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Blazer assistant takes team to court

9/30/2005 - NBA

Portland Trail Blazers: Blazers assistant coach Tim
Grgurich has filed a lawsuit against the team to allow him to seek
a new job as a coach elsewhere, according to court documents.

The suit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court, also asks for
$114,583 that Grgurich claims the team has withheld since July, as
well as additional damages. It includes a temporary restraining
order that would allow Grgurich to accept a job with another team.

Blazers president Steve Patterson countered the team has granted
the Denver Nuggets permission to talk to Grgurich, a veteran
assistant.

The suit said that new Blazers head coach Nate McMillan informed
Grgurich on July 13 that he was not wanted as an assistant. A day
later, the team sent Grgurich a letter telling him he was suspended
without pay because he did not work with the team's summer league
team.

"He is under contract," Patterson told The Oregonian
newspaper. "He has refused to render his services, and so we have
not paid him for his services, although we've kept him on his
medical insurance."

Grgurich was hired in July 2004 under former coach Maurice
Cheeks. He signed a two-year contract, with a base salary of
$550,000, that expires in July, 2006.

Charlotte Bobcats:
Restricted free-agent guard Keith Bogans re-signed with the team Friday. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Bogans averaged 9.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 74
games for the Bobcats last season. The 6-5, 215-pound guard was
acquired by Charlotte from Orlando on Nov. 1 in exchange for
forward Brandon Hunter.

Seattle SuperSonics:
The team re-signed reserve guard Mateen Cleaves and invited six free agents to training camp, which begins on Tuesday.
Cleaves appeared in 14 games for Seattle last season, averaging
0.9 points with a high of eight points against Houston. He also
played for Seattle's summer league team.
Seattle extended invitations to Noel Felix (Fresno State), Roger Powell (Illinois), Alex Scales (Oregon), Tre Simmons (Washington), Omar Thomas (Texas El-Paso) and Ezra Williams (Georgia).

Miami Heat:
The team signed restricted free-agent forward Jason Kapono to an offer sheet.

Charlotte will now have up to seven days to match the Heat's offer. The Bobcats extended a qualifying offer to Kapono in June.

Kapono averaged 8.5 points and 2.0 rebounds in 81 games with the Bobcats last season. The former UCLA standout had 35 double-digit scoring games and ranked 13th in the league in 3-point shooting.

Kapono was originally drafted by Cleveland with the 31st pick in the 2003 draft, before Charlotte selected him in the 2004 expansion draft.

New Orleans Hornets:
Brandon Bass signed with team after being drafted in the second round out of
LSU.

Bass was the 33rd overall pick by the Hornets, who will play 35
home games in Oklahoma City this season because of hurricane damage
in New Orleans.

He was the Southeastern Conference player of the year last
season as a sophomore. Bass was second in the SEC in rebounding
(9.1) and third in scoring (17.3).

Denver Nuggets:
The team got one of its reserves back in the fold after re-signing guard Greg Buckner. Terms were not disclosed.

Buckner played in 70 games -- 41 starts -- in his first year with the Nuggets, averaging 6.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.07
steals in nearly 22 minutes. Along with his defensive presence, Buckner shot career highs from the floor (.528, 160 of 303) and
from the arc (.405, 49 of 121).

His presence became more invaluable to the team after starter Voshon Lenard tore his Achilles tendon in the season opener.

Phoenix Suns:
The team signed rookie free agent Anthony Lever-Pedroza to a contract Friday, completing its 15-man roster for training camp.

Lever-Pedroza, the son of former Arizona State and NBA star Lafayette "Fat" Lever, has played two professional seasons in
Mexico and averaged 9.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in
four games for the Mexican National Team at the FIBA Americas
Championship from Aug. 24-Sept. 4.

A native of Tucson, Ariz., Lever-Pedroza played three years of college ball at Oregon, setting the school season record for
3-point accuracy with 50 percent (53-of-106) in 2001-02.

Utah Jazz:
Restricted free-agent guard Keith McLeod agreed to terms with the Jazz Friday. Terms were not released.
McLeod, who made the Jazz as a free agent last fall and ended up as the starter much of the season. He started 47 of the 53 games he played for Utah, averaging 7.8 points and 4.5 assists.
McLeod, rookie Daron Williams and Milt Palacio will be Utah's point guards when the team opens training camp next week in Boise, Idaho.
Before joining the Jazz, McLeod played in 33 games with the
Minnesota Timberwolves in 2003-04. He went undrafted out of Bowling
Green in 2002.

Washington Wizards: Coach Eddie Jordan isn't satisfied with the Wizards getting their first playoff series win in 23 seasons, the Washington Times reported. Jordan says his team can do even better.

"Yes, I do," Jordan said when asked if likes this year's team better than the one that defeated the Chicago Bulls in the first round before falling to the Miami Heat in the second.

"I like the fact that we have Calvin Booth, an experienced third center and a solid veteran," Jordan told the Times. "We have forwards who can post up and face up and play off the dribble. I think we're bigger in the backcourt. Last year we had Steve [Blake] and Juan [Dixon], good players but smaller guys that I think other teams felt they could take advantage of. And we have more playoff experience, guys who have had career years in Caron and Antonio. So I like this roster better, yes."