Archive for September 27th, 2013

wizards

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed forwards Josh Childress and Pops Mensah-Bonsu, guard Xavier Silas and center D’Or Fischer. We assume these are all non-guaranteed deals that merely bring those players to training camp.

Childress (6-8, 210) is a seven-year NBA veteran who holds career averages of 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in 387 games with Atlanta, Phoenix and Brooklyn. He was originally selected by Atlanta with the sixth overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. In 2008, after four seasons in Atlanta, Childress signed a contract with Olympiacos in Greece where he averaged 12.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game over two seasons. After being traded to Phoenix and playing two seasons with the Suns (2010-2012), Childress signed as a free agent with Brooklyn last season.

Mensah-Bonsu (6-9, 240) appeared in six games with Cajasol in Spain and nine games with EA7 Armani in Italy during the 2012-13 season. The four-year George Washington product has played 61 career NBA contests with Dallas, San Antonio, Toronto, Houston and New Orleans, averaging 3.0 points and 3.0 rebounds in 8.3 minutes per game. Mensah-Bonsu, a London native, competed in the 2012 Olympic Games for the United Kingdom where he averaged 8.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in four games. He has also played professionaly in France and Turkey.

Silas (6-5, 205) appeared in two games with the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2011-12 season where he averaged 5.5 points and 2.0 rebounds in 20 minutes per game. In the last two seasons with the Maine Red Claws of the D-League, Silas has averaged 10.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 73 games. He was undrafted out of Northern Illinois University.

Fischer (6-11, 240) finished his collegiate career playing two seasons at West Virginia after transferring from Northwestern State. After going undrafted in 2005, the Philadelphia native has played professionally in Poland, Germany, Belgium, Israel and Spain as well as with Roanoke Dazzle of the D-League in 2005-06 where he averaged 5.9 points and 5.0 rebounds in 26 games.

The Wizards’ training camp roster currently stands at 19 players.

New York Knicks sign Ike Diogu

New York Knicks sign Ike Diogu

The New York Knickerbockers announced today that the team has signed forward Ike Diogu. We assume this is a non-guaranteed deal that merely brings Diogu to training camp.

Diogu, 6-9, 250-pounds, holds career averages of 6.0 points, on 50.9-percent shooting, 3.1 rebounds and 12.4 minutes in 225 games (18 starts) over six seasons with Golden State, Indiana, Portland, Sacramento, L.A. Clippers and San Antonio. He spent the last two seasons playing in Puerto Rico (Arecibo) and China (Xinjiang), after playing in two games for San Antonio in 2011-12. The Buffalo, NY-native was originally selected by Golden State following three seasons at Arizona State University in the first round (ninth pick overall) of 2005 NBA Draft.

Miami Heat sign Roger Mason Jr

Miami Heat sign Roger Mason Jr

The Miami Heat announced today that they have signed guard Roger Mason Jr.

Mason, a nine-year NBA veteran, has appeared in 493 career NBA games (101 starts) and averaged 6.5 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 18.0 minutes while shooting 40.9 percent from the field, 38.4 percent from three-point range and 86.3 percent from the foul line. Additionally, Mason has appeared in 24 career postseason NBA games (three starts) and averaged 5.3 points, 1.0 rebounds and 17.1 minutes while shooting 36.8 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from three-point range and 76.5 percent from the foul line.

Last season, he appeared in 69 games (13 starts) with New Orleans and averaged 5.3 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 17.7 minutes while shooting 43.3 percent from the field, 41.5 percent from three-point range and 90.7 percent from the foul line. He led the team in three-point field goal percentage while finishing second in free throw percentage and third in three-point field goals made (66).

Mason will wear number 21.

The Heat’s roster now stands at 19.

Lakers add Dan Gadzuric to training camp

Lakers sign Dan Gadzuric

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed center Dan Gadzuric, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. We assume this is a non-guaranteed deal that merely brings Gadzuric to training camp.

A ten-year NBA veteran, Gadzuric spent the 2012-13 season playing with Marinos de Anzoátegui in Venezuela. In 30 games with the team he averaged 10.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 19.4 minutes. Selected in the second round (34th overall) by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2002 NBA Draft, the 6-11 center out of UCLA has played in 527 career NBA games with Milwaukee, Golden State, New Jersey (now Brooklyn), Toronto and New York, averaging 4.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 14.8 minutes.

The Lakers training camp roster now stands at 19 players.

warriors

The Golden State Warriors will wear white short-sleeve alternate uniforms for every Saturday home game during the 2013-14 season, beginning Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. at Oracle Arena when the team takes on the Sacramento Kings.

The Warriors were the first team in NBA history to wear a modern short-sleeve NBA uniform when they debuted yellow alternates on February 22, 2013 against the San Antonio Spurs at Oracle Arena. The Warriors wore the yellow uniforms during the 2012-13 season for two additional home games including March 8 vs. the Houston Rockets and March 15 vs. the Chicago Bulls.

The Warriors will wear the white modern short sleeve NBA uniform for every Saturday home game.

warriors

The Golden State Warriors have signed center Ognjen Kuzmic (oge-NEN KOOZ-mitch) to a contract, the team announced today. The team has also added free agent forward Joe Alexander to the Training Camp roster.

Kuzmic, 23, was selected by the Warriors with the 52nd overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and remained overseas last season to play with FIATC Joventut in Spain, where he averaged 6.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest. A 7’0” center from Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kuzmic has played professionally in Europe for six seasons, with stops in Spain, Bosnia and Finland.

Alexander, 26, most recently played in Russia with Krasnie Krilya in 2011-12, averaging 8.7 points and 3.8 rebounds in six Russian League games and 8.4 points and 4.0 rebounds in nine VTB United League contests. Prior to playing overseas, Alexander played two seasons in the NBA Development League, including the 2010-11 season when he earned First Team All-NBA D-League honors with the Texas Legends. Originally drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round (eighth overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft, Alexander holds NBA career averages of 4.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in 67 games over three seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Hornets.

The Warriors now have 18 players under contract.

Pau Gasol reports improvement in his knees

Pau Gasol recently stepped foot in Los Angeles in high spirits for reasons including a new season and a likely increased role.

There’s another reason, too.

Gasol visited with Dr. Steve Yoon of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic Thursday for an evaluation after rehabbing this offseason the tendinosis in both of his knees. Gasol then turned to Twitter to deliver a positive assessment in 140 characters.

Gasol: “Great news! My knees are a lot better thanks to the procedure, the rest & the hard work during the summer! Let’s go!”

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

Houston Rockets CEO thinks team may sell out every home game

The Rockets’ first prediction of the season might not be topped, even if this one never mentioned games to be won or a championship to be chased.

Kevin McHale will not be so bold. His players are as unlikely to be as daring. Their boss, however, did not hesitate, at least when it came to the goals of his wing of Toyota Center and the business of basketball.

The Rockets, CEO Tad Brown said, will sell out every home game this season. For the Rockets in the Toyota Center era, that is a huge proclamation.

“We’re further ahead in our sales process at this time than we ever have been,” Brown said heading into the start of team workouts Saturday. “The season-ticket base is up 34 percent. We are close to being sold out of season tickets. And we are pretty confident with the excitement that this team has already created in the market that we’ll be sold out of every game.”

Reported by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle

Some Knicks items of note

Knicks

The Knicks could be in a position to have cap room flexibility in 2015 and may make another run at LeBron James, who has three years left on his contract with the Heat but can opt out of the final two seasons in July.

The Knicks have several important issues facing the team, starting with coach Mike Woodson’s contract. Woodson, who played college ball with Grunwald at Indiana, is under contract for this season but has a team option for next season.

Carmelo Anthony can opt out of his contract after the season. J.R. Smith is recovering from knee surgery and has been suspended five games by the NBA for violating the terms of the anti-drug agreement. Amar’e Stoudemire is trying to become a regular contributor again after surgeries on both knees limited him to 29 games last season.

Reported by Al Iannazzone of New York Newsday

Some thoughts on new Pistons Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith

Jennings sat on the outside looking in during this summer’s free-agency frenzy, arriving in Detroit in a three-year deal via sign-and-trade. The Pistons believe he’ll return to his prep school mode of being a distributor first, rather than primarily looking for his own offense, as he’s done during his first four years in the NBA.

Jennings represents an upgrade over Brandon Knight in terms of point guard aptitude, but he must be willing to buy into the system and set up his teammates.

Rumors of the Pistons pursuing Boston point guard Rajon Rondo won’t amount to anything anytime soon. Jennings can quiet them with steady play.

Josh Smith: The shiny new, $54 million signee gets a fresh start away from the sometimes-unfair scrutiny he faced in his hometown Atlanta. There’s no denying his talent, and he and Drummond can raise terror defensively and in the open floor with their length and athleticism. He’ll be the starting small forward, but is expected to see time at power forward as well, so his role in the offense remains to be seen.

Smith will face a bit of a culture adjustment this season, moving from the pressure of playing for his hometown team to the pressure of playing for a franchise with more of a winning tradition and the resulting higher expectations.

Reported by Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News

Cleveland Cavaliers announce staff promotions

The Cleveland Cavaliers have promoted Trent Redden to Assistant General Manager and Koby Altman to Director of Pro Player Personnel. Additionally, Alex Moore has been hired as High Performance Director and will oversee the Cavaliers Performance Team, which manages the team’s rehabilitation, physical therapy, nutrition, strength and conditioning, and athletic training areas.

Redden was most recently the Director of College Player Personnel for the Cavs and has been with the organization since 2006. Altman joined the Cavaliers in 2012 as the Pro Personnel Manager after spending several seasons as an assistant coach at Columbia University and as an Operations Manager with USA Basketball.

Moore, joins the Cavs from the United States Ski Team where he served as the program’s Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for six years.

Within the Performance Team, Steve Spiro has been promoted to Head Athletic Trainer after serving the last three seasons as assistant athletic trainer and Derek Millender has been promoted to Performance Specialist after three seasons as the team’s assistant strength coach. The Cavs have also hired Yusuke Nakayama as Assistant Athletic Trainer, Performance Scientist. Nakayama comes to the Cavs by way of Michigan State University, where he served as an athletic trainer with the Spartan Nutrition and Athletic Performance Program, while finishing his PhD. George Sibel also continues as Physical Therapist, a role he has held with the team for the last seven seasons.

The Orlando Magic have signed rookie forward Romero Osby, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

In addition to Osby, the Magic have signed free agents Mickell Gladness (#40, 6-11, 220, 7/26/86, Alabama A&M), Manny Harris (#3, 6-5, 185, 9/21/89, Michigan), Solomon Jones (#22, 6-10, 245, 7/16/84, South Florida) and Kris Joseph (#32, 6-7, 210, 12/17/88, Syracuse). The roster currently stands at 19 players.

Osby (AHZ-bee, 6’8”, 230, 5/7/90) was selected by Orlando in the second round (51st overall) of the 2013 NBA Draft. He appeared and started in 63 career games during two seasons at the University of Oklahoma, averaging 14.4 ppg., 7.2 rpg. and 1.1 apg. in 29.4 minpg., while shooting .509 (321-631) from the field. Osby also played in 71 games (three starts) in two seasons at Mississippi State University, averaging 4.2 ppg. and 2.6 rpg. in 12.8 minpg.

OKC Thunder sign guards Diante Garrett and Rodney McGruder

The Oklahoma City Thunder signed guards Diante Garrett and Rodney McGruder to contracts, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. We assume these are just non-guaranteed deals that merely bring the players to training camp.

Garrett (6-4, 190 pounds), appeared in 19 games last season as a member of the Phoenix Suns where he averaged 2.1 points and 1.6 assists in 7.9 minutes per game. Additionally, Garrett played eight games last season for the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA D-League where he posted averages of 17.3 points, 7.3 assists and 1.63 steals.

While playing collegiately at Iowa State, Garrett became one of three players in Big 12 history to amass 1,300 points and 600 assists.

McGruder (6-4, 205 pounds), recently concluded his four year college career at Kansas State where he became one of two players in school history to rank among the top 10 in both career scoring and rebounding.

During his senior season, McGruder earned All-Big 12 First Team and Honorable Mention All-America honors after registering averages of 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.26 steals per game.

The Oklahoma City Thunder roster now stands at 17.

76ers training camp

The Philadelphia 76ers today announced their training camp roster in preparation for the 2013-14 NBA season. Training camp will take place at Saint Joseph’s University’s Hagan Arena beginning tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 28, and runs through Wednesday, Oct. 2.

In conjunction with the start of training camp, the Sixers have announced the signing of five players.

Vander Blue (6-4, 200) is a rookie from Marquette and was an early entry candidate for the 2013 NBA Draft following his junior season, during which he averaged 15 points, three rebounds and two assists en route to earning All-BIG EAST Second Team honors. Blue increased his scoring average, along with his field goal, three-point and free throw percentage across each of his three collegiate seasons. He averaged 12 points and nearly six rebounds in the 2013 Orlando Pro Summer League.

Darius Morris (6-4, 195) was the 41st overall pick by the L.A. Lakers in the 2011 NBA Draft. In two seasons with the Lakers, Morris appeared in 67 games with 17 starts. During the Lakers First Round series vs. San Antonio in the 2013 playoffs, Morris averaged 11 points and three assists in 26 minutes per game. Morris entered the NBA Draft as an early entry candidate after his sophomore season at Michigan, where he averaged 10 points and five assists en route to earning All-Big Ten Third Team honors.

Hollis Thompson (6-8, 206) is a rookie from Georgetown and was an early entry candidate for the 2012 NBA Draft following his junior season, during which he averaged 13 points and nearly six rebounds en route to earning All-BIG EAST honorable mention. Last season, he played for the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League, averaging eight points and four rebounds.

Rodney Williams (6-7, 205) is a rookie from Minnesota and was eligible for the 2013 NBA Draft following his senior season, during which he averaged 10 points, five rebounds and two assists. He also shot over 51% from the floor for his collegiate career. Williams averaged eight points, two assists and a block and a half per game in the 2013 Orlando Pro Summer League, while playing for the Sixers’ Summer League team.

Khalif Wyatt (6-4, 205) is a rookie from Temple and was eligible for the 2013 NBA Draft following his senior season, during which he averaged 20 points, four assists, three rebounds and nearly two steals en route to earning Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors. The Norristown native played for the Sixers in the 2013 Orlando Pro Summer League, averaging a team-high 14 points along with three assists and over a steal and a half per game.

Vowing maturity, Jazz center Enes Kanter steps into spotlight

A wispy dark beard aside, not much appeared to have changed about Enes Kanter six months since he last appeared in a game for the Utah Jazz. Surrounded by children, Kanter fit right in, bouncing enthusiastically, smiling as he played shooting games and behaving like the big, fun-loving kid Jazz fans have come to know him as in the two years since the franchise made him the No. 3 overall pick in the NBA Draft.

But Kanter, who turned 21 in the offseason, said a summer of rehabbing from shoulder surgery and an anticipated spike in on-floor responsibility matured him — even though he said the beard won’t make it to Jazz training camp, which starts with Monday’s media day.

No more, he vowed, will the player who once emerged from the Jazz locker room wearing a SpongeBob SquarePants T-shirt use his popular Twitter feed to conduct a casting call for the women of Salt Lake City to join him at the Cheesecake Factory, or to disseminate photos showing off his physique. Like it or not, the Jazz’s most entertaining player seems to be growing up.

“When I was in my first two years,” Kanter said, “I was thinking I’m not going to get old, I’m just going to be like this my whole life. I was wrong. You grow up. And the stuff I put out there, rookie mistakes.”

Reported by Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune

Stephen Curry Leaves Nike for Under Armour

Warriors star point guard Stephen Curry has decided to leave Nike and sign a new deal with the up-and-coming brand Under Armour, according to multiple sources.

Curry will debut is new allegiance at the Warriors’ media day on Friday.

His contract with Nike expires at the end of September. His rising stardom, coming off the Warriors’ playoff run, prompted Under Armour to go hard after Curry. After months of negotiations with both companies, Curry made the surprising move to leave the shoe giant, who he signed with as a rookie, to become the face of the new kid on the block.

Reported by Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times (Blog)

Timberwolves forward Chase Budinger suffers knee injury

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that forward Chase Budinger sustained a cartilage injury to his left knee.

Budinger will visit Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama early next week. An update to Budinger’s status will be provided after that examination.

The Timberwolves finished last season with a 31-51 record, and did not qualify for the playoffs. They suffered some major injuries, including one to Budinger, who played just 23 games in 2012-13.

Kings, DeMarcus Cousins agree to contract extension

The Kings have reached an agreement on a contract extension with center DeMarcus Cousins for four years worth approximately $62 million, league sources confirmed Thursday night.

The most Cousins was eligible for under the collective bargaining agreement was five years and $80 million. The contract takes effect for the 2014-15 season.

The deadline for first-round draft picks from 2010 to agree to contract extensions is Oct. 31. If the Kings had not reached an agreement, they could not have signed Cousins until after this season.

Reported by Jason Jones and Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee

Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls announced today the signing of free agents Patrick Christopher, Mike James, Dahntay Jones, Kalin Lucas, Dexter Pittman and D.J. White to round out their 2013-14 training camp roster.

Christopher (6-5, 220) spent last season with Besiktas of the Turkish Basketball League. In 26 games, he averaged 11.0 ppg and 2.8 rpg. During the 2011-12 season, he posted 12.8 ppg and 2.4 rpg in 26 games with Cholet Basket of the French Basketball League.

James (6-2, 188), an 11-year NBA veteran, appeared in 45 games (23 starts) for the Dallas Mavericks during the 2012-13 season. With the Mavericks, he posted averages of 6.1 ppg, 3.1 apg and 1.6 rpg in 19.2 mpg. In 584 career games, he has averaged 10.0 ppg, 3.5 apg, 2.3 rpg, 0.80 spg and 24.5 mpg.

Jones (6-6, 225), a 10-year veteran of the NBA, has previously played for the Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks. In 589 career games, he has averaged 5.6 ppg and 1.8 rpg in 16.3 mpg. Jones split last year with Dallas and Atlanta. In 78 games, he recorded 3.4 ppg and 1.3 rpg in 13.0 mpg.

Lucas (6-1, 195) spent last season with Banvit of the Turkish Basketball League. In 39 games, he averaged 9.0 ppg, 2.5 apg and 1.5 spg. During the 2011-12 campaign, he appeared in 11 games with Olympiacos of the Greek Basketball League and averaged 8.0 ppg and 2.5 apg.

Pittman (6-11, 285) split last year with the Miami Heat and Memphis Grizzlies. In four games with the Heat last season, he averaged 1.5 ppg and 1.8 rpg in 3.0 mpg. While with the Grizzlies, he averaged 0.7 rpg and 2.9 mpg in seven games.

White (6-9, 250) split the 2012-13 season with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association and the Boston Celtics. He appeared in 29 games for the Sharks and averaged 21.6 ppg, 9.7 rpg and 1.30 bpg in 33.0 mpg. While with the Celtics, he averaged 2.4 ppg and 1.1 rpg in 7.2 mpg in 12 games.

Chicago’s roster now stands at 18.

Until Rajon Rondo returns, Avery Bradley the PG for Celtics

In the wake of Danny Ainge’s comments that Rajon Rondo may not be back until December, new Celtics coach Brad Stevens thinks he has an in-house candidate to fill the star point guard’s shoes.

Stevens said Avery Bradley may indeed see the bulk of the point guard duties until Rondo finds his way back from offseason knee surgery.

“I don’t think there is any doubt that Avery has elite ability in a lot of ways as a point guard,” Stevens said at TD Garden yesterday morning, where he was a guest at the breakfast to promote November’s Coaches vs. Cancer college basketball tripleheader. “He’s an elite defender at the position. He’s an elite athlete at the point guard position. I think he’s a guy that’s gotten better. I think he’s a guy with more confidence, and I think he’s excited about the challenge if Rajon is out.”

Reported by Tom Layman of the Boston Herald

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