Archive for July 31st, 2013

Washington Wizards sign John Wall to contract extension

The Washington Wizards have agreed to a contract extension with guard John Wall, Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today. The Associated Press reports that “two people familiar with the deal say it’s a max deal, worth about $80 million over five years.”

“Since drafting John with the first overall pick, we have been impressed with his maturation, hard work and commitment to our franchise,” said Monumental Sports and Entertainment Founder, Chairman, Majority Owner and CEO Ted Leonsis. “He is the cornerstone of our team, and we have clearly expressed our desire to build around him well before making it official by re-signing him today. We are extremely confident in his leadership abilities and are excited to see the continued improvement of the team.”

According to the Associated Press, “If Wall hadn’t been able to reach an agreement with the Wizards this offseason, he would have become an unrestricted free agent in 2014. With Wall and a pair of players chosen with the No. 3 overall picks in the past two drafts - shooting guard Bradley Beal and small forward Otto Porter - the Wizards are hoping they will be more competitive.”

Wall was originally selected by Washington with the first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. He holds career averages of 16.9 points, 8.0 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 35.8 minutes per game in 184 career games (172 starts). Those numbers place him with Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and Chris Paul as the only players in NBA history who have averaged or are currently averaging at least 16 points, eight assists and four rebounds for their career. He is also one of only four players in NBA history (Johnson, Paul and Damon Stoudamire) to average at least 16.5 points, 7.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals over the first three years of their career.

“I am both proud and humbled by the belief that the Wizards organization, the fans and my teammates have shown in me since I arrived here three years ago,” said Wall. “I can promise all of them that I will repay that belief by representing the city of Washington and doing everything I can to get this team back where it belongs.”

Wall, who recently returned from his second consecutive summer as part of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team mini-camp, is also the fastest player (134 games) in NBA history to reach 2,200 points, 1,000 assists, 600 rebounds, 200 steals and 90 blocks (since steals and blocks became an official stat) and is the fastest active player to reach 900 career assists (111 games).

“John’s talent, ability and athleticism are unquestioned, but he is also a special player in terms of his will to win, unselfishness and ability to make his teammates better,” said Grunfeld. “The impact he has in all of those areas was evident last season and we look forward to both him and the team reaching new levels of success together.”

Last season, Wall averaged a career-high 18.5 points, a team-leading 7.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 32.7 minutes per game in 49 games (42 starts) after missing the first 33 games of the season due to a stress injury in his left patella. He joined LeBron James and Kobe Bryant as the only three players in the NBA last season to average at least 22.0 points, 7.0 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals from March 1 through the end of the season. Wall was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played March 11-17 after averaging 24.0 points, 11.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game while shooting .617 from the field, .800 from three-point range and .857 from the line while leading the Wizards to a 3-1 record. He scored a career-high 47 points vs. Memphis on March 25 and became the first player in NBA history to average at least 24 points, 11 assists, five rebounds, two steals, shoot at least .600 from the field, .800 from three-point range and .850 from the line in a four-game span.

USA Basketball today officially announced that it has agreed to relocate to Tempe, Arizona, as part of a $350 million development project. USA Place, LLC, has been selected to develop a new national headquarters and training center for USA Basketball on a 10.5-acre site located next to Arizona State University’s Tempe campus on land owned by ASU at the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and University Drive.

In addition to the USA Basketball headquarters and training center, USA Place will also include a 4,500-seat event center, as well as a 330-room Omni Hotel and 30,000-square-foot conference center, 500 luxury apartments, 160,000 square feet of retail and up to 200,000 square feet of office space, including the new home for Arizona Interscholastic Association events.

USA Basketball’s Board of Directors approved the relocate at a Board meeting on July 25.The $350 million mixed-use commercial development plan is subject to Tempe City Council and Arizona Board of Regents final approval of development agreements.

“This is an exciting and an incredible opportunity that offers nothing but positives for USA Basketball,” said USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo. “USA Place will offer USA Basketball an excellent site for the development of its office headquarters, a training center and event center that will provide the organization with a first-class site for hosting junior level events and will allow USA Basketball to continue to evolve.

“The new USA Basketball headquarters and training center will be first-class, state of art facilities, something I know we will be very proud of.”

Carmelo Anthony not pondering future just yet

Anthony led the Knicks to 54 wins and their first Atlantic Division title in 19 years last season. But the Knicks were beaten in the second round by Indiana.

The Knicks have made some changes that they hope will provide Anthony help on both ends of the floor and get them deeper into the postseason. They signed Metta World Peace, acquired Andrea Bargnani from Toronto and re-signed J.R. Smith, Pablo Prigioni and Kenyon Martin.

Anthony was asked whether this season will determine his long-term future as a Knick.

“I can’t do that,” Anthony said. “It’s too tough right now.”

Tough is a word that describes the competition in the Eastern Conference.

Reported by Al Iannazzone of New York Newsday

Guard Gary Neal excited to join Bucks

Guard Gary Neal excited to join Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks announced the signings of free-agent guard Gary Neal and rookie forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the team’s first-round draft pick, on Tuesday.

Neal signed a two-year deal worth $6.5 million, while Antetokounmpo will make more than $3.6 million in the first two years of his rookie-scale deal, including about $1.8 million next season…

Neal was a key reserve for the San Antonio Spurs the past three seasons and sank 6 three-pointers in the Spurs’ rout of Miami in Game 3 of the NBA Finals in June…

“I wasn’t really surprised,” Neal said Tuesday. “My family loved San Antonio and I had a great three years. I will be forever grateful to Coach Pop (Gregg Popovich) and (Spurs general manager) R.C. Buford for giving me a chance to live out my dream in the NBA… But it is a business. Milwaukee was the best situation for me and I’m excited.”

Reported by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Knicks and Nets willl both play on Christmas, but Santa Claus isn’t gifting New York an inter-city match up.

A league source told the Daily News that the Knicks are tentatively scheduled to host Kevin Durant and the Thunder on X-Mas, the same day Brooklyn plays the Bulls at the Barclays Center.

The official NBA schedule won’t be released until next week.

The Knicks and Nets, according to a source, are slated to face off on Martin Luther King Day - one of four match ups between the division foes next season.

Reported by Frank Isola and Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News

Grizzlies welcome back Mike Miller

Miller was introduced at a midday news conference at the FedExForum, where fans and backers joined in welcoming him back to town. Miller drew applause from backers as he walked out with new head coach Dave Joerger and a standing ovation after the event.

We are extraordinarily pleased to welcome Mike Miller back to Memphis,” Levien said in a statement announcing the signing. “Mike is a special figure in our community both on and off the court. Mike is an elite 3-point shooter, as Grizzlies fans know firsthand, and we expect his shooting, play-making, hustle and leadership to be a key component in our team competing with the best in the NBA next season.”

Miller still holds eight franchise records with the Grizzlies, including 3-point shooting percentage and the most 3s made and attempted. He spent parts of six seasons with the Grizzlies from 2003 through 2008. He helped the Heat win the past two NBA titles, and has shot 41 percent from 3-point range in his 13 NBA seasons.

He will collect more than $12 million in salary from the Heat over the next two seasons.

Reported by Clay Bailey of the Associated Press

Brandon Jennings

The Pistons weren’t done wheeling and dealing, as Pistons president and Louisiana native Joe Dumars returned to his riverboat gambler ways, acquiring point guard Brandon Jennings in a sign-and-trade from the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Pistons traded Brandon Knight, Khris Middleton and Slava Kravtsov for Jennings and will have him for the next three years at $24 million total.

Mind you, this was not too far removed from Dumars demonstratively denying any talks with the Bucks, run by good friend and former Pistons executive John Hammond.

Meaning he plays poker, too. In acquiring Jennings and Josh Smith, there’s two talented but mercurial players who could be termed as “wild cards.”

Chemistry is indeed a fair question, but considering the Pistons got two players for far less than they felt they’d command on the open market — Smith wanted a max contract and Jennings wanted $12 million per season — they should have two players with things to prove to the NBA at large.

A willingness to silence critics should make potential sacrifices a lot easier in what’s an interesting mix of talent, youth and experience in the Pistons’ locker room.

Reported by Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News

Brandon Jennings happy to be a Piston

Brandon Jennings happy to become Piston

Jennings will be sign-and-traded and will ink a three-year, $25 million U.S. contract.

The Compton, Cal. native was in town at the behest of good friend and fellow L.A. NBAer Amir Johnson, of the Raptors for the OVO Bounce Tournament at Ryerson’s Kerr Hall.

Jennings declined to say much, saying he wants to “stay under the radar for now,” but did admit “I’m happy” about the trade.

Reported by Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun

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