Video: Best NBA crossovers from 2014-15

Enjoy this video showcasing the 60 best NBA crossovers from the 2014-15 season:

Video: 2014-15 NBA hustle plays

Enjoy this video showcasing some of the best hustle plays from the 2014-15 NBA season:

Jazz sign forward J.J. O`Brien

The Utah Jazz have signed free agent forward J.J. O’Brien.

The deal is likely non-guaranteed and merely brings O’Brien to training camp.

O’Brien (6-7, 220, San Diego State) played one season at University of Utah (2010-11) before transferring to San Diego State (2011-15) to finish his collegiate career. He averaged 10.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists during his senior campaign with the Aztecs. O’Brien earned a 2014 All-Mountain West Conference honorable mention after posting eight double-figure scoring efforts and logging two games with 10-or-more rebounds as a junior.

The 23-year-old forward was a member of the Utah Jazz at the 2015 Utah Jazz Summer League where he saw action in all three games, averaging 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 13.0 minutes. He also played with the Jazz entry in the 2015 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, owning averages of 4.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 18.8 minutes.

A native of San Diego, O’Brien played high school basketball at Alta Loma High School in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

The Atlanta Hawks have made hires to their Athletic Performance Team, it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations/Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. Keke (kay-kay) Lyles has been named Executive Director of Player Performance, Art Horne Head Athletic Trainer, Mike Roncarati Director of Rehabilitation and Chris Chase Athletic Performance Coach. They join Assistant Athletic Trainer Scottie Parker on the staff.

“The health and well-being of our players are a critical component of our ability to succeed,” Budenholzer said. “Our Athletic Performance Team has a wealth of experience working with high-level athletes in injury prevention, treatment and development that will serve us well and keep us strong over the course of a long season.”

Lyles will be responsible for overseeing and directing the Athletic Performance Team, and developing personal health and performance plans for each of the players. He spent the past two years with the Golden State Warriors, serving as Director of Athletic Performance/Assistant Coach. Lyles joined the Warriors from the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he was the club’s Strength and Conditioning Coach. He also spent a season with the Indiana Pacers as an Assistant Strength Coach and completed an internship with the Boston Celtics. A native of Redlands, CA, Lyles received his Bachelor’s Degree in Rehabilitation Science and his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Northeastern University.

Horne comes to the Hawks from Northeastern University, where he was Director of Sports Performance, with oversight of the development and care of all varsity student-athletes, while serving as the Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach for the men’s basketball team. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Athletic Training and Physical Education with a teacher education certification from Canisius, and also holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Boston University.

Roncarati served as the Golden State Warriors’ Strength and Conditioning Coach the last two seasons, working previously as a physical therapist and strength and conditioning coach in his home state of Rhode Island. He graduated from Northeastern University with a Doctor of Physical Therapy, working with the athletic training and strength and conditioning staffs of the school’s basketball and baseball teams. A native of Cumberland, RI, Roncarati is a credentialed Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Chase was most recently with the University of Southern California, where he was an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach. He has previously served as an Assistant Strength Coach at the University of Rhode Island, Springfield College in Massachusetts and American International College in Massachusetts. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from The University of Connecticut and a Master’s Degree in Strength and Conditioning from Springfield College.

Parker is in his second season in Atlanta. He came to the Hawks from Fusionetics Sports Science, and was previously with the Seattle Seahawks, where he was part of the training staff for the 2014 Super Bowl champions. He also has experience with the Portland Trail Blazers and Ontario Warriors arena league football team. A Certified Athletic Trainer by the National Athletic Trainers Association, and a Performance Enhancement Specialist as well as Corrective Exercise Specialist by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, Parker graduated from University of Northwestern (St. Paul, MN) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology and a minor in Coaching. He earned his Master’s Degree from California Baptist University in Riverside, CA in Athletic Training.

Video: Russell Westbrook explosiveness

Enjoy this video showcasing the explosiveness of Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook:

The following is being sent on behalf of the family of Darryl Dawkins:

STATEMENT FROM THE FAMILY OF DARRYL DAWKINS

“It is with great sadness that we share the passing of our beloved husband and father, Darryl Dawkins, who succumbed today to a heart attack. Darryl touched the hearts and spirits of so many with his big smile and personality, ferocious dunks, but more than anything, his huge, loving heart. His family, wife Janice, children Dara, Tabitha, Nicholas and Alexis, along with countless family, friends, and fans, all mourn his loss. More than anything Darryl accomplished in his basketball career as the inimitable ‘Chocolate Thunder,’ he was most proud of his role and responsibility as a husband and father. We ask that the public please respect our privacy as we grieve his loss.”

LeBron James sells Miami home

In case you just woke up from a year-long coma, LeBron James left the Miami Heat in the summer of 2014 and returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers. And now his Miami home reportedly has a new owner. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

LeBron James sells Miami home

LeBron James took his talents to Miami, and now he’s taking his money out of it.

James, who played with the Heat for four seasons before returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers last year, sold his Miami home Tuesday for $13.4 million, a source confirmed to ESPN.com.

James paid $9 million in 2010 for the home, which has six bedrooms and eight and a half bathrooms. He sold it to Timo and Nathalia Kipp, who are married Florida real estate investors.

L.A. D-Fenders announce coaching staff

The Los Angeles D-Fenders have hired Paul Woolpert, Brian Walsh and Jermaine Byrd as assistant coaches and have promoted Will Scott to assistant coach/video coordinator, it was announced today by General Manager Nick Mazzella.

“I am pleased to have Paul Woolpert, Brian Walsh, Jermaine Byrd and Will Scott join us as assistant coaches for this upcoming season,” D-Fenders head coach Casey Owens said. “Paul and Brian are veteran coaches who have won multiple championships throughout their careers. Both have been head coaches in the past, and their experience, leadership, and expertise will be invaluable to the organization as we begin this new challenge. Jermaine and Will are D-League veterans, rising young coaches, and have worked extensively with Team USA and the Lakers, respectively. It’s a dynamic staff, and all of us are focused on bringing championship level basketball to El Segundo.”

Woolpert adds nearly 30 years of professional experience to the D-Fenders staff. Woolpert spent the 2014-15 season as lead assistant coach for the Perth Wildcats in the National Basketball League in Australia, after spending the three seasons prior as the head coach of the Townsville Crocodiles. Woolpert served as head coach of the Tulsa 66ers in 2008-09, after spending the previous four seasons as head coach of the Yakima Sun Kings in the Continental Basketball Association. Yakima enjoyed continued success with Woolpert at the helm, winning the CBA Championship in 2006 and 2007, while setting a CBA record for winning percentage, finishing the 2007-08 season with a 43-5 record (.895). Woolpert got his start as a scout and video coordinator for the Seattle SuperSonics in 1986, remaining in the role until 1994. From 1995-2004, Woolpert served as a Continental Basketball Association scout for the Portland Trail Blazers. Woolpert would also coach in other capacities while maintaining those responsibilities, spending time as an assistant coach with the Sioux Falls Skyforce and the Yakima Sun Kings. Woolpert was promoted to head coach of the Sun Kings prior to the 1998 season, winning his first CBA Championship in 2000.

Walsh joins the D-Fenders staff after spending the 2014-15 season as assistant coach at Albuquerque High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Walsh spent the 2012-13 season alongside D-Fenders head coach Casey Owens as an assistant coach for Guaiqueries in Venezuela, after serving as an assistant coach in Belarus, China and Vietnam. In 2006, Walsh got his first head coaching experience with Gambusinos De Fresnillo in Mexico, before joining the Colorado 14ers staff. Walsh spent the 2007-08 season as associate head coach for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, closing out the season as interim head coach. Prior to the 2009-10 season, Walsh took over as head coach of Al Ahli Professional Sports Club, winning the SBL U19 Championship, while reaching the semi-finals of the Arab Nations Cup. Walsh got his start at the professional level with the New Mexico Slam as head coach/director of player personnel, before joining the Baylor University staff as an assistant coach and lead scout. Prior to the 2004-05 season, Walsh joined the Dakota Wizards staff as assistant coach under head coach Casey Owens. The Wizards would finish the season with a league-best record of 32-16. Walsh would then serve as head coach of the Nebraska Cranes of the USBL in 2006, winning the USBL championship. After the season, Walsh joined the Colorado 14ers as an assistant coach. The 14ers reached the D-League Finals in 2007, with Walsh responsible for all scouting and player development responsibilities.

Byrd hails from Houston, Texas and returns to the D-Fenders after serving as an assistant coach for the 2014-15 season. Byrd played a key role in player development, helping Jabari Brown, Vander Blue and Jamaal Franklin earn GATORADE Call-Ups. Prior to joining the D-Fenders staff, Byrd spent the 2013-14 season as an assistant coach with the Sioux Falls SkyForce. Byrd worked his way up within the Tulsa 66ers organization before joining the SkyForce. He served as an assistant coach for the 66ers during the 2011-12 season and was the team’s video coordinator the two seasons prior. In 2011, Byrd served as an assistant coach on the USA Men’s Basketball team during the Pan American Games, helping the team to a bronze medal. Byrd played collegiately at the University of Sioux Falls and led the team to its first NAIA Final Four appearance in school history.

Scott begins his fifth season with the D-Fenders and will continue in his role as video coordinator, while also serving as an assistant coach. Scott’s primary responsibilities include video editing, scouting upcoming opponents and assisting in on-court player development. Scott also assists the Lakers in the video room, and in the summer months he joins the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, serving as their video coordinator and actively participating in practices, having done so each of the past two seasons. While on campus at Indiana University, Scott worked as a student manager and acted as an assistant to the coaching staff. His duties included video editing, supporting practice drills and aiding with in-game operations.

Nina Hsieh returns for her seventh season as head athletic trainer for the D-Fenders. Hsieh monitors the health of the team and is responsible for injury prevention and treatment of the players. Hsieh also assists the Lakers training staff, joining the team for training camp, as well as traveling annually with the team to the NBA Summer League. Hsieh has functioned as athletic trainer for the UC Santa Barbara men’s soccer team (2010-11), along with the women’s basketball team (2004-08).

Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has signed Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to a contract extension. According to multiple reports, the extension is a four-year, $52 million deal.

“Michael is a huge part of what we are trying to build here in Charlotte,” Cho said. “He has dedicated himself to improving and expanding his game. Michael continues to develop on both ends of the court and has become a key piece of our team. We are thrilled that he is a Charlotte Hornet.”

The fourth-year small forward has played the first three seasons of his career in Charlotte after being selected with the second overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. In 2014-15, Kidd-Gilchrist averaged a career-best 10.9 points and 7.6 rebounds in 28.9 minutes over the course of 55 games played (52 starts). His 7.6 rebounds per game ranked first among all small forwards in the NBA. Last season, he registered career highs of 12 double-doubles and 35 double-figure scoring games after totaling one and 14, respectively, the previous season. The University of Kentucky product holds career averages of 9.0 points and 6.1 rebounds in 26.2 minutes per game in 195 career appearances (192 starts) in three seasons in the NBA.

During the 2014-15 campaign, Kidd-Gilchrist posted a net differential of +10.8 points per 100 possessions, the largest differential of any Hornets player (Charlotte was +3.1 with him on the court as opposed to -7.7 with him off the court). His contributions are not limited to the defensive side of the ball, as the Hornets scored 2.7 more points per game with him in the lineup and Kidd-Gilchrist improved his field goal percentage from eight feet from the basket and further by 11.5 percentage points as compared to his first two seasons (.280 from 2012-14 compared to .395 in 2014-15). In the last two seasons under Head Coach Steve Clifford, Kidd-Gilchrist has been an essential component to Charlotte’s success. The team has posted a 62-55 record (.530) with him in the lineup as opposed to a 14-33 record (.298) when he has been unable to play. As a rookie, he was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in November 2012 and was named to the 2013 NBA All-Rookie Second Team.

“I want to thank Hornets ownership, Rich, Chad, Coach Clifford and the entire organization,” said Kidd-Gilchrist. “I’m excited to continue my career in Charlotte and be a part of the Hornets organization moving forward. I can’t wait to get out on the court with my teammates for this upcoming season.”

Miami Heat sign Keith Benson

Miami Heat sign Keith Benson

The Miami HEAT announced today that they have signed center Keith Benson.

Benson has spent the past two seasons playing professionally in Belarus, China, Lithuania and Estonia while previously playing in Italy and the Philippines. He split last season between Neptunas Klaipeda of the Lithuanian Basketball League and BC Kalev/Cramo Tallinn of the Estonian Basketball League. He appeared in 26 games (eight starts) for Neptunas, averaging 5.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 11.8 minutes while shooting 52.3 percent from the field and 80.9 percent from the line. He also appeared in 21 games (all starts) for BC Kalev/Cramo Tallinn last season and averaged 15.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.67 blocks and 27.6 minutes while shooting 54.3 percent from the field and 72.9 percent from the line where he was named to the All-Estonian Third Team.

Benson has appeared in three NBA games, all with Golden State, totaling three rebounds in nine minutes of action. He also has appeared in 44 NBA Development League games (37 starts) while playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce (2011-12) and Erie BayHawks (2012-13), averaging 12.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.59 blocks and 26.0 minutes while shooting 48.3 percent from the field. In his 20 games with the Skyforce, he posted seven double-doubles while scoring in double-figures 18 times. Additionally, he has made appearances in the last three NBA Summer Leagues, mostly recently with the Orlando Magic this season, where he helped the team to the championship game after averaging 12.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.40 blocks and 23.4 minutes in five appearances (two starts). He lead the team blocks (12) and field goals made (24) while placing second in points (64), rebounds (31) and free throws made (16).

Benson was originally drafted in the second round (48th overall) in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks.

Video: Jerian Grant highlights

New York Knicks rookie guard Jerian Grant did big things at Notre Dame last season, averaging 16.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game, shooting a very impressive 47.8 percent from the field. Enjoy this “DC Clips” highlight video:

Lakers sign Michael Frazier

Lakers sign Michael Frazier

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed guard Michael Frazier to a multi-year contract, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

The 21-year-old Frazier, a 6’4’’ shooting guard, most recently played for the Golden State Warriors in the 2015 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, averaging 4.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 15.8 minutes per game over six contests (all starts).

In his three collegiate seasons at the University of Florida (2012-15), Frazier averaged 9.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 25.7 minutes per game while shooting 44.3% from the field and 43.2% from beyond-the-arc. As a sophomore in 2013-14, Frazier made 118 three-pointers (a Florida single-season record) on an impressive 44.5% clip from deep, while averaging 12.4 points and 30.5 minutes per game, playing a key role in Florida’s run to the 2014 Final Four. That season, Frazier was both an All-SEC Tournament and All-NCAA Tournament South Regional team selection, in addition to his SEC Academic Honor Roll accolades. The Tampa, FL native went undrafted as an early entry in the 2015 NBA Draft.

The NBA announced today that it has fined the Los Angeles Clippers $250,000 for violating NBA rules prohibiting teams from offering players unauthorized business or investment opportunities.

The violation involved a presentation made by the Clippers to free agent DeAndre Jordan on July 2 that improperly included a potential third-party endorsement opportunity for the player. While the NBA’s investigation ultimately concluded that the presentation of this opportunity had no impact on Jordan’s decision to re-sign with the Clippers (especially since he reportedly then agreed to sign with the Dallas Mavericks before later changing his mind), the team’s conduct nevertheless violated the league’s anti-circumvention rules.

The NBA’s anti-circumvention rules prohibit teams from, among other things, providing or arranging for others to provide any form of compensation to a player unless such compensation is included in a player contract or otherwise expressly permitted under the CBA.

Utah Jazz sign Jeff Withey

utah jazz

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has signed center Jeff Withey to a multi-year contract.

Withey (7-0, 222, Kansas) spent the past two seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans, averaging 3.0 points on 52.3 percent shooting, 2.3 rebounds and 0.72 blocks in 9.9 minutes over 95 career games (four starts). He scored 10-plus points on three occasions during the 2014-15 campaign, including a season-high 14 points and a career-tying-high eight boards on March 20 at Golden State. Withey has nine career games with three-or-more blocks, including two five-block games. The 7-0 center was originally selected in the second round (39th overall selection) of the 2013 NBA Draft by Portland prior to being traded to New Orleans.

According to Yahoo Sports it is a two-year, partially guaranteed contract. 

Prior to the NBA, Withey played four seasons at Kansas (2009-13), averaging 13.7 points and 8.5 rebounds during his senior campaign. He finished his career as the all-time career shot block leader for both Kansas and the Big 12, ending his Jayhawks tenure with 312 total blocks. Withey was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in consecutive seasons (2012, 2013) and earned All-Big 12 First Team honors in 2013. During the 2011-12 season, he set an NCAA Tournament record for most blocks in a single tournament with 31 rejections in helping KU to an appearance in the Final Four and National Championship Game.

A native of San Diego, Calif., Withey’s last name is pronounced “WITH-ee.”

Rockets re-sign Jason Terry

Jason Terry re-signs with Rockets

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has re-signed guard Jason Terry.

Terry (6-2, 180, Arizona) played 77 games for the Houston Rockets during the 2014-15 season averaging 7.0 points, 1.9 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 21.3 minutes per game. The sixteenth year guard also played in and started all 17 games for the Rockets during the 2015 NBA Playoffs averaging 9.2 points, 2.8 assists and 1.9 rebounds in 28.6 minutes per game. The University of Arizona product and Seattle native holds career averages of 14.8 points, 4.2 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 31.8 minutes per game over the course of 1,213 career appearances, including 668 starts, with the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets.

Terry was originally selected tenth overall in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks. In his first season in Houston, Terry became only the third player in NBA history, along with Ray Allen and Jason Kidd, to make more than 2,000 three-point field goals in their career. He currently sits at 2,076 three-point field goals made and third on the all-time list. Terry was also named NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2009. He was acquired by the Houston Rockets on September 17, 2014 in a trade with the Sacramento Kings.

Video: Reggie Miller NBA highlights

Indiana Pacers legend Reggie Miller turns 50 years old today. Enjoy these video highlights of some of the awesome things he did during his lengthy, awesome NBA career:

The Miami HEAT announced today they have extended a single affiliation partnership with the NBA Development League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce through the 2016-17 season. The HEAT will continue to be the only NBA team affiliated with the Skyforce and will continue full control over their basketball operations. Miami is one of 18 NBA teams to have a one-on-one partnership with an NBA D-League team, and one of eight to enter into a “hybrid” affiliation, meaning the HEAT will continue to pay for and control the Skyforce’s basketball operations, while existing local ownership maintains primary responsibility for the team’s off-the-court business operations and community initiatives. When the teams first entered into the new partnership prior to the 2013-14 season, the Skyforce updated their logo to resemble the colors and signature font of the Miami HEAT.

“We have been working with the Skyforce for six years and feel that it is one of the most professional organizations in the NBA Development League,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “We have had a very successful working partnership with them the last two years and have had successful development with current players Tyler Johnson and Hassan Whiteside, and past players Shabazz Napier, Henry Walker, Justin Hamilton and Zoran Dragic.”

The HEAT join the Boston Celtics (Maine Red Claws), Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids Drive), Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers), Memphis Grizzlies (Iowa Energy), Orlando Magic (Erie BayHawks), Phoenix Suns (Bakersfield Jam) and Sacramento Kings (Reno Bighorns) as NBA teams with “hybrid” NBA D-League affiliations.

Nine other NBA teams, including the Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton Charge), Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors), Los Angeles Lakers (L.A. D-Fenders), New York Knicks (Westchester Knicks) Oklahoma City Thunder (Oklahoma City Blue), Philadelphia 76ers (Delaware 87ers), San Antonio Spurs (Austin Spurs), Toronto Raptors (Raptors 905) and Utah Jazz (Idaho Stampede) fully own and operate their D-League teams.

“The HEAT have been an amazing partner for the past two years and we’re happy to be affiliated with such a championship level franchise and first class organization,” said Mike Heineman, Skyforce owner/president.

The Sioux Falls Skyforce joined the NBA D-League in 2006 after serving stints with both the International Basketball League (2000-01) and the Continental Basketball Association (1989-00 & 2001-2006). The Skyforce captured two CBA Championships (1996 & 2005) and three CBA division titles as well as making five postseason berths in the NBA D-League. Since the teams entered the hybrid affiliation for the 2013-14 campaign, the Skyforce have made the playoffs both years, including their first Central Division title in the 2014-15 season.

The Milwaukee Bucks today announced Alicia Dupies as the organization’s new Vice President of Community Relations. Dupies brings over 20 years of experience in project development and community affairs to the Bucks staff, where she will also serve as the managing director of the new Bucks Foundation, which will be launched later this fall.

“From the day we came on board our ownership group has been committed not just to putting a championship-caliber team on the court, but to assembling a world-class staff that is committed to Milwaukee and will make a difference in our community,” Bucks president Peter Feigin said. “Alicia is uniquely qualified to lead the charge as we work to revitalize downtown Milwaukee and further engrain the Bucks within this vibrant community. We’re so thrilled to welcome her to our talented leadership group.”

Here’s the Detroit Free Press reporting on the Pistons, who welcome a talented, confident rookie into their mix this upcoming season:

Rookie Stanley Johnson wants big things for Pistons

The Pistons know Stan Van Gundy’s track record.

Second-year point guard Spencer Dinwiddie knew that his head coach hadn’t missed the playoffs until last year when the team finished out of the hunt.

They are young, confident and expect to not only just make the playoffs, but contend for NBA titles in the near future.

“We just don’t want to get in as the eighth-seed,’’ said rookie forward Stanley Johnson. “We’re trying to put our efforts forth to win a championship every year that we’re here. I think any guy that’s interested in winning would want to be here. I think we’re a team of substance instead of flash. As long as we’re doing our job every day I think our fans will come and we have to focus on basketball instead of selling tickets.’’

Cavs to sign Sasha Kaun

This has been expected due to earlier reports, but now it’s happening. Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting some Cavs bench-related news:

The Cavaliers have agreed to a two-year contract with center Sasha Kaun, a league source confirmed. He will serve as a backup in a deep frontcourt.

Kaun, 30, was a 2008 second-round pick, but has spent his career overseas. He averaged 9.9 points and 4.5 rebounds last season for CSKA Moscow in the Euroleague.

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