Friday, July 31, 2009

NBL pre-season tournament in Darwin

Hot off the presses, I just received the following media release from the NBL.

31 July 2009


The National Basketball League will hold a pre-season tournament, the Top End Challenge, featuring all eight NBL teams in Darwin from 3 – 5 September in the lead-up to the 2009/10 season, Basketball Australia has announced.

The event, which is being supported by the Northern Territory government and will be the biggest basketball event in Darwin’s history, will provide teams with the chance to have an invaluable hit-out prior to the tip-off of the NBL regular season on September 24.

“I am delighted that the National Basketball League has selected Darwin to host its pre-season Top End Challenge featuring all eight NBL teams from 3-5 September,” NT Sports Minister Karl Hampton said.

“This Government has a proud record of hosting premier sporting events – particularly those sports that have produced home grown stars such as Cairns Taipans star Gary Boodnikoff.

“We are very proud to host this year’s Challenge and showcase our international sporting facilities against the backdrop of Darwin’s thriving sporting, business and cultural opportunities.”

Basketball Australia Chief Executive Officer Larry Sengstock said the event was a unique one on the NBL calendar.

“This event is a further sign that Basketball is back and stronger than ever,” said Sengstock, “ The Top End Challenge brings together the whole NBL family in a pre-season carnival that is a full dress rehearsal for the season proper and provides a real insight into how each team is shaping up for the 2009/10 Season. This is an important statement about the strength and resilience of Basketball in Australia and we are proud to showcase the best of Australian men’s basketball in the Top End.”

“Basketball Australia has been very strong in its resolve to reconnect the elite end of our sports to the grass roots community and to that end the Teams will be conducting a wide variety of community engagement programs such as basketball clinics, school visits and hospital visits which will reinforce that Basketball is truly Everyone’s Game. We are very grateful for the support of the Northern Territory government and Basketball NT who have allowed us to bring this fantastic event to Darwin.”

NT Basketball President Pam Adam was extremely supportive of the event.

“It gives our committed basketball community the chance to watch, learn and interact with their NBL heroes. Our young basketballers are very excited by the opportunity to attend the NBL coaching clinics,” said Adam.

The tournament will be held at the Marrara Indoor Stadium, which has hosted a number of Perth Wildcats’ home games in recent seasons. Each team will have a minimum of three full games, playing in an elimination format on Marrara’s two courts. Tip-off times will be staggered to start at 5pm, 6pm, 7pm and 8pm with the grand final scheduled for Saturday, 5 September.

The gathering of the NBL community in Darwin will also facilitate a number of important governance meetings, including a NBL/Club CEO’s Meeting and a meeting of the NBL Commission, which governs the NBL and answers to the BA Board, consisting of Dianne Smith-Gander and Bruce Spangler (BA Board), CEO Larry Sengstock and Commissioners Ian Smythe (CEO Townsville Crocodiles), Wayne Morris (CEO Wollongong Hawks), Paul Blackwell (Owner New Zealand Breakers) and Andrew Vlahov (Independent).

Tickets for the Top End Challenge will go on sale in August.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gold Coast Blaze and the kiss of death

I read on Big Joe's Facebook account yesterday that he was picking up the first import for the Gold Coast Blaze from the airport. Big Joe wasn't happy that he had to get up so early (and had slept in a single bed the night before ... which I find hard to picture) but was tight-lipped on just who that import was.

As we wait to hear who it is and also who their second import will be, I came across an article on the NBL website about how upbeat people around the Blaze are. Click on the title below to read the full story but it starts with coach Joey Wright saying how he's very excited and that he believes they can make the playoffs. Check out the exerpt below and see how carried away the co-owner gets. Its WAY too early to even be thinking about the championship.

NBL > News

Blaze CEO Dave Claxton said he’s optimistic of a strong season showing.

“We want a team out on the court that want to be there from the first minute to the last and obviously every game we go into, we would be expecting to win,” Claxton said.

“The coaches and the players in their own right are very competitive and what I like about this team is that they are physically aggressive players.
“That’s the style of game people will see from us this year,” he said.

Franchise co-owner Owen Tomlinson was even more upbeat in his assessment of the team’s chances.

“I honestly believe we can win the championship this year,” Tomlinson said.

“We’ve recruited extremely well, Joey continues to put together a hand-picked, tailor-made team and there’s nothing to suggest we can’t go all the way,” he said.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Shaq on WWE Raw

After my post yesterday about the off-court action of Rick Fox, today is about a present-day NBA star and what he gets up to during the off-season.

Sure, he should be spending more off-season time at the free-throw line than visiting the White House or tweeting so often, but Shaq is a born entertainer and did what he does best, hosting WWE Raw on Monday night.

I used to be right in to wrestling, back in the days of The Rock, Stone Cold and Bret Hart. Yes, I think its one of those stages that guys go through in their 20's and eventually I grew out of it. I justify my enjoyment of it by explaining that its sports entertainment and its the male equivalent of a soap opera (characters you follow, story lines, drama, etc). I still watch it occasionally, just not as regularly as I used to.

For the wrestling fans out there, a few of my favourites were: Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Diamond Dallas Page, Bret Hart and The Rock.

Anyway, thanks to the crew at Dime for pointing it out, here's Shaq being the guest host of Raw:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rick Fox = balla

During the off-season (of both the NBA & NBL) you have to work a little harder to find a story and sometimes you have to talk about off-court action.

I was talking to my mate Tux last night and he mentioned he found himself constantly using the term "gangsta" (on this occasion to refer to some houses a friend had been looking at buying). I countered with the term "balla" which seems to be popular at the moment.

Urban Dictionary: balla


1.a pimp
2.some one who is good at sports

1.Im a balla fo real
2.Iverson is a Balla


A pimp or player. Someone who makes alot of money and can got anyone or anything that they want with no problem.

'I've always been a balla see all this bread I get what I want when I want'

Now, the true definition and today's example of "balla" is ex-LA Laker, ex-Boston Celtic Rick Fox. Thanks to a story at Ball Don't Lie I've just discovered that Rick is currently dating the sensational Eliza Dushku.

As well as previously being married to Vanessa Williams, Fox has also dated Alicia Keyes, Tyra Banks, Sharon Stone, Mariah Carey and Kristin Davis. All this plus a 13 year NBA career, acting career and NBA analyst ...

Rick Fox, you are truly living the life ... balla indeed

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kirk Penney & Corey Williams

With the NBL season long finished, its been ages since I've been able to write anything about one of our favourite shooters from last season, Kirk Penney. This article was on the NBL website last week and I just had to post it here. When you look at the names missing from the New Zealand team, that indeed must be a young inexperienced squad they're running with. Look for our man Kirk to get plenty of buckets with many of the other scoring options not in action.

NBL > News

Breakers star Kirk Penney says he is enjoying being the New Zealand Tall Blacks captain and mentoring the younger players on the Europe tour.

Penney is leading the young side in its current tour of Europe, without stalwarts Sean Marks, Pero Cameron, Dillon Boucher, Paul Henare and Phill Jones.

'I'm just hoping that the boys can understand what it is to be part of the Tall Blacks culture that we have established over the last ten years that I've been a part of.'

Also, thanks to John Rillie for pointing it out, there was a good article on Corey "Homicide" Williams on Slam Online. The announcement came last week that Corey has re-signed with the Townsville Crocodiles which is great to see as he's a fan favourite and the type of personality the league needs right now.

My question from the article below tho ... if Corey is shooting 500 jumpers per day, he's either got to start shooting 1000 or instead start counting his makes rather than his takes (quick basketball shooting tip). Click on the title below to read the full story.

SLAM ONLINE | » Where They At?

Homicide wasn’t one of those child prodigies that took the courts seriously as a youth. Quite the opposite; Hom was somewhat of a late-bloomer, and didn’t get serious about hoops till he was about 13. Even then, the Bronx native’s game didn’t take flight immediately. Nope. Nobody was hyping him as the next great thing from New York—that title was left to the likes of Lenny Cooke and Stephon Marbury. When he was in high school (Rice) and college (Alabama State), and not receiving the attention he thought he deserved, Williams may have regretted the late start, and resented the scouts and critics for overlooking his game. Now, nearly two decades since his love of the game developed, Hom has put it all in perspective.

“Being overlooked, starting late, all of that, that why I play with a chip on my shoulder,” says Williams. “I felt jaded. I thought coaches couldn’t and didn’t want to help me. All of that built up inside of me. So now when I come at you, I come full steam, with all of that pushing me forward.”

That “steam” is the same force that drives Corey to trek up mountains, and work out for hours on end. If he isn’t taking 500 jumpers, Homicide is working on his handle or is teaming up with dudes on the court, sweating to better his pick-and-roll offense. The first place that the effort and drive paid off was on some of the hallowed parks dotting the five boroughs of New York City.

QABL weekend wrap

Yes, I have been VERY slack with blogging over the last week. It is the off-season, but I'll try and make up for it over the next few days.

Starting with a quick wrap of the QABL games on the weekend. Not a good weekend for the Brisbane teams with the Northside Wizards dropping both their games on the extremely tough far north Queensland roadtrip and the Brisbane Capitals losing one and winning one on the road.

The Wizards were always going to find it hard taking on two of the top five teams on the road. Game 1 was their chance to steal a win but they went down 119 - 131 verse the Townsville Heat. For the Heat it was a pair of young Crocs that did the damage, Michael Cedar with 36 points (including 8 triples), 7 boards and Cameron Tovey with 21 points (including a surprisingly good 5 of 6 from the line), 16 boards. For the Wizards, Cameron Tragardh had 45 points, 8 boards and Tim Coenraad had 28 points, 7 boards, 6 assists. Adam Gibson didn't make the roadtrip but Josh Darragh filled in nicely with 19 points, 6 boards, 5 assists.

Against the league leading Cairns Marlins, the Wizards went down 89 - 108. For the Marlins, Kerry Williams led the way with 31 points, Aaron Grabau had 23 points, 10 boards and Dean Brebner had 23 points, 6 boards. For the Wizards, Tragardh was "restricted" to just 35 points, 9 boards and Coenraad had 20 points, 7 boards.

The Wizards will looking to bounce back next weekend when they host the second place Rockhampton Rockets at my old stomping ground, the Boondall Sports Centre.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Brisbane city & Carmelo Anthony

While checking out Ball Don't Lie today I came across the following pic:

So can anyone tell me why a sci-fi wallpaper of Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets uses the city of Brisbane, Australia as the futuristic/sci-fi backdrop??

Don't know what I'm talking about? Check out this photo of Brisbane's Riverside Centre and the CBD:

Notice a couple of familiar buildings?


QABL - Wizards lose??

I was shocked to check on the QABL website and see that the star-studded Northside Wizards lost on the weekend. They have been on a tear of late, just destroying teams on a 9 win 1 loss stretch so it was a surprise to see that they lost to the cross-town rival Brisbane Capitals.

The surprises kept coming when I saw that the scoring machine that is Cameron Tragardh didn't actually score 50 points! He wasn't that far off tho with 41 points and 12 boards. Tim Coenraad showed he's human after some impressive form of late, apparently well contained by former Brisbane Bullet Ben Castle. Tim had just 13 points & 7 boards, about half of what we're used to from him of late. Adam Gibson was rock-solid with 24, 6 & 6 as was Shane Davis with 27, 5 & 4 including 7 triples.

For the Capitals, as mentioned Ben Castle seemed to have found a time-machine back to 2005 when he was last cut for the Australian national team. Ben had 26 points, 11 boards to go with the defensive job he did on Coenraad. Another development player for the Bullets, Michael Shaw was solid with 19 points, 6 boards, 4 assists and Mark Ferguson (who I don't know) had a season high 29 points, 7 boards.

The Wizards have a tough weekend ahead on the road against the Townsville Heat and the league-leading Cairns Marlins.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer league action and the NBA's top 10 plays of the year

Four or five days without posting, yes it is the off-season and things were quiet but I was also away this weekend and the laptop wasn't taken. It was my birthday yesterday so I spent the weekend down in Melbourne and Geelong catching up with friends. One of my friends got us President's Club tickets to Geelong vs Melbourne in the AFL so we stayed in Geelong for the night and went out on the town after the game. Hurting yesterday so other than buffet breakfast at the hotel in the morning and flying back to Brisbane in the afternoon, it was a very quiet day.

Anyway, catching up on some of the basketball "action" from the past few days, the most relevant was a basketball shooting display in the summer league. Anthony Morrow from the Golden State Warriors went off against the New Orleans Hornets for 47 points, 18 of 26 from the field, 7 of 9 from deep. Here are the highlights:

Also for your viewing pleasure, here are the NBA's top 10 plays of the year:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Michael Jordan/Gatorade street art photos

Tux sent an e-mail through to me earlier with an interview by the team at Ball Don't Lie with Scottie Pippen. From that article came the story about Gatorade's tribute to Michael Jordan's impending induction in to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Click on the title below to read the full story and the interview with Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen.

Michael Jordan/Gatorade street art photos - Ball Don't Lie - NBA - Yahoo! Sports

A street art tribute to Michael Jordan made out of 19,000 Gatorade bottles, including the new Gatorade Limited Edition Jordan Series, glows on a basketball court Monday on Chicago's South Side. Local Jordan fans and longtime Jordan teammate Scottie Pippen helped construct the mosaic, which Gatorade organized as a way to celebrate Jordan's Hall of Fame career.

Yes, its a pretty slow time for NBA news, but again, thanks to the crew at Ball Don't Lie, the guys at The Basketball Jones teach you how to keep basketball in your life. Pretty funny stuff for those of us who LOVE the game.

David Andersen in the NBA?

As one of my friends put it in an e-mail: "This is actually a small blip on the sportswire, but pretty good news for Aussies".

After the bad news last week regarding Patty Mills and his broken foot, any news about Aussies getting a chance in the NBA brings excitement. David Andersen has earned a lot of respect for the numbers he puts up and his performances in Europe so with Yao Ming likely out for the season, he could get a chance to play some decent minutes for the Houston Rockets.

The Rockets likely won't be good this year, but from Andersen's point of view that's not such a bad thing as it should give him a chance to get some playing time. Fingers crossed!

Hawks trade rights of F-C Andersen to Rockets - NBA - Yahoo! Sports

ATLANTA (AP)—The Atlanta Hawks traded the rights to forward-center David Andersen to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday for an undisclosed second-round draft choice, cash and future considerations.

The 6-foot-11 Andersen was a second-round draft choice of the Hawks in 2002. He has spent his professional career in his native Australia and in Europe, most recently in the Spanish League with FC Barcelona.

The Rockets have been scrambling to find a center since the team announced last month that Yao Ming(notes) was out indefinitely with a hairline fracture in his left foot.

Andersen averaged 11.1 points and 4.1 rebounds to help FC Barcelona win the 2008-09 Spanish National Championship and a berth in the Euroleague Final Four. Andersen was a member of Euroleague championship teams with Virtus Bologna (2001) and CSKA Moscow (2006 and 2008).

“David has been a winner with every team he has played for in Europe,” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said. “He is a very well-rounded player who possesses good offensive skills and a very good shooting touch for a big man.”

Andersen played for Australia in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

Monday, July 13, 2009

More Cameron Tragardh

After my post last week about Cameron Tragardh in the QABL, he had yet another 50 point outing on the weekend as his Northside Wizards easily took care of business against the Bundaberg Bulls 149 - 87.

For the Wizards:
  • Cameron Tragardh had 50 points (21 of 31 from the field), 11 boards, 4 assists
  • Tim Coenraad had 37 points (13 of 20 from the field, 8 of 13 from downtown), 13 boards
  • Adam Gibson had 20 points (5 of 7 from downtown), 9 assists, 4 boards

For the Bulls:
  • Matthew Hanson had 33 points, 23 boards

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Nathan Jawai and Patty Mills news

News about the Aussies in the NBA ... do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Ok, we'll star with the good news, firstly Nathan Jawai has been part of a trade that's just gone down that will send him to the Dallas Mavericks. The main part of the deal for the Mavs was Shawn Marion but this should be a good opportunity for Jawai. Yes, the incumbent centre is Erick Dampier and it looks like Marcin Gortat will also be in Dallas, but Dampier is getting old and if Nathan works hard there should be minutes there for him.

Click on the title below to read all about the 4 team deal that went down to make it happen.

Marion to Mavs, Stackhouse to Griz in complex deal - NBA - Yahoo! Sports

The Mavericks, Raptors, Grizzlies and Magic combined in a massive swap Thursday that included eight players, a draft pick and stacks of cash. The deal sent Shawn Marion to Dallas, Stackhouse to Memphis and helped seal the transaction that moved Hedo Turkoglu from Orlando to Toronto.

Among the other pieces: Forward Kris Humphries, center Nathan Jawai and cash went from Toronto to Dallas; guard Greg Buckner moves from Memphis to Dallas; and swingmen Antoine Wright and Devean George go from Dallas to Toronto.

Memphis also received a second-round pick and cash from Toronto and cash from Dallas. The Mavericks and Raptors both also sent cash to Orlando.

Now to the bad news ... and its unfortunately about future superstar Patty Mills. Its been an awful 2009 for the kid, first breaking his hand, then free-falling in the draft and now he fractured his foot in the first day of practice. Its going to be a long, hard slog for Mills to now make it in to the NBA this season. Once he recovers, expect to see him either in the NBDL or even maybe the NBL.

Blazers draft pick Mills breaks foot - NBA - Yahoo! Sports

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—Portland Trail Blazers draft pick Patty Mills broke his right foot during practice and won’t play in the NBA’s summer league.

The Blazers said Friday that Mills fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot during practice Thursday night. He will have surgery on his foot on Monday, the team announced.

A timetable for the point guard’s return has not been determined.

“You never want to see a player get injured, but it is especially heart wrenching to see a young man go down on his first day of camp,” Portland general manager Kevin Pritchard said. “We’ll do everything we can to help Patty get back on track to realize his NBA future.”

Back on this day, Patty Mills looked like he would be a lottery pick and a lock for starting point guard in the NBA ... oh how things have changed ...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Jordan Farmar - World Series of Poker update

My post earlier in the week about Jordan Farmer playing in the World Series of Poker turned out to be extremely popular (views wise) so its time to update everyone on his progress.

Its not too hard to make it through day 1 at the World Series, the blinds are low and slow and if you stay out of trouble and play tight you can essentially cruise through to day 2 (apologies if I talk too much poker speak).

Despite my low expectations for Jordan, he did indeed continue to do well on day 1d and was well placed going in to day 2. I was updating my mates via e-mail as to his progress and with about 2000 players left on day 2b (the field is so large still they have two different day 2's) Jordan had chipped up to 160,000 and was in the top 20!

Going in to day 3 tomorrow after a rest day for the field today, Farmar has slipped a little from those lofty heights but still has a healthy stack of roughly 75,000. He obviously lost a few big hands late in the day. The next challenge for Jordan is to make it "in the money" which means top 600 (out of 6500 starters) who receive $21,000. Sure, its pocket-change for an NBA player, even for a young back-up point guard like Jordan, but it would be a good achievement to cash in the World Series.

For our Aussie readers, also of note from the Main Event is cricket legend Shane Warne. After he finished just out of the money last year, he's doing very well so far with just over 170,000 chips. The other well-known Aussie is 2005 champion Joe Hachem who has just under 140,000 in chips.

Jordan Farmar and his p p p p poker face

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Nike, LeBron James and that dunk

The phrase "not in my house" has new meaning today as chatter on the net is about a confiscated video tape of LeBron James getting dunked on at his own skills academy.

With Nike controlling what can and can't be put on YouTube, how come they couldn't get LeBron and the Cavs in to the NBA Championship series against Kobe??

Click on the title below to read the full story.

Nike does not want you to see that dunk -

AKRON, Ohio -- You want to see video of Xavier's Jordan Crawford dunking on LeBron James?

If so, too bad.

Because you're not going to see it.

Thanks to Nike.

Turns out, there were at least two cameras rolling Monday night when Crawford dunked on James during a pick-up game here at the LeBron James Skills Academy. It was a two-handed jam, the kind that would've circulated quickly on YouTube. But Nike officials eliminated that possibility shortly after the dunk happened by allegedly confiscating tapes from various cameramen.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cameron Tragardh & the QABL

Since there's no action yet in the NBL and the NBA has just started summer league games, it seems appropriate to report on the QABL that is in season at the moment.

One of my friends (Tux) work with Tim Coenraad's mum and so we have taken an interest in how he's been playing since he returned from college in the US. Tim used to be a development player for the Brisbane Bullets and has been putting up good numbers over the last few games for the Northside Wizards.

Looking at one of their boxscores, the Wizards team is STACKED with quality players. Adam Gibson (just back from China with the Boomers), Cameron Tragardh, Tim Coenraad, Shane Davis, Toby Zaremba and Josh Darragh (younger brother of one of our Shooters, Adam Darragh).

While there are a number of "names" on the squad, the star is Cameron Tragardh. Cameron was a development player for the Townsville Crocodiles before joining the Brisbane Bullets briefly. He really came in to his own in '08 when he became one of the main offensive weapons for the Wollongong Hawks and earned himself the Most Improved award for that season.

Tragardh is now definitely a player at the NBL level but in the QABL he is a SUPERSTAR. The numbers he puts up are ridiculous! This season he is averaging a league-leading 42.4 points per game, 14.5 rebounds per game (2nd in the league) and shooting at over 60% from the field. Last month he scored 70 points vs Toowoomba on an amazing 29 of 34 from the field and 12 of 13 from the line. In four other games this season so far he has has broken the 50 point mark!

The knock on Cameron at an NBL level is that he's defensively challenged ... but the name of the game is to outscore your opponent. Tragardh has NO problem doing that!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More action from the NBA off-season

There have been some more big name movements in the NBA over the last few days. I mentioned it in my post last week and it was confirmed yesterday the Boston Celtics got their man signing Rasheed Wallace to a two-year deal. Talk is now wondering whether he will start or come off the bench and which 'Sheed will indeed turn up this season.

One of the top free-agents this summer has been Hedo Turkoglu (pictured right) from the Orlando Magic. Rumour had him going to Portland which I don't think would have been great for him or them but thankfully at the last minute he instead signed with the Toronto Raptors. The deal is reportedly for 5 years around $56 - 60 million and goes to show you what well-timed form can do for you. Having big expectations for Hedo this season I drafted in the early rounds of my fantasy league and he under-performed for much of the year. In the play-offs he had some great games, hit a few clutch shots and hello pay-day!!

Jordan Farmar at the World Series of Poker?

So you've just won the NBA Championship title, its the off-season and time to relax ... what to do? If you're Jordan Farmar back-up point guard for the LA Lakers apparently you head to Vegas for the World Series of Poker!

In my other life outside of basketball and work, I'm an aspiring poker player and have been keeping a close eye on the World Series. I was quite surprised to see this hand come up on Poker News and had to do a little research to veryify it was indeed Farmar from the Lakers:

Farmar Commits, Reaps Reward

A player in late position raised and both Jordan Farmar (small blind) and Robert Varkonyi (big blind) called, creating a pot of about 6,000. The flop came {7-Spades}{K-Spades}{8-Diamonds}. Farmar and Varkonyi checked, the preflop raiser continued with a bet of 5,075, Farmar called, and Varkonyi got out of the way.

The turn was the {5-Hearts}. Farmar checked, his opponent made a hefty bet of 17,075, and Farmar said "I can't turn back now" as he made the call.

The river was the {4-Clubs}. Farmar again checked, and his opponent pushed all in for 27,000 -- just a couple thousand more than Farmar's stack. Farmar called relatively quickly, turning over {K-Clubs}{7-Diamonds} for two pair. His opponent mucked.

Farmar picks up a lot of chips on that one, as well as some kudos from some of his tablemates for the river call. He catapults up to 95,000.

Great work from Jordan and this pot put him in to the top 10 chip-counts of day 1d with a few sessions left to play. I'd be surprised if his run continues too much further, but if it does I'll certainly keep you updated.

Jordan Farmar at the World Series of Poker, pictured with Lou Diamond Phillips, Marlon Wayans, Torrie Wilson, (ex-NBA'er) John Salley

Friday, July 3, 2009

NBA off-season action

In the NBA, after the regular season comes the playoffs and finals ... and then there is the third season which consists of the draft and off-season action. The off-season you'd imagine is pretty dull after the finals but this is where the wheeling and dealing of trades and free-agency comes in to play.

NBA teams can officially begin courting free-agents from 12am July 1 and surprisingly a number of them don't waste anytime. Here's a great line from the guys at Dime today:
… The Celtics are really putting on the full-court press for Rasheed Wallace. As soon as the negotiation period opened at 12 a.m. Wednesday, Danny Ainge was knocking on ‘Sheed’s front door, and later in the day the team sent KG, Pierce, Ray and Doc over to recruit ‘Sheed some more. NBA free agency can defy reality: Under what other circumstances would anyone ever knock on Rasheed Wallace’s door past midnight? He’s liable to answer with a .38 or a tire iron …

So the big trades/free-agent signings so far are:
  • Pre-draft, Orlando trader Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee and Tony Battie to New Jersey for Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson
  • Detroit will sign Ben Gordon from Chicago and Charlie Villanueva from Milwaukee
  • LA Clippers trade Zach Randolph to Memphis for Quentin Richardson
And the breaking rumour today is that the LA Lakers will sign Ron Artest while the Houston Rockets will sign Trevor Ariza (not actually a trade although it looks like one).

Will these two be playing for the same team next season?