Archive for the ‘ NBA Teams ’ Category

Here’s CSN Philly reporting on 76ers rookie Jahlil Okafor, who is certainly a leading contender to win the 2015-16 Rookie of the Year award:

Jahlil Okafor aiming for Rookie of Year award

Jahlil Okafor, speaking at the NBA and Panini America’s rookie photo shoot at MSG Training Center on Saturday, shared a few of his goals for the upcoming 2015-16 season.

The Sixers’ big man already has his eyes set on some hardware.

“I’d like to win Rookie of the Year,” he said. “Just want to get better every night for myself and my coaches with the Sixers. Try and win some big games.”

The last Sixer to win the award was Michael Carter-Williams in 2014. If Okafor could pull that off, it would signify the Sixers are inching closer to resembling a respectable NBA team.

The Denver Nuggets have re-signed Darrell Arthur, Will Barton and Jameer Nelson to multi-year contracts, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.

Arthur, 6-9, 225, appeared in 58 games (four starts) for Denver in 2014-15, averaging 6.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 17.0 minutes per game. The six-year NBA veteran has played in 373 career games (82 starts) for Denver and Memphis, averaging 6.5 points and 3.6 rebounds. He was drafted out of the University of Kansas with the 27th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets and was dealt to the Grizzlies on draft night.

Barton, 6-6, 175, arrived in Denver via trade on Feb. 19, 2015 and averaged 11.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.21 steals in 28 games with the Nuggets. He has appeared in 172 career games (five starts) over four seasons with Portland and Denver, averaging 5.0 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 13.2 minutes per game. Barton was selected out of the University of Memphis with the 40th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers.

Nelson, 6-0, 190, appeared in 34 games (five starts) and averaged 9.6 points and 3.7 assists for Denver last season after being acquired in a trade from Boston on Jan. 13, 2015. The 11-year veteran and former NBA All-Star owns career averages of 12.2 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists while shooting .371 from three-point range in 714 career games (585 starts) with Orlando, Dallas, Boston and Denver.

Nelson spent the first 10 years of his career in Orlando where he reached the playoffs six times, including a run to the NBA Finals in 2009. He enjoyed his best statistical year in 2008-09, averaging a career-high 16.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists en route to an Eastern Conference All-Star selection. He currently stands as the Magic’s all-time leader in assists with 3,501. The Chester, Pa. native was drafted out of Saint Joseph’s University with the 20th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Nuggets before his rights were sent to the Orlando Magic on draft-night in exchange for a 2005 first round pick.

Knicks sign Thanasis Antetokounmpo

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has signed guard/forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo.

According to the New York Post, “Antetokounmpo passed up lucrative deals in Europe last summer to play for $25,000 in the D-League. He has been an enigma, with a boatload of energy, but low basketball IQ and an erratic jump shot.”

Antetokounmpo, 6-7, 215-pounds, averaged 13.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.70 steals and 1.68 blocks over 32.9 minutes in 47 games (all starts) during the inaugural season of the NBA D- League’s Westchester Knicks. He earned NBA D-League All-Defensive Second Team honors last season after a Third Team selection in 2013-14 as a member of the Delaware 87ers. He ranked in the D-League’s Top-10 in steals (fifth, 80), free throw attempts (seventh, 251) and blocks (eighth, 79).

The Greece native, who was born to parents of Nigerian descent, was selected by New York in the second round (51st overall) of 2014 NBA Draft with a pick acquired from Dallas. He played for New York’s entry in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, NV each of the last two summers after playing for Delaware in 2013-14 and Filathlitikos (Greece) in 2012-13. He is the older brother of Milwaukee forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Knicks sign Sasha Vujacic

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has signed guard Sasha Vujacic. He is expected to play limited minutes as a reserve. And he is very familiar with the triangle offense, which the Knicks will still apparently stick with.

Vujacic, 6-7, 193-pounds, holds career averages of 5.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists over 15.9 minutes in 478 games over eight seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, New Jersey and Los Angeles Clippers. A two-time NBA champion with the Lakers alongside Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher in 2009 and 2010, he last played in the NBA for the Clippers, appearing in two games during the 2013-14 season.

The Maribor, Slovenia-native played for Laborla Kutxa (Spain) and Istanbul BB (Turkey) last season and has also played in Italy. He was originally selected by the Lakers in the first round (27th overall) of 2004 NBA Draft.

New York Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis looks very tall, very thin and very promising. He gives NYK fans something to watch right away. Here are video highlights of his summer:

Here’s the Deseret News reporting on the Utah Jazz, who recently learned that talented young guard Dante Exum has suffered a torn ACL, which means he’s probably out for the season:

Report: Jazz interested in Garrett Temple

The Jazz are interested in pursuing a trade for Wizards guard Garrett Temple, the Deseret News has been informed.

According to a source, Jazz coach Quin Snyder is a proponent of the 6-foot-6 Temple, who would give the team a big defensive presence in Exum’s absence.

Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey refuted the notion that the Jazz are discussing potential temporary replacements for Exum. At this point, he believes that would be insensitive to Exum and his parents.

“There is a bunch of speculation out there right now,” Lindsey said during an interview with 1280 The Zone on Thursday.

Mavericks re-sign Charlie Villanueva

Mavericks re-sign Charlie Villanueva

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have re-signed forward Charlie Villanueva.

Villanueva (6-11, 238) holds career averages of 10.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 21.7 minutes in 594 games (159 starts) with Toronto, Milwaukee, Detroit and Dallas. Villanueva was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team in 2005-06 after averaging 13.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 29.1 minutes in 81 games (36 starts). He had a breakout year in 2008-09 when he averaged 16.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 26.9 minutes in his final season with Milwaukee.

In his first season with Dallas, Villanueva averaged 6.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 10.6 minutes in 64 games (one start). He shot 37.6 percent (83-of-221) from beyond the arc in 2014-15.

The Queens, N.Y., native was a standout at the University of Connecticut where, as a freshman, he earned Big East All-Rookie Team honors and won an NCAA National Championship. As a sophomore, he led the team in scoring (13.6 ppg) and was named the team’s MVP. Villanueva declared for the NBA Draft following his sophomore season and was drafted seventh overall by the Toronto Raptors in 2005.

Mavericks sign Samuel Dalembert

Mavericks sign Samuel Dalembert

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed free agent center Samuel Dalembert.

This will be Dalembert’s second stint in Dallas. He signed with the Mavericks as a free agent in July, 2013 and averaged 6.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 20.2 minutes in 80 games (68 starts) during the 2013-14 season. After one year with the Mavericks, Dalembert was traded to the New York Knicks, along with guards Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington and Shane Larkin and two 2014 second round picks, in exchange for Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton.

Dalembert (6-11, 255) has played a total of 886 games (694 starts) with Philadelphia, Sacramento, Houston, Milwaukee, Dallas and New York and has career averages of 7.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 24.4 minutes per game.

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dalembert is the only Haitian-born player in the NBA. He spent 14 years in Haiti before moving to Montreal and becoming a Canadian citizen in August, 2007. He played collegiately at Seton Hall and averaged 7.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.83 blocks in 59 games over two years. He currently owns the school record for career blocked shots (267).

Knicks sign Kevin Seraphin

Knicks sign Kevin Seraphin

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has signed forward/center Kevin Seraphin.

Seraphin, 6-10, 278-pounds, holds career averages of 6.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 16.4 minutes in 326 games (31 starts) over five seasons with Washington. He appeared in 79 games for the Wizards last season, averaging 6.6 points, on 51.3-percent shooting, with 3.6 rebounds over 15.6 minutes.

The Cayenne, French Guiana-native, was originally selected by Chicago with the 17th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft before having his draft rights traded to Washington. He played professionally for Cholet Basket (France) from 2007-10 and Caja Laboral (Spain) for part of the 2011-12 season.

There was no fear of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich leaving the team while Tim Duncan is still out there hitting bank-shots, but what about when The Big Fundamental hangs up his sneakers? Danny Green feels new additions to the roster will keep Pop on the sideline for seasons to come. Which is good news for everyone other than reporters interviewing him during the middle of a game. Here’s the San Antonio Express News reporting:

Like many Spurs players and fans, Green always had presumed Popovich would depart the Spurs bench as soon as team captain Tim Duncan opted for retirement. But with the signing of free agent power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and the new, five-year contract for teammate Kawhi Laonard signed in mid-July Green now believes Popovich will stick around past the end of 39-year-old Duncan’s career — whenever that comes.

“Without LaMarcus and Kawhi (Leonard) I think he’s out the door when Timmy leaves,” Green said on Wednesday after an appearance at the Spurs youth camp at George Gervin Academy. “Them being here I think extends his tenure just a little bit longer.

Here’s CSN Chicago reporting on Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, who is getting positive mentions from a likely source:

Will Derrick Rose make NBA All-Star team next season?

If Derrick Rose’s playoff performance is any indication, the Bulls point guard could be in for a giant 2015-16 season.

That’s according to CSN’s Bulls color commentator Stacey King, who spoke at the Bulls/Sox Academy Tuesday and believes the league’s youngest MVP is getting back to that old form.

“I expect him to have a big year this year, I expect him to make the All-Star team, I expect him to be back to the elite player that we are used to seeing,” King said of the three-time All-Star (2010-2012). “I can’t wait to see him.”

King’s comments come on the heels of a report last week that Rose, 26, is still undecided about participating in Team USA’s minicamp in Las Vegas next week.

Here’s the Washington Post reporting on Wizards star point guard John Wall, who is entering the Team USA mix that is briefly gathering this summer in preparation for next summer’s competition:

John Wall to participate in Team USA mini-camp

John Wall has decided to participate in Team USA’s upcoming minicamp in Las Vegas, the Washington Wizards point guard confirmed Tuesday evening.

Wall, one of 41 invitees, was unsure whether he would join the three-day camp, scheduled for Aug. 11-13, after receiving a late invitation for last year’s training camp in preparation for the FIBA World Cup and being one of first three players cut along with teammate Bradley Beal and Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap. Beal confirmed he is also participating in the minicamp over the weekend. The camp will be held on UNLV’s campus and will conclude with a scrimmage on Aug. 13.

Kenneth Faried aims to improve defense

Here’s the Denver Post reporting on Nuggets power forward Kenneth Faried, who last season was paid a lot of money to average a modest 12.6 points per game. He did grab 8.9 rebounds per outing, which is even more impressive considering he played just 27.8 minutes per game. But beyond numbers, stronger defense is expected of him, and he knows it.

Kenneth Faried aims to improve defense

Kenneth Faried hears all the noise, but he didn’t need to. He already knew what he had to work on this summer.

“My defense, I’ve focused on that,” Faried said in a phone interview from Johannesburg, where he played in NBA Africa Game 2015 on Saturday. “I’ve been watching film on guys that I consider my toughest matchups, and I’ve been able to dissect them so that when the season comes around I’m able to guard those players — and become the player I want to be, and that’s hopefully defensive player of the year one day and first-team all-defense.”

Faried, a high-energy player, has the raw tools to be a defensive stopper. It will be up to new Nuggets coach Michael Malone to help him get there. What’s new is that Faried acknowledges his defensive shortcomings.

Major concern over Dante Exum injury

Here’s the Deseret News reporting on promising young Jazz guard Dante Exum, who may have suffered a very serious injury:

Major concern over Dante Exum injury

In 2014, Rudy Gobert’s time spent playing with his national team was instrumental in the French center’s successful second year in the NBA.

That was the best-case scenario for a pro playing for his country.

Dante Exum just experienced the worst-case scenario.

The Australian point guard injured his left knee Tuesday while playing for the Boomers in an international friendly game against Slovenia.

Initial concern is that Exum might have torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, a source told the Deseret News.

Exum will return to Utah for further evaluation on his knee by the team’s doctors at the University of Utah Health Care, the Jazz announced shortly after the injury occurred on the other side of the world.

Magic sign Melvin Ejim

The Orlando Magic have signed forward Melvin Ejim (EDGE-um), General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

Ejim (6’6”, 220, 3/4/91) played in 47 games (45 starts) last season with Virtus Roma in Italy, averaging 7.9 ppg., 5.6 rpg. and 1.00 stlpg. in 24.1 minpg. He recently played with the Orlando Magic “White” team during the 2015 Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League, averaging 9.2 ppg., 6.8 rpg., 1.6 apg. and 1.00 stlpg. in 30.0 minpg.

Ejim, who was not drafted by an NBA franchise in 2014, played in 135 games (126 starts) during four seasons at Iowa State University from 2010-14, averaging 12.2 ppg., 7.8 rpg., 1.4 apg. and 1.08 stlpg. in 27.8 minpg., while shooting .497 (596-1,158) from the floor. He finished his collegiate career as the Cyclones’ all-time leader in games played and games started. Ejim also finished on the school’s all-time list in rebounding (second, 1,051) and is the only player in ISU history to amass 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 100 steals. Ejim was named the Big 12 Player of the Year in 2013-14. He helped Iowa State captured the 2013-14 Big 12 Tournament championship and reach the Sweet Sixteen during the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

Dante Exum suffers knee injury

Dante Exum suffers knee injury

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum:

Exum suffered a left knee injury today while competing for the Australian National Team in a game against the Slovenian National Team in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Exum was initially treated on site and will now return to Salt Lake City for further medical evaluation by the Utah Jazz medical staff and official healthcare partner University of Utah Health Care.

Further updates will be provided soon.

Clippers sign Pablo Prigioni

Clippers sign Pablo Prigioni

The Los Angeles Clippers signed Pablo Prigioni today, adding depth behind Chris Paul at the point guard position.

Prigioni, 38, joins the Clippers after playing in a total of 67 regular season games (three starts) last season with the Houston Rockets (24 games) and the New York Knicks (43 games), averaging 4.1 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 17.9 minutes.

The 6-foot-3 guard enjoyed a decorated international career before signing with the Knicks in 2012 and has appeared in 211 career regular NBA season games (48 starts) with New York and Houston, owning career averages of 3.8 points, 1.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 17.7 minutes.

A veteran of the Spanish and Argentine leagues, Prigioni played for Ramallo (1995-96), Belgrano (1996-98) and Obras Sanitarias (1998-99) of the Argentine League and for Fuenlabrada (1999-01), Alicante (2001-03), Caja Laboral (2003-09, 2011) and Real Madrid (2009-11) of the Spanish ACB and LEB Leagues. He won the Spanish National Championship in 2007-08, the King’s Cup three times (2004, 2006, 2009) and Spanish Super Cup three times (2005, 2006, 2008) and is also a two-time All-Euroleague second team selection (2006, 2007).

The Rio Tercero, Argentina native was a member of the 2008 Argentinian National Team that captured Bronze in the Beijing Summer Olympics and the 2012 team in the London Summer Olympics. Prigioni helped Argentina win a Gold medal at the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship, a Silver medal at the 2007 Americas Championship and a Bronze medal at the 2009 Americas Championship. He also represented Argentina in the 2006 and 2010 World Championships.

Raptors announce front office promotions

The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday the promotion of Teresa Resch to Vice President, Basketball Operations and Player Development and Dan Tolzman to Director, Player Personnel.
Resch joined the Raptors in 2013. She will continue her responsibilities for off-court player development programs and as a liaison between basketball and team business operations.
Resch has also played an instrumental role in overseeing plans for the team’s new practice facility slated to open in February, 2016.

Tolzman joined the Raptors in 2013 as Director of Scouting. In addition to input on personnel and roster decisions, he will continue to head all aspects of the team’s scouting department, including college and professional scouting, talent assessment and related data management.

On July 7, Tolzman was named the first general manager of the Raptors’ new NBA D-League affiliate, Raptors 905. As the club’s general manager, Tolzman will lead all basketball operations and player personnel matters, including roster management and development, player transactions, scouting and drafting.

The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club announced today two executive appointments. Atlanta sports marketing veteran Andrew Saltzman has joined the organization as Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, and Andrew Steinberg moves to the newly created role of Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer.

“These two executive announcements are major steps in realizing our ownership’s vision of being Atlanta’s top sports franchise, both in the business and civic communities,” Chief Executive Officer Steve Koonin said.

“We are thrilled to add the talents and experience of Andrew Saltzman to our executive team. Andrew is a passionate executive who has proven himself a visionary creative mind in the sports and media marketplaces, both locally and nationally.”

“I’ve been in the Atlanta sports market for almost 20 years and have never seen a sports team with as much momentum as the Atlanta Hawks,” said Saltzman. “The opportunity to be a part of this organization and work with a leader like Steve Koonin is simply a dream come true for me.”
Saltzman most recently served as the Chief Revenue Officer for PlayOn! Sports and the NFHS Network, the nation’s largest high school sports media company. From 1997 to 2012, Saltzman served as President of Big League Broadcasting, co-founding and developing WQXI-AM into one of the country’s leading sports talk outlets, Sports Radio 790 The Zone. Through his leadership and client-centric marketing vision, 790 The Zone established itself as Atlanta’s premier sports broadcast station. Saltzman’s resume also includes successfully negotiating multi-year sports broadcast agreements with the Hawks, the Atlanta Falcons, Georgia Tech Athletics and the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

In his new role of Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer, Steinberg will now take a leadership role in the execution of strategic projects as determined by Koonin and the Hawks Board of Directors, including: the development of a new practice facility site, reimagining Philips Arena, and pursuing an NBA Development League team as a Hawks affiliate. Additionally, he will provide oversight of Philips Arena.

“We are fortunate to have a leader in Andrew Steinberg, who will take on new responsibilities as our enterprise enters its next chapter. As the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club continues to invest in both our organization and our community, Andrew will be at the forefront of these new major initiatives under new ownership,” said Koonin.

Under Steinberg, all Hawks revenue metrics have surged. During the 2014-15 season, Atlanta experienced the largest increase in attendance in the NBA and established team records for single game and group sales, leading the league in both categories. The Hawks currently lead the NBA in new full season tickets sold for 2015-16 and the season ticket membership base has increased by over 50% in his three seasons. Steinberg also created the Analytics and CRM department, providing strategic direction and key business intelligence insights and was instrumental in negotiations for the local media deals with Fox Sports South, CBS Radio 92.9 The Game and iHeartMedia’s El Patron 105.3FM. During his time in the role, Steinberg also developed marquee corporate partnerships with Boingo, Comcast, FanDuel and Ticketmaster, among others.

“I am excited for the challenges of my new role and working closely with our owners, who are committed to making the Hawks a vibrant community asset,” said Steinberg. “I look forward to helping execute their positive vision and to working with Executive Vice President and Philips Arena General Manager Trey Feazell, who has done an outstanding job leading the arena to become one of the busiest in the nation.”

Steinberg joined the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena from Sporting Kansas City where he was Executive Vice President – Business Operations, directing revenue generation, strategic relationships, and corporate partnerships for the MLS team and the venue, Sporting Park. Prior to Sporting Kansas City, Steinberg served in various roles with the University of Kansas Athletics Department most notably as the Associate Athletics Director for Marketing and Revenue Development where he was responsible for enhancing KU’s brand image and strengthening its revenue streams. Steinberg joined the University of Kansas after serving as an associate with the law firm of Riling, Burkhead & Nitcher in Lawrence, Kansas and working with NIKE in Beaverton, Oregon.

“These two executive announcements are a major step in realizing our ownership’s vision in having our enterprise serve as a dynamic leader in the Atlanta business community,” said Koonin.

Nuggets sign Danilo Gallinari to contract extension

After restructuring his deal, the Denver Nuggets have signed forward Danilo Gallinari to a multi-year contract extension, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.

According to the Denver Post, “Gallinari’s extension has a total value of three years and $45 million. He will get a bump in pay that starts this season and raises his salary from $11.5 million to $14 million.”

Gallinari, 6-10, 225, appeared in 59 games (27 starts) for Denver last season, averaging 12.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 24.2 minutes per game.

The 26-year-old closed out the 2014-15 season by averaging 19.1 points and 4.9 rebounds over the final 22 games while shooting 45% from the field, 40% from three and 90% from the charity stripe. He also eclipsed the 40-point mark two times during this stretch, including a career-high 47 vs. Dallas on Apr. 10, the most points ever scored in the NBA by an Italian-born player.

The six-year veteran was drafted by the New York Knicks with the 6th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Gallinari has appeared in 344 career games (274 starts) with Denver and New York, averaging 14.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists. He has been a member of the Nuggets since being acquired via trade in 2011.

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