Julius Randle already off crutches

Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News blog with an update on injured Lakers rookie Julius Randle:

Julius Randle already off crutches

It appeared like a normal exercise as Lakers rookie forward Julius Randle performed a leg press during Wednesday’s practice. But in Randle’s case, it marked one of many progressions he has made since suffering a season-ending injury to his right leg in the Lakers’ season opener just under two months ago.

Since then, Randle has healed enough to get around without any crutches in the past week.

“Honestly I’m not supposed to be off crutches,” Randle said, with a chuckle. “The doctor said to go at your own pace. My pace was to get rid of them immediately.”

Randle still has a long way to go.

Here’s the Charlotte Observer blog reporting positive things about the city’s chances of eventually hosting All-Star weekend:

Now that the Charlotte Hornets and the city of Charlotte have agreed to an arena renovation, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said its inevitable Charlotte will get an All-Star Game

“Personally I’m very excited about coming back here. I don’t think there’s any question it’s going to happen,” Silver said during a visit to Charlotte Wednesday. “Just a matter of what year.”

The first available All-Star Game up for bid is in 2017. In all likelihood the 2017 and 2018 events will be awarded to cities simultaneously. Silver said there’s no set date for when those games will be awarded, but he’d like it to be as soon as possible.

Here’s the Denver Post reporting on the Nuggets, who are majorly struggling lately:

Hoping to clear the air and get everybody on the same page, Nuggets coach Brian Shaw had “a couple of” individual meetings with players Tuesday, he said.

“There’s frustration,” Shaw said. “Obviously, we’re 10-14. We feel that out of those games there’s maybe a handful that we feel that we could have reversed — we feel we kind of did it to ourselves in those games. But I see frustration from some of the guys that aren’t playing as much as they want to play, from some of the guys that aren’t playing as well as they want to play.”

Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried have been the most frustrated with their playing time as they battle through injuries and ineffectiveness. The Nuggets are 1-6 in their past seven, and the frustration isn’t limited to those two players.

Gallinari has missed the past three games with a bruised right knee but is expected to play Wednesday against the Houston Rockets.

Dirk Nowitzki raves about Kobe Bryant

Here’s ESPN Dallas reporting Dirk Nowitzki’s comments on Kobe Bryant. And as you’d expect from one legend discussing another, they’re quite positive:

Dirk Nowitzki raves about Kobe Bryant

“He’s probably the greatest player in my generation that I played against,” said Nowitzki, who has 27,239 career points and will likely pass Elvin Hayes and Moses Malone over the next few weeks to move up to seventh on the list. “Obviously Shaq was very dominant, Tim Duncan was great, but I just loved watching Kobe. I don’t think there will ever be another MJ, but he’s definitely as close as it gets that we’ll ever see.”

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on OKC Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who after an early-season injury has taken things to another level in 2014-15:

During this recent streak of unbelievable MVP-level games — a career-high nine straight of at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists — it’s Westbrook’s finesse and improved touch around the rim that’s vaulted his kamikaze style to the next level. He’s playing with a controlled chaos that’s so rare. He’s darting to the rim with that same breakneck speed, but routinely maneuvering around the basket with a smoothness we’re not used to and tossing in feathery layups with either hand. His shot selection has always been criticized. His efficiency has always been used as an argument against him. But that’s not a crutch his biggest skeptics can lean on right now. Westbrook, again, was economical with his usage on Tuesday night: 20 shots, 11 makes, 32 points (to go along with his usual seven assists, six rebounds and four steals). In his career, Westbrook is a 43 percent shooter. But this season, he’s currently at 49.5 percent. Some would suggest he’s due for a regression to the norm. But others would view this as a different, improved Westbrook — the kind of dynamic yet efficient player who can make a legit case as the league’s best player.

Jabari Parker knee injury ends his season

Jabari Parker knee injury ends his season

Jabari Parker knee injury ends his season

Milwaukee Bucks rookie forward Jabari Parker suffered a left knee injury during the third quarter of last night’s game in Phoenix. He returned to Milwaukee this afternoon to undergo an MRI that revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee. Parker will undergo surgery to repair the injury and is expected to miss the remainder of the 2014-15 season.

This is a horrible blow to a Bucks team that is enjoying a very respectable season.

Parker was also a top favorite to win the 2014-15 Rookie of the Year award.

In 25 games this season, Parker averaged 12.3 points (2nd among rookies) and 5.5 rebounds (3rd) in 29.5 minutes per game (3rd) while helping the Bucks to a 13-12 record. He scored in double figures 17 times, including a career-best 23 points at Brooklyn on Nov. 19 that stands as the highest-scoring game by a Bucks teenager in franchise history.

The Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in October/November, Parker began his career by posting double-doubles in two of his first three games (11 points and 10 rebounds on Oct. 31 vs. Philadelphia, and 13 points and 11 rebounds on Nov. 1 at Washington). In doing so, he became just the 14th player in the last 30 seasons to record multiple double-doubles within his first three career games, and the only teenager to accomplish the feat.

Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting on the 2-22 Sixers, who have such a limited roster that there’s no reason to expect them, as a group, to be competitive for all four quarters of a game:

Sixers coach Brett Brown especially disappointed by latest loss

Monday’s 105-87 setback to the Boston Celtics at Wells Fargo Center was one game 76ers coach Brett Brown quickly wants to forget.

“Last night for me was the most disappointing home game that we’ve had in a while,” Brown said after Tuesday’s practice at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. “For the first time, I didn’t recognize us. That’s not this team at all.”

The Sixers (2-22) shot 35.5 percent from the field and 14.3 percent on three-pointers and committed 23 turnovers.

Ronny Turiaf out for season after hip surgery

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that forward/center Ronny Turiaf underwent a successful arthroscopic procedure this morning on his right hip. The operation was performed by Dr. Bryan Kelly at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Turiaf will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2014-15 season.

Turiaf played in two games this season, totaling one rebound and two assists in just over 18 minutes of action.

Bucks rookie Jabari Parker hurts knee

Milwaukee Bucks rookie Jabari Parker, who is averaging 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game this season, hurt his knee Tuesday. Hopefully it’s not serious. The extent of the injury isn’t known yet. Here’s the Journal Sentinel blog reporting:

Bucks rookie Jabari Parker hurts knee

It was a happy Bucks locker room after a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Khris Middleton lifted Milwaukee to a 96-94 victory Monday night.

But the joy was mixed with sincere concern over rookie Jabari Parker, who suffered a left knee injury early in the third quarter.

Parker’s left knee buckled without contact as he made a drive in transition and he was unable to leave the floor under his own power. He was carried off the court by teammates Zaza Pachulia and Johnny O’Bryant.

“As of right now we don’t know anything. They’ll do all the tests tomorrow and we’ll be able to report something then,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said after the game.

Here’s ESPN Los Angeles reporting on backup Clippers guard Jordan Farmar:

Jordan Farmar still trying to fully fit in with Clippers

Jordan Farmar had his best game as a Los Angeles Clipper on Monday night against the Detroit Pistons, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at him as he sat in the locker room after the game.

Farmar, who scored a season-high 15 points to go along with five assists in 23 minutes off the bench, thought nights like this would be more commonplace than aberrations when he signed a two-year, $4.2 million contract with the Clippers in the offseason.

But Farmar and the Clippers have yet to get fully comfortable with each other 24 games into the season…

Farmar’s biggest issue with the Clippers is getting inconsistent minutes and opportunities. While [head coach Doc] Rivers tells Farmar he’s going to get 20 minutes per night, Farmar has played 20 or more minutes just three times this season, including Monday’s game. On the season, he’s averaging 14.7 minutes per game, averaging 4.3 points, 1.8 assists and 1.2 rebounds. Each statistic represents a career low for the 28-year-old point guard.

Blazers center Robin Lopez breaks hand

Portland Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez breaks hand

Here’s the Columbian reporting some rough news for the Trail Blazers:

Blazers center Robin Lopez breaks hand

The Trail Blazers scored another win against a Western Conference contender, even though the win came with a caveat and a cost.

Behind 21 points, a career-high 10 rebounds and six assists from Damian Lillard, the Blazers defeated a short-handed San Antonio Spurs squad 108-95 Monday at the Moda Center.

But starting center Robin Lopez left the game in the third quarter with a right hand injury and did not return. Terry Stotts said he would be out “a while” with a fractured hand.

“I haven’t seen the play,” said Lopez, with a cast covering his right hand. “I think it’s a couple of fractures.”

Sacramento Kings fire coach Michael Malone

Sacramento Kings fire coach Michael Malone

The Sacramento Kings announced today that Michael Malone has been relieved of his head coaching duties, according to General Manager Pete D’Alessandro. Kings assistant coach Tyrone Corbin will assume head coaching responsibilities.

“This was an extremely difficult decision, but one we feel is in the best interest of the franchise moving forward,” said D’Alessandro. “Michael made significant contributions to the organization on many levels and helped foster cultural changes that positively impacted our team. We’re thankful for the commitment he exhibited during his time in Sacramento and wish him and his family the very best in the future.”

In 106 games at the helm, Malone compiled a 39-67 record since taking over as head coach prior the 2013-14 campaign. The Kings enter play Tuesday with an 11-13 mark on the season (fourth in Pacific Division standings).

The Philadelphia 76ers today announced they have signed power forward/center Furkan Aldemir (Fur-kahn Al-di-meer).

The native of Turkey has been playing professionally in his home country since 2007-08. He joined Galatasaray Liv Hospital in 2011 and helped them earn the Turkish Basketball League (TBL) title in 2012-13 before finishing as runner-up in 2013-14. Aldemir (6′10″, 240) was leading the TBL in rebounding with 11 per game this season, after leading the league in total rebounds in 2013-14 and earning All-Star honors in 2010 and 2012.

During EuroLeague play, Aldemir was part of the Galatasaray team that advanced to the final 16 in 2011-12 and the top eight in 2013-14.

Aldemir is also a member of the Turkish senior national team and competed in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. At the 2011 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship, Aldemir averaged 15 points, a tournament-high 16 rebounds and nearly two blocks per game en route to earning All-Tournament honors.

Aldemir was originally the 53rd overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and the Sixers acquired his rights from Houston on July 13, 2013. Prior to his signing, Aldemir was one of five players (Dario Saric, Vasilije Micic, Jordan McRae and Arsalan Kazemi) playing internationally whose rights are held by the Sixers.

In a related move, the Sixers waived Ronald Roberts.

Kings fire coach Mike Malone

Sacramento Kings fire coach Mike Malone

Here’s the Sacramento Bee reporting a huge late-night Kings development:

Kings fire coach Mike Malone

The Kings have fired coach Michael Malone, league sources confirmed Sunday night, and will replace him with assistant coach Tyrone Corbin.

After starting the season 5-1, the Kings are 11-13 and have lost three in a row and eight of their last 10.

Star center DeMarcus Cousins has missed the last nine games because of viral meningitis. The Kings are 2-7 without him.

Malone, who went 39-67, was hired before the 2013-14 season after a group led by Vivek Ranadive purchased the franchise and vowed to keep it in Sacramento.

Malone was hired before Pete D’Alessandro came aboard as general manager. Ranadive declared Malone was the best assistant coach on the market and he had to hire him before another team did.

Ronny Turiaf to undergo hip surgery

Ronny Turiaf to undergo hip surgery

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that center/forward Ronny Turiaf will undergo an arthroscopic procedure on his right hip. The operation will be performed this Tuesday by Dr. Bryan Kelly at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. A further update on Turiaf’s status will be provided following Tuesday’s procedure.

Turiaf has played in two games this season, totaling one rebound and two assists in just over 18 minutes of action. Turiaf spent the first five games of the season and the last 14 contests on the inactive list due to right hip soreness.

Heat assign Shabazz Napier and Hassan Whiteside to D-League

The Miami HEAT announced today that they have assigned both guard Shabazz Napier and center Hassan Whiteside to their NBA Development League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Napier has appeared in 23 games with the HEAT this season averaging 5.7 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 21.4 minutes while shooting 42.9 percent from the field. He previously scored in double-figures in six-straight games from November 16 through November 25, the longest such streak by a HEAT rookie since Michael Beasley did so in eight consecutive games from April 1, 2009 through April 15, 2009,

Whiteside, who was signed by Miami on November 24, has appeared in three games with the HEAT this season totaling six points, four rebounds and a block in nine minutes of action while shooting a perfect 3-of-3 from the field. Earlier this season, he appeared in three games in the NBA Development League with the Iowa Energy and averaged 22.0 points, 15.7 rebounds, 5.33 blocks and 28.7 minutes while shooting 85.7 percent from the field, helping them to a perfect 3-0 record.

OKC Thunder recall Grant Jerrett and Mitch McGary from D-League

The Oklahoma City Thunder has recalled forwards Grant Jerrett and Mitch McGary from the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Jerrett has appeared in four games (four starts) for the Blue this season, averaging 10.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.0 assist in 21.0 minutes per game.

McGary has played in six games (six starts) with the Blue this year, averaging 17.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.50 steals, and 1.33 blocks in 25.5 minutes per contest.

Video: Vince Carter IT’S OVER dunk

Video of that legendary Vince Carter IT’S OVER dunk:

Sixers sign Ronald Roberts, waive Jorge Gutierrez

Sixers sign Ronald Roberts, waive Jorge Gutierrez

The Philadelphia 76ers today announced they have signed free agent forward Ronald Roberts from their NBA Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers. He is the 11th D-League to NBA “Call-Up” of the 2014-15 NBA Development League season.

In a related move, the Sixers waived Jorge Gutierrez.

Roberts started all eight games for the Sevens so far this season, averaging team-highs of 18 points and 12 rebounds while shooting 67% from the floor. He was also on the Sixers roster during the preseason and the Orlando Pro Summer League.

Los Angeles D-Fenders add Ater Majok

The Los Angeles D-Fenders have acquired forward/center Ater Majok, it was announced today by General Manger Nick Mazzella.

Drafted out of UCONN in the second round (58th overall) of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, Majok appeared in three Summer League games with the Lakers before signing with BK SPU Nitra of Slovakia. The 6’10” forward/center averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 1.4 assists in 41 games for Nitra in 2011-12. In 113 games internationally between 2011 and 2014, Majok tallied 9.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.

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