Here, watch some NBA mascots jump and fall into stuff, and dancers jump around, and maybe some other stuff.
Here, watch some NBA mascots jump and fall into stuff, and dancers jump around, and maybe some other stuff.
Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin and President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Mike Budenholzer announced earlier today that the organization will retire Dikembe Mutombo’s No. 55 uniform in a special ceremony on November 24th when the Hawks host the Boston Celtics at Philips Arena. The announcement was made during a ceremony recognizing today as Dikembe Mutombo Day in Fulton County.
“There are very few players who have had the impact on- and off-the-court that Dikembe has had, and he’s very deserving of this honor,” Koonin said. “As a player, man and humanitarian, he represents everything we want to be associated with. November 24th is going to be a memorable night in our franchise’s history, in Atlanta, in Fulton County, and for Dikembe and his family.”
Mutombo, who will be enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 11, spent five seasons (343 games) with the Hawks (1996-2001), finishing with averages of 11.9 points, 12.6 rebounds, 3.2 blocks and 1.2 assists in 36.2 minutes (.529 FG%).
He ranks third in franchise history in career field goal percentage (.529), blocks (1,094) and rebounds per game (12.6), seventh in defensive rebounds (3,093) and ninth in offensive rebounds (1,228) and minutes per game. He holds the second (277, 1997-98), fourth (269, 1999-00) and fifth positions (264, 1996-97) on the franchise list for most blocks in a single season, and has the sixth-best field goal percentage season (.562, 1999-00) in club history.
Overall, he played 18 years in the league (1,196 games), ranking second in NBA history in blocked shots (3,289) and 19th in rebounds (12,359), averaging 9.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.0 assists in 30.8 minutes (.518 FG%). He was a four-time Defensive Player of the Year (tied for the most in league history), eight-time All-Star and is the only two-time winner of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award.
Mutombo will join Hawks legends Dominique Wilkins (#21), Lou Hudson (#23), Bob Pettit (#9) and Ted Turner as those honored in Philips Arena’s rafters.
It’s late August and therefore this qualifies as pretty big news even though it doesn’t really affect anything, but Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who has already signed a huge deal that keeps him in Los Angeles, has reportedly decided to find a new agent. Here’s the Los Angeles Times reporting:
DeAndre Jordan’s seemingly never-ending summer saga has taken another twist — the Clippers center has parted ways with his representatives at Relativity Sports, The Times has learned.
Jordan informed agents Dan Fegan and Jarinn Akana last week that he was moving “in another direction,” said an NBA official not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Jordan told his agents of his decision to drop them a few days after the NBA fined the Clippers $250,000 on Aug. 25 for violating rules that prohibit teams from offering players unauthorized business or investment opportunities.
Here’s FIBA.com reporting on Nigeria, who will compete in the 2016 Olympics:
Nigeria beat Angola 74-65 in the Final of AfroBasket 2015 in Rades, Tunisia on Sunday to claim their first-ever continental championship.
Angola went into the game looking to win a 12th African title, but some poor shooting boosted Nigeria’s confidence as they led by as many as 19 points.
The win also saw Nigeria qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
In finishing second, Angola joined third- and fourth-place teams Tunisia and Senegal in booking their places for the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (OQTs).
The Sacramento Kings today announced that Vlade Divac will serve as the Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager moving forward. Hired in March as the V.P. of Basketball and Franchise Operations, his expanded role in the Kings front office emphasizes a commitment to improving the organization on the court and comes in conjunction with Mike Bratz being named Assistant General Manager, Roland Beech as Vice President of Basketball Strategy and Data Science and Peja Stojakovic as Director of Player Personnel and Development.
Entering his third season in the Kings front office, Bratz brings nearly 40 years of basketball experience as a player, coach, scout and front office executive to bear in his position, which includes scouting collegiate, professional and international talent and maintaining player databases, in addition to helping Divac oversee all aspects of the day-to-day operation of the Kings basketball operations department. His Kings lineage connects him to Sacramento as both a player and coach, suiting up for the team during its inaugural 1985-86 campaign in the River City and also as an assistant for seven seasons from 1991-1998.
Beech joins the Kings as Vice President of Basketball Strategy and Data Science after spending the previous decade in a variety of positions with Dallas, most recently serving as the Mavericks Vice President of Basketball Operations. His experience includes time on the bench as an assistant coach during Dallas’ championship season in 2011. A vanguard of the analytics movement since founding 82games.com—a well-respected resource providing innovative, data-driven basketball analysis, Beech has accrued distinctive experiences working on the cutting edge of statistical evaluation as a consultant, coach and front office executive.
Stojakovic rejoins the organization after one of the most successful playing careers in Sacramento Kings annals. In his new role as Director of Player Personnel and Development, he will be responsible for keeping abreast of domestic and international talent pools available to the Kings as well as assisting Divac and Bratz with the team’s scouting efforts. Additionally, Stojakovic will serve as general manager for the Reno Bighorns, Sacramento’s D-League affiliate. Selected 14th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft, the Serbian-born sharpshooter helped form a nucleus that would go on to participate in the postseason in each of his seven seasons in a Kings uniform.
“We’re fortunate as an organization to enter this season with three professionals of this caliber,” said Divac. “Having such individuals as integral members of our basketball operations team offers more than a unique set of basketball philosophies, experiences and instincts, but also a depth of character commonly associated with winning cultures. With Mike, Roland and Peja on board, I’m more confident than ever in the future success of the Sacramento Kings.”
The L.A. Clippers announced today the team has signed free agent center/power forward Chuck Hayes.
According to the Orange County Register, “the one-year minimum deal is not fully guaranteed, and Hayes will have to earn his spot on the Clippers’ roster in the preseason.”
A 10-year NBA veteran, Hayes appeared in 642 career regular season games (244 starts) with Houston, Sacramento and Toronto averaging 3.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 18.4 minutes. Hayes, 32, spent the last two seasons with the Raptors and averaged 1.7 points and 1.8 rebounds in 29 appearances in 2014-15.
After going undrafted in the 2005 NBA Draft, the 6-foot-6 inch Hayes was selected sixth overall in the 2005 NBA D-League Draft by the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, where he played in 15 games before signing with the Rockets as a free agent in January, 2006.
A San Leandro, California native, Hayes played four seasons at the University of Kentucky from 2001-2005, averaging 9.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 blocks in 26.2 minutes. Hayes posted numbers that ranked him seventh in rebounding (910), eighth in steals (170), ninth in blocks (128), 16th in assists (292) and 35th in scoring (1,211 points) on Kentucky’s all-time list.
The Utah Jazz today announced that Jordan Brady has been named an assistant coach on Idaho Stampede Head Coach Dean Cooper’s staff. Brady replaces Andrae Patterson, who joined the Jazz front office staff as player personnel/player programs coordinator earlier this offseason.
“Jordan has a bright future ahead of him,” said Stampede coach Dean Cooper. “He brings a lot of D-League experience from being both a coach and a player. He’s a talented young coach who will be a valuable part of our player development.”
Brady adds a unique combination of both playing and coaching experience at a professional level. Last season, he served as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles D-Fenders, and previously worked as an assistant for the Bakersfield Jam (2013-14) and Iowa Energy (2012-13). Prior to coaching, he played professionally for four seasons, including three in the NBA D-League. He then played two seasons with the Utah Flash (2009-11) before splitting the 2011-12 campaign between the D-Fenders and Stampede. Brady appeared in 15 games for the Stampede, averaging 7.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game. Brady spent the 2008-09 season overseas with Luxembourg Racing.
The Vernal, Utah, native played his final two collegiate seasons at Utah Valley University (2006-08), after having begun his career in junior college (Dawson Community College and Salt Lake Community College).
Enjoy this video showcasing the 60 best NBA crossovers from the 2014-15 season:
Enjoy this video showcasing some of the best hustle plays from the 2014-15 NBA season:
The Utah Jazz have signed free agent forward J.J. O’Brien.
The deal is likely non-guaranteed and merely brings O’Brien to training camp.
O’Brien (6-7, 220, San Diego State) played one season at University of Utah (2010-11) before transferring to San Diego State (2011-15) to finish his collegiate career. He averaged 10.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists during his senior campaign with the Aztecs. O’Brien earned a 2014 All-Mountain West Conference honorable mention after posting eight double-figure scoring efforts and logging two games with 10-or-more rebounds as a junior.
The 23-year-old forward was a member of the Utah Jazz at the 2015 Utah Jazz Summer League where he saw action in all three games, averaging 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 13.0 minutes. He also played with the Jazz entry in the 2015 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, owning averages of 4.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 18.8 minutes.
A native of San Diego, O’Brien played high school basketball at Alta Loma High School in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
The Atlanta Hawks have made hires to their Athletic Performance Team, it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations/Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. Keke (kay-kay) Lyles has been named Executive Director of Player Performance, Art Horne Head Athletic Trainer, Mike Roncarati Director of Rehabilitation and Chris Chase Athletic Performance Coach. They join Assistant Athletic Trainer Scottie Parker on the staff.
“The health and well-being of our players are a critical component of our ability to succeed,” Budenholzer said. “Our Athletic Performance Team has a wealth of experience working with high-level athletes in injury prevention, treatment and development that will serve us well and keep us strong over the course of a long season.”
Lyles will be responsible for overseeing and directing the Athletic Performance Team, and developing personal health and performance plans for each of the players. He spent the past two years with the Golden State Warriors, serving as Director of Athletic Performance/Assistant Coach. Lyles joined the Warriors from the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he was the club’s Strength and Conditioning Coach. He also spent a season with the Indiana Pacers as an Assistant Strength Coach and completed an internship with the Boston Celtics. A native of Redlands, CA, Lyles received his Bachelor’s Degree in Rehabilitation Science and his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Northeastern University.
Horne comes to the Hawks from Northeastern University, where he was Director of Sports Performance, with oversight of the development and care of all varsity student-athletes, while serving as the Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach for the men’s basketball team. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Athletic Training and Physical Education with a teacher education certification from Canisius, and also holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Boston University.
Roncarati served as the Golden State Warriors’ Strength and Conditioning Coach the last two seasons, working previously as a physical therapist and strength and conditioning coach in his home state of Rhode Island. He graduated from Northeastern University with a Doctor of Physical Therapy, working with the athletic training and strength and conditioning staffs of the school’s basketball and baseball teams. A native of Cumberland, RI, Roncarati is a credentialed Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
Chase was most recently with the University of Southern California, where he was an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach. He has previously served as an Assistant Strength Coach at the University of Rhode Island, Springfield College in Massachusetts and American International College in Massachusetts. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from The University of Connecticut and a Master’s Degree in Strength and Conditioning from Springfield College.
Parker is in his second season in Atlanta. He came to the Hawks from Fusionetics Sports Science, and was previously with the Seattle Seahawks, where he was part of the training staff for the 2014 Super Bowl champions. He also has experience with the Portland Trail Blazers and Ontario Warriors arena league football team. A Certified Athletic Trainer by the National Athletic Trainers Association, and a Performance Enhancement Specialist as well as Corrective Exercise Specialist by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, Parker graduated from University of Northwestern (St. Paul, MN) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology and a minor in Coaching. He earned his Master’s Degree from California Baptist University in Riverside, CA in Athletic Training.
Enjoy this video showcasing the explosiveness of Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook:
The following is being sent on behalf of the family of Darryl Dawkins:
STATEMENT FROM THE FAMILY OF DARRYL DAWKINS
“It is with great sadness that we share the passing of our beloved husband and father, Darryl Dawkins, who succumbed today to a heart attack. Darryl touched the hearts and spirits of so many with his big smile and personality, ferocious dunks, but more than anything, his huge, loving heart. His family, wife Janice, children Dara, Tabitha, Nicholas and Alexis, along with countless family, friends, and fans, all mourn his loss. More than anything Darryl accomplished in his basketball career as the inimitable ‘Chocolate Thunder,’ he was most proud of his role and responsibility as a husband and father. We ask that the public please respect our privacy as we grieve his loss.”
In case you just woke up from a year-long coma, LeBron James left the Miami Heat in the summer of 2014 and returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers. And now his Miami home reportedly has a new owner. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:
LeBron James took his talents to Miami, and now he’s taking his money out of it.
James, who played with the Heat for four seasons before returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers last year, sold his Miami home Tuesday for $13.4 million, a source confirmed to ESPN.com.
James paid $9 million in 2010 for the home, which has six bedrooms and eight and a half bathrooms. He sold it to Timo and Nathalia Kipp, who are married Florida real estate investors.
The Los Angeles D-Fenders have hired Paul Woolpert, Brian Walsh and Jermaine Byrd as assistant coaches and have promoted Will Scott to assistant coach/video coordinator, it was announced today by General Manager Nick Mazzella.
“I am pleased to have Paul Woolpert, Brian Walsh, Jermaine Byrd and Will Scott join us as assistant coaches for this upcoming season,” D-Fenders head coach Casey Owens said. “Paul and Brian are veteran coaches who have won multiple championships throughout their careers. Both have been head coaches in the past, and their experience, leadership, and expertise will be invaluable to the organization as we begin this new challenge. Jermaine and Will are D-League veterans, rising young coaches, and have worked extensively with Team USA and the Lakers, respectively. It’s a dynamic staff, and all of us are focused on bringing championship level basketball to El Segundo.”
Woolpert adds nearly 30 years of professional experience to the D-Fenders staff. Woolpert spent the 2014-15 season as lead assistant coach for the Perth Wildcats in the National Basketball League in Australia, after spending the three seasons prior as the head coach of the Townsville Crocodiles. Woolpert served as head coach of the Tulsa 66ers in 2008-09, after spending the previous four seasons as head coach of the Yakima Sun Kings in the Continental Basketball Association. Yakima enjoyed continued success with Woolpert at the helm, winning the CBA Championship in 2006 and 2007, while setting a CBA record for winning percentage, finishing the 2007-08 season with a 43-5 record (.895). Woolpert got his start as a scout and video coordinator for the Seattle SuperSonics in 1986, remaining in the role until 1994. From 1995-2004, Woolpert served as a Continental Basketball Association scout for the Portland Trail Blazers. Woolpert would also coach in other capacities while maintaining those responsibilities, spending time as an assistant coach with the Sioux Falls Skyforce and the Yakima Sun Kings. Woolpert was promoted to head coach of the Sun Kings prior to the 1998 season, winning his first CBA Championship in 2000.
Walsh joins the D-Fenders staff after spending the 2014-15 season as assistant coach at Albuquerque High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Walsh spent the 2012-13 season alongside D-Fenders head coach Casey Owens as an assistant coach for Guaiqueries in Venezuela, after serving as an assistant coach in Belarus, China and Vietnam. In 2006, Walsh got his first head coaching experience with Gambusinos De Fresnillo in Mexico, before joining the Colorado 14ers staff. Walsh spent the 2007-08 season as associate head coach for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, closing out the season as interim head coach. Prior to the 2009-10 season, Walsh took over as head coach of Al Ahli Professional Sports Club, winning the SBL U19 Championship, while reaching the semi-finals of the Arab Nations Cup. Walsh got his start at the professional level with the New Mexico Slam as head coach/director of player personnel, before joining the Baylor University staff as an assistant coach and lead scout. Prior to the 2004-05 season, Walsh joined the Dakota Wizards staff as assistant coach under head coach Casey Owens. The Wizards would finish the season with a league-best record of 32-16. Walsh would then serve as head coach of the Nebraska Cranes of the USBL in 2006, winning the USBL championship. After the season, Walsh joined the Colorado 14ers as an assistant coach. The 14ers reached the D-League Finals in 2007, with Walsh responsible for all scouting and player development responsibilities.
Byrd hails from Houston, Texas and returns to the D-Fenders after serving as an assistant coach for the 2014-15 season. Byrd played a key role in player development, helping Jabari Brown, Vander Blue and Jamaal Franklin earn GATORADE Call-Ups. Prior to joining the D-Fenders staff, Byrd spent the 2013-14 season as an assistant coach with the Sioux Falls SkyForce. Byrd worked his way up within the Tulsa 66ers organization before joining the SkyForce. He served as an assistant coach for the 66ers during the 2011-12 season and was the team’s video coordinator the two seasons prior. In 2011, Byrd served as an assistant coach on the USA Men’s Basketball team during the Pan American Games, helping the team to a bronze medal. Byrd played collegiately at the University of Sioux Falls and led the team to its first NAIA Final Four appearance in school history.
Scott begins his fifth season with the D-Fenders and will continue in his role as video coordinator, while also serving as an assistant coach. Scott’s primary responsibilities include video editing, scouting upcoming opponents and assisting in on-court player development. Scott also assists the Lakers in the video room, and in the summer months he joins the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, serving as their video coordinator and actively participating in practices, having done so each of the past two seasons. While on campus at Indiana University, Scott worked as a student manager and acted as an assistant to the coaching staff. His duties included video editing, supporting practice drills and aiding with in-game operations.
Nina Hsieh returns for her seventh season as head athletic trainer for the D-Fenders. Hsieh monitors the health of the team and is responsible for injury prevention and treatment of the players. Hsieh also assists the Lakers training staff, joining the team for training camp, as well as traveling annually with the team to the NBA Summer League. Hsieh has functioned as athletic trainer for the UC Santa Barbara men’s soccer team (2010-11), along with the women’s basketball team (2004-08).
Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has signed Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to a contract extension. According to multiple reports, the extension is a four-year, $52 million deal.
“Michael is a huge part of what we are trying to build here in Charlotte,” Cho said. “He has dedicated himself to improving and expanding his game. Michael continues to develop on both ends of the court and has become a key piece of our team. We are thrilled that he is a Charlotte Hornet.”
The fourth-year small forward has played the first three seasons of his career in Charlotte after being selected with the second overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. In 2014-15, Kidd-Gilchrist averaged a career-best 10.9 points and 7.6 rebounds in 28.9 minutes over the course of 55 games played (52 starts). His 7.6 rebounds per game ranked first among all small forwards in the NBA. Last season, he registered career highs of 12 double-doubles and 35 double-figure scoring games after totaling one and 14, respectively, the previous season. The University of Kentucky product holds career averages of 9.0 points and 6.1 rebounds in 26.2 minutes per game in 195 career appearances (192 starts) in three seasons in the NBA.
During the 2014-15 campaign, Kidd-Gilchrist posted a net differential of +10.8 points per 100 possessions, the largest differential of any Hornets player (Charlotte was +3.1 with him on the court as opposed to -7.7 with him off the court). His contributions are not limited to the defensive side of the ball, as the Hornets scored 2.7 more points per game with him in the lineup and Kidd-Gilchrist improved his field goal percentage from eight feet from the basket and further by 11.5 percentage points as compared to his first two seasons (.280 from 2012-14 compared to .395 in 2014-15). In the last two seasons under Head Coach Steve Clifford, Kidd-Gilchrist has been an essential component to Charlotte’s success. The team has posted a 62-55 record (.530) with him in the lineup as opposed to a 14-33 record (.298) when he has been unable to play. As a rookie, he was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in November 2012 and was named to the 2013 NBA All-Rookie Second Team.
“I want to thank Hornets ownership, Rich, Chad, Coach Clifford and the entire organization,” said Kidd-Gilchrist. “I’m excited to continue my career in Charlotte and be a part of the Hornets organization moving forward. I can’t wait to get out on the court with my teammates for this upcoming season.”
The Miami HEAT announced today that they have signed center Keith Benson.
Benson has spent the past two seasons playing professionally in Belarus, China, Lithuania and Estonia while previously playing in Italy and the Philippines. He split last season between Neptunas Klaipeda of the Lithuanian Basketball League and BC Kalev/Cramo Tallinn of the Estonian Basketball League. He appeared in 26 games (eight starts) for Neptunas, averaging 5.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 11.8 minutes while shooting 52.3 percent from the field and 80.9 percent from the line. He also appeared in 21 games (all starts) for BC Kalev/Cramo Tallinn last season and averaged 15.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.67 blocks and 27.6 minutes while shooting 54.3 percent from the field and 72.9 percent from the line where he was named to the All-Estonian Third Team.
Benson has appeared in three NBA games, all with Golden State, totaling three rebounds in nine minutes of action. He also has appeared in 44 NBA Development League games (37 starts) while playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce (2011-12) and Erie BayHawks (2012-13), averaging 12.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.59 blocks and 26.0 minutes while shooting 48.3 percent from the field. In his 20 games with the Skyforce, he posted seven double-doubles while scoring in double-figures 18 times. Additionally, he has made appearances in the last three NBA Summer Leagues, mostly recently with the Orlando Magic this season, where he helped the team to the championship game after averaging 12.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.40 blocks and 23.4 minutes in five appearances (two starts). He lead the team blocks (12) and field goals made (24) while placing second in points (64), rebounds (31) and free throws made (16).
Benson was originally drafted in the second round (48th overall) in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks.
New York Knicks rookie guard Jerian Grant did big things at Notre Dame last season, averaging 16.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game, shooting a very impressive 47.8 percent from the field. Enjoy this “DC Clips” highlight video:
The Los Angeles Lakers have signed guard Michael Frazier to a multi-year contract, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.
The 21-year-old Frazier, a 6’4’’ shooting guard, most recently played for the Golden State Warriors in the 2015 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, averaging 4.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 15.8 minutes per game over six contests (all starts).
In his three collegiate seasons at the University of Florida (2012-15), Frazier averaged 9.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 25.7 minutes per game while shooting 44.3% from the field and 43.2% from beyond-the-arc. As a sophomore in 2013-14, Frazier made 118 three-pointers (a Florida single-season record) on an impressive 44.5% clip from deep, while averaging 12.4 points and 30.5 minutes per game, playing a key role in Florida’s run to the 2014 Final Four. That season, Frazier was both an All-SEC Tournament and All-NCAA Tournament South Regional team selection, in addition to his SEC Academic Honor Roll accolades. The Tampa, FL native went undrafted as an early entry in the 2015 NBA Draft.
The NBA announced today that it has fined the Los Angeles Clippers $250,000 for violating NBA rules prohibiting teams from offering players unauthorized business or investment opportunities.
The violation involved a presentation made by the Clippers to free agent DeAndre Jordan on July 2 that improperly included a potential third-party endorsement opportunity for the player. While the NBA’s investigation ultimately concluded that the presentation of this opportunity had no impact on Jordan’s decision to re-sign with the Clippers (especially since he reportedly then agreed to sign with the Dallas Mavericks before later changing his mind), the team’s conduct nevertheless violated the league’s anti-circumvention rules.
The NBA’s anti-circumvention rules prohibit teams from, among other things, providing or arranging for others to provide any form of compensation to a player unless such compensation is included in a player contract or otherwise expressly permitted under the CBA.