Archive for March, 2014

Sacramento Kings sign Jared Cunningham to 10-day contract

The Sacramento Kings today signed guard Jared Cunningham to a 10-day contract, according to Kings General Manager Pete D’Alessandro.

In his second NBA season, Cunningham totaled two points (1-2 FG, 0-1 3pt, 0-2 FT), one rebound, three assists and 22 minutes in five games off the bench for the Atlanta Hawks before being waived on February 22.

Cunningham was selected out of Oregon State in the first round (24th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers before being traded along with Jae Crowder and Bernard James to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Tyler Zeller and Kelenna Azubike.

In his rookie campaign with the Mavericks, he recorded a total of 16 points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal in 26 minutes in eight contests off the bench.

The 6-4, 194-pound guard has also spent time in the D-League, playing for the Texas Legends (2012-13) and Bakersfield Jam (2013-14). With the Legends, Cunningham averaged 15.3 points (.335 FG%, .257 3pt%, .721 FT%), 2.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 34.5 minutes per game in 15 games, of which he started 13. Cunningham posted averages of 16.5 points (.394 FG%, .330 3pt%, .803 FT%), 3.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 31.1 minutes per game in 22 contests, starting 19 of those.

Cleveland Cavaliers sign Scotty Hopson

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed guard Scotty Hopson to a contract, Cavaliers acting General Manager David Griffin announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.

Hopson appeared in 12 league games this year for Anadolu Efes in the Turkish Basketball league, where he averaged 7.2 points and 2.6 rebounds in 21.6 minutes per game. He also played in 11 Euroleague games for Anadolu Efes, averaging 15.5 points on .625 shooting and 4.2 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game.

The 6-7, 204-pound guard played in three 2013 NBA Summer League games for the Miami Heat and averaged 11.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 22.0 minutes per game, including 22 points, two assists and three steals in 26 minutes against the Brooklyn Nets on July 8.

Hopson, who went undrafted in the 2011 NBA Draft after averaging 12.7 points and 3.1 rebounds in 103 career games at the University of Tennessee, spent the 2011-12 season with Kolossos Rodou of the Greek League and the 2012-13 season with Hapoel Eilat of the Israeli League.

Charlotte Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins announced today that the team has signed forward DJ White to a second 10-day contract.

The 6-9 White has seen action in one game for the Bobcats this season, tallying one rebound and one steal in four minutes.  He is in his sixth NBA season and has career averages of 5.9 points and 3.2 rebounds in 133 games played with the Thunder, Bobcats and Celtics.  For his career, White has shot .507 from the field (348-686) and .720 from the free-throw line (113-157).

Prior to joining the Bobcats, White played 27 games this season for the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association.  He averaged 20.2 points and 8.5 rebounds in 31.9 minutes, while shooting .672 (219-326) from the field and .733 from the free-throw line (96-131).  He scored in double figures 25 times, including 17 games of 20 points or more, and posted eight double-doubles.

Here’s the Sacramento Bee reporting on the Kings, who likely face difficult economic decisions in the near future:

Rudy Gay

It was a bold move that signified the Kings would no longer see “cash considerations” as a primary asset gained through trades.

In December, new Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro, with the blessing of principal owner Vivek Ranadive, acquired three players from Toronto, with the headliner being forward Rudy Gay and the approximately $37 million he could earn over two seasons.

The deal made Isaiah Thomas a starter, and he’s flourished as a scoring point guard. With center DeMarcus Cousins, Thomas and Gay, the Kings have the only trio of players averaging 20 or more points on the same team.

This summer, the Kings will see how much it costs to keep a trio like that together.

Cousins will be entering the first year of a four-year, $62 million contract. Gay has a $19.3 million player option for next season. He could opt out and become a free agent, forcing the Kings to pay a bigger salary to retain him.

Alec Burks back in action for Jazz

Here’s the Salt Lake Tribune reporting on a key member of the Utah Jazz returning to action:

Alec Burks back in action for Jazz

After missing four straight games with a sprained left ankle, Jazz shooting guard Alec Burks was back in the lineup Sunday.

It took a moment to shake the rust off.

The attacking guard was in familiar position, getting back to the line quickly upon checking into the game. But he hit on just one of his first four free-throw attempts. Handling the ball in a first-quarter pick and roll, Burks dribbled right and lost it out of bounds.

“When I was talking to him on the court, he said he felt like he was moving a little too fast,” forward Marvin Williams said. “I told him, when you have time off your timing is the first thing to go. You just have to tell yourself to slow down a little bit. … He slowed down and he got back to the same old Alec.”

Here’s the New York Post reporting on the Knicks, who despite their disappointing win-loss record have a very good shot at qualifying for the playoffs:

Knicks have legit shot at making the playoffs

It’s down to one.

With Atlanta in freefall, the Knicks are lucky to be alive. And so they are very much, closing to one game of the final playoff spot with a 89-84 upset victory in a surprising defensive struggle over the Warriors at Oracle Arena, when they shut down Stephen Curry twice in the final 30 seconds.

The Knicks used rare gritty defense and a 15-0 run late in the second quarter to keep their postseason dreams alive. They had lost 10 of their last 11 games in Oakland before rising to the challenge — and bottling up Curry on the final possession.

“Our defense finally stepped up,’’ coach Mike Woodson said.

The Knicks moved to 2-2 on their five-game West Coast trip. With eight games left, the Knicks finish up the Western trip Monday in Utah. The Hawks face the Sixers.

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on the Nets, who beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 114-99 in Brooklyn on Sunday:

Brooklyn Nets win 13th straight home game

Sunday seemed like just another day at the office, a 13th straight win at the Barclays Center with their victory song, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, pumping in the loudspeakers after the final buzzer.

The win meant the Nets (39-33) clinched a playoff spot if the Knicks lost Sunday night at Golden State.

Still, coach Jason Kidd wasn’t interested in indulging the prospects of clinching a playoff spot, if only because the circumstances involved the New York team that he’s made it a policy of not discussing.

“No matter what the Knicks do, we could care less,” he said.
NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News Pierce (r.), here with Kevin Love in his face, shoots 8 for 11 from the field in leading the Nets to another victory.

The Nets, who’ve won 20 of their last 22 games at home, didn’t gain ground in their race for homecourt advantage in the opening round. Still seeded fifth, they remained 2 ½ games behind No. 3 Toronto – which toppled the Magic – and 1 ½ behind No. 4 Chicago – which edged the Celtics.

Kevin Garnett remains out for Nets

Here’s the New York Post reporting on the Brooklyn Nets and injured veteran Kevin Garnett:

Kevin Garnett remains out for Nets

Kevin Garnett will miss at least a few more days because of his seemingly never-ending bout with back spasms.

The Nets announced before beating the Timberwolves 114-99 in Brooklyn that Garnett, who had previously been ruled out of his 16th straight game, won’t return until either this weekend against either Detroit at home Friday, at Philadelphia on Saturday or in one of the team’s two games in Florida against the Heat and Magic early next week.

But whenever he comes back, — whether it’s one of those four games, sometime after those or not until the playoffs — Nets coach Jason Kidd said Garnett won’t need any practice time when he deems himself ready to go.

“He just needs to put the uniform on [when he’s ready],” Kidd said. “That’s it.

Kevin Durant

The drama was sapped early from Oklahoma City’s blowout win over Utah, except for one detail.

Thunder forward Kevin Durant is nearing Michael Jordan’s mark for consecutive games with at least 25 points.

With the crowd buzzing late in the third quarter, Durant reached the mark for the 38th consecutive time, leaving him two games short of Jordan’s accomplishment, which is the most in the past 50 years.

He finished with 31 points and nine assists to help Oklahoma City defeat the Jazz 116-96 on Sunday afternoon.

Jordan did it for 40 straight games for the Chicago Bulls during the 1986-87 season. Durant is aware of the mark, but the NBA’s leading scorer left worrying about it to the crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

– Associated Press

Pacers keep losing on road, fall to Cavs

David West

Sitting in the last chair on Indiana’s bench, David West stared straight ahead, unable to look at the court.

As the final seconds ticked off the clock on another disheartening loss, West seemed dazed.

The Pacers’ promising season is unraveling

Dion Waiters scored 19 points, Luol Deng added 15 and the Cleveland Cavaliers kept their playoff push going with a 90-76 win Sunday over the skidding Pacers, who are losing their grip on the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Tristan Thompson had 16 rebounds as the Cavs snapped a nine-game losing streak against Indiana. Cleveland came in three games behind slumping, idle Atlanta for the conference’s final playoff spot. With seven games left — six against teams with losing records — the Cavs still have a chance.

The Pacers, meanwhile, are falling apart. They lost their fifth straight road game and now lead Miami by one game for the East’s top record and home-court advantage throughout the postseason.

– Associated Press

Hilton Armstrong

The Golden State Warriors have signed free agent center Hilton Armstrong to a 10-day contract as a Call-Up from the Warriors’ NBA Development League affiliate in Santa Cruz, the team announced today.

Armstrong, 29, has appeared in 32 games (23 starts) with the Santa Cruz Warriors this season, averaging 12.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.75 blocks (seventh-best in the D-League) in 28.2 minutes while hitting 55.9 percent from the field (ninth). The 6-11 center has played in eight games with Golden State over two separate stints (December 11–29/February 22-March 3) this season, averaging 2.3 rebounds in 4.4 minutes.

Originally selected by the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets with the 12th overall pick of the 2006 NBA Draft, Armstrong has played in six NBA seasons with the Hornets (2006-09), Sacramento Kings (2009-10), Houston Rockets (2009-10), Washington Wizards (2010-11), Atlanta Hawks (2010-2011) and Warriors, owning career averages of 3.0 points and 2.6 rebounds in 11.6 minutes over 285 games (39 starts). He has also played professionally with ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne in France, Panathinaikos in Greece and Changsha Bank Guangdong in China.

He will wear uniform #57.

Here’s ESPN Los Angeles reporting on the Clippers, who on Saturday treated Big Baby Glen Davis like a big baby:

Los Angeles Clippers forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis was sent back to the team’s locker room by coach Doc Rivers with 10:21 left in the second quarter and missed the rest of Saturday night’s game for disciplinary issues.

Davis was visibly upset as he walked toward the team bench after being taken out of the game for Ryan Hollins in the 118-107 win over the Houston Rockets.

Davis exchanged words with Rivers and was told to sit down. Clippers assistant coach Alvin Gentry attempted to talk to Davis, but Rivers apparently had seen and heard enough and told team security to escort Davis back to the locker room.

“Nothing went on with me,” Rivers said after the game. “I thought Baby was just too emotional, and for me, if you’re too emotional I always send you back to the locker room and keep you back there until the next game. I love Baby. I just didn’t think emotionally he was ready to play tonight, so we told him to go to the locker room.”

Here’s TMZ reporting:

Derek Anderson shopping movie script about his life

Homeless before his teens, a father at 15 … and a college basketball champ who persevered to play 11 years in the NBA. Sound like a great movie? Derek Anderson hopes some big time Hollywood types think so.

The former Kentucky Wildcat and Portland Trailblazer tells TMZ Sports he’s shopping around an autobiographical screenplay he wrote — and hoping to hook a director like Lee Daniels or Mark Wahlberg.

His story is pretty wild … while injuries hampered him at times in the pros — his game was tight enough that Michael Jordan handpicked DA to rep the Jordan brand.

76ers losing streak ends at 26 losses

Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting on the 76ers, who were on a 26-game losing streak but finally won a game Saturday, beating the Detroit Pistons:

Break up the 76ers.

OK, maybe it’s early for that. But their 26-game, record-tying losing streak came to an end Saturday night. Dominating from start to finish, the Sixers defeated the Detroit Pistons, 123-98, at the Wells Fargo Center.

They improved to 16-57 while winning their first game since besting the Boston Celtics on Jan. 29. It was their first home victory since topping the Charlotte Bobcats on Jan. 15. Since then, they had lost 18 straight at Wells Fargo.

The Sixers downplayed the victory.

“It’s just like another win,” reserve guard Tony Wroten said. “It’s the NBA. You all are talking about the pressure. We weren’t worried about a streak. We were just trying to get better every day.”

Sixers coach Brett Brown said he never mentioned the losing streak to his team.

“I never went into a room and said, ‘We have to get out of the streak,’ ” he said. “We talked about, ‘Let’s bang out great days.’ I’m glad tonight that the win validates that.”

Video: Chris Paul goes wild vs Rockets

Saturday in Houston, the Rockets hosted the Los Angeles Clippers. LA won the game, 118-107. Point guard Chris Paul stepped up with 30 points, 5 rebounds, 12 assists and three steals. Watch some CP3 video highlights:

The Miami Heat were in Milwaukee Saturday to play the Bucks. Before the game, LeBron James met a girl named Ebony Nettles-Bey who loves and plays basketball and is battling cancer:

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel with some analysis:

The NBA should have its own hall of fame.

There is a College Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City, a Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville and a FIBA (international) Hall of Fame in Spain.

But when it comes to NBA inductees, they go into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., along with those who made their marks collegiately, internationally and in the women’s game.

That said, because the Naismith Hall is about more than the NBA, because it also is about college and international play, because it is about using the game for greater good, a week from Monday should be a particularly meaningful day for the Miami Heat.

It should be the day Alonzo Mourning is named to join previously inducted Pat Riley in Springfield, with the Naismith Class of 2014 to be announced in the hours before the NCAA Tournament championship game in Dallas.

Here’s the San Jose Mercury News reporting on the Golden State Warriors:

Warriors veteran big man Jermaine O’Neal called any talk of firing coach Mark Jackson “ridiculous” and “unfair” before offering a vote of confidence unique to his own NBA career.

O’Neal is considering retirement, and if the 35-year-old were to decide to play next season, he said it would be because of Jackson and that the team he would choose would be the Warriors.

“It’s a couple reasons why I will come back,” O’Neal said Saturday. “This fan base, this organization is first class, and obviously my teammates are great, as well.

“But the No. 1 reason that I will come back and play another year is because of Coach Jackson. I’m absolutely, 100 percent positive about that. He makes it easy to come in this gym every day, and there’s not a lot of coaches that do that.”

Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting:

Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic had his list of answers mentally prepared when he returned to action and the starting lineup Friday after six games away injured.

“No, no, let me figure,” he told reporters. “Yes, I will play tonight. No, I don’t know if they limit me to minutes or not. Yes, I still feel pain. What else?”

Pekovic played for the first time since March 16 because of a lingering condition that the team once called bursitis and now just lists as “sore.” He scored a game-high 26 points in 21-plus minutes as the Wolves blew out the Los Angeles Lakers 143-107.

When asked why Friday was the proper night for his return, Pekovic replied: “Why not? I still got some pain there, maybe a little less than before so I said I’ll just try to play until the end of the season.”

Friday night in Phoenix, the Suns hosted the Knicks. During halftime, a fan at the game hit a halfcourt shot to win $77,777. Check out the video:

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