Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur are in big trouble with the NBA. They were thrown out of the rookie transition program after being caught in their hotel room with marijuana and women, which is against the rules. They were also fined $20,000 apiece and could start the regular season on the suspended list. They will also have to repeat the rookie transition program again next season. Sixty nine of the league's rookies are gathered in Rye Brook, N.Y. for the four-day seminar in which coaches, referees and former players speak to the rookies about adapting to the league. Looks like these two failed the class. I imagine that JR Giddens and Bill Walker are there for the orientation. One rookie who won't be there is Knicks' rookie, Patrick Ewing, Jr, who will be attending his father's induction into the Hall of Fame.
Bill Russell addressed the rookies on Wednesday, and during the question and answer session, Nets rookie, Brook Lopez asked him which of his 11 championship rings he wore. His answer was that he doesn't wear any of them. He wears a special ring given to him by commissioner David Stern which commemorates all of his 11 titles. I wonder if Tommy Heinsohn has one for all of his 10 titles.
In a surprise to no one, the Oklahoma City franchise will be henceforth known as the Thunder. Their colors are orange-red, blue and yellow. Six children joined players Desmond Mason and Damien Wilkins as they pulled down a curtain to reveal a large blue banner with the logo in the middle. They had the AC/DC song "Thunderstruck" blaring over the loudspeaker in the background. Thunder is an okay name, but I still prefer the old style of giving teams plural names.
Manu Ginobili had the surgery on his ankle on Wednesday to repair a ligament injury. He will be in a splint and on crutches for three weeks and then, his rehabilitation schedule will be determined after his ankle is re-evaluated. The Spurs had tried to discourage him from playing in the Olympics, but he decided to play anyway but missed the bronze medal game because he re-aggravated the injury. This could be cause for some tension this season as he will obviously have to miss some of the season while he rehabs his ankle.
There are more questions as to how Monta Ellis actually injured his ankle. It is now being reported that along with the high ankle sprain and torn deltoid ligament, there were also several cuts and abrasions on his leg that wouldn't be expected if the injury occurred during a workout as he said it did. ESPN reports that two experts in sports medicine that they contacted said that a torn deltoid ligament is rarely seen in basketball and that the injury of the deltoid suggests a more serious rotational injury than those commonly associated with the NBA. GM Chris Mullins said that Ellis told the Warriors that he got the injury playing pick up basketball but that still doesn't fit the extent of the injuries. I am sure there is more to come.
Leon Powe and the Celtics 2008 Championship Trophy will be at the Natick Mall this Saturday September 6, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. If you go there and sign up for the Celtics Championship license plate that benefits Children's Hospital Boston you will have the opportunity to pose for a picture with Leon and the Larry O'Brien Trophy. A bit far for me to go but anyone in the area, it's a good opportunity to see the trophy up close and get a picture with one of my favorite Celtics.
Reports out of Cleveland is that the Cavs are very close to reaching a deal with veteran big man Lorenzen Wright. The 6-foot-11 12 year NBA veteran can play both the forward and center positions and is a solid rebounder. On the other hand, the stalemate continues in contract talks with former Celtic Delonte West. The Cavs are believed to be offering West about $4 million per season which is similar to the deal Daniel Gibson signed earlier this summer. Delonte is believed to be looking for a deal starting closer to $5.5 million. He has until September 30 to take the Cavs up on their one-year qualifying offer of $2.76 million.
The Pacers are still set against buying out Jamaal Tinsley but they want to move him and will intensify their their efforts to trade him before training camp. Tinsley's knee is reportedly healthy and he's working out in Atlanta. It doesn't look as though they will get a deal done to extend Danny Granger before the October deadline. If they don't get an extension done this season, he will become a restricted free agent next season and the Pacers would be able to match any offers he received.
Three weeks before the start of training camp, the Miami Heat has begun to thin its roster by waiving forward Stephane Lasme. The 6-foot-8 forward had signed a 10-day contract with the Heat in March of last season and later was signed for the balance of the season because of the team's multiple injuries. He averaged 5.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.38 blocks in his 16 appearances with the Heat last season which included four starts. This move may have been triggered by the signing of Jamaal Magloire earlier this week.
The Nets have not only changed their roster significantly, they will also be changing their offense. The offense Lawrence Frank will run this year, which is best known as the dribble-drive-motion, was developed by a junior college coach named Vance Walberg. This system was used by John Calipari and Memphis on their way to the NCAA Finals last spring. It is a spread set, with four men stationed wide, and predicated on Princeton-type motion, drive-and-kick attacks and 3-point accuracy and it is now the rage, as NBA teams such as Denver and Boston have also adopted it. Since the Celtics are the reigning champs, and we can expect teams to try to imitate their offense and also concentrate on defense. Teams who saw the Celtics win with their defense last season will try to beat them at their own game this season.