Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Each weekday morning, Ball Don't Lie serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your Mountain Dew.

Frank Isola, NY Daily News: "Maybe Olympiakos should be changing its name to the Greece Knicks. The Greek club is not only pursuing Knicks guard Nate Robinson(notes), but according to a source, it has also contacted his teammate, forward David Lee(notes). It is unclear if Lee has received an offer or if he has interest in playing overseas. Lee's agent, Mark Bartelstein, would not confirm whether he had spoken to Olympiakos but Bartelstein said last night that he is confident that his client will play in the NBA next season. 'I've had a lot of dealings with Olympiakos over the years,' said Bartelstein, whose client, Jannero Pargo(notes), played for the Greek team last year. 'I'll never say never, but that's not where we're looking right now.' Bartelstein is still hopeful he can work out a deal for Lee, either with the Knicks or with another team through a sign-and-trade. Lee is looking for a deal that will pay him at least $10million annually. Bartelstein believes that is a fair asking price for a player who led the league in double-doubles."

Reuters: "Houston Rockets center Yao Ming(notes) has purchased his financially troubled former club the Shanghai Sharks, Chinese media reported on Thursday. The seven-time NBA All Star's investment company signed a framework agreement with the club's three co-owners who agreed to sell Yao all their shares in the club, Xinhua news agency said. 'I grew up in the city and became a professional player in this team, so I hope I can do something to help,' Yao was quoted as saying on Shanghai TV. The Sharks shared in the worst deficit in 14 years of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) last year and were in danger of failing to start the new season in November because of their dire finances. The 28-year-old Yao topped the Forbes list of the wealthiest Chinese entertainers with an estimated income of 388 million yuan ($56.81 million) in 2008."

Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas Morning News: "After talking to Bosh at his basketball camp at Greenhill Academy on Tuesday, I have to put him alongside LeBron and Dwyane in the 'no chance' club. There are multiple reasons, but No. 1 is that Bosh genuinely likes Toronto. Who wouldn't? It's a great cosmopolitan city. I guess if you are young and rich, even Sacramento looks good, but Toronto has clearly won over the pride of Dallas' Lincoln High. 'It probably took me two or three years, but I went there when I was 19,' said Bosh, who played one season at Georgia Tech after helping Lincoln to a state title. 'I was fresh out of college. I was used to roommates and guys knocking on the door, saying where the frat party was. But I love Toronto. And Toronto loves me.'"

Kerry Eggers, The Portland Tribune: "It has been reported that the sticking point on [Brandon] Roy's contract extension is the All-Star guard wants a player option on a fifth and final year. If that's the case and I'm Portland's general manager, I'm just fine with that. Here's why: Though maximum salary figures aren't known until the salary cap is set each year, this year's figure is at $13.4 million. If we use that as a starting point for a five-year Roy extension that would begin with the 2010-11 season, and give him the maximum 10.5 percent increase, it would get him to about $19 million the fifth year in 2014-15. In any market — and right now the NBA market is a combustible one — that's a lot of clams. Yes, Roy is the face of the Blazers, a good guy and the player most responsible for their upsurge. But in 2014, he'll be 30, with a lot more mileage on knees he has had trouble with in the past. Can you see why the Blazers might be at least a touch reluctant to make such a commitment?"

Richard Justice, Houston Chronicle: "I'm so far in the tank for the Rockets that I'm going to find a reason to like every move Daryl Morey makes. In this case, it's easy. David Andersen(notes) was the top center in Europe. No, that's not like being the smartest person in Lubbock. He's smart, mobile and a good passer. He can knock down jumpers, perhaps even 3-pointers, thus drawing opposing centers from the basket and opening up opportunities for others. He's below average defensively, maybe way below average. Surprised? You didn't think the Rockets were getting Dwight Howard(notes), did you? There are intangibles in there somewhere. Andersen's last seven teams have won championships, and Luis Scola(notes) is effusive in his praise. Rick Adelman wants to play fast, and Andersen can do that. Besides, every team needs an Aussie. Don't you love those accents? Does he make the Rockets a playoff team? No, he doesn't. All he does is turn a terrible, terrible summer into a somewhat better summer."

Darnell Mayberry, The Oklahoman: "General manager Sam Presti has had ongoing discussions with Desmond Mason’s(notes) agent regarding the possibility of re-signing the unrestricted free-agent forward and fan favorite. A deal, however, is not imminent and a potential agreement could take until the end of the summer to crystallize. But potentially complicating Mason’s return is Oklahoma City’s logjam on the wing positions. The Thunder already has Kevin Durant(notes) starting at small forward, No. 3 overall pick James Harden(notes) as a quality shooting guard and Thabo Sefolosha(notes), who was acquired in mid-February from Chicago and can play either wing position. The Thunder is also keeping its options open in the event that a better long-term alternative arises. Oklahoma City is more than $11 million under the salary cap and is proceeding cautiously to ensure it can take the most advantage of that asset."

Bill Ingram, HOOPSWORLD: "The buzz here in Las Vegas at the NBA Summer League is that the Los Angeles Clippers are close to signing aging NBA star Allen Iverson(notes) to a one-year contract for the team's MLE ($5.8 million). And while the impressive press corps gathered to see 21 NBA teams compete at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavillion are all talking about, few actually think it's a good idea. The reason is simple: we've now all seen Blake Griffin(notes) play. There was a collective moan when the Clippers won the NBA Draft Lottery, meaning they would land the highly-covered Griffin. The Clippers are one of the worst-run teams in the league, with a glut of underachieving big men and guards who don't understand the meaning of the word 'pass.' Far from being the fiery spark he was with the Golden State Warriors, Davis turned into a me-first player concerned more with his own stats than winning basketball games from the first moment he donned a Clippers uniform. Sure, he averaged 7.7 assists per game, but he also shot a telling 37% from the field, putting up his worst numbers since playing with the Charlotte Hornets during his first two years in the league."

Jason Jones, The Sacramento Bee: "The new coach took his boss' exuberance with a smile. Paul Westphal could only chuckle when asked about Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof's statement during the Web cast of Monday's NBA Summer League game that rookie Tyreke Evans(notes) would be the starting point guard 'as soon as he steps on the court.' Not so fast. Evans will be a big part of the Kings' plans this coming season. Westphal, however, hasn't committed to hand the team over to the prized rookie from Memphis. 'I read that too,' Westphal said. 'I think maybe Gavin might have gotten it mixed up with the regular season and summer league. ... I haven't made any pronouncement like that.' Westphal didn't dismiss the idea Evans could be the starter as he's been impressive during the summer league."

Jeff McDonald, S.A. Express-News: "A game after rookie DeJuan Blair(notes) showcased his rebounding freakishness in his summer-league debut, the Spurs opted to sit him in Tuesday's 78-76 victory over Denver. The official rationale: The Spurs already know what Blair can do. They wanted to see more from other bigs, like Ian Mahinmi(notes) and James Gist(notes). The Spurs also wanted to see how Blair's knees — which are famously without ACLs — responded to his first summer league game before playing him in his second. [...] Rumors abound that Blair, a second-round pick out of Pittsburgh, was held for contractual reasons. As in, he doesn't have one, and doesn't want to risk injury until he does. Unlike with first-round picks, Blair's contractual terms are not locked in by the league's collective bargaining agreement. As such, he is allowed to negotiate any asking price he wants. Blair, for his part, says he doesn't expect his contract to be an issue going forward. 'I'm going to be a Spur,' Blair said. 'They picked me. I'm just negotiating my contract right now. I plan on being a Spur for a long time.'"

Mark Murphy, Boston Herald: "Though the Celtics have not made an offer to Glen Davis(notes), the restricted free agent and his team may be drifting closer together thanks to NBA’s strapped economy. Though Davis is still hopeful of landing a mid-level-sized deal — one that starts at $5.8 million — the field is limited. Detroit, a team with clear interest, has $3.2 million to offer, and is reportedly hesitant to send Davis an offer sheet with the knowledge that the Celtics will gladly match that amount. The Pistons, rather than have their cash placed in limbo by the seven-day period the Celtics would have to match the offer, are instead pursuing other options. Three league sources close to negotiations confirmed that the Celtics explored a now-dead sign-and-trade deal that would have sent Davis to Miami in exchange for restricted free agent Jamario Moon(notes). The plan never got off the ground because both young players fall into a dreaded category known as base-year compensation."

Gil Lebreton, Ft. Worth Star Telegram: "So, how many Polish guys does it take to embarrass the Dallas Mavericks? Just one, as it turned out. Though clearly that didn’t seem to be Poland-born Marcin Gortat’s(notes) intention. By all accounts, Gortat wanted to be here. He wanted to take over the Mavericks’ starting center position. The Orlando Magic, we were led to believe, didn’t want to spend $34 million over five years to keep him. Ha. The joke is on the Mavericks. By matching the Mavericks’ offer sheet Monday, the Magic gets to keep Gortat, presumably to again back up star center Dwight Howard. But by not showing its cards beforehand, Orlando also loosened the Mavericks’ grip on free agent Brandon Bass(notes), enabling the Magic to sign him last week. The Mavericks had already penciled Gortat into next season’s rotation. The more minutes that Gortat logged, the thinking went, the fewer minutes that fans would have to watch Erick Dampier(notes) on the court. Thus, Gortat’s welcome grew overnight. But what was Orlando thinking, pledging $34 million to a still-green 25-year-old who may or may not get the chance to play?"

Joel Brigham, HOOPSWORLD: "When the Milwaukee Bucks decided to trade away Richard Jefferson(notes) one question immediately came to mind: Who's going to start at small forward for this team now? Perhaps Joe Alexander(notes) would creep into the minds of the ponderers, cautiously. After all, he barely averaged 12 minutes a game in his rookie season and only played in about three-quarters of the team's games. His 4.7 ppg scoring average hardly jumps out as notable, but at the end of the day, it looks like Alexander is it. He's the starting three. Bucks GM John Hammond didn't trip and fall into this situation. He knew exactly what he'd be left with when he traded Jefferson, and he is absolutely fine with it. 'It's not even so much just about R.J. being gone,' Hammond admits. 'Even if R.J. were still with us, Joe would still be out there. Why not be the aggressor?'" 

Gary Washburn, FanHouse: "The lightheartedness of the NBA summer league was halted Wednesday when Toronto's Ekene Ibekwe was hurt making a game-saving block during the Raptors' 74-73 win over the Phoenix Suns. Phoenix's Goran Dragic(notes) drove in the final seconds and his layup attempt was blocked by Ibekwe, who was undercut by Dragic. Ibekwe's chin crashed to the floor. Ibekwe was immobilized and taken off the court in a stretcher and rushed to a UMC Medical Center. He did not sustain any serious injuries, but it is uncertain if he will play in the remaining game for the Raptors."

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