Archive for July 8th, 2010

The Miami Heat have landed LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, and they will reportedly soon say goodbye to forward Michael Beasley.

The move will help clear salary cap space for the Heat.

According to Marc Stein of ESPN on Twitter, “Miami has agree to a trade with Minnesota that will send Michael Beasley to the Wolves. Wolves-Heat deal, sources say, calls for ‘Sota to absorb Beasley into cap space and send its 2011 second-round pick to Miami to seal deal.”

Miami has been actively seeking a Beasley trade for a while now, so this comes as no huge surprise. They want as much money as possible to pay their trio of stars, and then will have to fill in the blanks with a supporting cast built mostly from players who will accept the league’s minimum salary depending on their years of service.

Note from InsideHoops.com: This is a real letter from the owner of the Cavs, released to the public the night LeBron James left Cleveland and announced he is joining the Miami Heat:

Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;

As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his “decision” unlike anything ever “witnessed” in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:

“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”

You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our “motivation” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown “chosen one” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn.  And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Sleep well, Cleveland.

Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day….

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:

DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue….

- -

Dan Gilbert

Majority Owner

Cleveland Cavaliers

Following is a statement from Neil Olshey of the Los Angeles Clippers regarding tonight’s decision by LeBron James: “Our goal remains unchanged. We will continue to be exhaustive and use every available resource to assemble an exciting and successful team.  We have a dynamic new head coach who will lead the very talented roster we already have in place. We will use the free agent market to enhance that roster. We expect to compete at a very high level.”

The following statement was issued by Nets Principal Owner Mikhail Prokhorov: “We have a vision of a championship team and need to invest wisely and for the long term.  Fortunately, we have more than one plan to reach success, and, as I have found in all areas of my business, that is key to achieving it.  To Nets fans past, present and future, the goal of making the playoffs this season remains intact and we reiterate our commitment to winning a championship within five years.”

Gar Forman (Chicago Bulls) statement regarding LeBron James: “I remain convinced that this organization made the strongest of bids to acquire LeBron James during this free agency period.  While we’re disappointed he chose to go to another franchise, our strategy for the future competitiveness of this organization did not begin or end with James, and we feel today’s addition of two-time All-Star Carlos Boozer significantly strengthens our team’s already talented roster.  It is our goal to keep exploring every avenue that it may take, whether through trades or free agency, to continue to build this team to compete at a championship level.”

Miami HEAT President Pat Riley and HEAT guard Dwyane Wade released the following statements tonight:

PAT RILEY: “We are thrilled that LeBron James and Chris Bosh have decided to come to Miami to join forces with our truly great player, Dwyane Wade. We are looking forward to the opportunity of building something that our fans in Miami will be proud of for a long, long time. The journey is just beginning.”

DWYANE WADE: “I am thrilled to welcome LeBron James to the HEAT family. I look forward to playing alongside LeBron, Chris Bosh and our teammates, and together representing the great city of Miami. There’s magic in the number 3. This is the beginning of new chapter in HEAT history and very exciting for both fans of the Miami HEAT and the NBA.”

“We believe in this team, this organization, this community, and what we will do to compete at the highest level. We believe in the new coach and leader we have in Byron Scott, and the world class basketball organization and positive and strong culture we’ve established. Dan Gilbert and our ownership group are firmly committed to reaching our goals and succeeding on the court and in the community, at the highest level.”

“Our fans stepped up and showed their support, to a degree unlike anywhere else. We are fortunate to have the support of the best fans in the NBA. That passion and dedication will be rewarded.  We will work relentlessly to continue to build a team that will contend. A team that will win championships.   We are all competitors and our one goal is to win, that and Dan Gilbert and our ownership team’s commitment and investment in this organization and community are constants that will not change.”

LeBron James signs with Miami Heat

LeBron James signing with Miami Heat

LeBron James announced on national television Thursday night that he is signing with the Miami Heat

The free agent NBA superstar forward has spent his entire career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he’s decided to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in South Beach.

It’s a gathering of two superstars in LeBron and Wade and a star in Bosh.

The three know each other’s games quite well and familiar with their strengths and weaknesses.

Thunder sign Kevin Durant to contact extension

The Oklahoma City Thunder have signed forward Kevin Durant to a multi-year extension, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. We’ll post details of the deal later today.

“Today is an exciting and important day in the growth of the Thunder organization,” said Presti. “The mutual and substantial commitment by both Kevin and our ownership group comes by way of aligned values and vision. Kevin’s consistent work ethic, humility, team-first mentality and strong community investment are just some of the reasons that today’s commitments stretch beyond our franchise and throughout our community and the entire state of Oklahoma.”

Durant averaged 30.1 points and 7.6 rebounds, while leading the Thunder to a 27-game improvement during the 2009-10 season. Durant became the youngest player to ever lead the NBA in scoring while shooting 47% from the field and 90.0% from the free throw line. Durant capped-off the season by being named to the All-NBA First Team while finishing second in the league’s MVP voting.

“I am excited to remain a part of the Thunder organization and the Oklahoma City community,” said Durant. “This is a big day for my family and myself. I would like to thank God for putting me in this position, the Thunder for believing in me since I was drafted and my teammates for supporting and encouraging me everyday.”

Durant holds career averages of 25.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals in 37.7 minutes per game during his three seasons with the Thunder. This last season, Durant started all 82 games for Oklahoma City and set a franchise record by scoring 30+ points on 47 occasions. In addition, his 756 made free throws are a franchise-best and the most recorded in a single season since Michael Jordan connected on 833 free throws during the 1986-87 season.

The Seat Pleasant, Maryland native was named 2007 NBA Rookie of the Year after averaging 20.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists while appearing in 80 games (all starts) during his first NBA season. Durant was selected with the second overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft after a stellar season at the University of Texas where he was the consensus National Player of the Year.

The University of Texas product was voted to his first All-Star game during the 2009-10 season and scored 15 points and grabbed five rebounds in 20 minutes of action. Durant also won the NBA’s second annual H-O-R-S-E competition in Dallas during All-Star Weekend.

“Kevin Durant personifies what we are building with the Oklahoma City Thunder,” said Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett. “His dedication to his teammates, to continually working at his game, and to this community is at the core of what we want this organization to represent. We are excited to have the opportunity to continue to watch Kevin evolve as a player and just as thrilled to have someone of his personal character on our team.”

This last season Durant helped lead the Oklahoma City franchise to the playoffs for the first time since the 2004-05 season. During the Thunder’s six-game first round playoff series versus the Los Angeles Lakers, Durant averaged 25.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in his first career postseason appearance.

Bulls trade Kirk Hinrich to Wizards

Bulls trade Kirk Hinrich to Wizards

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has acquired guard Kirk Hinrich, the draft rights of first round pick Kevin Seraphin and cash considerations from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for the rights to Vladimir Veremeenko (a second-round draft pick of the Wizards in 2006).

“We are excited to add Kirk and Kevin to our team, as their acquisition significantly bolsters our roster,” said Grunfeld.  “Kirk will provide another solid veteran presence to our backcourt and bring playoff-tested toughness, defense and leadership.  Kevin is a talented young player with tremendous size and physicality, and we are looking forward to helping him reach his full potential.”

“During this free agency period, we wanted to aggressively position ourselves to explore every avenue possible to improve our team.  That said, it was not an easy decision for us trade Kirk, but one that we felt was necessary in order to make the Chicago Bulls a better basketball team,” said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman.  “Since Kirk joined us back in 2003, he came to play every time he stepped on the court and he always gave 100 percent.  We will miss Kirk and wish him the best of luck.”

Veremeenko (6-10, 230), is a 25-year old native of Gomel, Belarus.  Selected in the second round (48th overall) of the 2006 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards, Veremeenko spent the 2009-10 season with Unics Kazan (Russia-A Superleague).

Seraphin (6-9, 264), was drafted by Chicago in the first round (17th selection) in the 2010 NBA Draft.  The 20-year forward played last season with Cholet Basket in France.

Hinrich, selected by Chicago in the first round (seventh overall) in the 2003 NBA Draft, spent the last seven seasons with the Bulls.  In 514 career games (433 starts) with Chicago, Hinrich averaged 13.4 ppg, 5.8 apg, 3.4 rpg, 1.27 spg, 34.1 mpg and shot .415 from the field, .379 from behind the arc and .809 from the line.  He also played in 34 playoff games with the Bulls and averaged 15.3 ppg, 5.8 apg, 3.7 rpg, 1.41 spg, 35.8 mpg and shot .421 from the field, .405 from downtown and .757 from the line.

Hinrich leaves the Bulls ranking first in team history in three-point field goals made (812), first in three-point field goals attempted (2,144), fourth in assists (3,004), fourth in steals (655), fifth in turnovers (1,116), sixth in three-point field goal percentage (.379), sixth in disqualifications (30), seventh in minutes played (17,502), eighth in points (6,902) and 10th in field goals made (2,510).

Hawks re-sign Joe Johnson

Hawks re-sign Joe Johnson

The Atlanta Hawks have re-signed unrestricted free agent guard Joe Johnson to a contract, according to Executive Vice President/General Manager Rick Sund. An All-Star the last four years, the sharpshooting guard enters his sixth campaign as a Hawk in 2010-11. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed. We’ll post details of the deal later tonight.

“Although I explored several different opportunities this offseason, Atlanta was the place I wanted to be,” Johnson said. “I truly appreciate the commitment shown by the Hawks and the team’s ownership, and their continued efforts to improve the team. Staying in Atlanta provides the best opportunity to win today and in the future. My five years with the Hawks have been the best of my career, and I look forward to my teammates and I trying to reach our ultimate goal together – competing for a championship for the city of Atlanta.”

“Our primary goal entering free agency was to retain Joe, so we’re pleased to have reached an agreement quickly, and are thrilled to welcome him back,” Sund said.  “He made it very clear that he shares our excitement about the future of our club. We were among the final four teams in the Conference each of the last two years, and we think we’re on the verge of making that next step.”

“Joe has been a central part of our team’s improvement over the last five years, and has worked incredibly hard to become a perennial All-Star, and an All-Pro last season,” Sund added. “Joe’s signing illustrates our philosophy of making the commitment to keeping our core together.”

“We’re very excited to have Joe back in Atlanta,” said Hawks head coach Larry Drew. “There were a number of teams interested in signing Joe, and we put our best foot forward to bring him back and continue what we’ve started.”

Last year, Johnson earned an All-Star berth for the fourth consecutive season, and became the first Hawk since Dikembe Mutombo to earn a starting nod (injury replacement) in 1997-98. He led the team in scoring and assists for the fifth straight season, as he averaged 21.3 ppg, 4.9 apg, 4.6 rpg and 1.1 spg in 38.0 mpg (.458 FG%, .369 3FG%, .818 FT%), starting 76 games.

Johnson ranked 11th in the league in ppg, 12th in FGM (635), t26th in apg and t10th in mpg. He led the team in scoring 34 times, in assists 28 times and in rebounds on six occasions.

Johnson has appeared in 699 career games through nine seasons with the Hawks, Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns, averaging 17.6 ppg, 4.5 apg, 4.2 rpg and 1.0 spg in 36.9 mpg (.443 FG%, .373 3FG%, .792 FT%). In his five seasons in Atlanta, those numbers have climbed to 21.7 ppg, 5.5 apg, 4.4 rpg and 1.1 spg (.449 FG%, .369 3FG%, .805 FT%).

He has moved into 2nd place on the Hawks all-time 3FGM list (694), also ranking 1st in Hawks annals in mpg (40.0), 2nd in 3FGA (1,880), 5th in ppg (21.7), 10th in FGM (3,070) and 11th in total points (8,165) and assists (2,083).

Johnson was originally acquired by the Hawks in a sign-and-trade transaction from the Phoenix Suns, in exchange for Boris Diaw and two conditional draft picks, on August 19, 2005. He was selected by Boston in the first round (10th overall) of the 2001 NBA Draft.

The Atlanta Hawks have announced today that Head Coach Larry Drew has named several members to his coaching staff for the 2010-11 season.  Lester Conner will be the newest name amongst the bunch, as Bob Bender, Tyrone Hill and Greg Ballard return for the Hawks.

Conner, Bender and Hill will coach the Hawks in the Las Vegas Summer League which begins this weekend, with Atlanta taking on Memphis in their first game Monday, July 12 at 9:30 p.m. (ET).

Conner comes to Atlanta from Indiana where he spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach for the Pacers.  It was Conner’s third different stint with Pacer coach Jim O’Brien, whom he previously worked for with the Boston Celtics (assistant coach, 2001-04) and Philadelphia 76ers (associate head coach, 2004-05).

This upcoming season will be his 13th on the sidelines, as Conner began his NBA coaching career in 1998 as an assistant to Rick Pitino in 1998 with the Celtics, and has included two seasons as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks.  He has also served as a scout for the Miami Heat and an assistant coach for the Magic Johnson All-Stars.

A 13-year pro, Conner was a first round pick of the Golden State Warriors in 1982.  The 14th selection overall, the well-traveled guard spent four seasons with the Warriors before seeing action with Houston, two different stints with both New Jersey and Milwaukee, the LA Clippers and Indiana before concluding his career with the LA Lakers.  He also earned a championship as a member of the CBA’s (Continental Basketball Association) Rapid City Thrillers in 1986-87.

Bender just completed his sixth season with Atlanta and his ninth overall with an NBA team.  He joined the Hawks following two years as an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers, and prior to that position; Bender was the head coach at the University of Washington where he spent nine seasons.  He coached the Huskies to four consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament (1996-1999), and in 1996, he was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year.

This season will mark Hill’s fourth with the club and second as an assistant coach.  He spent his first two years as a volunteer coach working with the team’s big men.  The 6-9 Hill played for five NBA teams during his 14-year career and was originally selected in the first round (11th overall) in the 1990 Draft by the Golden State Warriors.

Returning as an advance scout, Ballard owns 15 years of NBA scouting and coaching experience and this will be his seventh in Atlanta.  The former NBA forward played 10 seasons for Washington and Golden State, and in 1978, helped the Bullets (now Wizards) to the NBA Championship.

Bucks sign rookie Larry Sanders

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed first round draft pick Larry Sanders to a multi-year contract, General Manager John Hammond announced today. Sanders, a 6-11, 235-pound forward, was the 15th overall selection in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Sanders played three seasons for Virginia Commonwealth University, and averaged 10.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots per game while shooting 52.0 percent from the field over his college career. He was named the Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore and a junior and helped the Rams compile a 75-27 record during his three years at VCU, including two regular season CAA titles and one postseason CAA crown.

As a junior, Sanders averaged career highs in points (14.4), rebounds (9.1) and field goal percentage (52.0) as he ranked among the top five in the CAA in those three categories, along with blocks (2.6 per game).

Sanders will play for the Bucks in the 2010 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. The Bucks have a five-game schedule, which begins Monday, July 12, at 7 p.m. (CT) against Dallas.

Bulls sign Carlos Boozer

Bulls sign Carlos Boozer

The Chicago Bulls announced today the team has signed free agent forward Carlos Boozer.  In accordance with team policy, terms of the contract were not announced. We’ll post details about the deal later today.

“We are very happy to have Carlos join the Bulls.  We are confident that his skill set, toughness and leadership are all qualities that make him a great fit for the Bulls, and he will add a low-post element to our team that we have been searching for,” said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman.  “Post players, with the skills that Carlos possesses, are at a premium in the NBA and we believe that we have landed one of the best big men in the NBA.”

Boozer (6-9, 260) joins the Bulls following a successful six-season run with the Utah Jazz.  With the Jazz last season, Boozer played in 78 games (all starts) and averaged 19.5 ppg (20th in the NBA), 11.2 rpg (fifth), 3.2 apg, 1.08 bpg, 34.3 mpg and shot a career-high .562 from the field (sixth) and .742 from the free throw line.  The eight-year veteran posted 55 double-doubles (third), including 29 contests with 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds.  He also was one of 10 players in the NBA last season who averaged a double-double.

“I am extremely excited about coming to Chicago and joining the Bulls,” said Boozer.  “I am really looking forward to being a part of this organization, and I am eager to start working with my new teammates.  I feel we have the talent here to begin competing for a title and I cannot wait to get started.”

For his career, the 28-year old power forward has played in 510 regular season contests (469 starts) and owns averages of 17.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg (2.7 OR), 2.5 apg, 0.97 spg, and shot .541 from the field and .728 from the line in 32.7 mpg.  In his eight seasons in the NBA, his teams have advanced to the playoffs six times, where he has appeared in 44 postseason games (44 starts) and averaged 20.3 ppg, 12.5 rpg and 2.8 apg in 38.2 mpg, and shot .503 from the field and .707 from the line.

A two-time NBA All-Star (2007, 2008), Boozer was originally drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round (35th overall) of the 2002 NBA Draft.  He played two seasons in Cleveland before signing with the Jazz as a restricted free agent on July 30, 2004.

Born in Aschaffenburg, Germany, and raised in Juneau, Ala., Boozer enjoyed a three-year career at Duke University where he was a starter for the Blue Devils 2001 NCAA Championship team.  More recently, he earned a gold medal with Team USA at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and he was also a member of Team USA’s Senior National Team in 2004 that won a bronze medal in Athens.

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have signed centre Solomon Alabi (all-AH-bee). Per team policy, financial terms of the deals were not disclosed. The Raptors acquired the draft rights to Alabi (50th overall selection) from the Dallas Mavericks on June 24 for a 2013 conditional second-round pick and cash considerations.

Alabi, 7-foot-1, 250 pounds, was named All-ACC Defensive Team in his two full seasons at FSU. He started all 67 games, leading the Seminoles to the NCAA Tournament twice and the ACC Tournament Championship Game as a redshirt freshman. He averaged a school record 2.1 blocked shots per game for his career. He also shot .534 per cent from the field in his two-plus seasons with the Seminoles.

A native of Nigeria, Alabi averaged a team-best 11.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 32 games in 2009-10 campaign. He scored in double figures 18 times, including a career-high 22 points twice, in back-to-back games against Georgia State and Auburn. He also blocked a career-best seven shots against Boston College.

As a redshirt freshman in 2008-09, Alabi averaged 8.4 points and team bests of 5.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. He had a season-best 17 points with nine rebounds versus Clemson and rejected a season-high six shots against Charleston Southern.

Alabi played nine games as a freshman in 2007-08 before being sidelined with a stress fracture in his leg.

New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that the team has acquired the draft rights to center Jerome Jordan from Milwaukee in exchange for cash considerations. Jordan was selected by Milwaukee in the second round (44th overall) of the 2010 NBA Draft. He is expected to play for the team’s entry in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, NV. Per team policy, the financial terms were not disclosed.

Jordan, 7-0, 253-pounds, played four seasons at the University of Tulsa, averaging 11.3 points on .567 shooting from the field, and 7.4 rebounds and 2.50 blocks in 133 games (119 starts). He was selected to the Conference USA All-Defensive Team each of the last three seasons and earned Second Team All-Conference USA honors as a senior after averaging 15.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.34 blocks in 35 games (all starts). He is the only player in Conference USA history to record at least 800 rebounds and 300 blocks, and is the all-time Conference USA and Tulsa leader in blocked shots. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica and moved to the United States as a high school junior.

The Sacramento Kings today signed rookie center-forward Hassan Whiteside to a contract, it was announced by Kings’ President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. Whiteside was Sacramento’s second round selection (33rd overall) of the 2010 NBA Draft out of Marshall University as an undergraduate.

Whiteside, an early entry candidate, was the 2010 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year after averaging 13.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, and a Division I leading 5.35 blocks per game in 34 contests for Marshall. The 7-0, 235-pound center set school records for most blocks in a season and career with 182, the fourth highest season total in Division I history and the second most by a freshman. He led the nation in triple-doubles with three.

Whiteside also garnered the following honors: AP Honorable Mention All-American, Sporting News Second Team freshman All-American, Second Team All Conference USA, Conference USA All-Freshman Team and All-Defensive Team, Second Team NABC All-District 11.

Whiteside becomes just the second player from Marshall drafted by the Kings. Current New York Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni was selected by the Kings in the second round of the 1973 NBA Draft.

The New Orleans Hornets finalized a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder this morning that sent the rights to Cole Aldrich and guard Morris Peterson in exchange for the rights to Craig Brackins and Quincy Pondexter.

“The concept that we liked was the idea of being able to add two young players in the draft,” said General Manager Jeff Bower. “By getting two picks, we had the opportunity to add two different types of players like Craig and Quincy. It continues our pursuit to strengthen our team and gives us two experienced college players who had great careers at their respected school.”

Brackins, the 21st overall pick in the draft, averaged a team-high 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists as a junior last season for Iowa State. Craig was named to the All-Big 12 First Team as a sophomore and the All-Big 12 Second Team as a junior. The 6-10, 230 pound forward started every game during his three-year career for the Cyclones.

Pondexter, the 26th overall pick in the draft, finished third in the Pac-10 in scoring (19.3 ppg) and rebounds (7.4 rpg) for Washington his senior season. Quincy was named All-Pac-10 First Team and Pac-10 All-Tournament Team his senior season and set a Pac-10 record with five player-of-the-week honors his final season for the Huskies. The 6-6, 225 pound guard/forward finished his career as Washington’s all-time career leader in games played (136) and finished third in scoring (1,786 points).

New Orleans originally selected Kansas’ Aldrich at the 11th slot. An early entry candidate for the 2010 Draft, Aldrich averaged 11.3 points and 9.8 rebounds as a junior, registering 15 double-doubles for the Jayhawks.

Peterson holds career averages of 10.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 27.4 minutes in 707 games (487 starts) with Toronto and New Orleans. Last season he played in 43 games (39 starts) for the Hornets, averaging 7.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 21.2 minutes per game.

Both players will be part of the Hornets’ entry in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and are expected to participate in this evening’s practice.  The Hornets will play their first summer league game Friday, July 9 vs. Golden State.

Linas Kleiza signs Toronto offer sheet

Linas Kleiza signs Toronto offer sheet

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have signed restricted free-agent forward Linas Kleiza (LYNN-as CLAY-za) to an offer sheet. Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed. We’ll post contract details tonight.

The Denver Nuggets are expected to receive the offer sheet Friday. Under the terms of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, beginning Saturday they will have seven days to match the Raptors’ offer.

Kleiza played last season in Greece with Olympiakos after four seasons (2005-09) with the Nuggets. He averaged 14.0 points and 5.1 rebounds in 31 regular season games with Olympiakos. He shot .596 from the field, .374 from three-point range and .800 from the foul line.

In 22 Euroleague outings, Kleiza contributed 17.1 points and 6.5 rebounds. In the regular season he finished second in the Euroleague in scoring at 19.7 points per contest. He led Olympiakos to the Euroleague Championship game in Paris.

Kleiza averaged 8.3 points and 3.5 rebounds in 301 career games with Denver. He saw action in 26 postseason games, where he averaged 6.4 points and 3.2 rebounds. He averaged 14.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in the 2008 NBA Playoffs.

Kleiza, 6-foot-8, 245 pounds, was born in Lithuanian, attended high school in Maryland and played collegiately at the University of Missouri. He was selected 27th overall by Portland in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft.

Raptors re-sign Amir Johnson

Raptors re-sign Amir Johnson

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have re-signed free-agent forward Amir Johnson. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Johnson, 6-foot-9, 210 pounds, averaged career highs in points (6.2), rebounds (4.8) and minutes (17.7) while appearing in a career-best 82 games in the 2009-10 season. He upped his averages to 17.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 33.0 minutes during five games in a starting role. He also recorded a franchise single-season record by shooting .623 from the field (min. 200 shots).

Johnson scored in double-figures 21 times and posted double-digit totals on the glass on five occasions in his first season with the Raptors. He set a career high with 26 points April 12 at Detroit and grabbed a season-best 13 rebounds, including a career-high nine defensive boards, April 9 at Atlanta.

Johnson was acquired from Milwaukee with guard-forward Sonny Weems on August 18, 2009 after spending his previous four seasons in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons.

In 2008-09, Johnson averaged 3.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 14.7 minutes in 62 games. In 24 games as a starter, he averaged 4.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.04 blocks in 19.6 minutes. He recorded 17 games with two or more blocks shots and led the Pistons in field goal percentage at .595. He had a career-high 14 rebounds versus Sacramento on January 2, 2009.

The 23-year-old was selected out of Westchester (Los Angeles) High School by the Pistons in the second round of the 2005 NBA Draft.

Suns re-sign Channing Frye

Suns re-sign Channing Frye

The Phoenix Suns have re-signed center Channing Frye to a five-year contract, the club announced today. We’ll post contract details later today.

“Channing’s ability to shoot and spread the floor was instrumental in our success last season, and it was very important for us to bring him back,” said Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry. “But more than just what he adds on the court, Channing is a great teammate, a high-character individual, and a willing ambassador in our community.  He embodies all the things we look for in a Phoenix Sun.”

Frye’s new contract keeps him in his hometown where last season he added lethal long-range shooting ability to his game and became one of the league’s most improved players.  The 27-year-old Frye averaged 11.2 points in his first season with the Suns in 2009-10, his highest scoring average since his rookie campaign in 2005-06 (12.3).  The 6-11 center scored 20 or more points 11 times, establishing a new single-season career-high.

A five-year NBA veteran, Frye registered the largest increase in three-point field goals made from one season to the next in NBA history, racking up a team-leading and career-high 172 three-pointers, the fourth-most in the league in 2009-10, a season after making a total of 11 threes in 63 games in 2008-09 (minimum 50 games played).  Frye’s 172 threes were the most made by a center in NBA history, and he set the mark while developing into one of the league’s most efficient shooters, making a career-high 43.9 percent from three-point range, sixth-best in the NBA last season.

Originally selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft by New York, the University of Arizona product spent his first two career seasons with the Knicks before being acquired by the Portland Trail Blazers along with Steve Francis in exchange for Zach Randolph, Freddy Jones and Dan Dickau in 2007.  The Suns became Frye’s third NBA team when he signed as an unrestricted free agent on July 14, 2009.

A graduate of Phoenix St. Mary’s High School, Frye became the first boys’ basketball player in the school’s history to have his jersey retired in a ceremony last January.  The Arizona Republic’s high school Player of the Year in 2001, that season Frye led his school to a 5A State Championship, a title won on the Suns’ home floor at US Airways Center.

Grizzlies re-sign Rudy Gay

Grizzlies re-sign Rudy Gay

The Memphis Grizzlies have re-signed forward Rudy Gay to a multi-year contract, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.  Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. We’ll post contract details this afternoon.

“It’s a great day for the Grizzlies franchise to re-sign Rudy Gay,” Wallace said.  “Rudy has been a cornerstone of our team for the past four seasons and was one of the top stars in perhaps the greatest free agent class in NBA history.  We’re very excited for him to continue his professional career in the city of Memphis.”

Gay, a 6-8, 230-pound forward, ranked second in scoring (19.6 points, T-18th in the NBA) while setting career highs in field goal percentage (.466), steals (1.48) and minutes (39.7, 3rd) for a Grizzlies team that was the second-most improved team in the NBA last season behind the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Currently Memphis’ longest-tenured player, the four-year NBA veteran holds career averages of 17.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.25 steals in 35.3 minutes in 318 career games (282 starts), all with the Grizzlies.  The Grizzlies’ third all-time leading scorer (5,538 points), Gay also ranks in the Top 10 in franchise history in rebounds (1,756, 8th), field goals made (2,118, 3rd), three-point field goals made (337, 4th), steals (398, 3rd), minutes (11,223, 6th), games played (8th) and games started (4th).

“I’m grateful to the Grizzlies organization for giving me the opportunity to continue my NBA career in Memphis,” Gay said.  “We really got some momentum going last year under Coach (Lionel) Hollins, and I hope our fans are as excited as I am to see us build on that, continue to improve and achieve our goals for seasons to come. I embrace the opportunity to continually evolve in this leadership role – on and off the court.”

A member of the 2010-12 Team USA Men’s National Team Program, Gay has proven to be one of the NBA’s top young scorers over his career.  Last season, the 23-year-old ranked fourth in the league in scoring average behind Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Chicago’s Derrick Rose and Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans among players age 23 or younger.  The Baltimore, Md. native is one of five NBA players including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Andre Iguodala with at least 4,500 total points (4,692) and 300 total steals (327) over the last three seasons.

Memphis acquired Gay’s draft rights (eighth overall in the 2006 NBA Draft) along with Stromile Swift from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Shane Battier on July 12, 2006.  In his final season at the University of Connecticut, Gay was named a 2005-06 First-Team All-American by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and was one of four finalists for the Naismith National Player of the Year Award as a sophomore.

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