Archive for July 21st, 2013

Signs seem to be pointing toward 7-foot Brazilian center Vitor Faverani finally becoming a Celtic. Faverani’s Spanish team in Valencia issued a press release on Friday that the 25-year-old has officially told them that he is leaving the team to pursue his basketball career elsewhere.

The Celtics and Faverani had essentially agreed on a three-year, $6 million framework of a deal, but the transaction had been delayed due to the Celts’ continuing attempts to get below the luxury tax line of $71.7 million. The C’s were $2 million over that line before this deal.

Reported by the Boston Herald

Shane Larkin’s ankle injury moved Gal Mekel into a more prominent role in the summer league and ended up giving Mekel the opportunity to be the most consistent player on the floor for the Mavs.

He finished the summer league by averaging 9.7 points and 5.0 assists while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3-point range. Not bad, considering the Mavs ended the summer league playing four games in four days.

“For me, I think it was a great week the first time getting to know the NBA game,” Mekel said. “I think I played pretty good for the first time.

Prior to the summer league team leaving for Las Vegas, Mekel, 25, was considered a unique prospect because no one really knew what kind of game he had. Fresh off a title and MVP award in Israel, the guard’s resume impressed his coach.

Reported by Bryan Gutierrez of ESPN Dallas

Ricky Ledo ready to prove himself

By making a trade to acquire the 43rd overall pick in the 2013 draft, the Dallas Mavericks made Providence shooting guard Ricky Ledo their guy.

“We specifically grabbed that pick for Ricky Ledo and we feel pretty good about him,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said.

Ledo, 20, is considered to have big upside, but there is a reason he was available in the second round. He never played for Providence. After moving from high school to high school, the guard sat out his freshman year as a partial academic qualifier before declaring for this year’s draft.

“Certainly, he needs to mature and needs time, but we really feel good about him,” Nelson said.

Reported by Bryan Gutierrez, special to ESPN Dallas

Kevin Martin feels he brings a championship tone to Timberwolves

Kevin Martin didn’t realize how mediocre his NBA experience was until last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The new Timberwolves shooting guard had played on competitive teams in Houston and Sacramento, but an organization with an NBA-Finals-or-bust attitude was uncharted territory.

“It’s just a special atmosphere when your team has a championship tone in that locker room,” Martin said in a conference call Saturday afternoon. “That’s one thing I feel like I bring.”

Martin ended up with the Thunder last year after the Rockets made him part of a trade for superstar James Harden. Because of salary and luxury cap restrictions, it was unlikely Oklahoma City could have afforded Martin’s return this season. The Wolves swooped in for a sign-and-trade deal that was made official July 11.

Reported by Alex M. Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press

DeMarcus Cousins aims to become a better defender

Cousins will return to Las Vegas next week as part of the USA Basketball minicamp.

Cousins did not speak with the media, except for an interview on NBA TV. He was asked about the changes to ownership, the front office and coaching staff as he enters his fourth NBA season.

“To be honest, we came into every season with something to deal with,” Cousins said. “Just make the best of it and try to stay focused and play your game.”

Cousins said he continues to work on his overall game but with a special emphasis.

“I really want to improve the defensive end this year,” Cousins said. ” … That’s my main thing – just being better on the defensive end.”

Reported by Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee

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