Archive for the ‘ News ’ Category

Know those Stephen Curry mouthpieces that you see on TV more often than you’d probably like? Well, here’s a golden opportunity to look at one all the time, from the comfort of your own home, with the TV turned off. You can even wear it. Maybe it’ll make you shoot like Steph. It won’t. But maybe it will. It will not. But it could. Anyway, here’s ESPN.com reporting:

Another Stephen Curry game-used mouthguard is going up for sale.

This particular one was used by Curry in Game 4 of the 2018 NBA Finals as the Golden State Warriors completed their sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

It will hit the auction block in California-based firm SCP Auctions’ next sale that begins July 26 and concludes Aug. 11.

Full article

Jama Mahlalela has been named head coach of Raptors 905, who are the Toronto Raptors’ G League affiliate. Mahlalela becomes the third head coach in team history and joins the club following five seasons as an assistant coach at the NBA level.

“We are very excited to add Jama as our new head coach,” said Raptors 905 General Manager, Dan Tolzman. “After proving himself as an assistant on the Raptors staff, having an opportunity to run his own team is a major step in his development as a coach. Jama has played a big part in developing our young Raptors core, and we look forward to him continuing to do so from the Raptors 905 sideline. He is an example of what homegrown talent can achieve in this growing global game.”

A native of Mbabane, Swaziland, Mahlalela grew up in the Greater Toronto Area and played collegiately for five years at the University of British Columbia. He served as an assistant coach at the University of Toronto and worked at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment as a member of the community development staff, organizing Raptors Basketball Academy and various clinics throughout Canada. Mahlalela was later named director of basketball operations for NBA Asia and oversaw the League’s clinics, youth programs and elite-level development from his base in Hong Kong.

In 2011 Mahlalela joined the Raptors front office as director of player development, where he served for two seasons. He moved to the bench in 2013-14 helping with the team’s practice and game planning, individual player skill development and off-season programs. During the summers Mahlalela has been an active member in Masai Ujiri’s Giants of Africa camps and the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program.

“I am excited and grateful for the wonderful opportunity to coach the Raptors 905 team,” said Mahlalela. “I am eager to share my passion for the development of this sport with our young players and hope to use my previous experience as a Raptors assistant coach to reinforce and strengthen the connection between the two programs. My family and I would like to extend our sincere thanks to Masai Ujiri, Bobby Webster, Dan Tolzman, Larry Tanenbaum and the entire ownership group.”

Mahlalela takes over a Raptors 905 team that has appeared in the NBA G League Finals in back-to-back seasons. He will be a part of the Raptors coaching squad for the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League next month.

The Orlando Magic have named Ernest Eugene head athletic trainer, Luke Storey head strength and conditioning coach, Sameer Mehta physical therapist and Nathan Spencer performance and rehabilitation coach, President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman announced today.

In addition, Christian Espinoza, who served as an intern last season, has been promoted to full-time as assistant athletic trainer. Chad Gerhard (applied sports scientist) and Aki Tajima (athletic trainer/manual therapist) will remain on the staff.

Eugene joins Orlando after spending four seasons (2014-18) as assistant athletics director for sports medicine at Virginia Tech. He came to Virginia Tech following six seasons (2008-14) as the athletics trainer for the men’s basketball program at Marquette University, where he was promoted to director of sports medicine during his final year.

Storey comes to Orlando after spending more than five years (2013-18) at Peak Performance Project (P3), a sports performance facility that utilizes advanced sports science technologies to assess and train professional athletes.

Mehta comes to Orlando after spending 12 years at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. He joined MedStar in March 2006 as a physical therapist, then spent the last six years as clinical supervisor/outpatient physical therapy.

Spencer joins Orlando after spending three seasons (2015-18) as head strength and conditioning coach with the Illawarra Hawks of the National Basketball League in Australia. Prior to his time with Illawarra, he was a strength and conditioning coach in professional rugby.

Kawhi Leonard reportedly seeks a trade

Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard is one of the most talented players in the NBA. When healthy. Here’s the LA Times reporting on Leonard’s apparent desire to take his talents away from San Antonio:

Add Kawhi Leonard to the list of NBA stars with an interest in playing in Los Angeles.

That interest is mutual from the city’s two NBA teams — with some conditions.

The star forward’s desire to leave the San Antonio Spurs became clear on Friday morning, when the San Antonio Express News first reported he wanted to be traded. According to sources not authorized to speak publicly, the Lakers have long been Leonard’s preferred destination, though the Clippers are among the teams he would consider.

Neither the Lakers nor the Clippers have had trade discussions with the Spurs yet, but both teams have concerns about the severity of Leonard’s quadriceps injury. That injury sidelined Leonard for most of last season. He spent several months away from the team while rehabbing, which led to public barbs from Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich about Leonard’s absence — an unusual move for the Spurs.

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Raptors hire Nick Nurse as head coach

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have named Nick Nurse as the team’s new head coach.

Nurse becomes the ninth head coach in franchise history after spending the past five seasons as an assistant coach with the Raptors along with successful coaching tenures in the NBA G League and overseas.

“Nick is an innovative coach who has a tremendous basketball IQ, and a unique approach to the x’s and o’s. We’ve valued his creativity and dedication as he focused on making our offense one of the best in the NBA, and we believe that he will bring those qualities to his new role as head coach,” team president Masai Ujiri said. “This is an exciting and important season for the Raptors, and I believe Nick’s strong leadership and focus on winning are qualities which will help lead us to our ultimate goal, which is a championship.”

Nurse, 50, joined the Raptors in 2013 and helped construct an offensive system that ranked among in the NBA’s top 10 in three of five seasons. During the 2017-18 campaign the Raptors set franchise records for points per game (111.7) and three-pointers made (968).

“I’m proud to take on the role of head coach of the Toronto Raptors, and to continue to work with the exceptional players we have here,” Nurse said. “I’m grateful to Masai, Bobby, Larry Tanenbaum and the MLSE ownership for this opportunity. Toronto and the Raptors organization has been my home for the past five years, and I’ve watched this group grow and succeed together. I’m looking forward to more of that this season, and to working towards our shared goal, which is to earn the right to call ourselves NBA Champions.”

Prior to joining the Raptors, Nurse spent six seasons in the NBA G League as head coach for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (2011-13) and the Iowa Energy (2007-11). He compiled a regular-season record of 183-117 (.610), which ranks second all-time in NBA G League history for most victories. Nurse also has the most playoff victories in the league’s history with a 15-6 (.714) record. He is the only coach to lead two different teams to an NBA G League Championship.

During his final season with Rio Grande Valley, Nurse led the Vipers to a 35-15 record and the 2012-13 NBA G League title. Before joining the Vipers, Nurse led Iowa to the 2010-11 G League Championship and was the recipient of the Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year award.

Nurse, a native of Carroll, Iowa, played collegiately at Northern Iowa and stayed on as an assistant coach during the 1989-90 season. He travelled overseas to become player-coach of the Derby Storm in the British Basketball League (BLL) for one season before being named head coach at Grand View College in Iowa.

Following two seasons as an assistant coach at South Dakota, Nurse returned to Great Britain where he coached the Birmingham Bullets (1995-96), Manchester Giants (1998-2000), London Towers (2000-01) and Brighton Bears (2000-06). He won two BLL championships in 1996 and 2000, and was named Coach of the Year in 2000 and 2003. Nurse also earned six all-star head coach selections.

Nurse also gained coaching experience in Italy, Belgium, the USBL and served as an assistant coach for the British National Team during the 2012 Olympics in London.

The Philadelphia 76ers have exercised the fourth-year options on the contracts of guard T.J. McConnell and forward-center Richaun Holmes.

The two players will now be under contract with the 76ers for the 2018-19 season.

McConnell originally signed with the 76ers in September 2015. Since his NBA debut in 2015-16, no NBA player has recorded more steals in a reserve role than McConnell’s 203. His 697 assists off the bench over the past three seasons are second in the league, behind only Dallas’ J.J. Barea.

On Feb. 12, 2018 vs. New York, McConnell posted 10 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists and six steals as he became the first 76er ever to post a triple-double off the bench (teammate Markelle Fultz accomplished the feat weeks later).

Holmes was selected by Philadelphia with the 37th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. In his three NBA seasons with the 76ers, he has played in 156 games (20 starts), averaging 7.4 points and 4.2 rebounds in 16.9 minutes per game.

We are now in a crucially important period of the basketball offseason: Awaiting the draft, but also seeing which players enter free agency. Some will do so automatically because their contract has officially ended, but with others it’s by choice, either by the player or the team. In the case of the Wizards, here’s the Washington Post with an update on Jodie Meeks:

Jodie Meeks will reportedly stay with Wizards

In an expected move, Washington Wizards guard Jodie Meeks exercised the player option of his contract for the 2018-19 season, according to league sources. Meeks’s return will signal a hit to the salary cap while also ensuring the Wizards will be shorthanded to start next season.

With Meeks, the Wizards have 10 players under contract. The sharpshooter is expected to earn $3.45 million next season and though his individual income appears meager compared to the team’s core players John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr., the cumulative amount will push the team’s 2018-19 salary past $124 million.

Full article

Head coach Steve Kerr is obviously having great success with his star-filled Warriors team. There’s no reason to even think that the two sides won’t continue together. Here’s the SF Chronicle with the latest on upcoming contract extension talks between the two sides:

Steve Kerr expects contract extension talks to go smoothly

“We’ll get that done pretty quickly,” Kerr said Monday. “I don’t think there will be much to it. It should happen relatively quickly.”

Kerr and Golden State began to discuss an extension last summer, but Kerr opted to wait a year for final discussions to be sure he was healthy enough to make a long-term commitment. Now, after coaching every game in the Warriors’ run to the 2017-18 NBA championship, Kerr is ready to sign an extension.

“Whenever he wants to start, we’ll figure it out,” general manager Bob Myers said. “I think the nice thing is we developed a camaraderie and we feel like he wants to be here. We want him here. We’ll work it out.”

Kerr, 52, rebuffed an offer from the Knicks in May 2014 and signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Warriors.

Abdel Nader undergoes wrist surgery

Last Friday, June 8, Boston Celtics guard/forward Abdel Nader underwent a right wrist arthroscopy and ulnar osteotomy. The purpose of the surgery was to correct lingering issues stemming from a fracture he suffered way back in high school.

Nader should be able to return to basketball activities in around 2-3 months. The team thinks he’ll be at full strength for the start of training camp.

In the 2017-18 regular season, Nader played in 48 games and averaged 3.0 points in 10.9 minutes per outing.

In the 2018 playoffs, he played in 11 games, and averaged 1.1 points in 3.0 minutes per outing.

The 6-6, 230-pound Nader is 24 years old and was drafted 58th overall in the 2016 draft. He played college basketball at Iowa State.

The Detroit Pistons announced today an agreement with Dwane Casey to join the organization as Head Coach. Casey, who will be formally introduced at a news conference in Detroit next week, is expected to start immediately with player meetings and staff development starting this week.

“Dwane is one of the most successful and highly respected coaches in our league,” said Pistons Owner Tom Gores. “He’s a great communicator and a leader who will connect with our players and accelerate their growth. Having spent many hours with Dwane over the last few weeks, I’m confident he is the right person to get us to the next level.

“In our meetings he displayed great insight into what this roster can accomplish, and great passion about our city and the team’s role in bringing people together,” Mr. Gores said. “He’s an outstanding man with impressive character. He embodies our culture and will be a great representative for our franchise.”

Mr. Casey, who led the Toronto Raptors to 59 wins in the most recently completed season, is a finalist for the NBA’s 2018 Coach of the Year Award, which will presented on June 25 at the league’s awards dinner in Los Angeles. Last month, he was named the Coach of the Year by the National Basketball Coaches Association.

“I am excited and honored to join the Detroit Pistons, a franchise with a championship history and a roster that is ready to win now,” Mr. Casey said. “Tom really won me over with his vision for the team and the city. He clearly wants to deliver for the fans in Detroit and I believe in the strength of his leadership to do so.

“I’m confident that this team has the pieces in place to compete at a very high level,” Mr. Casey added. “There is a lot of talent, a solid core and some exciting young players eager to get better. We’re getting to work right away on the things that will make us all successful.”

Casey, 61, has served as a head coach, associate head coach or assistant coach in the NBA for 23 of the past 24 years. He has coached in two NBA Finals (1996 and 2011) and three NBA All-Star games (1996, 1998 and 2018).

Casey most recently served as head coach of the Toronto Raptors from 2011-2018 where he compiled a 320-238 (.573) regular-season record and led the Raptors to a franchise-record five consecutive playoff appearances, including a trip to the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals. The all-time winningest coach in Raptors history, Casey led Toronto to the franchise’s first 50-win season in 2015-16, recorded 50-plus wins in each of the last three seasons and posted a franchise-record 59 wins and the top seed in the Eastern Conference in 2017-18. Toronto won four Atlantic Division titles during Casey’s tenure. He was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month five times, and last February, became the first coach in Raptors history to be selected to coach in the NBA All-Star game.

Prior to his appointment with Toronto, he served as head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2005-07. Casey’s 2005-06 squad finished in the NBA’s top 10 in fewest average points per game and lowest opponent field goal percentage.

Casey began his NBA career as an assistant coach with the Seattle Supersonics where he served from 1994-2005 under NBA head coaches George Karl, Paul Westphal and Nate McMillan. Promoted to associate head coach in November 2000, nine of his teams in Seattle finished above .500 with five winning 50 or more games. The 1996 squad won the Western Conference Championship after finishing the regular season with a franchise record 64 victories.

He also spent three seasons (2008-11) as an assistant with Dallas under Rick Carlisle where he directed the club’s defense and helped lead the Mavericks to the 2011 NBA Championship. Dallas posted a 162-84 (.659) mark during that span, winning 50 or more games in each of his three seasons with the team. His defensive unit held opponents to 96.0 points per game (6th in the NBA) and .450 percent shooting from the field (8th in the NBA) during the 2010-11 regular season.

In 14 seasons as an NBA assistant, Casey’s teams registered a 689-427 (.617) mark with eight campaigns of 50 or more wins. His teams qualified for the playoffs in 11 of those 14 seasons.

Prior to the NBA, Casey spent five seasons as a head coach in the Japanese Basketball League and worked with the Japanese national team. In the summer of 1998, he helped to guide Japan to its first appearance in the FIBA World Championship, which marked a first for Japan in over 30 years.

A native of Morganfield, KY, Casey played collegiately at the University of Kentucky. During his junior season, the Wildcats amassed 30-2 record and captured the 1978 NCAA Championship. As a senior, he was named team captain and won Kentucky’s all-academic award.

Atlanta Hawks name assistant coaching staff

The Atlanta Hawks today named Melvin Hunt, Chris Jent, Greg Foster, Marlon Garnett and Matt Hill as assistant coaches on head coach Lloyd Pierce’s staff.

Also, Nate Babcock has been added as Special Assistant to the Head Coach.

“When we set out to assemble a staff, we were looking for A-plus talent and A-plus people, and that speaks to the individuals we added,” said Pierce. “These coaches embody what we’re looking for in terms of character and credibility, and will help us grow our program and our organization. They will be great teachers and mentors for the players they’ll be working with and great representatives for the Hawks.”

Hunt comes to Atlanta from the Dallas Mavericks, where he spent three seasons on Rick Carlisle’s staff. Prior to Dallas, Hunt was with the Denver Nuggets for five years, including serving as interim head coach for the final 23 games of the 2014-15 campaign.

Before his arrival in Denver, he helped the Cleveland Cavaliers to one of the most successful runs in franchise history, including reaching the NBA Finals in 2007, the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009, and winning a franchise-best 66 games in 2008-09. Hunt was also part of the Eastern Conference All-Star coaching staff in 2009.

Hunt spent one season (2004-05) with the Los Angeles Lakers following five years with the Houston Rockets (1999-2004), where he gained experience as a video coordinator, scout and assistant coach.

He has also coached on the collegiate and high school levels, beginning his coaching career at Temple (TX) High School before serving as an assistant coach at Incarnate Word University in San Antonio.

Hunt played four years at Baylor (1987-91), where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s in Education. He played professionally in the Caribbean and Mexico.

In his second year with the Hawks, Jent has also spent time on the coaching staff of the Philadelphia 76ers (2003-04), Orlando Magic (2004-05, including a stint as interim head coach), Cleveland Cavaliers (2006-11) and Sacramento Kings (2013-14) as well as his alma mater, Ohio State University. He was head coach of the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA G League in 2015-16.

A 10-year pro as a player, Jent was a member of the 1994 NBA Champion Houston Rockets and also played for the New York Knicks during the 1996-97 season. He additionally spent five seasons in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) and played overseas in Australia, Italy, Spain and Greece.

Jent grew up in Sparta, NJ before playing four seasons for the Buckeyes, which included three consecutive NCAA tournament trips.

Foster spent the last four seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks as an assistant coach, after serving as player development coach for the Philadelphia 76ers in 2013-14.

Before entering the NBA coaching ranks, Foster worked two seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Texas-El Paso, his alma mater.

Selected with the 35th overall pick in the 1990 NBA Draft, he played in 656 career games in 13 NBA seasons, including 33 games with the Hawks during the 1992-93 season. Foster also played for Washington, Milwaukee, Chicago, Minnesota, Utah, Seattle, the LA Lakers and Toronto.

Foster is a native of Oakland, CA, where he played in high school (Skyline) alongside Hall-of-Famer Gary Payton.

Garnett spent the last two seasons with the Phoenix Suns as Assistant Coach/Player Development Coordinator after working with the San Antonio Spurs as a player development and quality assurance assistant. He spent 2014-15 as head coach at Union Academy in Monroe, NC.

He entered coaching following a lengthy playing career, including time with the Boston Celtics (24 games in 1998-99), and internationally in Turkey, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Iran, Puerto Rico and Slovakia. He was also a member of the Belizean National Team in 2013.

A Los Angeles native, Garnett played collegiately at Santa Clara, where he teamed with Pierce and two-time NBA MVP and Hall of Fame guard Steve Nash. Garnett was named West Coast Conference Player of the Year after averaging 17.4 ppg as a senior in 1996-97.

Hill spent the last six seasons with the Orlando Magic, where he was most recently an assistant coach. He began his career with Orlando as Video Analyst/Opposition in 2012, and was later promoted to Manager of Advanced Scouting/Player Development.

He played at the University of Texas from 2006-11, where he earned his degree in corporate communications, after a decorated high school career at Southeast High School in Lincoln, NE. Following his senior season, he was named Nebraska’s Mr. Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year.

Babcock spent the last two seasons with the Brooklyn Nets as Video Coordinator. Prior to that, he was with the Orlando Magic and was an assistant coach with the Erie BayHawks.

He has also been an assistant coach at Grand Valley State (MI), and a graduate assistant and special assistant at Michigan State.

A Minnesota native, Babcock earned his undergraduate degree in psychology from Wisconsin-Eau Claire and received a Master’s degree in kinesiology from Michigan State.

Babcock’s father, Rob, is a former NBA General Manager and his brother, Chris, is a player development coach with the 76ers. His uncles, Pete and Dave, are longtime NBA executives, with Pete having served as Hawks’ General Manager from 1990-2003.

The Warriors were an amazing team, then they added Kevin Durant, and now they’re a bit too amazing to handle. Though, most Warriors fans probably don’t mind. he team currently has a 3-0 NBA Finals lead against the Cavs. Kevin Durant has been fantastic. And will reportedly remain with the Warriors next season, per the Mercury News in reference to what Durant said on ESPN:

Durant’s current contract — a two-year $51-million deal he signed last summer — contains an opt-out clause after the first year. In April, ESPN reported that Durant would opt out and then sign a new deal with the Warriors as a free agent. Durant, 30, gave up almost $10 million in salary last summer so the Warriors could afford to keep Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston on the roster.

Full article

Bryan Colangelo out as Sixers president of basketball operations

The 76ers’ Bryan Colangelo era, short as it was, is over.

The team announced Thursday that its embattled president of basketball operations resigned after a scandal involving secret Twitter accounts.

Colangelo was not at the Sixers facility Thursday, a day after sources said he was spotted at pre-draft workouts.

Philly.com

The Philadelphia 76ers organization has accepted the resignation of President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo, effective immediately. We appreciate Bryan’s many contributions during his time leading our basketball operations and thank him for the work he did in positioning the team for long-term success.

An independent investigation by New York-based law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP was conducted into certain anonymous social media accounts that posted information concerning the club, personnel, and related topics. It has become clear Bryan’s relationship with our team and his ability to lead the 76ers moving forward has been compromised.

– Sixers Press Release

As a result of our investigation, we do not believe that Mr. Colangelo established the Twitter accounts or posted content on those accounts. The evidence supports the conclusion that Ms. Barbara Bottini, Mr. Colangelo’s wife, established the Twitter accounts and posted content on those accounts. When interviewed, Ms. Bottini admitted establishing and operating the accounts. Forensic evidence corroborates her admissions.

We cannot conclude that Mr. Colangelo was aware of the Twitter accounts prior to the May 22 press inquiry. Mr. Colangelo denies any such awareness and we have not observed any forensic evidence establishing that he had knowledge of the Twitter accounts prior to that date. We note, however, that our investigation was limited and impeded by certain actions taken by Ms. Bottini, including her decision to delete the contents of her iPhone by executing a factory reset of the device prior to surrendering it for forensic review.

– The Investigation Team Hired by the Sixers

Nets announce additions to Performance Team

The Brooklyn Nets have announced three new additions to the Performance Team, joining Zach Weatherford, director of human performance, Dan Meehan, director of sport science and Sebastien Poirier, head athletic trainer.

Les Gelis has been named director of sports medicine and will begin in this role at the conclusion of his World Cup commitment with the Australian national team. With over 20 years of experience, Gelis comes to Brooklyn after most recently serving as head of physiotherapy for Football Federation Australia, a position he held since 2010. In that role, Gelis oversaw the physiotherapy departments of the Australian national football team, all FFA national teams and the national league. Previously, Gelis served as head of physiotherapy for the Manly Sea Eagles of the Australian National Rugby League and the South Melbourne Soccer Club. He worked two stints as an Olympic team physiotherapist for the Australian national football team, including at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Gelis earned a Bachelor of Science in physiotherapy and a Master of Science in sports physiotherapy from La Trobe University in Melbourne.

Stefania Rizzo has been named director of performance rehabilitation. Rizzo comes to Brooklyn from Fortius Sport & Health in Vancouver, where she most recently served as director of physiotherapy. Since 2006, Rizzo has also functioned as the lead physiotherapist for the Canadian national alpine ski team. In this role, Rizzo has worked over 40 international World Championships, World Cup Finals and the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics. Among other past positions, Rizzo has served as head of rehabilitation for the Buffalo Sabres and as a physiotherapist with the Canadian national snowboard team, the Canadian national women’s soccer team and BC Provincial Rugby. Rizzo earned Bachelor of Science degrees in biology and physiotherapy from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Clinical Science from the University of Western Ontario.

Daniel Liburd has been named head strength and conditioning coach. Prior to joining the Nets, Liburd spent nine years (2009-2017) with the Buffalo Bills as the team’s assistant strength and conditioning coach. During the 2017 NFL season, Liburd worked with the Pittsburgh Steelers in a similar strength and conditioning role. Other previous experience includes strength and conditioning positions with American International College and Springfield College. Liburd earned a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Boston University and a Master of Science in human performance from Canisius College.

Dan Meehan has been promoted to the position of director of sport science, following two seasons as the team’s head strength and conditioning coach.

Sebastien Poirier has been elevated to the position of head athletic trainer. Poirier, who joined the organization in 2016, served the past two seasons as assistant athletic trainer.

Bucks hire Darvin Ham, Ben Sullivan, Taylor Jenkins, Charles Lee and Patrick St. Andrews as assistant coaches

The Milwaukee Bucks have named Darvin Ham, Taylor Jenkins, Charles Lee, Ben Sullivan and Patrick St. Andrews as assistant coaches on the staff of Head Coach Mike Budenholzer.

Additionally, Sean Sweeney has been retained by the Bucks as an assistant coach.

“I’m thrilled to have my staff together again as we work to help improve our players and build sustained success here in Milwaukee,” Budenholzer said. “I am also excited to work with Sean, who is highly thought of in the league. All six coaches are great people and each brings a variety of expertise and experience. They all possess a tremendous work ethic and have great track records in player development. I know our players will benefit from their coaching.”

Ham spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach with Atlanta, including the last two as the lead assistant under Budenholzer. He began his coaching career in 2008, first as an assistant and then as general manager and head coach of the New Mexico Thunderbirds of the NBA Development League. Ham joined the Los Angeles Lakers coaching staff in 2011 where he worked two seasons before joining the Hawks.

Ham played eight NBA seasons for six teams, including three years for the Bucks (1999-2002). He won an NBA championship with the Detroit Pistons in 2004. Ham played internationally in Spain, the Philippines and Puerto Rico before retiring from the NBA after the 2004-05 campaign.

Jenkins also spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach with Atlanta. Previously he served as the head coach of the Austin Toros of the NBA G League, the San Antonio Spurs affiliate. In 2012-13, Jenkins led the Toros to a first-round playoff victory over the Bakersfield Jam before falling to the Santa Cruz Warriors in the semifinals. Prior to being named head coach, Jenkins served as an assistant coach with the Toros the previous four seasons, including their championship season in 2012 and playoff appearances in 2009 and 2010. Before joining the Toros, Jenkins interned with the Spurs basketball operations department during the 2007-08 season.

Lee spent the previous four seasons as an assistant coach with Atlanta. Prior to joining the NBA ranks, he was an assistant coach for two years at Bucknell University, his alma mater. As a player, Lee helped guide the Bison to two straight Patriot League Championships and consecutive NCAA Tournament second round appearances (2005-06). After graduating with a degree in business management, the Gaithersburg, Md., native played professionally in Israel, Belgium and Germany.

Sullivan served as an assistant coach with Atlanta for the last four seasons. Before joining the Hawks, he worked in basketball development and as an assistant video coordinator with the San Antonio Spurs. He played collegiately at Cal-State Northridge and University of Portland, competing professionally in China, Germany and Chile following graduation. Sullivan joined the University of Portland’s coaching staff in 2009, then was an assistant coach at Lewis & Clark College in Portland before joining the Spurs.

In 2014-15, Ham, Jenkins, Lee and Sullivan were all part of Budenholzer’s Eastern Conference All-Star coaching staff, as the Hawks recorded a team-record 60 wins – including a team-best 19-game win streak – en route to the club’s first-ever appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals.

St. Andrews was named an assistant coach with Atlanta in 2017. He began his NBA career in 2013 with the Hawks as a seasonal assistant in basketball operations and moved to assistant video coordinator prior to the 2014-15 season. He was promoted to head video coordinator for the 2016-17 campaign. St. Andrews worked as an assistant coach for the Dominican Republic National Team for the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico City. A two-year captain on the basketball team at Penn St. Behrend, St. Andrews earned bachelor’s degrees in Business Economics and International Business, and a master’s degree in Business Administration.

Sweeney returns to the Bucks bench for his fifth season and first under Budenholzer. Before joining the Bucks, he was an assistant coach in Brooklyn for one season and prior to that spent two seasons as the Nets assistant video coordinator.

Before entering the NBA ranks, Sweeney served as the video coordinator for the University of Northern Iowa, and previously held the position of director of basketball operations at the University of Evansville. He’s also held assistant coaching positions at Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Cambridge, Minn., and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. A native of St. Paul, Minn., Sweeney played one season at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay before transferring home to the University of St. Thomas where he was a three-year starter and earned All-Conference honors as a senior in 2005-06.

nba blog

The New Orleans Pelicans and Head Coach Alvin Gentry have agreed to a contract extension. Gentry, the Pelicans’ head coach since 2015, will now be under contract through the 2020-21 season.

Gentry in 2017-18 led the Pelicans to one of the best seasons in team history, finishing the regular season with a 48-34 record and advancing to the Western Conference Semifinals for just the second time in franchise history. The 48 regular season wins were the third highest total in franchise history.

And team success continued in the postseason, as the Pelicans swept the Trail Blazers in four games during the first round, and in doing so became first team seeded sixth or lower to sweep a first-round playoff series since the 2001 Charlotte Hornets.

The Pelicans saw a 14-win increase in 2017-18 over their 2016-17 win total, the largest jump in the Western Conference, and the second largest in the NBA behind Philadelphia (24 games).

“I am extremely thankful to Mrs. Benson and the Pelicans organization for their support and confidence in my abilities to lead this team,” said Gentry. “Since day one, they have treated me like family and have provided us with the necessary resources to compete at the highest level. Mrs. Benson has been incredibly supportive of our coaching staff and players, and I couldn’t be happier to work for such an exceptional owner. I am excited for the great opportunities that are ahead for our organization and the City of New Orleans.”

Over 246 games as Pelicans head coach, Gentry has a record of 112-134 (.455).

David Fizdale now has a coaching staff. The New York Knicks have hired Keith Smart, Jud Buechler, Pat Sullivan and Royal Ivey as assistant coaches.

“We’re thrilled to have this diverse group of high character coaches join the Knicks,” said Fizdale, who was recently named new Knicks head coach. “They are highly motivated and bring a wealth of basketball experience that will be a great fit in developing and building this team. All four coaches are tireless workers, reliable teammates and share the same intense passion to win.”

Smart most recently was an assistant coach in Memphis (2016-18) on Fizdale’s staff (later J.B. Bickerstaff). He also worked as an assistant coach in Cleveland (2000-03), Golden State (2003-11), Sacramento (2011-12) and Miami (2014-16).

Also, Smart served as head coach for Cleveland (2002-03), Golden State (2010-11) and Sacramento (2011-13), posting a 93-170 (.354) record.

Previously, he was the head coach of Fort Wayne (CBA) from 1997-99, following a professional playing career in San Antonio (two games), the Philippines, World Basketball League, CBA, Venezuela and France. He was originally selected by Golden State in the second round (41st overall) of the 1988 NBA Draft following a two-year collegiate career at Indiana University. As a Hoosier, he earned the Most Outstanding Player of the 1987 Final Four after hitting the game-winning shot against Syracuse in the National Championship Game.

Buechler spent the past two seasons as a player development coach for the Los Angeles Lakers and was also the head coach of their 2017 Summer League team that won the championship in Las Vegas. A three-time NBA Champion (1996-98) with the Bulls, Buechler was originally selected by Seattle in the second round (38th overall) of the 1990 NBA Draft, following a four-year career at University of Arizona. He posted career averages of 3.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in 720 games over 12 seasons with New Jersey, San Antonio, Golden State, Chicago, Detroit, Phoenix and Orlando.

Ivey spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach for Oklahoma City after beginning his coaching career as a player development coach with their G League affiliate, Oklahoma City Blue (2014-16). Born in Harlem, NY he was originally selected by Atlanta in the second round (37th overall) of the 2004 NBA Draft after a four-year career at University of Texas. He appeared in 492 games, recording averages of 3.3 points and 1.1 rebounds over 10 seasons with Atlanta, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Oklahoma City. He played his high school basketball at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School (Queens) and Blair Academy (Blairstown, NJ).

Sullivan spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers after serving in the same capacity with Washington (2013-16), Detroit (2008-11) and New Jersey (2005-08). He began his NBA coaching career in 2004-05 as an assistant coach/video coordinator for the Pistons, who went on to win the NBA Championship that season. Previously, he worked in the college ranks as an assistant coach for North Carolina-Wilmington’s women’s team (2001-03) and at his alma matter University of North Carolina (1997-2000). The Bogota, NJ-native played four seasons for the Tar Heels, reaching the Final Four three times (1991, 93, 95).

The Cavs have a logjam on the bench in the backcourt, with multiple options. Because LeBron James handles the passing that a point guard would typically handle, the team’s biggest need from both starting and backup guards is good outside shooting, and defense. According to ESPN.com, the Cavs will now give Rodney Hood more of a shot:

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue says he will switch up his rotation in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday by giving minutes to seldom-used wing Rodney Hood against the Golden State Warriors.

“We’re going to give Rodney a chance,” Lue said Tuesday. “He’ll get a shot, and see how he does. He’s been working, staying ready. So we’ll see.”

Hood was the Cavs’ starting shooting guard in their playoff opener — a 98-80 loss to the Indiana Pacers — and has seen his role diminish dramatically since then, going from a bench player to receiving six DNP-CDs in Cleveland’s past 10 games…

He had much more success during the regular season for the Cavs, including a seven-game stretch from late March through early April when Hood averaged 13.9 points on 49.3 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3 with 2.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steals per game.

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The Charlotte Hornets have named Chris Kroeger the team’s new radio play-by-play broadcaster.

A Charlotte native and local sports radio talk show host, Kroeger hosted the show “Prime Time” on Hornets flagship station WFNZ these past four years.

He has also been a member of the team’s radio broadcasts for the past three seasons, working as the pregame show host and sideline reporter.

Kroeger is taking the place of Steve Martin, whose legendary career ended in retirement after the 2017-18 season. Martin’s NBA broadcasting career lasted 30 years.

“We are thrilled to have Chris join the Charlotte Hornets on a full-time basis as our new radio play-by-play broadcaster,” said Hornets President and Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield. “Chris is a very talented broadcaster who brings a wide array of skills to our organization, while also being extremely passionate and knowledgeable about both our team and the NBA. He has cultivated a tremendous audience at WFNZ – one that shares his enthusiasm about Hornets basketball – and his joining our team only strengthens our relationship with our flagship station. I know the fans of Charlotte are looking forward to his expanded role as the new ‘voice of the Hornets.’”

“As someone that grew up in Charlotte, my earliest and greatest memories as a sports fan came at the Charlotte Coliseum and watching the Hornets,” said Kroeger. “Steve Martin narrated so many of those memories on radio and television. It truly is the opportunity of a lifetime to be his successor and to broadcast a new era of Hornets basketball for the next generation of fans. I can’t thank WFNZ enough for allowing me to build and connect with Charlotte sports fans over the last few years and I’m excited to continue to grow that relationship with the Hornets.”

“We’re excited to see Chris grow with one of our finest partners,” said Matt Hanlon, Vice President, Market Manager for Entercom Charlotte. “There’s no one more qualified and passionate to represent the Hornets.”

Entering the 2017-18 season, the Hornets and WFNZ agreed to a new multi-year deal for WFNZ to continue as the team’s flagship radio station.

Utah Jazz coaching staff update

The Utah Jazz announced today an update to its coaching staff with Antonio Lang being promoted to the front of the bench starting in the 2018-19 season.

Known for his keen player development ability, Lang concluded his fourth year with the Jazz in 2017-18, following back-to-back Western Conference Semifinals appearances. One of Head Coach Quin Snyder’s original hires in the summer of 2014, Lang has an array of domestic and international experience as both a player and coach.

Prior to joining the Jazz, he served as head coach of the Mitsubishi Diamond Dolphins in Japan’s National Basketball League (NBL). Lang coached the Dolphins for four seasons, guiding them to the 2014 playoffs and previously served as an assistant coach with the franchise from 2006-10.

A member of the winningest graduating class in NCAA history, Lang played four seasons for Mike Krzyzewski at Duke University from 1990-94, appearing in three Final Fours and winning back-to-back national championships in 1991 and 1992. Lang was then selected by the Phoenix Suns with the 29th overall pick of the 1994 NBA Draft, and enjoyed a six-year NBA career with Phoenix, Cleveland, Miami, Toronto and Philadelphia. He also played professionally in the American Basketball Association (ABA), Continental Basketball Association (CBA), International Basketball League (IBL) as well as time overseas in the Philippines and Japan. Lang is fluent in Japanese.

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