Archive for July, 2013

Lakers hire Kurt Rambis, Johnny Davis as assistant coaches

The Los Angeles Lakers have hired Kurt Rambis and Johnny Davis as assistant coaches, it was announced today by Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak. The pair will join Lakers assistant coach Dan D’Antoni, who returns from last season, in addition to Mark Madsen and Larry Lewis, who were hired earlier as player development coaches.

“Kurt and Johnny bring many years of NBA experience both as coaches and as former players to this team,” said Lakers Head Coach Mike D’Antoni. “Kurt is a great basketball mind, extremely good at working with big men and his experience as a head coach in this league is going to prove very helpful to our staff. Johnny is a two-time NBA head coach with years of experience playing as well as coaching in this league. The vast array of NBA knowledge he brings to the table will be invaluable to us.”

Rambis previously served three stints with the Lakers as an assistant coach, first from 1994-1999, before taking over as head coach 13 games into the 1998-99 season. He tied a then-NBA record with nine consecutive wins to start his head coaching career and led the team to a 24-13 mark and into the Western Conference Semifinals. Rambis then served as Advisor and Assistant General Manager from 1999-2001, and then as Vice President of Business and Basketball Integration for half of the 2004-05 season.

Rambis also served as an assistant coach with the Lakers from 2001-04 and from 2005-09, helping to guide the team to two NBA Championships (2002 and 2009) as well as NBA Finals appearances in 2004 and 2008. Rambis then went to Minnesota, where he was the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2009-11.

In addition, Rambis played during the Lakers “Showtime” era and helped the team win NBA titles in 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988. Rambis spent the 2012-13 season serving as a basketball analyst for ESPN and Time Warner Cable Sportsnet.

Davis joins the Lakers with over two decades of NBA coaching experience. The Detroit native most recently spent the previous two seasons (2011-13) as an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors. Before joining the Raptors, Davis worked six seasons as an assistant coach for the Memphis Grizzlies (2007-11), Indiana Pacers (2006-07) and Minnesota Timberwolves (2005-06). Davis spent two seasons (2003-05) as head coach of the Orlando Magic, where he was an assistant coach from 1999-03 before being promoted eleven games into the 2003-04 season. His stint with the Magic was the second head coaching job for Davis, who also spent one year (1996-97) at the helm of the Philadelphia 76ers. The 23-year coaching veteran has also worked as an assistant coach for the Nets (1997-99), Trail Blazers (1994-96), Clippers (1993-94) and Hawks (1990-93). Additionally, Davis served two games as the Grizzlies interim head coach in January 2009.

Before joining the coaching ranks, Davis, who holds a Master’s Degree in Sports Psychology, spent three seasons (1987-90) in the front office of the Atlanta Hawks where he served in a variety of roles including Director of Community Affairs, Assistant to the President, and President of the Atlanta Hawks Foundation. Selected by the Trail Blazers in the second round of the 1976 draft, the University of Dayton alum played with four teams (Trail Blazers, Pacers, Hawks and Cavaliers) in ten years (1976–86), winning an NBA Championship in his rookie season with Portland.

Within the NBA’s rookie pay scale, teams are given enough leeway to sign their first-rounders to between 80 percent and 120 percent of their pick’s suggested value.

Almost always, rookies are quickly offered and sign near the maximum, like Steven Adams did last week, reaching a deal with the Thunder that will pay him $2.09 million next season, nearly $400,000 more than the suggested value of the 12th pick.

So that’s why it was a bit surprising when, late last week, word also surfaced that the Thunder brass had lowballed its other first-round pick, signing Andre Roberson to only 80 percent of his first-year value.

The 2013-14 pay scale suggests the 26th pick make $925,700 next season. Its maximum value is around $1.1 million. But Roberson will only bring in $740,560.

Reported by Anthony Slater of Oklahoman

The Boston Celtics have hired former Butler guard Ronald Nored in a player development role, a source told ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman.

The 23-year-old Nored, a guard on Butler’s two Final Four teams coached by new Celtics coach Brad Stevens, is also expected to have a role with the Maine Red Claws, Boston’s D-League affiliate.

Despite his age, Nored is considered a rising star in the coaching ranks and spent his post-Butler days as an assistant at the University of South Alabama and coaching high school ball outside of Indianapolis.

Reported by Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston

Atlanta Hawks are getting Gustavo Ayon

Atlanta Hawks are getting Gustavo Ayon

The Atlanta Hawks have claimed center Gustavo Ayon off waivers, sources told ESPN.com.

The Milwaukee Bucks waived Ayon last week before his $1.5 million salary became guaranteed. The Hawks will pick up the 6-foot-10 Mexican’s salary, which now becomes guaranteed.

The Hawks and Bucks have been involved in a series of transactions involving each other this summer. The Bucks signed Hawks’ restricted free agent point guard Jeff Teague to an $8 million per season offer sheet, which the Hawks matched.

Reported by Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com

After failing to field any NBA offers that entailed guaranteed deals, Andrew Goudelock has accepted a one-year deal to play with the Russian basketball team BC UNICS Kazan.

The offer is worth “considerably more” than Goudelock would’ve made with an NBA minimum salary worth around $1 million, according to a source familiar with the details. But exact terms weren’t immediately provided.

The Lakers declined to grant Goudelock a $1.1 million qualifying offer, which would’ve made him a restricted free agent and enabled the Lakers to match any offer sheet he fielded.

Reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (Blog)

lebron james

Despite James winning consecutive championships and most valuable player of the year awards, the talk remains on his next move.

You don’t hear any discussions about the Heat possibly becoming the first team to three-peat since the Los Angeles Lakers in 2002, no one is talking about James perhaps ending his career in Miami.

Instead, there is only speculation of James playing everywhere from Dallas to Los Angeles to New York to even returning to Cleveland.

“I guess it’s a byproduct of the way the league is right now,” Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.

“There’s always going to be speculation. That’s sort of the nature of the league. But he’s property of the Heat right now and no one can really talk about it.”

This should all sound familiar. James endured a similar struggle during the 2009-10 season, his first experience as a free agent.

Reported by Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Veteran center Marcus Camby returning to Houston Rockets

Even in July, in a match up against Eastern Conference contenders, homecourt advantage served the Rockets well. But it took more than that for the Rockets to bring back veteran center Marcus Camby.

In a measure of how much the Rockets have changed, becoming a potential contender themselves, a year after the Rockets let Camby head out of town in part of their transformation to the NBA’s youngest team, he will return to his adopted hometown to rejoin a team so radically transformed that he once again should fit in with a team’s win-now approach.

Camby chose to sign with the Rockets as a free agent, a person with knowledge of the decision said, to play for team far more prepared to compete than the team he left as a free agent last summer. A longtime resident of Pearland, Camby also considered the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat.

Camby will sign a veteran’s minimum, worth $1.4 million next season.

Reported by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (Blog)

Paul Pierce

Rivers said both unquestionably have something left.

“I think obviously Paul’s younger and in tune to play more minutes than Kevin,” Rivers said. “But I think they’re still at the top of their games. I think Paul is still one of those guys who can go off for big nights and still have big scoring nights. Kevin is a culture change. He won’t play but 20 to 25 minutes a night and there’ll probably be nights when he doesn’t play but his presence there alone will absolutely change the culture of Brooklyn. There’s no doubt about it. I think for some of the young guys, even some of the veteran stars, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams, will learn and understand what a winner is and looks like and professionalism and being prepared.

“That’s what I was most impressed with Kevin, how every game he prepared himself for games. That’s what I told our young guys that I just wanted them to watch him prepare for games. It was why he was so consistent. I thought it was that important.”

Reported by Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (Blog)

Chris Paul may play 2016 Olympic Games

A floor general in basketball is always important. But when you take a group of stars and try to teach them to also play like smart role players, leadership is even more crucial than ever. With that said, Team USA could really use a point guard like CP3.

Chris Paul

Chris Paul has changed his mind and is leaning toward playing in the 2016 Olympics.

The Los Angeles Clippers point guard, who was on the 2008 and 2012 gold medal teams, said he was leaning heavily toward bypassing the 2016 Games — until Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski announced he was returning to coach the team.

“If it had been another coach than Coach K, I was prepared to be done,” Paul told ESPN.com.

Paul will be 31 when the 2016 Olympics, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, take place. He will still likely be a major piece for the team, despite a strong crop of young and talented point guards that includes Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry.

Reported by Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com

So far, Kevin Durant and Kevin Love are in. It’ll be fun seeing who else joins the squad.

The Sixers grabbed Nerlens Noel because he is potentially a first-pick talent who slid to the No. 6 pick in the draft because the market was scared away by his knee injury. They took Michael Carter-Williams, a very athletic, tall point guard who was available at the 11th pick only because other teams thought he was less attractive than players who can shoot and take care of the basketball.

“We’ll focus on building something that will end in a place everybody will be proud of. If our young players play great, then things will move on quickly. If they don’t, then it will move along more slowly,” Hinkie said. “It’s a little early right now. [Noel and Carter-Williams] are both under contract for four years. That allows you to look around the bend a little bit, and look past a turnover or be patient with an injury.”

It will remain a little early for the Sixers to be truly competitive for some years to come. They get the benefit of upcoming draft picks as long as they are not very good, so it isn’t logical to rush the process. They can also delay giving up the two first-round picks they owe - to Miami in the Arnett Moultrie deal, and to Orlando in the Andrew Bynum deal - by continuing to finish poorly. (It is even possible that the Orlando pick will turn into a pair of second-round picks in 2018 and 2019 if they stink long enough. Not sure local patience could stretch that far, but just throwing it out there.)

Among the other undervalued players collected by Hinkie for very little risk are James Anderson, a guard whose resumé is underwhelming, and Tim Ohlbrecht, a 6-foot-11 German national with D-League experience, both of whom were claimed off waivers from Houston.

Reported by Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer

Canadian hoops squad set to assemble

Canada Basketball is set to open camp ahead of the 2013 Americas Championship for men.

The event will take place in Venezuela and runs from Aug. 30 to Sept. 11. The top four teams qualify for next year’s World Cup in Spain.

Canada will tune up for the competition with its camp, which runs from July 31 to Aug. 15 at the Air Canada Centre, and with two games against Jamaica at the Jack Donohue Classic on Aug. 8 and 10 at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre.

It’s not yet clear exactly who will comprise Canada’s roster, but NBA players Tristan Thompson (Cleveland), Cory Joseph (San Antonio), Kelly Olynyk (Boston) and Joel Anthony (Miami) will be on hand.

Reported by Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun

Wizards, John Wall contract extension likely coming soon

By the end of this week, John Wall should have a full commitment from the Wizards.

They’re expected to make him a designated player by extending him a five-year deal, in addition to the $7.45 million he’ll earn in the final year of his scale contract for the 2013-14 season, that will be worth more than $80 million.

This is Wall’s commitment: “My whole goal, this is my fourth year, I need to be in the playoffs. There’s nothing more, nothing else needs to be said about that. I just need to be in the playoffs. Leaving the season early every year is not fun. It’s no excitement. Just go home and watch basketball.”

Wall made those comments several weeks ago in Las Vegas as he watched the Wizards compete in summer league.

Reported by J. Michael of CSN Washington

Pablo Prigioni very happy to stay with Knicks

Argentine point guard Pablo Prigioni traveled to his home country this week to participate in the NBA’s second Basketball Without Borders Americas event in Buenos Aires. The program, which was first held there in 2005, includes a camp with top youth talent, a Special Olympics clinic and off-the-court outreach work.

While painting a home in a local under-served community on Saturday, Prigioni took a break to speak with ESPNNewYork.com about re-signing with the Knicks, the team outlook for next season and the BWB program.

Q: What are your thoughts on returning to New York?

A: “I’m so excited. It was my first option to try to continue with the team. I think I can give a little bit more to the team now in the second season. I know everything — the system, I know my teammates, my coach. So I’m really excited. I appreciate how they wanted me, how they treat me, so I’m really happy for me and for my family.”

Reported by Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York

Phoenix Suns trade Luis Scola to Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers announced Saturday they have acquired veteran forward/center Luis Scola from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for forward Gerald Green, center Miles Plumlee and a future No. 1 draft pick.

The 6-9, 245-pound Scola, a native of Argentina, played five seasons with the Houston Rockets and last season with the Suns. He has career averages of 14.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. The 33-year-old Scola is a regular member of Argentina’s national team, having won a gold medal in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

“I’m very, very excited to play for the Pacers,” said Scola. “They are one of the top three teams in the NBA with a good shot to win a championship. I think it’s a great team and this is a great opportunity. I can’t wait.”

“Luis will be a very important asset to our team and to our bench,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “He has NBA experience, international experience and is the type of player that will fit in nicely on our roster. I want to thank Gerald and Miles for their contributions. They had tough years last season, but worked hard, never complained and contributed to the great chemistry our team had. I think Gerald and Miles will be solid additions in Phoenix and we wish them well.”

Green was signed as a free agent in 2012 and played in 60 games for the Pacers, averaging 7.0 points per game with a single-game high of 34. Plumlee was the Pacers’ No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft (26th overall) out of Duke and appeared in 14 games averaging 0.9 points and 1.6 rebounds. He played in 15 games last season for the Pacers’ NBA Development League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, averaging 11.2 points and 10.2 rebounds.

“The trade is consistent with our stated plan to continue to acquire young assets,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby. “With this trade, we now have the potential for three first-round picks in the 2014 draft and five first-round picks in the next two drafts.”

“Although Luis’s time here in Phoenix was short, he certainly ingratiated himself to all of us in Phoenix with his hard work and professionalism. He will be an important contributor to a contending team in Indiana.”

“We are excited to add Miles and Gerald to our young core group of players,” said Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough. “Miles was one of the best players in the Orlando Summer League, and Gerald’s scoring ability and athleticism will help us as we continue to build a team that plays an exciting, up tempo brand of basketball.”

Plumlee, a 6-11, 255-pound center, was selected by the Pacers with the 26th overall pick (first round) of the 2012 NBA Draft and played in 14 games for a deep Indiana team that pushed the NBA Champion Miami Heat to a seven-game series in the Eastern Conference Finals. Earlier this month, he played on the Pacers summer league squad in Orlando and averaged 10.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.0 blocks while shooting 51.5 percent (17-33) from the field in 27.0 minutes.

A four-year collegiate performer at Duke University, Plumlee was a member of the Blue Devils squad that won three ACC championships and the 2010 NCAA National Championship. As a senior, he averaged 6.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 0.9 blocks on 61.0-percent shooting in 20.5 minutes.

Green, a six-year veteran, was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 18th pick (first round) of the 2005 NBA Draft out of high school after averaging 33.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists. After doubling his production to 10.4 points and 2.6 rebounds in his second season with Boston, he was included in a multi-player trade for Kevin Garnett.

A 6-8, 210-pound small forward, Green owns career averages of 8.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 272 games with Boston (2005-07), Minnesota (2007-08), Houston (2007-08), Dallas (2008-09), New Jersey (2011-12) and Indiana (2012-13). After a brief stint playing overseas in Russia and China, he returned to the states for the 2011-12 season and played for the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA D-League before being called up by the New Jersey Nets. Last season with the Pacers, he averaged 7.0 points in 18.0 minutes and came off the bench in the playoffs to average 6.1 points and 1.3 rebounds on 42.0-percent shooting in nine appearances.

Denver Nuggets re-sign center Timofey Mozgov

The Denver Nuggets have re-signed center Timofey Mozgov to a multiyear contract, general manager and executive vice president of basketball operation Tim Connelly announced today.

Mozgov, 7-1, 250, usually plays limited minutes and adds frontcourt depth off the bench. He averaged 2.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in 8.9 minutes while shooting .506 from the field in 41 games for the Nuggets last season. In 130 career games (50 starts) with Denver and the New York Knicks, he has averaged 3.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 12.1 minutes.

“Like all players, Timo just needs an opportunity to play,” Connelly said. “He’s got a great attitude and mindset toward improving his game, and we’re confident that he will help us on the interior in the seasons to come.”

Originally signed by New York as an undrafted free agent in 2010, Mozgov joined the Nuggets as part of a three-team trade on Feb. 22, 2011.

In addition to his three seasons in the NBA, Mozgov is a longtime member of the Russian national team program. He played a key role in helping Russia secure the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics. Mozgov also represented his country at the 2010 World Championships and the 2011 European Championship.

Gerald Henderson to stay with Charlotte Bobcats

The Charlotte Bobcats and shooting guard Gerald Henderson have agreed in principle to a three-year, $18 million contract extension, a knowledgeable source confirmed Friday night.

The deal, first reported by Yahoo Sports, will give shooting guard Henderson the option to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2014-15 season.

A restricted free agent, Henderson was second on the Bobcats in scoring last season at 15.5 points per game. He finished strong, averaging 23.9 points over the last 23 games, on 48 percent shooting from the field and 86 percent from the foul line.

Reported by Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer

The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to a deal with former Gonzaga forward Elias Harris.

Harris was not drafted before playing well in the Las Vegas summer league, where he averaged 10.2 points and 5.6 rebounds for the Lakers’ entry. The 6-foot-8 forward from Germany scored 17 in the Lakers’ final game.

Reported by the Associated Press

Nets agree to deal with Alan Anderson

The Brooklyn Nets have agreed to a deal with swingman Alan Anderson, continuing their busy offseason.

Agent Mark Bartelstein says Friday that Anderson is getting a two-year deal, with the second year a player option.

Anderson averaged a career-high 10.7 points last season for Toronto.

Reported by the Associated Press

Dallas Mavericks sign guard Wayne Ellington

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed free agent guard Wayne Ellington.

According to ESPN Dallas, “Ellington signed a two-year deal worth $5.3 million. The Mavs used the “room” exception to sign him.”

Ellington (6-4, 200) is a four-year veteran shooting guard with career averages 6.9 points, 2.0 rebounds and 19.5 minutes in 267 games (34 starts) with Minnesota, Memphis and Cleveland. He provides backcourt depth for the Mavs, who recently signed scoring guard Monta Ellis.

On January 22, 2013 Ellington was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, along with Marreese Speights, in exchange for Josh Selby and future first round draft pick. Once in Cleveland, Ellington put up career numbers averaging 10.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 25.9 minutes in 38 games (17 starts) with the Cavaliers.

The Wynnewood, Pa., native, was a standout at the University of North Carolina. As a junior, Ellington won a National Championship with the Tarheels and was named the 2009 Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player. He was drafted in the first round (28th overall) by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2009 NBA Draft.

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed free-agent center Miroslav Raduljica (7-1, 280; MEER-oh-slav rah-DOO-liht-zah), General Manager John Hammond announced today.

Raduljica, 25, enters the NBA after a successful seven-year career in various top pro leagues in Europe. The native of Serbia spent the 2012-13 season with the Ukrainian club Azovmash, leading the team to the Ukrainian Superleague Finals and earning Eurobasket.com All-Ukrainian Superleague Second Team honors after averaging 14.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 blocks in 53 league games. Raduljica has also spent time with professional teams in Serbia, Germany and Turkey, earning numerous awards and honors along the way including All-Serbian League Most Improved Player of the Year in 2010 and All-Serbian League Center of the Year in 2012.

A regular in the Serbian National Team program, Raduljica first represented his country in international competition at the European U16 Championships in 2004, and was later a member of the gold-medal-winning Serbian squads at the U19 World Championships in 2007 and European U20 Championship in 2008 (where he was named MVP of the tournament).

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