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Heat sign forward Jarnell Stokes

Heat sign forward Jarnell Stokes

The Miami Heat yesterday (Monday, August 27) signed forward Jarnell Stokes.

Last season, Stokes played with the Zhejiang Golden Bulls of the Chinese Basketball Association, appearing in 28 games. He averaged 25.0 points, 13.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.11 steals and 1.04 blocks in 33.5 minutes per game.

Stokes started all 28 games in which he appeared with the HEAT’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, during the 2015-16 season, helping the team to the 2016 G League Championship and earning the 2016 G League MVP award after averaging 20.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.11 steals and 30.7 minutes while shooting 66.5 percent from the field. He was originally drafted by the Utah Jazz in the second round (35th overall) of the 2014 NBA Draft and was previously acquired by the HEAT in a trade with Memphis on November 10, 2015 before being traded by Miami to New Orleans on February 18, 2016.

Stokes has appeared in 28 career NBA games (two starts) between Miami, Memphis, New Orleans and Denver averaging 2.4 points, 1.4 rebounds and 5.4 minutes of action while shooting 58.1 percent from the field. He appeared in five games with the HEAT during the 2015-16 season, totaling seven points, two rebounds, one assist and a steal in 14 minutes of action.

He appeared in 87 games while at the University of Tennessee (84 starts) where he was a teammate of current HEAT guard Josh Richardson and averaged 13.0 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.08 blocks and 29.7 minutes while shooting 62.8 percent. He finished his collegiate career first in offensive rebounds, fourth in double-doubles, eighth in total rebounds and 14th in blocks on the school’s all-time list.

Lakers waive Malik Newman

The Lakers waived Malik Newman today.

In five Las Vegas Summer League games for the Lakers, Newman scored 3.2 points per game in 9.8 minutes.

The 6-foot-3 guard played college basketball at Kansas.

The Lakers already have point guards Lonzo Ball and Rajon Rondo on the roster.

Rockets re-sign Gerald Green

The Houston Rockets re-signed free agent guard/forward Gerald Green today.

Per multiple reports, the deal is a one-year, $2.4 million contract.

Green originally signed with the Rockets on Dec. 28, 2017 and averaged 12.1 points over the remainder of the season. He hit the third-most 3-pointers of any reserve in the league over that span.

For the season, Green averaged 2.7 3-pointers made in 22.7 minutes per game. No other player in NBA history averaged more than 2.5 3FGM in fewer than 25.0 mpg in a single season.

Over the past seven seasons, Green averaged 10.8 ppg in 21.5 mpg. He is one of only five players with at least 400 games played over that span to have averaged at least 10.0 ppg in fewer than 22.0 mpg.

The Philadelphia 76ers have re-signed guard JJ Redick.

And in a separate move, Philadelphia acquired forward Wilson Chandler, a 2021 second-round pick and the right to swap 2022 second-rounders with the Nuggets.

The 76ers also traded the draft rights to forward Isaac Bonga (No. 39 overall) to the L.A. Lakers in exchange for Chicago’s 2019 second-round pick (via the Lakers) and cash considerations.

“Our ability to retain JJ is big for us and his obvious shooting skills are only a part of his importance to our team,” Brown said. “His leadership and professionalism add to the overall special package that he brings to our team, and all of this makes him incredibly valuable. Our ability to maintain continuity will strengthen the team’s continued growth and certainly puts us in better shape as the season begins.”

“Wilson’s veteran experience in the NBA, along with his inherent skill package, makes him a tremendous acquisition for our young team,” Brown said. He is a modern-day player, takes tremendous pride in playing defense and his ability to shoot from the perimeter is exactly what we are looking for. We are excited to welcome Wilson into our 76ers family.”

Redick, who originally signed with the 76ers in July 2018, averaged a career-high 17.1 points per game this past season as he helped Philadelphia to a 52-30 record, the team’s best since 2000-01. In his 12th NBA season, Redick shot a team-best .420 from three-point range (min. 65 attempts), while his 193 makes rank fourth in single-season franchise history, behind only Kyle Korver (226 in 2004-05), Robert Covington (203 in 2017-18) and Dana Barros (197 in 1994-95)..

“My family and I are thrilled to return to the 76ers,” Redick said. “I’m so grateful to play for this organization and this city. I can’t wait for the season to start and for our team to continue our pursuit of an NBA championship.”

Chandler, who has spent the last six-plus seasons with Denver, appeared in 74 games (71 starts) with the Nuggets this past season, posting 10.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 31.7 minutes per contest. He was one of four Nuggets to average double-figure points while also averaging at least 5.0 rebounds per game. Chandler shot .445 from the field, .358 from three-point range and .772 from the free-throw line as he helped lead the Nuggets to a 46-36 regular-season record, the team’s best since 2012-13.

“I’m very excited to join the 76ers,” Chandler said. “I’ve heard nothing but great things about the organization from top to bottom. They have a good mix of young talent who’ve shown they can compete on the brightest of stages and some proven veterans who have had a lot of success in this league. This team is built to compete for a ring, and I look forward to helping them achieve that goal. I know how passionate this city is about basketball and I can’t wait to suit up and play for the 76ers and their fans.”

For his career, Redick has played in 760 games (389 starts) with Philadelphia, the L.A. Clippers Milwaukee and Orlando and holds averages of 12.4 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 25.4 minutes per game. He’s shot .449 percent from the field and .415 percent from three-point range. Redick’s .890 career free-throw percentage is ninth in NBA history and second among active players.

Redick ranks within the NBA’s top 15 all-time in career three-point percentage at .415 and has shot no lower than .420 in any of the past four seasons. The Duke product was originally selected by Orlando with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft after he was named 2006 Associated Press Collegiate Player of the Year.

A veteran of 10 NBA seasons, Chandler has played in 590 career games (447 starts) with Denver and New York. He holds lifetime averages of 13.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 31.1 minutes per game, while shooting .445 from the field, .341 from three-point range and .769 from the free-throw line.

Chandler also spent the 2011-12 season playing professionally overseas for the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association. In his first CBA game, he posted 43 points along with 22 rebounds and four assists in 51 minutes in a 118-115 double overtime win over Tianjin Ronggang. In all, he appeared in 32 games (29 starts) for Zhejiang, averaging 26.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 steals in 34.9 minutes per contest.

The Benton Harbor, Michigan native was originally selected No. 23 overall by New York in the 2007 NBA Draft after two seasons at DePaul. In his second season with the Blue Demons, Chandler led the team with averages of 14.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game and was named Second Team All-Big East. He led the team to a 20-14 record, the school’s only 20-win season over the past 13.

Timberwolves re-sign Derrick Rose

The Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday re-signed guard Derrick Rose.

The 6-foot-3 former league MVP, now far removed from those days, originally signed with the Wolves last season on March 8. He played a total of 25 regular season games on two different teams (Minnesota and Cleveland) last season, and averaged 8.4 points on 43.5% shooting.

During the 2018 playoffs, Rose played in all five games of the Timberwolves’ first round series against the Rockets, and performed quite well as a bench contributor, putting up 14.2 points per game on 50.9% shooting.

Rose has made the NBA All-Star team three times. And he won NBA MVP in 2010-11 as a member of the Bulls.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball League (NBL) today announced that for the second consecutive year, NBL teams will travel to the U.S. to participate in the NBA preseason.

Five NBL teams, including the Adelaide 36ers, Melbourne United, New Zealand Breakers, Perth Wildcats and Sydney Kings, will play a total of seven games against NBA teams in the 2018 NBA preseason, including the Denver Nuggets, LA Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz, from Sept. 28 – Oct. 5. This marks the most games NBA teams will play against teams from an international league in a single preseason.

The first game will feature the Melbourne United against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sept. 28 at the Wells Fargo Center. The 76ers are led by Australian point guard and 2018 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons and Brett Brown, head coach of the 76ers and former coach of the Australia men’s national team.

On Sept. 29, the Perth Wildcats will play Australians Joe Ingles and Dante Exum of the Utah Jazz at the Vivint Smart Home Arena. Former NBA player Andrew Bogut and the Sydney Kings will then face the LA Clippers at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sept. 30, before the Phoenix Suns host the New Zealand Breakers at the Talking Stick Resort Arena on Oct. 3.

The schedule culminates on Oct. 5 with three games: the Perth Wildcats vs. the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center; Melbourne United vs. the Toronto Raptors at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada; the Adelaide 36ers vs. the Utah Jazz at the Vivint Smart Home Arena.

There were a record-tying eight Australian players on 2017-18 opening night NBA rosters, including Simmons, Ingles, Exum and Bogut. Seven Australian players and one New Zealander were on team rosters for the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

NBL Owner and Executive Chairman Larry Kestelman:

“The increased number of games symbolizes the continued strength of the NBL-NBA partnership and the growth of our league in Australia and New Zealand. These initiatives continue to position the NBL as the second best league and entertainment product in the world outside the NBA.”

NBA Asia Managing Director Scott Levy:

“We are excited to build on our partnership with the NBL to expand the number of their teams participating in this year’s NBA preseason. There’s incredible momentum around basketball in Australia and New Zealand, and our fans can look forward to a tremendous slate of games showcasing some of the best talent the NBA and NBL have to offer.”

Sydney Kings Center Andrew Bogut:

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to play for the Sydney Kings against the LA Clippers. This is also a great opportunity to showcase the NBL against some of the best players in the world at a time when the league and Australian and New Zealand basketball is thriving.”

Sydney Kings Head Coach and five-time Olympian Andrew Gaze:

“We loved going to play in the NBA preseason last year and for five teams to now have that opportunity this year is another feather in the cap of the NBL. We can’t wait to take on the LA Clippers and I’m sure Australian and New Zealand basketball fans will be just as excited about these games.”

Some Lakers offseason targets

The Lakers are loaded with young talent. Will some well-established veteran stars be added to the mix? Should they be? Here’s the OC Register (via the LA Daily News website) reporting on some of LA’s likely top free agency targets this summer:

These days, Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka are a bit more coy about their plans to rebuild the Lakers – funny the effect half a million dollars in tampering fines can have – but the team’s top executives remain no less certain of their ability to land superstars who can lead the Lakers back to the top of the NBA.

“We are going to find success one way or another,” Pelinka said Friday. “It is not going to be contingent on any specific decision of another player.”

The Lakers have long been expected to chase the top two free agents in this summer’s class, LeBron James and Paul George. After clearing salary cap space by trading Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson in February, Johnson and Pelinka massaged those expectations, saying their cap flexibility allowed them to add two maximum-level free agents from the classes of 2018 and ’19, and not both necessarily this year.

“We’re not going to give money away just to say we signed somebody,” Johnson said.

Full article

The Washington Wizards’ Scott Brooks and the Houston Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in February.

Brooks led the Wizards to an 8-4 record in February, including a 6-1 mark on the road, as Washington took over first place in the Southeast Division and moved up to fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Playing the entire month without All-Star guard John Wall, the Wizards defeated five of the seven other teams currently among the top eight in the East.

Washington opened February with a 122-119 home win over the current East-leading Toronto Raptors. The Wizards’ road success featured victories at the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks. For the month, Washington led the East in assists (29.3 apg) and ranked third in field goal percentage (48.6).

Under D’Antoni, the NBA-leading Rockets went 12-0 in February, marking the third time in team history that they have gone unbeaten in a calendar month with at least 10 games. Houston ended the month with a 14-game winning streak, becoming the sixth team in NBA history with two winning streaks of at least 14 games in a season. At 48-13, Houston has its best-ever record through 61 games and a half-game lead over the Golden State Warriors for the best record in the Western Conference and overall.

In February, the Rockets outscored opponents by 14.0 points per game while finishing 8-0 on the road and 4-0 at home. Houston’s month included two victories each over the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Denver Nuggets as well as road wins against the Cavaliers and the San Antonio Spurs.

Other nominees for the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month were Charlotte’s Steve Clifford, Denver’s Michael Malone, Golden State’s Steve Kerr, the LA Clippers’ Doc Rivers, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Luke Walton, New Orleans’ Alvin Gentry, Philadelphia’s Brett Brown, Toronto’s Dwane Casey and Utah’s Quin Snyder.

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James and the New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month, respectively, for games played in February.

James averaged a triple-double in a calendar month for the first time in his 15-year career, leading the Eastern Conference in scoring (27.0 ppg) and assists (10.5 apg) and adding 10.5 rebounds in 10 games. The 6-8 forward, who tied for the league lead with four triple-doubles, shot 54.6 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from three-point range and finished second in the conference in minutes (37.3 mpg). He helped the Cavaliers post a 6-4 record in February.

On Feb. 27, James recorded 31 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in a 129-123 home victory over the Brooklyn Nets. With that performance, the 33-year-old James became the first player in NBA history to accumulate 30,000 points, 8,000 rebounds and 8,000 assists.

Davis averaged 35.0 points (first in the NBA), 13.0 rebounds (third), 2.45 steals (second) and 2.18 blocked shots (second) in 11 games, making him the first player in league history to hit these marks for a calendar month since steals and blocks became official statistics in 1973-74. His scoring average was a personal best for a month in which he appeared in at least five games.

Behind Davis, the Pelicans went 8-3 in February and closed the month on a seven-game winning streak, moving into a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference. In a 124-123 overtime victory against the Miami Heat on Feb. 23, the 6-10 forward became the first player ever to produce at least 40 points, 15 rebounds, five steals and five blocks in a game since steals and blocks were first recorded (45/17/5/5).

Other nominees for the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month were Boston’s Kyrie Irving, Golden State’s Kevin Durant, Houston’s James Harden, Indiana’s Victor Oladipo, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Portland’s Damian Lillard and Washington’s Bradley Beal.

The Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons and the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in February.

Simmons won the NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month award for the second consecutive month and the third time this season. In February, he led East rookies in scoring (16.0 ppg) and rebounding (7.3 rpg) and paced all first-year NBA players in assists (7.7 apg). He also tied for the rookie lead in steals (2.00 spg) and ranked third among that group in field goal percentage (55.0). The 6-10 guard/forward from Australia helped the 76ers to an 8-3 record for the month, the second-best mark in the East.

On Feb. 14, Simmons had a triple-double of 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists as the 76ers rallied from a 24-point third-quarter deficit to defeat the Miami Heat 104-102 in Philadelphia. In his first game after the All-Star break, Simmons scored a career-high 32 points, made the go-ahead free throw with 5.6 seconds left and added 11 assists and seven rebounds in a 116-115 road win against the Chicago Bulls on Feb. 22.

Mitchell earned the NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month award for the third month in a row. In February, he averaged a rookie-high 21.4 points to go with 4.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.30 steals in 10 games as Utah went 8-2 with him in the lineup and 9-2 overall. He topped all first-year NBA players with 29 three-pointers made and led West rookies with 29 free throws made.

The 6-3 guard opened the month by scoring 40 points on 14-of-19 shooting from the field (including 7-of-9 from three-point range) in a 129-97 road win over the Phoenix Suns on Feb. 2. With that performance, Mitchell became the first player in Jazz history with multiple 40-point games in his rookie season. He scored at least 24 points in each of his final four games before the All-Star break – all Utah victories.

Other nominees for the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month were Atlanta’s John Collins, Boston’s Jayson Tatum, Brooklyn’s Jarrett Allen, Chicago’s Lauri Markkanen, Dallas’ Dennis Smith Jr., the Los Angeles Lakers’ Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma, Miami’s Bam Adebayo, Phoenix’s Josh Jackson and Sacramento’s Bogdan Bogdanovic and De’Aaron Fox.

Longtime Charlotte Hornets broadcaster Stephanie Ready is branching into the cutting edge of new technology.

Ready will do color analysis for TNT for a handful of games the rest of the season on a virtual-reality platform. Ready’s first game was a Golden State Warriors-Los Angeles Clippers matchup. She is scheduled for six more games the rest of this season.

Viewers need virtual reality headsets to view this experience. It creates an in-arena view, where a fan isn’t restricted to one camera angle on the game. Ready received permission from Fox Sports South, which holds Hornets TV rights, to do these games. TNT and the NBA are doing this in partnership with Intel.

Charlotte Observer

The NBA continues to do more for teams in regard to scheduling fewer back-to-back games than in the past. Warriors coach Steve Kerr, for one, says the effect has been clear, and positive. Here’s the the San Jose Mercury News reporting:

After playing in 17 sets of back-to-back games this year, the Warriors will play in 14. After playing as many as eight games in 13 days last season, the Warriors’ toughest stretch will entail playing five games in nine days. The NBA also spread out its schedule so there are more days in between games.

“The players are much more prepared to play in every game,” Kerr said. “I’ve only rested guys who are older and banged up. I haven’t felt a need to rest our guys who are in our prime. The league has done a great job with the schedule.”

Granted, the Warriors have still nursed long-term absences this season to Stephen Curry (combined 15 games), Kevin Durant (eight), Draymond Green (six) and Zaza Pachulia (right) for various injuries. But only Klay Thompson represents the Warriors’ lone core player to sit out for rest purposes. That happened only once.

Full article

Agent Henry Thomas has died

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel with some very sad news:

Henry Thomas, arguably the most impactful player agent in the Miami Heat’s 30 seasons, died Saturday in Chicago, with Heat forward Udonis Haslem and former Heat guard Dwyane Wade among those who left their teams to travel to Chicago amid Thomas’ failing health.

Thomas, 64, represented Wade, Haslem, Chris Bosh, Tim Hardaway and several other Heat players, a particularly strong influence with the organization since the arrival of Pat Riley as Heat president in 1995.

The Heat paid tribute with a moment of silence before Saturday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Thomas’ negotiations with the Heat included a unique conditioning-based contract for Hardaway that included regular weigh-ins after the two sides reached an impasse and then several concessions from Wade over the years to accommodate the contracts of other Heat players.

Thomas was a particularly influential presence in the Heat’s formation of the Big Three championship core in 2010, representing both Bosh and Wade at the time, while also part of the agency that represented LeBron James.

Full article

And here’s Cleveland.com with more:

Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Dwyane Wade stepped away from the team, missing Friday’s win against the Indiana Pacers, to mourn the death of his agent Henry Thomas — a man Wade viewed as a “father figure,” according to sources close to him.

Wade wrote a heartfelt Instagram message about Thomas on Saturday, complete with a picture of the two shortly after Wade was drafted by the Miami Heat in 2003.

“I’m writing this letter to you as I cry both tears of SADNESS and tears of JOY,” Wade said. “I know — i know — I can hear your voice saying, ‘Come on my man. You got this!’ I can picture your face and feel your hugs in so so many moments in my life. Whether it’s you hugging me and saying how proud you are of me or congrats on winning a NBA championship or you hugging me and saying everything’s gonna be alright — we will get thru this. I can’t thank you enough for these last 15 years.”

Full article

Point guard Dejounte Murray made NBA history Tuesday night with an outstanding performance that helped the Spurs beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 114-102 and also solidified his hold on the starting point guard job.

Murray finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals in 30 minutes.

According to the Spurs, the second-year pro became just the second player in league history to record at least 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals in 30 minutes or less. Fat Lever was the first to do it with 21 points, 13 rebounds and eight steals in 28 minutes in 1987.

Houston Chronicle

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goran_dragic

The NBA announced today that Miami HEAT guard Goran Dragić was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for week 13 (games played Monday, January 8 through Sunday, January 14). It is the fourth time Dragić has been named Player of the Week in his career, including the second time this season after also earning the honor on November 27. He has now become just the fourth player in the Eastern Conference to earn the award on multiple occasions this season and the first HEAT player to do so since LeBron James during the 2013-14 campaign. It also marks the 57th time in franchise history a HEAT player has earned the honor.

Dragić led the HEAT to a perfect 3-0 record for the week, helping to extend their current seven-game winning streak and their NBA-best 14 consecutive victories in January dating back to last season, after averaging 23.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.00 steals while shooting 50 percent from the field, including 46.2 percent from three-point range. He led the team in points in all three games, in assists and steals twice and minutes once. He scored at least 20 points in each contest, matching his season high for consecutive 20-point games. Additionally, he has led the team in assists 19 times and in scoring on 15 occasions this season, both team highs.

Dragić led off the week with a 24-point, 12-rebound double-double at Toronto on January 9, helping Miami to a 90-89 win, handing the Raptors just their second loss at home this season. He also dished out a team-high four assists in the contest while his 12 boards tied his career high. On the second night of a back-to-back set on the road, he scored a team-high 20 points while dishing out a game-high nine assists in a, 114-106, victory at Indiana, helping Miami snap a 10-game road losing streak to the Pacers. Dragić capped off the week scoring a game-high 25 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter in a, 97-79, win vs. Milwaukee on January 14.

lou williams

And, the league announced that L.A. Clippers guard Lou Williams has been named Western Conference Player of the Week for Week 13 (games played Monday, Jan. 8, through Sunday, Jan. 14). Goran Dragic of the Miami Heat was the Eastern Conference winner. This is Williams’ second Player of the Week award this season (Week 11) and the third of his career.

Williams helped the Clippers to a 4-0 week behind averages of 35.0 points, 4.8 assists and 1.50 steals, while shooting 45.7% from three-point range and 96.7% from the free-throw line in 36.5 minutes. He tallied an NBA best 140 points and scored at least 30 points in three of the team’s four games last week, highlighted by a 50-point performance at Golden State on Wednesday, Jan. 10. It was the highest scoring effort by any Clipper in a single game since Charles Smith tied a franchise record with 52 points on Dec. 1, 1990.

Now in his 13th NBA season, Williams is averaging career-highs in points (23.1), assists (4.9), three-point percentage (41.4%) and minutes (31.7) this season. He is currently the NBA’s leading bench scorer, averaging 21.8 points per game as a reserve, the highest scoring average of any bench player since Ricky Pierce averaged 23.0 points per game as a reserve in 1989-90.

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Dion Waiters will have ankle surgery

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Miami Heat shooting guard Dion Waiters will have surgery on his left ankle sometime in the near future, the team confirmed today.

“We are confident this surgery will resolve all of the issues with the ankle,” said the Heat in a statement. “This process will not just repair the ankle, but also kick-start a whole new reboot for Dion. A full recovery is expected.”

According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, “Waiters said in September he was told last season that the estimated timetable for a return from such surgery would be eight to 10 months.”

Waiters this season is averaging 14.3 points and 3.8 assists per game, shooting just 39.8% from the field and just 30.6% from three-point range.

More from the Sun Sentinel: “The Heat are now positioned to apply to the NBA for the $5.5 million disabled-player exception, half of Waiters’ 2017-18 salary, but would have to open a roster spot, already at the roster maximum of 15 players, not counting the two additional players on two-way contracts with the developmental-league. Such an exception signing would be limited to the balance of the season and would have to be exercised by March 12. The exception could only be used on a replacement player in the final year of a contract, be it on a free-agent, in a trade or for a waiver claim.”

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed guard Xavier Munford to a Two-Way contract, and have converted forward Joel Bolomboy to a standard NBA contract. Munford, who attended training camp with the Bucks, had previously spent all season with the Bucks’ G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd. Bolomboy had been on a Two-Way contract with the Bucks since Oct. 20.

Munford, 25, is currently fourth in the NBA G League in scoring, averaging 24.1 points per game, and second in 3-point field goal percentage (.476). He has appeared in 20 games (19 starts) with the Herd this season and is also averaging a team-high 5.4 assists with 4.9 rebounds per game while shooting 52.5 percent overall. In November, Munford was named to the 12-man USA roster for the first round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers, where he averaged 13.0 points per game on 52.6 percent shooting in two games.

Undrafted out of Rhode Island in the 2014 NBA Draft, Munford spent last season between the Greensboro Swarm of the NBA G League and FC Barcelona Lassa (Spain). He played in 14 regular season games for the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2015-16 season, averaging 5.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, and also appeared in all four of the Grizzlies playoff games in 2016.

Bolomboy has played in six games with the Bucks this season, averaging 1.5 points and 1.7 rebounds in 6.3 minutes per game. In nine games (all starts) with the Herd this season, Bolomboy averaged 15.0 points and 11.2 rebounds per game while shooting 54.3 percent from the field.

The Bucks roster now stands at 17 players.

NBA Week 8 preview notes

DYNAMIC DONOVAN: As a freshman at Louisville in 2015-16, Donovan Mitchell started five games and averaged 7.4 points for the season. On Dec. 1, the Utah Jazz guard became the first NBA rookie to score at least 40 points in a game since Blake Griffin in 2011. The 6-3 Mitchell has developed rapidly over the last few years, allowing him to make an immediate impact after being selected with the 13th pick in NBA Draft 2017. He is averaging more than 16 points per game and leads all rookies in three-pointers made. With Mitchell sparking the offense, Utah has won five consecutive games to improve to 12-11. Mitchell faces several challenging opponents at shooting guard during Week 8, including a matchup against newly named NBA Western Conference Player of the Week James Harden and the West-leading Houston Rockets on Thursday at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

SECOND HELPING: While Mitchell is one of many rookies making headlines, several talented second-year players are also turning heads this season. Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Boston Celtics guard/forward Jaylen Brown have helped fuel strong starts for their respective teams. Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram and Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray have produced big scoring games. Reigning Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon of the Milwaukee Bucks remains a steady contributor, while Chicago Bulls guard Kris Dunn and Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis are finding their groove after offseason trades. Count Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield, San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray and Toronto Raptors big men Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam among the top second-year performers, too. The promising play from the NBA’s first- and second-year players sets the stage for a fantastic Rising Stars Challenge during NBA All-Star 2018 in Los Angeles.

NBA MEXICO CITY GAMES 2017: This week, the NBA will play two regular-season games in Mexico City for the second straight season. The Brooklyn Nets will participate in both games, meeting the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday (10 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass) and the Miami Heat on Saturday (6 p.m. ET, NBA TV) at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico. All three teams will be playing regular-season games in Mexico for the first time. The matchups mark the 25th and 26th games – including the sixth and seventh regular-season games – in Mexico since 1992, the most held in any country outside the United States and Canada. Last season, the Phoenix Suns played two regular-season games in Mexico City, defeating the San Antonio Spurs and losing to the Dallas Mavericks.

– NBA Broadcasters Bulletin

NBA suspends referee Courtney Kirkland for one week, and Shaun Livingston for one game

NBA Official Courtney Kirkland has been removed from the league’s officiating rotation for one week and Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston has been suspended one game without pay for their roles in an on-court altercation, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, which began when Livingston aggressively approached Kirkland while protesting a non-call, occurred with 6:24 remaining in the second quarter of the Warriors’ 123-95 win over the Miami Heat on Sunday, Dec. 3 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

As part of the incident, Livingston and Kirkland bumped heads, and Livingston was assessed a technical foul and ejected for making contact with a game official. Upon league office review, it was determined that Kirkland moved toward Livingston and shared responsibility for the contact that occurred.

Kirkland’s suspension will begin tonight and run through Sunday, Dec. 10. He will be eligible to return to game action on Monday, Dec. 11.

Livingston will serve his suspension tonight when the Warriors play the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center.

NBA notes from around the league

Houston guard James Harden has scored at least 20 points in each of his 21 games this season, the NBA’s longest season-opening streak since LeBron James’ 33-game run in 2012-13.

Utah has outscored opponents by an average of 22.8 points during its current four-game winning streak.

Orlando forward Aaron Gordon has become the first Magic player with multiple 40-point games in a season since Dwight Howard in 2010-11.

Minnesota guard Tyus Jones is averaging 11.3 points, 6.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 4.0 steals in his last four games, a stretch that includes three starts in place of the injured Jeff Teague.

Portland ranks second in the NBA in defensive rating, allowing 99.5 points per 100 possessions. Last season, the Trail Blazers ranked 21st and allowed 107.8 points per 100 possessions.

On Thursday, when Cleveland defeated Atlanta to extend its winning streak to 10 games, Cavaliers forward LeBron James passed Alex English (10,659) for 10th place on the NBA’s all-time list for field goals made.

In his last two games, Chicago guard Kris Dunn has totaled 43 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds and shot 70.4 percent from the field (19-of-27).

Denver swingman Will Barton scored a career-high 37 points in Thursday’s victory over Chicago, the highest-scoring game by a Nuggets reserve since J.R. Smith’s 41-point performance against Atlanta on Dec. 23, 2009.

The Nuggets will retire Fat Lever’s No. 12 jersey on Saturday, when they play host to the Los Angeles Lakers. The two-time All-Star recorded 43 triple-doubles, the eighth-highest total in NBA history.

– NBA Newsletter

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