The Oklahoman (Mel Bracht) reports: Say you’re working late and can’t make it to the Ford Center to watch Oklahoma City’s new NBA team play its game that night. Instead, you log on to your computer and watch streaming video of the team’s game broadcast. Sound far-fetched? Not if the NBA has its way. The league is aggresively promoting three new Internet elements â€” video streaming in home markets, interactive TV and video-on-demand â€” for the upcoming season. Ed Desser, a media consultant for Oklahoma City’s team, said many details have yet to be worked out, and didn’t expect the team to offer the Internet elements anytime soon.
Seeking to add additional depth to its backcourt, the Atlanta Hawks General Manager Rick Sund announced today that the club has signed free agent guard Ronald â€śFlipâ€ť Murray to a contract. Per team policy, no other details were released.
â€śBy signing Flip, it provides us with another experienced player who has the ability to play multiple positions for us,â€ť said Sund. â€śBecause of his versatility, he will be a valuable asset for us as a reserve, and we look forward to the contributions he’ll bring this season.â€ť
A 6-3, 197-pound combo (point/shooting) guard, Murray is a six-year veteran who last played for the Indiana Pacers. He saw action in 23 games after he was signed a mid-season free agent (March 1) following his release from the Detroit Pistons, and he averaged 11.0 points and 3.5 assists (.425 FG%, .389 3FG%, .754 FT%) in those contests.
He started the final 15 games at point guard for the Pacers last season during their playoff push (Indiana went 10-5 during that stretch), and he averaged 11.0 ppg (.439 FG%, .450 3FG%, .703 FT%) in his 17 overall starts with Indiana.
In a season-and-a-half with the Pistons (88 games, 2006-07 and ‘07-08), Murray tallied 6.9 ppg and 2.9 apg (.406 FG%, .694 FT%).
He brings career marks of 9.3 points, 2.4 assists and 2.0 rebounds to the Hawks, having played for five teams (Milwaukee, Seattle, Cleveland, Detroit and Indiana) over his six seasons. In addition, Murray has played in 29 postseason games with totals of 5.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg and 1.4 apg.
The NCAA Division II Player of the Year during his senior season at Shaw University, Murray was selected in the second round of the 2002 Draft by the Bucks. He saw limited action as a rookie and was traded during that year (along with Ray Allen, Kevin Ollie and a conditional 2003 first-round pick) to the Sonics (for Gary Payton and Desmond Mason), where he developed into a scoring threat one year later (2003-04) while subbing for Allen who missed 26 games due to injury. Murray turned in 12.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg and 2.5 apg in 82 contests (18 starts) and connected on .425 FG% and .715 FT%.
He spent two more seasons with the Sonics before being traded to the Cavaliers during the 2005-06 campaign, and he scored 13.5 points in 28 games in helping Cleveland reach the playoffs. He recorded his career-best playoff numbers that year, with 8.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg and 1.6 apg.
Atlanta has added some fringe bench talent. Both of the following players will have to fight very hard to stay in the league. Here’s the news:
The Atlanta Hawks have signed free agents Thomas Gardner and Othello Hunter to contracts, it was announced today by General Manager Rick Sund. Per team policy, terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
â€śBoth players played well in our mini-camp and summer league,â€ť said Sund. â€śThomas is a solid shooter with range, who has the ability to score in bunches. Othello is an athletic power forward who runs the floor really well.â€ť
A 6-5 guard, Gardner averaged a team-high 16.3 ppg (sixth in the tourney), along with 2.5 rpg, 1.5 apg and 1.5 spg during the Rocky Mountain Revue, hitting .480 FGs (.467 3FGs) and .750 FTs. The Missouri product played in four games last season with the Chicago Bulls, averaging 5.3 ppg and 1.0 rpg.
During the 2006-07 campaign, Gardner saw action in Belgium with Verviers-Pepinster, and helped lead the club to the Belgian Cup semifinals. He played three seasons at Mizzou, tallying 19.7 ppg as a junior for the Tigers. Thomas Earl Gardner was born February 8, 1985 in Portland, Oregon.
Hunter, an undrafted rookie big man from Ohio State, put up 13.2 ppg, a team-best 6.2 rpg, 2.0 apg and 1.2 spg in five Hawks summer league contests. He played in 76 career games for the Buckeyes, averaging 7.8 ppg and 5.5 rpg (.583 FG%). Nearly half of his 415 career rebounds were on the offensive glass (178).
He finished second in the Big Ten in field goal percentage as a senior (.596), and equaled the seventh-best single-season mark in OSU history. Tegba Othello Hunter was born May 28, 1986 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
â€śWe saw Thomas play last year, and monitored him with the Bulls and overseas,â€ť said Hawks’ Assistant GM/Director of Player Personnel David Pendergraft. â€śHe was one of the first guys we invited to our summer program, and he really performed well. He’s a shot maker who can add a spark off our bench.â€ť
â€śWe really liked the progression Othello has made, from Ohio State to Portsmouth to Orlando, and continuing in our mini-camp and summer league,â€ť Pendergraft said. â€śHis competitiveness, athleticism and professionalism have impressed us, and if he continues to advance, he has a chance to be an asset to our organization.â€ť
Atlanta Hawks 2008-09 season tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting www.hawks.com or calling 1-866-715-1500.Â The Hawks, a member of the National Basketball Association since 1949, play in the Southeast Division, along with the Charlotte Bobcats, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards.
Memphis Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced Friday that the club has signed restricted free agent Josh Smith to an offer sheet.Â Per team policy, terms of the offer sheet were not disclosed.
Under the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Atlanta Hawks will have seven days to match the Grizzlies’ offer to Smith, who has played all four years of his NBA career for the Hawks.
Smith, 22, has finished second in the NBA in blocks per game in each of the past two years and averaged team-highs in blocks per game (2.80) and steals per game (1.57) while also ranking second on the Hawks in points per game (17.2), rebounds per game (8.2) and assists per game (3.4) in 81 appearances last season.
The 6-9, 235-pound forward averaged 15.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.86 blocks in helping the eighth-seeded Hawks push the eventual NBA Champion Boston Celtics to a decisive seventh game in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk Champion in 2005, Smith owns career averages of 13.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.5 blocks in 307 career games over four seasons with Atlanta, who drafted Smith 17th overall in the first round of the 2004 NBA Draft out of Oak Hill Academy (VA).
As expected, Atlanta Hawks General Manager Rick Sund announced tonight that the club has retained forward Josh Smith and matched the offer sheet of the Memphis Grizzlies, which according to several newspapers was approximately a five-year, $58 million contract.
The offer is a good value for the ultra-versatile, still-improving Smith.
It was a tough market for free agency, though the same can be said for almost every season. Each year, only a few teams have enough space under the salary cap to make a big offer to a player that they aren’t re-signing from their own team. And for the last week or two now, the Grizzlies were the only team to make a real offer to any of the select-few remaining restricted free agents.
The really good unrestricted free agents all signed deals earlier on in the free agency period.
â€śTonight, the Hawks organization received an offer sheet from the Memphis Grizzlies for Josh Smith,â€ť said Sund. â€śWe are happy to announce that we will match their offer sheet.Â Ownership, management and the team are happy to have Josh return as a member of the Hawks.Â We look forward to training camp in October and we will continue to look at additional opportunities to improve our roster.â€ť
Smith, whom the Hawks drafted with the 17th pick overall in the first round of the 2004 NBA Draft, has finished second in the NBA in blocks per game in each of the past two years and averaged team-highs in blocks per game (2.80) and steals per game (1.57), while also ranking second on the Hawks in points per game (17.2), rebounds per game (8.2) and assists per game (3.4) in 81 appearances last season.
The 22-year-old forward from Oak Hill Academy (VA) and College Park (GA) has averaged 13.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.5 blocks in 307 career games with the Hawks, and during last May’s first round series, Smith recorded 15.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.86 blocks in helping the eighth-seeded Hawks to a decisive seventh game in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the eventual NBA world champion Boston Celtics.
By Jeff: The Memphis Commercial-Appeal reported that the Grizzlies gave Hawks free agent forward Josh Smith an offer sheet, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that he actually signed it. The deal, according to the AJC, is for five years and $58 million.
If that’s all true, once it’s official, the Hawks will have 7 days to match the offer, and I’d say they will definitely do it.
The Grizzlies are smart for doing this. Smith and Rudy Gay would make a talented, extremely athletic and very exciting frontcourt. And they didn’t overpay. So, the Hawks can’t be too upset that they’ll be forced to match the offer, because it’s less than a player like Smith would hope to get for his first big, long-term contract.
The Hawks aren’t sold on Smith as a true franchise player to build around. They see him more of a super-versatile, ultra-talented supporting player, which is why they weren’t offering him a big contract. With that said, they should match the offer, and again, I expect that they will.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports: Either my eyes are playing tricks on me or I saw James White (the former Florida and Cincinnati skywalker who played briefly with San Antonio two years ago and snagged a NBA championship ring) cutting down the hallway in the locker room at Philips Arena Thursday. By the time I slid down the hallway the locker room was empty. I know he played in the Turkish league last year but I don’t know what his status is this season. I’ll have to do some more investigating this weekend and see if there’s anything more to his being in Philips.
The Atlanta Hawks have signed free agent center Randolph Morris to a contract, it was announced today by General Manager Rick Sund.Â Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
â€śRandolph’s signing gives us additional size and depth along the frontline, with Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia,â€ť said Sund.Â â€śHe has the opportunity to grow as a player and we look forward to assisting with his future development as an NBA player.â€ť
Morris, a 6-11, 260-pound big man from Atlanta’s Landmark Christian High School, saw limited action in two NBA seasons with the New York Knicks after entering the league as a free agent from Kentucky in 2005.Â In 23 career games in New York, he averaged 2.6 points and 2.0 rebounds in 10 minutes of action.Â He played in 18 contests a year ago (with two starts) and recorded 3.1 ppg and 2.1 rpg (.362 FG%).Â He tallied career highs of eight points in two games in 2007-08, once against the Hawks on March 16.
â€śWe can certainly use a player like Randolph, whose addition will give us much need depth at the center position,â€ť said Woodson.Â â€śWe like what we saw of him during our summer league workouts, and we believe he will continue to develop his skills to become a talented player in our league.â€ť
Prior to becoming the first player in NBA history to go from the NCAA tournament to the NBA in the same week â€“ a five-day span â€“ Morris declared his eligibility for the 2005 NBA Draft following his freshman year at Kentucky, but did not sign with an agent.Â After he went undrafted and decided to attempt a return to Kentucky, the NCAA forced him to sit out the first 14 games of his sophomore season (2005-06).
At the same time, the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement prohibited him from re-entering the Draft, giving Morris free agent status throughout his 2006-07 (junior) season with the Wildcats.Â As a collegian, he finished with 12.6 points and 6.0 rebounds, and shot .578 (FGs) over 23.6 minutes in 89 games (with 79 starts) in three seasons for Tubby Smith, as Kentucky went to the NCAA Tournament in each of his three years.Â His best campaign came in that final season when he recorded career-highs of 16.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks while shooting .592 in 34 games.
Named to the 2004 McDonald’s All-America Team after a standout senior season at Landmark Christian HS in Atlanta, Morris was an AAU teammate of current Hawks forward Josh Smith and Orlando center Dwight Howard on the Atlanta Celtics squad that won the 2003 title.Â He was born January 2, 1986 in Houston, TX.
The Atlanta Hawks today signed guard/forward Maurice Evans to a contract, according to General Manager Rick Sund.Â Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
â€śWe are pleased to add a veteran player with Mo’s talents and experience to our squad,â€ť said Sund.Â â€śHe is a quality defender who gives us a physical and athletic presence, whether it’s serving as a starter or coming off the bench.Â We are getting a solid player who is coming off his best statistical season, and who also has the talents to spread things on offense with his three-point shooting ability.â€ť
In 75 games with the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic last season, Evans finished with averages of 8.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 23 minutes of action.Â He began the year with Los Angeles, and was traded after seven games (along with Brian Cook) for Trevor Ariza on November 20 (Evans finished with 4.4 ppg, 1.3 rpg and 1.7 apg in 13.7 mpg).Â With the Magic, Evans scored 9.3 points, grabbed 3.1 boards and dished out one assist per game in 68 contests (23.9 mpg), while shooting .489 FGs and .396 from three-point range.Â In addition, he established career-bests in virtually every statistical category â€“ points, FG%, 3FG%, rebounds and minutes played, as well as games started (47).Â Evans also scored a career-high 27 points on 11-of-16 FGs in an April 15 game at Atlanta.
A player with past playoff experience, most recently with the Orlando Magic, Evans recorded 9.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg and 0.7 apg in 10 games this past postseason, while shooting 50.7% from the field and .417 from three-point range.
â€śEvans’ addition is a great pickup for us,â€ť Woodson said.Â â€śHe brings a lot of experience to the Hawks, and he is an excellent shooter and tough defensive player who we’re happy to add to our team.â€ť
The undrafted 6-5, 220-pounder, who is considered a strong, athletic defender, brings career averages of 7.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.9 assists (.453 FG%, .366 3FG%, .766 FT%) after five NBA seasons.Â Evans signed as a free agent with the Minnesota Timberwolves (2001-02), where he played on 10 games.Â In 2002, he moved to Greece to play for Olympiakos, and in the following season (2003-04), he played for Italian powerhouse Benetton Basket Treviso (which won the Italian Cup).
Following that season Evans made the Sacramento Kings roster (2004-05) and became a rotation player.Â He started 11 of 65 games, and played 19 minutes per game, contributing 6.4 ppg (.442 FG%).Â In 2005-06, he was signed as a free agent by the Detroit Pistons and scored 5.2 points in 14.2 mpg (.452 FG%, .371 3FG%, .800 FT%) and a career-high 80 games.
In June 2006, the Pistons traded Evans to the Los Angeles Lakers for the draft rights to Cheick Samb.Â A backup to Kobe Bryant, he saw action in 76 contests (with 10 starts) and scored a then-career-best 8.4 ppg to go along with 2.9 rpg and 1.0 apg.Â Upon his move to Orlando, Evans was inserted into the starting lineup at shooting guard, contributing to the team’s Southeast Division title this year and landing the third-seed in 2008 Eastern Conference Playoffs.
The Oklahoman (Mike Baldwin) reports on a team’s 82-game regular season schedule: “Four games against division opponents. Four games against six out-of-division conference opponents. Three games against the remaining four conference teams. Two games against teams in the opposing conference. A five-year rotation determines which out-of-division conference teams are played only three times.”