Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sham's 2010 NBA Draft Night Recap, Part 2

Part One

(that's a link)

Due to the length of this post, I have included links so that you can skip to specific picks, if you want. Of course, you may want to read all of it. Or....none of it.

31 - 32 - 33 - 34 - 35 - 36 - 37 - 38 - 39 - 40 - 41 - 42 - 43 - 44 - 45 - 46 - 47 - 48 - 49 - 50 - 51 - 52 - 53 - 54 - 55 - 56 - 57 - 58 - 59 - 60

The following players will be second round steals: Artisom Parakhouski, Terrico White, Devin Ebanks, Solomon Alabi, Latavious Williams, Jerome Randle, Hamady N'Diaye, Samardo Samuels and Stanley Robinson.

The following people will not be second round steals: Sherron Collins.

Sham's 2010 NBA Draft Night Recap, Part 1

Over the course of the last nine months, I have watched somewhere in the region of 700 NCAA games. I have done this partly because of a deep rooted affinity for Jay Bilas, but also in anticipation of the NBA draft. Draft Night ranks somewhere near Christmas Day and Pervy Old Man Day1 as the best day of the year, and the only thing that can rival Draft Night for excitement is Draft Day. If you're a basketball nerd, you will know why this is the most exciting thing ever. And if you're not a basketball nerd, you should stop reading right now, because it only gets worse from here.

Included in that 700 games are about 140 different teams. For reasons that perhaps a psychotherapist is better equipped to explain, it is my life's pursuit to know about every player in male professional basketball.2 This is of course an impossible task, but if you can pigeon hole them early while they're still amateurs, then you can get somewhere close to it. This, therefore, is where the NCAA proves invaluable. And given that you never know where the quality is going to come from, I tried to watch everyone.

(Lafayette versus Lehigh was a particularly low point, as were the two Morgan State versus South Carolina State games. I think one would have sufficed there. And while I still have Yale vs Princeton stored up and ready to watch, I'm not sure I can manage it.)

The reason I was able to watch all these games is because of the way ESPN have risen to power in the world of British basketball. For several months, ESPN was nothing but a competitively priced amateur basketball prostitute. Multiple games a day, I imbibed that whore's milk.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Former NBA guard just joined the Montenegran national team

They're coming thick and fast; yet another American in Europe has picked up a passport of a minor European team in order to further their career ambitions. But unlike some of those that have gone before him, this one has multiple years of NBA experience. And that's because he was a first rounder.

The country is Montengro, and here's a clue as to who the player is. Answer after the jump.

2010 Summer Signings, Part 5

- Not everyone changes teams in the summer. It seems like they do, but some stay on where they are. Those who have signed extensions with their current clubs include Slovakian scoring machine Radoslav Rancik, who has signed a two year deal with Galatasaray, and ex-San Diego State forward Mohamed Abukar, who signed a two year deal of his own with the Swiss champion Lugano Tigers. Dimitris Diamantidis snuffed out the 1% possibility of him ever joining the NBA as he signed a three year extension with Panathinaikos, and Mengke Bateer has re-signed with Xinjiang, staving off his retirement (and inevitable subsequent move into full-time acting) for at least one more year. Ex-Raptors draft pick Roko Ukic took a buyout from Milwaukee part way through last season to join Turkish team Fenerbahce, and he's just signed for two extra years there. And another Raptors draft pick, Giorgis Printezis, has taken a pay cut in signing a two year extension with Unicaja Malaga. For some reason.

- Speaking of Malaga; in contrast to previously reported news, it transpires that they did not actually retain the services of Omar Cook after all. Cook is a quality point guard in Europe, and he shouldn't have problems finding new work. Additionally, as initially reported, David Logan has joined Caja Laboral on a three year deal. He replaces Carl English, who has left the team. And Le Mans quickly found a replacement for Marc Salyers, bringing in former Detroit Mercy forward Ryvon Covile. Ryvon averaged 9.4 points and 4.8 rebounds for Entente Orleans last season.

- But the big news here is that of ex-Rider big man, Steve Castleberry, who has moved from Czech Republican team Podebrady to Czech Republican team Basketball Brno. Last year for Podebrady, Castleberry was 7th in the league in scoring, 2nd in rebounds and 6th in block, but Podebrady finished only 10th out of 12 teams. One place behind them was Brno, who has the dubious honour of not coming last, but only because the team behind them went 3-41. Maybe now, with the pedigree of Castleberry on board, they can begin to fly up the table.

You don't get this kind of news elsewhere. You should, but apparently most other sites find LeBron James's free agency more interesting. The simple-minded fools.

2010 Summer Signings, Part 4

- In Italy, Bucks draft pick Szymon Szewczyk signed a two year extension with Air Avellino. He ranked second the team in rebounds last year behind Chevon Troutman, was second in points behind Dee Brown, and also managed not to get arrested in a drunken car wreck unlike the other two. Another NBA draft pick signed in Italy, Petteri Koponen, is to remain in Bologna for at least one more season. And ex-NBA player Jumaine Jones is staying with Pepsi Caserta for at least one more season, which really crippled this otherwise infallible post.

- Another ex-NBA draft pick to have signed in Italy is Milovan Rakovic, whose rights are owned by the Magic. Rakovic was one of the best players in the Russian Superleague last year, averaging 15.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in 25 minutes per game for Spartak St Petersburg. He's cashing in on that and moving to Italy to play for Italian powerhouse Montepaschi Siena. There's lots of upheaval in Russia at the moment; the Superleague teams have all signed a pact vowing to break away from the current governing body, with whom they are thoroughly disenfranchised, and to begin running operations on their own. Amidst this upheaval, many players have left; Spartak also released James White (14.8/3.7) and Goran Suton (played 94 minutes all season). Additionally, Unics Kazan have released veteran Lithuanian jumpshooter Saulius ҆tombergas, and Lokomotiv Kuban have released their imports James Gist, Andre Owens and Gerald Green. It's probably fair to say that Green will not be returning to the Dallas Mavericks.

- Not everyone is suffering, though. Khimki have taken advantage of the situation by signing ex-Blazers forward Sergei Monia from cash strapped rivals Dynamo Moscow, and have also signed ex-Nets guard Zoran Planinic from the other Moscow team, CSKA. CSKA can probably afford to spare Planinic; they have made 8 consecutive Euroleague Final Fours, and danced their way to a Russian Superleague title, going unbeaten throughout the postseason (beating Khimky in the final). It is not immediately official who the two replace in Khimky, but one of the team's Spanish national team point guards (Raul Lopez and Carlos Cabezas) figures to go, and it will probably be Cabezas.

The amount of cap room teams will actually have, updated

This is an update of the earlier post that detailed the amount of cap room teams will have. It is updated to reflect the Kings/Sixers traded that was just completed (Andres Nocioni and Spencer Hawes for Sam Dalembert), to reflect some exercised options, and to edit the fact that I typoed a bit in the Timberwolves entry.

It's a carbon copy of the initial post, save for those tweaks.

    Atlanta Hawks

Committed salary for 2010/11: $47,630,214 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None

If Atlanta renounce (or lose) Joe Johnson, renounce Josh Childress, renounce their four remaining free agents (Joe Smith, Mario West, Jason Collins and Randolph Morris), and sell or renounce their first round draft pick (#24, cap hold of $963,600), they will have a cap number of $49,524,640 (the committed salary plus four minimum salary roster charges of $473,604 for having less than 12 things on the cap). Barring trades, that's as low as they can get. And yet it's not enough for cap room; if you add on the value of the Bi-Annual Exception ($2.08 million) and the Mid-Level Exception (not yet known exactly, but will be about $5.7 million), the Hawks are over the cap.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

2010 KBL Pre-Draft Pool

The South Korean basketball league [KBL] is a relatively new league, only thirteen years in existence, that unashamedly focuses on Korean national players. Part of that means heavily restricting the amount of imports that so heavily permeate all the other leagues around the world. Teams are allowed only two imports, and unlike in some other countries, dual citizenship is very hard to come by.

It also has some quirky rules. Each team is allowed two foreign players, but in the second and third quarter of all games, only one import is allowed to play at any one time. Additionally, a few years ago, the KBL had a rule that barred any players standing 6'8 and above. What the intended purpose of that was, I don't know, but presumably they quickly figured out how damaging that rule was to their basketball product, because they have now done away with it. Now, tall foreign dudes are allowed, and they're kind of prevalent. A combination of that, and the 54 game schedules that teams play, make the KBL highly intriguing to the hardened nerds amongst us.

Every summer, the KBL holds a draft of foreign players who want to play in their league that year. The players that are drafted are mostly tall guys, as apparently Korea doesn't produce much talented size of their own. (Ha Seung-Jin excepted.) The criteria for entry in the draft, though, is pretty weird. Players pay a $100 fee to be entered into the pre-draft list camp, and that list of players is culled down to a manageable amount of invitees by the KBL. The surviving list then go through one more cure, and the surviving few proceed (if they still want to) to the KBL pre-draft camp, which takes place in Las Vegas. And from there, the draft choices are made.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Spencer Nelson: Azerbaijan's Latest Nationalised Mormon

One of the things we like to do here is monitor the ever-changing nationalities of players. [See the full list of player nationalities.] Acquiring various passports can be highly useful for a professional basketball player, as they can be used to bypass various regulations regarding numbers of imports that most leagues enforce upon their teams. This often leads to the always amusing sight of various players (often American) scoring passports from nations they have no connection with, purely because they can buy them. Only a fortnight ago, Taurean Green and Quinton Hosley did exactly the same thing.

Another addition can now be made to that list. Former Utah State forward and two time Jazz signee Spencer Nelson has broken new ground, acquiring not one of the standard Macedonian or Georgian passports, but an Azerbaijani one. This makes him the only Azerbaijani basketball player you've ever heard of. And unless you're Polish and incredibly up to date on your PLK knowledge - Turow just signed an Azerbaijani centre called Alex Rindin - then he's also the Azerbaijani player you've ever going to hear of.

Nelson took seven years to use up his four years of academic eligibility at Utah State. This is partly because he tore his knee up in his sophomore season and took a medical redshirt, but also because Nelson took two years out to go on a Mormon mission. Nelson is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is presumably now the only such member to also be an Azerbaijani passport holder.

You couldn't make it up. Well, you could, but you don't have to.

2010 Summer Signings, Part 3

- David Noel, who was mentioned in the previous post as leaving French team Roanne, has landed another gig in the same country. He has signed with Paris-Levallois.

- In other French league news, Le Mans have released Marc Salyers, who had an uncharacteristically average season. Salyers averaged only 11.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in the French league - good numbers, but not the star they assumed they were getting. The team also released Zach Wright, the best rebounding 6'2 guard you ever saw (26.9 mpg, 8.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.4 apg) while choosing to sign former Gonzaga big man J.P. Batista (13.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg) to a two year extension. And fellow ProA side Vichy signed Villanova forward Curtis Sumpter, who had previously been with Belgian team Dexia Mons-Hainaut.

- The man Sumpter replaces in Vichy is Brent Petway, the athletic Michigan alum who has spent time around the NBA in summer leagues, training camps, the D-League and the like. He's taking the strange step of moving down a level, going to French second division side Clermont for next season. Not many decent players play in the ProB, but another one who will be is Marcus Campbell, the ex-Mississippi State big man and training camp veteran who has spent almost all of his career in the American minor leagues, and who has had NBA training camp contracts from the Rockets and Bobcats.

- Rather than going to France, Mouhamed Sene is leaving it. Sene led the French league in both rebounds and blocks season and was named a joint winner of the Defensive Player of the Year award, but he's making a lateral move to Belgium to play for Charleroi. Sene was playing in Belgium before his NBA career began, and hopefully he can improve upon the 4/5 averages that were deemed enough to get him picked 10th overall in 2006. Also in Belgium, Xavier guard Stanley Burrell has switched teams, moving from Sene's former team Verviers-Pepinster to Generali Okapi Aalstar. He averaged 10.8 points and 4.6 assists last season.

- In Cyprus, North Carolina State streak shooter Courtney Fells has switched teams, going from AEL Limassol to Keravnos. Hopefully next season, statistics from Cyprus will be available. Israeli team Bnei Hasharon have signed Dan Grunfeld - one time Knick and Ernie's Romanian son - to pair up alongside former Alabama guard Ron Steele and former Duquesne forward Shawn James, the latter of whom led Israel in blocked shots by quite a long way. And Polish Euroleague team Prokom Gydnia elected to keep former NBA guard Daniel Ewing, helping to offset the loss of David Logan, whom they could not retain. Logan is reportedly about to sign with Caja Laboral; if he does, it'll be a pretty lucrative gig, as Caja Laboral just won the ACB.

As always, if you want to keep tracks of transactions, use the transaction indexes for all three of the NBA, D-League and the world at large. Every relevant transaction is in there. Even the Taiwanese ones.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Europe for Americans

More than one person has asked me in the past for a definition of how basketball works in Europe. Those persons are always American. They see words like "domestic competition," "Euroleague" and "Cup," and they panic. All of those are concepts alien to the NBA, an incestuous league that only plays with itself, and they are not understood by the majority of American NBA fans. (Or, if not the majority, at least some.)

So I'll try to explain.

All countries in Europe have their own domestic leagues. There's the strong ones (Turkey, Spain, and a much weakened Italy), the top-heavy ones (Greece, Russia, etc), the ones slightly below that (Germany, France, etc), all the way down to the insignificantly terrible leagues (such as those in Moldova, Azerbaijan and Britain). Those leagues are by and large just like the NBA; over the course of several months, everybody plays everybody, with regular seasons and playoff structures. And at the end of it all, the best team wins. All these leagues are different in their own way; the French league is notorious for bad defense, and the Greek league is more physical than many of the others. (It's also infamous for the salary payments being hideously inconsistent, something not helped by the current general Greek economic turmoil. For example, Maroussi - Greece's third best team - have recently agreed to a two year repayment structure for their players who did not get paid last year, and may have to merge with a team from Crete just to stay solvent. It happens all across Europe at various times, but it happens a lot more in Greece.) However, they play fundamentally the same format. I have never seen a basketball league that does not have playoffs.

For the most part, European teams are not built in the same way as their American counterparts. Whereas American teams are part of a "franchise" culture - where local ties are comparatively tenuous, and the team exists as fundamentally a business that can and will be moved if necessary - the European model sees teams developed from the ground up over long periods of time, born out of a community and as successful as the local market/current ownership allows. If a team is not financially able to compete at the level that they once were, they don't move; they shrink. European leagues (mostly) have multiple divisions, and clubs are promoted and relegated between them. If a tiny team has a brilliant year and gets promoted to join the big boys, good for them. It's a feel-good story. Similarly, if a big market team gets mismanaged and falls off the map, they can get relegated, and they have to earn their way back. In this format, no years are wasted by tanking.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chicago's Last Resort Offseason Plan That Still Manages To Avoid Signing Joe Johnson

Almost to a man, Bulls fans are shockingly reticent about the great opportunities that might befall them this offseason. They have maximum cap room, they have the man widely regarded as the league's hottest head coaching prospect, they have the league's best young point guard, and the league's second best young centre.1 They have a sold-out arena, the league's best profit margins, and a young and athletic defensive-minded rebound-heavy team with scores of potential and a modicum of short term success, lacking only a superstar and a couple of Anthony Morrow types away from ranking amongst the league's very best.

"Lacking only a superstar" would be a ridiculous statement were they not ideally set up to get one right now. In this precedent-free summer, an unbelievable number of superstars could or will be available via free agency, ranging from the best player in the world (LeBron James) to some of the game's very best big men (Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Primoz Brezec, Carlos Boozer, even Yao Ming), all the way down to the superstar hometown boy (Dwyane Wade). There's also David Lee, one of the most maligned players in the NBA today, as well as Joe Johnson, who is guaranteed to be the next Jalen Rose for whoever signs him.2 We almost nearly had Kobe and Manu in the mix as well. These are not normal times we live in.

Yet perhaps still healing from vicious scars - the Tracy McGrady signing that became the Ron Mercer signing, the Tim Duncan signing that became the Brad Miller signing, the Pau Gasol trade that nearly bloody happened, Jay Williams crashing into a lamp post because he was revving his engine at traffic lights while still in second gear - a large quota of knowledgeable Chicago Bulls fans are stoic almost to the point of parody about the team's chances of landing the necessary superstar. They are confident of the team's superiority over their rival's chances in the same market,3 but still not confident of landing the biggest names. We continue to brace ourselves for a Lee/Morrow summer, convincing ourselves that landing that particular All-Star forward and that particular elite shooter, along with a defensive mastermind coach, is a summer of significant upgrades with which we should be more than contented.4 It's an exercise in damage limitation; we've analysed the market time and again, realised our place in the grand scheme of things, and yet are assuming that all the big names will re-sign. If you expect the worst, you can't be too saddened when it happens. So this is what we do.

(Or maybe I just only fraternise with Bulls fans that claim unfounded intellectual superiority. Could be either of these things.)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The amount of cap room teams will actually have

Lots of people and lots of places are claiming knowledge of the cap space of various NBA team in anticipation of this summer's free agency bonanza. Most, if not all, have done so misleadingly inaccurately.

Without wanting to sound too douchebaggy (sorry), let's try to get this right. 100% accuracy is not guaranteed, but 99.7% accuracy is. All salary information is taken from this website's own salary pages.

NOTE: All cap space amounts are calculated to an estimated salary cap of $56.1 million. This inexact figure is the most recent (and thus accurate) projection released yet, and will have to suffice for now. When the actual amount is calculated/announced, the sums below will be altered accordingly.

    Atlanta Hawks

Committed salary for 2010/11: $47,630,214 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None

If Atlanta renounce (or lose) Joe Johnson, renounce Josh Childress, renounce their four remaining free agents (Joe Smith, Mario West, Jason Collins and Randolph Morris), and sell or renounce their first round draft pick (#24, cap hold of $963,600), they will have a cap number of $49,524,640 (the committed salary plus four minimum salary roster charges of $473,604 for having less than 12 things on the cap). Barring trades, that's as low as they can get. And yet it's not enough for cap room; if you add on the value of the Bi-Annual Exception ($2.08 million) and the Mid-Level Exception (not yet known exactly, but will be about $5.7 million), the Hawks are over the cap.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Current Trade Kickers

Trade kickers are a salary mechanism that increase a player's salary when they are traded. They are both important and difficult to accommodate when formulating trade scenarios, and thus it's useful for them to be known. Kickers - technically known as trade bonuses, but colloquially as kickers, which we'll stick with here - can only be bothersome to teams and emphatically benefit a player. As such, they're far from commonplace. But there's enough of them out there, and it helps to know about them.

Contrary to some belief, trade kickers can not be waived. Not recreationally, at least. A player cannot waive a trade kicker just to make their crappy contract look more desirable. Only in one specific circumstance can a trade kicker (or part of one) be waived; when a player has to waive some money to make a particular trade connotation meet the rules of trade finances. This very very rarely happens, partly because it obviously requires the player's permission, although it did happen just this year after Devin Brown vetoed a trade to Minnesota when he refused to waive his. Doesn't happen much, though.

There follows a list of all current NBA contracts that feature trade kickers, along with the value of them. Note that trade kickers have no expiry date other than the expiration of the contract itself, and that having a percentage listed means that's the percentage of their remaining salary that they will additionally get with the bonus.

2010 Summer Signings, Part 2

- Maccabi Tel-Aviv declined their contract option on former Warriors draft pick Stephane Lasme. The Raptors are said to have been scouting him, alongside his Maccabi frontcourt teammate D'Or Fischer. Granted, the Israeli press are notorious for making things up, and the now-27 year old Lasme is coming off a bad year and has hardly added the missing dimensions to his somewhat one dimensional game. But then again, Amir Johnson becomes an unrestricted free agent in three weeks time. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

- Other guys not being invited back include Steve Burtt Jr, who will not stay with Ukrainian team Ferro-ZNTU. French club Roanne are not retaining ex-Bucks draft pick David Noel, and another ex Bucks player Jiri Welsch is leaving Unicaja Malaga after four seasons. Malaga simultaneously exercised a contract option on Omar Cook, which was always going to happen.

- Two players who left their clubs midway through last season, only to return, have now left them again. Australian international Brad Newley left Besiktas towards the end of last year as the team had fallen more than the allowable amount behind on his payment schedule - it is customary for teams to be allowed to fall a certain amount behind on payments before a player is allowed to break the contract with all obligations, both future and outstanding, still owed to them. Newley did this once the team had fallen several thousand dollars behind on his pay, and agreed to sign with AJ Milano for the remainder of the Serie A season. However, due to paperwork errors, FIBA blocked the transfer and Newley had to return to Besiktas for the remainder of the season. With it now over for good, Newley has left the team again and signed in Lithuania for Lietuvos Rytas (who, incidentally, elected to keep Milko Bjelica for next year as well). Additionally, the wolf man Vuk Radivojevic has left the destitute Crvena Zvezda for good this team. He was said to have left the team towards the end of last season, but returned to play the remainder of the season, presumably doing so unpaid. He really has gone this time, though, signing with Turkish team Trabzonspor for next season.

- In Germany, Rickey Paulding of EWE Basketa Oldenburg and Torrell Martin of Bremehaven both signed extensions with their teams. Paulding re-signs for his fourth year with the team; last year he took six three pointers a game and hit only 33% of them, but must have done something right if they wanted him back. Meanwhile, in his first Bundesliga season, Martin averaged 11.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, helping Bremerhaven reach the semi-final stages, where they lost 3-2 to Frankfurt. Martin scored only 4 points in 39 minutes of the elimination game, which Frankfurt won 56-52. Sounds like it was bloody fascinating.

Oldenburg have also brought in German national forward Robin Smeulders, who just finished his collegiate career at Portland. Someone tell Kevin Pelton.

As always, if you want to keep tracks of transactions, use the transaction indexes for all three of the NBA, D-League and the world at large. Every relevant transaction is in there. Even the Taiwanese ones.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

2010 Summer Signings, Part 1

Summer is here, and players are a-moving. The NBA free agency period has not yet begun - and should be pretty epic once it does - but this hasn't stopped players moving the world over. Here are some of the transactions that may interest you.

- Teams in Australia's NBL tend to sort out their rosters nice and early, and so even though we're several months away from the 2010-11 season tipping off, many rosters are all but complete already. Despite him winning the NBL MVP trophy last season, the Townsville Crocodiles have released Corey "Homicide" Williams, and have not named a replacement import, although they have brought in former St. Mary's big man Ben Allen (who is also currently trying out for the Australian national team.) The Melbourne Tigers have brought home from America another big Aussie centre (Luke Nevill), and have signed Eric Devendorf to score from them after his hugely successful offseason in New Zealand (at least basketball wise; Devendorf managed to get arrested for breach of the peace in there as well.) And the Sydney Kings are returning to the NBL after a season out due to financial difficulties, bringing with them Taj McCullough, who had previously been in Latvia with VEF Riga.

- Arvydas Macijauskas, the star Lithuania shooting guard whose NBA career was a short-lived epic fail, has retired aged only 30. Macijauskas was an All-Euroleague first teamer in 2004-05 while playing for Tau Ceramica, which led to a big money three year contract with the New Orleans Hornets; however, he was barely used, and when he was used it was only as a third string point. Since that time, Macijauskas has spent the last two seasons on the shelf, rehabilitating an assortment of injuries including left Achilles and calf injuries, as well as a spinal hernia. Macijauskas has also been embroiled in an unpretty contract dispute with Olympiakos that lasted over a year and was only resolved last Autumn. He says he may move into coaching.

- Speaking of Olympiakos, their annual summer turnover has begun. They have announced that they will not bring back backup centre Nikola Vujcic, as well as American point guard Scoonie Penn. Vujcic performed well when given minutes in the twilight of his career, 7.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists in the Euroleague, and 6.8/2.3/1 in the Greek A1. However, Penn, also in the twilight of his career, struggled mightily for the team. Despite the presence of Milos Teodosic and Theo Papaloukas in front of him, and with NBA draft Patrick Beverley and hot prospect Kostas Sloukas also fighting for point guard minutes, Penn was in the rotation whole year and even got the start in the Euroleague Final against Barcelona. God knows why; Penn averaged all of 1.6 points and 0.6 assists in 17 minutes per game in the Euroleague, alongside 3.9 points and 1.7 assists in 21 minutes per game in the Greek league. For PER fans, that's 14.8 in Greece (due to his 45% 3PT FG), and 2.6 in the Euroleague (due to his 16% 2PT FG). The Scoonie Penn of Olympiakos 2010 was not the Scoonie Penn of Olympiakos 2007; he wasn't even a fifth of him.

- Ex-NBA guard Orien Greene was suspended for two years (with one year considered already served) after trying to avoid a doping test by using a team mate's urine at the end of the 2008/09 season. (Don't know the ins and outs of how he did this, nor do I want to know.) The team mate, Teddy Gipson, was also suspended for six months. The team they were both playing for, ABC Amsterdam, have not yet been sanctioned but may be soon. Both players had long since left the team; Jannero Pargo's friend Gipson averaged 16.2 points and 5.3 assists to lead fallen French giant Pau Orthez back to the ProA, and Greene spent the year in the D-League with the Utah Flash before going to Venezuela for some summer money. He'll have to make that D-League salary stretch quite a long way now.

- After a bad season, ASVEL Villerbanne are cutting salary. To celebrate their first Euroleague campaign for five years, the team spent Tony Parker's money bringing in reinforcements with pedigree - Curtis Borchardt, Rawle Marshall, Mindaugas Lukauskis. Unfortunately, they never made it out of the group stage, and they didn't even break .500 in the ProA either, finishing in 9th place with a 14-16 record. Therefore, Borchardt and Marshall have been released, Victor Samnick has moved to Nancy, and Ali Traore might soon leave the team as well. ASVEL have already brought in replacements; Clemson guard Cliff Hammonds comes over from Peristeri in Greece, and draft prospect Edwin Jackson has returned from two years on loan, fresh with a new cut fastball that breaks late away from the right hander. But there is no replacement size yet.

- Good news, Oklahoma City Thunder fans! Former Sonics draft pick Paccelis "Patch" Morlende is back in basketball after a year and a half out due to injury. Patch resumed training in the new year, attending practice with Dijon, the team with whom he began his career. And although Dijon did not sign him at any point - probably because they were too busy getting relegated - Hyeres-Toulon have just done so, giving Patch his first playing gig since an unsuccessful run in Russia in December 2008. With Kevin Ollie's impending retirement, this news could not come at a better time.

- Bad news, Portland Trail Blazers fans! Federico Kammerichs has re-signed for a second season with Regatas Corrientes. You'd better hope LaMarcus Aldridge lives up to that contract.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Corie Blount is out of prison. Tommy Smith isn't.

In December 2008, ex-NBA big man Corie Blount was arrested for possessing all of this:

Corie insisted it was for personal use; specifically, for his 40th birthday party the following month. He insisted that he was not a dealer, that he was not destitute and in need of an income; instead, he tried to convince the prosecutors and the world at large that he merely listened to the bad judgement of friends, and got caught out.

Problem was, that's still a hell of a lot of weed. 29 pounds to be exact. And so while trafficking charges were dropped in a plea agreement that saw Corie plead guilty to two counts of possession, the judge was still not convinced. He sentenced Corie to a year in prison, five years probation, 250 hours community service, and ordered him to forfeit some cash and some cars. Corie had taken the plea agreement in the hope of avoiding prison, but it didn't work out that way. And it didn't help that the sentencing judge decided to have his own personal Youtube moment.

Corie was sentenced to a year in jail on May 13th 2009. And despite multiple requests for early release (citing Corie's attendance of NA classes in prison, his concurrent completion of a CBT course, his submission to regular drug screening, his his conviction-free record before this, and the non-violent nature of his crimes as reasons why), those motions were all denied. Blount ended up serving his full sentence, and was released as planned last month. Now that he's out, Corie is repentant and still insistent that he's not a dealer, but also worried about a future that he can't see.

Still, at least he's out. Another ex-Bulls forward isn't. Arizona graduate Tommy Smith was arrested on multiple charges in January 2009 after allegedly punching his girlfriend when leaving a party, breaking her nose, driving her away against her will, taking her phone off her and abandoning her at the roadside by a lake. He later came back for her and took her to hospital, but she pressed charges anyway. In December, he pleaded guilty to the charge of aggravated assault and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, credited with 173 days of time already served. Assuming he too is denied an early release, Smith will remain in prison for another 18 months. He will be 31 by the time he gets out.

Additionally, former Jazz draft pick and Nevada graduate Kirk Snyder has finally been convicted and sentenced for his savage beating of a neighbour over a year ago. Snyder's temporary insantiy defense did not work, and he was sentenced to three years in prison for a charge of aggravated burglary, two years for felonious assault and six months for common assault, to be served concurrently and credited with 312 days of time already served. Given that before his sentencing, Snyder had been placed on suicide watch, beaten another inmate, refused food and medication and had to be force-fed, an early release for good behaviour looks a long way off.

But here's to his very best efforts.

Monday, June 07, 2010

The 2010 Puerto Rican BSN Season

The Chinese Basketball Association is an area of particular focus on this website, because it's fun. Every season, the CBA plays host to many former NBA players, and plays them for the vast majority of their 48 minute games, resulting in huge statistics and thereby being more fun over leagues such as Italy's Serie A, where teams employ 11 man rotations, nobody plays more than 25mpg, and everyone averages about 9/4. They are better standards of league for this reason, but they're just not as fun as the CBA. In the CBA, imports rule.

The Baloncesto Superior Nacional, Puerto Rico's premier basketball league, is much the same. The games are 40 minutes, and the season is shorter, but the import talent is highly comparable (often identical), and the homegrown talent is vastly superior.

Puerto Rico has a strong basketball pedigree, and a history of turning out high calibre international players. Those players are mostly guards, which is why I think a merger with Senegal, which exclusively produces quality big men, would change the international basketball game beyond all recognition. Nonetheless, there's always ability coming out of there, and also some NBA-calibre talent. Puerto Rican players in the NBA right now include Carlos Arroyo, Jose Barea and Carmelo Anthony. And Carmelo's backup, Renaldo Balkman, might soon be joining that list.

Apart from those select few, almost all of the good Puerto Rican players play in the Puerto Rican BSN. Even if they've been playing in other leagues, players generally go to play in the BSN once those other commitments have been fulfilled. NBA players do not go, of course, but the Puerto Rican players dotted around the clubs of the world usually return for some hot BSN action, bringing with them many of the ex-NBA imports that had previously been partaking in the CBA. This is because the BSN - by design - takes place during most other league's offseasons. Starting in March and ending in June, the BSN provides a place for good quality journeyman to earn some summer money, to stay in shape and work on their CV's while being paid for the privilege. It is a win-win situation; the players get paid, the BSN gets some quality players, and us hardened geeks get some stats to dribble over.

The ex-NBA players to have played in Puerto Rico in previous seasons are too plentiful to mention. Just bear in mind that, for many of the players below, this is not their first time at doing this. There follows a list of the statistics of all import players in the BSN this season, along with those of Puerto Rican players that you may want to have heard of. Teams listed by order of their final regular season standings. As you can see, import turnover is quite high.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Taurean Green and Quinton Hosley are both now Georgian citizens. Apparently.

On this website is a list of player nationalities. It's a pretty useful tool, partly for reason of trivia, but also because it lists some of the more bizarre citizenships that high level basketball players have accrued in recent years.

Two new additions can now be made to that list. Former Florida guard Taurean Green and former Fresno State forward Quinton Hosley, according to Greek website, now have Georgian passports. Inevitable crude translation follows:

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Where Are They Now, 2010; The 75th And Final Part

- Bracey Wright

Ex-Timberwolves guard Wright got off to a late start this year, not signing anywhere until January. He eventually hooked up with Belgian team Oostende, and averaged 12.8 points and 1.6 assists per game. However, Oostende were knocked out of the Belgian playoffs at the semi-finals stages by Courtney Sims's Charleroi, and so Bracey's season is over.

Wright is American, which makes his presence in Belgium seem entirely normal; for a lengthier breakdown of the demographs of Belgian basketball, and specifically that of BC Oostende, click here. In the end, Belgians played only 251 out of a possible 7,200 minutes in Oostende games this season. Also, former NBA guard Eddie Gill, another member of the Oostende backcourt, ended the season in a 3-37 shooting slump (also known as an Iverson, or a fortnight of Dioner Navarro) and shot only 28% on the season. He was in the NBA in 2008-09. This was a bit of a wasted year for him.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Doesn't The Word Williams Begin to Look A Bit Silly After A While?

- Shawne Williams

As mentioned in the previous post, Williams fell out of the league in January. Dallas knew they had made a mistake in trading for him, and knew they'd compounded that mistake by exercising his fourth year team option without doing their homework on his play and personality; rather than compound that mistake by waiving Williams to open up a roster spot for Jake Voskuhl, they kept him on the roster (but away for the team) until they could find somewhere to salary dump him. New Jersey became that team, and the Najera/Humphries/Williams trade saved Dallas about $3 million in luxury tax payments. Rather that than Jake Voskuhl.

Williams didn't play for either the Mavericks or the Nets, and did not sign elsewhere after being waived. On January 13th, Williams turned himself onto authorities to face four charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture/deliver/sell, and four charges of conspiracy to manufacture/deliver/sell a controlled substance (specifically, codeine). As far as I can tell from online court records, Williams was sentenced to a diversionary program. Nonetheless, his NBA career is almost certainly over, and four years in, he still doesn't have a basketball career to call his own. It's been nothing but bad stuff so far.

Where Are They Now, 2010; Part 73

- Donell Williams

Donell Williams was a training camp signing of the Clippers in 2007, who hasn't played anywhere of note before or since.

A 6'3 guard, Williams spent his first two collegiate years at West Los Angeles Community College, before transferring to Fayetteville State for his final two years. He averaged 15.7 points and 6.0 rebounds in his senior year, 2004-05. D-Will then went back to school for the 2005-06 season to complete his degree, even though he wasn't eligible to play for the basketball team. The following season, his basketball career finally started, with Williams now aged 26. Williams played in the 2006 JBL Pro-Am League, an incredibly unheard-of American minor league that takes place between April and May, in which he averaged 27 ppg, 16 rpg and 5 apg. It appears he then did not play for the next 16 months between May 2006 and October 2007. And then he was somehow signed by the Clippers.

After not making the team, Williams went to the D-League, totalled 38 points and 21 rebounds in 18 games with the Bakersfield Jam in the D-League, and was waived in January 2008. He hasn't played anywhere since.

Of all the random training camp signings we've had over the years, I think this one is the most random. Until the day that I'm hired as a General Manager, I will never understand how or why these signings happen. Where is the resumé? I mean, good for Williams for getting the gig; he got to live a dream and got paid for doing it, something we should all be envious of. He's surely done something right. But the NBA isn't an adult dreams factory. What was the Clippers reasoning? An extra man for practice, maybe....but why THAT one?

About The Author

My Photo

"The brain behind ShamSports could have been featured in a number of these Twitter lists, but because his website often spends our entire working day lodged in one of our browser tabs we decided to take the boring route and place Mark amongst the professors. Deeks might be the funniest man you've never met, he does exhaustive work with the NBA's salary minutiae and transaction follow-ups, and he's a stone-cold must-follow. Stone-cold fox, too, ladies. Or, some gentlemen."