Archive for June, 2015

Draymond Green presumably hopes to stay with Golden State. They certainly hope to keep him. With NBA free agent negotiations kicking off at midnight tonight, here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting:

draymond green

Draymond Green said he would like to remain in Oakland with the only team he has played for in the NBA, but other teams are still showing interest in the forward.

As NBA free agency was set to commence late Tuesday, the Warriors’ power forwards were their focal points.

Golden State’s top priority this summer is to re-sign restricted free agent Draymond Green, and the franchise would also like to offload David Lee and the nearly $15.5 million he’s owed for the 2015-16 season.

Lee has been one of the central figures in the Warriors’ culture change since his 2010 sign-and-trade acquisition — from seeing the team off with baked goods before his elbow surgery that November to picking up most of the tab for a team-wide Las Vegas getaway last weekend.

When he missed the beginning of the 2014-15 season with a strained hamstring and watched Green take a stranglehold on the starting power-forward spot during the team’s 21-2 run, Lee was a true professional in taking a backseat.

Thunder trade Luke Ridnour to Raptors

It’s happened again.

IT’S HAPPENED AGAIN.

Veteran NBA guard Luke Ridnour has been traded yet again.

luke ridnour traded

The Oklahoma City Thunder acquired a trade exception and the rights to forward Tomislav Zubcic from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Ridnour and cash considerations, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

The Thunder will have one year from today to exercise the trade exception.

Mike Miller exercises player option for 2015-16 season

Cleveland Cavaliers guard/forward Mike Miller has exercised his player option for the 2015-16 season, Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.

A 15-year NBA veteran, Miller (6-8, 218) has played in 965 games (568 starts) with averages of 11.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 28.3 minutes per game. He holds career shooting percentages of .460 from the field, .407 from the three-point line and .769 from the free throw line. His 1,563 three-pointers rank 18th all-time in NBA history. This past season, the 35-year-old appeared in 52 games (15 starts) for the Cavaliers and averaged 2.1 points and 1.8 rebounds in 13.5 minutes per game.

Miller has also appeared in 94 postseason contests (21 starts), winning two championships and averaging 4.9 points, including a .394 clip from beyond the arc, and 2.5 rebounds in 16.5 minutes per game.

He wasn’t used much by the team last season, and may have an even smaller role in 2015-16 if the team can improve its bench a bit.

At this point in his career, Miller’s main role is to come off the bench and try to hit some three-pointers while playing limited minutes.

 

Orlando Magic qualifying offer Kyle O’Quinn

The Orlando Magic have extended a qualifying offer to forward/center Kyle O’Quinn, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

By extending a qualifying offer to O’Quinn prior to the June 30 deadline, Orlando owns the right to match any offer sheet he may sign with another team. O’Quinn will become a restricted free agent on July 1.

O’Quinn played in 51 games (17 starts) last season with Orlando, averaging 5.8 ppg., 3.9 rpg. and 1.2 apg. in 16.2 minpg. He led (or tied) the team in rebounding three times and in assists twice. O’Quinn scored in double figures ten times, including a season-high 21 points on Dec. 2 @ Golden State. He pulled down 10+ rebounds three times and recorded three double-doubles.

Originally selected by Orlando in the second round (49th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft, O’Quinn has appeared in 177 career NBA regular season games (41 starts), all with Orlando, averaging 5.4 ppg., 4.4 rpg. and 1.1 apg. in 15.0 minpg., while shooting .501 (406-810) from the floor.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have extended qualifying offers to guard Matthew Dellavedova, guard Iman Shumpert and forward/center Tristan Thompson, Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.

By extending qualifying offers, the Cavaliers will have a right of first refusal for these players should they receive an offer sheet from another team.

Dellavedova played in 67 games (13 starts) in the 2014-15 regular season, averaging 4.8 points, 1.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 20.6 minutes He shot a career-high .407 from the three-point line and .763 from the free throw line. He appeared in all 20 games (seven starts) in the 2015 Playoffs and averaged 7.2 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 24.9 minutes per game.

Shumpert appeared in 62 games (25 starts) for the Cavs and New York Knicks in the 2014-15 regular season. He averaged 8.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals in 24.9 minutes per game. In 38 regular season games (one start) with the Cavs, Shumpert averaged 7.2 points 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.3 steals in 24.2 minutes per game. In the 2015 playoffs, he appeared in all 20 games (16 starts), averaging 9.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.3 steals in 34.8 minutes per game.

Thompson played in all 82 games (15 starts) in the 2014-15 regular season, finishing with averages of 8.5 points on .547 shooting, and 8.0 rebounds in 26.8 minutes per game. For the 2015 playoffs, he played in all 20 games (15 starts), averaging 9.6 points on .558 shooting, and 10.8 rebounds in 36.4 minutes per game.

The Oklahoma City Thunder has named Monty Williams, Maurice Cheeks and Anthony Grant as assistant coaches and Billy Schmidt as quality control coach, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. They join Mark Bryant and Darko Rajakovic as assistants on Head Coach Billy Donovan’s bench, along with shooting coach Adam Harrington and Vin Bhavnani, who will return as manager of advance scouting/player development.

“I’m really excited about the vast experience that this staff will bring to our team,” Donovan said. “The opportunity to bring these coaches together will help us work towards our goal of having a defensive identity, sharing the ball and playing efficiently on both ends. The group delivers an incredible set of individual skills, knowledge and background to the table, and I believe that the impact of their collective efforts will be very beneficial as we continue to build the tradition of the Thunder.”

Williams joins the Thunder after spending five seasons as the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans from 2010-2015. This past year, he guided the Pelicans to their first playoff berth since the 2010-11 season. Prior to his time in New Orleans, he spent five seasons as an assistant coach on the Portland Trail Blazers’ bench and one season as a coaching staff intern with the San Antonio Spurs where he earned a championship ring with the 2005 championship squad. Additionally, Williams serves as an assistant coach with the USA Men’s National Team.

The 24th overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft, Williams averaged 6.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 16.7 minutes in 456 games over nine seasons with New York, San Antonio, Denver, Orlando and Philadelphia.

Cheeks, who spent four seasons on the Thunder bench from 2009-2013, returns to Oklahoma City after serving as the head coach of the Detroit Pistons during the 2013-14 season. Overall, he has amassed a head coaching record of 305-315 (.492) with the Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers (2005-2008) and Portland Trail Blazers (2001-2005). Cheeks was also an assistant coach with the 76ers from 1994-2001.

A 15-year NBA veteran, Cheeks retired from the NBA as its all-time leader in steals after playing with Philadelphia, San Antonio, New York, Atlanta and New Jersey. He helped lead the 76ers to the 1983 NBA Championship and his teams went to the playoffs in 13 of his 15 seasons. The Chicago native was a four-time All-Star and appeared on the NBA’s All-Defensive team five times.

Grant arrives in Oklahoma City after serving as the head coach of the University of Alabama’s men’s basketball program from 2009-2015. In his six seasons in Tuscaloosa, Grant amassed a record of 117-85 (.579) while guiding the Crimson Tide to the 2012 NCAA tournament, their first tournament berth since the 2006 season. Before that, he spent three seasons as the head coach of the Virginia Commonwealth University’s men’s basketball team. During his time at the helm, the Rams went 76-25 (.752) and won three consecutive Colonial Athletic Association Championships.

From 1996-2006, Grant served as an assistant coach under Billy Donovan at the University of Florida. During his 10-year stint in Gainesville, the Gators amassed a record of 226-98 (.698) and reached the NCAA tournament in eight consecutive seasons, capped by their national title in 2006. He has also served as an assistant at Marshall University and Stetson University.

Schmidt comes to the Thunder after spending last season as the assistant to the head coach at the University of Florida under Donovan. Prior to that, Schmidt was an assistant coach at Georgia Tech for three seasons (2011-2014) and spent eight seasons at the University of Dayton (2004-2011). Additionally, he has worked on the men’s basketball staff’s at the University of Michigan, Seton Hall University, Northwestern University and the University of Tennessee.

After graduating with honors from Wake Forest in 1992, Schmidt began his coaching career at Oak Hill Academy, serving as an assistant coach to Steve Smith. During his two year stay at Oak Hill Academy, his teams won back-to-back national championships.

Nets waive Darius Morris

nets waive darius morris

The Brooklyn Nets have requested waivers on guard Darius Morris, Nets General Manager Billy King announced today.

Morris, who was originally signed as a free agent by the Nets on December 11, 2014, appeared in 38 games with Brooklyn during the 2014-15 season, averaging 2.2 points and 1.3 assists in 7.9 minutes per game. The 41st overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, Morris has appeared in 132 career games (17 starts) with Brooklyn, Memphis, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia and the Lakers, posting averages of 3.3 points and 1.4 assists in 11.1 minutes per game.

Luol Deng exercises Heat player option

luol deng

The Miami HEAT announced today that Luol Deng has exercised his player option for the 2015-16 season.

Deng spent last season with Miami appearing in 72 games (all starts) averaging 14.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 33.6 minutes while shooting 46.9 percent from the field, 35.5 percent from three-point range and 76.1 percent from the foul line. He led the HEAT in starts, minutes played and three-point field goals made while finishing second on the team in double-figure scoring efforts, field goals made, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds and total rebounds. He scored in double-figures on 54 occasions, including 12 games with at least 20 points and one 30-point performance and topped Miami in scoring 10 times, in minutes 18 times, in steals on 14 occasions, in rebounds seven times, in blocks six times and in assists in four contests. He posted the first 25-8-8 game of his career after totaling 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a 101-91 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Christmas Day.

Last season, the two-time NBA All-Star scored his 11,000th career point vs. Milwaukee on November 16, recorded his 700th career steal at Memphis on December 7, played in his 700th career game at Brooklyn on December 16 and made his 700th career start vs. Charlotte on April 7. The 11-year NBA veteran has now appeared in 749 career games (703 starts) and averaged 15.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.00 steals and 35.6 minutes while shooting 45.8 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from three-point range and 77.2 percent from the foul line.

Kirk Hinrich exercises player option for Bulls 2015-16 season

The Chicago Bulls announced today that guard Kirk Hinrich has exercised his player option for the 2015-16 season.

A 12-year veteran of the NBA, the 34-year old Hinrich (6-4, 190) has played in 833 (658 starts) regular-season games and averaged 11.4 ppg, 5.0 apg, 3.0 rpg and 1.15 spg in 31.7 mpg. He owns career shooting averages of .412 from the field, .375 from downtown and .799 from the line. Hinrich has also appeared in 65 (46 starts) NBA playoff games where he has posted 11.4 ppg, 4.2 apg, 2.8 rpg, 1.14 spg, 30.5 mpg and shot .430 from the field, .408 from behind the arc and .744 from the stripe.

Paul Pierce to enter free agency

It’s very possible that Paul Pierce is gone from DC

Free agent negotiations begin Wednesday, and the Washington Wizards must deal with possibly losing veteran forward Paul Pierce. Here’s CSN Washington reporting:

Paul Pierce to enter free agency

With the Wizards now knowing for certain that Paul Pierce will opt out of the second year of his contract, they’ll proceed as if he’s not returning and secure a replacement (It may be a longshot but he still could re-sign here and get 120% of last season’s $5.5 million salary).

They don’t have any room under the salary cap so free agents such as DeMarre Carroll or Khris Middleton, blossoming, younger small forwards on the market who are in line for career paydays, are out of the question. The Wizards would have to acquire players of that caliber through a sign-and-trade but don’t have the assets to facilitate such a deal.

They have to make it work with two salary-cap exceptions at their disposal: Mid-level of just more than $5 million (used to sign Pierce) and the bi-annual exception of just more than $2 million (used two seasons ago to sign Eric Maynor).

In regular game situations, Pierce, well past his prime at this point, is replaceable. But as he showed in the playoffs, when clutch shots need to be hit, Pierce is as good as anyone in the league.

Sixers second-rounders hope to prove they belong

Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting on the life of players who have been drafted but must still prove themselves worthy of being kept around:

For Richaun Holmes and Jean-Pierre Tokoto, being second-round selections of the 76ers translates to great opportunities.

That’s because the duo realize they could get meaningful minutes in what will be the franchise’s third consecutive rebuilding season.

Since Sam Hinkie was hired as general manager in May 2013, the Sixers have been focused on player development, evaluating talent and developing a culture. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a lottery pick, second-rounder or undrafted rookie free agent. If you secure a roster spot, you’re mostly going to play.

“I know, personally, I’m thankful for the opportunity the Sixers are giving me to play,” said Tokoto, who was selected 58th out of North Carolina in Thursday night’s draft in Brooklyn. “They’re very big on development. Coming into the league, you know rookies are trying to prove themselves. Coming in as a second-round pick, I have a lot to prove and a lot to work on.

“It’s the perfect situation to be in as far as that’s concerned.”

With free agent negotiations set to begin Wednesday, reports will start to trickle out regarding decisions various teams and players are making. Here’s a big one, from the Racine Journal Times:

brandon knight

Brandon Knight’s ship is about to come in.

Knight, whom the Milwaukee Bucks traded to the Phoenix Suns in February in a multiple-team deal, appears on the brink of signing a lucrative long-term contract to remain with the Suns.

I’ve been told by an NBA official that Knight, who’ll become a restricted free agent on July 1, will sign a five-year, $70 million contract with the Suns.

Knight, who is 23, was enjoying an All-Star caliber season – 17.8 points and 5.4 assists — before the Bucks surprisingly sent him to the Suns.

He then played 11 games for the Suns, averaging 13.4 and 4.5 assists. After suffering an ankle injury March 9, Knight missed 16 of the Suns’ final 17 games. He underwent minor arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle in April.

Here’s a quick video roundup of all 30 picks in the first round of the 2015 NBA draft, which took place Thursday night:

Here’s Euroleague.net with an update on a key veteran in Spain:

Five weeks after he lifted the Turkish Airlines Euroleague trophy as team captain, veteran big man Felipe Reyes and Real Madrid have agreed to a new two-year contract. Reyes (2.04 meters, 35 years old) was named to the All-Euroleague First Team last season after posting 10.7 points and 5.1 rebounds in 19 minutes on average over 30 Euroleague games. He ranked third among all Euroleague players in offensive rebounds, with 2.5 per game, and sixth in per-minute production, prorated to a performance index rating of 27.85 over 40 minutes. Reyes also became the Euroleague’s all-time leader in total rebounds midway through last season. He is Real Madrid’s longest-serving player, with 11 seasons on the club, after having played the first six of his career with another Madrid club, Estudiantes. Reyes also won the 2007 Eurocup title with Real Madrid.

The Orlando Magic have named Adrian Griffin, Monte Mathis, Mario Elie and Conner Henry assistant coaches. In addition, Laron Profit and Jay Hernandez will remain as assistant coaches/player development, completing Scott Skiles’ coaching staff.

Griffin has spent the last five seasons (2010-15) as an assistant coach with Chicago. During the summer of 2014, he worked with the USA Basketball Men’s National Team that captured the gold medal at the FIBA Basketball World Cup. Prior to joining the Bulls, he served as assistant coach/player development for two seasons (2008-10) with Milwaukee under Scott Skiles.

As a player, Griffin appeared in 477 career NBA games (179 starts) during nine seasons with Boston, Dallas, Houston, Chicago and Seattle, averaging 4.0 ppg., 3.2 rpg. and 1.4 apg. in 16.8 minpg. He also played in 48 career playoff outings, averaging 3.4 ppg. and 3.0 rpg. in 13.2 minpg. and helped Dallas reach the 2006 NBA Finals. Griffin also played one season in Italy and three seasons with Connecticut of the CBA. In 1998-99, he was named CBA Most Valuable Player and also earned CBA Finals MVP, leading Connecticut to the championship.

Born on July 4, 1974 and a native of Wichita, Kansas, Griffin was a three-year starter at Seton Hall University. He and his wife, Audrey, have two daughters, Vanessa and Aubrey, and two sons, Alan and Adrian, Jr.

Mathis has spent the previous five seasons (2010-15) as an assistant coach with Dallas and the last four seasons as the Mavericks’ defensive coordinator, after spending one season as player development coach. As defensive coordinator, his responsibilities included preparing defensive game plans and coordinating scouting reports on upcoming opponents. Prior to that, Mathis served as head video coordinator/scout with Dallas for the previous four seasons (2006-10). He also had served as Dallas’ summer league head coach since 2009.

Prior to joining the Mavericks, Mathis spent 11 years coaching in the collegiate ranks. He came to Dallas after serving as an assistant coach at Xavier (Ohio) University. Before that, Mathis spent four seasons as an assistant coach with Ohio State University (2000-04), helping them win the Big Ten title in 2002. Prior to joining the Buckeyes, Mathis was an assistant coach for four seasons at the University of Toledo. During his tenure, he helped the Rockets to their first postseason appearance in 20 years. He also served as an assistant coach at the University of South Alabama (1995-96) and as a graduate assistant at McNeese State (1994-95). Mathis began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Woodward High School in Cincinnati.

Mathis played for Larry Brown at the University of Kansas before transferring to Toledo, where he was a two-year letter winner in baseball and basketball. After graduating from Toledo in 1991 with a bachelor of arts degree in communications, Mathis played and coached in the Atlanta Braves and Chicago White Sox farm systems for three years. His father, Mike Mathis, was an NBA referee for 25 years, while his brothers, Mick, Marty and Brian, all played college football, with Brian making it to the NFL for four seasons. Born on June 2, 1967 and a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, he and his wife, Ayrica, have a daughter, Ava (9) and a son, Mason (6).

Elie has spent nine seasons as an assistant coach in the NBA, most recently with Brooklyn for two seasons (2011-13). Before joining the Nets, he spent two seasons as an assistant coach with Sacramento (2009-11). Elie also served as an assistant coach with Dallas (2007-09), Golden State (2004-06) and San Antonio (2003-04).

Originally selected in the seventh round (160th overall) of the 1985 NBA Draft by Milwaukee, Elie played professionally in Portugal, Argentina, Ireland, the USBL, the WBL and the CBA, before making his NBA debut with Philadelphia in December 1990. After finally breaking through, he enjoyed a successful 11-year career in the NBA. Elie played in 732 career regular season NBA games (395 starts) with Philadelphia, Golden State, Portland, Houston, San Antonio and Phoenix, averaging 8.6 ppg., 2.8 rpg. and 2.6 apg. in 25.5 minpg., while shooting .365 (574-1,572) from three-point range. He also appeared in 116 career playoff outings (57 starts), averaging 8.5 ppg., 2.9 rpg. and 2.3 apg. in 26.3 minpg., while shooting .367 (90-245) from three-point range.

Elie won three NBA Championships during his career, two with Houston (1993-94, 1994-95) and one with San Antonio (1998-99). During Game #7 of the 1995 Western Conference Semifinals at Phoenix, he hit a memorable, go-ahead three-pointer with 7.1 seconds left, helping the Rockets overcome a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Suns. Elie started all four games of the 1995 NBA Finals against Orlando, averaging 16.3 ppg., 4.3 rpg., 3.3 apg. and 2.00 stlpg. in 40.3 minpg. In 1998, he was named to the Rockets “30-Year Team” as one of the top ten players in club history.

Born on November 26, 1963 and a native of New York City, Elie played collegiately at American International College, a Division II school located in Springfield, Massachusetts. He earned a degree in human relations, speaks Spanish, Portuguese and French. Elie also worked as a pre- and postgame host for the Rockets’ FOX Sports Net telecasts during the 1996-97 campaign. He and his wife, Gina Gaston, are the parents of triplets – sons Gaston and Glenn, and daughter Lauren. Gina is the lead news anchor for KTRK-TV in Houston and has also worked as a national correspondent for MSNBC.

Henry spent the last two seasons (2013-15) as head coach of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League, compiling a regular season record of 62-38 (.620). During his first year with the Mad Ants (2013-14), he guided them to a league-best 34-16 regular season record and was named the Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year. Fort Wayne would proceed to sweep through the postseason and capture the 2013-14 NBA D-League Championship. Last season (2014-15), the Mad Ants returned to the D-League Finals, but fell to Santa Cruz.

Prior to joining Fort Wayne, Henry served as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA Development League for two seasons (2011-13). He spent four years in the Australian Basketball League, serving as an assistant coach for the Perth Wildcats (2006-08), before becoming head coach in 2008-09. Henry then joined the Sydney Kings in 2010-11 as an assistant coach.

Originally selected in the fourth round (89th overall) of the 1986 NBA Draft by Houston, Henry played in 93 career regular season NBA games with Houston, Boston, Milwaukee and Sacramento, averaging 3.3 ppg. and 1.1 apg. in 8.1 minpg. He went on to play with Rapid City and Yakima of the CBA, where he enjoyed tremendous success. Henry was voted the CBA Player of the Year and CBA All-Star Game MVP in 1990. He was named CBA All-Star Game MVP for a second time in 1992. Henry also played professionally in Italy, Spain, France and Greece.

Born on July 21, 1963 and a native of Claremont, California, Henry played collegiately at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he scored 1,236 during his four-year career.

The Dallas Mavericks announced that they have selected center Satnam Singh with the 52nd overall selection of the 2015 NBA Draft.

Singh (7-2, 290) last played for IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), where he averaged 9.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game during the 2014-15 season.

A native of Chawke, India, Singh has represented the India national basketball team at the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship and the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship.

The Toronto Raptors selected University of Utah guard Delon Wright with the 20th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. The club also acquired a protected future first-round draft choice (originally belonging to the Los Angeles Clippers) and the draft rights to the 46th overall selection, UCLA guard Norman Powell, from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for guard Greivis Vasquez.

Wright, 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, was named the 2015 recipient of the Bob Cousy Award for the nation’s top point guard. A first-team All-Pac-12 and All-Pac-12 Defensive Team selection, Wright averaged 14.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.1 steals in 35 games last season. As a junior, he contributed 15.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.5 steals in 33 contests earning first-team All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 All-Defensive Team honours.

Wright is the brother of Portland Trail Blazers forward Dorell Wright.

According to Raptors.com, “we’re excited to get him,” Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said. “He’s one of the guys that has tremendous upside as a point guard in the NBA. [He] reminds me a lot of Nate McMillan, as far as big and long point guard we had in Seattle. [He] can defend multiple positions so he really fits well in what we’re trying to do. It goes right into the plan with our young group to grow.” “He’s grown up around the NBA,” Casey said. “He’s been to numerous NBA games, worked out with NBA players. He’s not going to come in shellshocked to go against guys in practice.”

Powell, 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, averaged 16.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 36 games in 2014-15. He was named first-team All-Pac-12 and an Honourable Mention selection on the All-Pac-12 Defensive Team.

Vasquez averaged 9.5 points, 3.7 assists and 23.1 minutes in 143 games (34 starts) with the Raptors. He was acquired from Sacramento on December 9, 2013 and re-signed July 17, 2014.

The German Basketball Federation announced today that Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen will join the coaching staff of the German men’s national team this summer. He will join Head Coach Chris Fleming during the preparation heading into the European Championship, also known as EuroBasket 2015, from Sept. 5 – 20. The preliminary round featuring Germany, Spain, Serbia, Turkey, Italy and Iceland will be played in Berlin, Germany. The best four teams will advance to the final round in Lille, France.

“Alex is a big asset for our national team,” said Head Coach Fleming. “He has proven at multiple places to be a coach who can develop young players. The dynamic improved performance of Rudy Gobert at the Jazz has a lot to do with the excellent work of Alex. He played for several years in Europe and is very well versed in international basketball.”

Jensen is entering his third season as a member of the Jazz coaching staff. Before joining the Jazz, Jensen spent two seasons (57-43, .557) as the first-ever head coach of the Canton Charge of the D-League from 2011-13, advancing the Cleveland Cavaliers-owned team to the playoffs in both seasons. He was named the 2013 Dennis Johnson NBA D-League Coach of the Year after leading the Charge to a franchise-best 30 victories and an East Division title. Jensen then coached the D-League Select Team in the 2013 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, leading his squad to a 4-1 record against NBA team entries and advancing them to the quarterfinals of the inaugural summer league tournament. Jensen began his coaching career as an assistant under Rick Majerus at Saint Louis University from 2007-11.

A native of Bountiful, Utah, Jensen attended Viewmont High School there, leading the Vikings to a state basketball title as a junior and was named Utah’s Mr. Basketball in 1994. Jensen played four seasons at the University of Utah (1994-95, 1997-00) under Majerus and helped the Utes to the NCAA Championship game in 1998. Following his collegiate career, Jensen played seven professional seasons in Turkey and one season with the Yakima Sun Kings of the CBA. While playing in Europe, Jensen was named All-FIBA Europe Cup Defender of the Year in 2004, along with being named to the All-FIBA Europe Cup First Team.

Nets trade Mason Plumlee to Trail Blazers for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Steve Blake

The Brooklyn Nets acquired the draft rights to forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and guard Steve Blake from the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for center Mason Plumlee and the draft rights to guard/forward Pat Connaughton, Nets GM Billy King announced Thursday.

“We are very excited to add Rondae to our roster,” said King. “He is the type of athletic wing we were looking for, and we felt he was the best defensive player in the draft.”

“I also wanted to thank Mason for his time with the Nets and wish him the best with his new team. Mason worked extremely hard from the first time he stepped on the court in training camp last year, and I am sure he will have a long and successful career.”

Hollis-Jefferson (6’8”, 220) was selected with the 23rd pick in tonight’s draft by the Trail Blazers before being dealt to the Nets. He played two seasons at Arizona and helped lead the Wildcats to two Elite Eight appearances and a 66-9 regular season record. As a freshman, Hollis-Jefferson averaged 9.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 blocks in 25.3 minutes per game in 38 games (six starts) en route to Pac 12 All-Freshman Team honors. In his second and final season at Arizona, Hollis-Jefferson posted averages of 11.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.8 blocks in 28.7 minutes per game in 38 games (25 starts). He was named to the All-Pac 12 First Team and garnered Pac-12 All-Defensive Team honors.

Blake (6’3”, 172) is a 12-year veteran who has appeared in 812 career games (345 starts) with Washington, Portland, Milwaukee, Denver, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State. He holds career averages of 6.7 points and 4.0 assists. Last season in Portland, Blake recorded averages of 4.3 points and 3.6 assists in 18.9 minutes per game in 81 games off the Trail Blazers’ bench.

Plumlee was originally drafted by the Nets with the 22nd pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. In 152 games (67 starts), he posted averages of 8.1 points and 5.4 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game. Plumlee earned All-Rookie First Team honors in 2014.

Magic draft Mario Hezonja 5th overall

The Orlando Magic selected guard/forward Mario Hezonja (HEH-zone-yuh) in the first round (fifth overall) of NBA Draft 2015.

Hezonja (6’8”, 218, 2/25/95) has spent the last two seasons playing in the Spanish ACB league with FC Barcelona. Last season (2014-15), he appeared in 31 regular season games, averaging 4.7 ppg., 1.9 rpg. and 1.3 apg. in 14.7 minpg., while shooting .392 (29-74) from three-point range. Hezonja also played in 22 Euroleague contests, averaging 7.7 ppg. and 2.0 rpg. in 16.5 minpg., while shooting .382 (29-76) from three-point range.

Before joining FC Barcelona in 2012-13, Hezonja spent four seasons playing in Croatia. He was a member of the Croatian Senior National Team that participated in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. While with the Junior Team, Hezonja helped Croatia win the gold medal at the 2012 U17 Worlds and bronze at both the 2011 U16 Euros and 2011 U19 Worlds. He was named MVP at the 2011 U16 Euros, averaging 20.0 ppg. and 8.2 rpg.

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