Pistons health updates on Alec Burks, Kevin Knox and Nerlens Noel

The Detroit Pistons announced today the following player health updates as the team enters training camp.

Alec Burks is expected to miss the start of training camp while he continues rehabilitation for a navicular fracture. His status will be re-evaluated in three weeks.

Kevin Knox II (right gastroc strain) and Nerlens Noel (reconditioning/plantar faciitis) will see limited participation at the beginning of training camp as they rehab and work towards full participation.

Utah Jazz sign Cody Zeller

The Utah Jazz have signed center Cody Zeller.

The deal is reportedly a training camp contract.

Per the Salt Lake Tribune, “the 29-year-old Zeller signed a minimum deal with Portland last year but fell out of the NBA after suffering a knee injury that required surgery. The Trail Blazers waived him in early February.”

Zeller (6-11, 240, Indiana) is entering his 10th NBA season, owning career averages of 8.5 points on 52.0 percent from the field, along with 6.0 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 494 games (273 starts) with Charlotte (2013-21) and Portland (2021-22). He has additional postseason experience, competing with Charlotte during the 2014 and 2016 playoffs, appearing in 11 games (two starts), averaging 6.1 points and 4.2 boards in 17.3 minutes per game. He was taken with the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft by Charlotte, and following his rookie season, he was named to the 2013-14 All-NBA Rookie Second Team.

The native of Washington, Ind., played two-collegiate seasons at Indiana, averaging 16.1 points, 7.3 boards, 1.3 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 1.2 steals in 72 games (all starts), earning 2012-13 Consensus All-American Second Team and All-Big Ten First Team honors. During his freshman season at Indiana, he was named the 2011-12 Big Ten Freshman Team and garnered 2011-12 All Big-Ten Second Team and All-Big Ten Freshman Team accolades.

Nets sign Marcus Zegarowski

The Brooklyn Nets have signed guard Marcus Zegarowski.

Zegarowski (6’2”, 181) was drafted by Brooklyn with the 49th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and spent the 2021-22 season with Brooklyn’s NBA G League affiliate, the Long Island Nets. In eight regular season games (seven starts) with Long Island, Zegarowski averaged 10.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 27.5 minutes per game. He also appeared in 13 games for Long Island during the NBA G League Showcase Cup, registering averages of 12.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 30.4 minutes per contest.

The 24-year-old played in 92 games (75 starts) across three years (2018-21) at Creighton, recording averages of 14.1 points on 47.1 percent shooting from the field, 42.3 percent shooting from 3-point range and 77.2 percent shooting from the free-throw line, 3.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.1 steals in 32.2 minutes per contest. In his junior season, he appeared in and started 29 games for the Bluejays, posting averages of 15.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 33.6 minutes per game. Zegarowski was an All-Big East First Team selection as a junior, All-Big East Second Team selection as a sophomore and was named to the Big East All Freshman team after his first season. The Hamilton, Mass., native finished his collegiate career in Creighton’s top 10 in 3-pointers made (215) and 3-point percentage.

Magic guard Markelle Fultz out with toe fracture

Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz has suffered a fracture in his big left toe. No surgery is required.

He has been placed in a walking boot and his return to play will depend on how he responds to rehabilitation and treatment.

Fultz suffered the injury during a preseason workout prior to returning to Orlando and imaging confirmed the fracture.

Per the Orlando Sentinel, “Fultz is entering the second season of a 3-year, $50 million contract ($35 million guaranteed) he signed with the Magic in December 2020. He has a $16.5 million salary for 2022-23 that’s fully guaranteed, while $2 million of his $17 million salary is guaranteed for the 2023-24 season. Next season’s salary will become fully guaranteed if he’s on the roster past July 1, 2023.”

Fultz (6’4”, 210, 5/29/98) played in 18 games (three starts) last season with Orlando, averaging 10.8 ppg., 5.5 apg., 2.7 rpg. and 1.11 stlpg. in 20.0 minpg., while shooting .806 (25-31) from the free throw line. He led (or tied) the team in assists seven times. Fultz scored in double figures 13 times, including a season-high 19 points on Mar. 30 @ Washington. He dished out 10+ assists twice, including a career-high 15 assists on Apr. 10 vs. Miami, and had one double-double.

Training camp for the Orlando Magic begins on Tuesday, Sep. 27

Magic sign Aleem Ford and Zavier Simpson, waive Joel Ayayi

The Orlando Magic have signed free agents Aleem Ford and Zavier Simpson, President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman announced today.

In addition, the Orlando Magic have waived guard Joel Ayayi.

Training camp begins on Tuesday, September 27 at the AdventHealth Training Center.

Ford (6’8”, 220, 12/22/97) played in five games last season with Orlando, after signing a 10-day contract on Dec. 17. He averaged 2.8 ppg. and 3.0 rpg. in 14.7 minpg. Ford also appeared in 31 games (25 starts) with Lakeland of the NBA G League, averaging 12.5 ppg., 4.2 rpg. and 1.7 apg. in 31.1 minpg., while shooting .387 (82-211) from three-point range.

Ford played in 126 career games (82 starts) during four seasons at the University of Wisconsin (2017-21), averaging 6.5 ppg. and 3.3 rpg. in 22.4 minpg.

Ford will wear #12 with the Orlando Magic.

Simpson (6’0”, 190, 2/11/97) played and started in four games last season with Oklahoma City, averaging 11.0 ppg., 7.5 apg., 5.3 rpg., 1.25 stlpg. and 1.00 blkpg. in 43.5 minpg. He also played in all 35 games (29 starts) with Oklahoma City of the NBA G League, averaging 14.5 ppg., 6.8 apg., 5.1 rpg. and 1.49 stlpg. in 32.4 minpg.

Simpson has appeared in 50 career NBA G League games (44 starts), all with Oklahoma City, averaging 13.1 ppg., 6.6 apg., 4.8 rpg. and 1.32 stlpg. in 31.2 minpg.

Simpson played in 146 career games (96 starts) during four seasons at the University of Michigan (2016-20), averaging 7.6 ppg., 4.6 rpg., 3.3 rpg. and 1.07 stlpg. in 25.2 minpg. He was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team twice (2018-19, 2019-20) and to the All-Big Ten Defensive Team in 2018-19. Simpson finished his collegiate career as the school’s all-time leader in games played, tied (with Jon Teske) as the Wolverines’ all-time winningest player (108 victories) and second on the school’s all-time list in assists (667).

Orlando’s roster now stands at 20 players.

Spurs forward Keldon Johnson injures shoulder

San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson suffered a right shoulder posterior dislocation during Spurs open gym.

While he will miss the start of preseason, the team expects that Johnson will be available for the start of the 2022-23 regular season.

Per the San Antonio Express-News, “the 22-year-old forward averaged 17 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.1 assist last season, while shooting 39.8 percent from 3-point range. All of those were career highs.”

Pelicans sign John Butler and Zylan Cheatham, waive Izaiah Brockington

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed forwards John Butler and Zylan Cheatham.

The signings are likely just for training camp.

And in a related move, the Pelicans have waived two-way guard Izaiah Brockington.

Butler, 7-2, 174, played one collegiate season at Florida State, where he averaged 5.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 31 games. During his rookie campaign, Butler led the Seminoles with 33 three-point shots made as he became the first true freshman in school history to lead Florida State in three-point shots made and three-point field goal shooting percentage (.393). In the 2022 NBA 2K Summer League, Butler appeared in four games (two starts) for the Pelicans, averaging 8.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks while shooting 12-of-16 (.750) from the floor and 6-of-9 (.667) from three-point range.

Cheatham, 6-5, 220, most recently played professionally for the Utah Jazz, appearing in one game. During the 2021-22 NBA season, Cheatham played in four games for New Orleans, averaging 3.0 points, 0.8 assists and 2.3 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per contest while shooting .667 from the floor. During the 2022 NBA 2K Summer League, Cheatham played five games with the Milwaukee Bucks posting averages of 6.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.8 steals.

Brockington, 6-4, 196, most recently played collegiately for Iowa State University, earning All-Big 12 First Team honors in 2022 after averaging 16.9 points and 6.8 rebounds, to go along with 1.6 assists and 1.3 steals. Over his four-year collegiate career, Brockington appeared in 125 games for St. Bonaventure, Penn State and Iowa State, averaging 10.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists.

New Orleans’ roster now stands at 20 players, including one two-way player.

Oklahoma City Thunder hire Chip Engelland and Grant Gibbs as assistant coaches

The Oklahoma City Thunder have hired Chip Engelland and Grant Gibbs as assistant coaches.

Engelland and Gibbs join current Thunder assistants Dave Bliss, Mike Wilks and David Akinyooye, as well as Assistant Coach/Player Development Eric Maynor and Assistant Coach/Program Development Connor Johnson, on Head Coach Mark Daigneault’s staff.

Additionally, Kameron Woods has been named head coach of the Oklahoma City Blue.

Engelland joins the Thunder with 23 years of NBA coaching experience. He spent the last 17 seasons with the Spurs as an assistant coach, where he won two NBA championships (2007, 2014). The California native began his coaching career as a shooting analyst for the Detroit Pistons before transitioning to work for the Nuggets for two seasons as director of player of development. A graduate of Duke University, Engelland played four seasons for the Blue Devils, becoming team captain in his senior year. He also enjoyed a nine-year professional playing career in the Philippines, Canada and the CBA.

Gibbs joins the Thunder bench after serving as head coach of the Blue for the past three seasons. He becomes the third Blue head coach to join the Thunder coaching staff. During the 2021-22 season, Gibbs helped lead the Blue to the Championship Game in the first year of the G League Showcase Championship Cup. He joined the Thunder organization originally as a Blue assistant coach in 2017 after a three-year international playing career that included stints in the Netherlands and Germany. Gibbs enjoyed a successful collegiate playing career at Gonzaga and later at Creighton where he served as team captain.

Woods is set to take over head coaching duties with the Blue after spending the past four seasons with the organization, most recently serving as a Thunder assistant coach. The Butler product played two seasons with the Blue (2015-2017) before starting his coaching career. This past July, Woods served as head coach of the Thunder’s summer league team where he led Oklahoma City to a record of 5-3 during summer league competition in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

New Orleans Pelicans announce basketball operations and coaching staff promotions and additions

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today basketball operations and coaching staff promotions and additions ahead of the 2022-23 season.

Sammy Gelfand has been hired as senior director of basketball analytics. Former Birmingham Squadron head coach Ryan Pannone has been added to the Pelicans’ coaching staff as an assistant coach. Jordan Kincaide has been added to the training staff as assistant strength and conditioning coach.

Additionally, Ryan Frazier has been promoted to assistant coach. Corey Brewer and Darnell Lazare have been elevated to assistant coach/player development coach. Brandon Demas has been promoted to two-way coach. Jordan McGuire has been promoted to player development assistant/assistant shooting coach. D’Or Fischer has been elevated to player development assistant.

Trail Blazers sign Wes Iwundu

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed forward Wes Iwundu to a contract, it was announced today by General Manager Joe Cronin.

The deal is reportedly for training camp purposes.

An NBA veteran of five seasons, Iwundu has appeared in 226 career games (51 starts) and accrued averages of 4.4 points (40.8% FG, 79.8% FT), 2.5 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 16.9 minutes per game for Orlando (2017-20), Dallas (2020-21), New Orleans (2020-21) and Atlanta (2021-22).