Here’s ESPN.com reporting on Team USA:

derrick rose

Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose was a last-minute scratch Wednesday night from Team USA’s exhibition game against the Dominican Republic at Madison Square Garden.

Rose was scheduled to play Wednesday despite sitting out practices Monday and Tuesday to rest his sore knees after making his return to a game for the first time in eight months Saturday night in an exhibition victory over Brazil in Chicago.

One source familiar with Team USA’s plans told ESPN.com that Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski decided to hold Rose out of the Dominican Republic game to make more minutes available for players vying for one of the squad’s last few roster spots as final cuts approach.

Rose participated in shootaround Wednesday morning and, according to one source present, moved “well” throughout the session after sitting out the last two practices.

Team USA moves on without Kevin Durant

Team USA moves on without Kevin Durant

While Kevin Durant takes a step back, the U.S. national team is moving forward.

Durant stunned the Americans when he decided to withdraw after practicing with the team during its first week of training camp. Now that they’ve had time to get over the surprise, they aren’t dwelling on it.

“I’m through talking about Kevin,” U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said Tuesday after the Americans practiced for the upcoming Basketball World Cup.

“We’re done with that. We’re on to this group. What a coach does, a coach coaches who he has, not who he doesn’t have. You’re married, you’re with that woman, you’re not thinking about who you dated.”

Durant pulled out Aug. 7, shortly after the Americans finished working out in Las Vegas, where a year earlier he announced his plans to play for the team this summer.

– Associated Press

Here’s the Charlotte Observer reporting on yet another famous person who has dumped very cold water on their head for a good cause:

Michael Jordan takes the ice bucket challenge

Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan accepted the ALS ice bucket challenge, going the extra mile and donating money as well as taking an ice bath.

David Beckham, Ray Allen and Derek Jeter challenged Jordan to take the challenge, which has taken on a viral nature and has raised more than $31.5 million for ALS research from July 29 to Aug. 20.

Warriors guard Nemanja Nedovic injures foot

Here’s the Bay Area News Group blog reporting:

Warriors guard Nemanja Nedovic fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot, Serbian national team doctor Dragan Radovanovic said in a statement Wednesday.

The Warriors had previously been informed that there was a stress fracture in the foot that sidelined Nedovic, who went down Aug. 3 while playing in an exhibition game in Italy and now appears to be out for the FIBA World Cup.

Radovanovic delivered the news based on what he said was new information after previously announcing Aug. 8 that tests could not confirm the fifth metatarsal fracture.

The Atlanta Hawks have added Charles Lee and Ben Sullivan to the coaching staff, it was announced today by Head Coach Mike Budenholzer.

“Charles and Ben bring unique skills and abilities to our staff. Both have strong backgrounds in player development that will complement our emphasis on internal team improvement,” Budenholzer said. “We feel very fortunate to add them and are excited to see how they positively impact our group.”

Lee, who spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at Bucknell, was the 2006 Patriot League Player of the Year for the Bisons and ranks 22nd on the school’s all-time scoring list. After graduating with a degree in business management, the Gaithersburg, MD native played professionally in Israel, Belgium and Germany.

Sullivan most recently worked in basketball development and as an assistant video coordinator with the San Antonio Spurs. He played collegiately at Cal-State Northridge and University of Portland, competing professionally in China, Germany and Chile following graduation. Sullivan joined University of Portland’s coaching staff in 2009, then was an assistant coach at Lewis & Clark College in Portland before joining the Spurs.

Lee and Sullivan join Kenny Atkinson, Darvin Ham, Taylor Jenkins and Neven Spahija on Budenholzer’s staff. Additionally, Jim Thomas, a member of the coaching staff in 2013-14, has been moved into a front office role as a scout, a position he previously served in with Oklahoma City, New York and Toronto.

Video: Team USA bball training in Chicago

Enjoy these video highlights of Team USA’s recent training sessions in Chicago from August 14-16 as they prepare for the upcoming World Cup tournament:

Fort Wayne Mad Ants holding open tryouts

Dream of playing in the NBA? Realize that dream won’t come true? How about another dream that still probably won’t come true but is at least slightly more realistic?

The Fort Wayne Mad Ants announced today that they will hold open tryouts on September 14th in Chicago, Illinois for the 2014-15 NBA Development League season. The open tryout in Chicago will be the second of several tryouts held by the Mad Ants across the country leading up to the 2014-15 season.

The Chicago tryout will take place on Sunday, September 14th from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at the Quest Multisport Complex located at 2641 West Harrison Street, Chicago, Illinois 60612. Check-in begins at 1:00 p.m. and the tryout will begin at 2:00 p.m.

The Mad Ants local player tryouts offer athletes an opportunity to showcase their talents in front of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants’ coaching staff. Players will compete to earn an invitation to the team’s training camp, which will begin in early November.

Players who are interested in trying out for the Mad Ants in Chicago should submit the official registration and release forms, in addition to a $150 non-refundable fee to the Mad Ants office. Late registration is $200 for all forms received after Thursday, September 11th. Payments must be made by money order or cashier’s check. Application forms are available on the Mad Ants’ website at www.fortwaynehoops.com.

Jazz sign forward Jack Cooley

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has signed free-agent forward Jack Cooley.

Cooley (6-9, 246, Notre Dame) played for Trabzonspor in the Turkish Basketball League during the 2013-14 season, averaging 12.6 points and 6.9 rebounds in 22.9 minutes in 28 games (19 starts).

The 23-year-old forward played four years at Notre Dame (2009-13), averaging 13.1 points and 10.1 rebounds during his senior season. He also led the team with 41 blocked shots and earned 2013 All-Big East First Team honors. Cooley totaled 32 double-doubles throughout his career with the Fighting Irish, including 19 his senior campaign. He also earned the 2012 Big East Most Improved Player award and was named to the 2012 All-Big East Second Team. Cooley became the 53rd player in Notre Dame history to reach the 1,000-point mark and finished with 1,017 career points and grabbed 792 career rebounds. He was not selected in the 2013 NBA Draft.

A native of Evanston, Ill., Cooley played high school basketball at Glenbrook South in Glenview, Ill. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance from Notre Dame.

Video: Best Kings plays from 2013-14 season

The Sacramento Kings finished with a 28-54 record last season. But they still had some highlights. They did. Enjoy this video:

Video: Top Lakers plays of 2013-14 season

The Los Angeles Lakers struggled last season, finishing with a 27-55 record. But they still had some highlights. Enjoy this video of the best Lakers plays from the 2013-14 season:

NBA referee Dick Bavetta is retiring

NBA President, Basketball Operations Rod Thorn announced today that longtime NBA referee Dick Bavetta will be retiring after 39 years of service.

Bavetta, who began his NBA career on Dec. 2, 1975, at Madison Square Garden in a game between the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics finished with a record 2,635 consecutive regular season games officiated, having never missed an assigned game throughout his entire career. Bavetta also officiated 270 Playoff games including 27 Finals games.

“Dick’s dedication and commitment to his craft has been an inspiration to all NBA officials,” said Thorn. “We are grateful for his contributions to our league, and we wish him the best as he enjoys his well-earned retirement.”

Bavetta worked three NBA All-Star Games (1989, 1995 and 2006) and was the first NBA referee selected to officiate the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona. Bavetta also refereed the 1997 McDonald’s Championship in Paris, 1993 Mexico Challenge and 1990 Japan Games in Tokyo.

“On behalf of myself and the entire Bavetta family, I would like to thank the NBA family and the National Basketball Referee Association for allowing me the honor and the privilege of representing them for 39 wonderful years,” said Bavetta.

“I am most proud of never having missed an assigned game, be it exhibition, regular season or playoffs, throughout my entire career. It really has been a great run.”

Prior to joining the NBA, Bavetta was an official with the Eastern League (CBA) for nine years, as well as the Rucker League, FIBA, Jersey Shore Basketball League, and both the Public and Catholic High School leagues in New York City.

Bavetta, a Brooklyn, New York native, attended Power Memorial Academy and also attended St. Francis College in Brooklyn. He is a member of the New York City Catholic High School Hall of Fame, the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame and received the National ProAm Lifetime Achievement Award.

Throughout his career, Bavetta has been actively involved in many charitable endeavors. In 1986 he established “The Bavetta Scholarships.” The program, which he personally finances, provides parochial high school scholarships for minority children. He also has volunteered with the Double H-Hole in the Woods Ranch working with critically ill children since 1992. Additionally he is actively involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

cavs

The Cavaliers have finalized their coaching staff and named Jim Boylan, Bret Brielmaier, Larry Drew and James Posey as assistant coaches on head coach David Blatt’s staff, Cavs General Manager David Griffin and Blatt announced today. They join Tyronn Lue, who was named associate head coach earlier this summer. Phil Handy will also serve as Director of Player Development and Assistant Coach, along with Vitaly Potapenko, who has been tabbed to continue as the team’s Assistant Director of Player Development.

Boylan joins Blatt’s staff after serving as an assistant for the Cavaliers during their 2013-14 campaign. Prior to joining the Cavaliers, he spent five seasons as the lead assistant coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, with the last 50 games of the 2012-13 season as the interim head coach. Boylan began his NBA coaching career with the Cavaliers as an assistant in 1992 under Lenny Wilkins and has since worked as an assistant with Chicago, Vancouver, Phoenix and Atlanta.

Brielmaier returns for his second season in Cleveland, having joined the team last July for the 2013-14 campaign. Prior to last year, Brielmaier spent four seasons in San Antonio, most recently as the team’s video coordinator. A graduate of the University of Arizona, he played four years for the Wildcats before starting his coaching career as the undergraduate assistant in 2008. In 2009, he joined the staff of the Spurs as a player development assistant and later promoted to video coordinator.

Drew joins the staff after one season as head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. Prior to his stint with the Bucks, he spent three seasons as head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, leading them to postseason appearances in each of those seasons. A first round selection by Detroit in the 1980 NBA Draft, Drew appeared in 714 career NBA games with averages of 11.4 points and 5.2 assists with the Pistons, Kansas City/Sacramento, L.A. Clipper and L.A. Lakers. The Kansas City native began his coaching career in 1992 and has served as an assistant coach with the Lakers, Pistons, Washington Wizards, New Jersey Nets and Hawks.

Posey joins the coaching staff after a successful first season as an assistant coach for the Cavaliers D-League affiliate, the Canton Charge. Posey, a 12-year NBA veteran, appeared in 864 career games with averages of 8.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.1 steals with the Nuggets, Houston, Memphis, Miami, Boston, New Orleans and Indiana. The Twinsburg, OH native also won two NBA Championships as a player with Miami (2005-06) and Boston (2007-08).

Handy returns to the staff after holding a similar role with the team last season. He joined the Cavaliers in 2013 after a two-year stint with the Lakers (2011-13). Prior to that, Handy spent five years as an AAU coach in Northern California. Over a 13-year period, he operated his own professional basketball training business, servicing NBA, European, college and many of the top-ranked high school players in the state. A former University of Hawaii basketball standout, Handy spent time in the NBA with Golden State and Portland, along with eight-years of playing experience overseas in Israel, France, England, Germany, Italy and Australia.

Potapenko returns to the staff as the Assistant Director of Player Development. Prior to joining the Cavs in July 2013, he spent the previous year as an assistant coach with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the D- League. That season, his team posted a 32-18 record en-route to their first NBADL Finals appearance. Potapenko was selected 12th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1996 NBA Draft and spent his first three seasons with the team. Potapenko went on to have an 11-year NBA career with the Cavaliers, Celtics, Seattle SuperSonics and Kings, with averages of 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

Grizzlies sign second round pick Jarnell Stokes

The Memphis Grizzlies signed 2014 second round draft pick Jarnell Stokes to a multi-year contract, the team announced today.

Stokes (6-9, 263) was selected by the Utah Jazz in the second round (35th overall) of the 2014 NBA Draft and traded to Memphis on draft night for a 2016 second round draft pick.

Before entering the NBA Draft, Stokes played three years at the University of Tennessee (2011-14), averaging 13.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.08 blocks on .530 shooting in 29.7 minutes in 87 games. The 20-year-old left the Volunteers ranked fourth in school history in double-doubles (40), eighth in total rebounds (836) and 14th in blocks (94). He led the Southeastern Conference in offensive rebounding in each of his final two years in Knoxville.

A First Team All-SEC selection as a junior last season, Stokes posted 15.1 points and a conference-best 10.6 rebounds on .531 shooting in 32.4 minutes in 37 games, guiding Tennessee to three NCAA Tournament victories and a trip to the Sweet 16. He boosted his averages to 18.0 points and 12.8 rebounds in four tournament games, including a 26-point, 14-rebound performance on March 21, 2014 vs. Massachusetts. Stokes was named Second Team All-SEC as a sophomore and earned SEC All-Freshman Team honors in his first collegiate season.

The Memphis native and Southwind High School graduate averaged 12.2 points and 9.4 rebounds in 26.6 minutes and recorded three double-doubles in five games (four starts) last month for the Grizzlies during the 2014 Orlando Pro Summer League. He ranked second among all players in rebounds per game.

Pistons sign Cartier Martin and Aaron Gray

Pistons

The Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Stan Van Gundy announced today that the club has signed free agent forward Cartier Martin and center Aaron Gray to contracts.

Martin, a 6-7, 220-pound forward has career averages of 5.4 points, 1.6 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 14.3 minutes in 220 games for Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, Golden State and Charlotte. Martin played in a career-high 59 games last season with Atlanta and Chicago averaging 5.6 points, 1.9 rebounds, 0.6 assists and 14.7 minutes. He played in 53 games for the Hawks, scoring a season-high 17 points in 17 minutes at Dallas (10/30) and finished the year averaging 5.9 points and 2.0 rebounds in 15.5 minutes per game.

A native of Crockett, TX, Martin went undrafted in the 2007 NBA Draft out of Kansas State University after averaging 13.8 points (.399 3FG), 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 112 games during his four-year career. He had a breakout junior season, averaging career-highs in points (18.0) and rebounds (6.6) in 28 games and averaged 17.1 points and 4.4 rebounds in 35 games as a senior. He has played professionally in Turkey, Italy and China, while also spending time in the NBA Development League with the Iowa Energy, where he was selected as a NBA D-League All-Star in 2009.

Gray, a 7-0, 270-pound center holds career averages of 3.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 12.1 minutes in 318 career games with Chicago, New Orleans, Toronto and Sacramento. He split time between Toronto and Sacramento during 2013-14 season, appearing in 37 games and averaging 1.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 0.6 assists and 9.6 minutes.

A native of Tarzana, CA, the 29-year-old spent the majority of last season with the Kings after being traded in December. Gray averaged 1.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, 0.6 assists and 10.2 minutes in 33 games with Sacramento.

Gray played collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh from 2003-07, where he averaged 9.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.2 blocks and 20.9 minutes in 113 games. During his junior year with the Panthers, Gray earned the Big-East 2005-06 Most Improved Player and was named to the All-Big East First Team after averaging 13.9 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 blocks in 33 games. He followed up his junior season with a solid senior year, averaging 13.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.7 blocks in 36 games and again, was named to the All-Big East First Team.

Raptors sign Jordan Hamilton

Raptors sign Jordan Hamilton

The Toronto Raptors announced Monday they have signed forward-guard Jordan Hamilton.

Hamilton, 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, averaged 6.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 17.0 minutes in 60 games (12 starts) last season with Denver and Houston. He scored in double figures 20 times, including a season-high 19 points November 8 at Phoenix. The Rockets acquired Hamilton from the Nuggets on February 20 in exchange for Aaron Brooks.

A product of University of Texas, Hamilton was selected 26th overall by Dallas in the 2011 NBA Draft. His rights were traded on draft night to Denver as part of a three-team deal involving Portland. In 126 career games (15 starts), he has averaged 5.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 13.3 minutes, while shooting .358 (114-for-318) from three-point range.

Here’s CSN Washington reporting on the Wizards:

DeJuan Blair ready to bring energy and toughness to Wizards

How Randy Wittman intends on using his deep core of interior options remains uncertain. Granted, the start of training camp is still weeks away, though don’t expect many specifics out of the Washington Wizards head coach regardless.

As of Thursday, newly signed center DeJuan Blair had yet to get into details with Wittman about his role. No matter. Blair knows exactly how he will help.

“I plan on just bringing energy and toughness to the team,” Blair said during a teleconference with reporters on Thursday. “And being a veteran guy, helping the young guys do the right thing and just have fun at the same time.”

Anybody who watched Blair tangle with the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the 2014 NBA playoffs knows he’s not underselling the energy and toughness angle.

Shawn Marion to reportedly join Cavs

Where LeBron James goes, other players wouldn’t mind going as well. That LeBron will be playing with Kyrie Irving, and possibly Kevin Love as well should a trade go through, certainly helps as well. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

Free-agent forward Shawn Marion has committed to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that Marion informed the Cavaliers this weekend that he intends to sign with them this month despite the fact that Cleveland can only offer him a minimum deal.

The chance to play with LeBron James and immediately compete for a championship, sources said, clinched Marion’s decision to choose Cleveland in the face of a ramped-up pursuit by the Indiana Pacers.

As ESPN.com reported earlier this week, Pacers president Larry Bird invited Marion to Indianapolis earlier this week for a face-to-face recruiting pitch over dinner, with Indiana in desperate need of veteran help on the wing after the season-ending compound leg fracture suffered by star swingman Paul George on Aug. 1.

Enjoy these video highlights of Rockets guard James Harden’s best plays from the 2013-14 season:

Derrick Rose says he has faith, not fear

Here’s the Chicago Sun-Times reporting on Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, who is currently in training camp with Team USA as they prepare for the FIBA World Cup tournament, which begins August 30:

Derrick Rose says he does not fear additional injury

After all, two season-ending knee surgeries for Rose since the 2012 postseason, as well as being on the court when Paul George went down with a horrific leg injury in Vegas, would be a spooky reminder for most players.

“No, I have no fears. I have faith,’’ Rose said defiantly, when asked about his own basketball mortality. “I know that I’m going to be fine. I know that I busted my ass the entire two summers. You can say two seasons to get back to where I am right now. And just try and keep it moving, stay positive every day, do everything consistent like I’ve been doing.’’

What he’s been doing has been an eye-opener for the Bulls, as well as Team USA, as the 2011 MVP continued to look like the guy who carried a franchise before his knees betrayed him.

“Every time I step on the floor it’s something to prove,’’ Rose said. “I have my own little goals in my head, I have my own little things that motivate me in my head that I keep to myself. But every time I step on the floor I try to produce.’’

Here’s the Oregonian reporting on the Portland Trail Blazers:

trail blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers are one of three NBA teams that have never been given the opportunity to host the league’s All-Star Game. The franchise took a major step toward changing that Thursday, submitting a bid to host the 2017 or 2018 game at the Moda Center.

Team president Chris McGowan, who spearheaded the bid, said the game, along with the numerous activities that surround it, would be a major high point in the state’s sports history.

“It’s going to be the biggest event from a sports perspective hosted in Oregon’s history, I think,” McGowan said.

Earlier this year, the NBA sent out a memo saying it was opening bidding for the 2017 and ‘18 All-Star games. The 2015 game will be played at New York’s Madison Square Garden, co-hosted by the Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, and the 2016 game has been awarded to Toronto, with the Raptors hosting for the first time.

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