Brooklyn Nets sign guard Donald Sloan

Nets sign Donald Sloan

The Brooklyn Nets have signed guard Donald Sloan, General Manager Billy King announced today.

The point guard position is a weak spot on the Nets. With Deron Williams gone, the team’s starter at the position is likely Jarrett Jack. Sloan helps add a bit of depth.

Sloan (6’3”, 205) has appeared in 157 games (33 starts) in four seasons with the Atlanta Hawks (2011-12), New Orleans Hornets (2011-12, 2012-13), Cleveland Cavaliers (2011-13) and Indiana Pacers (2013-15), registering averages of 4.9 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 15.5 minutes per game. Sloan also saw action in four playoff games with the Pacers during the 2014 postseason. The 27-year-old Sloan put together his best professional season in 2014-15 with Indiana, posting career-highs in games played (53), starts (21), points per game (7.4), rebounds per game (2.7) and assists per game (3.6). Sloan has also spent time in the D-League and has had brief stints in China and the Philippines.

Originally undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft, the native of Shreveport, La. began his pro career after four years at Texas A&M. Sloan helped lead the Aggies to four NCAA Tournament appearances and was named All-Big 12 First Team following his senior season. He finished his collegiate career eighth on the school’s all-time points and assists lists.

Enjoy these video highlights of Los Angeles Lakers rookie guard D’Angelo Russell from 2015 summer league:

NBA and Under Armour announce partnership

Under Armour and the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced today a multiyear global partnership that makes Under Armour the title partner of the NBA Draft Combine and presenting partner of the Jr. NBA, the league’s youth basketball program. Under Armour will also team with the league to launch an innovative NBA FIT mobile application powered by the brand’s Connected Fitness platform. This new marketing and merchandising agreement represents an expanded partnership between the NBA and Under Armour, a league partner since 2011.

This is pretty minor news from the general NBA fan standpoint. The Combine has limited visibility outside of the players involved and media in attendance.

As the title partner, Under Armour will become the outfitter of the NBA Draft Combine beginning in 2018, in addition to developing a retail line of NBA Draft Combine apparel for fans. The NBA Draft Combine is an invite-only showcase in which leading draft prospects participate in athletic testing, five-on-five games, and interviews with teams ahead of the NBA Draft presented by State Farm.

The Jr. NBA presented by Under Armour will launch its expanded efforts in the U.S. this October with the goal of engaging five million youth during the first two years of the program through a series of basketball clinics, skills challenges and regional tournaments. This program aims to develop a lifelong passion for basketball in boys and girls ages 6-14 by teaching them the fundamentals of the game, while emphasizing values like sportsmanship, respect, teamwork, and healthy living. The Jr. NBA will include ongoing programming from affiliated youth basketball organizations, resources for participating coaches, and instructional digital content for kids and parents.

“We’re proud to expand our partnership with the NBA and continue our shared commitment to help basketball players everywhere realize their potential, on and off the court,” said Adam Peake, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing, Under Armour. “The new elements of our partnership will allow Under Armour to leverage our leadership in athletic performance innovation and Connected Fitness to foster the worldwide growth of basketball.”

“Under Armour and the NBA share a commitment to basketball, fitness, and healthy living,” said Emilio Collins, NBA Executive Vice President, Global Marketing Partnerships. “Together we have a unique opportunity to teach the values of the game to millions of kids through the Jr. NBA program, and to give our fans the latest information on exercise and wellness through the NBA FIT app.”

Dee Bost signs with team in Poland

Here’s Euroleague.net with an update on a name that dedicated NBA fans will recognize:

Stelmet Zielona Gora reached an agreement with point guard Dee Bost to work together next season, the club announced Friday night. Bost (1.88 meters, 25 years old) arrives from Trabzonspor Medical Park, where he averaged 7.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 steals in 32 Turkish League games last season. He helped Trabzonspor reach the Turkish League semifinals and the EuroChallenge title game, losing against JSF Nanterre at the buzzer.

Here’s the Sacramento Bee with commentary on the recent news that Nancy Lieberman is now an assistant coach in the NBA:

The NBA is a game of angles and connections, which is why the hiring of Nancy Lieberman as a Kings assistant is such a head-scratcher.

What took so long? Lieberman’s robust Rolodex is probably trumped only by her life experiences. She has competed in the Olympics, starred at Old Dominion, played and coached in several professional leagues, worked as a television commentator. Years before joining George Karl’s staff, the Brooklyn, N.Y., native coached the Dallas Mavericks’ NBA Development League team into the playoffs, then moved into the front office as assistant general manager.

And somewhere along the way – well before the WNBA was conceived and the notion of women coaching men ever found the womb – Lieberman, 57, transformed Martina Navratilova into a superbly conditioned athlete and revolutionized the way female tennis players approach training.

So, again, what took so long?

“I think sometimes you can get taken for granted,” Lieberman said. “I’m like the loyal dog. My only frustration was wondering if this was ever going to happen – if somebody was ever going to take a look at me and say, ‘She can do this.’”

Here’s CSN Philly reporting on 76ers rookie Jahlil Okafor, who is certainly a leading contender to win the 2015-16 Rookie of the Year award:

Jahlil Okafor aiming for Rookie of Year award

Jahlil Okafor, speaking at the NBA and Panini America’s rookie photo shoot at MSG Training Center on Saturday, shared a few of his goals for the upcoming 2015-16 season.

The Sixers’ big man already has his eyes set on some hardware.

“I’d like to win Rookie of the Year,” he said. “Just want to get better every night for myself and my coaches with the Sixers. Try and win some big games.”

The last Sixer to win the award was Michael Carter-Williams in 2014. If Okafor could pull that off, it would signify the Sixers are inching closer to resembling a respectable NBA team.

The Denver Nuggets have re-signed Darrell Arthur, Will Barton and Jameer Nelson to multi-year contracts, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.

Arthur, 6-9, 225, appeared in 58 games (four starts) for Denver in 2014-15, averaging 6.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 17.0 minutes per game. The six-year NBA veteran has played in 373 career games (82 starts) for Denver and Memphis, averaging 6.5 points and 3.6 rebounds. He was drafted out of the University of Kansas with the 27th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets and was dealt to the Grizzlies on draft night.

Barton, 6-6, 175, arrived in Denver via trade on Feb. 19, 2015 and averaged 11.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.21 steals in 28 games with the Nuggets. He has appeared in 172 career games (five starts) over four seasons with Portland and Denver, averaging 5.0 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 13.2 minutes per game. Barton was selected out of the University of Memphis with the 40th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers.

Nelson, 6-0, 190, appeared in 34 games (five starts) and averaged 9.6 points and 3.7 assists for Denver last season after being acquired in a trade from Boston on Jan. 13, 2015. The 11-year veteran and former NBA All-Star owns career averages of 12.2 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists while shooting .371 from three-point range in 714 career games (585 starts) with Orlando, Dallas, Boston and Denver.

Nelson spent the first 10 years of his career in Orlando where he reached the playoffs six times, including a run to the NBA Finals in 2009. He enjoyed his best statistical year in 2008-09, averaging a career-high 16.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists en route to an Eastern Conference All-Star selection. He currently stands as the Magic’s all-time leader in assists with 3,501. The Chester, Pa. native was drafted out of Saint Joseph’s University with the 20th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Nuggets before his rights were sent to the Orlando Magic on draft-night in exchange for a 2005 first round pick.

Knicks sign Thanasis Antetokounmpo

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has signed guard/forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo.

According to the New York Post, “Antetokounmpo passed up lucrative deals in Europe last summer to play for $25,000 in the D-League. He has been an enigma, with a boatload of energy, but low basketball IQ and an erratic jump shot.”

Antetokounmpo, 6-7, 215-pounds, averaged 13.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.70 steals and 1.68 blocks over 32.9 minutes in 47 games (all starts) during the inaugural season of the NBA D- League’s Westchester Knicks. He earned NBA D-League All-Defensive Second Team honors last season after a Third Team selection in 2013-14 as a member of the Delaware 87ers. He ranked in the D-League’s Top-10 in steals (fifth, 80), free throw attempts (seventh, 251) and blocks (eighth, 79).

The Greece native, who was born to parents of Nigerian descent, was selected by New York in the second round (51st overall) of 2014 NBA Draft with a pick acquired from Dallas. He played for New York’s entry in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, NV each of the last two summers after playing for Delaware in 2013-14 and Filathlitikos (Greece) in 2012-13. He is the older brother of Milwaukee forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Knicks sign Sasha Vujacic

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has signed guard Sasha Vujacic. He is expected to play limited minutes as a reserve. And he is very familiar with the triangle offense, which the Knicks will still apparently stick with.

Vujacic, 6-7, 193-pounds, holds career averages of 5.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists over 15.9 minutes in 478 games over eight seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, New Jersey and Los Angeles Clippers. A two-time NBA champion with the Lakers alongside Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher in 2009 and 2010, he last played in the NBA for the Clippers, appearing in two games during the 2013-14 season.

The Maribor, Slovenia-native played for Laborla Kutxa (Spain) and Istanbul BB (Turkey) last season and has also played in Italy. He was originally selected by the Lakers in the first round (27th overall) of 2004 NBA Draft.

New York Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis looks very tall, very thin and very promising. He gives NYK fans something to watch right away. Here are video highlights of his summer:

FIBA on Friday awarded the hosting rights for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup to China.

The People’s Republic of China and the Republic of the Philippines were the two finalists bidding to host FIBA’s flagship event four years from now.

The decision was taken by FIBA’s Central Board after both candidates submitted their bids and each gave presentations during the Host Announcement Ceremony.

The Central Board vote saw 14 in favour of China’s bid, with seven backing that of Philippines.

This is the first time that China will host FIBA’s flagship event.

Yao Ming, the Ambassador for the China 2019 bid, said: “It’s such an exciting moment to bring the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup to China and I’m sure that millions of fans are sharing this joy with us.

“We have to pay tribute to the Philippines delegation. They were great opponents. Only opponents like them could really push us to our limits to test how capable we are. Even if we were opponents on this occasion, we still have a friendship with them.

“I know what it’s like to play a top level basketball tournament in front of home fans because I played at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Having the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup will inspire a lot of people and particularly more young athletes to participate in basketball.”

Horacio Muratore, the President of FIBA, said: “This was a very difficult decision because we had two national federations who did excellent work. However, there can only be one host country for our event in 2019 and it will be China.

“We would like to congratulate both national federations for their outstanding work and bids. This is what we wanted: to have national federations put together top quality bids to host our flagship event.

“We look forward to the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, which will be the first of a new era with 140 teams competing during a 15-month qualification period to be among the 32 playing in China.”

China’s bid calls for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup to be played in eight cities – Beijing, Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Foshan and Dongguan.

Report: Jazz interested in Garrett Temple

Here’s the Deseret News reporting on the Utah Jazz, who recently learned that talented young guard Dante Exum has suffered a torn ACL, which means he’s probably out for the season:

Report: Jazz interested in Garrett Temple

The Jazz are interested in pursuing a trade for Wizards guard Garrett Temple, the Deseret News has been informed.

According to a source, Jazz coach Quin Snyder is a proponent of the 6-foot-6 Temple, who would give the team a big defensive presence in Exum’s absence.

Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey refuted the notion that the Jazz are discussing potential temporary replacements for Exum. At this point, he believes that would be insensitive to Exum and his parents.

“There is a bunch of speculation out there right now,” Lindsey said during an interview with 1280 The Zone on Thursday.

Mavericks re-sign Charlie Villanueva

Mavericks re-sign Charlie Villanueva

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have re-signed forward Charlie Villanueva.

Villanueva (6-11, 238) holds career averages of 10.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 21.7 minutes in 594 games (159 starts) with Toronto, Milwaukee, Detroit and Dallas. Villanueva was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team in 2005-06 after averaging 13.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 29.1 minutes in 81 games (36 starts). He had a breakout year in 2008-09 when he averaged 16.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 26.9 minutes in his final season with Milwaukee.

In his first season with Dallas, Villanueva averaged 6.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 10.6 minutes in 64 games (one start). He shot 37.6 percent (83-of-221) from beyond the arc in 2014-15.

The Queens, N.Y., native was a standout at the University of Connecticut where, as a freshman, he earned Big East All-Rookie Team honors and won an NCAA National Championship. As a sophomore, he led the team in scoring (13.6 ppg) and was named the team’s MVP. Villanueva declared for the NBA Draft following his sophomore season and was drafted seventh overall by the Toronto Raptors in 2005.

Mavericks sign Samuel Dalembert

Mavericks sign Samuel Dalembert

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed free agent center Samuel Dalembert.

This will be Dalembert’s second stint in Dallas. He signed with the Mavericks as a free agent in July, 2013 and averaged 6.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 20.2 minutes in 80 games (68 starts) during the 2013-14 season. After one year with the Mavericks, Dalembert was traded to the New York Knicks, along with guards Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington and Shane Larkin and two 2014 second round picks, in exchange for Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton.

Dalembert (6-11, 255) has played a total of 886 games (694 starts) with Philadelphia, Sacramento, Houston, Milwaukee, Dallas and New York and has career averages of 7.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 24.4 minutes per game.

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dalembert is the only Haitian-born player in the NBA. He spent 14 years in Haiti before moving to Montreal and becoming a Canadian citizen in August, 2007. He played collegiately at Seton Hall and averaged 7.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.83 blocks in 59 games over two years. He currently owns the school record for career blocked shots (267).

Knicks sign Kevin Seraphin

Knicks sign Kevin Seraphin

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has signed forward/center Kevin Seraphin.

Seraphin, 6-10, 278-pounds, holds career averages of 6.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 16.4 minutes in 326 games (31 starts) over five seasons with Washington. He appeared in 79 games for the Wizards last season, averaging 6.6 points, on 51.3-percent shooting, with 3.6 rebounds over 15.6 minutes.

The Cayenne, French Guiana-native, was originally selected by Chicago with the 17th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft before having his draft rights traded to Washington. He played professionally for Cholet Basket (France) from 2007-10 and Caja Laboral (Spain) for part of the 2011-12 season.

There was no fear of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich leaving the team while Tim Duncan is still out there hitting bank-shots, but what about when The Big Fundamental hangs up his sneakers? Danny Green feels new additions to the roster will keep Pop on the sideline for seasons to come. Which is good news for everyone other than reporters interviewing him during the middle of a game. Here’s the San Antonio Express News reporting:

Like many Spurs players and fans, Green always had presumed Popovich would depart the Spurs bench as soon as team captain Tim Duncan opted for retirement. But with the signing of free agent power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and the new, five-year contract for teammate Kawhi Laonard signed in mid-July Green now believes Popovich will stick around past the end of 39-year-old Duncan’s career — whenever that comes.

“Without LaMarcus and Kawhi (Leonard) I think he’s out the door when Timmy leaves,” Green said on Wednesday after an appearance at the Spurs youth camp at George Gervin Academy. “Them being here I think extends his tenure just a little bit longer.

Here’s CSN Chicago reporting on Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, who is getting positive mentions from a likely source:

Will Derrick Rose make NBA All-Star team next season?

If Derrick Rose’s playoff performance is any indication, the Bulls point guard could be in for a giant 2015-16 season.

That’s according to CSN’s Bulls color commentator Stacey King, who spoke at the Bulls/Sox Academy Tuesday and believes the league’s youngest MVP is getting back to that old form.

“I expect him to have a big year this year, I expect him to make the All-Star team, I expect him to be back to the elite player that we are used to seeing,” King said of the three-time All-Star (2010-2012). “I can’t wait to see him.”

King’s comments come on the heels of a report last week that Rose, 26, is still undecided about participating in Team USA’s minicamp in Las Vegas next week.

Here’s the Washington Post reporting on Wizards star point guard John Wall, who is entering the Team USA mix that is briefly gathering this summer in preparation for next summer’s competition:

John Wall to participate in Team USA mini-camp

John Wall has decided to participate in Team USA’s upcoming minicamp in Las Vegas, the Washington Wizards point guard confirmed Tuesday evening.

Wall, one of 41 invitees, was unsure whether he would join the three-day camp, scheduled for Aug. 11-13, after receiving a late invitation for last year’s training camp in preparation for the FIBA World Cup and being one of first three players cut along with teammate Bradley Beal and Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap. Beal confirmed he is also participating in the minicamp over the weekend. The camp will be held on UNLV’s campus and will conclude with a scrimmage on Aug. 13.

Kenneth Faried aims to improve defense

Here’s the Denver Post reporting on Nuggets power forward Kenneth Faried, who last season was paid a lot of money to average a modest 12.6 points per game. He did grab 8.9 rebounds per outing, which is even more impressive considering he played just 27.8 minutes per game. But beyond numbers, stronger defense is expected of him, and he knows it.

Kenneth Faried aims to improve defense

Kenneth Faried hears all the noise, but he didn’t need to. He already knew what he had to work on this summer.

“My defense, I’ve focused on that,” Faried said in a phone interview from Johannesburg, where he played in NBA Africa Game 2015 on Saturday. “I’ve been watching film on guys that I consider my toughest matchups, and I’ve been able to dissect them so that when the season comes around I’m able to guard those players — and become the player I want to be, and that’s hopefully defensive player of the year one day and first-team all-defense.”

Faried, a high-energy player, has the raw tools to be a defensive stopper. It will be up to new Nuggets coach Michael Malone to help him get there. What’s new is that Faried acknowledges his defensive shortcomings.

Major concern over Dante Exum injury

Here’s the Deseret News reporting on promising young Jazz guard Dante Exum, who may have suffered a very serious injury:

Major concern over Dante Exum injury

In 2014, Rudy Gobert’s time spent playing with his national team was instrumental in the French center’s successful second year in the NBA.

That was the best-case scenario for a pro playing for his country.

Dante Exum just experienced the worst-case scenario.

The Australian point guard injured his left knee Tuesday while playing for the Boomers in an international friendly game against Slovenia.

Initial concern is that Exum might have torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, a source told the Deseret News.

Exum will return to Utah for further evaluation on his knee by the team’s doctors at the University of Utah Health Care, the Jazz announced shortly after the injury occurred on the other side of the world.

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