Tag:Greg Oden
Posted on: November 1, 2010 1:48 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:22 pm
 

Al Horford, Hawks agree to 5-year extension

The Atlanta Hawks have reportedly agreed to terms with Al Horford on a 5-year contract extension. Posted by Ben Golliveral-horford
Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on Twitter that the Atlanta "Hawks and Al Horford agree to terms on 5 year $60 million contract extension. Incentives still to be negotiated." Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports confirms the contract details on Twitter. Horford, 24 years of age and currently in his fourth year with the Hawks after attending the University of Florida, has established himself as a solid, talented young big man in the NBA. Taken with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 draft, behind Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, Horford has averaged right at nine rebounds per game during all three of his NBA seasons. He's also increased his scoring average from 10 points to 11.5 points to 14.2 points during those three years. The reported contract is similar in size to one signed earlier this fall by Horford's former teammate at Florida, Joakim Noah, who agreed with the Chicago Bulls on a 5-year, $60 million deal. Two comparable deals from last year: No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 draft, LaMarcus Aldridge ($5 years, $65 million) and No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft, Andrea Bargnani ($5 years, $50 million).   Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that Noah's deal may have influenced Atlanta's decision to extend Horford.
Horford joins only Kevin Durant and Joakim Noah among high-profile 2007 draft picks who will be getting extensions. Horford's deal marks a philosophical shift for Hawks GM Rick Sund, who has almost without exception declined to do such extensions in the past. Given uncertainty over a new collective bargaining agreement, few teams are extending their 2007 picks before the deadline. Sources say the Hawks' hand was forced by the Bulls' decision to give Noah a five-year, $60 million extension. 
Given that Horford has yet to enter his prime, has averaged nearly a double-double for three straight seasons and has missed only 17 games in three years, the deal represents great value for the Hawks. They certainly won't be panned by the critics for this one, like they were after re-signing Joe Jonson to a 6-year, $119 million extension this summer. Update: The Hawks have officially announced the deal in a press release to the media. Some quotes and notes from the release are excerpted below.
“From the moment he arrived in Atlanta, Al has been a large part of our success,” said Hawks GM Rick Sund.  “The winning tradition he brought to the franchise as a rookie out of Florida has extended to three consecutive playoff seasons in a Hawks uniform.  In addition, he was deservedly recognized as an All-Star last year, and we certainly look forward to his continued development as we move forward.” Eighth in the NBA in field goal percentage, Horford was also among the league’s leaders in rebounding (10th), offensive rebounding (tied for ninth) and blocks (26th).  He recorded a team-leading 39 double-doubles (11th in the NBA) and posted 12 20-point games and a career-high 31 on February 7 at the Los Angeles Clippers. Having reached the postseason in every one of his three seasons, he has averaged 11.5 points and 8.3 rebounds in 27 games, with a 20/10 performance in his playoff debut (the first Hawk to do so) – 20 points and 10 boards against the Boston Celtics.
Posted on: October 31, 2010 10:51 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:20 pm
 

Former all star Maurice Lucas passes away at 58

Maurice Lucas, power forward for the 1977 NBA champion Portland Trail Blazers, passed away at age 58 on Sunday. Posted by Ben Golliver maurice-lucas Jason Quick of The Oregonian reports on Twitter that former Portland Trail Blazer power forward Maurice Lucas passed away on Sunday. Lucas, a four-time NBA and one-time ABA all star in a career that spanned 14 years and eight teams, had battled cancer for a number of years. Lucas will be remembered, particularly in Portland, as one of the league's great enforcers. In a small town that often feels picked on by the country's larger cities, Lucas reached heroic heights, as he never shied away from contact or conflict.  Lucas famously got into it with Philadelphia 76ers center Darryl Dawkins during Game 2 of the 1977 NBA Finals, and many believe the incident turned the series in Portland's favor. The Blazers went on to defeat the Sixers 4-2, winning what is still the only championship in franchise history.  Here's video of the fight, courtesy of patvilhauer on YouTube . For this combination of fearlessness and ultimate success, Lucas will stand as one of Portland's most beloved professional athletes for decades to come. Former Blazers center and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton, Lucas's teammate on the 1977 title team, recently called Lucas "the greatest Portland Trail Blazer of all time ." Walton also named his son, Los Angeles Lakers forward Luke Walton, in honor of Lucas. Lucas began his career in the ABA, but was drafted by Portland when the league folded. After a four-year stint in Portland, Lucas went on to play for the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and Seattle SuperSonics. He then closed his career in Portland in 1988, and shifted into an assistant coaching role the following season. More recently, Lucas served as an assistant coach under Blazers head coach Nate McMillan, starting in 2005. He primarily focused on developing Portland's big men both physically and mentally, calling on his playing experience to tutor players like LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden. Cancer forced him from the bench multiple times, and Lucas was unable to return for the 2010-2011 season. His No. 20 jersey has been retired by the Blazers and it hangs in the Rose Garden rafters.  Maurice Lucas was 58 years old.
Posted on: October 26, 2010 9:57 am
 

Shootaround 10.26.10: And it begins

Posted by Royce Young
  • You guys, the NBA season starts today. How exciting. Just a couple games tonight but they're all wnners. Phoenix vs. Portland, Houston vs. LA and that one team vs. Boston.
  • Kobe Bryant did a radio interview yesterday and hinted that his first retirement might not stick: "Yeah, I mean, you see so many people and so many players do it, but it's tough to say that you won't go through that. Obviously, everybody does go through that. That's the point where you have your family handcuff you to a chair."
  • Greg Oden played some 5-on-5 yesterday but admitted he was a little hesitant: "I was worried, but it was fun ... I got my blood moving, it felt good being out there. Coach basically told me 'Don't try and go full-go'. It wasn't like a full blown practice. I was the weak link out there, but I was still out there."
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: "The Heat's recruiting of stars and Pat Riley's ruthless master plan had nothing on the Magic's tactics. The Magic exhausted themselves clearing salary. They knocked themselves out trying to snag Tim Duncan. Greeting a plane in their hangar with Duncan aboard, they erected a huge banner that read, 'GRANT US TIM,' and offered trays of finger-food. Lon Babby then leaned over to John Gabriel and said, 'Tim doesn't eat cold cuts.' The color drained from Gabe's face as he imagined Duncan passing on the snacks -- and the Magic. They frantically dispatched staffers to retrieve burgers for him. It's just a snapshot into the lengths a team will go to win. Your team. Maybe the Magic and their fans shouldn't be so hard on the Heat."
  • How did Udonis Haslem end back up in Miami? Have a read: "Something that doesn't have a lot of precedent in American sports happened then. Wade called Bosh and asked him to cut $15 million off his salary for Haslem. Wade called James and asked him to do the same. Bosh and James barely knew Haslem. Just a few short conversations here and there. But Wade told them this team needed someone hungry and gritty and unselfish like Haslem, and promised to cut $17 million out of his own contract to make it happen, too."
  • The Lakers kick off a title defense tonight and Darius Soriano of Forum Blue and Gold warns to be patient: "I bring all this up because this season will be filled with peaks and valleys.  Like every other season that we’ve observed as followers of this team, there will be moments where hope is low and where the frustration spawned from suspect results will dominate the mind.  Do not succumb easily to these feelings of doubt.  The NBA title will not be decided on Christmas Day or on the Grammy Road Trip.  These are just steps in the process and must be separated out from the larger goal at hand.  Enjoy the journey and understand, again, that it is a long one.  Championships aren’t won in a single game during the regular season, but over the long haul the lessons learned from the cumulative will prepare the players (and the fans) for the bigger prize."
Posted on: October 22, 2010 1:48 pm
 

More on extensions for the class of 2007

Posted by Royce Young

Yeah I know. I've already gone over this. But Marc Stein of ESPN.com has some new information regarding who could be seeing a last minute contract extension before the Nov. 1 deadline.

And as was before, there may only be one player in line to join Joakim Noah and Kevin Durant with extensions and that's Al Horford. Sources maintain to Stein that a deal before the deadline remains probable, given Horford’s status as a borderline All-Star big man. Things were complicated with Joe Johnson's massive contract, but the fact Atlanta remains still on Jamal Crawford indicates they'd like to get something done with Horford.

But what about the other players? Stein says there's really nothing more than some "maybes" in that group. And that includes top pick Greg Oden. Reportedly, Oden is resigned to the fact he's not getting a deal and in fact, isn't really even asking for it. Understandable for both sides really. Oden's obviously had the health issues and both sides understand this is an important year for Oden's future not just with the Blazers, but in terms of his well-being.

How about Jeff Green, who I sort of went over already - where's he at? The Thunder have been characteristically quiet on negotiations but Stein says Green's camp and Sam Presti "aren't close" to getting anything done. However, there's been regular conversation between both sides and from I'm told, everyone is in good spirits. The Thunder are playing things carefully with Green with the new CBA coming plus Russell Westbrook's extension that's coming next summer.

Mike Conley (taken No. 4), Corey Brewer (No. 7), Rodney Stuckey (No. 15) and Aaron Brooks (No. 26) and likely looking at becoming restricted free agents as a deal probably isn't headed their way. Yi Jianlian (taken No. 6) and All Thornton (No. 14) of the Wizards have at least had negotiations but nothing appears to be coming, Stein says. However, he believes Yi may be getting an extension much like Andray Blatche's sometime soon.

Two others that are at least having discussion are Wilson Chandler (No. 23) and Jared Dudley (No. 22). Wilson's chances aren't great but Dudley, who's a quality bench player and a nice 3-point shooter, has a legitimate chance.

Overall, there's a very strong possibility only two players from 2007 will be getting extensions, with the chance of a third in Horford. And it's not like it was a bad class either. A combination of factors including injuries, team situations and the uncertainty of the new CBA have really complicated things for the class.
Posted on: October 18, 2010 5:06 pm
 

The 2007 class, the new CBA and extensions

Posted by Royce Young

There are two weeks until Nov. 1. That day doesn't mean much to most, unless it's your birthday or your anniversary (you're welcome for the reminder). But for the draft class of 2007, it's an important day. A very important day. And one that looks like it will come and go without much fanfare.

As of today, Oct. 18, only two players from the class of 2007 have received a contract extension. Kevin Durant who was given a max deal over the summer and Joakim Noah who Chicago inked to a pretty hefty contract. Other than that, no one else. The No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden? Doesn't look like he's getting paid. Other top 10 picks like Mike Conley, Jeff Green, Yi Jianlian, Brandan Wright and Corey Brewer? They probably aren't going to have anything done. Only Al Horford, who is likely to get extended by Atlanta, has a shot of doing something before Nov. 1, though David Aldridge of NBA.com says it's "50-50" at this point.

(If nothing is done by Nov. 1, then the remaining un-extended players become restricted free agents for next summer. Just in case that wasn't clear up front.)

Other than Oden who the Blazers aren't extending for obvious reasons, probably the two most interesting cases are Jeff Green of the Thunder and Aaron Brooks of the Rockets.

As for Green, Aldridge thinks that the book might not be closed on an extension for the player Thunder fans call "Uncle Jeff". In his Morning Tip column, Aldridge says, "Green could certainly argue he deserves a new deal after averaging 15.1 points and six rebounds a game last season for the emerging Thunder. And Green's agent, David Falk, has a way of persuading teams to see things his client's way, so Green's status may change by the deadline. Oklahoma City's plan has been to keep its powder dry until its young core group came on line for new deals."

The problem for Green though is his teammate. No not, that Kevin Durant guy. It's his other soon-to-be-a-star teammate, Russell Westbrook. Next summer, Westbrook is eligible for his contract extension. And much like the way the Thunder treated Durant by showing up at his door at midnight, Westbrook will likely be inked on the spot. That complicates things for Green.

Nobody really knows his true market value quite yet, just like nobody really knows exactly where he should be playing. Is he a $10 million per year player? More? Less? It's hard to say at this point. And that might be why the Thunder's likely willing to let him walk into restricted free agency. This season is big in determining that value. It's a risk for the Thunder though. There are a lot of dumb general managers out there and one is likely willing to overpay Green because he's a pretty good player playing third or maybe even fourth fiddle on a good team. Someone could very easily put $11 or $12 million a year under Green's nose.

If Green wants a lot of money, then Oklahoma City might not be able to pay him. As of now, both GM Sam Presti and Green are saying the right things. Green says he's not worried about it and that's why he has representation. He said at media day that he'll let it happen when it does. And Presti said he's had "positive discussions" with Green, but won't say anything other than that.

As for Brooks, it's already been made clear he's not likely getting extended. As the reigning Most Improved Player and a guy that's potentially a star caliber talent, he's a little miffed over it. But GM Daryl Morey doesn't want to extend Brooks for a lot of the same reasons Presti doesn't want to lock in Green. It's not to say either GM doesn't want to keep their guys, it's just that they don't want to overpay without knowing completely what they have. Plus, the looming CBA negotiations are hanging overhead and it makes it tough to just hang a big multi-year extension in front of anyone and everyone. It's fiscal responsibility, but at the same time, risky behavior because you may have to pay more to keep your man next summer. Interesting dynamic there.

With this class looking at two and probably three extensions, a small trend is developing. The 2006 class had six extensions (Andrea Bargnani, Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Thabo Sefolosha, Renaldo Balkman, Rajon Rondo). The 2005 group had eight (Andrew Bogut, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Andrew Bynum, Danny Granger, Jason Maxiell, Francisco Garcia and Martell Webster). 2004 had six (Dwight Howard, Devin Harris, Al Jefferson, Kris Humphries, Jameer Nelson and Kevin Martin, but the all-time great class of 2003 had 15 (LeBron, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, etc.). Either the talent has dropped a bit or GMs are just a little tighter with those extensions. It's probably a combination of both. And of course, that darn CBA.

(As an example though, out of that 2006 class, some players that got restricted free agent contracts but not extensions: Rudy Gay, Luis Scola, Ronnie Brewer and Tyrus Thomas. So just because someone isn't extended that doesn't mean they won't get paid big and/or stay with their current club.)

But then again, would you extend Thaddeus Young, Yi, Rodney Stuckey, Jared Dudley, Spencer Hawes, Rudy Fernandez, Al Thornton or Nick Young? (Interestingly, Ernie Grunfeld has the opportunity to do so on like half the 2007 class.) It's not exactly a group that screams multi-year, multi-million dollar contract.

Though it appears we may be in a new climate for contract extensions and it's something the 2008 class (Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley, Westbrook, O.J. Mayo, Kevin Love, etc.) will likely have an eye on. The new CBA will determine a lot of these players' future. So Nov. 1 will probably just have to come and go while they wait to see what happens next summer.
Posted on: October 11, 2010 9:36 am
Edited on: October 11, 2010 9:36 am
 

Shootaround 10.11.10: Ins and Outs

Turtlenecks are in for SVG, Splitter is out for the Spurs, Ron Artest's second ring is already on its way out, and Ryan Anderson is in gear for the Magic, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore


When the NBA announced a rule regarding coaching dress codes, which presumably would outlaw turtlenecks, everyone immediately thought of Stan Van Gundy. Van Gundy himself actually said they should name the rule after him. But the Orlando Senitinel went out and discovered that SVG will be able to wear turtlenecks this season due to how the rule works. I don't know whether SVG should be happy or sad about his development.

Greg Oden says he can be an All-Star , when healthy. Honestly, no one doubts that out of Oden. He's tall, a huge advantage in the sport of basketball, and bulky, a big deal in the NBA. But he needs to not say things like this because it only attracts more attention to the fact that he hasn't proven he can stay healthy, or rehab effectively, or that his head's in the right place. He just needs to not talk about it, go out, and do it. Anything else is just going to bring the vultures.

Tiago Splitter continues to miss time with a leg injury . In the myriad of ways that his NBA career could have started, this isn't the worst, but it's up there. Nagging small injuries aren't just obnoxious and painful, they're hard for coaches and players to sympathize with, and call into quiestion a player's toughness. That's what Splitter's facing in preseason with a tough veteran Spurs club.

The Blazers are adding Steven Hill due to their lack of big men, which is awesome, because he's from Branson, Missouri. Hill should instantly be the leader in mini-golf handicaps .

Anthony Mason Jr. son of the former Knick star has been cut from the Heat. Too bad, he showed some flashes in limited time, but that roster's kind of full-up if you haven't noticed.

Ready for a storyline you can bank on this year? Raptor fans are going to go from feeling disdain towards Andrea Bargnani to outright hatred. He's going to get all the blame for the Raps , even while he probably leads the team in scoring. He's overpaid, but that guy needs a fresh start somewhere else more than anything.

The New York Daily News reports that the Bulls are investigating Carlos Boozer's fall to see if he really did injure himself tripping over a bag . Bulls by the Horns says that the investigation is neither surprising nor troubling , just business as usual. It's still not the way the Bulls wanted to start the era of their marquee free agent from the biggest FA summer in history.

Ron Artest is offering his second championship ring to whoever writes the best essay on how to improve the country. In case you're confused, no he has not won that second ring yet. Ron is not lacking for confidence on this team.

Vince Carter is beaming about Ryan Anderson, which is a good sign for the Magic. It really looks like Orlando will be in a position to use him more this season.

This is probably the last season for Antonio McDyess, and might be the last one for Marcus Camby. Bizarre to think of an NBA without those two vets, and sad to think they'll probably wrap up their careers without a ring.

Posted on: October 8, 2010 6:55 pm
 

Jeff Pendergraph out for season with torn ACL

Blazers center... yes, another one, tears ACL and will miss season.
Posted by Matt Moore

Is it something in the water? Is there just some sort of heavy dark cloud of badness that hangs over the team, destroying knees? Is it just plain old simple bad luck, that just so happens to selectively target one team? Whatever the cause, the Portland Trail Blazers are out a center. Again. Jeff Pendergraph, after a promising rookie season, is out for thye year with a torn ACL. This after Greg Oden's fractured patella, Joel Przybilla's fractured patella.

Yeesh.

As mistifying as the curse against Portland is, the fact of the matter is that Jeff Pendergraph is a young man in a tremendous amount of pain, who will have to endure surgery and months of rehab on a joint that it's pretty hard to get around on when it's not right. But that's how it goes. As it stands, the Blazers currently have one healthy center, Marcus Camby. He's currently day-to-day with a groin injury. Of course.

You have to think the Blazers will get more involved with free agent Erick Dampier, if nothing else, out of necessity.

Maybe they should rename it the Portland Trail Blazer's Murphy's Law. Wah-wah.
Posted on: October 7, 2010 10:31 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2010 10:32 pm
 

Blazers' Pendergraph leaves game in wheelchair

Posted by Royce Young

It just doesn't seem possible that one team could have so much bad luck with one position. But it almost seems like playing center in Portland is becoming a death sentence. It's like the basketball equivalent of being the drummer for Spinal Tap.

But according to Trail Blazers radio play-by-play broadcaster Brian Wheeler of 95.5 FM via Blazersedge, Blazers center Jeff Pendergraph fell to the floor during the second quarter of tonight's preseason game against the Utah Jazz, clutching his right knee in pain.

After getting attention from the medical staff, Pendergraph was eventually taken off the court in a wheelchair. Jason Quick of The Oregonian reported that the injury "appears to be serious" and that Pendergraph "was wheeled off with his right knee extended and Jensen holding his foot." Huge bummer sauce.

But let's count it up now. Of course there's Greg Oden, then Joel Pryzbilla, then Greg Oden again and now Jeff Pendergraph, all with knee injuries. Marcus Camby, fear for your life.

Pendergraph is entering his second year out of Arizona State and because of the recovering big men in Portland, he was set to have a chance to play some legit minutes. Now the Portland front line just got extremely thin again. Erik Dampier has reportedly been in touch with the Blazers before this, but Rich Cho might take a more active approach to pursuing the free agent big man now.

At this point, it passed the point of not being fair in Portland. It's kind of ridiculous. This wasn't even an injury 10 games in. This was a major injury in preseason that could send the Blazers into scrambling to try and fill out their banged up front line.

I don't mean to make this sound like Pendergraph was going to be an All-Star and The Missing Piece, but any time you lose a contributing big man and your other big men aren't full healthy, things get tough. But nowadays, it's just life in Portland. For shame.
 
 
 
 
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