Boston Celtics sign Blake Griffin

The Boston Celtics have signed forward Blake Griffin.

Griffin’s Celtics contract is reportedly a one-year deal for the league minimum.

Per the Boston Globe, “Griffin, 33, is no longer the explosive athlete who won the 2011 slam dunk championship, and he is a defensive liability. But he has adjusted his game over the years and become a capable 3-point shooter, despite hitting just 26.2 percent of his tries last year, when he averaged 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds for the Nets.”

Griffin, a 6’9” forward, appeared in 56 games (24 starts) where he averaged 6.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 17.1 minutes per game for Brooklyn last season. The six-time All-Star has appeared in 724 career games split between the LA Clippers, Detroit Pistons, and Brooklyn Nets and is one of nine current players in the NBA to average at least 19 points, eight rebounds, and four assists per game for their career. The 2010-11 NBA Rookie of the Year has also made the NBA Playoffs in nine of his 14 seasons.

More from the Globe: “Griffin was one of the more intriguing veteran free agents on the market, partly because of his glorious past. After missing his rookie season with a broken left kneecap, Griffin earned All-Star honors for five consecutive seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers. He was a one-man highlight reel, using his strength and jumping ability to victimize plenty of big men on dunks.”

Rockets sign Bruno Fernando to multi-year contract

The Houston Rockets have signed center Bruno Fernando to a multi-year contract.

Per the Houston Chronicle yesterday, “Fernando’s play in Lake Charles and in Saturday’s workout in Houston did not lead to the new deal after he came to camp on an exhibit 10 contract with the Rockets always hoping to make that sort of move, the person familiar with the team’s thinking said. But Fernando’s play in summer workouts and the first week of the preseason left no questions about making the move. Fernando will sign a four-year, $11.9 million contract with the 2022-23 season guaranteed, a significant boost from not having a standard NBA deal heading into camp or the two-way contract the Rockets moved him to on Friday.”

The Rockets originally acquired Fernando as part of a trade with Boston on Feb. 10, 2022. He appeared in 10 games over the remainder of the season for Houston while averaging 6.9 points and 4.0 rebounds in 9.4 minutes per game. In a combined 30 games for the Rockets and Celtics in 2021-22, Fernando averaged 20.8 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per 36 minutes played.

Fernando scored in double-figures in four of his 10 games as a Rocket, while recording two double-doubles. He shot 70.7% from the floor for Houston, including 8-of-8 in 23 minutes of play vs. Dallas on March 11.

Fernando was the 34th overall pick by Philadelphia in the 2019 NBA Draft following his sophomore season at the University of Maryland. This summer, he averaged 11.3 ppg and 6.3 while playing for Angola in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup African Qualifiers.

Pelicans convert John Butler’s contract into a two-way contract

The New Orleans Pelicans have converted the contract of forward John Butler to a two-way contract.

Butler, 7-2, 174, played one collegiate season at Florida State, where he averaged 5.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 31 games. During his freshman campaign, Butler led the Seminoles with 33 three-point shots made as he became the first true freshman in school history to lead Florida State in three-pointers made and three-point field goal percentage (.393).

In the 2022 NBA 2K Summer League, Butler appeared in four games (two starts) for the Pelicans, averaging 8.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks while shooting 12-of-16 (.750) from the floor and 6-of-9 (.667) from three-point range.

New Orleans Pelicans sign Larry Nance Jr. to contract extension

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed forward Larry Nance Jr. to a multi-year contract extension.

Per the New Orleans Times-Picayune a few days ago, “Nance, who was already owed $9.7 million this season, will sign a two-year extension with New Orleans worth $21.6 million. His deal contains no team or player options, a league source said.”

Nance Jr., 6-7, 245, who was acquired by New Orleans in a mid-season trade with the Portland Trail Blazers, appeared in 46 games (11 starts) during the 2021-22 season, averaging 7.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.9 steals in 22.6 minutes per game. In nine games with New Orleans, Nance Jr. averaged 7.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 20.2 minutes per game while shooting .551 from the floor and .500 from deep. In the Pelicans’ first round playoff series with Phoenix, Nance Jr. appeared in all six games and averaged 9.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 21.7 minutes per contest.

Per the Times-Picayune, “Nance, once he was fully healed from right knee surgery, gave the Pelicans important minutes as a backup big man upon returning to the lineup in late March.”

Drafted 27th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2015 NBA Draft, the seven-year veteran has appeared in 396 games (134 starts) with the L.A. Lakers, Cleveland, Portland and New Orleans, posting career averages of 8.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals in 24.1 minutes, while converting .529 from the field, .333 from behind the arc and .689 from the free throw line. Nance has also appeared in 26 postseason games for Cleveland and New Orleans, averaging 5.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 16.8 minutes per contest.

NBA G League: Long Island Nets name Shawn Swords, Lance Harris and Travis Voigt as assistant coaches

The Long Island Nets, the NBA G League affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets, have named Shawn Swords, Lance Harris and Travis Voigt as assistant coaches on Head Coach Ronnie Burrell’s staff.

Swords joins Long Island after spending the last 15 seasons (2007-2022) as head coach at Laurentian University in Ontario, Canada, where he also played five collegiate seasons (1992-97). Prior to beginning his coaching career, he played professionally overseas for a decade (1997-2007) in France and Italy and on Team Canada, including playing for his country at 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

Harris enters his second season as an assistant coach with Long Island. He spent the 2020-21 season with the Brooklyn Nets as a video seasonal assistant. Harris previously spent one season (2019-20) as an assistant coach at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo. Prior to beginning his career in basketball operations, he played professionally overseas for more than a decade (2007-19) in Slovenia, France, Turkey, Russia, Italy, Ukraine and Greece following four collegiate seasons (2003-07) at Kansas State.

Voigt enters his first season with the LI Nets after spending the 2021-22 season as director of basketball operations with the NBA G League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce. He originally joined the Skyforce staff ahead of the 2019-20 season as a basketball operations assistant and served in the same role the following season. Voigt previously spent two seasons overseas (2017-19) as a player development coach for the Shanxi Flame, Shaanxi Wolves and the Hebei Win Power in China. Prior to beginning his career in basketball operations and player development, he played four collegiate seasons (2014-18) at North Central University.

Andrew Cobian and Jonathan D’Angelo rejoin Long Island this season as head player development and video coordinator and head athletic trainer, respectively. The Nets have also named Tevin Baskin as assistant player development and video coordinator.

Orlando Magic name Jake Chapman as team’s radio play-by-play announcer

The Orlando Magic have named Jake Chapman as the team’s radio play-by-play announcer.

Chapman enters his tenth season with the Orlando Magic. This marks his 14th season covering the NBA. In addition to his play-by-play duties, Chapman also serves as the radio producer, pregame and postgame radio host for the Magic Radio Network.

You can hear Chapman call all of the action on 96.9 The Game and the Magic Radio Network, beginning tonight (Monday, October 3) with the Magic’s preseason opener at Memphis. Tip-off is 8 p.m. ET.

Chapman began his career with the Magic in 2006 as a radio intern. He became the Magic’s radio producer in 2009 and served in that role until 2014. During Chapman’s first stint as radio producer, he produced Eastern Conference Finals game broadcasts, oversaw the launch of the Magic’s daily radio show, Magic Drive Time hosted by Dante Marchitelli, built up Magic Radio’s social media presence and helped with the digitization process of Magic Radio’s studio operations. He left the Magic in 2014 to become the pre- and postgame host and executive producer of the Detroit Pistons Radio Network. After his stay in Detroit, Chapman worked in his native Cleveland, OH as a producer and host for 92.3 The Fan and the Cleveland Browns Radio Network. He also covered the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2018 trip to the NBA Finals.

When Chapman returned to the Magic in 2019, he worked to expand the Magic’s podcast offerings – the Orlando Magic Audio Network. He continued producing all Magic radio broadcasts while adding pre-and post-game hosting responsibilities for all games. Chapman also re-assumed producing and co-hosting duties for Magic Drive Time hosted by Dante Marchitelli, the Magic’s daily radio show on its flagship station, 96.9 The Game.

A native of Cleveland, Oh., Chapman earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Ohio State University in 2006.

Orlando Magic games can be heard on the Magic Radio Network, with radio affiliates across the state of Florida. FM 96.9 The Game serves as the flagship station in Orlando, where you can also listen on AM 740.

Thunder guard Lu Dort sustains concussion at practice

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Luguentz Dort sustained a concussion during yesterday’s team practice and has been placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol.

Per the NBA’s Concussion Policy, Dort will now begin the NBA-mandated Return-to-Participation Protocol. This process includes a series of steps designed to ensure an athlete exhibits symptom-free behavior before resuming basketball activities. There is no predetermined timetable to complete the protocol, as each injury and player is different and recovery time can vary in each case.

London Johnson signs with NBA G League Ignite team

London Johnson, a top point guard in the class of 2023, has signed with NBA G League Ignite, NBA G League Ignite General Manager Anthony McClish announced today. Johnson is ranked by ESPN at the No. 32 overall prospect in the class of 2023.

“It’s always been my dream to play in the NBA, and I’m thrilled about this opportunity to take a big step forward and continue the journey in the G League, where I’ll get to learn from great coaches and enhance my skills alongside and against elite talent with Ignite,” Johnson said. “I can’t thank my family, trainers, and AAU and high school coaches enough for their support in helping me along the way.”

Johnson, from Norcross, Ga., led Norcross High to the Georgia High School Association’s 7A state title in March. He was tabbed a Gatorade Player of the Year finalist and named to the Atlanta Tip-Off all-metro team and the Gwinnett Tip-Off all-county team.

A dual citizen of both the U.S. and Jamaica, Johnson represented Jamaica in 2021 FIBA Centrobasket U17 action in Mexico, where he averaged 36 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 4.0 steals in five games. He shot 56 percent from the field and led the tournament in points and steals. Johnson was named to the 2021 FIBA U17 CentroBasket Championship All Star Five.

Johnson will be eligible for the 2024 NBA Draft and follows Scoot Henderson (2021-present) as the second Draft-eligible prospect to sign with Ignite for two seasons. Along with Johnson and Henderson, the Ignite roster that includes four other Draft-eligible players in Efe Abogidi, Sidy Cissoko, Mojave King and Leonard Miller. He’ll join the team for two preseason games this week against Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92, set for Tuesday, Oct. 4 and Thursday, Oct. 6 at Ignite’s new home at The Dollar Loan Center. The games air live on ESPN2 and the NBA App.

Miami Heat sign Tyler Herro to big contract extension

The Miami Heat have signed guard Tyler Herro to a contract extension.

Per the South Florida Sun Sentinel, “the team and Herro have agreed on a contract extension, a four-year deal that an NBA executive confirmed to the Sun Sentinel that is worth as much as $130 million, kicking in at the start of the 2023-24 season.”

“Tyler is an impact multi-faceted player and we are excited to have him signed for the next five years,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “His improvement every year since we drafted him has led to this day. We believe he will continue to get better.”

Also per the Sun Sentinel, “because of NBA-salary cap policies, with the agreement Herro essentially cannot be traded during 2022-23, because of the sharp spike in his salary from the $5.7 million he will earn this season on the final year of his rookie deal. Herro’s agreement includes $120 million in guaranteed salary, with an additional $10 million in possible incentives, an NBA source confirmed.”

Herro, the 2021-22 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, appeared in 66 games last season (10 starts) and averaged 20.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 32.6 minutes while shooting 44.7 percent from the field, 39.9 percent from three-point range and 86.8 percent from the foul line, scoring a team-best 1,367 points while his 86.8 percent from the line was the fourth-highest percentage for a single-season in team history. He averaged 20.8 points off the bench, the highest by a reserve in the NBA and his 1,162 bench points were the most for a single-season by any reserve in HEAT franchise history. He recorded eight 30-point games off the bench, tying for the third-most by a non-starter for a single-season in NBA history and became the only player in HEAT history to record multiple 30-point games as a reserve and already has more than all other 30-point such games combined in franchise history (five). His 20 25-point games tied for the fourth-most ever in league history (since starts were tracked in 1970-71) and his 32 20-point games shattered Miami’s previous single-season record of 15. Herro scored a career-high 35 points on April 5 vs. Charlotte, tying for the most by a reserve in team history and posted a 30-point, 10-rebound double-double off the bench on October 23 at Indiana, becoming the first HEAT reserve to ever score at least 30 points and grab at least 10 rebounds in a single game. He scored 27 points in the season opener on October 21 vs. Milwaukee, tying the sixth-most ever by a reserve for a season opener in NBA history as he finished the season with 175 made three-point field goals, joining Duncan Robinson, Max Strus, Kyle Lowry and Gabe Vincent to mark just the second time in HEAT history at least five different players made at least 100 treys in a single season.

Herro, an NBA All-Rookie Team selection and two-time NBA Rising Stars honoree, has appeared in 175 career games (33 starts) and averaged 16.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 30.3 minutes while shooting 44 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from three-point range and 85.1 percent from the foul line. He has increased his scoring average in each of his three seasons, averaging 13.5 points as a rookie to 15.1 points the following year and most recently last season to 20.7 points. He has scored in double-figures 142 times, including 62 20-point games and 11 30-point performances. Herro scored the 2,000th point of his career on December 4 at Milwaukee, tying the second fastest and the second youngest to the mark in team history. Additionally, he already ranks among the HEAT’s all-time leaders in scoring average (8th), three-point field goals made (12th), three-point field goal percentage (15th), field goal percentage (19th) and points (22nd).