Mon Jul 26 09:30am EDT
Each weekday morning, BDL serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your strimble-strompers.
John Reid, New Orleans Times-Picayune: "Despite a scheduled meeting set for Monday with Hornets officials that will include new general manager Dell Demps and Coach Monty Williams, Chris Paul's(notes) agent, Leon Rose, continues to move forward with his exit strategy for Paul. A source close to Paul said he has not yet formally told the Hornets to trade him, but he plans to inform them during Monday's meeting he would be willing to play elsewhere if they cannot accommodate his wishes to improve the roster. With speculation intensifying, Hornets President Hugh Weber said the team has no plans to trade Paul. However, Rose continues to gauge interest from various teams that could seek to obtain Paul in a trade, according to league sources. Despite internet reports to the contrary, sources in Paul's camp said it has not reached the point of declaring front-runners, but Paul would welcome a trade to the Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, Dallas Mavericks or New York Knicks if the Hornets are not serious about winning. The latest internet speculation has James recommending to Paul to stay in the Western Conference to make a better rivalry with the Miami Heat of the Eastern Conference, where James and Chris Bosh(notes) joined Dwayne Wade in free agency. It could be difficult for Demps and other Hornets officials to convince Paul they are serious about winning for the upcoming season when their only free-agent signee thus far is returning backup center Aaron Gray(notes)."
Tim Povtak, NBA FanHouse: "The Orlando Magic might be atop the wish list of disgruntled point guard Chris Paul -- which is expected with center Dwight Howard(notes) on their roster -- but they don't sound very confident of landing him anytime soon. They are not convinced that New Orleans will be bullied into trading their franchise player, not with two years remaining on his contract. And they still are not interested in taking the bloated contract of teammate Emeka Okafor(notes) to make it happen because it would sentence them to long-term payroll disaster. A desperate team with more salary cap flexibility -- like the New York Knicks, for example - would be more accommodating for the Hornets, if they decide there is no choice but to trade Paul. 'Much ado about nothing,' Magic coach Stan Van Gundy Saturday told the Orlando Sentinel when asked about reports linking his team to Paul. 'We are only involved in this story because someone said he wants to be traded and someone said he wants to come to Orlando,' Van Gundy told FanHouse Sunday. 'It's a New Orleans and Chris Paul story.' Magic general manager Otis Smith described the Orlando/Paul link as 'rumors.'"
Marc Stein, ESPN: "The Bulls are prepared to sign Tracy McGrady(notes) if he proves to be sufficiently healthy in a workout Monday and can convince the team he is willing to accept a bench role, one source familiar with Chicago's thinking said Sunday. 'Nothing is done until it's done, but I expect the Bulls to sign McGrady later this week,' the source said. Another unknown is what kind of contract McGrady can command from the Bulls. But McGrady has said money and years are not priorities after earning nearly $23 million last season with Houston and New York."
Phil Jasner, Philadelphia Daily News: "This was the Andre Iguodala(notes) that Doug Collins had been waiting to see: a versatile player more concerned with team continuity, with defense, with making the necessary plays. The empty eyes and sagging shoulders of last season with the 76ers were gone. 'I think he's back,' said Collins , preparing for his first season coaching the Sixers. This was after watching 2 days of the USA Basketball camp in Las Vegas, where 19 players were competing for 12 spots on the U.S. national team that will participate in the world championships, Aug. 28 to Sept. 12 in Turkey. This was also after watching the USA Showcase Game Saturday night in which Iguodala - playing for the White team - put together 17 points, six rebounds and five assists, and committed just two fouls and two turnovers in 23 minutes, 28 seconds. With Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant(notes) scoring a game-high 28 points, the White squad beat the Blue, 114-96. 'Before the camp started, I asked my son, Chris [an assistant to U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski ], what kind of words I could offer Iguodala to encourage him,' Collins said. 'Chris said Coach K was looking for Andre to be his best defender, that he had other guys who could score, that he needed a lockdown defender. Andre really embraced that. His attitude all through the camp was terrific. He played with energy, he had a lot of fun playing. I want him to embrace that with the Sixers, too. If he does, he'll be a better player and he'll make us better. To me, he's in a really good place right now. I think he can feel the environment [with the Sixers] changing. I think he sees the work our coaches are putting in. His experience with the national team has been great. When he's defensive-minded, when he gets in the open floor, when he's creating for others, that's when he's at his best. I could see him taking ownership in a way maybe he hasn't before, leading with not just points or stats, but with energy, with his work habits, with his defense, with the way he interacts with his teammates.'"
John Jackson, Chicago Sun-Times: "Although he'll have to sweat out the decision for another day or so -- the roster is expected to be trimmed from 19 to 15 by Monday -- it appears Derrick Rose(notes) has done enough to advance to the next stage in the process for making the U.S. team that will compete in the world championships next month in Turkey. In the USA Basketball Showcase on Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus, Rose had 15 points (7-for-13 shooting) and eight assists in helping the White team to a 114-96 victory over the Blue team. Kevin Durant scored a game-high 28 points for the White team. Rose started at point guard and played a major role in the White team jumping out to a big lead because of their defense. 'It wasn't just me,' Rose said of the defensive effort. 'You have to have trust, especially if you're gonna play tough defense and pressure the ball.' Actually, Rose had a solid all-around performance. Besides his points and assists, he was credited with not committing a turnover -- at least on the stat sheet. 'I thought Derrick just played a beautiful game,' U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said. 'I don't think he had a turnover.' 'I did have one,' Rose interjected. 'Did you have one?' Krzyzewski said. 'I was just testing him to see if he was honest. He's a South Side Chicago guy, and I'm just trying to get to know him better."
Gregg Krupa, Detroit News: "Karen Davidson would like to sell the Detroit Pistons by October, the start of the 2010-11 season. But if she wants the price to be anything close to the value of the franchise, built by her late husband, she may have to be considerably more patient. So will fans who hope the situation will be settled soon, to provide a secure foundation for rebuilding the flagging team. A number of trends in business and sport suggest it could well take more than a year to find new owners for the Pistons at anything but a fire-sale price. With the value of the Detroit Pistons at about $470 million and operating profits at $20 million to $30 million annually, it's really good for a club. They're still healthy,' said Jon Pritchett, the chief executive officer of Club 9 Sports, a consultancy in Chicago. 'But it's not a competitive bidding environment for anyone with that kind of money. It's not happening, right now.' Because of The Great Recession, consolidation in the banking industry and the reform of lending practices, it's difficult to secure financing to purchase franchises anywhere, let alone in chronically hard-pressed Michigan. Teams also are generally less attractive to a moneyed class of prospective owners than once-upon-a-time. Many, if not most, teams operate at a loss by owners now content with administering a public trust or waiting for better days."
Ronald Tillery, Memphis Commercial Appeal: "Rookie point guard Greivis Vasquez(notes) didn't have a good showing at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. It turns out that the 6-6 player out of Maryland might have somewhat of an excuse. Vasquez is dealing with an ankle injury that the team's doctors are expected to evaluate this week. It is possible that Vasquez might require surgery."
Chelsea Cook, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Lorenzen Wright, a 13-season NBA veteran and former Atlanta Hawk, has been missing since July 18 -- and police are stumped. On July 22, a Collierville (Tenn.) police car was flagged down by Wright's mother, who filed the missing persons report. According to police, Wright flew to Atlanta to his house in Smyrna, where a friend then picked him up to drive him to his ex-wife's house in Collierville. 'He went to check on his kids,' Lt. Norm Dixon of the Collierville police said. Wright apparently left while his ex-wife was asleep -- at 2 a.m. Police assume he was picked up by someone, but his ex-wife said she has no idea who he could have left with. Dixon said the ex-wife's neighborhood was 'very safe and affluent.' Police say that was the last time Wright was seen. But Savia Archie, Wright's sister, told the Memphis Commercial Appeal he was last seen the following morning at a Memphis barbershop. 'There is nothing on his phone records, no bank transactions, his vehicles are still at his house in Smyrna,' Dixon said. 'It's like he literally dropped off the face of the earth.' Police do not suspect foul play. 'There's just no information to make us draw that conclusion,' Dixon said."