Rockets re-sign Dante Exum

The Houston Rockets have re-signed guard Danté Exum.

Exum (6-5, 214) was originally the fifth overall pick by Utah in the 2014 NBA Draft. He was acquired by Houston from Cleveland as part of a four-team trade on Jan. 16, 2021. Over the past four seasons, Exum averaged 14.0 points, 4.9 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per 36 minutes played.

While helping Australia to a bronze medal at the Olympics this summer, Exum averaged 9.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, and 2.8 apg in 20.7 mpg. He also shot 56.7% from the floor and 60.0% from 3-point range.

Timberwolves sign Leandro Bolmaro

The Minnesota Timberwolves have signed guard Leandro Bolmaro.

Bolmaro, a 6-6 guard, wrapped up his second season with FC Barcelona where he capped off the season by winning the Spanish league championship and being named Liga ACB’s “Jugador Más Espectacular” – the league’s Most Spectacular Player. Bolmaro joined a list of three current NBA players to be awarded Most Spectacular Player in ACB play. The Las Varillas, Argentina native averaged 6.4 points and 1.8 assists per game.

Per the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Bolmaro “will be on a rookie scale deal with team options after the first two years.”

The 21-year-old recently played in his first Olympics for Argentina where in four games, he totaled eight points, four rebounds and three steals in 47 minutes of action.

Nuggets sign Petr Cornelie to a two-way contract

The Denver Nuggets have signed forward Petr Cornelie to a two-way contract, President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.

Cornelie, 6-11, 220, most recently appeared in 34 games for Elan Bearnais of the French LNB Pro A league in 2021, averaging 14.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists while shooting 54.0% from the field and 44.2% from three in 28.9 minutes per game. The 26-year-old also helped earn a silver medal for the France National Team at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. In six games, Cornelie averaged 1.7 points, 2.0 rebounds while shooting 33.3% from the field.

The Calais, France native, was drafted in the 53rd pick in the 2016 NBA draft by the Nuggets. He has appeared in 14 games (seven starts) for three Nuggets summer league teams in 2016, 2017 and 2018, averaging 5.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 16.8 minutes per game.

Cornelie has played professionally since 2013, playing for Le Mans from 2013-17, Paris-Levallois in 2017-18, Le Mans in 2018-19 and most recently with Elan Bearnais from 2019-21.

Cavaliers sign guard Kevin Pangos

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed guard Kevin Pangos, Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.

Pangos (6-2, 185) has spent the last six years playing professionally in Europe, most recently for Zenit Saint Petersburg of the VTB United League and the EuroLeague.

This past season in EuroLeague play, Pangos earned All-EuroLeague First Team honors after averaging a career-high 13.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 6.7 assists in 29.0 minutes over 39 games (all starts). The 28-year-old shot .390 from beyond the arc and made the most three-pointers (89) in EuroLeague play, while ranking third in assists per game and 18th in points per game.

Over his international career, Pangos has also played for FC Barcelona (Spain, 2018-2020), Zalgiris Kaunas (Lithuania, 2016-2018) and Gran Canaria (Spain, 2015-2016) and was an All-EuroLeague Second Team selection in 2018, two-time LKL champion (Lithuania, 2017 and 2018), two-time King Mindaugas Cup winner (Lithuania, 2017 and 2018) and All-EuroCup Second Team selection (2016).

Following four college basketball seasons at Gonzaga University, Pangos went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft. With the Bulldogs, the Ontario, Canada native earned First Team All-WCC all four seasons (2012-2015), appearing in 142 total games (141 starts) with career averages of 12.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.25 steals in 33.1 minutes. Additionally, Pangos was the WCC Player of the Year and a Third-Team All-American (AP, NABC, TSN) during his senior season and left Gonzaga as the only player in program history with more than 1,700 points, 500 assists and 150 steals and remains the Bulldogs all-time leader in three-pointers made (322).

Lakers hire David Fizdale and John Lucas III as assistant coaches, and add to training staff

The Los Angeles Lakers yesterday hired David Fizdale and John Lucas III as assistant coaches on Head Coach Frank Vogel’s staff, joining assistant coaches Phil Handy, Mike Penberthy, Miles Simon and Quinton Crawford.

The Lakers also hired Roger Sancho as Head Athletic Trainer and named Ed Streit as Head Strength & Conditioning Coach.

Fizdale returns to the bench after serving as head coach of the New York Knicks from 2018-20 and the Memphis Grizzlies from 2016-18. Prior to joining the Grizzlies for his first NBA head coaching assignment, Fizdale spent the previous eight seasons (2008-09 thru 2015-16) with the Miami Heat as an assistant coach. During his tenure in Miami, the Heat won back-to-back NBA Championships in 2012 and 2013, and more Playoff games (70) and series (15) than any other NBA team. The Los Angeles native was an assistant coach for one season in Golden State (2003-04) and for four seasons in Atlanta (2004-08).

Lucas III joins the Lakers after most recently serving as a player development coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2017-19. Prior to joining Minnesota, Lucas III enjoyed an eight-year NBA career for the Timberwolves, Pistons, Jazz, Raptors, Bulls and Rockets. He owns career averages of 4.7 points, 1.0 rebound and 1.5 assists in 12.1 minutes. Lucas III played collegiately at Baylor and Oklahoma State, averaging 14.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.2 steals and was named to the All-Big 12 First Team in 2004 and 2005.

Sancho most recently spent seven seasons with the Golden State Warriors, including the past five seasons as an assistant athletic trainer. Sancho began his time with the Warriors during the 2014-15 season as the head athletic trainer for the Santa Cruz Warriors. The Sulphur Springs, Texas native earned his bachelor’s degree in athletic training from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2012 and his master’s degree from Baylor in 2014.

Streit was named to his new role after serving as an assistant strength & conditioning coach for the team since the 2019-20 season. Prior to joining Los Angeles, Streit spent the 2018-19 season as the head strength and conditioning coach for Dayton’s men basketball and served in the same role during the 2017-18 season at the University of Connecticut. Streit also spent three-and-a-half years with the Chicago Bulls on their strength and conditioning staff.

Mavericks sign Frank Ntilikina

The Dallas Mavericks have signed free agent guard Frank Ntilikina.

Ntilikina (6-5, 200) was originally the eighth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks. After four seasons with the Knicks, he holds career averages of 5.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 19.5 minutes in 211 games (55 starts).

Per the Dallas Morning News, “on the first day of free agency, the Mavs struck quick, re-signing Tim Hardaway Jr. and Boban Marjanovic while also agreeing to deals with Sterling Brown and Reggie Bullock, another former Knicks guard.”

Born in Ixelles, Belgium, Ntilikina moved to France at the age of 3 years old. Prior to being drafted by New York, he began his professional career in 2015 with SIG Strasbourg of the French Pro A League. Ntilikina was named the league’s Best Young Player in both seasons he competed for Strasbourg.

Ntilikina (nee-lee-KEE-nah) recently competed with the French national team at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo where he brought home a silver medal.

The addition now brings the Mavericks training camp roster to 20 players.

Timberwolves re-sign Jarred Vanderbilt Jordan and McLaughlin

The Minnesota Timberwolves yesterday re-signed forward Jarred Vanderbilt guard Jordan McLaughlin.

Vanderbilt, 22, set career-highs across the board last season including seeing action in 64 games (30 starts) for the Timberwolves, averaging 5.4 points on 60.6% shooting, 5.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.0 steals in 17.8 minutes per game.

The Kentucky product saw one of his best games of the 2020-21 season in Minnesota’s 119-111 victory over the Miami Heat on Apr. 16, when in 21:35 of action off the bench, Vanderbilt scored nine points and grabbed a career-high and game-high 14 rebounds, including nine rebounds in the fourth quarter. His 14 rebounds equaled the most by a Timberwolves reserve since Anthony Tolliver grabbed 15 rebounds vs. Boston on Mar. 27, 2011, at Target Center.

The 6-9 forward holds career averages of 4.1 points on 59.7% shooting and 4.3 rebounds in 13.6 minutes per game with Denver and Minnesota.

Vanderbilt was originally drafted by the Orlando Magic with the 41st overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft.

McLaughlin, 25, wrapped up his second season with the Timberwolves, appearing in 51 games (two starts), averaging 5.0 points, 2.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.0 steals in 18.4 minutes per game last season.

On Feb. 12 at Charlotte, he registered a career-high-tying four steals (Mar. 1, 2020, vs Dallas) in 22:15 minutes of play off the bench, becoming the 17th player in club history to have multiple games with 4+ steals off the bench. McLaughlin dished out a team-high seven assists off the bench on Jan. 20 vs Orlando while scoring six points, becoming the 14th Timberwolves players to have five or more games off the bench with at least seven assists.

The Pasadena, Calif. native played four seasons at the University of Southern California averaging 12.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 58 assists and 1.7 steals in 128 games.

Cavaliers re-sign Brodric Thomas to a two-way contract

The Cleveland Cavaliers have re-signed guard Brodric Thomas to a Two-Way contract, Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman announced yesterday.

Thomas (6-5, 185), who signed his first Two-Way contract with the Cavaliers on February 24, 2021, played in 32 regular season games (one start) for Cleveland and Houston last season. He recently appeared in five games for the Cavaliers in the 2021 MGM Resorts NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and averaged 10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals in 25.7 minutes.

The undrafted guard from Truman State also played in the NBA G League in 2020-21, where he was named to the All-NBA G League Second Team and to the NBA G League All-Rookie Team. In six games with the Cleveland Charge (then Canton Charge), the Cavaliers’ exclusively owned and operated NBA G League team, Thomas averaged 21.3 points on .462 shooting from the field, including .462 (24-52) from three-point range, 6.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.17 steals and 1.17 blocks in 33.8 minutes. Prior to his stint with the Charge, Thomas appeared in eight games for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and averaged 16.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.62 steals and 1.12 blocks in 33.3 minutes.

OKC Thunder sign Paul Watson Jr. to a two-way contract

The Oklahoma City Thunder has signed forward Paul Watson Jr. to a Two-Way Contract, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Watson Jr. (6-6, 210) has appeared in 37 games (two starts) and averaged 3.8 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 10.4 minutes as a member of the Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors.

During the 2019-20 season, Watson Jr. appeared in 30 G League games (all starts) for the Raptors 905 and averaged 19.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 35.3 minutes per game.