Archive for July 18th, 2013

Wesley Johnson always wanted to be a Laker

Ever since his early childhood, Wesley Johnson became one of those many basketball players aspiring to become a Laker.

The first source of influence traced to his mother, who grew up cheering Magic Johnson. Many other reasons followed suit. Johnson marveled at Kobe Bryant’s game both from afar. Johnson then worked out privately with Bryant after joining the same agent in Rob Pelinka and becoming the fourth pick of the 2010 NBA Draft.

Even though he said he had offers from a lot of different teams,” Johnson considered it a “no brainer” to sign with the Lakers to a one-year deal worth a little under $1 million. He also hardly second guessed and joining a team that’s recently removed from its storied championship history. When it came to Johnson unveiling his No. 11 Lakers jersey, his life suddenly came full circle.

“This is a dream come true,” Johnson said.

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

Brooklyn Nets are built to win now

Brooklyn Nets are built to win now

Although they emerged champions, the Miami Heat looked vulnerable at times throughout their playoff run, and the Brooklyn Nets wasted little time in building a team that they feel can contend with, and possible dethrone King James and co.

The moves made in Brooklyn this summer have been nothing short of bold. Owner Mikhail Prokhorov has spared no expenses in the process of building the Nets back into a contender this offseason.

Prokhorov has repeatedly demonstrated that money is not an issue. The Nets will owe around $85 million in taxes after adding Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, and Andrei Kirilenko to an already impressive, albeit expensive, lineup which also includes Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez.

The result of all this off-season spending is a deep and talented roster that looks, at least on paper, like a serious contender to come out of the Eastern Conference.

Reported by Michael Kaskey-Blomain of Philly.com

Minnesota Timberwolves sign Ronny Turiaf

Minnesota Timberwolves sign Ronny Turiaf

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed free-agent center Ronny Turiaf. According to the Associated Press, it is a two-year deal with $3.2 million.

“We’re excited to welcome Ronny to our team,” said Flip Saunders, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. “Ronny is a physical, aggessive defender and a good passer. He’s a solid pro who will help us with his experience and veteran leadership.”

In 2012-13, Turiaf, a 6-10 center, averaged 1.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 10.5 minutes in 65 games for the Los Angeles Clippers. He appeared in five playoffs contests, averaging 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds.

Turiaf, 30, is a native of France and played collegiately at Gonzaga. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round (37th overall) of the 2005 NBA Draft. Turiaf played three seasons with the Lakers, posting his best numbers in the 2007-08 campaign with a career–high 6.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. He signed as a free agent with Golden State prior to the 2008-09 season and averaged 5.9 points, and career-highs of 4.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game that year. After two years with the Warriors, Turiaf was traded to New York where he played one season, averaging 4.2 points and 3.2 rebounds. He was traded to Washington prior to the 2011-12 season and dealt to Denver on March 15, 2012. The Nuggets waived Turiaf and he signed with Miami on March 21, 2012. Turiaf appeared in 12 games during the Heat’s run to the championship in 2012, posting averages of 3.5 points and 4.5 rebounds.

Raul Neto will not yet join Utah Jazz

It looks like it will be another year before Brazilian playmaker Raul Neto is officially a Utah Jazz point guard.

Neto, who began training with his national team Thursday, said he anticipates returning to his Spanish team, Lagun Aro GBC, for another year instead of beginning his NBA career in Utah this fall.

“Go to the NBA is a dream I want to accomplish. I think we took the first step, but it is something that cannot be in a hurry,” Neto said, according to a Portuguese-to-English Google translation from a Basketeria.com.br report. “I have to wait for the right moment.”

The Jazz acquired the 21-year-old Neto on a draft-night trade with Atlanta after the Hawks selected him 47th overall. The 6-foot-2 point guard had an impressive debut with Utah at the summer league even after not being able to practice with his new team for almost a week because of a delay in receiving his clearance from basketball’s international governing body.

Reported by Jody Genessy of the Deseret News

Golden State Warriors sign Toney Douglas

Golden State Warriors sign Toney Douglas

The Golden State Warriors have signed free agent guard Toney Douglas to a contract, the team announced today.

Douglas, 27, split last season between the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings, appearing in 71 games and posting averages of 7.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.00 steals in 18.1 minutes per contest.  The 6’2” guard scored in double-figures 26 times, including a season-high 22-point effort in 28 minutes off the bench for Houston versus the Los Angeles Lakers on December 4, 2012.  Additionally, Douglas averaged 11.0 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.41 steals in the 29 games in which he logged 20-or-more minutes.

Originally drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 29th pick 2009 NBA Draft, Douglas owns career averages of 8.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 20.3 minutes in 246 career regular-season games with the New York Knicks (2009-12), Houston Rockets (2012-13) and Sacramento Kings (2012-13). The Florida State product had his finest NBA season in 2010-11 with the Knicks, appearing in a career-high 81 games and posting career-best averages of 10.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 24.3 minutes per contest.  That season Douglas led the Knicks in three-pointers made (143), including a franchise-record-tying nine three-pointers (in 12 attempts) against Memphis on March 17, 2011.

Douglas will wear uniform #0.

Orlando Magic sign Jason Maxiell

Orlando Magic sign Jason Maxiell

The Orlando Magic have signed free agent forward-center Jason Maxiell, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

According to Yahoo Sports, it is a two-year, $5 million deal, with a team option on Maxiell’s $2.5 million for the 2014-15 season.

“We’re excited to welcome Jason (Maxiell) and his family to the Magic organization,” said Hennigan. “Jason brings an element of experience, toughness and resolve to our roster that we feel will benefit our team.”

Maxiell (6’7”, 260, 2/18/83) played in 72 games last season with Detroit, averaging 6.9 ppg., 5.7 rpg. and 1.32 blkpg. in 24.8 minpg. He has also appeared in 35 career playoff outings. He’s mostly a power forward but can also fill in at center.

Originally selected in the first round (26th overall) of the 2005 NBA Draft by Detroit, Maxiell has appeared in 523 career games (175 starts), all with the Pistons, during his eight-year NBA career, averaging 6.1 ppg. and 4.4 rpg. in 19.1 minpg. Collegiately, he averaged 12.1 ppg., 7.0 rpg. and 1.9 bpg. in 129 games for Cincinnati. While with the Bearcats, he earned All-Conference USA Second Team honors (2004 and 2005), Conference USA All-Tournament honors (2004), was named Conference USA Sixth Man of the Year (2002) and earned Conference USA All-Freshman Team honors (2002). Maxiell played in 129 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in Bearcats’ history, and started the last 77 contests he played.

Nets waive forward D.J. White

The Brooklyn Nets have requested waivers on forward D.J. White, General Manager Billy King announced today. White was acquired from the Boston Celtics on July 12th in a trade that also netted Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry.

Over his five-year NBA career with Oklahoma City, Charlotte and Boston, White holds averages of 6.0 points and 3.2 rebounds in 136 games (11 starts). Originally selected by the Detroit Pistons with the 29th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, White averaged 2.4 points and 1.1 rebounds in 12 games with the Celtics last season.

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