Archive for July 1st, 2010

Cavaliers hire Byron Scott as head coach

The Cleveland Cavaliers have named 26-year NBA veteran Byron Scott as the team’s new head coach, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant announced today from Quicken Loans Arena, in downtown Cleveland.

Coach Scott, 49, played in the NBA for 14-years, primarily with the Los Angeles Lakers where he participated in winning three championships in 11 seasons with the team. After retiring from the NBA, Coach Scott played one season overseas (1997-98), winning a championship for Pananthinaikos in Greece.

He then went on to coach 12 seasons in the NBA, 10 of them as a head coach.  After two seasons (1998-2000) in Sacramento as an assistant to Kings’ Head Coach Rick Adelman, Byron was named head coach of the New Jersey Nets where he led the franchise to back-to-back Eastern Conference Championships and back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in his 2nd and 3rd seasons as the Nets’ head coach.

Coach Scott has the 8th highest career playoff game appearances as a player and head coach combined in NBA history and is within 15 more playoff game appearances from moving to ranking 4th in NBA history. In addition, Coach Scott’s .579% winning career playoff percentage is the 4th highest among all current NBA head coaches. trailing only Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich and Stan Van Gundy.

“Byron’s combination of high-level success and depth of experience, both as a head coach and as a player, is a tremendous asset for our organization. He is a strong leader with a proven track record of winning in both the regular season and the playoffs. We’re confident Coach Scott will positively impact the strong culture we have put in place here in Cleveland over the past five years.” said Cavs General Manager Chris Grant. “We’re very excited for Coach Scott to get started. His experience and leadership will be a critical element in our drive to achieve the franchise’s ultimate goal.”

After four seasons with New Jersey, Coach Scott was hired by the New Orleans Hornets where he improved the Hornets by 38 wins, from a lowly 18 victories in 2004-05 to a 56-win campaign just three years later in 2007-08.  This win total is the New Orleans’ franchise record and earned Coach Scott the Red Auerbach trophy as the 2007-08 NBA Coach of the Year.  Coach Scott also led the Hornets to an appearance in the Western Conference Semifinals that same season, as well as leading the Western Conference All-Star Team as its head coach in the NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans where, ironically, the west lost to the eastern conference, and its All-Star Game MVP, LeBron James.

In his second year with the Hornets during the 2005-06 season, Coach Scott guided the Hornets to a 38-44 record, an NBA best 20-game win improvement from his first season in New Orleans, despite Hurricane Katrina displacing the team from its hometown and forcing the Hornets to play in four different home arenas throughout the 2005-06 campaign. Coach Scott followed the 2007-08 effort by leading the Hornets to 49 regular season wins and back to the playoffs in 2008-09.

Prior to his stint in New Orleans, Coach Scott led the New Jersey Nets to the most successful run in franchise history. In his first season in 2000-01, he spearheaded rebuilding a New Jersey team with a 26-56 record before guiding them to a franchise-high and Eastern Conference best 52-30 record followed by the Nets’ first-ever trip to the NBA Finals in 2001-02.  The 26-win improvement marked the sixth-largest year-to-year improvement in NBA history and the team also won its first Atlantic Division title in franchise history. Scott also earned head coaching honors for the 2002 Eastern Conference All-Stars. (Coach Scott is one of just six coaches to earn the honor for both conferences)

The following season (2002-03) he guided the Nets back to the NBA Finals after winning a second consecutive Atlantic Division title.

“I want to thank Chris Grant and Dan Gilbert and the entire ownership group for this great opportunity. In meeting with Dan and Chris I could tell they have a solid team and family approach to everything and that really impressed me,” said the Cavaliers’ new skipper, Byron Scott.  “The deeper we got into these discussions, the better I felt about the situation. This is a great job and an impressive organization and I am very happy to be a part of it. Everything about it just felt like a really good fit for both me and the team. I am anxious to get going and to build on the success the Cavaliers have experienced in recent years.”

Prior to his successful coaching career, the Inglewood, California native enjoyed an outstanding NBA playing career. Selected 4th overall in the first round of the 1983 NBA Draft, by the San Diego Clippers, Scott played 14 seasons with three different teams (the Lakers, Indiana Pacers and Vancouver Grizzlies), winning three NBA titles with the Lakers in 1985, 1987 and 1988 as a key starter on the Lakers famed ‘Showtime’ era teams.

In 1,073 games (717 starts), the 6-foot-4 guard averaged 14.1 points on .482 shooting, 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 28.1 minutes per game. In 183 postseason games (122 starts), he posted career playoff averages of 13.4 points on .482 shooting, 2.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 29.3 minutes per game. Coach Scott has been a consistent winner as both a player and a coach. In his 14-year playing career, Scott experienced 12 winning seasons and his team reached the playoffs in 13 of those 14 seasons.

The Cavaliers new head coach attended Arizona State, where he finished his career as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,752 points. As a senior, he was named First Team All-Pac 10 after averaging 21.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

Off the court, Coach Scott’s non-profit organization, The Byron Scott Children’s Fund, has raised more than $6 million dollars over the past decade, with the proceeds going to various children’s charities.

Utah Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor announced today that the team has signed forwards Gordon Hayward, the ninth overall selection, and Jeremy Evans, the 55th overall selection, in the 2010 NBA Draft.  Per team policy, financial terms were not released. They are rookies and therefore are signed to NBA rookie scale contracts. NBA first round picks are guaranteed a contract, but second rounders (which Evans is) are not.

Hayward and Evans are expected to participate in the Jazz’s mini-camp in preparation for the 2010 Orlando Pro Summer League.  Camp is being held at RDV SportsPlex in Maitland, Fla., and will run through Sunday, July 4.  Hayward and Evans will then make their professional debuts when the Jazz opens its Orlando Pro Summer League schedule vs. Charlotte at 11 a.m. MT on July 5.

In the 2009-10 season, Hayward, a 6-8, 207-pound forward, was named the Horizon League Player of the Year after leading Butler to its first ever NCAA Final Four and the 2010 National Championship Game. The 20-year-old sophomore posted 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds in that game, a 61-59 loss to Duke. Prior to the Final Four, Hayward posted game-highs of 22 points and nine rebounds in a win over Kansas State in the championship game of the West Regional, hosted at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City.

Hayward was chosen to the 2010 Final Four All-Tournament Team, selected as the Most Outstanding Player of the West Regional and was named a finalist for the Naismith Trophy. He ranked in the top five in the Horizon League in scoring (15.5 points) and rebounding (8.2 rebounds) and led the league in double-doubles with 12. As a freshman, he was named the Horizon League Newcomer of the Year and named to the Foxsports.com National All-Freshman Team after averaging 13.1 points and 6.5 rebounds a game.

In the 2009-10 season, Evans, a 6-9, 196-pound forward, appeared in 34 games (all starts) for the Hilltoppers, averaging 10.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. He led the Sun Belt Conference in field goal percentage (64.9) his senior season and leaves Western Kentucky as the school’s all-time field goal percentage leader at .693. He also finished his four-year WKU career as the school’s all-time leader in blocked shots (224).

The 22-year-old became just the second player in WKU history with 1,000 points, 750 rebounds and 200 blocks and was honored with the Danny Rumph Outstanding Teammate Award. As a sophomore, he was named the Most Valuable Player of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, following his averages of 13.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game while shooting 78.9 percent (15-of-19) from the floor.

Grizzlies waive Lester Hudson

Grizzlies waive Lester Hudson

The Memphis Grizzlies have waived guard Lester Hudson, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

“We wanted to give Lester an opportunity to hook up with another team at the start of free agency,” Wallace said.  “Unfortunately, with the draft day additions of guards Xavier Henry and Greivis Vasquez, it would have been difficult for Lester to get minutes in our backcourt.  We wish him the best.”

The 6-3, 190-pound guard averaged 2.3 points and 0.7 rebounds in 5.2 minutes in 25 games as a rookie last season with the Boston Celtics and the Grizzlies.  The 25-year-old Memphis native posted 4.0 points and 1.1 rebounds in 6.8 minutes in nine games for the Grizzlies, who claimed Hudson off waivers on Jan. 8, 2010 after he was released by the Celtics on Jan. 6.

Hudson, who was assigned to the NBA Development League’s Dakota Wizards and Maine Red Claws last season, was selected by Boston with the 58th overall pick in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft.

Phil Jackson will return to coach Lakers in 2010-11

Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson has decided to return to coach the team for the 2010-11 season, it was announced today.

“Count me in,” said Jackson.  “After a couple weeks of deliberation, it is time to get back to the challenge of putting together a team that can defend its title in the 2010-11 season.  It’ll be the last stand for me, and I hope a grand one.”

Jackson, who most recently guided the Lakers to the 2010 NBA Championship, their second in a row, has won five titles as head coach of the Lakers.  Overall, Jackson has guided his teams to eleven NBA Championships, the most of any coach in NBA history.

A member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Jackson established a new Lakers franchise record for regular season victories earlier this year, earning his 534th career victory with a win over the Charlotte Hornets on February 3.  The fastest coach to 1,000 career victories, his total of 1,098 regular season wins ranks him fifth all-time while his .705 winning percentage is the best in league history.  Additionally, Jackson ranks first all-time in NBA postseason history with a .697 winning percentage (225-98).  His 225 playoff victories are also the highest postseason win total for any head coach in league history.

“We’re extremely pleased that Phil has decided to return,” said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak. “With this most recent championship, we’ve now won five titles in the ten years he’s been our head coach and have been to the Finals in seven of those ten years, which is amazing. He’s not only the best coach for this team, but quite simply the best coach in the history of the NBA.”

Grizzlies will re-sign Rudy Gay

Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports:

Grizzlies will re-sign Rudy Gay

The Memphis Grizzlies and restricted free-agent Rudy Gay have agreed in principle on a five-year contract, The Commercial Appeal has learned.

Multiple NBA sources indicated that Gay will sign the deal on or soon after July 8 when teams are allowed to finalize contracts.

Gay’s starting salary will be the maximum allowed a player with his experience – projected to be roughly $13.3 million – according to sources.

Gay, 23, was supposed to visit the Minnesota Timberwolves this afternoon but canceled the trip. The 6-8 forward will not visit any potential suitors.

Timberwolves will keep Darko Milicic

Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:

Timberwolves will keep Darko Milicic

Less than 12 hours after the NBA’s free agency began, the Wolves followed last night’s agreement with European prospect Nikola Pekovic by agreeing to terms with Darko Milicic on  a contract.

ESPN.com’s Chad Ford is reporting a four-year, $20 million deal, with the final year partially guaranteed.

Darko’s agent, Marc Cornstein, called his client “extremely excited this is in place.”

“Darko wanted to be there,” Cornstein said. “He felt like this is home from the moment he got there. Kurt Rambis has been fantastic for him. He’s resurrected his career. He has genuine belief in Darko as a player and a person.”

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that Head Coach Doug Collins has named his coaching staff for the upcoming season.  Michael Curry will serve as associate head coach while Brian James and Quin Snyder have been added as assistant coaches.  In addition, Aaron McKie will return in his role as an assistant coach.  Collins was named head coach of the Sixers back on May 21, 2010.

James and McKie will coach the Sixers in the Orlando Pro Summer League which begins on Monday, July 5.

Curry last served as head coach of the Detroit Pistons in 2008-09, taking the team to the playoffs in his only season at the helm.  He played 11 seasons in the NBA and spent four years as President of the NBA Players Association.  Curry was also an assistant coach for the Pistons in 2007-08, the NBA Development League’s Vice President of Player Development in 2005-06 and the NBA Vice President of Basketball Operations in 2006-07.

Following his senior season at Georgia Southern in 1989-90, Curry went undrafted and would not make his NBA debut until a brief 10-game stint with the Sixers at the start of the 1993-94 season.  It wasn’t until he joined the Collins-coached Pistons during the 1995-96 season that Curry began to carve his niche in the league.

James owns 11 years of NBA coaching experience, including four as a lead assistant.  He most recently served as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks for three seasons from 2005-06 through 2007-08.  Since then, James has done advance scouting for numerous NBA teams.

In addition to Milwaukee, James has held coaching positions with Washington (2001-03), Toronto (1998-2001) and Detroit (1995-98).  His stints with the Wizards and Pistons came as a member of Collins’ staff.

Snyder joins the Sixers staff following a successful three-year run as head coach of the Austin Toros in the NBA D-League.  He compiled a winning percentage of .627 with the Toros and led the team past the first round of the playoffs each year, including an appearance in the championship game his first season.  Snyder earned the D-League’s Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year award in 2008-09.

Prior to his time with the Toros, Snyder coached the University of Missouri for seven seasons, posting a mark of 128-96 (.571).  Under Snyder, the Tigers made six consecutive post season appearances, including four trips to the NCAA Tournament and a berth in the Elite Eight.  Snyder played his collegiate career at Duke and was part of three Final Four teams (1986, 1988, 1989).

McKie recently completed his third season as an assistant coach with Philadelphia and has exhibited a strong influence in the development of the Sixers roster.  The local product played 13 seasons in the NBA, highlighted by a trip to the Finals with Philly in 2001.  He was also named Sixth Man of the Year that season.

Cavaliers to hire Byron Scott as coach

Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports:

Cavaliers to hire Byron Scott as coach

When Byron Scott went to bed Tuesday night he was convinced he was not going to be the Cavaliers head coach. About 24 hours later he was agreeing to take the job. It will become official today.

After an overnight negotiating session, sources said, Scott reached an agreement in principle on a three-year contract to take over the Cavs on the same day that LeBron James became a free agent. The deal is expected to be finalized and announced by the Cavs today.

Scott took the job while on a trip with family to Arkansas and limited cell phone range actually slowed down the process late Wednesday.

Nets sign Ben Uzoh and Brian Zoubek

The New Jersey Nets have signed free agents Ben Uzoh and Brian Zoubek, Nets President Rod Thorn announced today.  InsideHoops.com assumes these deals are not guaranteed deals and only for summer league play. In other words, they likely are not “real” contracts that extend into the regular season.

Uzoh, 6’3”/205, was undrafted out of Tulsa.  The four-year senior guard averaged 13.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.1 steals in 141 career games, including 140 starts.  Uzoh was named First Team All-Conference USA as a senior and Second Team All-Conference USA as a junior and sophomore.  The Texas native shares the school record for career games played with 141, while ranking in the top 10 in school history in 11 categories, including points, assists, steals, rebounds and blocks.

Zoubek, 7’1”/260, is an undrafted rookie center out of Duke.  As a senior, Zoubek played in all 40 contests, helping the Blue Devils capture a National Championship while averaging 5.6 points and 7.7 rebounds on .638 (90-141) shooting from the field.  For his career, the New Jersey native averaged 4.2 points and 4.5 rebounds in 133 games, which included started in 37 contests.

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