Archive for the ‘ NBA Teams ’ Category

The Oklahoma City Thunder has named Monty Williams, Maurice Cheeks and Anthony Grant as assistant coaches and Billy Schmidt as quality control coach, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. They join Mark Bryant and Darko Rajakovic as assistants on Head Coach Billy Donovan’s bench, along with shooting coach Adam Harrington and Vin Bhavnani, who will return as manager of advance scouting/player development.

“I’m really excited about the vast experience that this staff will bring to our team,” Donovan said. “The opportunity to bring these coaches together will help us work towards our goal of having a defensive identity, sharing the ball and playing efficiently on both ends. The group delivers an incredible set of individual skills, knowledge and background to the table, and I believe that the impact of their collective efforts will be very beneficial as we continue to build the tradition of the Thunder.”

Williams joins the Thunder after spending five seasons as the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans from 2010-2015. This past year, he guided the Pelicans to their first playoff berth since the 2010-11 season. Prior to his time in New Orleans, he spent five seasons as an assistant coach on the Portland Trail Blazers’ bench and one season as a coaching staff intern with the San Antonio Spurs where he earned a championship ring with the 2005 championship squad. Additionally, Williams serves as an assistant coach with the USA Men’s National Team.

The 24th overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft, Williams averaged 6.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 16.7 minutes in 456 games over nine seasons with New York, San Antonio, Denver, Orlando and Philadelphia.

Cheeks, who spent four seasons on the Thunder bench from 2009-2013, returns to Oklahoma City after serving as the head coach of the Detroit Pistons during the 2013-14 season. Overall, he has amassed a head coaching record of 305-315 (.492) with the Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers (2005-2008) and Portland Trail Blazers (2001-2005). Cheeks was also an assistant coach with the 76ers from 1994-2001.

A 15-year NBA veteran, Cheeks retired from the NBA as its all-time leader in steals after playing with Philadelphia, San Antonio, New York, Atlanta and New Jersey. He helped lead the 76ers to the 1983 NBA Championship and his teams went to the playoffs in 13 of his 15 seasons. The Chicago native was a four-time All-Star and appeared on the NBA’s All-Defensive team five times.

Grant arrives in Oklahoma City after serving as the head coach of the University of Alabama’s men’s basketball program from 2009-2015. In his six seasons in Tuscaloosa, Grant amassed a record of 117-85 (.579) while guiding the Crimson Tide to the 2012 NCAA tournament, their first tournament berth since the 2006 season. Before that, he spent three seasons as the head coach of the Virginia Commonwealth University’s men’s basketball team. During his time at the helm, the Rams went 76-25 (.752) and won three consecutive Colonial Athletic Association Championships.

From 1996-2006, Grant served as an assistant coach under Billy Donovan at the University of Florida. During his 10-year stint in Gainesville, the Gators amassed a record of 226-98 (.698) and reached the NCAA tournament in eight consecutive seasons, capped by their national title in 2006. He has also served as an assistant at Marshall University and Stetson University.

Schmidt comes to the Thunder after spending last season as the assistant to the head coach at the University of Florida under Donovan. Prior to that, Schmidt was an assistant coach at Georgia Tech for three seasons (2011-2014) and spent eight seasons at the University of Dayton (2004-2011). Additionally, he has worked on the men’s basketball staff’s at the University of Michigan, Seton Hall University, Northwestern University and the University of Tennessee.

After graduating with honors from Wake Forest in 1992, Schmidt began his coaching career at Oak Hill Academy, serving as an assistant coach to Steve Smith. During his two year stay at Oak Hill Academy, his teams won back-to-back national championships.

Nets waive Darius Morris

nets waive darius morris

The Brooklyn Nets have requested waivers on guard Darius Morris, Nets General Manager Billy King announced today.

Morris, who was originally signed as a free agent by the Nets on December 11, 2014, appeared in 38 games with Brooklyn during the 2014-15 season, averaging 2.2 points and 1.3 assists in 7.9 minutes per game. The 41st overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, Morris has appeared in 132 career games (17 starts) with Brooklyn, Memphis, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia and the Lakers, posting averages of 3.3 points and 1.4 assists in 11.1 minutes per game.

Luol Deng exercises Heat player option

luol deng

The Miami HEAT announced today that Luol Deng has exercised his player option for the 2015-16 season.

Deng spent last season with Miami appearing in 72 games (all starts) averaging 14.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 33.6 minutes while shooting 46.9 percent from the field, 35.5 percent from three-point range and 76.1 percent from the foul line. He led the HEAT in starts, minutes played and three-point field goals made while finishing second on the team in double-figure scoring efforts, field goals made, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds and total rebounds. He scored in double-figures on 54 occasions, including 12 games with at least 20 points and one 30-point performance and topped Miami in scoring 10 times, in minutes 18 times, in steals on 14 occasions, in rebounds seven times, in blocks six times and in assists in four contests. He posted the first 25-8-8 game of his career after totaling 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a 101-91 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Christmas Day.

Last season, the two-time NBA All-Star scored his 11,000th career point vs. Milwaukee on November 16, recorded his 700th career steal at Memphis on December 7, played in his 700th career game at Brooklyn on December 16 and made his 700th career start vs. Charlotte on April 7. The 11-year NBA veteran has now appeared in 749 career games (703 starts) and averaged 15.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.00 steals and 35.6 minutes while shooting 45.8 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from three-point range and 77.2 percent from the foul line.

Kirk Hinrich exercises player option for Bulls 2015-16 season

The Chicago Bulls announced today that guard Kirk Hinrich has exercised his player option for the 2015-16 season.

A 12-year veteran of the NBA, the 34-year old Hinrich (6-4, 190) has played in 833 (658 starts) regular-season games and averaged 11.4 ppg, 5.0 apg, 3.0 rpg and 1.15 spg in 31.7 mpg. He owns career shooting averages of .412 from the field, .375 from downtown and .799 from the line. Hinrich has also appeared in 65 (46 starts) NBA playoff games where he has posted 11.4 ppg, 4.2 apg, 2.8 rpg, 1.14 spg, 30.5 mpg and shot .430 from the field, .408 from behind the arc and .744 from the stripe.

Paul Pierce to enter free agency

It’s very possible that Paul Pierce is gone from DC

Free agent negotiations begin Wednesday, and the Washington Wizards must deal with possibly losing veteran forward Paul Pierce. Here’s CSN Washington reporting:

Paul Pierce to enter free agency

With the Wizards now knowing for certain that Paul Pierce will opt out of the second year of his contract, they’ll proceed as if he’s not returning and secure a replacement (It may be a longshot but he still could re-sign here and get 120% of last season’s $5.5 million salary).

They don’t have any room under the salary cap so free agents such as DeMarre Carroll or Khris Middleton, blossoming, younger small forwards on the market who are in line for career paydays, are out of the question. The Wizards would have to acquire players of that caliber through a sign-and-trade but don’t have the assets to facilitate such a deal.

They have to make it work with two salary-cap exceptions at their disposal: Mid-level of just more than $5 million (used to sign Pierce) and the bi-annual exception of just more than $2 million (used two seasons ago to sign Eric Maynor).

In regular game situations, Pierce, well past his prime at this point, is replaceable. But as he showed in the playoffs, when clutch shots need to be hit, Pierce is as good as anyone in the league.

Sixers second-rounders hope to prove they belong

Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting on the life of players who have been drafted but must still prove themselves worthy of being kept around:

For Richaun Holmes and Jean-Pierre Tokoto, being second-round selections of the 76ers translates to great opportunities.

That’s because the duo realize they could get meaningful minutes in what will be the franchise’s third consecutive rebuilding season.

Since Sam Hinkie was hired as general manager in May 2013, the Sixers have been focused on player development, evaluating talent and developing a culture. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a lottery pick, second-rounder or undrafted rookie free agent. If you secure a roster spot, you’re mostly going to play.

“I know, personally, I’m thankful for the opportunity the Sixers are giving me to play,” said Tokoto, who was selected 58th out of North Carolina in Thursday night’s draft in Brooklyn. “They’re very big on development. Coming into the league, you know rookies are trying to prove themselves. Coming in as a second-round pick, I have a lot to prove and a lot to work on.

“It’s the perfect situation to be in as far as that’s concerned.”

With free agent negotiations set to begin Wednesday, reports will start to trickle out regarding decisions various teams and players are making. Here’s a big one, from the Racine Journal Times:

brandon knight

Brandon Knight’s ship is about to come in.

Knight, whom the Milwaukee Bucks traded to the Phoenix Suns in February in a multiple-team deal, appears on the brink of signing a lucrative long-term contract to remain with the Suns.

I’ve been told by an NBA official that Knight, who’ll become a restricted free agent on July 1, will sign a five-year, $70 million contract with the Suns.

Knight, who is 23, was enjoying an All-Star caliber season – 17.8 points and 5.4 assists — before the Bucks surprisingly sent him to the Suns.

He then played 11 games for the Suns, averaging 13.4 and 4.5 assists. After suffering an ankle injury March 9, Knight missed 16 of the Suns’ final 17 games. He underwent minor arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle in April.

The Orlando Magic have named Adrian Griffin, Monte Mathis, Mario Elie and Conner Henry assistant coaches. In addition, Laron Profit and Jay Hernandez will remain as assistant coaches/player development, completing Scott Skiles’ coaching staff.

Griffin has spent the last five seasons (2010-15) as an assistant coach with Chicago. During the summer of 2014, he worked with the USA Basketball Men’s National Team that captured the gold medal at the FIBA Basketball World Cup. Prior to joining the Bulls, he served as assistant coach/player development for two seasons (2008-10) with Milwaukee under Scott Skiles.

As a player, Griffin appeared in 477 career NBA games (179 starts) during nine seasons with Boston, Dallas, Houston, Chicago and Seattle, averaging 4.0 ppg., 3.2 rpg. and 1.4 apg. in 16.8 minpg. He also played in 48 career playoff outings, averaging 3.4 ppg. and 3.0 rpg. in 13.2 minpg. and helped Dallas reach the 2006 NBA Finals. Griffin also played one season in Italy and three seasons with Connecticut of the CBA. In 1998-99, he was named CBA Most Valuable Player and also earned CBA Finals MVP, leading Connecticut to the championship.

Born on July 4, 1974 and a native of Wichita, Kansas, Griffin was a three-year starter at Seton Hall University. He and his wife, Audrey, have two daughters, Vanessa and Aubrey, and two sons, Alan and Adrian, Jr.

Mathis has spent the previous five seasons (2010-15) as an assistant coach with Dallas and the last four seasons as the Mavericks’ defensive coordinator, after spending one season as player development coach. As defensive coordinator, his responsibilities included preparing defensive game plans and coordinating scouting reports on upcoming opponents. Prior to that, Mathis served as head video coordinator/scout with Dallas for the previous four seasons (2006-10). He also had served as Dallas’ summer league head coach since 2009.

Prior to joining the Mavericks, Mathis spent 11 years coaching in the collegiate ranks. He came to Dallas after serving as an assistant coach at Xavier (Ohio) University. Before that, Mathis spent four seasons as an assistant coach with Ohio State University (2000-04), helping them win the Big Ten title in 2002. Prior to joining the Buckeyes, Mathis was an assistant coach for four seasons at the University of Toledo. During his tenure, he helped the Rockets to their first postseason appearance in 20 years. He also served as an assistant coach at the University of South Alabama (1995-96) and as a graduate assistant at McNeese State (1994-95). Mathis began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Woodward High School in Cincinnati.

Mathis played for Larry Brown at the University of Kansas before transferring to Toledo, where he was a two-year letter winner in baseball and basketball. After graduating from Toledo in 1991 with a bachelor of arts degree in communications, Mathis played and coached in the Atlanta Braves and Chicago White Sox farm systems for three years. His father, Mike Mathis, was an NBA referee for 25 years, while his brothers, Mick, Marty and Brian, all played college football, with Brian making it to the NFL for four seasons. Born on June 2, 1967 and a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, he and his wife, Ayrica, have a daughter, Ava (9) and a son, Mason (6).

Elie has spent nine seasons as an assistant coach in the NBA, most recently with Brooklyn for two seasons (2011-13). Before joining the Nets, he spent two seasons as an assistant coach with Sacramento (2009-11). Elie also served as an assistant coach with Dallas (2007-09), Golden State (2004-06) and San Antonio (2003-04).

Originally selected in the seventh round (160th overall) of the 1985 NBA Draft by Milwaukee, Elie played professionally in Portugal, Argentina, Ireland, the USBL, the WBL and the CBA, before making his NBA debut with Philadelphia in December 1990. After finally breaking through, he enjoyed a successful 11-year career in the NBA. Elie played in 732 career regular season NBA games (395 starts) with Philadelphia, Golden State, Portland, Houston, San Antonio and Phoenix, averaging 8.6 ppg., 2.8 rpg. and 2.6 apg. in 25.5 minpg., while shooting .365 (574-1,572) from three-point range. He also appeared in 116 career playoff outings (57 starts), averaging 8.5 ppg., 2.9 rpg. and 2.3 apg. in 26.3 minpg., while shooting .367 (90-245) from three-point range.

Elie won three NBA Championships during his career, two with Houston (1993-94, 1994-95) and one with San Antonio (1998-99). During Game #7 of the 1995 Western Conference Semifinals at Phoenix, he hit a memorable, go-ahead three-pointer with 7.1 seconds left, helping the Rockets overcome a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Suns. Elie started all four games of the 1995 NBA Finals against Orlando, averaging 16.3 ppg., 4.3 rpg., 3.3 apg. and 2.00 stlpg. in 40.3 minpg. In 1998, he was named to the Rockets “30-Year Team” as one of the top ten players in club history.

Born on November 26, 1963 and a native of New York City, Elie played collegiately at American International College, a Division II school located in Springfield, Massachusetts. He earned a degree in human relations, speaks Spanish, Portuguese and French. Elie also worked as a pre- and postgame host for the Rockets’ FOX Sports Net telecasts during the 1996-97 campaign. He and his wife, Gina Gaston, are the parents of triplets – sons Gaston and Glenn, and daughter Lauren. Gina is the lead news anchor for KTRK-TV in Houston and has also worked as a national correspondent for MSNBC.

Henry spent the last two seasons (2013-15) as head coach of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League, compiling a regular season record of 62-38 (.620). During his first year with the Mad Ants (2013-14), he guided them to a league-best 34-16 regular season record and was named the Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year. Fort Wayne would proceed to sweep through the postseason and capture the 2013-14 NBA D-League Championship. Last season (2014-15), the Mad Ants returned to the D-League Finals, but fell to Santa Cruz.

Prior to joining Fort Wayne, Henry served as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA Development League for two seasons (2011-13). He spent four years in the Australian Basketball League, serving as an assistant coach for the Perth Wildcats (2006-08), before becoming head coach in 2008-09. Henry then joined the Sydney Kings in 2010-11 as an assistant coach.

Originally selected in the fourth round (89th overall) of the 1986 NBA Draft by Houston, Henry played in 93 career regular season NBA games with Houston, Boston, Milwaukee and Sacramento, averaging 3.3 ppg. and 1.1 apg. in 8.1 minpg. He went on to play with Rapid City and Yakima of the CBA, where he enjoyed tremendous success. Henry was voted the CBA Player of the Year and CBA All-Star Game MVP in 1990. He was named CBA All-Star Game MVP for a second time in 1992. Henry also played professionally in Italy, Spain, France and Greece.

Born on July 21, 1963 and a native of Claremont, California, Henry played collegiately at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he scored 1,236 during his four-year career.

The Dallas Mavericks announced that they have selected center Satnam Singh with the 52nd overall selection of the 2015 NBA Draft.

Singh (7-2, 290) last played for IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), where he averaged 9.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game during the 2014-15 season.

A native of Chawke, India, Singh has represented the India national basketball team at the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship and the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship.

The Toronto Raptors selected University of Utah guard Delon Wright with the 20th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. The club also acquired a protected future first-round draft choice (originally belonging to the Los Angeles Clippers) and the draft rights to the 46th overall selection, UCLA guard Norman Powell, from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for guard Greivis Vasquez.

Wright, 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, was named the 2015 recipient of the Bob Cousy Award for the nation’s top point guard. A first-team All-Pac-12 and All-Pac-12 Defensive Team selection, Wright averaged 14.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.1 steals in 35 games last season. As a junior, he contributed 15.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.5 steals in 33 contests earning first-team All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 All-Defensive Team honours.

Wright is the brother of Portland Trail Blazers forward Dorell Wright.

According to Raptors.com, “we’re excited to get him,” Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said. “He’s one of the guys that has tremendous upside as a point guard in the NBA. [He] reminds me a lot of Nate McMillan, as far as big and long point guard we had in Seattle. [He] can defend multiple positions so he really fits well in what we’re trying to do. It goes right into the plan with our young group to grow.” “He’s grown up around the NBA,” Casey said. “He’s been to numerous NBA games, worked out with NBA players. He’s not going to come in shellshocked to go against guys in practice.”

Powell, 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, averaged 16.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 36 games in 2014-15. He was named first-team All-Pac-12 and an Honourable Mention selection on the All-Pac-12 Defensive Team.

Vasquez averaged 9.5 points, 3.7 assists and 23.1 minutes in 143 games (34 starts) with the Raptors. He was acquired from Sacramento on December 9, 2013 and re-signed July 17, 2014.

The German Basketball Federation announced today that Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen will join the coaching staff of the German men’s national team this summer. He will join Head Coach Chris Fleming during the preparation heading into the European Championship, also known as EuroBasket 2015, from Sept. 5 – 20. The preliminary round featuring Germany, Spain, Serbia, Turkey, Italy and Iceland will be played in Berlin, Germany. The best four teams will advance to the final round in Lille, France.

“Alex is a big asset for our national team,” said Head Coach Fleming. “He has proven at multiple places to be a coach who can develop young players. The dynamic improved performance of Rudy Gobert at the Jazz has a lot to do with the excellent work of Alex. He played for several years in Europe and is very well versed in international basketball.”

Jensen is entering his third season as a member of the Jazz coaching staff. Before joining the Jazz, Jensen spent two seasons (57-43, .557) as the first-ever head coach of the Canton Charge of the D-League from 2011-13, advancing the Cleveland Cavaliers-owned team to the playoffs in both seasons. He was named the 2013 Dennis Johnson NBA D-League Coach of the Year after leading the Charge to a franchise-best 30 victories and an East Division title. Jensen then coached the D-League Select Team in the 2013 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, leading his squad to a 4-1 record against NBA team entries and advancing them to the quarterfinals of the inaugural summer league tournament. Jensen began his coaching career as an assistant under Rick Majerus at Saint Louis University from 2007-11.

A native of Bountiful, Utah, Jensen attended Viewmont High School there, leading the Vikings to a state basketball title as a junior and was named Utah’s Mr. Basketball in 1994. Jensen played four seasons at the University of Utah (1994-95, 1997-00) under Majerus and helped the Utes to the NCAA Championship game in 1998. Following his collegiate career, Jensen played seven professional seasons in Turkey and one season with the Yakima Sun Kings of the CBA. While playing in Europe, Jensen was named All-FIBA Europe Cup Defender of the Year in 2004, along with being named to the All-FIBA Europe Cup First Team.

Nets trade Mason Plumlee to Trail Blazers for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Steve Blake

The Brooklyn Nets acquired the draft rights to forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and guard Steve Blake from the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for center Mason Plumlee and the draft rights to guard/forward Pat Connaughton, Nets GM Billy King announced Thursday.

“We are very excited to add Rondae to our roster,” said King. “He is the type of athletic wing we were looking for, and we felt he was the best defensive player in the draft.”

“I also wanted to thank Mason for his time with the Nets and wish him the best with his new team. Mason worked extremely hard from the first time he stepped on the court in training camp last year, and I am sure he will have a long and successful career.”

Hollis-Jefferson (6’8”, 220) was selected with the 23rd pick in tonight’s draft by the Trail Blazers before being dealt to the Nets. He played two seasons at Arizona and helped lead the Wildcats to two Elite Eight appearances and a 66-9 regular season record. As a freshman, Hollis-Jefferson averaged 9.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 blocks in 25.3 minutes per game in 38 games (six starts) en route to Pac 12 All-Freshman Team honors. In his second and final season at Arizona, Hollis-Jefferson posted averages of 11.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.8 blocks in 28.7 minutes per game in 38 games (25 starts). He was named to the All-Pac 12 First Team and garnered Pac-12 All-Defensive Team honors.

Blake (6’3”, 172) is a 12-year veteran who has appeared in 812 career games (345 starts) with Washington, Portland, Milwaukee, Denver, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State. He holds career averages of 6.7 points and 4.0 assists. Last season in Portland, Blake recorded averages of 4.3 points and 3.6 assists in 18.9 minutes per game in 81 games off the Trail Blazers’ bench.

Plumlee was originally drafted by the Nets with the 22nd pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. In 152 games (67 starts), he posted averages of 8.1 points and 5.4 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game. Plumlee earned All-Rookie First Team honors in 2014.

Magic draft Mario Hezonja 5th overall

The Orlando Magic selected guard/forward Mario Hezonja (HEH-zone-yuh) in the first round (fifth overall) of NBA Draft 2015.

Hezonja (6’8”, 218, 2/25/95) has spent the last two seasons playing in the Spanish ACB league with FC Barcelona. Last season (2014-15), he appeared in 31 regular season games, averaging 4.7 ppg., 1.9 rpg. and 1.3 apg. in 14.7 minpg., while shooting .392 (29-74) from three-point range. Hezonja also played in 22 Euroleague contests, averaging 7.7 ppg. and 2.0 rpg. in 16.5 minpg., while shooting .382 (29-76) from three-point range.

Before joining FC Barcelona in 2012-13, Hezonja spent four seasons playing in Croatia. He was a member of the Croatian Senior National Team that participated in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. While with the Junior Team, Hezonja helped Croatia win the gold medal at the 2012 U17 Worlds and bronze at both the 2011 U16 Euros and 2011 U19 Worlds. He was named MVP at the 2011 U16 Euros, averaging 20.0 ppg. and 8.2 rpg.

Knicks draft Kristaps Porzingis

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that with the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft, the team has drafted forward Kristaps Porzingis from Latvia.

Porzingis, 7-3, 233 pounds, was an early entry candidate who had played professionally for Cajasol Seville in Spain over the past three seasons. In 75 career ACB games, the 19-year-old averaged 8.1 points, and also added a 9.9 points-per-game average in Eurocup play.

“We could not pass on Kristaps,” Jackson said. “He has eye-opening talent and is ready for the challenge to play in New York City. He can contribute for us this season.”

Tim Hardaway Jr now with Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks acquired guard Tim Hardaway Jr. from the New York Knicks in exchange for the draft rights to Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant, the 19th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Earlier in the draft, Atlanta selected Kansas forward Kelly Oubre with the 15th pick in the first round before dealing his draft rights to Washington for Grant’s draft rights and the Wizards’ second round selections in 2016 and 2019.

“(Tim) is a young two-guard who has shown the ability to make shots and be an effective player,” said Hawks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. “When we get him into our player development program, working with our coaches and around our players, we think he’s going to grow and prosper here.”

A two-year veteran, Hardaway has career averages of 10.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 23.5 minutes in 151 games (31 starts). He was originally selected by the Knicks 24th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft after playing collegiately at Michigan.

In the second round, Atlanta took guard Marcus Eriksson with the 50th pick and forward Dimitrios Agravanis with the 59th selection.

The 6’7 Eriksson has played four seasons in the Spanish ACB league with Barcelona and Manresa. He played one game for Barcelona in 2014-15 and in 33 contests with Manresa in the previous season, when he averaged 11.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in 23.9 minutes. Eriksson was born on Dec. 5, 1993 in Sweden.

Agravanis, a 6’10 forward from Greece, has played professionally for five years in his home country with Olympiacos, Panionios and Maroussi. In 2014-15 with Olympiacos, he averaged 6.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in 14.4 minutes. Agravanis was born on Dec. 20, 1994 in Athens.

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has traded the draft rights to Branden Dawson to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for cash considerations.

Dawson, 6-6, 225, was the 56th overall selection by New Orleans in the 2015 NBA Draft. The Michigan State product was named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team and Second-Team All-Big Ten as a Senior, averaging 11.9 points and 9.1 rebounds during the campaign.

The Miami HEAT announced today that they have selected Justise Winslow in the first round (10th overall) and Josh Richardson in the second round (40th overall) in the 2015 NBA Draft.

“Today was a great day for the Miami HEAT as we move forward in retooling the team and being able to draft Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “They are two very young gifted players. They can play multiple positions and we feel very fortunate to have them. It’s not only a great day for us, but also for HEAT Nation.”

Winslow, who helped Duke to the 2015 NCAA Championship as a freshman, appeared in 39 games (all starts) for the Blue Devils and averaged 12.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.33 steals and 29.1 minutes while shooting 48.6 percent from the field, 41.8 percent from three-point range and 64.1 percent from the foul line. He was selected to the All-ACC Freshman Team and the USBWA All-District II Team. He was the third-highest scoring freshman in the ACC and capped the season with the second-most double-figure scoring efforts (31) and the second-highest rebound average by a freshman in the conference. He posted seven double-doubles and finished second on the team in rebounds (252), steals (52), blocks (34) and free throws made (100) while placing third in points (492), assists (82) and three-point field goals made (46). Additionally, during the NCAA tournament, he outperformed each of his statistical categories from the regular season as he started all six games and averaged 14.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.67 blocks and 1.50 steals while shooting 50.9 percent from the field, 57.1 percent from three-point range and 75.9 percent from the foul line.

Richardson, who played all four seasons at Tennessee, appeared in 136 career games (110 starts) for the Volunteers and averaged 9.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.08 steals and 28.2 minutes while shooting 45.6 percent from the field, 31.8 percent from three-point range and 75.8 percent from the foul line. Finished his career ranking third in school history in games played, ninth in minutes (3,802), ninth in starts, 10th in steals (147), 16th in blocks (88) and 28th in points (1,252). As a senior, he appeared in 32 games (all starts) and averaged 16.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.09 steals and 36.3 minutes while shooting 46.1 percent from the field, 35.9 percent from three-point range and 79.8 percent from the foul line. Among the accolades he collected during his senior season, Johnson was named to the Associated Press and Coaches All-SEC First Teams, the SEC All-Defensive Team and the Defensive All-American Team. He was also selected to the SEC Community Service Team.

Nets acquire rights to Juan Pablo Vaulet

The Brooklyn Nets acquired the draft rights to forward Juan Pablo Vaulet from the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for a 2018 second round pick, the Nets’ 2019 second round pick and cash considerations, Nets GM Billy King announced Thursday night.

Vaulet (6’6”, 200) is a native of Cordoba, Argentina who has been playing for Weber Bahia Estudiantes of the Liga Nacional de Basquet in Argentina. The 19-year-old averaged 7.2 points and 4.1 rebounds in 16.9 minutes per game in 34 games this past season.

Thunder land Cameron Payne in Draft

The Oklahoma City Thunder selected guard Cameron Payne with the 14th pick and center Dakari Johnson with the 48th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, it was announced by Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Payne (6-2,180) appeared in 69 games in two seasons at Murray State, averaging 18.5 points, 5.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.81 steals in 32.4 minutes per game. As a sophomore, Payne was named the Lute Olson Player of the Year, an award given to the top NCAA Player with at least two seasons of experience after leading the Racers to a 29-6 season, which included an Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) regular-season championship and a pair of wins in the National Invitational Tournament.

During his sophomore season, the guard led the Racers to a 25-game winning streak (second longest in the nation) while averaging 20.2 points (13th in NCAA), 6.0 assists (15th in NCAA), 1.94 steals and 32.2 minutes in 35 games. He was named OVC MVP and Honorable Mention AP All-America. The Memphis, Tenn. native, appeared in 34 games as a freshman, averaging 16.8 points, 5.4 assists and 1.68 steals in 32.6 minutes per game. He was named All-OVC First Team, OVC Freshman of the Year and earned an MSU record nine OVC Freshman of the Week awards.

Johnson (7-0, 255), who helped Kentucky reach two consecutive Final Fours, appeared in 78 games during his two-year career in Lexington, averaging 5.8 points and 4.3 rebounds in 15.2 minutes per game. As a sophomore, the center helped UK to a 38-1 record including both the Southeastern Conference regular-season and tournament crowns, after averaging 6.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 16.3 minutes in 39 contests.

The Brooklyn, NY product, played in 39 games as a freshman averaging 5.2 points and 3.9 rebounds in 14.1 minutes per game. He tallied 10 points and seven rebounds to help UK get past Wisconsin in the 2014 National Semifinal.

Nuggets draft Emmanuel Mudiay 7th overall

The Denver Nuggets selected guard Emmanuel Mudiay with the seventh overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Mudiay, 6-5, 200, was an early entry candidate and spent the 2014-15 season in China playing for the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association. In 12 games, he posted averages of 18.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.60 steals in 31.5 minutes per game.

“We couldn’t be happier that Emmanuel was there for us at number seven and we are thrilled to welcome him to Denver as the newest member of the Denver Nuggets” General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly said.

Originally from Kinshasa, the capital and largest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo and also the city that produced former Nuggets great Dikembe Mutombo.
Mudiay attended Prime Prep Academy in Dallas, Texas where he led the team to a 30-6 record as a high school senior in 2014. After his senior season, Mudiay was ranked the number two overall player by Rivals and Scout and number five by ESPN. He was selected to the Parade and USA Today All-American First teams. He was also selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American game, the Jordan Brand Classic All-Star game and played alongside Nuggets 2014 second round draft pick (41st overall) Nikola Jokic at the Nike Hoop Summit.

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