Tag:New Jersey Nets
Posted on: July 6, 2011 12:53 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 7:30 pm

Former No. 2 overall pick Armen Gilliam dies

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver.

Armen Gilliam, a former No. 2 overall pick of the Phoenix Suns in 1987, died Wednesday. He was 47.

Police say Gilliam collapsed of a heart attack while playing basketball at LA Fitness in Collier Township, Penn. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead.

Gilliam, nicknamed "The Hammer," starred at UNLV on the 1987 team that won a record 38 games and made it to the Final Four.

Over at CBSSports.com's Eye on College Basketball, Matt Norlander notes that he leaves a big legacy in Las Vegas.
At Vegas, Gilliam was the seventh-highest scorer in school history. He put up 1,855 points in his three-year career, and scored a still-standing record of 903 points in the Final Four season of 1986-87. The team was 93-11 while he was there. He averaged 17.3 points and 8.3 rebounds as a Runnin' Rebel.

"I'm all shook up," former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian told the Las Vegas Sun today. "He was such a great person. He would take the shirt of his back for you."

Besides the Suns, he also played for the Charlotte Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz. He retired in 2000.

On Wednesday afternoon, Phoenix Suns president Lon Babby issued the following statement.
“On behalf of the entire Phoenix Suns family, I’d like to express our sadness at the news of the passing of Armen Gilliam and offer our condolences to his family.  Armen will always have a place in Suns history as only the second No. 2 overall pick for the franchise, but the rugged, tough enforcer known as ‘The Hammer’ on the court will be remembered by his former teammates and our fans for his easygoing nature off the court.”
Gilliam briefly ended his retirement, playing for the Pittsburgh Xplosion (Gilliam is from Pittsburgh), an expansion team in the American Basketball Association, in the 2005-2006 season. He was also the team's coach.
In his 13 NBA seasons, Gilliam, a 6-9 forward, averaged 13.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He was always one of the most powerful, physical players in the league, hence the nickname "The Hammer." He was a strong dunker, and while he never really lived up to his draft position, he had a solid 13-year NBA career.

And finally, a did you know: Gilliam's first name was spelled Armon in college and first few years in the NBA, but he later changed it to Armen.

Posted on: July 5, 2011 2:48 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 2:50 pm

The lockout could really sting the Heat

Posted by Royce Young

Some owners are reportedly just fine with losing an entire season of basketball to get a favorable deal. That's not a good thing for players because not only do they miss out on their paychecks, but it also hurts players who had to postpone their free agency and are now a year older.

And think about teams that have superstars players in the final year of their contracts: Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Dwight Howard could all potentially walk from their current teams without ever playing another game for them. And not only that, but because the lockout halts all business, the Hornets, Nets and Magic wouldn't even have an opportunity to pull a Carmelo-ish trade and try and get something in return.

Definitely a little something for those owners to think about, especially when time starts to run out.

But think about how a lockout could affect the league's most visible team. Via the Miami Herald:
"If next season goes by the wayside, that means (Heat owner) Micky Arison has only two more seasons guaranteed with the Big 3 under contract. What could happen after that is too scary to even consider right now. Put yourself in Arison's shoes, and you would be walking to the negotiating table right now to make sure a deal gets done in time."
James, Wade and Bosh all gave themselves early termination options after the 2013-14 season. A lost season would definitely make winning not one, not two, not three, et cetera, et cetera, much more difficult.

So that's four teams that have a little different perspective as negotiations continue on. Of course the Hornets are owned by the NBA so that's awkward, but for the Magic, Nets and Heat for sure, there's some incentive in making sure 2011-12 happens. Making money is always the top goal for the owners, but having a winner and/or star players typically helps that.

And watching Howard, Williams or Paul walk without anything in return could damage some bank accounts. Same with Arison and the Heat. That team, while the most polarizing in the league, is also a lightning rod of popularity. Everyone watches the Heat. Arison would be missing not just one extra shot at a title, but another season of consistent sellouts and crazy merchandise sales.

Something to think about, at least.
Posted on: July 5, 2011 2:18 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 2:30 pm

2012 NBA Draft: Light at the end of the tunnel

A look at five top 2012 NBA Draft picks and where they might fit best in the NBA. Posted by Ben Golliver.

A confluence of factors made the 2011 NBA Draft one to forget. The one-and-done class was weak to begin with; there were only 3-4 players selected who are believed to possess eventual All-Star talent; the impending NBA lockout scared many top players into returning to school; there wasn’t an American-born center taken in the first round; two of the most talented international players (Enes Kanter and Bismack Biyombo) had very short resumes and another, Jonas Valanciunas, had a tricky contract buyout. On and on the list goes.

In that light, the 2011 NBA Draft was about assessing risk for bad teams. Which incomplete player fits best with our pieces? Which of these diamonds in the rough might pan out in the right circumstances?

The 2012 Draft couldn't be more different. Yes, we're 11 months away, but it's setting up as an evaluating of rewards rather than riches thanks to a crop that should be in the running for best class since 2003 brought LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and company. Considering that the NBA's lockout is now officially underway, the 2012 class serves as the perfect light at the end of the tunnel.

At first glance, there are arguably 10 prospects who could have been top five talents in this year’s draft. Why? Because the one-and-dones that stayed put – big-name stars like Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger – will converge with a very strong high school Class of 2011 – topped by Anthony Davis, James McAdoo, Michael Gilchrist, Austin Rivers and others. 

Here’s an early look at five top prospects and where their impact would be greatest.

harrison-barnes1. Harrison Barnes | Sophomore | UNC | SF | 6-foot-8, 210 pounds   

Barnes should headline the 2012 NBA Draft class and is the early favorite to go No. 1 overall. Despite falling short of preseason All-American expectations and starting slow as a freshman, Barnes came on strong over the second half of the season, averaging 21.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in March. He has all the tools to be an NBA All-Star and an elite scorer. He’s polished, smooth, has a pretty stroke, good size and a scorer’s self-confidence. After he gets a second season under his belt, Barnes should be ready to start from Day 1 and step in as a No. 1 scoring option from the get-go in 2012-2013. He understands the marketing side of the modern game and projects to be a franchise building block.

Best fit: If the Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Bobcats are as bad as everyone expects them to be next season, Barnes serves as the potential savior.

2. Jared Sullinger| Sophomore | Ohio State | PF | 6-foot-8, 250 pounds

The No. 2 spot in next year’s draft is Sullinger’s to lose, although he’ll certainly have his share of challengers. A traditional low-post power forward, Sullinger shed questions about his weight to become the best freshman in the nation last season, averaging 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Sullinger is strong and relentless, overpowering older players at the college level. Physically, he’s a throwback in this age of combo fours and he would be the consensus No. 1 pick next year if he were an inch or two taller and a few inches longer so that he could more comfortably play center. His productivity on the glass – and the offensive efficiency that goes with it -- is his top selling point. The biggest concern: Will he be subject to mismatches on the defensive end (too short to guard fives, too big to stay with combo fours on the perimeter)?

Best fit: Pair him with a lengthy shot-blocker. The Washington Wizards – with JaVale McGee -- or the Detroit Pistons – with Greg Monroe -- would allow Sullinger to do what he does best.

3. Anthony Davis | Freshman | Kentucky | PF | 6-foot-10, 220 pounds

The best word to describe Davis is “tantalizing.” At this point, despite a solid showing on the All-Star circuit, Davis is regarded more for his potential than his current ability. That’s to be expected given a well-documented growth spurt that has made him the most hyped American big man prospect since Greg Oden. While Davis is much skinnier and less overwhelming than Oden, he is significantly more mobile. He's also  extremely long and active around the basket on both ends. Kentucky is an ideal situation for him to develop: surrounded by future pros and not asked to do too much, Davis should have an excellent chance to make a big impact games during March Madness, even if he isn’t putting up overwhelming stat lines. There isn’t a team in the NBA that wouldn’t take him today based on the rarity of his physical package. If he continues to develop his strength and size, he has a very good shot to go No. 1 overall, even if he’s riskier right now than Barnes or Sullinger.

Best fit: Pairing Davis with a wide body, low-post presence would be his best-case scenario: Minnesota, next to Kevin Love, or Sacramento, alongside DeMarcus Cousins.

4. James McAdoo | Freshman | UNC | PF | 6-foot-8, 223 pounds

McAdoo is a supremely talented, although sometimes overlooked, combo forward who will likely play four as a pro. His skill level, comfort with the ball in his hands, nose for rebounds, ability to finish and general intelligence make him a can’t-miss prospect. A (very) distant relative of NBA Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo, he raised his profile on the All-Star circuit and declared at the Nike Hoop Summit that he was ready to average 20 points and 10 rebounds as a freshman at Carolina, a feat that would be unprecedented. With UNC returning so much talent, he’s in line for an adjustment of expectations but there’s no question that he was born to play basketball at the NBA level.

Best fit: The Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t get the talented combo forward they desired in Derrick Williams in 2011. McAdoo would make a nice consolation prize. Pending a decision on Kris Humphries and a rumored free agency pursuit of David West, McAdoo would fit nicely next to Brook Lopez in New Jersey too.

5. Michael Gilchrist | Freshman | Kentucky | 6-foot-7, 205 pounds

NBA teams haven’t exactly shown a desire to reward elite wing defenders with top draft selections, but Gilchrist deserves it. He really redefines “motor” and “intensity,” making full use of his ideal wing size. He enjoys playing chest-to-chest defense but is comfortable off the ball as well, equally capable of taking a No. 1 scoring option out of the game or breaking plays from the weakside and finishing in transition. Other than an ugly release on his jumper, Gilchrist is a solid offensive prospect too, able to score and make plays, and fully comfortable with the ball in his hands.   

Best fit: Any team in need of an intensity injection. The Raptors, Wizards, Bobcats and Los Angeles Clippers all qualify.

All height and weight figures courtesy of DraftExpress.com.

Posted on: July 2, 2011 5:16 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2011 6:12 pm

Report: Nets to go hard after Dwight Howard

Posted by Royce Young

Big shocking news here people: The New Jersey Nets are going to try really hard to get the best player in the 2012 free agency crop to make their team better.

I know, I can't believe it either.

According to ESPN.com, the Nets "intend to make a hard push for [Dwight] Howard in an attempt to convince [Deron] Williams to commit long term."

Basically, it sounds the like Nets are saying, "Hey everyone, we're going to try real, real hard to get Dwight Howard. REAL hard. You hear that Deron? Real hard."

It's what they have to do though. Mikhail Prokhorov and the Nets took a strategical risk trading Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and draft picks for Williams, without the sure road to sign him long term. It's clear that it's going to take a vision for a future contender to convince Williams he wants to be a part of it. Simply playing in Brooklyn in a nice, new arena isn't good enough. Players want to win. And getting Howard is an excellent way to win.

However, Howard seems to be very determined to remain with the Magic. But that's only if they do the same thing the Nets are and convince him that they have a plan to win. Howard wants to be a champion. And if that can happen in Orlando, that's what he prefers. But if he decides that isn't in the cards with the existing roster Otis Smith assembles, teaming up with Williams might sound like a fantastic plan.

It's no shock though that the Nets are going to be hot in pursuit of Howard. They better be. He's the cream of the 2012 crop and will instantly make whatever team he picks a title contender. He's a total game-changer. And not only do the Nets want him, they also want to show Deron Williams they're serious about getting him help. It's hard for me to picture a scenario of Howard choosing to leaving the Magic in which he doesn't go to the Lakers, but the Nets aren't a bad option.

You hear that Deron?
Posted on: June 12, 2011 4:58 pm
Edited on: June 12, 2011 4:59 pm

Deron Williams to follow LeBron James to CAA?

New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams is reportedly considering joining CAA, the agency that represents LeBron James. Posted by Ben Golliver. dwill-lebron

Any time a star player hits the market these days, you have to figure that Miami Heat forward LeBron James has something to do with it. 

On Tuesday, Bloomberg News reported that New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams fired his long-time agent. Within less than a week, reports have surfaced linking Williams to the agency that represents James and his Miami Heat brethren: CAA.

Yahoo! Sports reports that Williams is "strongly considering" changing his representation to CAA.
James has been a part of recruiting everyone else over to his side – Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul. And now, the New Jersey Nets’ Deron Williams is strongly considering joining up with CAA after firing his longtime agent. Within the NBA, this surprised people because Williams had always been so fiercely independent. He never star-gazed James like most of his young teammates, and never seemed inclined to follow.

“LeBron has almost become a movement within the league,” says a league executive who’ll recruit these players in 2012. “With Worldwide Wes [CAA agent William Wesley] and him, you’re making a decision as a player to be packaged the way they packaged him. They follow him.” 
Earlier this week, the Salt Lake Tribune also reported that Williams is "expected to sign with agent Leon Rose, a source said Tuesday." Rose's agency was recently purchased by CAA.

If Williams joins CAA, it will be huge free agency news. Williams is under contract with the Nets for next season, but has a player option after that. In other words, he could start trying to force his way to a better club as soon as this year's trade deadline (if not immediately) by letting the Nets know he doesn't plan to pick up his option. 

The Nets went all-in trading for Williams and they don't have much surrounding him. Surely, they'll feel the pressure this summer to do whatever it takes to get him talented teammates immediately. But should Williams have a different destination in mind, there's not much stopping him - save an overhauled Collective Bargaining Agreement - from becoming next year's Carmelo Anthony. 

James and company paved the way for star players to realize how to maximize their leverage. If you're Williams, watching the Heat compete for a title in Year One, what is there to convince you that following in those footsteps isn't a good idea? 

Posted on: May 25, 2011 12:18 pm
Edited on: May 25, 2011 12:21 pm

Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian are engaged

Posted by Royce Young

New Jersey Nets forward Kris Humphries is signing a long-term deal. Not with the Nets though, not yet. Humphries and girlfriend Kim Kardashian are engaged, according to the celebrity site TooFab.com.

The couple started dating six months ago in November of 2010, giving the Nets quite the list of high-profile ladies between minority owner Jay-Z's wife Beyonce and Kardashian.

Reportedly, because I know you care,  Humphries proposed at Kim's Beverly Hills home where he was waiting in her bedroom with "Will you marry me?" spelled out in rose petals. He also reportedly slapped a $2 million, 20.5 carat ring on her finger. Humphries, who is a free agent this summer, must really be banking on getting a good extension with the Nets.

If you're wondering, sister Khloe's ring is reportedly nine carats. So take that Lamar.

He's previously made it pretty clear he wants to remain with the team and sign long-term as they get set to move to Brooklyn. Humphries has a good 2010-11 as he not only dated Kim Kardashian for most of it, but averaged 10.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

Humphries will be Kim's second marriage. She was married to music producer Damon Thomas from 2000-2004.
Category: NBA
Posted on: April 15, 2011 7:39 pm
Edited on: April 15, 2011 7:42 pm

Deron Williams to consider extension with Nets?

Deron Williams is reportedly interested in signing an extension with the New Jersey Nets this summer. Posted by Ben Golliver. deron-williams-nets

Without a doubt, the most shocking move at this year's trade deadline was the out of nowhere trade that saw the Utah Jazz send franchise point guard Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets. 

Once the dust settled, Williams realized he was now the floor general for one of the league's worst teams, a franchise with a new owner, a new coach and dreams of moving to Brooklyn, but little else. 

The fact is that unless Williams, a free agent to be next summer, commits to the Nets, he could be in for a frustrating season next year. No free agents will want to join the Nets unless they know Williams will be there and New Jersey's front office will be paralyzed if they can't be sure they will have Williams to build around.

The New York Post reports that it sounds like Williams is open to committing to the team this summer.
“I like the organization a lot,’’ said Williams, who will be a free agent after next season, assuming a lockout doesn’t cancel the NBA's 2011-12 campaign. “I like the direction it’s going. I could definitely see myself staying here.’’
Williams, who will be moving his family to New Jersey, said he’s open to signing a contract extension this offseason.
“I would like to not have the distraction (of looming free agency) during the season,’’ he said.
Those are potentially franchise-altering words for the Nets, who desperately need to retain Williams given the expensive price they paid -- Devin Harris, Derrick Favors and picks -- to obtain him. Williams is good enough to have the Nets in contention for the playoffs next season, by himself, and that, plus the move to Brooklyn, could go a long way to helping the Nets achieve their goal of becoming a top destination for free agent talent.
Posted on: April 12, 2011 8:42 am
Edited on: April 12, 2011 8:58 am

Deron Williams has wrist surgery, out 6-8 weeks

New Jersey Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams underwent successful wrist surgery. Posted by Ben Golliver. 
Back on Friday, we noted that New Jersey Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams was set to undergo season-ending wrist surgery. 

The Bergen Record reports that the surgery was a success and that Williams will be able to "resume basketball activities in 6-8 weeks." 
The surgery, performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, included the removal of three bony fragments.
“The bony fragments and scar tissue taken from Deron’s wrist today were interfering with this ability to flex his wrist,” said Dr. Riley Williams III, the Nets team orthopedic doctor, who performed the surgery with hand specialist Dr. Andrew Weiland.
Williams’ wrist will be encased in a soft splint for two weeks, after which time he will begin rehabilitation.
That timeline puts Williams healing right around the start of June, so he will have all summer to get his wrist back to full strength prior to the start of training camp. 

That's good news for the Nets, who traded a boat load of assets to acquire Williams from the Utah Jazz shortly before the NBA's trade deadline. The clock is already ticking on their ability to re-sign Williams, who will have the option of becoming a free agent at the end of the 2011-2012 season.
Category: NBA
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