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Nuggets Sign guard Erick Green

Nuggets Sign guard Erick Green

The Denver Nuggets have signed guard Erick Green, General Manager/Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.

Green, 6-4, 185, was the 46th overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft after leading the NCAA in scoring (25.0 ppg) as a senior at Virginia Tech. He spent the 2013-14 season with Montepaschi Siena of the Italian League, averaging 11.3 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists.

Playing at the 2014 Samsung NBA Summer League, Green averaged 16.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists in five games (all starts) with the Nuggets. He shot 50 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free-throw line.

Milwaukee Bucks sign Jerryd Bayless

Bucks sign Jerryd Bayless

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed free agent guard Jerryd Bayless, General Manager John Hammond announced today.

According to the Associated Press, “Bayless signed for two years at $3 million per season.”

Bayless, 25, split the 2013-14 season between the Memphis Grizzlies and Boston Celtics, and averaged 9.3 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 72 games (19 starts). He was acquired by the Celtics in exchange for Courtney Lee on Jan. 6, and while with Boston, set season highs of 29 points – including a career-high 12 field goals made – on Feb. 26 vs. Atlanta and nine assists vs. San Antonio on Feb. 12.

Originally selected by the Indiana Pacers with the 11th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Bayless was traded to the Trail Blazers prior to his rookie season. Over his six-year career, Bayless has spent time with Portland, New Orleans, Toronto, Memphis and Boston, and has recorded career averages of 8.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 381 games (59 starts). He has been to the playoffs three times with Portland (2009, 2010) and Memphis (2013), averaging 9.8 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 23 games (two starts).

Bayless played one season at Arizona in 2007-08 where he became the first freshman in school history to lead the team in both scoring (19.7 points) and assists (4.0). In 2007, he was named a McDonald’s All-American as a high school senior at St. Mary’s (Phoenix).

Brooklyn Nets announce coaching staff

The Brooklyn Nets have named Paul Westphal, John Welch, Tony Brown, Joe Wolf and Jay Humphries as assistant coaches and Jim Sann as an assistant coach/advance scout on new head coach Lionel Hollins’ staff, General Manager Billy King announced today.

Westphal brings over 20 years of coaching experience to Brooklyn, including three stops as a head coach in Phoenix, Seattle and Sacramento. After beginning his NBA coaching career as an assistant in Phoenix in 1988, Westphal was named head coach of the Suns in 1992, where he led the Suns to three of their most successful seasons, reaching the NBA Finals in 1993, and advancing twice to the conference semifinals. Westphal was twice selected to serve as head coach of the Western Conference All-Star team in 1993 and 1995. In his three and a half seasons as head coach of the Suns, Westphal compiled a 191-88 (.685) record. Westphal returned to the coaching ranks in 1998, when he led the Seattle SuperSonics for parts of three seasons, and was named head coach of the Sacramento Kings in 2009, where he served until early in the 2011-12 season. Overall, Westphal holds a career NBA coaching record of 318-279 (.532). A five-time NBA All-Star, Westphal played 12 seasons in the NBA, was named to the All-NBA First Team three times, All-NBA Second Team once and was a member of the 1974 NBA Champion Boston Celtics. The number 10 pick in the 1972 NBA draft out of USC, Westphal averaged 15.6 points and 4.4 assists in 823 NBA games with Boston, Phoenix, Seattle and New York.

Welch returns for his second season as an assistant coach with the Brooklyn Nets. Welch came to Brooklyn in 2013, following eight seasons as an assistant coach for the Denver Nuggets under George Karl. Before joining the Nuggets, Welch spent two seasons as an assistant coach/workout coach for the Memphis Grizzlies. Prior to his arrival in Memphis, he spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at Fresno State, serving under head coach Jerry Tarkanian. Welch joined Fresno State in 1995 and helped the Bulldogs to two consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, six consecutive 20-win seasons and seven straight postseason appearances. Welch began his coaching career with a three-year stint as a graduate assistant at UNLV, including when they advanced to the NCAA Final Four in 1986-87. When the Rebels’ season ended, Welch also served as a player and coach in the New Zealand Professional Basketball League from 1986-89. Welch then served as an assistant coach under Seth Greenberg at Long Beach State from 1993-95. As a player, Welch spent three seasons at the University of Nevada, Reno and transferred to UNLV for his senior year. Welch played under Tarkanian for one year when the Rebels compiled a 33-5 record and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

Brown joins the Nets after spending the previous three seasons as an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks under Rick Carlisle. Brown also served as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers (2009-10), Milwaukee Bucks (2007-08), Boston Celtics (2004-07), Toronto Raptors (2003-04), Detroit Pistons (2001-03) and Portland Trail Blazers (1997-2001). Prior to beginning his coaching career, he was an advance scout for the Bucks (1994-97). Brown spent seven seasons as an NBA player with nine teams after being selected with the 82nd pick in the fourth round of the 1982 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets. His best professional season came in 1986-87 with the Nets, where he recorded career-bests for points, assists, steals, minutes and games started. In 360 career NBA games, Brown averaged 6.0 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. In addition to his seven seasons in the NBA, Brown also spent time in the Continental Basketball Association and Italy. The Chicago native played four years at the University of Arkansas under head coach Eddie Sutton.

Wolf enters his sixth season coaching in the NBA after spending five seasons as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks under Scott Skiles (2008-13). Wolf’s coaching career also includes stints as head coach and general manager of the Colorado 14ers of the NBA Development League (2006-08) and head coach of the Idaho Stampede of the Continental Basketball Association (2004-06), as well as one season as an assistant coach at the College of William & Mary (2003-04). Most recently, Wolf has been serving as an assistant coach for the Ukrainian national team. Wolf spent 11 seasons as an NBA player after being selected with the 13th pick of the first round of the 1987 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. In 592 career games with Los Angeles, Denver, Boston, Portland, Charlotte, Orlando and Milwaukee, Wolf averaged 4.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. The Kohler, WI native spent four years at the University of North Carolina under Hall of Fame head coach, Dean Smith.

Humphries joins the Nets after spending 13 years as a coach in the NBA, NBA D-League and overseas. Humphries began his coaching career in 2001 as the associate head coach for the Jilin Northeastern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association and spent the next five years in the Korean Basketball League. He served three years as the associate head coach for the Wonju TG Xers and two years as the head coach of the Inchon ET Land Black Slamer. Humphries then returned stateside, joining the Phoenix Suns as an assistant coach on Mike D’Antoni’s staff for one season (2007-08) before taking over as the first head coach for the Reno Bighorns of the D-League (2008-10). He then spent one season as the head coach of the Foshan Long Lions in China. Humphries played 11 seasons in the NBA after being selected with the 13th pick of the first round in the 1984 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns. Humphries holds career NBA averages of 11.1 points, 5.5 assists and 1.50 steals in 29.3 minutes per game in 788 games (557 starts) split between Phoenix (1984-88), Milwaukee (1988-92), Utah (1992-95) and Boston (1995). The Los Angeles native played four years at the University of Colorado under former Nets assistant and interim head coach, Bill Blair, and long-time college basketball head coach, Tom Apke.

Sann is currently in his second stint with the Nets organization after working as a Nets assistant coach/coaching associate for five seasons (2005-10). From 2010-12, Sann spent two seasons as a member of the Chicago Bulls staff, serving as an assistant coach/video coordinator. Sann was the advance scout for the Houston Rockets during the 2004-05 season and served as an assistant coach with the Toronto Raptors in 2003-04. He began his professional basketball career with the New York Knicks organization, holding various positions over 11 seasons, eventually rising to director of basketball administration. The Larchmont, NY native graduated from the University of Colorado in 1991.

Kings sign Eric Moreland

The Sacramento Kings have signed Eric Moreland to a contract, according to Kings General Manager Pete D’Alessandro.

The 6-10, 218-pound forward-center averaged 3.5 points (.444 FG%, .500 FT%), 8.8 rebounds, 0.7 assists, a team-high 2.7 blocks and 19.2 minutes per game in six games off the bench for the Kings Samsung NBA Summer League 2014 Championship squad. Moreland led all players in Las Vegas with 16 blocks and his blocks per game average was the highest among all players seeing action in at least four games.

According to the Sacramento Bee, “the Kings have been fans of Moreland’s game for a while. He was a part of the first pre-draft workout in June and a player the Kings wanted to monitor after the draft process. The Kings are looking for more athleticism along the frontline to help improve their defense and rim protection. If Moreland sticks and makes the regular-season roster, he could eventually help in that area.”

A two-time Pac-12 All-Defensive Honorable Mention, Moreland finished his career at Oregon State in 2013-14 as the Beavers’ all-time leader in blocked shots (184) and blocks per game (2.07 bpg).

Warriors waive Hilton Armstrong

Warriors waive Hilton Armstrong

The Golden State Warriors have waived center Hilton Armstrong, the team announced today.

Armstrong, 29, appeared in 15 regular-season games (one start) for the Warriors in 2013-14, posting averages of 1.7 points and 3.1 rebounds in 6.5 minutes per contest. He appeared in all seven of the team’s playoff games, averaging 1.1 points in 2.4 minutes. Armstrong originally signed with the Warriors on December 11 and signed a pair of 10-day contracts on February 22 and March 30 before signing for the remainder of the season on April 8.

Armstrong also appeared in 32 games (23 starts) with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League in 2013-14, averaging 12.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.75 blocks in 30.3 minutes per contest.

Heat officially re-sign Chris Bosh

The Miami HEAT announced today that they have re-signed forward Chris Bosh. The agreement has been known for a while now, but actually became official today.

According to multiple reports, it’s a five-year contract worth a bit over $118 million.

“Chris Bosh is a two-time NBA champion and one of the most versatile big men in the league,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “His unique skillset makes him one of the best players in the game today. I’ve always felt he was committed to this organization, this staff and this city. I think he’s going to have the opportunity of a lifetime leading this team next season and having the nine-time NBA All-Star back in the fold was a big key for us. We are very blessed to have him.”

Bosh, a two-time NBA champion, has appeared in 796 games (784 starts) during his 11-year NBA career, averaging 19.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.10 blocks and 35.9 minutes, while shooting 49.8 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the foul line. The nine-time NBA All-Star has appeared in 287 games (all starts) for the HEAT over the last four seasons, averaging 17.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 34.1 minutes while shooting 50.9 percent from the field and 81.3 percent from the foul line. Among the HEAT’s all-time leaders, he ranks third in free throw percentage, fourth in field goal percentage, seventh in blocks (273), ninth in free throws made (1,077) and defensive rebounds (1,652), 10th in points (4,976), field goals made (1,894), total rebounds (2,116), and double-figure scoring efforts (260), 11th in double-doubles (60), 12th in starts, 13th in offensive rebounds (464), and minutes (9,787), 16th in games played and 18th in steals (256).

Last season, Bosh started all 79 games in which he appeared and averaged 16.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.01 steals and 32.0 minutes while shooting 51.6 percent from the field and 82 percent from the foul line. He totaled a career-high 80 steals and connected on a career-high 74 three-point field goals. He has now totaled 111 treys during his HEAT career, the most by a player 6’11” or taller in franchise history. Bosh scored his 15,000th career point on March 12 vs. Brooklyn, recorded his 1,500th career assist on December 8 at Detroit and went a perfect 9-of-9 from the field on January 4 at Orlando, tying for the most makes without a miss during a single game in HEAT history. He earned Player of the Week honors on December 29 and improved Miami’s record to a perfect 12-0 when scoring at least 30 points as a member of the HEAT, including a 37-point effort on December 28 at Portland, a game in which he hit the game-winning three-point attempt with five-tenths of a second remaining to give Miami a, 108-107, victory.

Bosh has appeared in 78 postseason games (74 starts) with the HEAT and averaged 14.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.14 blocks, 1.1 assists and 34.7 minutes while shooting 48.1 percent from the field, 40.6 percent from three-point range and 79 percent from the foul line. Last postseason, he shot 69.2 percent (9-of-13) from three-point range in Round One against Charlotte, the highest three-point field goal percentage during a four-game series in HEAT postseason history. He has now appeared in the NBA Finals in each of his four seasons in Miami, helping the HEAT become just the third NBA franchise to make four-straight NBA Finals appearances.

Timberwolves sign Mo Williams

Timberwolves sign Mo Williams

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed guard Mo Williams.

“We are excited to bring Mo into the fold this season,” said Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders. “His veteran leadership and excellent three-point shooting ability will be a valuable addition to our team.”

According to Yahoo Sports, it’s a one-year deal for $3.75 million.

Williams, 31, appeared in 74 games for Portland last season, averaging 9.7 points and 4.3 assists in 24.8 minutes per game. He shot 36.9 percent from three-point range, including a 42.2 percent clip over a two-month stretch from January through February. Williams appeared in eight games during the postseason with the Blazers, averaging 7.4 points per game before missing the final three games of the playoffs due to a groin strain.

The 11-year veteran was originally selected by the Utah Jazz in the second round (47th overall pick) of the 2003 NBA Draft. Minnesota is Williams’ sixth NBA stop, previously spending stints in Utah (2003-04, 2012-13), Milwaukee (2004-08), Cleveland (2008-2011, L.A. Clippers (2011-12) and Portland (2013-14). He has averaged 13.3 points and 4.9 assists per game while connecting on 38.5 percent from three-point range over his 709-game career. His best season came with the Cavaliers in 2008-09, when he averaged 17.8 points per game on 46.7 percent shooting (43.6 percent from three-point range) to earn an All-Star appearance.

Mavericks sign Al-Farouq Aminu

Mavericks sign Al-Farouq Aminu

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed free agent forward Al-Farouq Aminu.

Aminu (6-9, 215) was the 8th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. After one season in Los Angeles he was traded, along with Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman and a first round pick, to New Orleans in the deal that landed Chris Paul with the Clippers. He averages 6.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 23.2 minutes in 303 career games (171 starts) with Los Angeles and New Orleans.

In 2013-14, Aminu played in 80 games (65 starts) for the Pelicans and averaged 7.2 points and 6.2 rebounds in 25.6 minutes. The highlight of his season came on Dec. 4 when he registered 16 points and 20 rebounds against the Mavericks in a 100-97 Dallas victory.

Aminu’s parents, Aboubakar and Anjiflic, hail from Nigeria and he competed for the Nigerian National Team in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The Atlanta native was a McDonald’s All-American and one of the nation’s top recruits in 2008. He played collegiately at Wake Forrest where he was named to the All-ACC Freshman Team in 2009. Aminu declared for the NBA Draft after his sophomore season where he averaged 15.8 points and 10.7 rebounds for the Demon Deacons.

Grizzlies hire Ed Stefanski

Grizzlies hire Ed Stefanski

Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace announced today that the team has named Ed Stefanski as executive vice president of player personnel.

“We are pleased to welcome Ed Stefanski to the Grizzlies and the city of Memphis,” Wallace said. “Ed is an established NBA executive and excellent talent evaluator who has had success with multiple organizations. Together, with our ownership, front office and coaching staff, we will continue to work to realize our collective vision of hosting a championship parade down Beale Street.”

Stefanski comes to Memphis following upper management positions with the New Jersey Nets (1999-2007), Philadelphia 76ers (2007-11) and, most recently, Toronto Raptors (2011-13), where he served as executive vice president of basketball operations.

Prior to that, Stefanski spent four seasons as president and general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, where he guided the team back to the playoffs three times after it had not qualified for the postseason in the two seasons before his hiring. Stefanski helped rebuild the 76ers by re-signing key players such as Andre Iguodala and using mid-first round draft picks on young talent such as Marreese Speights (16th overall in 2008), Jrue Holiday (17th in 2009) and Nikola Vucevic (16th in 2011).

Before joining Philadelphia, Stefanski spent nine seasons with the Nets where he oversaw the team’s basketball operations and was heavily involved in player personnel matters. He was promoted to general manager in 2004 after serving one season as senior vice president of basketball operations and four seasons as director of scouting.

Stefanski was instrumental in helping build the Nets’ back-to-back Eastern Conference championship teams (2002 and 2003). He had a significant part in drafting Kenyon Martin with the first overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft, as well as a draft night deal in which the Nets acquired Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins and Brandon Armstrong from Houston. Martin, Jefferson and Collins would develop into starters for the Nets’ 2002-03 Eastern Conference championship squad.

In 2004, Stefanski played a major role in the trade that moved All-Star and current Grizzlies wing Vince Carter from Toronto to New Jersey in 2004. Carter and Jefferson rank second and third, respectively, in Nets franchise history in points scored.

A 1976 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School of Business), Stefanski played three seasons for Penn, where he was coached by Hall-of-Famer Chuck Daly. He was a member of two Ivy League Champions (1974 and 1975) and helped the Quakers reach the NCAA Tournament in both of those seasons. Stefanski was drafted by Philadelphia in the 10th round of the 1976 NBA Draft.

While in college, Stefanski founded and secured funding for the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s Inner City Basketball League, which provided a structured basketball environment for hundreds of boys and girls living under the Housing Authority. The Housing Authority later celebrated his efforts with a special recognition award, commending his contributions to the youth of Philadelphia.

Stefanksi also enjoyed a 20-year run as a color analyst for Big Five basketball and ESPN’s Atlantic 10 basketball coverage.

Grizzlies keep Chris Wallace as general manager

Memphis Grizzlies Controlling Owner Robert Pera announced today that Chris Wallace has been named General Manager of the Memphis Grizzlies and has signed a multi-year contract extension to remain with the organization. Wallace had acted as interim general manager since May 19, 2014.

“We are very pleased to announce Chris Wallace as our general manager,” Pera said. “Chris has been at the forefront and a stable presence throughout some of the Grizzlies’ greatest successes. His strong bonds and experience, not only within the organization and NBA but also within the Memphis and Mid-South communities, make him the ideal fit to lead our basketball operations. We believe Chris’ skills and expertise to be vital in our continued success of our franchise.”

Wallace joined the Grizzlies as general manager and vice president of basketball operations on June 18, 2007 and assembled much of the talent that has helped guide the franchise to a club-record four consecutive playoff appearances. Notably, Wallace drafted the franchise career leader in assists, steals and games played Mike Conley, he acquired two-time NBA All-Star (2009, 2012) Zach Randolph and 2012-13 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol through trades and signed three-time NBA All-Defense member (2010-13) Tony Allen in free agency.

Through Wallace’s acquisitions, the Grizzlies have experienced unprecedented success, earning their first seven postseason wins and first postseason series victory against the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in 2011, hosting a postseason series for the first time in 2012, and setting a club record for wins (56) and advancing to the Western Conference Finals in 2013.

As interim general manager this offseason, Wallace helped sign former All-Star Vince Carter in free agency and acquired rookies Jordan Adams and Jarnell Stokes in the 2014 NBA Draft.

“I am honored to remain in Memphis. I love the city and the community,” Wallace said. “Robert Pera is strongly committed to the success of the Grizzlies, and I am excited to continue working in tandem with Robert, our front office and our coaching staff in helping realize his vision for the franchise.”

Wallace has served seven NBA franchises in his career and has worked with five former NBA Executive of the Year winners, including Red Auerbach, Danny Ainge, Bucky Buckwalter, Geoff Petrie and Jerry West. In addition, he has worked alongside Basketball Hall of Fame members Billy Cunningham and Pat Riley.

Prior to joining the Grizzlies, Wallace spent 10 seasons as general manager of the Boston Celtics (1997-2007) and four seasons as a scout with the Miami Heat (1993-97), where he was promoted to director of player personnel in his final season. Wallace worked in various scouting capacities for the New York Knicks (1991-92), Los Angeles Clippers (1990-91), Denver Nuggets (1989-90) and Portland Trail Blazers (1986-89).

An avid basketball fan before being hired into the NBA, Wallace founded the award-winning Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook in 1981. He was named by Sports Illustrated as one of the most influential members of the college basketball media in 1991. He is a member of the Board of Directors at the Touchdown Club of Memphis.

Mavericks sign Ivan Johnson

Mavericks sign Ivan Johnson

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed free agent forward Ivan Johnson.

Johnson (6-8, 255) started all five games for the Mavericks at the Las Vegas Summer League and averaged 7.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.0 steal and 20.8 minutes per game.

Johnson spent the 2013-14 season playing for the Zhejiang Chouzhou Golden Bulls in China, where he averaged 26.0 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 2.9 steals and 32.8 minutes per game in 24 games.

The 6-8 forward began his professional career in the NBA Development League in 2007-08 with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Anaheim Aresenal.

Johnson was signed by the Atlanta Hawks on Dec. 9, 2011 after impressing the club in a 2011 mini-camp and earning an invite to training camp. He appeared in 56 games for Atlanta in 2011-12 and averaged 6.4 points and 4.0 rebounds in 16.7 minutes per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the field and 72.0 percent from the foul line. Johnson was named NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for April. He ranked third among rookies in field goal percentage.

Johnson re-signed with Atlanta on Sept. 18, 2012. He averaged 6.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 15.0 minutes per game in 69 games (five starts) for the Hawks in 2012-13. Johnson holds career averages of 6.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 15.8 minutes per game in 125 NBA games (five starts).

Johnson finished up his collegiate career at Cal State San Bernardino in 2006-07, where he averaged 15.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game while shooting 57 percent from the field. He earned All-California Collegiate Athletic Association First Team honors as a senior, and was named Second Team All-West Region by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

Lakers re-sign Wesley Johnson

Lakers re-sign Wesley Johnson

The Los Angeles Lakers have re-signed free agent forward Wesley Johnson, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

“I’m happy to welcome Wesley back to our team and am excited to see him develop further after taking such great strides last season,” said Kupchak. “Wesley possesses elite athleticism, and has the potential to develop into an excellent defender.”

A four-year NBA veteran, Johnson had his best professional season last year with the Lakers, averaging career-highs in points per game (9.1), rebounds (4.4), steals (1.1), blocks (1.0), field goal percentage (.425) and three-point field goal percentage (.369) while appearing in a team-high 79 games. Johnson also set numerous single-game career marks in 2013-14, including rebounds (15, vs. MEM 4/13), steals (five, three times), blocks (five, at DEN 11/13) and three-pointers (six, two times).

Originally selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the fourth overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Johnson has appeared in 273 career games (210 starts), averaging 8.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 24.7 minutes per game as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves (2010-2012), Phoenix Suns (2012-13) and Lakers (2013-14).

Johnson spent his first two collegiate seasons at Iowa State (2006-08) before transferring to Syracuse, where he helped the Orange to a 30-5 record in 2009-10 and was named a First Team All-American.  The 6-7 forward averaged 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists in his lone season at Syracuse, and was named Big East Player of the Year and a finalist for the Naismith, John Wooden and Oscar Robertson national player of the year awards.

Lakers officially name Byron Scott head coach

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed Byron Scott to a multi-year contract as head coach, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

“After an extensive and thorough search, we’re proud to welcome Byron back to the Lakers family as our next head coach,” said Kupchak. “Byron has proven himself at the highest levels of the game as both a player and a coach in his almost 30 years of NBA experience. His leadership skills and track record for success make him the ideal person to lead this franchise forward.”

“I am ecstatic to once again be a Laker and to have the opportunity to work alongside Mitch and the Buss family,” said Scott. “I know firsthand what it takes to bring a championship to this city, and as someone who both grew up in L.A. and played the majority of my career here, I know how passionate and dedicated our fans are. I will give everything I have to fulfill the championship expectations that our supporters have for us, and that we have for ourselves.”

The Inglewood, CA native becomes the 25th head coach in franchise history and 21st in the Los Angeles era, after previously amassing 416 wins over 13 seasons as head coach with the New Jersey Nets (2000-2004), New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets (2004-2009) and Cleveland Cavaliers (2010-2013). Scott began his coaching career as an assistant with the Sacramento Kings for two seasons beginning in 1998.

The 2007-2008 NBA Coach of the Year has led his teams to the postseason four times, including back-to-back NBA Finals appearances with New Jersey in 2002 and 2003. Scott has also served as an NBA All-Star Game head coach on two occasions: 2002 (Eastern Conference) and 2008 (Western Conference).

Among his other coaching achievements, Scott was at the helm for the best season in franchise history of two teams: the 2007-08 Hornets who went 56-26 (.683) and the 2001-02 Eastern Conference Champion Nets who went 52-30 (.634). The ’07-’08 campaign was a 17-win improvement from the previous season in New Orleans, and resulted in an appearance in the Western Conference Semifinals. Scott also saw marked success in his second season with the Hornets during the 2005-06 season, leading the team to a 20-win improvement (the NBA’s best that year) from his first season, despite Hurricane Katrina displacing the team from New Orleans and playing in four different home arenas throughout the season. Scott had a similar impact in his first head coaching stop, improving the Nets by 26 wins between his first and second seasons, marking the sixth-largest improvement in NBA history.

Most recently, Scott was an on-air talent for a variety of Time Warner Cable SportsNet’s studio programming last season, his only full season away from the game as a coach or player since he entered the NBA in 1983.

The 53-year-old Scott enjoyed a 14-year NBA career, 11 of which were spent in purple-and-gold (1983-93 and the 1996-97 season) with stints in Indiana (1993-95) and Vancouver (1995-96) in between. He was a starter on three Lakers championship teams (1985, 1987 and 1988) and made the postseason in all but one of his NBA campaigns, totaling 183 games of playoff experience. One of the marquee shooting guards of his time, starring on the Showtime Lakers, Scott concluded his 1,073-game NBA career with averages of 14.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, highlighted by his 1987-88 season where he achieved career-high per game averages of 21.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists.

The Morningside High School alumnus originally became a Laker on October 16, 1983 when the San Diego Clippers (who had drafted him with the 4th overall pick of the 1983 NBA Draft four months earlier) traded him along with Swen Nater to L.A. in exchange for Eddie Jordan, Norm Nixon and a second round pick. The Arizona State product saw his NBA playing career come full-circle after signing as a free agent prior to the 1996-97 season (his last in the league) when the 35-year-old shooting guard mentored an 18-year-old rookie Kobe Bryant.

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting:

LeBron James is finished with the Miami Heat. He’s also finished with the No. 6 he has worn during the past four NBA Finals and to celebrate his only two NBA championships.

As had been expected, James has elected to return this coming season to the No. 23 he wore during his initial tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers. James never wore No. 6 with the Cavaliers.

James made the announcement Sunday on Twitter, when he posted:

“23 it is! It’s only right I go back. 2·3=6 We still family 6.”

He also posted an Instagram collage of his career in No. 23, including a picture of his uniform in high school at St. Vincent-St. Mary. Accompanying those photos were hash tags that read: “#HomeTeam #StriveForGreatness.”

Most NBA teams have set aside No. 23 in honor of Michael Jordan, with the Heat having gone as far as to place Jordan’s No. 23 jersey in the rafters at AmericanAirlines Arena. The last Heat player to have worn No. 23 was Cedric Ceballos in 2001. Jordan’s No. 23 was formally retired by the Heat on April 11, 2003, at the request of Heat President Pat Riley.

Kevin Love withdraws from Team USA

Kevin Love has withdrawn from this summer’s USA Basketball roster because of his uncertain NBA status, leaving the Americans without one of their most experienced international players.

Team USA announced the decision on Saturday. Love, who won gold medals at the 2012 Olympics and 2010 world championship and was one of the first players to commit to play this summer, told USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo that he would be unavailable for training camp that starts Monday.

– Associated Press

Here’s the Sacramento Bee with an update on the Kings:

The Kings reached an agreement with third-year forward Quincy Acy and his agent to extend the deadline to guarantee his salary for next season until Aug. 15.

The deadline had been Saturday and without the extension the Kings were considering declining the option. The agreement allows the Kings to explore ways to shed salary and still retain Acy, who would be due $915,243 next season. His salary would put the Kings about $2 million from the luxury-tax line of $76.829 million.

Orlando Magic sign Luke Ridnour

Orlando Magic sign Luke Ridnour

The Orlando Magic have signed free agent guard Luke Ridnour, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

“We’re extremely excited to welcome Luke (Ridnour) and his family to Orlando,” said Hennigan. “Luke is a proven player in this league who is well-respected as a teammate and competitor. The depth and veteran experience he will provide to our backcourt will help our team continue to grow.”

Ridnour (6’2”, 175, 2/13/81) played in 61 total regular season games (14 starts) last season with both Milwaukee and Charlotte, averaging 5.0 ppg., 2.9 apg. and 1.6 rpg. in 18.7 minpg. He appeared in 36 games (12 starts) with Milwaukee, averaging 5.7 ppg., 3.4 apg. and 1.7 rpg. in 21.2 minpg. Ridnour was traded to Charlotte, along with Gary Neal, in exchange for Jeff Adrien and Ramon Sessions on Feb. 20. With Charlotte, he played in 25 games (two starts), averaging 4.0 ppg., 2.2 apg. and 1.4 rpg in 15.1 minpg. Ridnour led (or tied) the Bucks in scoring twice and in assists 12 times. He led (or tied) the Bobcats (now Hornets) in assists once. Ridnour scored in double figures a total of ten times, including a season-high 16 points on Jan. 11 at Oklahoma City. He also appeared in four playoff outings, averaging 2.5 ppg., 3.0 apg. and 1.0 rpg. in 9.0 minpg.

Originally selected by Seattle in the first round (14th overall) of the 2003 NBA Draft, Ridnour has appeared in 783 career NBA regular season games (493 starts) during his 11-year career with Seattle, Minnesota, Milwaukee and Charlotte, averaging 9.6 ppg., 4.6 apg., 2.3 rpg. and 1.01 stlpg. in 26.7 minpg., while shooting .862 (1,272-1,475) from the free throw line. He also played in 22 career playoff games (11 starts), averaging 7.9 ppg., 3.3 apg. and 2.4 rpg. in 24.3 minpg. Ridnour ranks eighth among active players and 28th in NBA history in career free throw percentage. He finished seventh in the NBA in total assists (550) in 2005-06.

Hornets re-sign Jannero Pargo

Hornets re-sign Jannero Pargo

Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has re-signed guard Jannero Pargo.

“We’re pleased that Jannero will be back with us again this season,” Cho said. “He is a great veteran presence in our locker room who is always ready when called upon.”

The 6-1 Pargo has seen action in 47 games for the team after initially joining the franchise on March 14, 2013, when he signed the first of two 10-day contracts. He later signed for the remainder of the 2012-13 season and re-signed as a free agent prior to the 2013-14 season. In 47 games, he has averaged 6.1 points, 1.8 assists and 0.9 rebounds in 11.4 minutes, while shooting .419 from the field (109-260), .389 from beyond the three-point line (53-136) and .800 from the free-throw line (16-20).

A nine-year NBA veteran, Pargo has played in 490 career games with the Lakers, Raptors, Bulls, Hornets, Hawks, Wizards and Bobcats. He has career averages of 6.4 points, 2.0 assists and 1.4 rebounds, while shooting .391 from the field (1213-3105), .355 from beyond the three-point line (391-1102) and .864 from the free-throw line (317-367).

Phoenix Suns waive Dionte Christmas

The Phoenix Suns have waived guard Dionte Christmas, the team announced today.

In his rookie NBA season of 2013-14, Christmas averaged 2.3 points, 1.2 rebounds and 6.4 minutes in 31 games with the Suns. Christmas also played with the Suns’ entry at NBA Summer League 2014 in Las Vegas earlier this month, averaging 10.6 points and 5.6 rebounds in five games.

Suns re-sign forward P.J. Tucker

Suns re-sign forward P.J. Tucker

The Phoenix Suns have re-signed forward P.J. Tucker to a multiyear contract, the team announced today.

“We are pleased to have been able to reach an agreement with P.J. Tucker on a multiyear contract,” said President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby. “His new contract fulfills one of our most important goals for this summer.”

“P.J. is one of the most rugged competitors in the entire league,” said General Manager Ryan McDonough. “We love his passion and his fire. We are happy that he will remain in a Suns uniform for the foreseeable future.”

Tucker started 81 games in his second season with the Suns of 2013-14, posting career-highs of 9.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 steals in 30.7 minutes. Tied for the Suns’ team-lead with a career-best 11 double-doubles, Tucker also had career-highs with 38 games of double-digit scoring and 15 games of double-digit rebounds. Recognized for his intensity and versatility on the defensive end, Tucker won the Dan Majerle Hustle Award for the second consecutive season in 2013-14.

Against Oklahoma City on April 6 this past season, Tucker scored a career-high 22 points on 7-of-9 shooting, making a career-high four three-pointers in the Suns’ win. Tucker also became the first Sun since 2007 to have at least 15 points, 15 rebounds and four steals in a game when he scored 16 points along with a career-high 15 rebounds and four steals in a win against Golden State on Feb. 8.

Initially signing with the Suns as a free agent on Aug. 1, 2012, Tucker has established new career-highs in virtually every statistical category in each of his first two seasons with the club, in addition to earning a reputation as one of the league’s toughest defenders.

Prior to joining the Suns, Tucker played professionally in Germany, Puerto Rico, Italy, Greece, Israel and Ukraine, after his rookie NBA season of 2006-07 with the Toronto Raptors. A standout performer at the University of Texas, Tucker played three seasons with the Longhorns, earning consensus Big 12 Player of the Year honors as a junior before entering the 2006 NBA Draft.

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