Archive for July 28th, 2012

James Harden open to signing with Suns

James Harden open to signing with Suns

A flicker of hope for Valley basketball fans:

Former Arizona State star James Harden would consider signing with the Suns if his contract expires after next season.

“Yeah,” he said. “Of course. I love it there. My mom lives there still. So that’s definitely my second home as far as my comfort level and going to school there. But obviously, I’m with the Thunder right now and what we have is special.”

Harden and his beard enjoyed breakout seasons in 2011-12, helping Oklahoma City reach the NBA Finals. The Thunder already secured stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to long-term deals, and by 2015, those two players alone will command $35 million.

– Reported by Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic

Jon Diebler continues playing in Turkey

Former Ohio State guard Jon Diebler will play a second season in Europe after signing today with Pinar Karsiyaka, a team in the Aegean Sea town of Izmir, Turkey. His agent, Lance Young, confirmed the signing.

Diebler, taken by the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round of the 2011 NBA draft, played last season in Greece. He played with the Blazers’ entry in the Las Vegas Summer League this month, but last week his negotiating rights were traded to the Houston Rockets as part of a three-team deal also involving Boston.

Young said the Rockets encouraged Diebler to play overseas again this season because they are well-stocked with players on the wing.

– Reported by Bob Baptist of the Columbus Dispatch

Toronto Raptors sign John Lucas III

Toronto Raptors sign John Lucas III

The Toronto Raptors announced Friday they have signed free-agent point guard John Lucas III.

Lucas averaged career bests of 7.5 points, 2.2 assists, 1.6 rebounds and 14.8 minutes in a career-high 49 games with Chicago last season. He shot .393 from three-point range (27th in the NBA) and .875 at the charity stripe. He paced the Bulls in scoring six times and in assists on five occasions. He scored in double figures in 15 outings, including four games of 20-or-more points. He tallied a career-high 25 points in a career-best 46 minutes January 11 versus Washington. He equaled his career-high scoring outing with 25 points in the season finale, April 26 versus Cleveland.

Lucas has averaged 5.0 points, 1.4 assists and 11.1 minutes in 111 career regular season games. In seven career playoff outings, he has contributed 6.1 points, 1.3 assists and 14.6 minutes.

Lucas, 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, played overseas from 2007-10. He appeared in 40 games with the Shanghai Dongfang Sharks in the 2009-10 season where he contributed 27.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 42.3 minutes in 40 games.

In 2008-09, Lucas split his time between Colorado in the NBA D-League and Spain’s Tau Ceramica. In the 2007-08 campaign, Lucas played for Benetton Treviso in Italy.

Lucas began his NBA career with the Houston Rockets (2005-07). He played in 47 contests in the 2006-07 season and 13 games in 2005-06.

Lucas finished his collegiate career at Oklahoma State after two seasons at Baylor. He was an All-Big 12 First Team selection as a junior and senior. He averaged 16.3 points and 4.3 assists in 68 games at Oklahoma State.

Lucas is the son of John Lucas, Jr., former first overall pick of the Rockets in 1976.

Memphis Grizzlies re-sign Hamed Haddadi

Memphis Grizzlies re-sign Hamed Haddadi

The Memphis Grizzlies re-signed center Hamed Haddadi, Grizzlies General Manger and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

The first Iranian ever to play in the NBA, Haddadi (7-2, 265) averaged 2.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and a career-high 0.74 blocks in 5.9 minutes in 35 games for Memphis last season.  The 27-year-old also set a personal best by shooting .542 from the field.

Haddadi made four appearances for the Grizzlies during the 2012 NBA Playoffs, recording totals of five points, nine rebounds and two blocks in 21 minutes.

A native of Ahvaz, Iran, Haddadi owns NBA career averages of 2.1 points and 2.2 rebounds in 6.1 minutes in 121 games in four seasons, all with the Grizzlies.

Orlando Magic name Jacque Vaughn new head coach

Jacque Vaughn, who spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs and was a member of their 2006-07 NBA World Championship team as a player, has been named head coach, Orlando Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.  Vaughn becomes the tenth head coach in franchise history.

“We are beyond excited to name Jacque Vaughn as our head coach,” Hennigan said. “As we navigated through our coaching search, we quickly saw that Jacque’s spirit and leadership strengths made him the clear choice. We are confident that his diligence, attention to detail and communication style will help establish the bedrock of our culture moving forward. His commitment and passion to building a sustainable program will help steer our organization for years to come.”

According to the Deseret News, “Most league insiders regard Vaughn as bright, hard-working and organized. But, at the same time, those same insiders note that Vaughn brings just two seasons of coaching experience. He ended his 12-year NBA playing career in 2009. A year later, the Spurs hired him as an assistant coach. In San Antonio, Vaughn had the same duties as fellow assistant coaches Mike Budenholzer, Don Newman and Brett Brown. They scouted future opponents, helped run practices and had other responsibilities. Still, league rules allow only three assistant coaches on the bench during games, and Budenholzer, Newman and Brown — all longer-tenured — occupied those seats. Meanwhile, Vaughn sat directly behind the bench.”

During Vaughn’s two seasons on San Antonio’s staff, the Spurs compiled a regular season record of 111-37 (.750).

Vaughn was originally selected in the first round (27th overall) of the 1997 NBA Draft by Utah.  He played 12 years in the NBA from 1997-2009 with Utah, Atlanta, Orlando, New Jersey and San Antonio, averaging 4.5 ppg. and 2.5 apg. in 776 career regular season games.

Vaughn played 80 games (48 starts) with the Orlando Magic during the 2002-03 season, averaging 5.9 ppg., 2.9 apg. and 1.5 rpg. in 21.1 minpg.

As a collegian, Vaughn played four years at Kansas University.  He was named Second Team All-America during both his junior (1995-96) and senior (1996-97) campaigns by The Associated Press.  Vaughn concluded his collegiate career as the school’s all-time leader in assists with 804.  He was named the Big Eight Conference Player of the Year in 1996 and the Newcomer of the Year in 1994.

Vaughn also excelled off the court, being named a two-time First Team GTE Academic All-American and the 1996-97 GTE Team Member of the Year, signifying him as the top student-athlete among Division I basketball players, after posting a 3.72 GPA.  He earned his degree in business administration while at KU.

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