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Nuggets forward J.J. Hickson undergoes knee surgery

Denver Nuggets forward J.J. Hickson underwent surgery this morning to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, Nuggets General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.

The procedure was performed by team physician Dr. Steve Traina at Midtown Surgical Center.

Hickson, who signed with Denver as a free agent on July 11, 2013, averaged 11.8 points and 9.2 rebounds in 69 games (52 starts). He also posted a team-leading 26 double-doubles.

“J.J. is an extremely tough player who made an impact for us all season,” Connelly said. “We know he will attack his rehab with the same energy and hard work that he displays on the court every night.”

The Philadelphia 76ers today announced that they have signed guard Casper Ware to a 10-day contract.

Since graduating from Long Beach State in 2012, Ware has played in Italy. He spent the 2012-13 season with A.S. Junior Casale and was named MVP of Legadue Basket. This season, Ware played for Virtus Bologna of Lega Basket Serie A.

As a senior for the 49ers, Ware was named an honorable mention All-American by the Associated Press. He finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in assists.

In addition, Darius Johnson-Odom’s 10-day contract with the Sixers has expired.

Cavs sign Seth Curry to 10-day contract

Cavs sign Seth Curry to 10-day contract

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed guard Seth Curry to a 10-day contract, Cavaliers acting General Manager David Griffin announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts. To create the roster spot for Curry, the team released forward Shane Edwards from his 10-day contract that was set to expire today. The signing of Curry marks the 30th GATORADE Call-Up of the NBA’s 2013-14 season.

Curry has appeared in 36 games (35 starts) for the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League this season, averaging 19.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.4 steals  in 35.2 minutes per game. In his last six games for the Warriors, the 6-1, 180-pound guard from Duke averaged 20.8 points and 5.3 assists, while shooting . 476 (20-42) from three-point range. For the season, he has posted 21 games of at least 20 points, including a career-best 36 points in his first game with the Warriors on Nov. 22 versus Austin.

Curry was originally signed by the Golden State Warriors on August 23, 2013. This season, he was signed by the Memphis Grizzlies in December and waived in January. He appeared in one game for Memphis.

Curry will be available for tomorrow night’s game against the Houston Rockets at The Q. He will wear jersey number 31.

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed guard Chris Babb to a multi-year contract.

Babb, a 6’5” guard, has appeared in six games for the Celtics this season averaging 2.2 points and 1.3 rebounds in 11.5 minutes per game. He recorded a high of six points against Brooklyn on March 7 and a high of five rebounds against Golden State on March 5. He originally signed a 10-day contract with the Celtics on February 28 after appearing in 33 games for the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League where he averaged 12.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.18 steals in 37.5 minutes per game.

Kings forward Carl Landry out for season after knee surgery

The Sacramento Kings announced today that power forward Carl Landry underwent successful arthroscopic right knee surgery performed by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

Landry is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for the 2014-15 NBA campaign.

He played in just 18 games for the Kings this season, averaging 4.2 points in 12.9 minutes per game.

The Kings have a 24-44 record this season, which is the 7th worst record in the NBA.

Knicks beat Pacers for 7th win in a row

Here’s the New York Post reporting on the Knicks and their recent success:

So you want to impress the new boss. Show up looking all neat and spiffy. Speak clearly and succinctly. If you must, laugh at his jokes.

But most of all, go out and beat the best team in the Eastern Conference.

Phil Jackson had to be impressed.

And when the Knicks pulled off that final part Wednesday, stuffing the 50-victory Pacers, 92-86, before a frenzied, sold out Garden crowd for a seventh straight triumph that kept their dim playoff hopes alive, Jackson might have been sitting among the faithful asking himself, “What the heck do the Knicks need me for?”

“No pressure,” said 34-point, five-assist performer Carmelo Anthony about having the new team president watching about 10 rows up at halfcourt. “The energy is not just in the building. It’s throughout the whole city, all of New York City, the fans, all the supporters of the Knicks and you can feel it as we walk into the building. We want to keep that up. We want to build on that. As far as winning basketball games, we’re playing at a very high level right now.”

Madison Square Garden Executive Chairman James L. Dolan today announced that legendary basketball figure Phil Jackson has joined the New York Knicks as the organization’s President. Steve Mills will serve as General Manager. Both Mr. Jackson and Mr. Mills will report directly to Mr. Dolan.

“There is only one Phil Jackson, and he is synonymous with winning basketball teams,” said Mr. Dolan. “His history of success in the NBA is unrivaled, and he is the ideal executive to lead our team and develop short and long term plans that build a successful franchise and result in an NBA championship. That is our only goal, and what our loyal fans deserve.

“In addition to the tremendous respect I have for Phil regarding basketball, over the last several months, I have had the opportunity to get to know him personally, and have developed a high regard for his character and passion as an individual,” Dolan added. “I am confident that he and Steve Mills have the right combination of complementary skills to make this franchise successful.”

In his role as President, Mr. Jackson will be in charge of all basketball decisions.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to work with Jim Dolan. I have gotten to know Jim and he is totally committed to delivering a winner for New York. I started my career as a Knick, and know what it feels like to win in this great city,” said Mr. Jackson. “I take the task of helping to deliver a winning team to our fans seriously, and look forward to combining my vision of the game with Steve Mills’ abilities as a General Manager.”

“When Jim first asked me to join the Knicks this past fall, I said my goal was to be part of a winning organization,” said Mr. Mills. “With Phil Jackson aboard, we’ve taken a major step in that direction. I look forward to working with him.”

According to the New York Daily News, ” The Zen Master made it clear Tuesday that he’d like to see the Knicks return to the style of team basketball that led to two championships in the 1970s. “I believe in system basketball,” Jackson said at his introductory press conference Tuesday. “We want to build a team.” Jackson touched on the team’s contentious relationship witht he media, and said that the organization “has suffered” in recent years as a result of that policy. “I’ll be accessable,” Jackson said, adding that there will still be walls between the club and the people who cover it. “I’m reaching out to say to you today that we’ll have an open relationship.” After posing for photos, Jackson took a seat on the stage between Garden chairman James Dolan and Knicks GM Steve Mills.”

And according to ESPN New York, “Jackson confirmed that the length of his deal with the Knicks is for five years. Financial terms weren’t released, but sources told ESPN.com last week that he will receive $12 million annually. Jackson and Mills will report directly to Dolan, the Knicks said. But Dolan and Jackson both noted Tuesday that Jackson will have full autonomy, with Dolan adding he will cede power to Jackson “willfully and gracefully.” Jackson has won an NBA-record 11 NBA titles as a head coach and two more as a Knicks forward.”

Mr. Jackson won two championships as a player with the Knicks in 1970 and 1973, and is widely considered one of the greatest coaches in the history of the National Basketball Association. He was the head coach of the Chicago Bulls from 1989 until 1998, during which time Chicago won six NBA titles. His next team, the Los Angeles Lakers, won five NBA titles from 2000 until 2010. In total, Jackson has won 11 NBA titles as a coach, surpassing the previous record of nine set by Red Auerbach. He also holds the NBA record for the most combined championships as a player and a head coach. In 2007 Jackson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In 1996, as part of celebrations for the National Basketball Association’s 50th anniversary, Jackson was named one of the 10 greatest coaches in league history.

Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson and Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, March 10, through Sunday, March 16.

Jefferson led the Bobcats to a 4-0 week behind averages of 24.3 points (second in the conference) and 11.5 rebounds (fourth in the conference). He logged 37.7 mpg (tied-eighth in the East) and posted point-rebound double-doubles in three-of-four contests. On March 12, Jefferson tallied 26 points (13-of-20 field goals) and 10 rebounds as the Bobcats beat the Wizards 98-85 at Verizon Center.

Griffin helped the Clippers to a 4-0 week with averages of 27.0 points (third in the conference), 9.3 rebounds (ninth in the conference), 4.8 assists and 1.5 steals. He logged 36.9 mpg (eighth in the conference). Griffin tallied 20-or-more points in all four games and eclipsed the 30-point plateau twice, including on March 12, when he scored 30 points and added 15 rebounds, three assists and three steals during a 111-98 win over the Golden State Warriors.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Kyle Korver, Indiana’s Paul George, Memphis’ Mike Conley, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, New York’s Carmelo Anthony and Tim Hardaway Jr, and San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili.

Magic sign Dewayne Dedmon for rest of season

The Orlando Magic have signed center Dewayne Dedmon for the remainder of the regular season, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today. Dedmon originally signed his first of two 10-day contracts on Feb. 25.

Dedmon (#3, 7’0”, 255, 8/12/89) has appeared in three games with Orlando, averaging 2.3 ppg. and 1.0 rpg. in 2.0 minpg. He has played in 18 combined games this season with Golden State, Philadelphia and Orlando, averaging 2.5 ppg. and 2.9 rpg. in 9.0 minpg. He also appeared in 15 games with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League, averaging 15.2 ppg., 13.1 rpg., 1.3 apg., 2.33 blkpg. and 1.53 stlpg. in 33.7 minpg.

Not drafted by an NBA team in 2013, Dedmon played in 51 games (49 starts) during his two-year career at USC, averaging 7.1 ppg., 6.7 rpg. and 1.67 blkpg. In 2012-13 as a redshirt junior, he appeared in 31 games (29 starts), averaging 6.7 ppg., 7.0 rpg., 2.13 blkpg. and 1.10 stlpg. in 22.3 minpg. He led the Trojans in rebounding and blocked shots. Dedmon did not play organized basketball until his senior year of high school due to religious reasons and played one season at Antelope Valley College in his hometown of Lancaster, CA, before transferring to USC.

In addition, the second 10-day contract of guard-forward Adonis Thomas has expired. Thomas appeared in four games with Orlando, averaging 2.3 ppg. and 1.0 rpg. in 7.6 minpg.

Orlando’s roster now stands at 13 players.

The Philadelphia 76ers today announced that they have signed forward James Nunnally to a 10-day contract. He is the 37th “Call-Up” of the 2013-14 NBA Development League season

In 35 games for the Bakersfield Jam and the Texas Legends of the D-League, Nunnally is averaging 18.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. The D-League All-Star was also called up by the Atlanta Hawks on January 11, 2014 and appeared in four games.

In a related move, the Sixers have waived guard Eric Maynor. The Sixers originally acquired Maynor - along with New Orleans’ 2015 second-round draft pick and Denver’s 2016 second-round draft pick - as part of a three-team trade on February 20, 2014.

The Brooklyn Nets have signed guard Jorge Gutierrez to a second 10-day contract, General Manager Billy King announced today.

Gutierrez, who signed his first 10-day contract on March 6, has appeared in one game for the Nets, registering one point and one steal in five minutes.

Thunder sign Mustafa Shakur to 10-day contract

The Oklahoma City Thunder has signed guard Mustafa Shakur to a 10-day contract, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Shakur (6-3, 190), has appeared in 37 games (36 starts) with the Erie BayHawks and Tulsa 66ers this season, averaging 16.7 points, 6.1 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.92 steals in 34.4 minutes per contest. Since joining the 66ers on January 22, Shakur has averaged 18.6 points, 6.7 assists, 4.6 rebounds, 2.65 steals and 36.2 minutes in 20 games (19 starts) while being named NBA D-League Player of the Month during February.

The University of Arizona product has appeared in 22 career NBA games with the Washington Wizards, averaging 2.3 points, 1.1 assists and 1.0 rebound in 7.2 minutes per game. He spent time on the Thunder roster during the 2009-10 season but did not appear in any games.

Shakur’s signing represents the 36th D-League Gatorade Call-Up this season and the seventh Call-Up all-time between the 66ers and the Thunder.

The guard is expected to join the Thunder prior to tonight’s game versus the Dallas Mavericks in Oklahoma City, Okla.

He will wear uniform #22.

The Miami Heat announced today that they have signed center Justin Hamilton and released guard DeAndre Liggins from his 10-day contract

Hamilton appeared in 37 games (all starts) with the HEAT’s NBA Development League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, earlier this season and averaged 19.3 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.03 blocks, 1.5 assists and 35.8 minutes while shooting 49.1 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from three-point range and 81.2 percent from the foul line. He recently appeared in one game with Charlotte, recording one steal in 3:44 minutes of action, after signing a 10-day contract with the Bobcats on March 4.

Hamilton, a 2014 NBA D-League All-Star, was originally drafted in the second round (45th overall) by Philadelphia in the 2012 NBA Draft and was acquired by the HEAT in a draft night trade. He appeared in five preseason games with Miami and averaged 2.6 points and 1.0 rebounds in 5.6 minutes. Additionally, Hamilton appeared in three 2012 Summer League games with the HEAT totaling 27 points and 12 rebounds in 56:43 minutes of action while shooting 8-of-17 from the field and a perfect 11-of-11 from the foul line. He then split the 2012-13 season with both VEF Riga (Latvia) of the VTB United League and Cibona (Croatia) of the Adriatic League before joining the Skyforce.

Hamilton will wear number 7.

Liggins, who was signed to two 10-day contracts by the HEAT, appeared in one game with Miami totaling two points and one rebound in 1:24 minutes.

The Philadelphia 76ers, who pretty much need help in every way imaginable these days, announced today that they have signed guard Darius Johnson-Odom to a 10-day contract. He is the 34th “Call-Up” of the 2013-14 NBA Development League season.

In 27 games for the Springfield Armor of the D-League this season, Johnson-Odom averaged 22.0 points, 6.1 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals. He is one of only two players to rank top-eight in both scoring and assists.

A three-year player at Marquette, Johnson-Odom was named First-Team All-BIG East and honorable mention All-America by the Associated Press in his final season with the Golden Eagles and helped the team reach the Sweet 16.

In a related move, the Sixers have waived guard Lorenzo Brown.

The team has a 15-49 record and is on an 18-game losing streak.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who is recovering from a fractured lateral tibial plateau of his left knee, was examined today by team physician Dr. Steve Lombardo, who determined that Bryant’s injury has still not healed. With this diagnosis, Bryant will not return to play this season, it was announced today by the team.

“With Kobe’s injury still not healed, the amount of time he’d need to rehab and be ready to play, and the amount of time remaining in the season, we’ve simply run out of time for him to return,” said Athletic Trainer Gary Vitti. “However, Kobe will have the entire offseason to heal, rehab and prepare, and we look forward to him being 100% for the start of next season.”

“Obviously this has been a frustrating and disappointing season, but I appreciate all the support I’ve received from the Lakers and the fans, and look forward to being back and ready for the start of training camp,” said Bryant.

According to ESPN.com News Services, “In all, Bryant played six games this season, averaging 13.8 points, 6.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 42.5 percent shooting from the field. The Lakers are 22-42, tied for the worst record in the Western Conference. Los Angeles signed Bryant to a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension in November. The five-time NBA champion called his recovery “a slow process” during a news conference in New Orleans at All-Star Weekend last month.”

Also according to ESPN.com News Services, “The Lakers still must pay Bryant his entire $30.453 million salary for the 2013-14 season, and an insurance policy will cover only 15.6 percent of it ($4.75 million). After a player misses 41 consecutive games because of an injury, the league’s insurance policy kicks in. Starting with the 42nd game, the insurance pays for 80 percent of the player’s salary for games missed.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed forward Shane Edwards from the Canton Charge, the Cavaliers exclusively owned and operated NBA Development League team, to a 10-day contract, Cavaliers acting General Manager David Griffin announced today. To create the roster spot for Edwards, the team released forward Arinze Onuaku from his second 10-Day contract that was set to expire on March 13th.

Edwards has appeared in 40 games (32 starts) for the Charge this season, averaging 13.3 points on .547 shooting and 5.5 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game. The 6-7, 220-pound forward has scored 15 or more points 15 times on the season, including in 9 of his last 11 games, and has two double-doubles for the year.

Edwards will join the team in Phoenix today and will be available for tonight’s game against the Suns. He will wear jersey number 24.

Cavs forward Anthony Bennett injured, out around 3 weeks

Cleveland Cavaliers rookie forward Anthony Bennett was examined yesterday by Head Team Physician Dr. Richard Parker at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health. His exam and MRI revealed a left patellar tendon strain.

He will be OUT approximately three weeks while receiving treatment and continued evaluation.

His status will be updated as appropriate.

Bennett hasn’t played much in his first NBA season, averaging just 4.1 points in 12.7 minutes per game for the 24-40 Cavs.

According to the Associated Press, “Bennett has appeared lost at times on the floor, and it hasn’t helped that he’s put added pressure on himself trying to live up to being the top pick. Through it all, Bennett has continued to work hard and there have been flashes of the 6-foot-8, 260-pounder’s immense talent and potential. The Cavs will likely take a cautious approach with Bennett, and unless they move themselves into playoff position, it’s possible his season could be over. Bennett’s averaging only 4.1 points and 2.9 rebounds in 13 minutes per game.”

Knicks sign Shannon Brown and Earl Clark to second 10-day contracts

New York Knicks President and General Manager Steve Mills announced today that the team has signed guard Shannon Brown and forward Earl Clark each to second 10-day contracts.

Brown, 6-4, 210-pounds, is averaging 1.4 points and 1.0 rebounds over 8.3 minutes in seven games with New York.

Clark, 6-10, 234-pounds, is averaging 2.2 points and 1.5 rebounds over 6.6 minutes in six games with New York.

Raptors foward Patrick Patterson out with elbow injury

The Toronto Raptors announced today forward Patrick Patterson will be sidelined with a right ulnar collateral sprain. Patterson aggravated his elbow during Friday’s game versus Sacramento. He will be reevaluated in seven-to-10 days.

Patterson has averaged 9.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 23.4 minutes since being acquired by the Raptors from Sacramento on December 9.

The Raptors face the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight at Target Center at 7 p.m. ET (Sportsnet ONE/Sportsnet 590 The FAN).

Wizards sign Drew Gooden to second 10-day contract

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed forward Drew Gooden to a second 10-day contract.

Gooden, who was originally signed by the Wizards on February 26, has averaged 4.0 points and 3.3 rebounds in 11.0 minutes over three games.

The veteran big-man provides frontcourt depth for the 32-29 Wizards.

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