Tag Archives: NBA
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP)
Lakers forward Metta World Peace was suspended seven games by the NBA on Tuesday for throwing a vicious elbow at Oklahoma City’s James Harden, meaning the Los Angeles starter likely will miss six playoff games.
World Peace was ejected from Sunday’s game against the Thunder for striking Harden in the head, giving him a concussion. World Peace claimed the contact was an accidental, overzealous celebration of a dunk.
World Peace will miss the Lakers’ season finale on Thursday at Sacramento and the next six games for which he is eligible. The playoffs open Saturday, and Los Angeles is likely to be the Western Conference’s third seed.
Commissioner David Stern alluded to the former Ron Artest’s history of on-court altercations in announcing the penalty in a statement.
”The concussion suffered by James Harden demonstrates the danger posed by violent acts of this kind, particularly when they are directed at the head area,” Stern said in a statement. ”We remain committed to taking necessary measures to protect the safety of NBA players, including the imposition of appropriate penalties for players with a history of on-court altercations.”
The suspension is Artest’s third career ban of at least seven games. He got an 86-game suspension in 2004 for jumping into the stands at the Palace of Auburn Hills in the Detroit suburbs to fight fans, and he served a seven-game suspension in 2007 for his no-contest plea on a domestic violence charge.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said the team ”accepted” the suspension.
”His most recent lapse in judgment is not to be condoned or accepted,” Kupchak said after praising World Peace as largely a model citizen during his three years with the club.
”His actions could have seriously injured another player, and his absence during this suspension will hurt our team as well,” Kupchak added. ”While we accept the league’s decision, we will be supportive of Metta and try to help him be more professional on the court.”
World Peace didn’t speak to the media after the Lakers’ practice Tuesday, heading to the locker room at the moment media members entered the gym at the Lakers’ training complex. But Kobe Bryant acknowledged the obvious problem for the Lakers, who lose a starter and their defensive stopper right before the postseason.
”I saw what you guys saw,” Bryant said before the suspension was announced. ”It’s hard to get into a guy’s head and know exactly what happened in that situation. I haven’t really spoken to him about it. You’ve really got to ask him.”
Harden appears to be doing better, but still hasn’t been cleared to return for the Thunder, who might have rested players anyway in their final two games while locked into the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
”It’s an unfortunate situation,” Bryant said. ”James, from what I hear, is OK. As far as Metta goes, he has to focus on himself, and however many games they give him, they give him. He just has to be prepared, and when he comes back, just step right in and be ready to go.”
Bryant and the Lakers are clearly torn between supporting a teammate and recoiling from World Peace’s actions.
Lakers coach Mike Brown, who professed ignorance of what happened after the game, said he finally viewed a replay and spoke with World Peace about it briefly, but said he didn’t attempt an in-depth evaluation of what World Peace was thinking.
”You’re concerned about it,” said Brown, an assistant coach with the Indiana Pacers when Artest precipitated that infamous brawl in the stands in Detroit. ”He’s a starter for us, and he’s important to what we do. … What was going through his mind, I haven’t talked to him. What Metta said is he shouldn’t have done it. He’s got to keep his cool.”
Brown said World Peace explained the elbow as an accidentally overzealous celebration of his exciting dunk over Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant moments before, the same explanation he gave in a brief statement after the game.
”What am I supposed to do, call him a liar?” Brown asked. ”He said it was accidental. Now was it accidental or not? I don’t know.”
In the upcoming Sports Illustrated Magazine’s annual Swimsuit Issue, CP3 and Supermodel Bar Refaeli team up on a trampoline with legendary photographer Walter Iooss.
Not sure how Leonardo DiCaprio feels about this but seeing my ex girlfriend looking this good, while bouncing around on a trampoline would surely bring back some tears.
Check it out:
The Lakers traded forward Lamar Odom and a second-round draft pick to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night for a first-round pick and an $8.9 million trade exception, capping Los Angeles’ stunning 72-hour breakup with last season’s Sixth Man of the Year.
The Lakers and Mavericks reached a swift deal after Odom learned Thursday that Los Angeles was attempting to trade him in a megadeal for New Orleans superstar Chris Paul.
After the NBA blocked that trade, Odom declined to report to the Lakers’ opening day of training camp on Friday. Odom then requested a trade in a meeting with general manager Mitch Kupchak, and the Lakers improbably swung a deal with the rival Mavericks, who swept Los Angeles out of the second round of last season’s playoffs.
”Lamar was a fine player for us in his seven years with the Lakers and was a key to helping us win two championships,” Kupchak said in a statement. ”In addition, he always conducted himself with class and professionalism, and we wish him well in the remainder of his career.”
Neither team formally acknowledged the deal until Sunday night, but both teams knew all about the surprising transaction when they reported for training camp practices that morning.
”To be honest with you, I don’t like it,” Kobe Bryant said. ”It’s tough to lose Lamar. Pau (Gasol) is still here, and we’re all thankful for that. It’s hard when you’ve been through so many battles with players to just see them go somewhere else. It’s tough.”
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle and star Dirk Nowitzki spoke eagerly about adding Odom to the defending NBA champions’ roster without losing a player in return. Odom will aid the Mavs’ recovery from Tyson Chandler’s departure, and Carlisle said Odom’s partnership with Nowitzki and Shawn Marion would form the NBA’s best frontcourt.
The Lakers used to have what was considered the NBA’s best frontcourt — until they broke it up for reasons that are unclear to their players. Odom, a veteran team leader and a popular Hollywood celebrity, averaged 14.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3 assists while playing in all 82 games last season with his smooth, well-rounded game.
Bryant and Derek Fisher led a chorus of confused anger from the Lakers, who have no idea what their front office is planning just two weeks before the season opener. Los Angeles is thought to be working on a deal for Orlando center Dwight Howard, but the trade exception obtained from Dallas could be only a minor part of any potential deal.
”As a basketball player, it confuses you as to what your focus should be,” Fisher said. ”I’m very disappointed and frustrated for (Odom and Gasol). If I had my choice, Lamar would be a Laker for life.”
Bryant said he hated seeing Odom leave Los Angeles: ”Especially to them. We were supposed to come back and get them back. It’s tough. . . . Do I think we got too little? Who did we get? I don’t think Mark Cuban is protesting this trade.”
Although Odom was excited about the Lakers’ prospects as recently as Wednesday, he never practiced with the Lakers in their first three workouts under new coach Mike Brown while the club attempted to move him to New Orleans. After that three-team deal fell through, the Lakers apparently changed their focus to Howard, who loves Los Angeles and has requested a trade from the Magic.
Gasol, the other main component in the squashed deal for Paul, has been at the Lakers’ training complex for all three days of camp, working out the past two days. He remains hopeful he’ll stay in Los Angeles, but the four-time All-Star no longer knows what to think about his near future.
”I understand this is a business, and it’s become more of a business than a sport nowadays,” Gasol said. ”It hasn’t been extremely easy to be calm and quiet and not think about the different possibilities. But I’m still here, and I’m thankful for that.”
Although Bryant expressed his faith in Kupchak, he would prefer to have Odom in camp as the Lakers regroup from last season’s failed attempt at a threepeat. Odom starred in a reality show last season with his wife, Khloe Kardashian, clearly enjoying his celebrity at the main intersection of sports and entertainment.
”You’re talking about the sixth man of the year last year,” Bryant said of Odom. ”He played lights-out. I don’t understand the criticism of reality shows and this. I don’t get that. He had his best season last year, clearly wasn’t a distraction, played his (rear) off. I don’t get where that comes from.”
Even Odom’s contract is a good deal for his new employers: He will make $8.9 million this season in the third year of a four-year deal, which can be bought out next season for a modest amount. The Lakers’ trade exception means they can acquire a player making Odom’s salary or less without the usual complications, but it would be only one part of a hypothetical deal for Howard or another star.
With this chaos on top of the usual amount of drama surrounding the high-profile Lakers, Brown is attempting to plan for a season with no idea who will be in his lineup in two weeks when Los Angeles hosts the Chicago Bulls in their Christmas season opener. Gasol and fellow big man Andrew Bynum went through their third day of workouts on Sunday not knowing whether they would have a chance to use all this new information.
Lakers forward Matt Barnes has been in contact with Howard, his former teammate in Orlando. Barnes said he doesn’t need to sell Howard on the Lakers — but this team now might have to sell its own players on their future in purple and gold.
”If I’m here, I’m looking forward to the season,” said Bynum, who knows he’s rumored to be the main component in any proposed deal for Howard. ”If they were able to pull a move like that off, it would be great for the organization, and I’d be in Orlando hooping.”
Two weeks after Kim Kardashian filed for divorce, Kris Humphries was photographed landing in New York on Monday. It wasn’t exactly a joyful homecoming for the out-of-work NBA star, 26, who had shared a posh downtown apartment with Kardashian, 31, in happier times.
Later that night, an onlooker spotted the newly single athlete dining with pals at Serafina, where he and Kardashian were once regulars.
“Kris looked so depressed,” the observer tells Us Weekly. “He looked like he was going to cry in his pizza, sat at the same table he used to sit with Kim.” (The New York Post’s Page Six reports that the basketball player, now a free agent, has a Tuesday business meeting with the CEO of jewelry company CIRCA, Chris Del Gatto.)
Humphries has claimed he was “devastated” and blindsided by Kardashian’s Halloween divorce filing; the pair had a brief reunion in his hometown of Lake Minnetonka, Minn., two weekends ago, where they reached “closure” for their relationship, according to a source.
But Humphries is still hurting. “He looked so sad and gloomy. Not the happy Kris who used to tease and laugh with Kim at that table,” the Serafina observer says of his Monday night nosh. “His friends looked like they were giving him encouragement … they were trying to cheer him up.”
Still, another Kardashian pal tells Us that the split did not come as a shock to Humphries, despite his public claims. “Kris and Kim spoke about breaking up many times … He was not blindsided by the divorce, just by the filing on that exact date.”
Kobe Bryant’s representatives and Virtus Bologna are ”working very intensely” to bring the Los Angeles Lakers’ star to Italy during the NBA lockout.
Bologna President Claudio Sabatini had told The Associated Press on Friday he had reached a tentative deal with agent Rob Pelinka for a 10-game contract worth more than $3 million.
The Italian team and Bryant’s management said in a joint statement Monday they are ”working very intensely to try and create this important deal. Reaching such a complex deal requires both sides’ maximum attention for every little detail.”
”Everyone wants a positive outcome to the deal, the goal of which is Kobe Bryant’s presence in Italy, economic interests for the 17 clubs in Serie A and more attention for all of Italian basketball,” the statement added.
The deal, however, hinges on other clubs changing their schedules to ensure Bologna has five home games during Bryant’s 10-game contract. Bologna also wants its opening five away games played in Italy’s biggest arenas, and wants to avoid an early-season bye.
Smaller clubs Cremona and Varese have been reluctant to alter their schedules, although the Italian league said Saturday it was intervening to help spur an agreement.
”I hope that very shortly we’ll have a deal,” Sabatini told the ANSA news agency. ”I want to thank Kobe, who demonstrated again overnight that he wants to return to Italy.”
Bologna would need to have the deal signed by the end of this week to register Bryant before its opening game with Roma on Sunday.
”But even if he’s available for the second game, that’s not a problem for us,” Sabatini said. ”We’re very confident, but we’re waiting for news tonight.”
With Venezia recently added as a 17th team, the Italian league released its full schedule Monday. Although it could be changed again if Bryant signs with Bologna.
After hosting Roma, Bologna visits Avellino the following weekend, then plays at Olimpia Milano, which recently signed Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari.
In the following seven rounds, Bologna has home games with Cremona, Varese and Sassari; away games with Teramo, Montegranaro – which is in talks with Toronto Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani – and Biella; and a bye in the eighth week.
Bryant lived in Italy between ages 6 and 13 while his father played in the country. He still speaks fluent Italian and has said it would be a ”dream” to play in the country.
In New York on Saturday, NBA owners and players failed to reach a new labor deal after about seven hours of talks focused mostly on the league’s salary cap structure. The sides were meeting again Monday, though time is getting short to save the scheduled start of the regular season on Nov. 1.
O’Neal, who retired last month, will join TNT’s studio show with Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson. He also will contribute to NBA TV and NBA.com.
The agreement announced Thursday includes a development deal with Turner’s entertainment and animation networks.
O’Neal said he had offers from ABC/ESPN and others upon retiring, but quickly chose the Turner offer, saying he wasn’t interested in creating a bidding war for his services and that the ”Inside the NBA” show he’ll be joining was his favorite as a player.
”I’m just going to try to make it more fun than it already is,” O’Neal said during a conference call.
A four-time NBA champion during his 19-year career, the 7-foot-1 O’Neal also had one of the NBA’s biggest personalities, one who gave himself many of nicknames. He was expected to quickly find work in the entertainment industry upon his retirement.
”The addition of ‘The Big Analytical’ will be terrific,” Smith said in a statement. ”I can’t wait to make verbal passes to the most dominant center of our time.”
O’Neal will be part of TNT’s coverage of All-Star weekend — scheduled next season for Orlando, his first NBA home — and the playoffs. He doesn’t think it will be difficult having to criticize Kobe Bryant, whom he feuded with as Lakers teammates, or any other players.
”I have the ability and the backing to give fair criticism. The only time I have trouble with people giving criticism is when they haven’t walked that walk,” O’Neal said. ”I’ve walked many walks in my 19-year career, so I think any criticism that I give should be fair.”
A 15-time All-Star, O’Neal decided to retire in fifth place on the league’s career scoring list after he was slowed by injuries in recent seasons. But even as his game suffered, he remained one of the NBA’s most popular players and should fit right in on the fourth seat of the TNT studio show, occupied mostly last season by Chris Webber.
”Shaq knows the game and, on and off the floor, he has always been entertaining; a guy who gets it,” Johnson said.
O’Neal said he also expects to work on cartoons and TV shows, adding he’s interested in being the executive producer for a program.
The Los Angeles Lakers are taking a deliberate approach to their search for a successor to Phil Jackson, but NBA coaching sources told ESPN.com the team has added Mike Brown to its list of candidates.
The former Cleveland Cavaliers coach, now working as an analyst for ESPN, is expected to interview “soon” with the Lakers, sources say.
Brown would become the fourth known candidate for the job, along with former Houston Rockets coach Rick Adelman, ex-Los Angeles Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy and Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw, who is regarded as the only serious in-house contender to replace Jackson.
Brown is widely regarded in coaching circles as the leading candidate in Golden State to replace Keith Smart. Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird also said this week that he intends to contact Brown — as well as Adelman — to gauge his interest in returning to Indiana, where Brown worked as an assistant before joining the Cavs.
In Cleveland, Brown made one trip to the NBA Finals in 2007 and won NBA Coach of the Year honors in 2009 before his dismissal following Cleveland’s second-round exit to Boston in 2010 and LeBron James’ subsequent departure to Miami via free agency.
ESPN.com reported last week that the Lakers are “very interested” in Adelman. Sources say that Dunleavy, who began his head coaching career with the Lakers in 1990-91 and went to the NBA Finals in his first of two seasons as Pat Riley’s successor, has maintained a close relationship with Lakers owner Jerry Buss and executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss and has also made it onto L.A.’s short list.
ESPN.com also reported in March that the Lakers have maintained a level of interest in former Rockets and New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy dating to last season, when Jackson also strongly considered retirement before deciding to come back for one more season.
Brown is one of a handful of candidates already interviewed by Golden State, along with Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Dwane Casey, Boston Celtics assistant coach Lawrence Frank, TNT’s Kevin McHale and Shaw and fellow Lakers assistant Chuck Person.
Casey, McHale and Frank are the three finalists for the Rockets’ job vacated by Adelman at season’s end.
In Indiana, Bird has publicly acknowledged that interim coach Frank Vogel is the favorite to land the job as Jim O’Brien’s full-time successor after Vogel posted a 20-18 record and helped the Pacers secure a playoff berth. But Bird also made it clear that the Pacers intend to interview other candidates as well.
Michael Jordan surprised Oprah Winfrey at her farewell show at Chicago’s United Center, where his statue sits outside. Jordan was one of many celebrities who attended Tuesday night’s ”Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular.”
Actor Will Smith introduced Jordan, describing the United Center as the ”house that Michael Jordan built.” Jordan came on stage and hugged Winfrey to loud cheers. Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships during the 1990s.
Winfrey yelled to the crowd, ”M.J. is in the house!” The basketball legend told Winfrey she has meant a lot to him and inspired him. He wished her the best and told her he loves her.
Winfrey announced in November 2009 that she would end ”The Oprah Winfrey Show” this season after 25 years.
1st we had Chad Ochocinco tryout with the MLS’ Sporting Kansas City, now we have Justin Bieber trying out with Barca. The Biebs already showed the world he’s got some skills on the hardwood when he won the MVP award for the LA2011 Celebrity All-Star Game.
The Kid shows his skills on the pitch, while he got to kick around with FC Barcelona this week.
“The 17-year-old Canadian even donned the team’s second strip and appeared on the pitch at the Ciutat Esportiva, kicking the ball around and even joining in with a quick game with some of the players once it was over,” the club’s official website said. “In that game, Justin Bieber, Thiago and Benja played against one of the singer’s friends, Bojan and Fontàs. All played into the same goal defended by Ruben Mino, and Bieber showed surprisingly decent skills with his left foot.”
Miami Heat star LeBron James is joining forces with Fenway Sports Group (FSG) in a deal that will give the seven-time NBA All-Star a minority stake in English Premier League soccer club Liverpool FC, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
James is teaming up with hedge-fund manager John Henry and veteran Hollywood producer Tom Werner of FSG in a deal that brings together one of the biggest stars in sports and two of the world’s most renowned teams.
FSG, which also owns the Boston Red Sox, is partnering with James’ sports-marketing firm LRMR Branding & Marketing to become the exclusive world-wide representative for the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player.
The deal marks the first time that a professional athlete at the top of his game has taken an ownership interest in a team with the size and reach of Liverpool, which is one of the most popular and powerful sports franchises in the world.
It also adds yet another dimension for Boston-based FSG, which became a global operation last October when it bought Liverpool for $488 million (£298.8 million). The company was founded as New England Sports Ventures nine years ago after Henry and Werner bought the Red Sox and 80 percent of regional sports channel New England Sports Network.
“We’re not interested in talent or athlete representation but we think he is one of the most remarkable athletes of his time,” Werner said in an interview Tuesday. “We believe we can open doors for LeBron and LeBron can open doors for us.”
Executives involved with the deal declined to comment on the financial terms, but a person familiar with the details said FSG would receive a small commission on any deals it landed for James.
James said he was “humbled” by the deal and looked forward to donning a red Liverpool jersey and visiting Anfield, the team’s legendary stadium.
“The first time I stepped on an NBA court I became a businessman,” said James, who is 26 years old. “This is a great opportunity for me.”
In addition to his $15.8 million (£9.7 million) salary from the Miami Heat, James earns an estimated $30 million (£18.4 million) annually from endorsements with such blue-chip companies as McDonald’s, Nike, and Coca-Cola. His image took a major hit last summer when he was criticized by the media and NBA Commissioner David Stern for teaming up with ESPN to create “The Decision,” an hour-long televised special during which he announced his choice to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat.
According to Deloitte’s 2010 Football Money League report, Liverpool is the world’s eighth-biggest soccer team by revenue, with $320 million (£195.9 million) in revenue during the 2009-10 season. Liverpool and Manchester United have won 18 top division championships, the most among English teams, and both are wildly popular in Asia, where Liverpool will tour this summer.
“Eighteen championships,” James said. “I see myself trying to do the same things they have.”