Tag:New Jersey Nets
Posted on: August 15, 2011 11:17 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 11:19 pm

Ex-Sixer Todd MacCulloch in pinball championships

Posted by Ben Golliver


As an NBA player, Todd MacCulloch's high score was 29 points. In his new line of "work" that number is surely considerably higher. Somewhere in the millions, probably.

MacCulloch, a Canadian who played four seasons at center for the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets, has taken up professional pinball in the years since his retirement from the NBA. 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that MacCulloch is one of more than 400 participants competing for the World Pinball Championships title near Pittsburgh this week.
When standing over a pinball machine, Todd MacCulloch, who is 7 feet tall, cuts a striking figure. As he approached the 10 machines in the B division bank Wednesday afternoon, several of his fellow competitors did double-takes.

Mr. MacCulloch, 35, retired from the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association eight years ago for medical reasons and resettled in Bainbridge Island, Wash. He's now a full-time father to his two children and a part-time competitor on the professional pinball circuit.

"I always loved pinball growing up," he said as he sat near the front entrance, collecting nods and greetings from competitors he has encountered on the circuit before. "Now that I can't compete [in the NBA], pinball has filled that void of camaraderie."

According to his PinballRankings.com profile, MacCulloch is currently the No. 193 player in the world and has already competed in at least five tournaments this year. 

MacCulloch averaged 6.1 points and 4.0 rebounds in his four-year NBA career, which ended in 2002-2003.

Basketball-Reference.com reports that MacCulloch netted more than $27 million in NBA earnings. A recent Washington Post story noted that his pinball earnings, as of December 2008, totaled $700.


Image credit: Getty Images via The Dagger.
Posted on: August 15, 2011 10:35 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 11:20 pm

Kobe Bryant has $1.5 million/month China offers?

Posted by Ben Golliverkobe-bryant-china

During the ongoing NBA lockout, the grass appears to be greener on the other side of the Great Wall of China.

Aside from Turkey, which put its money where its mouth is to land New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams, China has generated the most buzz in potentially landing NBA All-Star caliber players should the lockout result in a work stoppage. The only potential hold up would be if the Chinese Basketball Association followed through on a reported desire to institute a ban on signing players to contracts that include opt-outs that would allow them to return to the NBA if the labor negotiations are resolved.

That brings us to Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant who, with Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James reportedly not interested in playing overseas, is far and away the most coveted and marketable star on the international market.

After Bryant reportedly walked away from the possibility of joining forces with Williams for Besiktas in Turkey because their offer wasn't sufficient, Yahoo! Sports now reports he is weighing potential offers from China that would pay him more than seven figures per month.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant has offers north of $1.5 million a month to play in China, and sources say he’d be inclined to accept a contract except for the one immense hurdle standing in his way: Chinese Basketball Association officials will likely pass a rule in the middle of this week forbidding the signing of players with NBA opt-out clauses.

Bryant’s stature and popularity make him unique, and teams have shown a willingness to meet his demands to play in China. Nike is motivated to get him on the floor, too. Bryant pushes product in the Far East, perhaps unlike any of his peers. Bryant believes he can be patient, wait for these Chinese and European markets to unfold, and make a decision about playing overseas on his own timetable.
Bureaucracy in China has swallowed much bigger fish than Bryant but the prospect of NBA players in the flesh would be such a tantalizing proposition for the country as a whole -- not to mention its economy -- that some sort of compromise could be worked out.
Posted on: August 10, 2011 2:07 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2011 3:31 pm

Jay-Z doesn't care if the Nets go winless

Posted by Royce Young

The Nets have always kind of played little brother to the bright and big franchise across the Hudson River. The Knicks have had more success, more starpower, the more famous arena and on and on.

But things started to kind of roll toward the Nets when world-famous rapper Jay-Z became a minority owner in the club. Just that name alone connected with the franchise gave it a boost. Then Mikhail Prokhorov purchased the team, the Brooklyn arena project actually got underway, the team traded for Deron Williams and things started looking up.

Having Jay-Z as an "owner" -- his stake is something like 1.4 percent, a $4.5 million annual stake -- has been huge in credibility. NBA players are impressionable, whether we think so or not. The thought of getting to be part of Jay-Z's business and be closely connected to him is appealing. The Nets have a certain cache because of him, even though he's a small part of the business.

He's involved a decent amount, at least in the public eye. He went to the groundbreaking of the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, attends games and had a formal meet and greet with Prokhorov when he bought the team. He cares about the team. I think.

But on his new super album "Watch the Throne," Jay-Z raps on the song "Ni--as in Paris" that he's cool with whatever happens with the Nets. He says, "Ya'll don't know that sh-- don't faze me. The Nets could go 0-for-82 and I look at you like this sh--'s gravy."

Now CLEARLY, this is just a song and it doesn't ACTUALLY mean anything. Jay-Z's just saying he rolls with stuff. That's the point. Still, you're cool with your team going 0-82? Maybe he's just desensitized to the idea of it since it almost happened two years ago when the Nets started 0-18.

I guess he probably doesn't care about the supposed major financial losses of the team either. So I guess what I'm saying is, why can't all owners be like Jay-Z right now?

Via Complex
Category: NBA
Posted on: August 9, 2011 10:54 pm
Edited on: August 9, 2011 11:52 pm

Kevin Durant in talks with Besiktas of Turkey

Posted by Ben Golliverkevin-durant-smile

Could the NBA's scoring champ be headed to Turkey?

On Tuesday night, HoopsHype.com translated a Turkish report that stated Aaron Goodwin, agent for Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant, had recently met with officials from Besiktas, a basketball club in Turkey.

Shortly thereafter, ESPN.com reported that Goodwin confirmed the talks had taken place and said that he is looking for multiple places for Durant to play in the event the ongoing NBA lockout results in a work stoppage that compromises the 2011-2012 season.
Agent Aaron Goodwin told ESPN.com on Tuesday night that he has met with officials from Turkish club Besiktas and has likewise begun exploring opportunities for Durant in Spain and Russia. Goodwin added that playing in China is not something Durant is considering at this time.

"The Turkish option is very intriguing," Goodwin said. "We're looking at other countries as well. Kevin hasn't agreed to play anywhere yet, but we're looking for the best fit."

Besiktas, of course, is the Turkish club that employed former NBA All-Star Allen Iverson last season, inked New Jersey Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams earlier this summer and has been lustily pursuing Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant for weeks.

Durant led the NBA in scoring for the second consecutive season in 2010-2011, dumping in 27.7 points per game and leading the Thunder to the Western Conference Finals. In his four seasons in the NBA, Durant has two All-Star appearances to his name and was selected as the 2007-2008 Rookie of the Year.

Remarkably, Durant is still just 22 years old. He's also missed just 12 games combined in his four NBA seasons and has no major surgeries in his past. In other words, he doesn't face nearly the same risk as an older player with a longer injury history like Bryant. 

On the financial front, Durant is locked into a mini-max contract that runs through the 2015-2016 season and does not have either a team or player option. The $82 million plus left on his deal -- including the $13.6 million that would be paid to him during the 2011-2012 season -- is guaranteed. 

The trump consideration here could be that Durant is in the elite class of NBA stars who are so obsessed with basketball that their brains might short-circuit if they are away from the game. He's spent the entire summer touring the country, hitting the most famous streetball courts and summer leagues looking for the best run. From the outside looking in, it appears clear that he wants to play. If that's the case, one would assume he would rather get paid to play than not get paid to play. Turkey, to date, has made it clear that their chip stack is tallest.

That doesn't mean that a deal between Besiktas and Durant will go down. But this is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Posted on: August 3, 2011 3:56 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2011 3:58 pm

Report: Farmar signs with Maccabi Tel Aviv

Posted by Royce Young

Yesterday we told you about Jordan Farmar zeroing in on a contract with Israeli pro club Maccabi Haifa. Looks like the Maccabi part was right, but instead of Haifa, Farmar is signing with powerhouse Tel Aviv instead, according to Yahoo! Sports.

This is after Haifa owner Jeffrey Rosen, an American, said in a statement, "We've been in serious talks with Jordan Farmar, who has expressed great interest to play for Maccabi Haifa," Rosen said. "We believe we are close to an agreement, but we have a few more hurdles to overcome to make it happen. We would love to have Jordan Farmar join Maccabi Haifa during the NBA lockout and we find his aspirations to play in Israel to be inspirational."

Well, doesn't look like it's going to go that way. Tel Aviv has a lot more money to throw around and that's likely what convinced Farmar to go that way. But with him being under contract still with the Nets, this contract is just a lockout provisional one with an NBA opt-out.
Posted on: August 2, 2011 1:03 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 1:04 pm

Jordan Farmar close to signing with Israeli team?

Posted by Royce Young

Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli basketball league is in "advanced" talks with New Jersey Nets guard Jordan Farmar, according to the club's American owner, Jeffrey Rosen.

"We've been in serious talks with Jordan Farmar, who has expressed great interest to play for Maccabi Haifa," Rosen said. "We believe we are close to an agreement, but we have a few more hurdles to overcome to make it happen. We would love to have Jordan Farmar join Maccabi Haifa during the NBA lockout and we find his aspirations to play in Israel to be inspirational."

There might be competition for Farmar though. Powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv is also in the mix for Farmar according to Israeli media reports and could potentially offer Farmar more money. Tel Aviv of course was the team that was sort of in the mix for Amar'e Stoudemire at one point. Haifa is trying to make a push in the league as they made news by signing Jeremy Tyler last year. Tyler is the player that skipped his senior year of high school to play overseas and was drafted 39th overall.

FIBA cleared the way last week for players to sign abroad as long as long as they express a commitment to returning to the NBA if the lockout ends. Farmar still has two years left on his New Jersey deal.

Why is this potentially important? Because Farmar, an American citizen with Jewish heritage, could be making a path to nationalizing in Israel so he could join their national team. Having the connection with a pro club is a really good step in that direction. Farmar's not a big name NBA player but he did win two titles with the Lakers and is a quality point guard.
Posted on: July 31, 2011 1:43 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2011 4:58 pm

Kobe Bryant to Besiktas has 'zero percent' chance

Posted by Ben Golliverkobe-bryant-deron-williams

Could all this Kobe Bryant to Turkey talk turn out to be just talk?

Both NBA.com and Yahoo! Sports reported on Sunday that there is a "zero percent" chance Bryant plays for Besiktas -- the Turkish professional team that agreed to sign New Jersey Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams and has been actively pursuing Bryant for weeks -- during a work stoppage caused by the ongoing NBA lockout.

Here's NBA.com's report on Twitter.
Source: Kobe Bryant has not spoken with Turkish team in 2 wks. Current chance he plays there in fall: "zero percent." Source does indicate Bryant would consider overseas options if lockout continues.
Here's Yahoo!'s virtually identical report on Twitter.
Source says Lakers' Kobe Bryant hasnt talked to Turkey Besiktas in 2 weeks & currently there is a 0% chance he goes there... Source added Kobe is considering other overseas options is lockout doesn't end.
The dual reports come just one day after Bryant was reportedly scheduled to meet with Besiktas officials.

As we've noted before, Bryant's age, injury history and the $83 million set to be paid to him by the Lakers over the course of the next three seasons work against him playing professionally in a competitive league during the lockout.
Pursuing Bryant was a high-reward and no-risk situation for Besiktas. Tying their club name to a player of Bryant's stature only increases the club's profile. Besiktas doesn't need to worry about catching backlash over a failed effort because it already has Williams waiting in the wings. Landing Bryant would have been incredible -- a globe-stopping move, at least in the basketball world -- but life will go on for the club.

As will, surely, negotiations between Bryant's representatives and the other clubs and interests looking to get in on the action. Whatever that action might be.
Posted on: July 25, 2011 2:37 pm
Edited on: July 25, 2011 3:38 pm

Kobe Bryant to meet Besiktas of Turkey this week?

Posted by Ben Golliverkobe-bryant-deron-williams

Less than three weeks after agreeing to terms with New Jersey Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams, Besiktas of Turkey is reportedly set to meet with Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant this weekend.

In an Asksam.com.tr report translated by SlamOnline.com, Besiktas official Seref Yalcin expressed optimism that a deal with Bryant could be reached. 
Yalcin says: “At the moment there’s a 50 [percent] chance that Kobe may come to Turkey. Everything will be clearer after the meeting on the 30th. We have not talked about money, as reported. We only talked about the possibility of Kobe playing in Turkey. We asked FIBA for approval and Kobe wants some time to think about it. We believe that his reponse is going to be positive. Money will not be a problem. Turkish Airlines, M-Oil and Milan Petrol will sponsor the deal.” 
With all due respect, money is always a problem.

It's especially problematic in Bryant's case given his age, injury history and the $83 million set to be paid to him by the Lakers over the course of the next three seasons. 

But everyone, including Bryant, has a price. Unfortunately for Besiktas, that price is likely to be very, very steep. He reportedly made $400,000 for playing in a weekend's worth of exhibition games in the Philippines. While that's a pretty insane figure that he's not likely to see too many more times during the lockout, it would certainly influence his asking price to suit up for a team in league play, right? In the exhibitions, the only expectation is to show up, sign autographs, pose for pictures and throw down a dunk or two. In league play, things would be a bit more serious.

Pursuing Bryant aggressively is a no-lose proposition for Besiktas. Worst case scenario: they enjoy a month or two of free press after they are unable to make the trip to Turkey worth Bryant's while. Best case scenario: they come up with huge wads of cash, Bryant can't resist scratching his competitive itch and it's the biggest thing to hit Turkey since [obscure historical reference].

With Williams already in the bag, the club has nothing to lose and the world's most popular basketball star to gain. 

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