Herb Kohl, Milwaukee Bucks President and Owner, today announced that he has entered into a signed purchase agreement to transfer ownership of the Bucks to Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry.  Mr. Edens and Mr. Lasry are highly regarded investors who are firmly committed to the success of the franchise and its importance to Milwaukee.

Furthermore, consistent with his commitment to the Bucks and Milwaukee, Senator Kohl has pledged a $100 million gift for the development of a new arena for the team.  In addition to honoring Kohl’s requirement that the team be kept in Milwaukee, the new owners have committed to contribute at least an additional $100 million towards the development of a new arena in the city.

“My priority has always been and will continue to be keeping the Bucks in Milwaukee,” said Kohl.  “This announcement reinforces that Milwaukee is and will continue to be the home of the Bucks.  Wes and Marc agree, and they share my commitment to the long-term success of this franchise in Milwaukee.”

Messrs. Edens and Lasry jointly stated:  “We would like to thank Senator Kohl and his team for their support and cooperation throughout the purchase process.  The Senator has provided the Bucks with nearly 30 years of dedicated stewardship, and we are very excited to join Bucks fans, the city of Milwaukee and the NBA to build the long-term success of this franchise.  Having attended various sporting events in Milwaukee and Green Bay over the years, it is easy to see why the greater-Milwaukee area is such a storied sports atmosphere.

“We are lifelong basketball fans who are committed to the success of the Bucks and the identity of the team as a part of the city of Milwaukee.  It is our vision for this franchise to be admired both locally and nationally for its success on the court, the quality of its organization and the loyalty of its fan base.  Having each built competitive teams in the business world, we will apply that same intensity and determination as owners of the Milwaukee Bucks.  We are as passionate and energized as Bucks fans are about bringing home an NBA championship to Milwaukee.”

Under the terms of the agreement Edens and Lasry have agreed to buy the team for a total purchase price of approximately $550 million.

The parties will proceed to closing following review and approval by the NBA Board of Governors.

“Today’s announcement signals the start of a new, exciting era for the Milwaukee Bucks,” said Kohl.  “Now, with a long-term commitment from the new owners and major components of the funding in place for a new arena, we need to come together as a community to develop plans for a new sports and entertainment facility that will host more than 200 events a year, including Bucks games.  I am confident we will do this.”

The incoming Milwaukee Bucks owners, Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry, issued the following statement regarding the purchase of the franchise from Senator Kohl:

We would like to thank Senator Kohl and his team for their support and cooperation throughout the purchase process.  The Senator has provided the Bucks with nearly 30 years of dedicated stewardship, and we are very excited to join Bucks fans, the city of Milwaukee and the NBA to build the long-term success of this franchise.  Having attended various sporting events in Milwaukee and Green Bay over the years, it is easy to see why the greater-Milwaukee area is such a storied sports atmosphere.

We are lifelong basketball fans who are committed to the success of the Bucks and the identity of the team as a part of the city of Milwaukee.  It is our vision for this franchise to be admired both locally and nationally for its success on the court, the quality of its organization and the loyalty of its fan base.  Having each built competitive teams in the business world, we will apply that same intensity and determination as owners of the Milwaukee Bucks.  We are as passionate and energized as Bucks fans are about bringing home an NBA championship to Milwaukee.

In addition, our leadership of the Milwaukee Bucks will not be limited to the basketball court.  We are eager to become active contributors to the greater-Milwaukee community, and plan to establish a presence in the city.  Furthermore, we are committed to spending a significant amount of personal resources, including a contribution of at least $100 million, to work alongside the community and Senator Kohl to develop a new state-of-the-art sports venue in Milwaukee.  We want to provide fans with the best sports experience imaginable, and we believe a new arena and the development of the surrounding downtown area will immensely benefit the game-day atmosphere as well as the city of Milwaukee.

We would like to convey our appreciation to Commissioner Adam Silver and the entire NBA organization.  It will be an honor and a privilege to be the new owners of the Milwaukee Bucks and a part of the NBA.

We look forward to playing an integral and active role in the future success of the Bucks on and off the court, with the organization’s operations and talent as well as through the development of a new arena in Milwaukee.  Fear the Deer!

The deal is subject to the approval of the National Basketball Association Board of Governors.

Knicks sign Lamar Odom

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has signed forward Lamar Odom for the remainder of the season, which ends tonight. Though multiple reports state that the deal is a two year deal, with the first season ending tonight, and next season nonguaranteed.

Odom has been the subject of very negative drug-related rumors for the better part of a year now. His marriage to Khloe Kardashian fell apart for that reason, according to virtually every gossip news outlet in existence. It makes sense that Odom’s deal is so short. This gives the Knicks a chance to get to know him and see if he’s fit for a contract next season. No risk for the knicks adding him just for tonight.

Odom, 6-10, 221-pounds, holds career averages of 13.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 33.4 minutes in 961 games (684 starts) over 14 seasons with the L.A. Clippers, Miami, L.A. Lakers and Dallas. He appeared in two games for Baskonia (Spain) this season and last played in the NBA for the Clippers during the 2012-13 season, averaging 4.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists over 19.7 minutes in 82 games (two starts).

The Queens-native, was originally selected by the Clippers after his sophomore season at the University of Rhode Island in the first round (fourth overall) of 1999 NBA Draft. He is a two-time NBA champion (2009 & 2010) with the Lakers, and was on the Bronze-medal winning team with USA Basketball in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. In addition, Odom was the 2011 NBA Sixth Man of the Year and was an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection in 2000.

Here’s the Bay Area News Group, via the San Jose Mercury news, reporting on the Golden State Warriors, who are 50-31 entering tonight, the final day of the NBA regular season. The Warriors qualified for the playoffs, which begin Saturday.

Within hours of the discouraging news about Andrew Bogut, the Warriors got an encouraging report from another corner of the medical department: David Lee was looking like his old self.

Lee scored 25 points and had nine rebounds Monday night against Minnesota, a far cry from what was thought to be possible a week ago. At that time there was doubt that the 6-foot-10 forward would be able to help the Warriors much down the stretch or in the playoffs because of a hamstring pull that was complicated by severe nerve pain. Lee missed seven games after suffering the injury on March 22 against San Antonio, and he didn’t seem to be making much progress.

Even when he returned to action last Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers and then again Sunday in Portland, Lee didn’t look himself. He made only four of 12 shots against L.A. even though he did get 10 rebounds, but appeared to regress against the Trail Blazers. He made just 2 of 9 shots despite playing 33 minutes, had only four rebounds and fouled out while trying to contend with Portland power forward LaMarcus Aldridge.

But lo and behold, on the tail end of a back-to-back no less, Lee miraculously found his footing Monday after a rough start defensively against Minnesota’s Kevin Love. He started hitting some of his patented post-ups and mid-range jumpers, and also worked the boards and ran the floor much more effectively than he had during his first two games back.

Lakers have big roster decisions to make

Here’s the Orange County Register reporting on the Lakers, who didn’t even come close to making the NBA playoffs this season, and face a challenging future:

The chants started midway through the fourth quarter, near the end of a rare Lakers blowout victory.

“Keep Gasol!” a motley group of a dozen or so out-of-place Lakers fans repeated rambunctiously Monday at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City.

Twenty rows down from the purple-and-gold revelers on the visitors’ bench, Pau Gasol sat in a trim brown suit. The pending free agent looked up, smiled and offered his Utah-based fan club a thumbs up.

A two-time champion, Gasol will be the face of the Lakers’ tough offseason decisions, but he is only the most high-profile of the Lakers who will find himself on the open market after the season concludes here Wednesday.

It’s likely that a majority of the players on the floor for the Lakers at the AT&T Center will be in their last game. So embrace it now: Nick Young’s celebrations after 3-pointers; Jodie Meeks’ calm and even play; Jordan Hill’s work on the offensive boards.

Only Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre have guaranteed contracts beyond this season.

Here’s the Arizona Republic reporting on Channing Frye, who has enjoyed a terrific season for the Phoenix Suns. The team came close to making the playoffs this season, but just missed out on spots that went to the Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies:

Channing Frye hopes for contract extension from Suns

Frye has a $6.8 million player option for next season. Only Goran Dragic ($7.5 million) and amnestied Josh Childress ($7.32 million) are on the Suns’ books for more next season, although restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe stands to make more.

Frye would like to negotiate a contract extension after averaging 11.2 points and 5.1 rebounds this season on 43.3 percent shooting, including 37.1 percent on 3s.

“I want to talk to the Suns and make sure we’re both on the same page about what I want,” Frye said. “I’d love to stay here. It’s up to them and their future and what they want to do. I love wearing this uniform. I think I take a little more pride in it than everyone else because I’m from here.

“It’s looking for the future and if I could get something longer. I got kids and I want to be somewhere. I’ve been here for five years already so it wouldn’t be bad to kind of not be worried about being traded or buying a house.”

Carmelo Anthony out with shoulder tear

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on Knicks star Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks failed to qualify for the NBA playoffs, and Melo’s season has ended slightly early now with an injury:

If Carmelo Anthony indeed has played his final game as a Knick, this is a doubly painful way for his time in New York to end.

The pending free agent was shut down by the going-home Knicks after an MRI on Tuesday revealed he has a small labrum tear in his right shoulder.

Anthony bypassed surgery after he was diagnosed with a torn labrum and rotator cuff in his left shoulder one year ago. The Knicks said he’s also not expected to require surgery for this injury and will be reevaluated in a month.

“Obviously, he knew it was bothering him when he hurt it a few weeks ago,” Mike Woodson said. “But he hung in there with us and tried to make this last push to get in the playoffs.”

Anthony, who has stated plans to opt out of his contract this summer and test free agency, arrived at Barclays Center just before 7 p.m. But he did not address reporters before the Knicks’ penultimate game of the season against the Nets.

Ekpe Udoh starts online book club

Epke Udoh starts online book club

Ekpe Udoh will leave one positive lasting impression from this dreary season for the Milwaukee Bucks, and it has nothing to do with basketball.

Few, if any, NBA players can say they’ve started a book club over Twitter. Fewer still probably cite entertainment magnate Oprah Winfrey as a role model.

Udoh, a four-year NBA veteran, is thinking big.

“I want to be like Oprah. I want to be like Oprah’s book club,” the Bucks forward said Tuesday. “I’ll get there. It might take me a couple years, but I’ll get some buzz going.”

He’s off to a decent start in a relatively short time.

– Associated Press

Here’s ESPN Los Angeles with an update on the Clippers. Tonight is the final night of the 2013-14 NBA regular season:

Blake Griffin, JJ Redick out tonight for Clippers

Clippers forward Blake Griffin and guard J.J. Redick will not travel with the team for its final regular-season game Wednesday against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers already had planned on resting Redick, but the decision to give Griffin the night off was essentially taken out of his hands Tuesday night when Griffin picked up his 16th technical foul in the first half against the Denver Nuggets, drawing a league-mandated one-game suspension.

“The worst case is he’s suspended one game, I’m not going to bring him anyway,” Rivers said. “They’ll probably rescind that. I’d be surprised but you never know. I want Blake to stay home and get some rest. He’s so banged up.”

Bucks sign forward Chris Wright

Bucks sign forward Chris Wright

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed forward Chris Wright (6-8, 225) to a multi-year contract, General Manager John Hammond announced today.

Wright had played with the Bucks on two separate 10-day contracts, the last signed on April 5. He appeared in seven games with the Bucks, averaging 6.0 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.0 steal in 15.4 minutes per game.

Prior to joining the Bucks, Wright played with the D-League’s Maine Red Claws, where he’s appeared in 41 games this season and posted averages of 19.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per contest. He’s notched 14 double-doubles on the year, including seven in his last 11 appearances. Wright also played for the Red Claws during the 2012-13 season, when he average 18.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, and has been named to the D-League All-Star Game in both of his seasons in Maine.

After going undrafted out of Dayton in 2011, Wright was selected by the Red Claws with the third overall pick in the 2011 D-League Draft. He appeared in four games for the Red Claws, averaging 17.0 points and 10.8 rebounds, before signing with the Golden State Warriors on Dec. 24, 2011. Wright appeared in 24 games during his lone NBA season and posted 2.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per contest. Earning the start in Golden State’s season finale, Wright tallied a career-best 25 points and eight rebounds while shooting 11-of-14 from the field on April 26, 2012, at San Antonio.

Wright wears #15 for the Bucks.

Kings recall Willie Reed from D-League

Kings recall Willie Reed from D-League

The Sacramento Kings today recalled forward Willie Reed from the Kings D-League affiliate Reno Bighorns, according to Kings General Manager Pete D’Alessandro.

The Bighorns’ season came to a close Sunday night with a 115-93 playoff loss to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Reed averaged 9.5 points (.643 FG%, 1-2 FT), 8.5 rebounds, 2.00 blocks and 25.0 minutes per game in two postseason contests for Reno.

Reed, a 6-10, 220-pound forward, averaged 13.6 points (.649 FG%, .800 FT%), 7.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists 2.4 blocks, and 25.0 minutes per game in five games off the bench for the Bighorns this season. He scored in double-figures in all five appearances and recorded two double-doubles.

Earlier this season, Reed played for the NBA D-League Springfield Armor and averaged 14.8 points (.590 FG%, .612 FT%), 10.1 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 1.6 blocks per game in 31.8 minutes per game in 44 games, of which he started 33.

Reed previously played with Sacramento during the 2012 preseason when he averaged 0.8 points (1-3 FG, 1-2 FT), 1.0 rebounds, and 2.8 minutes per game in four preseason contests before being waived. He went on to play in his first stint for the Springfield Armor, earning Honorable Mention All-Development League Team honors after averaging 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game before joining the Memphis Grizzlies for the remainder of the season.

Warriors center Andrew Bogut injured, out with rib fracture

Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut has been diagnosed with a rib fracture and will be sidelined indefinitely. The injury, which occurred during the fourth quarter of Golden State’s overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers last night, was revealed in x-rays taken immediately after the game and confirmed today by the team’s medical staff.

In 67 games this season, Bogut is averaging 7.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.81 blocks in 26.4 minutes, while shooting 62.7 percent from the floor.

DeMarcus Cousins suspended one game for receiving 16th technical foul of season

The Sacramento Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins has received a one-game suspension without pay for receiving his 16th technical foul of the 2013-14 season, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

Under NBA rules, a player or coach is automatically suspended without pay for one game once he receives his 16th technical foul during a regular season. For every two additional technical fouls received during that regular season, the player or coach will be automatically suspended for an additional game.

Cousins received his most recent technical foul with 1:13 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Kings’ 106-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on April 13, at Sleep Train Arena. Cousins will serve his suspension in the Kings’ season finale on Wednesday, April 16, when Sacramento hosts the Phoenix Suns.

To view the play, click on this link.

detroit pistons

The Detroit Pistons announced today that Joe Dumars will step aside as President of Basketball Operations, effective immediately. The team has launched a search for a new head of basketball operations.

“Joe Dumars is a great champion who has meant so much to this franchise and this community,” said Pistons owner Tom Gores. “We are turning the page with great respect for what he has accomplished not only as a player and a front office executive, but as a person who has represented this team and the NBA with extraordinary dignity.”

During the transition, Director of Basketball Operations Ken Catanella and Assistant General Manager George David will continue preparing for the upcoming NBA Draft and free agency signing period, reporting to ownership executives Phil Norment and Bob Wentworth. Mr. Norment said the organization has developed a preliminary list of candidates that includes “the best executives in the business,” but he declined to place a specific timetable on selecting a replacement.

Mr. Dumars will continue his relationship with the franchise as an advisor to the organization and its ownership team.

“It’s time to turn the page on a wonderful chapter and begin writing a new one,” Dumars said. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great people throughout the last 29 years as both a player and executive, and I’m proud of our accomplishments. Tom Gores and ownership is committed to winning and they will continue to move the franchise forward.”

Drafted with the 18th selection in the first round of the 1985 NBA Draft, Dumars has spent 29 years with the Detroit Pistons organization, 14 years as a player (1985-1999) and 15 years as a member of the front office (1999-2014). Throughout that time, the franchise won three NBA Championships (1989, 1990, 2004), five Eastern Conference titles (1988, 1989, 1990, 2004, 2005), nine Central Division titles and reached the Eastern Conference Finals 11 times.

Over the last 14 years as the club’s top basketball executive, Dumars guided the organization to a 595-536 (.527) regular-season record, 73 playoff wins, six Eastern Conference Finals appearances (2003-08), six Central Division titles, two Eastern Conference Championships (2004, 2005), two NBA Finals appearances and the 2004 NBA Championship.

During an eight-year period from 2001-2009, the club won an NBA Championship (2004), compiled 423 regular-season victories, 73 playoff wins and made six consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference Finals (2003-2008), the most since the Los Angeles Lakers went to six straight from 1984 to 1989. In 2007-08, the club won 50-plus games for a franchise-record seventh consecutive season and won its sixth Central Division title in seven years. In 2005-06, Detroit recorded its best regular-season record in franchise history (64-18), and, in 2004-05, the club won its second consecutive Eastern Conference Championship and reached the NBA Finals in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1989 and 1990. Dumars’ efforts did not go unnoticed as he was named NBA Executive of the Year in 2003 and NBA Executive of the Decade in 2009 by The Sporting News.

Dumars’ Detroit beginning coincided with one of the most successful eras in Pistons basketball history. Following a 46-36 rookie campaign in 1985-86, Dumars’ teams won 50-plus games each of the next five seasons and two NBA Championships (1989, 1990). He won the first of many NBA honors following the team’s 63-19 record in 1988-89, being named to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team. The six-time NBA All-Star was named Most Valuable Player of the 1989 NBA Finals, the first of the club’s back-to-back NBA Championships. Dumars was named first team NBA All-Rookie in 1985-86 and first team NBA All-Defense four times (1988-89, 1989-90, 1991-92 and 1992-93). He was named All-NBA Third Team in 1989-90 and 1990-91 and All-NBA Second Team in 1992-93 when he averaged a career-best 23.5 points per game. He went on to play 1,018 regular season games for Detroit in 14 seasons, making him the most tenured player in franchise history. He retired as the team’s all-time leading three-point shooter with 990 made and its second all-time leading scorer with 16,401 points.

Dumars, who became the seventh Pistons player to have their jersey retired, was the inaugural recipient of the NBA’s Sportsmanship Award in 1996. The NBA Sportsmanship Award winner, which recognizes the NBA player who best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court, is presented with the Joe Dumars Trophy each year. His basketball career was recognized with the highest of all honors when he was officially enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2006.

Bulls sign Greg Smith, waive Tornike Shengelia

The Chicago Bulls announced today the team has requested waivers on Tornike Shengelia (TOR-Neek Shen-ge-liya), and signed forward Greg Smith for the remainder of the season

Smith (6-10, 250), has played two-plus seasons in the NBA for the Houston Rockets where he appeared in 89 regular-season games (10 starts). During that time, he has posted career averages of 5.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg and 0.53 bpg in 14.4 mpg, while shooting .623 from the field and .615 from the free throw line. This season, Smith played in 11 games for the Rockets and averaged 3.5 ppg and 2.5 rpg in 9.1 mpg.

Shengelia (6-9, 220), was acquired from Brooklyn in exchange for guard Marquis Teague on January 21. He appeared in nine games for the Bulls and averaged 0.4 ppg and 0.2 rpg in 1.9 mpg. In his NBA career, Shengelia has appeared in 45 games and averaged 1.3 ppg, 0.9 rpg and 0.4 apg in 5.5 mpg, while shooting .451 from the field.

Chicago’s roster currently stands at 15 players.

Pelicans sign Melvin Ely, waive Greg Stiemsma

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team waived center Greg Stiemsma and signed center Melvin Ely for the remainder of the season.

Ely (6-10, 260) has appeared in 373 games over eight NBA seasons, averaging 5.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in 16.0 minutes per game. The 6-10 center joins the Pelicans after playing the last two seasons for the Texas Legends in the NBA D-League, where he appeared in 78 games (74 starts) and averaged 13.4 points and 6.0 rebounds in 27.7 minutes per game. In the 2013-14 season, Ely totaled 15.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in 41 appearances and was selected to the 2014 NBA D-League All-Star Game.

Stiemsma appeared in 55 games (20 starts) this season for the Pelicans and averaged 2.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.0 block in 18.3 minutes per game. The three-year veteran holds career averages of 3.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 16.0 minutes per game.

Ely will wear No. 4 and will be available for tonight’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Steve Koonin named CEO of Atlanta Hawks

Steve Koonin named CEO of Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks have named Steve Koonin as the organization’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), it was announced today. In his role as CEO, Koonin will oversee all business, financial and strategic operations of the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena. He will also acquire an equity position within the ownership group, and represent the owners as the head of the organization. A nationally respected entertainment and marketing veteran, Koonin’s 28-year track record of working with the National Basketball Association (NBA), along with his marketing expertise and leadership abilities, will help usher in a new era of Atlanta Hawks basketball.

“Steve Koonin’s reputation as a game changer in both marketing and media makes him the ideal leader to usher the Atlanta Hawks into a new era. He has created a legacy as an expert in sports marketing, television, branding and digital media,” said Hawks Majority Owner Bruce Levenson. “The Hawks are thrilled that Steve is joining the ownership group as both our CEO and a partner.”

“I have known Steve for more than two decades and based both on first-hand experience and his stellar record of accomplishments, he is one of the very best executives and creative minds in the entertainment industry,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “I am thrilled that he is joining the Hawks and bringing his expertise and passion for the game to the team and its fans.”

Steve joins the Hawks following a 14-year stint with Turner Entertainment Networks, where he most recently served as the division’s president. As president, he oversaw programming, marketing, scheduling, strategy and operations for top-rated networks TNT, TBS, TruTV, and Turner Classic Movies. Under his watch, the aforementioned networks have won numerous Emmy Awards and Peabody Awards, as well as established ratings records and critical acclaim. Koonin has been instrumental in the programming and media rights acquisition processes around the NBA and NCAA, and has helped build strong brand franchises in “Inside the NBA” and “NBA on TNT”. Prior to Turner, Koonin was at the helm of presence marketing and worldwide advertising at The Coca-Cola Company, where he spent over a decade. While serving as Coca-Cola’s vice president of sports and entertainment marketing, he was named Sports Executive of the Year by Sports Business Journal.

“I have a deep commitment to Atlanta - my family has been a part of this city for nearly a century. I have watched the excitement and potential of the entire city growing together as our sports teams achieve success,” said Koonin. “I couldn’t be more excited to join the Hawks organization. We have a lot of work to do, but I believe my professional experience, my passion for this team and the NBA, as well as the Hawks’ great existing executive talent, including our President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Danny Ferry and President of Business Operations for the Hawks and Philips Arena President Bob Williams, make this organization’s future very bright.”

A lifelong resident of Atlanta, Koonin has given a great deal back to his native city through his civic involvement. Along with his professional successes, Steve has positively impacted many Atlanta organizations important not only to the Atlanta Hawks, but also the team’s fans, business partners, and community. Koonin serves on the boards of Emory Healthcare, the Georgia Aquarium, the Fox Theatre and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He is a trustee of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. He attended the University of Georgia, where he and his wife, Eydie, recently established the Koonin Scholars Fund at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The fund will provide scholarships for Grady students preparing for careers in the creative industries and media.

Here’s the Washington Post Blog reporting on Wizards point guard John Wall:

The prevailing feeling both inside and outside the Washington Wizards locker room is this: the team will only go as far as John Wall leads it.

Such a burden is of course natural for a former No. 1 overall draft pick who signed a five-year, $80 million contract extension last summer. But Wall’s status as franchise player stretches far beyond the figurative sense and into the statistical realm, where his leadership responsibilities have emerged in several categories this season.

With two games left in the season, Wall has positioned himself to finish as the NBA’s total assists leader with 699, which is 21 ahead of Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio. When considering that Rubio plays alongside All-Star Kevin Love and that Chris Paul, who leads the league with 10.7 assists per game, is teammates with high-flying All-Star Blake Griffin, Wall’s position among the league’s top playmakers is that much more notable.

Not only does Wall rank third overall with 17.2 assist opportunities per game (passes to a teammate in which the teammate attempts a shot, and if made, would be an assist), he’s also third in points created by assist per game with 21.2, according to NBA.com’s Player Tracking stats.

Spurs sign Damion James for remainder of season

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have signed forward Damion James for the remainder of the 2013-14 season.

James was originally signed by the Spurs to a 10-day contract on April 3. He has appeared in three games for the Silver and Black, averaging 1.0 rebounds in 3.3 minutes.

Prior to joining the Spurs, James most recently played in the NBA D-League in 2013-14 for the Texas Legends and the Bakersfield Jam. In 85 career D-League games, the University of Texas product averaged 16.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.04 blocks in 31.8 minutes.

Drafted 24th overall in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks, James was sent to the Brooklyn Nets in a draft-night trade. In three seasons with the Nets (2010-13), he appeared in 34 total games and averaged 4.2 points and 3.5 rebounds in 16.9 minutes.

Here’s the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporting on the Dallas Mavericks, who are back in the playoffs. There is now just one playoff berth left, in the Western conference, and it will go to the Grizzlies or Suns. Anyway:

Champagne might as well have been flowing in the Dallas Mavericks’ locker room after what they were able to accomplish Saturday night.

Down 13 points in the third quarter and in a tense fight for their playoff lives, the Mavs clinched their 13th postseason berth in the past 14 years with a pulsating 101-98 victory over the Phoenix Suns at American Airlines Center.

The Mavericks (49-32) will seek to win 50 games for the first time since the 2010-11 season when they end the regular season Wednesday night in Memphis.

Using every ounce of energy they had, the Mavericks had to rally from a 13-point second-half deficit to beat the Suns, who dropped to 47-33.

Monta Ellis tied his season high with 37 points and Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 of his 23 points in the second half as the Mavericks kept barking at each other on the court during tense moments, and it paid off in the end.

Blake Griffin scored 27 points, DeAndre Jordan added 21, and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Sacramento Kings 117-101 on Saturday to earn their franchise record-tying 56th victory of the regular season.

Chris Paul added 17 points and 10 assists, J.J. Redick had 13 points, and Matt Barnes scored 12 in helping the playoff-bound Clippers improve to 33-7 at Staples Center, breaking the franchise record for home victories in a season. Griffin had nine assists, and Jordan had nine rebounds.

Los Angeles completed a season sweep of the Kings and has won seven straight against them at home.

DeMarcus Cousins had his seventh straight double-double with 32 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Kings, who lost their fifth in a row in their last road game of the season. Rudy Gay scored 16 points, and former Clipper Reggie Evans had 14 points and 14 rebounds.

– Associated Press

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