Raptors sign Bismack Biyombo

Raptors sign Bismack Biyombo

The Toronto Raptors announced Saturday they have signed free-agent center Bismack Biyombo (Biz- MOCK bee-OM-bo) to a multi-year contract.

“Bismack brings athleticism and interior length to our team,” said Raptors President and General Manager Masai Ujiri. “He has proven to be an exceptional rim protector and his physicality will be a great asset to us defensively.”

Biyombo, 6-foot-9, 245 pounds is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is one of six African-born players currently in the NBA.

Biyombo has appeared in 284 NBA career regular season games, all with Charlotte, where he has averaged 4.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 21.0 minutes. He ranked eighth in the NBA in blocks (1.8) in 2011-12 and ninth (1.8) in 2012-13.

He posted a career-high 5.2 points in his rookie campaign, 7.3 rebounds in 2012-13 and shot a career-best .611 (88-144) from the field in 2013-14. He recorded a career-high 17 rebounds twice and had a personal-best seven blocks in a game on three occasions.

In 2014-15, Biyombo averaged 4.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 19.4 minutes in 64 games (21 starts). He shot .543 (101-186) from the field and ranked 17th in the NBA in blocks. In his 21 starts, he upped his averages to 6.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 26.9 minutes.

Biyombo began his professional career in Spain (2009-11). He played for the World Select Team at the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit where he recorded the lone triple-double (12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks) in the event’s history. Biyombo was selected seventh overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 2011 NBA Draft.

suns sign Mirza Teletovic

The Phoenix Suns have signed forward Mirza Teletovic (pronounced MEER-za Tel-LET-O-Vich), guard/forward Sonny Weems and guard Ronnie Price.

“We have followed Mirza Teletovic’s career for a long time and we are excited to have him wear a Suns uniform,” said General Manager Ryan McDonough. “Mirza is one of the best shooting big men in the world and we think his skill set will be a great fit for our style of play.”

“Sonny Weems has been one of the best players outside of the NBA over the past few years,” added McDonough. “We’ve seen him dominate high-level competition at both ends of the floor and we think his versatility and experience help solidify our wing rotation.”

“The Suns are pleased to welcome Ronnie Price and his family back to Phoenix,” said President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby. “As we know, Ronnie is the consummate professional and a great teammate.”

The 6-9, 242-pound Teletovic is a three-year NBA veteran who owns career averages of 7.0 points and 3.4 rebounds in 165 career games. Teletovic has played all three NBA seasons with the Brooklyn Nets and had his best statistical campaign in 2014-15 when he averaged a career-high 8.5 points, a career-best 4.9 rebounds and a career-high 1.2 assists in 40 games before being diagnosed with bilateral pulmonary embolous (multiple blood clots in the lungs) on Jan. 23. He was cleared to resume all basketball-related activities on April 17.

The native of Bosnia is a career 40.1 percent shooter from the floor, including 36.2 percent from three-point range, whose 7.0-point career average has come on 6.3 field goal attempts per game.

Prior to joining the Nets on July 16, 2012, Teletovic played six of his 10 professional seasons overseas with Caja Laboral Baskonia (2006-12) of the Spanish ACB League. With Caja Laboral Baskonia, he won the 2007-08 and 2009-10 Spanish National Championship and averaged 12.4 points (45.1 FG%, 40.5 3FG%), 4.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.0 blocks in 120 Euroleague games.

Weems, a native of West Memphis, Ark., has been a standout the past three seasons with CSKA Moscow of the Euroleague and Russia’s top national league, the VTB United League. An All-Euroleague First Team selection in 2013-14, Weems averaged 13.0 points (44.6 FG%, 36.9 3FG%, 78.7 FT%), 3.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.9 steals and 28.1 minutes in 83 Euroleague games over his three seasons with CSKA. Weems also played 83 VTB United League games with CSKA, averaging 11.2 points (45.7 FG%, 41.4 3FG%, 71.1 FT%), 2.9 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 0.8 steals in 24.8 minutes.

The athletic 6-6, 205-pound wing is a three-year NBA veteran who last played with the Toronto Raptors during the 2010-11 season when he averaged a career-high 9.2 points on 44.4 percent shooting in 59 games (28 starts). The 29-year-old also played with the Raptors in 2009-10 after spending his rookie season with the Denver Nuggets in 2008-09. For his NBA career, Weems has averaged 7.7 points on 47.4 percent shooting, 2.5 rebounds and 20.3 minutes in 140 games (47 starts).

A second-round selection (39th overall) by the Chicago Bulls in the 2008 NBA Draft, Weems earned All-SEC First Team honors as a senior at the University of Arkansas in 2007-08 after averaging a team-best 15.0 points for the Razorbacks.

The 6-2, 190-pound Price is a 10-year NBA veteran who owns career averages of 3.6 points, 1.7 assists and 1.2 rebounds in 468 games. The 32-year-old guard previously signed with the Suns on Dec. 13, 2011 and averaged 3.6 points, 1.9 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 36 games. In total, he has played for six NBA teams, the Sacramento Kings (2005-07), Utah Jazz (2007-11), Suns (2011-12), Portland Trail Blazers (2012-13), Orlando Magic (2013-14) and most recently with the Los Angeles Lakers (2014-15). Price’s best statistical season came in 2014-15 with the Lakers when he averaged a career-high 5.1 points, career-best 3.8 assists and a career-high tying 1.6 rebounds in 43 games.

Undrafted out of college, Price was a four-year performer at Utah Valley State College (now Utah Valley University) and the first player to enter the NBA directly from that school, the second in the league overall (Travis Hansen, 2003-04).

The Suns have waived guard Jerel McNeal. McNeal played in six games with the Suns in 2014-15, totaling nine points in 36 minutes after initially signing with the team on April 1.

Suns re-sign Brandon Knight to big contract

Suns re-sign Brandon Knight to big contract

The Phoenix Suns have re-signed guard Brandon Knight to a multi-year contract, the team announced today.

According to multiple reports from earlier in July, it is a five-year, $70 million deal.

“We are delighted to have reached a multi-year agreement with Brandon,” said President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby. “He will be an integral member of our team on the court and will enhance our culture with his leadership and professionalism.”

Knight appeared in 63 games last season, including 11 games with the Suns after being acquired from the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 19, posting 17.0 points per game with his shooting marks of 42.2 percent from the field, 38.9 percent from three-point range and 87.4 percent from the free-throw line each representing career bests. He also averaged career-highs of 5.2 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals. At just 23 years of age, Knight was the second-youngest qualified player in the NBA to average at least 15 points and five assists in 2014-15 with only Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving being younger.

Finishing in the top-30 on the league leaderboard in scoring average, assists per game, steals per game, three-point percentage and free-throw percentage, Knight joined Golden State’s Stephen Curry, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul and Irving as the only four players to rank in the top-30 in each category in 2014-15. Knight scored 20-plus points on 25 occasions last season, including a season-high 34 points vs. Charlotte on Dec. 23 while with Milwaukee and 28 points in a Suns win at Orlando on March 4.

A four-year NBA veteran, the 6-3 guard with a 6-7 wingspan holds career averages of 15.2 points (41.7 FG%, 36.5 3FG%, 79.6 FT%), 4.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 32.4 minutes in 276 games (265 starts) with Detroit (2011-13), Milwaukee (2013-15) and the Suns. Knight earned 2011-12 NBA All-Rookie First Team honors following his first season with the Pistons and twice played in the Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend in 2012 and 2013.

Knight was originally selected with eighth overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft by Detroit following one season at the University of Kentucky in 2010-11. While at Kentucky, the South Florida native earned All-SEC Second Team honors after setting school freshman records in scoring and three-point field goals made. Knight was named the NCAA East Region Most Outstanding Player after leading the Wildcats to the Final Four for the first time since 1998, ending the longest Final Four drought in the prestigious program’s history.

The Suns’ roster stands at 13

Spurs sign center Boban Marjanovic

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have signed center Boban Marjanovic.

Marjanovic, 7-3/290, is from Serbia and last played for Crvena Zvezda in 2014-15. In 24 Euroleague games, he averaged 16.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 27.3 minutes. A professional since 2006, Marjanovic was named All-Euroleague First Team in 2015 and has been named Serbian Super League MVP on three occasions.

In 19 Serbian League contests last season, he averaged 13.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 19.6 minutes.

The 26-year-old’s debut on the Serbian National Team came at the EuroBasket 2011.

Seth Curry playing great at summer league

Playing well at summer league can definitely get a player invited to an NBA training camp, or even signed for the season. Here’s the New Orleans Times-Picayune reporting on Stephen Curry’s brother Seth, who has stepped up here in Las Vegas:

Seth Curry playing great at summer league

The fourth-seeded Pelicans are also pushing to remain unbeaten for the first time as they will take a 4-0 record into Saturday against the 12th-seeded Golden State Warriors (3-2) at 9 p.m., which will be televised on NBA-TV.

Guard Seth Curry, the younger brother of Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, has emerged as the Pelicans’ summer league star. He has showcased his ability to make an assortment of shots from quick pull-up jumpers, bank shots and driving layups.

Curry is the leading scorer in the NBA Summer League with a 25.3 scoring average.

In the Pelicans’ 97-81 victory against the Washington Wizards in Thursday’s second round of the summer league’s single-elimination tournament, Curry scored 26. He has not totaled less than 20 points in a game and he started the summer league with a 30-point performance against the Milwaukee Bucks last week.

Bucks sign first round pick Rashad Vaughn

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed their first round selection (17th overall) from the 2015 NBA Draft, Rashad Vaughn, General Manager John Hammond announced today.

Vaughn, a 6-foot-6-inch guard out of UNLV, was named the Mountain West Conference’s Freshman of the Year, Honorable Mention All-League and Second Team NABC All-District 17 in 2014-15 after averaging a team-high 17.8 points, along with 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. He started all 23 games in which he played for the Rebels before suffering a season-ending knee injury, and at the time of the injury, his scoring average ranked second in the MWC and third in the nation among freshmen.

Vaughn scored in double figures in 21 of his 23 games, including in each of his last 19 contests. He registered 20 or more points nine times and 30 or more two times. He scored a season-high 31 points vs. Utah State on Jan. 24, 2015, which tied the league’s freshman class single-game record for most points scored against a conference opponent.

In five NBA Summer League games to date, Vaughn is averaging 16.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.

Spurs officially sign David West

spurs sign david west

The San Antonio Spurs’ signing of rugged power forward David West became official today.

According to KSAT San Antonio, “West took a big paycut to join the Spurs. He was scheduled to make $12 million this season with the Indiana Pacers. West reportedly will make $1.4 million with the Spurs.”

It’s been an amazing offseason for the Spurs, who retained Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan while adding amazing frontcourt pieces in star LaMarcus Aldridge and former star West. They could use another shooter in the backcourt with Marco Belinelli gone, but their frontcourt is easily one of the best in the league.

West, 6-9/240, joins the Spurs after spending the past four seasons with the Indiana Pacers. Last season he appeared in 66 games, averaging 11.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 28.7 minutes while shooting .471 (323-686) from the field and .739 (119-161) from the foul line. In Indiana, West appeared in 285 total games, averaging 14.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 30.6 minutes while shooting .487 (1,632-3,350) from the field and .776 (701-903) from the charity stripe. 

A 12-year NBA veteran, West was originally drafted by the New Orleans Hornets with the 18th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. He spent eight seasons (2003-11) in New Orleans where he was named an All-Star in 2007 and 2008. The New Jersey native appeared in 530 total games for the Hornets, averaging 16.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 32.4 minutes.

For his career, West has appeared in 815 NBA games, averaging 15.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 31.8 minutes while shooting .489 (5,108-10,441) from the field and .820 (2,405-2,933) from the foul line. The former Xavier Musketeer has seen action in 73 playoff games, averaging 15.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 35.2 minutes.

Nets sign Andrea Bargnani

Nets sign Andrea Bargnani

The Brooklyn Nets have signed forward/center Andrea Bargnani, General Manager Billy King announced today. The agreemeent for this deal was announced days ago, but the signing is now official.

“Andrea will give us the ability to space the floor and complement our other front court players,” said King.

According to ESPN.com, “the Nets are basically taking a $1.4 million gamble on Bargnani (and also giving him a second-year player option) in hopes that he’s able to revive his career. Low risk, potentially high reward.”

Bargnani (7’0”, 245) has appeared in 504 games (377 starts) in nine seasons with the Toronto Raptors (2006-13) and New York Knicks (2013-15), recording averages of 15.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 30.1 minutes per game. He’s shot .438 from the field, including .346 from three-point range, and .824 from the free throw line. Bargnani has also appeared in 11 career postseason games (eight starts), posting averages of 8.9 points and 2.8 rebounds in 25.9 minutes per game. During the 2014-15 season, the 29-year-old Bargnani appeared in 29 games (22 starts) with the Knicks, averaging 14.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 27.1 minutes per game.

Originally selected with the first pick in the 2006 NBA Draft by Toronto, the native of Rome, Italy earned All-Rookie First Team honors after averaging 11.6 points and 3.9 rebounds in 25.1 minutes per game in 65 games (two starts) during the 2006-07 season. Prior to entering the NBA Draft, Bargnani played professionally for four years in Italy with Stella Azzurra Roma in Serie B (2002-03) and Benetton Treviso in Serie A (2003-06). In his final season in Italy, Bargnani led Benetton Treviso to the 2006 Serie A championship.

Will Nets bring Joe Johnson off bench?

Here’s ESPN NY reporting on a mere possibility for the Brooklyn Nets. For now, it’s assumed Joe Johnson will continue to start. But as his age advances, perhaps the team will manage his minutes a bit more closely. For now, we’ll assume he’ll keep starting. But, read:

Will Nets bring Joe Johnson off bench?

Will the Brooklyn Nets bring veteran Joe Johnson off the bench next season?

Play-by-play man Ian Eagle, who is as plugged in on the Nets as anyone given that he’s been around the organization for several years, mentioned the possibility during his appearance on a YES Network podcast.

“I wouldn’t be shocked if he came off the bench this year,” Eagle said. “That would not shock me in the least bit.”

In that role, Johnson, 34, could anchor the second unit — coming in fresh against the opponent’s reserves — while still closing out games as the team’s go-to guy late in the fourth quarter.

Here’s the Denver Post reporting on a key member of the Nuggets frontcourt:

Nuggets interest in contract extension for Danilo Gallinari

Wilson Chandler’s contract extension could be just the beginning for the Nuggets. If they have their way, they’d like to open talks on an extension for Danilo Gallinari as well, according to a league source.

Gallinari is heading into the final year of his contract, which is scheduled to pay him $11.5 million. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Gallinari always has been viewed as an important piece of the Nuggets re-tooling — now rebuilding — effort, ever since he was traded to Denver from New York in 2011 in the Carmelo Anthony deal. When he’s been on the court he’s shown why. He averaged a career-high 16.2 points in 2012-13 before an anterior cruciate ligament injury, and two subsequent surgeries, set him back 19 months.

Allen Crabbe out with sprained ankle

Here’s the Oregonian reporting on a Trail Blazers summer league injury:

Allen Crabbe out with sprained ankle

The Trail Blazers will be without shooting guard Allen Crabbe the rest of Las Vegas Summer League. But they will have him back well before the start of training camp.

A magnetic resonance imaging test performed on Crabbe’s left ankle revealed a ’severe sprain’ but did not show any serious damage, the team announced on Thursday.

His recovery is expected to take four to six weeks, so he will not play again in Las Vegas but will be back with time to spare before the start of the 2015-16 season.

Kobe Bryant is a leader. And leaders generally like to talk. A lot, sometimes. Here’s Jordan Hill discussing former teammate Kobe Bryant, as reported by ESPN LA:

Jordan Hill joined the Los Angeles Lakers in March 2012, and in the three seasons that followed, the forward learned what it was like playing with star Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.

“When he’s on the floor, it’s like [exhales], all you hear is Kobe’s mouth,” Hill said when he was introduced by the Indiana Pacers, who acquired him through free agency this summer.

“He’s on the floor, all you hear is Kobe’s mouth, like during practice and games, it get loud. It get loud. A lot of people can’t handle that, I guess.”

Josh Smith to join Clippers

Josh Smith has talent, but also makes questionable decisions on the court that can either help or hurt a team depending on the day of the week, the sneakers he’s wearing, etc. But the Clippers are rolling the dice and adding him to their squad. Here’s the Orange County Register reporting:

Josh Smith to join Clippers

Josh Smith tortured the Clippers in the second half of Game 6 of the second round last season, helping lead Houston to a 19-point comeback that helped end their season.

Thursday, he signed on to make sure something like that wouldn’t happen again.

The Clippers agreed to a contract with Smith, a versatile 6-foot-9 forward, worth one year at the league minimum.

Kings sign James Anderson

Kings sign guard James Anderson

The Sacramento Kings today signed free agent guard James Anderson to a contract, according to Kings Vice President of Basketball and Franchise Operations Vlade Divac.

Anderson (Oklahoma State) was selected by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round (20th overall) of the 2010 NBA Draft. He is averaging 6.3 points (.417 FG%, .330 3PT%, .755 FT%) and 1.3 assists in 18.4 minutes per game in 196 career contests in four seasons with three teams – San Antonio (2010-11 – 2012-13), Houston (2012-13), Philadelphia (2013-14).

Pelicans sign Alonzo Gee

Pelicans sign Alonzo Gee

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed free agent guard/forward Alonzo Gee.

Gee, 6-6, 220, appeared in 54 games last season for the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers, averaging 4.5 points and 1.7 rebounds.

Undrafted in 2009 out of the University of Alabama, Gee has appeared in 331 career games with Washington, San Antonio, Cleveland, Denver and Portland, holding averages of 7.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game.

The Sacramento Kings today announced that free agent forward Luc Mbah a Moute has failed a physical examination administered by team medical staff. Subsequent to that finding, his contract signed on July 14 has been voided, according to Kings Vice President of Basketball and Franchise Operations Vlade Divac.

Mbah a Moute, 6-8, 230-pound forward is averaging 6.8 points (.444 FG%, .299 3PT%, .665 FT%), 4.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game in 466 career contests with four teams; Milwaukee (2008-09 - 2012-13), Sacramento Kings (2013-14), Minnesota Timberwolves (2013-14) and Philadelphia 76ers (2014-15).

Longtime Mavs exec Terdema Ussery to resign

Longtime Mavs executive Terdema Ussery to resign

Longtime Mavs exec Terdema Ussery to resign

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that Terdema Ussery will resign his position as President and CEO after 18 years of leadership effective August 30th to join Under Armour as President of Global Sports Categories.

In Ussery’s first season with the Mavericks, he led a successful campaign that resulted in $240 million in public funding for the construction of the American Airlines Center and actively participated in the architectural selection, design and construction of the building. Ussery was also intimately involved in securing the naming rights partnership with Dallas/Fort Worth based American Airlines for the downtown facility.

Under his direction, the club has more than tripled revenue and exponentially increased its media and digital footprint by establishing new and expanding existing media partnerships across multiple platforms. Additionally, the Dallas Mavericks Foundation has distributed over $1 million to over forty agencies whose aim and mission is to improve the lives of those in need in the DFW metroplex.

“It’s been an extraordinary honor to have sat in the CEO’s chair for the past 18 years. I want to thank Ross Perot, Jr. for the opportunity to come to Dallas and especially thank Mark Cuban, who invited me to stay. Working alongside him these past 15 years has been nothing short of amazing. I know the fans agree with me that we are extremely lucky to have him as the owner and steward of our Dallas Mavericks. Finally, I want to express my gratitude to the fans, our sponsors and most importantly, the incredible staff I’ve had the privilege of working with in Dallas. Our objective has always been to be the best organization in sports and I have full confidence that they will continue in that pursuit under the leadership of Floyd Jahner and the rest of the executive leadership team,” Ussery said.

Mavericks re-sign Jose Juan Barea

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have re-signed guard Jose Juan Barea.

Barea (6-0, 185), who began his NBA career with the Mavericks, returned to Dallas in 2014-15 after spending the previous three seasons with Minnesota. He averaged 7.5 points, 3.4 assists and 17.7 minutes in 77 games (10 starts) with Dallas during the 2014-15 campaign.

In 392 games (55 starts) with Dallas, Barea has averaged 7.2 points and 3.0 assists in 17.4 minutes. He has also reached the playoffs in each of his six seasons with the Mavericks, accruing averages of 8.1 points and 3.5 assists in 45 postseason games (nine starts). Barea helped lead the Mavericks to their first title in franchise history in 2011.

The nine-year veteran holds career averages of 8.2 points, 3.4 assists and 18.8 minutes in 586 games (69 starts) with Dallas and Minnesota. He has shot 79.9 percent from the foul line for his career.

The Mayaguez, Puerto Rico native went undrafted in the 2006 NBA Draft and was signed by Dallas as a rookie free agent on August 17, 2006. Barea attended Northeastern University where, as a senior, he averaged 21.0 points, 8.4 assists and 4.4 rebounds for the Huskies.

Clippers waive Lester Hudson

Clippers waive Lester Hudson

The Los Angeles Clippers waived backup guard Lester Hudson tiday.

Hudson originally signed with the Clippers on April 11, 2015 and appeared in five regular season games, averaging 3.6 points, 1.0 assists, and 1.6 rebounds in 11.2 minutes. The Memphis native played in seven Playoff games, averaging 2.0 points in 5.4 minutes.

In 57 career NBA regular season games Hudson owns averages of 4.7 points, 1.2 assists and 1.4 rebounds in 10.4 minutes with Boston, Memphis, Cleveland and the Clippers.

Raptors sign rookie guard Norman Powell

The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday they have signed guard Norman Powell.

Powell, 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, was selected 46th overall by Toronto in the 2015 NBA Draft. Through three Summer League games in Las Vegas he leads the Raptors averaging 19.3 points and is shooting 22-for-37 (.595) from the field. Powell has led the team in scoring in all three Summer League games, including a team-high 20 points during his professional debut July 10 vs. Sacramento.

Powell appeared in 141 games over four seasons at UCLA and averaged a career-high 16.4 points during the 2014-15 campaign. He ranks 28th on the Bruins’ all-time scoring list with 1,376 career points. Powell helped UCLA reach the NCAA Tournament three times (2013, 2014 and 2015), including back-to-back trips to the Sweet 16 (2014 and 2015).

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