Archive for January 28th, 2013

Lazar Hayward has returned to the Los Angeles D-Fenders, it was announced today.  Hayward, signed by the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 31st, became the D-Fenders first NBA Call-Up of the season and 12th in team history.

Selected by Washington in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft (30th overall) and later traded to Minnesota on draft day, Hayward has been a member of Minnesota, Oklahoma City and Houston since joining the NBA.  In 72 career NBA games with the Thunder and Timberwolves, Hayward has averaged 2.9 points, 1.3 rebounds and 0.5 assists in 8.2 minutes.  The 6-6, 225 pound forward also played three games with Tulsa of the NBA Development League in 2012, averaging 24.0 points 5.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 34.3 minutes.

A standout at Marquette University, Hayward finished his career with the Golden Eagles as the program’s second all-time leading scorer (1,859 points) and fifth all-time leading rebounder (910 rebounds) after averaging 13.5 points (45.2 FG%; 35.7 3FG%) along with 6.6 rebounds in 138 career games.  Additionally, the Buffalo, New York native was named to the All-Big East Second Team (2008, 2010) as well as the Big East All-Tournament Team (2010), and earned an All-America Honorable Mention selection by the Associated Press (2010) during his time at Marquette.

Luol Deng

Luol Deng returned to the Chicago Bulls’ lineup on Monday night against the Charlotte Bobcats after missing five games with a hamstring injury.

Deng, who was recently named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team, is averaging 17.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

– Reported by the Associated Press

rajon rondo

Rajon Rondo was having his best season for the struggling Boston Celtics.

He’s averaging career highs in points and rebounds. He leads the NBA in assists and triple-doubles by big margins. He was voted the starting point guard for the Eastern Conference in next month’s All-Star game.

”He’s our guy that’s orchestrating everything for us,” guard Courtney Lee said. ”He’s our leader.”

Not anymore.

Rondo is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee that requires surgery. So coach Doc Rivers must find a replacement from a group short on point-guard experience amid a widespread feeling that the Celtics’ already shaky playoff prospects are over.

He doesn’t believe it.

”You can write the obituary,” Rivers told reporters after Sunday’s 100-98, double-overtime win over the Miami Heat. ”I’m not. You can go ahead, but I’m not. We won (Sunday) and so the way I look at it is we’re going to stay in there.”

Lee could fill in at Rondo’s position. Or Jason Terry. Or Leandro Barbosa. Or, less likely, the Celtics could sign a free agent or trade for a point guard. Their first practice without Rondo is Tuesday.

– Reported by Howard Ulman of the Associated Press

Rick Adelman

Rick Adelman is back on the court and coaching basketball after three weeks away to help his wife through a health scare.

His Minnesota Timberwolves lost nine of 11 games without him to fall behind in the powerful Western Conference playoff race.

Adelman helped restore hope in this downtrodden franchise when he came aboard before last season. So the Timberwolves have missed him. In some ways, though, Adelman may need the Wolves as much as they need him.

Adelman ran practice Monday and said he planned to coach against the Clippers on Wednesday night if all is satisfactory with Mary Kay Adelman, who is being treated for an undisclosed condition. Adelman said he delayed his return until he felt it would be for good. He said his wife is improving and he hopes the worst is over.

”It’s hard,” Adelman said, referring to his absence. ”I’ve never done this. It’s never happened. But there’s some things that are more important than basketball or anything else. I think the team understands that. Hopefully things will settle down here now.”

– Reported by Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has recalled forward/center Donatas Motiejunas from Houston’s single-affiliation NBA D-League partner Rio Grande Valley.

Motiejunas (7-0, 222, Lithuania), who was re-assigned to the Vipers on Jan. 22, has averaged 20.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists in seven starts with Rio Grande Valley this season. With the Rockets, Motiejunas is currently averaging 1.6 points and 0.3 boards in 14 games.

The Phoenix Suns have recalled guard Diante Garrett from the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League, the club announced today.

Originally assigned on Jan. 10, the 6-4, 175-pound guard averaged 15.1 points, 7.4 assists and 1.7 steals while appearing in seven games for the Jam (five starts).  During his seven-game assignment, the Jam compiled a 6-1 (.857) record, including a season-best six-game win streak.

Garrett shot 46.1 percent from the field (49-of-93), including a 62.5-percent clip from three-point range (10-of-16).  Both a scorer and a distributor, Garrett reached double figures in scoring in six of seven games, including four games of 15 or more points and one 20-point effort; he dished six or more assists in six of seven games, including two double-digit assist efforts.

Tornike Shengelia, playing for the Springfield Armor on assignment from the Brooklyn Nets, was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Jan. 21-27. 

A 6-8, 207-pound forward from the Republic of Georgia, Shengelia played in two of the Armor’s four games last week, helping the team to a 2-2 record.  He began his assignment, the second of his career, by tying an Armor franchise record with 39 points on 17-of-21 shooting to go with a game-high 18 rebounds and six assists in a 123-115 home win of the Maine Red Claws.  He finished the week with a 24-point, 13-rebound performance in a 111-100 victory over the visiting Santa Cruz Warriors.

For the week, Shengelia averaged 31.5 points, 15.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 41.0 minutes.  He shot 76 percent from the floor (25-of-33) while going 4-of-7 (57 percent) from behind the three-point line.

Other top performers considered include Austin’s Rick Jackson, Bakersfield’s Damion James, Canton’s Kevin Jones, Erie’s D.J. Kennedy, Fort Wayne’s Luke Harangody, Idaho’s Coby Karl, Iowa’s Paul Harris, Los Angeles’ Elijah Millsap, Maine’s DaJuan Summers, Reno’s Walker Russell, Jr., Rio Grande Valley’s Terrel Harris, Santa Cruz’s Stefhon Hannah, Sioux Falls’ Donald Sloan, Texas’ Sean Singletary and Tulsa’s Jeremy Lamb, on assignment from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

kyrie irving

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving and San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker today were named Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Jan. 21 through Sunday, Jan. 27.

Irving led the league in scoring at 35.7 ppg, guiding the Cavaliers to a 3-0 week. He tallied at least 32 points in all three games, finishing the week with a .612 shooting percentage from the field (41-of-67 field goals) and a .950 shooting percentage from the foul line (19-of-20 free throws). Irving poured in 40 points on 16-of-24 shooting from the field in a 95-90 win over the Boston Celtics on Jan. 22.

tony parker

Parker led the Spurs to a 4-0 week behind averages of 24.5 points (fourth in the conference) and 9.5 assists (third in the conference). He posted back-to-back point-assist double-doubles on Jan. 23 and 25, in wins over the New Orleans Hornets and Dallas Mavericks. Parker connected on 40-of-66 field goals (.606) on the week, good for eighth best in the West.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Kyle Korver and Josh Smith, Denver’s Ty Lawson, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Miami’s LeBron James, Milwaukee’s Ersan Ilyasova, New Orleans’ Ryan Anderson, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and Portland’s Nicolas Batum.

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have re-assigned Jared Cunningham to the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League.

Cunningham (6-4, 194) is headed for his second stint in the D-League this season. He was originally assigned to the Legends on Dec. 11 and averaged 18.1 points, 3.0 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 37.0 minutes in seven games.

The Mavericks 2012 first round pick has seen action in eight games this season with Dallas and holds averages of 2.0 points and 3.3 minutes per game.

Cunningham will play for the Legends on Feb. 1 when they take on the Santa Cruz Warriors at Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco, Texas at 7:00 pm.

mike james

Mike James may be old, but he’s apparently still good enough to get a job in the league.

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed guard Mike James for the remainder of the season.

James (6-2, 188) signed the first of two 10-day contracts with the Mavericks on Jan. 8 and played in all nine games during the 20 days he was under contract. He averaged 2.9 points, 1.0 assists and 9.9 minutes in nine games off the bench.

The Copiague, N.Y., native is a 10-year veteran and has played in 548 games (263 starts) with Miami, Boston, Detroit, Milwaukee, Houston, Toronto, Minnesota, New Orleans, Washington, Chicago and Dallas. He holds career averages of 10.2 points, 3.5 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 24.7 minutes per game.

sam young

Free agent Sam Young has an NBA job again. The Indiana Pacers announced Monday they have re-signed Young to a contract.

The Pacers originally signed Young on Sept. 12, 2012 and waived him on Jan. 6, 2013.  He played 28 games with the Pacers, averaging 3.6 points and 2.9 rebounds.

Young is a 6-6 small forward/shooting guard who played three NBA seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers. He has career averages of 6.3 points per game and 2.4 rebounds per game. He was a second-round pick (36th overall) of the Grizzlies in the 2009 NBA Draft.

The 26-18 Pacers are currently the 5th seed in the Eastern conference.

Still unclear when Chris Paul will return for Clippers

There still is no set date for the return of injured Clippers point guard Chris Paul, Coach Vinny Del Negro said Sunday.

“Day to day, no timetable,” Del Negro said of Paul, the team’s star playmaker who is out because of a bruised right kneecap.

“With a bone bruise it’s just a matter of letting it calm down,” and then the Clippers have to wait “until he gets out on the court [in practice] and see how he reacts,” Del Negro said.

In the meantime, “it’s a matter of when [head trainer] Jasen [Powell] gives him the OK to get out there and start working,” Del Negro said.

– Reported by Jim Peltz of the Los Angeles Times

ersan ilyasova

[Coach Jim] Boylan’s vote of confidence in Ilyasova is paying huge dividends. Since Boylan assumed the coaching reins, Ilyasova has shot 47 percent from the field and a white-hot 51 percent from 3-point range. In that same 10-game span under Boylan, Ilyasova is averaging 15.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 28.3 minutes.

While those numbers are nice, his numbers in the last four games are off the charts: 25.5 points, 12.2 rebounds, 55 percent shooting and 63 percent 3-point shooting.

Oh, and one other not-so-insignificant number: 34. That’s his minutes average for the last four games.

Ilyasova’s sterling play has been one of the key reasons why the Bucks are surging, why they are 23-19 and why they have won seven of 10 games with Boylan at the controls.

– Reported by Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times

rodney stuckey

The Detroit Pistons escaped their three-game road trip with a 104-102 win over the Orlando Magic on Sunday, after which the media wanted to discuss one topic, the head coach declined, and the players expressed some level of confusion over it all.

Rodney Stuckey was inactive.  He was healthy and in a suit, though he was the last player to the bench in both halves.

Frank, who traditionally discloses his two inactive players at his press conference 90 minutes before the game, coyly said he hadn’t decided at that point who would be inactive.

A half-hour later, at the mandatory league-imposed time when inactives must be turned in, Stuckey’s name was on it.

Afterwards, Frank was just as coy about why.

“Just coach’s decision,” he said.  ”That’s as far as I’m going.  I’m sorry to be evasive but that’s all I’m giving you.”

– Reported by David Mayo of Michigan Live

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that they have signed guard Shelvin Mack to a second 10-day contract.  He signed his first 10-day contract on January 17 and was the 15th GATORADE Call-Up of the 2012-13 NBA Development League season.

Mack (6-3, 207) has appeared in two games for the Sixers this season.  In nine total games for Washington and Philadelphia, he is averaging 4.3 points, 2.6 assists and 1.8 rebounds in 16.2 minutes per game.

At the time he left the Maine Red Claws to join the Sixers, Mack ranked third in the D-League in scoring (20.5 ppg) and first in assists (8.0 apg).

Luol Deng

Britain’s basketball superstar Luol Deng has today delivered a hard-hitting letter to the Prime Minister over the slashed funding that is crippling the sport.

The Chicago Bulls star has weighed in on the debate after UK Sport’s funding was cut in the aftermath of the Olympics.

In a letter sent to 10 Downing Street, Deng wrote: ‘We all heard about the “legacy” that London 2012 was going to bring to sport in the UK and I refuse to sit back and let that legacy be completely demolished for basketball.

‘I, along with other people involved in the game, have put too much in and care too greatly to let this happen.

‘The sport of basketball is a pathway, a pathway that teaches so many valuable lessons on and off the court, how are we supposed to motivate these kids to carry along their journey when there’s now nothing at the end? No Team GB, no Olympic dream, no goal.’

– Reported by Mike Dawes of Daily Mail (UK)

Rudy Gay trade speculation continues

Rudy Gay trade speculation continues

Gay still might soon be out of a Grizzlies uniform, but he’s clearly not down despite the fact that trade speculation surrounding the 6-8 small forward has hardly decreased.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, NBA executives believe the Grizzlies, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have had trade discussions that could involve Gay, Paul Pierce and Pau Gasol.

The speculation is that Memphis would receive Pierce, Los Angeles would get Gay and Gasol would land in Boston.

Griz CEO Jason Levien told local reporters last week that no deal was imminent. It is widely known that the Griz still are open to trading Gay, and expect better offers for the swingman now that the franchise is no longer on the hook for a luxury tax payment.

Memphis shed more than $6 million and got under the tax threshold Tuesday with a multiplayer deal that sent Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a protected 2015 first-round draft pick to Cleveland for forward Jon Leuer.

– Reported by Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal

The Brooklyn Nets have recalled forward Tornike Shengelia and guard Tyshawn Taylor from the Springfield Armor of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by General Manager Billy King.  The two players were assigned to Springfield on January 22.

In three games for the Armor this season, Shengelia holds D-League averages of 28.3 points, 13.7 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game.  Shengelia posted a franchise-high tying 39 points to go along with 18 rebounds on January 24 vs. Maine.

Taylor has averaged 26.5 points, 7.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds in four D-League contests this season.

jared sullinger

Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger got tagged with the first technical foul of his NBA career after getting wrapped up by Miami’s Rashard Lewis during Sunday’s matinee at TD Garden.

Sullinger got ahead in transition and finished a layup at the rim late in the second quarter. As the ball fell through the cylinder, Lewis reached up to catch it, and found his arms around Sullinger’s head. The Boston rookie tried to run back up court, but Lewis did not move his arms. Frustrated, Sullinger delivered a two-handed shove to Lewis’ waist to free himself. Referees assessed a double-technical.

Did Sullinger deserve a tech?

“No,” said locker neighbor Jeff Green when that question was posed to Sullinger.

– Reported by Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston

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