If Chalmers somehow makes it to training camp with the Heat, he would be the obvious choice to back up Dragic. But Miami appears intent on trying to purge the final year of his contract; his $4.3 million salary could result in a tax bill three times that amount, depending on the Heat’s final payroll number. The Heat has time to move Chalmers, because a team’s tax bill is based on the roster on the final day of the regular season, an NBA spokesman said. But Miami appears interested in moving as soon as it can find a suitable deal, according to a league official who has spoken to the Heat.
July 29, 2015 | 1:06 pm EDT Update
He had hoped he could return to the city that had embraced him, to the team with players he considered brothers, to the franchise where he grew into one of the NBA’s most well-rounded and respected shooting guards. But in the end, after five seasons, the feeling was not mutual. He was greeted with silence. No phone call. No text messages. The Blazers never made an offer. “I was pissed off,” Matthews said. “I felt disrespected.”
Two days after free agency opened, he agreed in principle to join the Mavericks. On July 9, he signed a four-year, $70 million deal – an average salary of $17.5 million a season, about $10 million more than he earned last season. “I told Cuban this the other day: This is the first time, head-to-toe, that an organization has had faith and confidence in me,” Matthews said. “From coaches, to GM to owner — complete confidence. That’s all I wanted. That’s all I wanted.”
He says it’s not all about the money, a fact underlined by his recruitment of free agent center DeAndre Jordan, who was waffling between the Mavericks and staying with the Los Angeles Clippers. If Jordan signed with Dallas, his deal would reduce the amount of money the Mavericks could give Matthews by $4 million a season. If Jordan stayed in Los Angeles, Matthews would get the max. “I was honest with him,” Matthews said. “I said, ‘Look man, I would make less money if you come here and I’m begging you to come here. Begging you. I think that shows what I’m about.'”
One NBA general manager who spoke to the Heat said Heat brass realized Shabazz Napier “was not good enough. At that size (6-1), you have to be really quick or a very good shooter, and he’s neither.”… Please see the last post for details on Josh Richardson’s signing.
Wasserman Media Group, a sports and entertainment marketing and management company and Nervve, a video and image recognition technology company, announced a partnership between each other. Wasserman has agreed to work exclusively with Nervve to bring to market their visual search technology, which allows brands to track and analyze brand exposure impact across several sports and entertainment programming more efficiently.
How long have you been active on social media? Andrew Bogut: I have been active on social media since 2008. I have started with Facebook, my personal account and the fan page. Later on I opened my Twitter account. Do you consider social media a must-have for all professional athletes? Andrew Bogut: Yes and No. Some athletes like to be more private. I think it is good to connect with fans. Also, a lot of marketing and branding is done. These days your sponsors, brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Mc Donald’s, whoever you sign with, would like you to post things on your social media. It can help with the interaction with your sponsors.
July 29, 2015 | 12:01 pm EDT Update
The Russian basketball federation posted a letter on its website saying it’s been suspended by FIBA due to its management issues, which could impact its Rio 2016 Olympic qualification hopes. The letter, signed by FIBA officials, said Russia can attempt to have its ban lifted at a FIBA meeting Aug. 8-9. That is crucial, given the European Olympic men’s basketball qualifying tournament is in September.
Scott Agness: Never taking himself too seriously, Lavoy Allen had some great one-liners Tuesday after re-signing with the Pacers bit.ly/1LUEW7W For ex.: Allen on the Hickory uniforms, “I don’t know if I loved the uniforms or maybe George Hill just makes them look good bc of the hair”
During the first day of the CJ McCollum Youth Basketball Camp in Tualatin, it was hard to tell if he or the kids were enjoying themselves more. “This is a lot of fun,” McCollum said Tuesday. “It gives me a chance to bond with the kids. Being a professional athlete, you’re in a position where kids look up to you and you can make an impression —sometimes more of an impression than family members. It’s important that you do things the right way and put yourself in a position to help out and give back. My mom always raised me to give back and remember where you come from. This is just one way to do that.”
“My first couple years, I wanted to transition and focus on the floor; I wanted to try to solidify myself in the rotation, solidify myself in the NBA,” McCollum said. “But as we transition to year three, four, five, six, and so on, the community becomes more familiar with me, my personality, and then I get to figure out what I want to do. I want to be active and involved.”
Paul Pierce threw out the first pitch at Tuesday’s Dodgers – A’s game. Pierce seemed to enjoy his reception, though I’m not sure why. A baseball game starting at 7:10 in LA means that there can’t be more than 100 people in the stands. Perhaps he picked out a smattering of boos from unemployed Lakers fans? Either way, he proceeded to ham it up on the mound before bouncing one in the dirt 10-feet in front of the plate.
July 29, 2015 | 7:05 am EDT Update
Jackson still wants to sign a big man, and Carlos Boozer and Washington center Kevin Seraphin are still unsigned. The Knicks have shown tepid interest in Boozer.
Even after the undrafted Ndour agreed to terms with Dallas, the Knicks called Ndour’s camp to see if there was something that still could be worked out. Ndour, however, would not break his verbal agreement with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, according to a source.
“We need to get to the playoffs this year,” point guard Elfrid Payton told Basketball Insiders earlier this month. “There’s no more time for, ‘Next year… Next year…’ The time is now. We need to step up our games and be ready to play.”
Barnes made sure to warn Jordan that things could change between them in the flicker of a cake candle now that Barnes plays for the Memphis Grizzlies. “I told him, ‘Even though we’re good friends, I’m still going to foul the beep out of you when we play,'” Barnes recalled Tuesday during his introductory news conference in Memphis. “That’s just the kind of player I am. There’s no hard feelings.”
It also means a player known for altercations with fans and referees, along with opposing players and team owners, has some reputation-mending to do in his new city. He might start with a young female fan who became irritated during a playoff game between the Grizzlies and Clippers in April 2013, when Barnes kicked a garbage can on his way off the court after a bitter defeat. “It was a close game and I was mad that we lost and I kicked the can,” Barnes said. “I’m looking forward to inviting that young lady back to the first game and letting her know I’m not the guy she thought I was when I kicked the can.”
Festus Ezeli said he advanced quickly in school and was promoted past the fifth and sixth grades by American standards at the private Igbinedion Education Center in Benin City. He actually earned his high school diploma just months from his 15th birthday. “The common knowledge of Africa is poverty, which we do have a lot of,” Ezeli said. “But the affluent and educated exist in Nigeria as well. My parents worked hard enough to send me to an international school. At the school I learned about different parts of the world. I learned to get out of a small-town mentality and to aspire to be great.”
Festus Ezeli arrived to Sacramento standing 6-foot-8 with plenty of room left to grow. While school remained the focus, his uncle believed it made a lot of sense for his nephew to begin playing basketball, too. “[Ndulue] saw my height and said, ‘We could do something with this,’ ” Festus Ezeli said. “I told him that I came to America to be a doctor. He told me, ‘You can play basketball and use basketball to pay for your education.’ We all thought it was a good idea, but we didn’t realize how hard it would be.”
Ezeli actually scored his first basket in his AAU debut in the wrong basket. He took a brief hiatus playing basketball after his frustrations, combined with his teammates’ and coaches’ frustrations, became too much for him. In 2005, he got cut from Sacramento’s Jesuit High School basketball team. “I didn’t like it at all at first,” Ezeli said. “I didn’t understand anything about the game.”
Ezeli received 27 scholarship offers before narrowing his field to Boston College, Connecticut, Harvard and Vanderbilt. Ezeli’s parents thought it would be a dream come true for their son to get a Harvard education. In hopes of getting the best combination of school and basketball though, a strong-willed Ezeli chose Vanderbilt. “I didn’t think it was the best decision because I thought Harvard would give him the greatest opportunity in life,” Patricia Ada Ezeli said. “Most parents would think that for their children. But when he kept insisting about basketball, school and being able to play at the highest level of the sport, we said to ourselves, ‘School is always there. He can try it and if it doesn’t work out he can go back to school.’ “
Ezeli is scheduled to depart from South Africa back to the United States on Aug. 6. He says his trip to Africa won’t be complete until he finally steps foot back in Nigeria. “Even if I can’t go right now, the fact that I can go back to Africa is exciting to me,” Ezeli said. “There are a lot of things I want to do in the world. With the trouble in Nigeria and things like that, I want to be able to help my country in some way. I don’t know how it’s going to be, but I want to help my country. But to be able to give back to the continent, this is an exciting first step.”
A security detail has accompanied the group throughout their travels to Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, a restaurant near the northern border with Syria and Lebanon, the Holocaust Museum, and a basketball clinic for Israeli and Palestinian youngsters. The itinerary includes another youth clinic and a breakfast meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We were a little nervous about going to Jerusalem,” Casspi said by phone early Tuesday morning, “but we had a great time. Thousands of people followed us when we walked around the Wall and the shops. DeMarcus was like a rock star. Everybody wanted to be around him.”
This week, columnist Dave Zirin of The Nation wrote an open letter to the players who accompanied Casspi, urging them to investigate Adelson’s background. Zirin further alleges that Casspi organized the delegation in response to the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, a Palestinian-founded campaign designed to isolate and financially cripple Israel.