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Clippers trade Josh Smith to Rockets

The L.A. Clippers announced today the team has acquired the draft rights to Maarty Leunen from the Houston Rockets in exchange for forward Josh Smith, the draft rights to Sergei Lishouck and cash considerations.

Leunen, 30, was a stand-out at the University of Oregon and the 54th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft by Houston. Leunen currently plays for Scandone Avellino of the Italian Serie A.

The Clippers signed Smith on July 16, 2015 as a free agent and the 11-year NBA veteran appeared in 32 games (1 start) for Los Angeles this season, averaging 5.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 14.3 minutes per game.

Originally selected by the Atlanta Hawks with the 17th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, Smith has appeared in 868 career regular season games with Atlanta, Detroit, Houston and the Clippers and owns career averages of 14.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.0 blocks in 32.9 minutes.

The rights to Lishouck, 32, were acquired by the Clippers on Jan. 7, 2015 from the Philadelphia 76ers. Originally drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies with the 49th overall selection of the 2004 NBA Draft, Lishouck currently plays for UCAM Murcia in Spain.

Bucks coach Kidd to return next week

Bucks coach Kidd to return next week

Milwaukee Bucks Head Coach Jason Kidd is expected to resume his normal head coaching duties next week when the team returns from its current four-game road trip. Beginning with the Jan. 26 game vs. Orlando, Kidd will be back on the sideline, while his recovery and travel will continue to be monitored by his medical team. Kidd underwent right hip surgery on Dec. 21st and has missed the last 15 games while rehabilitating following surgery.

“I feel great after surgery and am looking forward to getting back on the sidelines full-time next week,” Kidd said. “I received a good report from my doctor last week in New York and I am ahead of schedule on my recovery. Provided everything continues to go well this week, I plan on being back to my normal duties on Monday.

“Joe (Prunty) and the rest of the coaching staff along with the players have done a very good job in my absence and I’m grateful for all of their efforts. We’re all looking forward to continued improvement during the second half of our season.”

The Bucks are currently 19-25 and 8-7 in the 15 games Kidd has missed following hip surgery. Milwaukee has two games remaining on its current road trip (Friday at Houston and Saturday at New Orleans), before returning home to host Orlando on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. Coach Kidd will be available to the media following Monday’s practice at the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin Training Center.

Grizzlies sign Ryan Hollins to 10-day contract

The Memphis Grizzlies announced today that the team has signed center Ryan Hollins to a 10-day contract.

Hollins (7-0, 240) enters his third stint with the Grizzlies this season. After joining Memphis for training camp, he was re-signed on Dec. 29 and made four regular season appearances before he was waived on Jan. 7. The 31-year-old also played five games, making three starts, for the Washington Wizards earlier this season.

The 10-year NBA veteran has averaged 3.7 points on 58.1 percent shooting and 2.2 rebounds in 490 career games (67 starts) with the Charlotte Bobcats, Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies. The Pasadena, Calif. native was selected by Charlotte in the second round (50th overall) of the 2006 NBA Draft following his senior season at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Nuggets front office staff get contract extensions

The Denver Nuggets have signed General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly, Assistant General Manager Arturas Karnisovas and their staff to multi-year contract extensions, President and Governor Josh Kroenke announced today.

“Over the past few years Tim, Arturas, and the rest of our front office staff have worked tirelessly in reshaping our roster and our entire organizational vision for the future,” said Kroenke. “Whether through the draft, trades, or free agency, we have an excellent mix of players and are extremely well positioned moving forward.”

Connelly took over as General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations in 2013 after spending the previous three seasons with New Orleans serving as their Assistant General Manager. Prior to his time in New Orleans, Connelly spent 10 years with the Washington Wizards organization where he rose to director of player personnel.

Karnisovas came to Denver after spending five years with the Houston Rockets organization, where he most recently was the Director of Scouting. He spent four years with the NBA league office prior to that.

“We’re excited and honored by this opportunity to continue what we have started here in Denver,” stated Connelly. “We have a locker room full of dedicated players and staff, led by head coach Michael Malone, who look forward to winning in this great city for years to come. As a staff we would like to thank Josh and the entire Kroenke family for their continued support; we are unbelievably fortunate to work for such committed ownership.

Quinn Cook named D-League Performer of Week

Quinn Cook of the Canton Charge, was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, Jan. 11 through Sunday, Jan. 17. The honor is the first of Cook’s career.

Cook (6-2, 179, Duke) led Canton to a 3-0 week, with all three wins coming on the road, to extend Canton’s winning streak to six games, bringing them back to .500 with an 11-11 record. Cook averaged 26 points (fourth in the league) on 52- percent shooting (30-for-58), including his connection on 8-of-15 attempts from behind the arc.

On Jan. 15, in the first game of a back-to-back vs. the Maine Red Claws, he scored 25 points on 11-of-19 shooting to go with six assists and four rebounds in a 105-93 win. On the following night, he recorded career highs with 32 points and three steals in a 96-83 victory over Maine.

For the season, Cook is pacing Canton with 19.0 points to go with 4.7 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals.

Other top D-League performers considered for this weekly honor include Bakersfield’s Xavier Munford, Idaho’s Bryce Dejean-Jones and J.J. O’Brien, Iowa’s Lazeric Jones, Los Angeles’ Vander Blue, Oklahoma City’s Marquis Teague, Sioux Falls’ Jarnell Stokes (on assignment from the Miami Heat) and Texas’ Brandon Ashley.

Magic sign Keith Appling to 10-day contract

The Orlando Magic have called-up guard Keith Appling from the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League and signed him to a 10-day contract, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today. In addition, guard Devyn Marble has been recalled from Erie.

Appling (#15, 6’1”, 185, 2/13/92) has played in 17 games this season with Erie, averaging 16.8 ppg., 5.6 apg., 4.1 rpg. and 2.12 stlpg. in 31.3 minpg. He was leading the BayHawks in scoring, assists and steals at the time of his call-up. Appling appeared in five preseason games with Orlando, averaging 1.2 ppg. in 8.7 minpg., before being waived on October 19.

Not drafted by an NBA franchise in 2014, Appling appeared in 38 games last season with both the Los Angeles D-Fenders and Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League, averaging 10.5 ppg., 3.9 apg. and 2.7 rpg. in 24.4 minpg. He also played with the Orlando Magic “White” team during the 2015 Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League, averaging a team-high 15.6 ppg., 3.0 apg., 1.2 rpg. and 3.00 stlpg. in 26.2 minpg.

Appling played in 142 games (123 starts) during four seasons at Michigan State University from 2010-14, averaging 10.6 ppg., 3.3 apg., 3.0 rpg. and 1.06 stlpg. in 29.8 minpg. He finished his collegiate career tied for third on the Spartans’ all-time list in games started, fourth in games played, seventh in free throws made (389), eighth in three-point field goals attempted (413) and steals (151), ninth in assists (465), tenth in free throws attempted (520) and 18th in points scored (1,509). Appling was named Second Team All-Big Ten as a junior (2012-13) by the league’s coaches and named Third Team All-Big Ten as a sophomore (2011-12). He helped Michigan State reach the Sweet Sixteen three times during the NCAA Tournament (2012-14) and the Elite Eight in 2014.

Marble (#11, 6’6”, 200, 9/21/92) has appeared in six games this season with Orlando, averaging 0.3 ppg. in 2.3 minpg. Originally selected in the second round (56th overall) by Denver, his draft rights, along with Evan Fournier, were acquired by Orlando in exchange for Arron Afflalo on June 26, 2014. Marble has also played in 14 games this season with Erie, averaging 14.8 ppg., 5.2 rpg., 2.2 apg. and 1.57 stlpg. in 30.9 minpg.

The Orlando Magic and the Erie BayHawks are in the second year of a three-year single affiliation partnership. Orlando became the 16th NBA team to have a one-to-one affiliation with an NBA D-League team. The partnership, also referred to as a “hybrid affiliation,” allows an NBA team to control the NBA D-League team’s basketball operations, while the existing local ownership maintains primary responsibility for the team’s off-the-court business operations and community initiatives.

Suns sign Lorenzo Brown to second 10-day contract

The Phoenix Suns announced today they have signed guard Lorenzo Brown to a second 10-day contract.

Brown signed his first 10-day contract with the Suns on Jan. 8. The 25-year-old guard has appeared in three games with Phoenix, totaling 13 points and six assists in 34 minutes.

A 6-5, 189-pound guard, Brown is a third-year NBA player who appeared in 55 total games with Philadelphia in 2013-14 and Minnesota in 2014-15. Originally selected with the 52nd overall pick by Minnesota in the 2013 NBA Draft, Brown played in 29 games (seven starts) with the Timberwolves last season seeing action in each of their final 22 games. Brown has four career double-digit scoring games, including a career-high 13 points in his final appearance of last season on April 15 against Oklahoma City.

The sixth Call-Up of 2015-16 at the time he signed with the Suns on Jan. 8, Brown averaged 16.4 points, 6.1 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals in 16 games this season with the Grand Rapids Drive of the NBA Development League.

Sixers enjoy blowout win vs Blazers

On Thursday night, the Philadelphia 76ers let a 24-point lead slip away in an especially difficult overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls.

Two days later, they made sure that wouldn’t happen again.

Jahlil Okafor had 25 points and 10 rebounds and the 76ers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 114-89 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night.

Richaun Holmes added 17 points, and Ish Smith and Robert Covington scored 16 apiece for the Sixers. They improved to 5-37 with their most lopsided win of the season, erasing many of the lingering bad feelings that come from blowing a game they thought they had in the bag.

– Associated Press

Pistons beat Warriors 113-95

Before the game, Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said Golden State simply has more margin for error than other teams, meaning the Warriors can win even when they don’t play their best.

Not on this night against Van Gundy’s Pistons.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope held his own against Stephen Curry for most of the night, scoring 20 points as the Pistons handed the Warriors their second loss in three games, 113-95 on Saturday.

Much of the pregame talk centered around how well Caldwell-Pope might be able to defend Curry. The Golden State star scored 38 points, but Caldwell-Pope gave the Pistons a boost offensively.

“I think we know that we’re capable of beating anybody,” Van Gundy said afterward…

Drummond had 14 points and 21 rebounds, and Reggie Jackson scored 20 points for Detroit. The Pistons had six players in double figures, while Golden State had only three. Klay Thompson scored 24 points for the Warriors.

– Associated Press

Joakim Noah needs shoulder surgery, will miss 4-6 months

During last night’s game against Dallas, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah sustained a dislocation of the left shoulder which was reduced in the training room. Earlier today, he was evaluated at Midwest Orthopedics at Rush, where it was determined that he will undergo surgery to stabilize his left shoulder.

His recovery time is estimated at four to six months. The details of the timing, location, and rehabilitation program have not yet been finalized.

The Bulls say Noah is expected to have a full recovery.

Chicago is 23-16 this season — the third best record in the East, though they are just half a game ahead of both the Hawks and Heat.

Noah came off the Bulls’ bench for 27 of the 29 games he played this season but was still a huge part of the team. Averaging just 4.3 points per game, Noah is Chicago’s second-leading rebounder with 8.8 rpg, and is third on the team in assists at 3.8 apg.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, “Noah was likely to be on the shelf for the next four-to-six months, which is not only a season-ender for the veteran big man, but could close the book on his career with the Bulls as he’s headed to free agency this summer. “It hurt,’’ Rose said, when asked what it was like seeing Noah in the locker room following the injury. “It hurt just knowing how hard he works, how hard he wants to be on the court, how much he means to this team. It’s devastating, but we have to come back in here and make sure the guys are ready. Everybody has to be ready, but you never know. He’s a big piece, he’s a big piece.’’

And according to ESPN Chicago, “In the short-term Noah’s absence means more time for rookie Bobby Portis in the rotation, but the reality for the team is there is a chance that Noah may have played his last game as a Bull. His contract is set to expire at the end of the season and he will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.”

Jazz sign JJ O`Brien to 10-day contract

jazz

The Utah Jazz today signed forward JJ O’Brien from the Idaho Stampede to a 10-day contract. The Stampede are the Jazz’s exclusively owned and operated NBA D-League team, and O’Brien becomes the NBA’s eighth overall NBA D-League Call-Up of the 2015-16 season and the second Stampede player to be called up.

O’Brien (6-7, 220, San Diego State) has appeared in 24 games (23 starts) for the Stampede this season, averaging 9.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals in 33.4 minutes of action. He has scored 10-plus points on 10 occasions, including two games of 20-or-more points. O’Brien has also recorded seven-or-more rebounds in seven contests. The 23-year-old forward attended training camp with the Jazz and appeared in one preseason game after also competing for the Jazz entries in both the Utah Jazz Summer League and NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. He was waived by the Jazz on Oct. 13.

He played one season at University of Utah (2010-11) before transferring to San Diego State (2011-15) to finish his collegiate career. A native of San Diego, O’Brien played high school basketball at Alta Loma High School in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

O’Brien will wear No. 22 for the Jazz. He will be available for tonight’s game vs. the Los Angeles Lakers.

Following the move, Utah’s roster now stands at 15 players.

Ronnie Price undergoes toe surgery

Phoenix Suns guard Ronnie Price today underwent successful surgery to remove loose bodies in his right great toe. The surgery was performed by Dr. Gus Armendariz in Phoenix. Price is anticipated to return to basketball activities around the All-Star break.

Currently in his 11th NBA season and second with the Suns (also 2011-12), Price is averaging 4.2 points, 1.7 assists, 1.1 steals and 14.8 minutes in 34 games (one start) this season.

The Chicago Bulls announced today the team has assigned forward/center Cristiano Felicio to the Canton Charge of the NBA Development League, pursuant to the Flexible Assignment Rule.

In three games with Canton this season, Felício has posted 15.0 ppg and 4.7 rpg in 24.7 mpg.

Trevor Booker suffers concussion

Trevor Booker suffers concussion

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz forward Trevor Booker:

Booker has been diagnosed with a concussion by the Jazz medical staff after being hit in the face at the 5:03 mark of the third quarter during tonight’s game vs. Sacramento.

Per the NBA’s Concussion Policy, Booker will now begin the NBA-mandated protocol for return-to-participation following a diagnosed concussion and his status moving forward is day-to-day.

Raptors beat Magic in London

Thursday in London, the Toronto Raptors beat the Orlando Magic 106-103 in overtime. In the win, Kyle Lowry scored 24 (on just 5-20 shooting), and had eight rebounds and seven assists. Cory Joseph was great off the bench, shooting 9-of-11 for 19 points. In the loss, Victor Oladipo scored 27, and Evan Fournier had 21. Here’s the Toronto Sun reporting:

A visit to the O2 just wouldn’t be right without overtime.

For the second time in three games here, the Raps found themselves providing a deserving English fan base a little more than they were actually entitled.

The last time it took triple overtime and it resulted in a loss to the then New Jersey Nets.

But this is a different Raptors team, a “relevant” team as Masai Ujiri likes to call them, and they proved their GM right with a professional overtime period that included timely shooting, some patient offence and some determined defence to pull out a 106-103 win over the Magic on Thursday.

The Magic had a match for the Kyle Lowry/DeMar DeRozan backcourt but they didn’t have the bench support or the defence the Raptors brought with them across the Atlantic.

And by the slimmest of margins, the Raptors will head back across that ocean with a well-deserved win.

Jarrett Jack undergoes ACL reconstruction surgery

Brooklyn Nets guard Jarrett Jack underwent anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery this morning at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. The surgery was performed by Nets’ Medical Director, Dr. Riley J. Williams and Dr. David Altchek.

A full recovery is expected, and it’s anticipated that he will be ready to participate in full basketball activities for the 2016-17 season.

Jack, who sustained the injury during the second half of the Nets’ game at Boston on Saturday, January 2, played and started in 32 games for Brooklyn this season, and posted averages of 12.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and a team-high 7.4 assists per game.

Raphiael Putney of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, Jan. 4 through Sunday, Jan. 10. The honor is the first of Putney’s career.

Putney (6-10, 255, Massachusetts) led Rio Grande Valley to a 2-1 week averaging 28.3 points (third in the league) on 47 percent shooting (29-of-62) to go with a league-leading 15.7 rebounds and 3.7 blocks (third).

For the season, Putney is averaging 20.3 points (tied for ninth in the league), 10.0 rebounds (fifth), 3.1 blocks (second) and 1.8 assists.

Other top performers considered include Bakersfield’s Xavier Munford, Delaware’s Sean Kilpatrick and Jordan McRae, Erie’s Keith Appling, Idaho’s Bryce Dejean-Jones, Iowa’s Alex Stepheson, Maine’s Terry Rozier (on assignment from the Boston Celtics), Oklahoma City’s Marquis Teague, Sioux Falls’ Josh Richardson (on assignment from the Miami Heat and Texas’ Brandon Ashley.

Cavs trade Joe Harris to Magic

Cavs trade Joe Harris

The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired the Portland Trail Blazers’ protected 2020 second round pick from the Orlando Magic in exchange for guard Joe Harris, the Sacramento Kings’ 2017 protected second round pick, owned by the Cavaliers, and cash, Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin announced today.

This season, Harris appeared in five games for the Cavs and 10 games for the Canton Charge.

He was originally selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round (33rd overall pick) of the 2014 NBA Draft.

Today, Harris underwent successful surgery in Indianapolis on his right foot for excision of 5th metatarsal apophysis.

The Cavs roster now stands at 14.

Nuggets sign Sean Kilpatrick to 10-day contract

The Denver Nuggets have signed guard Sean Kilpatrick to a 10-day contract, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.

Kilpatrick, 6-4, 210, has appeared in 22 games (21 starts) for the Delaware 87ers of the NBA D-League this season, averaging 27.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.14 steals in 38.5 minutes per game. He is the seventh D-League-to-NBA “Call-Up” of the season to date.

The New York product played four years at the University of Cincinnati where he was named AP All-American First Team and All-AAC First Team as a senior. He went undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft.

The Nuggets roster now stands at 15 players.

Quincy Pondexter injured, out for season

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that forward Quincy Pondexter will undergo left knee surgery and miss the remainder of the season.

“After undergoing further evaluation from our medical staff, additional specialists, and consulting with Quincy and his representatives, we have collectively concluded that it is best for the long-term interest of Quincy to have an additional surgical procedure to correct the cartilage injury in his left knee,” said Pelicans Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Dell Demps. “This decision was determined due to a lack of progression in the recovery process.”

Pondexter, who previously had a left knee surgical procedure on May 6, 2015, has appeared in 279 career games (47 starts) and holds career averages of 5.3 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 18.1 minutes per game over five NBA seasons with New Orleans and Memphis.

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