Grand Rapids Drive announce coach and GM

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has named Jon Phelps as general manager and Rex Walters as head coach of the Grand Rapids Drive - the NBA D-League affiliate of the Detroit Pistons.

“We’re fortunate to be able to fill these two positions with guys we feel very comfortable with,” said Stan Van Gundy, president of basketball operations and head coach of the Detroit Pistons. “Jon was in Grand Rapids with the Drive the last two years so there’s familiarity and continuity there. We’re confident he will continue to do a good job and transition well into this new role. “Rex Walters brings a wealth of basketball knowledge and experience and has a passion for developing young players. He’s spent some time with us here and already has a good understanding of how we operate. We look forward to working with both of them.”

Phelps spent the last two seasons as director of basketball operations with the Drive. Previously, he was an attorney at a civil litigation firm in New Orleans, LA. Phelps attended Tulane University School of Law, earning his J.D. in 2012 with a certification in sports law. While there, he was a research assistant for Professor Gabe Feldman, a renowned expert in sports law. As part of that experience, Phelps spent time extensively studying the collective bargaining agreements of both the NBA and NFL.

A 2004 graduate of Siena College with a degree in English, Phelps served as a student manager for the men’s basketball team and, after graduating, spent one season as director of basketball operations for the Saints.

Walters spent the last eight seasons as head coach of the men’s basketball team at the University of San Francisco where he guided the Dons to two 20-win seasons and two postseason appearances. USF finished in the top three of the West Coast Conference twice in the last six years, including 2013-14, when they tied for second with a 13-5 conference mark. During the 2013-14 season, the team finished with a 21-12 record, tied for second in the WCC with a 13-5 mark and earned a bid to the National Invitation Tournament. The 21 victories marked the Dons’ highest win total since the 1981-82 team posted a 25-6 record while their 13 conference victories were the most since the 1976-77 team went 14-0 in league play while spending most of the season ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Walters, a native of Omaha, NE., was named West Coast Conference Coach of the Year in 2013-14, becoming the first USF coach to win the award since Pete Barry in 1980-81. Walters amassed a 126-125 record at USF. Prior to becoming head coach at USF, he served two seasons (2006-08) as head coach at Florida Atlantic University and posted a 31-33 record. Overall, Walters is 157-158 (.498) as a collegiate head coach.

Frank Kaminsky having chest surgery

frank kaminsky

Hornets forward Frank Kaminsky will not play 2016 summer league. On Wednesday, June 29, Kaminsky will undergo a minor procedure to repair a small pocket of air in his chest wall. The recovery time for the procedure is approximately six weeks.

Kaminsky averaged 7.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 21.1 minutes per game during his rookie campaign, appearing in 81 games (three starts). He became the sixth rookie in Charlotte NBA history to play at least 81 games in a single season. Kaminsky was one of only two rookies to total more than 600 points, 300 rebounds and 50 three-point field goals during the 2015-16 campaign. The Lisle, Ill., native connected on 68 three-point field goals in his inaugural season, ranking fifth among qualified NBA rookies.

Summer league is approaching. It’s a time for rookies and young players to show some of what they can do. And it’s often a chance for assistant coaches to do the same. Here’s the Palm Beach Post blog reporting:

Juwan Howard will coach Heat summer league team

With Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra preparing to walk down the aisle and become a married man next month, assistant coach Juwan Howard will slide over into the big chair on bench.

The Heat confirmed to The Post that Howard will coach the Heat’s summer league teams in Orlando and Las Vegas while Spoelstra gets married and honeymoons.

Grizzlies add Tony Wroten

Grizzlies add Tony Wroten

Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace today announced that the Grizzlies claimed guard Tony Wroten off waivers.

Wroten (6-6, 205) holds career averages of 11.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 21.2 minutes in 145 games (34 starts) over four seasons with the Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers. The 23-year-old averaged 8.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 18.0 minutes in eight games (three starts) last season for the 76ers before being waived on Dec. 24. He finished last season with the New York Knicks after signing on March 16 but did not appear in any games while he rehabbed from injury. He was waived by New York on June 22.

A native of Seattle, Wash., Wroten was originally selected by Memphis in the first round (25th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft following his freshman season at the University of Washington.

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on that a Thunder rookie will be battling in the Olympics instead of playing summer league ball:

A few of OKC’s young pieces are expected to compete: Cameron Payne, Josh Huestis and Mitch McGary. But perhaps the Thunder’s most anticipated young talent, rookie Domantas Sabonis, won’t be in Orlando for summer league, The Oklahoman has learned. But it’s for good reason.

Sabonis, the 11th overall pick acquired in the Serge Ibaka trade, will focus on competing for his home country of Lithuania in the summer Olympics.

Summer leagues start soon. Rosters don’t come out all at one time. Teams figure them out one by one. No official summer squad rosters have been released by the teams yet. As for the Knicks, here’s the New York Post with an update:

Marshall Plumlee reportedly joining Knicks summer league team

The Knicks need a center, and at least their summer league team has a familiar name — Duke’s 7-footer Marshall Plumlee, according to a source. Plumlee, who finished his senior season with the Blue Devils, went undrafted on Thursday and could be invited to training camp if he shows well in Orlando, Fla., where the Knicks open July 2. Their first summer league practice is Wednesday.

Plumlee’s two brothers are in the NBA. Mason is an ex-Net who now plays for the Blazers. Miles is on the Bucks but once played for Jeff Hornacek in Phoenix.

Marshall Plumlee, who turns 24 in July, averaged 8.6 rebounds for Duke, shot 68.8 percent, blocked 1.6 shots but averaged just 8.3 points last season.

Lakers want Hassan Whiteside

Hassan Whiteside is one of the most intriguing young centers in the league. At worst, he’s an excellent defensive addition to any team. And at best — well, we don’t know yet because he’s still developing. Here’s ESPN.com reporting the latest on Whiteside’s free agency situation:

Lakers want Hassan Whiteside

The Los Angeles Lakers plan to aggressively pursue Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside when NBA free agency starts, according to league sources.

With rim protection and perimeter shooting ranking as the Lakers’ foremost areas of concern heading into the open market, sources told ESPN.com that Whiteside has emerged a priority target for L.A.

The Lakers, like the Heat, are still hopeful of securing a face-to-face recruiting meeting with Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant once free agency season commences at 12:01 a.m. on July 1. But the Lakers, sources say, are highly intrigued by Whiteside and what he could bring them as a double-double presence inside.

Sixers reportedly add Shawn Long

Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting on the Sixers, who recently selected Ben Simmons first overall in the 2016 Draft and continue to shape their team for the future:

Shawn Long agreed to a two-year partially guaranteed contract with the 76ers on Friday, according to a league source.

The 6-foot-9, 245-pound post player of Louisiana-Lafayette went undrafted in Thursday’s NBA Draft. Long impressed the Sixers during his predraft workout on May 16.

Expect Celtics to chase Kevin Durant

Every team in the league would love to add a star like Kevin Durant. And although the assumption is still that he’ll remain with the Thunder, there’s no guarantee that he’ll do so. And even if he plans to stay, it makes sense to hear what some other teams have to say. It doesn’t really make sense for him to jump to a team that would blatantly be worse than the Thunder, but what if some good teams find a way to add him and another difference-making star? I still think Durant winds up sticking with OKC. Anyway, here’s the ESPN Boston blog reporting:

Expect Celtics to chase Kevin Durant

If Boston Celtics fans were disappointed with the lack of a big-splash trade on draft night, it was maybe for this reason only: By not adding more established NBA talent, the Celtics seemingly failed to bolster their recruiting pitch for potential free agents looking for a surefire championship contender.

But make no mistake, there’s no shortage of positives surrounding this Celtics team. And part of the reason that Boston was hesitant to make a move on draft night was to maintain the sort of financial flexibility that would allow the team to make the strongest pitch possible to free agents like Kevin Durant.

ESPN’s Marc Stein reported Saturday that the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, and incumbent Oklahoma City Thunder would be the first three teams to meet with Durant when free agency opens on July 1. The Vertical reported that Durant’s reps were working to solidify invitations from other teams, including the Celtics.

The Orlando Magic have acquired forward-center Serge Ibaka from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for guard Victor Oladipo, forward Ersan Ilyasova and the draft rights to Domantas Sabonis (#11 overall), General Manager Rob Hennigan announced tonight.

“Serge (Ibaka) is a young veteran who brings tremendous athleticism and toughness to our frontcourt,” said Hennigan. “His tireless work ethic and wealth of playoff experience will help enhance our culture and roster. We thank Victor (Oladipo) for all of his contributions both on the court and in the community. We wish him and Ersan (Ilyasova) the best of luck in the future.”

Ibaka (6’10”, 235, 9/18/89) played and started in 78 games with Oklahoma City last season, averaging 12.6 ppg., 6.8 rpg. and a team-high 1.90 blkpg. in 32.1 minpg. He ranked sixth in the NBA in blocked shots scored in double figures 62 times and had 20+ points six times, including a season-high 25 points on Jan. 4 vs. Sacramento. Ibaka had nine double-doubles, led (or tied) the team in rebounding 14 times and had 10+ rebounds 12 times, including a season-high 20 rebounds on Feb. 27 vs. Golden State. He also appeared and started in all 18 playoff outings, averaging 12.0 ppg., 6.3 rpg. and a team-high 1.33 blkpg. in 33.5 minpg., while shooting .521 (85-163) from the floor and a team-best .449 (31-69) from three-point range.

Originally selected in the first round (24th overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft by Seattle (which moved to Oklahoma City), Ibaka has played in 524 career NBA regular season games (413 starts), all with Oklahoma City, averaging 11.6 ppg., 7.4 rpg. and 2.48 blkpg. in 28.8 minpg., while shooting .523 (2,558-4888) from the floor. He has been named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team three times (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14) and is one of only two players in NBA history to lead the league in total blocked shots for four consecutive seasons (2010-14), joining Dikembe Mutombo. Ibaka has also appeared in 89 career playoff contests, averaging 10.9 ppg., 6.7 rpg. and 2.49 blkpg. in 31.0 minpg., while shooting .513 (402-784) from the floor.

Oladipo (6’4”, 210, 5/4/92) appeared in 72 games (52 starts) with Orlando last season, averaging 16.0 ppg., 4.8 rpg., 3.9 apg. and a team-high 1.61 stlpg. in a team-high 33.0 minpg., while shooting .830 (205-247) from the free throw line. Originally selected in the first round (second overall) of the 2013 NBA Draft by Orlando, he has played in 224 career NBA regular season games (167 starts), all with the Magic, averaging 15.9 ppg., 4.4 rpg., 4.0 apg. and 1.63 stlpg. in 33.2 minpg. Oladipo was named to the 2013-14 NBA All-Rookie First Team.

Ilyasova (6’10”, 235, 5/15/87) played in 74 games (56 starts) with both Detroit and Orlando last season, averaging 10.4 ppg. and 5.4 rpg. in 25.4 minpg., while shooting .371 (96-259) from three-point range. He was acquired by the Magic, along with Brandon Jennings, in exchange for Tobias Harris on Feb. 16, 2016. Originally selected in the second round (36th overall) of the 2005 NBA Draft by Milwaukee, Ilyasova has appeared in 527 career NBA regular season games (313 starts) with Milwaukee, Detroit and Orlando, averaging 10.6 ppg., 6.0 rpg. and 1.1 apg. in 24.1 minpg., while shooting .370 (524-1,416) from three-point range. He has also played in 17 career playoff outings, averaging 9.8 ppg. and 6.2 rpg. in 24.5 minpg.

Thunder trading Serge Ibaka to Magic

It’s 2016 Draft night, and the biggest news, other than the Sixers making the expected first-overall pick of Ben Simmons, is that the Thunder, who came within one win of reaching the 2016 NBA Finals, are trading power forward Serge Ibaka to the Magic. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

Thunder trading Serge Ibaka to Magic

In a draft night bombshell, the Thunder traded Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the rights to first round draft pick Domantas Sabonis, sources confirmed to The Oklahoman…

In dealing Ibaka, the Thunder let go of one of its core members and its long-time defensive anchor. In Oladipo, the Thunder adds a versatile 24-year-old shooting guard who can both score and defend.

Willy Hernangomez plans to join Knicks

The Knicks are going to add some international talent to their frontcourt this offseason. Here’s Yahoo Sports reporting:

Spanish center Willy Hernangomez plans to join the New York Knicks on a multiyear contract this summer, his agent, Andy Miller, told The Vertical.

“It is my intent to reach an agreement with the Knicks and have Willy come to New York for next season and beyond,” Miller told The Vertical.

The Knicks hold the rights to Hernangomez, who was the 35th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft.

No Team USA for Kawhi Leonard this summer

No Team USA for Kawhi Leonard this summer

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard today announced that he has withdrawn his name from consideration for the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s National Team.

“This was a very difficult decision. It’s an honor to have been considered for the team and I hope that in the future I will have the chance to represent my country by playing for USA Basketball.”

Leonard, the 2015 and 2016 Defensive Player of the Year, was a 2016 All-NBA First Team selection. In his first All-Star season, the fifth-year forward averaged a career-high 21.2 points to go along with 6.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.78 steals in 33.1 minutes while shooting .506 (551-1,090) from the floor, a personal-best .443 (129-291) from beyond the arc and .874 (292-334) from the free throw line.

Report: Nets trade Thaddeus Young to Pacers

Report: Nets trading Thaddeus Young to Pacers

The Nets finished last season with a 21-61 record, the third worst in the league, ahead of only the Lakers and Sixers. A Brooklyn rebuild is clearly in order, which is difficult when a team has traded lots of first round draft picks away. But they have reportedly taken a step in the rebuild direction today, as reported by Woj/Yahoo Sports:

Brooklyn has traded forward Thad Young to the Indiana Pacers for the 20th pick and a future 2nd rounder, league sources tell @TheVertical.

Young, a power forward, averaged 15.1 points and 9.0 rebounds per game last season and now gets to play alongside star Paul George.

Both the Nets and Pacers could make more moves soon. It’ll be interesting to see if the Nets deal center Brook Lopez, who is their best-remaining commodity.

The core of the Hornets backcourt this past season was Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum. Jeremy Lin, however, played fairly big minutes (26.3 mins/game) but was paid like a guy who sits close to the end of the bench. It isn’t a surprise that he’s seeking a new contract. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

Jeremy Lin reportedly declines contract option

Facing a Wednesday deadline, Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lin declined to opt in on a $2.2 million player option for next season, making him an unrestricted free agent as of July 1, league sources say.

Lin, who turns 28 in August, averaged 11.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3 assists over 26.3 minutes per game in his only season with the Hornets. He signed a two-year, $4.3 million contract with Charlotte last July, but the contract contained an early termination option that Lin triggered to explore free agency.

Report: Sixers want No. 3 pick from Celtics

The 2016 Draft is tonight, and rumors will be flying around like crazy all evening. We’ll share the most interesting stories, and we especially like stories that tell a bigger tale even if the deal doesn’t happen — like what a team’s goals may be and what they hope to accomplish. Here’s ESPN.com with the latest:

The Philadelphia 76ers are increasing their efforts to acquire the No. 3 pick from the Boston Celtics in Thursday night’s NBA draft, league sources tell ESPN.

Numerous rivals described the 76ers as the most active team in circulation, with a trade involving Nerlens Noel looking more and more likely.

Expect Cavs to re-sign LeBron James

LeBron James returned to the Cavs, reached the Finals, and then this year won Finals MVP and a championship for Cleveland. Here’s ESPN.com with the latest on the future between him and the squad:

Expect Cavs to re-sign LeBron James

LeBron James stands to make less money on a one-year contract re-signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers than he could earn by going to the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks or Miami Heat.

It’s an example of the “unintended consequences” that commissioner Adam Silver has discussed of the salary-cap jump coming to the NBA ahead of the 2016-17 season.

James removed doubt about his intentions on Wednesday when he told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, “I love it here in Cleveland. I have no intentions of leaving. There are some technicalities to take care of I’ll leave up to my agent. That’s right from the horse’s mouth.”

Those technicalities include perhaps leaving $3 million on the table if he wants what is his now-customary one-year contract plus a player option with the Cavs, as he’s signed the past two summers.

Knicks get Derrick Rose

Finals Game 7 was Sunday, the Draft is tomorrow, and you think that would be enough to keep fans busy, yet there are also some big trades dropping: the Knicks got Derrick Rose today, in trade from the Bulls.

Can D-Rose stay healthy? Will he regain his quickness and dominance of the past? And will he mesh with Carmelo Anthony, who tends to hang onto the ball for a while? And will Rose help make young Kristaps Porzingis better?

We already have something to look forward to next season. Fun stuff.

For full trade details, click here: Bulls trade Derrick Rose to Knicks

Darrick Martin named head coach of Reno Bighorns

The Reno Bighorns today named Darrick Martin as the team’s new head coach, according to General Manager Peja Stojakovic.

Martin, 45, joins the Bighorns after spending the 2015-16 season as a radio analysist for the UCLA Men’s Basketball broadcast. Prior to starting his career in the booth, Martin spent three seasons as an assistant coach at St. John’s University, where he served under Steve Lavin.

A 13-year NBA veteran that appeared in 514 games, Martin began his NBA career with the Minnesota Timberwolves (1994-95, 2003-04) before joining the Vancouver Grizzlies (1995-96), Los Angeles Clippers (1996-99, 2004-05), Sacramento Kings (1999-01), Dallas Mavericks (2001-02) and the Toronto Raptors (2004-08). Martin joined the Minnesota Timberwolves as an assistant coach and player development specialist at the conclusion of his playing career.

Report: Hawks trading Jeff Teague to Pacers

The Hawks have one point guard too many, and were expected to trade one this offseason. This is now materializing, with Jeff Teague reportedly being sent to the Pacers. Here’s the Indianapolis Star reporting:

The Indiana Pacers have acquired Jeff Teague from the Atlanta Hawks in a three-team trade than sends George Hill to the Utah Jazz, the IndyStar has confirmed.

The rest of the deal has the Jazz sending their No. 12 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft to Atlanta, according to Yahoo reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, who first reported the trade.

And the Deseret News reports:

The move will give the Jazz a steadying influence at point guard while Dante Exum reacclimates himself to the NBA game after missing all of last season because of a torn ACL.

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