Archive for March 8th, 2017

The New Orleans Pelicans today signed free agent guard Wayne Selden Jr. to a 10-day contract.

Selden, 6-4, 232, has most recently played for the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League, appearing in 35 games while posting averages of 18.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 30.6 minutes.

Selden will wear #25 for the Pelicans and be available for tonight’s contest vs. Toronto.

New Orleans’ roster stands at 15.

Timberwolves sign Lance Stephenson to second 10-day contract

The Minnesota Timberwolves signed guard Lance Stephenson to a second 10-day contract today.

Stephenson, who was originally signed to a 10-day contract by the Wolves on February 8th, has appeared in four games for Minnesota this season averaging 4.3 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game.

Stephenson’s NBA career has taken a nosedive in recent seasons. He’s trying to get himself back on the map. Using this 10-day deal to earn a rest-of-season contract would be a good start.

Festus Ezeli undergoes season-ending surgery

Trail Blazers center Festus Ezeli, who hasn’t played at all this season, underwent surgery on his left knee, team president of basketball operations Neil Olshey announced today.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Robert LaPrade at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado.

Ezeli will miss the remainder of the 2016-17 season.

Ezeli spent the first three seasons of his NBA career as a member of the Warriors. The Blazers, who at 27-35 have the 9th best record in the Western conference through Tuesday’s games, were counting on him as a defensive, rebound-grabbing presence. They’ll have to wait until next season to see what he can do.

Cavs getting J.R. Smith back soon

Cavs shooting guard J.R. Smith has been medically cleared to return to action. So if he doesn’t play in the squad’s very next game, he should still likely be active soon. Here’s the News Herald reporting:

Cavs getting J.R. Smith back soon

J.R. Smith’s right thumb is fine. His head, though, might be a different story.

The Cavaliers sharp-shooting guard returned to full practice on March 8 for the first time since he was injured on Dec. 20 in Milwaukee swiping at the ball. He underwent complex surgery three days later to repair the fracture.

Smith has missed 41 of the Cavaliers’ 62 games. He is listed as questionable for their game with the Pistons in Detroit on March 9. After practice at the Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence he said he isn’t sure if he is mentally ready to play right now.

“It’s more or less my confidence going into playing,” Smith said. “It’s a weird situation. Physically, I’m fine. Mentally, going in there swiping at the ball, trying to dive for loose balls — that plays a factor.

Here’s the Orange County Register reporting on the Lakers, who have one of the league’s worst records but also boast an intriguing cast of young talent:

Luke Walton concerned that the Lakers are a soft team

The outcome seemed as inevitable as Dirk Nowitzki sinking a fadeaway jumper.

The Lakers suffered a 122-111 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday at American Airlines Center, marking their eighth consecutive loss overall and the fourth consecutive year they were swept by the Mavericks in the regular-season series.

Afterward, Lakers coach Luke Walton echoed a criticism former Lakers coach Byron Scott often had last season when he called the team “soft.”

“Teams feel like when they play us right now, we’re kind of a soft team that they can come in to get their offensive numbers against,” Walton said. “That’s got to be up to us to change that.”

Walton expressed optimism the Lakers (19-45) will eventually do that.

Here’s the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporting on Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki, who has now scored over 30,000 points in the NBA:

Dirk Nowitzki passes 30,000 NBA points scored

Dirk Nowitzki didn’t waste any time giving the people what they wanted. Poised to etch his name in the history books alongside some NBA legends, Nowitzki poured in 25 points Tuesday night to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 122-111 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers before an energetic American Airlines Center sellout crowd of 20,484.

Along the way, Nowitzki became only the sixth player in NBA history to score at least 30,000 points for his career. And it was the way Nowitzki reached his milestone that had the crowd in an electrifying mood.

Anxious to reach his appointed destination with history in a hurry, Nowitzki came out firing. Needing just 20 points to reach the 30,000 barrier, the 19-year veteran popped in 18 points in during a red-hot first quarter in which he made his first six shots, including 2-of-2 from 3-point territory.

Those were the most points in a quarter by a Mavs player this season.

Here’s the St. Paul Pioneer Press reporting that the Timberwolves frontcourt is about to get a bit deeper:

Adreian Payne was back participating in practice Tuesday after he was medically cleared to play.

Payne has been out since early February with a low platelet count. He is officially questionable for the Wolves’ home game against the Clippers on Wednesday. Thibodeau said Payne has a long way to go conditioning-wise but added it was good to have him back on the floor.

“It’s very nice,” Karl-Anthony Towns said. “You always worry about his health, and just to see him out here playing with us, working out, everything is a huge bonus. It’s been definitely a journey for him recently, but just glad to see he’s getting healthy and he’s ready to play.”

An update on Cavs injuries:

Andrew Bogut done for season with broken leg

Andrew Bogut underwent additional imaging and evaluation at the Cleveland Clinic yesterday related to his fractured left tibia. His tibia has been set and he is undergoing a non-surgical treatment and recovery plan commencing immediately with an extended period of immobilization and healing stimulation. He will not be available to play the remainder of the regular season and playoffs, but is expected to successfully complete his recovery process in advance of training camp for the 2017-18 NBA season.

Kyle Korver is experiencing left foot soreness. He will travel with the team on the current trip to Detroit, Orlando and Houston while receiving treatment. He is listed as Out vs. Detroit and his status will be updated as appropriate following that.

JR Smith (right thumb) has been cleared to resume full practice activity today and is listed as Questionable vs. Detroit.

Head Coach Tyronn Lue is being treated for a sinus/inner ear issue. He did not attend practice today and will not travel with the team to Detroit this afternoon. He is expected to meet the team in Detroit tomorrow and be back on the sideline for the game tomorrow night vs. the Pistons.

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