller over Dallas in Game 4.

"We refused to lose tonight," Matt Barnes said. "We've got a whole lot of heart on this team, and we refuse to lose. That's the bottom line."

Believe it or not, the Warriors will head to Dallas today with a 3-1 series lead and three chances to become the first No. 8 seed ever to eliminate a No. 1 seed in a best-of-seven format.

The last time the Warriors won a playoff series was in 1991 against San Antonio. They're so close to making history now, they can feel it.

"Hell, yeah," Al Harrington said. "We're just one game away."

On Sunday, Golden State took Dallas' best shot and swatted the Mavericks all the way to the edge of elimination. After allowing the Mavs to dictate the tempo all night, the Warriors were down 90-86 with four minutes left.

Then they unleashed a 10-0 run off three-pointers and hustle plays, and the one that got them over the hump was symbolic on so many levels: Jason Richardson swiped a pass and outletted to Davis, who streaked past Dirk Nowitzki for the go-ahead layup.

For the first time in the fourth, Golden State led 91-90 with 2:33 to go, and the sold-out crowd went wild. And it only got louder after Davis found Andris Biedrins for a slam dunk, louder after another Richardson steal, louder after Davis hit a fadeaway, and louder still after Barnes nailed a three-pointer for a 99-93 lead over the shell-shocked Mavs with 23.3 seconds left.

"They never really closed the door on us and we kicked it back open at the end of the game," said Barnes, who had eight points and seven rebounds off the bench.

"I know when I first came here, we're down like that, big-time-caliber game like it is now, I don't think we would've fought back," added Stephen Jackson, who had 19 points. "We're learning to keep our composure, to find ways to win."

Davis tied his playoff-career high with 33 points. Richardson added 22 and reserve Mickael Pietrus delivered an energizing 16 points, five rebounds and two steals.

This one didn't come easy, though. The Mavs -- perhaps spurred by a players'-only meeting called by Jason Terry and Jerry Stackhouse on Saturday -- put together a solid effort and probably their grittiest of the series.

Dallas coach Avery Johnson started his third lineup in four games, pulling center Erick Dampier for DeSagana Diop, and the switcheroo appeared to work as Diop collected four rebounds and a block in his opening stint.

The Warriors were a step slow defensively, leaving Mavericks open across the court, and Josh Howard, Nowitzki and Stackhouse finally snapped out of their shooting slumps. That led to a quick nine-point deficit and numerous substitutions before Pietrus provided the much-needed lift off the bench.

In a two-minute span, he slammed home a missed Richardson jumper, skied for a defensive rebound over three Mavericks, and came out of nowhere to block a Terry layup from behind. He followed that by hitting a pair of threes, the second of which knotted the game at 42-42 with 2:14 left in the first half.

Pietrus also delivered the game-sealing play after Nowitzki hit a pair of late threes to give the Mavs a short-lived lifeline. With the Mavs by three and 1.8 seconds left, Pietrus stole the final inbounds pass to clinch a Game 4 win and give Golden State a head full of confidence heading into Game 5 in Dallas -- its first chance to close out the series.

"As long as we believe in ourselves, we'll be all right," Davis said.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Nuggets' Camby wins Defensive Player award

Camby was more than deserving of the award after he posted phenomenal defensive statistics this season.

April 27, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) -- Denver Nuggets center Marcus Camby was voted the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year on Friday after leading the league in blocked shots for the third time.

Camby averaged 3.3 blocks to go with 11.2 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. He also averaged 1.24 steals, tops among centers. He received 70 first-place votes and 431 points from a panel of sports writers and broadcasters.
Camby also led the league in blocks last season and in 1997-98. He is one behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Mark Eaton for the most blocked shot titles.

Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, Theo Ratliff and George Johnson also led the league in blocks three times.

San Antonio forward Bruce Bowen was second with 206 points, while teammate Tim Duncan had 158 points and finished third.

The Nuggets and Spurs are tied at a game apiece in their Western Conference first-round series.

Updated on Friday, Apr 27, 2007 1:47 pm EDT

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Pacers fire coach Carlisle after 4 tumultuous seasons

Drastic changes will need to be made in the off season if the Pacers expect to return to a contending team in the Eastern Conference.

April 25, 2007

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Rick Carlisle was fired Wednesday after four tumultuous years as coach of the Indiana Pacers, who failed to make the playoffs for the first time in a decade.

Carlisle said he understood it was time for the Pacers to hear a "new voice." Team president Larry Bird said Carlisle has an option to return to the team in another capacity. Carlisle was appointed vice president in October and has until June 15 to decide if he wants to keep that title.
The Pacers finished the season 35-47, their worst since 1988-89. Indiana was 29-24 shortly after the All-Star break, but lost its next 11 games to fall out of playoff contention. A loss to Detroit on April 3 clinched the Pacers' first losing season since 1996-97.

Carlisle struggled to manage talented but volatile players. Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson were the two most prominent players in the 2004 brawl between Pacers players and Detroit Pistons fans. That brawl started the unraveling of a team that was expected to make several title runs.

"This came down to what was in the best interests of the franchise going forward," Carlisle said. "Coaching is something that gets in your blood. But then again, when you know it's time, you know it's time."

Carlisle acknowledged his struggles to connect with the players.

"It's a people business, and communication is really important," Carlisle said. "You can never be too good a communicator. It's something I want to continue to work on."

Carlisle isn't sure if he wants to coach again, retain the Pacers management position or take time off to be with his family. Seattle has fired its coach, as has Sacramento -- where Artest now plays.

"He's got an opportunity to stay here," Bird said. "But you know Rick, he'll be out there networking and if he gets another job, he gets another job."

Carlisle and Bird said the coaching search will include candidates within the organization. Carlisle said Pacers assistants Johnny Davis and Chuck Person are ready to make the move. Davis has made head coaching stops in Orlando and Philadelphia. Bird said he's not interested in coaching the team he led to the NBA finals in 2000.

In the Pacers' first year under Carlisle in 2003-04, they went 61-21 for the best record in the NBA, and the club reached the Eastern Conference finals. Indiana started the 2004-05 season in similar fashion, winning six of its first eight games.
Then came Nov. 19, 2004.

Artest went into the stands after a Detroit Pistons fan he thought doused him with a beverage, and some of his teammates joined in the melee. Artest was suspended for 73 games and the playoffs, and teammates Jermaine O'Neal, Jackson and Anthony Johnson were given shorter suspensions.

The remaining Pacers clawed their way to a 44-38 record and the second round of the playoffs, but Pacers fans were upset that Miller's final season ended that way.

Even with the brawl year, Carlisle said this season was the toughest he's had in coaching, the situation made more difficult because of his close friendship with Bird. Carlisle said he spoke with Bird on Tuesday and they decided that whichever of them dies first, the other will read the eulogy.

"I've seen other friends part ways and never speak again," Bird said, "but that's not the way it's going to be with us."

Updated on Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 5:18 pm EDT

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bulls' Hinrich fined $25,000 by NBA

April 23, 2007

CHICAGO (AP) -- Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Monday for throwing his mouthpiece into the stands during a playoff victory over the Miami Heat.
Hinrich fired his mouthpiece into the stands after picking up his fourth foul early in the third quarter, and got a technical. The guard finished with two points and five fouls in the Bulls' 96-91 win at United Center on Saturday.

Hinrich, a captain, averaged 16.6 points during the season.

A phone message left with the Bulls was not immediately returned.

Updated on Monday, Apr 23, 2007 5:43 pm EDT

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Action From The NBA Playoffs

By David

Sixteen teams have entered the playoffs with one goal and that is to capture the NBA championship. New Jersey, Chicago, Houston, Cleveland and Phoenix took one step closer to that mission by winning their opening round game.

Currently, the Denver and San Antonio game is in progress with the Nuggets on top 72-71. Later on tonight the Warriors and Mavericks do battle in Dallas. There are many question marks entering the playoffs and as the first round unfolds many of those questions will be answered.

In the east, can Washington defeat LeBron and the Cavs despite missing their two best players in Caron Butler and ''Agent Zero'' Gilbert Arenas? Also, can the hobbled Heat defend their NBA title by knocking off the young and energetic Chicago Bulls? They were not able to in game one and if Dwyane Wade wants to win his second title with Shaq he will have to step up his game.

In the west, how will Allen Iverson fair in his first playoff series with the Nuggets and can he and Carmelo pull off the first round upset of the Spurs? While Denver has the talent to do so, San Antonio has the playoff experience led by Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

Additionally, can the run and gun Warriors continue their regular season success against the NBA's best, the Dallas Mavericks. An 8-1 upset is possible and Golden State would be the perfect team to shock the Mavs. I'm rooting for the Warriors and so is the rest of the Bay Area.

The NBA playoffs is a long and argues process that takes many weeks until a champion is crowned. My prediction for the finals is Detroit against Phoenix, with the Suns pulling it out. While Phoenix is an offensive juggernaut, San Antonio and Dallas came at you with stellar defense and timely offense.

It might sound mundane picking the Pistons to come out of the east, but I can't envision another team knocking them off. LeBron and the Cavs have the ability to top their division rival, but it will not occur this season. If New Jersey can escape Toronto they have the best opportunity in my opinion to challenge Detroit. Jason Kidd is the ideal leader who can do it all and Vince Carter is in his final year with the Nets. It's time for him to take it to the next level and shine in the playoffs.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Kings fire Musselman after 1 season

Eric Musselman was not able to continue the winning tradition in Sacramento.
April 20, 2007

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The Sacramento Kings fired coach Eric Musselman on Friday after just one tumultuous season.

The Kings went 33-49 and missed the playoffs amid infighting and unimpressive play. The club, which reached the postseason eight consecutive times before coach Rick Adelman was fired last summer, wasted no time removing Musselman, but intends to take plenty of time to choose his replacement.

"We've got to sit down and look at the process and how we did it," Geoff Petrie, the Kings' president of basketball operations, said of last summer's coaching search.

"There was some concern -- not that we were out of the playoffs, but the way we were out of it. We just couldn't get the level of consistency that would allow us to (make the postseason)."

The firing is a disastrous end to an experiment by Sacramento owners Joe and Gavin Maloof, who dropped Adelman last summer against Petrie's apparent wishes. The Maloofs eventually chose Musselman, a longtime NBA assistant coach who presided over two decent seasons with the Golden State Warriors from 2002-04.

But Musselman was a disappointment from Oct. 20, when he was arrested on a drunken-driving charge after Sacramento's first preseason game. Musselman later pleaded no contest to the charge and served a two-game suspension in February.

The Kings, who won two Pacific Division titles and reached the 2002 Western Conference finals under Adelman, struggled after an 8-5 start under Musselman. They eventually collapsed into a season-ending 5-17 skid despite returning largely the same roster that scared the San Antonio Spurs in a first-round series last season.

Petrie thought he had assembled a team capable of challenging for a playoff spot even while the club retools its roster, but the Kings fell out of contention during a 1-8 skid in March that included losses to Charlotte, Atlanta and Minnesota.

Sacramento finished the season with a 117-106 home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night to cap a 20-21 record at Arco Arena. The Kings have sold out 354 consecutive home games, but those raucous crowds had little to cheer.

After years of dazzling the NBA with Adelman's uptempo offense, the Maloofs wanted to see an improved defensive team in the mold of San Antonio or Detroit. Though Musselman had a background in defensive coaching and an inexhaustible supply of motivational material, the Kings never took to his approach while yielding 103.1 points per game -- seventh-worst in the league -- even with vaunted defensive stopper Ron Artest in the lineup.

And the Kings' problems weren't confined to the court, where guard Kevin Martin's breakout season was perhaps the only major improvement. The unpleasant locker room was filled with infighting, and veterans Artest, Mike Bibby and Brad Miller all failed to take charge.

"They sense they all could have done more themselves, and more as a group," Petrie said of his end-of-season interviews with the players.

The season was among the most discouraging in the history of a franchise that knows all about miserable basketball, including 15 consecutive losing seasons from 1984-98.

The club moved from Kansas City to Sacramento in 1985 and reached the playoffs twice with losing records before Adelman, Chris Webber, Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic transformed the team in 1999 -- also the same year the Maloofs bought the team.

But most of the key players on those teams aged and departed over the last three seasons, leaving Petrie to rebuild around Bibby and Artest, who added to his volatile reputation with another bizarre year. Animal control officers and police were called to his suburban home at different times during the winter, and he occasionally criticized teammates and disrupted practices.

After weeks of rumors surrounding Musselman's departure, the Kings made the move after Musselman met Friday with Petrie, who acknowledged he already was "leaning that direction." The Maloofs must pay Musselman about $5 million for the remaining two seasons of his contract.

"When the speculation about anybody's job security gets as heavy and personal as it has in the last few days, it's unfair to let that kind of thing drag on," Petrie said, citing widespread predictions of Musselman's demise in the Sacramento media.

Attempts to reach Musselman weren't immediately successful. Joe Maloof also didn't return a phone call seeking comment.

The Kings don't intend to start a coaching search until Petrie returns from an upcoming scouting trip to Europe, though Petrie intends to have a coach in place before the draft.

Musselman's assistants, including Scott Brooks, are still under contract to the Kings. Brooks could be among the candidates -- but the Kings seem more likely to go after an established NBA coach after attempting to tame a difficult locker room with a relative neophyte.

Longtime Spurs assistant P.J. Carlesimo interviewed for the job last summer, and the Maloofs have long spoken highly of Larry Brown, now an executive vice president with the Philadelphia 76ers.

And the day just got worse for the Kings: They also lost tiebreakers with Charlotte and New York, who also finished 33-49, to drop from eighth to 10th in the overall draft order.

Updated on Friday, Apr 20, 2007 7:01 pm EDT

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Congratulations to the Warriors and head coach Don Nelson. Unfortunately, Golden State has a first round match up with the leagues best team, the Dallas Mavericks.
Newcomers, Richardson score big in romp

Janny Hu, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, April 19, 2007

(04-19) 04:00 PDT Portland - -- On the eve of the biggest game of his career, Jason Richardson slept like a baby. Now, he isn't sure when he'll catch his next wink, knowing that what's eluded him ever since he's been a Warrior is finally here.
The postseason. The real season.

"I've been trying for the last five years and coming up short," Richardson said. "I'm so excited, I might not sleep for the next two nights."

Golden State's 12-year playoff drought officially ended Wednesday with its 120-98 romp over the Blazers at the Rose Garden. The Warriors will meet at their practice facility in Oakland today to begin preparing for their first-round series against Dallas that starts Sunday.

Only one eight-seed has ever knocked off a No. 1, that's the beauty of the playoffs. Once you get there, anything can happen. And the Warriors' are about to embark on their posteason journey since April of 1994, the same month Denver upset top-seeded Seattle.

"The basketball gods have a funny way of giving you what you deserve, and we deserved this," said Baron Davis.

On Wednesday, it was as if every lay-up and three-pointer they fired in had some sort of cathartic effect, and no one showed it more than Richardson. The sixth-year guard has carried the heaviest load of any Warrior, and he unloaded it by scoring 25 points, but his biggest score was simply knowing that the Warriors were going to the playoffs for the first time in his Warriors career.

It's why he raised his arms in triumph when the final horn sounded, why teammates took care to find and hug him after the game, and why he and backcourt mate Baron Davis let loose for the biggest embrace.

"Once you play here, you're a part of the history of the franchise and everything," forward Matt Barnes said. "Especially for J-Rich, someone who's been putting his heart and soul out there for six straight years and always going home on the last day of the season.

"So definitely, (we had) to do this for him and the fans and all the people that supported us the 13 years before."

Warriors' coach Don Nelson, who was on the sidelines when the Warriors last made the playoffs in 1994, said he felt vulnerable coming to Portland; that for all his team had accomplished late in the season, anything other than the playoffs would have been a failure.

He didn't have to worry. The Blazers offered about as much resistance as the Mavericks did the previous night, trotting out a junior, junior varsity line-up missing Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Zach Randolph and Joel Pryzbilla.

Wednesday's finale symbolized the best of the Warriors turnarounds. They won on the road. They swept a back-to-back set. And they did it with the unselfish team play that's typified their closing sprint.

Baron Davis netted a triple-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists. Stephen Jackson scored a team-high 31 points, and Al Harrington added 24.

The Warriors (42-40) closed out the season with five straight wins, matching their longest streak of the year, and posted their first winning record in 13 years.

"When we were (nine) games under, we could have easily packed it in," Harrington said. "Baron could have said he's going to rest his knee or rehab. But guys said 'No, we're going to keep practicing. Let's see where we're at and if we're right there, we'll make that push."

"It didn't always look so good," Nelson added. But we achieved a great goal on the last day. Each one of these games has been bigger and bigger, and this was the biggest."

Now, it's time for the playoffs. And Jackson, the only Warrior with a championship ring, is calling in reinforcements. He's bringing the bling out of safe-deposit box and showing it off to his teammates for inspiration.

"Once you make the playoffs, all you need is 16 wins and you're the NBA champ," Jackson said. "That's the easiest way to look at the championship."

This article appeared on page D - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Referee Crawford suspended in Duncan flap

April 17, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) -- Joey Crawford is done ejecting players and coaches this season. On Tuesday, he was the one getting tossed.

The veteran NBA referee was suspended indefinitely by commissioner David Stern for his conduct toward Tim Duncan, who contends the official challenged him to a fight during a game in Dallas.

Crawford has worked more postseason games than any active ref. His suspension will last at least through the NBA finals, and he apparently will have to meet with Stern after that to discuss reinstatement.

"Especially in light of similar prior acts by this official, a significant suspension is warranted," Stern said in a statement. "Although Joey is consistently rated as one of our top referees, he must be held accountable for his actions on the floor, and we will have further discussions with him following the season to be sure he understands his responsibilities."

Crawford ejected Duncan from San Antonio's loss after calling a second technical foul on the Spurs star while he was laughing on the bench.

"He looked at me and said, 'Do you want to fight? Do you want to fight?"' Duncan said. "If he wants to fight, we can fight. I don't have any problem with him, but we can do it if he wants to. I have no reason why in the middle of a game he would yell at me, 'Do you want to fight?"'

Crawford was cited for "improper conduct" and "inappropriate comments made to Duncan during the game." Stern said Crawford's actions "failed to meet the standards of professionalism and game management we expect of NBA referees."

The NBA also fined Duncan $25,000 for verbal abuse of an official. Crawford said Duncan referred to him with an expletive.

Crawford was the first referee suspended since Rodney Mott was banned three games on Jan. 12 for making an obscene gesture toward a fan and also using inappropriate language in Portland.

Crawford comes from an officiating family. His brother, Jerry, is a major league umpire, as was his father, Shag.

Joey Crawford is in his 29th season as an NBA referee. He has officiated more than 2,000 games during the regular season and 252 in the playoffs, including 36 in the NBA finals.

But his temper has gotten him noticed before, especially in Game 2 of the 2003 Western Conference finals, a matchup involving the same teams as in Sunday's game. Crawford called four technical fouls in the first 10-plus minutes, leading to ejections of then-Mavs coach Don Nelson and assistant Del Harris.

Crawford also called a technical in a recent game against Duncan, who said Sunday that Crawford has a "personal vendetta against me."

Duncan was called for his first technical foul Sunday with 2:20 remaining in the third quarter for arguing about an offensive foul. Crawford hit him with the second technical 1:16 later after Duncan was on the bench laughing about a call that went against the Spurs.

With Duncan gone, the Mavericks rallied to beat the Spurs, ending San Antonio's chance of earning the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

Updated on Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 4:39 pm EDT

Monday, April 16, 2007

Lawmakers won't vote on Sonics arena this session

It would be a real shame if the Sonics were forced to leave Seattle and relocate, possibly to Oklahoma City.

April 17, 2007

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Seattle SuperSonics majority owner Clay Bennett said a decision by the Washington state Legislature not to vote on a measure to finance a new arena has all but doomed efforts to keep the team in the state beyond next season.

"Clearly at this time the Sonics and (WNBA) Storm have little hope of remaining in the Puget Sound region," the Oklahoma City-based Bennett said in statement issued soon after the Monday night decision.

Seattle has been the NBA Sonics' only home for 40 seasons.

At a meeting involving Gov. Chris Gregoire and House and Senate leaders, lawmakers decided there wasn't enough time to resolve the issue before the session adjourns on April 22. But they said the issue was not dead.

"We know we're not going to take a vote this session because we're really running out of time," said Sen. Margarita Prentice, D-Renton, and the arena's strongest champion. "There's a number of issues we feel we should resolve."

The $500 million arena plan ran out of time largely because of two factors. First, Bennett did not take control of the team until Nov. 1, 2006, when the NBA finally approved his $350 million summer purchase from Starbucks Corp. Chairman Howard Schultz. Then complications in determining the most viable arena site delayed the plan from reaching the Legislature until Feb. 13 -- five weeks after Bennett's target date.

Sonics spokesman Jim Kneeland said the team has committed to work with the Legislature until Nov. 1 on plans for an arena, but "this is a very serious blow to try to keep the team here."

The team is looking to replace KeyArena in Seattle, where the Sonics hold what NBA
commissioner David Stern called the league's worst lease. The purchase agreement that Bennett and his Oklahoma-based co-owners have stipulates that if Bennett doesn't have a new arena deal in place by Oct. 31, he is contractually free to move the teams. But the Sonics did not file a franchise relocation request with the NBA by the March 1 deadline, meaning they are obligated for at least one more season in Seattle.

Gregoire could call a special session to bring lawmakers back to Olympia after April 22. That appears to be the only way the Sonics could get legislative approval to send their arena plan to King County by Nov. 1. But Monday, lawmakers and a spokeswoman for Gregoire's office said there's been no discussion of a possible special session.

The next legislative session does not convene until January 2008.

"By its inaction, the Legislature has delivered the message that they are indifferent to the notion of the Sonics and the Storm leaving the market," Bennett said.

Lawmakers sounded more optimistic, promising to look at a large-scale arena plan they say could be an asset to the entire state -- not just the Sonics.

Last Friday, Prentice's committee, the Senate Ways and Means Committee, approved a $278 million package of local taxes to help build the new events center in Prentice's hometown of Renton, south of Seattle. Bennett has said the proposed facility would hold at least 18,500 fans and could accommodate national political conventions and other sports such as hockey.

But the plan has run into stiff opposition in the state House, where discussions among House Democrats have been lukewarm, and where the powerful speaker, Rep. Frank Chopp of Seattle, had all but pronounced the plan dead.

House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler, D-Hoquiam, said a straw poll taken throughout Monday showed "there wasn't significant support for the proposal right now, but perhaps if the discussion turns to a statewide multipurpose event center that might change the dynamics.

"We don't know because that's not what we were presented with," she said.

Bennett has asked the Legislature for $300 million in public money for the facility, which could cost in excess of $500 million. The city of Renton has been asked to contribute money as well, but that amount hasn't been determined yet. Neither has the Sonics' contribution to the arena's cost.

Updated on Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 12:57 am EDT

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Oden, Durant and Afflalo Declare For NBA Draft

By David

College Basketball phenoms Greg Oden, Kevin Durant and Aaron Afflalo have all elected to take their games to the next level, the NBA. Ohio State's Greg Oden and Texas' Kevin Durant, both freshman, are regarded as the two best players in this year's draft. UCLA star Aaron Afflalo will forgo his senior season, instead hoping to make a major impact in the NBA.

The 2006 draft was very uneventful and has not produced the talent level which has been seen in previous drafts. I had the opportunity to attend last June's draft and meet countless players, but I feverishly am awaiting the upcoming draft which will produce a plethora of excellent basketball talent.

At 18, Kevin Durant exploded onto the college scene and had an impactful season. The AP Player of the Year averaged 25.8 ppg, 11.1 rpb and shot 47% from the field. He was also an impressive 40% from three-point range and 82% from the foul line. Additionally, Durant was named Big 12 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. Despite a short career at the University of Texas, the All-American forward will leave Austin as one of the best college players in recent memory.

Even though there has been extensive debate over who the number one pick in this year's draft will be, I think Durant answered that question very quickly. He proved on countless occasions that he is a game changing player who can take over a game in a split second. He's capable of 20 and 10 every night and at 6'7, he shoots very well from the field.

Conversely, Greg Oden is a dominant force on the defensive side of the ball. He does not need to have the ball in his hands to completely switch the momentum of the game and that attribute makes him very attractive to many teams. I compare him to Ben Wallace, except that he has offensive ability. As seen in the tournament, Oden has a propensity to get into foul trouble and that must be a note of caution as he begins to prepare for his NBA career.

Luckily for all three men, they will receive hefty contracts and endorsement deals beginning this summer. Afflalo is a major attraction on the West Coast and Durant has gained national recognition in a short period of time for his excellent play. After the draft, Oden, Durant and Afflalo will have financial security for the rest of their lives.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bobcats' Morrison fined $25,000 for obscene gesture

I had the opportunity to meet Morrison last June and I would have never suspected that the former Gonzaga star would overreact in the way he did. Sometimes the heat of the moment gets to young players.
April 10, 2007

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Charlotte Bobcats forward Adam Morrison was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Tuesday for making an obscene gesture to a fan during a game in Miami.

Morrison made the gesture while sitting on the bench late in overtime during Charlotte's 111-103 win over the Heat on Sunday. Morrison did not play in the game because of a sprained knee, the first game he missed this season.

Morrison said he was being heckled throughout the game.

"I've got to learn to take it, I guess, but I think the guy went over the edge a little bit, calling me 'white trash' over and over again," said Morrison, who also sat out Tuesday's game against Miami. "I reacted naturally and I made a mistake. I hurt the organization and the team. I'm sorry about it and it will never happen again."

Morrison, the No. 3 overall pick in last year's draft, is averaging 11.9 points and is shooting 38 percent from the field this season. Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said he's still learning how to react to hostile crowds.

"Adam has those sonar ears, like a bat," Bickerstaff said. "That's another thing a rookie has to learn. ... When you move to this level, you've got fans, they're as good at what they as the players on the court."

Updated on Tuesday, Apr 10, 2007 7:04 pm EDT

Monday, April 09, 2007

Source: C’s want Doc to stick around -- Extension in works

Doc Rivers and the Celtics can only hope that they land the first or second pick in this June's draft and are able to select either Kevin Durant or Greg Odom.

By Steve Bulpett

Boston Herald Sports Reporter
Monday, April 9, 2007 - Updated: 04:57 AM EST

ATLANTA - Doc Rivers will have an opportunity to coach the Celtics [team stats] next year and beyond. According to league sources, the club is prepared to offer Rivers a contract extension following this season.

Rivers’ original four-year deal ends after next season, and he has stated he didn’t want to be in a lame duck position, though he did stop short of saying he would leave if the team didn’t extend his contract.

Now it appears that issue will be moot. While the salary figures and length of the new contract have yet to be discussed, both sides seem willing and eager to get something done.

Neither director of basketball operations Danny Ainge nor Rivers would confirm the news, but both made clear their satisfaction with the way things have gone this season under circumstances that include a far too young roster and a series of key injuries.

There were reports earlier in the year that some in the highest reaches of the organization were very open to a coaching change, but Rivers’ efforts in improving some of the young talent and keeping the team playing hard through a trying time have apparently altered that stance.

Ainge refused to get into Rivers’ contractual situation, but when asked in general about his coach, he said, “I think Doc likes what he sees in the future of this team and the players, and we like what Doc has done. Doc and I have a great relationship, a great deal of trust. He believes in the young players on this team and he doesn’t feel we’re that far off.”

Rivers avoided discussion of his situation.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Rivers said yesterday as the Celtics prepared for the last six games of their season, including tomorrow night’s tilt against the Atlanta Hawks, “but the ownership and Danny have been absolutely terrific with me. The city’s been terrific. It’s a great situation. When you put all those things together, things usually work out for the better for everybody.”

Though his coaching performance has become a target, Rivers remains confident in his ability.

“I have no doubt about it,” he said. “I’ve always believed in that. Every time I’ve had a decent team we’ve won. Just think about it. I’d never been under .500 in my career until these last two years. I’ve never been a big winner either, and one day I want to be that. I hope we can do that here, but I’m going to need some help. We have to improve still. We’re extremely young. Whoever we draft, that’s great, but we’ve still got to add some age to our team.”

At least, in part, because the Celtics have so many players still learning the pro game, Rivers spent a great deal of time being loud with his team the last two years. He acknowledged the concern that continuing this way could shorten his shelf life with the club, though he added the sideline style would change with a more experienced group. [continue]

I have to do a lot of coaching,” Rivers said. “Some of it is yelling, some of it is encouraging. You spend so much time doing that, you worry as a coach that when they finally do get it, are they going to hear you anymore? That shouldn’t stop you from doing it though, because you have to. It’s not what you want to do, and you know if the right group of guys gets it you won’t have to do it at all, but right now to get them going you have to do it. Either that or you get different guys.

“You can look at it a lot of ways, but it’s something you’re always concerned about because every coach who has to go through these rebuilding stages with young teams will tell you that a lot of the time when they get ready to really play, they don’t want to hear your voice anymore.”
Asked about this issue, Ainge pointed to the development of players whose ears have been ringing.

“A coach has to do what’s best for the team, and what Doc has done has made our players better,” he said. “But we all still have a lot of work to do.”

Heat G-F Posey arrested on drunken driving charges- Yahoo!

April 9, 2007

MIAMI (TICKER) -- Miami Heat swingman James Posey was arrested on drunken driving charges early Monday morning, according to a newspaper web site.

The Palm Beach Post reported that Posey, 30, was arrested in Miami Beach and taken to Miami-Dade County Jail, where he was held on $1,000 bond.

According to police reports, Posey's car was stopped in the middle of a two-lane road and and he was talking to pedestrians and occupants of other cars before being stopped by police.
"I apologize for any embarrassment or concern this has caused," Posey said. "I acknowledge that professional athletes are often held out as role models, and you may rest assured that I accept this tremendous responsibility willingly."

However, the veteran swingman denied being at fault.

"For now, please know that I was neither intoxicated nor was I driving at the time," Posey said. "However, out of respect to the police, and to the legal process which must follow, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this moment."

Posey missed four games earlier this season after being suspended for failing to meet the team's conditioning requirements. He is averaging 7.9 points and 5.1 rebounds in 67 games.

This is not a new situation this season for the Heat, who forced reserve guard Robert Hite to spend time away from the team after being arrested for driving under the influence.

Although the charges eventually were dropped, Hite was released after the team signed veteran guard Eddie Jones.

Updated on Monday, Apr 9, 2007 9:31 pm EDT

Friday, April 06, 2007

Las Vegas pitch to NBA holds the line on gambling

By KATHLEEN HENNESSEY, Associated Press Writer
April 5, 2007

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Local officials made no offer to restrict betting on NBA teams in a pitch for a franchise sent to commissioner David Stern on Thursday.

The proposal, requested by Stern in February, emphasizes Nevada's gambling regulatory record and argues the system "should provide sufficient cause for the association to permit a franchise to exist comfortably in Las Vegas without concern of corruption or interference by unsavory individuals."

Stern has said he was opposed to expansion into Las Vegas as long as gambling on NBA teams was allowed. But during NBA All-Star week in Las Vegas, the commissioner invited a proposal from local officials that would address his concerns, a move many took as a sign that his opposition was softening.

The league also asked city officials to address the need for a new arena after pronouncing the Thomas & Mack Center below professional standards. Stern promised to bring the proposal to the association's Board of Governors meeting later this month.

Many believed local officials, led by Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman, would answer with a proposed ban on betting on a Las Vegas team -- a revival of a rule previously applied to the state's college teams at UNLV and Nevada. The rule was abolished in 2001 by regulators who viewed it as a hypocrisy that implied gambling was wrong.

Casino companies -- whose sports books accepted $635.4 million in college and professional basketball bets last year and who have been closely involved in drafting the NBA proposal -- also have publicly opposed the rule.

Goodman defended that position Thursday.

"I believe it would be hypocritical for us to even suggest it," Goodman said at a news conference. "We have to be true enough to ourselves."

But the mayor would not rule out that his position might change as negotiations continue, joking "I could be a hypocrite for the right reasons."

He suggested it was the gambling industry's opposition that led him to hold the line on sports betting, at least for now.

"It's not me, I am the mayor. I'm the guy trying to get this on for the benefit if the community," said Goodman, whose city boundaries do not encompass the Las Vegas Strip. "I'm dealing with people who have the major industry here and whose input I have to have. I wasn't about to go off half-cocked. No good could come of that."

Casinos banned betting on the All-Star game at the league's insistence.

The letter also was signed by Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid and Rossi Ralenkotter, the head of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor's Authority.

The plan suggested gambling on NBA teams in Las Vegas could be "monitored jointly" by the league and state agencies, and that legislation could be passed to assure the NBA "that no improprieties will occur."

"Anything that's needed in order to keep the sport honest," Goodman said.

The letter also said city officials were considering proposals for a world-class arena and offered to include NBA in planning.

NBA spokesman Mark Broussard confirmed Stern had received the letter and said it would be discussed by team owners April 20.

Goodman has said the push to bring a professional basketball team to Las Vegas is a top priority of this third and final term, which he won Tuesday with 84 percent of the vote.

His plans hit a public relations roadblock in February when the All-Star game led to a spike in arrests and complaints about rowdy behavior from fans. The week ended with a triple shooting at a Las Vegas strip club, where Tennessee Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones and two friends are being investigated for their roles in an earlier brawl.

Updated on Thursday, Apr 5, 2007 7:01 pm EDT

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Announces Class of

Congratulations to all the inductees on a job well done.
Posted Apr 2 2007 2:01PM

SPRINGFIELD, MA – April 2, 2007 – Phil Jackson, who led the Lakers and Bulls to a record nine NBA titles, the 1966 NCAA Champions from Texas Western, University of North Carolina Coach Roy Williams, four time WNBA Championship coach Van Chancellor, referee Mendy Rudolph and international coaches Fedro Ferrandiz and Mirko Novosel were announced today as the newest members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2007. The announcement was made today in Atlanta, Georgia, site of the 2007 NCAA Men’s Final Four.

Jackson and Texas Western were elected in their first year of consideration for election into the Hall of Fame. Novosel, Rudolph and Williams were first-time Finalists this year who had previously been reviewed by Screening Committees. Chancellor and Ferrandiz had been named Finalists in prior years.

To be elected a Finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Class of 2007 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Mass. September 6-8, 2007. Tickets to the 2007 Enshrinement Gala and Induction Celebration are on-sale now and available by calling the Hall of Fame at (413) 781-6500. Additional Enshrinement Weekend information can also be found at

PHIL JACKSON – Coach, has been at the helm of not one, but two of the great dynasties in NBA history. A native of North Dakota, where he also starred in college before playing professionally for the Knicks and Nets, Jackson coached the Chicago Bulls to six NBA Championships (1991,1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998) and the Los Angeles Lakers to three straight titles (2000, 2001, 2002). His nine Championships tie him with the legendary Red Auerbach, and he was the fastest coach in NBA history to reach 900 wins. Under Jackson the Chicago Bulls posted the best regular season record in NBA history at 72-10, and was the NBA Coach of the Year in 1996. Jackson also claimed a CBA title and coach of the year honors with Albany in 1984, and was a player on the NBA Champion New York Knicks in 1973.

MARVIN “Mendy” RUDOLPH – Referee, officiated 2,112 NBA games in his career, a record at the time of his retirement. Born in Philadelphia, PA, Rudolph was considered one of the greatest officials of all time, and was selected to referee eight NBA All Star Games and at least one NBA Finals game for 22 consecutive seasons – including the 1961 Finals, when along with Earl Strom, he officiated all seven games, the only time in NBA history the same officials worked an entire Finals series. As the NBA Head of Officials, Rudolph wrote the NBA Official’s Manual and Case Book, and was widely respected by fellow officials, coaches, players and members of the media. Mr. Rudolph passed away in 1979 at the age of 53.

TEXAS WESTERN - Team, the 1966 NCAA National Champions, became the first team in NCAA history to win a title with five starting African-American players, beating an all-white Kentucky squad in the Championship game. Regarded by many as a key turning point in integration and increased equality in athletics, the highly publicized and inspirational Championship game also capped an amazing 28-1 season for Texas Western, led by Bobby Joe Hill and David Lattin. Coached by Hall of Famer Don Haskins, this true ‘team’ was comprised of African-American and white players, with seven different players leading the team in scoring. In 2006, forty years after the Miners captured the national title, their story was made into a major motion picture, “Glory Road”, the team visited the White House and was honored at halftime of the 2006 NCAA Men’s Championship Game.

ROY WILLIAMS – Coach, a native of Asheville, NC, is the third coach in history to lead two schools to an NCAA National Championship game, and has led both Kansas and North Carolina to a total of five Final Fours (1991, 1993, 2002, 2003, 2005), three national title games (1991, 2003, 2005), and won an NCAA Championship with North Carolina in 2005. Williams also played on the freshman team at North Carolina and was an assistant in Chapel Hill before accepting the head coaching job at Kansas in 1988. His teams have made 18 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, winning at least one tournament game in each. Williams is a six-time National Coach of the Year, and in his 18+ years of coaching he has become the fastest coach ever to reach the 500 win mark.

VAN CHANCELLOR - Coach (Finalist in 2005, 2006), a native of Louisville, Mississippi, led the Houston Comets to four straight WNBA Championships (1997-2000) and won 439 games as the Head Women’s Coach at Ole Miss (1978-1997). Chancellor coached the undefeated United States gold medal team at the 2004 Olympic Games, and has a spotless 38-0 record in international competition. In leading the Comets to a 211-111 record (1997-2006), Chancellor has been named WNBA coach of the year three times (1997, 1998, 1999). In addition, the 1998 Comets hold the record for the highest winning percentage in the history of NBA and WNBA basketball (27-3, .900 winning percentage). Chancellor was named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year three times (1987, 1990, 1992).

PEDRO FERRANDIZ - Coach (Finalist in 2001, 2003, 2006) a native of Alicante, Spain, is considered one of the greatest coaches in European history and has compiled an overall coaching record of 437-90 while leading Real Madrid to a record 12 Spanish League titles, 11 Spanish Cup titles, and four European Cup championships. He recorded three undefeated Spanish League seasons and was known for bringing the concept of the “fast break” to the European game. Along with Cesare Rubini, Ferrandiz founded the World Association of Basketball Coaches and served as the organization’s first president. He is the recipient of the Olympic Order from the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland, the only such basketball coach in history to earn the award (1977). He was honored by the Central Board of FIBA and conceded Order of Merit (2000). Ferrandiz has also been awarded the Blue Cross of Mention in Sport (2002).

MIRKO NOVOSEL – Coach, born June 30, 1938 in Zagreb, led the Yugoslavian team to the 1980 Olympic gold medal, 1976 silver medal and a bronze in 1984. Novosel also coached the Yugoslavian national team to a silver medal at the World Championships of Basketball in 1974. While coaching on the professional level in Europe, Novosel led Cibona to three national titles, a record seven Yugo-Cups, two Cup of Cup titles and captured the Cup of Champions in 1985. Novosel was named European Coach of the Year in 1985 and is one of only four coaches to win 3 or more Olympic medals.

Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of basketball, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level worldwide – professional, collegiate, men and women. For more information, please visit our website at or call 1-877-4-HOOPLA.