Archive for August 29th, 2013

suns

The Phoenix Suns signed Alex Len, who the team selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.

All players selected in the first round of the NBA Draft are guaranteed to receive a contract. So, this signing is routine, and was expected.

Len is a 7-foot-1, 255-pound athletic center, who finished a two-year career in College Park, Maryland, with an Honorable Mention All-ACC season in which he was also named to the All-ACC Defensive team. Born in Antratsit, Ukraine, Len became the highest-drafted Ukrainian in NBA history after seeing huge jumps in production from his freshman to sophomore campaigns, averaging 11.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 38 games as a sophomore.

Considered one of the best athletes in this year’s draft, Len is a rim protector with a 7-foot, 4-inch wingspan who recorded an ACC-best 78 blocked shots in 2012-13. Len, 20 years old, shined against some top competition as a sophomore. Matched up against Kentucky early in the season, Len scored a career-high 23 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked four shots. In the ACC Tournament against runner-up North Carolina, scored 20 points, grabbed seven boards, and went 10-of-12 (.833) from the free-throw line. Len posted eight double-digit rebounding efforts as a sophomore, including six double-doubles.

A standout performer for his native Ukraine, Len averaged 16.0 points, 11.4 rebounds and 4.3 blocks in nine games at the under-18 European Championships in 2010. A slew of impressive performances on that international stage included a 20-point, 17-rebound, nine-block effort against Germany, and a 24-point, 20-rebound, four-block, four-steal effort against Sweden.

Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers are changing radio stations for the third time in three years.

The Blazers will air all preseason and regular season games on Fox Sports Radio AM 620 during the 2013-14 season, the team announced today.

The Blazers had been on AM 1190 KEX since last August. Both AM 1190 and AM 620 are owned by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.

“We are excited about the opportunity to broadcast our games on a station the offers an all-sports format,” said Trail Blazers President & CEO Chris McGowan. “This transition also allows us to avoid any preemption throughout the course of the season.”

 Reported by Micah Rice of the Columbian 

Shareef Abdur-Rahim named general manager of Reno Bighorns

The Sacramento Kings today announced Shareef Abdur-Rahim as General Manager of the Reno Bighorns, according to Kings General Manager Pete D’Alessandro. Abdur-Rahim, who also holds the role of Director of Player Personnel for the Kings, will oversee basketball operations for the team’s D-League affiliate.

Abdur-Rahim is entering his fourth season in the Kings front office, where he served the previous three as Assistant General Manager after spending the 2009-10 season on the Kings bench as an assistant coach specializing in player development.

Prior to retiring from professional basketball in 2008, the 12-year NBA veteran amassed career averages of 18.1 points (.472 FG%, .297 3FG%, .810 FT%), 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in 830 contests for four teams (Vancouver 1996-97 to 2000-01, Atlanta 2001-02 to 2003-04, Portland 2003-04 to 2004-05 and Sacramento 2005-06 to 2007-08). In a five-season stretch from 1997-98 through 2001-02, he posted better than 20 points and seven rebounds per contest, narrowly missing a sixth straight campaign registering such consistency when he recorded 19.9 points and 8.4 rebounds in 2002-03. He was named an NBA All-Star in 2002, finishing the campaign with averages of 21.2 points and 9.0 rebounds, ranking 15th and 13th in the league respectively.

In a related development, D’Alessandro also announced that Chris Gilbert will join Abdur-Rahim in Reno as the Bighorns Assistant General Manager. Gilbert is entering his first season as the Kings Basketball Operations Coordinator, assisting D’Alessandro, Assistant GM Mike Bratz and Abdur-Rahim with all facets of the team’s day-to-day operations.

Before joining the Kings, Gilbert spent eight seasons with the Golden State Warriors organization in a variety of capacities. In his new role with the Bighorns, he will support Abdur-Rahim in all aspects of basketball operations for the Kings D-League affiliate.

The Kings, Reno Bighorns and the NBA Development League announced in July a single-affiliation partnership beginning with the 2013-14 NBA D-League season, making Sacramento the 14th NBA franchise to establish a one-to-one affiliation with an NBA D-League team.

This partnership, also referred to as a “hybrid affiliation,” is the seventh of its kind in the NBA D-League and allows the Kings to pay for and control the Bighorns basketball operations, while existing local ownership in Reno maintains primary responsibility for the team’s off-the-court business operations and community initiatives.

Suns trade Caron Butler to Bucks

Suns trade Caron Butler to Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks have acquired two-time All-Star forward Caron Butler (6-7, 228) from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for guard Ish Smith (6-0, 175) and center Viacheslav Kravtsov (7-0, 260), General Manager John Hammond announced today.

“We’re very excited to welcome Caron back home,” said Hammond. “He is an accomplished veteran player who started 78 games last season for a 56-win team in Los Angeles. Caron gives us depth at the small forward position and will be a mentor for our younger players.”

According to the Associated Press, “The Suns acquired Butler and point guard Eric Bledsoe from the Clippers on July 10 in a three-team trade that sent the Suns’ Jared Dudley and Milwaukee’s J.J. Redick to Los Angeles. Milwaukee got two second-round draft picks in the deal. Butler signed a three-year, $24 million contract with the Clippers in December of 2011. A starter for the Clippers the last two seasons, Butler has averaged 15.5 points in stops that included Miami, the Los Angeles Lakers, Washington, Dallas and the Clippers.”

According to ESPN.com (on Butler), “the 33-year-old has since been working out in Phoenix and was a featured player at the podium when the Suns recently unveiled a new uniform design. Sources, however, say McDonough has consented to allow Butler to realize a lifelong dream of playing for Milwaukee with the trade. The Bucks signed Carlos Delfino earlier in the summer but are said to covet another small forward as he recovers from foot surgery. Butler’s arrival will ensure new coach Larry Drew has a veteran to start the season at the 3-spot as opposed to relying on youngsters Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo.”

An 11-year professional, Butler played in 78 games (all starts) last season for the Los Angeles Clippers. He averaged 10.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 24.1 minutes per game, while connecting on 38.8 percent (128-330) of his 3-point attempts. For his career, Butler has averaged 15.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He has played 730 NBA regular season games (697 starts) with five teams including Miami, the Los Angeles Lakers, Washington, Dallas and the Los Angeles Clippers. His best statistical season came in 2007-08 when he averaged 20.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists while shooting 46.6 percent from the field and 90.1 percent from the free throw line in 58 games for Washington.

Butler, 33, has averaged double figures in scoring in 10 of his 11 NBA campaigns and reached the postseason on six occasions, including winning an NBA Championship with Dallas in 2011. He was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star Team twice (2007, 2008), but did not play in 2008 due to injury.

Originally selected by Miami with the 10th overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, Butler played collegiately at UConn where he was named to The Sporting News All-America Second Team as a sophomore. He played high school basketball at Racine Park and later at Maine Central Institute, and his uniform numbers 54 and 25, respectively, have been retired by both schools.

“We would like to thank Caron for his professionalism and wish him the best with the Milwaukee Bucks,” said Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough. “This deal gives us significant cap space as well as the flexibility to trade for another exciting player, which is how we were able to acquire Eric Bledsoe. It also provides us with two young players in our efforts to build a team capable of sustainable success.”

Kravtsov, a 6-11, 254-pound center, played five seasons professionally in his native Ukraine before signing with the Detroit Pistons last summer. Kravtsov joins his countryman and 2013 first-round draft pick Alex Len, giving Phoenix both of the only two Ukrainians currently on an NBA roster.

A rookie in 2012-13 with Detroit, Kravtsov played in 25 contests and improved over the course of the season, making 17 of those appearances after the All-Star break including his first career double-double effort. Earlier this summer, he played on the Pistons summer league squad in Orlando and averaged 10.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks while shooting 54.5 percent (6-11) from the field in two games. Kravtsov was dealt to the Bucks on July 31 as part of the trade that sent Brandon Jennings to Detroit.

Smith, a three-year NBA veteran with five teams, played in a career-high 52 games in 2012-13; the first 36 with the Orlando Magic before being traded to the Bucks where he played in 16 games, in addition to appearing in each of Milwaukee’s four playoff contests against the Miami Heat.

A four-year collegiate performer at Wake Forest University, Smith finished his career ranked second all-time among Demon Deacons in assists with 612 and became the first player in program history to post over 1,000 points and 600 assists. As a senior, he averaged 13.2 points, 6.0 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals to earn Second Team All-ACC honors.

Ivan Johnson signs to play in China

Ivan Johnson signs to play in China

Ivan Johnson has agreed to a deal to play in China next season, according to his agent.

Johnson, who played the past two seasons with the Hawks, will play for Zhejiang China next season said agent Jeremiah Haylett. It is the same team Eddy Curry played for last season.

Reported by Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (Blog)

Chris Wilcox said he played hurt last season

The Celtics dealt with a plethora of injuries last season, including a nagging thumb injury sustained by backup center Chris Wilcox last December in Chicago that cost him 19 games.

The injury was diagnosed as a strained ulnar collateral ligament and Wilcox wore a wrap around the thumb for the remainder of the season. Wilcox told the Globe on Wednesday that he discovered after the season that the ligament was actually torn and required surgery.

“It was tough, it never got better,” he said. “I just thought I would give it some rest after the season and I would barely put my hand in a fist. It didn’t get any better.”

Reported by Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (Blog)

Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer has apologized for his arrest on a driving under the influence of alcohol charge.

According to a report from the Georgia State Patrol, Budenholzer was pulled over at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday in Atlanta for not having working taillights. Trooper J. Nelms said Budenholzer had bloodshot and watery eyes ”and a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath.”

Budenholzer refused a breath test but agreed to a field sobriety test, according to the report. He told Nelms he had only one glass of wine and that he finished the glass about 15 minutes before being pulled over. Nelms said in the report that Budenholzer was ”polite” and that his speech patterns were mumbled, slow and slurred…

Budenholzer, who was released from jail on $1,524 bond, entered a not guilty plea at Atlanta Municipal Court on Thursday, according to Hawkins.

Reported by the Associated Press

Basketball blog