Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Nets make qualifying offer to keep ex-Bearcat Martin

NBA notebook

The Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The New Jersey Nets have made a qualifying offer to All-Star power forward Kenyon Martin.

A restricted free agent, Martin will be eligible to talk with any team during the first two weeks of July. The Nets will have 15 days to match any offer he receives, team president Rod Thorn said Tuesday.

The offer was extended to Martin Monday. Last season, Martin averaged 16.7 points and 9.5 rebounds a game and was selected to his first All-Star team. He has said he wants to stay with the Nets.

Also, the Nets promoted Ed Stefanski to general manager. Stefanski served as senior vice president of basketball operations last season. He was the Nets' director of scouting the previous four years.

SPURS: Guard Manuel Ginobili hopes to sign a long-term contract with San Antonio.

"I would love to stay in San Antonio; that would be ideal," Ginobili said. "The only thing that might woo me away is a considerably higher offer or a longer contract."

The Spurs have suggested they will match any reasonable offer. Since Ginobili is currently under contract with San Antonio, the team has the option of offering him a deal up to seven years.

Ginobili said he wants to complete any deal in the next few days so he can concentrate on training with Argentina's basketball team for the Athens Olympics.

MAGIC: Television color analyst Jack "Goose" Givens denied he molested a 14-year-old girl, the statement coming hours after he was arrested on sexual battery and lewd molestation charges.

"That is absolutely not true," Givens, 47, told reporters after he was released from jail on $25,000 bond. "Nothing happened. My character and my reputation speak for itself."

Sheriff's deputies arrested Givens at his home late Monday and seized a computer. The former University of Kentucky star inappropriately touched and fondled the girl, according to an arrest affidavit. The girl didn't consent to being touched, investigators said, and was underage.

RAPTORS: Sam Mitchell understands there might be questions about his inexperience as a head coach going into his first season leading Toronto. So he has a few answers. Mitchell, hired just two years after he retired as a player, will rely on his assistants to help him out.

Mitchell, who played in the NBA for 13 years, was an assistant coach for the expansion Charlotte Bobcats for the past month. After playing for Minnesota and Indiana, Mitchell spent two years as an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks before leaving for Charlotte.

"I understand the concerns ... that's why we're going to have a great support staff around me," said Mitchell, expected to add longtime NBA assistant Jim Todd to his staff. "We're going to have guys that have coached many years."

The Raptors gave Mitchell a three-year contract worth $5 million. Mitchell was a candidate for the Raptors' job last season before it went to Kevin O'Neill, who was fired after a 33-49 season.

BOBCATS: Charlotte wasted no time replacing Mitchell, hiring former Notre Dame player Gary Brokaw as the lead assistant .

HORNETS: New Orleans hired NBA Hall of Famer Willis Reed as vice president of basketball operations. Reed will assist general manager Allan Bristow and director of personnel Jeff Bower in making roster decisions.

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