The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed guard Marcus Thornton to a 10-day contract, Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman announced today.

Thornton will be assigned to the Canton Charge before tomorrow night’s Charge game against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in Canton.

Thornton (6-4, 190) has played in 37 games (32 starts) this season with the Canton Charge, the Cavaliers’ exclusively owned and operated NBA G League team, averaging 18.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists while shooting .408 from three-point range in 36.1 minutes per game. He was recently selected to the USA Men’s World Cup Qualifying Team that will participate in the upcoming FIBA World Cup Qualifying first round.

Thornton spent the 2016-17 season with Consultinvest VL Pesaro in the Italian LBA, averaging 13.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 28.5 minutes over 30 games (21 starts). He also appeared in 12 contests with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA G League and 28 games with the Sydney Kings of the Australian NBL in 2015-16.

The 6-4 guard played four years collegiately at William & Mary and was originally selected by the Boston Celtics with the 45th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

The Atlanta Hawks today signed guard Antonius Cleveland to a 10-day contract.

Earlier this season, Cleveland was on a two-way contract with Dallas, appearing in 13 games with the Mavericks. In seven NBA G League games this season (six with the Austin Spurs and one with the Texas Legends), he’s averaged 13.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.7 steals in 26.6 minutes (.547 FG%, .500 3FG%, .826 FT%).

Cleveland played four years at Southeast Missouri State (2013-17) and in 33 starts as a senior, put in 16.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals in 32.9 minutes. He finished his high school career at Faith Baptist Christian Academy in Ludowici, GA after beginning at Overton High School in his hometown of Memphis, TN.

He will wear jersey No. 0.

The Indiana Pacers today signed Trey McKinney Jones to a 10-day contract.

The 6-5, 220-pound guard was in the Pacers’ training camp before joining the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the Pacers’ G League affiliate. He played in 26 games for the Mad Ants, averaging 11.4 points per game.

The Pacers are 33-25 so far this season, which is the 5th best record in the Eastern conference. They’re being led in scoring this season by All-Star shooting guard Victor Oladipo at 24.4 ppg. Six Pacers players, including Oladipo, are averaging double-digit scoring.

According to Bobby Marks of ESPN, “McKinney-Jones was a training camp casualty in 2013 with Milwaukee and this past October with the Pacers. The 27 year-old will earn $46K.”

The New Orleans Pelicans today signed free agent guard Walter Lemon Jr. to a 10-day contract.

Lemon, Jr., 6-3, 180, has appeared in 36 games this season with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA G League, posting averages of 22.7 points while shooting .495 from the field, 4.6 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.1 steals.

Undrafted out of Bradley University of 2014, Lemon, Jr. has also played internationally in Hungary, Germany, Turkey and Greece.

Lemon, Jr. will wear #25 for the Pelicans.

New Orleans’ roster stands at 16, including one two-way player (Charles Cooke).

The Portland Trail Blazers signed guard/forward Brandon Rush to a 10-day contract today.

A nine-year NBA veteran, Rush (6-6, 220) holds career averages of 6.8 points (42.6% FG, 40.2% 3-PT, 70.6% FT), 2.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 481 games (163 starts) playing for Indiana, Golden State, Utah and Minnesota. Rush played 47 games (33 starts) for the Timberwolves during the 2016-17 season, averaging 4.2 points (37.4% FG, 38.6% 3-PT, 72.2% FT), 2.1 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 21.9 minutes.

Rush was originally selected by the Trail Blazers with the 13th pick of the 2008 NBA draft before being traded to the Indiana Pacers.

He will wear No. 21 for the Trail Blazers.

The Phoenix Suns have signed guard Shaquille Harrison to a 10-day contract, calling him up from the Northern Arizona Suns of the NBA G League.

Phoenix has also released guard Josh Gray.

The team’s roster remains at 17 players.

Harrison, a 6-4, 190-pound guard, will be making his NBA debut when he first appears for the Suns. In 36 games with the NAZ Suns this season he averaged 11.0 points, shooting 46.4 percent from the field, 4.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.9 steals (10th in G League). In five games after taking over the starting point guard role on February 2, Harrison averaged 14.0 points on 48.3 percent shooting, 9.2 assists, 7.0 rebounds and 2.4 steals, guiding the NAZ Suns to a 4-1 record in those games. On February 9 at the South Bay Lakers, Harrison scored 25 points and dished out a career-high 12 assists.

The 33rd GATORADE Call-Up in the NBA this season and league-high fourth from the NAZ Suns, Harrison has averaged 10.3 points on 45.8 percent shooting, 4.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 steals in 84 career G League games, all with the NAZ Suns over the past two seasons.

The 24-year-old went unselected in the 2016 NBA Draft out of the University of Tulsa. In addition to two seasons with the Suns’ NBA G League affiliate, Harrison participated in Phoenix’s training camp prior to the 2016-17 season and played for the Suns’ Summer League team in 2017, averaging 10.3 points on 61.1 percent shooting in three games.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Harrison left Tulsa as the only player in Golden Hurricane basketball history to start every game in a four-year career. He averaged 11.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals in 133 games for his career, finishing second in program history with 461 career assists and third with 244 steals.

Gray first signed a 10-day contract with the Suns on February 2 and averaged 6.4 points, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals in 17.2 minutes over five games.

Harrison will wear uniform No. 10

Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson is entering the next stage of his rehabilitation this week in preparation for a return from a Grade 3 right ankle sprain suffered Tuesday, December 26 vs. Indiana.

Jackson has been cleared to begin light running, shooting and continued ankle strengthening exercises. The Detroit Pistons medical staff will monitor progress throughout the week in anticipation of beginning an escalation process towards resuming normal basketball activities.

No timeframe has been set for a return to practice or game action.

The Knicks have barely used well-paid center Joakim Noah this season. Currently, the two sides are taking a break from each other. Which isn’t really an ideal situation. How will it resolve? Tough to say, because Noah has a lot more Knicks money coming to him. Here’s NY Newsday with the latest:

Jeff Hornacek wouldn’t comment on reports that he pushed Joakim Noah during their heated exchange last month in Denver. But Hornacek gave the strongest indications yet that Noah won’t be back with the Knicks.

“I think that is the plan,” Hornacek said following practice Tuesday night.

That was the expected outcome when the Knicks sent Noah away after he and Hornacek got into it at a practice Jan. 24 in Denver. Noah was upset that he played less than five minutes the night before in a lopsided loss to the Warriors when the Knicks were without Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle O’Quinn.

“That’s something that happened three weeks ago, four weeks ago,” Hornacek said. “We handled that thing with Jo. It’s not finalized because he’s still on the roster. We’ve dealt with that situation.

Full article

Magic sign Rashad Vaughn to 10-day contract

The Magic today signed guard Rashad Vaughn to a 10-day contract.

The 6’6”, 210-pound Vaughn, born 8/16/96, has played in a combined 23 games this season with both Mthe Bucks and Nets, averaging 2.6 points in 7.7 minutes per game. He was traded by Milwaukee to Brooklyn, along with a second round draft pick, in exchange for Tyler Zeller on Feb. 5. Vaughn was then traded by the Nets to New Orleans in exchange for Dante Cunningham on Feb. 8. He was waived by the Pelicans on Feb. 10.

Originally selected in the first round (17th overall) of the 2015 NBA Draft by Milwaukee, Vaughn has appeared in 134 career NBA regular season games (eight starts) with Milwaukee and Brooklyn, averaging 3.1 ppg. and 1.1 rpg. in 12.2 minpg. Prior to his NBA career, he spent one season at UNLV (2014-15), averaging 17.8 ppg., 4.8 rpg. and 1.6 apg. in 32.3 minpg., while shooting .383 (54-141) from three-point range. Vaughn was named 2014-15 Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year, as well as Honorable Mention All-MWC.

The Magic’s roster now stands at 16 players.

Vaughn will wear #20 with Orlando.

The exiled Knicks center was spotted Saturday night at impresario Jimmy Goldstein’s All-Star Weekend party in Los Angeles, along with Stephen Curry, his wife, Ayesha, Joel Embiid and ex-Knick draft pick Danilo Gallinari. Noah may attend Sunday’s All-Star Game at Staples Center.

Goldstein is an eccentric longtime NBA superfan who is seen at all of the NBA’s big events and is regularly courtside at Staples Center.

“I’ve known [Noah] a long time, I spoke to him last night,” Goldstein told The Post on Sunday before Team LeBron faced Team Stephen. “I asked him if he was going to be all right, that I’m a little worried about you. He said don’t worry about him, everything’s going to be fine.”

NY Post

Koby Altman impressive in reshaping of Cavs

There was no shortage of shock and surprise when Koby Altman, the 35-year-old, first-time GM of the Cavs, reshaped the team’s roster with three major trades on Feb. 8.

It was Altman and his staff who targeted Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance of the Lakers, George Hill of the Kings and Rodney Hood of the Jazz. There was no directive from owner Dan Gilbert, no plea from James, no nudging from Lue, to go and get those players, specifically.

Everyone was wrong about Altman. Everyone.

“I think Koby did a heck of a job of understanding what our team needed,” James said this week, after the rejuvenated Cavs — to use an Altman word — beat Oklahoma City, 120-112.

“It just wasn’t working out for us, and he felt like, obviously you guys saw his quotes, he made the changes that he felt best fits our team,” James continued.

The Cavs enter the All-Star break as the talk of the NBA. They’ve won four straight, tore up half their roster and are being discussed again as a legitimate contender while playing with a renewed sense of energy since Hill, Clarkson, Nance and Hood arrived.

Cleveland.com

The average price paid for a ticket to Sunday’s festivities at Staples Center in Los Angeles on the resale market has topped $1,800 each ($1,959 on StubHub, $1,895 on Vivid Seats).

The most expensive sale was a pair of tickets that sold on StubHub on Friday. The seats are behind the basket and were bought for $29,510, including fees.

ESPN.com

Pistons season has been a roller coaster

This has been a wild Pistons season, first with stretches of success and also plenty of losing, then a huge trade for Blake Griffin, and to make sense of some of this, here’s Michigan Live reporting:

Said forward Anthony Tolliver: “All the years I’ve played in this league this team has been a little bit more roller coaster as far as high highs and low lows.”

The Pistons reached the All-Star break at 28-29, 1 1/2 games behind the Miami Heat for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

It’s not where they hoped to be following a promising 14-6 start. But they’ve had issues offensively, have lacked intensity on defense on too many nights, have lost too often to bad teams and haven’t capitalized enough at home (19-12). Losing point guard Reggie Jackson to an ankle injury on Dec. 26 also has hurt.

The Pistons return to practice on Wednesday and host the Boston Celtics next Friday (7 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit). With 15 of their final 25 games on the road, reaching the playoffs for only the second time in nine years will be a challenge.

Klay Thompson wants to stick with Warriors

Klay Thompson’s desires have not changed.

The four-time All-Star does not want to leave the Warriors when he becomes a free agent.

“Playing for one team your whole career is definitely special,” Klay recently told Mark Medina of the Bay Area News Group (read the full story here). “Only so many guys have done it in professional sports, so it’ll be a goal of mine. Hopefully it all works out.

“Anything I can do to stay with the Warriors is first and foremost. God willing, it happens. If not, I don’t even think about that.”

NBC Sports Bay Area

Lou Williams essentially accepted a consolation prize from the NBA to participate in the Skills Challenge during All-Star weekend at Staples Center.

His stated goal had been to represent the Clippers in the All-Star game Sunday at Staples Center, but Williams was not chosen as one of the Western Conference reserves — to his and his coaching staff’s dismay.

Instead, Williams will lace up his sneakers for the event that will take place Saturday night, his enthusiasm still high for being asked to be in the Skills Challenge along with seven other players.

Williams admitted it would have been much nicer to display his skills in the big event Sunday.

LA Times

The 23-32 Lakers, now with Isaiah Thomas in uniform, look forward to getting Lonzo Ball back as soon as possible. How much they’ll actually play together remains to be seen, but that’s a whole other discussion. Step one is just to get Lonzo back in action. Which reportedly should happen right after the All-Star break. Here’s the Daily Breeze reporting:

As Josh Hart ran off the Pelicans home court on Wednesday morning, he stopped in front of Lonzo Ball, who was chatting with reporters, to tease the point guard about when he would return to the court.

“First game back after All-Star, man,” Ball responded. “I’ll be there.”

Ruled out earlier this week for Wednesday’s contest at New Orleans and Thursday’s game in Minnesota, Ball said he “definitely” expects to play on Feb. 23 against Dallas, 42 days after spraining his left MCL in an overtime win against the Mavericks.

While Ball has progressed to full contact practices, the Lakers will not practice until next Wednesday, by which time Ball expects to be free of the soreness that has persisted.

Full article

Steve Kerr trusts his players. Especially when the Warriors are going against a team they should definitely be able to beat. He recently allowed players to essentially act as coaches during timeouts/huddles. There’s no reason to think he did so to disrespect the opponent. Still, it drew reactions in all directions. Here’s the SF Chronicle reporting:

After turning his team huddles over to players in Monday night’s rout of the Suns, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr drew plenty of criticism. Some viewed Kerr’s approach as disrespectful to Phoenix. Others saw it as demeaning to the coaching profession.

“I heard some things,” Kerr said of such backlash after shoot-around Wednesday. “I don’t care.”

During each huddle Monday, Kerr handed his clipboard to a player and turned away as the team discussed the game plan. It was Kerr’s way of empowering a group that has struggled to focus in recent weeks. Sensing that his players had tuned him out, Kerr figured it was time to let someone else give orders.

The change in approach helped pave the way for Golden State’s most lopsided win ever over the Suns. However, many weren’t so pleased with Kerr’s tactic.

Full article

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on the Heat, who recently welcomed Dwyane Wade back and currently have no plans on restricting his play in regard to back-to-backs:

After being put into a “maintenance” program with the Miami Heat during his previous tenure with the team, Dwyane Wade said no such contingencies have been discussed for this reunion tour.

That had Wade again in the rotation in Wednesday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers on the second night of a back-to-back set, after playing 21 minutes in Tuesday night’s loss to the Toronto Raptors.

Wade had been held out of games in four of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ back-to-back sets earlier this season before his recent buyout…

The Heat have three remaining back-to-back sets, with coach Erik Spoelstra saying Wednesday a maintenance plan has not been discussed since Wade’s signing.

“Not right now,” Spoelstra said, “no.”

Full article

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed free agent guard/forward Joe Johnson for the remainder of the season. Johnson will wear #7 for the Rockets.

In a related move, the Rockets have waived Troy Williams.

Johnson (6-7, 240) was originally the 10th overall pick by Boston in the 2001 NBA Draft and is in his 17th NBA season. In 1,253 games with 1,090 starts, Johnson is averaging 16.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists. He is one of 12 players in NBA history with at least 1,000 games played to have averaged at least 16.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 4.0 apg and one of three (Kobe Bryant and John Havlicek) with over 1,200.

Among active players, Johnson ranks fourth in games played, second in minutes played (43,729; 20th all-time), eighth in scoring (20,266), and sixth in 3-pointers made (1,960; 10th all-time). He has also appeared in 112 playoff games with 97 starts, averaging 16.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Johnson has been to the playoffs in each of the past 10 seasons and advanced to the Conference Semifinals six times over that span.

Johnson appeared in 32 games with three starts for Utah this season. He saw action in 78 games for the Jazz in 2016-17, and averaged 1.4 3-pointers made on 41.1% shooting, marking the second-highest percentage of his career.

The seven-time All-Star is reunited with Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni. In his final season playing for D’Antoni in Phoenix in 2004-05, Johnson averaged a career-high 2.2 3-pointers made on a career-best 47.8% shooting.

Amar’e Stoudemire has signed with the BIG3, a 3-on-3 basketball league co-founded by Ice Cube that plays during the summer months. He’ll be a Co-Captain of Tri-State alongside Captain Jermaine O’Neal and Co-Captain Nate Robinson.

This offseason, BIG3 expanded rosters by adding a second Co-Captain to each team.

In recent weeks, Baron Davis (3’s Company), Ron Artest (Killer 3s) Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis (Power), Carlos Boozer (Ghost Ballers) and Drew Gooden (3’s Company) have been announced as high-profile Co-Captain acquisitions.

Stoudemire played 14 seasons in the NBA. He was drafted with the ninth overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft by the Phoenix Suns, where he won 2003 NBA Rookie of the Year, and played for eight seasons. In 2010, he signed with the New York Knicks as a free agent. His high-profile signing put an end to the team’s playoff drought and sparked a three-season playoff run. He went on to play with the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat, before signing a one-day contract to retire as a New York Knick in 2016. Following his NBA career, Stoudemire moved overseas and played two seasons in Israel for Hapoel Jerusalem, helping his team win the Israeli Basketball League Cup in 2016 and the Israeli League championship in 2017.

Throughout his career, Stoudemire averaged 18.9 points (15,994 total) and 7.8 rebounds (6,632) in 846 career games. He was a six-time NBA All-Star, and was named to five All-NBA Teams (two first teams, three second teams). He also won a bronze medal with the United States national team at the 2004 Olympic Games.

Stoudemire will join a Tri-State squad that finished sixth in 2017, after falling short to 3’s Company in the BIG3 Playoffs. Tri-State will round out its three remaining roster spots in the BIG3 Draft.

The BIG3 previously announced two-year agreements with 22 player captains, co-captains and coaches from the inaugural season, including 2017 BIG3 MVP Rashard Lewis, 2017 BIG3 Champions Trilogy’s Kenyon Martin, Al Harrington and coach Rick Mahorn, Allen Iverson, Corey Maggette, Chauncey Billups, Clyde Drexler, Gary Payton, Brian Scalabrine, Jermaine O’Neal, Charles Oakley, Stephen Jackson, Mike Bibby, DerMarr Johnson, Jermaine O’Neal, Ricky Davis, Josh Childress, Cuttino Mobley, Jerome “Junk Yard Dog” Williams, George “The Iceman” Gervin, and Rick Barry.

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