"I shall vanish and be no more,
But the land over which I now roam
And change not."
-Omaha Warrior's Song
I'm trying to be a good troll, much closer to the original mythological creatures in Scandinavia and Iceland and not what is typically associated with Internet trolls. I rarely have insider information and most posts are pure speculation. But unicorns approve of my comments.
"The playoffs now are my grind. My grind for a championship,'' Roy said. "Whatever needs to be done to get there I'm gonna do it.''
Text on a 1979 RC Cola can (series with 35 players): "Bill Walton, 6'11'' 225 C, 11-5-52 UCLA, Best center in NBA in '77-'78. Deft passer as well as high percentage shooter. In a class of himself when healthy." Love that last sentence.
Sam Amico, Fox Sports Ohio: "Following injury to rookie CJ McCollum, ex-Cavs G Daniel Gibson said to be among those on Trail Blazers' radar should they opt for fill-in."https://twitter.com/SamAmicoFSO/status/387239535509118976
Was about a month ago, but oh well... still funny. Video is about one and a half hours long. It's a fun show and a classic on French tv existing for over 20 years, played in a pretty spectacular location in a real fort from the 1800s off the western coast of France. But it has some elements that I'm not sure aren't banned by NBA contracts, though Tony Parker has also been a contestant in a previous season :-) Nicolas played for a charity he supports, together with a chef, 3 female comedians, and a singer.
"Extremely excited, extremely excited," Mourning said by phone, "because I understand the potential that he (Oden) has."
Asked if he plans to work directly with Oden, Mourning said, "I think we all, as an organization, are looking forward to working with him, developing him, so that he can be a part of this organization for years to come."
"I know that if healthy, the impact that he can have on this franchise," Mourning said. "Just him being 25 years old, I feel that the longevity of the possibility of him playing, that longevity will continue to stimulate a winning opportunity with the organization."
"The game is played from the inside out," he said. "The biggest acquisition this summer was Dwight Howard, and when you have a player that caliber that can play the game inside and draw attention to that painted area, that makes all of his teammates better. Roy Hibbert has that ability. Dwight Howard. There's very few guys that have that ability in the league."http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/miami-heat/sfl-miami-heat-alonzo-mourning-s080813,0,947538.story
The former #3 pick and last year's Blazers training camp and pre-season invitee seems to be calling it quits on a bumpy career as a pro basketball player to become a "student assistant" at his alma mater.
An old article from Blazersedge's sister site Clipsnation, revisiting the moves Olshey made for the Clippers until his last trade deadline with the team, including the Chris Paul acquisition. He finally had acquired the star he wanted for a package around Eric Gordon - who remains disgruntled about how that trend went down. But had also famously lost a first round pick before (which turned out to be the #1 the Cavs used to draft Irving) in the process of trying to get the PG position fixed with Mo Williams. And the roster remained very imbalanced in terms of positions, while keeping everybody on board he had brought in. Right now the Blazers are at least one starting center short, but the rest of the roster looks fairly balanced even though we now have 4 SGs again (not counting Pavlovic). And Olshey has gotten rid of what he seems to consider some mistakes of the previous management. Is he in a better position with the Blazers as they head into free agency to bring in the next key player(s) to have more assets - remarking during the draft press conference that we currently didn't have the pieces to move up even a little in the top 10 - and keep the team's all-star happy? Has he learned from past mistakes? Is Paul Allen more or less patient than the Clippers ownership to move back into "win now" mode? We'll find out.
"The Knicks have offered future second-round picks and future considerations (cash) to Portland in an attempt to regain the rights to small forward Kostas Papanikolaou, according to sources. The Trail Blazers have rebuffed the Knicks and were asking for their 24th pick in a swap with Portland’s 39th pick Thursday night to pony up the 6-foot-9 Greek. Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald isn’t looking to give up his first-round pick, though some draft experts consider the 24-to-39 range rather comparable in a draft weaker than last season’s." (...) "According to sources, Papanikolaou, who won his second straight Euroleague championship for Olympiakos last month, is being shopped by the Blazers — at the request of his agent, Marc Cornstein." (...) "According to sources, Portland has received offers for Papanikolaou from others teams with picks in the late 20s. It appears Portland GM Neil Oshey wants to wait until draft night to determine who is available. The Blazers believe if Papanikolaou were in this year’s draft, he’d easily be a first-rounder."
The article from ESPN TrueHoop's "Ball in Europe" includes video footage of yet another escalation between the two major teams in Athens (like last year, and the year before, and...) with pyrotechnics being shot into the stands and on the bench. Seemingly fans and players of Olympiacos felt disrespected by the refs and thus by extension by league authorities, as well as by doping allegations. "Game three therefore ended with refs calling the match with 87 seconds remaining; a request from the officials to clear the building went unheeded." With some quotes by the Blazers' own Kostas KP3 Papanikolaou.
Batum and Matthews quoted by TrueHoop on the new flopping rule. Batum: "It's going to clean up the game a little bit. Everybody flops sometimes and if this cleans up the game, that's great."... "Every guy who plays in Europe. I flop sometimes. Well, I don't say I flop. Me, I exaggerate sometimes. I want it to stop though." Matthews: "I just think it's going to be tough (to call). I don't know how they are going to do it. Even with video, you can still debate calls. But I like the idea of it. I like that it will be in player's minds."Beckley Mason, ESPN.com TrueHoop "HoopIdea"
Intro from the 1996 documentary "Triumph of the Nerds", featuring none other than the Blazers' Paul Allen as he watches Sabonis & Co. dabble around against what looks like Gheorghe Muresan and the Washington Bullets. Most of the documentary focuses on other famous technology founders, but e.g. from around the 23:00 minute mark there is another segment with him talking about the early days of Microsoft.
Since Ben likes to point out the social media activities of all things Blazers, Victor also is on Twitter (and has been for quite a while, with close to 800 tweets and over 40,000 followers to his name). @victor_claver Recent "news" from a day ago: Valencia te voy a echar de menos...Portland alla vamos!! Valencia I'll miss you...Portland here we go!! And some tweets about his 24th birthday and farewell in Valencia.
Not really a thought-out proposal, but I would not mind getting Jordan Farmar as our veteran backup point guard to provide depth behind Lillard. Rumor has him interested to go back to Europe (Turkey), but maybe the Blazers could swoop in and either claim him off waivers (1 year, ca. $4.2 million, which probably no team will do) or wait until he clears waivers and make him a lower per-year offer for maybe 2 years (1 year option). When you are not Hedo Turkoglu, Portland should be more interesting than playing in the Turkish league. Atlanta didn't need him anymore after acquiring him in the Johnson trade since they already had Teague and then also traded for Harris. Harris - Teague - Farmar is a little rich in the PG department. But I'd like him on the Blazers. He is 25 and thus younger than most other names still available (e.g. Dooling), but with 6 years in the league has a lot more experience than the current or recently released (Armon) Blazers guards, and is not a former star diva or headcase. While he never reached his lofty full potential that was once talked about in LA, he was still pretty good and continued to be that on a dysfunctional Nets team (17.5 PER last year, career high in points with 10.4, 3.3 assists). He could surely be counted upon for 15-20 solid minutes, with the skills to play more should our rookie and sophomore experience a slump/rookie wall/injury/etc. Update: Apparently Farmar had already signed a 3-year deal in Turkey before Atlanta requested waivers, with no NBA team offering him a multi-year deal. So that option is gone now. Still think we need that type of player.
"Dan Radakovich (born 1935) is a former NFL football player and later an offensive line coach who helped coach the Pittsburgh Steelers to multiple Super Bowl wins in the 1970s. He spent 48 years in collegiate and professional coaching before his retirement in 2008." The Blazers now only need a defensive specialist, and we are set ;-) Olshey's wife herself is a former executive producer for several tv series who put her career on hold to raise the kids. Olshey said in interviews that she was very supportive of his career, and now their move away from LA.
Kaleb Canales will represent the Blazers as one of 12 coaches (most of them current NBA assistant coaches) at the adidas Eurocamp in Treviso from June 11-13, which is an annual pre-draft camp for international players. In recent years, this job fell to Bill Bayno who is no longer with the team. Other Blazers basketball personnel will likely also be there. A long list of European and other international players will be in attendance, led by Evan Fournier (SG/SF, could be the only international 1st round pick for 2012) and Tomas Satoransky (very tall and athletic point-forward, likely to go in the early 2nd round). Not all of those players will really be in the draft this year, some are still very young and just want to get noticed by scouts, also ones for top European teams who'll travel to Treviso in addition to the NBA representatives. Some players currently scheduled to attend might have to cancel on short notice due to travel/visa issues and ongoing playoff series with their current teams. Another player in attendance who the Blazers have scouted in the past would be Devon Van Oostrum ('93, Great Britain, Caja Laboral), who figures to be the starting or backup PG for GB at the Olympics with Joel Freeland. DX currently has him ranked #4 in his age group, led by Alex "The next Rudy/Navarro" Abrines who is not scheduled to be at the camp. The Blazers were also said to have shown interest in Kostas Papanikolaou ('90, Greece, Olympiakos, small forward). And likely Blazers international scout Jason Filippi has filed more or less extensive reports about almost all of the players in attendance. Lots of past international draft picks have gone through this camp, e.g. Rudy, Patty, Claver, Ibaka, Dragic, Bargnani, Valanciunas, Gallinari, Vesely, Biyombo, Seraphin, Jerebko, Pachulia, Gortat. As stated above, it's unlikely that there will be the same breakout performances as in years past since a lot of the established players have declared before the lockout when the competition from US players was weaker, and others are still only 18 or 19 and probably a few years away from being ready for the draft. But you never know, and this is always a good opportunity to see all the talent together in live action. Eurohopes has the full list of players attending this year.
Valencia lost the Eurocup final to BC Khimki (Russia) with 68-77. After a strong season, Blazers unsigned draft pick Victor Claver had a pretty terrible final going 0/2, 1/2 from 3 and 2/3 from the line, with 4 boards, 2 assists and a steal while seeing 31 minutes of playing time. His best contribution was that he did manage to get former NBA player Zoran Planinic in foul trouble keeping him to 23 minutes of playing time, but Planinic still scored 19 and won MVP of the game. Claver about equaled the production of former Blazers standout Sergey Monya on the Khimki side. Khimki's backup PG Chris Quinn played better than both. Going by this game, our target backup forward of the future in Valencia should be Nik Caner-Medley (former player for Maryland), who had 23 points and went to the line for 11 shots and made all (that's quite a lot of fouls drawn for European bball), and added 11 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 blocks. ----- Toronto's new star center prospect Jonas Valanciunas likely to come over for the 2012-13 season also had a terrible game in the semi finals loss against Valencia, only seeing 8 minutes of playing time. 4 points, 5 fouls, no boards. In the consolation 3rd place game against St. Petersburg he was better, going for 10 points and 12 boards.
The new arena deal will run through 2024, and will contain no "escape clauses" such as attendance benchmarks as the current lease contains. Furthermore the NBA has guaranteed that New Orleans will receive an All-Star game in that timeframe. A buyer of the Hornets from the NBA must accept these new lease terms. Latest reports around All-Star Weekend stated that two ownership groups were interested in purchasing the team and waiting for the final details of the negotiations with the state and city to be finalized.
Nick Gibson of Euroleague Adventures (born in the US but now lives in Barcelona as a writer and commentator for BBC Radio) wrote a post for Sheridan Hoops about the best unsigned draft picks held by teams in the Western Conference. His verdict: 1. Joel Freeland, PF, Portland. European Club: Unicaja (Spain). Odds He’ll Defect: 70 percent. "Those murmurs of discontent have matured into agitated roars in Freeland’s third year with Unicaja, as the team has made a habit of blowing its beefy budget on shoot-first, pass-third mostly American guards who rarely make it through a full season." [...] "Add a swift dismissal in the Copa del Rey, and Unicaja’s winless Euroleague Top 16 to his teammates’ lack of deference and yes, Joel Freeland is frustrated. This summer, however, Freeland’s a free man. " [...] That leaves Option B [signing with Portland] as the logical leader in the clubhouse. Unfortunately, Portland cycles through general managers like Unicaja does inoperative point guards, and it’s uncertain whether acting GM Chad Buchanan wants to bring the uber athletic Freeland into the fold just yet. --- 8. Victor Claver, SF, Portland. European Club: Valencia (Spain). Odds He’ll Defect: 55 percent. "Injuries have grounded Spain’s highest flyer intermittently, since just before the Blazers drafted him in 2009. Claver was supposed to have locked up the starting small forward role for the Spanish national team by now, but his on again, off again relationship with health has made it difficult to gauge his progress. With two strong legs beneath him, he’s a monster."
"The 2009-10 Sixth Man of the Year -- who, for what it's worth, would prefer to finish the season in Portland -- is averaging 14.5 points in just 26.8 minutes per game. But his 40.2 percent shooting is his lowest mark since the 2006-07 campaign. While it's not known whether the Clippers and Blazers have discussed a deal involving Crawford, a source close to him said they showed significant interest when he was a free agent but lacked the flexibility to get a deal done."
reports speculates that Crawford tends towards opting out this summer to test the free agency market, not citing specific sources either.
Dirk couldn't be in Dallas for the inofficial start of training yet because he first had to make an appearance on the most popular Saturday-evening show on German-speaking television (it's also broadcast in Switzerland and Austria, thus it's also considered the most-watched regular live TV show in Europe aside from sports events). The host is retiring after 25 years, that was his last show and Dirk was one of the guys he wanted on. I'm too lazy to translate what all happens and is said right now ;-) Paraphrasing: They are lauding Dirk for staying humble. The usual mildly amusing talk about being so tall, big shoe size, etc. that he's heard a million times. One of the few Germans people in the US know (unlike their actors who regularly fail in Hollywood). Difference in ownership of sports teams that just one rich guy can control a team. Dirk had to correct the host early on that the players didn't go on strike but were locked out. Costs of court-side tickets e.g. in LA where the host lives some of the year (and nobody knows him which he likes). Special training methods of Dirk with his personal trainer including one-legged exercises and hand-stands to maintain his flexibility. And he had a pretty funny remark about learning English in high school, but that the English spoken in NBA locker rooms was very different. No tattoos because he fears that looks stupid at age 50 or 60 with sagging skin. Co-host screws up serving him cake. Host talking about their merchandising swag. Dirk gifts/donates his All-Star game jersey worn last season. The video cuts out before the main part of the show begins aside from the talking: Normal people coming up with crazy performances (e.g. stunt jumps, recognizing stuff blind-folded from odd characteristics, etc), where the guests have to guess beforehand if they'll succeed or not. Plus music show acts. I usually fell asleep to that show anyway, but Dirk's appearance on the finale was nice.
Looks like Carmelo Anthony played through an elbow injury for about 6 of his 8 years in the league. Interesting. --- "Nobody knew, but I was struggling with my elbow for the past six years," he said. "If you go back to games, I was never able to hold my follow-through up, I was always jerking my shot and it just felt weird. But now that I got the surgery, got it to where I can extend my elbow out more, there's no pain." He repeated the last part as if it were some kind of revelation. "No pain at all." --- On that note, I'll be interested to see what Wesley Matthews looks like this year on a healthy ankle.Via Alan Hahn
"Ok so my Aunt asked me do we get unemployment and I said don't know lol come to find out we do and it's 562 a week or every 2 weeks Lmfao"Shawn Marion aka matrix31, not helping the players win the lockout PR battle.
The lockout as a cartoon: Taiwanese/Hong Kong media company Next Media Animation (NMA.tv), notorious especially in the tech scene for its highly-figurative, comedic illustrations of current world events, explains its viewers the NBA lockout. I really like the laughing David Stern with a chainsaw, the Detroit Pistons and other teams on their death beds, and LeBron having to make do with a more modest house and car while being forced to wear an uncomfortable "hard salary cap". Note: I linked the Mandarin version with English subtitles for the full effect, but you can also hear an English narrator when clicking on the link in the video.
Great article by Sports Illustrated that I initially missed when it was published this summer and I don't think it was discussed on BE. Statistically, taking a really big guy (say, well, Greg) in the draft makes a lot of sense since there just aren't enough around. Much less ones who can actually move with any agility or shoot a ball well. So on the negative side, if you are that tall you also almost inevitably will get pushed to play basketball. Pablo S. Torre for Sports Illustrated: "An actual accounting of 7-footers, domestic or global, does not exist in any reliable form. National surveys by the Center for Disease Control list no head count or percentile at that height. (Only 5% of adult American males are 6'3" or taller.) "In terms of the growth spectrum, 7 feet is simply extreme," explains endocrinologist Shlomo Melmed, dean of the medical faculty at L.A.'s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The term 7-footer is itself a kind of outer limit, a far-off threshold beyond which precise measurement seems superfluous. A 6'4" guard isn't a 6-footer, after all. The curve shaped by the CDC's available statistics, however, does allow one to estimate the number of American men between the ages of 20 and 40 who are 7 feet or taller: fewer than 70 in all. Which indicates, by further extrapolation, that while the probability of, say, an American between 6'6" and 6'8" being an NBA player today stands at a mere 0.07%, it's a staggering 17% for someone 7 feet or taller." There is a lot more information than those dry facts in the article, including extensive quotes from Mark Eaton and Shawn Bradley as well as other players, and a discussion of everyday problems and injury issues. Well worth the time to read during this lull.
At least compared to "real" CBA labor negotiations. Via Henry Abbott @truehoop "NBA bargainers did 6 hours. Ford UAW (labor trash talk!) meeting about 80 hours/week already and ramping it up." From the linked article of the Detroit Free Press: "Contract talks between the UAW and the Detroit Three are entering a more intense phase with less than two weeks left before the current national labor contract expires. Chrysler’s negotiators are planning to meet for the second straight weekend and some negotiators for GM are planning to meet during the weekend, according to people familiar with the discussions. While Ford’s team is planning to take the weekend off, its negotiators have been meeting six days a week for 12 or more hours a day." Can't hammer out a deal if you don't put in the meetings and preparations. GET TALKING!
(Linked article in German from the official site of the national basketball team for the Eurobasket 2011)
On Friday evening Germany beat Belgium 71-65 behind 18 points from Dirk Nowitzki with the Clippers' Chris Kaman playing equally well and contributing 17 points and 9 boards. The game was played in Bamberg about 30 miles from Dirk's home, with his sister among the fans in attendance. Dirk and the gang still were a bit rusty against a 2nd tier Belgian team that had former Laker DJ Mbenga and unsigned 2005 Rockets/Nuggets 2nd round pick Axel Hervelle as their most prominent players. SF/PF Hervelle covered Dirk for much of the game before fouling out in the last minutes.
Dirk kept correcting some of Kaman's movements on the court throughout various timeouts, and after the game criticized that Germany allowed too many open 3 pointers on defense and didn't move the ball around enough yet (not a lot of assisted shots in this game), but was happy with the overall effort and already showed some good moves in his first game since the NBA finals. Among them a steal followed by dribbling coast to coast for a layup, a nice trademarked fadeaway jumper in the closing minutes, and his usual solid shooting from the line also grabbing an important defensive rebound off a missed FT when Belgium could have tied the game in the last minute and instead had to foul him again. He was still working to find his 3 point shot.
Germany faces tougher competition with Greece and Turkey in the other two Supercup games on Saturday and Sunday. A rebuilt young Greek team absolutely killed Turkey on Friday 62-38 despite Turkey playing with 5 NBA players (Hedo Turkoglu, Ersan Ilyasova, Ömer Asik, Semih Erden, Enes Kanter). Ouch.
Update 1: Germany lost to Greece 56-69 in the 2nd Supercup game. Dirk didn't play a whole lot, struggled like the rest of his team, had his first points only after 14 minutes of playing time and finished the game with 11. Top scorer for Germany was Kaman with 15 points. Greece lead throughout most of the game and Germany never was able to really threaten them (already 28-42 at the half). It got a little hectic in the 4th quarter, after a scuffle between backup PF Jagla and Greek veteran Fotsis both players were ejected.
Update 2: In a fun game Germany beat Turkey on the last day of the Supercup, securing the 2nd place behind Greece in the mini tournament. See comment by DOH below for a recap of this game.
After the Supercup Germany continues their Eurobasket preparation with a game against Bosnia-Herzegovina and 2 games against
China Macedonia next week before flying to Lithuania to play the European Championships and hopefully qualify for the 2012 Olympics. Programming note: I'll attend the one next Friday against China Macedonia and can probably provide some pictures or at least a recap. (China was scheduled to play Germany twice, but sucked so bad plus suffered injuries in a mini tournament in London that they instead decided to fly home.)
"Former Cincinnati Bengal Tim McGee is being sued by ex-University of Cincinnati basketball player Ruben Patterson, who claims McGee misled him in business deals and hasn't repaid a loan. Patterson seeks from McGee repayment of $687,000 plus $1 million in punitive damages." "I have built a reputation of integrity for the last 20-some-odd years... in Cincinnati," McGee countered, saying he was looking forward to defending that reputation at trial. "I don't think he (Patterson) paid close enough attention. He wakes up one day and he's lost a lot of money," [his attorney] McTigue said. --------------------------------------------- Don't you hate it when that happens? The article also cites an expert from a local university about the problems pro athletes face trying to maximize the money they make at a young age to last over their lifetime, and details the nature of the failed business deals. For once, the law could be on Patterson's side. During his time with the Blazers Ruben Patterson had multiple run-ins with the authorities and his teammates - notably Zach Randolph who punched him in the face - and coach Nate McMillan. Back in 2007 McGee had to defend him in the media when Patterson had failed to register as a sex offender after moving back to Cincinnati. He last played in the NBA for the Clippers, and last played professional basketball in Lebanon in 2009.
Article in French. Parker is a co-owner of that team. The roster currently features fellow French national team players Edwin Jackson (SG) and Mikael Gelabale (SF, formerly with the Sonics) alongside former NBA player Pops Mensah-Bonsu, as well as the coach of the French national team who allegedly has a very good connection to Batum. The article mentions that one obstacle could be that ASVEL is not yet directly qualified for the Euroleague, the highest level of international basketball competition in Europe (they'd have to play in the 2nd-tier Eurocup failing to qualify for that, along with league play in the French Pro A league). As previously reported, SLUC Nancy is another French Pro A team that has publicly expressed their interest in Batum in case of a longer lockout.
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