The Timberwolves aren't the only team who will have new uniforms this season, the Hornets unveiled their new look uniforms on Wednesday. They will not only have new uniforms this coming season, but also new colors, a new logo, and a new floor, which will be unveiled Friday. And, let's not forget that they have a new player with a new championship ring in James Posey.
Oklahoma City has waived 14 year veteran Donyell Marshall. Marshall is in the final year of a contract that would have paid him $5.9 million. Oklahoma City must pay Marshall the remainder of his guaranteed salary and it will count against the team’s salary this season, but it opens up a roster spot for him. Including restricted free agent center Robert Swift, who they haven't signed yet, Oklahoma City will have 14 players under contract when they sign their two rookies.
Devean George and the Dallas Mavericks have reached an agreement on a new two-year contract worth approximately $4 million. George's refusal to be included in the trade for Jason Kidd almost prevented Kidd from becoming a Maverick. George's refusal cost Mavs owner Mark Cuban more than $11 million last season in additional payroll and luxury-tax payments. It seemed as though his days in Dallas were numbered but new coach Rick Carlisle was eager to keep him with the team and now he will remain with the team for another 2 years/
The Miami Heat and forward Dorell Wright have agreed to terms on a two-year deal. It is expected to be finalized this week. A restricted free agent, Wright had been given a qualifying offer of $2.9 million for 2008-09. His new contract will start at roughly the $2.9 qualifying offer. This gives the Heat 13 players under contract for next season. The Heat are also in talks with Jamaal Magloire who postponed his visit to Miami because of Tropical Storm Fay. Magloire would definitely be an upgrade over Mark (I'll get the rebound if I don't have to work for it) Blount. Heat free agent center Earl Barron agreed to a one-year deal with Fortitudo Bologna of the Italian League. The Heat had not attempted to re-sign Barron, who will make close to $2 million in Europe.
Shaun Livingston's rehab is progressing. Reports are that he has been playing five-on-five, for at least the past week and a half, at fitness trainer Tim Grover’s facility in Chicago. It was also confirmed Wednesday that Livingston has progressed to playing full-scale, full-court pickup games with the contingent of 20 or so NBA players that work out regularly at Grover’s site. He is an unrestricted free agent and if healthy, could become one of the league's top point guards and a top defender. Some team is going to take a chance on him and be rewarded big time if he gets back to pre-injury playing form.
Team USA will play Argentina for the gold I guess it is fitting that the two teams with the most NBA players should be still playing at the end. Argentina has Luis Scola, Manu Ginobili, Fabricio Oberto, Carlos Delfino and Andres Nocioni and may give the US more of a challenge than any of the others they might have faced in the gold medal round. NBA teams always hold their breath when they have key players on the Olympics teams because there is always the chance of an injury. Pau Gasol comes to mind as he broke his foot playing on the Spanish National Team a couple of years back. In their last game against the United States, Andrew Bogut injured his ankle and that has to have the Bucks wringing their hands. He said that it popped and that can't be a good thing. The Raptors' Jose Calderon was also injured in Spain's win over Croatia. It was described as a strained adductor. I can see why an NBA team would try to discourage players from participating in the Olympics. I know it is an honor to play for their country, but it has to take a lot out of them even if there isn't an injury.
Brandon Roy is anxious to play basketball again. Six days after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, Brandon Roy arrived at the Blazers' practice facility without crutches or any noticeable limp. He says that he will definitely be ready for training camp. Bill Walker had a similar surgery and has been working out in Boston since his surgery. The Celtics haven't signed him yet, but I think they will because Danny went out of his way to get him from Washington. I think he will be able to contribute this season if given the opportunity.
The Sixers have officially signed Theo Ratliff to a veteran's minimum contract. They needed another big man when their second year center Jason Smith went down with an ACL injury. Ratliff's agent said that the former Celtic passed on 2 more lucrative offers to sign for the veteran's minimum as a backup center. He said that he chose Philly because he wants to help win the Eastern Conference. I wonder if that means that he harbors some kind of ill will toward the Celtics. He played only 2 games for the Celtics before he and his expiring contract were shipped to Minnesota for Kevin Garnett. He said that he also liked Philly because he knows coach Mo Cheeks and knows the city and he believes that the team is going to be good. I think they are going to be good too. Philly should give the Celtics a run for the division title.
With new point guard TJ Ford in Indiana, Larry Bird is still hoping to trade Jamaal Tinsley but so far hasn't has much luck. Bird said earlier this week that he thinks things will pick back up after Labor Day because a lot of league officials are either on vacation or at the Olympics in Beijing. Ford is expected to workout with teammates Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy this week.
The Suns finally have their point guard in their second round pick, Goran Dragic whose contract will be worth close to $8 million over four years. His deal will start at about $1.8 million with at least $1 million of that going to his Tau Ceramica buyout. If he is as good as they are saying he is, they may have a steal. Although, I expect the bigger steal in the draft will be Bill Walker who was grabbed by the Celtics at #49. Guard D.J. Strawberry's status is still in flux for the coming season. The Suns have until Oct. 31 to exercise his option for a $711,517 salary, $200,000 of which is guaranteed once he makes the opening night roster. Without him, the Suns would need to sign a 13th player.
The US Women's team advanced to the finals by beating Becky Hammon and the Russian team in a hard fought contest. They fell behind early but pulled ahead in the second half. There were several hard fouls that resulted in technical free throws and the game was much closer than any they have played so far but the Americans pulled it out 67-52 in the end. They will play on Saturday for the Gold Medal.