Ricky Rubio undergoes surgery on left ankle

Ricky Rubio undergoes surgery on left ankle

Ricky Rubio undergoes surgery on left ankle

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced guard Ricky Rubio underwent diagnostic arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle. The surgery was performed this morning by Dr. Richard Ferkel of Southern California Orthopedic Institute in Van Nuys, California.

Rubio is expected to make a full recovery this summer.

The point guard is a flashy, exciting player — when actually on the court. Which sadly was rare this season. Rubio played just 22 games, scoring a mere 10.8 ppg on 35.6% shooting, along with 8.8 apg and 1.7 spg. As nice a playmaker that he is, Rubio’s value in the league has a ceiling on it as long as his shooting remains a problem.

Howard happily gets to focus on the upcoming playoffs

Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting on Rockets center Dwight Howard, who will fortunately get to focus on the upcoming NBA playoffs instead of off-court issues:

Atlanta (Ga.) Police will not press charges of child abuse against Rockets center Dwight Howard, according to Atlanta Police spokesman Sgt. Gregory Lyon.

“We have investigated this case and are not moving forward with charges,” Lyon said via email.

The mother of one of Howard’s children had alleged that Howard had caused bruises on their then six-year-old son. The case was originally investigated by the Florida Department of Children and Families, but no charges were brought.

Mike Budenholzer gives credit to Danny Ferry

Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporting on the Hawks, whose success has been one of the top stories of the 2015-16 NBA season:

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer credited general manager Danny Ferry as the person most responsible for assembling the current roster.

With Ferry on an indefinite leave of absence, Budenholzer was the Hawks nomination for the NBA’s Executive of the Year award the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Saturday. Budenholzer was named head of basketball operations in September.

“Anyone who has followed the Hawks for the last two or three years knows that Danny Ferry is the executive who is most responsible for the makeup of our team,” Budenholzer said Sunday before the Hawks played the Wizards. “Danny is responsible for me being here. Our team is in a good place. I’m very grateful to work with such good players and with such a great staff.”

Isaiah Thomas, Tim Duncan named NBA Players of Week

Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas and the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, April 6, through Sunday, April 12.

Thomas led the Celtics to a 3-0 week, which included a pair of wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers and one win over the Detroit Pistons. He averaged 22.7 points (fourth in the conference), 5.7 assists (10th in the conference), and 2.7 rebounds. Thomas poured in a season-high 34 points on 10-of-17 shooting, and added six assists during a 113-103 win over the Pistons on April 8.

Duncan helped the streaking Spurs to a 4-0 week, extending their winning streak to 11 games. He averaged 17.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 3.3 blocks and 1.5 steals. Duncan tallied three rejections on April 10, including a block on Houston Rockets guard James Harden with 2.9 seconds remaining that sealed a 104-103 victory for San Antonio.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez, Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Indiana’s C.J. Miles, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul, and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Lou Williams.

Kings sign David Stockton through 2015-16 season

The Sacramento Kings announced today that the team has signed David Stockton through the 2015-16 season. The Kings had previously signed Stockton to a 10-day contract on February 20.

A day later, Stockton made his NBA debut at the STAPLES Center against the Los Angeles Clippers. He recorded one point (0-2 FG, 1-1 FT), two rebounds and one assist in seven minutes off the bench in his lone appearance with the Kings.

Stockton, a 5-11, 165-pound guard, averaged 20.1 points (.461 FG%, .398 3pt%, .824 FT%), 4.2 rebounds, 9.4 assists, 2.5 steals and 30.5 minutes per game in 43 contests of which he started 38 for the Sacramento Kings NBA D-League affiliate Reno Bighorns in 2014-15. Stockton recorded two triple-doubles, a 36-point, 10-rebound, 14-assist performance against Idaho on March 22 and a 26-point, 10-rebound, 15-assist effort vs. Bakersfield on March 31. Eight times he scored 30 or more points, including a career-high 44 points on March 4 vs. Rio Grande. He had 21 point-assist double-doubles, including a 37-point, 22-assist game against Texas on March 6. Among D-League leaders, he ranked 11th in scoring, third in assists and second in steals per game. Undrafted, Stockton was selected by the Maine Red Claws in the third round of the 2014 NBA Development League Draft on November 1, 2014. He was later traded to the Reno Bighorns on draft night.

Like his father, Hall of Fame guard John Stockton, he played collegiately at Gonzaga (2010-11 – 2013-14).

Suns sign Jerel McNeal through 2015-16 season

The Phoenix Suns have signed guard Jerel McNeal through the 2015-16 season. The Suns had previously signed McNeal to a 10-day contract on April 1.

McNeal, whose first name is pronounced Jah-rell, made his NBA debut with the Suns on April 2 and has appeared in four games with the team since initially signing.

In 27 games with the Bakersfield Jam this season, McNeal averaged 18.5 points, 4.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.1 steals. The 6-3 guard scored a season-high 40 points on 16-of-23 shooting for the Suns’ NBA Development League affiliate on March 7 at Austin.

A two-time NBA D-League All-Star, McNeal had previously signed with an NBA team during the regular season on two occasions though he made his debut with the Suns earlier this month. The 27-year-old spent 10 days with the New Orleans Hornets from March 9-19, 2011, and ended the season with the Utah Jazz from March 27-April 17, 2013. This was McNeal’s fourth career D-League season with Bakersfield (2012-15) and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (2010-11) as he holds career averages of 18.7 points, 5.1 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 135 games.

Undrafted out of Marquette University in 2009, McNeal has participated in NBA training camps with the Los Angeles Clippers (2009), Houston Rockets (2010) and Toronto Raptors (2012) and has also played professionally in Belgium, Italy and China. McNeal played four seasons at Marquette (2005-09) where he remains the Golden Eagles’ all-time leading scorer (1,985 career points) and earned Associated Press All-America Second Team honors as a senior in 2008-09.

Budenholzer, Hawks enjoying amazing success

Budenholzer, Hawks enjoying amazing success

Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporting on the Hawks, whose success has been a terrific season-long story:

With general manager Danny Ferry on a leave of absence the entire season, the Hawks submitted head coach Mike Budenholzer for consideration in voting for the NBA’s Executive of the Year Award, a person familiar with the situation told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Budenholzer has been serving as the head of basketball operations since September when Ferry took the leave following the discovery of racially insensitive remarks about free-agent target Luol Deng during a June conference call with team ownership and management. At that time, CEO Steve Koonin elevated Budenholzer to lead the basketball operations and make final decisions.

The Hawks clinched the Southeast Division title and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference last month as part of a record-breaking season. The team extended its franchise record for wins in a season with its 60th victory Friday night. The Hawks have also had a franchise record 19-game win streak, which included an NBA record 17-0 mark in January. The win streak is the longest in Atlanta professional sports history.

Crucial game for Miami Heat tonight

Crucial game for Miami Heat tonight

Here’s the Miami Herald blog with some insight on the Heat, whose time is running out if they hope to grab a spot in the postseason:

With three games left in the regular season, the Heat desperately needs a victory on Saturday night. The Heat has three games left in the regular season and now trails the Nets and Celtics by two games in the loss column after both teams won in convincing fashion on Friday night. The Pacers are earned an important victory, which further complicated the Eastern Conference playoff race. It’s not a true must-win scenario for the Heat, but another loss could doom the Heat’s playoff chances all the same.

While the Nets and Celtics enjoyed games on Friday against teams resting players or preparing for the playoffs, the Heat has no such luck on Saturday against the Raptors. Toronto can secure home-court advantage in the playoffs with a victory against the Heat.

Brett Brown thinks Joel Embiid will play in 2015 summer league

Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting on the Sixers, who are hoping to eventually get big things from center Joel Embiid once he’s healthy enough to begin his pro basketball career. But first, summer league action would be a nice start:

Brett Brown thinks Joel Embiid will play in 2015 summer league

Brett Brown said he “personally” would be disappointed if Joel Embiid didn’t play in the summer league.

“Personally, I expect him to play in the summer league,” Brown said. “But if I guessed any of this wrong, I want to make sure that the club is on record not being definitive. We are not in the position to say that now.”

Brown raised a few eyebrows Wednesday when he would not commit on whether the 7-foot rookie center would play this summer.

The season ends Wednesday. It’ll all be over soon

Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News blog reporting on Lakers guard Jeremy Lin, who is probably thankful that the season ends Wednesday:

Jeremy Lin sits out practice with knee soreness

Lakers guard Jeremy Lin missed Saturday’s practice so he could receive treatment to heal persistent soreness in his left knee. Lin has missed the past two games because of his latest injury, and a recent MRI confirmed an abnormality in his meniscus that has existed since having surgery in 2012.

The Lakers (21-58) have not ruled out Lin playing for Sunday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks (48-31) at Staples Center.

Aaron Craft named D-League Defensive Player of Year

Aaron Craft named D-League Defensive Player of Year

Santa Cruz Warriors guard Aaron Craft has been selected as the 2015 NBA Development League’s Defensive Player of the year by a vote of the league’s 18 head coaches. Craft will be honored with a trophy for his efforts by NBA D-League President Malcolm Turner prior to tonight’s playoff game against the Oklahoma City Blue, which will be broadcast live on ESPNNEWS at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Craft (6-2, 192, Ohio State) played in all 50 regular season games for Santa Cruz, anchoring a Warriors defense that held opponents to league-lows 42 percent shooting from the field and 99.6 points per 100 possessions. Santa Cruz’ opponents averaged 102.2 points, good for third-lowest in the NBA D-League. Individually, Craft averaged an NBA D-League best 2.5 steals while topping the league with a 1.4 steal-to-turnover ratio. Additionally, he averaged 9.2 points, 6.2 assists and 4.9 rebounds in 36.1 minutes.

“Aaron has shown his aptitude, intensity and desire on the defensive end all season long,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations for the NBA D-League. “His ability as a lock-down defender has been a tremendous asset for coach Casey Hill and the Warriors this season. We congratulate Aaron on an impressive rookie campaign and this well-deserved award.”

Craft helped lead the Warriors to the West Division Championship and a 35-15 record, tied for the best in the league. The team earned the top overall seed in the Western Conference and currently owns a 1-0 lead over the Blue in the first round of the 2015 NBA D-League Playoffs.

“Aaron is one of the soundest defenders I’ve ever been around and without a doubt he deserves this award,” said head coach Hill. “He has been phenomenal for our team all year long and it has been amazing to coach him.”

A four-year contributor at Ohio State, Craft was a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year (2012, 2014) and was named the NABC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2014. Undrafted last season, Craft earned an invitation to the Golden State Warriors training camp in September 2014.

Thabo Sefolosha suffers major injuries from incident outside NYC nightclub

Thabo Sefolosha suffers major injuries from incident with NYC police

Atlanta Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha suffered injuries during yesterday’s early morning incident where he was arrested near the 1OAK nightclub in New York City after Pacers forward Chris Copeland had been stabbed. But did these injuries occur due to the arrest from police, or did something else happen with Thabo beforehand that we don’t know about? We do not know this.

An examination of Sefolosha’s right leg, including an X-ray at Barclays Center yesterday and an MRI today at Peachtree Orthopaedics revealed a fractured fibula and ligament damage that will require surgery. He is out for the remainder of the season, including the entire postseason, and a timeline for his return will be updated at a later date.

“This is a very difficult situation for Thabo and our thoughts and support will be with him during his recovery. We know that his approach and dedication will serve him well in his rehabilitation,” Head Coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Our team remains focused and will be prepared as we head into the postseason.”

  Thabo Sefolosha — Video of Brutal Clash with Cops … Headlocked & Taken Down
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Dwight Howard hopes to play 20 NBA seasons

Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting on center Dwight Howard, who hope to put two decades of NBA work in before he hangs up his sneakers and Superman cape.

Dwight Howard hopes to play 20 NBA seasons

Dwight Howard said he hopes he can have a career as long as the one his Wednesday night opponent — Tim Duncan — has had in San Antonio.

Duncan, 38, has played 17 years in the NBA and is still starting for the Spurs and is considered to be one of the best big men in the league.

“That’s always been my goal- to play 20 years in the league so I think it can be done,” said Howard, who is in his 11th NBA season. “It would be great. Tim (Duncan) is still playing great basketball. He has migrated to different spots on the floor instead of just the post.”

James Harden not focused on NBA scoring title

James Harden not focused on scoring title

Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting on Rockets guard James Harden, with stats through Tuesday’s games and not including Wednesday’s results:

With Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook scoring just 17 points on Tuesday, Rockets guard James Harden’s lead for the NBA scoring title grew to two-tenths of a point, the largest margin since Harden regained the scoring lead last week.

Harden is averaging 27.7 going into tonight’s game vs. San Antonio. Westbrook is at 27.5.

Harden did not know. He did not want to know, and his friends, family and teammates know not to tell him.

“I don’t want to hear it,” Harden said. “I don’t want to hear. I think the most important thing right now is winning. I’ve said it plenty of times, just winning and getting in a rhythm going into the postseason.

Flashback to Fat Lever

Here’s the Denver Post reporting on a versatile, highly-skilled former NBA guard with a great name and even better game:

Arguably one of the most underrated players in NBA history, Lever had 46 triple-doubles in his career with the Nuggets, more than two-thirds of the total triple-doubles in franchise history.

He was a triple-double threat every night. In six seasons with the Nuggets, Lever averaged 17.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game.He was named to the second-team all-defense in 1988 and is among the Nuggets’ top 10 all time in steals (1,167), assists (3,566), field goals made (3,304) and rebounds (3,621).

“When you’re playing, you really don’t pay attention to it that much,” Lever said. “As I look back now, and every time someone throws a stat at me that I wasn’t aware of now sticks out. The triple-doubles come up more now because of (Oklahoma City guard) Russell Westbrook. If I had that kind of athleticism I’d still be playing. But at the same time it’s one of those things where you remember it, you enjoy it and then you move on. And then you try to share some of those experiences with someone else — your family, your kids, people that I run across.

“I enjoy it.”

Mavs hope Chandler Parsons will return before playoffs

Here’s ESPN Dallas reporting on the Mavericks, who recently clinched a Western conference playoff spot. Seven spots are now claimed. The team hopes there will be good news on the Chandler Parsons front soon.

Mavs hope Chandler Parsons will return before playoffs

The Dallas Mavericks hope that small forward Chandler Parsons, who will miss his second consecutive game Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns due to swelling and soreness in his right knee, will get some playing time before the playoffs begin.

However, there is no firm timetable for Parsons’ return.

“He’s doing better. He’s just not there yet,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told reporters after Wednesday’s shootaround. “We’d like to get him back to play a game or two before the playoffs, if it’s possible. But nothing is for sure.”

Nikola Pekovic had Achilles surgery this morning

The Minnesota Timberwolves announced that center Nikola Pekovic underwent a successful debridement and repair of his right Achilles this morning. The surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson at Ortho Carolina in Charlotte, North Carolina. Pekovic will be sidelined indefinitely. An update on his progress will be provided when appropriate.

Pekovic played in 31 games this season, averaging 12.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest. The five-year veteran holds career averages of 12.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

The Wolves are 16-61 through Tuesday’s games, which is the second worst record in the league. The NBA’s regular season ends in one week, on Wednesday, April 15.

Knicks sign Ricky Ledo for rest of season

Knicks sign Ricky Ledo for rest of season

Knicks sign Ricky Ledo for rest of season

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has signed guard Ricky Ledo for the remainder of the season.

Ledo, 6-7, 195-pounds, is averaging 9.5 points and 3.4 rebounds over 21.1 minutes in eight games with the Knicks and 5.9 points and 2.2 rebounds over 13.9 minutes in 13 games with both Dallas and New York on the season. He signed the first of two consecutive 10-day contracts with the Knicks on Mar. 19.

More overseas games for Celtics next season

Here’s the Boston Herald reporting on the Celtics, who are already one of the most famous basketball teams in the world and will get even more live-and-in-person overseas exposure next season:

The Celtics might not be among the better NBA teams in the United States these days, but the franchise continues to be a major brand beyond the borders.

As such, it will soon be announced that the club is playing a third international game outside of the league’s footprint. It was reported here in November that the Celts will play preseason games in Milan and Madrid against local teams next October, and sources now say they will play a regular-season game against Sacramento in Mexico City in late November or early December.

The Kings will be the home team in that game, meaning the Celtics still will have 41 dates at the Garden, not including the preseason and playoffs.

Bucks sign Jorge Gutierrez to multi-year contract

Bucks sign Jorge Gutierrez to multi-year contract

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed guard Jorge Gutierrez to a multi-year contract, General Manager John Hammond announced today. Gutierrez is the 60th Gatorade Call-Up of the 2014-15 NBA Development League season.

Gutierrez appeared in seven games for the Bucks earlier this season and averaged 3.6 points and 2.1 rebounds while playing 13.4 minutes per game. He made one start for Milwaukee on Feb. 2 at Toronto, and tied his career high for scoring with 13 points on Feb. 6 at Houston. He signed his initial 10-day contact on Jan. 28 and a second 10-day contract on Feb. 7.

Gutierrez has also played 15 games for the Canton Charge of the NBA D-League this season and averaged 13.5 points, 5.1 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 29.8 minutes per game.

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