Archive for August 15th, 2013

Guards top list in Mavericks makeover

Monta Ellis says he had to do ”60 percent of everything” in Golden State and Milwaukee.

Since the new Dallas Mavericks guard might use that to explain why he shot an alarmingly low 29 percent from 3-point range last season, he’s about to find out if a little help will make any difference.

That’s because new backcourt mate Jose Calderon wants to be the facilitator for Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki and everyone else on a roster that is going through its third makeover in as many seasons.

”Maybe not going to be fancy passes for me,” Calderon said with a smile. ”Just effective. That’s what I do.”

Ellis and Calderon were among seven free agents introduced in Dallas on Thursday. The list included an old Maverick in Devin Harris, who started his career in Dallas as a top five pick nine years ago, and a returning one in Brandan Wright, who figures to be the backup to another newcomer in Samuel Dalembert.

Reported by the Associated Press

Celtics trade Fab Melo to Grizzlies for Donte Greene

The Memphis Grizzlies acquired center Fab Melo and cash considerations from the Boston Celtics in exchange for forward Donté Greene, the team announced today.

According to the Boston Globe, “Though Melo was a low-risk gamble at the No. 22 overall pick, he made little progress in his rookie season. The Brazilian played sparingly in six games, scoring 7 total points and proving to be little more than a long-term project at best.”

Entering his second NBA season, Melo (7-0, 255) saw action in six games last season with the Celtics averaging 1.2 points in six minutes per contest. He appeared in 33 games for the NBA Development League’s Maine Red Claws, where he averaged 9.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and a league-high 3.1 blocks in 26.2 minutes per game after being assigned to the Celtics affiliate on Nov. 14. While with the Red Claws, he recorded a triple-double on Dec. 22 against Erie with 15 points, 16 rebounds and a D-League record 14 blocks. In Maine’s next game, he recorded 32 points, nine rebounds and nine blocks. Melo, a native of Juiz de Fora, Brazil, was named to the 2013 NBA D-League All-Rookie First Team and All-Defensive First Team.

Drafted by Boston with the 22nd overall pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft, Melo decided to forgo his final two years at Syracuse University after being named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in his sophomore season. In two seasons at Syracuse, he averaged 4.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks on .576 shooting in 17.3 minutes in 63 games (54 starts).

Greene (6-11, 226) signed with Memphis on April 17, 2013, holding NBA career averages of 6.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 16.8 minutes in 253 games (82 starts) over four seasons (2008-12) with the Sacramento Kings, but did not see action in a game with the Grizzlies.

The 25-year-old had missed the majority of the 2012-13 regular season while recovering from a fractured ankle suffered during an offseason workout on Aug. 25, 2012. He played one game in Puerto Rico for Atleticos de San German of the Baloncesto Superior Nacional (BSN) last year.

A glance at the Timberwolves rotation

Nikola Pekovic

The Wolves announced a five-year, $60 million contract Wednesday for Nikola Pekovic that essentially finishes off their roster shopping for the season. There probably is one spot left, and it will go to an end-of-the-bench type.

The starting five figures to be something like this: C-Nikola Pekovic; PF-Kevin Love; SF-Corey Brewer; SG-Kevin Martin; PG-Ricky Rubio.

The first four players off the bench on many nights figure to be: Chase Budinger (unless he starts over Brewer), J.J. Barea, Dante Cunningham and possibly Ronny Turiaf, at least early in the season.

The four players whose playing time appears to be most nebulous are: Derrick Williams, Alexey Shved, Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng.

So a team that won 15 games in the 2009-10 season, had lottery picks in 2010, 2011 and 2013 … is now poised to challenge for the playoffs, perhaps without a major contribution from any of those picks.

Reported by Michael Rand of the Minneapolis Star Tribune

Considering that they worked for nearly 4 months without knowing their long-term fate, what will another couple of weeks matter to Sixers assistant coaches Michael Curry, Aaron McKie and Jeff Capel?

Yesterday, after being announced as the franchise’s 24th head coach, former San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown said he would like to have his staff assembled by September.

Whether Curry, McKie, Capel or any other member of former Sixers coach Doug Collins’ staff will be retained is to be decided.

“I’ve spoken to [Curry and McKie] in particular, and I will speak to others,” general manager Sam Hinkie said, “and I’ve told them the truth, which is everyone is open-minded and everyone will think about all of the possibilities. Then we’ll make some decisions. Those decisions will be what they are, but there is a process to be followed there.”

Reported by John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Daily News

Nikola Pekovic, Wolves agree to five-year, $60 million deal

The Timberwolves concluded a summer of spending by reaching agreement Wednesday with restricted free-agent center Nikola Pekovic on a five-year, $60 million contract, one that includes as much as $8 million more in performance-based incentive clauses, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

Six weeks after negotiations formally started and six weeks before training camp begins, the Wolves re-signed a player whom new President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders has maintained all along was his top summertime priority.

Pekovic, too, all last season said he wanted to return to the Wolves, who selected him in the second round of the 2008 draft.

Wednesday morning, the two sides finally came together to keep the 27-year-old Pekovic with the Wolves through 2018, barring a trade of course. There are no player or team options in the contract.

Reported by Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune

76ers

“I know a lot has been made about the process and the length of time that it took for the final decision to be made on who is going to coach the Philadelphia 76ers,” Brown said. “For me, it was a tremendous opportunity to research a job that I was very interested in. Having spent so much time in New England and in Boston, I am acutely aware of the proud history of this city and the competitiveness of this city and how the city respects and demands the same type of people that I do as a coach. You get excited to be a part of the rebuild. We all know that the pain of rebuilding is real. We all will experience it. It isn’t something that happens quickly. That is a fact; that is the truth. There needs to be a tolerance, there needs to be a patience. It became very clear that if I was going to leave a position like San Antonio and the fantastic organization and the people I have worked with for 13 years, that it had better be for the right [situation]. We have a lot of work ahead of us.”

Brown, 52, spent the past seven seasons on the bench next to head coach Gregg Popovich in San Antonio after 6 years prior in different positions. He is considered to be a teacher of the game, a gym rat, a coach’s son who can’t get enough of the game and thrives on teaching the styles and intangibles that were a necessary part of four title runs during his time with the Spurs…

“I’m not a gypsy coach. I like staying someplace. I like a commitment from both sides. Can you imagine if we can get this thing right? Really. If we can this right with the culture and the history that this city has, and the pride and the toughness that this city has, that is very luring. It’s tempting. There were times I wasn’t sure, based on what I had, if I wanted to chance it. I think this is a very high-calculated chance. It’s dangerous. Rebuild is always a very hard thing, but I feel just thrilled to be here. Now it’s putting the right people in the right places. There’s a lot of work to be done, but I’m just thrilled to be here.”

Reported by Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News

mike woodson

Woodson said he anticipates a competitive training camp as starting guarantees now only go to Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler, who is “back normal [and] ready to go” after suffering from a bulging disk in his neck.

“I know Melo will be in the starting lineup — he and Tyson and Raymond,” Woodson said. “But I don’t know who is going to start. We’ll figure that out in camp. Camp should be pretty competitive.”

Woodson was asked specifically about the starting status of Iman Shumpert.

“You’ve got to go in there and you’ve got to earn a spot is kind of how I look at it,” Woodson said.

One offseason move is currently cause for concern. Former No. 1 pick Andrea Bargnani, one of the high-profile veterans — along with Metta World Peace — acquired by the Knicks, is battling pneumonia that could prevent him from playing for Italy’s national team.

Reported by Fred Kerber of the New York Post

A person familiar with the negotiations says Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris will add the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and the lease to their arena to his portfolio Thursday.

Attorneys for both sides were putting the final touches on the deal Wednesday that would allow Jeff Vanderbeek to sell his majority ownership to Harris, said the person, who asked not to be identified because neither party had announced the deal.

Reported by the Associated Press

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