August 24, 2010
Each weekday morning, BDL serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your sweet potato pancakes.
Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports: Denver Nuggets executive Josh Kroenke met with Carmelo Anthony(notes) in Baltimore over the weekend and restarted the process of selling the disgruntled star on signing a contract extension, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. No resolutions were reached, sources said, but Kroenke, the owner's son, has undoubtedly emerged as a far more powerful voice in the franchise. His burden is unmistakable now: As a 30-year-old on the cusp of taking over majority ownership of the Nuggets, he must sell the All-Star forward on staying the course with the Nuggets. The Nuggets are close to hiring a new general manager - with former Phoenix Suns executive David Griffin the frontrunner - but Kroenke and adviser Bret Bearup will have the most significant say in basketball matters. Anthony has hesitated to sign a three-year, $65 million extension and expressed intrigue with opting out of his contract next summer to become a free agent. Despite significant speculation the New York Knicks are the team that Anthony would most likely want to join, two sources close to him insisted the Knicks have been overstated as an object of his desire. Privately, Anthony has expressed more enthusiasm over joining the Houston Rockets than the Knicks, sources said. Anthony still believes he can get the maximum possible money from re-signing with the Nuggets now, sources said, with his sights on engineering a trade to a preferred destination later. For him to opt out of his contract at the end of next season would be an immense risk. With league owners determined to shorten the years and lessen the money on max contracts in the next collective bargaining agreement, Anthony and his representatives know they could cost themselves tens of millions of guaranteed dollars.
Chris Dempsey, Denver Post: [If] the Nuggets cannot convince Carmelo Anthony to sign an extension with the team and they decide to trade him at some point, could it be to the Los Angeles Clippers? I'm hearing it could be a possibility. It would get both he and his wife, La La, out to where entertainment opportunities are plentiful, which is key factor in their decision to want to move on. The Nuggets might be able to get a good young player or two or draft picks, and Anthony would be able to play on a team with some good up-and-coming talent.
J. Michael Falgoust, USA Today: Forward Lou Amundson, the odd man out in the Phoenix Suns' offseason shuffle, is expected to sign this week with the Golden State Warriors, New Orleans Hornets or Indiana Pacers. "We're getting close to doing something," said Mark Bartelstein, his agent. "I think we'll get something done with Louis this week."
Jude Young, NewOrleans.com: The New Orleans Hornets have signed point guard Mustafa Shakur(notes) to a partially guaranteed contract for the upcoming season. Shakur, who turned 26 last Wednesday, will vie to become Chris Paul's(notes) backup. The rookie out of Arizona has played in 7 NBA regular season games during his professional career with San Antonio and Minnesota. Most recently, he spent time on the roster with Oklahoma City but did not see any playing time. Following stints with Prokom Trefl of Poland and TAU Ceramica in Europe over the span of three seasons, Shakur spent time in the NBA Developmental League with the Tulsa 66ers last season. In 47 games (all starts), the 6-foot-4, 190 pounder averaged 16 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per contest. Shakur impressed onlookers this summer playing for the Thunder's Orlando Pro Summer League squad.
Doug Smith, Toronto Star: Spain's loss may be the Raptors' gain. Point guard Jose Calderon(notes) will miss the world basketball championships that begin Saturday after suffering a torn muscle in his leg in an exhibition game against the United States. But according to Spanish basketball officials, Calderon, who turns 29 on Saturday, should be fully healed by the time Toronto opens camp Sept. 29. They said Calderon would need "four weeks" to recover from the injury, having him back just before camp starts. The NBA regular season doesn't start for Toronto until Oct. 27. "It's unfortunate that he will miss the worlds and playing for his country which he loves to do," Raptors coach Jay Triano said in an e-mail from Athens, where he's working an assistant coach with the American national team. "The timing for him is not good, but he should heal sufficiently to be ready for camp and that will now be his focus."
Mike Cranston, AP: The draft decision helped define both men in harsh terms: Michael Jordan was a failed executive, Kwame Brown(notes) a bust as a player. Now, nine years after Jordan took Brown with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, they're reuniting in hopes of shedding both labels. The Jordan-owned Charlotte Bobcats on Monday came to terms with Brown on a one-year deal for the veteran minimum of $1.3 million. Agent Mark Bartelstein said Brown will sign on Tuesday. "A really interesting story," Bartelstein said. "Instead of running away from the shadow of Michael Jordan, he kind of embraced it." While the Bobcats need help in the middle after trading Tyson Chandler(notes) to Dallas last month, Brown would seemingly be the last center Jordan would turn to as he begins his first full season as majority owner. Jordan was running the Washington Wizards in 2001 when he took the 6-foot-11 Brown straight out of high school with the first pick. The Georgia teenager wasn't ready for the NBA, and Jordan was labeled as another superstar player unfit to run a team. Jordan was fired from the Wizards in 2003, shortly after a comeback as a player. The Hall of Famer returned to the NBA three years later as part-owner of the Bobcats with the final say on basketball decisions. Jordan bought the team outright in the spring. The 28-year-old Brown has bounced around the league with little success. He averaged 3.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in 48 games with Detroit last season. He's averaged 6.7 points and 5.4 rebounds with four teams over nine seasons, including two stints with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Rockets.com: Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed guard Ishmael Smith(notes) to a multi-year deal. Smith (6-0, 175, Wake Forest) led the Rockets in assists per game during the 2010 NBA Summer League, finishing with averages of 7.8 points (.581 18-31 FG) and 4.8 assists in five games (five starts) with Houston.
Philadelphia Daily News: China's top athletic footwear brand is banking on Evan Turner(notes) being a star with the 76ers. Li-Ning announced yesterday that it had signed the No. 2 overall pick to a multiyear contract. Turner will begin appearing immediately in the company's global marketing and will wear Li-Ning as a rookie. He will have his own branded sneaker and apparel in the second year of the deal. CNBC first reported the contract. "This is truly a game-changing moment for the Li-Ning brand," Brian Cupps, Li-Ning's brand initiative director for basketball, said in a statement. "Adding a supreme young talent like Evan Turner sends a message to the global basketball community that Li-Ning basketball is committed to being a player on the global stage." It's both an honor and an opportunity," Turner said. "When I met with my agent, I told them I wanted to have my own brand, be able to build something and have it grow as I grow. We met with a few companies, and they weren't into trying to have it done . . . [Cupps] had my back 100 percent. I felt really comfortable. I'm really glad to have an opportunity to be a part of Li-Ning and appeal to people in different countries."