Archive for July 29th, 2014

Mavericks sign Al-Farouq Aminu

Mavericks sign Al-Farouq Aminu

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed free agent forward Al-Farouq Aminu.

Aminu (6-9, 215) was the 8th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. After one season in Los Angeles he was traded, along with Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman and a first round pick, to New Orleans in the deal that landed Chris Paul with the Clippers. He averages 6.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 23.2 minutes in 303 career games (171 starts) with Los Angeles and New Orleans.

In 2013-14, Aminu played in 80 games (65 starts) for the Pelicans and averaged 7.2 points and 6.2 rebounds in 25.6 minutes. The highlight of his season came on Dec. 4 when he registered 16 points and 20 rebounds against the Mavericks in a 100-97 Dallas victory.

Aminu’s parents, Aboubakar and Anjiflic, hail from Nigeria and he competed for the Nigerian National Team in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The Atlanta native was a McDonald’s All-American and one of the nation’s top recruits in 2008. He played collegiately at Wake Forrest where he was named to the All-ACC Freshman Team in 2009. Aminu declared for the NBA Draft after his sophomore season where he averaged 15.8 points and 10.7 rebounds for the Demon Deacons.

Grizzlies hire Ed Stefanski

Grizzlies hire Ed Stefanski

Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace announced today that the team has named Ed Stefanski as executive vice president of player personnel.

“We are pleased to welcome Ed Stefanski to the Grizzlies and the city of Memphis,” Wallace said. “Ed is an established NBA executive and excellent talent evaluator who has had success with multiple organizations. Together, with our ownership, front office and coaching staff, we will continue to work to realize our collective vision of hosting a championship parade down Beale Street.”

Stefanski comes to Memphis following upper management positions with the New Jersey Nets (1999-2007), Philadelphia 76ers (2007-11) and, most recently, Toronto Raptors (2011-13), where he served as executive vice president of basketball operations.

Prior to that, Stefanski spent four seasons as president and general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, where he guided the team back to the playoffs three times after it had not qualified for the postseason in the two seasons before his hiring. Stefanski helped rebuild the 76ers by re-signing key players such as Andre Iguodala and using mid-first round draft picks on young talent such as Marreese Speights (16th overall in 2008), Jrue Holiday (17th in 2009) and Nikola Vucevic (16th in 2011).

Before joining Philadelphia, Stefanski spent nine seasons with the Nets where he oversaw the team’s basketball operations and was heavily involved in player personnel matters. He was promoted to general manager in 2004 after serving one season as senior vice president of basketball operations and four seasons as director of scouting.

Stefanski was instrumental in helping build the Nets’ back-to-back Eastern Conference championship teams (2002 and 2003). He had a significant part in drafting Kenyon Martin with the first overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft, as well as a draft night deal in which the Nets acquired Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins and Brandon Armstrong from Houston. Martin, Jefferson and Collins would develop into starters for the Nets’ 2002-03 Eastern Conference championship squad.

In 2004, Stefanski played a major role in the trade that moved All-Star and current Grizzlies wing Vince Carter from Toronto to New Jersey in 2004. Carter and Jefferson rank second and third, respectively, in Nets franchise history in points scored.

A 1976 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School of Business), Stefanski played three seasons for Penn, where he was coached by Hall-of-Famer Chuck Daly. He was a member of two Ivy League Champions (1974 and 1975) and helped the Quakers reach the NCAA Tournament in both of those seasons. Stefanski was drafted by Philadelphia in the 10th round of the 1976 NBA Draft.

While in college, Stefanski founded and secured funding for the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s Inner City Basketball League, which provided a structured basketball environment for hundreds of boys and girls living under the Housing Authority. The Housing Authority later celebrated his efforts with a special recognition award, commending his contributions to the youth of Philadelphia.

Stefanksi also enjoyed a 20-year run as a color analyst for Big Five basketball and ESPN’s Atlantic 10 basketball coverage.

Grizzlies keep Chris Wallace as general manager

Memphis Grizzlies Controlling Owner Robert Pera announced today that Chris Wallace has been named General Manager of the Memphis Grizzlies and has signed a multi-year contract extension to remain with the organization. Wallace had acted as interim general manager since May 19, 2014.

“We are very pleased to announce Chris Wallace as our general manager,” Pera said. “Chris has been at the forefront and a stable presence throughout some of the Grizzlies’ greatest successes. His strong bonds and experience, not only within the organization and NBA but also within the Memphis and Mid-South communities, make him the ideal fit to lead our basketball operations. We believe Chris’ skills and expertise to be vital in our continued success of our franchise.”

Wallace joined the Grizzlies as general manager and vice president of basketball operations on June 18, 2007 and assembled much of the talent that has helped guide the franchise to a club-record four consecutive playoff appearances. Notably, Wallace drafted the franchise career leader in assists, steals and games played Mike Conley, he acquired two-time NBA All-Star (2009, 2012) Zach Randolph and 2012-13 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol through trades and signed three-time NBA All-Defense member (2010-13) Tony Allen in free agency.

Through Wallace’s acquisitions, the Grizzlies have experienced unprecedented success, earning their first seven postseason wins and first postseason series victory against the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in 2011, hosting a postseason series for the first time in 2012, and setting a club record for wins (56) and advancing to the Western Conference Finals in 2013.

As interim general manager this offseason, Wallace helped sign former All-Star Vince Carter in free agency and acquired rookies Jordan Adams and Jarnell Stokes in the 2014 NBA Draft.

“I am honored to remain in Memphis. I love the city and the community,” Wallace said. “Robert Pera is strongly committed to the success of the Grizzlies, and I am excited to continue working in tandem with Robert, our front office and our coaching staff in helping realize his vision for the franchise.”

Wallace has served seven NBA franchises in his career and has worked with five former NBA Executive of the Year winners, including Red Auerbach, Danny Ainge, Bucky Buckwalter, Geoff Petrie and Jerry West. In addition, he has worked alongside Basketball Hall of Fame members Billy Cunningham and Pat Riley.

Prior to joining the Grizzlies, Wallace spent 10 seasons as general manager of the Boston Celtics (1997-2007) and four seasons as a scout with the Miami Heat (1993-97), where he was promoted to director of player personnel in his final season. Wallace worked in various scouting capacities for the New York Knicks (1991-92), Los Angeles Clippers (1990-91), Denver Nuggets (1989-90) and Portland Trail Blazers (1986-89).

An avid basketball fan before being hired into the NBA, Wallace founded the award-winning Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook in 1981. He was named by Sports Illustrated as one of the most influential members of the college basketball media in 1991. He is a member of the Board of Directors at the Touchdown Club of Memphis.

Mavericks sign Ivan Johnson

Mavericks sign Ivan Johnson

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed free agent forward Ivan Johnson.

Johnson (6-8, 255) started all five games for the Mavericks at the Las Vegas Summer League and averaged 7.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.0 steal and 20.8 minutes per game.

Johnson spent the 2013-14 season playing for the Zhejiang Chouzhou Golden Bulls in China, where he averaged 26.0 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 2.9 steals and 32.8 minutes per game in 24 games.

The 6-8 forward began his professional career in the NBA Development League in 2007-08 with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Anaheim Aresenal.

Johnson was signed by the Atlanta Hawks on Dec. 9, 2011 after impressing the club in a 2011 mini-camp and earning an invite to training camp. He appeared in 56 games for Atlanta in 2011-12 and averaged 6.4 points and 4.0 rebounds in 16.7 minutes per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the field and 72.0 percent from the foul line. Johnson was named NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for April. He ranked third among rookies in field goal percentage.

Johnson re-signed with Atlanta on Sept. 18, 2012. He averaged 6.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 15.0 minutes per game in 69 games (five starts) for the Hawks in 2012-13. Johnson holds career averages of 6.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 15.8 minutes per game in 125 NBA games (five starts).

Johnson finished up his collegiate career at Cal State San Bernardino in 2006-07, where he averaged 15.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game while shooting 57 percent from the field. He earned All-California Collegiate Athletic Association First Team honors as a senior, and was named Second Team All-West Region by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

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