Monthly Archives: June 2009

Boozer, Korver, Okur decide to stay in Utah

After spending much of last season saying he wanted out, Boozer is staying in Utah.

After spending much of last season saying he wanted out, Boozer is staying in Utah.

So much for the new-look Jazz. Three key players, led by Carlos Boozer, announced they will forgo the chance to test the free agent waters and stay in Utah next season.

Kyle Korver and Mehmet Okur also picked up player options Tuesday.

Boozer battled injuries last season and wasn’t overly productive. His decision to stay in Utah now means that Paul Millsap will likely be the one to head out the door when free agency begins July 1.

Korver will make just over five million next season and gives the Jazz much-needed perimeter shooting. The 30 year-old Okur is slated to make nine million next season.

Utah could look to move Boozer to free up cap space to re-sign Millsap and avoid having to pay the luxury tax. With many NBA teams either saving up for next year’s class or too broke to take on the 12 million remaining on Boozer’s deal, a trade doesn’t seem likely at this point.

The Jazz should be one of the top teams in the West next season if Boozer and Deron Williams manage to stay healthy.

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Xavier, C.J. Henry reconsidering commitments to Kansas

Xavier and brother C.J. may not be heading to KU after all.

Xavier and brother C.J. may not be heading to KU after all.

The saga of the Henry brothers isn’t over quite yet. According to a Yahoo! report, the brothers are meeting with their parents Tuesday to discuss backing out of commitments to play at Kansas next season.

There are two primary reasons for this latest development: A single available remaining scholarship at Kentucky thanks to Jodie Meeks’ decision to stay in the NBA draft, and a bizarre article published in the Kansas City Star over the weekend.

The article, a must read to say the least, features C.J. and Xavier’s father Carl Henry opening up his delusional heart to Star reporter J. Brady McCollough.

Henry spends part of the article talking about how much Xavier dislikes the idea of attending college, at one point saying “If he didn’t have to go to college, he wouldn’t do it.” Carl said he explored the possibility of playing in Europe, allowing Xavier to skip the one year of mandatory college ball, but decided against it because he wasn’t sure where his son would end up.

I admire his candor to a certain extent, but those aren’t things you just don’t want to say to a blood-thirsty reporter.

And then there were these comments, which could go along way towards alienating the Kansas fans and also the potential teammates of his two sons:

“I don’t like stepping on people’s toes,but I just know what I know. I watch them play, all the Kansas kids. I like all these kids, (Sherron) Collins, (Tyshawn Taylor), they’re good kids, man. But they’re not better than C.J.”

Even though Collins has reportedly gained at least 30 pounds during summer vacation, he is still a leading candidate for player of the year heading into next season assuming he starts bypassing the McDonald’s drive-thru. C.J. Henry hasn’t played organized basketball since high school in 2005.

Carl then threatens Bill Self, saying, “Everybody’s gotta be on board, the coach has got to be on board.” In other words, play my sons big minutes.

The Kansas faithful hasn’t taken too kindly to his remarks, prompting him to tell 610 Sports in Kansas City that his sons plan on reconsidering their decisions to attend KU.

Both Carl and wife Barbara played basketball for Kansas in the 80’s. C.J. Henry initially committed to the Jayhawks before choosing to play professional baseball.

Evidently, loyalty means absolutely nothing to the Henry family. John Calipari couldn’t be happier.

NCAA denies Kelvin Sampson’s appeal

The NCAA won't allow Sampson to coach again until 2013.

The NCAA won't allow Sampson to coach again until 2013.

It takes a lot to get banned from coaching, but the NCAA has apparently seen enough of Kelvin Sampson.  Monday the institution upheld it’s ban of Sampson after repeated and deliberate recruiting violations.

Sampson filed an appeal last fall after the NCAA infractions committee found him guilty of “major violations” in March 2008, including providing false information to the NCAA and the University of Indiana while attempting to conceal illegal phone and text contact with recruits.  He was also charged with recruiting violations stemming from illegal contact with recruits while coaching Oklahoma University.

Sampson is currently an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Don’t expect to see Kelvin Sampson coaching a college team ever again.  He single-handedly set the IU program back for years, led to the resignation of the school’s athletic director, and lied to the NCAA – all along claiming to be innocent of any wrongdoing.

College Hoops is still filled with sleezy characters, but it’s refreshing to see the NCAA finally cracking down on a coach.

Pistons fire Michael Curry

Curry clashed with AI and Rip Hamilton during his only season in Detroit. (Pic via everyjoe.com)

Curry clashed with AI and Rip Hamilton during his only season in Detroit. (Pic via everyjoe.com)

It looked like Michael Curry was going to survive the offseason and return to the bench to coach what will likely be a new-look Pistons squad next season.

Then came today’s surprising announcement that the Pistons has decided to part ways with Curry.

Curry compiled a lackluster 39-43 record while dealing with the effects of the Chauncey Billups-Allen Iverson trade.  His rotation frustrated several veterans, most notably Rip Hamilton, Allen Iverson, and Jason Maxiell.

According to Yahoo! writer Adrian Wojnarowski, Pistons GM Joe Dumars had been mulling over Curry’s future for a few weeks.

Wojnarowski mentions Doug Collins as a possible replacement.

Dumars has gotten a lot of credit during his run in Detroit, but his recent personnel moves haven’t made much sense.  The Pistons figure to be the most active player in this summer’s free agent market, and are expected to pursue Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.

Signing Gordon would be yet another puzzling way for Joe D. to curtail the development of Rodney Stuckey.

Yao’s future in limbo

Yao is likely to miss all of 2009-2010

Yao is likely to miss all of 2009-2010

Yao Ming’s career is in jeopardy, according to a report Monday by Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Last week, reports surfaced claiming Yao’s foot injury suffered in the Western Conference semis hadn’t shown signs of healing.  The injury was expected to heal in 8-12 weeks, but now the timetable could be much, much longer.

The Rockets are seeking multiple opinions to determine the most effective form of treatment for Yao’s troublesome foot.  Yao has had four surgeries in the last three years, and another one could be in the works.

Rockets GM Daryl Morley has said repeatedly that the team won’t speak on the injury until all treatment options have been explored.  Team physician Dr. Tom Clanton broke the code of silence yesterday, telling the Houston Chronicle “At this point, the injury has the potential for him missing this next season and could be career threatening.”

Yikes.

At age 28, it seems unlikely Yao’s career is over.  It also seems unlikely he will ever return to All-Star form.  Yao’s chronic foot problems brings to mind former Blazers C Arvydas Sabonis, who was one of the best players in the world as a youngster before suffering several foot injuries.  The 7’3″ Lithuanian managed to play into his 30’s, but had lost almost all mobility by the time he joined the NBA.

Houston is at a crossroads to say the least.  Repeated attempts to trade up in the draft proved futile, and the quest to move T-Mac continues.  The Rockets will now likely attempt to re-sign Ron Artest regardless of his contract demands.

If Yao does play next season, he almost certainly won’t be ready until April.  Big men are scarce in this free agent class, but Marcin Gortat or DeAndre Jordan might be decent replacements.  Don’t rule out Eddy Curry ending up in Houston if the Rockets manage to send McGrady to the Knicks.

Jeff Jordan leaving Illinois hoops team

Jeff Jordan is dropping hoops to concentrate on academics at Illinois.

Jeff Jordan is dropping hoops to concentrate on academics at Illinois.

Michael Jordan’s oldest son, Jeff, announced last week he is leaving the Illinois basketball team to focus on his studies.

Jordan averaged just under 1 ppg in 59 games with the Illini during the past two seasons.  The 6’1″ guard saw action as a defensive stopper late in games for Bruce Weber last year.

Jeff Jordan walked-on at Illinois after a solid career at Loyola.  He wasn’t highly recruited and received only a handful of D-1 offers.

Although Weber said Jordan would compete for more playing time next season following the departure of Chester Frazier, the arrival of three relatively highly-touted freshman would have made minutes hard to come by.

The Jordan basketball lineage is still alive.  Jeff’s younger brother Marcus received a scholarship from Central Florida and will suit up for the Knights next year.

NBA draft winners and losers

Kahn had nothing to smile after Thursday night's draft.

Kahn had nothing to smile about after Thursday night's draft.

The 2009 NBA draft may not have been as interesting as some expected, but there were certainly some head scratchers. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of draft night.

The biggest loser

Minnesota T-Wolves – New team president David Kahn spent the days leading up to the draft running his mouth, then promptly dropped the ball. The selection of Ricky Rubio made sense, but using the ensuing pick on Jonny Flynn didn’t. The news that Rubio wants out makes this deal look a bit better. Then Ty Lawson came along and the Wolves nabbed him too.

Kevin Love on Twitter: “What are we doing????? We better trade. I don’t even know.”

Lawson was traded to Denver, making the Wolves look a bit smarter. Wayne Ellington was the final first round pick and could end up being a very good NBA player.

In the end, there is a strong possibility only two of the six players drafted by Minnesota will ever suit up for the club – those players being Flynn and Ellington. Lawson and Nick Calathes were traded, Rubio probably will be dealt, and some guy named Henk Norel won’t be in the lineup next year. Kevin McHale could have done better.

The biggest winner

New York Knicks – The selection of Jordan Hill drew boos from the crowd, but he is a perfect fit in D’Antoni’s system. The Knicks resisted the temptation of Jrue Holiday, Brandon Jennings, and Ty Lawson to take a big who can score. Hill’s presence allows the New York to shop David Lee to clear up space for the potential contract of one LeBron James. The Knicks acquired G Toney Douglas from the Lakers, providing stability and toughness in the backcourt. He isn’t a true point, but he is probably better than Chris Duhon right now. Douglas is very underrated and should have a nice NBA career.

Biggest drop

DeJuan Blair, Chase Budinger and Jack McClinton – Blair was projected to go anywhere between 13-20 in almost all mock drafts I saw. He promptly lasted until the No. 37, ending up in San Antonio. Concerns about Blair’s lack of ACL’s may have had something to do with his drop. Watch him be better than Tyler Hansbrough, Taj Gibson, Jeff Pendergraph, and certainly Dante Cunningham.

Budinger and McClinton were considered late first-early second round prospects. Budinger is soft and tends to drift, so he drifted all way to No. 44. McClinton is a specialist – a pure shooter with few point guards skills at 6’1″. McClinton and Blair fit in well with the Spurs.

Biggest rise

Brandon Jennings, Tyler Hansbrough – Jennings was expected to fall into the 20’s, but the Bucks took him at No. 10 despite concerns of immaturity. Scott Skiles will be very, very angry next season.

The Pacers added another white player to the roster, taking Hansbrough at No. 13. Productivity in college doesn’t always translate to productivity in the NBA – 13 is much, much too high.

Strangest moment

Brandon Jennings bolted the green room after watching his stock plummet. The Bucks passed on Jrue Holiday and nabbed Jennings at No. 1 – come back Brandon! In a nice and somewhat odd gesture, Stern let Jennings come on stage after announcing the Earl Clark selection since Clark wasn’t in attendance. Jennings appeared, blew kisses to the crowd, and looked tiny in his giant suit.