National Sports Briefs: Oden upbeat after first workout
TUALATIN, Ore. ó Greg Oden can still dunk.
That much was clear Tuesday when the top pick in last year’s NBA draft worked out in front of the media for the first time since right knee surgery wiped out his rookie season with the Portland Trail Blazers.
The 7-footer from Ohio State showed no signs of problems in two-on-two work with teammates Steve Blake and Channing Frye and former Arkansas star Steven Hill, a 7-footer invited to practice with Portland. Oden isn’t allowed to go five-on-five until next month.
“I’m feeling good,” Oden said. “I do not have any pain or soreness in my knee.”
Asked whether he noticed Oden favoring his right knee, Frye dismissed it entirely.
“He favors dunking on your head, that’s what he favors,” Frye said after giving up his share to Oden in the workout.
MILWAUKEE ó The Cleveland Cavaliers are getting some help for LeBron James.
With James in Beijing for the Olympics, high-scoring Milwaukee point guard Mo Williams is headed to Cleveland as part of a three-team trade that also involves Oklahoma City.
The six-player deal completed Wednesday reshapes the rebuilding Bucks while giving Cleveland an additional scoring threat and Oklahoma City an instant fan favorite in Desmond Mason in the first year of the franchise’s move from Seattle.In exchange for Williams, who averaged 17.2 points per game last season in the first year of a six-year, $51.5 million contract, the Bucks receive Damon Jones from Cleveland along with guard Luke Ridnour and forward Adrian Griffin from Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City gets Mason from Milwaukee and former No. 1 pick Joe Smith from Cleveland.
– ATLANTA ó The Atlanta Hawks signed free-agent guard Ronald “Flip” Murray on Wednesday.Murray, a six-year veteran, can play both guard spots. He joins Maurice Evans as free-agent additions to the backcourt after the Hawks lost sixth man Josh Childress, who stunned the team last month by signing with Greek powerhouse Olympiakos.
RALEIGH ó Marques Johnson is on the move again.
North Carolina State said Wednesday that the point guard is leaving the program and the school. Johnson has not said where he plans to transfer.
Johnson played only part of one season with the Wolfpack after transferring from Tennessee.
After sitting out the first semester of last season, he started six games at point guard and averaged 2.0 points and 1.2 assists in 21 outings.
Coach Sidney Lowe says Johnson “felt it would be in his best interest to take advantage of an opportunity somewhere else.”
– MORGANTOWN, W.Va. ó West Virginia and three other schools that made deep runs in the NCAA tournament will meet in the Jimmy V Classic doubleheader on Dec. 9 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The 14th annual event, announced Wednesday, is named in honor of the late N.C. State coach Jim Valvano and benefits The V Foundation for Cancer Research.
West Virginia and Davidson will play at 7 p.m. EST. Texas will play Villanova at 9 p.m. Both games will be shown on ESPN.