Wizards hire Howard Eisley as assistant coach

The Washington Wizards announced today that the team has named Howard Eisley as an assistant on the staff of Head Coach Randy Wittman. Eisley comes to Washington after spending the last four years on the sidelines with the Los Angeles Clippers.

The 12-year pro ended his career after the 2005-06 campaign. In 786 career NBA games with eight teams, he averaged 6.5 points, 3.5 assists and 1.7 rebounds. The Boston College standout was originally selected in the second round (30th overall) of the 1994 Draft by the Timberwolves.

Eisley spent time with Minnesota, San Antonio and Rockford of the CBA before joining the Jazz in 1995, where he contributed to two Western Conference championships in 1997 and 1998. Following his stint with the Jazz, he played with Dallas, New York, Phoenix before returning to Utah and eventually playing for the L.A. Clippers and Denver.

Eisley will join assistants Don Newman, Don Zierden, Roy Rogers, Pat Sullivan and David Adkins on the Wizards’ bench.

Toronto Raptors sign Greg Stiemsma

Toronto Raptors sign Greg Stiemsma

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have signed free-agent center Greg Stiemsma (STEEMS-muh).

Stiemsma, 6-foot-11, 260 pounds, averaged 2.9 points with career bests of 4.1 rebounds and 18.3 minutes in 55 games (20 starts) last season with New Orleans. He scored in double figures four times, including a season-high 12 points January 3 at Boston. He also recorded back-to-back double-digit rebound totals with 11 caroms at Cleveland on January 28 and a career-best 12 boards January 29 at Minnesota.

The University of Wisconsin product has played for New Orleans, Minnesota (2012-13) and Boston (2011-12). He owns career averages of 3.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 16.0 minutes in 186 NBA games (42 starts).

Here’s the New Orleans Times-Picayune with an update on a key Pelican:

Ryan Anderson cleared to begin contact work

New Orleans Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson announced on his Twitter account Wednesday that he has been medically cleared to begin contact work.

It comes eight months after Anderson suffered a season-ending neck injury on Jan. 3 when he collided with Boston Celtics forward Gerald Wallace and was carted off the court at the TD Garden on a stretcher.

Anderson underwent successful surgery on his cervical spin for a herniated disc in April.He was initially not expected to resume basketball activities for 4-6 months following surgery, according to the Pelicans.

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the club is appointing Otis Smith as head coach of its NBA Development League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive.

“I’m pleased to welcome Otis Smith to the Detroit Pistons organization as the head coach of the Grand Rapids Drive,” said Van Gundy. “Otis understands the vision and connectivity we want to create between the Detroit Pistons and the Grand Rapids Drive, our NBA D-League affiliate. His experiences as a general manager, director of player development and NBA player will pay dividends as he spearheads our efforts in Grand Rapids.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Otis into the Grand Rapids Drive organization,” said Steve Jbara, President of the Grand Rapids Drive. “His basketball and player development knowledge as well as his front office experience will be extremely beneficial moving forward with the franchise. There is no doubt in my mind that Otis is the right man for the job. Our fans and the local basketball community are in for a special season.”

Smith brings 25-plus years of basketball experience to the bench, most recently serving as the president of basketball operations and general manager of the Orlando Magic from 2010-12. Smith first joined Orlando as director of player development in 2003-04 and was promoted to assistant general manager in 2005-06 before being named general manager in May of 2006.

Under Smith’s leadership Orlando made the playoffs six times, recorded a franchise-record four straight seasons with 50-plus wins (2007-11), won three Southeast Division Titles (2007-10) and reached the NBA Finals in 2009. During his time with the Magic, the team accumulated a record of 299-177 (.628).

Prior to his time with Orlando, Smith spent the 2002-03 season as executive director of basketball operations with the Golden State Warriors. He also served as director of community relations/Warriors foundation for Golden State from 1999-02 and as community relations manager with the Orlando Magic from 1996-98. As a player, Smith appeared in 375 career NBA regular-season games with Denver, Golden State and Orlando, averaging 10.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 steals in 20.6 minutes.

Born and raised in Jacksonville, FL, Smith graduated from Jacksonville University in 1986.

Sacramento Kings waive Wayne Ellington

Sacramento Kings waive Wayne Ellington

The Sacramento Kings waived guard Wayne Ellington, according to Kings General Manager Pete D’Alessandro.

Ellington was acquired from New York on August 6, 2014, along with forward-center Jeremy Tyler and the unencumbered rights to the Knicks’ 2016 second-round draft selection in exchange for forwards Quincy Acy and Travis Outlaw.

Ellington is averaging 6.4 points (.418 FG%, .386 3pt%, .855 FT%), 1.8 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game in 312 career contests with Minnesota (2009-10 – 2011-12), Memphis (2012-13), Cleveland (2012-13), Dallas (2013-14) and New York in his five-year NBA career.

michael redd

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson has that Jim Cleamons, Rasheed Hazzard, Brian Keefe and Joshua Longstaff have been added to the coaching staff.

Cleamons rejoins the Knicks organization with over 30 years of coaching experience and 10 NBA championships to his name. The 64-year-old Lincolnton, NC joined the Chicago Bulls staff in 1989, staying seven seasons, and the Los Angeles Lakers staff for 10 seasons, winning nine NBA titles along the way. He served as head coach of the Dallas Mavericks for parts of two seasons (1996-98), the ABL’s Chicago Condors (1998-99) and China’s Zhejiang Guangsha (2011-12). He had also been an assistant coach for New Orleans (2004-05), and most recently, Milwaukee (2013-14). The Ohio State-alum played in the NBA for 10 seasons with the Lakers, Cleveland, New York and Washington, winning an NBA title as a rookie in Los Angeles in 1972. He signed with the Knicks on Oct. 7, 1977, playing three seasons in New York, averaging 7.4 points in 180 games.

Hazzard spent five seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers (2006-11), including as a member of NBA Championship teams in 2009 and 2010, working in player development and as an advance scout, and also as an assistant coach for the D-Fenders, the Lakers’ D-League affiliate. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach at University of Portland after playing collegiately at George Washington University. His father Walt, was a member of UCLA’s 1964 NCAA Championship Team and played in the NBA for 10 seasons with the Lakers, Seattle, Atlanta, Buffalo and Golden State earned an NBA All-Star selection in 1968.

Keefe had been a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder organization for the past seven seasons, serving as an assistant coach for the last five years. He joined the Thunder in 2007 as a player development coach after two seasons as an assistant video coordinator with the San Antonio Spurs, including the NBA Championship team on 2007. Prior to his NBA career, Keefe was an assistant coach at Bryant University for four seasons (2001-05) and a graduate assistant at the University of South Florida (2001-01). He played college basketball at Nevada-Las Vegas and California-Irvine for two seasons each.

Longstaff had spent the last four seasons working for the Oklahoma City Thunder in a player development role and as a video analyst. Previously, he coached high school basketball for five seasons in his home state of Maine and played college basketball at Bryant University.

Mavericks re-sign center Bernard James

Mavericks re-sign center Bernard James

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have re-signed center Bernard James. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

James (6-10, 230) was originally drafted by the Mavericks with the 33rd overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He averages 2.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, 0.6 blocks and 7.9 minutes in 76 career games (11 starts) with Dallas.

The Savannah, Ga., native is a former Staff Sergeant who served six years in the Air Force including three tours to Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar. In his senior season at Florida State, James averaged 10.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks while being named to the Atlantic Coast Conference All-Defensive team. James also won the Most Courageous Award by the United States Basketball Writers of America.

clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers announced today that they have signed free agent forward/guard Chris Douglas-Roberts and forward/center Ekpe Udoh.

“Chris and Ekpe are two versatile players who bring depth and a strong presence to our team,” Clippers President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Doc Rivers said. “We are excited to add them to the roster.”

Douglas-Roberts, 27, appeared in 49 games (eight starts) last season with the Charlotte Bobcats averaging 6.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 20.7 minutes per game. During his five-year NBA career, the Detroit native has appeared in 210 career regular season games with New Jersey, Milwaukee, Dallas and Charlotte. He holds career averages of 7.4 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 20.4 minutes per game.

Originally drafted 40th overall in the second round of the 2008 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets, Douglas-Roberts played three seasons at the University of Memphis, where he was a consensus first-team All-American and the Conference USA Player of the Year as a junior in 2008. During his junior season, he averaged 18.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists, helping to lead the Tigers to the National Championship game. Douglas-Roberts averaged 14.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steals in 109 games (100 starts) at Memphis.

Udoh, 27, appeared in 42 games (14 starts) last season with the Milwaukee Bucks averaging 3.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 19.1 minutes per game. During his four-year NBA career, the Oklahoma City native has appeared in 237 games (52 starts) with Golden State and Milwaukee. He holds career averages of 4.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 18.7 minutes per game.

Originally drafted sixth overall in the 2010 NBA Draft by Golden State, Udoh played three seasons of college basketball. His first two seasons of college were spent at the University of Michigan before transferring to Baylor University for his junior season. At Baylor, Udoh was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and a second-team All-Big 12 selection. He averaged 13.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.7 blocks and 2.7 assists in 36 games (all starts) helping lead the Bears to the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament.

Andre Dawkins added to Heat camp roster

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on the Heat:

The Miami Heat’s Duke replenishment program continues.

In the wake of losing forward Shane Battier to retirement and ESPN’s broadcast booth, the Heat have added a third former Blue Devil to their training-camp roster, with a recent workout by undrafted Duke guard Andre Dawkins cementing an invitation.

Dawkins joins former Duke players Luol Deng and Josh McRoberts as ex-Blue Devils who have been added this offseason.

“He had about 12 or 13 teams who had expressed interest,” agent John Spencer said Tuesday of Dawkins, “but we had already agreed a while back that he was going to be with them come training camp.”

Here’s the Indianapolis Star reporting on some goodwill:

Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert donated $1 million to Georgetown University on Tuesday. Hibbert, who played for the Hoyas from 2004-08, made the donation to the John R. Thompson Jr. Intercollegiate Athletics Center in honor of the school’s hall of fame basketball coach.

“I am deeply indebted to Georgetown University and the basketball program for all they have done for me,” Hibbert said in a press release. “I put in a lot of hard work to get where I am, but I was given a tremendous amount of guidance both on and off the floor from coach Thompson III and I wouldn’t be here without him.”

Steve Nash will remain on Lakers roster

Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News blog with an update on the Lakers and old point guard Steve Nash:

Steve Nash will remain on Lakers roster

Despite a tumultuous two-year stretch in which he has taken more visits to the trainer’s room than the basketball court, Steve Nash will remain on the Lakers’ roster. The deadline for the Lakers to use the so-called stretch provision passed over the weekend, ensuring that Nash will finish out the final year of his contract worth $9.7 million.

This development is hardly surprising. The Lakers leaned toward retaining Nash ever since last season, mindful that waiving him would compromise the team’s financial flexibility since it would owe a third of his salary for the following three seasons. The Lakers would have only gone down this route had they acquired LeBron James and/or Carmelo Anthony and would need to clear up immediate cap space.

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook averaged 21.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game last season. Enjoy this video showcasing some of his top highlights:

Here’s the Miami Herald reporting on the Heat coaching staff:

Heat reassign longtime assistants McAdoo, Rothstein

Two longtime assistant coaches for the Heat will no longer be regular contributors to the day-to-day operations of the team.

Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo and Heat coaching legend Ron Rothstein have been reassigned by the team, the Miami Herald confirmed Monday. McAdoo and Rothstein were both originally hired as assistants by Heat president Pat Riley. Yahoo Sports first reported the story.

With McAdoo and Rothstein likely off the bench, assistants David Fizdale, Dan Craig and Juwan Howard are expected to assume more prominent roles.

Hornets rookie Noah Vonleh out 6-8 weeks after surgery

Charlotte Hornets forward Noah Vonleh underwent successful surgery today to repair a sports hernia suffered in a recent workout. The surgery was performed in Charlotte by Dr. B. Todd Henneford. Vonleh is expected to miss approximately 6-8 weeks.

The ninth overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Vonleh was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Third Team All-Big Ten in 2013-14 at Indiana University after averaging 11.3 points, a Big Ten-high 9.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 26.5 minutes per game.

The Golden State Warriors have signed free agent guard Aaron Craft, along with free agent forwards James Michael McAdoo and Mitchell Watt to contracts, the team announced today.

All three rookies played for the Warriors at the 2014 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

Craft, 23, played four seasons collegiately at Ohio State, where he earned the NABC and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year awards this past season as a senior. The 6’2” guard amassed career averages of 8.9 points, 4.7 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 steals in 148 games (second most in school history) and was named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team in each of his four seasons. With the Warriors Summer League squad, the Findlay, OH, native averaged 7.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.60 steals and 22.2 minutes off the bench over five games. He led the team in assists and steals during the Summer League.

McAdoo, 21, played three seasons at the University of North Carolina, amassing career averages of 11.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.22 steals in 24.9 minutes over 108 games. Last season, as a junior, the 6’9” forward earned Second Team All-ACC honors after averaging 14.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.32 steals in 34 contests. In five games with the Warriors Summer League team (all starts), the Norfolk, VA, native averaged 9.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.00 steal and 1.20 blocks in a team-leading 29.0 minutes per game. McAdoo’s father, Ronnie, is a member of Old Dominion University’s Hall of Fame and played professionally in France, Spain and Japan.

Watt, 24, has played professionally the last two seasons in Israel, averaging 13.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.4 blocks in 34 games last season with Ironi Nes Ziona. Prior to making his professional debut with Galil Gilboa in 2012-13, Watt played collegiately for four seasons at the University of Buffalo. As a senior in 2011-12, the 6’10” forward averaged 16.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.2 blocks over 31 games en route to earning MAC Player of the Year honors and All-MAC First Team recognition.

Craft will wear uniform #2, McAdoo #20 and Watt #21. The Warriors roster currently stands at 16 players.

Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer blog reporting on Thaddeus Young, whose time on the 76ers is over as he starts fresh with the young Minnesota Timberwolves:

Thaddeus Young happy for new start with Timberwolves

Young, who will earn $9.1 million this season and has a $9.7 million player option for the 2015-2016 season, can’t wait to get started in his new setting.

“It feels great,” Young said. “They came after me and they sent two guys and a pick over to get me so that says a lot about what the organization wanted and they went and got me. I’m very happy, very excited.”

Young, who averaged 17.9 points and 6.0 rebounds, is expected to be one of the Wolves leaders. He is just 26 years old but is entering his eighth NBA season.

“It’s a great thing for the younger guys, it’s a great thing for me,” Young said. “I can step into a situation were I already kind of know some of the concepts and I can help the young guys get better.”

Here’s ESPN.com reporting on Team USA and Bulls guard Derrick Rose:

Derrick Rose feeling fine as World Cup action continues

Rose has seemed more at ease since the squad left the United States for Europe. He’s facing all the questions about his knees from nosy reporters head-on, even after Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski told ESPN.com last week that he sensed “a part of [Rose] that’s like, ‘Quit asking me how I feel, I’m good.’”

“I’m just trying to put that behind me,” Rose said of any trepidation he’s feeling as he ramps up his comeback from the two devastating injuries that limited him to 10 games over the past two seasons with the Bulls.

“I know the questions are going to come and they’re going to be there the whole year. So I can’t get tired of it. I’m feeling good right now.

“Just trying to get in better shape, get in better condition, so that when I do need to score the ball, then it’ll be there.”

Before the tournament started, Rose likened the prospect of five games in the first six days of the World Cup to an “AAU-type schedule.”

Petteri Koponen aims to enter NBA in 2015

Here’s ESPN.com with an update on a talented international player:

Finnish point guard Petteri Koponen hopes to be playing in the NBA by the 2015-16 season.

Here at the 2014 FIBA World Cup, Koponen told ESPN.com he intends to make the jump to the NBA after completing the final season on his contract with BC Khimki in Russia.

“I always said my dream is to play in the NBA,” Koponen said. “Every summer we talk a little bit with Dallas to see what the situation is and what they think. I’ve got one more year left on my contract in Russia and then of course I would like to come over. I hope I get some options to go there and show I can play at that level.”

The Mavericks acquired Koponen’s NBA rights in 2011 in a draft-night trade trade with Portland. He was selected by Philadelphia on behalf of the Blazers with the last pick of the first round in 2007, having played in the Nike Hoop Summit that year against a future MVP named Derrick Rose.

Memphis Grizzlies waive Jamaal Franklin

Memphis Grizzlies waive Jamaal Franklin

The Memphis Grizzlies waived guard Jamaal Franklin, the team announced today.

Franklin (6-5, 191) averaged 1.9 points and 1.1 rebounds in 7.7 minutes in 21 games (zero starts) and shot .410 from the field as a rookie for the Grizzlies last season. The 23-year-old was drafted by Memphis in the second round (41st overall) of the 2013 NBA Draft following his junior season at San Diego State.

The Miami Heat finished last season with a 54-28 record, and lost in the NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs. Enjoy these video highlights of some of their best plays from the season:

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