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September 15, 2005 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-15

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The Michigan Daily -Thursday, September 15, 2005 -11A
New faces innew NBA plceWs

Associated Press
After a busier-than-average summer,
the past couple of weeks have been rela-
tively calm. Among the few free agents
still unsigned are Chicago's Eddy Curry
and Minnesota's Latrell Sprewell, and
among those looking to quell rumors is
Boston boss Danny Ainge, who insists he
is not trading Paul Pierce.
"He'll be with us when training camp
opens," Ainge said.
But until that annual rite of autumn
returns Oct. 4 - this time including the
reunion of Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant
in Los Angeles - the most pressing con-
cern for the NBA is finding a place for the
Hornets to spend the upcoming season.
The New Orleans Arena escaped serious
damage from Hurricane Katrina, but the
Hornets were told it could take up to six
months before the city is ready to accom-
modate their return. League officials
spent yesterday touring facilities in Baton
Rouge, La., after checking out Oklahoma
City last week, and NBA spokesman Tim
Frank said a decision on the Hornets' tem-
porary home is expected toward the end of
next week.
After that, the focus will move to the
individuals - rather than teams - who
spent the summer changing addresses.
Michael Finley will be joining the
defending champion San Antonio Spurs,
Larry Brown will take over as coach of the
New York Knicks, Ron Artest will be wel-
comed back to the Indiana Pacers and Sha-
quille O'Neal will get a firsthand look at
the changes made to two-fifths of Miami's
starting lineup.
Sprewell, after turning down a three-
year, $21 million extension last season
from Minnesota, is still looking to find

a team able to pay him a salary above $5
million. His agent, Robert Gist, said he is
hying to facilitate a sign-and-trade deal
that would bring the Timberwolves a small
forward in return.
"This is not about anyone doing
Latrell a favor," Gist said. "It's about
the Timberwolves finding a way to get a
player they need."
Wolves vice president Kevin McHale did not
immediately return a call seeking comment.
Curry, a restricted free agent whose
future has been clouded by heart prob-
lems, has received a one-year qualifying
offer from the Bulls which expires Oct. 1.
Chicago has the right to match any offer
the 22-year-old receives for the upcoming
season, but the four-year veteran would
become an unrestricted free agent next
summer if he accepts the qualifying offer.
There were rumors last week that the Celt-
ics and Denver Nuggets had discussed a swap
of Pierce for Andre Miller and Nene, but
Ainge said the report was unfounded.
"I have no plans to trade Paul Pierce,"
Ainge said in a telephone interview.
Speculation surrounding Pierce's future
comes after a summer in which nearly all
of last season's 16 playoff teams made sig-
nificant moves aimed at improving in the
short term.
"I think (the summer) has been pro-
tracted, but I don't think it's been all that
much different from other summers that
have had extensive player movement," said
Spurs general manager R.C. Buford.
The Spurs bolstered their bench by
adding veteran guard Nick Van Exel and
Argentine center Fabricio Oberto, an
Olympic teammate of Manu Ginobili's.
But their biggest coup of the offseason
was beating out the Suns, Heat and Pis-
tons for Finley.

Dallas waived the 10-year veteran under
a one-time amnesty provision under the
new six-year collective bargaining agree-
ment agreed to in July. The move will
bring Mavericks owner Mark Cuban
approximately $90 million in cash savings
over the next three years.
"The template for success in the NBA
changed from the Portland model of
1999-2000, when I got to the league, to
the Detroit, San Antonio, Miami model,"
Cuban wrote earlier this summer in his
blog. "Although we have succeeded on the
court to the point of five straight 50-plus
win seasons, we certainly didn't do it 'the
best way.' We did it the most expensive
way. It cost us flexibility and created lots
of bad habits. That was my mistake, and it
ended up costing us Mike (Finley)."
The Detroit Pistons, coming off their
Game 7 loss to San Antonio in the NBA
Finals, hired Flip Saunders to replace
Brown and added Dale Davis to an estab-
lished veteran front line.
Miami lost starters Eddie Jones and
Damon Jones but added Antoine Walker,
Jason Williams and James Posey. Heat
coach Stan Van Gundy will open camp
with some uncertainty surrounding him, a
slow start to the regular season likely to
speed up speculation over Pat Riley's pos-
sible return to the sidelines.
Phoenix, coming off a season in which it
made an NBA record 796 3-pointers, trad-
ed away two players - Quentin Richard-
son and Joe Johnson - who combined to
make 403 of them. So while the Suns will
still have the reigning MVP in Steve Nash
and one of the game's most dominant big
men in Amare Stoudemire, they'll have a
much different look than the rubber-legged
group that raced off to an NBA-high 62
victories last season.

Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson won three NBA titles together before Jackson left after the 2003 season.

Injured McNabb wantsto play

van McNabb didn't practice yester-
day because of a bruised chest, but
the five-time Pro Bowl quarterback
said he'll play in Philadelphia's
home opener against San Francisco
on Sunday.
"Nothing will stop me from being
on that field," said McNabb, who
was injured in the first quarter of the
Eagles' 14-10 season-opening loss at
Atlanta on Monday night.
If McNabb can't play - he's listed
as questionable - longtime backup
Koy Detmer isn't a lock to get the start.
Detmer shared reps with third-string
quarterback Mike McMahon in prac-
tice, and coach Andy Reid wouldn't
select a potential starter.
"We'll see as the week goes on,"
Reid said. "I'll evaluate it and see what
we want to do with it. I know both do
a nice job."

Detmer has started eight games in
his nine seasons with the Eagles. He
led Philadelphia to a 38-17 victory in
San Francisco in a Monday night game
three years ago, one week after McNabb
broke his ankle. Detmer threw for 227
yards and two touchdowns against the
49ers before injuring his elbow and
missing the rest of the season.
McMahon started seven games
in four seasons with Detroit before
signing with the Eagles in the offsea-
son. He isn't as familiar with Phila-
delphia's version of the West Coast
offense, but he outperformed Detmer
in the preseason.
"We're going to take the reps the
way they want us to and see how it
shakes out," said Detmer, who prob-
ably has maintained his status as the
backup because he's the holder for
Pro Bowl kicker David Akers. -
Detmer epects to be on the sideline:

watching McNabb.
"He's a warrior," Detmer said. "We've
seen him play through all kinds of things,
broken ankles, everything. If he can walk,
he can go. He will be out there."
McMahon said he's comfortable
with the Eagles' complex offense.
"It's nothing too difficult," he said.
"You just have to prepare and go out
and help the offense move the ball.
Don't do anything too fancy and move
the chains."
McNabb didn't miss any plays after
a crushing hit from Chad Lavalais sent
him wincing to the sideline, but he
struggled the rest of the game against
the Falcons.
Coming off the best season of his
career, McNabb threw one inter-
ception, lost two fumbles and often
'missed his target with erratic passes.
He finished 24-of-45 for 257 yards
and one touchdown.

Donovan McNabb hopes to play In Philadelphia's home-opener this weekend against San Francisco despite his bruised chest.

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