Archive for September, 2015

Blazers exercise options on CJ McCollom, Mason Plumlee, Noah Vonleh

The Portland Trail Blazers have exercised team options on guard CJ McCollum (fourth year), center Mason Plumlee (fourth year) and forward Noah Vonleh (third year), it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey.

McCollum, the 10th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, holds averages of 6.3 points, 1.4 rebounds, 0.9 assists and 14.5 minutes in 100 career games in his first two seasons with Portland.

Plumlee, the 22nd overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft by Brooklyn, has averaged 8.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.77 blocks and 19.9 minutes in 152 games during his first two NBA seasons. Portland acquired Plumlee and the draft rights to guard Pat Connaughton from Brooklyn for guard Steve Blake and the draft rights to forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

Vonleh, the ninth overall pick by Charlotte in the 2014 NBA Draft, appeared in 25 games for the Hornets during his rookie season, averaging 3.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 0.2 assists in 10.4 minutes. Portland acquired Vonleh and guard Gerald Henderson from Charlotte in exchange for forward Nicolas Batum.

Raptors exercise options on Bruno Caboclo and Lucas Nogueira

The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday they have exercised the third-year team options on the Rookie Scale Contracts of forward Bruno Caboclo and center Lucas Nogueira. The contracts for Caboclo and Nogueira are now guaranteed through the 2016-17 season. In accordance with the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Raptors had until October 31 to exercise their option on both players. Per team policy, financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Caboclo, 6-foot-9, 218 pounds, was selected by Toronto with the 20th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. The native of Brazil split last season between the Raptors and Fort Wayne in the NBA D-League. He averaged 1.3 points, 0.3 rebounds and 2.9 minutes in eight outings with Toronto and 3.4 points, 1.9 rebounds and 8.9 minutes in seven games with Fort Wayne.

Nogueira, 7-foot, 241 pounds was acquired from Atlanta on June 30, 2014. He saw action with the Raptors and Fort Wayne in the NBA D-League last season. He averaged 1.0 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.5 minutes in six outings with Toronto and 8.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 20.0 minutes in four contests with Fort Wayne.

The native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was taken 16th overall by Boston in the 2013 Draft. He played three seasons in Spain before joining the Raptors.

Derrick Rose suffers injury to face

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose is injured again.

According to the Bulls, Rose was struck in the face by an elbow during today’s practice. He was taken by the Bulls medical staff to Rush University Medical Center for testing and evaluation which determined he sustained a left orbital fracture. After consultation with several specialists, it has been determined that he will require a surgical procedure, which will take place tomorrow at Rush. After the procedure, a timetable for return to play will be determined.

SEPTEMBER 30 UPDATE: Derrick Rose’s procedure went as expected today. At this time it is estimated he will be able to resume basketball activities in two weeks. The Bulls guard sustained a left orbital fracture in practice yesterday morning.

Spurs fill training camp roster

Spurs fill training camp roster

The San Antonio Spurs yesterday announced their 2015-16 training camp roster.

The Spurs current roster stands at 20 players, and includes the additions of forwards Rasual Butler and Deshaun Thomas, guard Keifer Sykes and center Youssou Ndoye.

Butler (6-7, 205), a 12-year NBA veteran, spent last season with the Washington Wizards. He appeared in 75 games, averaging 7.7 points and 2.6 rebounds in 20.1 minutes. Originally selected by Miami with the 52nd overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, Butler has played for the Indiana Pacers (2013-14), Toronto Raptors (2011-12), Chicago Bulls (2010-11), New Orleans Hornets (2005-09) and Heat (2002-05).

Thomas (6-7, 215) was drafted by the Spurs with the 58th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. He spent last season overseas playing for FC Barcelona in the Spanish Liga ACB and Euroleague. The former Ohio State Buckeye averaged 8.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in 20.4 minutes in 43 Liga games. In Euroleague action he averaged 7.1 points and 2.5 rebounds in 19.0 minutes in 28 games.

Sykes (6-0, 180) joins the Spurs after a standout career at Wisconsin-Green Bay. He was named the Horizon League Player of the Year as a junior and senior (2014 and 2015) and earned All-Horizon League First Team honors in three consecutive seasons (2013-15). As a senior Sykes averaged 18.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists. Sykes participated in the 2015 NBA Las Vegas Summer League with the Cleveland Cavaliers, averaging 9.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 18.4 minutes over five games.

Ndoye (7-0, 250) recently wrapped up his collegiate career at St. Bonaventure where he was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team and garnered Atlantic 10 All-Conference Third Team honors. He was just one of two Atlantic 10 players to average a double-double, registering 11.8 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.60 blocks in his final season with the Bonnies. Ndoye was a member of the Spurs 2015 NBA Las Vegas Summer League team, averaging 3.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in 9.4 minutes in six games.

Thunder add Michael Qualls to training camp roster

The Oklahoma City Thunder signed guard Michael Qualls, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. It’s likely a non-guaranteed deal that merely brings Qualls to training camp.

Qualls (6-6, 205), joins the Thunder after a three-year collegiate career at the University of Arkansas where he appeared in 100 games (56 starts) and averaged 11.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 23.8 minutes per game. This past season, Qualls received Second-Team All SEC honors after averaging 15.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game during his junior year.

The Oklahoma City Thunder roster now stands at 19.

Pistons hosting free open practice October 3

The Detroit Pistons will host an open practice at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Saturday, October 3 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., giving fans their first look at the 2015-16 Detroit Pistons team. Admission is free and guests can enter the arena through the Dodge Atrium located at the west entrance beginning at 10:00 a.m.

The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a free fountain Sprite and first 1,000 fans will take home a Detroit Basketball t-shirt, courtesy of Sprite.

The annual open practice will be the first opportunity for Detroit fans to watch newcomers Ersan Ilyasova, Marcus Morris, first-round selection Stanley Johnson, Aron Baynes and Steve Blake in action on the court while welcoming back Andre Drummond, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Reggie Jackson and the rest of the Pistons team. Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy will lead the practice and scrimmage beginning at 11:00 a.m.

“We are excited to host the annual open practice and give our fans the opportunity to see the new faces on this year’s roster,” said Stan Van Gundy, Pistons President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach. “Our players and coaching staff look forward to interacting with our fans, giving some insight into how we’ll play this season and providing a fun event.

Hawks sign Arsalan Kazemi

Hawks sign Arsalan Kazemi

The Atlanta Hawks have signed forward Arsalan Kazemi (are-suh-lahn kah-ZEE-me) to a contract, it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations/Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. It’s presumably a non-guaranteed deal just for training camp.

Kazemi became the first Iranian national to be drafted by an NBA franchise when he was selected in the second round (54th overall) of the 2013 NBA Draft by Washington (his draft rights were subsequently traded to Philadelphia).

A 6-7 forward, Kazemi played his first three seasons of college basketball at Rice (2009-12) before transferring to Oregon for his senior year (2012-13) and helping the Ducks to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament. He played in 130 career games as a collegian recording 11.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.5 in assists in 29.0 minutes (.559 FG%, .678 FT%), including averaging a double-double during his sophomore (15.2 points/11.0 rebounds) and junior seasons (12.1 points/10.3 rebounds).

In 2013 he returned to his home country to play for Petrochimi Bandar Imam in the Iran Super League before signing with the Chongqing Soaring Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association last season.

Kazemi was called up to the Iranian National Senior Team in 2010 after previously playing for the country’s under-19 and under-18 teams.

He will wear No. 5.

Iman Shumpert suffers wrist injury

Iman Shumpert suffers wrist injury

Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert recently suffered a ruptured Extensor Carpi Ulnaris sheath in his right wrist. The extent of the injury was confirmed by MRI at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health yesterday by Dr. Thomas Graham and Dr. Richard Parker. Shumpert will have surgery to repair his wrist Wednesday at Cleveland Clinic. His return to play is currently projected to be 12 to 14 weeks.

In the 2014-15 NBA season, guard Reggie Jackson played 50 games for the OKC Thunder and did pretty well, but in the 27 games he played after becoming a Detroit Piston he averaged 17.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 9.2 assists per game. Big numbers. And now with a big contract, expectations are very high. Here’s Michigan Live reporting:

In Detroit, big expectations for Reggie Jackson

Expectations, as you might imagine, are high right now for Reggie Jackson.

The point guard landed in Detroit midway through last season, excelled in a starting role and was rewarded soon after with a guaranteed five-year, $80 million contract.

That means all eyes will be on Jackson as training camp kicks off today for the Pistons, a franchise that has missed the postseason the last six seasons.

Pressure?

“Always,” the 25-year-old said Monday during Pistons media day at The Palace. “I’ve got to live up to trying to win a championship. Money is money. I worked just as hard when people said I didn’t have as much, and I’m going to work just as hard after.”

Jackson said he approaches the start of every NBA this season the same way, with one goal in mind: winning a championship. At one point during his time with reporters, he made reference to a photo of Isiah Thomas hanging on the wall in the media room and cited the former Pistons point guard’s two NBA titles.

The Lakers transitional period continues

The game has changed in Los Angeles these days. Perhaps it’s temporary. But in recent seasons, including this upcoming one, the Clippers are the big contender while the Lakers are in transition and far closer to the bottom of the Western conference than the top. For Laker fans, it’s an adjustment. Here’s the Orange County Register with more:

The rules of being a Lakers fan used to be so easy. You would watch as wins accumulated, cheer for superstars and, if the season didn’t result in an NBA championship, find comfort in the knowledge they would be in the hunt next year.

But supporting the Lakers has become a more nuanced affair the past three years, as Kobe Bryant’s career has slowly, but certainly, neared its end. For example, it was fair to wonder last season whether it was better for the Lakers to win, or enhance their lottery hopes by losing.

The last superstar has scarcely been on the court. So maybe you’ve had to learn what else is on TV on Sunday nights, a window previously reserved only for the 16-time champions.

The biggest change now is that supporting the Lakers requires patience, a virtue that will become even tougher this week when Bryant takes the floor for his 20th, and perhaps final, Lakers training camp.

Pistons, Andre Drummond must work out an extension

Here’s Michigan Live reporting on Pistons center Andre Drummond, whose big potential is a key part of the team’s future, assuming the two sides don’t get a massive amount of money get in the way of that:

Pistons, Andre Drummond must work out an extension

It’s the lingering business element and will be resolved, one way or another, by an Oct. 31 deadline. Andre Drummond is entering the final year of his rookie contract and the Pistons have just more than a month to sign him to an extension in the five-year, $120 million range. If they don’t, he can become a restricted free agent next summer. The Pistons plan to pay Drummond the same amount in the same time frame either way, but would like their cornerstone center to delay signing until next year. The reason is because until Drummond actually signs his contract, only his cap-hold figure of about $8.2 million would be factored into the Pistons’ 2016-17 payroll for salary-cap purposes, not the $21 million-plus he actually figures to make that season. If Drummond is willing to wait, the Pistons could take care of all other business before him in summer 2016, then blow through the salary cap to re-sign their own free agent. The two key questions are whether Drummond trusts that to happen and is willing to risk a major injury ruining his windfall. He probably can trust it, probably won’t endure any catastrophe this year, and waiting would help put a better team around him. But it’s his future and his decision.

Perry Jones hopes to stick with Celtics

Perry Jones hopes to stick with Celtics

For a rebuilding team that is expected to be competitive but not outstanding, the Boston Celtics boast a pretty deep roster. Here’s the Boston Globe reporting on an intriguing young talent who hasn’t solidified himself in the league just yet:

Perry Jones played in 143 games over three seasons for Oklahoma City, averaging at best 14.7 minutes and 4.3 points per game.

The Thunder traded the 6-foot-11-inch Jones to the Celtics for a conditional 2019 pick in a roster-clearing move in July. What’s more, the 2018 second-round pick the Celtics sent to Oklahoma City in return is protected from 31 to 55, meaning that if it falls in that range, the Celtics keep the pick.

So essentially, the Celtics get a fresh look at a player with considerable skills for a cash exchange. Nothing more. Jones has another opportunity to make an impression on a new team, a 24-year-old capable of playing multiple positions and adding to the team’s wealth of talented youngsters.

There is no guarantee Jones will make the roster. His situation will emerge as one of the more intriguing topics in training camp. Can coach Brad Stevens bring the best out of a player who has yet to show his best?

Lakers hire James Worthy

lakers

Former Lakers player James Worthy has been hired by the team to work with the coaching staff it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

In his position, Worthy will work with head coach Byron Scott and his staff, focusing his attention on working with the Lakers big men. He will accompany the team to Hawaii for training camp and will continue to work with Lakers players throughout the season. Worthy will also continue his role on Time Warner Cable SportsNet as an analyst for the network’s Lakers coverage.

“James was one of the best forwards to ever play the game,” said Kupchak. “We feel he will be a valuable addition to the coaching staff and will do an excellent job teaching our group of big men. We are pleased and fortunate to welcome him back to the organization.”

An NBA Hall of Famer, Worthy played all twelve of his NBA seasons (1982-1994) with Los Angeles. Named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, he concluded his career with the Lakers ranked sixth all-time in scoring (16,320), seventh all-time in team field goal percentage (.521) and third all-time in team steals (1,041). His accolades include three NBA Championships (1985, 1987 and 1988); NBA Finals MVP (1988); 2-time All-NBA Third team (1990 and 1991), 7-time All-Star (1986-1992) and All-Rookie First Team (1983).

Warriors sign Ben Gordon

Warriors sign Ben Gordon

The Golden State Warriors have signed free agent guard Ben Gordon to a contract.

After establishing himself as a terrific scorer — especially in 4th quarters — in the early part of his NBA career, Gordon has fallen off the basketball map in recent seasons.

Gordon, 32, spent the 2014-15 season with the Orlando Magic, averaging 6.2 points and 1.1 rebounds in 14.1 minutes over 56 games. An 11-year NBA veteran, Gordon holds career averages of 14.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 27.4 minutes over 744 games (269 starts) with the Chicago Bulls (2004-09), Detroit Pistons (2009-12), Charlotte Bobcats (2012-14) and Magic. In 29 career postseason games (all with Chicago), the 6’3” guard has tallied averages of 20.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 37.8 minutes. Originally selected by the Bulls with the third overall pick of the 2004 NBA Draft, Gordon won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award as a rookie in 2004-05 and ranks 12th among active players in three-point percentage (.401).

Gordon will wear #7. The Warriors roster currently stands at 20 players.

The latest on the Suns-Markieff Morris situation

Here’s the Arizona Republic reporting on Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris, who wanted to be traded but apparently will do his job and play as expected until that happens:

The latest on the Suns-Markieff Morris situation

Despite Eric Bledsoe’s impressive summer commitment, Tyson Chandler’s leadership and defensive addition and Brandon Knight’s stress-free re-signing, any summer shine from the Suns has been clouded by Markieff Morris’ falling-out with the franchise. That disdain could be the dominant display again Monday when Morris is the prominent figure during Suns media day in Phoenix.

Upset that his twin, Marcus, was traded to Detroit in early July without warning and just as their contract extensions began, Markieff did not get his wish to be traded this summer and will participate Monday as he pledged to do if his trade request was ignored.

After returning to Phoenix last week for a court hearing, Morris remained in town but trained at Grand Canyon University rather than with Suns teammates.

Raptors sign Anthony Bennett

Raptors sign Anthony Bennett

The Toronto Raptors announced Monday they have signed free-agent forward Anthony Bennett.

As a former first overall NBA Draft pick, Bennett has been a bust so far in the NBA. He will have to prove his value in the league fairly soon, or else he may wind up having to play overseas in the future.

Bennett, 6-foot-8, 245 pounds, averaged 5.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 15.7 minutes in 57 games last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He scored in double figures on eight occasions, including a stretch of four consecutive games. He recorded a career-best 20 points, with career highs of three steals and 32 minutes, November 21 versus San Antonio.

Bennett has appeared in 109 career NBA games, averaging 4.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 14.3 minutes. He grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds at Philadelphia as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 18, 2014.

The native of Toronto was the first Canadian-born player selected with the top pick in the NBA Draft when he went number one overall to Cleveland in 2013. He was dealt August 23, 2014 to Minnesota in a three-team trade.

Bennett was named Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year following his lone collegiate season at UNLV. He averaged 16.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 27.1 minutes in 35 games (32 starts). He shot .533 percent from the field, including a team-best .375 mark from the three-point line.

Heat sign John Lucas III and Trey Kelley

Heat sign John Lucas III and Trey Kelley

The Miami HEAT announced today that they have signed guards John Lucas III and Tre Kelley. We assume these are non-guaranteed deals for training camp.

Lucas, a seven-year NBA veteran, has appeared in 237 career NBA games (eight starts) and averaged 4.8 points, 1.5 assists, 1.0 rebounds and 12.3 minutes while shooting 38.4 percent from the field, 34.5 percent from three-point range and 76.8 percent from the foul line. He split last season between the Fujian Sturgeons of the Chinese Basketball Association and the Detroit Pistons of the NBA. He appeared in 28 games with the Fujian Sturgeons and averaged 26.3 points, 7.0 assists, 4.6 rebounds, 1.25 steals and 43.5 minutes while shooting 46.8 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 89.5 percent from the foul line. He recorded double-figure assists five times and recorded eleven 30-point games, including a season-high 42 points against Chongqing FD on January 25. He appeared in 21 games with Detroit and averaged 4.7 points and 2.9 assists in 13.0 minutes of action while shooting 40.4 percent from the field, 31 percent from three-point range and a perfect 5-of-5 from the foul line. He dished out a season-high six assists on three separate occasions and scored in double-digits twice. Lucas previously was a member of the HEAT during the 2009 preseason before being waived on Oct. 22, 2009.

Kelley, who previously participated in training camp with the HEAT in 2008, has appeared in 103 NBA Development League games (63 starts) and averaged 14.3 points, 4.8 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 1.02 steals and 31.5 minutes while shooting 45.8 percent from the field, 42.5 percent from three-point range and 81.3 percent from the foul line. Additionally, he has appeared in nine NBA D-League postseason games (all starts) and averaged 16.8 points, 6.8 assists, 2.1 rebounds, 1.00 steals and 37.5 minutes while shooting 42.1 percent from the field and 84.4 percent from the foul line. Kelley split last season between Pertevniyal of the Turkish Basketball League and Sigma Barcellona of the Italian Serie A2 League, appearing in 31 total games (all starts) and averaged 15.9 points, 5.4 assists, 2.3 rebounds, 1.19 steals and 33.0 minutes while shooting 47.5 percent from the field, 41.6 percent from three-point range and 81.3 percent from the foul line.

The HEAT’s roster now stands at 20.

Grizzlies fill training camp roster

Grizzlies fill training camp roster

The Memphis Grizzlies today announced the team has signed free agents Yakhouba Diawara (ya-KOO-ba dee-a-WA-ra), Ryan Hollins, Michael Holyfield, Lazeric Jones and Daniel Nwaelele (wah-LAY-lay).

Diawara (6-7, 225) comes to Memphis after spending last season with Cimberio Varese in the Italian SerieA league. The 33-year-old spent four seasons in the NBA (2006-10) and holds career averages of 3.5 points and 1.4 rebounds in 14.0 minutes in 187 games (56 starts) with the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat. Undrafted in the 2005 NBA Draft after finishing his collegiate career at Pepperdine University, he has played six of his 10 professional seasons, including the last five, in Italy and his home country of France. The Paris native is a member of the French National Team and represented France in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Hollins (7-0, 230), a nine-year NBA veteran (2006-15), owns career averages of 3.7 points and 2.2 rebounds in 11.8 minutes in 481 games (64 starts) for the Charlotte Bobcats, Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings. Drafted by Charlotte in the second round (50th overall) of the 2006 NBA Draft, the 30-year-old Pasadena, Calif. native enjoyed a four-year collegiate career at UCLA, leading the Bruins to the 2006 NCAA Championship Game as a senior.

Holyfield (6-11, 270) helped guide Memphis to an undefeated record and the championship at the 2015 Orlando Pro Summer League, averaging 6.4 points and 4.2 rebounds in 14.3 minutes in five games (two starts). Undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft after a four-year collegiate career at Sam Houston State University, the 22-year-old Albuquerque, N.M. native was named the 2015 Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year and selected to the 2015 All-Southland Second Team after setting the school’s single-season record for blocks (86) as a senior.

Jones (6-0, 187) joins the Grizzlies after playing last season in Hungary, guiding Szolnoki Olaj to the Hungarian League Championship with averages of 11.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.7 steals in 29.1 minutes in 11 games (all starts). Undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft, the 25-year-old Chicago native has competed in Israel (2012-13) and Greece (2013-14) and participated in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas for the Sacramento Kings (2012), Chicago Bulls (2014) and New Orleans Pelicans (2015) following his four-year collegiate career at UCLA.

Nwaelele (6-5, 205) comes to Memphis after competing most recently with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League, where he averaged 10.4 points, 3.6 points and 1.7 assists in 26.0 minutes in 76 games (43 starts) over two seasons (2012-14). Undrafted in the 2007 NBA Draft, the 31-year-old also played professionally in Israel during the 2010-11 season. A native of Bothell, Wash., Nwaelele lettered all four years at the United States Air Force Academy, finishing his collegiate career ranked second in program history in three-point field goal percentage (.451). He spent five years in the Air Force, including two overseas deployments to Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia during his years of service.

The Grizzlies roster stands at 20 players entering training camp.

Frank Kaminsky embraces his silly side

Hornets rookie Frank Kaminsky embraces his silly side

Here’s the Charlotte Observer reporting on talented Hornets rookie Frank Kaminsky, who will be worth watching on the court this season, and is an amusing character off of it:

Frank Kaminsky embraces his silly side

Charlotte Hornets rookie Frank Kaminsky was asked at media day Friday for one thing he’d like people to know about him.

“I’m not weird,” Kaminsky replied. “I might come off weird sometimes.”

Weird? Nah. Perhaps a better word to describe Kaminsky’s personality would be quirky. He has a dry, ironic sense of humor he often shares on his Twitter account (@FSKPart3). Fellow Hornets rookie Aaron Harrison says he appreciates Kaminsky’s silly side almost as much as Kaminsky’s basketball skills.

Kaminsky seemed to enjoy that description when it was relayed to him.

“That’s just how I’ve always been. I like having fun and joking around,” Kaminsky said. “I appreciate it when people enjoy my silliness. It’s so awkward when I make a joke and someone just stale-faces me. I get upset, actually.”

Magic paying big money to Tobias Harris

Magic paying big money to Tobias Harris

Here’s the Orlando Sentinel reporting on a talented young Magic player who now has a lot of pressure on his shoulders to earn his much bigger salary:

Magic paying big money to Tobias Harris

Tobias Harris checks in at a svelte 235 pounds, not counting, of course, the extra weight he’s carrying.

It’s quite a load.

He’s put on an additional $64 million.

Harris and the Magic can only hope it doesn’t show this season.

A huge four-year contract has made Tobias the team’s highest-paid player, surpassing Nik Vucevic’s deal.

This is all new for Harris at 23. He says all that money won’t affect him. He says he doesn’t see himself “pressing” to try to justify the count and the amount.

“It doesn’t change me or my game. I don’t play the game just for the paycheck. I play for the love and the love of winning,” Harris told me. “When I signed my deal, the next day I was back in the gym, working just as hard. It’s no time to go out and celebrate crazy. I’m blessed enough to be in this position.

“It drives me. It just shows me if you want another one, you have to work twice as hard.”

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