Euroleague Power Rankings: Maciej Lampe Lights It Up

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In March of 2002, a 16-year-old Maciej Lampe played his first ever Euroleague Top 16 game for Real Madrid.  The Polish prodigy scored seven points in 14 minutes and a little over a year later, the Knicks made him LeBron James’ opposing bookend as the 30th pick of the 2003 NBA Draft.

New York whipped around and dealt him to the Suns in the Stephon Marbury trade, and three years and 64 games later, Lampe was out of the league at the age of 20.

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SH Blog: Shaquille O’Neal may play in Mexican league, Allen Iverson to play exhibition games in China

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Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson were, once upon a time, some of the most dominant players the league had ever seen at their respective positions. When you’re that good, sometimes it’s hard to let it all go no matter how old you become. This appears to be the case with O’Neal and Iverson, as both are in talks to play somewhere outside of the NBA in the near future. See the latest update on their situations, along with other relevant items from Thursday:

  • Shaquille O’Neal may come out of retirement to play basketball again. It just won’t be in the NBA, from Xavier Cabello of ESPN Deportes: “Shaquille O’Neal is in talks to play a few games in the Mexican league, Sergio Ganem, president of the Fuerza Regia team, said Wednesday. The 15-time NBA All-Star would play a couple of games this October. The 40-year-old retired NBA center received the invitation this past August during a visit to Monterrey, where he did some social work at a community center for youth in wheelchairs. No deal is in place, but Ganem spoke with O’Neal by phone in an attempt to convince him to return to action, and the team expects a response from O’Neal next week. Ganem noted that O’Neal’s availability will depend, in large part, upon his schedule as analyst for TNT’s Inside the NBA.”
  • Justin Timberlake plans to become a minority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, according to Marc Stein of ESPN: “Robert Pera, prospective new owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, has recruited a famous Memphian to be part of his ownership group: Justin Timberlake. Sources with knowledge of the arrangement said Thursday that Timberlake, one of the NBA’s most prominent celebrity fans and a Memphis native, has committed to joining Pera’s team of minority partners as the sale of the franchise from Michael Heisley to the 34-year-old technology magnate nears completion. Sources told ESPN.com that Timberlake and Pera have quickly struck up a friendship, with one source adding that the singer/actor is making “a meaningful investment into the team” and “plans to be active” with the Grizzlies. The league office, sources said, has been made aware of Timberlake’s proposed involvement and is already well acquainted with him after inviting the self-proclaimed basketball junkie to participate in various celebrity games at All-Star Weekend.”
  • Bill Ingram of Hoopsworld explains why exciting times are ahead for the Suns despite the loss of Steve Nash and Grant Hill. Goran Dragic is one reason: “Rest assured, there are equally exciting times ahead for the Suns. To start with, while Goran Dragic is no Nash, he is also not the same player he was when Suns fans last saw him. He is a much more controlled player, who often exhibits the court vision he learned while mentoring under Nash. A Kyle Lowry injury forced Dragic into a starting role with Houston last season, and during his 28 starts he averaged 18 points and 8.4 assists while shooting 84% from the foul line, 38% from three-point range and 49 percent overall. As a starter last season, Dragic was more efficient than Chris Paul, to put those numbers into perspective. The Suns will miss Nash, but Dragic is more than ready to lead his own team.”
  • Dionte Christmas described the work ethic and the greatness of Jason Terry, from Jessica Camerato of CSNNE: “This guy’s coming in at nighttime when nobody’s in the gym. [Tuesday] it was just like me, him, and the janitor in the gym just getting it in for a good hour, working hard. He does it when nobody’s looking. That’s the stuff that gives me motivation because I like to get work in during the day and rest at night, but I see what it takes to be successful in the league. He’s a champion, he has been very successful over his career, so watching him and talking to him, I know what it takes.”… “Usually when I walk in the gym with someone, I’m usually the best shooter in the gym,” Christmas said. “Flat out, like I know I can shoot better than all these guys. But when I’m in the gym with Jason, I get to really test how good of a shooter I really am . . . Jason is a great shooter and for me to shoot the ball as well as I am with him shows that I really can shoot the ball well at this level.”
  • The newest Hall of Fame member Reggie Miller won’t rule out a front-office job in the future with the Pacers, according to Mike Wells of Indianapolis Star: “Reggie Miller spent his entire professional playing career with the Indiana Pacers. Now he does not rule out returning to the franchise if the right front-office position becomes available. ”I never close any doors,” Miller said. “I listen to everything. (Owner) Herb Simon and I have had this conversation before. So yes, if something presented itself, I would definitely look at it and go from there.” The Pacers have been led by either Donnie Walsh or Larry Bird for nearly the past 30 years.”
  • Andray Blatche was supposed to have agreed in principle on a deal with the Nets, but he is also considering an offer from the Heat, according to Michael Lee of Washington Post: “Former Wizard Andray Blatche is expected to find a new NBA home soon and Yahoo! Sports and ESPN.com are already reporting that he has agreed in principal on a deal with the new-look Brooklyn Nets. But according to two sources close to Blatche, the 6-foot-11 forward has yet to make a decision and is also considering an offer from the Miami Heat. One person close to Blatche said, “Nothing is finalized.”
  • Dwyane Wade has been making several guest appearances on television shows over the past few days. Dan Devine of Ball Don’t Lie has the video of Wade’s latest appearance on “Good Afternoon America”: “On Wednesday, Wade’s whirlwind TV tour took him to ABC’s “Good Afternoon America” for a sit-down with hosts Josh Elliott and Lana Spencer, where the two-time NBA champion took part in a word association game called “What’s the Word?,” in which the hosts showed the guest a picture and he had to say the first thing that came to his mind. First up: The flip-up sunglasses that Wade wore to his postgame press conference after Game 4 of the 2012 NBA finals, which elicited a one-word reply: “Swag.” The second picture: Noted thespian and, apparently, young Wade role model David Hasselhoff.”
Tyson Chandler, btw, says that he's fully healthy after suffering a minor hand injury in the Olympics. #Knicks
@IanBegley
Ian Begley
  • Brian Scalabrine is likely to retire from the NBA and will broadcast games for the Celtics instead, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports: “After 11 NBA seasons as a popular and quirky figure as a player, Brian Scalabrine said his playing career is likely over. Scalabrine told Yahoo! Sports he has turned down a chance to stay with the Chicago Bulls as an assistant coach and has agreed to broadcast 11 early season Boston Celtics games for Comcast Sports New England on what he called “a trial run.” Scalabrine had wanted to play another season in the NBA, but conceded, “There was zero interest [in me]. Not some, but zero.” ”Saying no to Thibs was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” Scalabrine said. “I thought it would be great to work with him and the Bulls, but I think a trial run with TV is the way I want to go right now.”
Free agent Jason Kapono has been working out with the San Antonio Spurs this week, league sources tell Y! Sports.
@WojYahooNBA
Adrian Wojnarowski
  • Don NelsonDon Nelson played “Nellie Ball” only when his teams weren’t good enough to play any other way, from Henry Abbott of True Hoop: “What’s your reaction when you hear people talking about Nellie Ball? How would you define it? I suppose it means small ball, fast and exciting, point forward, players playing out of position … all those kinds of things. It’s kind of funny to me when people talk about stuff like that. I don’t necessarily think it’s accurate. You only play Nellie Ball when you don’t have a very good team, or when you have a bunch of good small players and not many good big players. When you have bad teams, you’ve got to be creative to win games you’re not supposed to win. I was innovative when I had to be, but I wasn’t innovative when I didn’t have to be. When I had good teams and big teams, I didn’t play small ball. When I was in Milwaukee and we had Bob Lanier, we went inside. What I did really was evaluate the team and play the way that I thought we had to play to be the most competitive. If I had a big center, I wouldn’t have played so fast. I would have waited for Lanier to get down [the court] like I did in Milwaukee. Those teams were defensive-oriented and those were my best teams, too, by the way.”
.@ turned 50 today, is in great shape & tells Y! he could play 15-20 min a game in NBA now & would return if a team is serious.
@SpearsNBAYahoo
Marc J. Spears
  • If you’d like to see the newly designed jerseys of the New York Knicks, click here.
  • Dwight Howard wanted his fans to roast him on twitter on Wednesday. He decided to roast some of them back, from IAMAGM: “Dwight Howard engaged in a twitter roast late Wednesday night with his social media fans. A lot of jokes and comedy, all very light-hearted. A few unique comments we were able to find has Dwight Howard yapping about Jermaine O’Neal, Kwame Brown and Derrick Rose. Twitter’s new structure makes it very hard to find when confirmed accounts interact directly with their users.”