The Oklahoman (Mel Bracht) reports: Say you’re working late and can’t make it to the Ford Center to watch Oklahoma City’s new NBA team play its game that night. Instead, you log on to your computer and watch streaming video of the team’s game broadcast. Sound far-fetched? Not if the NBA has its way. The league is aggresively promoting three new Internet elements — video streaming in home markets, interactive TV and video-on-demand — for the upcoming season. Ed Desser, a media consultant for Oklahoma City’s team, said many details have yet to be worked out, and didn’t expect the team to offer the Internet elements anytime soon.
Seeking to add additional depth to its backcourt, the Atlanta Hawks General Manager Rick Sund announced today that the club has signed free agent guard Ronald “Flip” Murray to a contract. Per team policy, no other details were released.
“By signing Flip, it provides us with another experienced player who has the ability to play multiple positions for us,” said Sund. “Because of his versatility, he will be a valuable asset for us as a reserve, and we look forward to the contributions he’ll bring this season.”
A 6-3, 197-pound combo (point/shooting) guard, Murray is a six-year veteran who last played for the Indiana Pacers. He saw action in 23 games after he was signed a mid-season free agent (March 1) following his release from the Detroit Pistons, and he averaged 11.0 points and 3.5 assists (.425 FG%, .389 3FG%, .754 FT%) in those contests.
He started the final 15 games at point guard for the Pacers last season during their playoff push (Indiana went 10-5 during that stretch), and he averaged 11.0 ppg (.439 FG%, .450 3FG%, .703 FT%) in his 17 overall starts with Indiana.
In a season-and-a-half with the Pistons (88 games, 2006-07 and ‘07-08), Murray tallied 6.9 ppg and 2.9 apg (.406 FG%, .694 FT%).
He brings career marks of 9.3 points, 2.4 assists and 2.0 rebounds to the Hawks, having played for five teams (Milwaukee, Seattle, Cleveland, Detroit and Indiana) over his six seasons. In addition, Murray has played in 29 postseason games with totals of 5.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg and 1.4 apg.
The NCAA Division II Player of the Year during his senior season at Shaw University, Murray was selected in the second round of the 2002 Draft by the Bucks. He saw limited action as a rookie and was traded during that year (along with Ray Allen, Kevin Ollie and a conditional 2003 first-round pick) to the Sonics (for Gary Payton and Desmond Mason), where he developed into a scoring threat one year later (2003-04) while subbing for Allen who missed 26 games due to injury. Murray turned in 12.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg and 2.5 apg in 82 contests (18 starts) and connected on .425 FG% and .715 FT%.
He spent two more seasons with the Sonics before being traded to the Cavaliers during the 2005-06 campaign, and he scored 13.5 points in 28 games in helping Cleveland reach the playoffs. He recorded his career-best playoff numbers that year, with 8.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg and 1.6 apg.
Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that the team has signed free agent guard Kareem Rush. Per team policy, terms of the agreement are not disclosed.
“As we continue to build our team, we’re fortunate that we were able to sign a player as talented as Kareem Rush,” Stefanski said. “We feel his abilities on both ends of the floor and his range as a three-point shooter will be assets to us this season.”
In five NBA seasons, Rush (6-6/215) has appeared in 314 games with 77 starts, averaging 6.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 18.1 minutes per game while shooting 40.2% from the floor, 36.0% from 3-point range and 69.8% from the line. Rush has also played a total of 31 playoff games, averaging 3.6 points while shooting 39.3% from 3-point range.
Last season, Rush saw action in 71 games with 15 starts for Indiana, averaging 8.3 points, a career-high 2.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 21.2 minutes per game. After not hitting more than 57 3-pointers in any of his first four NBA seasons, Rush drilled 102 3-pointers in 2007-08 on a career-high 38.9% shooting. He recorded at least two made three-pointers in 33 games, including three or more 13 times. Andre Iguodala led the Sixers in games with multiple three-pointers made last season with 30.
Rush was originally selected by Toronto with the 20th overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft before his rights were traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. In his second season, the Lakers advanced to the NBA Finals with Rush averaging 14.3 minutes per game playing alongside Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, Shaquille O’Neal and Gary Payton. In the deciding Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals vs. Minnesota, Rush hit six three-pointers en route to scoring a playoff career-high 18 points.
In December of 2004, the Lakers traded Rush to the expansion Charlotte Bobcats, where he would average 10.7 points over the next season and a half. Rush signed as a free agent with Seattle in October of 2006, but was hindered by a groin injury and was waived before appearing in a game. In January, he joined Lietuvos Rytas of Vilnius, Lithuania was later named the ULEB Cup’s Import Player of the Year and All-ULEB Cup First Team by Eurobasket.com.
Rush played all three of his collegiate seasons at the University of Missouri, earning All-American Honorable Mention his sophomore and junior seasons. His older brother, JaRon, played basketball at UCLA and his younger brother, Brandon, won the NCAA Championship with Kansas back in April and was the 13th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.
The Oklahoman (Mike Baldwin) reports on a team’s 82-game regular season schedule: “Four games against division opponents. Four games against six out-of-division conference opponents. Three games against the remaining four conference teams. Two games against teams in the opposing conference. A five-year rotation determines which out-of-division conference teams are played only three times.”
The Indianapolis Star (Phillip B. Wilson) reports: While ticket prices for an Indianapolis Colts game are skyrocketing with the arrival of Lucas Oil Stadium, the Indiana Pacers are bucking the national trend by not raising prices for a second consecutive season… The Pacers, meanwhile, have struggled to keep fans at Conseco Fieldhouse. Their $42.39 ticket average is down from $45.79 two years ago and below the NBA’s 2007 average of $48.83. Still, attendance suffered; the Pacers’ average of 12,221 last season was worst in the NBA.
“We’re very excited about the trades we made,” said Pacers President of Basketball Larry Bird. “We know we got some good character guys and good players. I just want to help the franchise move forward and we feel with the draft, we know we picked up two good guys that our fans are going to be very supportive of and excited about.”
Added Pacers Coach Jim O’Brien: “I think Larry and (General Manager) David Morway did an outstanding job in changing around our basketball team, both with the trades and the picks. Our team will have a completely different look next year. Overall, the seven new players we have give us a completely different look than we had last year and we have maintained the guys that got the majority of playing time at the end of last season.
“An area of particular concern for us last year was the point guard spot. We certainly feel with Travis (Diener) returning and the addition of T.J. Ford and Jarrett Jack we have solidified that position. We feel getting Maceo, Rasho and Josh really gives us solid depth up front. Brandon gives us a guy who can very quickly impact both ends of the court. Defensively, we think he can be a high-level stopper and we also think Brandon has the potential to create his own shot on a regular basis as well as give us spacing on the court. Roy gives us size and low-post scoring. At the end of every game, he’s still going to be 7-2, which is a real important factor for us.”
The National Basketball Association today announced that the Salary Cap for the 2008-09 season will be $58.680 million. The new Cap goes into effect immediately as the league’s “moratorium period” has ended and teams can begin signing free agents and making trades.
The tax level for the 2008-09 season has been set at $71.150 million. Any team whose team salary exceeds that figure will pay a $1 tax for each $1 by which it exceeds $71.150 million.
The mid-level exception is $5.585 million for the 2008-09 season and the minimum team salary, which is set at 75% of the Salary Cap, is $44.010 million.
For the 2007-08 season, the Salary Cap was set at $55.630 million, the tax level was $67.865 million and the mid-level exception was $5.356 million.
The Indianapolis Star reports: Danny Granger’s long-range future with the Indiana Pacers could be settled later this summer. The 6-9 swingman, who was the Pacers’ leading scorer last season in his third year in the NBA, is eligible for a long-term extension. His agent, Mark Bartelstein, said he’ll likely begin talks with the Pacers in a few weeks… Granger is scheduled to make $2.3 million next season, after which he becomes a restricted free agent. The Pacers must at least make a qualifying offer of $3.3 million for 2009-10 to retain the right to match any free agent offer he receives.
The Indiana Pacers announced Monday that Sam Perkins has been named Vice President of Player Relations. Perkins played with the Pacers from 1999 to 2001 and was a member of the 2000 team that went to the NBA Finals.
“As a player, he was a real professional who showed genuine leadership,” said Pacers President of Basketball Larry Bird, who coached Perkins with the Pacers. “He’s a person we all were hoping would come back and help us some day. He’s a good man with many qualities that will help the franchise.”
Since his retirement in 2001, Perkins has been actively involved in a variety of charitable endeavors including Special Olympics; Nothing But Nets in conjunction with the United Nations; Boys and Girls Clubs; Big Brothers; Carolina for Kibera; NBA Cares; Basketball Without Borders and Habitat for Humanity. Perkins is a graduate of North Carolina with a degree in communications. He was a co-captain of the 1984 gold medal-winning Olympic basketball team and he played a total of 15 seasons in the NBA with four different teams.
“I’m looking forward to this opportunity and challenge because in the perspective of the NBA, player development programs are a high priority,” said Perkins. “For the Pacers, the development of players on and off the court has been made a top priority by the franchise.”
“As a young player in my first couple of years in the league, Sam was a leader on a veteran team and showed myself and the other young guys the correct way to do things,” said Pacers forward Jeff Foster. “I always looked up to Sam for how he represented and conducted himself on and off the court. I’m sure he’ll make a smooth transition into this role.”
The Indianapolis Star (Bob Kravitz) reports: As much as Donnie Walsh is revered around here, his draft record since the early years has been spotty at best. Yes, he took Reggie Miller at No. 11 in 1987, took Rik Smits, a no-brainer at No. 2 in 1988, and hit pay dirt with Antonio Davis in the second round in 1990 and Dale Davis at No. 13 in 1991. Beyond that, though, we’re looking at . . . George McCloud at No. 7 in 1989 . . . Malik Sealy at No. 14 in 1992 . . . Scott Haskin at No. 14 in 1993 . . . Eric Piatkowski at No. 15 in 1994 . . . Erick Dampier at No. 10 in 1996 . . . Austin Croshere at No. 12 in 1997 . . . Jonathan Bender at No. 5 in 1999 after sending Antonio Davis to Toronto . . . Primoz Brezec at No. 27 in 2000 . . . Jamaal Tinsley, acquired from Atlanta and chosen at No. 27 in 2001, one pick ahead of Tony Parker . . . Fred Jones at No. 14 in 2.