Archive for July 11th, 2013

Mark Jackson

The Golden State Warriors have picked up the team option on Head Coach Mark Jackson’s contract for the 2014-15 season, the team announced today.

This past season, his second as head coach of the Warriors, Jackson guided his team to a 47-35 regular-season record, finishing second in the Pacific Division and earning the sixth seed in the Western Conference Playoffs.  In doing so, he became just the fourth Warriors head coach since 1970 to lead a team into the postseason, joining Alvin Attles, George Karl and Don Nelson. Additionally, Jackson became the first Warriors coach to win at least 47 games in his second full campaign at the helm since 1971-72, when Attles directed Golden State to a 51-31 record during his second full season as head coach.

After finishing 2011-12 with a 23-43 record during Jackson’s debut campaign, the Warriors posted the second-highest winning percentage improvement in the NBA this past season, improving from .348 to .573 in 2012-13 – an improvement of +.225 that was bested only by the Brooklyn Nets (+.266). This winning percentage improvement also marks the third-largest year-over-year improvement in franchise history, trailing only the +.280 improvement made from 1987-88 (.244) to 1988-89 (.524) and the +.229 improvement made from 1952-53 (.174) to 1953-54 (.403).

Since being named head coach of the Warriors on June 6, 2011, Jackson has placed an emphasis on defense and rebounding – two areas where the team had been traditionally weak.  To that end, Golden State saw major statistical improvements this past season in several important defensive categories, including opponents’ field goal percentage (fourth in NBA; 20th in 2011-12), opponents’ three-point percentage (seventh; 28th in 2011-12), defensive rebounding (first; 24th in 2011-12) and rebounds per game (third; 28th in 2011-12).

In the 2013 NBA Playoffs, Jackson’s squad posted a First Round victory over the Denver Nuggets in six games, becoming just the second Warriors team to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals in the last 22 years.  In the Semifinals, Golden State won two of the first four games of the best-of-seven series against the San Antonio Spurs before falling to the eventual Western Conference Champions in six games, 4-2.  In the Spurs series, the Warriors earned multiple wins in the Semifinals for the first time since 1977 and, in Game 2, posted their first road victory over the Spurs since February of 1997, snapping a 30-game losing streak in San Antonio.

Chris Paul

The Los Angeles Clippers today signed free agent forward Matt Barnes, guard Darren Collison, center Ryan Hollins and guard Chris Paul.

Paul, 28, re-signs with the Clippers after two scintillating seasons in L.A. The North Carolina native enjoyed another successful season in 2012-13, earning First Team All-NBA honors for the second straight season and his fifth overall All-NBA honor. Paul was the MVP of the 2013 All-Star Game and was also named a member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team for the second straight season. Paul appeared in 70 games (all starts) and averaged 16.9 points, 9.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.41 steals in 33.4 minutes. He led the league in steals per game and assists-to-turnover ratio while finishing second in the NBA in assists per game while leading the Clippers in assists, steals and free throws made. Paul earned the NBA Western Conference Player of the Month award for December after helping the Clippers to a 16-0 month and became the fourth player in NBA history to reach 10,000 career points and 5,000 career assists before his 28th birthday.

A six-time NBA All-Star, Paul played the first six seasons of his career in New Orleans and was the 2005-06 NBA Rookie of the Year. The former Wake Forest star owns career averages of 18.3 points, 9.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 555 career games.

Barnes, 33, returns to the Clippers after having a career year in Los Angeles last season. The 10-year NBA veteran averaged a career-high 10.3 points in 2012-13 to go along with 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 25.7 minutes in 80 games (four starts). The UCLA product has played for eight NBA teams in his career and holds career averages of 7.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 0.7 steals in 640 games (182 starts).

Collison, 25, is another former UCLA star and a native of Rancho Cucamonga, CA where he attended Etiwanda High School. Collison joins the Clippers after appearing in 81 games (47 starts) for the Dallas Mavericks last season, averaging 12.0 points, 5.1 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 29.3 minutes. The four-year veteran started his NBA career in New Orleans where he was teammates with current Clipper Chris Paul. Collison brings career averages of 12.1 points, 5.2 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 296 games (219 starts) with the Mavericks, Indiana Pacers and Hornets.

Hollins, 28, returns to the Clippers after posting averages of 3.4 points and 2.3 rebounds over 11.1 minutes while playing in 60 games. A Pasadena, CA native and former standout at UCLA, Hollins owns career averages of 4.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.5 blocks in 374 games (55 starts) with the Clippers, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks and Charlotte Bobcats over his six-year career.

Pelicans trade Robin Lopez to Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired center Robin Lopez and guard Terrel Harris from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for the draft rights to Jeff Withey, future second round draft considerations and cash, it was announced today by General Manager Neil Olshey.

Lopez, 25, averaged career-highs of 11.3 points (53.4 FG%), 5.6 rebounds, 1.56 blocked shots and 26.0 minutes in 82 starts last season with New Orleans.

“Robin is a starting-caliber center coming off the best year of his career,” said Olshey. “He fills a void at a position we made a priority this offseason, and his size, ability to protect the rim and emerging offensive game are all key elements in achieving our goal of having more of a presence in the paint on both ends of the floor this season.”

Lopez (7-0, 255) holds career averages of 7.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 17.4 minutes over five seasons with New Orleans and Phoenix. He spent his first four years with the Suns after being drafted with the 15th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft out of Stanford.

He will wear No. 42 for the Trail Blazers.

Harris, 25, played 20 games for Miami and New Orleans last season, posting averages of 0.8 points, 1.3 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 6.9 minutes. Owning career averages of 2.3 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.8 assists in two NBA seasons, Harris (6-4, 195) appeared in four postseason games for Miami during the 2012 NBA Playoffs.

NBA Commissioner David Stern announced today that after more than 13 years, Stu Jackson, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations, will be leaving the NBA, and that longtime league and team executive Rod Thorn will be joining the league office as President, Basketball Operations, effective Aug. 1.

“Stu has made enormous contributions to the NBA over the past 13 years,” said Stern. “He informed Adam Silver, Joel Litvin and me some months ago that after a long and distinguished career at the league he felt that this was the appropriate time to step down.  We thank Stu for a job very well done, including assisting with the transition to Rod, and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

As EVP, Basketball Operations, Jackson was in charge of all oncourt and international basketball operations, including game rules, conduct, discipline and analytics and also served as chairman of the NBA Competition Committee and on FIBA’s Competition Commission and USA Basketball’s Board of Directors.

“The NBA has given me an extraordinary opportunity to work with some of the most talented people in sports and I am extremely proud to be associated with the remarkable global growth of the league, which couldn’t be in better hands with Rod coming in to lead Basketball Operations,” said Jackson. “I especially want to thank David, Adam and Joel for their exceptional leadership, friendship and continued support. I’m looking forward to applying my NBA experience as I move onto my next challenge.”

Jackson has been in collegiate or professional basketball for more than three decades, including stints as head coach of the New York Knicks, President and General Manager of the Vancouver Grizzlies, head coach at the University of Wisconsin, and assistant coach at Providence College, Washington State and the University of Oregon.

Thorn will oversee both Basketball and Referee Operations, reporting to the Commissioner. Most recently, Thorn was President of Basketball Operations for the Philadelphia 76ers.

“As a player, coach, general manager, league vice president and team president, Rod has been a member of the NBA family for decades, and his basketball knowledge and team relationships are unparalleled,” said Stern.  “We are fortunate that his talents are available to serve the league at this time.”

“I am looking forward to serving all 30 teams and our sport and am honored to be at the league office to help continue the game’s extraordinary growth,” said Thorn. “As the NBA turns increasingly to analytics and continues to tap into its growing fan and player base on a global basis, there is much work to be done.”

Prior to his role with the 76ers, Thorn spent 10 seasons as President of Basketball Operations for the New Jersey Nets and was named the 2001-02 NBA Executive of the Year. Previously, Thorn spent 14 seasons at the NBA office as the head of Basketball Operations.

After being drafted by the Baltimore Bullets in 1963 as the second overall pick, Thorn played in the NBA for eight seasons, went on to management and coaching positions in the ABA and the NBA, including as the Chicago Bulls’ general manager where he drafted Michael Jordan in 1984.

Kiki VanDeWeghe, Senior Vice President, Basketball Operations, and Mike Bantom, Executive Vice President, Referee Operations, will report to Thorn.

Martell Webster

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has re-signed forward Martell Webster.

“Martell’s versatility and shooting ability combined with his experience and leadership make him a valuable part of our team,” said Grunfeld.  “We are very pleased to have him back both on the court and in the locker room and look forward to his continued contributions to our success.”

Webster averaged a career-high 11.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 28.9 minutes per game last season with the Wizards. He appeared in 76 contests, including 62 starts, while leading the team in three-point field goal percentage (.422) and three-pointers made with a career-high 139.  He finished 12th in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage and tallied four games with at least five three-pointers made.  The Seattle native posted seven games with 20+ points and scored a career-high 34 points, including a career high-tying seven threes, on March 16 vs. Phoenix.  From March 9-16, Webster posted five straight games of at least four three-pointers made.  He was originally signed as a free agent by the Wizards on August 29, 2012.

In eight seasons with Portland, Minnesota and Washington, Webster holds career averages of 8.9 points and 3.3 rebounds while shooting .419 from the field, .384 from behind the arc and .787 from the line.  He was originally selected by the Trail Blazers with the sixth overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft as an early-entry candidate out of Seattle Prep High School.

Charlotte Bobcats waive Tyrus Thomas via amnesty clause

Charlotte Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins announced today that the team has requested waivers on forward Tyrus Thomas, designating him as the team’s amnesty player. The one-time amnesty provision allows a team to waive a player and not have his salary count against the salary cap or luxury tax.

The Bobcats originally acquired Thomas from the Chicago Bulls on February 18, 2010 in exchange for Acie Law, Ronald “Flip” Murray and a future first-round draft pick. Thomas appeared in 26 games with the team last season averaging 4.8 points and 2.3 rebounds in 13.8 minutes.

A seven-year NBA veteran, the 6-10 Thomas has played in 400 career games with the Bulls and Bobcats, posting averages of 7.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 19.8 minutes.

Bobcats Sports & Entertainment owns the Charlotte Bobcats and operates Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena.

Indiana Pacers re-sign David West

Indiana Pacers re-sign David West

The Indiana Pacers announced Wednesday they have re-signed veteran free agent and two-time NBA All-Star David West to a contract.

According to the Associated Press, “the contract is for three years and $36.6 million, according to his agent. The third year is a player option.”

West, 6-9, 240, is a 10-year veteran who has played the last two seasons with the Pacers, averaging 15.1 points and 7.2 rebounds in 139 games. Prior to his time with the Pacers, West had played his entire NBA career with the New Orleans Hornets. He has career averages of 16.1 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game.

“We said when the season ended, bringing David back was our No. 1 priority and we are very pleased to have him back,” said Larry Bird, Pacers President of Basketball Operations. “He is a leader, he is a professional, he is a great competitor and he is the type of player and person you want on your team if you hope to be successful.”

West played in two All-Star games in 2008 and ’09. Those two seasons, he averaged 20.6 ppg and 8.9 rpg and 21 ppg and 8.5 rpg, respectively.

“You can watch David play and appreciate him, but to coach him and see what he brings to our team on a daily basis really enhances that appreciation,” said Pacers Head Coach Frank Vogel. “There aren’t many players like him in the NBA and to have him back on our team is very important for what we hope to accomplish.”

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