Archive for July 9th, 2009

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have signed first-round draft pick DeMar DeRozan (duh-MAR duh ROSE-ann) from the University of Southern California to his rookie scale contract. He is under contract through the 2010-11 season, with two team option years to follow. The Raptors selected DeRozan with the ninth overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

All NBA first round draft picks are guaranteed a contract should they come to the league, so this is standard.

DeRozan is expected to see his first action as a member of the Raptors during the Las Vegas Summer Pro League presented by EA Sports in Las Vegas, Nevada from July 10-19. The Raptors’ entry will open play Friday, July 10 versus the Los Angeles Lakers.

DeRozan, 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, averaged 13.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in his lone season with the Trojans. He finished second on the team in field goal percentage (.523 – 8th in the Pac-10 Conference). His 485 points ranks third all-time for a USC freshman and his 201 rebounds ranks fourth.

DeRozan earned first-team Pac-10 All Freshman honours and was named Pac-10 Tournament MVP. He had 21 points and career-best 13 rebounds against UCLA in the tournament semifinal and a career-best 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting to lead the Trojans to a win over Arizona State in the tournament final.

As a senior at Compton High School (Compton, California), DeRozan earned first-team Parade All-America honours. He averaged 29.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.0 steals in his senior season leading Compton to consecutive Moore League championships.

The Memphis Grizzlies have renounced their rights to free agents Chris Mihm, Darius Miles and Mike Wilks, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

Mihm, a 7-0, 265-pound center, averaged 2.0 points and 1.9 rebounds in 5.8 minutes in 18 games last season with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Acquired by the Grizzlies along with cash considerations on Feb. 18 in exchange for a 2013 protected second round draft pick, Mihm did not appear in a game with Memphis and underwent successful right ankle surgery on March 3, ending his season.  The eight-year NBA veteran holds career averages of 7.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in 436 games (256 starts) with the Lakers, the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Miles, a 6-9, 235-pound forward, averaged 3.5 points and 1.7 rebounds in 8.8 minutes in 34 games last season with Memphis, who originally signed him as a free agent on Dec. 13, 2008.  The seven-year NBA veteran owns career averages of 10.1 points and 4.9 rebounds in 446 games (190 starts) with the Grizzlies, the Portland Trail Blazers, the Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Wilks, a 5-10, 180-pound guard, was acquired by the Grizzlies on Feb. 19 from the Orlando Magic along with Orlando’s 2009 first round draft pick (DeMarre Carroll, 27th overall), Adonal Foyle and cash considerations as a part of a three-team trade (also including the Houston Rockets) that sent Kyle Lowry and Brian Cook to Houston and Rafer Alston to Orlando.

After signing with the Magic as a free agent on Sept. 25, 2008, Wilks tore his ACL in his right knee in a preseason game on Oct. 16, 2008 and missed the entire regular season.  The seven-year NBA veteran holds career averages of 2.5 points and 1.2 assists in 229 games (11 starts) with the Atlanta Hawks, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Rockets, the San Antonio Spurs, the Cavaliers, the Seattle SuperSonics (twice), the Denver Nuggets and the Washington Wizards.

Per the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, a renounced player no longer counts toward team salary, so teams use renouncement to gain additional cap room. After renouncing a player, the team is still permitted to re-sign such player, but the team must either have enough salary cap room to fit the salary, or sign the player using the Minimum Salary exception. After renouncing a player, a team can still trade the player in a sign-and-trade agreement.

Cleveland Cavaliers sign Anderseon Varejao to multi-year contract

Cleveland Cavaliers forward/center Anderson Varejao has agreed to a multi-year contract with the team, Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry announced today. Per team and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Several media outlets had reported that the deal was going to be for six years and possibly up to or around $50 million total.

Varejao posted career bests in scoring (8.6), field goal percentage (.536), double-doubles (9), minutes per game (28.5) and starts (42) in 81 games played during the 2008-09 season. The 6-foot-11, 260-pounder also averaged 7.2 rebounds and 1.0 assist per game. In his 42 starts, he increased his averages to 9.9 points on .542 shooting and 7.7 rebounds in 32.3 minutes per game.

“We are very happy to announce that we have agreed to a multi-year contract with Anderson.   From the start of free agency, Anderson made it clear he wanted to be a part of our future and that he loved being in Cleveland,” Ferry said.  “For us, we have been one of the better teams in the NBA the past four years. Andy has played an important role with our team during that time and continuity is important to us. He brings many valued contributions to our team on and off the court and plays with relentless passion and energy every play. He is an elite defender and we want to continue building our strong defensive identity.”

During the regular season, he finished second in the NBA in offensive fouls drawn (52). He was also selected as a member of USA Today’s 2009 All-Rambis Team.  Against Chicago on Jan. 2nd, he posted career highs in scoring (26), field goals made (9) and attempted (14) and free throws made (8) and attempted (13). He tied his career best in rebounding with 14 at Toronto on Feb. 18th and went a perfect 8-8 from the field on his way to an 18-point, 12-rebound double-double at Sacramento on March 13th. He scored in double figures on 30 occasions (the Cavs were 25-5 in those games) and topped the 10-rebound mark 15 times on the season.

Four-team trade sends Shawn Marion to Mavericks, Hedo Turkoglu to Raptors

The Orlando Magic have acquired a trade exception and cash considerations from the Toronto Raptors, and cash considerations from the Dallas Mavericks as part of a four-team trade, General Manager Otis Smith announced today.  As part of a sign-and-trade deal, forward Hedo Turkoglu was traded to Toronto.

“This move allows us some potential flexibility in the future,” said Smith. “Hedo was a big part of our success and did a lot for our organization during his five seasons here.  We wish him and his family nothing but the best.”

Also included as parts of the deal - Toronto sends Shawn Marion, Kris Humphries, Nathan Jawai and cash considerations to Dallas, while also sending a future second round draft pick to Memphis; Memphis sends Greg Buckner to Dallas; Dallas sends Jerry Stackhouse and cash considerations to Memphis, while also sending Devean George and Antoine Wright to Toronto.


Orlando Magic get: Trade exception and cash considerations from the Toronto Raptors, and cash considerations from the Dallas Mavericks

Toronto Raptors get: Hedo Turkoglu, Devean George and Antoine Wright

Dallas Mavericks get: Shawn Marion, Kris Humphries, Nathan Jawai and cash considerations, Greg Buckner (from Memphis)

Memphis Grizzlies get: Future second round draft pick from Dallas, Jerry Stackhouse and cash considerations (from Dallas) gets: Love and admiration from all basketball fans.


Marion (6-7, 215) is a 10-year veteran that holds career averages 17.8 points and 9.9 rebounds to go along with 2.0 assists, 1.83 steals, 1.31 blocks and 37.9 minutes in 745 games (730 starts). He has finished the season with a double-double average four times in his career with the most recent being in 2007-08 when he averaged 15.4 points and 10.2 rebounds in 63 games.

Marion has been named All-NBA Third Team two times (2005, 2006) and was a four-time All-Star with the Phoenix Suns (2003, 2005, 2006, 2007). He has appeared in 65 postseason contests averaging 17.1 points, 10.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.52 blocks and 1.49 steals in 40.6 minutes. Marion has advanced to the Western Conference Finals two times and, in his most recent trip, fell to the Mavericks in 2006 as a member of the Suns. He was also a member of the bronze-medal winning Team USA at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

Humphries (6-9, 235) is a former University of Minnesota standout drafted by the Utah Jazz with the 14th overall pick in the 2004 Draft. He holds career averages of 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in 288 games. He averaged 3.9 points and 2.4 rebounds last season before fracturing his right fibula on Jan. 18 vs. Phoenix. Prior to his injury, Humphries was coming off his best year as a pro in 2007-08 when he averaged career highs of 5.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 13.7 minutes in a career-high 70 games.

Jawai (6-10, 280) just completed his rookie season for the Raptors seeing action in six contests. The Australian center scored his first career field goal on Feb. 18 vs. Cleveland. Jawai, the 41st overall pick of the Indiana Pacers in 2008, spent most of last season with the Idaho Stamped of the NBA Development League where he averaged 11.1 points and 6.4 rebounds in 24.0 minutes a game. No stranger to Texas, Jawai played one season of college basketball at Midland (Texas) College in 2006-07 where he averaged 11.4 points and 5.8 rebounds in 23.9 minutes a game.

Buckner (6-4, 210), a 10-year veteran out of Clemson, will be returning to Dallas for a third time. Originally a second-round draft choice of the Mavericks in 1998, Buckner played in Dallas from 1999-2002 before signing with the Philadelphia 76ers as a free agent. The native of Hopkinsville, Ky., returned to the Mavericks in 2006 when he signed as a free agent before getting traded to Minnesota before the start of the 2007-08 campaign. The veteran guard holds career averages of 5.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 570 games.

New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that guard Toney Douglas has been signed to a contract. Douglas was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 29th overall selection before having his draft rights traded to New York in exchange for a 2011 second-round draft pick and cash considerations.

All NBA first round draft picks are guaranteed a contract should they want one, so this signing is standard.

Douglas, 6-1, 225-pounds, averaged 21.5 points for Florida State University in his senior year and was the runner-up for the ACC Player of the Year award. The Tampa, FL-native was an All-ACC First Team selection and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He also led the Seminoles to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998 and to the championship game of the ACC Tournament for the first time in school history.

Douglas is expected to play for the Knicks’ entry in the 2009 NBA Summer League presented by EA Sports in Las Vegas, NV from July 14-19.

The Chicago Bulls announced today the signings of 2009 first round draft picks James Johnson and Taj Gibson.  Per team policy, terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

First round draft picks are guaranteed to receive NBA contracts from the team that selected them, assuming they want to come to the league right away, so this is standard.

Johnson (6-9, 245) was drafted 16th overall by Chicago after spending two seasons at Wake Forest.  In his two seasons with the Demon Deacons, he started 59 of his 61 appearances and averaged 14.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.6 apg and 1.44 bpg.  He also shot .514 from the field and .692 from the free throw line.  As a sophomore, he led Wake Forest in rebounds (8.5 rpg) and field goal percentage (.542) and was second on the team in scoring (15.0 ppg).  Johnson, 22, was named Third-Team All-ACC after both his freshman and sophomore seasons.

Gibson (6-9, 225) was the Bulls’ second selection in NBA Draft 2009 and the 26th pick overall. He played in 105 games over three seasons with Southern California and averaged 12.4 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.41 bpg, 1.5 apg and shot

.580 from the floor. The Second-Team All-Conference and Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year led the Trojans in many categories as a junior in 2008-09, including marks of 9.0 rpg, 2.86 bpg, and .601 field goal shooting.  Gibson, 24, is USC’s all-time leader in shots blocked with 253 (2.41 bpg), and also ranks third all-time in the Pac-10 Conference in blocks.

Both rookies will make their professional debuts when the Bulls open their 2009 NBA Summer League schedule in Las Vegas on July 14 versus Golden State.

Johnson will wear No. 16 and Gibson, No. 22.

The Los Angeles Clippers today signed rookie forward Blake Griffin, the first overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not announced.

This is a standard signing, as all first round draft picks are guaranteed an NBA contract should they decide to actually play in the NBA immediately.

A dominant power forward and a commanding physical presence, Griffin was the consensus National Player of the Year following a sophomore season where he averaged 22.7 points and 14.4 rebounds for the Sooners.

The 20-year old Oklahoma City native dominated college basketball last season, winning every major postseason player of the year award. Griffin led the nation in rebounding (504 rebounds) and double-doubles (30) and helped the Sooners advance to the Elite Eight in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

The 6-foot-10, 251 pound Griffin was named to the All-Big 12 Team as a freshman in 2007-08, and continued to improve last season, finishing second in the nation in field goal percentage (.659) and 11th in scoring (22.7 ppg). Griffin’s 504 rebounds last season was the highest season rebound total in college basketball since Larry Bird grabbed 505 boards in 1978-79.

Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced today that the team has named John Kuester as head coach, signing him to a multi-year contract.  Per club policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“We are pleased to name John Kuester as the head coach of the Detroit Pistons,” said Dumars.  “John brings a wealth of NBA knowledge as a long-time assistant coach, including championship experience as an assistant coach with our club in 2004.  He is a coach that our veteran players know well, and I feel he has the teaching ability to allow our younger players to grow and develop.”

Kuester, 54, has spent over 13 years in the NBA as an assistant coach with six different franchises (Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Jersey, Orlando and Cleveland).  During his tenure as an assistant coach, Kuester has helped guide two teams to the NBA Finals [Philadelphia (2001); Detroit (2004)] and played a major role in helping Cleveland reach the Eastern Conference Finals this past season.

For seven seasons (1990-1997), the Richmond, Virginia native was a member of the Boston Celtics organization, serving as assistant coach his final two years.   He joined Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown in 1997 and helped guide the Philadelphia 76ers to the playoffs in five of his six seasons with the club, including an NBA Finals appearance in 2001.  The North Carolina graduate followed Brown to Detroit where the organization won its third NBA Championship, and then joined the New Jersey Nets staff in 2004-05.  Kuester returned to Philadelphia for the 2005-06 season, landed in Orlando in 2006-07 and has helped mold the offensive philosophies for the Cleveland Cavaliers since August of 2007.

Prior to joining the NBA ranks, Kuester served five seasons as head coach at George Washington University from 1985-1990.  He became the youngest head coach in NCAA Division I college basketball in 1983 when he succeeded Rick Pitino at Boston University.  He was an assistant coach for the Terriers for two seasons prior to his head coaching appointment.

As a collegiate player for four seasons at North Carolina (1973-77) under legendary coach Dean Smith, he helped the Tar Hells win two ACC Championships, make three NCAA Tournament berths and one NIT berth.  As a senior, he was voted as the team’s best defensive player for the second straight season and was named Most Valuable Player of the ACC Tournament and NCAA East Regionals.  That 1977 squad went on to the NCAA Final Four and an appearance in the championship game.

Kuester was selected in the third round (53rd overall) of the 1977 NBA Draft by the Kansas City Kings.  He played three seasons in the NBA, one each with Kansas City, Denver and Indiana.

Indiana Pacers to sign Dahntay Jones

The Indianapolis Star (Mike Wells) reports: The Indiana Pacers have landed their first free agent acquisition of the offseason. The Pacers agreed to a four-year, $11 million deal with Denver Nuggets free agent guard Dahntay Jones late Wednesday night. The fourth year is a player option. “(Pacers president) Larry Bird and (general manager) David Morway contacted me the first night of free agency and expressed a lot of interest in Dahntay,” Jones’ agent, Mark Bartelstein, said. “The Pacers are getting somebody that competes with an edge and is a lockdown defender. He’s going to bring a defensive mind-set to the team.” editor says: Jones could do very well on the Pacers, especially as the starting lineup is thinned by Mike Dunleavy’s continued injury woes.

Atlanta Hawks to re-sign Zaza Pachulia

The AP (Charles Odum) reports: The Atlanta Hawks are making moves to keep together a roster that has made two straight playoff appearances. The Hawks have reached an agreement to re-sign center Zaza Pachulia to a four-year contract, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The person requested anonymity because the deal has not been announced. The agreement with Pachulia, who has been a starter or top backup for four seasons with the Hawks, comes one day after the team agreed to a three-year deal to re-sign starting point guard Mike Bibby.

UPDATE: The Hawks re-signed Mike Bibby and Pachulia.

Basketball blog