Wednesday, September 12, 2012

After a Long Journey, Miami Heat Center Mickell Gladness Hopes to Stick in South Beach

Miami Heat center Mickell Gladness didn't have the easiest road to South Beach-but now he's found his way back.

After graduating from Alabama A&M with a career 396 blocks, Gladness saw the 2008 NBA draft come and go without a mention of his name. A defensive gem seemed to have fallen through the cracks, but that didn't deter him from pursuing his career as pro basketball player. 

The former Bulldog took his talents overseas to the Netherlands, where he joined the Matrixx Magix Nijmegen for one season. After playing one year in Europe, Gladness  split his next three years between the Rio Grand Vally Vipors and the Dakota Wizards in the NBA's D-League.

Last season Gladness caught the eye of the Miami Heat and finally broke into the league he had been working towards for so many years. 

Gladness appeared in only 8 games last season for the Heat before becoming a free agent after his 10-day contract expired. He soon caught on with Golden State and finished out the season with the Warriors averaging 3.0 points and 2.6 rebounds.

With a new season set to begin, the former Warrior has caught on with a familiar team in Miami. The Heat have signed Gladness to a non-guaranteed training camp contract, and while their roster stands at 15 now, they can bring up to 20 players to training camp, which begins September 29.

Until then, the Heat center says he is just happy to be back with Miami.

"Right now I'm in the place I want to be," Gladness told Talkin Hoopz. "I've dreamed about playing here, and excelling here."

Excelling in South Beach with such a crowded roster may be a tough thing to do, but the lack of size and depth in Miami play in Mickell's favor.

Joel Anthony and Dexter Pittman primarily serve as the Heat's centers, with Chris Bosh rumored to get some spot starts at the position. If Gladness can create some seperation from Jarvis Varnado, who signed a similar non-guaranteed contract, then the big man from Alabama could make the final roster. Bosh as a regular starting center will not happen, he can't swing with opposing centers on a night to night basis and still be expected to contribute significantly on the offensive end.

Gladness has all the tools to make it in the NBA, and with training camp opening at the end of the month, he'll get the opportunity to show out and prove he deserves to play along side Lebron James and D-Wade.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

NBA Roundup: Nets get their Man, Knicks Get to Work, and the Bulls talk Extension

Nets Agree to Deal with Andray Blatche

The Nets have agreed to take on the Andray Blatche project-at least for one year.

The former Wizard has accepted to join the team for the veteran’s minimum, where he will serve primarily as a backup for Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez.

Blatche was amnestied by Washington, and will make $23.3 million over the next three years.

Blatche averaged 16.8 points and 8.3 rebounds in 2010-11, but only appeared in 26 games last year, and saw a major drop off in production.

All Business in New York, as Knicks get to Work

Knicks forward Steve Novak told ESPN the Knicks are gearing up for the season with a "pre-training camp".

The camp will begin Monday and run through October 1.

Last season, the lockout hurt the Knicks ability work on their chemistry, and it showed throughout the year. The front line of Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Tyson Chandler didn't live up to the hype. The three didn't play well on the offensive end of the court together, and the franchise suffered because of it.

Now, with a full off season, two legit point guards, and new coach, the Knicks will look to finish better than the lower tier of playoff teams, and finally begin their push for a championship.

Bull Look to Keep Tibbs in Chicago

The Chicago Bulls and head coach Tom Thibodeau have resumed contract talks.

"Tibbs" is entering the final year of his deal, and if Chicago was wise, they'd listen to his demands.

The 2011 NBA Coach of the Year has had his success, and shortcomings with the Bulls, but losing the leagues MVP in the playoffs is not an easy thing to overcome.

We fully expect a deal to be worked out, and Thibodeau to be back in Chicago after the upcoming season.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Knicks and Nets Looking To Bolster Front Lines

The Knicks and Nets continue to play in free agency, as both teams are rumored to be looking for some big help.

The Knicks are reportedly interested in Sean Williams. Nets fans should remember him since he spent three years with the club from 2007-09. The former Boston College standout was recently released by Houston, and has been linked to numerous teams such as Miami, Minnesota, and now New York.

He's averaging 3.6 points and 2.3 rebounds per game throughout his four-year career.

The Nets however are looking for a little more talent with Andray Blatche.

A player with enormous talent, the former Wizard could be more of problem than solution for Brooklyn.

Blatche was amnestied by Washington, and will make $23.3 million over the next three years. While he said he is open to signing for the veterans minimum, only time will tell if he means what he says.

During his breakout year in 2010-11, Blatche averaged 16.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. If he could bring his talent the Barclay's Center, and leave his ego at home, the Nets could have found the comeback player of the year.