Archive for the ‘ NBA Teams ’ Category

Anthony Mason was an awesome NBA player. A versatile, rugged forward with handles like a guard. Super fun to watch. And he passed away far too soon. Mase will be remembed in many ways, one of which now comes in the form of a street named in his honor. Here’s the New York Daily News reporting:

Street in Queens, NY named after Anthony Mason

Fans, friends, civic leaders and former teammates gathered Saturday in Jamaica, Queens, to honor Anthony Mason, the late, great Knicks’ bruising forward, renaming the street where he grew up, for him.

“Anthony Mason Way,” was added to 147th St. at Rockaway Blvd. for the player who died last year at 48 of congestive heart failure.

“This is a beautiful event,” said his son, Antoine Mason, 23. “The tough thing is, it’s not about anybody else here. It’s about the guy who’s up there.”

A city hoops legend and a graduate of Springfield Gardens High School, Mason was feverishly dedicated to the game. He’d break into the school gym to practice his game through the night, his son said.

The Cavs are in big trouble in the 2016 NBA Finals. You know that, because they are down 3-1 to the Warriors, who were the best team in the league this season. But having some historical perspective is often helpful. Here’s the News Herald reporting:

Cavs in big trouble, down 3-1 in NBA Finals

The Cavaliers are trying to do something historical in the NBA Finals, as in first-man-to-row -a-bathtub-across-the-Atlantic-Ocean-from-the-United-States-to-England historical.

Ten teams in the 70-year history of the NBA have triumphed after being down 3-1 in a playoff series. But it has never happened in the Finals. The most recent team to do it, the Cavs don’t need to be reminded, was the very Warriors they are trying to beat. Oklahoma City had a 3-1 lead and then lost in Oakland, lost at home and lost Game 7 in Oakland last month in the Western Conference finals.

As if that isn’t bad enough for the Cavaliers, who trail the Warriors, 3-1, heading into Game 5 on June 13 in Oakland, only twice in the 10 comebacks did the road team prevail in Game 7, which is what the Cavaliers would have to do to topple the defending champions.

Here’s the Sacramento Bee reporting on Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, who may wind up as the key big man on a global bball stage this summer:

DeMarcus Cousins is expected to make 2016 Olympic team

DeMarcus Cousins is presented with a golden opportunity. For several reasons that include injuries to other candidates, his steadfast commitment to USA Basketball and his prodigious abilities, the Kings’ All-Star center will be named to the U.S. Olympic basketball team later this month.

Anyone within shouting distance of a hoop and a net knew this was coming.

Cousins might not be USA Basketball’s favorite big man – that would be the injured Anthony Davis – but he is coming off his best season and essentially forced his way onto the roster. He participated in four consecutive training camps, never wavered in his desire to compete for his country, and when Davis got into foul trouble in the finale of the 2014 FIBA World Cup, Cousins controlled the interior with his blocks, his rebounds, his defense.

The Cavs are down 3-1 to the Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals. Game 5 is Sunday in Oakland. The first three games of the series were blowouts, so a few free throws in either direction wouldn’t have made much of a difference, but Game 4 was close. Did LeBron James deserve more free throw attempts? Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting:

Tyronn Lue says LeBron James deserves more calls

LeBron James barked plenty toward Warriors Stephen Curry and Draymond Green on the court during the second half of Friday’s Game 4, and the Cleveland All-Star forward transferred some of his ire toward the officials after the 108-97 loss.

“I’m not quite sure what I can do to get to the free-throw line, but I’ve got to continue to be aggressive for our team,” James said. “I’m getting hit, but the refs are not seeing it that way on my drives. I’ve got to continue to be aggressive. That’s who I am for our team. That’s what opens up the floor for a lot of our shooters.” …

“He never gets calls,” Cleveland head coach Tyronn Lue said. “He attacks. Outside of Russell Westbrook, he’s one of the guys who attacks the paint every single play, and he doesn’t get a fair whistle all the time because of his strength, his power and guys bounce off of him. But those are still fouls. We’ve got to play through the officiating.”

The 2016 Olympics are coming this summer, and the USA squad needs to finalize their roster. Not just yet. There’s still time to sort things out. But lately, some top USA candidates have been dropping out. Here’s CSN MidAtlantic with more:

Bradley Beal may have shot at making Team USA

The field for the U.S. Olympic team for the Rio Games grew even thinner after James Harden pulled out, increasing the odds of Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal to make the cut.

Chris Paul, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook already have backed out of the event that begins in August. Beal’s teammate John Wall had to get surgeries on both knees after the regular season May 5 and won’t be ready for the event…

Harden didn’t mention any particular reason recently there has been a rash of high-profile NBA players pulling out.

Russell Westbrook withdraws from 2016 Olympics

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook issued the following statement on his decision to withdraw from the 2016 Olympics: “After speaking with my family, I have decided to not participate in this year’s Olympics. This was not an easy decision, as representing my country at the World Championships in 2010 and the Olympics in 2012 were career highlights for me. I look forward to future opportunities as a member of USA Basketball.”

The final 12-man Team USA roster for the 2016 Olympics hasn’t actually been finalized yet, from but Westbrook was certainly a favorite to make the cut.

New Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Fizdale needs some assistants, and Keith Smart is reportedly in the running. Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting:

The Miami Heat have granted permission to the Memphis Grizzlies to interview assistant coach Keith Smart for a position on the staff of former Heat assistant David Fizdale.

The Heat confirmed Thursday they have been contacted by Memphis since Fizdale took over as coach last week regarding Smart, who was added to Erik Spoelstra’s staff in 2014 on the recommendation of Fizdale. Fizdale and Smart previously had coached together with the Golden State Warriors.

Fizdale was denied permission to interview Heat assistant coach Dan Craig, who is expected to take an elevated position on Spoelstra’s staff next season after this past season coaching the Heat’s minor-league affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, to the NBA Development League championship. Craig previously had served as a Heat assistant coach before the D-League assignment.

Hawks point guard Jeff Teague averaged 15.7 ppg and 5.7 apg in 28.5 minutes per game last regular season, and in the playoffs put up 14.5 ppg and 6.1 apg in 27.9 minutes per game. And he did this apparently will playing through injury. Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporting:

Jeff Teague says he played hurt last season

Jeff Teague said he played last season with a “tear in my patella” according to a statement that the Hawks point guard posted on his Instagram account Thursday.

In the post - which was later deleted - Teague said: “They wont tell y’all but I played with a tear in my patella the whole year and could barely jump or stop but it’s coo got that taken care #illbebackdunking #theywontsaythatpart.”

Teague also posted on Twitter of his inability to play basketball this summer. He wrote: “First time in life I’ve never been able to hoop this long I’m getting frustrated.” The post has not been deleted.

Teague did not say whether he underwent surgery nor when the injury occurred.

Nets athletic performance department

The Brooklyn Nets have named Zach Weatherford as director of player performance, Dan Meehan as head strength and conditioning coach, Lloyd Beckett as head athletic trainer/physical therapist and Aisling Toolan as director of physical therapy.

“We are extremely excited to announce the formation of our new performance team which is comprised of world renowned leaders in the fields of athletic performance and sport science,” said Nets General Manager Sean Marks. “Together they bring a collective experience along with global industry contacts that will open doors for the Nets to have access to top performance programs and techniques from around the world. Working in conjunction with our elite medical team from the Hospital for Special Surgery, we will be able to provide our players with the highest level of care possible, giving them every advantage to reach their maximum level of performance.”

Here are their bios, from the Nets:

Zach Weatherford joins the Nets after spending the past two years as human performance manager at the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command. Weatherford was appointed as the first Naval Special Warfare human performance program manager to facilitate the program across the Navy SEAL/SWCC Force of over 8,500 active duty personnel. From 2010-14, Weatherford served as human performance manager for the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Group ONE. Prior to his military experience, Weatherford held multiple roles with the U.S. Olympic Committee. From 2007-09, Weatherford held the position of sport physiologist for the U.S. Olympic Committee, where he led a multidisciplinary team of science-based human performance professionals which implemented platforms across 17 U.S. Olympic Team programs. In addition, Weatherford served as the strength and conditioning/video specialist for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard team from 2004-07 and as strength and conditioning coordinator for the U.S. Olympic Committee from 2000-04. Throughout his time with the U.S. Olympic program, Weatherford was on staff for three Olympic Games (2004-Athens, 2006-Torino, 2008-Beijing). A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Weatherford received a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology along with a sport science degree.

Dan Meehan comes to Brooklyn after serving the past six years as head strength and conditioning coach/sport scientist for the North Melbourne Football Club in Australia. In his role with the club, Meehan was responsible for developing and implementing individual training programs for 45 Australian Rules Football players, which included strength and power training, conditioning, speed and agility work, injury prevention and corrective exercise techniques. Meehan also worked in the same capacity for the Melbourne Tigers of the Australian National Basketball League during the 2011-12 season. Previously, Meehan spent five years as a physical preparation coach at the Victorian Institute of Sport in Melbourne working with Olympic and World Championship medalists in numerous sports. A native of Melbourne, Australia, Meehan received his Bachelor of Exercise Science degree and Honors research degree from Australian Catholic University in Melbourne.

Lloyd Beckett joined the Nets in 2014, and for the past two seasons has held the dual role of director of physical therapy and assistant athletic trainer. He was honored as the Assistant Athletic Trainer of the Year for the 2014-15 season. Prior to joining the Nets, Beckett worked with the U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations as a physical therapist in 2014. Beckett also spent two years as a physical therapist at the Vanderbilt Orthopaedic Institute and has held sports medicine internships with the Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, New England Patriots and Providence College. A native of Falmouth, Maine, Beckett received his Bachelor of Science and Doctorate of Physical Therapy degrees from Northeastern University. He also holds a Master of Science degree from Bridgewater State University.

Aisling Toolan joins the Nets after spending the past five years as a physical therapist at the Hospital for Special Surgery Rehabilitation and Performance Center. In addition, Toolan served as the physical therapist for NYCFC during the 2015 MLS season. In 2014, Toolan completed a rotation at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, where she worked with National Team gymnasts, fencers, wrestlers and weightlifters. Toolan received her Bachelor of Science degree in physiotherapy from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Stony Brook University. The former Irish international soccer player and native of Dublin is also a board certified clinical specialist in sports physical therapy.

Bucks hire Justin Zanik as assistant general manager

The Milwaukee Bucks today named Justin Zanik the team’s new assistant general manager. In his role within the organization, Zanik will participate in all areas of day-to-day basketball operations management.

Zanik joins Milwaukee after spending three years as the assistant general manager for the Utah Jazz, where he helped facilitate contract negotiations, managed the team’s salary cap and oversaw the scouting of international prospects, among other duties.

“We are thrilled to welcome Justin Zanik to our basketball operations department,” Bucks General Manager John Hammond said. “He is a proven executive who brings a diverse background and wealth of basketball knowledge to the Bucks family. We look forward to his contributions to our organization.”

Zanik has been involved in all aspects of athlete representation for the past 15 years, and has been a certified agent for the National Basketball Players Association since 2003. Prior to his experience with the Jazz, he served as Vice President of ASM Sports, where he oversaw all levels of career management for ASM’s basketball clients.

The 41-year-old was also Vice President of Basketball Operations for Priority Sports & Entertainment from 1998 through 2002, where he managed European player contract negotiations and assisted in the negotiation, research and recruitment of Priority’s NBA clients.

Alec Burks has surgery on knee, ankle

Alec Burks has surgery on knee, ankle

Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks underwent successful arthroscopic surgery Tuesday to clean out debris from his left knee and ankle.

The outpatient procedure was performed in Salt Lake City by Jazz head orthopaedic team physician Dr. Travis Maak, and ankle and foot specialist Dr. Charles L. Saltzman, the chair of the department of orthopaedics at University of Utah Health Care.

Burks is expected to be ready prior to the start of 2016-17 Jazz training camp.

The fifth-year guard averaged 13.3 points on a career-best 40.5 percent three-point shooting, with 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 25.7 minutes per game during the 2015-16 season. He was originally selected by the Jazz in the first round (12th overall) of the 2011 NBA Draft.

Pelicans hire Danny Ferry as a Special Advisor

The New Orleans Pelicans have hired Danny Ferry as a Special Advisor, team General Manager Dell Demps announced.

Ferry comes to New Orleans with 25 years of NBA experience as both a player and front office executive. He served as the President of Basketball Operations and General Manager for the Atlanta Hawks from 2012-15, where he oversaw the team’s basketball operations, including coaching, player personnel, contract negotiations and salary cap management.

“I am excited to announce Danny Ferry has accepted our offer to join the New Orleans Pelicans basketball operations staff as a special advisor,” said Demps. “Danny’s experience, insight and achievements will be a welcomed addition to the Pelicans as we continue our quest to improve the team.”

Prior to the Hawks, Ferry was a member of the San Antonio Spurs organization from 2010-12, where he held the role of Vice President of Basketball Operations. From 2005-10, Ferry served as the General Manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Under his guidance, the Cavaliers posted a 272-138 (.663) record, experienced the NBA’s best regular season record in both 2008-09 and 2009-10 and advanced to the 2007 NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.

Here’s the Toronto Sun reporting on the Raptors, who have decided that coach Dwane Casey is worth keeping around for the foreseeable future:

Giving Dwane Casey an extension was easy decision for Raptors

Masai Ujiri and Dwane Casey aren’t always in agreement, but if they were, it’s a good bet they wouldn’t have lasted so long together.

Ujiri, the Raptors’ president and general manager doesn’t want a yes-man as his head coach. Fortunately Casey is no yes-man.

The two paired up three years ago, Ujiri inheriting Casey from Bryan Colangelo of the previous regime.

He’s had a few chances to walk away from Casey but each and every time he has stayed with him.

The latest is a (finally) confirmed three-year deal that will pay Casey a well-earned $18 million over the length of the contract.

Ujiri made this decision before the playoffs started telling the media Casey was his coach going forward, so the extended playoff run had nothing to do with this.

Kevin Love going through NBA Concussion Protocol

The Warriors beat the Cavs 110-77 Sunday night to take a 2-0 NBA Finals lead. Cavs forward Kevin Love did little in his nearly 21 minutes of play, shooting 2-of-7 and grabbing just three rebounds. But he did get nailed in the head, leading to what is hopefully nothing. But, to be safe, he’s been placed in NBA Concussion Protocol. Here’s the Cavs’ announcement, which came during the second half:

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love experienced dizziness after returning to play at the start of the second half of tonight’s NBA Finals Game 2. He was taken to the locker room for further examination. As a result of that exam, Love was placed in the NBA Concussion Protocol and did not return to play. Love did not exhibit any signs or symptoms during the first half, or at halftime, that would have caused him to be placed in the concussion protocol prior to the third quarter. His status will be updated as appropriate.

Here’s CSN Bay Area reporting on Sunday’s Finals Game 2, which thanks to Draymond Green and friends resulted in a blowout Warriors victory for a 2-0 Golden State championship series lead:

Draymond Green shines, Warriors win NBA Finals Game 2

The Cleveland Cavaliers came into the NBA Finals with a clear defensive game plan that essentially insults Warriors forward Draymond Green.

The strategy: Lay off him and spend your defensive energy on his teammates, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in particular.

This did not go well for the Cavs in Game 1 and was downright disastrous in Game 2 Sunday night.

Given plenty of room to shoot or pass, Green as a frequent ball-handler did plenty of both and was largely responsible for a 110-77 demolition of the Eastern Conference champions before an ecstatic sellout crowd (19,596) at Oracle Arena…

Green poured in a game-high 28 points, draining 5-of-8 from 3-point distance, adding seven rebounds and a team-high-trying five assists. He committed one turnover, posting a plus-20 in 34 minutes of playing time.

Isaiah Thomas recruiting Kevin Durant

The Celtics finished the regular season with a very impressive 48-34 record. They have excellent coaching, and players who compliment each others’ skills nicely. But that was probably their ceiling, as the current roster goes. The team is armed with a ton of draft picks, but most rookies have limited impact. Now, as for free agency, and really fun ideas and big goals, here’s the Boston Globe reporting:

Isaiah Thomas wants Kevin Durant on the Celtics

As Isaiah Thomas sat on his porch at home in Tacoma, Wash., last Monday after watching the Thunder lose Game 7 of the Western Conference finals to the Warriors, he had an idea.

The Celtics point guard knows, like everyone else, that Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant will become a free agent this summer. He also knows, like everyone else, that adding Durant to a roster would have a seismic impact.

And in that moment on that porch, be thought it might be a good time to spice up the Durant-to-Boston narrative, no matter how unlikely a prospect it might be. So he grabbed his iPhone, opened Twitter, and posted Durant’s No. 35 next to a green shamrock. It was simple, but not especially subtle.

“I just wanted the world to know, that’s who I’m trying to get,” Thomas said.

On Kevin Durant free agency

Will Kevin Durant stick with the OKC Thunder? If we had to guess, yes, he probably will. The team was just one win away, in an insanely competitive Western conference, from reaching the 2016 NBA Finals. How many better situations for Durant are there in the league? Very few. And on this topic, here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

On Kevin Durant free agency

As Nick Collison said in his exit interview, there’s no selling Kevin Durant on the Thunder. No recruiting pitch needed. He knows everything about the city, the organization, the team’s infrastructure and the young roster.

Perhaps he’ll take visits elsewhere, allowing him to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of staying or going. But Presti’s case has already been laid. All he needs to do is hand Durant a blank piece of paper and tell him to write his contract.

There are no assurances Durant will stay. His decision is monumental for this organization, carrying extreme ripple affects in the immediate and long term. But at this point, OKC’s front office can only sit back and wait.

Hawks promote Jeff Peterson to assistant general manager

The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club on Thursday promoted Jeff Peterson to assistant general manager, according to General Manager Wes Wilcox. In this role, Peterson will be involved in all areas of day-to-day team management, while continuing to oversee the Hawks scouting process.

“Jeff has been an integral part of our front office over the past few seasons. In that time, he has demonstrated the ability to identify players who fit our culture and system; build meaningful relationship across the world of basketball; while continuing to learn the complexities of team-building in the NBA,” Wilcox said. “Jeff has a bright future in the NBA and we would like to congratulate Jeff on this opportunity.”

Peterson was promoted by the Hawks Director of Scouting before the start of the 2015-16 season. Prior to that, he served as a Scout and Coordinator of Basketball Operations for the team.

Peterson, who joined the Hawks as a seasonal assistant in 2012, finished his collegiate playing career at Florida State.

The Sixers have a bunch of young big men on their roster that may be part of their future, but almost nothing in the backcourt. Everyone assumed that at some point the team would look to trade at least one of their frontcourt guys. We would think it would make the most sense to wait until Joel Embiid proves himself, but the team can’t wait around forever for that to happen. Here’s CSN Philly with the latest:

It’s no surprise the Sixers are looking to trade a big man for backcourt help.

League sources told CSNPhilly.com’s John Gonzalez on Friday the Sixers are shopping Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor and looking for backcourt help in return.

As reported Thursday, the Sixers have had talks with the Atlanta Hawks about a package deal involving Noel and point guard Jeff Teague.

However, no deal has been offered and no deal is imminent, according to league sources.

Does the triangle offense work for a team that doesn’t have Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant, etc? Perhaps not, but maybe there are elements of it that can be applied elsewhere. Maybe. Here’s the New York Post with an update on the Knicks and new head coach Jeff Hornacek, who was formally introduced at a press conference today:

Knicks sticking with triangle-like offense

The triangle isn’t folding, it’s just slightly changing shape.

That was the vibe from Jeff Hornacek’s formal introduction Friday as the new coach of the Knicks. He strongly suggested he will maintain principles of Phil Jackson’s beloved triangle offense, while blending in the more spread, “up-and-down” style he favored during his previous stint in Phoenix.

“To me, it’s just a way to space the floor. There’s something about the triangle. Maybe we’ll call it the circle offense,” Hornacek said. “You can run any play you want out of the triangle. It’s going to be a part of our offense. It’s something that’s worked, won championships.

“We’re going to run the triangle, but I wouldn’t call it the triangle. There’s a lot of aspects of the triangle,” Hornacek added in his non-televised interview. “We can space it out farther and run some things I did in Phoenix. So there will be aspects of the triangle. It’s basic reads. You can call it triangle or call it what Golden State runs. There’s the idea we can blend it somehow.’’

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