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Wednesday, August 12

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The New Orleans Hornets will trade shooting guard Rasual Butler today to the Los Angeles Clippers for a future conditional second-round draft pick, a league source confirmed on Wednesday. The swap gives the Hornets some financial flexibility - Butler was scheduled to earn $3.945 million this season - as well as potentially opens up minutes at the position for Julian Wright, Morris Peterson and rookie Marcus Thornton. New Orleans Times-Picayune

Butler is scheduled to earn $3.9 million next season. With the Clippers looking for an extra shooter and depth at both shooting guard and small forward, sources said the team was amenable to absorbing the final year of Butler's contract, which will save New Orleans nearly $8 million when factoring in the luxury-tax implications. The Clippers were able to absorb Butler's contract without surrendering a player by plugging his salary into the $7.3 million trade exception they created when it dealt Zach Randolph to Memphis last month. If the Hornets can shed some $4 million more in payroll between now and February in a similar deal that does not force them to take a contract in return, they are poised to move beneath the $69.9 million tax threshhold for next season. ESPN.com

Rashad McCants: going to meet wit denver tomorrow in denver. lets know it will go good. Ive always liked denver. Twitter.com

Ben Wallace, 34, re-signed with the Pistons this morning after leaving the franchise in the summer of 2006 for a four-year, $60-million deal with the Chicago Bulls. Detroit Free Press

“I’m excited to have an opportunity to come back here,” Wallace said. “I think my career really took a turn for the best when I came here and now I have an opportunity to come back.” Detroit Free Press

The Rockets officially signed center David Andersen to a multi-year contract on Wednesday, completing the deal in which they acquired his rights from the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for cash and future considerations on July 14. An Australian native, the 6-11, 245-pound Andersen was originally selected by Atlanta in the second round (37th overall) of the 2002 NBA Draft. Houston Chronicle

“This is going to be our year!’’ Jason Terry tells me, and I am only slightly moved. After all, doesn’t the always ebullient Jet think every year is going to be our year? I’m sure that he’s sincerely believed that it’s been his year since 1977, when he emerged from the womb and responded to the doctor’s butt tap not with a newborn’s cry but with the words, “Doc, this is going to be our year!’’ DallasBasketball.com

“Believe what I’m telling you,’’ Terry says. “I like our team, the way we’ve put this team together. We’re one piece or maybe one-and-half pieces away.’’ DallasBasketball.com

The Nets also have a deep developing core, led by point guard Devin Harris, who's under contract through 2013 at a very reasonable rate, and center Brook Lopez, who's coming off an impressive rookie season. With Courtney Lee, Yi Jianlian, Terrence Williams and Chris Douglas-Roberts, they have young depth as well. The Nets, all things considered, are in a better position than their equally focused-on-the-future neighbors in New York. "When you're building a team up, all the young players are X-factors," Nets general manager Kiki Vandeweghe said Tuesday. "That's why player development becomes so important and, in some cases, takes precedence over winning one particular game. You may sacrifice a little bit waiting for young players to improve." NBA.com

"We weren't going where we wanted to go as we were constructed," Vandeweghe said. "Vince Carter is a tremendous basketball player, but we looked at our team and we realized that we weren't going to get to a championship level." NBA.com

Unlike a lot of camps, though, this was not all basketball. Campers had to go school for a large portion of each day. "One point we really want to stress here is education," Smith said. "We want the kids to realize that not everyone is going to be a professional athlete. They are going to need a good education." The organization that runs the classroom sessions in Smith's camp is the Rae of Light Foundation. "We ran this same program at the Allen Iverson camp two years ago," Brandi Rae Hicks, the foundation's head, said. "Our purpose is to teach financial literacy, academic preparedness and basic life skills." NBA.com

"We try to teach them the difference between wants and needs, assets and liabilities, and we take them through a paycheck," Hicks said. "At first the kids spend the money on things they see on TV every day. Then on the last day we do the activity again, and the difference in how they spend the money is like night and day." NBA.com

Instead of relying on phone calls and translated news reports, the team is sending trainer Gary Vitti to Spain to check on their prized 7-footer just to make sure everything is proceeding as normal. Vitti apparently will head to Spain at the end of the month to examine Gasol’s finger, which he injured while attempting a block during practice with the Spanish National team. Gasol underwent emergency surgery to repair damage to a tendon. Orange County Register

Nicolas Batum could be questionable for France's crunch game with Italy on Friday because of a shoulder problem. Arguably France's best player so far in the Additional Qualifying Round, Batum felt discomfort during Les Bleus' 82-72 win over Finland in Pau on Saturday but still managed to score 14 points. Early results of exams by doctors have indicated that the 20-year-old has had some "shoulder instability for several months", according to the French Basketball Federation. Eurobasket2009.org

Did you try to talk Rambis out of taking the Minnesota job: Jeanie Buss: “It was really with mixed emotions and it’s the same with Phil because he depends on Kurt so much. I was worried if Kurt left that it would be difficult for Phil to carry on. A lot of people are aware that when Phil had health problems he turned the team over to Kurt, he had 100% confidence in Kurt, and he had Kurt for the last two seasons be responsible for the defense.” “Phil is so proud of Kurt and he knows that Kurt has the itch and it’s time for Kurt to be in charge and Phil knew he was ready for that and he wishes him well.” Sports Radio Interviews

Dwight Howard: Hey world. On set at the movie. fun day yuuuuaaaaa. Rashards here. Bobby simmons. Twitter.com

A laptop containing "a variety of private images" of NBA star Baron Davis has been stolen and the athlete's lawyers are threatening legal action if the material is published. Counsel for the the Los Angeles Clippers guard, a two-time All-Star and novice film producer, yesterday sent news outlets a letter threatening legal action over the personal photos, videos, and audio stored on the computer (a copy of the letter sent to TSG by the law firm Lavely & Singer can be found below). The Smoking Gun

The photos and videos "depict, among other things, a variety of private images of our client, his associates and his colleagues," wrote lawyer William J. Briggs, II. Davis "had a reasonable expectation of enjoying total privacy with regard to the images," Briggs added. The 30-year-old Davis, who earns about $12 million annually, recently produced "Crips and Bloods," a documentary about the nation's most notorious street gangs. The Smoking Gun

Quentin RichardsonJerry Zgoda: Look for Quentin Richardson to be soon traded to his fifth team this summer, perhaps yet this week. Twitter.com

A source familiar with the negotiations has confirmed to WEEI.com that former Celtics forward Leon Powe is in Cleveland and will sign a two-year deal with the Cavaliers upon the completion of the second part of his physical on Wednesday. After establishing himself as a reliable contributor on the Celtics bench, Powe’s future was in question following a string of knee injuries last season. After missing 13 games with a right knee injury, Powe tore the ACL in his left knee during Game 2 of the first round of the playoffs against the Chicago Bulls. He missed the remainder of the postseason. WEEI.com

This summer the Celtics chose not to exercise their option on Powe’s contract, making the injured 25-year-old an unrestricted free agent in a tumultuous economy. According to the source, Powe is expected to return in February. (The Cavaliers will make their first trip to Boston on February 25 for a nationally televised game on TNT.) While he may not have an impact for the first half of the season, a championship contending team like the Cavaliers could benefit from his playoff experience down the stretch. WEEI.com

A source said Powe's knee is healing and his doctors believe he's ahead of that schedule. The Cavs are hoping Powe can help them in the latter stages of this season and in the playoffs, when he has a track record of playing well in the last three seasons with the Boston Celitcs. Cleveland Plain Dealer

Signing Powe would bring the Cavs roster to 13 players and they are not done. Despite having six big men on the roster already, Powe's injury and J.J. Hickson's recovery from a back injury still may leave the team short. So, according to a league source, the Cavs are still considering signing Joe Smith or perhaps Rob Kurz. The team is expected to sign second-round draft pick Danny Green, a wing player, before training camp as well. Cleveland Plain Dealer

Wally Szczerbiak, who played with the Cavaliers last season, was an unrestricted free agent small forward. "Have you talked with the Nuggets?" I asked Szczerbiak, who was the sixth overall pick in the NBA draft in 1999. "Yes, they seem very interested in me, and I'd love to play in Denver. The Nuggets fit my style of play, and they're a championship contending team. I was impressed with all they did last year. But it depends on Kleiza." Denver Post

But they need to add three players to reach the league-mandated 13 — Szczerbiak is one. They can resign Anthony Carter to a one-year deal, and they can bring in one or more of their summer league players on make-good minimum contracts. Ronald Dupree, a 6-foot-7 forward out of LSU, is a defender who had 22 points in one game in Las Vegas. Denver Post

Jason Hart is receiving interest from the Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, and Denver Nuggets. Hart's agent, Bill Neff, told RealGM's Alex Kennedy that each team has had preliminary talks regarding Hart. RealGM

Mensah Bonsu, who spent last season with the Toronto Raptors, has remained in the USA to complete contract talks with an un-named NBA team. While Archibald, who recently underwent hernia surgery, was ordered to take a medical in Malaga on Tuesday by his club, Unicaja, before being allowed to join up with GB at their HQ in London. Britball

The Houston Rockets reached a contract agreement with rookie forward Chase Budinger according to his agent Kevin Bradbury. Bradbury told FOX 26 Sports Tuesday Budinger's deal with the Rockets is for two years with team options for two more years. "This is a great opportunity for Chase," Bradbury said. "The Rockets really stepped up by giving him a deal that is comparable to what a first rounder would receive. "Chase is excited about the opportunity and feels there is a spot for him there." MyFOX Houston

A source tells Sporting News that Budinger has agreed to a four-year deal with the Houston Rockets -- who acquired his rights from the Detroit Pistons -- that could be worth almost $3 million. The first two years of the contract are guaranteed, making the deal similar to those signed by first-rounders. Sporting News

There's been a lot of attention directed at a possible reunion between the Grizzlies and Jason Williams (and rightfully so). The Griz, however, also recently took an up-close-and-personal look at a few other reserve guard options. A group of lesser known, unemployed NBA guards visited FedExForum this week to work out for Griz brass: John Lucas III (a former Houston Rocket who played in the D-League last season), Gabe Pruitt (recently waived by the Celtics) and Mike Taylor (recently waived by the L.A. Clippers). Memphis Commercial Appeal

"Olympiakos gave me the best offer I've received all summer," Wafer said. "Actually Olympiakos offered me more money earlier this summer, but I turned it down. "When they came knocking again, I couldn't pass it up. "Olympiakos is a great team and they want me. It feels good to be wanted." MyFOX Houston

"It's a business and I understand that," Wafer said. "I wanted to be here, but the Rockets never made me an offer. "They chose to go in a different direction and I chose to take another path. MyFOX Houston

He believes he has a reputation of being a head case and that hampered his ability to land with an NBA team. It's a reputation that Wafer said is unfair and he feels it may stem in part from the highly publicized disagreement he had with Rockets head coach Rick Adelman during the playoff series with the Los Angeles Lakers. It's a situation that Wafer has apologized for more than once. "During my career I have also played for (Lakers head coach) Phil Jackson, (Portland head coach) Nate McMillan, and (Denver head coach) George Karl," Wafer said. "None of those coaches would call me a head-case. "Every day I think about this and it really bothers me. I have never been disrespectful to anyone in the NBA or the media." MyFOX Houston

Daryl Morey: Welcome D.Andersen - contract finalized...Yao was in today. Watched a few minutes of our pickup game and quipped I would trade me. Twitter.com

"I was hoping and praying that they signed me back," Andersen said. "I knew they were going to do the right thing. . . . I tried not to worry about it too much. I went up and took some time for myself." Denver Post

"They've improved, but the West has always been tough," Andersen said. "It's not a cakewalk, that's for sure. We have tough teams to face, but what does it matter? Now that we've been to the Western Conference finals, we know what it takes, we know how hard we have to play to get there. And we can do it. Everybody knows how great we are now. Denver Post

Were you surprised by the many teams Saunders called you to Cordoba? Fabricio Oberto: Yes, we spoke very often. They make me feel important. Clarin

Rookie swingman Deron Washington has cleared a major step in his quest to be on the Pistons' opening night roster, but he has a little more work to do. He has signed a contract for next season, but only a small portion is guaranteed, meaning he has to make the team. Detroit Free Press

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Eddy Curry has been in Ocean City, N.J. since Aug. 1 to continue his offseason regimen with his trainers, Jerry Powell and Tommy Weatherspoon. According to multiple sources, the Knicks will find that Curry is down another 10 pounds since they saw him in Las Vegas last month, when the embattled center spent two days working out with the summer league team. Knicks president Donnie Walsh made the trip to Ocean City on Tuesday to check up on Curry. It is the third time Walsh has seen Curry since the end of the season. Curry, 26, who appeared in just two games this past season because of knee and conditioning issues, weighed about 328 in July, which, according to Weatherspoon, was 30 pounds lighter than he was at the end of the NBA season. As of Tuesday, Curry is said to be at about 318 pounds, which is near the ideal weight range that Weatherspoon has set as Curry's playing weight. Newsday

Curry's listed weight is 285 pounds, which hasn't been accurate since his early days with the Chicago Bulls. Weatherspoon, who has trained pros in the NFL and MLB during the past two decades, told Newsday in July that anyone who believes Curry will ever play again at 285 is "delusional." Weatherspoon said 300 to 315 pounds is where the 6-11 Curry should be. Newsday

LeBron James''I apologized for not talking to the media because I should have done that; that's a responsibility of mine,'' he said. ''But shaking hands, it's not done in the NBA.'' No one ever has accused James of being a bad teammate. He was in Chicago for a youth event at Seward Park in River North as the first stop on a tour to promote the movie ''More Than a Game,'' a documentary on the relationship between James and his high school teammates at St. Vincent-St. Mary's in Akron, Ohio. Herald News

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James was in town Tuesday for a youth basketball event, so it's no surprise he was asked about the recent arrest of Blackhawks star Patrick Kane. After all, few understand what it's like to be the face of a franchise at 20 better than James. ''I wish him the best,'' he said of Kane. ''I wish him and his family the best, and hopefully they can get through this tough time.'' Herald News

When asked if it was difficult to live such a public life at such a young age, James said: ''It's not difficult at all. You have a responsibility as a professional to be professional all the time, on the court or off the court.'' He also was asked to comment on Chicago's other 20-year-old star, the Bulls' Derrick Rose. ''He's really good, really talented,'' James said. ''He will be one of the better point guards we have in our league in the near future. They have a good one. They picked the right player.'' Herald News

According to sessions here, 3 of 5 retired NBA players have no prior work experience. 4 of 5 have no college degree. Twitter.com

Rudy Gay: Getting ready to speak some knowledge to these young punks...... half of them older than me! Twitter.com

Andre Iguodala: The rookies seemed quite interested in the topic of women, but all in all they were cool... James johnson is a character! Twitter.com

Jack McClinton: So we are in our group breakout meeting and the topic is about marriage. 80 percent of NBA marriages end up in divorce! That's just crazy. Twitter.com

Nuggets big man Chris Andersen played and talked with the kids Tuesday. He was every bit the player — and the man — with whom fans fell head over heels last season. "By far this has been the best camp for my kid," said Shannon Scott, parent of 8-year-old Joey, who this summer has been to an Air Force camp, as well as Carmelo Anthony's camp. "I'm totally impressed. He's here every day. He's just an amazing person. For his first camp, he's fantastic." Denver Post

Pau GasolGasol broke the finger while training with the Spanish team in Cadiz on Monday. Spain's basketball federation said he will be out of action for about 20 days, giving him no more than a week to prepare for the European Championships, scheduled for Sept. 7-20. "I am not overly worried as it isn't a very serious injury and in three weeks I expect to be back doing practically everything," Gasol said Tuesday at a news conference in Madrid. "I have explained the situation to the Lakers, and they have the results. They aren't pleased I am injured but I don't think they'll put obstacles in my way. Riverside Press-Enterprise

DKV Joventut and FC Barcelona resumed negotiations yesterday and an agreement could be imminent. Sport.es

Other than plenty of cap room, that's about it. Rambis is keeping on open mind on the roster going forward, but admitted he projects Rubio as the eventual starter over Flynn. Though there's been little progress in the Spaniard's buyout negotiations, Rambis stressed Rubio's willingness to come this season if possible. NBA.com

The day after the Minnesota Timberwolves officially named Rambis as their new coach, the longtime Lakers assistant told reporters on a conference call that he could envision Jackson coaching for another "five or six years" before stepping down. As a result, he's passing up the chance to wait out his dream job to come to Minnesota, a young team he believes has the cornerstones in place to become a playoff fixture in the next few years. "I saw myself as a viable candidate to succeed Phil above many and equal to most, but this was a timing thing," Rambis said. "There were no guarantees. They made me no promises. Phil loves coaching. That team is built to win, so I envision him being there for a long time." Riverside Press-Enterprise

Pain and swelling in Jackson's lower right leg kept him from traveling to a road game in Portland late last season. Jackson has had both hips replaced and underwent an angioplasty in 2003. "There's no doubt he could coach beyond this season," Rambis said. "I don't think it has anything to do with his competitive desire or his willingness to coach. There might be some health issues that creep up that prevent him from doing it, but otherwise I see him fully capable of coaching for another five or six years." Riverside Press-Enterprise

Kevin Love: No tweets at the press conference...Rambis was well spoken and to the point. Just sat there and took it in. Twitter.com

Kahn's first controversy involved McHale, who declined to return as coach after reportedly being offered a one-year deal during the off-season, despite the support from young stars Kevin Love and Al Jefferson. McHale's departure ended a 15-year association with the team and left Kahn open to criticism. "I don't expect the fans to respond to me personally," Kahn said. "I think that more often than not, they have been supportive of the moves that we've made." McHale's departure left Love, the former Lake Oswego High star who had developed a close relationship with the former coach, with a bitter taste. "I didn't want to see him not come back," Love said. "He had helped me a lot as a player." Oregonian

"He's either a genius or something else. I'm not hyping him up to be something great or bashing him to be something so low," Love said. "That's my new boss, so I respect him and what he is doing. I hope he's doing the right things." Oregonian

Based on a jersey worn by rookie Gerald Henderson, the new style will include orange pinstripes on the white home uniforms. The design became public about a month before the team intended, when a trading-card company released a video of rookie photo-shoots. Bobcats spokesman B.J. Evans said the team is still doing a final review of the new look, but that the Henderson picture is as "close as it's going to get'' to how they'll appear. The road uniforms will use blue (rather than orange) as the primary color; the team has been transitioning that way since introducing a blue "alternative'' road uniform a couple of years ago. Charlotte Observer

Aaron Goodwin: Red eye to NYC. GSM client Dwight Howard shooting scenes tomorrow in Queen Latifah/Common movie. DH also shoots with Julia Roberts in Sept. Twitter.com

Tom GugliottaBasketball was such a big part of your life, so do you still go out and play pick-up games? Do you have any intention in pursuing a career in broadcasting or coaching? Tom Gugliotta: I don’t go out and play anymore because of the injury I had with my knee. It has also affected other parts of my body. I just had a back procedure, not surgery… called an epidural injection to try to ease some pain that I have been having in my back. Playing basketball is out of the question, but I do some things with the Boys and Girls Club. I run some camps and try to get involved with the kids. I just try and teach them the fundamentals of basketball. Suns.com

University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino told police that he had consensual sex with Karen Cunagin Sypher at a Louisville restaurant where he'd been drinking on Aug. 1, 2003. He also told police that he later gave Sypher $3,000 to have an abortion, according to Louisville Metro Police reports The Courier-Journal obtained under the Kentucky Open Records Act. But Pitino denied Sypher's allegations that he raped her at Porcini, after the restaurant closed, and again a few weeks later at a different location, police records show. And prosecutors who have reviewed Sypher's claims say Pitino won't be charged. Courier-Journal

Sypher has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiring to extort money from Pitino in exchange for her silence about the alleged crimes, and with lying to the FBI. She has pleaded not guilty. Courier-Journal

Sgt. Andy Abbott said in an investigative summary that Sypher failed, for example, to disclose that another person was at Porcini Restaurant when she said the first incident occurred. That witness, Vinny Tatum, an executive assistant to Pitino, told the FBI that he didn't see what happened but heard “only the sounds of two people that seemed to be enjoying themselves during a sexual encounter,” according to Abbott's report. Abbott said records also indicate that Pitino was in California when Sypher claimed he sexually assaulted her a second time. “The more information I gather, the worse it looks for you,” Abbott told Sypher during a July 13 phone interview, according to a transcript of the call. Courier-Journal

Pitino told Abbott that he had had too much alcohol to drive and eventually got a ride home from Sypher, whom he said was “driving him crazy” on the way there, asking for basketball tickets. He said he gave her his business card and told her to call about them. He said that about two weeks later, Sypher called, telling him she was pregnant and he had to be the father because she hadn't had sex with anybody else for months. Pitino said he told her they should meet somewhere discreetly to discuss the matter. He said he suggested the condo of the team's equipment manager, Tim Sypher, whom she'd not yet met, but later married. She met Tim Sypher and followed him to the condo. Courier-Journal

Sypher also alleged that toward the end of August 2003, when she realized she was pregnant and met with Pitino at Tim Sypher's condo, Pitino pushed her to the floor and raped her again, while Tim Sypher was upstairs. But Karen Sypher insisted that the incident occurred between the time she had an ultrasound test confirming the pregnancy on Aug. 26, 2003, and Aug. 29, 2003, when she had an abortion in Cincinnati, according to police records. And Pitino was able to prove through his calendar that he was in Pebble Beach, Calif,. at the time, the records show. “I confronted her concerning her timetable,” Abbott said in a report, “and she could offer no valid explanation.” Courier-Journal

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