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NBA Rumors for Thursday, August 28
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[James] Harden’s responsibilities increased once more when Kevin Durant, his close friend and former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate, backed out of his commitment, citing fatigue and not the injury to George as the reason. That left the lefty Harden as the only first-team all-NBA player remaining on the squad. The earlier withdrawals of Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook also meant that Harden and Anthony Davis were the only holdovers from the 2012 London Olympics team. Washington Post
“Right now, I think I would look to Harden as that leader,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said as his team continues to prepare for the tournament in which the winner earns an automatic berth in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. “Harden is kind of a natural leader and he seems to be willing to accept that role. And you can just kind of feel it and sense. He’s the one.” Washington Post
Harden accepted blame for the Rockets’ six-game flameout against Portland in the first round of the playoffs. He averaged a team-best 26.8 points but is eager to redeem himself after shooting a miserable 37.6 percent from the field. “I’m definitely motivated,” Harden said after coming up short in the playoffs. “Everything is a learning experience for me. I’m trying to do my best to not let that happen again. I put that on myself, just playing bad and not really carrying the team like I needed to do.” Washington Post
The Miami HEAT announced today that they have signed guard Shannon Brown. Brown, an eight-year NBA veteran, has appeared in 403 career NBA regular season games (58 starts) and averaged 7.7 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 18.0 minutes while shooting 42 percent from the field, 33.1 percent from three-point range and 80.7 percent from the foul line. He split the 2013-14 season between the San Antonio Spurs and New York Knicks, appearing in 29 total games (one start) and averaging 2.2 points and 1.0 rebounds in 8.7 minutes of action while shooting 36.4 percent from the field. Inside Hoops
Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed forward Tarik Black, a participant on the team’s Orlando and Las Vegas Summer League squads. Black (6-8, 253, Kansas), appeared in 135 contests and held career averages of 8.4 points on 61.4% FG shooting, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks over the course of his four-year NCAA career. In his lone season at Kansas, he was named Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and went on to average 15.0 points per game in the NCAA Tournament. In three years at Memphis, Black was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team, All-Defensive Team and All-Tournament Team. Inside Hoops
The Los Angeles Clippers today announced that President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Doc Rivers has agreed to a contract that will keep him with the team through the end of the 2019 season. “This is an important day for this organization,” Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said. “I am excited to work with Doc for a long time as we build a championship culture that will deliver results both on and off the court. Not only is Doc one of the best coaches and executives in the game, but he continually embodies the hard core, committed and resilient character and winning culture that the Clippers represent. It was one of my top priorities to ensure that he was firmly in place as the long-term leader of this team.” Inside Hoops
Rivers took over as head coach of the Clippers in June 2013 and led Los Angeles to the best record in franchise history (57-25, .695) and a second straight Pacific Division title. He became President of Basketball Operations on June 16, 2014. Inside Hoops
“Steve has shown a clear and determined desire to make the Clippers one of the most elite, first-class and championship organizations in all of professional sports,” Rivers said. “We know we have work to do to get there, but I am motivated by the challenge and thankful for the opportunity to stand together with Steve as we continue to move toward our goal of winning an NBA title.” Inside Hoops
The deal will pay Rivers more than $50 million, a figure first reported by Yahoo! Sports. At more than $10 million per year, Rivers is believed to be the highest-paid coach in American professional sports, though he’s also the team’s primary basketball decision maker. OC Register
Ballmer paid a record-breaking $2 billion for the Clippers – the most for any NBA franchise by an enormous margin. OC Register
Donald Sterling’s opportunity for the longest of long shots to hold onto the Clippers – an appeal to the state’s Supreme Court – came and went Wednesday without a peep from his legal team. An appeal would have represented Sterling’s last chance to undo the sale of the team. But the deadline passed as Sterling and his lawyers decided not to continue to fight Judge Michael Levanas’ ruling that Shelly Sterling acted in accordance with the family trust in selling the team to Ballmer. Levanas also ruled the sale could continue while the case was under appeal. OC Register
The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has signed free-agent guard Kevin Murphy. Murphy (6-6, 185, Tennessee Tech) finished the 2013-14 season with the Idaho Stampede, where he ranked second in the league in scoring and was named to the 2014 All-D-League First Team. He appeared in 34 games (24 starts) for the Stampede, averaging 25.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals in 35.9 minutes and scoring in double figures in 30 games, including 20-plus points in 27 contests and 30-or-more points 13 times. Inside Hoops
Island Hoops, a Sint Maarten youth basketball academy, presents the 2nd Annual Iman Shumpert Basketball Skills Camp at Melford Hazel Sports Complex on Soualiga Road, located in the Sucker Garden neighborhood, September 6 and 7 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in St. Maarten. The sports camp is free, and all young basketball players (general ages 6-17) are encouraged to attend, dressed to play and ready to learn and have fun. Local fireman and youth organizer Paul Bell founded Island Hoops to give young athletes the opportunity to continue to develop their basketball skills and grow as a player. The sports camp was made possible by local businesses and citizens working together to make this free and available to all. Sponsors for 2014 include SportConvo.com, Seven Seas Water, The American Clinic, and InsideHoops.com. InsideHoops
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