Archive for June 24th, 2011

Recording 22 points and eight rebounds, Aaron Gordon (Archbishop Mitty H.S. / San Jose, Calif.) led the way as the 2011 USA Basketball Men’s U16 (under 16) National Team (4-0) conquered Canada (2-2) 113-70 in medal semifinal action at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship on Friday night at Poliforum Benito Juarez in Cancun, Mexico.

With the victory, the U.S. not only advanced to the gold medal game, in which it will have a rematch with Argentina (3-1), but qualified for the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship. Argentina defeated Puerto Rico (3-1) 96-90 in the other semifinal and Canada will face Puerto Rico for the bronze medal. The gold medal game will be streamed live online on June 25 at 9:00 p.m. (EDT) at www.fibaamericas.com.

Every healthy member of the U.S. team scored no less than five points apiece and five were in double digits. In addition to Gordon, who also had four assists, three blocked shots and three steals, Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young H.S. / Chicago, Ill.) had 16 points, Theo Pinson (Oakridge Military Academy / Greensboro, N.C.) netted 15, Justin Jackson (Home School Christian Youth Association / Houston, Texas) notched 14 and Kendrick Nunn (Simeon H.S. / Chicago, Ill.) chipped in 10 points. Further, Tyus Jones (Apple Valley H.S. / Apple Valley, Minn.) and Larry Austin (Lanphier H.S. / Springfield, Ill.) dished out eight and seven of the USA’s 30 assists, respectively.

“We talked about this being a crucial game for us, because it automatically qualifies us for the U17 World Championship,” said USA U16 National Team head coach Don Showalter (Mid-Prairie High School, Iowa). “We respect Canada a lot. They’re coached very well, they’ve always given us good games the last two years. They took third in the world last year at the U17s and we certainly didn’t take them lightly. I thought our kids were really, really focused coming out of the locker room.”

Utilizing its near-perfect pressure defense, the USA ran out to a 10-0 run to start the game and by the time the first quarter expired, the U.S. was on top 31-7.  In that span, Gordon, who had been in foul trouble much of the USA’s first three games and did not get whistled for a single infraction tonight, had 14 points.

“We knew there was a lot on the line, this qualified us for the (U17) World Championship,” said Gordon. “We had a lot of energy, we pumped ourselves up in the locker room. We got each other motivated. It was all good teamwork.

The red, white and blue kept Canada at bay with about a 20-point differential throughout most of the second period. With 3:49 to play before the break, however, the USA reeled off nine unanswered points and the lead ballooned to 56-21. By the midway point the U.S. had the game well in hand, 63-38.

The USA eased up in the second half, winning the third quarter 29-16 before cruising in for the eventual win.

“I’ve not played on a team (that plays defense) like this,” said Pinson. “We preach defense in my high school team, but we don’t preach it like this team. We knew we have to win with defense.”

toronto raptors

The Toronto Raptors announced Friday they have exercised team options on the Rookie Scale Contracts of guard-forward DeMar DeRozan and forwards James Johnson and Ed Davis. The club picked up the fourth year team options for DeRozan and Johnson and the third year option for Davis. The contracts for all players are now guaranteed through the 2012-13 season. In accordance with the league’s collective bargaining agreement, the Raptors had until October 31 to exercise their option on the three players. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

DeRozan, 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, was the ninth overall pick by Toronto in the 2009 NBA Draft. In his two seasons with the Raptors he has averaged 13.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 28.4 minutes in 159 games (147 starts).

Last season DeRozan was the only Raptor to appear in and start all 82 games. He ranked second on the team in scoring (17.2) and third among all sophomores. He had the biggest scoring increase among all sophomores and third in the NBA (8.6 to 17.2).

Johnson, 6-foot-9, 245 pounds, joined the Raptors on February 22 from Chicago for a 2011 first-round draft pick. He averaged 9.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 25 games (all starts) with the Raptors. He had a season-high 18 points and a team-high six assists April 10 versus New Jersey. He set a career high with 10 rebounds March 30 versus Milwaukee.

Davis, 6-foot-9, 235 pounds, was the 13th overall pick by Toronto in the 2010 NBA Draft. He averaged 7.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 24.6 minutes in 65 appearances in the 2010-11 season. He led the team with 13 double-doubles and tied for the team lead with 17 games of 10 or more rebounds. He ranked first in the NBA among rookies in field goal percentage (.576), fourth in rebounds (7.1) and third in blocks (1.03). His field goal percentage set a franchise rookie record.

marc gasol

The Memphis Grizzlies extended a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Marc Gasol, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

Gasol, a 7-1, 265-pound center, posted 15.0 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.15 blocks and helped lead the Grizzlies through a 13-game playoff run that included a first-round upset over the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs and a seven-game series with the Oklahoma City Thunder.  The 26-year old finished second in rebounds per game and third in blocks per game during the playoffs.

During the 2010-11 regular season, Gasol averaged 11.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and a career-high 2.5 assists while leading the Grizzlies in blocks (1.68) and field goal percentage (.527) in 31.9 minutes in 81 games (all starts).

The Barcelona, Spain native holds career averages of 12.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.44 blocks in 32.7 minutes in 232 games (225 starts) over three seasons in Memphis after his draft rights (48th overall in the 2007 NBA Draft) were acquired in a package from the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for older brother Pau Gasol on Feb. 1, 2008.  The Grizzlies originally signed Marc on July 9, 2008.

Extending a qualifying offer prior to the June 30 deadline gives Memphis the ability to match any offer sheet a player signs with another team during the offseason.

timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves last night completed five trades during the 2011 NBA Draft. After selecting Arizona’s Derrick Williams with the second overall pick, Minnesota completed the following transactions:

- Acquired Brad Miller, the draft rights to Nikola Mirotic (23rd overall pick) and Chandler Parsons (38th overall pick), and a future first-round pick from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Jonny Flynn, the draft rights to Donatas Motiejunas (20th overall pick) and a future second-round pick.

- Sent the draft rights to Mirotic to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for the draft rights to Norris Cole (28th overall pick) and Malcolm Lee (43rd overall pick), and cash considerations.

- Sent the draft rights to Cole to the Miami Heat in exchange for the draft rights to Bojan Bogdanovic (31st overall pick), a future second-round pick and cash considerations.

- Sent the draft rights to Bogdanovic to the New Jersey Nets in exchange for a future second-round pick and cash considerations.

- Sent the draft rights to Parsons back to Houston in exchange for cash considerations.

Additionally, one subsequent trade between Minnesota and Portland is still pending and is contingent upon a trade Portland made earlier in the draft.

Miller, a 7-0 center/forward from Purdue, has played 13 seasons in the NBA during stints with Charlotte, Chicago, Indiana, Sacramento and Houston. An All-Star in both 2003 and 2004, Miller is one of just five players in NBA history to make an All-Star team despite going undrafted, joining Connie Hawkins, Moses Malone, John Starks and Ben Wallace. Miller owns career averages of 11.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 853 career games.

Lee, a 6-5 guard from UCLA, averaged 9.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists over his three-year collegiate career. Lee earned both First Team All-Pac-10 and Pac-10 All-Defensive Team honors this season after averaging a career-best 13.1 points per game.

The New Jersey Nets have acquired the draft rights to the 31st overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft, Bojan Bogdanovic, from the Minnesota Timberwolves, in exchange for the Nets’ 2013 second round pick and cash considerations, Nets General Manager Billy King announced today.  Minnesota acquired the pick in a previous transaction with the Miami Heat.

Bogdanovic, 6′8″/216, averaged 18.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals during the 2010-11 season with Cibona VIP in the Adriatic League.  He shot .452 (146-323) from the field and .745 (117-157) from the line.

InsideHoops.com editor says: I hear Bogdanovic has a legit chance to someday help a team’s bench. Whichever team finally decides to stop trading him, that is.

The Chicago Bulls acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves the 23rd pick (Nikola Mirotic, Montenegro) of the 2011 NBA Draft.  In exchange, the Bulls conveyed the 28th pick (Norris Cole, Cleveland State) and 43rd pick (Malcolm Lee, UCLA) of the Draft, as well as cash.  Minnesota had acquired the 23rd pick from the Houston Rockets in an earlier Draft-related trade.

Nikola Mirotic (KNEE-coh-lah ME-row-titch), a 6-10, 220-pound forward, spent the 2010-11 season with Real Madrid’s senior team.  The 20-year old native of Podgorica, Montenegro appeared in 27 contests, and averaged 7.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg and 0.60 spg in 16.1 mpg, and he shot .415 from behind the arc.  An early-entry candidate for the 2011 NBA Draft, Mirotec played for Joker School Podgorica Academy in his native Montenegro from 2004-06, before he joined Real Madrid’s junior squad in 2006.  Most recently, he was the recipient of the 2010-11 Euroleague Rising Star award for the best player under 23 years of age.

Cole, a 6-2, 170-pound guard, completed his collegiate career as the school leader in games played (140), consecutive starts (105), minutes played (4,114), and third in Cleveland State history in points scored (1,978).  This past season, he was named Horizon League Player of the Year, as well as Defensive Player of the Year, when he posted averages of 21.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 5.3 apg and 2.20 spg.  In four years with the Vikings, he played in 140 games and posted 14.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.50 spg and 29.4 mpg.

Lee, 6-5, 200 pounds, was an early-entry candidate for the 2011 NBA Draft.  As a junior, he earned First Team All-Pac 10 and Pac-10 All-Defensive Team honors.  On the season, he averaged 13.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.0 apg and 33.1 mpg in 33 games.  He appeared in 94 games during his three-year career with the Bruins, and averaged 9.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.0 apg and 26.7 mpg.

The Miami Heat announced today they have acquired the draft rights to guard Norris Cole (28th overall) from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the draft rights to Bojan Bogdanovic (31st overall) and a future second-round draft pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Cole, a 6’2”, 170-pound guard, played all four seasons at Cleveland State University appearing in 140 games (106 starts) and averaged 14.1 points, 3.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 1.48 steals and 29.4 minutes while shooting 43.5 percent from the field, 32.1 percent from three-point range and 82.6 percent from the foul line. He finished his collegiate career as Cleveland State’s all-time leader in games played, consecutive games played (140), consecutive starts (105) and minutes played (4,114). He finished second on the school’s all-time list in wins (90) and free throw percentage, third in points (1,978), free throws made (485), field goal attempts (1,555) and tied for third in assists (455), fourth in free throw attempts (587) and field goals made (677), fifth in three-point field goal attempts (433), sixth in steals (207) and ninth in three-point field goals made (139).

Cole was named as the 2011 Horizon League Player of the Year and the 2011 Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the only player in league history to capture both honors during the same season. He set single-season school records during his senior season in points (780), minutes (1,285), field goal attempts (572), free throws made (227) and free throws attempted (266). Additionally, the five-time Horizon League Player of the Week last season posted just the second 40-20 game in Division I over the last 15 years, scoring 41 points while grabbing 20 rebounds vs. Youngstown State on February 12, 2011.

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports:

Mike Miller

Miami Heat forward Mike Miller is recovering from surgery for a ruptured tendon in his left thumb.

Miller was injured during the latter stages of the regular season, finishing the postseason in protective bracing on his non-shooting hand.

Miller sustained a similar injury to his right thumb during the preseason.

David Aldridge of NBA.com reports:

The Detroit Pistons have expanded their head coaching search by interviewing Orlando Magic assistant coach Patrick Ewing, according to league sources.

Ewing, 49, has long desired to be a head coach, and has decried what he viewed as pigeonholing him as a “big man” assistant, a role he has undertaken while an assistant coach in Houston with Yao Ming and in Orlando with Dwight Howard. Ewing has said that he does a lot more than just work with bigs and is ready to run a team. He badly wanted to get a shot with the Knicks, the team for whom he became a superstar after being taken first overall in the 1985 Draft.

Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports:

David West

With less than one week remaining before a deadline to decide whether to opt out of the final year of his contract, New Orleans Hornets forward David West said Friday he still hasn’t decided to stay or go.

West, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on March 24 and had reconstructive surgery on April 12, can walk away from $7.5 million next season and test the free-agent market. He must decide by June 30.

“I’m going to talk to (the Hornets) later in the day,” West, a two-time All-Star, said Friday morning. “I just want to make sure I make the clearest decision possible as to what the next step in my career will be. I’ll talk to them later, maybe throw some ideas around.

“I never really intended. . . . even before I got hurt, my whole intention was to wait and make sure the decision I made was a clear-headed one.”
West did not indicate which way he was leaning. Conventional thinking, following the injury, was that West would likely choose to remain with the Hornets and play next season – if there is one considering the impending labor unrest – because his value on the open market would have been diminished by the injury.

Mark Heisler of the Los Angeles Times reports:

Lamar Odom

In a rare show of exasperation after a week of seeing his players’ names in headlines, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak zinged an unnamed agent, whose identity was obvious.

“A lot of the stuff you read the last three or four days was agent-driven,” said Kupchak.

“A lot of times agents these days think the way to consummate a trade is to suggest publicly ideas that they come up with and I think that’s part of the problem, as well.”

Kupchak also noted that a “prominent media member” started this, saying they should “blow up” the team.

That was none other than … Magic Johnson, former Lakers icon and part-owner.

The AP reports:

dallas mavericks championship parade cost

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has received a bill for the cost of a parade honoring the NBA champions, which he has pledged to pay out of his own pocket.

City officials determined the cost of the June 16 downtown celebration came to $340,947. City spokesman Frank Librio said Thursday the bill was sent straight to Cuban, who has agreed to pay promptly.

According to the city’s summary sheet, the largest expense, at $270,715, was for the 540-strong police presence.

Chris Sheridan of ESPN New York reports:

The book on Iman Shumpert was that he couldn’t shoot. But when the New York Knicks saw him knocking down shot after shot when they worked him out, they determined the book was outdated.

Outgoing Knicks president Donnie Walsh raved about Shumpert’s shooting ability, his defensive abilities and his 40-inch vertical leap Thursday night after the Knicks took the Georgia Tech combo guard with the 17th pick in the draft, passing over Marshon Brooks of Providence, Chris Singleton of Florida State and Kenneth Faried of Morehead State.

“He shot the ball extremely well. His shot’s not broke. Some guys you see, and you can tell right away they can’t shoot and they’re going to have to learn form. He has good form, he was hitting shots, he can defend very well. Very well. And he’s got tremendously long arms, so I really liked him a lot,” Walsh said.

Walsh said the Knicks had one trade in the works that would have allowed them to move up, but the team they were talking to ended up having the opportunity to draft the player they wanted.

Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports:

Biyombo worked out for the Bobcats just Wednesday in the final audition before the draft. The knock on Biyombo was his offensive limitations, but coach Paul Silas said Wednesday he didn’t think that was as bad as advertised. The Bobcats expect to play Biyombo as both a power forward and a center.

There was some uncertainty Thursday night as to whether Biyombo would have to be bought out from his contract with a Spanish pro team.

“He got into a dispute with his Spanish team. It’s something we’ll address,” Bobcats general manager Rich Cho said of Biyombo’s buyout. “I think he will be here” next season.

The Los Angeles Lakers have sent the draft rights to second round selection (56th overall) Chukwudiebere Maduabum to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for a future second round draft pick, it was announced today.

Maduabum, a 6’9” forward from Nigeria, appeared in three games last season with the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League.

Entering the 2011 NBA Draft, the Lakers held four picks in the second round, selecting Darius Morris (41st overall), Andrew Goudelock (46th overall), Maduabum (56th overall) and Ater Majok (58th overall).

raymond felton

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired guard Raymond Felton from the Denver Nuggets in exchange for guard Andre Miller, while sending Rudy Fernandez and Petteri Koponen’s NBA rights to Dallas as part of a three-team trade. The Trail Blazers selected guard Nolan Smith with the 21st overall pick in the first round, and guard Jon Diebler with the 51st overall pick in the second round.

Portland also acquired the draft rights to Jordan Hamilton (taken 26th overall) and Tanguy Ngombo (taken 57th overall) from Dallas for Fernandez and Koponen. Hamilton’s rights were then sent to Denver as part of the Felton trade and Portland is currently in discussions to trade Ngombo’s rights.

“I want to acknowledge our basketball personnel staff for their hard work and thorough preparation for tonight’s NBA Draft,” said Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen. “I thought it was a very good night for the Portland Trail Blazers and our fans.

“I also want to thank both Andre Miller and Rudy Fernandez for their contributions to the team these past few seasons and wish them all the best for the future.”

Felton, 26, has career averages of 13.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.46 steals in six seasons with Charlotte, New York and Denver.

The North Carolina product averaged career highs in points (15.5), assists (8.3) and steals (1.67) last season while ranking in the NBA’s top-10 in both assists and steals per game.

“When you get two players who have won national championships at the collegiate level, you know you’re bringing in winners,” said acting General Manager Chad Buchanan. “Both Raymond and Nolan are as competitive as it gets, and we’re excited to call them both Trail Blazers.”

Smith, 22, played four seasons at Duke, where he was a member of the 2010 NCAA Championship team and named consensus First Team All-American, ACC Player of the Year and ACC Tournament MVP as a senior in 2011. He posted a career-high 20.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists his senior 2010-11 season.

Diebler, 23, averaged 10.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists while shooting 41.6 percent (374-for-900) from 3-point range in four seasons at Ohio State. He finished his four-year career as the Big Ten’s all-time leader for career 3-pointers.

“We really value Raymond’s leadership on the court and in the locker room,” said Head Coach Nate McMillan. “Not only can he shoot the ball with range, he has an excellent pick-and-roll game.

“Nolan proved he is a team-first player when he stepped in for Kyrie Irving at Duke this year. We really like his up-tempo style and the way he competes on the defensive end of the floor.”

andre miller

Miller, 35, averaged 13.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.27 steals in two seasons with the Trail Blazers. Portland signed Miller as a free agent in 2009.

Fernandez (6-6, 185) is a three-year veteran who was drafted by the Phoenix Suns with the 24th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. His draft rights, along with James Jones, were traded to Portland for cash considerations.

The Palma de Mallorca, Spain native has appeared 218 career games (9 starts) with the Trailblazers and holds career averages of 9.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals in 24.1 minutes per game. As a rookie, Fernandez set an NBA record with 159 three-pointers and competed in the 2009 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest and the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge.

The 26-year-old (4/4/85) shooting guard has seen action in 18 postseason games averaging 5.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists while shooting .423 from behind-the-arc. Six of those postseason games came against the Mavericks in the opening round of the 2011 Playoffs.

Koponen (6-4, 195) is a native of Helsinki, Finland and was originally the 30th overall selection of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. Portland acquired the rights Koponen from Philadelphia for the 42nd pick, Derrick Byars, and cash considerations.

Koponen spent the 2010-11 season playing for Solar Bologna in Italy. He competed in 33 games and averaged 12.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

“We could not be happier with the additions of Rudy Fernandez and Petteri Koponen,” Mavericks President of Basketball Operations Donnie Nelson said. “Rudy is an athletic, young, exciting player with significant upside. His international and postseason experience will prove to be very valuable. Petteri is a young combo guard who was a first round selection in 2007 and is developing nicely in Europe.”

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