Archive for July 27th, 2012

The Los Angeles Clippers today announced that they have hired long-time NBA coach Bob Ociepka to serve as an assistant coach on Vinny Del Negro’s staff for the 2012-13 season.

Ociepka, 63, has worked in the NBA for 22 years and brings over 30 years of coaching experience to the Clippers sideline. The Chicago native returns to Los Angeles for his second stint with the Clippers after serving as an assistant coach from 1993-96 under Bob Weiss and Bill Fitch. Ociepka was an assistant coach for Del Negro with the Chicago Bulls from 2008-10.

For the past two seasons, Ociepka was an assistant coach on the staff of Nate McMillan and Kaleb Canales in Portland. In his 22 year NBA coaching career, Ociepka has worked for a total of nine teams, also spending time with the Minnesota Timberwolves (2006-08), Milwaukee Bucks (2003-04 – 2005-06), Detroit Pistons (1998-99, 2001-03), Cleveland Cavaliers (1999-2001), Philadelphia 76ers (1996-97) and Indiana Pacers (1989-90 – 1992-93).

Ociepka began his NBA career working as a part-time volunteer scout for the Detroit Pistons in the 1980’s and also worked as an advance scout for the Orlando Magic during the 1997-98 season.

One of the most decorated prep coaches in Chicago history, Ociepka was inducted into the Chicago Catholic League Hall of Fame on May 4, 2000 for his success at Gordon Tech and York High Schools. He played basketball in college at Quincy College in Illinois and is the author of two books on the game of basketball, “Basketball Playbook: Plays from the Pros,” published in 1995 and “Basketball Playbook 2: More Plays from the Pros,” published in 2001.

Sixers sign guard Royal Ivey

Sixers sign guard Royal Ivey

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that they have signed free agent guard Royal Ivey.

Ivey (6-4, 215) was originally the 37th overall pick by Atlanta in the 2004 NBA Draft.  In eight seasons, he has appeared in 437 games with 109 starts, averaging 3.4 points, 1.1 assists and 1.1 rebounds in 12.5 minutes per game.  For his career, Ivey has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.00.  Over the past four seasons, he has recorded 75 steals with just 48 turnovers.

The Sixers first signed Ivey as a free agent on July 28, 2008.  He played in 97 regular season games for Philly before being traded along with Primoz Brezec and a second round pick to Milwaukee in exchange for Francisco Elson and Jodie Meeks on February 18, 2010.

Ivey spent the past two seasons with Oklahoma City, which advanced to the Western Conference Finals in 2011 and the NBA Finals last month.

Clippers sign Ronny Turiaf

Clippers sign Ronny Turiaf

The Los Angeles Clippers today signed free agent forward/center Ronny Turiaf.

A seven-year NBA veteran and native of the Caribbean island of Martinique, Turiaf is currently playing in the 2012 London Olympics for the French National Team. Turiaf, 29, appeared in a total of 17 regular season games last season with the Washington Wizards and Miami Heat. He played in 12 playoff games while helping the Heat to the NBA Championship.

The 6-foot-10 inch Turiaf has appeared in a total of 375 career NBA games, averaging 5.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.4 blocks while shooting 53 percent from the field in 17.9 minutes. Originally drafted by the Lakers with the 37thoverall selection of the 2005 NBA Draft after a stand-out career at Gonzaga University, Turiaf was the West Coast Conference Player of the Year in 2004-05 and left Gonzaga as the fourth leading scorer in school history.

In the NBA, Turiaf has also played for the Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks and grabbed a career-high 4.6 rebounds per game in 2008-09 with the Warriors while starting 26 of the 79 games he appeared in.

Timberwolves sign Andrei Kirilenko

Timberwolves sign Andrei Kirilenko

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed free-agent forward Andrei Kirilenko. We’ll post contract details on this page later today.

“We are pleased that Andrei has decided to resume his NBA career with the Minnesota Timberwolves,” said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. “Over his time in the NBA he has proven to be one of the best defensive players in the world.  His ability to play multiple positions and big-game experience will be wonderful assets to our team. He is coming off an MVP season in Europe, on what many believe was the best team in Europe, CSKA Moscow.  We are excited to see him in a Timberwolves uniform and wish him well in the upcoming Olympics, where he will be the star player for the Russian National Team.”

“I’m excited to be returning to the NBA with the Minnesota Timberwolves,” Kirilenko said. “The Wolves have one of the best coaches in the league in Rick Adelman and I feel my game fits in well with his style of play. I also like the talent that Minnesota has on the team with star players like Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio.”

Kirilenko, 31, has spent parts of 10 seasons in the NBA, all with the Utah Jazz. In 681 career games (478 starts) the St. Petersburg, Russia, native holds averages of 12.4 points (.470 FG, .312 3FG, .763 FT), 5.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 2.0 blocks in 30.8 minutes per game. In 45 career playoff games (36 starts), the 6-9 forward owns averages of 10.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.9 blocks per game. Most recently Kirilenko averaged 11.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.2 blocks in 31.2 minutes per game for Utah during the 2010-11 season. The Jazz selected Kirilenko with the 24th overall pick of the 1999 NBA Draft.

Kirilenko posted perhaps his best season in 2003-04 when he averaged 16.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.9 steals - all career high figures - and 2.8 blocks per game en route to being named a 2004 All-Star reserve. Among his best games that season were two 5X5 lines (recording five or more points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks in same contest), when he posted 19 points, five rebounds, seven assists, eight steals and five blocks at Houston on Dec. 3 and 10 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, six steals and five blocks vs. New York on Dec. 10. In 2005-06 he became just fourth player in NBA history, and first since 1993-94, to average 15+ points, 8+ rebounds, 4+ assists and 3+ blocks in single season (Abdul-Jabbar six times, Bob Lanier – 1973-74, David Robinson – 1993-94). Included in that season was his third career 5X5 game, a 14-point, eight-rebound, nine-assist, seven-block and six-steal performance vs. the L.A. Lakers on Jan. 3. He became only the second player in NBA history with 6+ in each category (A. Olajuwon, March 10, 1987 - Houston vs. Seattle).

Regarded as one of the best defensive players during his 10 years in the NBA, Kirilenko has totaled 1,380 blocks and 960 steals over his NBA career. A three-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection (1st - 2005-06; 2nd - 2003-04, 2004-05), Kirilenko led the NBA in blocked shots per game over the 2004-05 season (3.32 bpg - a career high) and total blocks (220) in 2005-06. He has recorded 62 games of 5+ blocks and 14 games of 5+ steals over his career (5+ blocks and steals in the same game three times). He blocked a career-high 10 shots on March 25, 2006 vs. Sacramento and swiped a career-high eight steals Dec. 3, 2003 at Houston.

Kirilenko spent the 2011-12 season in Russia playing for CSKA Moscow, where he teamed up with current Timberwolves guard Alexey Shved. In 17 Euroleague games, Kirilenko averaged 14.1 points on .598 shooting (.417 from three), to go along with 7.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.9 blocks. He was named 2012 Euroleague MVP and 2012 Euroleague Best Defender for his efforts. Before starting his NBA career he played five seasons professionally in Russia, beginning his basketball career with Spartak St. Petersburg (Russia) in 1996-97 at the age of 15 (the youngest ever in the Russian League). Kirilenko has also starred on the international stage for the Russian National Team, which he has played on since the age of 19. Most recently he competed at the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament, averaging 16.2 points (.512), 8.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.25 steals per game in leading the Russian National Team to a 2012 Olympic berth. The 2012 London Olympics will be his third (2000, 2008) such competition.

Hornets rookie Austin Rivers has ankle surgery

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that guard Austin Rivers underwent successful surgery to clean up bone spurs in his right ankle.

The 10th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Rivers’ injury flared up during the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas last week.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Brian McKeon in Boston.  He’s expected to make a full recovery and be ready for training camp this fall.

Chicago Bulls sign Nazr Mohammed

michael redd

The Chicago Bulls announced today the team has signed free agent center Nazr Mohammed (first name is pronounced “NAH-zee”).

Mohammed (6-10, 250), a 14-year NBA veteran, most recently played with the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2011-12 campaign.  Last year, he appeared in 63 games and averaged 2.7 ppg and 2.7 rpg in 11.0 mpg.

The Chicago native has enjoyed stints with the Thunder (2010-12), the Charlotte Bobcats (2007-10), the Detroit Pistons (2006-08), the San Antonio Spurs (2004-06), the New York Knicks (2003-05), the Atlanta Hawks (2000-04) and the Philadelphia 76ers (1998-01).  In 834 career games, he has posted averages of 6.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 0.69 bpg in 17.4 mpg.  He owns career shooting averages of .493 from the field and .639 from the line.

Originally selected by the Utah Jazz in the first round (29th overall) of the 1998 NBA Draft, the 35-year old Mohammed has been a member of eight playoff teams, including the 2005 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs.  In 66 playoff games, he has averaged 4.8 ppg and 4.0 rpg in 15.2 mpg.

Suns trade Robin Lopez, Hakim Warrick to Hornets in 3-team deal

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that they have acquired center Robin Lopez, forward Hakim Warrick, and cash considerations from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for guard Jerome Dyson, center Brad Miller and two 2nd round picks (Brooklyn’s 2013 second round selection and Minnesota’s 2016 second round draft choice) as part of a three-team trade along with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Phoenix receives Brad Miller and Jerome Dyson from the Hornets as well as Wesley Johnson and a 1st round pick from Minnesota. Minnesota receives Brooklyn’s 2013 2nd round pick and their own 2016 2nd round pick from New Orleans.

“We are very excited about this trade that brings us two quality people and basketball players to help strengthen our foundation as a team,” Hornets General Manager Dell Demps said. “This move gives us a true center in Robin Lopez who brings youth and is a tough, inside rebounder. In Hakim, we get an experienced, versatile forward who will bring a veteran presence to our team.”

Lopez (7-0, 255), was drafted with the 15th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Suns. He averaged 5.4 points and 3.3 rebounds for the Suns last season in 14.0 minutes over 64 games. During the 2010-11 season, Lopez started 56 of 67 regular season games, averaging 6.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 14.8 minutes of action. In four NBA seasons in Phoenix, the Stanford product has career averages of 5.8 points, 3.3 rebounds in 14.4 minutes over 242 games (94 starts). The Fresno, California native enjoyed a two-year collegiate career at Stanford, averaging 8.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 67 career games for the Cardinal. Robin’s twin brother, Brook, plays for the New Jersey Nets.

Suns trade Robin Lopez, Hakim Warrick to Hornets in 3-team deal

Warrick, (6-9, 219), who was the 19TH overall of the 2005 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies, averaged 6.4 points and 2.6 rebounds for the Suns last season over 35 games. The versatile forward has played for four NBA teams (Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls and Suns) over seven seasons, with career averages of 9.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in 498 games (94 starts). The Philadelphia native starred for Syracuse University, playing four seasons for the Orange, averaging 15.4 points and 7.6 rebounds over 135 career games. Warrick also helped Syracuse capture their first-ever National Championship in 2003.

Dyson (6-3, 180), appeared in nine games (one start) for the Hornets last season. Miller (7-0, 261) and the two 2nd round picks were originally acquired by the Hornets on July 13 from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the Hornets’ protected 2017 second round pick. Miller, a 14-year NBA veteran with the Bulls, Pacers, Kings, Rockets and Timberwolves began his career as an undrafted free agent with the Hornets on January 21, 1999.

Robin Lopez Suns trade remains up in air

Robin Lopez Suns trade remains up in air

The chances of the Suns completing a trade that sends away Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick and brings in Wesley Johnson and a first-round pick improved Thursday, but its completion remained tenuous with resolution expected Friday.

The three-way agreement among Phoenix, New Orleans and Minnesota did not completely fit collective bargaining agreement rules regarding what the Suns were receiving.

In the deal, Lopez and Warrick would go to New Orleans and Minnesota would send a conditional first-round pick, either its own or one owed them by Memphis, to the Suns along with Johnson, a third-year swingman. The draft pick would have top-14 protection for coming years.

The Suns would take Brad Miller’s contract from New Orleans and pay his $800,000 buyout because he is retiring while also sending cash to New Orleans.

– Reported by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic

Ronnie Brewer might start at SG for Knicks

Many believe Brewer will start at shooting guard ahead of J.R. Smith, who is more suited for a bench role. But Brewer was noncommittal when asked about his role on Thursday.

He said he’ll do whatever Woodson needs him to do.

Brewer prides himself on being a ‘hustle player’ and a lockdown perimeter defender — two aspects of the game that the Knicks need while Iman Shumpert works his way back from a knee injury.

“A lot of people want to play defense but some people just don’t have the ability to do it,” the 6-7 veteran said. “… I take pride in defense and, in my opinion, I think defense wins championships.”

– Reported by Ian Begley of ESPN New York

Brendan Haywood happy to join Bobcats

Brendan Haywood happy to join Bobcats

Haywood, who grew up in Greensboro, made it clear he’s coming back to the Carolinas with the goal of helping the Charlotte Bobcats turn things around after they finished with the worst record (7-59) in the NBA last season.

Claimed off waivers last week from the Dallas Mavericks, the 7-foot Haywood was introduced Thursday at a news conference along with free-agent acquisition Ramon Sessions, a point guard who opted out of his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers to sign with the Bobcats.

“Myself and Ramon will be great additions to this team,” Haywood said. “We’re looking forward to getting this thing started and help this team be better than it was last season.”

Haywood still owns a home in Charlotte and has frequently worked out at the Bobcats facility in the past during the offseason.

He called returning to Charlotte “a blessing.”

– Reported by the Associated Press

Neil Reed, the former Indiana University basketball player who went public with a claim that Bob Knight choked him in practice, died Thursday of cardiac arrest at age 36.

His death was confirmed by the sports editor of the Santa Maria (Calif.) Times. Reed spent the last three seasons as the freshman basketball coach at Pioneer Valley High School in Santa Maria.

Late Thursday afternoon a vigil was being held at the school for Reed.

Reed played high school basketball at East Jefferson High School in Metairie, La. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Reed died Thursday in Nipomo, Calif., after suffering a massive heart attack on Wednesday. That information was confirmed by former East Jefferson Coach Jim Robarts. Nipomo is located about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles in San Luis Obispo County.

– Reported by Terry Hutchens of the Indianapolis Star

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