Tag:Ben Golliver
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:42 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 1:57 pm

Report: Lakers to retire Shaq's jersey in 2012-13

Shaquille O'Neal's jersey is reportedly headed for the Staples Center rafters. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver

The plan is finally starting to come together.

In the immediate aftermath of Shaquille O'Neal's retirement back in June 2011, the Los Angeles Lakers announced that the franchise would retire his No. 34 jersey.
At the time, a team spokesperson said there was no timetable for when the ceremony would take place.

NBA.com reports on Thursday that the Lakers are expected to retire O'Neal's jersey during the 2012-2013 season, citing the rushed lockout schedule as the reason why the ceremony didn't take place this year.

O'Neal paired with Lakers guard Kobe Bryant to win three titles for the franchise. His time with the Lakers is generally regarded as the high point of his career, making the jersey retirement decision a no-brainer. 

Lakers owner Jerry Buss issued a statement of appreciation for O'Neal last summer.

"Shaq had a long and amazing career," Buss' statement read. "A huge impact both on and off the court. His contributions were significant to the entire NBA, but we specifically appreciate what he did with and what he meant to the Lakers during his eight years with us. We have three championships that we wouldn’t have won without him, and we will forever be grateful for his significant contributions to those teams."

Earlier this week, Bryant passed O'Neal to move into fifth place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. O'Neal graciously congratulated Bryant on the achievement, calling him, "the greatest Laker ever."

O'Neal is currently serving as an NBA commentator for TNT.

The Lakers have only retired the jerseys of seven players to date. All seven are members of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

The full list: 
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar -- No. 33
  • Elgin Baylor -- No. 22
  • Wilt Chamberlain -- No. 13 
  • Gail Goodrich -- No. 25
  • Magic Johnson -- No. 32
  • Jerry West -- No. 44
  • James Worthy -- No. 42
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:06 pm

Kobe Bryant 'sure' Lakers will make roster moves

Kobe Bryant says roster moves are coming for the Lakers(Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

The NBA's trade deadline sits roughly one month away, and for Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant, that means roster improvements are just around the corner.

ESPNLA.com reports that Bryant took to the radio airwaves to express his expectation that the Lakers will make moves in advance of the trade deadline to help push the Lakers towards Bryant's sixth title.

"I'm sure they'll do something," Bryant said. "They'll tweak something. I don't know what. But I'm sure they'll do something."

Bryant balked at the chance to address specifically what roster moves would be necessary to fortify the Lakers' championship aspirations, but he supported the approach made by Lakers' management to improve the team.

"The motivation is for us to build a contender," Bryant said. "It's not to just kind of sit around and see what falls in our lap. That's not the impression that I get from management at all, so I think that allows me to be patient. You can't just rush into things and then you make bad decisions, you make bad choices, you're locked into bad contracts. So, it's important to be patient, make right choices and we'll be fine."

These statements amount to light pressure on management from Bryant. He's not demanding the world -- Deron Williams or Dwight Howard -- and he sounds like he has fully processed how hard the Lakers got jobbed in the Chris Paul fiasco. But he's also not willing to settle with the roster status quo, or he wouldn't publicly verbalize how "sure" he is that moves are coming.  

After a shaky start, the Lakers are stuck in the middle of the crowded Western Conference table, sitting in seventh place with a record of 14-11 on Thursday. They're just 1.5 games out of the fourth seed and just 1.5 games ahead of the eleventh seed, so roster improvement, even a "tweak" like Bryant describes, has major implications.

The Lakers stand out from that Western Conference pack as obvious buyers because of Bryant's all-or-nothing need to win a title, because of the large-market expectations that go with being the Lakers and because of the Lamar Odom trade exception, which allows L.A. to take on salary in a short-term roster boost type move.

Given Bryant's steadiness and center Andrew Bynum's health and career-year production, all eyes continue to be on the point guard position, and the Lakers were recently linked to Ramon Sessions in one report. That move, or one similar, would qualify as a "tweak," and it would make a meaningful difference to L.A.'s playoff positioning.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 12:12 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 12:27 pm

Hawks sign Erick Dampier to 10-day contract

The Hawks have signed veteran big man Erick Dampier to a 10-day contract. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

The Atlanta Hawks, who lost All-Star center Al Horford to injury in January, have made a move to shore up their interior depth. It's not exactly a blockbuster.

The Hawks announced on Thursday that the team has inked veteran center Erick Dampier to a 10-day contract. The 36-year-old Dampier spent the 2010-2011 season with the Miami Heat and was unsigned during the December free agency period.
Selected 10th overall by Indiana in the 1996 NBA Draft, Dampier has played in 972 regular season games and 57 playoff contests with Indiana, Golden State, Dallas and Miami. He appeared in 51 games last season for the Heat, averaging 2.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg and 0.9 bpg (.584 FG%, .545 FT%).

He’s averaged 7.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg and 1.4 bpg over his career (.498 FG%, .626 FT%). With 6,980 career rebounds and 1,394 blocks, Dampier ranks 14th and 7th respectively on the NBA active career lists. His 2,713 offensive boards ranks 5th among active players.

Dampier will wear uniform no. 25.

Dampier joins Zaza Pachulia and Jason Collins in the middle for Atlanta and his signing brings Atlanta to a full-15 man roster.

His 10-day stretch is well-timed, as the Hawks will face the Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns and Portland Trail Blazers over the next week and a half, a tough stretch. The Hawks will have the option of signing him to a second 10-day contract after the first term expires.

Atlanta is currently 17-9 on the season, good for second place in the Southeast Division and No. 5 overall in the Eastern Conference.

Posted on: February 8, 2012 7:13 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 4:54 pm

Kyrie Irving (concussion) still day-to-day

Kyrie Irving remains day-to-day. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore and Ben Golliver 

Update (Thursday): The Cleveland Cavaliers issued a statement on Thursday, indicating that guard Kyrie Irving remains day-to-day after undergoing further examination as he awaits clearance under the NBA's new concussion policy. The Cavaliers next play on Friday night against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Original Post (Wednesday): The Cavaliers unexpectedly announced Wednesday night prior to the Cavaliers' game against the Clippers that Kyrie Irving sustained a concussion after a knee to the head Tuesday night versus the Heat

Irving was evaluated overnight and after being diagnosed with a concussion, is out Wednesday and considered day-to-day. There's no official timeline for his return, which is no surprise since concussion recovery times can wildly vary depending on severity and the ambiguous nature of the recovery process. 

Irving has posted a 21.6 PER this season, shooting 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from the perimeter, and 83 percent from the stripe, numbers which put him close to some of the best rookies in NBA history, while averaging 18 points and 5 assists for the surprising Cavs. 

The NBA has discussed in recent months a new policy procedure for handling concussions. 

Posted on: February 7, 2012 11:00 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 11:43 pm

Stern: Seattle return possible if new arena built

Is momentum building for the NBA's return to Seattle? (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver

There are basically five standards necessary to land an NBA team: a market with demonstrated interest in basketball, a super rich person willing to cut checks, a working relationship with commissioner David Stern, a building to play in, and an available franchise to poach. Absent any one of those five key features, and it becomes significantly more difficult -- if not impossible -- for a city to land itself one of the 30 NBA franchises.

The good news for Seattle: they apparently have secured three of those five.

Step one: the fanbase has never been in question, thanks to a long history of supporting the SuperSonics. Step two: the Seattle Times reported this weekend that Christopher Hansen, a hedge fund manager with beaucoup Bucks and ties to the Seattle region, is interested in landing a franchise.  

And, now, step three: Stern told the Salt Lake Tribune that he has met with Hansen and that Seattle is now officially back on the NBA's radar for a possible franchise relocation.

“We had heard reports of some interest in Seattle and the name of the person who’s associated with it is not totally unknown to me. I think he came in and I met with him, it must be a year ago. Just a general conversation; he was brought in by a mutual friend,” said Stern, during an exclusive, wide-ranging interview Monday with The Salt Lake Tribune at the league office.

“Everyone says to us, ‘Well, would you consider going back?’ Of course, if they have a building. And so that’s where it’s left. We have no involvement,” Stern said. “But we certainly are — if anyone asks us, we tell them what we know and we’re happy to talk to them. … There’s no shortage of potential sites, but the funding is a huge issue.”

Of course, the key quote there is: "If they have a building." That was one of the key deciding factors in the SuperSonics leaving for Oklahoma City to rebrand as the Thunder prior to the 2008-2009 season. KeyArena simply isn't up to the usual NBA standard, and numerous arena plans in Seattle have been floated in recent years with no firm plans emerging and a reluctance from taxpayers to foot the bill.

The Seattle Times reported Tuesday that Hansen is already at work on the arena issue, stockpiling land near Safeco Field, home of Major League Baseball's Seattle Mariners, and communicating in detail with Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.
Hansen, who has built a fortune in the private investment world, has acquired property south of Safeco Field's parking garage, between South Massachusetts and South Holgate streets east of First Avenue South, records show.

His investment group has yet to produce a firm proposal to McGinn, who has said that the group must make a substantial financial commitment with no new taxes to fund an arena.

All of that leaves just the one, final remaining standard: Which team would move to the city? The obvious answer would be the Kings, who tried and failed to move to Anaheim after the 2010-2011 season and are now working through an effort to build a new arena so that they can remain in Sacramento long-term. Stern told the Tribune that the Kings had been taking "very positive" steps to remain in Sacramento.

What does all of this mean for the future of professional basketball in Seattle? Nothing definitely, but being back on the map is important. A motivated, patient and hard-working Clay Bennett eventually succeded in landing the Thunder in Oklahoma City. The process took years to play out, but his relationship with Stern was a key factor in getting it done.

If there's a will, three hundred million dollars, and an arena, there's generally a way in Stern's NBA.
Posted on: February 7, 2012 10:21 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 1:13 pm

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 8

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

The Clippers have their hands full over the next six weeks. (Getty Images)

The 2011-2012 NBA season continues. Here's the eighth weekly installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Los Angeles Clippers at No. 6. This isn't really a knock against the current ranking, which is right in line with their performance to date, but a prediction of the certain trouble to come. The Clippers continue to have played well more home games (13) than road games (9) and that will catch up with them. The good news is that they are off to a nice start on their current road trip, having won the first two games, but things will get tougher with match-ups in Philadelphia and in Dallas and the loss of Chauncey Billups casts a big shadow over what will be a brutal March, when the Clips will play 20 games in 31 days, including six back-to-backs plus a back-to-back-to-back. Mo Williams is great, but he's only one man. In other words, just sell your stock in them now. There's nowhere to go but down. And Blake Griffin would do very well to keep his All-Star Weekend participation to a minimum. -- BG 

2. Too Low: San Antonio Spurs at No. 7. Here are the last five games for the Spurs: Memphis, Houston, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Memphis again -- all wins. The Spurs have climbed to the West's third seed and have done it with Manu Ginobili just a week or so away from returning. So to have them behind the Clippers, a team that potentially just lost their starting 2-guard for the season, doesn't seem right. The Spurs are playing like a top five team and are probably just finally getting stretched out. -- RY

3. Most Overrated: Orlando Magic at No. 13. I don't really care what the Magic do right now or what their record is. The sins of the past couple weeks are way too fresh in my mind to give them a top 15 ranking. They've scored in the 60s three times this season. Yeah, they won three of four last week but two of those included wins against Cleveland and Washington. The Magic will make the playoffs, assuming Dwight Howard doesn't get dealt, but this isn't a team to fear. There are simply too many issues. Good enough to beat the bad teams, average enough to beat some mediocre teams but not anywhere close to elite to beat the great teams consistently. -- RY

4. Most Overlooked: Memphis Grizzlies at No. 18. The Grizzlies have fallen a game under .500 and out of the West's top eight, but their losses in the past week were respectable. They whipped the Hawks but came up just short against OKC and San Antonio while the Celtics handled them. It's easy to completely start disregarding Memphis because of their record, but this team had a lot of preseason buzz for a reason. They need Zach Randolph back badly and when they get him, that's a group nobody will want to play in the postseason. Assuming they can do enough to get there. -- RY

5. Sure Thing: Indiana Pacers at No. 5. Through 24 games, the Pacers are right on track for their best case scenario. They're sitting pretty with potential homecourt advantage in the Eastern Conference and they're right there in the mix for the No. 2 spot on the East charts. They'll likely fall somewhere in the 3-6 range but they've got a well-balanced roster that is going to make for a very tough out in the playoffs. Is Darren Collison the weak link? Expect more discussion to surround him. The Paul George / Danny Granger / David West combination could really be something come the postseason. -- BG

6. Wild Card: Denver Nuggets at No. 10. Once the West's No. 2 seed, the Nuggets are on a 3-game skid and just got the news they will be without forward Danilo Gallinari for a month. That's a big blow. The tough part in the West is that it doesn't take too many 3-game skids before you've dropped a number of playoff seeds, given how tightly things are wrapped up betwen spots four and 11. The really brutal news for the Nuggets is that 10 of their remaining 11 games in February are against Western Conference teams, including the Mavericks twice, the Grizzlies, the Thunder, the Clippers, the Spurs and the Blazers. Oof. -- BG
Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:45 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 4:58 pm

NBA admits referee blew late goaltending call

Posted by Ben Golliver

Oops, we did it again.

The NBA has publicly admitted once again that one of its officials made an incorrect call on a game-deciding possession.

In a statement posted to NBA.com/official on Tuesday, the NBA acknowledged that referee Scott Foster made an "incorrect call" when he whistled Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge for a goaltending violation with six seconds remaining in regulation of a Monday night game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Rose Garden. Aldridge, who was defending Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant, blocked the shot into the backboard, but was still whistled for a violation, as Foster apparently thought he had pinned the ball on the glass.

Here's the league's statement.

With six seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge was called for goaltending on a shot attempted by the Thunder's Kevin Durant (shown below). With the benefit of slow motion replay following the game, it has been determined that Aldridge made contact with the ball just before the ball hit the backboard. Therefore, this should have been ruled a good block and goaltending was the incorrect call. (As determined by the NBA's Competition Committee, referees may not use instant replay on goaltending calls.)

The basket pulled Oklahoma City even in regulation and the Thunder went on to win in overtime, 111-107.

Following the game, Blazers coach Nate McMillan disputed the call and told the media that he would send video of the play to the league office for review. 

Aldridge disputed the call and was upset that the referees did not offer him an explanation.

"They act kind of sensitive sometimes," Aldridge said when asked if the referees had given him any explanation of their call. "He just told me the call was done and walked away... I timed it perfect, I put it on the glass, it didn't hit the glass first. I figured it was a clean block. The ref who called it was the furthest one from the basket so that's pretty interesting."

Back on Jan. 21, the NBA admitted its referees blew a no-call on a fourth-quarter kick ball by Pacers guard George Hill, which helped push Indiana to a late win. The NBA also admitted this season that their referees blew a late no-call on a traveling violation by Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James.

Here's a video replay of the blown goaltending call during a game between the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Posted on: February 7, 2012 2:44 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 2:51 pm

Charles Barkley lost $100K on Super Bowl bet?

Charles Barkley may have lost big betting on Tom Brady and company. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

Congratulations, Gisele, your run as the biggest loser of the post-Super Bowl news cycle is probably over.

NBA Hall of Famer and TNT commentator Charles Barkley is ready to rip the headlines from the lady friend of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who flipped out on Giants fans after New York topped New England on Sunday.

Yep, it's officially Barkley's turn for public scrutiny. Why? Why else? He apparently lost big money gambling on the Big Game.

In an interview with 97.5 FM in Philadelphia, Barkley told host Mike Missanelli that he planned to wager $100,000 on the Super Bowl. In a follow-up interview on February 3, two days before the big game, Barkley revealed the team he planned to bet on: the Patriots.

Here was his reasoning, via SportsRadioTranscripts.com.

Who did you put your $100,000 Super Bowl bet on?:

“I’m a big believer in ‘In God We Trust,’ and I trust in Belichick, bro. I’m going with the New England Patriots. … I’m almost changed the plane to go to Vegas because I wanted to get the 2.5. … Three scares the hell out of me.”

And how about a score prediction for the Super Bowl?:

“31-17 Patriots. … I tell you, I don’t think it’s going to be close. As quiet as it’s kept, New England had the worst defense ever to make the Super Bowl, but if you look back at the playoffs, they’ve been one of the best defenses in the playoffs and I think that’s going to continue.”
The number of points New England was giving became a non-issue, as the underdog Giants won outright, 21-17.

Barkley, of course, has a long history of gambling losses. In 2006, Barkley said his gambling problem had cost him roughly $10 million. In 2008, he was sued for $400,000 by a Las Vegas casino for unpaid gambling debts. Shortly thereafter, he announced on TNT that he would give up betting altogether.

"I'm not going to gamble anymore," Barkley said. "I'm not going to gamble anymore. Just because I can afford to lose money, don't mean I should do it. It was a pain when it broke last week but it's going to turn into a good thing. I'm not going to gamble any more."

He went on to say that his gambling was not an addiction.

"I don't think I'm an alcoholic where I walk around with a bottle or a flask every day. I gamble probably once every two or three weeks to a month. It's not like I'm going every day to get up and look at the lines for sporting events. I like to go to Vegas, it's a fun place. But I've got to stop gambling. I don't see any problem with that."

Barkley did admit in the interview that he could return to gambling in the future. 

"I say to myself I'm not going to gamble right now. Is it for life? I don't know the answer to that question. For right now, the next year or two, I'm not going to gamble."

Well, at least that's no longer in question now.
Category: NBA
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com