Trail Blazers sign TJ Leaf to two-way contract

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed free-agent forward TJ Leaf to a two-way contract, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

Leaf, 23, holds career averages of 3.3 points (49.1% FG, 34.1% 3-PT, 57.1% FT), 2.0 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 8.7 minutes in 139 games (two starts), all with Indiana. A three-year veteran, Leaf (6-10, 222) was selected with the 18th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Pacers following his freshman season at UCLA.

Traded from Indiana to Oklahoma City ahead of the 2020-21 season, Leaf was waived by the Thunder on December 18.

Leaf will wear No. 18 for the Trail Blazers.

Nuggets guard Jamal Murray suffers major injury: torn ACL

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray has been diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament of the left knee.

Via the Denver Post:

When Jamal Murray crashed to the floor with less than a minute remaining in Monday’s loss to Golden State, his reaction suggested he knew something devastating had just happened.

Murray suffered a torn left ACL, The Denver Post first reported and was later anounced by the team early Tuesday morning, ending his season and compromising the Nuggets’ title hopes barely a month out from the postseason.

His recovery, according to a league source, is expected to be anywhere from 9 to 12 months.

Not only is Murray’s injury devastating to the Nuggets this season, but his recovery is expected to come near the end of next year’s regular season, when the NBA is back on its normal schedule.

Horrible news.

Magic sign Donta Hall, release Devin Cannady

The Orlando Magic have signed free agent forward Donta Hall to a 10-day contract, President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman announced today.

In addition, guard Devin Cannady has been released from his 10-day contract.

Hall (6’10”, 232, 8/7/97) played in 12 games this season (11 starts) with both Ignite and Raptors 905 of the NBA G League, averaging 10.2 ppg., 8.3 rpg., 1.5 apg. and 2.08 blkpg. in 24.8 minpg., while shooting .625 (50-80) from the floor.

During the 2019-20 campaign, Hall appeared in nine combined games with both Detroit and Brooklyn, averaging 4.3 ppg. and 4.2 rpg. in 14.8 minpg. He played in four games with the Pistons, averaging 1.5 ppg. and 3.8 rpg. in 12.0 minpg. Later in the season, Hall played five games with the Nets, averaging 6.6 ppg., 4.6 rpg. and 1.00 blkpg. in 17.0 minpg. He also appeared in 38 games (37 starts) with Grand Rapids of the NBA G League, averaging 15.4 ppg., 10.6 rpg., 1.0 apg., 1.45 blkpg. and 1.03 stlpg. in 28.6 minpg., while shooting .669 (230-344) from the floor. Hall was named to the All-NBA G League Second Team, the NBA G League All-Rookie Team and the NBA G League All-Defensive Team in 2019-20.

Undrafted by an NBA franchise, Hall played in 135 career games (85 starts) during four seasons at the University of Alabama, averaging 7.5 ppg., 6.3 rpg. and 1.69 blkpg. in 20.8 minpg., while shooting .661 (400-605) from the floor. He was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team as both a junior (2017-18) and a senior (2018-19).

Hall will wear #45 with the Orlando Magic.

Cannady (6’2”, 183, 5/21/96) played in three games with Orlando, averaging 4.7 ppg. in 4.5 minpg. He originally was signed to a 10-day contract by Orlando on Apr. 6.

De’Aaron Fox scores 43, but Kings lose to Pelicans

Kings guard De’Aaron Fox lit up the scoreboard Monday, but in a losing effort. Via the Sacramento Bee:

De’Aaron Fox scored 43 points against the New Orleans Pelicans for the second time this season, but again he left the floor in defeat as the Kings suffered another crushing blow to their fading playoff hopes.

Brandon Ingram had 34 points, seven assists and six rebounds, leading the Pelicans to a 117-110 victory over the Kings on Monday night at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Sacramento stormed back from a 26-point deficit to get within four in the final minute, but the Pelicans held on to hand the Kings their seventh consecutive loss.

Zion Williamson had 30 points with six rebounds and four assists for the Pelicans (25-29), who moved within a half-game of the Golden State Warriors for the final play-in spot in the Western Conference. New Orleans also padded its lead over the Kings (22-32), who now trail the Warriors by 3 ½ games with 18 games remaining.

The Kings are 22-32 this season, which is the 12th best record in the Western conference.

Their leading scorers so far in 2020-21 are Fox at 24.7 points per game, Buddy Hield at 16.5 ppg, Harrison Barnes at 15.5 ppg, and Richaun Holmes at 14.4 ppg.

Stephen Curry passes Wilt Chamberlain to become all-time Warriors points leader

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry scored his 17,784 career point in the first quarter of tonight’s game against the Denver Nuggets, passing Wilt Chamberlain (17,783) to become the franchise’s all-time points leader.

Curry entered tonight’s game with averages of 29.9 points (second in the NBA), 6.0 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.33 steals in 33.9 minutes over 45 games (all starts) this season. A three-time NBA Champion and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, Curry has spent his entire 12-year career with the Warriors.

Curry scored his first career point in his NBA debut on October 28, 2009 vs. Houston on a 19-foot jumper and broke the franchise record tonight on a three-foot driving layup with 1:40 remaining in the first quarter.

Thunder sign forward Gabriel Deck

The Oklahoma City Thunder have signed forward Gabriel Deck to a multi-year contract, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Per multiple reports, Deck’s contract with the Thunder is a four-year, $14.5 million deal.

Deck (6-8, 232) spent the last three seasons with Real Madrid of the Spanish Liga ACB. During the 2020-21 season, he appeared in 58 games (41 starts) and averaged 9.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 23.9 minutes per game, shooting 52.1 percent from the field.

Prior to his time with Real Madrid, the Argentinian native played two seasons with San Lorenzo de Almagro of Liga A in Argentina where he appeared in 113 games (106 starts) and registered averages of 18.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 30.2 minutes, shooting 54.9 percent. Deck spent five years from 2011-16 with Liga A’s Quimsa prior to representing Argentina in the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.

NBA postpones tonight’s Nets vs. Timberwolves game in Minnesota

STATEMENT FROM THE NBA

The National Basketball Association announced today that in light of the tragic events in the Minneapolis area yesterday, tonight’s game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center has been postponed. The decision to postpone was made by the NBA after consultation with the Timberwolves organization and local and state officials.

Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Daunte Wright during this difficult time.

Sixers sign Anthony Tolliver to 10-day contract

The Philadelphia 76ers have signed Anthony Tolliver to a 10-day contract.

Tolliver joins the 76ers after spending last season with Memphis, Sacramento and Portland. He saw action in 55 games (13 starts) between the three teams, averaging 3.6 points and 2.8 rebounds in 15.9 minutes per game. He posted season highs of 16 points and 11 rebounds on Jan. 13, 2020 vs. Charlotte while with the Trail Blazers.

All told, the Springfield, Missouri native has appeared in 719 career games (105 starts) with Portland, Sacramento, Memphis, Minnesota, Detroit, Phoenix, Charlotte, Atlanta, Golden State and San Antonio. He holds career averages of 6.2 points and 3.3 rebounds in 19.6 minutes per game, while shooting .415 from the field, .373 from three-point range and .771 from the free-throw line.

Undrafted in the 2007 NBA Draft following a four-year collegiate career at Creighton, Tolliver began his professional career with Cleveland during the 2007-08 preseason. In addition to his time in the NBA and NBA G League, Tolliver has played professionally in Germany and Turkey. As a senior at Creighton, he captured First Team All-MVC honors, averaging 13.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.7 blocks in 31.6 minutes per contest. Tolliver helped lead the Bluejays to a 22-11 record and an appearance in the 2008 NCAA Tournament.

Tolliver will wear No. 43 for the 76ers.

Some fan attendance will be allowed at Wizards home games starting April 21

The Washington Wizards will welcome fans back to Capital One Arena for the first time this season on Wednesday, April 21, at 7:00 p.m. when the team hosts the Golden State Warriors.

Due to the very limited tickets to be made available (attendance will be limited to 2,100 fans, 10% of the venue’s capacity), priority for ticketing will be given to season ticket members, with information forthcoming on ticket availability for the general public. Fans are encouraged to visit https://www.nba.com/wizards/wizticketpresale to sign up for alerts and information regarding individual game ticket access.

The Wizards and Monumental Sports & Entertainment will welcome pre-selected frontline workers to the April 21 game in recognition of their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Extensive upgrades in safety protocol have been put in place in preparation for welcoming fans back to Capital One Arena, including health screening, mobile-only tickets, and seating pods. For more information, fans can visit www.monumentalsports.com/health-safety.

Pelicans sign James Nunnally, waive Will Magnay

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed forward James Nunnally to a two-way contract.

In a related move, the Pelicans waived two-way player Will Magnay.

Nunnally (6-7, 208) most recently played for the February 2021 USA Basketball Men’s AmeriCup Qualifying Team. He played in both games during the AmeriCup Qualifying February 2021 window, averaging 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 23.0 minutes per game.

Nunnally has played internationally in Greece, Puerto Rico, Spain, Israel, Italy, Turkey and China. Throughout his international career, Nunnally has shot better than 45% on more than 500 3-point attempts.

In 2019-20, he played for Fenerbahçe (Turkey) and the Shanghai Sharks (China). He helped Fenerbahçe to back-to-back EuroLeague Final Four appearances in 2016-17 and 2017-18, including winning the championship in 2017. Nunnally earned Italian League MVP honors following the 2015-16 season after averaging 18.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 40 games for Sidigas Avellino.

Undrafted in 2012 after his senior season at UC Santa Barbara, Nunnally has appeared in 28 career NBA games with Atlanta, Philadelphia, Minnesota and Houston.

Nunnally will wear #21 for the Pelicans.

New Orleans’ roster currently stands at 16 players.