Archive for July 24th, 2012

The Trail Blazers’ search for a head coach still appears to be in the early stages, as general manager Neil Olshey has yet to inform any candidates that they have reached the second round.

On Tuesday, Warren LeGarie and Steve Kauffman - two agents with the most clients in the Blazers’ process - said Olshey has yet to reveal his intentions since he interviewed their clients…

The candidates who are known to have interviewed with Olshey are Indiana assistant Brian Shaw; Golden State assistant Michael Malone; Dallas assistant Terry Stotts; Memphis assistant David Joerger; former Orlando assistant Steve Clifford, who is nearing a deal to be an assistant in Chicago; Phoenix assistant Elston Turner; Atlanta assistant Lester Conner; Miami assistant David Fizdale, Chicago assistant Adrian Griffin and former Knicks and Phoenix assistant Phil Weber.

– Reported by Jason Quick of the Oregonian

Lakers interested in Delonte West

Lakers interested in Delonte West

The Los Angeles Lakers have expressed interest in free-agent guard Delonte West, according to a league source.

West, who turns 29 this week, averaged 9.6 points, 3.2 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game for the Dallas Mavericks last season. He appeared in just 44 games because of a fractured right ring finger and picked up one of the more bizarre fines in league history when he was docked $25,000 for giving Utah’s Gordon Hayward a “wet willy.”

West shot 46.1 percent from the floor and 35.5 percent on 3-pointers, and the Lakers view him as a versatile player who could back up both Kobe Bryant at shooting guard and Steve Nash at point guard while bringing his outside touch to a team that ranked 25th in the NBA in 3-point accuracy last year (32.6 percent).

– Reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles

Keyon Dooling will return to Celtics

Keyon Dooling returns to Celtics

The Boston Celtics will re-sign veteran combo guard Keyon Dooling to a one-year deal, according to his agent.

Dooling, who cemented himself as a locker room leader last season and overcame early injuries to be a solid on-court contributor in the second half of the year, will ink a one-year, veteran-minimum deal.

Dooling’s agent, Kenge Stevenson, said his client is excited to be back in Boston. The Celtics owned Dooling’s rights, but will re-sign him at a one-year minimum deal. Dooling, who will earn $1.35 million (of which the Celtics are responsible for only $854,389) is taking a pay cut (he made $2.2 million last season), but clearly enjoyed his time in Boston and wants to be part of another title quest.

– Reported by Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston

Timberwolves trade Wayne Ellington to Grizzlies

The Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies swapped some bench depth today.

The Wolves have officially traded guard Wayne Ellington to the Grizzlies for  forward Dante Cunningham.

“We thank Wayne for his three seasons with the Wolves. He was the consummate professional and we wish him the best in Memphis, ” said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. “In Dante Cunningham we are getting a versatile forward who brings a defensive presence and an efficient offensive game to our team. Also, the addition of Dante helps balance our roster.”

Cunningham, 25, was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round (33rd overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft. In three seasons in the NBA, the 6-8 forward has averaged 5.2 points, on 48.5 percent shooting, and 3.3 rebounds in 205 games (25 starts).

As a rookie with Portland in 2009-10, Cunningham averaged 3.9 points and 2.5 rebounds in 63 games. The 6-8 forward started the 2010-11 season with Portland before being traded on Feb. 24, 2011, along with Joel Pryzbilla, Sean Marks and two future first round draft picks to the Charlotte Bobcats for Gerald Wallace. For the season, Cunningham averaged 6.2 points and 3.6 rebounds. He signed with the Memphis Grizzlies on Dec. 20, 2011, and averaged 5.2 points, shooting a career-best 51.6 percent from the field this past season. Cunningham also pulled down a career-high 3.8 rebounds per game, including grabbing a career-high 14 boards vs. Minnesota on March 27, 2012.

Ellington (6-4, 200) joins the Grizzlies with career averages of 6.1 points and 1.9 rebounds on .412 shooting (.376 three-point shooting) in 18.7 minutes in 189 games (13 starts) over three seasons with Minnesota.  The 24-year-old posted 6.1 points and 1.9 rebounds in a career-high 19.1 minutes in 51 games (four starts) for the Timberwolves last season.

The Wynnewood, Penn. native was selected by Minnesota in the first round (No. 28 overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft after being named Most Outstanding Player of the 2009 NCAA Final Four and leading North Carolina to a national title.  He earned All-ACC Tournament honors in each of his three collegiate seasons and finished his Tarheels career ranked second in UNC history with 229 made three-pointers.

Nets sign forward Tornike Shengelia

The Brooklyn Nets have signed forward Tornike Shengelia, Nets General Manager Billy King announced today.

“Toko had a very good summer league which led us to signing him for this season,” said King.

Shengelia (6-10, 230), whose draft rights were acquired by Brooklyn from Philadelphia in exchange for cash considerations, was selected in the second round (54th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft.  Shengelia has been a member of the Republic of Georgia’s National Team since 2008.  He played the 2011-12 season for Belgacom Spirou where he averaged 8.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 18.4 minutes in 20 Belgium League games.  He helped his team qualify for Euroleague play, and posted 8.3 points and 4.3 rebounds during nine games over the season. Shengelia represented the Republic of Georgia at 2011 Eurobasket, averaging 8.8 points and 4.6 boards for the Senior National Team.

Playing in five games for the Nets in the 2012 Orlando Pro Summer League, Shengelia posted averages of 10.2 points and 3.6 rebounds in 21.2 minutes per game, while shooting .529 from the field and .824 from the free throw line.

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that they have signed rookies Maurice Harkless and Arnett Moultrie.  Harkless was the 15th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft by Philadelphia while Moultrie was the 27th overall pick by Miami.  The Sixers acquired the rights to Moultrie from the HEAT in exchange for the draft rights to Justin Hamilton (45th overall pick) and a protected future first round pick.

Harkless (6-8, 208) was an early entry candidate for the draft following his freshman season at St. John’s and turned 19 years old back in May.  He was named Big East Rookie of the Year after averaging 15.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks while shooting 45.2% from the floor.  Harkless ranked sixth in the nation in scoring among freshman and second in rebounding.

The freshman started all 32 games for the Red Storm last season, scoring in double-figures 26 times, including seven games with 20-plus points.  Harkless had a career-high 32 points on 14-of-17 shooting vs. Providence and tallied 30 points and 13 rebounds at Duke.  Overall, he recorded 11 double-doubles.

Moultrie (6-11, 249) was an early entry candidate for the draft following his junior season at Mississippi State.  He was named First Team All-SEC after averaging 16.4 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists this past season while shooting 54.9% from the floor.  Moultrie led the conference in rebounding and ranked tied for 10th in the nation.

The 21-year-old averaged 3.7 offensive rebounds this past season, grabbing 6-plus seven times including a career-high 11 vs. Northwestern State.  Moultrie recorded 18 double-doubles in 30 games.

Wizards sign guard A.J. Price

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed free agent guard A.J. Price.

“A.J. is an experienced and dependable player who fits in well with the mix of proven veterans and young players we have on our roster,” said Grunfeld.  “Adding him will help to bring depth to our backcourt rotation.”

Price (6-1, 185) holds career averages of 6.0 points, 2.0 assists and 1.5 rebounds in 150 games over three seasons with Indiana.  He was originally selected by the Pacers in the second round (52nd overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft out of the University of Connecticut.  Price averaged 3.9 points and 2.0 assists in 44 games last season.  He has appeared in nine career playoff games, averaging 4.9 points (including 8.4 points over five games during the 2011 NBA Playoffs).

Knicks sign guard Pablo Prigioni

New York Knickerbockers Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations and General Manager Glen Grunwald announced today that the team has signed free agent guard Pablo Prigioni.

Prigioni, 6-3, 180-pounds, is a veteran of the Argentine and Spanish leagues, having played professionally since 1995. The 35-year-old has played for Ramallo (1995-96), Belgrano (1996-98) and Obras Sanitarias (1998-99) of the Argentine League and for Fuenlabrada (1999-01), Alicante (2001-03), Caja Laboral (2003-09, 2011) and Real Madrid (2009-11) of the Spanish ACB and LEB Leagues. He won the Spanish National Championship in 2007-08, the King’s Cup three times (2004, 06, 09) and Spanish Super Cup three times (2005, 06, 08) and is also a two-time All-Euroleague second team selection (2006, 07).

In addition, Prigioni is a key member of the Argentinean National team, winning the gold medal at the 2011 Americas Championship, the bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and the bronze medal at the 2009 Americas Championship. He represented his country in the 2006 and 2010 World Championships and is scheduled to play in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England.

Rockets sign center Omer Asik

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has added center Omer Asik (pronounced O-mair AH-shick) after the Chicago Bulls chose not to match Houston’s offer sheet for the restricted free agent. Under the terms of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Bulls had three days to match the offer from the Rockets.

Multiple reports said the deal is for three years, $25 million.

“We are excited to add Omer to our roster,” said Morey. “Omer has proven to be a defensive force at every stop in his career – in the Turkish league, in FIBA’s World Championships and EuroBasket competitions, and of course for the past two years for the Chicago Bulls. We are excited to add his rim protection, his rebounding, and the defensive mentality Omer brings to each play.”

Asik (7-0, 255, Turkey) has not missed a game in two seasons with the Bulls and has played in 148 consecutive regular season contests. In those two campaigns with Chicago, Asik has averaged 2.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 0.84 blocks in 13.2 minutes. Considered one of the best defensive centers in the league, Asik grew up playing for Fenerbahçe S.K. Istanbul (2005-10) in his native Turkey. He was loaned to Kadikoy Belediyesi in the Turkish League’s second division for the majority of the 2005-06 season. He also played with the silver-medal-winning Turkish National Team in the U-20 European Championships in Izmir, Turkey. Asik was again a member of the silver-medal-winning Turkish squad at the 2010 FIBA World Championships held in Istanbul. In nine FIBA World Championship matches, he averaged 8.9 points, 6.9 boards, 1.22 blocks and 19.0 minutes per outing. Asik was originally drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers (36th overall) in the second round of the 2008 NBA Draft. He had his draft rights traded to Chicago in exchange for three second-round picks.

“I’m really looking forward to working with Omer,” said Rockets Head Coach Kevin McHale. “I’ve admired his physical style of play over the past two seasons as he’s made the transition to the NBA. In his limited minutes, he has proved himself to be an exceptional defensive post player and we will be working with him to continue his progress. Omer has a great understanding of how to play defense and how to move without the ball and I know he will fit in very well with our needs in the low post.”

In a non-related move, the Rockets also announced that the team has waived guard E’Twaun Moore.

Chicago Bulls sign guard Marco Belinelli

Chicago Bulls sign guard Marco Belinelli

The Chicago Bulls announced today the team has signed free agent guard Marco Belinelli (pronounciation: mark-o bell-ee-nell-ee).

Belinelli (6-5, 195), comes to the Bulls having played the last two seasons with the New Orleans Hornets.  He broke into the league with the Golden State Warriors in 2007, where he played for two seasons after being drafted in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft (18th overall).  He also spent the 2009-10 season with the Toronto Raptors.

Last season with the Hornets, the Bologna, Italy, native appeared in 66 games (55 starts) and averaged career highs in points (11.8 ppg), rebounds  (2.6 rpg) and minutes (29.8 mpg).  He shot .417 from the field, .377 from behind the arc and .783 from the line.

For his career, the 26-year old Belinelli has played in 287 regular season games (148 starts) and posted averages of 8.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.3 apg, 21.5 mpg, .424 field goal shooting, .393 three-point shooting and .796 from the line.  In six playoff games, he has averaged 9.7 ppg in 28.7 mpg and shot .365 from the field, .308 from three-point range and 1.000 from the free throw line.

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