Each weekday morning, Ball Don't Lie serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your turkey bacon club.
Ryan Lucas, AP: "Pau Gasol had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead world champion Spain to a 85-63 win over Serbia in the final of the European basketball championship Sunday. The victory gave Spain its first European title after six runner-up finishes, including a one-point loss two years ago to Russia in front of its home crowd. The Spaniards dominated from the start at both ends of the court, playing pressure man-to-man defense and getting out on the break for easy baskets to take a 15-point first quarter lead. Serbia never recovered. [...] 'It was a great game, and obviously we won the final that we lost twice before this year, so I'm extremely happy and it's an unforgettable day for us,' Gasol said. 'We just worked so hard to win this championship and I'm just super proud of my teammates.' Guard Rudy Fernandez(notes) chipped in with 13 points for Spain, while Uros Tripkovic led Serbia with 15 points."
Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "Heat forward Michael Beasley(notes) returned Sunday to South Florida after his release from a Houston substance-abuse center earlier in the day. Beasley, who was moved into an inpatient facility last month after violating his NBA-imposed substance-abuse program, is expected to work out with teammates Monday morning at AmericanAirlines Arena. Beasley was allowed to work with Heat coaches and trainers during his inpatient treatment in Houston, but Monday will mark the first time in more than a month that he will work with teammates."
Brian Windhorst, The Plain Dealer: "There's no doubt that Delonte West(notes) was in the wrong for speeding on a motorcycle with three loaded guns when he was pulled over by police in suburban Washington D.C. Thursday night. After that, though, not much is cut and dry. The last 12 months have been a constant and complex balancing act for West and the Cavaliers, who dearly love their hard-nosed guard's personality and ability. What to do about this latest situation might prove the most dicey. Though they would never talk about these issues publicly and discuss it very little privately, it has been a challenge for the team on how to handle West. Last August, West was charged with marijuana possession in Prince George's County, Md., while he was a restricted free agent and the Cavs were in a contract stalemate with him. [...] During a training camp practice last season West exploded at a referee and then teammates and coaches who tried to break it up. [...] Shortly after that, West left the team to get treatment for a mood disorder that he said he's battled his whole life."
Bob Finnan, The News-Herald: "Not only will [Delonte] West likely face suspension from the NBA, it's possible he'll have to do jail time. Police seized his guns and his three-wheeled motorcycle. He was released from jail early Friday on his own recognizance. He is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 20. The Cavs are playing in Indiana that night. Timberwolves guard Sebastian Telfair(notes) was suspended for three games for having a loaded gun in his possession. Don't be shocked if West is not eligible to play for several games this season. Could his possible suspension be as long as 10 games? Are you glad the Cavs signed Anthony Parker(notes) now?"
Tom Knott, The Washington Times: "David Stern is playing tough with the NBA referees. You could argue it is long past time. The lack of consistent officiating in the NBA is the dynamic that never goes away. It is the dynamic that drives coaches, players and fans ballistic. Maybe now, finally, Stern wants to drive a stake through the heart of a union that let him and the NBA down in the Tim Donaghy scandal. It comes with a risk. As maddening as the officiating can be — and maddening is too soft a description whenever LeBron James(notes) is allowed to 'crab-dribble' his way to the basket — it promises to become even more infuriating with the replacement referees. These are the backups who ply their craft in the WNBA and NBA Development League, in venues where being out of position goes with the program. It is one thing to use replacement referees in the preseason. It will be another to dump them on a public that pays big dollars to attend an NBA game. That will cheapen a product that already has taken a hit in a struggling economy. That will cheapen a product that routinely fights the charge that its 82-game regular season lacks intensity and drama."
Julian Garcia, New York Daily News: "The Russian billionaire who is on the verge of funding the Nets' long-awaited move to Brooklyn is a hard-partying bachelor who was arrested in 2007 on suspicion he was involved in an upscale prostitution ring. Mikhail Prokhorov, recently named the 40th wealthiest man in the world by Forbes, has an estimated net worth of $9.5 billion. And while Forbes estimates that the 43-year-old tycoon lost approximately 51% of his fortune in the last year, Prokhorov is still reportedly close to issuing a $700 million bond through his investment firm, Onexim, that would help Nets owner Bruce Ratner build the long-delayed Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn. Prokhorov, who reportedly could also take over a majority stake in the team if a deal is reached, was arrested in January 2007 while on vacation at a French ski resort when police cracked down on a suspected prostitution ring. According to numerous reports at the time, Prokhorov told investigators that he flew beautiful women in from Russia because he enjoyed their company. However, investigators suspected that Prokhorov had supplied the women as prostitutes to his wealthy friends and kept the billionaire in custody for several days before releasing him and dropping the charges."
Mike Baldwin, The Oklahoman: "During visits with players in their hometowns this summer, taking trips ranging from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles, [Scott] Brooks stressed improving defensively is his No. 1 priority. 'That's the one part we have to do is get consistent on the defensive end,' said Jeff Green(notes). 'Sometimes we were lackadaisical on the defensive end, myself included. If we get consistent at that, work well together as a team, with a training camp under our belt, that will help us a lot.' But those are individual talks. Individual workouts. Everything ratchets up next week. A week from now the foundation for the 2009-10 season will be laid. Four weeks of training camp will be invaluable for a young team that still has much room to grow but much room to improve. The Thunder will be the youngest team in the league with one of the youngest head coaches."
Marc Spears, Yahoo! Sports: "Although the Golden State Warriors sent two second-round picks to the New Jersey Nets in order to delay giving up a first-rounder to New Jersey, that doesn't mean Stephen Jackson(notes) is leaving the Bay Area anytime soon. The Warriors were able to push back the delivery of a previously traded, lottery-protected first-round pick one year to 2012, NBA sources told Yahoo! Sports. The pick had been sent to the Nets in July 2008 in exchange for guard Marcus Williams, who signed with the Memphis Grizzlies as a free agent this offseason. For agreeing to delay receiving the first-rounder from Golden State, the Nets will acquire two future second-round picks from the Warriors. The first-round pick originally was lottery protected in 2011. It now has lesser protection for 2012, though sources did not reveal in detail the exact level of protection. The move allows the Warriors more time and flexibility to package their 2011 first-round pick in a deal, if they so choose."
RealGM: "Antoine Walker has been in contact with four teams and expects to get a non-guaranteed deal prior to training camp. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated bumped into Walker while covering Saturday night's Mayweather-Marquez fight in Las Vegas. 'Just bumped into Antoine Walker(notes) at the MGM, says he is talking to four teams and plans on being in a camp on a non-guaranteed deal next week,' Mannix wrote on his Twitter page."