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September 30, 2011

Playing at home appeals to Steph Curry

Stephen Curry says emphatically he's a happy Golden State Warrior.

But if somewhere down the road he reaches free-agency, and the hometown Charlotte Bobcats choose to pursue him, the former Davidson star would find playing here quite appealing.

"Of course I'd like to play here - it's home and I know a lot of people. But that doesn't mean I'm trying to get out of Golden State,'' Curry said Thursday in a wide-ranging interview with the Observer.

"There's no reason I would not want to play in Charlotte. Maybe the pressure of being around family all the time would affect some people, but I wouldn't be opposed to any of that.''

Curry is back at Davidson, taking three classes toward his sociology degree, while the NBA and the players union work out their differences. Read about Curry's adjustment to being a student again and a new husband in Sunday's Observer.

Curry and his wife of two months, the former Ayesha Alexander, bought a home near Weddington that they plan to use as their permanent residence regardless of where basketball takes them. For now, Curry plans to rent in San Francisco once the lockout ends.

Curry said he's excited about the Warriors' recent change in ownership and new coach Mark Jackson, a fellow point guard.

"I think the Warriors are headed in a good direction, and I want to be a part of that,'' Curry said.

The Bobcats are in a youth movement, and figure to have plenty of room under the salary cap in the next few years. Based on the previous collective bargaining agreement, Curry wouldn't become a restricted free agent before the summer of 2014, and couldn't reach unrestricted free agency before the summer of 2015.

Of course, if Steph became a Bobcat, his father, Dell, would have to critique him every game as the television color analyst.

"He'd kill me every night,'' Steph joked.

Posted by Observer Sports on September 30, 2011 at 01:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (18)

September 26, 2011

A French website is reporting that Charlotte Bobcats forward Boris Diaw is about to sign with JSA Bordeaux, the team Diaw part-owns in the region where he was raised.

No shock there -- Diaw said the day after last season ended that he'd definitely play for that team in the event of a lockout interrupting the NBA season.

What's a bit more surprising is how quickly Diaw is moving on with plans to play in Europe. No regular-season NBA games have been postponed yet. The website indicates Diaw could be signed in time to play for Bordeaux early next month.

Posted by Observer Sports on September 26, 2011 at 12:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

September 22, 2011

Biyombo confident about contract conflict

Charlotte Bobcats draft pick Bismack Biyombo is still under contract to a Spanish team, and FIBA has refused to clear him to sign with the NBA. But Biyombo sounded confident that he and his agent can work out a settlement, allowing him to play for the Bobcats once the lockout ends.

Biyombo was playing in Jimmer Fredette's charity game in Utah. He told the Salt Lake Tribune:

“I’m pretty sure (this) season I’m going to be there and I’m in my team jersey playing for Charlotte...We’re working on the contract and everything and it’ll be OK. There is no worries about it.’’

Posted by Observer Sports on September 22, 2011 at 12:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

September 13, 2011

Cunningham is a lucky guy

I suspect Dante Cunningham understands how lucky he is today. i hope so. Through a mix of smart lawyering and good fortune, he's avoided the worst of a bad situation.

Tuesday a small-town court outside Philadelphia agreed to drop charges of marijuana possession, drug paraphernalia possession and possession of a loaded pellet gun. None of that is a really big deal. But it's certainly not what the NBA wants to hear about, particularly concerning a second-round pick trying to fix himself, like a baracle, to the league.

Put it this way: Cunningham is a maybe. He's a decent athlete, a former second-round pick, who is looking to be a small forward. He showed some small promise in the last 10 to 20 games of the Bobcats season, with Stephen Jackson injured.

Then he became a free agent. And then he had a cut-loose night in suburban Philadelphia, making noise in his pickup truck and drawing too much attention. A lot of us have been there. The cops pulled him over and smelled pot. And, frankly, the last thing Cunningham needed this off-season was attention.

An expensive Philadelphia attorney worked it out to drop the most damaging charges with a small-town cop and a small-town judge. I checked with some law-enforcement types, who said that's typical in this scale of charges. I don't think he got special treatment, considering everything he did was a misdemeanor.

Now Cunningham gets to either learn from this or ignore it. He makes over a million next season, just by signing the qualifying offer the Bobcats made to restrict his free-agency.

Which way does this go?

Posted by Observer Sports on September 13, 2011 at 09:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

More on Cunningham's day in court

I just got off the phone with the attorney for Charlotte Bobcats forward Dante Cunningham. He confirmed my story that drug- and pellet gun-possession charges were dropped by the Radnor Township Tuesday. Cunningham then paid a $225 fine to resolve the remaining charges of unsafe car equipment and a noise violation.

Quoting the attorney, Theodore Simon of Philadelphia:

"Today, the alleged possession of (1) a small amount of marijuana (2.) drug paraphernalia and (3) a pellet gun charge were unequivocally withdrawn.

"Dante paid a $225 fine for a vehicle equipment violation and for his car making unreasonable noise. Both of those charges are not a criminal offense.''

Sounds like that attorney did a great job of defending Cunningham. It will be interesting to see if the NBA still takes some sort of action once a new collective bargaining agreement is in place.

The drug policy under the now-expired CBA does not require a drug conviction to place a player in the anti-drug program. Quoting, a player could be placed in the program "if the NBA or NBPA (players association) believes that there is sufficient evidence of a player's use, possession or distribution of a Prohibited Substance.'' Marijuana was one of those substances in the now-expired CBA.

The Bobcats made Cunningham a qualifying offer in late June to restrict his free-agency. If he's back in Charlotte, he's expected to back up Corey Maggette at small forward.





Posted by Observer Sports on September 13, 2011 at 02:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Cunningham drug, pellet-gun charges dropped

Based on court documents available on the internet Tuesday, Charlotte Bobcats forward Dante Cunningham will not face charges involving possession of marijuana and a pellet gun in suburban Philadelphia.

Cunningham had a court hearing in the town of Radnor Tuesday afternoon to address charges resulting from an April 29 traffic stop. At the time, he was charged with marijuana possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a pellet gun, along with unsafe equipment on his car and disorderly conduct, relating to unreasonable noise.

Tuesday, minutes into his scheduled preliminary hearing, the drug and pellet-gun charges were withdrawn. That could be a major break for Cunningham, in regards to potential discpline from the NBA, regarding drug policy.

The Bobcats made Cunningham a qualifying offer in late June, making him a restricted free agent.

It's unclear what action the NBA still might take, once the lockout is over, regarding Cunningham's arrest.

Court documents regarding Cunningham can be found at:


Posted by Observer Sports on September 13, 2011 at 01:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sheubrooks leaves Bobcats

Rich Sheubrooks, who has served as the Charlotte Bobcats' chief international scout the past few years, has left for a similar position with the Utah Jazz.

Shuebrooks was based in Spain, and had wide-ranging international contacts stemming from his early ties to the Nike Hoop Summit. Sheubrooks helped bring Dirk Nowitzki to that event, which led to him being a lottery pick, and you know the rest of the story.

I don't know if Sheubrooks just had a better opportunity with the Jazz, or whether this indicates some reorganization of the scouting department, following the hiring of Rich Cho as general manager. Cho was instrumental in the Bobcats' decision to trade up in June's draft to take African shotblocker/rebounder Bismack Biyombo.


Posted by Observer Sports on September 13, 2011 at 09:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

September 07, 2011

Changes coming to the NBA draft?

Really interesting stuff from Chris Sheridan (who's now out on his own, rather than working for espn.com) concerning possible changes in the NBA draft that could be incorporated into the next collective bargaining agreement:


Some reaction:

I'm less interested in the idea of adding a third round than I am with various proposals to give the league's worst teams extra first-round picks. One such proposal would let the teams with the 15 worst records pick twice in the first 30 picks. A more conservative proposal would allow the very worst teams to pick at the top and the bottom of the top 30.

I think the idea of granting bad teams extra picks is innovative, and I suspect you'd hear less complaining from the elite teams than you might suspect. Not saying there'd be no push-back, but elite teams see picks in the 20s as a mixed bless. That's all about payroll management.

If you're the Lakers or the Celtics, you're at least as concerned with payroll management (as in how much luxury tax must you pay?) as you are with adding a rookie with a guaranteed contract. Teams like the Lakers and Celtics would probably rather add a veteran at the minimum than a comparably-priced rookie.

That's partially the reason many teams use late first-round picks on International players. It's a strategy called draft-and-stash, where a foreign team pays their salaries while those players develop.

As to the third round, I'm not sure it serves much purpose. Generally by the 60th pick, NBA teams think they've harvested the vast majority of NBA-quality players. If you're outside the top 60, you should get the chance to sign with any team, looking for your best fit.




Posted by Observer Sports on September 7, 2011 at 02:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)