Archive for February 21st, 2013

anthony morrow

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have acquired guard Anthony Morrow from the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for guard Dahntay Jones.

Morrow (6-5, 210) was originally signed by the Golden State Warriors after going undrafted in the 2008 NBA Draft. He averaged double figures in each of his first four seasons in the league and holds career averages of 11.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 26.2 minutes in 280 career games (120 starts) with Golden State, New Jersey and Atlanta.

The Charlotte, N.C., native is career .450 shooter from the field, holds a .425 career average from behind-the-arc and has shot .895 from the free throw line. Morrow scored a career-high 42 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Feb. 3, 2012.

Morrow played collegiately at Georgia Tech where he established a school record by shooting .867 from the free throw line for his career while also finishing third in all-time three-point field goals (258).

Morrow will wear number 23 for the Mavericks.

Jones was acquired by the Mavericks, along with Darren Collison, from the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Ian Mahinmi on July 12, 2012. He saw action in 50 games (15 starts) and averaged 3.5 points, 1.4 rebounds and 12.7 minutes per game.

magic trade JJ Redick to Bucks

The Orlando Magic have acquired forward Tobias Harris, guard Doron Lamb and guard Beno Udrih from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for guard J.J. Redick, forward-center Gustavo Ayón and guard Ish Smith, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

In addition, the Magic acquired forward Hakim Warrick and cash considerations from the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for forward Josh McRoberts.  The Magic intend to waive Warrick.

“Tobias (Harris) and Doron (Lamb) are two young players who complement our current roster and have tremendous potential to grow with us,” Hennigan said.  “Tobias is a versatile forward that can play both forward positions, while Doron is a combo guard who helps fortify our backcourt with his shooting and ball-handling ability.  Beno (Udrih) is a proven point guard who adds veteran leadership and experience to our team.”

“J.J. (Redick) was a great contributor to the Orlando Magic during his time with our organization, both on the court and in the community.  We wish him, Gustavo (Ayón), Ish (Smith) and Josh (McRoberts) the best of luck in the future.”

Harris (6’8”, 226, 7/15/92) has played in 28 games this season with Milwaukee (14 starts), averaging 4.9 ppg. and 2.0 rpg. in 11.6 minpg.  He has scored in double figures six times this season, including a season-high 18 points on Nov. 2 @ Boston.

Originally selected in the first round (19th overall) by Charlotte in the 2011 NBA Draft, Harris has appeared in 70 career NBA regular season games (23 starts), all with Milwaukee, averaging 4.9 ppg. and 2.3 rpg. in 11.5 minpg.  Before turning pro, he played 34 games (33 starts) during his only season at the University of Tennessee (2010-11), averaging 15.3 ppg., 7.3 rpg. and 1.3 apg. in 29.2 minpg.  Harris was named Second Team All-SEC and to the All-SEC Freshman Team.

Lamb (6’4”, 210, 11/6/91) has played in 23 games this season with Milwaukee, averaging 3.4 ppg. in 12.2 minpg.  He has also appeared in six games (one start) with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League, averaging 10.3 ppg., 3.3 rpg. and 2.5 apg. in 25.5 minpg.

Originally selected in the second round (42nd overall) by Milwaukee in the 2012 NBA Draft, Lamb played 78 career games (49 starts) in two seasons at the University of Kentucky (2010-12), averaging 13.1 ppg., 2.3 rpg. and 1.6 apg. in 29.8 minpg., while shooting .475 (144-303) from three-point range.  He was named Second Team All-SEC in 2011-12 and helped the Wildcats capture the 2012 NCAA National Championship.

Udrih (6’3”, 203, 7/5/82) has played in 39 games this season with Milwaukee, averaging 6.7 ppg., 3.5 apg. and 2.0 rpg. in 18.4 minpg.  He has scored in double figures 11 times this season, including a season-high 18 points on Nov. 28 vs. New York.  Udrih has also dished out 10+ assists twice, including a season-high 11 assists on Jan. 29 @ Detroit.  He has led (or tied) the Bucks in scoring twice and in assists seven times.

Originally selected in the first round (28th overall) by San Antonio in the 2004 NBA Draft, Udrih has appeared in 601 career NBA regular season games (234 starts) with San Antonio, Sacramento and Milwaukee, averaging 9.1 ppg., 3.5 apg. and 2.2 rpg. in 23.4 minpg.  He has also played in 36 career playoff outings, averaging 2.9 ppg. in 8.6 minpg.  Udrih was a part of two NBA Championship teams with San Antonio in 2005 and 2007.

Redick has played in 50 games this season with Orlando (11 starts), averaging 15.1 ppg., 4.4 apg. and 2.4 rpg. in 31.5 minpg.  Originally selected in the first round (11th overall) by Orlando in the 2006 NBA Draft, he has appeared in 396 career NBA regular season games, all with Orlando, averaging 9.2 ppg., 1.9 apg. and 1.8 rpg. in 21.9 minpg., while shooting .398 (549-1,381) from three-point range and .878 (723-823) from the free throw line.

Ayón has played in 43 games this season with Orlando (three starts), averaging 3.6 ppg., 3.3 rpg. and 1.4 apg. in 13.3 minpg.  McRoberts has played in 41 games this season with the Magic (three starts), averaging 3.9 ppg., 3.3 rpg. and 1.7 apg. in 16.7 minpg.  Smith has appeared in 36 games this season with Orlando (three starts), averaging 2.4 ppg., 1.6 apg. and 1.3 rpg. in 10.5 minpg.

Suns trade Sebastian Telfair to Raptors

sebastian telfair

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have acquired veteran point guard Sebastian Telfair from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for centee Hamed Haddadi and a protected second-round draft pick in 2014.

“Acquiring Sebastian Telfair, who has played and started a fair number of NBA games during his career, addresses our depth issue at the point guard position,” said Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo.

Telfair, 6-foot, 170 pounds, is in his ninth NBA season and owns career averages of 7.5 points, 1.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 21.7 minutes in 535 games (192 starts). He has totaled career highs of 30 points (at Miami, Feb. 18, 2009), 13 assists (at Denver, April 9, 2005) and 48 minutes (vs. Indiana, Dec. 21, 2007).

Telfair, 27, has played for Portland, Boston, Minnesota, Los Angeles (Clippers), Cleveland and Phoenix. He posted career-high averages in points (9.8), assists (5.9) and minutes (32.2) with Minnesota. He appeared in 106 games with Phoenix the past two seasons, averaging 6.1 points, 2.4 assists and 15.9 minutes. He shot .349 (76-218) from three-point range with the Suns.

Telfair was one of the most celebrated high school players in New York City history, leading Brooklyn’s Abraham Lincoln High School to three New York PSAL titles and one state championship. He was selected out of high school by the Blazers (first round, 13th overall) in 2004.

A 7-2, 265-pound center, Haddadi became the first Iranian-born player in NBA history when he made his debut with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008-09.  Haddadi, who played his first four-plus seasons with the Grizzlies (2008-13), was part of the Jan. 30 trade between Memphis and Toronto that sent Rudy Gay to the Raptors.

Haddadi owns career averages of 2.0 points and 2.1 rebounds in 134 career contests, and this season appeared in 13 games for Memphis before the trade.  He has not played a game as a member of the Raptors.

Warriors trade Jeremy Tyler to Hawks

The Golden State Warriors have traded forward/center Jeremy Tyler and cash considerations to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for future draft considerations, it was announced today.

Tyler, 21, appeared in 20 games with the Warriors this season, averaging 1.1 points and 0.9 rebounds in 3.2 minutes (25 DNP-CDs, nine games on the inactive list). The 6’11” forward/center also spent various stints this season with the Warriors’ D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz, where he averaged 15.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in 30.0 minutes in five outings.

Originally acquired by the Warriors on June 23, 2011, in a draft-night trade with the Charlotte Bobcats, Tyler appeared in 42 games (23 starts) during his rookie campaign last season, averaging 4.9 points and 3.3 rebounds in 13.5 minutes. Tyler was selected by the Bobcats in the second round (39th overall) of the 2011 NBA Draft and boasts career averages of 3.7 points and 2.5 rebounds in 62 games with Golden State.

Celtics trade Leandro Barbosa, Jason Collins to Wizards for Jordan Crawford

Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the Wizards have acquired guard Leandro Barbosa and center Jason Collins from the Boston Celtics in exchange for guard Jordan Crawford.

“Our team has started to come together and play well over the last 20 games,” said Grunfeld.  “This trade allows us to keep moving in that direction with the solid rotation and defensive commitment we have established on the court, helps us continue to build on the culture we are establishing in the locker room and gives us additional financial flexibility.”

“Jordan’s a scorer and he will provide versatility that will add great depth to our roster,” said Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations.

Crawford, a 6’4” guard, has appeared in 43 games for the Wizards this season and is averaging 13.2 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 26.2 minutes per game. Crawford has recorded 12 games this season with 20 or more points including a season-high 27 points twice (December 28 against Orlando and December 18 against Atlanta). In the game against Atlanta on December 18, he also recorded a triple-double adding 11 assists and 11 rebounds to his season-high-tying 27 points. The third year pro out of Xavier University in Ohio has career averages of 13.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 149 games split between Atlanta and Washington.

Collins, the 18th overall pick of the 2001 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets, has appeared in 707 career games with five teams (New Jersey, Memphis, Minnesota, Atlanta, Boston) while averaging 3.7 points and 3.8 rebounds in 20.9 minutes per contest.  This season with Boston, Collins has averaged 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 32 games.

Crawford was originally traded to Washington along with Mike Bibby, Maurice Evans and a 2011 First Round pick (Chris Singleton) for Hilton Armstrong and Kirk Hinrich on February 23, 2011.  In parts of three seasons with the Wizards, Crawford averaged 14.5 points while appearing in 133 games.  He averaged 13.2 points and 3.7 assists while appearing in 43 games for the Wizards this season.

Magic trade Josh McRoberts to Bobcats for Hakim Warrick

Charlotte Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins announced today that the team has acquired forward Josh McRoberts from the Orlando Magic in exchange for forward Hakim Warrick. McRoberts will wear No. 11. The Bobcats roster remains at 14 players.

“Josh McRoberts is a quality young big man who can play either post position for us,” Higgins said. “We look forward to adding his size and energy to our rotation.”

Currently in his sixth NBA season, the 6-10 McRoberts has career averages of 4.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists, along with a career field goal percentage of .496 (444-896), in 246 games played for the Trail Blazers, Pacers, Lakers and Magic. In 41 games for Orlando this season, he averaged 3.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 16.7 minutes. Earlier this season he posted career highs of 14 rebounds on Nov. 25 against Boston and eight assists on Jan. 7 at Portland.

McRoberts was originally selected with the 37th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Trail Blazers after two years at Duke University, where he was a teammate of Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson during the 2006-07 season. He had his best overall season in 2010-11, when he averaged career highs of 7.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 22.2 minutes in 72 games played for the Pacers, including 51 starts.

Warrick was acquired by the Bobcats from New Orleans on November 13, 2012, in exchange for Matt Carroll. He appeared in 27 games for the Bobcats, including 14 starts, and averaged 7.0 points and 3.3 rebounds in 17.9 minutes.

Warriors trade Charles Jenkins to 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that they have completed a trade with the Golden State Warriors.  The Sixers acquire second-year guard Charles Jenkins and cash considerations from the Warriors in exchange for a protected second round pick.

Jenkins (6-3, 215) was originally selected by Golden State with the 44th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.  In 98 games with 28 starts for the Warriors, Jenkins averaged 3.9 points and 2.0 assists in 12.1 minutes per game.

As a rookie last season, Jenkins started 28 games for the Warriors, averaging 8.6 points, 5.1 assists and 2.0 rebounds in 24.9 minutes per game.  He also posted an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.23 in those starts.

A native of Queens, N.Y., Jenkins attended Hofstra University and is the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,513 points.  He was named Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year as both a junior and a senior.

Thunder trade Eric Maynor to Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired guard Eric Maynor from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for the draft rights to Georgios Printezis, it was announced today by General Manager Neil Olshey.

Portland waived guard Ronnie Price to make room on the roster. In his only season with the Trail Blazers, Price averaged 2.7 points, 1.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 13.1 minutes in 39 appearances.

“Ronnie has been a consummate professional and we thank him for his contributions to the team,” said Olshey.

Maynor, 25, has appeared in 37 games this season with the Thunder, averaging 2.8 points, 0.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 10.6 minutes per game.

“Eric is a player we have valued and pursued for some time,” said Olshey. “His skill level and character will be excellent additions to our culture on and off the floor.”

Maynor (6-3, 175) holds career averages of 4.2 points, 1.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 14.3 minutes in 209 career games with Oklahoma City and Utah. He was originally selected out of Virginia Commonwealth by the Jazz with the 20th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.

The Trail Blazers acquired the draft rights to Printezis on July 16, 2012, in the deal with New York that included Jared Jeffries coming to Portland in exchange for Raymond Felton and Kurt Thomas. Portland acquired Maynor by using a trade exception created in the Jeffries deal.

Utah Jazz avoid trade deadline deals

General Manager Dennis Lindsey met with a group of writers after Thursday’s trade deadline passed without any movement on the part of the Jazz. We’ll have a full story up at shortly, but wanted to share a few quick thoughts from Lindsey first.

The first-year GM was clear that the Jazz felt they were operating from a position of power, with eight expiring contracts set to come off the books this summer. The Jazz wanted to retain that flexibility, although Lindsey acknowledged the risk of losing both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap without a guarantee of return.

While Lindsey joked that the Jazz said “no” to 30 different trades, he declined to put an actual number on it. He said the Jazz were “very” popular in trade talks, but that they didn’t feel any of the offers met a high Jazz standard.

– Reported by Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune

Knicks trade Ronnie Brewer to Thunder

Knicks trade Ronnie Brewer to Thunder

New York Knicks Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations and General Manager Glen Grunwald announced today that the team has acquired a 2014 second-round draft choice and cash considerations from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for guard Ronnie Brewer.

“We are pleased to bring in a defensive-minded player like Ronnie, a high-character person who has played for coaches and programs throughout his career that we have a great deal of respect for,” said Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. “He is a versatile defender with playoff experience that will add depth to our wing positions.”

Brewer (6-7, 225), a seven-year NBA veteran, has played in 464 career games (301 starts) with Utah, Memphis, Chicago and New York.  The Fayetteville, Ark. native owns career averages of 8.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals in 24.2 minutes per game. He has appeared in 46 playoff contests (17 starts), averaging 5.7 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 18.4 minutes per contest.

“The opportunity to acquire a trade exception was important to us strategically as it gives us the roster flexibility that we value,” Presti said. “Eric has been an absolute professional during his time with the Thunder and he will have a very productive career beyond this season.”

According to multiple reports, the Knicks will use the open roster spot to sign veteran forward Kenyon Martin to a 10-day contract.

heat trade dexter pittman

The Miami Heat announced today that they have traded center Dexter Pittman, a 2013 second round draft choice and cash considerations to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for the draft rights to forward Ricky Sanchez.

“I want to thank Dexter for his hard work and professional attitude,” said Heat President Pat Riley. “Unfortunately, in order to gain roster flexibility we had to trade someone. We wish him nothing but the best.”

Currently in his third NBA season, Pittman (6-11, 285) is averaging 12.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.67 blocks on .470 shooting in 24.9 minutes in 15 games (12 starts) this year for the NBA Development League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce.  The 24-year-old holds career D-League averages of 13.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.70 blocks on .510 shooting in 26.5 minutes in 37 games (34 starts) for Sioux Falls.

Drafted by Miami in the second round (32nd overall) of the 2010 NBA Draft, the University of Texas product holds NBA career averages of 2.8 points and 2.0 rebounds on .471 shooting in 7.9 minutes in 41 games (six starts) with the Heat.  A member of Miami’s 2012 NBA Championship squad, the Rosenberg, Tex. native has totaled six points and seven rebounds in 12 minutes in four appearances for the Heat this season.

Memphis now owns multiple second round draft picks in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Sanchez, a 6’11, 220-lb forward, was originally drafted in the second round (35th overall) in the 2005 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. He appeared in 75 NBA Development League games (22 starts) for the Idaho Stampede from 2006-08 and averaged 10.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 25.1 minutes while shooting 41.4 percent from the field. The Puerto Rican native currently plays for Libertad de Sunchales (Argentina), appearing in 28 games this season and averaging 12.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 31.9 minutes while shooting 42.2 percent from the field.

Pittman, who was originally drafted by the Heat in the second round (32nd overall) of the 2010 NBA Draft, appeared in 41 career games (six starts) with Miami and averaged 2.8 points and 2.0 rebounds while shooting 47.1 percent from the field. He is currently on assignment with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA Development League.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced today that Greg Taylor, who currently serves as the President & CEO of the Foundation for Newark’s Future, has been named Senior Vice President, Player Development, replacing Mike Bantom who was promoted to Executive Vice President, Referee Operations, prior to the 2012-13 season.

Taylor will manage all of the NBA’s programs that promote the personal, professional and social development of NBA players. He will be responsible for league initiatives including programs to assist rookies in their transition to the NBA; educating team directors on player development and the best way to handle player off-the-court matters; and programs that aid players throughout their NBA careers and beyond. Taylor will report to Kathy Behrens, Executive Vice President, Social Responsibility and Player Programs.

“We are thrilled to have Greg join our team as we continue the critical work of supporting our players and their on-and-off court growth,” said Behrens. “Greg’s experience in creating innovative education and leadership development programs makes him an ideal fit to lead our efforts to enhance the resources available to our players and their families.”

As President & CEO of the Foundation for Newark’s Future, Taylor has worked to forge private and public sector partnerships to support education reform policies in Newark, N.J., and helped the Foundation raise $100 million to match a donation made by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. He previously served as Vice President for Programs of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where he led a series of ground-breaking initiatives that empowered community leaders and organizations through early childhood education, racial equity, and family economic security programs. Taylor has also been a longtime youth basketball coach and is a current board member of both Athletes for Hope and the Newark Charter School Fund.

“This is a great opportunity for me knowing that supporting players throughout their journey is a high priority for the NBA,” said Taylor. “I look forward to working closely with the league and teams to enhance our programming and resources and doing all we can do to support the varied off-court needs of NBA players.”

A native of New York City, Taylor received his BA from Hunter College, City University of New York, and his JD from the Bloomington School of Law at Indiana University.

deron williams

Brooklyn Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo admitted that Deron Williams is going to be playing at less than full strength for the rest of the season.

“He’s not gonna be 100 percent,” Carlesimo said during a Thursday interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM “The Mike Lupica Show.” “The reality is he’s not gonna be 100 percent this year, and I think that’s the thing that a lot of people are having difficult grasping.

“He’s playing dinged up. His ankles are not good at all. And that wrist has been a problem for him all year.”

Williams has been hampered by a slew of injuries in 2012-13 but has missed just three games. Prior to the season, he had a cortisone shot because of bone spurs in his left ankle and admitted that he would need offseason surgery to clean it out.

– Reported by Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York

Josh Smith

Smith, the subject of so much trade speculation as he will become an unrestricted free agent following the season, has been peppered with questions about his future of late. He is eager for it all to be over. The forward admitted to trouble sleeping Wednesday night on the eve of the deadline.

“Compounded with the trade rumors and the loss (to the Heat Wednesday),” Smith said. “It was a very disappointing loss. I went to sleep kind of late last night. It was definitely hard to sleep.”

Still, Smith woke up, called his agent, and with no deal near, headed to Philips Arena for Thursday’s practice. Smith said he had no conversations with team management about his future.

“I’m pretty sure it’s lingering through everybody’s head,” Smith said of the distracting nature of the deadline.

– Reported by Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (Blog)

Magic guard Jameer Nelson has knee strain

Jameer Nelson has been diagnosed as having a strained patellar tendon in his left knee, Orlando Magic officials announced today.

The team would not specify the severity of the strain, whether the tendon was stretched or torn. But officials said Nelson’s injury will be evaluated further when he accompanies the team back to Central Florida following its road game Friday night against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Nelson hurt his knee late in the Magic’s 111-96 loss Wednesday night to the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center.

Nelson suffered the injury as he drove against Darren Collison and attempted to stop quickly. Nelson crumpled to the floor, and Collison forced a jump ball.

– Reported by Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel (Blog)

Derrick Rose takes next step in rehab

Derrick Rose takes next step in rehab

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose has “made the next step” in his rehab after participating in five-on-five drills in practice, according to Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, but the organization still isn’t sure when the former MVP will return.

“The big thing is you have to recognize the intensity of practice is different than the intensity of a game,” Thibodeau said after Thursday’s shootaround as the Bulls prepared to face the Miami Heat. “So he’s made the next step, he’s got to do this for a while, there’s no timetable, he’s making good progress, he’s right where he should be, we just want him to continue to concentrate on the rehab and when he’s ready to go he’ll go.”

Rose spent some time after shootaround taking jumpers with his teammates. He said last week he “wouldn’t mind” missing the rest of the season if his knee still didn’t feel right.

Bulls center Nazr Mohammed said Rose doesn’t appear to be working like a player who might sit the season.

– Reported by Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago

eric gordon

Even if the New Orleans Hornets are unable to pull off a trade involving guard Eric Gordon before Thursday’s 2 p.m. deadline, it has been become clear the franchise likely will remain open to trading him after this season ends, according to sources.

The Hornets (19-36) have had trade discussions with the Golden State Warriors in an attempt to acquire shooting guard Kyle Thompson. But the deal appears unlikely because the Warriors are unwilling to part ways with Thompson, whom they feel is an emerging star and they have concerns about Gordon’s health, sources indicate.

The Hornets are looking for a deal that could possibly improve their overall roster for the lon -term, which means they are looking for young talent that will enhance their current rebuilding plans around No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis.

– Reported by John Reid of the New Orleans Times Picayune

marcus morris

The Phoenix Suns today acquired second-year forward Marcus Morris from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Phoenix’s 2013 second-round draft pick, the club has announced.  In a related move, Phoenix has waived forward Luke Zeller.

“We have been intrigued for quite some time about the potential synergy from having both of the Morris twins on our team.  So we are excited to have the opportunity to welcome Marcus to the Suns,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby.

Marcus is the identical twin brother of Suns forward Markieff Morris, who is the older of the two.  Born just seven minutes apart, the pair was drafted approximately five minutes apart, selected with consecutive picks in the lottery of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Suns (Markieff, 13th) and Rockets (Marcus, 14th) after decorated three-year careers at the University of Kansas. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Morris twins become just the second pair of twins in NBA history to become teammates, joining Dick and Tom Van Arsdale, who were teammates with the Phoenix Suns in 1976-77.  They become the 13th pair of brothers to play together and join the Indiana Pacers’ Ben and Tyler Hansbrough as active members of that group.

A 6-9, 235-pound forward, Marcus has appeared in 71 games (17 starts) as a professional, all with the Rockets, and owns career averages of 7.1 points and 3.3 rebounds in 18.0 minutes. This season, he has seen a marked jump in production, averaging career highs of 8.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 21.4 minutes in 54 appearances (17 starts).  Morris has scored in double figures 24 times already this season, including two 20-point efforts, and a career-high 24 points on Dec. 29 against Oklahoma City.  The former Jayhawk has made 38.1 percent of his three-point attempts this season, and has connected on 74 three-pointers in his sophomore campaign after making two as a rookie.

A three-year starter at the University of Kansas, Morris averaged 12.6 points and 6.2 rebounds as a collegian, including a team-best 17.2 points and 7.6 rebounds in his standout junior season in 2010-11.  Morris was named Big 12 Player of the Year, Big 12 Championship Most Outstanding Player, a Wooden Award Finalist and Oscar Robertson Trophy finalist in 2010-11 before declaring for the NBA Draft.

dwight howard

The recent All-Star break afforded him a rare amount of rest for his sore body stemmed from 10-month-old back surgery and an aggravated labrum in his right shoulder. That four-day stretch also coincided with Howard working with the Lakers’ training staff on various conditioning drills to improve his explosiveness and timing.

“It’s been tough because of the injuries,” Howard said. “But we’re just going to try to bust it out. I’m going to try to get into the best shape I can. The better shape I’m in, the more active I can be.”

But it’s not just about effort. It’s about execution.

The Lakers spent plenty of time during Tuesday’s practice ironing out how Nash and Howard would play the pick-and-roll. Nash often lamented the lack of time together. Howard often griped about how they couldn’t read the opposing team’s defenses. The Lakers’ coaches wished Howard would show a stronger effort and will to overcome such variables.

– Reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times (Blog)

klay thompson

With his team stuck in a season-high, six-game losing streak, Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson called facing the Phoenix Suns ”the biggest game of the season for us” just before tipoff against the Western Conference’s worst team.

Apparently his players got the message.

Klay Thompson had 28 points and eight rebounds, David Lee finished with 19 points and 11 boards and the Warriors held on to beat the Suns 108-98 on Wednesday night to end their longest slide of the season.

”This is a game we should have won and we did win,” Jackson said. ”And I like the fashion in which we did it.”

Jarrett Jack added 21 points off the bench and Stephen Curry scored 20, with both making some key shots late to secure Golden State’s first victory in almost three weeks. The Warriors hadn’t won since routing Phoenix 113-93 on Feb. 2, and some offered an even simpler solution to the problem…

Goran Dragic had 20 points and 10 assists and Jermaine O’Neal added 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns, who have lost five straight to Golden State, including all three meetings this season. Phoenix went down by 10 points in the first quarter and played from behind the rest of the way…

In another moment worth savoring for the Warriors, Andrew Bogut took his latest step forward. The 7-foot center had 11 rebounds, seven points and three blocks in a season-high 29 minutes while playing in back-to-back games for the first time since his comeback from left ankle surgery…

Earlier Wednesday, the Suns sent a future second-round draft pick to Houston in exchange for F Marcus Morris, who will join his twin older brother, Markieff, down in the desert, according to a person familiar with the decision who spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade hadn’t been finalized.

– Reported by Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press

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