Monday, 1 July 2013

Blatche agrees to deal to stay with Nets (Yahoo! Sports)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Andray Blatche will return as a backup in the Brooklyn Nets' soon-to-be upgraded frontcourt.

Source: Eric Maynor agrees to deal with Wizards (Yahoo! Sports)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A person with knowledge of the deal says Eric Maynor has agreed to a contract with the Washington Wizards.

AP Sources: Pelicans make offer to Tyreke Evans (Yahoo! Sports)

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 15: Tyreke Evans #13 of the Sacramento Kings advances the ball against the Oklahoma City Thunder on April 15, 2013 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The New Orleans Pelicans have made an offer to Sacramento Kings restricted free agent guard Tyreke Evans, two people familiar with the situation said Monday.

Shaquille O’Neal has plans to open a free children’s hospital in Baton Rouge

Throughout his time in public life, Shaquille O'Neal has cultivated an image as basketball's great jokester, a man always ready to toss off a quip or come up with another goofy nickname. For the most part, that approach has served Shaq well, although regular viewers of TNT's "Inside the NBA" have probably heard "Birdman! Birdman!" a few too many times in the past few months. While reasonable people can differ over whether Shaq is actually funny, there's little question that he likes to be seen as a fun-loving, carefree soul.

However, there's a serious side to Shaq that deserves equal attention. At various times, he has showed interest in law enforcement, education, and various other fields that can change society for the better in more direct ways than telling a few jokes. Now, O'Neal has announced plans for a new venture: a children's hospital that would not charge families unable to pay for care. From Cody Worsham for Tiger Rag (via SLAM):

It was a spur of the moment declaration from Dr. O’Neal, who was addressing the media ahead of his induction into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday, June 29.

“I wasn’t supposed to announce this, but I’m going to do it anyway,” Dr. O’Neal said. “I had a talk with the powers that be in Baton Rouge, and my plan is to build a Shaquille O’Neal children’s hospital. That’s my plan, so that right now is in the works, and hopefully it gets done. ”

Dr. O’Neal said the idea has been discussed for two years, and his goal is to join with Our Lady of the Lake “to build the biggest, freest hospital in the state of Louisiana.”

“All sick children can come for free,” he said. “That’s my vision.” [...]

Dr. O’Neal’s announcement couldn’t come at a better time for Louisiana. Faced with budget shortfalls, the state has cut funding to hospitals by $260 million dollars in recent years, according to testimony by House Speaker Chuck Kleckley during the legislative session in May.

Such funding cuts have led Gov. Bobby Jindal — who has continued to reject federal Medicaid expansion that would provide the state more immediate dollars under the Affordable Care Act, citing the law’s inflexibility — to seek private sources of funding for many of the state’s public hospitals.

It bears mention that it takes a really, really long time and lots of money to build a hospital, to the point where it might only exist at a point when Louisiana doesn't have a governor who rejects crucial funding for children in need to score political points. The future truly holds magical possibilities.

Whatever the case, this is pretty clearly a wonderful idea. It appears to be modeled on the concept practiced by St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, a favorite location for charity efforts (and tea parties) for the NBA's Grizzlies. The concept takes a great deal of support to function properly, but Shaq likely has a big enough network to reach a higher level of success than others. Here's hoping he continues to work to make it happen.

Michael Jordan knocks $8 million off asking price for Chicago-area mansion, now just $21 million

NBA legend Michael Jordan is most closely associated with the city of Chicago, his home during 13 seasons with the Bulls and the site of his greatest accomplishments. However, Jordan put up his Chicago-area mansion for sale in February 2012 at $29 million, apparently in recognition of his role as owner of the Charlotte Bobcats and general disassociation from the Windy City.

Shockingly, that price tag may have scared off some buyers. So, nearly 17 months after the initial listing, Jordan and his real estate representatives have knocked the price down $8 million to a totally affordable $21 million. From the description at (via SportsGrid):

Elegance and utmost privacy abound at this perfectly situated, privately gated estate nestled on over seven acres. With outstanding attention to detail, function, and style, this home is as comfortable as it is elegant. Luxurious entertaining areas and grounds create an absolutely stunning contemporary home with scale and finishes to perfection. Sold furnished with exclusions. All showings and access to website with additional photos must provide verified financial references in advance.

The listing does not reference His Airness as a prior owner, which is probably a strong choice given his celebrity and the possibility of fans arriving at the estate simply to glimpse the former environs of their hero. That's also probably why they require proof of the ability to pay before scheduling a showing.

The story here, of course, is not that the home is for sale (which we've known for more than a year), but that the price was cut by nearly 28 percent. I cannot profess to know if this is a fair rate on the Chicago mansion market — Yahoo! has not responded to my repeated requests for a raise to a seven-figure salary — but that seems like a substantial enough drop to appeal to a prospective buyer. You know, the kind of person who won't pay $29 million but thinks $21 million is a steal.

The other possibility, though, is that Jordan is simply motivated to make the sale and close the Chicago-centric portion of his life. After marrying girlfriend Ariel Prieto in April, perhaps MJ wants to focus on new beginnings. At a certain level of wealth, a man can sacrifice $8 million in income for convenience and peace of mind.

For more photos of the estate, visit Dan Devine's original post from February 2012.

The 10-man rotation, starring Mikhail Prokhorov backing up the Brink’s truck

A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out.

C: The Brooklyn Game. Once the massive draft-night deal to make Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce the newest members of the Brooklyn Nets becomes official on July 10 and the Nets' roster is filled out, owner Mikhail Prokhorov will likely be footing a bill of $186,118,490 to field a team this year. That, somehow, is not a typo. Devin Kharpertian breaks down the expenditures.

PF: David Aldridge sets the table for free agency, recaps last Thursday's 2013 NBA draft, gets in-depth with new Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger and much more in his mammoth Monday column.

SF: SB Nation. Tom Ziller offers a helpful reminder of why the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors, among other teams, are so eagerly selling themselves to secure the services of free-agent center Dwight Howard: He is, when healthy, one of the five best basketball players in the world.

SG: The National Post. Eric Koreen on how Andrea Bargnani plummeted from the No. 1 pick in the 2006 NBA draft to a player for whom Toronto Raptors fans "are overjoyed" to offload in a deal that merely "saves a bit of money [and] gets a few picks with low success rates."

PG: The Denver Post. Nearly 20 years to the day after losing his parents and sister in a car crash, Brian Shaw became the head coach of the Denver Nuggets. Benjamin Hochman talks with the longtime NBA player and assistant about the people who shaped him, the experience of losing them and the process of moving on without them.

6th: Rush'n Hoops. Alexander Chernykh translates a Russian-language interview in which Andrei Kirilenko explains why he declined the $10.2 million player option in his contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves to become an unrestricted free agent: "It was a strategic decision. I want to sign a longer contract. And it doesn’t mean that I’m definitely leaving Minnesota — at all. I really do like everything here. Everything but the length of my contract."

7th: At the Hive. With reports circulating that the New Orleans Pelicans could be readying a four-year, $44 million (or perhaps $48 million) offer sheet for Sacramento Kings restricted free agent guard Tyreke Evans, SB Nation's Hornets/Pelicans blog takes a look at what kind of maneuvering general manager Dell Demps might pursue to make the salary-cap math work out. (There are roster questions, too: Would this mean the end of Eric Gordon in New Orleans?)

8th: Memphis Flyer. Chris Herrington on the Grizzlies' likely top priorities in free agency and some questions to answer, headlined by the fate of All-Star power forward Zach Randolph.

9th: Daily Thunder. Royce Young breaks down the concerns facing the Oklahoma City Thunder in free agency and explains why a quiet offseason is the most likely scenario for Sam Presti and company.

10th: Orlando Pinstriped Post. After Yahoo! Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday that the Orlando Magic are considering experimenting with No. 2 overall draft pick Victor Oladipo at point guard during Summer League, Tyler Lashbrook considers the likelihood of said experiment actually bearing fruit.

Got a link or tip for Ball Don't Lie? Give me a shout at devine (at), or follow me on Twitter.

Celtics' Ainge says he's not trying to trade Rondo (Yahoo! Sports)

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: Danny Ainge, president of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics, left, stands on court with Rajon Rondo #9 before Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Celtics and New York Knicks during the 2013 NBA Playoffs on April 20, 2013 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

BOSTON (AP) -- Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge says he's not trying to trade point guard Rajon Rondo.