July 05, 2012

 

By KYLE HIGHTOWER | Associated Press 

 

 

 

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Magic say they haven’t committed to honoring Dwight Howard’s latest trade demand that he be dealt to the Brooklyn Nets.

 

New Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan said Monday that Howard told him in a meeting last week that he would like to be traded, but Hennigan said he has not committed to honoring that demand. He said will keep communication lines open between both the All-Star and his agent.

 

It’s exactly the scenario the Magic wanted to avoid — for a second time.

 

Howard listed several teams last season that he wanted to be traded to, but on the day of the trading deadline he committed to the Magic for the 2012-13 season. Magic CEO Alex Martins has said previously that the organization will not enter next season with Howard's situation unresolved.

 

Orlando was looking to sign Howard to a long-term deal, however, now that Howard has had his first, face-to-face sit down with the Magic’s new general manager, the All-Star center made it clear he still very much wants out of Orlando.

 

Hennigan said that having Howard single out one team as a desired destination does complicate any potential trade scenarios, but for now, there is no immediate move the Magic to make following the sit down.

 

“As I told Dwight, I said ‘I don’t know. I have to think about what you’re telling me.’ I want to take some time to process everything,” Hennigan said of the meeting. “And the answer is we want to map out what's in the best interest of our team. And any decision that at decide going forward with will be one that we feel puts our team in a position to be successful and move forward.”

 

Howard told Yahoo Sports Monday that he won’t sign long-term with another team if the Magic decide to trade him to somewhere other than Brooklyn.

 

“There’s only one team on my list and if I don’t get traded there, I’ll play the season out and explore my free agency after that,” Howard said.

 

Howard also vigorously denied an ESPN report that he was claiming that the Magic blackmailed him at the trade deadline to give up the opt-out provision in his contract that would have allowed him to become a free-agent this summer.

 

Howard asked to be traded last season, and then opted-in for 2012-2013 — forgoing becoming a free agent this summer.

 

“I never used the word blackmail in reference to any of my dealings with the Magic,” Howard said. “I never said that. It’s defamatory and it’s inaccurate. I know what blackmail means and any report that I used the term incorrectly is inaccurate.”

 

Hennigan also said the charge was never levied by Howard.

 

“In terms of his health, I think what I can tell you is that Dwight’s rehabilitation process is progressing in the right direction,” he said. “I do not believe his health will be an issue going forward.”

 

Hennigan reiterated that beyond sharing Dwight’s request, he wants the discussions beyond that to remain private at this time in order as a matter of trust between himself and Howard.

 

“That’s my plan with Dwight and with whoever we talk to on our roster...I would leave it to Dwight to share with Dwight any details he wants to share about the conversation,” Hennigan said. “But again, out of respect for the trust and privacy I'm trying to build I’m not really going to talk about what else we discussed.”

 

Aside from Howard, the Magic are facing other lingering free agency questions surrounding career-long Magic players Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick, and reigning league most improved player Ryan Anderson.

 

Nelson told the Magic last week that he would opt out of the final year and nearly $8 million of his contract and test free agency.

 

Redick is due $6.1 million next year in the final season of his deal, but the team can get out of that if they waive him by July 7.

 

Anderson is a restricted free agent, though the Magic extended a qualifying offer to the third-year forward last week. It allows the team to match any offer he receives on the open market this summer.

 

Hennigan said that they will take their time this week making a decision on Redick and still hope to keep Nelson next year.

 

“My hope is that he remains in Orlando and in a Magic uniform,” he said of Nelson. “But there needs to be a mutual desire for that to happen.”

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July 05, 2012

By LYNN DeBRUIN |

Associated Press

 

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Mo Williams will be reunited with the Utah Jazz as part of a four-team deal that will send Lamar Odom back to Los Angeles for a second chance with the Clippers.

William’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, initially told The Associated Press the deal was finalized about 3:45 p.m. MDT Friday, and the Jazz and Clippers officially announced it in releases three hours later.

The deal initially was believed to involve only three teams, but a fourth, the Houston Rockets, got involved after Thursday's draft. The Rockets received the rights to the Clippers' 53rd overall pick, Furkan Aldemir, and the Jazz sent the team’s trade exception to Dallas. The Mavs also received cash considerations from Houston.

Williams must pass a physical but is expected to hold a news conference in Salt Lake City on Monday or Tuesday.

The Jazz drafted Williams in 2003 but allowed him to leave after one season, a decision that general manager Kevin O’Connor said was the worst he ever made.

Dallas faced a Friday deadline on a $2.4 million buyout of Odom’s $8.2 million option for next season.

Williams’ decision to exercise his $8.5 million player option cleared the way for the deal.

“He’s really excited,” Bartelstein said. “This is where his career started. They’ve got a terrific young team. He thinks he can come in and bring real leadership. He’s excited about that. They made it clear how much they wanted him. They did a good job of recruiting him.”

Williams played in 57 games as a rookie before going to Milwaukee. He eventually became a starter and was an All-Star as recently as 2009.

Asked to recall the amount he let Williams leave Utah for, O’Connor on Thursday night shook his head and said, “It wasn’t that much.”

Bartelstein, who has several other players on the team, found it hard to fault the Jazz.

“Mo was a really young player at that time,” he said. “Kevin has wanted him back for a long time. Now, he’s got him back. I think it’s a great fit.”

Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin has made no effort to hide how much he likes Williams, calling him a great player Thursday.

Bartelstein said reports that Williams was blocking the trade were untrue. He said they simply needed to do their “due diligence” and make sure it was the best decision.

Williams, 29, is in the final year of a contract that will pay him $8.5 million.

While Williams put up solid numbers in Los Angeles under difficult circumstances, Odom — drafted fourth overall by the Clippers in 1999 — is coming off an underwhelming 50-game stint with Dallas that didn’t even take him through the entire season. He was the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year for the Lakers for the 2010-11 season.

The Mavericks on April 9 said Odom would be inactive for the rest of the season, when the then-defending NBA champions still had nine regular season games left and were making their push toward the playoffs. That move came two days after a heated halftime exchange between Odom and Dallas owner Mark Cuban, who questioned the player's commitment to the team.

Odom's averages of 6.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 20.5 minutes in Dallas were career lows. The 32-year-old Odom has averaged 14.2 points and 8.6 rebounds in 879 career games.

The four-team deal provides the Mavericks with an $8.2 million trade exception, similar to what they used to acquire Odom from the Los Angeles Lakers last December.

The Jazz, meanwhile, get another veteran guard.

Utah already has Devin Harris at point guard. But team officials have said they could make it work with both Harris and Williams.

Bartelstein confirmed Harris was not part of the trade.

Williams averaged 13.2 points and 3.1 assists in 52 games last season for the Clippers, who acquired him in a trade from Cleveland in February 2011. In 589 career games, he has averaged 13.8 points and 4.9 assists.

He played out of position much of last season after the blockbuster deal that brought Chris Paul to the Clippers and the team then acquired Chauncey Billups.

The Jazz took Williams 47th overall in 2003.

Also Friday, the Jazz exercised their option on guard Jamaal Tinsley for the 2012-13 season, and tendered a qualifying offer to forward Jeremy Evans.

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

July 05, 2012

By ANTONIO GONZALEZ | Associated Press

 

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson said Thursday that he and his family were the targets of an extortion attempt related to an extramarital affair he had six years ago.

The Smoking Gun reported that a 28-year-old former stripper, Alexis Adams, possessed nude photographs of Jackson and wanted money to keep the photos from becoming public.

Adams and an alleged co-conspirator, 40-year-old Marcus Shaw, were named in felony criminal complaints for their alleged roles in an extortion scheme, according to online records filed with the U.S. District Court in Oakland. The documents don’t identify the victim but The Smoking Gun said “V1,” as the victim is referred to in documents, is Jackson.

Adams was released on $25,000 bail but Shaw remained behind bars because he has a prior conviction for aggravated robbery in Tennessee in 1996, for which he was sentenced to 12 years in prison, according to court records. He also was arrested in Georgia in 2005 for investigation of murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault and kidnapping, “though the case was ultimately dismissed,” according to an affidavit filed in the case by FBI Special Agent Beth F. Alvarez.

The public defender listed for both didn’t immediately respond to a voicemail or email seeking comment.

In a statement released by the team, Jackson said the extramarital affair occurred when he was still working as an ESPN/ABC broadcaster. He called the affair “embarrassing” and apologized for the affair.

Jackson said a man approached him this past April 3 at the team hotel in Memphis when Golden State was there to play the Grizzlies and demanded “a substantial sum of money” or he’d sell “personal information” to a tabloid.

Jackson said he “regrettably” paid the man, calling it “a terrible lapse in judgment and a course of action I would not recommend to anyone.” Court documents show he handed over $5,000.

After the man emailed him two weeks later and called his wife asking for more money, Jackson said, he informed the team about the situation. The Warriors said they immediately contacted the FBI.

Jackson didn’t respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking further comment.

In an email from Shaw dated May 3, he told Jackson he could get $185,000 “from another resource” if the coach didn’t pay, according to the court documents.

Jackson worked with the FBI to record several phone calls and monitor emails.

In response to Shaw’s second demand, according to the documents, “V1” wrote: “If I had known that was amount I would have offered to pay more the first time. I will give you $200,000 to keep this quiet. We can still work this out. I have the money. I do not want these pictures getting out.”

The court documents also note several text messages between Shaw and Adams that outline the alleged extortion attempt.

On the afternoon of April 3 before Jackson said he handed over money, Adams sent a text message to Shaw that read: “Concentrate and (expletive) him up. He is a Fake (expletive) man of god,” according to court documents.

Jackson said he made his wife, Desiree, aware of the affair years ago and the two reconciled.

Jackson, coming off a 23-43 record in his first season as a head coach, is also an ordained minister. He leads a non-denominational congregation with his wife in the Los Angeles suburb of Van Nuys. The couple has four children.

“I recognize the extremely poor judgment that I used both in having an affair six years ago — including the embarrassing communication I exhibited during that time — and in attempting to deal with the extortion scheme at first by myself,” Jackson said in the statement. “I made some egregious errors. I apologize for any embarrassment I may have caused my family, friends and, of course, the Warriors.

“At that time in my life, I was not pastoring. Three years ago, my wife and I established a ministry. With deepest regret, I want to apologize to my Church Family. I was wrong. We must live Holy.”

The team also released a statement supporting Jackson but not condoning his affair.

Jackson included a quote from the Bible in his written statement and asked for forgiveness for his actions.

“What goes on in the dark,” it reads, “will come out in the light.”

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

July 05, 2012

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia tailback Isaiah Crowell was dismissed from the team Friday by coach Mark Richt after the sophomore was arrested on felony weapons charges.

Police found a gun in Crowell’s vehicle early Friday morning. Georgia announced the dismissal Friday afternoon. Richt’s short statement in the announcement did not mention Crowell.

“We have a dedicated and committed group of men who are working hard to prepare for the coming season,” Richt said. “Our total focus will be directed toward the team and this effort.”

Crowell was arrested at a vehicle checkpoint on the Georgia campus at around 2:20 a.m., according to Athens-Clarke Police Department spokeswoman Hilda Sorrow. Among the charges he faces are carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a weapon on school property.

Crowell consented to a search after officers smelled marijuana in the vehicle. Police found a 9-millimeter Luger pistol under the driver’s seat with an altered serial number.

Crowell was released on bond Friday afternoon.

As a freshman in 2011, Crowell led Georgia with 850 yards rushing.

Crowell, 19, came to UGA in 2011 as the top-rated running back prospect in the country out of Carver High School in Columbus, Ga. He announced he would attend Georgia by pulling out a bulldog puppy at signing day news conference.

He went on to win Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year honors from The Associated Press.

Crowell rushed for a career high 147 yards on 30 carries to help the Georgia beat Ole Miss 27-13 last season. He eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark on four occasions, and scored six touchdowns.

Despite his success, Crowell’s freshman season also included setbacks on the field and off. He and two of his teammates were suspended for one game and missed Georgia’s game against New Mexico State after they failed a drug test.

In the SEC championship game, he struggled with 10 carries for 15 yards in a 42-10 loss to LSU.

Richt said in March that he was impressed by Crowell’s work ethic in the offseason. Richt said at that time the running back is “definitely growing up.”

Crowell’s exit will open the path for two highly rated newcomers to the team to play as freshmen. Tailbacks Keith Marshall of Raleigh, N.C. and Todd Gurley of Tarboro, N.C., were two of the top players in Richt’s 2012 signing class.

Ken Malcome, Brandon Harton and fullback/tailback Richard Samuel are left as the top returning rushers.

Marshall was third, behind Malcome and Crowell, on Georgia's tailback depth chart released after spring practice.

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June 28, 2012

 

By RALPH D. RUSSO |

 

Associated Press

 

 

 

A committee of university presidents approved a plan for a four-team college football playoff, starting in 2014.

 

Here’s what you need to know about the new postseason format put together by the commissioners of the 11 major college football conferences and Notre Dame’s athletic director.

 

HOW WILL THE TEAMS BE CHOSEN? A selection committee will pick the four teams after the regular season, using guidelines such as strength of schedule, head-to-head results and won-loss record, while giving conference champions preference. The makeup of the committee is to be determined, but it likely will be about 20 conference commissioners and college athletic directors.

 

WHERE WILL THE GAMES BE PLAYED? The two semifinals will rotate among six sites. The current BCS games are the Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.), Sugar Bowl (New Orleans), Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, Ariz.) and Orange Bowl (Miami). The Cotton Bowl, now played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, has to be considered a front-runner to land one of the other two spots. Candidates for the other one? Try Atlanta and Jacksonville, Fla.

 

The championship game will become college football's Super Bowl. Any city can bid on it, even ones that host the semifinals and those that have not been traditional bowl sites. Expect most to be played in dome stadiums or at warm-weather sites.

 

WHEN WILL THE GAMES BE PLAYED? The semifinals will be played on Dec. 31 and/or Jan. 1. College football used to own New Year’s Day. The Bowl Championship Series got away from that. The leaders of the sport want to reclaim that day. The championship game will always be played on the first Monday in January that is at least six days after the semifinals. The first “Championship Monday” is Jan. 12, 2015.

 

WILL THIS PUT AN END TO THE CONTROVERSY? No. Doubling the field from two teams to four alleviates some of the problems that the Bowl Championship Series couldn't solve. There will still be plenty of complaining, but it will come from teams No. 5, 6 and 7, instead of Nos. 3 and 4. That's better. The further down you go in the rankings, the weaker the arguments get for inclusion. But there are plenty of people out there now that believe four is not nearly enough.

 

HOW MUCH? Conservative estimates have the television rights to the new playoff system being worth at least double what the BCS brought in. That means $300 million easy, probably more like $400 or $500. How it gets divided among the conferences is still to be finalized, though criteria has been set up:

 

— On-field success

 

— Teams’ expenses

 

— Marketplace factors

 

— Academic performance of student-athletes

 

In short the five power conferences (SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC and Pac-12) will get more than the others. The Big East no longer will get a big share, but how much smaller will it be?

 

HOW SOON AND FOR HOW LONG? The four-team playoff will start in the 2014 season because the current TV deals already have locked the Bowl Championship Series in for two more years. The next round of TV deals will be for 12 years. Those negotiations will begin in the fall. The 12-year deal accomplishes two goals for the commissioners:

 

1) They don’t want to deal with this every four years the way they have been.

 

2) It keeps the playoff from expanding for 12 years.

 

WILL IT GROW EVENTUALLY? No doubt. It will be successful, so why not have more of a good thing. Also, many if not all of the people who put this format together will have moved on when it's time to come up with another plan. College football is moving away from the current bowl system, in which it farms out its postseason to third parties. As a new structure evolves and conferences continue to realign, there is no reason to think the playoff will continue to have only four teams.

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