WILLIAMS GOING TO SPAIN; LANG TO ITALY
* The overseas career of former Tar Heel and NBA veteran Shammond Williams will move from Russia (UNICS Kazan) to Barcelona, Spain. The Winterthur F.C. Barcelona basketball club announced last week that they have reached an agreement with Williams for the coming season with contract signing and medical tests to follow prior to an official presentation in Barcelona later this week.
Barcelona's general manager, Zora Savic, has been impressed by Williams and describes him as "good with the ball, good at scoring from the outside. He knows how to defend and how to change the pace of the game, very quick and good at taking players on." It took some time to get the deal done, but Savic said, "He's a player who's worth the effort. I think he'll be very useful for the team."
Williams, 30, will be Barca's point guard with Bootsy Thornton (St. John's) recently signed as the team's shooting guard. Another talented guard on the roster is Juan Carlos Navarro, 25, a second-round selection in 2002 by the Washington Wizards.
* Kris Lang has signed to play the 2005-06 season with Virtus Bologna in Italy, the team has reported. Virtus Bologna was a second-division team last season, but will move to Italy's top division (Series A) after gaining a promotion with a second-place finish.
Lang's teammates in Bologna, Italy, include Christian Drejer (Florida) and David Bluthenthal (Southern Cal).
LANG, USA 1-3 IN BRAZIL
* After four training games with the USA World Championship Qualifying Team (1-3) in Brazil, a 1-2 record in the COPA International Tournament and a 100-96 loss to Brazil on Sunday in Sao Paulo, Kris Lang has been in all four games, a starter in two, and has the following stats so far: 15.5 mpg, 4.3 rpg, 3.5 ppg (4-15 FG, 6-11 FT), three turnovers, two blocks and one assist.
"Alex Scales (Oregon) had a sensational game [in the game 4 exhibition versus Brazil], ... one night it might be Charlie Bell (Michigan State), the next night it might be Scales [or] somebody else. If we can find that guy and get him hot, then we have a chance to be good. I also thought our big guys played really good, they battled, it was a very physical game," said USA coach Mo McHone, according to the www.usabasketball.com game report.
"In my opinion, having these kind of officials (two refs from Brazil, the U.S. with no free throws and Brazil with nine free throws in the first quarter) in this [very hostile] environment is a wonderful experience for us. This is definitely getting us ready to go to the Dominican Republic. We're improving every game," explained McHone on the progress he thinks his team of non-NBA players has made while prepping for the upcoming FIBA Americas World Championship qualifying event next week in the Dominican Republic.
Another exhibition game against Brazil is scheduled for Tuesday in Brusque, Brazil. The USA squad will then return to Miami and train at the Miami Heat practice facility Aug. 19-21, then on Aug. 22 they head to the Dominican Republic for more training and the Aug. 24-Sept. 4 Tournament of the Americas competition.
DAVIS TO ESPN
* Last Friday, the Chapel Hill News provided coverage about Hubert Davis completing his eighth annual YMCA Basketball Camp held at the Dean Smith Center.
One year removed from being a 13-year veteran of the NBA, Davis mentioned in the article that he misses playing the game, but he doesn't miss the travel and putting ice on his knees. After being with the Dallas Mavericks last season as an assistant coach involved in player devlopment, Davis is looking forward to a new assignment for this season.
"My family and I are going to move back to Chapel Hill in September, and I am going to be commentating college basketball for ESPN," Davis told the Chapel Hill News. "I can't wait to get back here." Davis got some broadcasting experience last season when he filled in on the radio for the New York Knicks when Walt Frazier was not available.
As for the basketball camp, it has grown from 37 participants in 1998 to 70 campers and a waiting list now. "It's just a blessing from God. He's just really allowed this camp to blossom, and the kids just love being here in the Smith Center," Davis stated, according to the CHN article.
CHECKING THE NUMBER$
* Shortly after the '05 NBA Draft, with the league's Collective Bargaining Agreement still not finalized, the July 5, 2005 edition of Tar Heel Pros News & Notes gave an estimate on the rookie salaries of the Tar Heels selected in the draft's first round. Marvin Williams (No. 2 - Atlanta) at about $3.3 million, Raymond Felton (No. 5 - Charlotte) at $2.4M, Sean May (No. 13 - Charlotte) at $1.4M and Rashad McCants (No. 14 - Minnesota) about $1.3M, we figured at that time.
Well, the 2005-06 NBA Rookie Salary Scale is now official since the CBA has been ratified. The NBA press release of the 1st Year Salary column for the aforementioned reads as follows:
2: Marvin Williams – $3,236,300
5: Raymond Felton – $2,372,800
13: Sean May – $1,349,400
14: Rashad McCants – $1,282,000
(Overall some pretty good work by the THPN&N bean counters to get some early, and nearly accurate, salary figures.)
Also of interest from the new CBA, this year's rookie contract scale for first-rounders provides for only two guaranteed seasons with two separate one-year options by the team for seasons 3 and 4. Previously, first-round picks had three guaranteed seasons with a team option for year four.
The guaranteed 2nd-year is a 7.5 percent increase over the 1st-year. The 3rd-year option salary is at an increase of almost 7 percent of the 2nd-year salary. A 4th-year contract renewal carries a significant increase from the 3rd-year, jumping 26.1 percent (of $4.16M) for the number 1 pick and escalating up to 80.5 percent increases for selections 28, 29 and 30 (of about $831,000).