Pelicans sign Elliot Williams to 10-day contract

Pelicans sign Elliot Williams to 10-day contract

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has signed guard Elliot Williams to a 10-day contract.

Williams won’t be expected to do much more than provide some backcourt depth while playing very limited minutes. Generally the same situation for most players on a 10-day deal.

Williams, 6-5,180 has most recently played for the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League. Appearing in 25 games for Santa Cruz, Williams has averaged 21.8 points, 7.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds in 36.8 minutes per game while being named a NBA D-League All-Star. Previously this season, Williams has signed 10-day contracts with Utah and Charlotte. Williams appeared in five games for Utah, averaging 3.6 points in 8.4 minutes per contest.

Selected by Portland with the 22nd overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft out of Memphis, Williams has appeared in 96 career games with Portland and Philadelphia in addition to Utah, averaging 5.3 points and 1.6 rebounds in 14.0 minutes per game.

Williams will be available for tonight’s game against Detroit at the Smoothie King Center. New Orleans’ roster now stands at 14.

Pelicans waive Justin Hamilton

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has waived center Justin Hamilton, who was acquired on February 19 along with guard Norris Cole and forward Shawne Williams as part of a three-team trade with Phoenix.

Hamilton, 7-0, 260, did not appear in a game with New Orleans. Hamilton appeared in 24 games this season with Miami, averaging 2.8 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. Drafted 45th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft out of Louisiana State University by Philadelphia, Hamilton has appeared in 32 career games with both Miami and Charlotte, averaging 2.9 points and 1.7 rebounds. Hamilton has also spent time overseas, playing for KK Cibona (Croatia) and VEF Riga (Latvia). In 2013-14, Hamilton appeared in 39 games for the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA D-League, averaging 19.2 points and 9.3 rebounds on his way to being named an NBA D-League All-Star, All NBA D-League First Team and NBA D-League All-Defensive First Team.

New Orleans’ roster now stands at 13.

Rondo emphasizing defense with Mavs

Rondo emphasizing defense with Mavs

Here’s ESPN Dallas reporting on the Mavericks (40-22 this season) and Rajon Rondo, who are still adjusting to each other:

Rondo emphasizing defense with Mavs

Rajon Rondo dutifully answered questions about his offensive aggression Monday night, explaining how and why he attacked off the dribble during his 19-point performance.

But Rondo’s interest level seemed to rise when the discussion turned to Dallas’ defense.

“Our focus is a lot more on the defensive end of the floor,” Rondo said after the Mavs’ 102-93 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. “Offense never wins championships. Scoring 108 or whatever we were scoring means nothing if you’re giving up 105 or 110.

“I’ve been trying to preach defense and get on the same page defensively as a team and just string continuous stops together. Not just trading baskets, getting two or three stops in a row, and that’s what we did tonight to open up a lead in the second half.”

Blake Griffin may return fairly soon for Clippers

Here’s the Los Angeles Times reporting on Clippers forward Blake Griffin:

Blake Griffin could return fairly soon for Clippers

Blake Griffin has intensified his workouts since undergoing elbow surgery and could return as soon as Sunday, which would qualify as perfect timing for the Clippers and the NBA.

The Clippers play the Golden State Warriors, the team with the best record in the Western Conference, that day in a nationally televised game at Oracle Arena in Oakland.

“I guess it’s possible, yeah,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said Monday when asked whether Griffin could play against the Warriors exactly four weeks after learning he would need surgery to remove a staph infection from his right elbow.

Rivers described Griffin as going “full-tilt” in his workouts but cautioned that team doctors would ultimately need to clear the All-Star forward before he was allowed to play again.

Sacramento Kings hire Vlade Divac

nba blog

The Sacramento Kings announced today Vlade Divac has been named Vice President of Basketball and Franchise Operations.

In this capacity, Divac’s responsibilities will include advising the Kings front office and coaching staff, assisting the organization’s global branding efforts, augmenting fan outreach initiatives and oversight of player development programs. Additionally, he will facilitate talent evaluation and help foster relationships between the team and a growing pipeline of European athletes.

One of the most respected and revered individuals in franchise history, Divac returns to Sacramento having spent more than a decade serving the NBA and international sporting communities with the same distinction that solidified his reputation as a consummate teammate, player, humanitarian and overall difference-maker on and off the basketball court.

“With an unparalleled philanthropic track record that spans the globe, Vlade Divac is the epitome of our NBA 3.0 philosophy,” said Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé. “He has a unique perspective and global stature that will only further elevate our organization around the world.”

“It’s a great honor returning to the city that has provided a lifetime of unforgettable experiences,” said Divac. “Sacramento and the Kings organization were always in my thoughts and I often dreamed of having a role in helping our amazing fans realize the ultimate NBA prize. I’m thankful to Vivek for the opportunity and look forward to creating more special memories here.”

“Over the past year that I have gotten to know Vlade, he has proven himself as an ambassador to the Sacramento community,” said Kings General Manager Pete D’alessandro. “The organization is fortunate to have him as an advisor. I look forward to his contributions, especially with respect to his knowledge of the international game.”

Divac, 47, has served in a variety of administrative and leadership roles since retiring from professional basketball in 2007. In addition to his philanthropic efforts focused on helping children in his native country and other reaches of the globe, he was named President of the Serbian Olympic Committee in 2009. Under his guidance, Serbian athletes have enjoyed greater success and the country is experiencing a resurgence on the international stage.

In 16 NBA campaigns with Los Angeles, Charlotte and Sacramento, Divac averaged 11.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game over 1,134 contests. He is only one of four players in league annals to accrue at least 13,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists, 1,200 steals and 1,600 blocked shots, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon and Kevin Garnett with that distinction. His six seasons in a Kings uniform marked the most successful period in team history, including a league-high 61 wins in 2001-02 and a trip to the Western Conference Finals. His name adorns the franchise record book in several key categories, ranking third all-time during the Sacramento-era in rebounds (3,538) and blocked shots (523), ninth in points scored (5,176), seventh with 454 games played, eighth in free throws made (1,209) and eighth in steals (453). Divac’s jersey was retired by the Kings in 2009.

Denver Nuggets fire coach Brian Shaw

Denver Nuggets fire coach Brian Shaw

Denver Nuggets fire coach Brian Shaw

The 20-39 Denver Nuggets, who have lost six straight games and nine of their last 10, have fired head coach Brian Shaw, it was announced today by General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly.

Melvin Hunt has been named the Nuggets’ interim head coach for the rest of the 2014-15 season.

“I want to sincerely thank Brian for his time with our organization,” said Connelly. “You won’t find a better guy than Brian and he is one of the brightest basketball minds I’ve ever been around. Unfortunately things didn’t go as we hoped, but we know with his basketball acumen that he has a very bright future ahead of him.”

Shaw was hired as head coach of the Nuggets on June 25, 2013 and in one-plus season he compiled a record of 56-85 (.397).

“On behalf of everyone in the Denver Nuggets organization, I would personally like to thank Brian for his services the past two seasons in Denver. He is a champion and a gentleman and I wish him nothing but the best for himself and his family moving forward. Since we purchased the franchise in 2000 we have constantly strived to field a competitive team, culminating in 10 straight playoff appearances and a franchise record 57 wins in the 2012-13 regular season. Expectations have been raised and we want more.

“This season our management staff has remained patient and supportive as decisions of this nature are never taken lightly. Patience is encouraged, as long as the organization continues to show progress toward a greater goal. However, competing for championships is our goal, and therefore we decided to make this decision now and look forward to conducting an extensive head coaching search upon the season’s conclusion. This has been a trying season for all of us, and we appreciate Nuggets fans continued faith and patience as we build our proud organization back to the NBA’s elite.”

Mavericks sign Bernard James for remainder of season

Mavericks sign Bernard James for remainder of season

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed center Bernard James for the remainder of the season.

James (6-10, 235) was originally signed to his first of two 10-day contracts on February 11. Since joining the Mavericks, he has averaged 4.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 17.5 minutes in 5 games (2 starts).

The Savannah, Ga., native spent training camp with the Mavericks this preseason and averaged 2.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in 5 games. Before signing with the Mavericks in February he most recently played in China for the Shanghai Sharks.

The Mavericks roster is currently at 15.

Suns sign Earl Barron to second 10-day contract

Suns sign Earl Barron to second 10-day contract

The Phoenix Suns have signed center Earl Barron to a second 10-day contract.

Barron signed his first 10-day contract with the club on Feb. 21. The 33-year-old center has appeared in five games with Phoenix this season, averaging 1.6 points and 0.8 rebounds in 5.5 minutes.

The 7-0 Barron averaged a double-double in 27 games with the Bakersfield Jam this season, posting 20.3 points and 10.9 rebounds for the Suns’ NBA Development League affiliate. Barron played with the Suns during the 2014-15 preseason and averaged 3.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 13.7 minutes in six appearances, including a 10-point, 13-rebound performance in 24 minutes at Houston on Oct. 13.

Barron, who saw action in 12 games with the Suns in 2010-11, is an eighth-season NBA veteran from the University of Memphis who has also played with New York, Miami, Milwaukee, Portland, Golden State and Washington.

Detroit Pistons sign Quincy Miller to second 10-day contract

quincy miller

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the club has signed forward Quincy Miller to a second 10-day contract.

Miller, who originally signed a 10-day contract on 2/21, has yet to appear in a game with the Pistons but has been on one assignment with the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons’ NBA Development League (D-League) affiliate. In two games with the Drive, he averaged 11.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 blocks in 19.7 minutes per game. He recorded 15 points, 12 rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes vs. the Delaware 87ers (2/27).

In six games with the Sacramento Kings this season, Miller averaged 2.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 10.2 minutes.

The 6-foot-9 forward has also played for the Reno Big Horns of the NBA D-League where he averaged 25.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.6 blocks, 1.9 assists, 1.6 steals and 28.9 minutes in 15 games before signing with Detroit.

Miami Heat sign Henry Walker to second 10-day contract

Heat sign Henry Walker to second 10-day contract

The Miami HEAT announced today that they have signed forward Henry Walker to a second 10-day contract.

Walker, who was originally signed to a 10-day contract by the HEAT on February 21, has appeared in five games (one start) with Miami this season averaging 9.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 24.7 minutes. He has scored in double-figures in four of the five contests and hit consecutive three-point baskets, one with 22.4 seconds left and the next with 2.1 seconds remaining, to send the game into overtime where the HEAT secured a, 93-90, win at Orlando on February 25.

Walker has also appeared in 17 games (eight starts) for the HEAT’s NBA Development League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, this 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 and 44.8 percent from three-point range. He was originally drafted in the second round (47th overall) by the Washington Wizards in the 2008 NBA Draft. The four-year NBA veteran has now appeared in 162 career NBA games (23 starts) averaging 5.9 points and 2.1 rebounds in 15.5 minutes of action while shooting 46.2 percent from the field.

James Harden suspended for kicking LeBron

James Harden suspended for kicking LeBron James

James Harden suspended for kicking LeBron James

Houston Rockets guard James Harden has been suspended one game without pay for kicking Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James in the groin, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred with 2:08 remaining in the third quarter of the Rockets’ 105-103 overtime victory against the Cavaliers at Toyota Center on March 1. Harden was assessed a Flagrant Foul 1 for the incident, and it has been upgraded to a Flagrant Foul 2 upon league office review.

Harden will serve his suspension tomorrow when the Rockets travel to Atlanta to play the Hawks.

To view the play, click on this link.

Grizzlies sign JaMychal Green to multi-year contract

Grizzlies sign JaMychal Green to multi-year contract

The Memphis Grizzlies signed forward JaMychal Green to a multi-year contract, Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace announced today.

“Before first coming to Memphis, JaMychal was the top prospect in the NBA Development League, and he has impressed us both in games and in practice during his tenure with the Grizzlies,” Wallace said. “JaMychal is not only a gifted athlete with tremendous upside but he is a humble, very hard working individual who has quickly earned the respect of his new teammates.”

Green (6-9, 227) has made four appearances with Memphis this season, averaging 2.0 points and 1.3 rebounds in 3.8 minutes and scoring eight points on 3-of-3 shooting in his Grizzlies debut on Feb. 6 at Minnesota. Green first signed with Memphis on a 10-day contract as a Call-Up from the NBA Development League’s Austin Spurs on Feb. 1 and signed a second 10-day contract on Feb. 19. In his first NBA season, Green has recorded 2.0 points and 1.4 rebounds in 5.0 minutes in eight total games with the Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs.

The 24-year-old averaged 23.0 points on .577 shooting, 10.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.55 blocks in 31.8 minutes in 20 games (all starts) this season with Austin. The NBA D-League Player of the Month for games in December, Green ranked sixth in the D-League in scoring and rebounding per game and tied for seventh in double-doubles (15) before his Call-Up to the Grizzlies (among players with at least 10 games played).

Undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Montgomery, Ala. native averaged 13.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.72 blocks in 123 games over four seasons at the University of Alabama. He played 25 games for Chorale Roanne of the LNB Pro A League in France during the 2013-14 season.

Forbes says Michael Jordan is now a billionaire

Forbes says Michael Jordan is now a billionaire

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting that Michael Jordan is now a billionaire, according to Forbes.

Michael Jordan just had his name added to another impressive list.

The former Bulls star, who has NBA record-career averages for regular-season scoring (30.12) and playoff scoring (33.45), has been included on Forbes magazine’s billionaires list for the first time.

MJ had a net worth of $1 billion, according to the magazine, to land at No. 1,741. Forbes said it calculated each person’s wealth based on stock prices and exchange rates on Feb. 13, 2015.

Jimmy Butler out 3-6 weeks with elbow injury

Jimmy Butler out 3-6 weeks with elbow injury

The Chicago Bulls announced today that an MRI of Jimmy Butler confirmed a Grade 2/3 ulnar ligament sprain and small bone impaction injury to the left elbow. It is estimated that Butler may be out three to six weeks.

On the year, Butler has appeared in 55 games (all starts) and averaged a team-high 20.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.73 spg (ninth in the NBA) and 0.58 bpg in 38.9 mpg (first in the NBA).

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, “After announcing on Friday that Derrick Rose would be lost for at least four weeks with right knee surgery to again repair his meniscus, and then losing Taj Gibson with another left ankle injury in the Friday game, the team found out on Monday that All-Star Jimmy Butler had a confirmed Grade 2/3 ulnar ligament sprain and small bone impaction injury to his left elbow that could keep him sidelined anywhere from three to six weeks.:

More from the Sun-Times: “It’s our reality,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said, when asked about now being down a former MVP, a Sixth Man of the Year Award finalist, and a first-time All-Star in Butler. “We got more than enough to get it done. Just find a way to win. [Sunday against the Clippers], it’s a tie score with about 61/2 minutes to go and it’s a one-possession game with four minutes to go, we gotta find a way to win. Whoever is out there, just get the job done. Know what your job is and go out there and get it done.’’

Sixers waive JaVale McGee

Sixers waive JaVale McGee

Sixers waive JaVale McGee

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today the team waived JaVale McGee prior to midnight on Mar. 1, making him eligible to join a postseason roster.

The Sixers originally acquired McGee and Oklahoma City’s protected 2015 first-round pick from Denver on Feb. 19, 2015.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “JaVale McGee was able to keep all of his money. The former 76ers big man was opposed to being bought out, because that wouldn’t enable him to receive his full salary. So the Sixers agreed to waive the 7-footer Sunday night after a 94-74 setback to the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldnouse.”

Willie Reed named D-League Performer of Week through March 1

willie reed

Iowa Energy forward Willie Reed was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, Feb. 23 – Sunday, March 1. This is the second Performer of the Week honor of Reed’s career. He previously won in March of 2013 as a member of the Springfield Armor.

The newly acquired Reed (6-10, 220, St. Louis) led Iowa to two wins after being traded from the Grand Rapids Drive in exchange for Diante Garrett on Feb. 26. He averaged 29.0 points on 78.8 percent shooting (26-of-33), to go along 13.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals. His debut included a 31-point performance in a 122-112 win over the Sioux Falls Skyforce. It was the second time this season Reed registered at least 30 points in a game. On Feb. 28, he recorded a double-double with 27 points and 20 rebounds in a 96-92 victory over the Erie BayHawks.

Reed has appeared in 33 games –two with Iowa — and tallied 15.5 points, 12.2 rebounds (second in the league) and 2.1 blocks.

Other top performers considered included Bakersfield’s Jerel McNeal, Canton’s Brandon Paul, Oklahoma City’s Talib Zanna, Rio Grande Valley’s Chris Johnson and Sioux Falls’ Scotty Hopson.

Kyle Anderson named D-League Player of Month for February, 2015

Kyle Anderson named D-League Player of Month

Kyle Anderson, a small forward playing with the Austin Spurs on assignment from the San Antonio Spurs, was today named NBA Development League Player of the Month for games played in February. The award is the first monthly honor for Anderson, who was named NBA D-League Performer of the Week on Feb. 9.

Anderson (6-9, 230, UCLA) led the Spurs to an 8-1 month in February, when he scored 20-or-more points five times and recorded four double-doubles. He led the team in scoring three times and was the leading rebounder five times. He dished out team-high assists five times in February. For the month, Anderson averaged 22.8 points to go with 8.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists.

Anderson has played in 16 games on assignment in Austin, averaging 22.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists.

Other players receiving consideration for the monthly award were Bakersfield’s Mac Koshwal, Canton’s Brandon Paul, Fort Wayne’s Andre Emmett, Iowa’s Kalin Lucas and Sioux Falls’ Scotty Hopson.

Isaiah Thomas, Damian Lillard named Players of Week through March 1

isaiah thomas

Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas and Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Feb. 23, through Sunday, March 1.

Thomas helped the Celtics to a 3-1 week, which included wins over the Phoenix Suns and Charlotte Hornets. He placed third in the East in scoring (22.0 ppg) and tied for seventh in assists (6.5 apg). On Feb. 27, Thomas scored a season-high 28 points and dished out seven assists during the Celtics’ 106-98 win over the Hornets.

damian lillard

Lillard led the Trail Blazers to a 3-0 week, which included wins over the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder. He averaged 26.0 points (third in the conference) and added 5.7 assists and 4.7 rebounds. Lillard capped his week with a 31-point, seven-assist, four-rebound performance on March 1, during a 110-99 win over the Sacramento Kings.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Paul Millsap, Charlotte’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Mo Williams, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Houston’s James Harden, Indiana’s George Hill, Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul, New Orleans’ Tyreke Evans, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, and Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe.

Frank Vogel

The Indiana Pacers’ Frank Vogel and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Scott Brooks today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in February.

Vogel led the Pacers to the Eastern Conference’s best record in February at 7-2 (.778). He became the franchise’s all-time NBA coaching wins leader thanks to the Pacers’ second win of the month over the Cleveland Cavaliers, a 93-86 victory on Feb. 27. Indiana also topped the NBA-leading Golden State Warriors. The Pacers shot 47.2 percent from the field to lead the NBA in February, and also held opponents under 100 points in six-of-nine contests.

scott brooks

Brooks guided the Thunder to the best record in the Western Conference in February at 9-3 (.750). The Thunder recorded a seven-game winning streak from Feb. 8-24, winning by an average of 15.6 points during that span. On the month, Oklahoma City’s 111.8 ppg led the league, while its 46.8 field goal percentage placed third. The Thunder went from one game under .500 to five games over thanks to its February performance.

Other nominees for Coach of the Month were Boston’s Brad Stevens, Cleveland’s David Blatt, Houston’s Kevin McHale, Los Angeles Clippers’ Doc Rivers, Milwaukee’s Jason Kidd, and Portland’s Terry Stotts.

Jazz playing good basketball lately

Utah Jazz playing good basketball lately

Here’s the Deseret News reporting on the Utah Jazz, who are 23-35 and have won six of their last eight games:

It began a positive, albeit not steady, incline with the team’s first win over San Antonio followed by an impressive 3-3 showing on the pre-Christmas trip.

Even with last Wednesday’s disappointing loss to the Lakers, the Jazz are playing their best basketball of the season, especially defensively.

Since the All-Star break — or the trade deadline when Enes Kanter was dealt to Oklahoma City, you decide — the Jazz have won four of five games while limiting opponents to an astonishingly low 82.8 points per game.

That’s helped the Jazz climb to the 23rd spot in the NBA’s defensive efficiency ratings for the season. Utah is giving up 104.4 points per 100 possessions this year compared to a league-worst 109.1 last season (and even more than that earlier this season).

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