Week That Was In The NBA

The Good News

Jason Kidd is buying a portion of Jay-Z's minority share of the Brooklyn Nets.  ESPN reports that Nets Head Coach Jason Kidd is buying a very small stake in the team from Jay-Z subject to approval from the NBA.

Pacers to sign Rasual Butler in non-guaranteed deal.  Nathan S., SB Nation reported the Indiana Pacers have signed veteran forward Rasual Butler to a non-guaranteed contract according to Butler's agent.  Butler last played for the Raptors in 2011-2012.

The Bad News

Michael Beasley Bought Out

Richard Parker, SB Nation reported the Suns have bought out Micheal Beasley after a marijuana-related run-in with the law.

"The Suns were devoted to Michael Beasley’s success in Phoenix," said Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby. "However, it is essential that we demand the highest standards of personal and professional conduct as we develop a championship culture. Today’s action reflects our commitment to those standards. The timing and nature of this, and all of our transactions, are based on the judgment of our Basketball leadership as to how best to achieve our singular goal of rebuilding an elite team."

Jared Sullinger Apologizes

The Celtics Jared Sullinger had a run in with the law as reported by Slamonline:

“I voluntarily reported to the Waltham police this morning to respond to charges against me,” Sullinger said in the statement. “The experience was humbling and embarrassing for me. Yet I know that this situation has brought both sorrow and embarrassment to my girlfriend, my family, the Boston Celtics organization, my teammates, and my fans. To all of you, I apologize from the bottom of my heart. My lawyers have advised me not to discuss the case at this time. But I wanted to immediately and publicly apologize to everyone affected by this situation.”

Lamar Odom Can’t Play Anymore?

Ben Bolch and Richard Winton, LA Times reported that free agent forward Lamar Odom was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and refused to submit to chemical testing after his arrest.

"Lamar can't play anymore," said one senior executive with an NBA team who spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to publicly discuss a free agent.

Just News

Raptors Confirm Quentin Richardson Waived

The Toronto Raptors officially confirmed on Tuesday that they have waived Quentin Richardson. Toronto acquired Richardson by way of sign and trade from New York on July 10 as part of the Knicks trade for Andrea Bargnani. Richardson was never expected to report to Toronto.

Why Did The Raptors Open A Roster Spot?

With another month to go before the start of training camp, there wasn’t any obvious reason for the Raptors to rush Richardson out the door. The Raptors now have 14 players under contract and sit $1.7 million below the luxury tax line and $5.7 million below the NBA hard cap. That is a lot of room for Ujiri to use if he is thinking about bringing another young prospect on board for this season.

The Raptors biggest need at the moment is at center. If Jonas Valanciunas is injured or even just gets in foul trouble, the Raptors get small in a hurry. Another center to develop behind Aaron Gray would seem prudent.  At the same time the Raptors were in the process of dumping Richardson, the Grizzlies were waiving center Fab Melo.

Does Caron Butler Make The Bucks A Playoff Contender?

After three 30-something win seasons in a row, the Bucks have made some dramatic moves this off season, but does acquiring veteran small forward Caron Butler make Milwaukee a playoff contender this year?

Missing from the Bucks roster this year are four of the team’s top five scorers in the previous regular season. Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings, Mike Dunleavy and J.J. Redick are gone as is their best defensive forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. In-bound are Brandon Knight at point guard, O.J. Mayo and Gary Neal at shooting guard and small forward Carlos Delfino returns after a season in Houston. Free agent Zaza Pachulia from the Hawks is a proven defensive center that can effectively backup the recently extended Larry Sanders. This rotation isn’t proven as a unit, but the talent is there.

Will The Raptors Signal If They Are Going For The Playoffs or Tanking?

“If I were the coach of the team and I was in the last year of my contract, I would want to know from ownership and management, what do you want from me?” Jack Armstrong said.  “So are we going for the playoffs? If (the Raptors) are doing that, I am playing Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas 38-40 minutes every single night.

“If (winning) is not the way you are going to be judged, rather try to be competitive but try to develop at the same time, then obviously you loosen the reins a little bit on your substation pattern and you go that way. You give guys like a Terrence Ross and D.J. Augustin and people like that more minutes.”

2013 Eurobasket Starts In Slovenia
2013 Eurobasket or European Championships started on Wednesday with Great Britain, Latvia, Georgia, Finland, Ukraine, Montenegro, Spain, Greece, Germany, Serbia, Slovenia and Italy winning their opening games.  The surprise losers were Lithuania, France and Turkey.

Serbia Shocks Lithuania 63-56

Serbia shocked Lithuania 63-56 in the two teams’ opening game at the 2013 Eurobasket tournament in Slovenia on Wednesday. Serbia had a game plan that they ran to perfection against the heavily favored Lithuanians and Lithuania’s Head Coach Jonas Kazlauskas couldn’t find an adjustment to get his side back on top.

Kazlauskas started the veteran Robertas Javtokas instead of his young star center Jonas Valanciunas and Serbia fed the ball to center Nenad Krstic on their very first offensive possession.  Jonas Valanciunas finished with just 2 points on 1-1 shooting, 2 rebounds and 4 personal fouls in 11 minutes. Krstic led Serbia with 20 points and 9 rebounds.

FIBA Americas

Canada Wraps up Second Place In Group A At FIBA Americas

In a game that was never in doubt, Canada crushed Uruguay 93-67 after having wait over 8 hours to play because of a blackout earlier in the day.  Cory Joseph was still hot after his big game against Brazil, putting up 12 points on 4-6 shooting that included a pair of three-pointers in the first half.  Joseph finished with an impressive 17 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals in limited minutes.

With the victory, Canada finishes second in group A and carries 2 wins over to the second round where they will play the top 4 teams from group B over 4 days starting on Thursday. The top 4 teams in the second round move on to the medal round and automatically qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Spain.

Canada plays Mexico on Thursday September 5 at 2pm.

Mexico Shocks Experts At The FIBA Americas

Mexico didn’t even qualify for the 2013 FIBA Americas tournament, getting invited only after Panama was banned from international play this summer. However, the 32nd FIBA world ranked team from Mexico has shocked the experts by starting the tournament 3-0.

Mexico finished in second place in group B and carries 2 wins over to the second round.

Opportunity Knocks For Canada At FIBA Americas

While Canada hasn’t exactly been awash in success nationally at international men’s basketball, this summer, opportunity is knocking loudly for a return to some measure of prominence. 

With their relatively inexperienced roster, Canada probably should not have been considered a favorite to make the medal round this summer. However, not everyone at this tournament is putting their best possible team on the court. Just like Canada is missing players they would really like to have, other countries are missing some of their star players as well.

Stephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the ACC.  A member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association, Stephen is the editor and publisher of Pro Bball Report.  You can follow Stephen on twitter @stevesraptors

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