Lakers sign second round rookie Devin Ebanks

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed forward Devin Ebanks, it was announced today.  Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released.

Selected by the Lakers with the 43rd pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Ebanks, a 20 year-old early entry candidate out of West Virginia University, played two seasons for the Mountaineers, averaging 11.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 69 games.  Named to the Big East All-Rookie and All-Tournament team as a freshman and selected All-Big East Third Team as a sophomore, the 6’9” forward posted 16 career double-doubles at West Virginia and led the team in rebounding during each of his two seasons.

Additionally, Ebanks started all five games for the Lakers 2010 Summer League entry in Las Vegas, averaging 15.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 33.3 minutes.

Knicks sign second round rookie Andy Rautins

New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that the team has signed guard Andy Rautins, the 38th overall selection in the 2010 NBA Draft, to a player contract. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Rautins, 6-4, 194-pounds, played four seasons at Syracuse University and averaged 12.1 points and 4.9 assists as a senior in 2009-10. He finished his collegiate career ranked second on the school’s all-time list for three-point field goals made (282) and attempted (754). He also became the 53rd Syracuse player to score at least 1,000 career points (1,121). In 2010 NBA Summer League play in Las Vegas, Rautins averaged 5.8 points, 1.4 assists and 23.9 minutes in five games as a member of the Knicks entry.

Trail Blazers hire Bill Branch and Steve Rosenberry as assistant general managers

The Portland Trail Blazers have hired Bill Branch and Steve Rosenberry to become the team’s assistant general managers, it was announced today by General Manager Rich Cho.

Branch’s responsibilities will center on NBA talent along with Director of NBA Scouting Michael Born, while Rosenberry and Director of College Scouting Chad Buchanan will focus on the college ranks.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with both Bill and Steve and have always been impressed by their tremendous basketball acumen, work ethic and character,” said Cho. “I am thrilled to have them join me, Chad and Mike as part of our front office staff.”

Branch, 44, joins the Trail Blazers from Oklahoma City, where he worked alongside Cho for the past three seasons as the team’s director of pro player personnel. A 23-year NBA veteran, Branch worked for the Denver Nuggets from 1997-2007, first as an advance scout and for the last five years of his tenure as assistant coach and director of scouting. Branch spent the previous 10 years on the Charlotte Hornets’ basketball operations staff, from 1987-97.

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work for a team with such a rich tradition, great fan base and talented staff,” said Branch. “I look forward to doing everything I can to contribute and help the Trail Blazers move forward and build upon some great pieces.”

Also a veteran NBA talent evaluator, Rosenberry most recently served as director of pro personnel/college scouting with the Atlanta Hawks from 2008-10. Rosenberry, 55, got his NBA start with Seattle in 1985 and worked for six seasons there as a scout before joining the Charlotte Hornets in a similar capacity from 1991-94. Rosenberry returned to Seattle in 1994 and spent the next 13 seasons there until 2007, most recently serving as director of scouting. Before joining the Hawks in 2008, Rosenberry spent the 2007-08 season as a consultant with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Rosenberry played two seasons for the Lancaster Red Roses of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) from 1978-80. He then spent two years in Europe with the McGregor Power All-Stars before pursuing a basketball management career in the NBA.

“I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with Rich, and while I have tremendous respect for him as a basketball person, he’s been a great friend throughout the years,” said Rosenberry. “It’s exciting to be a part of an organization with a storied history and winning tradition such as Portland’s.”

Branch and Rosenberry will start on the job next week in preparation for the 2010-11 season.

Read fan reaction and discuss your own opinion in this forum topic.

Sixers name Rod Thorn team president

The Philadelphia 76ers today named Rod Thorn, an NBA veteran of more than four decades, as the team’s new President. Ed Stefanski, who had served as the team’s President and General Manager since December 4, 2007, will continue in his role as General Manager.

“Rod is one of the most respected basketball minds in the game today,” said Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider. “When we learned that he would not be re-signing with the Nets, we realized that this would be a terrific opportunity to bring one of the top executives in the NBA to the Sixers to work closely with Ed Stefanski. I’m really pleased to be adding him to our organization. I’m confident that Rod will be a tremendous asset for our team and I’m really looking forward to working with him.”

“We felt with the direction we are now heading that it was important for us to have two very strong basketball minds leading the Philadelphia 76ers,” said Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko. “We are building a strong organization and we’re off to a terrific start with the addition of Coach Doug Collins, the best available coach, and Evan Turner, who we feel was the best available player in the draft. Now we have added another top-level executive to help lead us into the future.”

“This is a great opportunity to join one of the most-storied franchises in the NBA,” said Thorn. “I look forward to once again working with Ed Stefanski and helping Ed Snider and Peter Luukko build a championship team here in Philadelphia.”

Thorn, the 2001-02 NBA Executive of the Year, spent the past 10 seasons as President of the New Jersey Nets, joining them on June 27, 2000. During his tenure in East Rutherford, the Nets won the Eastern Conference in 2002 and 2003 and captured four Atlantic Division titles in five seasons.

Thorn engineered two major deals the final week in June of 2001, trading the Nets first pick in the 2001 NBA Draft (Eddie Griffin-7th overall) to the Houston Rockets for their three first round picks (Richard Jefferson-13, Jason Collins-18, and Brandon Armstrong-23). The next day he negotiated a major six-player blockbuster trade with the Phoenix Suns that landed the Nets three-time First Team All-NBA guard Jason Kidd in exchange for Stephon Marbury.

Stefanski was Thorn’s General Manager in New Jersey for nine seasons and was instrumental in the 2004 blockbuster transaction that brought All-Star Vince Carter to the Nets in exchange for Eric Williams, Aaron Williams, Alonzo Mourning and two first-round draft picks.

Prior to joining the Nets, Thorn spent 14 years working for the NBA’s league office in Manhattan, where he was the NBA’s Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations. At the NBA office, Thorn oversaw all-on court operations, including officiating, game conduct and discipline.

During seven seasons as General Manager of the Chicago Bulls (1978-1985), Thorn selected Michael Jordan in the 1984 NBA draft and actually coached the team for 30 games in 1982.

Thorn was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets as the second overall pick in 1963. After playing one season in Baltimore, Thorn spent a season and a half in both Detroit and St. Louis before finishing his career in Seattle. He was an assistant coach of the Nets in 1973 when the Nets were in the ABA, helping lead the team to their first-ever ABA Championship. Two years later, Thorn became head coach of the ABA’s Spirits of St.  Louis. In 1976, Thorn was named an assistant coach with the Nets when they moved into the NBA.

Thorn graduated from the University of Washington (Seattle) with a B.A. in political science. He also holds an honorary degree from West Virginia University. He served on the Board of Directors of West Virginia University for five years.

Isiah Thomas will not return to work for Knicks

Statement by Isiah Thomas on Knicks contract:

“After speaking with Commissioner Stern and Knicks executives, it has become apparent that my new agreement violates certain NBA bylaws. Because of this, I have decided to rescind my contract with the team. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Jim Dolan, Donnie Walsh, Mike D’Antoni and the entire Knicks organization, and I want to thank them for affording me this opportunity.

“One of the biggest regrets of my life is that the Knicks didn’t perform up to the standards the fans had every right to expect while I was in charge. I take full responsibility for that. I was very much looking forward to this unique opportunity to help the organization do what I do best: find basketball talent. I wish the team nothing but success in the future.”

National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern issued the following statement Wednesday:

“We have been informed by the Knicks that Isiah Thomas has rescinded his consulting agreement with the team. As a result, it is not necessary for the league to take any formal action on the proposed arrangement. However, we have reminded the Knicks of NBA rules that prohibit team personnel, including consultants, from having contact with players not eligible for the draft.”

The following statement was released today by Madison Square Garden Executive Chairman, James L. Dolan:

“Although I’m disappointed that Isiah will not be working with the Knicks as a consultant, I continue to believe in his basketball knowledge, including his ability to judge talent. He’s a good friend of mine and of the organization and I will continue to solicit his views. He will always have strong ties to me and the team. We wish him continued success at FIU. I also believe Donnie Walsh has done a terrific job since joining the Knicks and my tremendous respect for him has only grown since he’s joined the organization. I’m confident that the work that Donnie, Coach Mike D’Antoni and their staffs have done this summer has the team poised for long-term success.” says:
It’s a victory for the Knicks that Isiah Thomas is not back in the mix. Even if Isiah has learned from his past, we just want him to move on to a brighter future in a new situation. Knicks fans also didn’t want him back. And, we really have to wonder if Dolan noticed that literally every single media outlet in the entire world who wrote about the situation thought that bringing Isiah back was the wrong move.

Raptors trade Marco Belinelli to Hornets for Julian Wright

Raptors trade Marco Belinelli to Hornets for Julian Wright

The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday they have acquired forward Julian Wright from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for guard Marco Belinelli.

Wright, 6-foot-8, 225 pounds, was the 13th overall selection by the Hornets in the 2007 NBA Draft. He has played in 179 career games, making 34 starts. He scored a career-high 20 points on March 7 in both the 2008 and 2009 seasons. He grabbed a career-best 14 rebounds as part of his first career double-double (11 points) March 27, 2007 at New York.

“This move should help balance the roster and alleviate some of the redundancy we have with our guards,” said Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo. “Julian is another young athletic player that will add depth at the small forward position.”

Wright appeared in a career-best 68 games with 14 starts last season, shooting .500 (116-232) from the field. He started 14 of 16 games in March 2009, averaging 8.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 23.6 minutes. He owns career averages of 4.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 12.7 minutes. He has seen action in 15 postseason games with New Orleans.

An early entry draft candidate after two seasons at the University of Kansas, Wright was a collegiate standout leading the Jayhawks to the conference championship in the 2006 and 2007 campaigns. He was an All-Big 12 First Team choice as a sophomore averaging 12.0 points and 7.8 rebounds. He averaged 8.5 points and 4.6 rebounds as a freshman enroute to a Big 12 All-Freshman Team selection.

Wright won the prestigious Mr. Basketball of Illinois award as a high school senior in 2005. He is part of an impressive list of 15 players since 1981 that have captured the honour and played in the NBA, highlighted by Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls) and Kevin Garnett (Boston Celtics).

Belinelli was acquired from Golden State on July 30, 2009 for forward Devean George and cash considerations. He averaged 7.1 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 66 games in his lone season with the Raptors.

April 12, 2010: Toronto Raptors' Marco Belinelli (0) during the NBA basketball game between the Toronto Raptors and Detroit Piston at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan.