Archive for the ‘ International ’ Category

Here’s ESPN.com with an update on a talented international player:

Finnish point guard Petteri Koponen hopes to be playing in the NBA by the 2015-16 season.

Here at the 2014 FIBA World Cup, Koponen told ESPN.com he intends to make the jump to the NBA after completing the final season on his contract with BC Khimki in Russia.

“I always said my dream is to play in the NBA,” Koponen said. “Every summer we talk a little bit with Dallas to see what the situation is and what they think. I’ve got one more year left on my contract in Russia and then of course I would like to come over. I hope I get some options to go there and show I can play at that level.”

The Mavericks acquired Koponen’s NBA rights in 2011 in a draft-night trade trade with Portland. He was selected by Philadelphia on behalf of the Blazers with the last pick of the first round in 2007, having played in the Nike Hoop Summit that year against a future MVP named Derrick Rose.

Friday night in Madison Square Garden, the USA beat Puerto Rico 112-86 in an exhibition. Enjoy these video highlights of some of the game’s top plays:

Kings sign center Sim Bhullar

kings

The Sacramento Kings have signed center Sim Bhullar to a contract, according to Kings General Manager Pete D’Alessandro.

It’s unclear how long Bhullar will remain with the Kings or if he’ll be able to stick around in the NBA, but at least he has a shot to prove himself.

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Bhullar becomes the first player of Indian descent to sign with an NBA team. The 7-foot-5, 360-pound center was a member of the Kings squad that captured the 2014 Samsung NBA Summer League title in Las Vegas.

In his two seasons at New Mexico State, the Aggies standout averaged 10.2 points (.633 FG%, .496 FT%), 7.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 2.9 blocks and 25.3 minutes per game in 65 career games. Bhullar was a two-time Western Athletic Conference Tournament MVP, helping the school reach the NCAA Tournament in 2013 and 2014. As a freshman, he was named WAC Freshman of the Year after accruing averages of 10.1 points (.621 FG%, .465 FT%), 6.7 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 2.4 blocks and 24.4 minutes per game for the Aggies. He set a single-season school record for most blocked shots with 85 and his .621 field goal percentage ranked fourth on the NMSU single-season list and first in the WAC in 2012-13.

“I’ve long believed that India is the next great frontier for the NBA, and adding a talented player like Sim only underscores the exponential growth basketball has experienced in that nation,” said Kings Owner Vivek Ranadivé. “While Sim is the first player of Indian descent to sign with an NBA franchise, he represents one of many that will emerge from that region as the game continues to garner more attention and generate ever-increasing passion among a new generation of Indian fans.”

During the past NBA 2013-14 season, the Kings televised over 20 live games in India, launched a website in Hindi to connect with a rapidly growing Hindi-speaking fan base from around the world, sent the Sacramento Kings players and dancers to Mumbai, and signed the team’s first India-based sponsor.

Al Harrington signs with team in China

Here’s the Washington Post Blog with an update on veteran forward Al Harrington:

Al Harrington signs with basketball team in China

Al Harrington spent some of his summer as a de facto assistant coach for the Wizards’ summer league outfit in Las Vegas, but will not be returning to the team in any capacity at least to start the upcoming season. The veteran forward announced on Instagram Sunday that he will play in China for the Fujian SBS Xunxing Sturgeons. Harrington signed a one-year deal, according to Bleacher Report.

“Looking forward to the Challenge at hand,” part of Harrington’s Instagram caption read. “To help my team reach the Playoffs and WIN once we get there. Secondly I wanna say THANK YOU to the Washington Wizards Organization…”

Hawks hire Neven Spahija as assistant coach

The Atlanta Hawks have named Neven Spahija (NEV-in SPA-hee-ah) an assistant coach, it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Danny Ferry.

“Neven is one of the most successful coaches in Europe and we’re thrilled to add him to our staff,” said Hawks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. “As an organization, we have great respect for international basketball and we will benefit tremendously from his perspective and his wealth of experience.”

Spahija, a Croatia native and former Croatian Coach of the Year with nearly 30 years international coaching experience, was most recently head coach of Cibona Zagreb (Croatia) last season. From 2010-12, Spahija led Fenerbahce Ulker (Turkey), winning a Turkish Basketball League and Turkish Cup championship in 2010-11 after directing the club to a 27-3 regular season mark.

Spahija had previously guided Cibona from 2000-01, additionally serving as head coach for four other Euroleague teams since that time – Krka Novo Mesto (Slovenia), Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania), Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel) and Tau Ceramica (Spain).

He has won domestic league titles in six countries – Slovenia, Croatia, Lithuania, Spain, Israel and Turkey. Spahija has also been a head coach in Russia (Avtodor Saratov), Italy (Roseto) and Croatia (Gradine Pula). He won the 2009-10 Eurocup with Valencia (Spain), reached the finals of the 2003 ULEB Cup with Krka and the 2008 Euroleague Final Four with Tau Ceramica.

Spahija has also spent time as head coach of the Croatian National team (2001-05) and the Under-22 National Team (2001).

Kevin Love withdraws from Team USA

Kevin Love has withdrawn from this summer’s USA Basketball roster because of his uncertain NBA status, leaving the Americans without one of their most experienced international players.

Team USA announced the decision on Saturday. Love, who won gold medals at the 2012 Olympics and 2010 world championship and was one of the first players to commit to play this summer, told USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo that he would be unavailable for training camp that starts Monday.

– Associated Press

Chicago Bulls sign second round draft pick Cameron Bairstow

The Chicago Bulls announced today the signing of 2014 second round draft pick Cameron Bairstow. Chicago selected Bairstow (BARE-stow) with the 49th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

“We like Cameron’s combination as a player with his size, energy and physicality,” said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman. “He is a hard worker who will only get better with time.”

A native of Brisbane, Australia, Bairstow is a 6-9, 250-pound forward who played four seasons at the University of New Mexico. In 134 games with the Lobos, he posted 9.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 0.8 apg and 0.74 bpg in 20.8 mpg. For his collegiate career, he also shot .517 from the field and .717 from the line.

San Antonio Spurs hire Etorre Messina as an assistant coach

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have hired Ettore Messina as an assistant coach. A four-time Euroleague Champion and a two-time Euroleague Coach of the Year, Messina brings over 25 years of coaching experience to the bench.

“I am honored to have such an accomplished individual join our program,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said. “Coach Messina is an exceptional coach, a great leader and someone we can all learn from.”

Messina joins the Spurs after spending the last two years as the head coach of the CSKA Moscow in the Russian League, his second stint with the team. Before returning to CSKA Moscow, Messina served as a coaching consultant for the L.A. Lakers in 2011-12. Prior to making the move to the NBA, Messina spent four seasons (2005-2009) at the helm of CSKA Moscow where he led the team to two Euroleague Championships (2006, 2008) and four Russian SuperLeague titles (2006-2009).

Before coaching in the Russian League, Messina served as a coach in the Italian League for over 15 years. He earned two Euroleague Championships (1998 and 2001) as well as several Italian championships with Virtus Bologna, where he had two stints as head coach (1989-1993, 1997-2002). After leaving Bologna, Messina went on to coach Benetton Treviso from 2002-2005, guiding the team to an Italian championship in 2003.

Named one of the Euroleague’s 10 Greatest All-Time Coaches in 2008, Messina has earned numerous coaching accolades throughout his career including European Coach of the Year in 1998, Euroleague Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2008, and Italian Coach of the Year in 1990, 1993, 1998, 2001 and 2005.

A native of Catania, Italy, Messina also served as head coach of the senior men’s Italian national basketball team (1993-1997), where he led Italy to the silver medal at the 1997 European Championship.

Manu Ginobili out with injury

Here’s the San Antonio Express-News blog, on the Spurs:

Manu Ginobili out with injury

Spurs guard Manu Ginobili played the NBA Finals with a slight stress fracture in his right fibula, an injury that now casts his availability for Argentina in this summer’s FIBA Basketball World Cup in doubt.

The fracture was discovered during a routine postseason physical, according to a league source, and began bothering the 36-year-old guard at some point during the Spurs’ run in Western Conference playoffs. By the end of the Spurs’ march to a championship, Ginobili could often be seen limping noticeably after games.

Yahoo! Sports first reported news of Ginobili’s condition.

Ginobili, who turns 37 later this month, will visit with a foot specialist for a second opinion on the injury, which otherwise could keep him off the court for up to two months.

Here’s the Houston Chronicle Blog reporting on the Rockets and the 2014 NBA Draft, which took place last night:

Rockets feel Clint Capela has huge upside

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey raved about his picks and joked that every general manager does. He said his second round acquisitions, Nick Johnson and Alessandro Gentile, could quickly compete for places in the rotation. He said his first-rounder, Clint Capela, has more upside than any but the top players drafted.

When he was asked about Capela’s determination to make the jump to the NBA next season, rather than to remain in France, Morey said little.

He did not rule it out, but he did not go into the factors to be considered, including whether he would need to keep Capela overseas to save as much cap room as possible.

“I haven’t had a chance to talk to Gentile’s or Capela’s agents so it would be unfair for me to talk about that right now,” Morey said.

Here’s ESPN New York reporting on big Ivan Johnson:

Ivan Johnson discusses playing basketball in China

The pay in China, Ivan Johnson said, is great.

It’s everything else that’s a problem.

“The food. They don’t cook it all the way through,” Johnson said Wednesday after auditioning for the Brooklyn Nets at their free-agent minicamp. “The rooms smell like [a] sewer. There’s a lot of stuff you gotta deal with over there. I dealt with it, though. I had to.”

Johnson’s advice for free agents looking to go overseas?

“If you’re in it just for the money, go to China,” he said. “If you want to fulfill your dreams, keep grinding. Keep grinding and you’ll get there.”

2013-14 All-Euroleague teams announced

Here’s Euroleague.net reporting on the best players in 2013-14 Euroleague action:

Just before the basketball world turns its attention to Milan for the 2014 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four, Euroleague Basketball is pleased to honor 10 of the stars that made this season so spectacular, the 2013-14 All-Euroleague First and Second Teams. To select them, tens of thousands of fans from around the globe were able to cast votes for their favorite players, as did media members from each of the countries with Euroleague teams.

The All-Euroleague selections feature players from seven teams and five players who appear among the competition’s best for the first time.

The All-Euroleague First Team features five superstars from four different teams: Sergio Rodriguez and Rudy Fernandez from Real Madrid, Keith Langford from EA7 Emporio Armani Milan, Sonny Weems from CSKA Moscow and Ante Tomic from FC Barcelona. Both Fernandez and Tomic return after appearing on the 2012-13 All-Euroleague First Team.

The All-Euroleague Second Team consists of Ricky Hickman from Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv, Vasilis Spanoulis of Olympiacos Piraeus, Victor Khryapa of CSKA Moscow, Nikola Mirotic of Real Madrid and Stephane Lasme of Panathinaikos Athens. This marks Spanoulis’s fifth straight All-Euroleague selection and seventh overall, which ties him with FC Barcelona great Juan Carlos Navarro for the most in competition history. Khryapa is selected to an All-Euroleague Team for the third time and Mirotic for the second time.

First NBA Cafe in the world opening in Manila, Philippines

The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced that the first NBA Cafe in the world will officially open on April 25 in Manila, Philippines, at the SM Aura at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

Here’s what the press release says:

NBA Cafe Manila is a first-of-its-kind NBA destination which features a unique dining and entertainment experience that captures the energy and feel of the NBA. Managed and operated locally by Haute Couture F&B Concepts, Inc., NBA Cafe Manila will feature larger than life NBA displays, unique memorabilia, and basketball-themed accents and fixtures, all complemented with an exciting menu. It is the first sports bar and restaurant in Manila catering specifically to basketball fans where patrons will enjoy quintessential American bar and grill favorites.

“Basketball is the most popular sport in the Philippines and it makes sense that the first NBA Cafe anywhere in the world would open for our passionate fans in Manila,” said Carlo Singson, NBA Country Manager, Philippines. “NBA Cafe Manila is a unique one-stop destination for casual and avid sports fans alike and is another great way for them to experience the NBA first-hand.”

Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz and WNBA Legend Tina Thompson will be the featured guests at the grand opening of NBA Cafe Manila. Hayward was selected 9th overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2010 NBA Draft and Thompson was a four-time WNBA champion, nine-time WNBA All-Star, and was the first-ever draft pick in WNBA history. Gordon and Thompson will also be in Manila to participate in the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Philippines 2014 National Training Camp.

NBA Cafe Manila’s menu is inspired by classic American cuisine, offering a wide selection of dishes with an emphasis on nutrition and flavor. Only the finest products and ingredients are used, and the top priority is having the food prepared and served promptly by skilled chefs and servers.

“The concept of NBA Cafe Manila takes all aspects of the NBA into play,” said Nian Rigor, General Manager, NBA Cafe Manila/Haute Couture F&B Concepts, Inc. “From the team visuals to the use of the colors red, white and blue, everything will make our fans feel right at home with the authentic NBA surroundings we’ve recreated. NBA Cafe Manila will be the metro’s default destination for all things sports, all things NBA, providing fans with the ultimate sports, entertainment and dining experience.”

Here’s the Toronto Sun with an update on a talented young basketball player:

Canadian point guard Tyler Ennis is leaving Syracuse to enter the NBA draft.

“I’d like to thank Coach (Jim) Boeheim, the coaching staff, my teammates and the amazing fans of Syracuse for the opportunity to play at a great university like Syracuse,” said Ennis, a Brampton native, in a statement Thursday afternoon.

“I feel this experience has helped prepare me to fulfill my lifelong dream — to play in the NBA.”

Ennis, expected to be taken somewhere in the mid-late lottery, averaged 12.9 points, 5.5 assists and 3.4 rebounds in his freshman season, which ended abruptly with a loss to Dayton early in the NCAA tournament in Buffalo.

Atlanta Hawks sign Mike Muscala

Atlanta Hawks sign Mike Muscala

The Atlanta Hawks have signed forward/center Mike Muscala to a contract, it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Danny Ferry.

Prior to signing with the Hawks, Muscala had played the 2013-14 season with Blusens Monbus Obradoiro of the ACB League in Spain. The 6-foot-11, 230-pounder had averages of 14.6 points (seventh in the ACB) on .546 shooting, a league-leading 7.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 26.3 minutes per game through 20 games.  He shot .871 from the free throw line and ranked sixth in the league (17.0) in Performance Index Rating, a Euroleague basketball statistic similar to the NBA’s PER.

“We are really excited that Mike was available to join our team. We’ve closely monitored Mike and his progress throughout the ACB season.  Coach Fernandez and his Obradoiro CAB club did an excellent job with his continued development,” Ferry said. “Due to our current injuries, Mike’s representatives presented the concept of Mike joining us for the remainder of the season. With our roster situation and his strong play, we felt now was a good time to add Mike to our program,” Ferry said.

The Hawks acquired the draft rights to Muscala (44th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft) in a trade with Dallas on June 28, 2013. He will wear No. 31.

A four-year letterman at Bucknell (2009-2013), Muscala (muss-KAL-uh) finished his career first on the school’s all-time scoring list (2,036 points), and second in rebounds (1,093) and blocks (271).  He was named the Patriot League Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, while also garnering First Team All-Patriot League and Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America honors, after averaging 18.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 2.3 assists in 31.7 minutes in 34 games (.509 FG%, .453 3FG%, .789 FT%).  In 133 career games, the 6-11 forward/center tallied 15.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.6 in assists in 28.7 minutes (.501 FG%, .435 3FG%, .819 FT%). Muscala, 22, is a native of St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

Lamar Odom set to play in Spain

Here’s the Los Angeles Times blog with another report on Lamar Odom, who recently agreed on an overseas basketball deal, in Spain:

Lamar Odom set to play in Spain

Former Lakers and Clippers forward Lamar Odom recently signed to play overseas for Spanish team Laboral Kutxa (also known as Saski Baskonia).

On Friday, the team held a news conference welcoming the two-time NBA champion.

“A new beginning,” said Odom of his motivation to joining the Spanish franchise. “A new environment was important for me.”

Odom averaged 13.3 points, 8.4 rebound and 3.7 assists through 14 NBA seasons (six with the Lakers). He played for the Clippers last season, the franchise that originally drafted him in 1999.

“I got to play in the incredible city of L.A. and win championships and play with players like Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, coached by Phil Jackson and Pat Riley [in Miami],” said Odom. “Then sometimes you get to a point in your life where less is more.”

Lamar Odom signs overseas, in Spain

Lamar Odom signs overseas, in Spain

Former Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom has agreed a two-month deal with Spain’s Laboral Kutxa with an option to extend the contract to the end of the season in June, the Basque club said on Tuesday.

Odom, 34, won two NBA championships with the Lakers and also played for Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat. He represented the United States at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and the 2010 world championships in Istanbul.

– Reuters

Laboral Kutxa Vitoria reached an agreement with versatile forward Lamar Odom, who signed a two-month deal with an option to extend it for the remainder of the season, the club announced Tuesday. Odom (2.08 meters, 34 years old) had a long, successful NBA career and is set to make his Turkish Airlines Euroleague debut.

– Euroleague.net

Here’s the Oklahoman with a report on guard Royal Ivey, whose time with the Thunder will reportedly be followed by basketball work in China:

Royal Ivey likely off to play basketball in China

Royal Ivey’s latest stint in the NBA came with an unblemished record. And it will end that way.

During his recent 10-day contract with the Thunder, which expired on Sunday, Ivey received an offer to play in China.

And because of that, the likable but sporadically used Thunder guard will hop overseas for the final month-and-a-half of the Chinese season, rather than signing another 10-day contract with the Thunder.

During Ivey’s 10 days in OKC, he only appeared in two games, playing five minutes and grabbing one rebound. But his arrival coincided with the team’s sudden turnaround. The Thunder went 7-0 with Ivey.

Here’s the Chicago Sun-Times reporting on injured Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, who despite still working to regain health already may have some firm summer plans:

Derrick Rose hopes to play for Team USA this summer

Derrick Rose issued a statement Thursday that he’d like to be ready to play for USA Basketball in this summer’s FIBA World Cup in Spain, and according to a source close to the situation, because Rose is ahead of schedule in his recovery from knee surgery, he will.

‘‘No doubt he will [play],’’ the source said Friday.

Rose tore the meniscus in his right knee on Nov. 22. The Bulls immediately ruled him out for the season.

He started shooting and taking part in two-a-day workouts during the last week, but his status in returning this NBA season hasn’t changed.

This summer will be a different story after he was one of 28 players named for the 2014-16 USA national team pool Thursday.

Dennis Rodman is back in North Korea

Here’s Reuters reporting on the latest Dennis Rodman trip to North Korea:

Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea on Monday with a team of retired professional basketball players to mark the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

This marks Rodman’s fourth trip to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, where he and his team of fellow former National Basketball Association stars will hold basketball games on Kim’s birthday, which is believed to fall on Wednesday, although it has never been officially confirmed.

On previous visits, Rodman spent time dining as a guest of Kim, with whom he says he has a genuine friendship, though he did not meet Kim on his third trip.

Rodman, however, said he will not interfere in the country’s politics.

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