Archive for May, 2017

Here’s CSN Mid Atlantic reporting on Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal, who became a very well-paid player one year ago and lived up to most expectations this past season:

Good year for Bradley Beal under new deal

Beal signed his new deal, a five-year contract worth $128 million, last July. It was a max contract for a guy who had never made an All-Star team and who had battled injuries, including last season when he only played in 55 games and only started 35. Naturally, some wondered if he was worth the money because of his problems staying healthy through four NBA seasons.

But in his first year under a new contract, Beal achieved newfound durability. He had some minor issues here and there, but managed to play 77 out of the Wizards’ 82 games and then appear in all of their 13 playoff games.

“If anything, I’m proud of that. I’m happy for myself, being able to be healthy for a full year,” Beal said. “Being able to be on the floor, man, that’s all I wanted. Just being able to be here. I knew if I was healthy that I would have a successful year. I had that opportunity this season.”

The Warriors will face the Cavaliers in the 2017 NBA Finals. Warriors reserve Matt Barnes is still a hard-nosed competitor, but up there in age. Is retirement on the horizon? Not just yet. Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting:

Matt Barnes thinks he has a few more NBA seasons left to play

At age 37, Warriors forward Matt Barnes is a case study in persistence. The former second-round pick from UCLA has played for nine teams.

As he prepares to end his 14th season with his first career Finals appearance, the question for Barnes becomes: Could he cap his last professional basketball game by hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy?

“I think I’ve still got a little bit left in the tank,” Barnes said of retirement. “Obviously, I’d like to come back here and finish up here, but I feel like I’ve got another year or two left in the tank.”

No surgery for David Lee

David Lee, who averaged 7.3 points and 5.6 rebounds in 18.7 minutes per game for the Spurs this past regular season, and 4.1 points and 3.8 rebounds in 16.3 minutes per game in the playoffs, will be able to recover from his latest injury without the need for surgery, reports the San Antonio Express News:

No surgery for David Lee

Spurs forward David Lee will not need surgery to repair his injured left patellar tendon, his agent Mark Bartelstein confirmed Saturday.

Lee suffered the injury in the first quarter of Game 3 of the West finals against Golden State and did not play in Game 4…

Lee, 33, has a player option on his $1.6 million salary next season.

Isaiah Thomas hopes to avoid surgery

Playing without injured star point guard Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics were recently eliminated in five games by the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Thomas, in recovery, must still figure out if surgery is a necessary option for him. Long-term health is in mind. Here’s the Boston Herald with the latest:

Isaiah Thomas hopes to avoid surgery

The goal now is to return to what Thomas calls an “MVP” level, and he hopes to get there without surgery, though that remains a possibility. He also wants to play until he’s 40 years old.

“I’ve only seen one (doctor) but we’ve sent the information to a few of them,” he said. “I’m just waiting to hear back. We’re really waiting on the swelling to go down to see what the No. 1 option is. And then we go from there and attack that, whatever it may be. (Surgery is) not the No. 1 option right now but it could be once the swelling goes down. They want to let it die down a little bit then take another MRI once everything is down and it’s back to normal.

“We’ll go from there. Hopefully I don’t have to have surgery but I know that is an option.”

Thomas added that he doesn’t know how long he played with a tear in his hip, but that he had hip issues prior to suffering the injury on March 15 against Minnesota.

Heat, Chris Bosh may soon part ways

Chris Bosh is still technically a member of the Miami Heat, but the future between the two sides is clearly one of separation. Here’s ESPN.com with the latest:

Heat, Chris Bosh may soon part ways

The Miami Heat, Chris Bosh and the players’ association have tentatively agreed to a resolution that would allow all parties to move on, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.

Bosh, 33, hasn’t played since February 2016 because of blood clot issues. He has remained on the Heat roster as the sides have worked through complex medical and legal issues in this delicate and unique situation.

The agreement hasn’t been finalized as Bosh and his family, agents and lawyers are still reviewing documents…

Bosh is guaranteed $52 million over the next two seasons, though a significant portion of that is covered by insurance. But he has remained on the Heat’s salary cap, limiting their ability to replace him. This agreement is expected to remove Bosh from the cap and allow the Heat to move on with their team.

Lakers hire Gunnar Peterson

Lakers hire Gunnar Peterson

The Los Angeles Lakers have hired Gunnar Peterson as Director of Strength and Endurance Training.

Peterson will design and implement a strength and conditioning program for the team with the goal of keeping the players performing at elite levels throughout the NBA season.

“From his time in college at Duke University until now, Gunnar has pursued excellence in training and fitness,” said General Manager Rob Pelinka. “Gunnar is a true pioneer and visionary at his craft, and will bring a new mentality to our weight room which we are all very excited about. Since Magic and I have worked with Gunnar in the past, we have a strong relationship with him, which makes working together now feel seamless.”

Prior to joining the Lakers, Peterson was a personal trainer for some of the top entertainers and athletes in the world. A 28-year veteran of the fitness industry, Peterson has worked with athletes from the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB, USTA, boxing and various NCAA sports.

The Houston, TX native is a graduate of Duke University and is a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).

Josh McRoberts elects to return to Heat

Here’s the Palm Beach Post with a report on forward Josh McRoberts and his Heat contract decision:

Josh McRoberts elects to return to Heat

Josh McRoberts is back on the Heat’s books.

McRoberts has exercised his opt-in to return to the Heat for $6 million next season, agent Mike Conley told the Palm Beach Post on Tuesday. It’s the final season of the four-year, $22 million contract he signed with Miami in the summer of 2014 — the same summer the organization lost LeBron James to Cleveland.

Now that McRoberts is not eligible to be a free agent this summer, he is eligible to be traded by the Heat to create more cap space. Miami reportedly tried to trade the 30-year-old forward last offseason, but it was not able to find a match.

The Orlando Magic have named John Hammond general manager, President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman announced today.

Hammond brings more than 35 years of coaching and administrative experience to Orlando, including the last nine seasons (2008-17) as general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks. During Hammond’s 26 years in the NBA, his teams have made 15 postseason appearances. Weltman served as assistant general manager under Hammond for five seasons (2008-13) and also worked with him in Detroit (2007-08).

“John (Hammond) brings tremendous experience and is a great talent evaluator,” said Weltman. “He has experience in everything from day-to-day operations to player development. He built a great team in Milwaukee, and won a championship while in Detroit. We are very fortunate to have him as part of the Magic family.”

“We are very excited to join Jeff (Weltman) and be a part of the team in Orlando,” said Hammond. “The Magic are a first-class organization all the way around and we look forward to this tremendous opportunity. I want to thank the ownership in Milwaukee, Wes Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan, for their support and I certainly wish them well.”

Hammond was named general manager of Milwaukee on April 11, 2008 and promptly generated an eight-win improvement in his first season and another 12 during his second, earning the 2009-10 NBA Executive of the Year Award.

Prior to joining the Bucks, Hammond spent seven seasons as vice president of basketball operations with the Detroit Pistons, where he was responsible for directing day-to-day operations of the basketball operations department, handling player personnel issues and assisting in roster development. During his time with Detroit, the Pistons were 330-158 (.676), reached the Eastern Conference Finals six consecutive times (2003-08), made two straight trips to the NBA Finals (2004-05) and captured the NBA World Championship in 2004. In addition to his time as vice president of basketball operations, Hammond also served as director of player personnel, scouting director and assistant coach in two stints with the Pistons.

Hammond began his NBA career in 1989 as an assistant coach and scout with the Minnesota Timberwolves. From there, he joined Larry Brown’s staff with the Los Angeles Clippers, where they advanced to the playoffs in 1992 and 1993. Hammond had a second stint with the Clippers in 2000-01, joining Alvin Gentry’s staff as lead assistant. That team saw a 16-game improvement and Hammond was noted as a key in developing first-year players Darius Miles, Keyon Dooling and Quentin Richardson.

Prior to his NBA career, Hammond spent six seasons at Southwest Missouri State, where he helped lead the school to three consecutive NCAA Tournament berths (1986-88) and a trip to the NIT in 1985. He also spent two seasons at Houston Baptist (1981-83), two seasons at Nebraska (1979-81) and three seasons at the high school level in Nebraska.

A native of Zion, Ill., Hammond graduated from Greenville College in Illinois, where he earned two letters in basketball and served as a student assistant coach.

STATEMENT FROM BUCKS OWNERSHIP ON JOHN HAMMOND

“John Hammond has been an incredible asset to the Bucks organization these last nine years and a true professional in every sense of the word. His keen eye for talent and relentless drive to build one of the finest teams in the league has helped the Bucks become a championship-caliber organization on and off the court. We wish John and his family nothing but the best in Orlando.

“We remain very excited about the prospects of our team and anticipate further announcements about the front office staff to be made in the near future.”

Kelly Olynyk will start Game 4

Celtics-Cavaliers Game 4 is tonight in Cleveland. Boston’s starting lineup is undergoing a change. Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting:

Kelly Olynyk will start Game 4

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said center/forward Kelly Olynyk will start Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night against the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.

Center Amir Johnson is not likely to play, Stevens said, due to a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder.

It will mark Olynyk’s first start for the Celtics in their 17 playoff games. He’s averaging 8.9 points and three rebounds in 18.9 minutes off the bench.

BIG3 adds injury reserve players

Today, BIG3 announced that eight new players will join the league as reserve players. Following the Player Draft and Combine in Las Vegas, league captains and coaches reviewed the eligible Draft Pool to make their selection and complement their rosters. Each team selected one additional player to serve as a reserve player who will be eligible to be added to their roster in the event of injury to an existing team player or unforeseen circumstances.

The complete list of BIG3 injury reserves is below:

3 Headed Monsters – Hakim Warrick
Ghost Ballers – Joe Smith
Trilogy – Jannero Pargo
Tri-State – Lou Amundson
Killer 3’s – Eddie Robinson
3’s Company – David Hawkins
Power – Paul McPherson
Ball Hogs – Desmon Farmer

Each Sunday this summer, BIG3 will bring 3-on-3 half-court basketball to a different city throughout the country, including Brooklyn, Charlotte, Tulsa, Philadelphia, Dallas, Lexington (Ky.), Los Angeles, Seattle and Las Vegas. 

Here’s the NY Post with the latest on the Knicks, who are reportedly saying goodbye to one assistant coach but keeping another:

The Knicks got rid of one player development coach and Kristaps Porzingis confidant in Josh Longstaff, but they’re keeping another. Dave Bliss will be retained by the team, according to a league source.

The pair had been instrumental in tutoring the 21-year-old Porzingis, but Longstaff’s contract wasn’t renewed. It was an eyebrow-raising move by the dysfunctional Knicks considering how close he’d grown to their future franchise player. When reached by The Post, Longstaff declined comment, and the Knicks gave no reason for the move.

“I’m happy for the coaches that we have, the development coaches. They’re doing an unbelievable job with us, the young guys, working really hard. Josh [Longstaff], Dave [Bliss] — those are my guys,’’ Porzingis told USA Today recently, adding, “I’m getting better. It’s great to have coaches like that.”

On the Wizards and fatigue

It’s completely logical to assume that most NBA players are a bit worn out by the end of the regular season. But if minutes are managed to keep certain guys well-rested for the playoffs? It’s a different story in the postseason, where — unless you’re the Cavs or Warriors — the luxury of rest disappears. Were key Wizards players worn out by the end of their series with the Celtics? Here’s CSN MidAtlantic reporting:

“I think we was fatigued, but that’s not an excuse,” Wall said.

“I’m not going to be naive and say we weren’t tired and that exhaustion didn’t play a little factor,” Beal added. “But at the same time you still have to be mentally tough to fight through it.”

“You can say maybe we did run out of gas a little bit,” Brooks said. “But that’s nothing to look back at and say ‘that’s the reason.’ Tip your hat off to them. They played well.”

Kawhi Leonard out for Game 3

Here’s CSN Bay Area reporting that the Spurs will continue to be without star small forward Kawhi Leonard. The league MVP candidate will miss tonight’s Game 3. The Warriors are up 2-0 and have been absolutely dominant in these Western Conference Finals and the entire 2017 NBA Playoffs so far.

Kawhi Leonard out for Game 3

Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard will not face the Warriors in Game 3 of Western Conference Finals on Saturday night at AT&T Center.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich made the announcement prior San Antonio’s Saturday morning shootaround.

“In the end, I guess it’s my decision,” Popovich told reporters.

The road to the NBA finals has already looked incredibly easy for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and it just got even easier.

The Boston Celtics today announced that Isaiah Thomas will miss the remainder of this year’s postseason following re-aggravation of a right femoral-acetabular impingement with labral tear during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Cleveland. Thomas initially injured the hip during the third quarter of the Celtics’ March 15 game against Minnesota, forcing him to miss the next two regular season contests. The injury was further aggravated during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Washington on May 12.

“Isaiah has worked tirelessly to manage this injury since it first occurred,” said Celtics Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian McKeon. “The swelling increased during the first two games against Cleveland, and in order to avoid more significant long-term damage to his hip, we could no longer allow him to continue.”

Thomas did not travel with the team to Cleveland and is currently evaluating treatment options.

The Cavs are up 2-0 in their Eastern Conference Finals series with the Celtics. Game 3 is tomorrow in Cleveland.

Santa Cruz Warriors President Chris Murphy has been named the 2017 NBA Development League Team Executive of the Year. NBA D-League President Malcolm Turner made the announcement today at the league’s Sales & Marketing Meetings in Indianapolis. The NBA Development League Team Executive of the Year is determined by peer voting and teams are not allowed to vote for themselves.

Under Murphy’s leadership, the Warriors – the affiliate of the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors – sold out all 24 regular-season home games at Kaiser Permanente Arena this season. In addition, the team hosted the Oklahoma City Blue at Oakland’s Oracle Arena on Feb. 12 before 17,497 spectators – the third-largest crowd in NBA D-League history – helping spur the league to reach nearly 1.5 million fans this past season (1,469,908).

“Everyone at the Santa Cruz and Golden State Warriors are thrilled for Chris that the D-League has recognized him as one of the top young executives in our industry,” said Golden State Warriors President Rick Welts. “Chris embodies what each of us strives for in our business lives: he’s always up for a new challenge; he sets the foundation for a collaborative and supportive culture that brings out the best in every employee; and he does it with his own engaging personal style.”

Murphy, who advises team and league leaders as a member of the NBA D-League Team Leadership Council, helped Santa Cruz increase its corporate sponsorships 15 percent over the previous season. In addition, he demonstrated the team’s commitment to the Santa Cruz area by having the organization participate in 185 community events, including the Santa Cruz Warriors Get Fit program in partnership with Kaiser Permanente that attracted over 6,500 participants in its first year.

Prior to Santa Cruz, Murphy served as Senior Director of Group Sales for Golden State. He joined the organization in June 2005 and spent 10 years with the NBA team honing his expertise on the ticketing side of the business.

The Warriors wrapped up their fifth season in Santa Cruz with a 31-19 (.620) regular-season record, earning their fourth playoff appearance. Santa Cruz helped develop Golden State assignment players Damian Jones, Kevon Looney and Patrick McCaw over the course of the season, while Dennis Clifford was named an NBA D-League All-Star. For games played in March and April, Jones earned Player of the Month honors and Casey Hill was named Coach of the Month. Phil Pressey and Jabari Brown each earned NBA D-League Performer of the Week honors during the season.

Previous winners of the Team Executive of the Year award include Mike Levy (Canton Charge, 2016), Tim Salier (Austin Spurs, 2015), Jeff Potter (Fort Wayne Mad Ants, 2014), Bill Boyce (Texas Legends, 2013), David Higdon (Bakersfield Jam, 2012), Bert Garcia (Rio Grande Valley Vipers, 2011) and Jon Jennings (Maine Red Claws, 2010).

Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle with a very important update on tonight’s NBA Western Conference Finals Game 2 between the Spurs and Warriors:

Jonathon Simmons will start for the Spurs in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday night, replacing injured Kawhi Leonard in the lineup for San Antonio.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich made the announcement during his pregame news conference at Oracle Arena.
Popovich also said Leonard’s status for Game 3 on Saturday night probably would not be resolved until Friday at the earliest. He re-injured his sprained left ankle Sunday in Game 1, though an MRI exam showed no structural damage.

Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting on Kevin Durant, who is doing some cool stuff off the court in-between winning playoff games with the Warriors:

Kevin Durant to debut new Oakland bball courts

Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant is taking a break from the Western Conference finals to unveil newly refurbished basketball courts for the city of Oakland on Wednesday.

Four courts at Lincoln Square Park in Oakland were renovated as part of the “Build It and They Will Ball” program with the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation. Durant will be on hand at the private opening, where 200 kids from Oakland will get the chance to test out the court, hang out with Durant and take part in a basketball clinic.

New Detroit Pistons logo revealed

The Detroit Pistons unveiled a newly updated primary logo today which the team says brings together the past and future of one of the National Basketball Association’s longest tenured franchises.

The new look will be officially unveiled on the Detroit Pistons podium at tonight’s NBA Draft Lottery.

The Pistons’ new primary logo debuts as a new chapter of the franchise’s history is forming in downtown Detroit. The red, white and blue basketball is symbolic of the Pistons’ brand and this modern version introduces sleek, accurate groove lines, a bold team uniform font and the addition of a chrome outline – providing a nod to the region’s Motor City roots. The updated logo is the result of a six-month design process by the Detroit Pistons’ creative team in collaboration with the NBA and Nike, the official outfitter of the NBA beginning next season.

“The Detroit Pistons new primary logo celebrates the club’s long-standing history in the Detroit sports community, stays true to our brand and reflects a modern design for our future,” said Charlie Metzger, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for the Detroit Pistons. “As our organization begins a new chapter in downtown Detroit, this new logo links the franchise’s rich championship lineage with our exciting prospects for the future.”

Allen Crabbe undergoes foot surgery

Allen Crabbe undergoes foot surgery

Portland Trail Blazers guard Allen Crabbe underwent successful surgery to repair a stress reaction of the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

Crabbe is expected to be ready for the start of training camp in September.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Martin O’Malley at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

In 79 games (7 starts) this season, Crabbe averaged 10.7 points (48.8% FG, 44.4% 3-PT, 84.7% FT), 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists. The NBA’s second most accurate 3-point shooter at 44.4%, Crabbe posted the highest percentage from beyond the arc in franchise history by a player with 100-plus 3-pointers.

Sacramento Kings rookie Skal Labissière announced today that his first Camp S.K.A.L. basketball clinic will tip off this summer in his native Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Representing skills, knowledge and life, Labissière’s Camp S.K.A.L. will host 50 of the top high school basketball players and coaches in Port-au-Prince July 19-21.

“This will be my first time back home in seven years,” Labissière said. “I’m blessed to be in a place now where I can give back to my Port-au-Prince community and this is just the start of more free Camp S.K.A.L. events there in the future. I look forward to sharing some of the basketball and life knowledge I’ve gained over the years.”

Labissière partnered with Reach Your Dream, a non-profit organization promoting spiritual awareness, self confidence, and innovative thinking for future generations in communities throughout the world. Reach Your Dream helped Labissière relocate to the United States before high school to pursue his educational and basketball goals.

“Without the good people of Reach Your Dream, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” added Labissière. “It’s only fitting, that we work together on Camp S.K.A.L. to provide similar opportunities to the future basketball stars of Haiti.”

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