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Ginobili's status 'between questionable to probable'

10/31/2005 - NBA

San Antonio Spurs: Manu Ginobili is "somewhere between questionable to probable" for the Spurs' season opener Tuesday, coach Gregg Popovich told the San Antonio Express-News.

Ginobli suffered a right quadriceps bruise in practice on Saturday and missed practice Sunday because of the pain.

"He got whacked pretty good," Popovich told the paper. "We'll see how he is [Tuesday]."

Boston Celtics: Hall of Famer Bill Russell is leaving his post as team consultant, which he has held for six years.

According to the Boston Globe, Russell, who lives in Seattle and is active on the legends tour, wasn't always available when the Celtics needed him. Team spokesman Jeff Twiss told the Globe there is "no bitterness" from either Russell or the Celtics about the split.

Russell had worked with the team in a variety of areas, including basketball operations, marketing and community relations. But although he always attended games when the Celtics played in Seattle, he usually only traveled to Boston when he had other business matters to attend to. The Globe reported that the team wanted someone who would be more of a presence.

According to the Globe, other legends will continue to work with the Celtics, including Bob Cousy, who works as a marketing consultant, and Jo Jo White, the director of special projects. In addition, Robert Paris plans to have a new and expanded role with the team this season.

Washington Wizards: Caron Butler signed a five-year contract extension, a move of stability for a player who has been with three teams as he starts his fourth NBA season.

The 25-year-old swingman, acquired with Chucky Atkins in the offseason trade that sent Kwame Brown to the Lakers, would have become a restricted free agent at the end of the season had he not signed a deal before midnight Monday.

"It's a great place to play -- and a great place to stay also," said Butler, who has bounced from Miami to the Lakers to the Wizards since the Heat made him the No. 10 overall pick in 2002. "I fit in here. The offense fits me."

Butler started 77 games and averaged 15.5 points and 5.8 rebounds last season for the Lakers, but he will start the season as the sixth man for the Wizards after losing out in a three-way preseason competition for two starting spots. Jared Jeffries will open at shooting guard, and Antonio Daniels will be the small forward.

"If that's where they need me to play to win basketball games, then so be it," Butler said. "I'm still a starter in my own mind. I'm just going to produce and get it done."

Los Angeles Lakers: The team exercised the fourth-year contract option on forward Brian Cook.

Cook's 2006-07 option is worth $1.514 million.

The 24th overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft, Cook has averaged 5.7 points in two seasons. The 6-11 Cook averaged 6.4 points 3.0 rebounds in 72 games last season.

At Illinois, Cook was the 2003 Big Ten Conference Player of the Year.

Also Monday, the Lakers waived forward/center Corie Blount.

Blount, signed in the offseason as a free agent, missed the Lakers eight preseason games with a sprained left foot.

Detroit Pistons-Minnesota Timberwolves: The Pistons traded forward Ronald Dupree to the Timberwolves for a future second-round pick, clearing a roster spot for rookie guard Alex Acker.

Dupree averaged 3.2 points in 47 games last season after signing a two-year contract with the Pistons. The 6-foot-7 forward averaged 6.2 points as a rookie with Chicago in 2003-04 season after almost making Detroit's team as an undrafted free agent.

The Pistons made the move to clear a spot on the roster for Acker, the 60th and final pick overall. The 6-foot-5 guard entered the draft after his junior season at Pepperdine.

New Orleans Hornets: The Hornets exercised a team option on forward David West on Monday, keeping him with the team through the end of the 2006-07 season.

West, the 18th overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft, averaged 6.2 points and 4.3 rebounds in 30 games for the Hornets last season, including eight starts. He missed 55 games after suffering a right knee contusion in December.

"David had a frustrating year due to injuries last season, but he has shown great signs during training camp that he is back to where he needs to be," said Hornets general manager Jeff Bower. "We look forward to him picking up where he left off before he got hurt and continuing to develop this season."

West has averaged 6 points and 5.2 rebounds in six preseason games for the Hornets, who will play most of their home schedule in Oklahoma City this season.

Wolves waive Ebi: The Timberwolves gave up on former first-round draft pick Ndudi Ebi, waiving the 21-year-old forward after acknowledging two years of work wasn't enough to prepare him for NBA competition.

Ebi's $803,600 salary for this season is guaranteed, but the Timberwolves saw little hope of him getting any playing time.

"That didn't sit very well with him," said vice president Kevin McHale, who made Ebi the 26th overall selection in the 2003 draft out of Westbury Christian High School in Houston. "He really needs to play."

Cleveland Cavaliers: The team exercised the fourth-year contract option on Sasha Pavlovic, a move that will keep the swingman with the club through the 2006-07
season.

Pavlovic averaged 4.8 points and 1.1 rebounds in 65 games last season for the Cavs, who traded a first-round draft pick to the Bobcats for the 21-year-old in June 2004.

"Sasha is a talented young player," Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry said. "With continued hard work, Sasha can play an important part in our team's future."

Pavlovic, from Serbia-Montenegro, was originally selected with the 19th overall pick in the 2003 draft by Utah and has averaged 4.8 points and 1.6 rebounds in 144 career games.

New Jersey Nets: Assistant coach Gordon Chiesa has resigned for family reasons.

Chiesa was hired by the Nets in June after spending 16 seasons as an assistant with the Jazz. Prior to that, he was head coach at Providence College in 1987-88 and at Manhattan College from 1981-85.

"Gordie is a tremendous coach and a good friend, and it's very unfortunate that things didn't work out," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said Monday. "We're going to miss him."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.