UPDATE 4:55 pm: It is official, Ronny Turiaf is a member of the Miami Heat. Let the sideline cheering begin.
The Heat had made runs at bigger name big men this season — Kenyon Martin when he returned from China, Joel Przybilla, others — but this gives them a little more depth up front. He will play behind Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem in the rotation, but he can give them some good defense and hustle for 15 minutes a night.
Turiaf was drafted out of Gonzaga by the Los Angeles Lakers but had to miss his rookie season due to surgery to repair an enlarged heart. He played a couple seasons in Los Angeles followed by stints with the Warriors, Knicks and this season the Wizards.
2:53 pm: Looks like the Heat are going to be adding a little depth to the front line. And a good bench cheering section.
The Heat are close to a deal with Ronny Turiaf, reports our own Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel via twitter.
Agent Mark Bartelstein confirms to Sun Sentinel the Heat are close to signing Ronny Turiaf. “We’re working toward that,” Bartelstein said.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo also reports the sides are close.
This would be a nice pickup — not something that puts them over the top, but provides some needed depth along the front line of a team that had to start Dexter Pittman Tuesday night. Turiaf will bring energy, he only shoots pretty high efficiency shots, he defends hard, he rebounds, you can get a good 15 minutes out of him a night. The guys in the locker room and the fans will like him. He’s solid.
Turaif had been with the Wizards but was traded to Denver as part of the Nene/JaVale McGee swap. The Nuggets promptly bought Turiaf out.
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the Pistons and appeared in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes.
The Bulls announced the move Thursday.
The Wizards are getting a new practice facility.
For some reason, the Wizards have to pay just $4.46 million for it. Washington D.C. will cover the rest.
How much is the rest?
Jonathan O’Connell of The Washington Post:
The District”s sports and convention arm, Events DC, is proposing a series of upgrades to a planned Washington Wizards practice facility and entertainment center in Southeast that would likely reduce the total number of seats but add $10 million to the original $55 million price tag.
The new spending would be paid for by Events DC, which is funded by a percentage of hotel occupancy taxes. It does not require approval by the D.C. Council but will have to be voted on by the Events DC board Aug. 11.
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis pledged to move the team’s practices there as well as home games for the Washington Mystics and a future Wizards’ NBA D-League affiliate team. His company, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, agreed to pay $4.46 million — or 8 percent of the original $55 million cost.
But in a July 26 letter to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive of Events DC, wrote that the original $55 million budget was “based on a preliminary estimate, as development and analysis of the program and concept design had not yet been performed.”
So, the District agreed to pay for a project without knowing how much it would cost and got the primary beneficiary — Leonsis — to kick in a share based on a low early estimate? It’s almost as if politicians are inept or have ulterior motives.
At least Wizards practices and WNBA games will bring plenty of new money into the community.
As Leonsis said, “There’s never been a better time to be an owner of an NBA franchise.”
The Bulls reportedly believe Jimmy Butler has changed as he has emerged into stardom.
Where would they get that idea?
Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:
This is mostly semantic. If Butler — who began his college career at a junior college and was drafted No. 30 — feels he no longer has a chip on his shoulder, that’s how he feels. What is he supposed to do about that? As long as he continues to work hard and finds new sources of motivation, he’ll be fine.
It’s just an unconventional approach. Most players, even once they find success, talk about continuing to be motivated by earlier slights.
Having a chip on his shoulder got Butler far, so it’s a little unnerving to see him switch from a mindset that worked. But people change — sometimes for the better, sometimes not. Chicago has little option but to ride it out as Butler finds himself.