Archive for February 3rd, 2014

2014 D-League All-Stars announced

Twenty of the NBA Development League’s top prospects, including 16 who have NBA experience, have been selected to play in the eighth annual NBA D-League All-Star Game on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Sprint Arena inside NBA All-Star Jam Session at New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The game will air live on NBA TV at 3 p.m. ET.

Chosen to the NBA D-League All-Star Futures team are Hilton Armstrong (Santa Cruz), Seth Curry (Santa Cruz), Dewayne Dedmon (Santa Cruz), Justin Hamilton (Sioux Falls), Manny Harris (Los Angeles), Pierre Jackson (Idaho), Kevin Jones (Canton), DeAndre Liggins (Sioux Falls), Malcolm Thomas (Los Angeles) and Chris Wright (Maine). The Futures team will be helmed by Canton Charge head coach Steve Hetzel and his staff, who earned the trip to New Orleans by virtue of winning a tie-breaker with Nate Bjorkgren and the staff of the Iowa Energy, which had the same 16-9 record through games of Jan. 26, for the League’s second-best winning percentage.

Selected to play on the NBA D-League All-Star Prospects team are Isaiah Canaan (Rio Grande Valley), Robert Covington (Rio Grande Valley), Troy Daniels (Rio Grande Valley), Ike Diogu (Bakersfield), Devin Ebanks (Texas), Melvin Ely (Texas), Ron Howard (Fort Wayne), Othyus Jeffers (Iowa), Christapher Johnson (Rio Grande Valley), and Jarvis Varnado (Iowa). Rio Grande Valley Vipers head coach Nevada Smith and his staff will lead the Prospects team in New Orleans. They earned the right to coach the All-Stars having had the highest winning percentage with a 19-6 record in games play through Jan. 26.

“We’re excited to bring 20 top young NBA prospects to New Orleans to compete as NBA D-League All-Stars,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations for the NBA D-League. “The NBA D-League All-Star Game is not only an excellent opportunity for the League’s bright young stars to showcase their talents, but gives basketball fans from around the country the chance to watch up-and-coming NBA players in the midst of NBA All-Star festivities.”

The field of 20 players was selected by a vote of the NBA D-League’s 17 head coaches and was divided into two teams by League officials. Players were eligible to be selected based on having played in at least half of their team’s games through Jan. 26. Each player must be on an active NBA D-League roster at the time of the NBA D-League All-Star Game in order to compete.

Eight players with NBA experience are featured on the Prospects roster, including three current NBA players: Canaan and Covington, who have played in Rio Grande Valley on assignment from the Houston Rockets, and Johnson, a member of the Boston Celtics by way of a GATORADE Call-Up. Diogu, Ebanks, Ely, Jeffers, and Varnado round out members of the Prospects team with NBA experience.

An additional eight players with NBA experience make up the Futures roster, including Harris and Thomas, currently playing for the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz, respectively. Armstrong, Curry, Dedmon, Jones, Liggins, and Wright have also logged NBA minutes.

Last season, seven of the 20 NBA D-League All-Stars who played in Houston went on to earn GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA later in the year. Over the NBA D-League All-Star Game’s seven-year history, 87 of the 126 players have had, or subsequently earned, NBA experience.

The 2014 NBA D-League Dream Factory presented by Boost Mobile will be integrated into Saturday’s NBA D-League All-Star Game, with action beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET when the League’s sharp shooters take to the court to participate in the NBA D-League Boost Mobile Thre-Point Contest. Skills competition activities will continue during the game’s halftime break, with the NBA D-League Boost Mobile Slam Dunk Contest.

The complete 2014 NBA D-League All-Star teams are below.

FUTURES ALL-STAR ROSTER

Pos. Player (Team) Ht. Wt. College Birthdate

C Hilton Armstrong (Santa Cruz) 6-11 235 Connecticut 11/23/84

G Seth Curry (Santa Cruz) 6-1 180 Duke 8/23/90

C Dewayne Dedmon (Santa Cruz) 6-10 255 USC 8/12/88

G Manny Harris (Los Angeles)* 6-5 185 Michigan 9/21/89

F Justin Hamilton (Sioux Falls) 7-0 260 LSU 4/1/90

G Pierre Jackson (Idaho) 5-10 180 Baylor 8/29/91

F Kevin Jones (Canton) 6-8 251 West Virginia 8/25/89

G DeAndre Liggins (Sioux Falls) 6-6 209 Kentucky 3/31/88

F Malcolm Thomas (Los Angeles)* 6-9 224 San Diego State 11/8/88

F Chris Wright (Maine) 6-8 225 Dayton 9/30/88

Head Coach: Steve Hetzel (Canton)

Assistant Coaches: Jordi Fernandez (Canton), James Posey (Canton), Nate Reinking (Canton)

Athletic Trainer: Mike Gittinger (Canton)

PROSPECTS ALL-STAR ROSTER

Pos. Player (Team) Ht. Wt. College Birthdate

G Isaiah Canaan (Rio Grande Valley)* 6-0 188 Murry State 5/21/91

F Robert Covington (Rio Grande Valley)* 6-9 215 Tennessee State 12/14/90

G Troy Daniels (Rio Grande Valley) 6-7 200 VCU 7/15/91

F Ike Diogu (Bakersfield) 6-8 255 Arizona State 9/11/83

F Devin Ebanks (Texas) 6-9 215 West Virginia 10/28/89

F Melvin Ely (Texas) 6-10 260 Fresno State 5/2/78

G Ron Howard (Fort Wayne) 6-5 185 Valparaiso 11/14/82

F Othyus Jeffers (Iowa) 6-5 205 Robert Morris 8/5/85

G Christapher Johnson (Rio Grande Valley)* 6-6 201 Dayton 4/29/90

C Jarvis Varnado (Iowa) 6-9 210 Mississippi State 3/1/88

Head Coach: Nevada Smith (Rio Grande Valley)

Assistant Coaches: Paul Mokeski (Rio Grande Valley), Jason Young (Rio Grande Valley)

Athletic Trainer: Long Lam (Rio Grande Valley)

* - Indicates a player currently in the NBA

Terrence Williams wins D-League Player of Month

Los Angeles D-Fenders guard/forward Terrence Williams was today named NBA Development League Player of the Month for games played in January. The award is the first of Williams’ career.

Williams (6-6, 220, Louisville) averaged 21.5 points on 42 percent shooting from the floor to go with 6.1 assists and 4.8 rebounds in January, appearing in 12 of the team’s 13 games. For the month, the D-Fenders were an NBA D-League best 10-3.

Williams scored in double figures 10 times in January and set a D-Fenders record with a 50-point outing against the Idaho Stampede on Jan. 31.

For the season, Williams is averaging 21.8 points, good for seventh in the NBA D-League, along with 5.9 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 36.9 minutes in 13 games, 12 starts. His 50-point outing was the second-highest single-game point total this season.

Additional players considered for the award included Austin’s Josh Howard, Delaware’s Tiny Gallon, Idaho’s Pierre Jackson, Maine’s Frank Gaines, Rio Grande Valley’s Troy Daniels, Santa Cruz’s Cameron Jones, Sioux Falls’ Justin Hamilton and DeAndre Liggins, Springfield’s Darius Johnson-Odom, Texas’ PJ Hairston and Tulsa’s Reggie Williams.

Kevin Murphy of the Idaho Stampede was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, Jan. 27 – Sunday, Feb. 2.

Murphy a 6-5, 185-pound guard from Tennessee Technological University led Idaho to a 2-1 record and averaged 36.0 points on .616 (45-for-73) shooting, to go along with 7.3 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.7 assists. Murphy connected on 8-of-18 attempts from behind the three-point line.

On Jan. 21, he set the Idaho franchise record with an NBA D-League season-high 51 points to go along with eight rebounds, four steals, three assists and one block in a 127-123 victory over the Los Angeles D-Fenders. The honor is the first for Murphy, who is averaging 23.5 points and 6.0 rebounds this season.

Other top performers considered include Austin’s Josh Howard, Los Angeles’ Terrence Williams, Maine’s (Boston Celtics assignee) Vitor Faverani, Rio Grande Valley’s Akeem Ellis, Sioux Falls’ Sioux Falls Skyforce, Springfield’s Darius Johnson-Odom and Texas Legends’ Devin Ebanks.

The Los Angeles Clippers announced today that they have signed guard Sasha Vujacic to a 10-day contract.

Vujacic, a seven-year NBA veteran, has appeared in 476 career games (29 starts) with the Los Angeles Lakers and New Jersey Nets. A native of Slovenia, the 29-year old holds career averages of 5.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists. He has also appeared in 65 playoff games, capturing two NBA Championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010.

The 27th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Lakers, Vujacic has been playing professionally since the age of 16. Most recently, he played for Anadolu Efes in Turkey for two seasons (2011-13), averaging 9.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 40 games (23 starts).

Vujacic will wear uniform number 18 for the Clippers.

The Memphis Grizzlies signed guard Darius Morris to a 10-day contract, the team announced today.

Morris (6-4, 190) has averaged 4.2 points and 1.6 assists on .413 shooting in 11.2 minutes in 22 games with the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers this season. The 23-year-old posted 6.9 points and 2.6 assists in 16.1 minutes in 12 games for Philadelphia before he was waived on Nov. 20. He then signed the first of two 10-day contracts with Los Angeles on Jan. 6 and made 10 appearances during his stint with the Clippers.

The three-year veteran holds career averages of 3.7 points, 1.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 12.3 minutes in 89 games (17 starts) with the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers. He owns postseason averages of 6.5 points and 1.9 assists in 14.1 minutes in eight games (two starts) with the Lakers and averaged 10.5 points and 3.0 assists in 26.3 minutes in four games during the 2013 Playoffs.

Morris also owns NBA Development League averages of 17.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 32.7 minutes in three games (two starts) for the Los Angeles D-Fenders.

A native of Los Angeles, Morris was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round (41st overall) of the 2011 NBA Draft. He earned All-Big Ten honors as a sophomore at the University of Michigan and averaged 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists in two seasons with the Wolverines. He set the single-season school assist record (236) as a sophomore, which was broken by current Utah Jazz rookie guard Trey Burke last season.

Atlanta Hawks guard John Jenkins underwent successful lower back surgery this morning. The surgery was performed by Dr. Hal Silcox from the Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic.

Jenkins will undergo a period of rest and recovery, followed by treatment and rehabilitation, and will miss the remainder of the season.

The second-year guard appeared in 13 contests this season, averaging 3.1 points and 1.7 rebounds in 12.2 minutes.

The Phoenix Suns weren’t supposed to be good this season. Or so most people thought. But with a 29-18 record, good offense, decent defense, an excellent young coach and a fun, versatile roster, the Suns have been the surprise of the league this season. And now they can aim higher. Lakers forward Pau Gasol’s best days are behind him, but if used properly he can still make a team like phoenix better. Here’s ESPN.com reporting on a Pau Gasol trade rumor:

pau gasol

The Phoenix Suns have emerged as a potential trade suitor for Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol, according to sources close to the process.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Suns, among the options being weighed as part of their well-chronicled desire to acquire an established player as they make an unexpected playoff push this season, have been exploring the feasibility of trading for the Lakers’ four-time All-Star.

One option for the Suns, by virtue of their $5.6 million in available salary-cap space, is swapping the expiring contract of injured big man Emeka Okafor for Gasol, even though Okafor’s $14.5 million salary this season falls well shy of Gasol’s $19.3 million.

The Lakers engaged in similar trade discussions in late December and early January with Cleveland in a proposed deal that would have sent Gasol to the Cavaliers for the partially guaranteed contract of ex-Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who then would have been waived to help L.A. save roughly $20 million in salary and luxury-tax obligations.

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