The Memphis Grizzlies signed guard/forward Quincy Pondexter to a contract extension, the team announced today. According to CSNNW, the deal is for four years, $14 million.
Pondexter (6-6, 225) led the Grizzlies in three-point field goal percentage (career-high .395) in 59 games (one start) last season and also averaged career highs with 6.4 points and 2.2 rebounds in 21.1 minutes. He made 60 three-pointers last season after recording a total of 40 threes over his first two NBA seasons.
Pondexter further increased his production during the 2013 NBA Playoffs, averaging 8.9 points and 2.5 rebounds on .489 shooting (.453 3FG shooting) in 23.8 minutes in 15 postseason games. The 25-year-old posted 15.3 points and 3.3 rebounds on .537 shooting (.480 3FG shooting) in 32.0 minutes during the 2013 Western Conference Finals, leading the Grizzlies in scoring twice during the series.
After a 13-point performance in the 2013-14 season opener on Oct. 30 at San Antonio, Pondexter holds career averages of 4.5 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.6 assists on .431 shooting (.366 3FG shooting) in 15.8 minutes in 190 games (15 starts) for Memphis and New Orleans.
The Boston Celtics announced today that they have exercised a contract option on forward Jared Sullinger for the 2014-15 season.
This was an expected move. Sullinger is a talented young player and it makes sense to keep him around and see how he develops.
According to the Boston Herald, Sullinger will make $1,424,520 in the 2014-15 season.
Sullinger, a 6’9” forward, averaged 6.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in 19.8 minutes per game during the 2012-13 season. The second-year player only appeared in 45 games as a rookie for the Celtics before missing the final 37 games of the season due to lumbar disc surgery. Sullinger averaged 10.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.0 steal in 20.6 minutes per game during the 2013 preseason. He notched preseason highs of 19 points and nine rebounds at Philadelphia on October 11.
Can the Sacramento Kings make the playoffs this season? Sure seems like a tough goal when you look at their roster. But new part-owner Shaquille O’Neal says a postseason spot is within the realm of possibility. Here’ the Sacramento Bee:
A postseason berth would be the franchise’s first since the 2005-06 season.
“Looking at the personnel here and the Western Conference, I think we can do it,” O’Neal said. “We can get a playoff spot. Our goal should be the playoffs.”
Bigs together – O’Neal said he will continue to work with DeMarcus Cousins, offering wisdom for the young center’s development on and off the court.
But only to a point.
“I won’t micromanage him,” O’Neal said. “He’s a young guy who is still growing up. I know he wants to be a great big man. I can show him the keys.”
The big victory for the Kings in recent years, as far as Sacramento is considered, is that the team is still in town and did not wind up being relocated to Seattle or elsewhere. Here’s the Sacramento Bee:
Standing at center court in Sleep Train Arena on Wednesday night amid smoke from exploding fireworks, new Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, microphone in hand, uttered a few words.
“Sacramento, I have just one thing to say to you,” he said, pausing, his face a mask of seriousness. “This is your team. And it is here to stay.”
A standing-room-only crowd in Sleep Train Arena exploded in cheers. It was a moment many here thought just six months ago would never happen. And yet, the Kings hosted a noisy, purple-hued celebration Wednesday in Natomas, launching their 29th and most improbable season in Sacramento.
The game, which the Kings won 90-88 over the Denver Nuggets, capped a triumphant night.
Many in the crowd said they had come to bask in the fact that Sacramento had somehow, over the last three years, fended off serious attempts by two cities to take the team – both of which seemed, at points, to be done deals.
Here’s the Denver Post on a key piece of the Nuggets who has been sidelined a bit longer than expected:
Wilson Chandler’s face would never give away his sense of worry, of frustration, of most anything. He’s as even-keeled as they come.
And yet he’s been dealing with a nagging hamstring injury that cost him pretty much all of the preseason and has spilled into the regular season, sidelining him for Wednesday night’s season opener against Sacramento.
Chandler’s inability to get better is concerning to Nuggets coach Brian Shaw.
“I am concerned with that,” Shaw said. “But at this point, it’s the beginning of the season — hamstring, those kinds of muscle pulls, strains, tears, can hamper you and linger for a long time. I just want him to be able to get it right and feel confident that when he does he can come out there and be productive for us.”
To NBA fans, Allen Iverson, one of the most exciting guards in history, has basically been retired for several years now. But as for Iverson himself, it’s finally an official done deal as of yesterday. Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Allen Iverson, who last played in the NBA in 2010, formally announced his retirement, and like his career, it was done with flair.
Speaking at an afternoon news conference at the Wells Fargo Center, Iverson was emotional, talking about his career and those close to him.
Iverson was candid in his comments and unwavering in his belief in himself and what he stood for. When asked if there was anything he would change during a stormy career, he said, “No, not one thing.”
Then he expanded.
“It’s easy to say I wish I would have done things this way, but I can’t go back and rewind it back and do it all over. I am happy with the way I done it because it taught me a lot.”
The NBA season started Tuesday, and on Wedneday there were 14 games. One great performance came from an unexpected source. Here’s Arizona Sports:
It’s just one game and it came against an underwhelming Portland Trail Blazers team, but the Phoenix Suns’ revamped frontcourt had a solid season debut in Wednesday’s 104-91 win at US Airways Center.
Despite operating somewhat shorthanded with the recent trade of Marcin Gortat and the suspension of forward Markieff Morris, Phoenix’s bigs left their mark on a game that opened something of a new era for the Suns, who were debuting new jerseys, a new coach and an overhauled roster.
Center Miles Plumlee, acquired in an offseason trade with the Indiana Pacers, scored 18 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked three shots — surpassing his 2012 season total for points and matching it in blocks.
The Nuggets have exercised the fourth-year contract option on forward Kenneth Faried and the third-year option on guard Evan Fournier for 2014-15, general manager/executive vice president of basketball operations Tim Connelly announced today.
Faried, the 22nd overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, averaged 11.5 points and 9.2 rebounds – both career-highs – in 80 games for the Nuggets last season. He recorded 31 double-doubles and ranked ninth in the NBA in field-goal percentage (.552).
In 126 career games (119 starts), Faried has averaged 11.1 points and 8.6 rebounds, while posting 43 double-doubles. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2011-12.
In addition to his production on the court, Faried received the 2012-13 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association.
Fournier, the 20th overall pick in 2012, averaged 5.3 points and 1.2 assists in 38 games as a rookie last season. He scored in double-figures in six of his final nine appearances, including a career-high 24 points against the Portland Trail Blazers on April 14.
Fournier, 21, turned pro as a teenager and played for Union Poitiers Basket 86 in France’s top pro league before entering the NBA Draft. He twice was named the French League’s Most Improved Player.
The Chicago Bulls announced today the team has exercised its fourth-year option for the 2014-15 season for guard/forward Jimmy Butler, and its third-year option for the 2014-15 season for guard Marquis Teague. By exercising the respective player options, both players will be under contract with the Bulls for the 2014-15 season.
Butler (6-7, 220), appeared in all 82 games last season and posted averages of 8.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 1.4 apg in 26.0 mpg. He also shot .467 from the floor, .381 from beyond the arc and .803 from the line. During the 2013 Playoffs, Butler started in all 12 games and averaged 13.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 2.7 apg in 40.8 mpg. In Chicago’s first game of the 2013-14 season (against the Miami Heat), Butler posted 20 points, five steals, three rebounds and three assists in 29:55 of action.
Teague (6-2, 190), saw action in 48 games last season and averaged 2.1 ppg, 1.3 apg and 0.9 rpg in 8.2 mpg. He also appeared in eight playoffs games for Chicago last year.
The Wolves are looking to do big things from now on. With health and continued improvement from young, talented players, they have the potential to rise up. Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
The Timberwolves spent $120 million last summer to add pieces around charismatic stars Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio in a league in which, more often than not, you only go as far as your best players take you.
They signed Corey Brewer for his energy and defense, Kevin Martin and Chase Budinger for their shooting and Nikola Pekovic for his muscle and low-post scoring, all in an attempt to finally reach the playoffs after a long decade away.
But if the Wolves indeed are headed that way for the first time since Kevin Garnett wore their uniform, it is Love and Rubio who will lead them with a two-man game — part old-school sensibilities, part new-school invention — that unsolicited teammates and opposing NBA coaches compare to a modern Stockton-Malone combination.
“That’s a pretty bold statement,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said, taken aback at the mention of the Utah Jazz greats, point guard John Stockton and power forward Karl Malone. “I coached against those guys and those are two Hall of Famers who played together for 18 years. They invented, I guess, the pick-and-roll between the two of them.”