Friday, January 15, 2010

Connecticut: Ridgefield girls basketball claws to top of FCIAC standings

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. — When the Ridgefield Tigers lost top scorer Kristin Anda and starting point guard Melanie Andrea to graduation last spring, questions swirled around how the girls basketball team would fare during the 2009-10 season.

File photo by Gretchen McMahon
Kathryn Cholko, Ridgefield
Eight games into the schedule, head coach Katie Smith’s Tigers have answered loud and clear that they are one of the frontrunners for this winter’s FCIAC championship.Ridgefield knocked off Brien McMahon and Westhill last week to improve to 7-1 overall and a perfect 6-0 in conference play, records that include a 55-45 win over title contender St. Joseph.The lone loss was a 56-48 defeat at the hands of the McMahon Senators in Masuk’s Christmas Tournament, but the Tigers got immediate revenge when they trounced the Senators, 65-47, one week later. The latter game was the official conference game, allowing Ridgefield to remain atop the FCIAC standings as the league’s last unbeaten.The Tigers have been led by their core of three returning starters, a trio which includes one junior and two sophomores. The sophomores, center Michelle Gibbons and guard Emily Favorite, a sharpshooter from outside, have been the leading scorers, while junior Kathryn Cholko is back at guard.Junior Molly Welch moved into a starting forward role and is also a big weapon, while senior captain Abby Searfoss and sophomore Lauren Eckstein have also been keys.In the victory over McMahon last week, three players hit double digits in scoring as Gibbons and Welch scored 16 points apiece and Favorite hit for a dozen. Gibbons also had 13 rebounds for a double-double.On Friday, Ridgefield made it six straight FCIAC wins with a 35-28 decision over the Westhill Vikings. The game was a struggle offensively on both sides, as Ridgefield led 15-14 at halftime despite scoring just three points in the second quarter.The Tigers again scored just three points in the third frame as Westhill jumped ahead, 22-18, but Ridgefield dug deep and pulled out an 18-6 fourth quarter to get the victory. Cholko led the Tigers with 11 points, while Gibbons had 10 and Welch had seven.Ridgefield leads the FCIAC by one half game, as Staples checks in at 6-1 in the league. Danbury, Stamford and St. Joe’s are tied for third at 5-1, with Trumbull and New Canaan next at 5-2. The Tigers play at Fairfield-Warde on Tuesday and will host Truumbull on Friday. 2. Former Tiger in charge for D.C. United: Former Ridgefield soccer star Curt Onalfo was tabbed as the new head coach of the D.C. United last week. Onalfo, who played for D.C. United in 1998 and 1999, was officially introduced as the team’s coach at a press conference at RFK Stadium on Jan. 5. He becomes the sixth head coach in franchise history and replaces Tom Soehn. D.C. United has reached the MLS finals only once in the past 10 years after winning three championships in the league’s first four years.Onalfo is a graduate of Ridgefield High School and played alongside his brother Cliff on the Tigers’ 1983 and 1984 Connecticut state champion teams. In college, he played for the University of Virginia.Onalfo was a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team, which played in Barcelona, Spain, and was on the U-20 and full U.S. National Teams. He played for three teams in the MLS, starting out with the Los Angelas Galaxy before joining the San Jose Clash and then D.C.After retiring as a player, Onalfo was D.C. United’s Director of Youth Development and an assistant coach from 2000 to 2002. He then became the head coach of the Kansas City Wizards, where he compiled a 27-29-2 record and led the team to two playoff berths.3. Rams ring Notre Dame's bell twice: The New Canaan Rams ice hockey team and head coach Bo Hickey have never ducked any opponent, no matter how daunting their schedule may become in December and January.Sometimes, the early gauntlet creates a gigantic hole, such as the year the Rams lost their first eight games before climbing back to the .500 mark.This winter, New Canaan has survived the early run and looks like a live contender for both the FCIAC and state Division I championships. Armed with a 5-2 record, the Rams will begin the conference part of the schedule as the team to beat in the FCIAC.New Canaan scored a pair of huge victories last week when they toppled the Notre Dame-West Haven Green Knights and Notre Dame-Fairfield Lancers in back-to-back games.On Jan. 2, the Rams squared off with the Knights and avenged a season-opening loss with a 4-2 decision. New Canaan outshot NDWH, 50-18, and led 4-1 in the third period before the Knights netted a goal in the final minute.Senior co-captain Bo McGinniss, sophomore Ryan Begoon, senior Tim Robustelli and junior Jimmy Joe Granito all scored goals, while freshman goalie Tim Nowacki, who has looked impressive thus far, collected 16 saves. The game would have been an even bigger rout if not for the play of Knight goalie Michael Federico, who amassed 46 saves.Notre Dame also played much of the game without senior co-captain Alex Stevens, who was hit with a game misconduct penalty for a hard hit from behind that drove Rams’ co-captain Kris Nugent into the boards. Stevens was ejected, resulting in an automatic suspension from Notre Dame’s next game, a 6-0 loss to Fairfield Prep, the state’s top-ranked team.Two days later, Nugent scored with 14 seconds remaining in overtime as New Canaan defeated Notre Dame-Fairfield, 3-2, at the Milford Ice Pavillion. The goal was Nugent’s second of the game, while Granito added one. Nowacki was again stellar with 22 saves.4. Central rallies past St. Joseph: Bridgeport Central kept its boys basketball record spotless with a come-from-behind 68-62 home win over the St. Joseph Cadets last week. Central trailed 42-33 at the halftime break, but outscored the Cadets 34-20 in the second half en route to the victory.The Hilltoppers, who also beat Brien McMahon on Friday, are undefeated at 5-0, a mark that includes a 58-point win over perennial FCIAC power Trinity Catholic. St. Joe’s beat Fairfield-Warde on Friday and is 4-2 overall and 2-2 in league play.Central was led by seniors Jerome Parkins and Jerry Washington, who combined for 38 points. Parkins had 20 and Washington hit double digits with 18. Senior Clarke Orayne scored nine and Diontay Washington had eight. For St. Joe’s, Greg Lanston (18 points) and Oscar Assie (16) led the way.Central plays Cheney Tech in a nonconference game on Tuesday before hosting Fairfield-Warde (5-2) on Friday. St. Joseph faces Brien McMahon and Westhill, both 3-4, this week.5. Trinity’s woes continue: Trinity Catholic lost a pair of games last week, extending a short losing streak to three games and dropping then Crusaders below the .500 mark at 3-4 overall and 2-3 in the FCIAC.The Crusaders, who lost to St. Joseph in a holiday tournament two weeks ago, lost their second straight when they were beaten by the Fairfield-Warde Mustangs, 61-54, last week. The Mustangs received a 20-point performance from Tyler Bisack and an 18-point game from Mersin Markovic. Ryan Swedburg also delivered double-digit scoring with 13 points.Jonathan Boykin had a team-high 21 points for Trinity, while Mike Scaturchio had 12 and Aaron Spence had 11. On Friday, the Golden Eagles of Trumbull beat Trinity Catholic for the first time in 20 years when they scored a 49-39 victory at THS. The Eagles led 28-18 at halftime and boosted that to 17 points by the end of the third quarter en route to the win.Max Coleman led Trumbull with 16 points and Julian Sanders had 13, while Boykin again led Trinity with 15 points.Trinity will host Westhill (3-4) and Bassick (6-1) this week.

Big MLK hoops weekend begins today

The Indianapolis 500 is held every year over Memorial Day weekend. Alabama’s football rivalry with Tennessee made “The Third Saturday in October” famous. The first week in April typically features not only the Final Four, but also baseball’s opening day.
Certain sports or sporting events share their identity with specific dates on the calendar. The third Monday of each January means Martin Luther King Jr. Day and quality high school basketball – much of it played to honor King’s activist efforts and civil rights achievements.
One of the biggest annual MLK events is held in Chicago, where nearly 70 boys and girls teams will play over three days at Whitney Young High School.
Seattle’s King Holiday Hoopfest is held every year on the holiday at the Bank of America Arena on the University of Washington campus. The event drew over 8,000 fans last year for a showdown between city powers Garfield and Franklin. This year’s highlight is a matchup between Jefferson of Portland, Ore., and Federal Way. Both teams are ranked No. 1 within their respective classification.

Luke Walton finally plays

Luke Walton’s long wait to play ended Tuesday night.
He peeled off his sweats and entered the Lakers’ game against the San Antonio Spurs with 5.1 seconds left in the first half, his first appearance in two months.
OK, so it wasn’t exactly a significant one. He didn’t handle the ball as the Lakers misfired on a last-second play before halftime. But it marked his return to action after an extended absence because of a back injury.
Walton also played 5 minutes, 55 seconds in the fourth quarter, scoring four points on 2-for-4 shooting in the Lakers’ 105-85 defeat.
With Pau Gasol sidelined for a fifth consecutive game because of a strained left hamstring and backup small forward Adam Morrison suffering from an illness, Lakers coach Phil Jackson turned to Walton for help up front.

Trail Blazers re-assign Patrick Mills to D-League

Portland Trail Blazers guard Patrick Mills was re-assigned to the Idaho Stampede, Portland’s NBA D-League affiliate, it was announced today. Mills’ assignment is the 12th to an NBA D-League affiliate this season.
During his first assignment to the Stampede earlier this month, Mills appeared in two games, averaging 30.0 points, shooting 21-of-37 from the field, to go with 7.5 assists in 34.0 minutes. He scored a team-high 38 points against the Reno Bighorns on Jan. 1.
Originally selected by Portland with the 55th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, Mills has appeared in one game for the Trail Blazers this season, recording two assists in five minutes on Jan. 4 at the Los Angeles Clippers.
A two-year contributor at St. Mary’s (Calif.), Mills twice earned First Team All-West Coast Conference. Named West Coast Conference Newcomer of the Year as a freshman, Mills was also selected to the Naismith Trophy Award Mid-Season Top-30 list during his sophomore season.
Mills averaged a team-high 14.2 points to go with 2.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.7 steals in 23 minutes for his native Australia at the Beijing Olympics becoming the youngest player in Australian history to compete in the Olympic Games in basketball.

Blake Griffin to undergo season-ending surgery

After experiencing some discomfort during his recently-accelerated rehabilitation program, Clippers’ forward Blake Griffin was examined Tuesday afternoon by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.
As a result of that examination, it has been determined that the healing in his left patella area has not improved to the expected required level. Griffin will undergo a surgical procedure in the near future, with a recovery prognosis of four to six months. Team personnel will be made available to the media. Further details will be made available as events develop.
Previously on December 23rd, after undergoing a CT Scan and MRI Griffin had been cleared to increase his rehabilitation workload.
Griffin, the first overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft, suffered a non-displaced stress fracture of his left patella during the Clippers’ last preseason game vs. the New Orleans Hornets on Friday, October 23rd.
He has not played in the 2009-10 NBA regular season at all.

NBA All-Star Friday Dunk-in will determine a participant in All-Star Saturday Dunk contest

For the first time the NBA will hold a nationally televised slam dunk competition - the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk-In - to determine one of the participants in the Slam Dunk contest, the NBA announced today. This one-round slam dunk-in competition will be held during halftime of the Rookie Challenge game on Friday, Feb. 12, and fans will determine the winner by voting via SMS text message and at
The NBA All-Star Slam Dunk-In will air live on TNT, which will televise the Rookie Challenge (9 p.m. ET) from American Airlines Center in Dallas.
TNT will announce the participants in the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk-In on-air during NBA Tip-Off on Thurs., Jan 14, at 8 p.m. ET.
TNT’s coverage of All-Star Weekend will continue Saturday from American Airlines Center in Dallas with All-Star Saturday Night (8 p.m. ET), including the Slam Dunk contest, and will conclude Sunday from Cowboys Stadium with the 59th NBA All-Star Game (8 p.m. ET).
The participants will have two dunks each, with a two-minute time limit to complete each dunk.
Fans will determine the winner of the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk-In by voting via SMS Text message or on during the Rookie Challenge game. Voting polls will open at the beginning of the event and close two minutes after the final dunk. The player with a higher percentage of overall votes will advance to participate in the Slam Dunk contest on All-Star Saturday Night. The other three contestants in the Slam Dunk will be announced on Monday, Jan. 18.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chandler finally finds a home in Charlotter after being rumored in many trades this summer

By Anthony Caruso III

Tyson Chandler has finally found a home. This is going to be officially Chandler's 3rd NBA team. He was previously drafted with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Clippers, before being moved to Chicago with Brian Skinner for Elton Brand.

Chandler's name has been rumored to many teams within the past month. He was rumored to go to the Phoenix Suns for Ben Wallace, before the Suns bought out Wallace's contract to make him a free agent. After a failed attempt at the trade deadline, his name has been bounced around for the past month, especially at the NBA draft. But nothing happened at that time.

Chandler was traded to on February 17, 2009 for Chris Wilcox, Joe Smith, and the rights to DeVon Hardin. But Chandler failed a physical to complete the trade, because of a toe injury. And just 24-hours after the trade was made, the Thunder rescinded the trade, sending Chandler back to New Orleans.

With Chandler in Charlotte, he is expected to be their starting center. Chandler is expected to start over Nazr Mohammed and DeSagana Diop. Chandler is also expected to be backed up by foreigner Alexis Ajinça, who only appeared in 31 games last year. Last year was Ajinça's rookie year in Charlotte after being a second-round pick in the 2008 NBA draft.

Chandler adds even more veteran leadership to the team. In February alone, the Bobcats added Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, Diop, and Vladimir Radmanović in trades. The Bobcats currently only have two rookie on their team – both from the 2009 NBA draft in 2nd-round pick Derrick Brown and first-round pick Gerald Henderson.

Chandler only appeared in 45 games last season due to injuries. He averaged 8.8 points and 8.7 rebounds last season when he was healthy. In the previous season, he averaged a career-high 11.8 points and 11.7 rebounds in 79 games. He's never played in more than 80 games in a season. He played in exactly 80 games during the 2004-05 season.

Okafor goes to New Orleans after Chris Paul recently criticized management for not making any mores

By Anthony Caruso III

Emeka Okafor was just traded to the New Orleans Hornets yesterday. Okafor was traded to the Hornets for Tyson Chandler, who has been on the trading block for months. After a failed traded at the trade deadline with Oklahoma City, Chandler has been rumored to be traded to several different teams before this trade.

Okafor was the first-ever draft pick in Charlotte Bobcats history, as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2004 draft. As the Bobcats are on the verge to peaking under Larry Brown, it appears that they are going in a new direction with many of their original players. Okafor has moved on. Sean May has moved on. And Raymond Felton is expected to move on, as well.

As of this moment, Okafor is the only veteran signed up through the 2013-14 season. Only rookie Darren Collison is the only other player signed through that time. Okafor is expected to make $10.5 this year, $11.5 in 10-11, $12.5 in 11-12, $13.5 in 12-13, and $14.5 in 13-14. He just signed a long term deal with the Bobcats last summer, which was a 6-year, $72 mill extension.

Now that Okafor is not longer in Charlotte, one of his streaks will be coming to an end. Okafor was the Bobcats active franchise-record holder with playing in 93 consecutive games. Of those 93 games, 92 of those games were consecutive starts.

While the Hornets have been busy in recent years with moves during the off-season, this is their first move of this summer. Even superstar Chris Paul recently criticized the Hornets for not making any moves over the weekend. In the ever-changing Western Conference, Okafor will give the Hornets a chance to compete each and every year with Chris Paul and the other veteran pieces.

Okafor averaged 13.2 points and 10.1 rebounds last year, with 82 starts. He averaged career-high 15.1 points and 10.9 rebounds in 73 games during his rookie season.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mark Jackson is a top candidate for the Timberwolves job with Kurt Rambis

By Anthony Caruso III

Mark Jackson is back at the top of an NBA's team wish list to be the head coach. Jackson and Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis are the top candidates for the Minnesota Timberwolves head coaching job. This is the third team that Jackson has been a top candidate for their head coaching this summer alone.

Jackson has been a candidate for the Detroit Pistons job after Michael Curry was fired. He was also a candidate for the Sacramento Kings job after Kenny Natt was fired. Jackson did not get those jobs – John Kuester went to Detroit and Paul Westphal went to Sacramento. Rambis was also considered for the Kings job, before declined the job, because he said the Kings were a rebuilding team.

Jackson has never been an assistant coach or head coach in the NBA. After his retirement from the NBA in 2004, he moved into the broadcast booth a few years later. He worked as an analyst for the New Jersey Nets on the YES Network for Marv Albert, but quit at the end of the 2008 season. He is currently an NBA analyst with ABC/ESPN, where he recently covered the 2008 and 2009 NBA Finals.

Even though Jackson has never coached in a game, he will bring valuable experience to any team that may hire him as a coach. Jackson is 13th in the all-time games played list with 1,296 games and is currently second overall in assists with 10,334. Jason Kidd is expected to surpass Jackson's place for second all-time at some point during the upcoming season. He is also 26th all-time in minutes played, 77th all-time in three-pointers made, 65th all-time in three-pointers attempted, and 23rd all-time in steals.

Jackson also scored 12,489 points. While he's ranked high in all these records, he's never achieved great individual success, even though many fans believe he deserves to be elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Jackson has played for 7 teams during his NBA career, which will likely hurt his chances to make it to the Hall. As well the fact that he's only been an NBA All-Star once in 1989 and the 1987-88 NBA Rookie of the Year.

Jackson was the 18th overall pick in the 1987 NBA draft by the New York Knicks. He teamed with Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley for his first few years in the league to bring the Knicks back to prominence. But, before the Knicks peaked and went to the 1994 NBA Finals, Jackson was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in 1992. He would also play for the Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, and Houston Rockets in his NBA career.

Monday, July 27, 2009

With Andre Miller and Steve Blake, Portland has put Bayless on the block

By Anthony Caruso III

The Portland TrailBlazers has stood pat for much of the off-season. However, that all changed with the addition of André Miller last week. Miller is the first Portland free-agent signing from another team this summer. But this will all change again soon.

With Miller and Steve Blake, it has unfortunately put Jerryd Bayless on the trading block. Bayless has spent just one-season in Portland. He was acquired last summer in a draft-night trade with the Indiana Pacers, but it wasn't officially made until last July.

In the trade, the Blazers acquired Bayless, the No. 11 overall pick, and Ike Diogu from the Indiana Pacers for the No. 13 overall pick, Brandon Rush, Jarrett Jack, and Josh McRoberts. Now, a year later, many of these players are likely to move onto other teams. Diogu and McRoberts are currently free agents, while Jacks recently signed with Toronto.

Even though Bayless has been used sparingly, he was able to score a career-high 23 points against the New Jersey Nets in January 2009, but he's only averaged 4.3 points in his only NBA season. However, he's seen his biggest impact coming in the 2008 and 2009 NBA Vegas Summer Leagues. He was the 2008 Vegas Summer League MVP after leading the league with 29.8 points per game.

Bayless is under contract for the next several seasons. Bayless is due to make $2.1 million in the 2009-10 season. Portland holds two team options for the following two seasons – one for $2.3 million in 10-11 and another for $3 million in 11-12. There is also a $4.1 qualifying offer for the 12-13 season.

Watson is still looking for a job in the NBA and might not find it

By Anthony Caruso III

C. J. Watson has always had to prove his self in his pro career in the States. Watson did not get a shot at the NBA right out of college – and it wasn't until years later, that he finally got a shot. The Golden State Warriors saw something in him to sign him in January 2008.

At that time, he was signed to a 10-day contract to back up Baron Davis. He impressed the coaching staff to get another 10-day contract. He would sign for the rest of the season after this second 10-day contract. He has spent the past 1 1/2-years total in Golden State. He averaged 9.5 points last season in 77 games after scoring 3.7 points in 32 games in 2008.

Now, as a free agent, Watson has to prove his self again. However, this time, he cannot prove his self on a basketball court – teams will have to rely on what they saw during his time in Golden State. There have been a few teams have expressed interest in Watson, including the Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, among others.

But Watson still isn't signed. He may not get signed until later this summer, or maybe not until training camps start in September. Watson would like to find a home before then, but he might have to go back overseas or to the D-League to play again.

Watson played in the 2007 summer league with the San Antonio Spurs, before going to the Charlotte Bobcats training camp. But he was released from that camp, before being drafted the 5th overall pick in the 2007 NBDL Draft by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He averaged .4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.38 steals in 38.1 minutes per game for the Vipers before signed by Golden State Warriors in January 2008. When he was called up to the Warriors, he became the 100thplayer to be called by an NBA team in D-League history.

Watson originally went undrafted out of Tennessee in the 2006 NBA Draft. He got his pro career officially started with the Italian Serie A Team, Bipop Carire Reggio Emilia. He averaged 8.5 points and 2.3 rebounds in 17 games. After playing in Italy, he moved onto Greek A1 Ethniki team PAOK B.C, where he averaged 7.4 points and 2.2 assists in 5 games.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Jason Williams wants to get back into basketball after retiring in September 2008

By Anthony Caruso III

Jason Williams is trying to get back into basketball. Williams retired before the 2008-09 season after signing a 1-year deal with the Los Angeles Clippers. He never played in any games with the Clippers, before he retired.

Williams is expected to clear waivers by the end of the next week and become a free agent again. The Miami Heat are considering adding a veteran point guard to their roster to back up 2nd-year player Mario Chalmers and Williams is being considered for that role once he clears waivers. The Heat are willing to bring back Williams, because he's willing to take a lesser role in the offense and less money.

Williams was the most successful during his 10-year career with the Heat. He was traded to the Heat from the Memphis Grizzlies in the largest trade in NBA history. The Heat acquired Williams, André Emmett, and James Posey in the deal in August 2005 for Eddie Jones. And not even a year later, Posey and Williams were key role players in helping the Heat to their first-ever Championship over the Dallas Mavericks. Williams spent three years in South Beach.

Williams averaged a career-high 14.8 points in his first year in Memphis, in 2001-02. He then averaged 12.1 points and a career-high 8.3 assists in 2002-03, 10.9 points in 2003-04, and 10.1 points in 2004-05. He was traded to Miami after getting into a verbal argument with a Memphis reporter in the locker room after the reporter wrote a story that said Williams wanted to play closer to this family home in Orlando.

After Williams was the 7th overall pick in the 1998 NBA draft, he averaged 12.8 points and 12.3 points in his first two-years in Sacramento. He then averaged 9.4 points in his third season. After his third season, he was traded with Nick Anderson to the Grizzlies, who were in the process of moving from Vancouver, Canada to Memphis, Tennessee in 2001, for Mike Bibby and Brent Price.

Friday, July 24, 2009

USA Basketball is back preparing for a tournament in August after winning the 2008 Olympics

By Anthony Caruso III

After a long NBA season, team USA is back back on the floor together again. USA Basketball just started mini-camp on Thursday afternoon in Las Vegas, Nevada. The last time a USA Basketball team was together was at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when they won a gold medal.

However, this USA Basketball is different than that star-studded team, lead by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, among others. Mike Krzyzewski will not be coaching this team, nor will Mike D'Antoni, Nate McMillan, or Jim Boeheim. They all coached the Senior National Team from last summer.

This summer, the USA Basketball Select Team will be coached by Toronto Raptors head coach Jay Triano. Triano has dual citizenship in Canada and the USA, which allows him to coach the USA team. Triano will be assisted by Tyrone Corbin, Dave Cowens, Kenny Gattison, and Jerry Sichting.

This Select Team has a mixture of veteran leadership and rookies. Danny Granger, André Iguodala, Devin Harris, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, Josh Smith, and Davis Lee will provide the veteran leadership. The rookies include Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, O. J. Mayo, Eric Gordon, Brook López, Kevin Love, and Anthony Randolph. Other players are D. J. Augustin, Ronnie Brewer, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Jeff Green, JaVale McGee, Greg Oden, and Thaddeus Young. However, all these players will not make the final cut.

Blake Griffin was supposed to be among this group of players. However, he has an injury and will not take part in these festivities. He suffered a shoulder injury while playing in the summer league and will likely not play again until training camp. He is out 3-5 weeks with his injury.

On Saturday, July 25th, this Select Team will have an intra-squad game at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada as they prepare for the tournament. From August 26th to September 6th, Team USA will be participating in the FIBA Americas World Championship Qualifying Tournament. This tournament will take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Raptors are still interested in Delfino after extending a qualifying offer, and even though he's signed to a Russian team for the next two years

By Anthony Caruso III

The Toronto Raptors have been successful in adding former foreign players in recent years. This has been GM Bryan Colangelo's key to success, even during his time in Phoenix. Colangelo is still interested in adding another foreign player to the Raptors.

Colangelo extended a qualifying offer to Carlos Delfino back in June – and they are still interested in bringing him back to Toronto. But Delfino is currently signed within the Russian Super League with Khimki Moscow Region team, and he still has still more years left on the three-year deal he signed during the 2008 summer. Delfino is one of the highest-paid basketball players in Europe, as he's getting paid $10 million dollars (US dollars), plus housing, a car and driver, and savings on taxes.

In his first-year with the team, he averaged a career-high 13 points her game. He also averaged 3.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.5 steals per game in Europe's second-level competition during the 2008-09 season. He is making way more money over in Russia than he made in the NBA.

When he was in the NBA, he played his first several years in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons. In June 2007, he was traded to the Raptors for two draft picks. One of the draft picks was in last month's NBA draft, while the other second round pick will come in the 2011 NBA draft.

In his one and only season in Toronto, he averaged an NBA-high 9 points per season. He also averaged 4.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.1 blocks in 82 games during the 2007-08 season. He was coached by Sam Mitchell in Toronto during that season, who is no longer the coach.

The Raptors currently have 5 foreign players on the team. Andréa Bargnani is from Italy, é Calderón is from Spain, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, a free agent, is from Britain, Hedo Türkoğlu is from Turkey, and Roko Ukić is from Croatia. If Delfino elects to come back to the Raptors, he will be first Raptor from Argentina since é Garbajosa during the 2007-08 season, who just happens to his old Raptors teammate.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Rockets are going to have to rebuild on the fly after losing superstars Tracy McGrady and Yáo Míng for the 09-10 season

By Anthony Caruso III

The Houston Rockets used to have two superstars on their team. Both players are still on the team, but are injured. Both players are expected to miss the majority of this upcoming season after suffering injuries last season. Now, they have no superstar players on the roster to be the face of the franchise.

Tracy McGrady had microfracture surgery in February 2009 in Chicago. Yáo Míng just had hairline surgery in his foot and another surgery to realign the bones on Tuesday. The Rockets were able to get an injury exception for Míng, which is more than $5 million dollars.

McGrady is expected to make $23.2 million this upcoming season in the final year of his deal. Míng is expected to make $16.3 million this upcoming season. Míng has a $17.6 million player option for the 2010-11, which he will definitely pick up now. He is expected to be in training camp in Houston in October 2010.

Since McGrady arrived in Houston in the summer of 2004, he has missed a combined 103 games in the last 5-years. The most games he has played in a Rockets jersey was 78 during the 2004-05 season. He also set a Houston career-high 25.7 points per game; however, his numbers have decreased each year since that season.

Míng has missed a combined 93 career games over the past 7-years since being the first-overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft. He has only played 82 games twice in his career – in the 2002-03 season and the 2003-04 seasons. He has not played a complete season since that time. Even though, Míng has missed a lot of games, he was able to set a career-high 25 points per game during the 2006-07.

Now, the Rockets are re-building on the fly. Aaron Brooks has a chance to become a star after his performance in the playoffs, but that's still to be determined. The rest of the guys currently on the roster are more role players than stars.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Magic add Barnes to the roster in what is turning out to be a busy off-season

By Anthony Caruso III

Matt Barnes is on the verge of signing with the Orlando Magic. Barnes is expected to sign a two-year deal within the next day or so with the Magic. He has spent the last few years playing under one-year deals.

Barnes is the newest addition to the Magic team this off-season, which has been a busy one. This off-season, the Magic re-signed Marcin Gortat – against his wishes as he wanted to sign the offer sheet with the Dallas Mavericks – and Brandon Bass. On the NBA draft day in June, the Magic acquired Ryan Anderson and Vince Carter from the New Jersey Nets. All these moves are made to help them to compete in the re-stacked Eastern Conference.

Barnes is expected to battle Mickaël Piétrus for the starting small forward position that is currently vacant. Barnes and Piétrus will each have their opportunities, beginning in September at training camp, to replace former starter Hedo Türkoğlu. Türkoğlu left via a sign-and-trade for the Toronto Raptors earlier this off-season.

Türkoğlu signed a 5-year, $53 million deal with the Raptors, after previously agreeing to a 5-year, $52 deal with the Portland TrailBlazers a few days earlier. Türkoğlu averaged 16.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.2 blocks in 77 games last season. He averaged a career-high 19.5 points during the 07-08 season, which was his 4th season in Orlando.

Barnes, in his one and only season in Phoenix, he averaged 10.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.3 blocks in 77 games. He averaged career-highs in points, rebounds, and assists last season. Piétrus, in his first season in Orlando, averaged 9.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.4 blocks in 54 games, as the back-up to Türkoğlu.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Is streetball dead?

"Streetball as a big business is dead. SLAM happily rode shotgun during its rise, taking in Mixtape Tour games from coast to coast and publishing a special Streetball issue five straight summers. But the popularity continued to wane, and now its come to this." - SLAM Magazine, Issue #131

To put the above excerpt into context, "this" refers to an email message SLAM received from And 1 about its corporate decision to indefinitely suspend the And 1 Mixtape Tour in lieu of focusing on philanthropic inititaves.

Honorable? Yes. Implicative? I think so.

There's no questioning the economy's restraining impacts on executing a multi-city streetball tour. However, you don't have to go far to notice that streetball's verve has worn off. This was inevitible. Packaging a pure and artful endeavor into a traveling sideshow was bound to overrun its already limited shelf life, and leave behind a dark cloud over the local run.

But clouds, too, shall pass. Much like the overall U.S. economy, streetball's appeal is cyclical in nature. We all knew the housing bubble was going to burst when the average Joe, with no money or collateral, was scoffing up and flipping investment properties. The same pattern existed in streetball. The day I heard a fifty-year-old white guy from the 'burbs - who never picked up a ball in his life - start spouting off streetball monikers like "Spyda," "Escalade," and "The Professor," I knew the end was near.

Don't start writing streetball's eulogy just yet. Corporate interests may have receded and the sport's secondary fan base may have tapered off, but don't you think that's a good thing? In my opinion, the essence of playground basketball resides in its purity and passion from the niche-based junkies and not from TV contracts or mixtapes.

Streetball is not dead. It's in a recession, predictably a drawn out one, and it was rooted by greed and self-interest.

Sound familiar?

Peter Robert Casey is a basketball scribe and social media playmaker. He hosts a basketball blog at and his work has been featured on SLAMonline, ESPN The Magazine online, and You can also connect with PRC on Twitter.

Miami is expected to let Moon go to Cleveland in Cleveland all-in approach this summer

By Anthony Caruso III

Recently, the Cleveland Cavaliers signed Miami HEAT's restricted free agent Jamario Moon to an offer sheet. The offer sheet, according to sources, for 3-years and $10 million dollars. As a result, the HEAT will have a hard time matching the offer sheet.

The HEAT are targeting Carlos Boozer via a trade and/or former HEAT forward Lamar Odom this summer. While the HEAT have interest in adding one or both players, it's going to cost them a huge amount to keep sign and keep them. As a result, the HEAT will not have enough money to re-sign Moon. Plus, the very big question will loom over the whole city of Miami for the rest of the year, as they still have to decide what will happen with superstar Dwyane Wade.

The HEAT already have three small forwards currently on the team for next season, in James Jones, Yakhouba Diawara and Dorell Wright. If they land Odom, he will play some small forward, too. Last year's first-round pick Michael Beasley has been trying to expand to a small forward role from a power role in the paint.

Moon only made $712,000 last season, splitting time with the Toronto Raptors and HEAT. The HEAT held a $1 million dollar qualifying offer, which only a part was guaranteed. He is about to strike it big if he goes to Cleveland in this deal.

Moon signed a two-year deal with the Toronto Raptors on July 10th, 2007 after he had impressed the coaching staff in a three-day mini-camp held by the club after previously making stops bouncing around lower-level basketball associations. Moon was traded in February with Jermaine O'Neal to the HEAT for Shawn Marion. Marion is no longer a member of the Raptors, as he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks this off-season.

The 76ers are expected to extend an offer sheet to Raymond Felton soon

By Anthony Caruso III

With the Philadelphia 76ers expected to lose out on the André Miller sweepstakes, they are expected to turn their attention to another point guard. The 76ers have not made a splash in the free-agent market just yet. Before the start of free agency, they acquired Jason Kapono for Reggie Evans, which is the only move they've made this off-season.

The 76ers are expected to make an offer sheet contract offer to Charlotte Bobcats restricted free-agent Raymond Felton. The Bobcats will have 7-days to match any contract made to Felton. He is looking for a long-term deal in the neighborhood of 5-years. His recent meeting with the Bobcats did not go well.

Felton has spent the last four-years with the Bobcats. But the Bobcats have a replacement in place for when Felton leaves, when they drafted D. J. Augustin last summer. Augustin was the 9th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. He averaged nearly 12 points in his rookie season.

Felton is coming off a season, where he averaged 14.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.4 blocks in 82 games. He averaged a career-high 14.4 points, 3 rebounds, career-high 7.4 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.2 blocks in 79 games two seasons ago. Miller averaged 16.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.2 blocks in 82 games.

Adding Felton will give the 76ers a veteran point guard to replace Miller in the starting lineup. A starting lineup that will feature Felton, Willie Green, André Igoudala, Elton Brand, and Samuel Dalembért. That's of course if the 76ers do not move Brand or Dalembért, as both players are on the block.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Cavs have interest in signing Barnes, who Shaq is trying to get to sign with Cleveland

By Anthony Caruso III

The Cleveland Cavaliers are still in need of some more athletic swingman. The Cavs recently signed Anthony Parker to a two-year deal worth nearly $6 million dollars. They are looking to add one or two more swingman.

Matt Barnes continues to be mentioned as a potential player the Cavs have interest in. Barnes is a well-traveled journeymen and will be looking for his 7th NBA team since 2003 after starting out in the NBDL in 2002. New Cavs center Shaquille O'Neal is trying to get Barnes to sign with Cleveland. Both O'Neal and Barnes were in Phoenix last season.

Even though Barnes has bounced around from team-to-team, he saw his best season last year in Terry Porter/Alvin Gentry's offense. Barnes averaged a career-high 10.2 points last season. He also averaged 5.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.3 blocks in 77 games. He's spent the past three seasons in up-tempo offenses with the Golden State Warriors and the Suns.

The Cavs still have the majority of their mid-level exception to spend on free agents. Parker's deal only took up some of their mid-level exception. They have nearly $4 million dollars left of their mid-level exception to spend on free agents.

With the signing of Barnes, it will give the Cavs another good three-pointer shooter. Last season, the Cavaliers, as a team, shot 39.3% from three-point range. Barnes shot 34.3% from three last season. Parker shot 39% from three.

Mo Williams led all Cavaliers with 43.6% from three, while Delonté West chipped in with 39.9% from three. Daniel Gibson shot 38.2% and Tarence Kinsey shot 38.9%, as some of the best three-point shooters on the team. Former Cavs Wally Szczerbiak shot 41.1% from three and Sasha Pavlović shot 41% from three, but they are not expected to return for the 2009-10 season.

The Knicks want to secure even more cap space by trading Curry and Jeffries

By Anthony Caruso III

Everybody knows the New York Knicks have a plan for 2010. Head Coach Mike D'Antoni and GM Donnie Walsh have mentioned this play ever since their 2008 press conferences when they've both come from Phoenix and Indiana, respectively. The Knicks are attempting to acquire even more cap space to spend next summer.

The Knicks would love to trade both Eddy Curry and Jared Jeffries. Both of these players have contracts past the 2010 summer – both player options for the 2010-11 seasons. They've tried to trade Curry many times over the past several years since Isiah Thomas acquired him from the Chicago Bulls.

They were rumored back at the trade deadline to send both Curry and Jeffries to the Charlotte Bobcats. In the reported deal, the Knicks would have received Boris Diaw and Raja Bell, both players played under D'Antoni in Phoenix, in the deal. However, the deal did not happen.

Curry had a lot to deal with over the past year. He had to deal with the murder death of his ex-girlfriend, who is the mother of his son, which happened in January 2009 in Chicago. He also missed the majority of the season for numerous reasons, which is why he only appeared in 3 games last season. Jeffries played in 56 games last season.

Curry is due to make $10.5 million for the 2009-10 season. He has a player option for $11.2 million the following season, which he is expected to pick up. Jeffries is due to make $6.4 million for the 2009-10 season. He has a player option for $6.8 million the following season.

The Knicks hope to get expiring contacts in return for both players, if they can't acquire Diaw and Bell in the before-mentioned move. The Knicks want to have enough cap space to sign potentially two superstar free agents next summer. LeBron James is their main target, while Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amar'e Stoudemire, Steve Nash, among others, have been mentioned.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Kings are looking at bringing back Gooden for the veteran's minimum after he played in 1 game last year

By Anthony Caruso III

The Sacramento Kings are a very young team. They have many players that are in the first couple years of their playing careers. As a result, there are going to be some growing pains.

But the Kings are hoping to add a veteran front-court player. Kenny Thomas, a power forward, is the oldest player on the team with 10-years experience. They are hoping to sign a veteran for the veteran's minimum.

The Kings have nearly $6 million this summer to sign on free agents. Their cap space increased to $6 million when they decided to not to pick up Ike Diogu's $3.9 qualifying offer, which made him a free agent.

Drew Gooden, a well-traveled power forward, has been mentioned as the veteran front-court player the Kings are seeking. Gooden is seeking his 7th team since being the 4th overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft out of Kansas. He last played for the San Antonio Spurs during the latter part of the 2008-09 season.

Gooden started off the season with the Chicago Bulls. In February 2009, he was traded to the Sacramento Kings in a six-player trade. He was bought out on March 1st after playing 1 game with the Kings and then signed with the Spurs on March 3rd. He played in 19 games with the Spurs in the regular season, where he averaged 9.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 0.2 assists, 0.2 steals, and 0.2 blocks. He also played in 4 games in the playoffs with the Spurs.

Gooden has previously played for the Memphis Grizzlies (02-03), Orlando Magic (03-04), Cleveland Cavaliers (04-08), Chicago Bulls (08-09), before going to the Kings and Spurs. Gooden has only appeared in 82 games just once in his career, which just happened to be his first-year in Cleveland. He averaged a career-high 14.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.9 blocks that season.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Whisenant returns to the sidelines today after a 2-1/2 year hiatus

By Anthony Caruso III

The Sacramento Monarchs recently relieved Jenny Boucek of her head coaching duties. However, they turned to the past to try to rejuvenate their past success. Boucek replaced John Whisenant, the Monarchs GM, and now, Whisenant is going back to being the GM and Head Coach.

Later today, Whisenant will be coaching his first game with the Monarchs since the end of the 2006 season. The last game he coached with the Monarchs was in the 2006 WNBA Finals, before losing to the Detroit Shock. Whisenant will making his 2009 coaching debut against the Phoenix Mercury in Phoenix.

Whisenant is the most successful coach in Monarchs history. He became the Monarchs head coach in 2003, replacing former coach Maura McHugh. He guided the Monarchs to their only WNBA Championship in 2005 over the Connecticut Sun – which is the first title for Kings/Monarchs owners Joe and Gavin Maloof. He was named the 2005 WNBA Coach of the Year.

The Monarchs are currently 3-10 this season. The veteran team with such leaders as DeMya Walker, Kara Lawson, Nicole Powell, and Tisha Penichiero. The Monarchs only have two second-year players, in Laura Harper and Crystal Kelly, and one rookie, in Courtney Paris. The three wins came against the Mercury, Minnesota Lynx, and the Chicago Sky. The Monarchs even lost both pre-season games, too.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Turner recently interviews for the Wolves head coaching position

By Anthony Caruso III

Recently, Elston Turner interviewed for the Minnesota Timberwolves head coaching job. He is one of several candidates to interview for the position after Kevin McHale was let go back in June. It is unknown if Turner is a top candidate for the job.

Turner previously interviewed twice with the Phoenix Suns last summer when Mike D'Antoni left for the New York Knicks head coaching job in May 2008. He was not hired by the Suns, as Suns GM Steve Kerr went with his friend Terry Porter. But Porter was fired at the mid-way point in February, before he was replaced by Alvin Gentry, who runs a fast-paced offense like D'Antoni does.

Turner has worked as a member of the Houston Rockets coaching staff under Rick Adelman since 2007. Turner previously worked with Adelman in Sacramento, where Turner spent 6 years as an assistant coach. Turner also coached 4-years with the Portland TrailBlazers, too.

Turner was a second-round pick (43rd overall) in the 1981 draft by the Dallas Mavericks. He played 8 seasons in the NBA from 1981-1989 for the Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, and the Chicago Bulls. He also played and coached in the CBA, including a player-coach role with the Chicago Rockers. He also played professionally in Europe, as well.

It's a wait and see approach with André Miller

By Anthony Caruso III

The Philadelphia 76ers have to make a big decision in the near future. Do they want to keep their stance of offering André Miller a one-year deal, or do they want to break their position and give Miller want he wants? Miller wants a multi-year deal.

Miller wants a 5-year deal for more than the mid-level exception. Miller made nearly $10 million dollars in the final year of his contract last season. However, the 76ers are only willing to give Miller a one-year deal for $9 million.

The Sixers do not want to sign the aging Miller to a long-term deal, because they already have two future point guards in place. Louis Williams, a former first-round pick, is a year away from running the show full-time and 2009 first-round draft pick Jrue Holiday is still learning in the summer league after playing just one-season at UCLA. When Holiday signs his rookie contract, both Holiday and Williams are going to be signed for the next several seasons.

Miller was acquired from the Denver Nuggets for Allen Iverson in December 2006. He didnot want to leave Denver at the time, but he found a home in Philadelphia for the past several seasons. But it's a waiting game to see if he will return to Philadelphia, as he's been rumored to go to Miami, New York, among other teams.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Odom will be forced to take way less than he had hoped for going into the free agent market to stay with LA

By Anthony Caruso III

Lamar Odom had hoped he would hit it big in free agency. Now, the only way he will hit it big is through a sign-and-trade. The Oklahoma City Thunder is the only team with significant cap space, but are not willing to pay a veteran a large amount of money, especially with their young stars entering free agency in the coming years.

Without a sign-and-trade, which the Lakers are not willing to do to my knowledge, Odom will have to take less cash than he thought he would be getting when he first entered the market. The Lakers have less money to give Odom after signing Ron Artest to a 5-year, $33 million dollar deal last week. Odom can now only get around $7 million per season if he re-signs with the Lakers after thinking he would get $11 million or more.

Odom is one of the young Lakers big-men that they have under 30 years old. Odom is the oldest of the three, as he will be 30-years-old on November 6th. Pau Gasol just turned 29 on July 6th, while Andrew Bynum will turn 22 on October 22nd. But Gasol is signed through the summer of 2011, while Bynum has a team option for the 2012-13 season.

Odom was acquired from the Miami HEAT in 2004 with Caron Butler and Brian Grant for future Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O'Neal. After the trade, Odom, at times, had a hard time fitting into Phil Jackson's famous triangle offense, but he's adjusted to it better in recent years. He recently won his first NBA Championship when the Lakers won their 15th NBA Championship in June. If he re-signs with the Lakers, he could win many more.

Iverson signing with Memphis expected this week

By Anthony Caruso III

The Memphis Grizzlies are in one of the music capitals of the World, along with Nashville. While the Memphis has so many stars in the music world, they haven't had a superstar type player ever play for their 8-year-old NBA team. Sure, they've had the likes of Mike Bibby, Michael Dickerson, Bryant Reeves, Jason Williams, among others, to play for the Vancouver/Memphis franchise, but those are more role players than stars.

Even though Allen Iverson has fall off in recent years, he's still a superstar with all the attention he gets. Iverson's agent has been in contact with the Grizzlies about playing in Memphis after he was offered a 1-year, $5 million dollar deal for Iverson. This signing is expected to take place sometime this week if everything goes according to plan. Also, Memphis is the only team that has shown interest in Iverson.

Just 3 games into this past season, the Denver Nuggets traded Iverson to the Detroit Pistons for Chauncey Billups with other players involved in the package to make the salaries work. The Nuggets to better by making this deal, as they went to the Western Conference Finals, while Detroit got swept in the first-round of the playoffs. Billups averaged in 12.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 2 games with Detroit and 17.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.3 blocks in 77 games with Denver. Iverson averaged 18.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 1.0 steals, and 0.3 blocks in 3 games with Denver and 17.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.6 steals, and 0.1 blocks in 54 games.

Iverson will be going to a young team, lead by young stars Rudy Gay and O. J. Mayo. So, he will not be asked to do a lot, in terms of scoring. He could even be asked to come off the bench, a role he didn't want to accept in Detroit when he was platooning with Richard "Rip" Hamilton, before he got hurt and missed the rest of the season.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Roy hopes to strick it big this summer with a contract extension

By Anthony Caruso III

Brandon Roy of the Portland TrailBlazers is a young superstar. But he hasn't yet to get the superstar status deal that many players of his stature get. He's hoping to get that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony type deal.

The 2007 Rookie of the Year is the face of the franchise in Portland. He is expected to make $3.9 million during the 2009-10 season. He has a $5.2 million qualifying offer for the following season. But the Blazers are expected to talk to Roy this summer about a contract extension.

Roy might do what James, Wade, and Anthony did in the summer of 2006. All three of those players, along with Toronto Raptors Chris Bosh, all decided to go for a shorter 3-year deal for nearly $50 million, instead of the longer 5-or-6-year deals for more than a $100 million. They are all expected to hit it big in the 2010 free agent market.

Roy was the 6th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. Shortly thereafter, he was traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves, who drafted him, to the Portland TrailBlazers for Randy Foye for one another. Since that time, he has accomplished many accolades, like the before-mentioned 2007 Rookie of the Year, 2008 and 2009 All-Star selections, 2007 All-NBA All-Rookie First-Team, and was named to the All-NBA Second-Team this past season; the first Blazer to make the All-NBA team since the 1991-92 season.

Roy was co-captains with LaMarcus Aldridge during the 2008-09 season. Both players were acquired during the 2006 NBA draft. He also finished 9th in the MVP voting last season, with 1 4th-place vote and four 5th-place vote for 7 points.

He averaged 22.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.2 blocks in 36.9 minutes last season in 78 starts. The 22.6 points were the most points he averaged in a season in his career after previously averaging 16.8 points and 19.1 points in the previous two seasons. He averaged 26.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 blocks in 39.7 minutes in 6 playoff games, before losing in the first-round to the Houston Rockets.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Spurs will have to decide the future of Michael Finley

By Anthony Caruso III

With the San Antonio Spurs recently acquiring Richard Jefferson from the Milwaukee Bucks, the Spurs have to decide if Michael Finley will return, even though he will not be a free agent until 2010. Finley now will be a back-up if he does return to the Alamo.

If he does return, it will likely be off the bench. Finley hasn't come off the bench since the 06-07 season. He came off the bench for 66 games that season.

The Spurs basically stole Jefferson away from the Bucks after they decided to cut salary. Jefferson was acquired for Fabricio Oberto, Kurt Thomas, and Bruce Bowen. Thomas has a chance to stick around with the Bucks, while Oberto is gone and Bowen will be soon.

Jefferson started all 82 games in 08-09. He averaged 19.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.2 blocks. Finley averaged 9.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.2 blocks in 08-09. Finley appeared in 81 games, with 77 starts.

The 36-year-old forward came to the Spurs in 2005 after being released by the Dallas Mavericks. He opted to sign with the Spurs over the Miami HEAT that summer. He averaged 10.1 points in 05-06, 9.0 points in 06-07, 10.1 points in 07-08, and 9.7 points last season.

Even though Hill has offers from the Knicks and Celtics, he is likely to re-sign with the Suns

By Anthony Caruso III

While the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics have made offers to Grant Hill, it is very likely that Hill will turn down those offers. He is expected to sign another one-year deal with an option for the following season. Basically for the same amount of money that he signed for during the summer of 2007.

Hill made $1.83 million during the 07-08 season. He adapted well to the up=tempo style of offense that Mike D'Antoni ran, averaging double-figures as a key role in the early parts of the 07-08 season. In 70 games, with 68 starts, he averaged 13.1 points, 5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 0.9 blocks.

The 36-year-old forward made $1.97 million, in a player option, during the 08-09 season. Hill played in all 82 games for the first time in his career, while he averaged 12 points, 4.9 points, 2.3 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.7 blocks during the regular season. He scored 27 points and 10 rebounds in the final game of the Suns regular season.

Hill moved his family from Orlando to Phoenix in the summer of 2007, after previously moving his family from Detroit to Orlando in 2000. He has previously stated that he would retire if he didn't re-sign a contract with Phoenix.