Rockets sign P.J. Hairston

Rockets sign P.J. Hairston

The Rockets have signed free agent guard/forward P.J. Hairston.

Hairston (6-6, 220) was originally the 26th overall pick by Miami in the 2014 NBA Draft. He spent his first season and a half with Charlotte before being acquired in a three-team trade by Memphis on Feb. 16, 2016.

In 66 games with 52 starts for the Hornets and Grizzlies last season, Hairston averaged 6.2 points and 2.6 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game. He also hit two or more 3-pointers 19 times in 2015-16, including a career-high 5 at the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 26, 2016.

Heat consider Tyler Johnson a combo guard

Heat guard Tyler Johnson averaged 5.9 points on 41.9% shooting in 18.8 minutes per game as a rookie two years ago, 8.7 ppg on 48.6% shooting in 24.0 mpg last season, and should have a bigger role this year. Here’s the Palm Beach Post blog with some insight:

Heat consider Tyler Johnson a combo guard

“He’s a combo (guard). That’s why we like him,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You put him on the court and he knows how to have an impact. He’s comfortable now playing either position on the ball or off the ball. That kind of versatility is important.”

The Heat are hoping [Tyler] Johnson can give them minutes at point guard this season, a position that he’s played sporadically in the past. After Miami decided to keep Johnson and matched his four-year, $50 million offer sheet from the Nets in July, he spent most of the offseason working on his point guard skills with Heat coaches.

With a log jam at shooting guard – Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson, Wayne Ellington and Johnson – Johnson will get more playing time if he’s also able to serve as Goran Dragic’s backup at point guard. The 24-year-old Johnson believes he’s better prepared for that role this season.

Windy City Bulls hire Bobby Lutz and A.J. Guyton as assistant coaches

The Windy City Bulls, who are the Chicago Bulls’ D-League affiliate, have announced the remainder of their coaching and basketball operations staff as well as team medical personnel for the 2016-17 season.

Bobby Lutz and A.J. Guyton will join Nate Loenser’s staff in November as assistant coaches, while Josh Kreibich has been named coordinator of basketball operations.

“I am thrilled that Bobby and A.J. will be joining our staff for the upcoming season,” said Loenser. “Bobby brings a tremendous amount of coaching experience, and A.J. is someone who is very well respected within the Chicago Bulls organization. His experience playing here is invaluable to us.”

Lutz brings over 30 years of collegiate coaching experience to Windy City, spending the last five seasons as an assistant at North Carolina State. During his tenure with the Wolfpack, Lutz helped guide the team to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances including trips to the Sweet 16 in 2012 and 2015. Prior to his time at North Carolina State, Lutz spent a season as an assistant for Fred Hoiberg at Iowa State. From 1999-2010, he served as the head coach at the University of North Carolina Charlotte where he led the 49ers to three Conference USA titles while averaging more than 18 wins per season. Lutz was a finalist for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year award in 2005 and is the school’s all-time winningest coach.

Guyton returns to the Chicago Bulls organization where he began his professional playing career in 2000.. The Peoria, Ill., native spent three seasons in the NBA before playing overseas for the remainder of his 10-year professional career. Guyton got his start in coaching in 2010 when he was an assistant coach at Illinois Central College. In 2012, he led the Bloomington Flex to the Premier Basketball League Championship as the team’s head coach. Guyton played college basketball at the University of Indiana Bloomington from 1996-2000 where he was a consensus First-Team All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year in his senior season. In 2014, Guyton was inducted to the University of Indiana Athletics Hall of Fame.

Kreibich comes to Windy City after spending the last two seasons as the director of basketball operations at Northern Arizona University. Prior to his stint with the Lumberjacks, he served as an assistant coach at Concordia University in Austin, Texas, from 2012-2014.

Arnold Lee has been named certified athletic trainer while Dr. Adam Yanke and Dr. Jeremy Alland of Midwest Orthopedics at Rush University Medical Center will serve as team physicians. Additionally, Dr. Brian Cole and Dr. Kathleen Weber of Midwest Orthopedics at Rush University Medical Center will serve as consulting team physicians.

Lee joins Windy City after working as an intern for the Chicago Bears during the 2016 pre-season. From 2013-2016, he worked as the head athletic trainer at Chicago’s Kennedy King College. A graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Lee holds a B.S. in Kinesiology and a Masters in Athletic Training from California Baptist University.

The Windy City Bulls are preparing for their inaugural season in the heart of Chicago’s northwest suburbs. Beginning in November, the team will play 24 home games at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates. The NBA Development League, which is entering its 16th season, will expand to 22 teams for the 2016-17 season with the additions of the Windy City Bulls, Greensboro Swarm and Long Island Nets. Last season saw 32 D-League players called up to the NBA a total of 42 times.

Expect Kristaps Porzingis to continue shooting three-pointers

Young Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis averaged 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game as a rookie last season. Despite his height and position, he took a lot of three-pointers, hitting 81-of-243 (33.3%). Normally you don’t want a forward who is taller than most of the league’s centers to shoot many outside shots at all, let alone lots of three-pointers. Unless, of course, he can make them. On that note, here’s the New York Daily News reporting:

Expect even more three-pointers from Kristaps Porzingis this season

Given the green light by Phil Jackson, Kristaps Porzingis is heading into the season unafraid of releasing a pull-up 3-pointer.

The 7-3 Latvian demonstrated the shot in transition during a training-camp scrimmage Thursday, finding open looks as the trailer early in the shot clock. The Knicks hope to get these type of looks more often this season with quicker guards and a faster-paced offense.

“I think that’s a high percentage shot for me. Last year Phil Jackson, he told me that he likes that shot,” said Porzingis, who was left with a bloody nose during the scrimmage after being clocked under the basket. “I wasn’t so sure about it at first. It was early in the offense. I didn’t know if it was the best shot. But once we saw the percentages he said it’s a pretty good look if I get that. The bigs a lot of times, they’re giving me that space, then just take that shot. Once he said that I have his confidence in me and it was just let it go. I’ll probably do the same thing this year.”

Tomas Satoransky impressing in Wizards camp

NBA training camps have opened, and preseason starts Saturday. Basketball is coming. At Wizards training camp, there’s a new name worth paying some attention to. Here’s CSN Washington:

Tomas Satoransky impressing in Wizards camp

The surprise for the Wizards isn’t that John Wall could be back sooner than later. Or that Kelly Oubre stands a chance at winning the starting job at small forward. It’s rookie Tomas Satoransky, who not only has freakish athleticism but a basketball IQ that caught all of his teammates off-guard.

“For me it was Tomas,” said Otto Porter when asked who has wowed him the most. “I’d seen a couple highlights of him playing but actually getting out here playing with him to actually be on his team? One time I was cutting through, he hit me on the back of the shoulder (with the ball). I wasn’t looking for it. I was like, ‘OK, this kid knows how to play.’”

But what has really set apart the European, a 2012 second-round pick for the Wizards who signed a three-year deal for just $9 million this summer, is his flair for the drama. In a pick-up game before training camp started this week, he got the ball in the open court and did something that brought a hush over the practice court.

Cameron Payne suffers broken bone in foot

Cameron Payne suffers broken bone in foot

Thunder guard Cameron Payne suffered an acute fracture to his fifth metatarsal (long bone in foot) in Tuesday night’s Blue-White Scrimmage, which took place in front of fans at a high school.

According to News9 OKC, “it’s the same bone he had surgery on in late July.”

The 14th overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft averaged 5.0 points, 1.9 assists and 1.5 rebounds in 57 games during his rookie season.

Payne will see his attending physician and additional specialists this week to determine the next course of action.

Khris Middleton out six months after hamstring surgery

Khris Middleton out six months after hamstring surgery

Bucks guard Khris Middleton underwent successful surgery yesterday to repair his ruptured left hamstring. The surgery was performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York by Dr. David Altchek.

Middleton is expected to be sidelined for approximately six months. A timeline for his return to basketball activity will be established at a later date.

Middleton suffered the injury during preseason workouts on Sept. 20.

Middleton, 25, averaged a career-high 18.2 points, 4.2 assists and 1.7 steals last season along with 3.8 rebounds in 79 games. Originally selected by Detroit (39th overall) in the 2012 NBA Draft, Middleton has career averages of 13.2 points, 2.7 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 267 career games (201 starts).

Warriors bench very different this season

The Warriors are the hottest topic in basketball entering the new season. Superstar Kevin Durant in the mix. But the GSW bench was a key part of their success in the past, and while Andre Iguodala is still there, the rest of the cast of characters is pretty different. How do this year’s reserves compare? Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting:

To sign Kevin Durant, the Warriors were forced to move forward without key reserves Speights, Leandro Barbosa, Festus Ezeli and Brandon Rush. The new-look second unit, however, is impressing early.

David West has flashed his fundamentals and savvy posting up younger big men. Rookie Patrick McCaw is building off a strong performance at the Las Vegas Summer League. Ian Clark, in his second training camp with the team, has been more self-assured handling the basketball. A training-camp invitee on a nonguaranteed contract, JaVale McGee is cementing his status as Golden State’s best rim protector.

“I think a couple people have either said or written that our bench is going to be … weaker than last year,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “I think we’ve got every reason to believe we can play the same way, strength in numbers.”

Free ticketed open Clippers practice at UC Irvine October 1

The Clippers will provide fans a free preview of the 2016-17 team on Saturday, Oct. 1 during an open to the public practice on the campus of UC Irvine at the Bren Events Center.

Doors open to fans at 11:45 a.m. The event should end around 1:15 p.m.

In addition to the team practice, the Clippers Spirit dance team will perform, and the team’s mascot, Chuck the Condor, will do stuff that mascots do.

The Open Practice is a ticketed event. Admission is free and open to the public on a first come, first served basis. Visit www.clippers.com/openpractice for more information.