Saturday, July 27, 2013

LeBron voted NBA's most popular player; Rose fourth

Kobe Bryant, take a backseat because LeBron James is once again the most popular NBA player.

According to an ESPN fan poll, the Miami Heat forward has unseated the Los Angeles Lakers star for the first time in four years.

Nearly 13 percent (12.9) of NBA fans said James was their favorite player this season, while 12.5 percent said Bryant was their favorite.

The Bulls' Derrick Rose placed fourth in the poll.

James had been the most popular player until "The Decision," when he announced he would leave Cleveland and be "taking my talents to South Beach."

Two NBA championships and a couple of Finals MVP awards have changed fans' perceptions, although casual followers still don't like him as much as when he was with the Cavaliers, according to the poll.

Rounding out the top five in the poll are: Kevin Durant, Rose and Dwyane Wade.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Lakers hire former player Madsen as coach

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -- It didn't take long for the Los Angeles Lakers to promote Mark Madsen.

The former Stanford player who was part of the Lakers' NBA champion teams in 2001 and '02 was hired as the team's player development coach, along with Larry Lewis.

In May, Madsen was hired to coach the Los Angeles D-Fenders this season. Instead, he will help Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni, who says Madsen "has endless energy and is a workaholic."

Madsen played nine seasons in the NBA and spent the last two years as a Stanford assistant

Lewis spent last season as an assistant with the D-Fenders and before that was head of player development for the team.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

NBA: Bucks formally announce signing of ex-Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo


One day after reportedly losing guard Monta Ellis to the Dallas Mavericks, the Milwaukee Bucks officially added free-agent guard O.J. Mayo to the roster.

In a deal in the works for more than a week, the Bucks on Saturday announced the signing of the former Mavericks standout. The news comes less than 24 hours after ESPN reported that Ellis will leave Milwaukee and sign with the Mavericks in deal reportedly worth $25 million over three years.

Mayo, 25, averaged 15.3 points and 4.4 assists for Dallas last season, when he was the only Mavericks player to see action in all 82 regular-season games. He shot 44.9 percent from the field, 40.7 percent from 3-point range and 82 percent from the free throw line in 349 attempts.

Originally selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the third overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Mayo was dealt to Memphis on draft night. He played his first four seasons with the Grizzlies before signing with Dallas as a free agent prior to the 2012-13 season.

The former USC athlete has appeared in 383 games in his five-year career, averaging 15.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.1 steals per contest. Mayo’s 383 games played are the fifth-most in the league since the start of the 2008-09 season, and he’s avoided missing a single game in four of his five seasons thus far.

Friday, July 5, 2013

NBA's Howard makes decision, moves from LA - reports

The tug-of-war between five teams to sign Dwight Howard appeared to be over on Friday with multiple media outlets reporting that the seven-time All-Star center was heading to the Houston Rockets.

Howard, who joined the Los Angeles Lakers from the Orlando Magic in a blockbuster 12-player trade in August 2012, had been favouring a move to Houston, despite facing a substantial paycut by opting to leave the Lakers, reports said.

The 27-year-old, who had also been courted by the Dallas Mavericks, the Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors, was eligible to sign for five years and $118 million with Los Angeles or four years and $88 million with any other team.

ESPN said on Friday that Howard had informed the Mavericks, the Hawks, the Warriors and the Lakers that he would not be signing with any of them, though the Lakers said they had not yet been given news about Howard's decision.

"He hasn't finalised his decision but we hope and expect him to make a decision today or tomorrow," Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, was quoted as saying by the Los Angeles Times.

Earlier in the day, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted: "While we are excited & cautiously optimistic @DwightHoward might choose Houston, we have not yet heard about his decision."

Free agent Howard, a three-time NBA defensive player of the year who is popularly known as 'Superman' because of his athletic prowess, consulted all five teams earlier this week.

The Lakers met up with Howard on Tuesday and their pitch focused on the future -- on how they would be able to embellish Howard's brand off the court while returning on-court greatness to a franchise that has piled up 16 NBA championship titles.

Lakers All-Star Kobe Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, played a key role in trying to woo Howard, telling him: "You need to learn how it's done first, and I can teach you here.

"I know how to do it and I've learned from the best - players who have won multiple times over and over."

However, Bryant and Howard did not always see eye-to-eye last season under the guidance of coach Mike D'Antoni before the Lakers were eliminated from the first round of the playoffs.

The prospect of being the kingpin on an ambitious Rockets team which also includes James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin and promising center Omer Asik was always likely to be an alluring one for Howard.

His arrival in Houston would instantly make the Rockets genuine contenders for the Western Conference championship.

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