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August 30, 2012

Charlotte Bobcats working out ex-Wake Forest star Josh Howard

    Former Wake Forest forward Josh Howard is doing some workouts with the Charlotte Bobcats this week, president of basketball operations Rod Higgins confirmed.

                The Bobcats’ interest in Howard at this point is still exploratory, as they consider ways to fill out their roster. The Bobcats would like to have another power forward, and have previously considered Antawn Jamison, Kris Humphries and Carl Landry, who all signed elsewhere. Howard, 6-7, has played both power and small forward.

                Howard, a Winston-Salem native, played his first 6 ½ NBA seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, before being traded to the Washington Wizards during the 2009-10 season. That same trade sent now-Bobcats center Brendan Haywood to the Mavericks.

                Last season Howard played on a one-year contract with the Utah Jazz.

                Howard, 32, has a career 14.5 points per game average and made one All-Star Game
appearance in 2007. But last season with the Jazz his average was down to 8.7 points on 40 percent shooting from the field.

Posted by Observer Sports on August 30, 2012 at 09:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (14)

August 27, 2012

Charlotte Bobcats hire Winters, Leibovitz

The Charlotte Bobcats completed Mike Dunlap’s coaching staff Monday, announcing the hires of Brian Winters and Dan Leibovitz. Those two join previously-announced assistants Rick Brunson and Stephen Silas.

                Winters is a former head coach with the Vancouver Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors, along with several stints as an NBA assistant. Most recently he coached the Indiana Fever in the WNBA. A former star at South Carolina, Winters played nine NBA seasons and made two All-Star appearances.

                Leibovitz has 16 years of college experience, including four years as the head coach at Hartford.  Most recently he was an assistant at Penn. This is his first time coaching in the NBA.

                Brunson is a former NBA player with coaching experience with the Chicago Bulls and Denver Nuggets. Silas is a carryover from the previous Bobcats staff, led by his father, Paul. He has 12 seasons of NBA coaching experience, after starting out as a scout for the then-Charlotte Hornets.

                The Observer first reported the Bobcats’ interest in Winters and Leibovitz Aug. 18.

Posted by Observer Sports on August 27, 2012 at 02:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 18, 2012

Winters, Leibovitz likely joining Charlotte Bobcats coaching staff

WintersLeibovitz150pBrian Winters and Dan Leibovitz are under strong consideration to fill out Mike Dunlap's coaching staff with the Charlotte Bobcats, the Observer has learned.

Winters, 60, (at left in file photo) would serve as a veteran presence on the bench with Dunlap, who has not previously been a head coach at the NBA or Division I college level.

A former star at South Carolina, Winters coached the Vancouver Grizzlies for most of their first two seasons (1995-97) and was also a head coach in the WNBA with the Indiana Fever. He was a longtime NBA assistant with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors following a nine-season NBA career that included two All-Star appearances.

Although Dunlap isn't expected to name a lead assistant, Winters' NBA experience figures to be valuable, considering Dunlap spent only two seasons on an NBA bench with the Denver Nuggets.

Winters has local ties, as his son Brendan played for Davidson. Brendan Winters was Southern Conference player of the year in 2005, scoring a career-high 33 points against Chattanooga to secure an NCAA berth in the Southern Conference tournament. Brian Winters and Davidson coach Bob McKillop grew up together on Long Island.

Leibovitz (at right in file photo) is a college coach with ties to Dunlap. A former player at Pennsylvania and Franklin & Marshall, he's been an assistant at Temple and Penn, and served as Hartford's head coach from 2006 through 2010. He was top assistant to John Chaney at Temple and served as acting head coach when Chaney served a five-game suspension in 2006.

Winters and Leibovitz would join Rick Brunson and Stephen Silas on Dunlap's first staff. A highly successful Division II coach, Dunlap spent the last few seasons as an assistant with the Nuggets and Arizona, Oregon and St. John's.

Posted by Observer Sports on August 18, 2012 at 04:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

August 10, 2012

Magic couldn't do better than this?

                Closure is appealing at times. You find yourself in a stare-down with someone who is being entirely unreasonable, so any alternative becomes more palatable than continuing this stalemate.

                That looks like the choice the Orlando Magic made in regards to Dwight Howard. Yet that still begs the question, did what they get come close to what they should have gotten?

                It appears a blockbuster trade comes down today involving the Magic, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Denver Nuggets. The Lakers get Howard, a Hall of Fame talent. The 76ers get Andrew Bynum, arguably the second-most talented center in the league. The Nuggets get Andre Iguodala, one of the league’s best and most versatile defenders.

                The Magic gets several future draft picks that figure to be late in the first round. They get some fairly non-descript players, plus a solid prospect in rookie Moe Harkless. It appears they’ll get some salary cap relief.

                I’m sure their fans are thrilled.

                The Magic was never going to get fair value for Howard because that’s what happens when a superstar can leverage you, knowing he can eventually leave outright in free-agency. But after months of “Dwightmare’’ in Orlando, this looks like fairly little compared to – for instance – what Denver got back for Carmelo Anthony or what the Utah Jazz got back for Deron Williams.

                I get nuance. I’ve covered the NBA long enough to appreciate the value of future draft picks, cap relief and, yes, closure.  I appreciate that the Magic is starting over and needs fluid assets.

                I just don’t get how something that dragged on this long would result in quite so little return.

Posted by Observer Sports on August 10, 2012 at 10:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (28)