Archive for January 25th, 2012

The Denver Nuggets have signed center Kosta Koufos to a multi-year contract extension, Nuggets Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri announced today. According to the Denver Post, the deal is for three years and $9 million.

Koufos, 7-0, 265, is averaging 3.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in 11 games (five starts) this season. In 145 career games with the Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz, he has averaged 3.3 points and 2.4 rebounds in 8.9 minutes per game.

In 27 NBA games in which he has played at least 17 minutes, Koufos is averaging 9.2 points, 6.1 rebounds 1.22 blocked shots. He recorded his first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds against the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 4.

The Nuggets acquired the 22-year-old Koufos from Minnesota as part of a 13-player, three-team trade on Feb. 22, 2011.

Koufos was drafted 23rd overall by the Jazz in 2008 after playing one season at Ohio State. In his only college season, he averaged 14.4 points while helping the Buckeyes to the 2008 NIT championship.

Eric Gordon out at least 3 more weeks

Eric Gordon

New Orleans guard Eric Gordon will miss at least another three weeks as he recovers from a bruised right knee.

“Eric is going to probably be out for another three weeks,” New Orleans coach Monty Williams said Wednesday night before the Hornets faced the Thunder. “We will re-evaluate after that time. Doctors think he needs more time. It’s prudent for us as an organization is to make sure he’s right before he comes back.”

Gordon came to New Orleans as part of a multiplayer trade shortly before the regular season that sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Danilo Gallinari

The Denver Nuggets have signed forward Danilo Gallinari to a multi-year contract extension, Nuggets Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri announced today. According to the Denver Post, the deal is for four years and $42 million.

Gallinari, 6-10, 225, has appeared in 17 games this season (all starts) and is averaging career-highs in points (17.4), rebounds (5.2), assists (2.8), steals (1.71), field-goal percentage (.462) and minutes (34.2). He ranks 22nd in the NBA in scoring, 13th in free-throw percentage (.892) and 13th in steals.

Gallinari, 23, was drafted sixth overall by the New York Knicks in 2008. He was acquired by Denver as part of a 13-player, three-team deal on Feb. 22, 2011.

“Gallo has been excellent and done everything we have asked since we made the trade last February,” Ujiri said. “Everybody is seeing how talented he is, and he’s only 23 years old. He is only going to get better.”

Gallinari recently put together one of the best games of his young career, scoring a career-high 37 points (18-of-20 FTs, both career-highs) and grabbing 11 rebounds in a double-overtime victory over the Knicks on Jan. 21. So far this season, he has scored 20-plus points seven times (30-plus twice), registered two double-doubles and attempted 10-or-more free throws four times.

In 2010-11, the native of Italy appeared in 62 games (60 starts), averaging 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 33.9 minutes per game. He scored at least 20 points 28 times, including two 30-plus performances.

Kevin Love signs Timberwolves extension

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that the team has signed forward Kevin Love to a four-year contract extension. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the deal is worth $62 million and gives Love the option to opt-out after the third season.

“We are pleased to have signed Kevin to a contract extension,” said Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn. “Kevin has improved every year that he’s been in the league, to the point where he’s now one of the top players in the NBA. In Kevin, we have a core player that we can build around as we continue to improve our team.”

“I’m excited to be staying with the Timberwolves and playing in front of our fans. They have been great to me and my teammates during my years here and I thank them for their support,” Love said. “I like the direction our team is going, and I feel that big things are ahead of us. I look forward to being a part of this team as we continue to develop and grow.”

Love was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player last season after averaging 20.2 points and a league-leading 15.2 rebounds per game. He became the first NBA player since Moses Malone in 1982-83 to average 20+ points and 15+ rebounds. This season, Love is averaging 24.9 points and 13.9 rebounds. Love leads the NBA with 16 double-doubles and also ranks fourth in scoring, second in rebounding, second in free throws made (122) and first in minutes per game (39.4).

Love was selected with the 5th overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft out of UCLA by the Memphis Grizzlies and traded to the Wolves later that night. He averaged 11.1 points and 9.1 rebounds during his rookie season in 2008-09. In 2009-10, the 6-10 forward upped those averages to 14.4 points and 11.0 rebounds. Last season, Love recorded 64 point/rebound double-doubles, including a franchise record 53 consecutive double-doubles. For his career, the 23-year-old is averaging 15.8 ppg and 11.9 rpg.

Robin Lopez

Robin Lopez of the Phoenix Suns has been suspended one game without pay for improper conduct towards a game official, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President Basketball Operations.

The incident, in which Lopez made contact with an official, occurred with 8:14 remaining in the second quarter of the Suns’ 99-96 loss to the Toronto Raptors at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Ariz. on Jan. 24.

According to the Arizona Republic Suns blog, “Lopez’s temper was stoked when he missed a post-up attempt against Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani and felt he was fouled on the play. Lopez raced back on defense and needlessly reach in to foul big man Linas Kleiza about 40 feet from the basket before turning his ire and glare toward Mott. A time out whistle stopped play. As Lopez walked toward the Suns bench, he brushed Mott with his left shoulder as Mott backed away. Lopez did not appear to make an attempt to avoid Mott, who then ejected Lopez. The three game officials had a brief conference and the decision stood.”

Lopez will serve his suspension Friday when the Suns visit the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Los Angeles Lakers have assigned forward Derrick Caracter to the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Caracter, who underwent surgery on December 14th to remove part of a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, originally sustained the injury two days prior during Lakers training camp.

Selected by the Lakers in the second round (58th overall) of the 2010 NBA Draft, Caracter appeared in 41 games last season, averaging 2.1 points and 1.0 rebounds in 5.2 minutes.

The D-League assignment is the third of Caracter’s career, having twice been assigned to the Bakersfield Jam last season.  In three regular season games with Bakersfield a year ago, Caracter averaged 8.7 points and 6.0 rebounds in 19.7 minutes.  In two playoff games with the Jam, he averaged 7.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.50 blocks in 21.5 minutes.

The 6’9” forward out of UTEP will be available to play tomorrow night when the D-Fenders go on the road to face the Bakersfield Jam.

This is the first Lakers’ player assignment of the season for the D-Fenders, who at 17-8, currently have the third best record in the D-League despite having three players (Jamaal Tinsley (Utah Jazz), Malcolm Thomas (San Antonio Spurs) and Courtney Fortson (Los Angeles Clippers)) called up to NBA teams.

Marcus Thronton

A diagnostic ultrasound test performed on Sacramento Kings guard Marcus Thronton today at the UC Davis Medical Center revealed a significant hematoma in his left thigh. He is expected to miss approximately one to two weeks of action.

Thornton, the Kings’ leading scorer (16.4 ppg), has missed four games due to the injury.

Gerald Henderson

Charlotte Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins announced today that the team has exercised the fourth-year option on guard/forward Gerald Henderson for the 2012-13 season.

Henderson has started all 18 games this season and is currently averaging 15.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 steal in 34.9 minutes. He has reached double-figure scoring in six straight games, including three of 20 points or more, and is averaging 19.5 points on .538 shooting (43-80) during that span.

“Gerald Henderson embodies the basketball culture we have created here of putting guys on the floor who work hard at their craft, have a passion for the game and are willing to take advantage of the resources afforded to them here in Charlotte,” said Higgins. “He deserves this and we look forward to watching him grow as a player.”

An early-entry candidate from Duke University, Henderson was selected by the Bobcats with the 12th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. He currently holds career averages of 8.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 129 games.

In an effort to help the players avoid mental fatigue during this 66-game sprint, the Sixers’ strength and conditioning coach Jesse Wright and trainer Kevin Johnson suggested to Collins the players do yoga on their rare practice days. The change in training has been a hit.

“We have erred on the side of rest, just trying to keep our guys as mentally fresh as possible,” Collins said. “As a result we have had a lot of slippage in what we would like to do offensively, but I think we have the better chance to win, rather than come in and try to practice for 40 minutes we are better off letting our guys come in and relax and get a nice session of yoga while being together.”

“It was good for us,” Andre Iguodala said. “I have done yoga over the summers so I know what it can do for the body. We have so many games so stretching or release and getting the blood flowing can take your body a long way.”

For a guy like Spencer Hawes, who has missed four straight games with a strained Achilles’ tendon, 30 minutes of yoga was heaven sent.

– Reported by Dei Lynam of the CSN Philly Blog

The Memphis Grizzlies exercised the third-year contract option on guard/forward Quincy Pondexter, guaranteeing his contract through the 2012-13 season, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced Tuesday.

Pondexter (6-6, 225) has averaged 4.4 points and 2.1 rebounds on .469 shooting in 14.9 minutes in 16 games this season after being acquired by Memphis from New Orleans on Dec. 24 for Greivis Vasquez.  The 23-year-old scored a career-high tying 14 points on Jan. 8 at LA Lakers, sinking a career-best seven field goals.

The all-time leader in games played (136) at the University of Washington, Pondexter holds NBA career averages of 3.2 points and 1.5 rebounds on .422 shooting in 82 games (six starts) for the Grizzlies and Hornets, who drafted the Fresno, Calif. native in the first round (26th overall) of the 2010 NBA Draft.

Winners of their last seven games, Memphis (10-6) will look to tie a franchise record with an eighth consecutive victory tonight when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers at 9 p.m. CST at the Rose Garden.  The game will be televised regionally on SportSouth HD.

Carmelo Anthony

One point.

That’s what Carmelo Anthony scored last night in a stunning — and perhaps telling — result. With Anthony muted, the Knicks bombed the Bobcats, 111-78, last night at Time Warner Cable Arena to break their six-game losing streak.

Anthony’s one point was a career low, and it was the first time he failed to sink a field goal since Nov. 28, 2005.

“I needed a night like this, where I didn’t have to do too much and we still won the game by a lot,’’ Anthony said. “We just had it going. Everybody had it going. I needed a night like this when I score one point and we win by 20. We all got tired of losing.’’

Anthony, who has been in a massive shooting slump and vowed to pass the ball more, did just that. But he went 0-for-7 as injuries continue to affect his shot. His lone point came on a free throw off a technical foul in the third quarter after going scoreless as the Knicks built a 52-42 halftime lead.

With Anthony nonexistent offensively, slumping Amar’e Stoudemire and center Tyson Chandler each played their best game in two weeks with rip-roaring performances.

– Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

Luol Deng

Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng hopes he won’t need surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist.

Deng was injured on Saturday against Charlotte and expects to miss at least a few more NBA games after sitting out Monday’s win over the New Jersey Nets. He said the wrist was still sore, but the pain has eased “a lot” the past few days.

“I know it’s a bad injury and it sounds terrible, but really, I think it will fine,” Deng said on Tuesday. “We’ve got a good team, and I think I’m going to be fine.”

Even so, surgery remains a possibility, and coach Tom Thibodeau said he was “week to week.” He said Deng did some dribbling with his left hand and shooting at practice on Tuesday, although Deng disputed that.

– Reported by Andrew Seligman of the Associated Press

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