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Nets reassign GM Billy King, and fired coach Lionel Hollins

A highly disappointing season has prompted a major shakeup in Brooklyn, New York.

The Brooklyn Nets today reassigned General Manager Billy King within the organization and have parted ways with Head Coach Lionel Hollins.

For the remainder of this season, Assistant Coach Tony Brown will serve as interim head coach. The GM position will remain open until a replacement is named.

“After careful consideration, I’ve concluded that it’s time for a fresh start and a new vision for the direction of the team,” said Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov. “By making this decision now, it enables our organization to use the rest of the season to diligently evaluate candidates with proven track records. It’s clear from our current state of affairs that we need new leadership. With the right basketball management and coach in place, we are going to create a winning culture and identity and give Brooklyn a team that it can be proud of and enjoy watching. We have learned a great deal during the past six years and our experiences will guide us for the future. Following the consolidation of team ownership last month, I can assure you that I’m more determined and committed than ever to build a winner.”

“I want to thank Billy for his hard work in the development of the Nets. At every step of the way, he has been aggressive in his quest to build a winning team and has been a key factor toward the Nets making the playoffs for each of the last three seasons. Beyond this, he has been a tremendous friend, wonderful colleague, and loyal partner and we wish him success in the future. I also want to thank Lionel for his efforts and dedication on behalf of the Nets franchise. To our fans, I thank you for your continued enthusiasm and support and please know that brighter days are ahead. I’m excited to begin the process of choosing the best GM and head coach available.”

King was named as the Nets’ GM on July 14, 2010, and was in his sixth season in that role. During his one and a half seasons as Nets coach, Hollins had a regular season record of 48-71 and guided the team to the first round of the NBA Playoffs last season.

The Nets (10-27) have the third worst record in the NBA this season, ahead of the Lakers (8-30) and Sixers (4-35).

According to MassLive, “The Celtics own Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round picks this summer and in 2018, plus the right to swap first-round choices in 2017. That major debt and a current lack of talent make the Nets, possibly, one of the league’s most hopeless teams. They will have cap space this summer, but, with the salary cap booming, so will most of the league. Their roster isn’t just bereft of quality, but also trade chips.”

The Chicago Bulls (22-13) are getting 22.0 ppg from Jimmy Butler, 16.7 ppg from Pau Gasol, 14.6 ppg from Derrick Rose, and 10.6 ppg from Nikola Mirotic. Center Joakim Noah, in 22.3 minutes per game this season, is scoring just 4.5 ppg but also contributing an impressive 8.8 rpg, 3.8 apg and 1.1 bpg. Here’s a health update from the Chicago Sun-Times:

Joakim Noah should return soon for Bulls

Sunday’s scheduled Bulls practice just took on a bit more meaning.

According to Fred Hoiberg, if Joakim Noah and his injured left shoulder can make it through an entire practice without a setback – including taking physical contact – the big man will likely be back in the rotation on Monday when Washington comes to town.

“He’s doing some activity [back in Chicago],’’ Hoiberg said of Noah on Saturday. “We’ll get him to do some live stuff [Sunday], and then hopefully he’ll get through a full practice. That’s the biggest thing right now is just getting through a live practice, which we have not done yet.’’

The Memphis Grizzlies today announced medical updates for guard Jordan Adams and forward Jarell Martin.

Adams (6-5, 209) will undergo a surgical procedure on his right knee on Tuesday, January 12 at the Campbell Clinic, which will be performed by team physician Dr. Fred Azar and Dr. Robert Miller. There currently is no timetable for his return. The 21-year-old holds career averages of 3.2 points and 0.9 rebounds in 8.2 minutes in 32 games (zero starts) since he was selected by Memphis in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2014 NBA Draft following his sophomore season at UCLA. The Atlanta native has appeared in two games this season.

Martin (6-10, 239) sustained a bone bruise in his left foot while playing for the Grizzlies’ D-League affiliate, the Iowa Energy, and will be re-evaluated in 7-10 days. The injury is unrelated to his previous foot injury. Selected by Memphis in the first round (25th overall) of the 2015 NBA Draft after his sophomore season at Louisiana State University, the 21-year-old Baton Rouge native has played two games for the Grizzlies and four games for the Energy during his rookie season.

DeMarre Carroll undergoes knee surgery

DeMarre Carroll undergoes knee surgery

The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday forward DeMarre Carroll had arthroscopic surgery this morning on his right knee. The procedure was performed by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Carroll’s status will be updated as appropriate.

Carroll sat out Monday’s game at Cleveland with a swollen right knee. He had played in the previous five contests after missing nine games (December 7-22) with a right knee contusion.

Carroll has averaged 11.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 31.9 minutes in 23 games. He had a season-high 21 points on two occasions: October 30 at Boston and November 22 at the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Raptors face the Brooklyn Nets tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Barclays Center.

The Philadelphia 76ers are an improved basketball team lately. Still, a loss to them can put some teams over the edge. Not to be over-dramatic; the Minnesota Timberwolves have been searching for an identity all season. But after falling to Philly yesterday, the Timberwolves (12-23 record, tied for 25th in the league) decided today was going the time for some good honest conversation. Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting:

Instead of a regular practice Tuesday, the Timberwolves did a little housecleaning.

Interim coach Sam Mitchell and the players watched some film. Then players and coaches went out onto the practice court, stood in a circle near midcourt, and spent about 90 minutes clearing the air.

“We talked about what we wanted to be as a team,” Mitchell said. “Normally the coach is the one who’s always talking. But we let the players talk. What are the goals for the year, as a team, individually? And I think it was good for us.’’

Mitchell encouraged everyone to talk, both veterans and young players.

Some of the themes?

According to Mitchell, much of the talk was about sacrifice. What sacrifices – both great and small – that each player needs to make to make the team better. The need for the young players to learn to focus for the length of a game was talked about, too.

Utah Jazz waive Elijah Millsap

Utah Jazz waive Elijah Millsap

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has waived guard/forward Elijah Millsap. Following the move, Utah’s roster now stands at 14 players.

Millsap (6-6, 225, Alabama-Birmingham) appeared in 67 games (five starts) over two seasons for the Jazz, averaging 4.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 16.4 minutes of action. He saw action in 20 games this season (all as a reserve), averaging 1.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 8.7 minutes. He originally joined the team on a 10-day contract on Jan. 5, 2015, after being called up from the NBA Development League’s Bakersfield Jam.

A native of Monroe, La., Millsap played two seasons at Louisiana-Lafayette (2006-08) before transferring to University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) (2008-10).

john wall

Washington Wizards guard John Wall and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and Thunder guard Russell Westbrook today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month, respectively, for games played in December.

Wall averaged 22.6 points, 11.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals to lead the Wizards to an 8-8 record, despite the absence of several key players to injury. He is the first player to average at least 22.0 points, 11.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals in a month since Chris Paul in April 2009. Wall scored 20 or more points 11 times, his career high for a month, and recorded 10 games with at least 20 points and 10 assists, the most in team history for a month. The guard also became the first player to post three straight games with at least 26 points, 12 assists and five rebounds since Dwyane Wade in November 2006. Wall shot 46.0 percent from the field and 83.6 percent from the free throw line.

kevin durant

Durant (24.9 ppg) and Westbrook (23.8 ppg), co-winners in the West, ranked sixth and seventh in the NBA in scoring, respectively, as the Thunder went 12-3 in December. Durant added 7.2 rebounds and 5.7 assists while shooting 50.8 percent from the field. He reached the 20-point mark in all 15 games and shot 87.3 percent from the free throw line. Westbrook led the league in steals (2.73 ppg) and contributed 8.9 assists (fourth in the West) and 5.9 rebounds. He had three 30-point games, handed out at least 10 assists seven times and posted his third triple-double of the season.

russell westbrook

Other nominees for NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month were Atlanta’s Paul Millsap, Detroit’s Reggie Jackson, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, the Los Angeles Clippers’ J.J. Redick, Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic, Portland’s CJ McCollum and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard.

Brook Lopez, Draymond Green named NBA Players of Week

Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Dec. 28 through Sunday, Jan. 3.

Lopez led the Nets to a 2-1 week behind averages of 26.7 points (second in the Eastern Conference), 13.3 rebounds (third in the conference) and 3.67 blocks (second in the conference). He made 60.9 percent of his field goals, sixth best in the East. Lopez recorded point-rebound double-doubles in all three contests, including his 30-point, 13-rebound effort in a 100-97 win over the Boston Celtics on Jan. 2.

draymond green

Green helped the Warriors to a 3-1 week behind averages of 18.8 points, 11.3 rebounds (tied-fourth in the Western Conference) and 9.5 rebounds (fourth in the conference). Green recorded two triple-doubles, raising his league-leading total to six on the season. On Jan. 2, Green powered the Warriors with 29 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists in a 111-108 overtime win against the Denver Nuggets.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Cleveland’s LeBron James, the Los Angeles Clippers’ J.J. Redick, Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, Portland’s CJ McCollum, San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan.

Sixers sign Elton Brand, waive Christian Wood

The Philadelphia 76ers have agreed to terms with free agent forward Elton Brand, who will mostly serve as a mentor for Jahlil Okafor and other young Sixers.

In a related move, the Sixers waived forward Christian Wood.

Brand has played 16 seasons in the NBA, most recently two seasons with the Atlanta Hawks (2013-2015). He has appeared in 1,041 career NBA games and made 867 starts, posting averages of 16 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two blocks per game. His 34,685 career minutes played ranks him 70th all-time in NBA history. Brand was also the recipient of the 2005-06 Joe Dumars Trophy, presented each season to the player who exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship on the court.

Brand will join the Sixers for the second time in his career. He spent four seasons in Philadelphia from 2008-2012, averaging 13 points and seven rebounds per game. Brand averaged 16 points and eight rebounds for the Sixers in the 2011 NBA Playoffs and averaged 11 points across 18 total playoff games during his tenure in Philadelphia.

A two-time NBA All-Star, Brand was the first overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls and was named Rookie of the Year.

O.J. Mayo fined by NBA

O.J. Mayo fined by NBA

Milwaukee Bucks guard O.J. Mayo has been fined $25,000 for aggressively pursuing a game official and failing to leave the court in a timely manner upon his ejection, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred after Mayo was assessed his second technical foul of the game with 4:08 remaining in the first quarter of Milwaukee’s 95-85 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday, Jan. 2 at Target Center.

Jarrett Jack suffers torn ACL knee injury

A tough season for the Brooklyn Nets just got tougher.

Nets guard Jarrett Jack has been diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and small medial meniscus tear in his right knee. The injury occurred during the second half of the Nets’ game at Boston on Saturday, January 2. Jack will miss the remainder of the season and will undergo surgery on a date that has yet to be determined.

Jack has played and started in 32 games for Brooklyn this season, posting averages of 12.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and a team-high 7.4 assists per game.

The Nets are 10-23 this season - the third worst record in the league.

Al Jefferson out six weeks after knee surgery

Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson underwent successful arthroscopic surgery today to address a tear in the lateral meniscus of his right knee. The procedure was completed by Hornets Team Physician Dr. Marcus Cook at Novant Orthopedic Hospital in Charlotte. Jefferson’s recovery and rehabilitation is expected to take approximately six weeks.

The 11th-year center from Prentiss, Miss. is averaging 12.5 points (.482), 6.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 25.2 minutes per game in 19 contests (17 starts). In three years with Charlotte, Jefferson has averaged 18.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 32.0 minutes per game. In his first season in Charlotte, he was named to the 2013-14 All-NBA Third Team.

Al Jefferson to undergo knee surgery

The Charlotte Hornets announced today that center Al Jefferson will undergo arthroscopic surgery tomorrow to address a tear in the lateral meniscus of his right knee. Earlier today, Jefferson underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which revealed the injury.

The procedure will be completed by Hornets Team Physician Dr. Marcus Cook at Novant Orthopedic Hospital in Charlotte. Jefferson’s recovery time is expected to be approximately six weeks.

The 11th-year center from Prentiss, Miss. is averaging 12.5 points (.482), 6.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 25.2 minutes per game in 19 contests (17 starts). In three years with Charlotte, Jefferson has averaged 18.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 32.0 minutes per game. In his first season in Charlotte, he was named to the 2013-14 All-NBA Third Team.

Alec Burks has surgery on fractured left fibula

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks:

Burks underwent successful surgery today on his fractured left fibula. The procedure was performed in Salt Lake City by ankle and foot specialist Dr. Charles L. Saltzman, the chair of the department of orthopaedics at University of Utah Health Care, and assisted by Jazz head orthopaedic team physician, Dr. Travis Maak. Jazz head athletic trainer Brian Zettler accompanied Burks.

Burks will remain in Salt Lake City to begin his rehabilitation, and will then accompany the team on road trips once he is cleared to travel. He will be out indefinitely, and further updates will be provided when appropriate.

He suffered the injury in a fall after being fouled during a shot attempt against the Los Angeles Clippers on Dec. 26.

At the time of his injury, Burks was one of three players to have appeared in every game this season for the Jazz. The fifth-year guard is averaging a career-high 14.3 points (third on the team) on a career-best 38.7 percent three-point shooting, with 3.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 27.1 minutes in 28 games (three starts). His 14.4 points per game as a reserve rank third in the NBA.

The Memphis Grizzlies announced today that the team has signed center Ryan Hollins and waived guard Russ Smith.

Hollins (7-0, 240) is a 10-year NBA veteran who has averaged 3.7 points on 58.1 percent shooting and 2.2 rebounds in 486 career games (67 starts) with the Charlotte Bobcats, Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings and Washington Wizards. 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.

The 31-year-old joined the Grizzlies during their 2015-16 training camp and averaged 5.4 points on 83.3 percent shooting and 3.0 rebounds in 11.5 minutes in seven preseason games. Most recently, he made five appearances (three starts) for Washington before he was waived on Dec. 23.

Smith (6-0, 165) holds NBA career averages of 2.0 points and 0.7 assists in 4.9 minutes in 27 games (zero starts) with the Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans. The 24-year-old recorded 2.3 points in 4.9 minutes in 21 games for Memphis after he was acquired from New Orleans in a trade on Jan. 12. He was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round (47th overall) of the 2014 NBA Draft following his senior season at the University of Louisville.

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks, who suffered a fractured left fibula in a fall after being fouled during a shot attempt on Dec. 26 vs. the Los Angeles Clippers:

After further evaluation, Burks (6-6, 211, Colorado) has elected to undergo surgery on his fractured left fibula. Burks opted for the procedure in an effort to expedite and assure the healing process. The surgery will be performed Tuesday in Salt Lake City by ankle and foot specialist Dr. Charles L. Saltzman, the chair of the department of orthopaedics at University of Utah Health Care.

Burks will remain in Salt Lake City to begin his rehabilitation, and will then accompany the team on road trips once he is cleared to travel. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.

At the time of his injury, Burks was one of three players to have appeared in every game this season for the Jazz. The fifth-year guard is averaging a career-high 14.3 points (third on the team) on a career-best 38.7 percent three-point shooting, with 3.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 27.1 minutes in 28 games (three starts). His 14.4 points per game as a reserve rank third in the NBA.

The Phoenix Suns today announced changes to their coaching staff, promoting assistant coaches Nate Bjorkgren and Earl Watson to the front of the bench on Head Coach Jeff Hornacek’s staff. The Suns also announced Jerry Sichting and Mike Longabardi have been relieved of their duties as assistant coaches.

“It is never easy to make changes to a coaching staff in the middle of a season but we feel Earl and Nate are ready to take the next steps in their careers and provide some creative ideas to our group,” said General Manager Ryan McDonough. “We thank Mike and Jerry for their contributions. They are both good coaches who made significant contributions to our team winning 87 games over the previous two seasons.”

Bjorkgren (pronounced BEE-ork-Gren) is in his first season as an assistant coach with the Suns and second season overall with the organization as in 2014-15 he served as head coach of the Bakersfield Jam, the team’s NBA D-League affiliate. An experienced head coach in the D-League, Bjorkgren amassed a 126-74 (.630) record in four seasons, going 34-16 in his one season with the Jam, leading the Iowa Energy to the Central Division title in 2013-14 and the Santa Cruz Warriors to the 2012-13 D-League Finals. Before becoming the head coach of the Dakota Wizards in 2011-12, Bjorkgren spent four seasons as an assistant coach with the Energy from 2007-11.

Watson is in his first season with the Suns after working last season as an assistant coach for the Austin Spurs of the D-League. Watson became a coach following a 13-year NBA career as a player in which he appeared in 878 career games from 2001-2014. Watson averaged 6.4 points, 4.4 assists and 1.0 steals for his career, posting highs of 10.7 points and 6.8 assists in 78 games (73 starts) with Seattle in 2007-08. Watson played for three NBA Coach of the Year Award winners throughout his 13-year career (Hubie Brown, George Karl, Scott Brooks), as well as Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan. During Watson’s three seasons with the Jazz from 2010-13, Hornacek served first as shooting coach then as an assistant coach for the team.

Sichting and Longabardi both joined the Suns as assistant coaches prior to the 2013-14 season.

Matt Barnes suspended over incident with Derek Fisher

Memphis Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes has been suspended for two games without pay for engaging in a physical altercation with and threatening New York Knicks’ Head Coach Derek Fisher, the NBA announced today. The altercation occurred on October 3, 2015 in Redondo Beach, CA. The NBA conducted its own investigation into the matter.

Barnes’ suspension will begin when the Grizzlies face the Miami Heat on Tuesday, Dec. 29 at FedExForum.

On October 7, 2015 the New York Post reported: “Knicks coach Derek Fisher was attacked in Los Angeles by NBA bad boy Matt Barnes, who drove 95 miles to “beat the s—t out of him” when he found out Fisher was romancing his estranged wife, sources told The Post on Wednesday. The 6-foot-7 Barnes, who now plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, made a fast break from his team’s California training camp Saturday when he was tipped off that Fisher was making time with sultry “Basketball Wives LA” star Gloria Govan in the home Barnes once shared with her.”

Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe has sustained a torn meniscus in his left knee. The injury occurred during last night’s game against Philadelphia and a subsequent MRI revealed the tear.

Bledsoe will undergo surgery Tuesday, December 29. The surgery will be performed by team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tom Carter.

The sixth-year guard is averaging career-highs of 20.4 points, 6.1 assists and 2.0 steals, in addition to 4.0 rebounds and 34.2 minutes in 31 games this season, his third with the Suns.

Tiago Splitter sustains calf strain

Tiago Splitter sustains calf strain

Atlanta Hawks center Tiago Splitter left last night’s game versus New York due to right lower leg muscle soreness and did not return. Further examination revealed a mild right calf strain. Splitter did not travel with the team to Indiana and is out for the next two games. His status will be updated as appropriate.

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