August 24, 2009
Each weekday morning, Ball Don't Lie serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda.
Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel/RealGM: "Heat forward Michael Beasley(notes) has taken down his Twitter page for the second time in less than a month. His latest account, GorillaBeas, was removed from the social networking site sometime overnight Saturday. Shortly before his account disappeared, Beasley posted a picture of his new back tattoo. It caused a stir because two plastic bags appear on the floor in the background of the shot. It's hard to make out exactly what is in the baggies, but many outlets are speculating that they contained marijuana. Beasley made a few frustrated posts prior to taking down his page: 'Y do I feel like the whole world is against me!!!!!!! Back on my FTW!!!!! I can't win for losin!!!!!!!!!!' ... 'Feelin like it's not worth livin!!!!!!! I'm done' ... 'not feelin this at all!!!!!'"
Update: Beasley checked into an unidentified Houston rehabilitation hospital over the weekend, multiple sources have told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Brian Windhorst, Cleveland Plain Dealer: "[Zydrunas] Ilgauskas' contract is a massive trade chip because of how many teams will be looking to dump salary for next summer. The Cavs will not have a great deal of cap room, so using that expiring contract could be the last swing at making a major addition for a while. For that reason, Danny Ferry would be compelled to consider it despite his personal relationship with Ilgauskas. Obviously, Z is an integral part of the team and has been for the last 10 years and no one is sure how Shaquille O'Neal(notes) will mesh with LeBron or hold up during the season. So it would have to be a home run deal. Of course there is always the option that Ilgauskas could be traded, bought out and re-signed, but I don't think that should ever be assumed as many people who have e-mailed me about this topic have done over the last several months. In short, it very well could become a complex and emotional decision six months from now."
AP: Nuggets reserve forward Renaldo Balkman(notes) has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Florida. Balkman, 25, was arrested by Temple Terrace, Fla., officers at 4 a.m. Saturday after he refused a blood-alcohol test, according to a police report on the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Web site. Balkman was released after posting $500 bond. Nuggets executive Mark Warkentien said the team was aware of Balkman's arrest but declined further comment 'out of respect for the legal process.'"
Jimmy Smith, The Times-Picayune: "The first thought that popped into Julian Wright's(notes) mind when he learned the Hornets had traded Rasual Butler(notes) two weeks ago might have been the same as the average fan. 'We just traded away a starter for a second-round draft choice,' Wright said Sunday. The reality later struck like a thunderbolt. 'When I got deeper into it, the next thing to think about was that more minutes would open up at the wing, and that it was an opportunity,' said Wright, about to enter his third NBA season. 'It would be in my best interest to continue to work hard and maybe gain some of those minutes that Rasual averaged last year.' [...] During his first two seasons, Wright has struggled to find his niche. A crowd favorite because of his athleticism, he has been unable to hold onto a spot in Coach Byron Scott's normal game rotation. And on the occasions when Scott would give Wright regular minutes, the young forward often pressed resulting in silly errors which landed him back on the bench."
Tim MacMahon, Dallas Morning News: "Mark Cuban wouldn't let Dirk Nowitzki(notes) or J.J. Barea play with their national teams this summer, but he didn't say anything to stop Nathan Jawai(notes) from playing with Australia. Actually, Cuban has never said anything at all to Jawai, the young big man who was a throw-in from Toronto in the Shawn Marion(notes) deal. Jawai understands that just because he's property of the Mavs doesn't mean they plan on keeping him on the roster. [...] 'I'm talking with my agent but I'm a Maverick right now. So whatever happens, happens. I still haven't heard anything from them so all I can do right now is have a good summer and perform well for the Boomers in the next couple of games and see where it's at after that.'"
Mark Medina, Los Angeles Times: "About 300 current and former NBA players, coaches, dance teams and mascots and about 50 sponsors have participated in the league's international events. Commissioner David Stern said the NBA plans to hold a regular-season game somewhere in Europe before the 2012 Olympics. Stern also told The Times that he hopes a Pan-Asian basketball league will form in the next two to four years, although it may not be affiliated with the NBA. 'The great upside is that our international presence and the digital medium go hand in hand,' Stern said. NBA games are broadcast in 215 countries and nearly half of the NBA's traffic on its website comes from overseas."
Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press: "It appears the Pistons won't sign a third point guard before the season opener Oct. 28 at Memphis. So, as of now, Rodney Stuckey(notes) will be the starter and Will Bynum(notes), coming off an impressive season, will be the main backup. One reason the Pistons might feel a true third point guard isn't necessary is the signing of free-agent Ben Gordon(notes). Known primarily as a scorer during his career with the Bulls, Gordon talked about playing some point at his introductory news conference in July, and his agent, Raymond Brothers, has echoed those sentiments."
Dan Duggan, Boston Herald: "... for a 21-year-old, [Bill] Walker has a pretty good head on his shoulders. He doesn't give clichéd answers and clearly has gained a great deal of perspective from his modest upbringing. Walker explained his humble demeanor simply: 'I feel like I've been through the worst part of my life already so everything else is pretty much easy. That's how I live. I take every day for what it's worth.' Walker talked about the thin line between success and failure in Huntington, and credited his dedication to basketball for keeping him on the right path. It helped that one of Walker's best friends was an equally talented basketball player: Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo(notes). Walker and Mayo grew up together and were teammates from childhood through high school. They are the first NBA players from Huntington since Hall of Famer Hal Greer, who retired in 1973. Walker's story is very similar to Leon Powe's,(notes) from their underprivileged backgrounds to their major knee injuries. Both have also gotten involved in the community since reaching the NBA."
Frank Zicarelli, Toronto Sun: "Canada's margin for error is so thin that virtually every possession must produce a good look at the basket. Defensively, it must limit second-chance points and force turnovers. Even if Canada makes shots and stops and even if its bench steps up, there's no guarantee the men's national side will earn a berth in next year's world championship. 'I'm optimistic, but I also have to be realistic,' head coach Leo Rautins said from San Juan, Puerto Rico, where the FIBA Americas Championship tips off on Wednesday. 'We understand what we're up against and who we're playing. If we don't play with energy and don't take care of the basketball, we're in trouble.' You look at Canada's roster, its schedule and the quality of opposition that awaits and you're left wondering how it possibly can book its place in Turkey, which will host next year's 24-nation world event. Only one player - Levon Kendall -- has EuroLeague experience. Only one player -- Joel Anthony(notes) -- plays in the NBA. With all due respect to Anthony, who is an emerging presence, his role is best suited as a depth player. While Canada continues to produce a wave of young and skilled ballers, the gap between the grassroots level and the national team level remains large."