Archive for the ‘ News ’ Category

Jazz sign rookie Joel Bolomboy

Jazz sign rookie Joel Bolomboy

The Jazz on Friday signed 2016 second round pick Joel Bolomboy (pronounced “Ball-um-boy”).

A 6-9, 235-pound forward from Weber State University), Bolomboy averaged 17.1 points on 57.3 percent shooting and grabbed 12.6 rebounds (third in the nation) during his senior year, setting a school single-season record by tallying 415 total rebounds. He was named the 2016 Big Sky Conference Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous All-Conference First Team selection. Bolomboy finished his four-year career as the all-time leader in rebounds for Weber State as well as the Big Sky Conference.

The 22-year-old was a member of the Jazz entry at the 2016 Utah Jazz Summer League (July 4-7) and NBA Summer League (July 8-15) in Las Vegas, averaging 7.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 19.3 minutes of action in nine games. In Las Vegas, he averaged 9.5 points on 53.3 percent shooting, 7.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists in six contests. He recorded one double-double, scoring 13 points and 11 rebounds vs. New Orleans on July 10. In the team’s summer league finale against the L.A. Lakers on July 15, Bolomboy led the Jazz in scoring, recording 20 points, shooting 9-for-12 from the floor, adding seven rebounds, one steal and one block.

Born in the Ukraine, Bolomboy played high school basketball at Keller Central in Fort Worth, Texas.

He will wear jersey #22 for the Jazz.

The Lakers have hired Jud Buechler, Brian Keefe, and Theo Robertson as player development coaches on Head Coach Luke Walton’s staff, joining associate head coach Brian Shaw and assistant coaches Jesse Mermuys and Mark Madsen.

Additionally, it was announced that Casey Owens has been named assistant coach/advance professional scout and Will Scott has been named to the staff as video coordinator.

Buechler enjoyed a 12-year playing career highlighted by winning three consecutive championships with the Chicago Bulls from 1996-98, and was a member of the 1995-96 Bulls team that went 72-10 in the regular season. The Poway, CA native also suited up for the Nets, Spurs, Warriors, Pistons, Suns, and Magic between the 1990-91 and 2001-02 seasons and appeared in 720 regular season and 71 postseason games.

Keefe comes to L.A. after spending the last two seasons serving as an assistant coach with the New York Knicks. Prior to his stint with the Knicks, Keefe spent seven seasons working with the Oklahoma City Thunder after joining the franchise in the summer of 2007, where he was a player development coach for two years before spending his last five seasons as an assistant coach. During his time with the Thunder, the team reached the post-season five times including a trip to the NBA Finals in 2012. Before joining the Thunder, Keefe worked for two seasons as an assistant video coordinator with the San Antonio Spurs and was a member of the coaching staff that won an NBA Championship in 2007.

Robertson joins the Lakers after spending the previous two seasons with the Golden State Warriors, where he was part of the 2015 NBA championship as the team’s video intern, working with Steve Kerr’s coaching staff assisting with game preparation. He was promoted to video coordinator/player development prior to the 2015-16 season, working on-court with players in addition to his game-planning responsibilities.

Owens transitions to his role with the Lakers after spending last season serving as Head Coach for their D-league affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders. In his first season as Head Coach of the D-Fenders, Owens led the team to its second Western Conference Championship and a trip to the D-League Finals. In addition, Owens helped produce two NBA Call-Ups in Justin Harper (Detroit Pistons) and Jeff Ayres (L.A. Clippers). Owens got his start with the D-Fenders as an assistant coach for the team during the 2013-14 season. A 17-year veteran of professional basketball, Owens has worked in coaching, player development and scouting at the NBA, NBA D-League, Continental Basketball Association, and international levels, and worked with the Lakers coaching staff throughout their 2015 training camp and preseason and 2016 NBA Summer League.

Scott has assisted the Lakers in the video room since the 2011-12 season, while simultaneously working for the D-Fenders. The Los Angeles native was promoted to assistant coach/video coordinator with the D-Fenders last season, where his responsibilities grew to include scouting upcoming opponents and assisting in on-court player development, as the team reached the D-League Finals. During the summers of 2014 and 2015, Scott served as video coordinator of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, where he developed video scouting reports on opponents and was intimately involved in game-planning and daily coaching operations.

Grizzlies add Bob Bender, Bob Thate to coaching staff

The Grizzlies have hired Bob Bender as an assistant coach and Bob Thate as shooting coach on head coach David Fizdale’s staff.

Bender comes to Memphis after working last season as a scout for the Brooklyn Nets. His professional coaching experience includes: two seasons (2002-04) with the Philadelphia 76ers, first as an assistant coach/player development and then as an assistant coach; nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks (2004-13) as an assistant coach, where he worked alongside Fizdale for the first four seasons; and one season with the Milwaukee Bucks (2013-14) as an assistant coach. Bender began his coaching career as an assistant at Duke University under Mike Krzyzewski (1983-89) and later served as head coach at Illinois State University (1989-93) and the University of Washington (1993-2002). He was named the 1992 Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year at Illinois State and the 1996 Pac-10 Coach of the Year at Washington.

A Duke graduate, Bender is the only individual to play for two different teams in two different NCAA Championship games, one as a freshman on Bob Knight’s undefeated 1976 Indiana team and the other as a point guard at Duke in the 1978 title game against Kentucky. The Quantico, Va. native was drafted by the San Diego Clippers in the sixth round of the 1979 NBA Draft but did not play in the NBA.

Thate joins the Grizzlies after serving in the same capacity for four years (2012-16) with the Los Angeles Clippers and three years with the New Jersey Nets (now Brooklyn), tutoring superstars such as Blake Griffin and Jason Kidd. Griffin shot 52.1 percent from the foul line during the 2011-12 season but saw his free throw percentage rise to 72.8 percent and 72.7 percent over the last two seasons, respectively, under Thate. Kidd shot 37.0 percent from three-point range over the final eight years of his NBA career after first working with Thate in 2005 (32.9 percent in his first 11 seasons).

A graduate of Occidental College in Los Angeles, Thate earned All-America recognition after setting the school’s single-season records for scoring average (27.2 points) and points scored (598) in the 1969-70 season. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1970 NBA Draft but instead embarked on a four-year professional career in France and a combined 23 years of coaching at the Division I college and high school levels, including stints at Pepperdine University, Loyola Marymount University, the University of California-Irvine and Long Beach State (now California State University, Long Beach).

Heat re-sign Beno Udrih

Heat re-sign Beno Udrih

The Heat have re-signed veteran guard Beno Udrih.

The Heat backcourt is built around Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson and new addition Dion Waiters. Udroh’s minutes may be fairly limited.

The big change this offseason in the Heat backcourt is the loss of legendary shooting guard Dwyane Wade, who decided to join the Bulls.

Udrih has appeared in 792 NBA regular season games (272 starts) during his 12-year career and has averaged 8.5 points, 3.4 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 22.3 minutes while shooting 46.3 percent from the floor, 34.9 percent from three-point range and 83 percent from the foul line. The two-time NBA champion has appeared in 53 postseason games and averaged 4.5 points, 1.2 assists, 1.0 rebounds and 11.3 minutes while shooting 38.8 percent from the field and 80.4 percent from the foul line.

Last season as a member of both the HEAT and Memphis Grizzlies, Udrih appeared in 44 games (five starts) and averaged 4.7 points, 2.6 assists, 1.6 rebounds and 16.1 minutes while shooting 43.4 percent from the floor, 34.1 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the line. In his 36 games with Miami last season, he led the team in plus/minus seven times, the third-most on the team. He also posted an 11-assist, no turnover game on January 15 at Denver, marking the most assists without a turnover during a game in his career and the 28th double-figure assist game without a single turnover in HEAT franchise history.

Trail Blazers sign Grant Jerrett

The Trail Blazers have signed forward Grant Jerrett to a training camp contract, team president of basketball operations Neil Olshey announced today.

Jerrett, 23, last played in the NBA as a rookie in 2014-15, averaging 2.0 points (26.9% FG), 1.1 rebounds, 0.4 assists and 6.4 minutes in eight games with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz.

An early entry draft candidate out of the University of Arizona, Jerrett (6-10, 235) averaged 14.5 points (44.5% FG, 37.6% 3-PT, 76.3% FT), 6.4 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 28.9 minutes over two seasons (2013-14, 2014-15) with the Idaho Stampede and Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA Development League.

Jerrett was acquired by Oklahoma City in a draft day trade after originally being selected by the Trail Blazers in the second round (40th overall) of the 2013 NBA Draft.

The Bucks have hired Craig Robinson as the team’s new Vice President of Player and Organizational Development. He will serve as a mentor and advisor to the Bucks roster – the youngest in the NBA.

“Player development is instrumental to the success of our players on the court and their valuable impact in the community,” said Bucks co-owner Wes Edens. “We strive to equip every member of our organization with the tools they need to find personal success beyond basketball. As we continue to build a world-class franchise, we’re thrilled to have someone with Craig’s experience and character join our team and help our players reach their full potential on and off the court.”

Robinson will oversee the development and implementation of programs that support the professional and personal growth of players through education, mentorship, business and community efforts that align with the mission and goals of the Bucks organization.

“It’s so important to surround our young players with talented and experienced people that can help mentor and guide them through the different stages of their careers,” said General Manager John Hammond. “Craig has an impressive set of qualifications that we feel will be beneficial to our players and our entire organization. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome him to the Bucks family.”

A Chicago native, Robinson was a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year at Princeton University where he graduated with a degree in sociology. After a brief professional basketball career overseas, Robinson returned to his hometown to get his first experience as an assistant coach at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He left the sidelines to pursue a graduate degree in finance (M.B.A.) from the University of Chicago and went on to a career in finance and banking.

Robinson returned to the hardwood in 1999, joining Northwestern University as an assistant coach until he was named head coach at Brown University in 2006. After a two-year stint at Brown, he was named head coach at Oregon State University (2008-14) where his 93 wins made him the fourth-winningest coach in program history.

Robinson and his wife, Kelly, were married in 2006. He is the father of four children: sons Austin, Aaron and Avery, and daughter Leslie. Robinson is also the older brother of First Lady Michelle Obama.

NBA: Thunder sign Ronnie Price

Thunder sign Ronnie Price

The Thunder today signed guard Ronnie Price.

He’ll serve as a backup to guard Russell Westbrook, who will have an even bigger role on the team this season than usual now that Kevin Durant left to sign with the Warriors.

Offensively, the Thunder will be a more guard-heavy team than ever next season since they traded power forward Serge Ibaka and landed SG Victor Oladipo.

According to the Oklahoman, “Price and rookie Domantas Sabonis had their contracts finalized in a span of three days, setting the Thunder roster at 15 players – the maximum a team can have on its active roster at any time – but, more importantly, 15 guaranteed contracts for 2016-17. The reported signing of bouncy 6-foot-8 forward Chris Wright to a partially-guaranteed deal will likely place him on the D-League Oklahoma City Blue.”

Price (6-2, 190), spent last season with Phoenix appearing in 62 games (18 starts), averaging career-bests in points (5.3), assists (2.4), rebounds (1.6), steals (1.19) and minutes played (19.5). An 11-year NBA veteran, undrafted out Utah Valley State College (now Utah Valley University), Price has appeared in 530 games (73 starts) with Sacramento, Utah, Phoenix, Portland, Orlando and L.A. Lakers, averaging 3.8 points, 1.8 assists 1.2 rebounds in 13.5 minutes per game.

Thunder sign rookie Domantas Sabonis

Thunder sign rookie Domantas Sabonis

The Thunder have signed rookie forward Domantas Sabonis.

Sabonis (6-11, 240), was selected with the 11th overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft following his sophomore year at Gonzaga. The forward earned All-WCC First Team honors as a sophomore after averaging 17.6 points on .611 shooting from the field (239-of-391), 11.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 31.8 minutes in 36 games with the Bulldogs. The forward was named to the All-WCC Second Team, All-WCC Freshman Team, NIT All-Tournament Team and NCAA South Regional All-Tournament Team as a freshman. He played in 35 games in 2013-14 for Unicaja Malaga in the Spanish ACB league.

He was acquired by Oklahoma City on the night of the 2016 NBA Draft along with guard Victor Oladipo and forward Ersan Ilyasova from the Orlando Magic in exchange for forward Serge Ibaka.

The 20-year old is currently competing in the 2016 Summer Olympics with the Lithuania men’s national basketball team.

The regular season schedule came out today. Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting on the NBA champion Cavaliers:

The NBA figured 52 years was long enough. Cleveland fans won’t have to wait longer than they have to for their championship banner to be raised.

The Cavaliers will receive their championship rings on opening night against the New York Knicks on Oct. 25. They’ll also host Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors in a highly anticipated rematch on Christmas Day — this time at home. It will be their first home game on Christmas since 2008.

The Cavs will face Carmelo Anthony and the revamped Knicks at home to start a season for the second time in three years — the two teams also met on opening night when James first returned to Cleveland two years ago. More details regarding the special opening night ceremonies and championship celebration will be released later.

We don’t talk politics, but we’re happy to make observations about the world of political discussion. And that world seems to just… be pulling everyone to one extreme or the other. The result appears to be… more and more division. And, it’s sad. On that front, here’s the Norman Transcript reporting:

Enes Kanter disowned by parents for political disagreement

Enes Kanter has always been outspoken about his opinions opposing the Turkish government. Now, after a recent coup in Turkey, his parents are making their disapproval official.

The father of the Thunder power forward, Mehmet Kanter, published a letter in multiple Turkish publications Monday saying that he and his family have disowned their son.

“I apologize to the Turkish people and the president for having such a son,” he wrote, according to Daily Sabah, a pro-government, anti-Gulen, English-speaking Turkish publication.

Warriors add Willie Green to coaching staff

The Warriors have added Willie Green to Steve Kerr’s coaching staff as an assistant coach/player development.

Green, 35, played 12 seasons in the NBA, posting averages of 8.3 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 731 regular-season games with the Philadelphia 76ers, New Orleans Hornets, Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers and Orlando Magic. Originally selected by the Seattle SuperSonics in the second round (41st overall) of the 2003 NBA Draft, Green was acquired by the 76ers in a draft night trade and spent his first seven seasons in Philadelphia—including six seasons as a teammate of Warriors forward Andre Iguodala. Green, who last played with Orlando in 2014-15, qualified for the postseason seven times over his 12-year career, averaging 5.2 points over 36 playoff games.

A native of Detroit, Mich., Green attended the University of Detroit Mercy, where he was named Horizon League Player of the Year as a senior in 2002-03.

Nuggets sign Jamal Murray, Juancho Hernangomez, Malik Beasley

The Nuggets have signed guard Jamal Murray, forward Juancho Hernangomez and guard Malik Beasley to multi-year contracts, it was announced today by General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly.

Murray, 6-4, 207, was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 7th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

The 19-year-old appeared in five games (all starts) for the Nuggets at the 2016 Samsung Summer League in Las Vegas, averaging 19.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 29.5 minutes per game. Among players that played at least five games, Murray ranked fourth in scoring while also tallying three straight games of 20+ points.

Murray played one season for the Kentucky Wildcats in 2015-16, appearing in 36 games and averaging 20.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists while shooting 40.8% from three-point range.

Hernangomez, 6-9, 230, a native of Madrid, Spain, was selected with the 15th pick in the 2016 NBA draft. He appeared in five games (all starts) for the Nuggets at the 2016 Samsung Summer League, holding averages of 10.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 55% from the field. Hernangomez ranked fifth in rebounds among players that appeared in at least five games, while posting a double-double in two contests.

Hernangomez, played for Movistar Estudiantes of the Spanish ACB league in 2015-16. Appearing in 24 games, he averaged 9.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in 23.5 minutes.

Beasley, 6-5, 196, was drafted with the 19th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft. He did not participate in the 2016 Samsung NBA Summer League after recovering from a pre-existing injury. He appeared in 34 contests during the 2015-16 season with the Florida State Seminoles, averaging 15.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 29.8 minutes.

Murray will wear jersey #27, Hernangomez will wear jersey #41 and Beasley will wear jersey #25.

Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting on Team Spain, who aren’t getting much production from point guard Ricky Rubio:

Ricky Rubio does little in Spain loss to Brazil

Ricky Rubio walked off at halftime looking dejected, staring at the floor, the last of Spain’s players to get to the locker room. By the end of the game, he was standing on the sideline, waving a towel, urging on his teammates.

Rubio contributed another unproductive game to Spain’s waning Olympic hopes on Tuesday, producing three points before fouling out of Spain’s 66-65 loss to Brazil at the Rio Games. In 16 minutes, Rubio produced four rebounds, two turnovers, three points, zero steals or blocks and zero assists. He finished minus-6 for a team that lost in the last seconds to a less-heralded team.

The Warriors won 73 games last season, reached the NBA Finals, and then this offseason added superstar Kevin Durant as a free agent. Durant joined the team that beat his Thunder squad in the Western Conference Finals. Here’s ESPN.com reporting Warriors coach Steve Kerr’s words:

Steve Kerr says Kevin Durant is no villain

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr says it’s “absurd” to cast Kevin Durant as a villain because he left the Oklahoma City Thunder as a free agent and joined the Warriors this summer.

“To think of Kevin Durant or Steph Curry or any of our guys as villains, it’s kind of absurd. Especially Kevin,” Kerr said Sunday in an interview on ESPN Radio’s TMI with Michelle Beadle and Ramona Shelburne. “This is one of the most likeable people in this league. He’s just an awesome human being. What he did in Oklahoma City was just amazing for that community.

Kerr added: “Circumstances kind of dictate, I guess, that some people are going to see him as a villain. But it’s only because he decided to go elsewhere to play. He wanted to change his scenery, he wanted a new challenge. More than anything he wanted to play with our guys. He loves Draymond [Green] and Steph and Klay [Thompson] and Andre [Iguodala]. Seeing those guys in New York, he loved seeing the chemistry that exists and he wanted to be a part of it.”

Cavaliers sign guard Kay Felder

The Cavaliers have signed guard Kay Felder, according to General Manager David Griffin.

Felder (5-9, 176) was the Atlanta Hawks’ No. 54 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks. His draft rights were acquired by the Cavs on draft night.

Felder played in all seven games (six starts) for Cleveland in the 2016 Summer League, averaging 15.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.4 steals in 29.9 minutes per outing.

The Detroit native was the only player in the country to rank in the Top 5 this past season in both scoring (fourth, 24.4 ppg) and assists (first, 9.3 apg) and became just the fifth player in Division I history over the last 20 years to average over 23 points and six assists in a single season.

Lakers re-sign Marcelo Huertas

Lakers re-sign Marcelo Huertas

The Lakers have re-signed point guard Marcelo Huertas.

The Lakers backcourt is built around D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson. The bench rotation includes Jose Calderon, Nick Young and Huertas.

In his first NBA season with the Lakers last year after playing professionally in Brazil, Spain, and Italy since 2001, Huertas averaged a team-best 3.4 assists per game in addition to 4.5 points and 1.7 rebounds over 53 games.

“Marcelo’s understanding of the game, unselfishness, and professionalism are assets to our team and he has an uncanny ability to change the pace of the game,” said General Manager Mitch Kupchak. “He’s fundamentally solid but also has a flair and excitement to his style of play, which makes him a fan favorite.”

Prior to coming stateside, Huertas spent the previous four seasons (2011-15) with Spanish power FC Barcelona, where he was a key piece on their 2011-12 and 2013-14 Spanish National Championship and 2013 Spanish National Cup-winning teams. He also has 165 games of Euroleague experience, and was the 2013-14 Euroleague Top 16 Round Two MVP.

The Brazilian native has extensive international experience, notably representing his country at the 2012 Olympics in London, where he led the squad with 6.0 assists per game in addition to 11.3 points, good for second-best on the roster. He is currently a member of the Brazilian national team that will participate in this month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. He has also appeared on three consecutive FIBA Basketball World Cup teams in 2006, 2010, and 2014. His decorated international resume includes gold medals from the 2006 South American Championship (where he was named MVP of the tournament after averaging a team-leading 16.8 points to go with 4.0 assists) and 2007 Pan American Games, in addition to three medals from the FIBA Americas Championship: 2005 and 2009 (gold), and 2011 (silver).

The Nets have signed guard/forward Beau Beech, guard Yogi Ferrell and center Egidijus Mockevicius.

Until we hear otherwise, we will assume these are training camp signings that give these players a chance to compete for a regular-season contract.

Beech, Ferrell and Mockevicius were all members of Brooklyn’s 2016 NBA Summer League team in Las Vegas.

Beech (6’9”, 215) joins the Nets out of the University of North Florida. In four seasons with the Ospreys, Beech played in 133 games (129 starts) and recorded averages of 11.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals in 28.7 minutes per game while shooting .423 from the field and .393 from three-point range. The Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. native was named to the All-Atlantic Sun First Team in both his junior and senior seasons and was also named to the Atlantic Sun All-Freshman Team. Along with leading North Florida all-time in games played and starts, Beech ranks first in steals (147) and tied for first in three-pointers made (302).

Ferrell (6’0”, 180) joins the Nets after a four-year career at Indiana University. Ferrell was named to the All-Big Ten First Team twice (2015 and 2016) and garnered second-team honors as a sophomore (2014). As a senior, Ferrell averaged 17.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.1 steals in 34.7 minutes per game, earning Associated Press Third Team All-America honors and capping his career as Indiana’s all-time assists leader with 633. Ferrell also led Indiana to three NCAA Tournament appearances and helped the Hoosiers advance to the Sweet 16 twice. In 137 career games (all starts) at IU, the Indianapolis, Ind., native averaged 14.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 32.8 minutes per game.

Mockevicius (6’10”, 237) joins Brooklyn following a four-year career at the University of Evansville. Mockevicius was named to the All-Missouri Valley Conference First Team as both a junior and senior (2015 and 2016) and was the conference’s defensive player of the year as a senior. The native of Lithuania was also the nation’s leading rebounder this past season, averaging 14.0 boards per game, to go along with 15.7 points and 2.8 blocks in 31.8 minutes per contest. In 136 career games with the Purple Aces, Mockevicius averaged 11.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 25.7 minutes per game.

Knicks sign Chasson Randle

Knicks sign Chasson Randle

The Knicks on Thursday signed guard Chasson Randle.

Until we hear otherwise, we will assume this deal merely brings Randle to training camp, where he’d have to earn a regular season contract.

The 6-2, 185-pound guard played in 66 games for CEZ Nymburk (Czech Republic) last season, where he averaged 12.8 points over 20.6 minutes.

Randle headed overseas after a four-year college career at Stanford University (2011-15) and finished as the school’s all-time leading scorer (2,375 points), with averages of 16.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.15 steals over 144 games. He was a two-time All-Pac 12 first-team selection (2014, 2015) and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2015 National Invitation Tournament after leading the Cardinals to the championship at Madison Square Garden.

The Rock Island, IL-native appeared in three games for the Knicks entry in the 2016 Orlando Pro Summer League, averaging 18.3 points, 5.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 3.00 steals over 29.7 minutes.

Sixers announce coaching staff

Sixers announce coaching staff

The Philadelphia 76ers announced Thursday that the team has named Jim O’Brien and Kevin Young as Assistant Coaches, John Bryant and Alvin Williams as Player Development Coaches, John Townsend as Shooting Coach, Chris Babcock as Assistant Director of Player Development and Dr. Lance Pearson as Director of Applied Analytics.

In a related move, Eugene Burroughs, who spent the last two seasons as the Sixers’ shooting coach, has been promoted to Head Coach of the Delaware 87ers, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Sixers.

“We are excited to maintain a continuity of culture within the staff by promoting five very talented coaches from within our organization,” said Sixers Head Coach Brett Brown. “This commitment to growth and development is the foundation upon which we were also able to recruit three coaches with decades of expertise who will help move our program forward and fit seamlessly into our system.”

O’Brien, a Philadelphia native, has nearly four decades of coaching experience, most recently as an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks during the 2012-13 season. He has held three NBA head coaching positions, including the 2004-05 season with the Sixers, when he led the team to a playoff appearance and a 43-39 record. O’Brien played his college basketball at St. Joseph’s University (1971-74) and attended high school at Roman Catholic.

Young has coached in the NBA Development League since 2007, most recently serving as head coach of the Delaware 87ers for the past two seasons. He previously held head-coaching positions with the Iowa Energy (2011-13) and Utah Flash (2010-11). As a player, Young starred at point guard for Clayton State University (2002-04).

Bryant also spent the past two seasons with the Delaware 87ers as an assistant coach. In three seasons prior to joining the Sevens, he served as assistant coach/head strength & conditioning coach with the Bakersfield Jam. Like O’Brien, he played his collegiate basketball at St. Joseph’s University (2001-05).

Townsend joins the Sixers after spending the past three seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies. He spent his first season as the team’s shooting coach before serving as Memphis’ director of player development for the past two seasons. Townsend has over a decade of additional experience as a shooting coach, including time spent in that role with the Toronto Raptors, Portland Trail Blazers and NBA Development League. Under Townsend’s direction, the 2008-09 Blazers shot 46.5 percent from the field, which ranked eighth in the NBA.

Williams was the Toronto Raptors’ director of player development from 2010-13. He began his coaching career after a 10-year run in the NBA, eight of which were spent with the Toronto Raptors. Born in Philadelphia, Williams played his high school basketball at Germantown Academy before putting together a standout four-year career at Villanova University (1993-97). For his senior season, Williams posted averages of 17 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals in 34 minutes per game as he led the Wildcats to a 24-10 record, capturing the Big East regular season title and a four-seed in the 1997 NCAA Tournament.
Babcock served as player development assistant this past season with the Sixers. He originally joined the team prior to the start of the 2013-14 season and assumed the role of assistant video coordinator, a position he held for two seasons. He spent the 2012-13 season with the San Antonio Spurs in the same role. Prior to his time with the Spurs, Babcock coached at the University of Texas from 2008-12.

Pearson spent last season in the role of coordinator of coaching analytics and special video projects, and has been working within the Sixers’ basketball operations department for the past three seasons. He spent four years at Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky as an assistant coach and adjunct professor of psychology. Pearson holds three bachelor’s degrees from the University of Kentucky as well as a Ph.D. in cognitive and neutral systems from Boston University.

Burroughs will assume the head coach position with the Sevens after spending the past two seasons as the Sixers’ shooting coach. Prior to joining the Sixers, Burroughs was an assistant coach at Marist College. He spent the previous two years as associate head coach at Penn State. A Philadelphia native, he played his collegiate basketball at Richmond University (1991-94), where he was a member of the first-ever 15-seed to defeat a two-seed in the NCAA Tournament, when the Spiders knocked off Syracuse in 1991.

Thunder sign Russell Westbrook to contract extension

The Thunder have signed guard Russell Westbrook to a contract extension, the team announced Thursday.

It is reportedly a three-year deal worth $85.7 million.

“I am grateful to extend my contract with the Thunder and continue to play with the only organization that I have played for and have loved being a part of since I was drafted into the NBA,” said Westbrook. “I’m really excited about moving forward with this group of guys and continuing to play in front of the best fans in the world.”

This past season Westbrook appeared in 80 games (all starts) and averaged 23.5 points (eighth in the NBA), 10.4 assists (second in the NBA), 7.8 rebounds and 2.04 steals (fifth in the NBA) in 34.4 minutes to become just the second player in NBA history (Oscar Robertson) to average at least 23 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds for a single season.

“On behalf of the Thunder organization and the entire State of Oklahoma I want to congratulate Russ and offer my sincere appreciation for not only his profound presence and skill as a player, but for his high character, personal integrity and extraordinary leadership,” said Clayton I. Bennett, Thunder chairman. “We are thrilled he will continue with us and we look forward to exciting days ahead for the Oklahoma City Thunder.”

According to the Oklahoman, “Westbrook could have forced a trade. Could have sat tight this coming season, then bolted in free agency next summer. He did neither. He showed that he wants to be in OKC. Doesn’t mean forever. Doesn’t mean for the rest of his career. Durant taught us to tread lightly in looking too far into the future. But for now, Westbrook wants to finish what he started, wants the challenge of doing what he and Durant failed to do together. Wants to fight the good fight.”

During the 2015-16 season, Westbrook recorded 18 triple-doubles, equaling the most in the NBA since Magic Johnson accomplished the feat during the 1981-82 season. Westbrook also notched seven triple-doubles in March, the most by an NBA player in a calendar month since Michael Jordan in April of 1989.

“Russell has been an outstanding leader of this team since he was drafted by our organization eight years ago. His competitiveness, character, and unique athletic ability have propelled him to the forefront of the game,” said Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. “Russell personifies many of the traits that are synonymous with Oklahoma and Oklahomans. We are excited that Russell has chosen to continue to build the legacy of the Thunder with us as we move forward together.”

A five-time All-Star and two-time All-Star MVP, Westbrook received All-NBA First Team honors at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season. This past year, Westbrook was twice named the Western Conference Player of the Month, and his 54 double-doubles represented the most for a guard since the 2007-08 season (Chris Paul).

In eight seasons with the Thunder, Westbrook holds career averages of 21.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.73 steals in 34.0 minutes per game. The UCLA product has helped guide the Thunder to the Western Conference Finals in four of the past six seasons.

As a member of the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team, Westbrook won a gold medal at the 2012 games in London. Additionally, Westbrook helped lead the USA Men’s National Team to a gold medal at the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey.

Selected No. 4 overall in the 2008 NBA draft, Westbrook was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team; during the 2014-15 season, Westbrook led the NBA in scoring after averaging a career-best 28.1 points per game.

Westbrook received the 2014-15 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award as a result of his community involvement and philanthropic efforts. Westbrook and his Why Not? Foundation have opened numerous reading centers throughout Oklahoma City public schools. “Russell’s Reading Rooms” provide underserved children with books, engaging students of all ages in reading. Westbrook’s charitable efforts have included hosting Thanksgiving meals, holiday parties and shopping sprees for Oklahomans in need, granting wishes through the Make-A-Wish Foundation and participating in food distribution events, hospital visits and Thunder FIT clinics.

Basketball blog