Archive for September 23rd, 2013

The Golden State Warriors have signed free agent center Dewayne Dedmon and free agent guard Cameron Jones to contracts, the team announced today.

Dedmon, 24, played the last two seasons at USC, averaging 7.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.67 blocks over 51 games (49 starts).  In 31 games (29 starts) this past season as a redshirt junior, the 7’0” center averaged 6.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.13 blocks and 1.10 steals in 22.3 minutes per contest.  Dedmon did not play organized basketball until his senior year of high school due to religious reasons and played one season at Antelope Valley College in his hometown of Lancaster, CA, before transferring to USC.  He will wear uniform #21.

Jones, 24, played last season for the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League, averaging 12.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.26 steals in 27.0 minutes per contest.  The 6’4” guard also played for the Warriors Summer League squad in Las Vegas this past July, averaging 11.7 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals in seven games.  Prior to playing his rookie season with the D-League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants in 2011-12, Jones played four seasons at Northern Arizona University and ended his career as the school’s all-time leading scorer.  He will wear uniform #6.

The Warriors now have 16 players under contract.

Wizards invite Josh Childress to training camp

Veteran swingman Josh Childress has accepted an invitation to attend Wizards training camp, a league source with knowledge of the situation confirmed Monday.

A versatile, 6-foot-8 swingman, Childress had a promising start to his career, averaging 11.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in his first four seasons with the Atlanta Hawks before leaving the NBA to sign a more lucrative deal in Greece in 2008. The move was expected to open up a more competitive global market for NBA players, but the overseas exodus never followed, and within two years, Childress was eager to come back.

The Wizards expressed interest in Childress when he decided to leave Greece in 2010, but the Stanford product instead elected to sign a five-year deal for the full mid-level exception with the Phoenix Suns. The return hasn’t been very rewarding for Childress.

Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post (Blog)

Miami Heat sign guard Larry Drew II

Miami Heat sign guard Larry Drew II

The Miami Heat announced today that they have signed guard Larry Drew II. We assume it is a non-guaranteed contract that merely brings Drew to training camp, where he would then attempt to try to earn a regular season contract.

Drew, who played one season at UCLA after transferring from the University of North Carolina, appeared in 35 games (all starts) for the Bruins as a senior and averaged 7.5 points, 7.3 assists, 2.4 rebounds, 1.40 steals and 35.5 minutes while shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 43.3 percent from three-point range. He dished out 256 assists, the most during a single-season in school history and the third-most during a single-season in Pac-12 history. He also played 1,243 minutes that season, the fourth-highest mark for a single-season in school history. Drew was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team and was selected to the Pac-12 All-Tournament Team. He led the conference in total assists, assists per game and assist-per-turnover average (2.98).

In his three seasons at UNC, he finished with 378 assists, the 17th-most in school history. He earned the Tar Heel’s Defensive Player of the Game award four times during his junior season and appeared in 38 games as a freshman during the school’s 2009 championship season.

memphis grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies today announced that the organization has hired Elston Turner, Duane Ticknor and Shawn Respert as assistant coaches to join returning assistant coach Bob Thornton on Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger’s staff.

Additionally, the Grizzlies have hired Chattin Hill as athletic performance coach, promoted Jason March to advance scout, promoted Steve Jones to video coordinator/player development and hired Mark Sanford as assistant video coordinator/player development.

Known in league circles for coaching defense on offensively-minded ball clubs, Turner joins the Grizzlies as the lead assistant with 17 seasons of experience as an assistant coach for the Phoenix Suns (2011-13), Houston Rockets (2007-11), Sacramento Kings (2000-06) and Portland Trail Blazers (1996-00).

Turner served as the lead assistant for Phoenix after spending six seasons in the same role in Houston under current Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman. He also worked under Adelman in Sacramento, where he was a part of two Western Conference All-Star coaching staffs (2001, 2003), and Portland.

Turner’s career coaching responsibilities have included handling the team’s game plan, individual skill work with players and advance scouting. He also served as the Rockets’ summer league head coach. His coaching career began in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) as an assistant coach for the Quad City Thunder and as a player/coach for the Chicago Rockers.

Drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round (43rd overall) of the 1981 NBA Draft, Turner played eight seasons in the NBA with the Mavericks (1981-84), Denver Nuggets (1984-86, 1988-89) and Chicago Bulls (1986-88) and spent five seasons in the CBA. He played three more years in Spain, Italy and Greece following his NBA career.

The Knoxville, Tenn. native played four seasons at Ole Miss, where as a senior he teamed with current Grizzlies TV analyst Sean Tuohy to lead the Rebels to the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1981. The university honored Turner’s collegiate accomplishments by inducting him into the Ole Miss M-Club Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.

A veteran on the minor league coaching circuit, Ticknor will rejoin Joerger on the sidelines after the latter worked as the former’s assistant for one season (1999-00) with the International Basketball Association’s (IBA) Dakota Wizards.

Ticknor spent last season as head coach of the NBA Development League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants, leading the club to a 27-23 record (.540) and an appearance in the 2013 D-League Playoffs.

Before his stint in Fort Wayne, Ticknor served two seasons as an assistant coach with the D-League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce (2009-11), two more as head coach of the Dakota Wizards (2007-09) and one season in Korea (2011-12). He also spent time in the CBA as head coach of the Gary Steelheads (2002-05) and as an assistant for the Rapid City Thrillers (1989-92) and the IBA as head coach of the Black Hills Posse (1995-99), Dakota Wizards (1999-00) and Siouxland Bombers (2000-01).

A four-time IBA Coach of the Year (1996-98, 2000), the Vermillion, S.D. native led his teams to the IBA Finals three times and won the 1997 IBA Championship while helming Black Hills.

Thornton returns for a third season on the Grizzlies sidelines after joining the organization prior to the 2011-12 season. Before joining the Grizzlies, Thornton spent the previous four seasons (2007-11) as the advance scout for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Los Angeles native has experience as an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls (2002-04) and Minnesota Timberwolves (2005-07) and served as the head coach for the CBA’s Quad City Thunder (2000-01) and the D-League’s Huntsville Flight (2001-02).

Drafted by the New York Knicks in the fourth round (87th overall) of the 1984 NBA Draft, Thornton played professionally for 11 years, including eight NBA seasons with the Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Timberwolves, Utah Jazz and Washington Bullets. He also played in Spain, Italy and the CBA.

Respert comes to Memphis after serving the previous two seasons (2011-13) as an assistant coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves and three seasons (2008-11) as director of player development for the Houston Rockets. He also served two years (2007-08) as director of player development in the D-League offices in New York and two-and-a-half years (2005-07) as director of basketball operations at Rice University.

Named the 1995 NCAA Player of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) as a senior at Michigan State, Respert was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round (eighth overall) of the 1995 NBA Draft. After his draft rights were traded to Milwaukee, Respert played four NBA seasons (1995-99) with the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns before finishing his professional career playing in Italy, Greece and Poland.

The Detroit native was inducted into the Michigan State University Athletics Hall of Fame on Sept. 20, 2012.

Hill joins the Grizzlies as athletic performance coach after recently serving six seasons as the strength and conditioning coach for the Atlanta Hawks. He is responsible for the development and implementation of strength, conditioning and nutritional programs for the Grizzlies roster. The Washington State native also served one season as the assistant strength coach for the Seattle SuperSonics, two years as the head strength coach of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm and worked in a similar capacity at the University of Washington, where he focused his efforts primarily on the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Entering his seventh season with the organization, March now will serve as advance scout after spending last season as director of basketball information and technologies. Before joining the Grizzlies, he spent two seasons as the assistant video coordinator for the Phoenix Suns, where he was part of the team that advanced to the 2006 Western Conference Finals. A graduate of Florida State University, the Frostproof, Fla. native also spent two seasons as the video coordinator for the Phoenix Mercury, who won the 2007 WNBA championship.

Entering his third season with the club, Jones will take over the role of video coordinator/player development after working two seasons under March as basketball information and technologies associate. Jones, who played collegiately for UNLV and Arizona State University, will prepare scouting videos and game plans for upcoming opponents for the coaching staff. The Portland, Ore. native also will assemble a library of game action clips in preparation of the annual NBA Draft.

Sanford enters his first season with the Grizzlies as assistant video coordinator/player development after spending four years at Northwood University, where he served two years as an assistant to the men’s basketball team and his final two years as head coach of the women’s team. Drafted by the Heat in the second round (31st overall) of the 1997 NBA Draft, Sanford enjoyed an 11-year professional career that included NBA stints with Miami, Sacramento and New Jersey, appearances in the CBA and ABA, and international stints in Belgium, France, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Japan, Israel, Venezuela, Spain, the Philippines, Australia, Lebanon, South Korea and Chile. The Dallas native earned First Team All-Pac 10 honors twice at the University of Washington and declared for the NBA Draft following his junior season.

Lakers have massive salary cap space next summer

Bryant is entering the last nine months of his contract, a season worth $30.45 million before he can become a free agent in July.

He has known only one team in his 17-year career and often says he’ll be a Laker for life, but will that be the case?

The Lakers haven’t opened contract negotiations with Bryant, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, taking a wait-and-see approach as he recovers from his injury.

Bryant, 35, has done incredible things for the franchise, pushing it to five championships and two other NBA Finals appearances in his 17 seasons. His jersey is continually among the league’s top sellers, his first name easily recognizable even with non-sports fans.

But the Lakers are already salivating over their salary-cap space next summer. Only Steve Nash, Robert Sacre and Nick Young are on the books for 2014-15, meaning a spending spree awaits with potential free agents LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay, Luol Deng, Dirk Nowitzki, Danny Granger and Marcin Gortat. Restricted free agents next July include Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins and Greg Monroe.

Reported by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times

Bradley Beal

With training camp less than a week away, and the Wizards missing Emeka Okafor and Chris Singleton because of injuries, rising second-year player Bradley Beal has some good advice: Be patient.

He cracks a smile when he says it, but his rookie season with the Wizards was ended prematurely as a result of him playing through sprains to both ankles.

It caused a stress reaction in his lower right leg that kept him from basketball-related activities for most of the off-season, including Las Vegas summer league tournament and competing at the USA Basketball mini-camp.

“Hopefully I can learn my lesson, stop being hard-headed and just sit down when I need to sit down,” said Beal, 20, who missed 26 games.

Reported by J. Michael of CSN Washington

Shaquille O’Neal
Shaq joins Sacramento Kings ownership group
Wealthy, retired players like to buy stuff

Shaquille O’Neal will be introduced as the newest member of the Sacramento Kings ownership group Tuesday morning at the Kings practice facility.

O’Neal, the four-time NBA Champion and 2000 league MVP, is best known for tormenting the Kings during his run of dominance with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The future Hall of Famer retired prior to the 2011-12 season and has worked as an analyst for TNT the last two seasons. He met with majority owner Vivek Ranadive in June and offered to tutor DeMarcus Cousins, who he believes has the talent to be the best center in basketball.

Reported by Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee (Blog)

During the height of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, O’Neal fueled the rivalry with the Kings with his play on the court and his personality off of it.

O’Neal handed Sacramento its biggest blow by rallying the Lakers from a 3-2 deficit to win the 2002 Western Conference finals, which is still a sore spot for Kings fans. The 7-foot-1 center even labeled the franchise the “Sacramento Queens” and accused fan favorite Vlade Divac — whom he referred to as “she” at one point during the series — of flopping.

Reported by Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press

Detroit Pistons have some trade pieces

Detroit Pistons have some trade pieces

If the Pistons plan on being dealers before the February 2014 trade deadline, they have a glut of small forwards and guards to possibly offer, if that’s team president Joe Dumars’ plan.

“We have a lot of flexibility,” newly acquired Josh Smith said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if guys played different positions in the backcourt or along the front line, depending on matchups.”

Smith is expected to start at small forward and also see time at power forward. Also on the roster are Kyle Singler, Jonas Jerebko and rookie Luigi Datome, who made a splash overseas with his shot-making ability and athleticism.

That’s four small forwards, and there aren’t enough minutes to play them all.

Reported by Perry A. Farrell of the Detroit Free Press

Paul George
Pacers, Paul George finalizing huge contract extension
Must get even better to validate this huge contract

All-Star forward Paul George and the Indiana Pacers are finalizing a five-year, $90 million-plus maximum contract extension, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

A deal is expected to be signed this week, league sources told Yahoo.

For the Pacers and George, who was voted the 2013 NBA Most Improved Player, the five-year deal will cement the gifted young forward as Indiana’s designated franchise player. George’s extension will begin with the 2014-15 season. He will make $3.2 million this season.

In three NBA seasons, George has developed into one of the league’s most thrilling young talents, blossoming into a starring role in the Pacers’ march to a Game 7 against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals last season.

Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports

France wins 2013 EuroBasket championship

Tony Parker, France wins 2013 EuroBasket championship

France finally captured their elusive first continental crown by beating Lithuania 80-66 to win EuroBasket 2013 and will head to the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup as European champions.

Nicolas Batum led the way for the French with 17 points, six rebounds and two steals while Boris Diaw added 15 points, six rebounds and four assists and Tony Parker finished with 12 points.

“It’s hard to describe how I feel. The journey was unbelievable. I wouldn’t change a thing,” Parker said afterward.

“I won the title. I’m a little tired. I felt it in the Quarters and Semis. And before the game coach (Vincent Collet) said ‘trust your teammates’. If you score 10 points we will win the Final. And he was right.”

Lithuania’s veteran big man Robertas Javtokas said his team let their opportunity slip.

“Today we had a chance to win but they were better than us,” he said…

Parker was named the tournament’s MVP and headlined the All-Tournament Team that also included Lithuania’s Kleiza, Slovenia guard Goran Dragic, Marc Gasol of Spain and Croatia’s Bojan Bogdanovic.

Reported by FIBA.com

France broke open a close game by finishing the third quarter with a 14-0 run that kept Lithuania scoreless for four minutes. The French lead grew to 22 points with three minutes remaining in the third and Lithuania never came close to a comeback.

Batum had 17 points and Diaw added 15, while Linas Kleiza led Lithuania with 20.

Parker finished with 12 points, after scoring just four through the first three quarters. But his scoring and leadership during the run to the final - including 32 points against defending champion Spain in the semifinals - earned him the tournament MVP award.

“We had a perfect plan, the coach said they would double-team me and that I had to trust my teammates and not to worry if I don’t score much,” Parker said.

After finally capturing that elusive gold - in France’s record 36th appearance in the tournament - Parker led the French team into the stands to celebrate with their fans after the final buzzer.

Reported by the Associated Press

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