Archive for August 22nd, 2012

Damir Markota signs in Turkey

Besiktas JK Istanbul added to its frontcourt by signing experienced big man Damir Markota to a one-year contract. Markota (2.08 meters, 26 years old) is a veteran of seven Euroleague seasons with three different teams. Last season he averaged 4.7 points and 6 rebounds in seven Euroleague appearances for Union Olimpija. He ranked third in the regular season with his 76.9% two-point shooting percentage and his 15 rebounds pulled against Montepaschi Siena represented the third most of any player in a game all season. He left Olimpija midway through the season and finished the campaign with KK Zagreb in Croatia. Markota made his Euroleague debut – a 20-second appearance with Cibona Zagreb in the 2001-02 season – when he was 16.

– Reported by Euroleague.net

Marcus Slaughter signs in Madrid

One of the best rebounders in last season’s Turkish Airlines Euroleague switched teams with the news that Real Madrid signed Marcus Slaughter. The athletic big man signed a two-year deal with Los Blancos. Slaughter (2.03 meters, 27 years old) arrives from Brose Baskets, where he averaged 11.8 points on 56.4% two-point shooting, 7.2 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.4 blocks in 10 Euroleague games last season. He ranked sixth in performance index ranking (17.7 per game), third in rebounding, second in blocks and tied for third in steals in the 2011-12 Euroleague regular season.

– Reported by Euroleague.net

Washington Wizards work out Martell Webster

The Washington Wizards aren’t desperately in need of making any roster additions, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t searching through the remaining free agent pool to find a possible fit – financially and personnel-wise – with the team.

Free agent small forward Martell Webster worked out for the Wizards at Verizon Center this week, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation. The former No. 6 pick of the NBA draft in 2005, Webster has averaged 8.4 points and shot 37.4 percent from beyond three-point range throughout his career in Portland and Minnesota.

– Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post (Blog)

Boston Celtics sign Jeff Green

Boston Celtics sign Jeff Green

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed free agent forward Jeff Green.

“We are thrilled to be able to have Jeff back with the Celtics,” said Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations. “Jeff’s versatility on offense and ability to guard players out on the perimeter is something that we are looking forward to having on the court this season.”

Green, a 6’9” forward, missed all of the 2011-12 season due to an aortic aneurysm that was discovered during his physical prior to the start of the season. Green, the fifth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft,averaged 13.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 32.4 minutes per game during the 2010-11 season split between Boston and Oklahoma City. He was acquired by the Celtics from the Oklahoma City Thunder along with Nenad Krstic and a future first round draft pick from the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson on February 24,2011.

“I cannot wait to get back out onto the court and help this team towards our goal of winning another championship for Boston,” said Green.

Green recorded a double-double in his first start as a Celtic against Washington on April 11 recording 20 points, a career-high-tying 15 rebounds,four assists and two steals. Green improved his field goal percentage after the trade to the Celtics during the 2010-11 season, shooting 48.5 percent from the floor in 26 games with the C’s after shooting 43.7 percent with the Thunder. Green has posted career averages of 13.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 315 games. Green recorded a career-high 37 points against New Jersey last season on December 1,2010. In his four year career, Green has averaged 13.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 0.9 steals per game in 315 career games split between Oklahoma City and Boston.

Sixers may like Sam Hinkie for GM job

In their search for a new general manager to replace Rod Thorn, the 76ers, according to SI.com, have turned their attention to Sam Hinkie, the Houston Rockets’ executive vice president of basketball operations.

Hinkie, who has an MBA from Stanford, is considered a leader in the league’s analytics movement and has been the Rockets’ second-in-command behind general manager Daryl Morey for 5 years.

– Reported by Mark Perner of the Philadelphia Daily News

Lakers media coverage vs Cavs media coverage

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown: “I thought I got better with the media as the year went along. Initially, that was a shock to me, in terms of understanding why and how everything can be such a big deal here. In Cleveland, I experienced it a little bit because LeBron is a guy that drew the media’s attention on a national level, but really the media was only concerned about him, and him only, (and only) sometimes if we won or lost.

The media was not as big a deal for me when I was in Cleveland because they didn’t cover, or they weren’t as interested in the other guys like they are here. From 1 through 15. You could be the 14th player on the team, and if there’s a small thing going on, on the court or off the court, it can turn into a media frenzy. So that was an adjustment that I had to make. Just understanding that, feeling that, accepting it, dealing with it, throughout the course of the year.

In terms of what I can do?

Shoot, I always look back and say I could have or should have tried this offensively. Defensively, yes, there are things that yeah, I could have tried this defensively, but I think at the end of the day all of that is just about coaching. No matter where I am, whether it’s here with the Lakers or Cleveland or anyplace else, that’s how you get better. You second guess yourself, you question the things that you did at times, and think through them again in order to have a better feel as to whether you should continue down a path or change it up.

– Reported by Brian Kamenetzky of ESPN Los Angeles

The Texas Legends have named Eduardo Najera the first Mexican-born head coach under the NBA umbrella, pending NBA approval.  Najera becomes the third head coach in Legends history, following former NBA Coach of the Year Del Harris, and basketball Hall-of-Famer Nancy Lieberman.

Subject to NBA approval, Najera will also be a minority owner of the Legends, as well as hold a front office position with the Mavericks. Najera’s NBA career began with the Mavericks in 2000, after he became the first Mexican-born player to be drafted in NBA history.

“I have the utmost respect for Eddie,” commented Legends Owner Donnie Nelson.  “The work ethic he exhibited as a player, and his knowledge of the NBA game will serve him well in his role as Head Coach of the Legends.  Whether coaching a rookie, or an NBA veteran, Coach Najera will have valuable insight for all of our players.  I am equally excited to begin working with Eddie in a front office capacity with the Mavericks as he learns the management side of the game.  I am proud to be able to call Eddie an ownership partner with the Legends.”

Najera announced his retirement from the NBA as a player in the same press conference.  Of Najera’s 12 seasons in the NBA, five were in a Mavericks uniform — 2000-04; 2009-10 — and he still regards Plano as his primary residence. In his first four seasons, the power forward averaged 17.4 minutes, helping Dallas reach its first postseason since 1990 in his rookie season.

“This is a dream come true,” commented Najera.  “I have long wondered what would be in store for me when I hung up the basketball playing shoes, and this is the perfect opportunity for my post-playing career.  The chance to develop as a coach, while also assisting Mark (Cuban) and Donnie with the Mavs, is an ideal situation.  I am thankful to have individuals such as Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson, and Del Harris by my side as individuals to lean on for advice.”

Del Harris was the Legends head coach for the 2011-12 season, which saw the Legends have a team record two players called up to the NBA (Sean Williams and Dan Gadzuric).  Harris will return to his front office role as General Manager.  Najera represents another branch of Harris’ coaching tree.  Harris has coached more than 60 people who have become NBA or collegiate coaches, and 11 of Harris’ assistants have gone on to NBA head coaching positions.

“I look forward to assisting Eddie in any way possible as General Manager,” said Harris.  “I am proud to say that one of my former players is taking over the coaching reigns, and look forward to watching Eddie’s development as a coach.”

Najera’s addition as a minority owner brings the Legends ownership group to four individuals, including Chinese-born Sonny Xiao, the first Chinese-born owner under the NBA umbrella (joining original owners Nelson and Evan Wyly).

“Entourage” star Jerry Ferrara is sporting a pretty gnarly gash and bruise under his left eye this morning … after taking an elbow to the face during a basketball game yesterday. [Photo]

Ferrara went to Twitter to explain his injuries … writing, “Caught a elbow playing bball from a very non athletic dude.”

– Reported by TMZ.com

Mavs guard Rodrigue Beaubois taking boxing classes

“Roddy B’s been working out actually. He’s been in the gym; I saw him just the other day. He’s taking boxing classes,” [Mark] Cuban said during his 70-minute appearance Tuesday on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s “Ben & Skin Show.” “I told Roddy and the folks around him, I said he’s got to learn to throw a punch and take a punch. So he’s been taking some boxing classes, he’s been working out, he’s bigger, he’s stronger. He’s going to have a chance to compete, just like everybody.”

This is a seriously heavy season approaching for the 24-year-old Beaubois. It his fourth season and the last on his contract. His eye-popping, “Free Roddy B” rookie season is all but forgotten. With a totally remade Mavs team that includes proven youth at both guard positions in Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo, Beaubois must prove he has finally put his foot injury from the summer of 2010 in the rear-view mirror and that he is ready to take charge of his career.

– Reported by Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas

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