Hornets add to basketball operations staff

The New Orleans Hornets announced the hiring of Strength Coach Carlos Daniel, Video Coordinator Adam Tatalovich and the promotion of Mark Cranston to Head Athletic Trainer.

Cranston, who has served the past four seasons as the Director of Athlete Performance and Rehabilitation, takes over the role of Head Athletic Trainer for the Hornets. He is a licensed physical therapist and is certified by the National Athletic Trainers Association as an athletic trainer. In addition, he has professional credentials from the National Strength Coaches Association as a certified strength coach, as well as the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a performance enhancement specialist. He has an extensive resume that covers 29 years of physical therapy and athletic training practice. He was awarded the 1992 Nuprin Comeback Award for the rehabilitation of Olympic gold-medalist Shannon Miller and received the 1995 Distinguished Alumni award from Wichita State University Department of Physical Health. Prior to joining the Hornets, Cranston was a clinical director of sports medicine, physical therapy and athletic training in Oklahoma City. He has a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from Wichita State University and a masters of public health from the University of Oklahoma.

Daniel comes to the Hornets from the San Antonio Spurs where he served on the strength and conditioning staff for the 2009-10 season. Prior to San Antonio, Daniel was the Performance Trainer and Basketball Director for the Forza Fitness and Performance Club in Denver. Daniel is a ISSA and NASE certified trainer and is a NASM performance enhancement specialist. During the 2006-07 season, Daniel was an assistant coach at the University of Northern Colorado. A 1998 graduate of Washington State University, Daniel was a standout basketball player for the Cougars, garnering first team Pac-10 All-Academic honors each of his four seasons and capturing the first team Arthur Ashe Academic All-American honor twice. The Boulder, Colorado native finished in WSU’s top 10 in blocks (second), rebounds (sixth), field goal percentage (seventh), minutes played (eighth), points (ninth) and field goals (ninth). He garnered first team All-Pac 10 honors his senior season after averaging 16.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. The WSU graduate went on to play professionally in the CBA, IBL, as well as internationally in Japan, Israel, Australia and France. Daniel last played in 2004-05 with the Yakima Sun Kings, when he was selected to the CBA All-Star Game.

Tatalovich comes to New Orleans after spending the past four seasons with the Chicago Bulls, the last three as head video coordinator. In Chicago, Adam served under coaches Scott Skiles and Vinny Del Negro. Prior to Chicago, Adam worked at Attack Athletics under Tim Grover, working with college and professional players in the offseason. The Hobart, Indiana native spent the 2005-06 season at the University of Dayton where he served as a graduate assistant under coach Brian Gregory. Tatalovich graduated from Indiana University where he served as a student manager for the men’s basketball program.

OKC Thunder restructure front office

Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced today a restructuring of the Thunder Basketball Operations department.

The Thunder promoted Troy Weaver to VP/Assistant General Manager, Rob Hennigan to Assistant General Manager/Player Personnel, Paul Rivers to Director of Minor League Operations and Basketball Technology and Brandon Barnett to Director of Minor League Scouting and Manager of Minor League Operations. The team added Michael Winger as Assistant General Manager/Legal and Administration and David Vanterpool as Pro Scout.

“We are pleased to continue to promote from within our organization while also bringing in new people who will enhance and compliment our current staff” said Presti. “The promotions for Troy, Rob, Paul and Brandon are well deserved. They are selfless workers who are extremely committed to our organization.” Presti added, “We are fortunate to have the opportunity to also add people such as Michael and David to our team; both will enhance our organization and help us grow in a positive direction.”

Weaver, who enters his third season with the Thunder organization, spent the previous two seasons as Assistant General Manager focusing on roster development and day-to-day basketball operations. Weaver joined the Thunder after spending four seasons in the Utah Jazz front office. The Maryland native began his career as a coach and spent nine seasons as a collegiate coach with Syracuse University, University of New Mexico and University of Pittsburgh before moving to the NBA.

Hennigan spent the previous two seasons as the Thunder’s Director, of College/International Player Personnel where he focused on NBA Draft preparation and assisted on the day-to-day operations of the Thunder’s front office. Prior to joining the Thunder, from 2004-2001, Hennigan spent four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs working his way from basketball operations intern  to Director of Basketball Operations.

Rivers enters his fourth season with the Thunder. He served as the Director of Basketball Administration and Technology for the past three seasons. Rivers joined the Thunder after serving as a video coordinator with the Detroit Pistons (2005-07) and the San Antonio Spurs (2004-05). He spent two years working for head Coach Tom Izzo as a member of Michigan State University’s basketball program. Rivers will oversee the operations for the Thunder’s Minor League affiliate in Tulsa.

Barnett joined the Thunder in 2008 as the team’s Manager of Minor League Operations and oversees the day-to-day operations of the Tulsa 66ers. Prior to joining the Thunder, Barnett spent two seasons at the NBA league office in New York. Barnett will oversee Minor League Scouting Operations in his new role.

Winger joins the Thunder from the Cleveland Cavaliers where he served as Director of Basketball Operations & Team Counsel.  He enjoyed five seasons with the Cavaliers in various front office capacities, working on all matters within basketball operations. Winger will focus on player contract negotiations and drafting, salary cap management, as well as other basketball legal and administrative duties.

Vanterpool joins the Thunder from CSKA in Moscow, Russia where he was most recently an assistant coach for the European power. Vanterpool enjoyed a 14-year playing career in the US and Europe, most recently with CSKA where he helped lead the team to the Russian Championship and the Russian Cup in both 2005-06 and 2006-07. He was a member of the 2006 Euroleague Championship team. The 6-4 guard, who played 27 games with the Washington Wizards during the 2000-01 season, also played professionally in Italy and China. Vanterpool will focus on Professional Scouting in the United States and Overseas.

Canadian basketball is growing

Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun reports:

No matter what transpires over the next few days for the Canadian senior national team here on the coast of the Aegean Sea, this summer will be looked back on as one of the best Canadian basketball has ever enjoyed.

And while the senior men’s national team haven’t had a lot to do with that good feeling, strides there have been made too.

In fact, Canada’s growth in international basketball has been surpassed by only two countries over the past five years according to a points system FIBA uses to track these things.

“With the success this summer, particularly with that bronze medal by the Cadet (Under 17) team, we now rank third in FIBA points of all the 213 FIBA countries in world age group championships since 2005/2006,” said Wayne Parrish, the Executive Director and CEO of Canada Basketball who is in Izmir with the senior men’s team. “The only ones ahead of us are USA, which dominates, and Australia which is slightly ahead of us. I think that is a good indication of where we are going.”

Suns sign Dwayne Jones

Suns sign Dwayne Jones

The Phoenix Suns today announced that the club has signed forward/center Dwayne Jones.  Jones was traded by the Suns along with Leandro Barbosa to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Hedo Turkoglu on July 14, and was waived by the Raptors on August 16.

Originally signed by Phoenix on April 5, 2010, Jones saw action in two regular season games and two playoff contests for the Suns.  The 6-11, 250-pound Jones spent the 2009-10 season with the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League before Phoenix made him the league’s 34th GATORADE Call-Up last year.

The 2009-10 D-League rebounding leader averaged 17.6 points (18th) and a league-best 16.0 rebounds in 40.0 minutes in 48 games (48 starts) for the Toros.  Jones averaged four rebounds more than any other D-Leaguer and led the league with 43 double-doubles, 15 more than the nearest player.  His 59.8-percent field goal percentage ranked third-best.

A D-League standout, the St. Joseph’s (PA) product also has NBA experience after spending parts of each of the last five seasons with the Suns, Charlotte Bobcats (2008-09), Cleveland Cavaliers (2006-07, 2007-08) and Boston Celtics (2005-06).  His longest NBA stint came in 2007-08 with the Cavs where he saw action in 56 regular season games, averaging 1.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 8.4 minutes.  Jones also earned postseason experience after seeing action in five games with Cleveland in the 2008 NBA Playoffs.

Jones owns career D-League averages of 14.7 points, 13.7 rebounds and 35.4 minutes in 110 games (106 starts) with the Florida Flame (2005-06), Albuquerque Thunderbirds (2006-07), Iowa Energy (2008-09), Idaho Stampede (2008-09) and Austin Toros (2008-09, 2009-10).

The Arizona Republic reports:

The Suns took little risk in bringing back Jones. The structure of the one-year deal pays him a small amount to come to training camp and another small portion if he makes the opening night roster. The Suns would have the ability to waive him at no extended cost all the way up until the January date that contracts become guaranteed.

They like Jones, enough to carry a 14th player on the roster (13 is the minimum) now that they are under the luxury tax threshold. But not so much that they would not scoop up another more attractive big man should one come available. Like many teams, the Suns had some interest in Erick Dampier if Charlotte intended on waiving him but the Bobcats now are looking for a trade.

Heat sign second-round rookie Da’Sean Butler

The Miami Heat announced today that they have signed second-round draft selection Da’Sean Butler. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Butler, a 6’7”, 230-pound forward, played all four seasons at West Virginia University appearing in 146 games (110 starts) and averaged 14.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.06 steals while shooting 44.8 percent from the field, 35.3 percent from three-point range and 73.3 percent from the foul line. He finished his collegiate career as the winningest player in school history having totaled 107 wins while also scoring 2,095 points, the third most in school history, behind only Jerry West and Rod Hundley. Butler also ranks among the school’s all-time leaders in double-figure scoring games (1st, 108), field goals made (3rd, 741), three-point field goals made (4th, 205), free throws made (5th, 408), rebounds (11th, 800) and steals (12th, 154).

Butler was selected by the Heat with the 42nd pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Chris Bosh gets engaged

The New York Post reports:

Miami Heat superstar Chris Bosh is set to marry girlfriend Adrienne Williams. The giant $100M NBA player proposed to petite Williams in Miami on Friday, after dating her for a year. A source told Page Six: “Chris proposed to Adrienne outside their new home in Miami at sunset. They then went out and celebrated with friends at Liv Nightclub, where Adrienne was seen showing off a huge diamond ring. They are both really happy.”

InsideHoops.com editor says: Heck of a good summer for Bosh. He gets to play with a few decent teammates in Miami, gets engaged, runs around partaking in more fun events than ever. The guy probably has a permanent smile on his face lately.

Talk with other fans on the world famous InsideHoops basketball forum.

Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh poses for photographers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, July 28, 2010.   REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL BUSINESS)

NBA stars, celebs bowl for charity in NYC tonight

NBA stars Al Harrington (Denver Nuggets) and Dahntay Jones (Indiana Pacers) have teamed up to host their First Annual Celebrity Charity Bowling Event, Friday, August 27, at Lucky Strike in Manhattan, New York from 8:00 p.m.- 1:00 a.m.

Jones and Harrington will host an event that will bring together top NBA, NFL, and MLB players along with entertainment notables to bowl for a cause. All proceeds from the event will equally be distributed amongst the Dahntay Jones Foundation and the Al Harrington Foundation. Information on each charity can be requested.

The star studded event will have sounds on the turn-tables from New York’s very own, DJ Clue, as confirmed guests Devin Harris, CC Sabathia, Wilson Chandler, Carlos Beltran, Solomon Jones, Justin Tuck, Darrelle Revis, Braylon Edwards, Speedy Claxton, Stephen Jackson, Troy Murphy, Sebastian Telfair, Anthony Morrow, Tyronn Lue, Allan Houston, John Starks, Amare Stoudemire, Ben Gordon, Earl Watson, Tracy McGrady, Michael Strahan, Kelenna Azubuike, Leon Washington, Herb Williams, Toney Douglas, Howard Eisley, Juelz Santana, and Cappie Pondexter-all come together for a, fun-filled, competitive night of bowling to benefit at risk communities across the nation.

InsideHoops.com will be at the event. You can be there too! Tickets are available. Please visit www.ckstrategies.eventbrite.com/ for more information regarding specific event details as well as VIP and general admission ticket sales.

Knicks sign Patrick Ewing, Jr

Knicks sign Patrick Ewing, Jr

New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that forward Patrick Ewing, Jr. has been signed as a free agent. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

It may or may not be a guaranteed deal, in which case it’s no sure thing he gets to stick around for too long. We’ll update this blog entry later today.

Ewing, 6-8, 240-pounds, averaged 4.8 points over 11.3 minutes in four games for the Knicks entry at the 2010 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, NV, and also averaged 11.3 points over 27.3 minutes for Orlando’s entry at the 2010 Orlando Pro Summer League. Originally selected by Sacramento in the second round (43rd overall) of 2008 NBA Draft out of Georgetown University, Ewing’s rights were first acquired by Houston on Aug. 14, 2008 and then by New York on Aug. 29, 2008. He spent the 2008-09 season with the Reno Bighorns of the NBA D-League, but missed the entire 2009-10 season due to injury.

The roster stands at 15.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Pat Jr isn’t an impact player, but can contribute hustle for a few minutes per game, then tell cool stories about stuff his dad used to do.

MILWAUKEE - MARCH 1: Patrick Ewing, Jr. #33 of the Georgetown Hoyas puts up a shot over Dwight Burke #12 of the Marquette Golden Eagles at the Bradley Center March 1, 2008 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Georgetown defeated Marquette 70-68 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Nuggets hire Masai Ujiri as Executive VP of Basketball Operations

The Denver Nuggets announced today that Masai Ujiri [ma-SIGH u-JEER-e] has been named Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations.

Ujiri spent the previous three seasons with the Toronto Raptors, most recently holding the position of Assistant General Manager, Player Personnel. In that capacity, his duties included overseeing the Raptors scouting and personnel departments, talent assessment and related data management. He joined Toronto in 2007 as its Director of Global Scouting.

Ujiri is no stranger to Denver. He was a member of the Nuggets’ organization from 2003-07, serving in various capacities, including Director of International Scouting during the 2006-07 season. He began his NBA career with the Orlando Magic, serving as an international scout in 2002-03.

“We are very pleased to welcome Masai back to Denver” said Josh Kroenke, senior KSE and Nuggets’ official. “He brings a diverse basketball background and a unique perspective that will be valuable to our organization. He is respected in basketball circles throughout the world.”

A native of Nigeria, Ujiri is well connected in the international basketball scene. After playing collegiately at Bismarck State College and Montana State, he played professionally in Europe for six seasons, including stops in Belgium, Germany, England, Greece, and Finland. He has scouted all over the world, including Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. He has also managed and coached the junior and senior national teams of Nigeria.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to return to the organization where I experienced so much of my personal and professional growth in the NBA,” said Ujiri. “I am very thankful to the Kroenkes for this opportunity.”

Along with former Nuggets great Dikembe Mutombo, Ujiri has been one of the foremost advocates for the growth of the game of basketball throughout Africa. He founded the Giants of Africa Foundation seven years ago, which launched Top 50 and Bigman camps in his homeland. He also has served as Director for the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program each of the past eight years.

NBA suspends Brandon Rush, Kenny Hasbrouck and Tyreke Evans

Brandon Rush of the Indiana Pacers, Kenny Hasbrouck of the Miami Heat and Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings have each been suspended for their actions in separate incidents, the NBA announced today.

Rush has been suspended without pay for five games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program.

Hasbrouck has been suspended without pay for two games for pleading guilty to driving while intoxicated, in violation of the law of the State of New York.

Evans has been suspended without pay for one game for pleading no contest to reckless driving, in violation of the law of the State of California.

Each players’ suspension will begin with the first game of the NBA regular season for which he is eligible and physically able to play.