Archive for July 23rd, 2013

Nick Young says Mavs and Kings had interest in him

He said he had sparked interest from both the Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings. But Young viewed Dallas’ eventual acquisition in guard Monta Ellis and Sacramento’s reported interest in him as signals that neither partnership would work.

“I didn’t want to sit around and wait on what was going to happen,” Young said. “I felt like this would be a good opportunity.”

He has plenty of good reasons to feel that way.

The Lakers hope Young’s scoring mentality will help absorb Kobe Bryant’s possible absence to open the season stemmed from his torn left Achilles tendon. On a team full of veteran-laden players with little speed, Young’s freakish athleticism and age (28) suddenly makes this team more capable of running Mike D’Antoni’s system at a faster pace. And Young said he “definitely” saw the Lakers waiving Metta World Peace through the amnesty provision as a clear sign they want him to have a significant role.

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

DeMarcus Cousins pledges loyalty to Kings

DeMarcus Cousins has never wanted to be a player who demands a trade and has no intention of doing so.

His first three seasons in Sacramento have been long on drama and short on wins. And with the Kings under new ownership and management, Cousins would like to be a part of that change.

“I’m loyal to my city,” he said. “That’s one thing I am. I’m loyal. That’s the biggest thing. I’m not going to give up on it.”

Following practice Monday at Team USA’s minicamp at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center, Cousins spoke in detail to reporters for the first time since Vivek Ranadive became the principal owner of the Kings, Pete D’Alessandro the general manager and Michael Malone the coach.

Reported by Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee

Larry Sanders gets first look with USA Basketball

Larry Sanders put on his No. 43 USA practice jersey and went to work Monday.

The Bucks center, who admitted he never dreamed of having such an opportunity, was part of a group of eight young big men being evaluated by U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski and the rest of his staff. A four-day USA Basketball national team minicamp opened Monday at Mendenhall Center on the University of Nevada-Las Vegas campus.

“It was an exciting first day,” Sanders said. “A little jittery, a little jumpy, extra active. But my motor was going so it was good.”

The camp brought together 26 NBA players and two top collegians - Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart and Creighton’s Doug McDermott - in the opening step of preparations for the 2014 World Cup in Spain and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

“The goal is just to perform as best I can and let them worry about the rest,” Sanders said. “They’re waiting for that new wave to come through. It was a good experience, a good start.”

Reported by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Paul George hopes to stay with Pacers

Paul George hopes to stay with Pacers

We present to you “Exhibit A” on why the Lakers’ well-intentioned plans to clear up cap space for the 2014 offseason won’t automatically restore the Lakers’ championship fortunes.

Indiana forward Paul George basically confirmed he won’t be among one of those attractive free agents the Lakers wish they could sign next season. Instead, it appears George and the Pacers are going to ink a max extension well before the Oct. 31 deadline for players from the 2010 draft class.

“I’m happy, man. I’m happy in Indiana,” George told ESPN.com. “It’s overwhelming (to hear) that they would want a player like me to come play for their team. But right now I’m focused on Indiana. I’m happy to be in Indiana. Our future is bright in Indiana. I wouldn’t want to leave something great.”

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

Get to know new Celtic Vitor Faverani

Get to know new Celtics Vitor Faverani

He played last year for Valencia Basket Club of the Spanish ACB League, averaging 9.3 points and 4.6 rebounds in 17 minutes in 23 games.

Also, Faverani was eligible for the 2009 NBA draft but was not selected.

“He was not drafted because he was very immature and did not take the game seriously,” said an Eastern Conference scout who said he spent considerable time scouting Faverani.

“He could not be trusted. He has done a lot of growing up, both on and off the floor, and has turned the corner, so to speak.”

In terms of how Faverani fits in with the Celtics, the scout said, “I can see him as a pick-and-pop big, offensively. Where he fits defensively and being a consistent rebounder will be the key.”

Reported by Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe (Blog)

The Philadelphia 76ers officially introduced Nerlens Noel, acquired in the draft-day trade that sent All-Star Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans, Tuesday afternoon at the Philadelphia College of Orthopedic Medicine.

Noel was joined on-stage by Sixers GM Sam Hinkie. A head coach was noticeably absent.

Before addressing the addition of the 6-foot-11 center from the University of Kentucky, Hinkie discussed the departure of all-star point guard Jrue Holiday.

“To lose [Jrue] is not easy,” he began. “We wish him nothing but the best in New Orleans, and for the rest of his career.”

“With that being said, we’re very excited,” Hinkie continued. “To acquire Nerlens and the [2014 lottery] pick that came with him, we think is a very big step for us.”

Reported by Michael Kaskey-Blomain of Philly.com

With last week’s signings of draft picks Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Tony Mitchell, Detroit Pistons fans are wondering about point guard Peyton Siva, picked by the Pistons in the second round of the draft.

Siva has more name recognition than your average 56th pick because he is coming off a senior season where he led the Louisville Cardinals to the NCAA title.

But he could be a victim of the numbers game. The NBA only allows 15 players on the active roster and with the signings of Caldwell-Pope and Mitchell the Pistons have reached their allotment.

Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

Warriors sign Jermaine O’Neal

Warriors sign Jermaine O'Neal

The Golden State Warriors have signed free agent center Jermaine O’Neal to a contract, the team announced today.

Although 34 years old and clearly past his prime, O’Neal did nice things for the Phoenix Suns in very limited minutes last season. He appeared in 55 games (four starts), averaging 8.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.42 blocks in 18.7 minutes per contest, marking his highest scoring and rebounding averages since 2009-10.  The 6’11” center recorded multiple blocked shots 24 times, including a season-high seven blocks on April 10 at Dallas, and his 1.42 blocks per game average would have ranked 15th in the NBA had he played in enough games to qualify.  In 23 games when playing 20-or-more minutes last season, O’Neal averaged 11.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.91 blocks.

Originally selected out of high school at the age of 18 by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 17th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, O’Neal owns career averages of 13.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.84 blocks in 967 regular-season games (684 starts) over 17 seasons with the Blazers (1996-00), Indiana Pacers (2000-08), Toronto Raptors (2008-09), Miami Heat (2008-10), Boston Celtics (2010-12) and Phoenix Suns (2012-13).  A six-time NBA All-Star (all with Indiana in six consecutive seasons from 2002-07), the Columbia, SC, native was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player in 2001-02 and is a three-time All-NBA selection, having earned Second Team honors in 2003-04 and Third Team recognition in 2001-02 and 2002-03.  O’Neal, who currently ranks fifth among active NBA players in blocked shots (1,780), has appeared in the playoffs in 13 of his 17 NBA seasons, posting career playoff averages of 12.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.82 blocks in 90 postseason contests.

He will wear uniform #7.

Dallas Mavs sign Monta Ellis

Dallas Mavs sign Monta Ellis

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed free agent guard Monta Ellis. According to multiple reports, it is a a three-year deal worth over $25 million.

Ellis (6-3, 185) is an eight-year veteran guard with career averages of 19.4 points, 4.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 36.0 minutes in 516 games (437 starts) with Golden State and Milwaukee. In 2007, he was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player and has since averaged 19 points or more in each of the past six seasons.

According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas, “the Mavs are optimistic that Ellis will benefit from playing with pass-first point guard Jose Calderon and Nowitzki, whose shooting ability creates space for teammates.”

2009-10 was a breakout season for Ellis when he averaged 25.5 points, 5.3 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.2 steals in 41.4 minutes per game with Golden State. On March 13, 2012, Ellis was traded to Milwaukee, along with Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown, in exchange for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson ending his nearly seven-year tenure with the Warriors.

Last season, Ellis started all 82 games for Milwaukee and averaged 19.2 points, 6.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals in 37.5 minutes per contest.

The Jackson, Miss., native, jumped directly to the NBA Draft from Lanier High School where he was named 2005 Parade Magazine High School Player of the Year and USA Today All-American. The Warriors selected him with the 40th overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.

The Chicago Bulls announced today that they have waived forward Malcolm Thomas.

Thomas (6-9, 225) appeared in seven games during the 2012-13 season with Chicago, and averaged 2.5 ppg in 8.4 mpg.

According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, “Thomas, who averaged 2.5 points in seven games last season for the Bulls, signed a contract that would’ve become guaranteed for $250,000 on Wednesday had he not been waived. With the Bulls in the luxury tax, his guaranteed money would’ve cost the Bulls more at the end of next season. The Bulls have 12 players under contract and remain in the hunt for veteran center Marcus Camby, along with the Heat and Rockets. If Thomas doesn’t sign with another team, he could be invited back to Bulls’ camp. However, his chances of making the regular-season roster always were a longshot.”

John Lucas III

Among the reasons John Lucas III ended up as a member of the Utah Jazz were a long-term relationship with Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey and good reviews of the organization and city from none other than former Jazzman Carlos Boozer.

Lucas was introduced Monday afternoon at EnergySolutions Arena as the latest Jazz signee. Terms of the contract were not released. Lucas has played parts of five seasons in the NBA since leaving Oklahoma State, most recently with the Toronto Raptors in 2012-13.

The soft-spoken 30-year-old had some options as a free agent, but chose Utah after talking with his father, John II, a former NBA star and coach, Lindsey, and a couple of his former Chicago Bulls’ teammates — Boozer and Ronnie Brewer.

Reported by Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News

Kings taking a look at Greg Oden

As long as center Greg Oden can still walk — and even if he can’t — there’s going to be some NBA interest in him. Talented big men like him are too good to not glance at.

The Kings will have representatives in Indianapolis to watch a workout with free agent center Greg Oden on Tuesday.

New Orleans will reportedly also attend the workout.

Oden, the first overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft has played in just 82 games in his career due to injuries.

Reported by Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee (Blog)

I won’t be surprised if Oden winds up back in the NBA next season. On a very nonguaranteed contract.

Ten months after Colangelo first saw that gleam return to Krzyzewski’s eye, and two months after the coach made his return official, the two men are back to work at a four-day camp that began Monday. As Krzyzewski sat down in a chair outside a meeting room at the Wynn resort with a red polo and the USA logo on the left breast, he said he spent most of Duke’s college season last year fully convinced he wouldn’t be back for a run at a third gold.

“Throughout the year I did not think I would be coaching (Team USA),” Krzyzewski told The Associated Press before the camp kicked off. “I just felt that that wasn’t going to happen. But then after discussions, not just talking with Jerry, but my staff and my family, to be given that opportunity again, it’s something I’m really excited about and feel very honored and privileged to have that opportunity.”

When Krzyzewski leads the Americans at the Rio Olympics in 2016, he’ll join Henry Iba as the only coaches in U.S. history to coach in three Olympics. Together with Colangelo, Krzyzewski has changed the culture of USA Basketball and restored some sense of pride, professionalism and prestige to a brand that was tarnished after a bronze medal finish in Athens in 2004.

When Krzyzewski leads the Americans at the Rio Olympics in 2016, he’ll join Henry Iba as the only coaches in U.S. history to coach in three Olympics. Together with Colangelo, Krzyzewski has changed the culture of USA Basketball and restored some sense of pride, professionalism and prestige to a brand that was tarnished after a bronze medal finish in Athens in 2004.

Reported by Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press

Derrick Favors

Even with an undeniable new layer of muscle, Derrick Favors has a long way to go to catch his newest mentor in terms of bulk. That’s because almost any NBA would have a long way to go to catch Favors’ newest mentor in terms of bulk. That, in turn, is because his newest mentor is Karl Malone.

Favors, the projected started power forward for the Jazz, has spent nearly two months working out daily alongside the No. 2 scorer in NBA history.

No, Favors has not taken to running sprints with parachutes tied to his waist.

Not yet, anyhow.

The two Jazz big men are working primarily on a different muscle, Favors said.

“He just taught me just a lot of mental stuff,” he said. “During workouts we’re just talking. He was just showing me things here and there, that everything was mostly mental.”

Reported by Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune

The third-seeded Phoenix Suns fell to the top-seeded Golden State Warriors 91-77 in the inaugural NBA Summer League championship game.

Ian Clark led the Warriors in scoring with 33 points off the bench and won the Most Valuable Player award of the championship game. Clark averaged just nine points a game going into Monday’s contest.

The Suns were down only four going into the fourth quarter before the Warriors took control of the game.

Suns first round draft pick Archie Goodwin continued his good play in the summer league by leading the team with 18 points on 6-11 shooting.

Marcus Morris scored 17 points on 7-15 shooting with two three-pointers, while Markieff Morris added 10 points and seven rebounds, but shot 3-11.

Reported by Jeffrey Sanders of Arizona Sports

Mavs set to welcome new GM

The Mavericks missed out on the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, but they’ve just snagged a key member of the welcoming party that brought Howard to Houston.

Gersson Rosas, the Rockets’ executive vice president of basketball operations, has agreed to become the Mavericks’ new general manager, owner Mark Cuban confirmed.

Rosas will take the title from Donnie Nelson, who will retain his role as president of basketball operations.

“We try to take pride in being one of the most technologically advanced teams out there in all of professional sports, not just the NBA,” Cuban told “ESPN” KESN-FM (103.3).

Reported by Corbett Smith of the Dallas Morning News (Blog)

The National Basketball Associated announced Monday that Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas has been named Most Valuable Player of the NBA Summer League 2013, as selected by a panel of media members.

Valanciunas averaged 18.8 points, 10.0 rebounds and 29.3 minutes in four outings. He shot .561 (23-41) from the field and .879 (29-33) from the foul line. He recorded highs of 23 points in Toronto’s opener versus Miami and 13 rebounds in a victory over San Antonio. Valanciunas scored in double figures in all four games and posted two double-doubles.

Valanciunas was joined by Kent Bazemore (Golden State), John Henson (Milwaukee), Jeff Taylor (Charlotte) and Cody Zeller (Charlotte) as members of the All-NBA Summer League 2013 Team. The team, which consisted of two frontcourt players and three backcourt players, was selected by journalists.

Valanciunas earned NBA All-Rookie Second Team honours as he averaged 8.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 23.9 minutes in 62 games this past season. He was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for March, averaging 11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and shooting .620 from the field in 15 games.

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