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Tag:Ekpe Udoh
Posted on: February 28, 2012 6:29 pm
 

Report: Warriors still chasing Dwight

The Warriors reportedly continue to pursue Dwight Howard. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

The Warriors, reportedly, are not messing around.

Golden State has long been rumored to be chasing Dwight Howard, despite his exclusion of the Warriors from his team of preferred trade destinations (read: places he will consider re-signing with). What's more, Golden State has been rumored to be interested in trading for Howard without assurances he'll stay. That's the ultimate Russian Roulette gamble. If you miss out with convincing Howard, you will have traded everything you have and have nothing to show for it. Talks had died down in the din of Nets chatter that continues. But a report today from NBA.com says that the Warriors aren't done chasing the rabbit down the hole.

From Scott Howard Cooper of NBA.com on Twitter:
Warriors continuing push for Dwight Howard deal even without DH commitment to re-signing. Not backing off from risky move, source says.
via Twitter / @SHowardCooper: Warriors continuing push f ....
Biedrins has zero trade value, so GSW offer has to be 3-4 key pieces. Imagine moving Monta, Klay, others and DH walks. But Dubs staying in.
via Twitter / @SHowardCooper: Biedrins has zero trade va ....

Monta Ellis is a very good player, if not a "star" or "superstar." Klay Thompson looks to be a great rookie. They have Ekpe Udoh as a talented young big man along with Biedrins' expiring contract. The Magic have reportedly wanted to stay in the playoff hunt, which means they want talented veterans, though,and outside of Ellis, the Warriors are short on that. That's what makes the Magic request so baffling, that they wouldn't be trying to work away to get Stephen Curry, draft picks, and Udoh out of Golden State. 

And all of this for a situation in which Howard could vanish outright. It's a monstrous gamble. But let's look at the best-case, worst-case scenario here.

Best-case: Howard and Ellis/Curry click. Howard finally has a co-star worthy of his stature while he's also clearly the alpha dog. The Bay Area market allows for him to cash in on endorsements and media opportunities, while enjoying the California weather, even if it's a bit colder and ranier than southern California. Mark Jackson gets the defensive rock he covets, ownership gets a star to build everything around. Shooters plus creator plus Dwight = success. They hold his bird rights which means Howard has to walk away from the $30-million-plus afforded him in re-signing with his current team in free agency. That's a big stone to hold. 

Worst-case: Howard leaves, and the gap from the assets traded for him creates an unbalanced roster full of misfits who have to be traded off. Meanwhile, the organization clears over $15 million in cap space and has the ability to clean house on a team that has been fundamentally flawed for the past decade, cycling in the same style of players. A clean slate erupts, with the worst part being a potentially unhappy Curry/Ellis but the Warriors now have unlimited flexibility to retool their roster.

Is drastic change that bad of a worst-case scenario? If Howard and Ellis/Curry works, he could very well stay, and that's great. If it doesn't, he leaves anyway and the Warriors start over again which they've needed to do forever, and that's great. It would look bad, and would create a painful rebuilding process. But if you want to make an omelet you have to break a few eggs. A move like this would prove the new ownership really is the kind of bold leadership they say they are, unwilling to stand on the sidelines while other teams make the franchise-changing moves.

It's just a question of how brave are they, and if Orlando will finally bite the bullet for their offer.
Posted on: July 26, 2011 10:07 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 10:10 pm
 

2 NBA players caught in college investing scandal

Posted by Ben Golliverekpe-udoh

Last week, Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com reported that David Salinas, a Houston, Texas, AAU director and investment manager, committed suicide following an SEC investigation into his financial dealings.

In the week since that news broke, CBSSports.com has linked a number of big-time college coaches to Salinas, with some investing more than $1 million with him. 

On Tuesday, SI.com reported that it wasn't just college coaches who got taken for a ride by Salinas. Indeed, two NBA players reportedly invested money with him as well.  
Two NBA players, 2010 Warriors lottery pick Ekpe Udoh ($350,000) and former Wizards swingman Cartier Martin ($374,000), were confirmed to be clients by SI.
Talk about a horrible way to start your NBA career. Udoh was on the books for $3 million last season, his only year in the league, and is now locked out as a sophomore, waiting until the current CBA negotiations are resolved before he sees another paycheck.

$350,000 is an extremely significant portion of his career earnings, especially if that was the money he put aside for investing. Depending on how much he's sunk into taxes and the usual accoutrements like houses and automobiles, there's no question that this loss hurts. The only question is exactly how bad.

As for Martin, it's even worse. He's played in the NBA for portions of three seasons as a journyeman. His salary for the 2010-2011 was less the veteran's minimum: $854,389.  

Usually we think about NBA players being extravagantly wealthy with coaches making a fraction of what the professional players take home. In this case, however, it's very possible --- indeed, likely -- that the long tenured college coaches embroiled in this scandal will be better able to absorb the losses than the players.

Everyone involved, including the players, should have done their due diligence and known better than to invest such sums without more risk protection. It's almost unimaginably tragic to think about someone working their entire life to pursue their dream of playing professional sports only to see the rewards of those efforts evaporate in an alleged ponzi scheme. Udoh, as a lottery pick, should be able to take this less to heart and bounce back. Martin, however, with no guaranteed future in the NBA, has to deal with the fact that his best financial days could very well be behind him. At the ripe old age of 26.
Posted on: June 18, 2011 9:40 pm
Edited on: June 18, 2011 10:04 pm
 

Report: Warriors made offer for Howard?

Posted by Matt Moore

Despite what their front office is saying, there continues to be a considerable amount of noise about the Warriors actively shopping Monta Ellis over the last month. And now that noise has started to make the noise that sounds a lot like the Superman theme. While it was an offer that fell short, it's still intriguing that Golden State is swinging for the fences. 

Draft Express reports:
The Dwight Howard sweepstakes have begun. Golden State offered Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins and Ekpe Udoh. Unlikely that'll get it done.
via Twitter / @DraftExpress: The Dwight Howard sweepsta ....

 Udoh actually showed quite a bit in his first season for Golden State, but obviously, he's not even close to 50 percent of a replacement for Howard (and 50 percent is really the best you can hope to get for a player of his stature). Biedrins' fade has seemingly been permanent and at 25, there's little hope fo him making the astronomic jump to be a huge component. 

Ellis being in the conversation, however, is interesting on another level. While the package doesn't come close to matching what the Magic would need for Howard (nor has Orlando seemingly shown any interest in trading Howard), Ellis makes for a fine fit on the Magic. The Magic need a legitimate scoring option who doesn't rely on the open perimeter shot, who can create off the dribble. Ellis fits that image perfectly. Stan Van Gundy can cover Ellis' defensive worries the way he covered Vince Carter's. It fits nicely.

Of course, just as the Warriors don't have the right combination to trade for Howard, without Howard, the Magic don't have the pieces to trade for Ellis. It's a near-fit, but not quite enough.

If nothing else, the lowest bar for the Howard sweepstakes has been set. The offer for Dwight Howard has to at least be better than Ellis, Biedrins, and Udoh. 

Good to know.
Posted on: January 14, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2011 12:55 pm
 

The Warriors' never-ending problem at center

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

It's quite obvious now that Keith Smart has little faith in Andris Biedrins, and why should he? The man looks lost. Career-wise, he's halfway back to Latvia. He played all 12 minutes of the first quarter, to the tune of one shot and one rebound. It's also clear that Smart isn't ready to play Ekpe Udoh against a team as talented as the Lakers, and Udoh himself admitted he needs more time to adjust to the NBA game. The most intriguing lack of trust last night involved Lou Amundson. Listen, the guy's no world-beater; he has limited skills. But he had some success against the Lakers during the Western Conference finals last year, particularly in Game 4, when he gave the Phoenix Suns seven points and seven rebounds off the bench in 17 minutes. The Lakers are no mystery to him. Seemed awfully strange that he didn't even get off the bench.
via The Warriors A Matter of Trust : Bruce Jenkins' Three Dot Blog.

Biedrins has started for the Warriors since 2006-2007. Before that? Adonal Foyle. Clifford Robinson. Before That? Erick Dampier. So we're talking a long and historic range of failure at the center position. 

What's sad about this is that the Warriors have run such a fast paced system, that had they simply had an above-average big to really fill in all the blanks while keeping their style, their success could have been so much greater. It's not true that a legit big man is an anathema to a system that runs and guns. That's likely why David Lee was brought in. Unfortunately, due to injury, adjustment, or just a smaller role in the offense, Lee hasn't been nearly the player he was in New York, with significant regression in points and rebounds. Meanwhile, Biedrins is also slumping, and despite being on the trade block for years, hasn't been moved by management yet. Ekpe Udoh theoretically shows that kind of promise, but it's hard to see him making that kind of jump immediately. 

Amundson was brought in as a free agent at the last moment. That Amundson was available was confusing as he showed such tenacity in the playoffs with the Suns. But perhaps the scouts were right about Amundson's lack of discernible skills being problematic outside the talent basin in Phoenix.

The Warriors don't have to slow it down, play traditional ball, or grind it out. They can play up-tempo, play fast and loose with focus. But to get to the next step, they have to have a big man to fill in that role, a true big who can get big buckets and rebounds coming off those breaks. Until they find that, the Warriors are just spinning their very fast wheels. 
Posted on: January 9, 2011 2:26 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2011 2:30 pm
 

Warriors look to improve, eye Prince, Randolph?

The Golden State Warriors are reportedly looking to "add to the talent pool" and are possibly eying multiple trade targets. Posted by Ben Golliver. we-believe

Things could be a lot worse for the Golden State Warriors, who lost Ekpe Udoh, their 2010 lottery pick, for the first few months of the season and have dealt with persistent ankle trouble for starting point guard Stephen Curry. Nevertheless, the Warriors are 15-21, hanging out on the fringes of the Western Conference playoff discussion. They're at the metaphorical crossroads: a strong push before the All-Star break could make for a fun stretch ride battling teams like Portland, Phoenix, Memphis and Houston for the final playoff spot. No push, however, and the Warriors are right back where they've been for the last three years: in the draft lottery. 

So it shouldn't come as a surprise that murmurs out of the Bay have the Warriors looking to improve their roster. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Warriors could be buyers during the run-up to this year's trade deadline.
The goal, whether at the trade deadline or in the offseason, is to acquire a "good player who adds to the talent pool," Riley said.
The Warriors are interested in Tayshaun Prince and have been intrigued by Zach Randolph, two guys who might fit that description and could be available. Some league sources still believe Andre Iguodala - one of Curry's favorites - could be made available, but many have soured on that scuttlebutt.
The Warriors are armed with two large expiring contracts -- Dan Gadzuric's worth $7.2 million and Vladimir Radmanovic's worth $6.8 million -- so they have some cards to play. 

Detroit Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince is an intriguing possibility in Golden State, as his versatile two-way game and championship pedigree would bring two elements the Warriors are sorely lacking. However, Prince is himself an expiring contract, so it's unclear what Golden State could offer Detroit to pry him loose. He's also said to be anxious to play for a winner, given that he's in the twilight of his career, and the Warriors might not yet fit that bill. Renting Prince for the balance of the season and letting him walk during the summer could be a possibility, however it doesn't seem ideal for the Warriors as they are in the middle of a promising rebuild. This would amount to a sideways move and would cost them trade chips.

As for Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph, he's in mercenary mode, as his current contract runs up at the end of this season and he's looking for a final mega-payday. The Warriors must ask themselves: how well does Randolph fit with our core pieces? Randolph is an excellent scorer and rebounder, but he likes his shots and touches, and Curry, guard Monta Ellis and forward David Lee all need the rock already. Randolph is also strictly a power forward, so playing him alongside Lee would require the Warriors to continue to play smallball. The Warriors are accustomed to playing that way, but it is not necessarily ideal if they're looking to commit long-term dollars to acquire another big man. Put in simpler terms, Randolph and Lee together would be a bit redundant and would wind up being quite expensive. Renting Randolph for the balance of the season could also cause more problems that it would be worth, as he would require a total re-jiggering of the front court rotation, compromising the playing time of long-term core pieces and bringing an uncertain short-term return.

If the Warriors are simply looking to expand their talent pool, they might be better served playing this Moneyball-style, cashing in their expiring contracts and/or draft picks to improve their depth and the quality of their reserves.
Posted on: October 26, 2010 2:03 pm
 

Report: Knicks scout led improper workouts

Posted by Royce Young

Adrian Wojnarowski reports that a New York Knicks scout, Rodney Heard, may have broke NBA rules by conducting secret workouts of collegiate players throughout gymnasiums in suburban Atlanta.

One of the workouts in May of 2007 led to Brandon Rush's ACL tear that forced him to withdraw from the draft, rehabilitate and return to Kansas for another season. (He did get a national championship out of it though.)

But on top of that, other players were improperly worked out. Wojnarowski reports that Heard trained Wilson Chandler for multiple weeks before the 2007 predraft camp. And of course the Knicks drafted Chandler that year.

Dar Tucker said Heard led two-a-day workouts for him and other players for "multiple" days before the 2009 draft. (NBA rules limit teams to two total workouts spaced three days apart.)

Heard also reportedly oversaw workouts in 2010 for players that included Ekpe Udoh and Tory Jackson from Notre Dame.

In the past, the NBA has fined teams and suspended team officials involved in improper workouts. None of those incidents though spanned multiple seasons or involved an injury to a player who could have been a potential lottery pick. Yahoo! contacted Heard who denied being involved and the NBA declined comment. Heard said of Rush's injury:

“That’s so far from the truth ... Someone called me and told me he got hurt. I was in Florida at our staff meetings.”

When told that Rush said he was running the workout, Heard responded: “I wasn’t there. That’s a lie.”

But the players mentioned are on record saying Heard led the workouts. Rush told Yahoo! he hurt his knee in a three-man weave and that Heard was running the workout. Tucker and Jackson also confirmed Heard's involvement in their workouts.

The NBA has made it pretty clear that teams aren't to work out players before the conclusion of the predraft camp. The NBA has publically fined teams over this issue and suspended coaches and general managers. Notable ones include George Karl in 2005 for attending a workout at Marquette (he was watching son Coby), Don and Donnie Nelson for attending a private workout in Yugoslavia in 2002 and John Lucas who was coaching the Cavs in 2002 for including LeBron James in a workout who was a junior in high school.

There are a lot more details and information in the story to look over but it's pretty clear this is a big deal and the Knicks and Donnie Walsh will likely be hearing from the league soon.
Posted on: September 23, 2010 2:42 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2010 2:43 pm
 

Preseason Primers: Warriors

Posted by Royce Young

The Warriors will be under new leadership once the season starts, but it's going to be the same group running training camp. This is a new-look team with a number of fresh faces, but the core backcourt remains and looks to grow another year together. Can the Warriors begin a climb back to respectibility? It'll all start in training camp for them and it'll also require a number of issue to get sorted out.

Training camp site: Oakland, CA

Training camp starts: Sept. 28

Key additions: Dorell Wright (free agent), David Lee (sign and trade), Jeremy Lin (draft), Ekpe Udoh (draft), Louis Amundson (free agent), Rodney Carney (free agent)

Key subtractions: Anthony Randolph (trade), C.J. Watson (free agent), Corey Maggette (trade), Anthony Morrow (free agent)

Likely starting lineup: Stephen Curry, PG; Monta Ellis, SG; Dorell Wright, SF; David Lee, PF; Andris Biedrins, C

Player to watch: Jeremy Lin. For whatever reason, Lin has already become a cult basketball star. He's the Harvard grad who blew people away with his summer league fearlessness and ability. He got a guaranteed contract from the Warriors and is already becoming one of the faces of the team and probably the fan favorite. Everyone has him dubbed a sleeper and a ready-made scorer that's going to make an impact.

Did I mention he hasn't played a game yet? While Lin was impressive during the summer, he's still an unknown. Right now he's third on the depth chart behind Charlie Bell for backup point guard duties, so he's got to work to earn time on the floor as well.

Chemistry quiz: The Curry-Ellis experiment enters year two, with both guys desperate to have the ball in their hands. In the Don Nelson system, shots are there for pretty much anyone who's willing to take them, but a constant battle over who controls the ball is something the Warriors hope to avoid. It can upset not just on-court chemistry, but also off-court unity as well.

The real chemistry question is what's happening upstairs. Once ownership of the team is transferred, will the Warriors still be under the same direction of Nelson, or will they be scrambling to make a switch to Keith Smart (or someone else) right before the season?

Camp battles: Who's backing up David Lee at power forward? Ekpe Udoh was hurt this summer with a wrist injury, but is he ready to find rotation time in front of Brandan Wright? Wright has always seemed to find himself in Nelson's dog house, but with Udoh's setback, Wright may get his chances.

Injury issues:
David Lee hurt his hand during Team USA's training camp but is supposed to be healthy for the Warriors camp.

Biggest strength: Speed. Everyone knows the Warriors can score. Their points per game is often a bit deceiving because in terms of offensive efficiency, they're typically in the middle to lower half of the league. But this Warrior team has a bunch of skill around the ball. Curry is a gifted passer and shooter. Ellis goes end to end in a blur. David Lee runs the floor exceptionally well for a big man. And there are hyper-athletic guys waiting on the pine like Udoh, Wright and Lou Amundson.

Glaring weakness: Should I just say "defense" and leave it at that. Or do I really need to explain why the Warriors are bad defensively and therefore, that's a weakness? Let's just leave it at that.
Posted on: July 12, 2010 11:03 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 11:08 pm
 

Ekpe Udoh out 4-6 months with torn ligament

Posted by Matt Moore

At a workout on Independence Day, first round draft pick Ekpe Udoh of the Warriors hurt his wrist. No big deal, happens when you play organized basketball at any level.

Unfortunately, it turns out Udoh has become the token rookie that has his rookie season spoiled by injury. Monday night, the Warriors announced Udoh would have surgery to repair a torn ligament in his wrist and will miss 4-6 months.

It's a crushing blow for the rookie and the team, who need depth at forward. But more importantly, it's the yearly reminder of how much hope and excitement is throwin in the dumpster every year as a rookie season gets tossed. Missing that much time can be crushing for your development as a player and as a teammate. Udoh will miss out on much of the things you need as a rookie, and as a player coming in raw already, this is the kind of thing that can severely limit his development. Hopefully the kid can bounce back.

Tough break, Golden State.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com