Hornets waive Andrew Andrews

Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has waived guard Andrew Andrews.

Andrews (6-2, 200, Washington) signed with the Hornets on Sept. 7 and appeared in three games, averaging 4.0 points on .429 percent from the field, 1.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 10.4 minutes per contest.

The team’s roster now stands at 18.

Mason Plumlee played and started all 82 games last season for the Trail Blazers, averaging 9.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 25.4 minutes per outing. Although those assist numbers don’t pop out, Plumlee is versatile, an excellent passer, and nobody would be surprised were he to eventually put up a triple-double in a game. Here’s CSNNW with more:

Mason Plumlee and the pursuit of a triple-double

The growing question among the Trail Blazers is not whether center Mason Plumlee will record a triple-double this season, but how many.

“Oh, I can see him getting a lot of them,’’ Damian Lillard said Wednesday after Plumlee had eight points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in 24 minutes in the Blazers’ 88-84 exhibition win at Utah.

Two developments have led teammates to predict the esteemed accomplishment of recording double-figures in three categories.

First, Plumlee has developed a mid-range jump shot, which this preseason has graduated from offseason experiment to a legitimate part of his arsenal…

Second, the Blazers have added new offensive sets this season that will more often feature him in play-making positions. The new role builds off his effective playoffs, when he helped pick apart the Clippers with his athleticism, decision-making and passing.

Sacramento Kings buy Reno Bighorns

Sacramento Kings buy Reno Bighorns

The NBA Development League and the Sacramento Kings today announced that the team has acquired a controlling interest in the NBA D-League’s Reno Bighorns. With the purchase, the Kings become the 15th NBA team to own and operate its NBA D-League affiliate.

“With today’s purchase, half of NBA teams now own and operate their NBA D-League affiliate – an important milestone that proves how essential developing top young NBA talent has become,” said NBA D-League President Malcolm Turner. “I’m thrilled to welcome Vivek Ranadivé and the Sacramento Kings’ ownership group to the NBA D-League family and want to thank Herb Santos for his integral role in Bighorns basketball.”

Longstanding partners, the Bighorns and Kings have been affiliated since the 2008-09 season, Reno’s inaugural NBA D-League campaign. Prior to the 2013-14 season, the teams entered into a single-affiliation partnership, with the NBA franchise managing basketball operations for the NBA D-League club. With today’s purchase, the Kings will now assume all business operations of the Bighorns.

“We’re excited to deepen our relationship with the Bighorns and the Reno/Tahoe community,” said Kings owner and chairman Vivek Ranadivé. “This is an incredible opportunity to develop players, front-office staff and future business executives for the Sacramento Kings, while simultaneously contributing meaningfully to the Reno entertainment, commercial and non-profit ecosystem.”

Five current Kings have NBA D-League experience. Additionally, head coach Dave Joerger and assistant coaches Bryan Gates and Duane Ticknor all made the jump to the NBA coaching ranks following stints on NBA D-League benches.

Since the team’s inception, more than 10 Bighorns have earned GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA, including San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green. Additionally, 16 NBA players have spent time on assignment in Reno, including current NBA players Jeremy Lin and Hassan Whiteside.

“It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to grow basketball and provide family-friendly entertainment in the Reno community over the past five years,” said Bighorns minority owner Herb Santos. “I cannot thank everyone enough for the years of support and look forward to continuing to cheer for the Bighorns alongside each of you.”

On Nov. 2, the Kings will join the Bighorns for a Celebration Day featuring Kings talent in order to give fans in Reno an opportunity to connect directly with the Sacramento organization. Those interested in purchasing a season-ticket membership can sign up on the priority list at RenoBighorns.com/membership or by calling 888-91-KINGS to have first shot at securing seats before they go on sale to the public on Nov. 2.

Launched in 2001, the NBA D-League has expanded from an eight-team league to a record 22 teams for the 2016-17 season, all of which will be singly affiliated with an NBA parent club. The NBA D-League will tip off its 16th season on Nov. 11.

Brandon Ingram is a rookie to watch this season. He appears to have all the potential in the world, but there’s no pressure on him to do big things right away. So we’re probably going to see occasional bursts of excellence. Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News with the latest:

Brandon Ingram plays his best preseason game

The movement looked so natural as Brandon Ingram navigated his way around the court.

He sank shots with balance as he set his feet and squared up in triple threat position. He scanned the court and found open teammates both in half-court and transition. He slid his deceptively thin frame into the lane to pluck rebounds off the rim as if they were apples on a tree.

The Lakers fell in love with Ingram when he perfected all those qualities during his lone season at Duke. After seeing him experience some hiccups in summer league and training camp, the Lakers saw Ingram flash signs of promising growth in their 123-112 preseason loss to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday at Valley View Casino Center.

Ingram led the Lakers in points (21), in shooting efficiency (7 of 10) and rebounds (seven). He occasionally took care of ball handling duties both to tap into his versatility and take advantage of Golden State’s matchups that calls for positions to become interchangeable. And he put together a performance that made Lakers coach Luke Walton feel fuzzy about the team’s No. 2 draft pick.

Rodney Hood returns from injury

Here’s the Salt Lake Tribune with an update on Rodney Hood, who averaged 14.5 points per game last season and remains a key member of the Utah Jazz:

Rodney Hood returns from injury

Shots were short all night for the Utah Jazz’s starting shooting guard. His explosion to the rim off the dribble wasn’t there, and there were times he was frustrated by the shots he was missing.

All the same, it was a return, and Hood was glad to get out onto the floor. In what was an 88-84 preseason loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night, Hood was happy to work out the kinks in a game that didn’t count. Now, he can move on to the real thing.

“I’ll be ready for the regular season,” Hood said. “I hadn’t been practicing or anything, so it was good to get out there and be able to take contact.”

That’s why the shooting struggles, and the overall rustiness mattered little to Hood. His return to health from the sprained left hand was more important.

Knicks guard Derrick Rose won his civil trial today. Here’s the NY Daily News reporting:

Derrick Rose found not liable in civil rape trial

A California jury has rejected a woman’s $21.5 million rape lawsuit against Knicks’ star Derrick Rose.

The jury deliberated for just under four hours Wednesday in Los Angeles federal court before finding the accuser hadn’t proven her claim that Rose and two friends gang-raped her while she was drunk or drugged in her central California apartment.

Rose showed no emotion as the verdict was read, and just shook his lawyer’s hand.

Outside of court, he said he was thankful the jury “understood and agreed with me.”

Bucks exercise contract option on Jabari Parker

The Milwaukee Bucks have exercised the fourth-year contract option on Jabari Parker, General Manager John Hammond announced today. This is not a surprise. Parker is one of the team’s key young building blocks.

Parker, 21, has appeared in 101 games (97 starts) in his first two NBA seasons and holds career averages of 13.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 31.1 minutes per game. He was selected to participate in the 2016 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge as part of the 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto, where he suited up for the U.S. Team. The 6-8 forward was named to the 2016 USA Men’s Select Team and earned the opportunity to train with the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s National Team during its training camp in Las Vegas in July. Parker is averaging a team-best 16.8 points to go along with 6.2 rebounds and 1.4 steals in five preseason matchups in 2016.

Under the terms of the NBA’s current collective bargaining agreement, the first two years of a first round draft pick’s contract are guaranteed, while the third and fourth year of the contract are the team’s option.

Timberwolves loaded with young talent

Each year, many teams get praised for having potential simply because they have a young roster. The problem there is, just because players are young doesn’t mean they’re going to improve enough to collectively turn a lottery team into a winner. A force. A contender. Sure, second and third-year players tend to perform at a higher level the following season. But usually not enough to propel a team into playoff contender discussions. But the Timberwolves have a lot of great pieces, a great new coach, and as much potential as any team in the NBA to go from mostly losing (29 wins, 53 losses last season, 16 wins and 66 losses in 2014-15) to respectable status. Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting:

Timberwolves loaded with young talent

Kris Dunn is the exciting new Wolves rookie. Karl-Anthony Towns, at least according to NBA GMs, is the team’s franchise player — the one they would pick from the entire league right now if they were going to take one player to start a team. Zach LaVine is the super-athletic dunk champion. Ricky Rubio is the floor general.

But maybe, just maybe, Andrew Wiggins is the key to just how far the Wolves will go this year and beyond. He was the NBA’s top rookie two years ago and took a small step — but not a leap — forward last year. There doesn’t seem to be a clear consensus as to where his ceiling is — a nice wing but a volume scorer? An All-Star once or twice? A superstar? — but this is year three and those answers should start to come into focus.

Wiggins’ presence at the team’s media day a few weeks back suggested he’s emerging as a team leader along with Towns. But more important will be his play on the court — and while every NBA player works in the offseason in some way to stay sharp, a video that went live Tuesday of Wiggins’ summer work indicates a level of focus and intensity aimed at achieving greatness.

Aaron Gordon dealing with sore ankles

Super-athletic Aaron Gordon is one of the key young members of the Orlando Magic. Through three preseason games, Gordon is averaging 8.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in 26.7 minutes per game. He’s shooting just 31% FG, though it’s not worth paying too much attention to field goal percentage when we’re only talking about a few games worth of shots. Still, it’s been a  modest preseason for him. Here’s the Orlando Sentinel with the latest:

Aaron Gordon dealing with sore ankles

Magic SF Aaron Gordon is dealing with soreness in both ankles and sat out Tuesday night’s game against the Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Gordon, though, said he expected to play Thursday night against the New Orleans Pelicans at Amway Center, Orlando’s final preseason game of 2016-17.

Gordon severely sprained his left ankle weeks before training camp, but in compensating for that injury, he has experienced some soreness in the right one now, too.

Gordon said his left ankle was hurting “so I compensated on my right one. They’re just sore.”

Tobias Harris suffers broken nose

Pistons forward Tobias Harris averaged 13.7 points and 7.0 rebounds for the 49 games he played for the Magic before his midseason trade to the Pistons, for whom he averaged 16.6 points and 6.2 rebounds in 27 games. Entering 2016-17, he’s a key Piston. Here’s the Detroit News with an update:

Tobias Harris suffers broken nose

Add forward Tobias Harris to the growing Pistons injury list.

Stan Van Gundy said Harris suffered a non-displaced fracture of his nose in Monday’s exhibition victory over the Bucks.

“It’s not as bad as it could’ve been, but he needs to get fitted for a mask,” Van Gundy said Tuesday. “He’s seeing a specialist and should be ready to go (tonight).”

Van Gundy also said backup center Aron Baynes, who missed last weekend’s exhibition against the 76ers with back spasms and was a game-time decision against the Bucks, took an inadvertent shot to the face from rookie Henry Ellenson early during practice and had to leave.

The Philadelphia 76ers today made multiple updates to their basketball operations department, including the promotion of Ned Cohen to Vice President of Basketball Operations and Chief of Staff, as well as a re-structured analytics department, which will be led by Vice President of Analytics and Strategy Alex Rucker, and supported by Director of Applied Analytics Dr. Lance Pearson and Sergi Oliva as Director of Basketball Analytics and Innovation.

Additionally, the Sixers promoted Vince Rozman to Senior Director of Basketball Operations. The team also named Scott Epsley as Director of Physiotherapy and Clinical Diagnostics, Juan Jackson as Director of Team Security, Shea Dawson as Manager of Team Services and Kevin Owens as Basketball Operations Coordinator.

“These moves reflect the outstanding performance of many within the 76ers organization and also addresses our desire to enhance and improve our internal processes regarding decision making, athlete performance care and team services. We are very excited about the future of this organization both on and off the basketball floor,” said Colangelo.

Cohen, who joined the Sixers this June, continues to serve as the primary liaison for all interdepartmental planning, coordination and communication. He joined the organization after serving as the Associate Vice President of Basketball Operations with the NBA. Since his arrival at the league office in 2004, he played a critical role in a number of areas, with a specific focus on competitive matters. Additionally, Cohen was a key part of the operations surrounding many of the league’s significant meetings and events, including the NBA All-Star Game, Competition Committee and Board of Governors meetings.

Rucker arrives in Philadelphia after having spent the last seven seasons with the Toronto Raptors as the Senior Analytics Consultant. In that role, he supported key decision makers with analytic tools and insight, identified new basketball data sources and directed the engineering and software team. For the past two seasons, he concurrently served as the Director of Performance Analysis with Basketball Canada, where he performed advanced statistical modeling and an analysis for the men’s national team. Prior to joining the Raptors, Rucker was a Staff Officer in the United States Navy, serving under the Commander of the United States 7th Fleet in an executive leadership role. He holds a law degree from the University of Notre Dame, a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree.

Pearson spent last season in the role of coordinator of coaching analytics and special video projects, and has been working within the Sixers’ basketball operations department for the past three seasons. He spent four years at Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky as an assistant coach and adjunct professor of psychology. Pearson holds three bachelor’s degrees from the University of Kentucky as well as a Ph.D. in cognitive and neutral systems from Boston University.

Oliva begins his third season with the Sixers, after having served the past two as Basketball Operations Analyst prior to this promotion. Before joining the organization, he was a researcher at UPC-Barcelona Tech, where he received his PhD in Computational Complexity, as well as Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science. He also continues to collaborate with the coaching development programs within the Catalan Basketball Federation.

Epsley joins the Sixers sports performance staff with nearly two decades of physical therapy experience, previously serving dual roles as both the Head Physical Therapist for Georgetown University and as Director for Professional, Collegiate and Elite Sports Therapy and Clinical Education with Medstar Sports Medicine. He has served as a medical consultant for the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals, Washington Nationals, DC United, Team Penske’s IndyCar drivers and the New York City Ballet. Additionally, Epsley has authored a wide array of research and is a certified musculoskeletal sonographer.

Jackson has over 28 years of law enforcement and security experience, having most recently served as the Director of Team Security for the Atlanta Hawks last season. Prior to that, he spent five seasons as the Team Security representative for the Oklahoma City Thunder, while also serving as the Team Security representative for the Philadelphia Eagles, as well as the Director of Corporate Security and Emergency Management for the Simon Property Group. Additionally, Jackson spent over two decades with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and started his career as a New Jersey State Trooper.

Rozman enters his 12th season with the organization, having spent the past two seasons as the team’s Director of Basketball Operations. In his current role, he will continue to play a key role while also overseeing the day-to-day operations of the scouting department.

Dawson spent the last seven years as the Director of Basketball Operations for the Pangos All-American Camp while also serving as the Head Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach for the Windward School in Los Angeles, CA. Additionally, Dawson has extensive operations experience with a number of high-profile basketball camps and events, including the Samsung NBA Las Vegas Summer League, Adidas Nations and the Las Vegas Fab 48.

Owens enters his second season with the Sixers, where he will assist with the overall day-to-day operations of the department and work closely with the executive and coaching staffs. Prior to this promotion, he served as an Operations Assistant for the 87ers, where he was responsible for a number of areas related to team operations, including the preparation of scouting reports and game film, implementation of data and analytics, and coding practices.

In conjunction with the aforementioned changes, former Vice President of Basketball Operations Sachin Gupta and Vice President of Analytics Ben Falk have moved on to pursue new opportunities.

Miami Heat sign Luis Montero, waive Keith Benson

The Miami HEAT have signed guard Luis Montero and waived Keith Benson.

Montero appeared in 12 games with the Portland Trail Blazers last season totaling 14 points, four rebounds and an assist in 42 minutes of action. He also appeared in six postseason games with Portland totaling eight points on a perfect 3-of-3 from the field, 2-of-2 from three-point range and 1-of-1 from the foul line. While on NBA Development League assignment with the Santa Cruz Warriors last season, Montero appeared in four games (all starts) and averaged 16.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.75 blocks, 1.50 steals and 28.3 minutes while shooting 41.2 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from three-point range and 78.3 percent from the foul line.

Montero will wear number 44.

Benson, who was signed by the HEAT on September 23, appeared in three preseason games with Miami averaging 7.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in 10.9 minutes of action.

Knicks re-sign Cleanthony Early

Knicks re-sign Cleanthony Early

The Knicks today re-signed forward Cleanthony Early. He will likely begin the season playing in the D-League.

Early, 6-8, 210-pounds, averaged 1.8 points in 17 games for New York during his second NBA season in 2015-16, a year shortened by a right knee injury. He was assigned to the NBA D-League’s Westchester Knicks on four separate occasions, averaging 15.6 points and 7.3 rebounds in seven appearances.

The Bronx, NY-native was originally drafted by New York in the second round (34th overall) of the 2014 NBA Draft.

The Brooklyn Nets have waived Jorge Gutierrez, Chase Budinger, Beau Beech and Egidijus Mockevicius.

Beech, who originally signed with Brooklyn on August 5, appeared in one preseason game with the Nets, scoring three points in eight minutes.

Budinger saw action in four preseason games, averaging 3.0 points and 1.5 rebounds in 10.4 minutes per game. He originally signed with the Nets on September 26.

Gutierrez, who originally signed with Brooklyn on September 26, appeared in three preseason games with the Nets, recording averages of 3.7 points and 2.0 assists in 9.3 minutes per game.

Mockevicius logged nine minutes of action in one preseason game with the Nets. He originally signed with Brooklyn on August 5.

Brooklyn’s roster now stands at 16 players.

Thunder sign Reggie Williams

Thunder sign Reggie Williams

The OKC Thunder signed guard Reggie Williams today.

Williams (6-6, 205) spent the 2015-16 season in Russia with Avtodor Saratov, appearing in 16 games and averaging 13.6 points on 58.8% shooting from the field including 40.7% from long distance, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 25.0 minutes per contest.

The guard has appeared in 200 career NBA games (32 starts) with Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Charlotte and Golden State. He holds career averages of 7.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 18.3 minutes. The VMI product has also played internationally for San Miguel Beerman of the Philippines (2014), Caja Laboral of Spain (2011) and JDA Dijon of France (2008-09).

In a related move, the Thunder waived guard Alex Caruso who was originally signed by the club on Sept. 23rd.

Pistons waive Nikola Jovanovic

The Detroit Pistons have requested waivers on forward Nikola Jovanovic. He saw action in one preseason game (at Philadelphia on 10/15) with Detroit.

Jovanovic, who was signed as a free agent on September 26, played three years at the University of Southern California and averaged 10.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 0.6 blocks in 98 games for the Trojans. He averaged 12-plus points and 7.0 rebounds in both his sophomore and junior years and shot better than 50% from the field in all three of his collegiate years. A native of Belgrade, Serbia, Jovanovic became the 36th player in USC history to record 1,000-plus points.

Dallas Mavericks sign Jaleel Cousins

Dallas Mavericks sign Jaleel Cousins

The Dallas Mavericks have signed free agent center Jaleel Cousins. It’s probably a non-guaranteed deal.

Jaleel is the brother of Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.

Cousins (6-11, 255), a native of Mobile, Alabama, went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft after averaging 8.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 25.0 minutes per contest while appearing in all 33 games his senior season at South Florida. Prior to his transfer to South Florida, he spent one season at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas.

Cousins played in all five games for the Mavericks at the 2016 Orlando Pro Summer League. He averaged 5.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in 14.1 minutes per contest.

He will wear number 32 for the Mavericks.

Pelicans sign Quincy Ford

Pelicans sign Quincy Ford

The New Orleans Pelicans today signed guard/forward Quincy Ford.

Ford, 6-8, 225, was a member of the Utah Jazz’s summer league team, appearing in eight games, averaging 5.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists. Undrafted in 2016 out of Northeastern University, Ford appeared in 130 games for the Huskies, averaging 12.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists during his collegiate career.

New Orleans’ roster now stands at 20.

Miami Heat sign Vashil Fernandez, waive Stefan Jankovic

The Miami HEAT today signed center Vashil Fernandez and waived Stefan Jankovic.

Fernandez, the all-time leading shot blocker at Valparaiso University, played all four seasons with the Crusaders appearing in 131 games (85 starts) and averaged 4.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.21 blocks and 19.8 minutes while shooting 54.8 percent from the field. As a senior, he led the NCAA in blocks per game (3.31) and was named the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. He finished his career with 289 blocks, surpassing the previous school record of 228 held by Raitis Grafs from 1999-2003, including 119 during his senior campaign, setting the school’s single-season block record, a record he held the previous season with 98 rejections.

Fernandez will wear number 14.

Janković appeared in one preseason game with the HEAT, totaling 3:40 minutes of action.

Bucks trade Michael Carter-Williams to Bulls

The Chicago Bulls have acquired guard Michael Carter-Williams from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for guard Tony Snell.

“We’re excited to add Michael to our roster,” said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman. “He is a two-way player who adds versatility and depth to our backcourt rotation.”

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “the Bucks continue to try to shore up the shooting guard position after the loss of Khris Middleton, who had surgery for a torn hamstring and is out at least six months. The Bulls wanted a reliable backup for Rajon Rondo.”

And according to the Chicago Sun-Times, “Carter-Williams has declined steadily, going from NBA Rookie of the Year with the 76ers to a bench player with the Bucks. So how does he fit with the Bulls? He doesn’t give them the outside shooting they crave. He’s a career 25.5 percent shooter from three-point range. What he gives coach Fred Hoiberg is on-the-ball defense off the bench, as well as a point guard who can play with pace.”

Carter-Williams (6-6, 190) was the 11th-overall selection by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2013 NBA Draft. He tipped off his professional career by being named the 2013-14 Kia Rookie of the Year and a unanimous All-Rookie First Team selection. Carter-Williams was traded to Milwaukee in 2014-15, and by averaging at least 15.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists through his first two NBA seasons, he joined Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Grant Hill, Steve Francis and LeBron James as the only players to post such numbers during their first two years. He currently owns career averages of 14.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists in 190 games (170 starts) over three seasons.

The Syracuse product competed in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge and Taco Bell Skills Challenge at 2014 NBA All-Star Weekend. He was selected to the 2015 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge team but did not play due to injury. Carter-Williams was also invited to participate in the 2015 USA Basketball Men’s National Team minicamp in Las Vegas.

In three games to date during the 2016 preseason, Snell, 24, has averaged 9.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 16.0 minutes. He appeared in 64 games (33 starts) for the Bulls last season and averaged 5.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 20.3 minutes per contest. The 20th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft out of the University of New Mexico, Snell has played in 213 career games (67 starts) for the Bulls, and averaged 5.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.9 assists. In his last two seasons, Snell has shot 37.1 percent (2014-15) and 36.1 percent (2015-16) from the three-point arc.

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