NBA News and Rumors – Wednesday August 5, 2009

Warrick agrees to join Bucks

Sixers add a big man to the mix

Canzano: Strong start can set pace for Blazers’ season

Wyc: Celts ‘hands down’ favorites in EastWarrick agrees to join Bucks

Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel

Hakim Warrick, an athletic 6-foot-9 forward who played the past four seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, has reached agreement with the Bucks on a one-year deal, sources indicated Friday.

Warrick averaged 11.6 points and 5.0 rebounds while appearing in all 82 games for the Grizzlies last season, primarily in a bench role.

The Grizzlies withdrew their qualifying offer to Warrick last week, making him an unrestricted free agent. A number of teams showed interest in Warrick, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers and Charlotte Bobcats.

Warrick is able to play both the small forward and power forward positions and should have an opportunity to start for the Bucks, who have lost Richard Jefferson (in a trade) and Charlie Villanueva (to free agency) this summer.

The former Syracuse star joins Amir Johnson and Ersan Ilyasova at the power forward position. The Bucks also have second-year players Joe Alexander and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who can play both forward spots.

Warrick was the 19th overall pick by the Grizzlies in the 2005 draft after starring at Syracuse. He has played in 307 NBA games, including 82 starts, and has averaged 10.2 points and 4.3 rebounds.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported the Cavaliers had made an offer to a free agent forward, thought to be Warrick, with the team’s biannual exception of $2 million.

Warrick played four years at Syracuse and was a member of the Orange’s NCAA championship team during his sophomore season. He blocked a three-point attempt to preserve Syracuse’s victory over Kansas in the NCAA title game.

Sixers add a big man to the mix


The Sixers are about to add a 12th guaranteed contract to their roster.

The team and 7-foot-1 center Primoz Brezec have agreed in principle on a contract for the 2009-10 season, according to team president Ed Stefanski.

Brezec, who played in Italy last year, is practicing with the Slovenia National Team and is expected to come to Philadelphia next week for a physical.

Brezec, 29, averaged 7.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in seven seasons with the Pacers, Bobcats, Pistons and Raptors. He has started 214 of 321 NBA games in which he’s appeared. Brezec would earn the eighth-year minimum of $1,107,572.

The impending signings of Brezec and guard Royal Ivey, who is also likely to sign next week, leave an opening for a backup swingman. The Sixers don’t appear to be in a rush to bring in a guard/forward and could conceivably invite several to training camp, which begins Sept. 29 at St. Joseph’s, and let them battle it out for a spot there and in the preseason.

Canzano: Strong start can set pace for Blazers’ season

John Canzano, The Oregonian

The Trail Blazers opened the NBA season in Los Angeles a year ago by serving as a bug on Kobe Bryant’s windshield.

The Lakers raised their Western Conference championship banner that day. They put on a pre-game show that hammered the theme: "This is our time." And then, they pummeled the Blazers and sent Greg Oden to the locker room early in what ended up a sobering day.

So yeah. Some kind of wonderful to see the Rockets coming to Portland on opening night this season, isn’t it?

A rematch of the first-round playoff series. Another return to Portland for Aaron Brooks and Rick Adelman. I get it. You get it. The league schedule-makers were doing their best to set up something you’d salivate for.

It ends up a great matchup at home for a franchise that probably had a break coming this summer.

Ron Artest is gone to Los Angeles. Yao Ming is out. But I don’t think the Blazers have forgotten the awful scene at the Toyota Center as last season ticked to a close in what was a frustrating series.

Rockets fans turned into a mob. They booed. They jeered. They fought each other, and threw liquids at Blazers executives. On the court, Houston pushed, and shoved, and proved it was too physical, and too experienced, for Portland.

After the final game of the season, Steve Blake sat in the Blazers locker room staring at a wall. Rudy Fernandez dressed quickly and shook his head. Brandon Roy stayed in the shower long after most of his teammates were gone.

Wyc: Celts ‘hands down’ favorites in East

Celtics managing partner Wyc Grousbeck didn’t want to talk about the collecting bargaining negotiations he participated in Tuesday. But he had no problem anointing the Celtics as the "hands down" favorites in the Eastern Conference next season.

"I think we should be the favorites in the conference, hands down," Grousbeck said after emerging from a 3 1-2 hour bargaining session between the NBA owners and the players’ union. "And we’re going to start proving that Oct. 27."

That’s when the Celtics open the 2009-10 season against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. But it’ll be a very different Celtics team than the one that couldn’t get past Orlando in the conference semifinals. For one, Kevin Garnett will be recovered from the knee injury that caused him to miss the entire playoffs. "Just fine," Grousbeck said, when asked how KG’s recovery was going.

Also, Grousbeck raved about the Celtics’ big offseason acquisition — the talented, enigmatic, and combustible Rasheed Wallace.

"I personally recruited him with five others guys," Grousbeck said. "My guys lobbied us for the signing because the players who’ve played the game for 10 years at a high level, they know who can help them and what they can do. They know the score. Rasheed was everybody’s first choice: ownership, general manager, and players. We all wanted to have him as a first choice, and we got him."

Grousbeck said he questioned Wallace about his status as the NBA’s undisputed king of technical fouls and menace to officials during his 14-year career and was satisfied with ‘Sheed’s answers.

"He’s a feisty competitor, obviously," Grousbeck said. "We talked about that in the interview and the recruiting session. He said he means it always to try to help the team. He and his former teammates and coaches that you talk to when you do research on him, they love him as a player. Coaches love him, players love to play with him. The refs have mixed feelings, but that’s what refs are for."

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