Thunder sign forward Josh Huestis

Thunder sign forward Josh Huestis

The Oklahoma City Thunder have signed forward Josh Huestis to a contract, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

“We are excited to add Josh to our roster as he allows us to continue to increase our depth through his athleticism and versatility,” Presti said. “Josh knows our culture and our organization as a result of his time with the Blue and we look forward to his continued development with the Thunder.”

Huestis (6-7, 230) joins the Thunder after spending the past season with the Oklahoma City Blue where he appeared in 44 games (43 starts) and averaged 10.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.57 blocks (13th in NBADL) in 33.1 minutes per game.

The Thunder selected Huestis with the 29th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

The Great Falls, Mont. native spent four seasons at Stanford and averaged 7.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.41 blocks in 135 career games. During both his junior and senior seasons, he was named to the Pac-12 Defensive Team and at the conclusion of his sophomore season, he received Pac-12 Defensive Team Honorable Mention honors.

Trail Blazers waive Brendan Haywood

Trail Blazers waive Brendan Haywood

The Portland Trail Blazers have waived center Brendan Haywood, it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey.

Portland acquired Haywood, guard Mike Miller and two future second round draft picks from the Cleveland Cavaliers on July 27 in exchange for cash considerations.

According to the Oregonian, “the Blazers acquired Haywood on Monday, along with sharpshooter Mike Miller, in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland moved Haywood to shed his $10.5 million salary and gain luxury tax relief, and the Blazers — who acquired two second round draft picks in the deal — never planned to keep him on their roster.”

Mavericks sign center Salah Mejri

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed center Salah Mejri.

Mejri (7-2, 235) played in 34 games with Real Madrid last season and averaged 4.3 points and 2.1 rebounds in 8.6 minutes on the way to winning the Spanish League title. He increased those averages to 5.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 10.3 minutes in eight Euroleague games as Real Madrid went on to also capture the Euroleague Championship with a win over Greek-power Olympiacos in the final game.

A native of Jendouba, Tunisia, Mejri was a member of the Tunisian National Team that competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The team secured its bid to the London Olympics by winning the 2011 FIBA African Championships where Mejri was named Most Valuable Player.

Knicks waive Ricky Ledo

Knicks waive Ricky Ledo

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has waived guard Ricky Ledo.

Ledo, 6-7, 195-pounds, averaged 7.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists over 19.4 minutes in 12 games with New York last season. He signed the first of two consecutive 10-day contracts on Mar. 19 and then signed for the remainder of the season on Apr. 8.

Knicks re-sign Lou Amundson

Knicks re-sign Lou Amundson

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has re-signed forward Lou Amundson to a contract.

Amundson, 6-9, 225-pounds, was acquired this past season as part of a three-way deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Jan. 5, 2015 and signed his first 10-day contract with New York on Jan. 10, 2015. The Ventura, CA-native averaged 6.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 41 games for the Knicks in 2014-15. The nine-year NBA pro holds career averages of 3.8 points and 3.7 rebounds over 399 games.

He’ll mostly provide frontcourt depth off the bench and will likely play fairly limited minutes.

Andre Miller to join Timberwolves

Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting that crafty, talented super-veteran point guard Andre Miller will be joining the squad:

Andre Miller to join Timberwolves

It was less than two weeks ago that Flip Saunders, Wolves president of basketball operations, said his team might be in the market for a veteran point guard.

He has arrived.

A source confirmed a report that Wolves had come to an agreement on a one-year contract with veteran Andre Miller, who visited the Wolves on Wednesday.

It marks an evolution in Saunders’ thinking. Immediately after moving up to draft former Apple Valley star Tyus Jones late in the first round of the draft, Saunders sounded like he might be happy with Jones as Ricky Rubio’s backup. But the fact that Rubio is coming off ankle surgery and Jones is a rookie ultimately changed Saunders’ mind.

Raptors announce assistant coaching staff

raptors assistant coaches

The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday they have hired Rex Kalamian (kah-LAY-mee-an), Andy Greer and Jerry Stackhouse as assistant coaches on head coach Dwane Casey’s staff.

“I am pleased to add Rex, Andy and Jerry to our coaching staff,” said Casey. “They are established winners at the NBA level, and bring valuable experience and a passion for the game to our team.

“Together with Nick and Jama, we have a group that will challenge our players daily to improve and compete.”

Kalamian joins the Raptors after six seasons with Oklahoma City, including the last two as lead assistant. The Thunder posted a 316-160 (.664) mark during the regular season and was 39-34 (.534) in the postseason during Kalamian’s tenure with the club, reaching the Western Conference finals three times with one NBA Finals appearance. Oklahoma City won eight-of-13 playoff series.

Kalamian participated in two All-Star games (2012, 2014) as an assistant coach and served as a head coach for the 2014 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.

In addition to Oklahoma City, Kalamian had previous assistant coaching stints with Sacramento (2007-09), Minnesota (2005-07, where he was on Casey’s staff), Denver (2004-05) and the Los Angeles Clippers (1995-2003). He was a West Coast scout for Philadelphia during the 2003-04 season and was in the scouting department for the Clippers from 1992-95 before being elevated to assistant coach.

Prior to the NBA, Kalamian worked for two seasons as an assistant at his former school, East Los Angeles College. As a player, Kalamian was named team captain at East Los Angeles where he led the South Coast Conference in three-point shooting percentage during the 1988-89 season.

A graduate of Cal Poly Pomona, Kalamian earned a bachelor’s degree in business management.

Greer had spent the past five seasons as an assistant with the Chicago Bulls. During his time in Chicago, the club posted a .647 (255-139) regular-season winning percentage and ranked in the top 10 each season for opponent scoring average and opponent field goal percentage.

Greer’s NBA coaching resume also includes assistant positions with the Memphis Grizzlies (2007-09), Houston Rockets (2003-07) and New York Knicks (2001-03).

Before joining the NBA coaching fraternity, Greer coached at the collegiate level for nearly two decades. He spent four years at Northern Illinois University, where he logged three-and-a-half seasons as an assistant coach and a half-season as the team’s interim head coach, and four years as the head coach at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Greer also coached collegiately at Mansfield University, Brandeis University, Boston University and the University of Southern California. He received his first coaching job as an assistant coach at Genesee Community College in 1983.

Greer holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education from SUNY Brockport and a master’s degree in education from Mansfield University.

Stackhouse played 18 seasons in the NBA, averaging 16.9 points, 3.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 31.2 minutes in 970 regular season games (564 starts). He also appeared in 75 playoffs contests and reached the NBA Finals in 2006 with Dallas. During the 2008-09 season, Stackhouse played under Casey while the latter was an assistant on Rick Carlisle’s staff.

A two-time All-Star with Detroit (2000, 2001), Stackhouse posted career highs of 29.8 points (second in the NBA) and 5.1 assists in 80 games during the 2000-01 campaign. He averaged at least 20 points in a season five times, including four consecutive years from 1999-2003.

The North Carolina product was selected third overall by Philadelphia in the 1995 NBA Draft and was a first-team All-Rookie selection with the 76ers.

During his playing career Stackhouse saw action with Philadelphia (1995-97), Detroit (1997-2002), Washington (2002-04), Dallas (2004-09), Milwaukee (2009-10), Miami (2010-11), Atlanta (2011-12) and Brooklyn (2012-13).

Although an early entrant for the NBA Draft, Stackhouse continued working on his degree and earned his bachelor’s in African American Studies from North Carolina in 1999.

Warriors announce coaching staff

Warriors announce coaching staff

The Golden State Warriors will bring back all but one member of Head Coach Steve Kerr’s coaching staff that, in their first season together in 2014-15, produced a franchise-record 67 regular-season wins and the team’s first NBA Championship in 40 years, the team announced today.

Luke Walton, 35, will slide into the seat previously occupied by Alvin Gentry, who was named head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans earlier this offseason. Entering his second season as an assistant coach with the Warriors, Walton previously served as a player development coach for the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA D-League in 2013-14 and as an assistant coach at the University of Memphis during the 2011 NBA Lockout. The San Diego native enjoyed a 10-year playing career in the NBA (2003-13) with the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers, capturing NBA championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010.

Ron Adams, 67, returns for his second season with the Warriors after helping the team finish first in defensive rating (98.2) in 2014-15. Overall, Adams owns more than 20 seasons of experience on the bench as an NBA assistant coach, including stints with the Boston Celtics (2013-14), Chicago Bulls (2003-08, 2010-13), Oklahoma City Thunder (2008-10), Milwaukee Bucks (1998-2003), Philadelphia 76ers (1994-96) and San Antonio Spurs (1992-94). During his time as an assistant coach, Adams has made 14 appearances in the NBA Playoffs.

Jarron Collins, 36, has been promoted to the role of assistant coach and will move to the front of the bench after spending the 2014-15 season as a player development coach. Prior to joining the Warriors, he served two seasons as a personnel scout for the Los Angeles Clippers. The Stanford grad played 10 seasons in the NBA (2001-11) with the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers.

Bruce Fraser, 50, will return in his role as player development coach, working closely with the players on individual skill development. In addition to his work with the Warriors last season, Fraser previously coached at both the college and professional levels, having worked at the University of Arizona under Lute Olson (1987-90), the University of Missouri under Quin Snyder (1999-2000) and the Indiana Pacers under Larry Brown (1994-95). Additionally, he served as a scout for the Phoenix Suns from 2004-10. The Long Beach, CA, native was a teammate of Kerr’s at the University of Arizona, where Fraser played from 1983-87.

Additionally, the team announced the promotion of Theo Robertson to the role of video coordinator/player development. Robertson, who played collegiately at Cal from 2005-10, served as a video intern during his first season with the Warriors in 2014-15.

Kings waive Eric Moreland

The Sacramento Kings today waived forward Eric Moreland, according to Kings Vice President of Basketball and Franchise Operations Vlade Divac.

In 2014-15, his first season with the Kings, Moreland totaled two points (1-1 FG) and one rebound in three minutes off the bench in three games with the Kings. His season ended when he suffered a left shoulder labral tear, forcing him to miss the final 52 games of the regular season. Assigned to the Kings’ D-League affiliate Reno Bighorns during the season, Moreland averaged 13.7 points (.592 FG%), 12.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.29 steals, 1.57 blocks and 28.7 minutes per game in seven contests, including six starts.

Ekpe Udoh signs in Turkey

Here’s Euroleague.net with an update on a player NBA fans will be familiar with:

Ekpe Udoh signs in Turkey

Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul bolstered its frontcourt by inking center Ekpe Udoh to a one-year deal on Tuesday. Udoh (2.08 meters, 28 years old) arrives from Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA, where he averaged 0.8 points in 37 games last season. He started his career with Golden State of the NBA and joined Israeli side Bnei Eshet Tours Hasharon for just one game in the 2011-12 season, in which he had 22 points, 16 rebounds and 4 blocks.

Bucks sign Chris Copeland

Bucks sign Chris Copeland

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed free agent forward Chris Copeland, General Manager John Hammond announced today.

Copeland is a crafty, smart player who should provide nice depth off the bench.

Copeland, 31, was undrafted out of the University of Colorado in 2006 and spent six seasons split between the NBA D-League and professional teams overseas before landing in the NBA with the New York Knicks in 2012-13. He has posted career averages of 6.4 points and 1.8 rebounds over three seasons with New York and Indiana, and has averaged 3.5 points and 0.7 rebounds through 21 playoff games (1 start).

Copeland spent the last two seasons in Indiana, and in 2014-15 averaged 6.2 points and a career-high 2.2 rebounds in 50 games (12 starts). In a 21-point effort at Atlanta on Nov. 1, 2014, he hit a career-high six 3-pointers. In his rookie campaign, Copeland finished first among NBA rookies in 3-point field goal percentage, connecting on 42.1 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. That number was also good enough to tie for 13th among all NBA players that season. Copeland was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in April of 2013.

Nuggets sign Nikola Jokic

The Denver Nuggets have signed center Nikola Jokić to a multi-year contract, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.

Jokić, 6-10, 250, was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 41st overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Jokić, 20, has spent the last three seasons playing for KK Mega Vizura of the Adriatic League. This past season he appeared in 38 games (37 starts), averaging 16.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.00 blocks in 29.5 minutes per game. He was also named Adriatic League Round MVP four times.

The Serbian native appeared in five games (all starts) for the Denver Nuggets at the 2015 Samsung Summer League in Las Vegas. He averaged 8.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.40 blocks in 21.0 minutes per game.

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer enjoyed great success on the court last season but had some trouble off it. Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporting the latest:

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer pleads not guilty to DUI

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer has entered a plea of not guilty in his driving under the influence case, according to his attorney.

Budenholzer entered the plea in Fulton County State Court last week in writing with the court and Judge Diane E. Bessens. The court has a scheduled plea and arraignment hearing tomorrow at 9 a.m. With the filing of the plea and two motions, neither Budenholzer nor his attorney Michael Hawkins will attend. The plea and motions were filed with the court on July 22.

Budenholzer faces misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence alcohol less safe and defective or no taillights from an arrest Aug. 28, 2013 after being stopped by police at 10:30 p.m. at 10th Street and Crescent Avenue in Midtown.

The Brooklyn Nets will host Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul of the Turkish Basketball League for a preseason game on October 5, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at Barclays Center, General Manager Billy King announced today.

“We are excited to be hosting Fenerbahce, as it will be a reunion for Bojan Bogdanovic with his former team,” said King. “Our fans will have an opportunity to see one of the best coached teams in all of Europe when they come to Brooklyn.”

As a member of Fenerbahce, Nets guard/forward Bojan Bogdanovic led the team to the Turkish Basketball League Championship in 2013-14. This past season, the club reached the finals of the Turkish Cup and the final four in the Euroleague.

Celtics sign first round draft picks Terry Rozier and R.J. Hunter

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed guards Terry Rozier and R.J. Hunter.

Both players were selected in the first round of the Draft, and were therefore guaranteed to get signed to contracts. So, these signings are standard and were expected.

Rozier was selected with the 16th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. He appeared in five contests for the Celtics during the Las Vegas Summer League where he averaged 12.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.0 steal in 27.6 minutes per game. Rozier recorded his best game in the Vegas Summer League on July 12 with 22 points, two rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block in 28 minutes of action against the Philadelphia 76ers.

He also played in three games for the Celtics during the Utah Summer League and averaged 12.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.7 steals in 28.3 minutes per game. Rozier tallied his best game in the Utah Summer League on July 9 against the San Antonio Spurs with 16 points, three rebounds, seven assists and one steal in 28 minutes.

The 6’1” guard out of University of Louisville ranked fourth in the ACC in scoring and was selected to the Second Team All-ACC. Rozier was named one of 17 watch list finalists for the 2015 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award and a Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 candidate for the nation’s top player.

Hunter was selected with the 28th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. He appeared in five games for the Celtics during the Las Vegas Summer League and averaged 15.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 24.4 minutes per game. Hunter tallied his best game in the Vegas Summer League on July 18 with 18 points on 7-14 (.500) shooting, five rebounds, one assist and one steal in 24 minutes against the San Antonio Spurs.

He also played in three contests for the Celtics during the Utah Summer League and averaged 6.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.0 steal in 19.0 minutes per game. Hunter recorded his best game in the Utah Summer League on July 9 with 18 points, including shooting a perfect 4-4 from the three-point line, one rebound and one block in 19 minutes against the San Antonio Spurs.

The 6’6” guard out of Georgia State was a two-time AP All-American Honorable Mention. Hunter was also the first player in school history to earn conference player of the year honors twice and three straight First-Team All-Conference honors. In just three seasons, he became Georgia State’s all-time leading scorer with 1,799 points, while also topping career lists for three-pointers made, three-point attempts, free throw percentage, free throws made and free throw attempts.

Mavericks sign Jamil Wilson and Brandon Ashley

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed free agent forwards Jamil Wilson and Brandon Ashley.

Until we hear otherwise, we will assume these are non-guaranteed deals that merely bring these two players to training camp.

Wilson (6-7, 230) spent the 2014-15 season with the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA D-League. In 41 games (23 starts) for the Jam, he averaged 10.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 block in 26.2 minutes. The Milwaukee native played his final three seasons of college basketball at Marquette University (2011-14) where, as a senior, he averaged 11.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 32 games.

Ashley (6-9, 230) signs with Dallas after averaging 10.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steal and 21.7 minutes in seven games (two starts) for the Atlanta Hawks’ summer league team that competed in Las Vegas. He was an early entry candidate for the 2015 NBA Draft out of the University of Arizona and went undrafted after his junior season. Ashley started all 38 games as a junior, averaging 12.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in 27.8 minutes while helping Arizona return to the Elite Eight for the second straight year. He was also named Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 and the Most Outstanding player of the Pac-12 tournament as a junior.

Pacers re-sign Lavoy Allen

Pacers re-sign Lavoy Allen

The Indiana Pacers announced Monday they have re-signed veteran free agent Lavoy Allen to a contract.

“We think he’s ready to step in and play more minutes at two different positions,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “This is a great opportunity for him to play night in and night out at a high level.”

Allen, a 6-9, 260-pound forward/center is entering his fifth season in the NBA and his third with the Pacers after being acquired via trade from the Philadelphia 76ers in February 2014. He was drafted by the 76ers as the 50th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He has career averages of 5.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.

pacers signings

The Indiana Pacers announced Monday they have re-signed Shayne Whittington and signed Glenn Robinson III and Rakeem Christmas.

Whittington, a 6-11, 250-pound forward/center out of Western Michigan University, is entering his second season in the NBA after signing with the Pacers last year as an undrafted rookie. With the Pacers, he appeared in 20 games during the 2014-15 season. He was also assigned to play with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA D-League during their playoff run that resulted in a trip to the NBA D-League Finals. Whittington appeared in five postseason games with the Mad Ants, averaging 4.6 points and 4.8 rebounds.

“Shayne has been with us for more than a year and shown us a lot of good things,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “He has grown as a player, has improved and we expect him to continue to do so to be a part of what we do. He’s a hard worker with a variety of skills for a big man.”

Robinson, a 6-7, 222-pound guard/forward, is in his second season in the NBA after being drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second round (40th overall pick) of the 2014 NBA Draft. He played 25 games with the Timberwolves before being waived. He was claimed off waivers by Philadelphia, with whom he played 10 games. Overall in 35 games as a rookie, he averaged 2.1 points and 1.1 rebounds per game.

Collegiately, Robinson played two years at the University of Michigan with career averages of 12.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. He hails from northern Indiana, where he was named an Associated Press All-State selection at Lake Central High School.

“Glenn comes to us with a set of skills we think will blend in with our team,” said Bird. “We expect him to be very good on the defensive end and he can score the ball. We look forward to seeing him improve throughout the year.”

Christmas, 6-9, 250, was acquired by the Pacers on July 23rd from the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was a second-round pick in June’s NBA Draft. He was selected 36th overall by Minnesota and was traded later draft night to the Cavaliers. He played collegiately at Syracuse where in his senior season he averaged 17.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. In his four-year career with the Orange, he played 142 games.

Celtics re-sign Jae Crowder

Celtics re-sign Jae Crowder

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have re-signed forward Jae Crowder.

“Jae epitomizes everything that we look for in a Celtic,” said Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge. “His infectious energy on both ends of the court and his versatile skill set enabled him to win over both the coaching staff and our fan base after his acquisition last season.”

Crowder was acquired by the Celtics from the Dallas Mavericks on December 18, 2014. He averaged 9.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.0 steal in 24.2 minutes per game in 57 contests with Boston.

The 6’6” forward tallied a season-high tying 22 points on 8-14 (.571) shooting from the field, seven rebounds and one block in 30 minutes of action on February 22 against the Los Angeles Lakers. For the duration of the 2014-15 season, Crowder appeared in 82 contests and averaged 7.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 20.1 minutes per game.

He was originally the 34th overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers before being traded on Draft night to Dallas, and has averaged 5.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 17.9 minutes per game on his career.

Heat waive Henry Walker

Heat waive Henry Walker

The Miami HEAT announced today that they have waived forward Henry Walker.

(Yes, Henry Walker is the player formerly known as Bill Walker.)

Walker appeared in 24 games (13 starts) for the HEAT last season, averaging 7.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.00 steals and 26.1 minutes per game. He led the team in steals six times, in blocks four times, in rebounds twice and in assists once.

He also appeared in 17 games (eight starts) for the Sioux Falls Skyforce last season, averaging 15.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.00 steals and 27.8 minutes, while shooting 46.8 percent from the field.

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