Archive for the ‘ NBA Teams ’ Category

The Trail Blazers need all the help they can get against a tough first round opponent in the Clippers. Portland is down 1-0 in the series, which is no big deal, but they got smoked in Game 1 and need to look like a completely different squad in Game 2. Per CSNNW:

Chris Kaman may play increased playoff role for Blazers

When Chris Kaman entered Sunday night’s Game 1 of the playoff series between the Trail Blazers and Clippers for the first time, there was 9:01 left and Portland trailed by 18 points. When Kaman scored on a driving layup less than a minute later, the question you had to ponder was simply, “Where has this guy been?” Not just in this game, but all season? Where, exactly, has he been? Last season, Kaman was a key reserve for Portland, averaging six and a half rebounds and eight and a half points in 74 games. This season, Kaman appeared in just 16 regular-season games. Where has this man been?

Nets hire Kenny Atkinson as head coach

The Brooklyn Nets yesterday (Sunday) announced that they have hired Kenny Atkinson as their new head coach. Atkinson will become the 21st head coach in the franchise’s NBA history.

“We are thrilled to announce Kenny Atkinson as our new head coach and to welcome him and his family to Brooklyn,” said Nets General Manager Sean Marks. “Kenny’s years of NBA coaching experience working under successful head coaches such as Mike Budenholzer and Mike D’Antoni have provided him with the foundation and experience we were looking for in a head coach. We believe that Kenny’s core principles, leadership, communication skills and exceptional background in player development make him an ideal fit for the culture we are building in Brooklyn.”

Atkinson currently serves as an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks and will continue in this capacity until the conclusion of Atlanta’s postseason. With respect to the Hawks and their playoff schedule, a press conference to formally introduce Atkinson will be held on a date that has yet to be determined.

“I’d like to extend a personal welcome to Kenny and wish all of us success as we begin a new era at the Brooklyn Nets,” said Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov. “Aside from his tremendous skills and experience, he has the mindset we need to build a winning team day by day, step by step. Together, we can do great things.”

Atkinson joins the Nets after spending the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Atlanta Hawks under Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. The Hawks made playoff appearances in each of Atkinson’s four seasons, including the club’s first-ever trip to the Eastern Conference Finals last season. The 2014-15 Hawks registered a franchise-record 60 wins, including a franchise-best 19-game win streak, and captured their first division title in more than 20 years. Atkinson served on the 2015 Eastern Conference All-Star coaching staff, and he guided Team World in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star weekend in New York. Prior to his tenure with the Hawks, Atkinson was an assistant coach for four seasons with the New York Knicks (2008-12), helping the team reach the postseason in 2011 and 2012. Atkinson also spent one season as the Director of Player Development for the Houston Rockets (2007-08).

“I am truly honored and humbled to be named the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, and I would like to thank Nets’ ownership and management for this tremendous opportunity,” said Atkinson. “Together with Sean and his staff, we look forward to building a winning tradition here in Brooklyn. I also want to acknowledge and thank Mike Budenholzer and the entire Atlanta Hawks organization for their cooperation and support throughout this process. While I am eager to begin working with the Nets, I remain committed to my coaching responsibilities with the Hawks for the remainder of the postseason.”

The San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard, who helped the team finish with the NBA’s top defense this season, is the recipient of the 2015-16 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, the NBA announced today. Leonard, a 6-7 forward, becomes the first non-center to earn the honor in back-to-back seasons since Dennis Rodman in 1989-90 and 1990-91.

Leonard received 84 first-place votes and 547 total points from a panel of 130 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. He edged the Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green, who tallied 44 first-place votes and 421 points to finish as runner-up for the second season in a row. The Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside was third with 83 points (two first-place votes). Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.

A first-time NBA All-Star this season, Leonard contributed to a San Antonio defense that led the NBA in points allowed (92.9 ppg) and defensive rating (96.6 points per 100 possessions). The Spurs, a franchise-record 67-15 this season, were even stingier on defense with Leonard in the game: According to NBA.com/Stats, they had a defensive rating of 94.9 when the five-year veteran was on the court and 99.2 when he wasn’t – a difference of 4.3 points per 100 possessions. Leonard also averaged 1.78 steals (12th in the NBA), 5.5 defensive rebounds and a career-high 0.99 blocks to go with career highs on offense of 21.2 points and 2.6 assists.

J.J. Barea will miss Mavs-Thunder Game 2

Here’s the Oklahoman with an update on the Thunder first round playoff opponent, the Dallas Mavericks:

J.J. Barea will miss Mavs-Thunder Game 2

The injuries are piling up for Dallas.

While his teammates took shots at the end of practice Sunday, Mavericks guard J.J. Barea sat on the sideline with his hat on backwards in his team apparel. Barea, who came into Game 1 against the Thunder nursing a right groin strain, said there was “no way” he’d play in Game 2 after re-aggravating the injury in the first half Saturday night.

Thunder player health update

The Thunder are up 1-0 against the Mavericks in their first round playoff series. Here’s the Oklahoman with a Thunder health update:

Thunder coach Billy Donovan said he’s “pretty optimistic” about Cameron Payne, Nick Collison and Nazr Mohammed each being available for Game 2 Monday against Dallas.

Collison (chest contusion) didn’t play in the second half and Mohammed (strained right calf) left in the fourth quarter of the Thunder’s 108-70 win in Game 1. Payne was inactive (hip soreness).

Cavs win Game 1 vs Pistons

The Cavaliers took a 1-0 first round playoff series lead againts the Pistons Sunday. Here’s Michigan Live reporting:

There is a distinct difference between a team that knows how to win in the playoffs and one finding its way.

The Detroit Pistons might work their way to the positive side of that equation in time, but in Game 1 of a first-round Eastern Conference playoff series, it was the heavily favored Cleveland Cavaliers whose superstars closed the show in the fourth quarter for a 106-101 victory Sunday.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night here but the opener had to leave the Pistons with a gnawing feeling that this was their chance to steal home-court advantage — whether they could have kept it is a separate debate — and they let it get away…

The “Big Three” — James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love — combined for 21 of the Cavs’ 30 fourth-quarter points. They totaled 81 points for the game — 31 for Irving, 28 for Love, 22 for James.

Love (13 rebounds) and James (11 assists) had double-doubles.

J.J. Barea health in question for Game 2

Here’s ESPN.com reporting on the Dallas Mavericks, who can use all the help they can get in the health department while battling the heavily-favored Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the 2016 Playoffs:

J.J. Barea health in question for Game 2

Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea’s status for Game 2 is in question after he aggravated his strained groin during Saturday’s 108-70 Game 1 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Barea did not play in the second half because of the injury, the same one that had limited him in recent weeks.

“I’m very, very concerned,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said.

The Indiana Pacers’ Frank Vogel and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Doc Rivers today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in April.

Vogel led the Pacers to the best record in the Eastern Conference at 6-1. The Pacers won their final three games and held off the Detroit Pistons for the seventh seed in the East playoffs. Indiana averaged 108 points per game and shot a conference-best 49.3 percent from the field in April. Four of the Pacers’ six wins came by double digits, and their +8.6 scoring differential led the conference.

Rivers guided the Clippers, the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoffs, to a 6-1 record, tops in the West. The Clippers surrendered 100 or more points just twice in seven games and held opponents to an average of 94.1 points on a league-low 40.6 percent shooting from the field. L.A. posted back-to-back home wins over two West playoff teams, the Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies, on April 10 and 12, rounding out a 4-0 month at Staples Center.

Other nominees for Coach of the Month were Boston’s Brad Stevens, Charlotte’s Steve Clifford, Dallas’ Rick Carlisle, Golden State’s Steve Kerr, Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, Portland’s Terry Stotts and Toronto’s Dwane Casey.

The Toronto Raptors’ Norman Powell and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in April.

Powell helped the Raptors to a 6-2 record behind averages of 15.3 points (tops in the Eastern Conference), 4.4 rebounds (seventh), 2.5 assists (tied-fifth) and 1.4 steals (third). He scored in double figures in six of eight games and shot 54.8 percent from the field. In Toronto’s regular-season finale, Powell scored a career-high 30 points on 12-of-18 shooting (including 5-of-6 from three-point range) and added nine rebounds and five assists during the Raptors’ 103-96 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Towns becomes the first player to sweep a season of Kia NBA Rookie of the Month awards since the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard in 2012-13. In April, Towns helped the Timberwolves to a 4-3 mark as he led all rookies in scoring (18.9 ppg), rebounding ( 11.7 rpg), blocks (1.7 bpg) and minutes (35.6 mpg). Towns capped his first NBA season with his 51st double-double (third most in the NBA) when he tallied 28 points and 14 rebounds during Minnesota’s 144-109 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on April 13.

Other nominees for the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month were Denver’s Emmanuel Mudiay, New York’s Jerian Grant, Phoenix’s Devin Booker and Utah’s Trey Lyles.

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James and the Houston Rockets’ James Harden today were named the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month, respectively, for games played in April.

James, who captured his third consecutive monthly honor, led the Eastern Conference in scoring (28.8 ppg) while shooting 65.6 percent from the field (second in the East), including a conference-best 56.3 percent (9-for-16) from three-point range. He added 8.4 rebounds and 7.8 assists (third in the East) in a conference-high 36.9 minutes. James scored at least 30 points in three of his five games, including a 34-point performance against the Hawks on April 11, when the Cavs clinched the top seed in the East playoffs with a 109-94 victory. He also grabbed a season-high 16 rebounds in a 110-108 overtime win over the Hawks on April 1.

Harden led the NBA in scoring (34.8 ppg) as the Rockets closed the season 4-2 to secure the final playoff spot in the West. He shot 49.3 percent from the field and ranked fifth in the West in three-point shooting at 51.7 percent (30-for-58). Harden also ranked fifth in the conference in assists (7.2 apg) and second in minutes (38.9 mpg). He scored at least 30 points in five of six games and hit the 40-point mark twice. On April 13, he scored 38 points as the Rockets clinched a playoff berth by defeating the Sacramento Kings 116-81.

Other nominees for the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Indiana’s Paul George, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Jamal Crawford, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, Phoenix’s Mirza Teletovic, Portland’s Damian Lillard, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Washington’s John Wall.

Denver Nuggets General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced a number of title changes today.

Jared Jeffries, who joined Denver’s front office during the summer of 2013 following an impressive 11-year NBA career, is now the team’s Director of Pro Personnel. The Indiana University alum’s previous title was Pro Personnel Scout.

Tommy Balcetis has been named Director of Analytics after serving as Manager of Analytics since coming to Denver in 2013. Before arriving in Denver he spent two years as an analyst for Fidelity Investments and one year working in the NBA League office in London after graduating from Harvard University.

Scott Howard joined the Nuggets’ front office prior to the 2015-16 season and now holds the title of Director of College Scouting. He came to Denver after serving as the Director of Scouting for the Charlotte Hornets franchise since 2008.

Additionally, coming into the 2015-16 season, Arturas Karnisovas received a new title of Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations.

On the basketball side, Steve Hess will now hold the title of Director of Performance/Assistant Coach and Head Strength and Conditioning Coach. The Ithaca College graduate is one of just six trainers worldwide on the Under Armour training council, is the official spokesperson for the National Sports Center for the Disabled and is a member of NBA Team Fit. The upcoming 2016-17 season will be his 20th with the Denver Nuggets organization.

Felipe Eichenberger also has a new title of Associate Head Strength and Conditioning Coach. He joined the Denver Nuggets in 2011 as the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach. The Sao Paulo, Brazil native attended Northwestern Oklahoma State University where he was a four-year member of the basketball team and graduated with his degree in health and sports science. He also recently received his Masters in Kinesiology.

The Denver Nuggets have promoted Herb Livsey to Lead Scout, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.

“Herb is the definition of a basketball lifer. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone more dedicated and knowledgeable about the game of basketball,” said Connelly. “Herb is one of the most well respected scouts in all of basketball and our organization is very fortunate to continue to have him as a resource.”

Livsey has been a scout with the Nuggets since the start of the 2008-09 season. Prior to arriving in Denver, he was a scout for the Atlanta Hawks from 2004 to 2008 and a scout for the Portland Trail Blazers from 1998 to 2004. He also served as the director of player development for the Continental Basketball Association from 1996 to 1998.

Washington Wizards not keeping Randy Wittman as head coach

The Washington Wizards announced today that they will not pick up the option on the contract of Head Coach Randy Wittman.

“There were high internal and external expectations for this team coming into this season based on the momentum we had generated over the previous two years,” said Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld. “Unfortunately, the inconsistency of the team’s performance and effort, particularly on our home court, did not allow us to meet those expectations and we decided a coaching change was needed.”

Wittman was originally promoted to head coach on January 24, 2012, and compiled a 178-199 (.472) overall record in four-and-a-half seasons with the Wizards. During his tenure, the team advanced to the second round of the playoffs twice (2014 and 2015).

“Randy should be commended for the job he did in taking over as head coach during a very difficult time for our franchise and for helping to establish a culture and identity that led to success,” said Grunfeld. “This was a very tough decision on a personal level, and we wish Randy and his family the best moving forward.”

Sacramento Kings not keeping George Karl as head coach

The Sacramento Kings announced today that George Karl will not be retained as head coach for the 2016-17 season, according to Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Vlade Divac.

“After evaluating the team’s performance this season, I determined it was necessary to move forward with a new voice from the head coaching position,” said Divac. “I have a great deal of respect and admiration for George and his accomplishments throughout his nearly 30 years in the NBA. On behalf of everyone in the Kings organization, I thank him for the contributions made during his time in Sacramento and wish him good fortune in the future.”

Hired on February 17, 2015, Karl compiled a 44-68 record in one and a half seasons in Sacramento. Overall, he ranks fifth all-time in NBA annals with 1,175 head coaching victories through 27 seasons in Cleveland (1984-86), Golden State (1986-88), Seattle (1991-98), Milwaukee (1998-2003), Denver (2004-2013) and Sacramento (2015-16).

Ryan Gomes named D-League Impact Player of the Year

Los Angeles D-Fenders forward Ryan Gomes was today named the 2015-16 NBA Development League Impact Player of the Year, as voted on by the league’s 19 head coaches. The award recognizes a player who joined an NBA D-League team after Nov. 26, 2015, and made the greatest contribution to his team’s success following that in-season acquisition.

Gomes (6-7, 245, Providence) joined the D-Fenders, the NBA D-League affiliate of the Los Angeles Lakers, on Jan. 7, 2016, and played his first game on Jan. 9, 19 games into the 2015-16 season. He appeared in the team’s next 31 games (28 starts), averaging 18.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 32.0 minutes. He scored in double figures 28 times, including two 30-plus point outings, and recorded nine double-doubles.

Gomes helped the D-Fenders to a 27-23 regular-season record and the fourth overall seed in the NBA D-League Western Conference Playoffs. The team defeated the Reno Bighorns 2-1 in the Conference Semifinals and will face the Austin Spurs in the best-of-three Conference Finals.

An eight-year NBA veteran, Gomes was selected by the Boston Celtics in the second round (50th overall pick) of the 2005 NBA Draft. Gomes owns NBA career averages of 10.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 27.6 minutes in 487 games with the Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Pistons sign Lorenzo Brown

The Detroit Pistons have signed guard Lorenzo Brown to a contract.

Brown, a 6-5, 189-pound guard, signed two 10-day contracts with the Pistons this season (March 18 and March 28) but did not appear in a game with Detroit. He also signed to two 10-day contracts with the Phoenix Suns earlier this season and averaged 2.5 points, 1.4 assists, 0.9 rebounds and 7.6 minutes in eight games.

A native of Roswell, GA, Brown holds NBA averages of 3.3 points, 2.3 assists, 1.7 rebounds and 13.2 minutes in 63 career games with the Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns.

Brown was a second-round selection (52nd overall) by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2013 NBA Draft. Prior to his two 10-day stints with the Pistons, he played for the Detroit Pistons NBA Developmental League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive. In 25 contests with the Drive, he averaged 18.3 points, 5.9 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals.

Cleveland Cavaliers sign Dahntay Jones

Cleveland Cavaliers sign Dahntay Jones

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed guard Dahntay Jones, who will wear jersey number 30 for the Cavaliers and will be eligible for the playoffs.

Jones (6-6, 225) appeared in 43 games (39 starts) for the Grand Rapids Drive of the NBA Development League this season, averaging 15.7 points on .546 shooting from the field, 4.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 35.7 minutes. He also shot .546 from the field, .413 from the three-point line and .851 from the charity stripe with Grand Rapids.

Originally selected as the 20th overall pick out of Duke University by the Boston Celtics in the 2003 NBA Draft, Jones has played in 622 games (157 starts) over his 11-year NBA career. He holds career averages of 5.4 points and 1.7 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per game with Memphis, Sacramento, Denver, Indiana, Dallas, Atlanta and the Los Angeles Clippers. The 6-6 guard has also appeared in 49 NBA playoff games (16 starts) with averages of 4.1 points and 1.3 rebounds in 11.1 minutes.

Very rough Nets season almost over

Here’s the New York Post reporting on the Brooklyn Nets, whose season was a bit lacking in the wins department:

Very rough Nets season almost over

As the shorthanded Nets stumble to the finish of this painfully long season, interim coach Tony Brown has begged with them to show some grit. In Monday’s 120-111 loss at Washington — the first quasi-competitive effort in their nine-game skid — the Nets actually showed some fight, even if it was against each other.

After the Nets had come out flat to dig themselves a 20-0 hole right from the start, Brown benched his starters and watched his bench claw back into the game, eventually leading 85-79. And in the second quarter, backup Sean Kilpatrick had a confrontation with Bojan Bogdanovic, one both claimed was nothing but a positive.

“Honestly, I think that’s good for the team, especially when we lose a couple of games,’’ said Bogdanovic. “We have to get some fire, fight with each other a little bit to wake up everybody. So, there is not a problem between me and Sean.’’

The Nets — who are 21-60 and finish their season Wednesday vs. Toronto — haven’t just been asleep, but comatose. Before Monday’s six-point loss, they’d dropped eight straight by an average of almost 19.3 points, every one by double-digits.

The NBA Development League, the Phoenix Suns and the Town of Prescott Valley, Ariz., announced today that the Suns have acquired the Bakersfield Jam and are relocating the team to Prescott Valley. The Suns become the 15th NBA team to own and operate its NBA D-League affiliate.

The team will be known as the Northern Arizona Suns and will play a 24-game home schedule at the 5,100-seat Prescott Valley Event Center (PVEC) beginning with the 2016-17 season.

“Today’s announcement is exciting not only to have the Phoenix Suns join the ranks of NBA D-League owners, but also to welcome Prescott Valley to the NBA D-League family of communities,” said NBA D-League President Malcolm Turner. “I’m looking forward to watching the Northern Arizona Suns take the court in November.”

The Bakersfield Jam has served as the Suns’ single-affiliate NBA D-League team the past two seasons, with the NBA franchise running basketball operations. The Suns will now assume business operations for the organization, with the new team serving as an extension of the Phoenix Suns’ brand in northern Arizona.
“We are thrilled to bring professional basketball to the Town of Prescott Valley,” said Suns President Jason Rowley. “In addition to the basketball advantages of our D-League affiliate being close to home, today’s announcement creates endless opportunities to strengthen the connection with our fans in northern Arizona.”

Suns interim head coach Earl Watson and assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren both began their coaching careers in the NBA D-League, while six members of the current Suns team have NBA D-League experience. The team has assigned 15 players to the NBA D-League since 2001.

“We’re happy to have an organization the quality of the Phoenix Suns in our community and region,” said Prescott Valley Mayor Harvey Skoog. “It’s an exciting thing to bring the Suns’ brand and legacy to Prescott Valley.”

Launched in 2001, the NBA D-League has expanded from an eight-team league to a record 22 teams for the 2016-17 season. All 19 teams for the 2015-16 season were singly affiliated with an NBA parent club, a first for the NBA D-League, and the three teams joining the NBA D-League for 2016-17 are owned by the Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls.

Heat sign Dorell Wright

Heat sign Dorell Wright

The NBA playoffs start soon, and the Miami HEAT today added depth and experience with the signing of forward Dorell Wright.

Wright spent last season in Beijing, China with the North Control appearing in 37 games averaging 24.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.03 steals while shooting 43.8 percent from the field, 35.3 percent from three-point range and 84.8 percent from the foul line. He posted 13 30-point games, including six-straight to end the season, and tallied at least 40 points on four occasions, including a season-high 48 against the DongGuan Leopards on February 3. He has appeared in 549 career NBA games (222 starts) and averaged 8.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 22.4 minutes while shooting 42.4 percent from the field, 36.5 percent from three-point range and 80.6 percent from the foul line. He led the league in three-point field goals made (194) during the 2010-11 season and has appeared in 15 career postseason games averaging 3.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 13.6 minutes per game.

Wright, who spent his first six seasons in Miami, and was a member of the HEAT’s 2006 NBA Championship team, was originally drafted by the HEAT in the first round (19th overall) in the 2004 NBA Draft and appeared in 211 games (56 starts) with Miami averaging 6.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 19.5 minutes while shooting 46.1 percent from the field, 34.4 percent from three-point rage and 80.6 percent from the foul line.

Wright will wear number 11.

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