Archive for March 1st, 2014

Jimmer Fredette likely joining Bulls

The Chicago Bulls and former BYU sensation Jimmer Fredette have tentatively agreed to a contract after he parted with the Sacramento Kings earlier in the week, a person familiar with the situation said Saturday.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced.

The sharp-shooting guard was bought out by the Kings on Thursday and cleared waivers on Saturday. Now, he’s getting a second chance with the Bulls.

Fredette is averaging just 5.9 points and 11.3 minutes in his third season. But the Bulls are hoping “Jimmermania” will take off in Chicago after staying grounded with the Kings - or that he will at least give them the outside touch they were seeking.

– Associated Press

Fredette, 25, is regarded as a high character person and good teammate, unassuming though confident and someone who should be able to fit in with a welcoming and unselfish Bulls group. His ability to stretch the floor and open the court, theoretically, should be helpful. The larger question would be how long he could play given the defensive questions and whether his playing would inhibit the development of rookie Tony Snell, who has been improving with regular playing time recently.

Those questions will surface as Fredette works his way in with the team, though this late in the season the Bulls rarely scrimmage. So it would be a slower process than earlier in the season, though that is similar for all the buyout players joining teams late, like Glen Davis, Caron Butler and Danny Granger.

Fredette because of his shooting seem as good a fit as any for the Bulls needs.

– Bulls.com Blog

Here’s New York Newsday reporting on Carmelo Anthony and his 21-38 Knicks squad:

Is the nightly toll of being the Knicks’ only consistent scoring option finally affecting Carmelo Anthony physically?

After taking several hits to his shooting hand in the loss to Golden State on Friday night, Anthony said he didn’t know the extent of the injury. It wasn’t what any Knicks fan wanted to hear. All Anthony knew at that point was how his right hand felt, which was “very sore.”

On Saturday, however, the Knicks breathed easier, calling it a bruise and saying he is expected to play Sunday afternoon in Chicago.

That represented the best possible news for the team and Anthony, who is averaging 28.2 points, 3.0 assists and a career-high 8.7 rebounds per game. He is averaging 36.2 points in his last six games, five of which were losses.

George Hill out with recurring shoulder injury

Indiana Pacers point guard George Hill (bruised left shoulder) missed his fourth game of the season on Saturday night.

Hill was injured with less than 2 minutes remaining in the Pacers’ win over Milwaukee on Thursday night. Hill said that an MRI revealed “previous stuff,” referencing the sprained left shoulder injury from the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season that sidelined him for two games.

“Messing with ‘Psycho T’ (former teammate Tyler Hansbrough) in practice,” Hill said Saturday, recalling that original injury. “Got tangled up with him. I hurt it pretty bad … so I think it’s just a recurred injury that just opened back up just a little bit.”

– Indianapolis Star

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is not a fan of the NCAA and the rule that requires players to be one year removed from high school and at least 19 years old before entering the NBA.

Cuban thinks the NBA Development League is preferable to a year in college, saying the one-and-done players are not prepared mentally and emotionally for the NBA.

“I think what will end up happening — and this is my opinion, not that of the league — is if the colleges don’t change from the one-and-done, we’ll go after the one,” Cuban said, according to ESPNDallas.com. “The NCAA rules are so hypocritical, there’s absolutely no reason for a kid to go (to college) because he’s not going to class.

“He’s actually not even able to take advantage of all the fun because the first semester he starts playing basketball. So if the goal is just to graduate to the NBA or be an NBA player, go to the D-League.”

– Sports Xchange

No more black mask for LeBron James

LeBron James will comply with the NBA’s request to ditch his black mask for a clearer version to protect his broken nose for the Miami Heat’s game Saturday against the Orlando Magic.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Saturday morning that the team has been in contact with the NBA and that James will select from a variety of league-approved masks to wear for the next several weeks. Spoelstra would not indicate the specific style or color of the new masks James will consider.

“We’ve had numerous ones made, so he will have his pick and will choose one that is authorized also by the league,” Spoelstra told ESPN.com after the Heat’s shootaround. “We did talk to the league (Friday). So stay tuned for what mask you’ll see tonight.”

James had worn a black carbon-fiber mask during Thursday’s win against the New York Knicks, and the design quickly drew comparisons on social media to masks worn by superhero characters from Batman to dramatic villains such as Hannibal Lecter.

– ESPN Miami

Thunder sign Caron Butler

The rich get richer once again.

The Oklahoma City Thunder, already loaded with talent, have signed forward Caron Butler to a contract, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. A team that really didn’t need any additional help now has an even stronger bench.

Butler (6-7, 217), a two-time NBA All-Star, has appeared in 764 career regular season games (710 starts) and recorded averages of 15.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.42 steals in 33.9 minutes per game during his 12-year NBA career.

“We are pleased to welcome Caron Butler to the Thunder organization and to Oklahoma City,” said Presti. “Caron represents what we look for in a Thunder player and will positively impact our team. His toughness, hard-nosed defense, resiliency and highly regarded professionalism will only enhance our depth and bring additional versatility to the roster.”

This move has been expected for days, but became official this evening.

The 10th overall selection in the 2002 NBA Draft, he has appeared in 47 career postseason games (all starts) and posted averages of 13.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.45 steals in 34.6 minutes per game.

The Thunder roster now stands at 14.

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have reassigned Jae Crowder and Shane Larkin to the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League.

Crowder (6-6, 235) and Larkin (5-11, 176) were both a part of Thursday night’s Legends’ victory. Crowder finished with 23 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists to record the Legends’ first triple-double of the season. Larkin chipped in 9 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds.

Both Mavericks will join the Legends and be available for tonight’s game when they take on the Los Angeles D-Fenders at 7:00 pm CT at the Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco.

Stephen Curry gets triple-double

Stephen Curry’s last Madison Square Garden performance was breathtaking, the most dazzling display of outside shooting ever at the famed arena.

It resulted in a loss, so Curry tried a different tactic Friday night — and ended up making more MSG history.

Curry had 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in three quarters, Klay Thompson added 25 points, and the Golden State Warriors sent the frustrated New York Knicks to a fifth straight loss with a 126-103 victory.

Returning to the site of his sensational shooting performance of a year ago, when he scored a career-high 54 points on 11-of-13 shooting from 3-point range, Curry showed off his entire skill set in this one.

– Associated Press

Goran Dragic scores 40

Goran Dragic almost didn’t play Friday night.

On a bad ankle, with his Phoenix team needing to end a three-game skid, he decided to give it a try.

The result was a career-high 40-point performance in 42 minutes, leading the Suns past the New Orleans Pelicans 116-104.

“I think everybody knows about Goran Dragic now,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said, “or they should.”

A game-time decision because of a sore right ankle that had kept him out of Wednesday’s loss at Utah, Dragic played all but the last 10 seconds of the second half in the first 40-point game for a Phoenix player since Amar’e Stoudemire’s 44 on March 19, 2010.

– Associated Press

Kevin Garnett not playing Saturday

Brooklyn Nets center Kevin Garnett will not play Saturday night against the Milwaukee Bucks due to back spasms.

Mason Plumlee will start in Garnett’s place.

Garnett, 37, has appeared in 49 of the team’s first 56 games, though he’s missed just one game due to injury, resting the other six.

– ESPN New York

The Philadelphia 76ers today announced that they have signed forward Jarvis Varnado to a 10-day contract. He is the 26th “Call-Up” of the 2013-14 NBA Development League season.

Varnado was originally the 41st overall pick by Miami in the 2010 NBA Draft. He began his professional career overseas and joined Boston briefly during the 2012-13 season before eventually signing with the Heat during its championship run.

This season, Varnado was named a D-League All-Star for the Iowa Energy and is averaging 14.1 points along with a league-high 4.7 blocks while also ranking second in rebounding with 11.0 rpg. He signed a 10-day contract with Chicago on February 18, 2014 and appeared in one game.

Varnado played collegiately at Mississippi State and joined David Robinson as the only players in NCAA history to record at least 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 blocks. He finished his career as the NCAA’s all-time leading shot blocker with 564.

The Phoenix Suns have signed forward Shavlik Randolph for the remainder of the season and waived center Slava Kravtsov, the team announced today.

The 6-10, 240-pound Randolph is a six-year NBA veteran who has appeared in 111 career games (seven starts) with Philadelphia, Portland, Miami and Boston. Randolph, who competed collegiately at Duke, played with Philadelphia for three seasons from 2005-08, with Portland in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons and with Miami in 2009-10, as well. Most recently in the NBA, Randolph appeared in 16 games for Boston last season, in addition to seeing action in one playoff contest. Earlier this season, Randolph spent time with the Foshan Long Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association. Between his NBA appearances with the Heat and the Celtics, Randolph played professionally in China and Puerto Rico.

He will be available for tomorrow night’s game vs. Atlanta.

Kravtsov, in his second NBA season, appeared in 20 games for the Suns this season, averaging 1.0 points and 0.9 rebounds in 3.0 minutes.

The Suns continue a four-game home stand on Sunday night as they host the Hawks with tip-off scheduled for 6:00 p.m. (Phoenix time). The game will be televised on FOX Sports Arizona, and carried on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

The Suns’ roster still stands at 15.

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