Phoenix Suns waive Bryce Cotton and Cory Jefferson

The Phoenix Suns have waived guard Bryce Cotton and forward Cory Jefferson.

Cotton originally signed with the Suns on Nov. 25. The second-year NBA player saw action in three games, totaling four points and three assists in 33 minutes.

Jefferson signed with the Suns prior to training camp on Sept. 16. He appeared in six games with Phoenix in his second NBA season, posting totals of 12 points and 10 rebounds in 28 minutes.

The Suns’ roster now stands at 13 players.

Grizzlies waive Ryan Hollins

Grizzlies waive Ryan Hollins

The Memphis Grizzlies announced today that the team has waived center Ryan Hollins.

Hollins (7-0, 240) averaged 1.7 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.00 blocks in 7.0 minutes in four games with Memphis since signing with the Grizzlies on Dec. 29. The 31-year-old has averaged 3.7 points on 58.1 percent shooting and 2.2 rebounds in 490 career games (67 starts) over a 10-year NBA career with the Charlotte Bobcats, Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies.

The Pasadena, Calif. native was selected by Charlotte in the second round (50th overall) of the 2006 NBA Draft following his senior season at UCLA.

This is a new one. Here’s the Oregonian reporting on a clerical error resulting in one of the key Trail Blazers being unable to play tonight vs the Clippers:

CJ McCollum accidentally left off Blazers roster vs Clippers

CJ McCollum was not a part of the Trail Blazers’ active roster Wednesday night for their game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Moda Center.

And it was not by design.

A rare and confusing set of circumstances resulted in the Blazers’ starting shooting guard being left off the Blazers’ active list when official game rosters were submitted one hour before tipoff.

It was not immediately clear how the mistake unfolded, but when Blazers coach Terry Stotts signed the Blazers’ game roster, it included rookie Luis Montero instead of McCollum.

DeMarre Carroll undergoes knee surgery

DeMarre Carroll undergoes knee surgery

The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday forward DeMarre Carroll had arthroscopic surgery this morning on his right knee. The procedure was performed by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Carroll’s status will be updated as appropriate.

Carroll sat out Monday’s game at Cleveland with a swollen right knee. He had played in the previous five contests after missing nine games (December 7-22) with a right knee contusion.

Carroll has averaged 11.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 31.9 minutes in 23 games. He had a season-high 21 points on two occasions: October 30 at Boston and November 22 at the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Raptors face the Brooklyn Nets tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Barclays Center.

The Memphis Grizzlies are a disappointing 19-17 this season, and in an effort to regroup changed their starting lineup a while back. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting the latest on veteran power forward Zach Randolph, who has played 31 games this season but only started in 20 of them:

Zach Randolph continues to come off bench for Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies were throttled by 37 points in their last meeting against the Thunder. In that game, veteran Zach Randolph was a starter.

In 11 of the 14 games since that 125-88 blowout, however, the burly power forward has come off the bench for Memphis, as the Grizzlies have transitioned to a small ball lineup to start games. The Thunder’s small-ball efficiency in the two teams’ last matchup may have been a turning point for Memphis, as Matt Barnes has replaced Randolph as a starter at power forward.

“It’s not about you. If you feel a certain way and want to do something negative then you’re not professional,” Randolph told the Memphis Commercial Appeal about his role change. “I’m going to play and prove I can still do what I do.”

Since making the move to the bench, Randolph has shot 53 percent from the field in 25 minutes a game and is still finishing games. The Grizzlies, however, are only 5-6 in the latest string of non-starts for Randolph.

The Philadelphia 76ers are an improved basketball team lately. Still, a loss to them can put some teams over the edge. Not to be over-dramatic; the Minnesota Timberwolves have been searching for an identity all season. But after falling to Philly yesterday, the Timberwolves (12-23 record, tied for 25th in the league) decided today was going the time for some good honest conversation. Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting:

Instead of a regular practice Tuesday, the Timberwolves did a little housecleaning.

Interim coach Sam Mitchell and the players watched some film. Then players and coaches went out onto the practice court, stood in a circle near midcourt, and spent about 90 minutes clearing the air.

“We talked about what we wanted to be as a team,” Mitchell said. “Normally the coach is the one who’s always talking. But we let the players talk. What are the goals for the year, as a team, individually? And I think it was good for us.’’

Mitchell encouraged everyone to talk, both veterans and young players.

Some of the themes?

According to Mitchell, much of the talk was about sacrifice. What sacrifices – both great and small – that each player needs to make to make the team better. The need for the young players to learn to focus for the length of a game was talked about, too.

Utah Jazz waive Elijah Millsap

Utah Jazz waive Elijah Millsap

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has waived guard/forward Elijah Millsap. Following the move, Utah’s roster now stands at 14 players.

Millsap (6-6, 225, Alabama-Birmingham) appeared in 67 games (five starts) over two seasons for the Jazz, averaging 4.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 16.4 minutes of action. He saw action in 20 games this season (all as a reserve), averaging 1.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 8.7 minutes. He originally joined the team on a 10-day contract on Jan. 5, 2015, after being called up from the NBA Development League’s Bakersfield Jam.

A native of Monroe, La., Millsap played two seasons at Louisiana-Lafayette (2006-08) before transferring to University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) (2008-10).

john wall

Washington Wizards guard John Wall and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and Thunder guard Russell Westbrook today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month, respectively, for games played in December.

Wall averaged 22.6 points, 11.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals to lead the Wizards to an 8-8 record, despite the absence of several key players to injury. He is the first player to average at least 22.0 points, 11.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals in a month since Chris Paul in April 2009. Wall scored 20 or more points 11 times, his career high for a month, and recorded 10 games with at least 20 points and 10 assists, the most in team history for a month. The guard also became the first player to post three straight games with at least 26 points, 12 assists and five rebounds since Dwyane Wade in November 2006. Wall shot 46.0 percent from the field and 83.6 percent from the free throw line.

kevin durant

Durant (24.9 ppg) and Westbrook (23.8 ppg), co-winners in the West, ranked sixth and seventh in the NBA in scoring, respectively, as the Thunder went 12-3 in December. Durant added 7.2 rebounds and 5.7 assists while shooting 50.8 percent from the field. He reached the 20-point mark in all 15 games and shot 87.3 percent from the free throw line. Westbrook led the league in steals (2.73 ppg) and contributed 8.9 assists (fourth in the West) and 5.9 rebounds. He had three 30-point games, handed out at least 10 assists seven times and posted his third triple-double of the season.

russell westbrook

Other nominees for NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month were Atlanta’s Paul Millsap, Detroit’s Reggie Jackson, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, the Los Angeles Clippers’ J.J. Redick, Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic, Portland’s CJ McCollum and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard.

Brook Lopez, Draymond Green named NBA Players of Week

Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Dec. 28 through Sunday, Jan. 3.

Lopez led the Nets to a 2-1 week behind averages of 26.7 points (second in the Eastern Conference), 13.3 rebounds (third in the conference) and 3.67 blocks (second in the conference). He made 60.9 percent of his field goals, sixth best in the East. Lopez recorded point-rebound double-doubles in all three contests, including his 30-point, 13-rebound effort in a 100-97 win over the Boston Celtics on Jan. 2.

draymond green

Green helped the Warriors to a 3-1 week behind averages of 18.8 points, 11.3 rebounds (tied-fourth in the Western Conference) and 9.5 rebounds (fourth in the conference). Green recorded two triple-doubles, raising his league-leading total to six on the season. On Jan. 2, Green powered the Warriors with 29 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists in a 111-108 overtime win against the Denver Nuggets.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Cleveland’s LeBron James, the Los Angeles Clippers’ J.J. Redick, Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, Portland’s CJ McCollum, San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan.

Porzingis

New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis and Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in December.

This is the second consecutive NBA Rookie of the Month award for Porzingis, who ranked second among East rookies in scoring (12.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.4 rpg) and first among all rookies in blocked shots (2.20 bpg). Porzingis posted four point-rebound double-doubles and blocked three or more shots in six games. He also shot 36.6 percent (15-of-41) from three-point range for the month. During a 91-84 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 23, Porzingis made 4-of-5 from three-point range en route to 23 points and added 13 rebounds and four assists.

karl anthony towns

Towns, who also earns his second straight NBA Rookie of the Month award, led all first-year players in scoring (18.6 ppg) and rebounding (9.5 rpg) and ranked second in blocks (1.56 bpg). He recorded eight point-rebound double-doubles in December and produced eight games with at least 20 points. Towns shot 55.3 percent from the field for the month and made at least half his shots in 14 of 16 games. During a 123-122 overtime win against the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 9, Towns posted 26 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.

Other nominees for the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month were Charlotte’s Frank Kaminsky, Denver’s Nikola Jokic, the Los Angeles Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell, Miami’s Justise Winslow and Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor.

Orlando Magic weekly notes: Jan. 4, 2016

The Orlando Magic will begin a four-game week tonight, which will feature games against the Detroit Pistons (Monday, Jan. 4) and Brooklyn Nets (Friday, Jan. 8) on the road, while they face the Indiana Pacers (Wednesday, Jan. 6) and Washington Wizards (Saturday, Jan. 9) at home.

The Orlando Magic’s Scott Skiles was named the NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for games played in December. Skiles guided the Magic to a 10-5 (.667) overall record and a 5-2 road record (.714), both tops in the Eastern Conference. This is the sixth time an Orlando Magic head coach has been awarded the honor and the first time since April 2010, while it also marked the fourth time Skiles has won the award (previously: January 2005, April 2006 and February 2010).

Orlando went 2-2 last week, including home wins over the New Orleans Pelicans (104-89) and the Brooklyn Nets (100-93). The Magic concluded the week with losses at the Washington Wizards (91-103) and Cleveland Cavaliers (79-104). Orlando has an overall record of 19-15.

The Orlando Magic are allowing 98.7 ppg. (3,356 points) this season, which ranks sixth in the NBA (as of Jan. 3).

Nikola Vucevic averaged 19.4 ppg., 9.0 rpg. and 3.5 apg. during the month of December (291 pts., 135 rebs., 52 asts., 15 games). The only other player in Orlando Magic history to average 17+ ppg., 9+ rpg. and 3+ apg. during any calendar month is Shaquille O’Neal, who did it four times, the last in March 1995.

In the month of December, the Magic went an Eastern Conference-best 10-5, marking the team’s first 10-win month since February 2012. Orlando also recorded its second consecutive month over .500, which is the first time since February/March 2012 that the Magic have recorded back-to-back winning months. For games played in December, Orlando ranked first in the Eastern Conference in field goal percentage and steals, and second in opponents points per game and point differential.

Since Nov. 25, the Magic have a 13-7 record. That is the best record in the Eastern Conference and fifth-best in the entire NBA during that span (trailing only Golden State, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and the L.A. Clippers).

scott skiles

The Orlando Magic’s Scott Skiles and the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in December.

Skiles led the Magic to the East’s best month at 10-5 (.667). Orlando went 5-3 at home and 5-2 on the road. On the defensive end, the Magic held opponents to 96.6 points in December, the fourth-stingiest mark in the NBA. On the offensive end, Orlando shot 48.1 percent as a team in December, third-best in the league and tops in the Eastern Conference.

gregg popovich

Popovich guided the Spurs to the league’s best record in December at 14-2 (.875). San Antonio went 10-0 at home, and at the end of December owned a 19-0 mark at AT&T Center. The Spurs, who surrendered 100-plus points in only two of 16 December games, held opponents to a league-low 87.1 points – a mark more than six points better than that of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who ranked second at 93.2 points allowed.

Other nominees for Coach of the Month were Atlanta’s Mike Budenholzer, Cleveland’s David Blatt, Detroit’s Stan Van Gundy, Golden State’s Luke Walton, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Doc Rivers, Oklahoma City’s Billy Donovan and Toronto’s Dwane Casey.

Sixers sign Elton Brand, waive Christian Wood

The Philadelphia 76ers have agreed to terms with free agent forward Elton Brand, who will mostly serve as a mentor for Jahlil Okafor and other young Sixers.

In a related move, the Sixers waived forward Christian Wood.

Brand has played 16 seasons in the NBA, most recently two seasons with the Atlanta Hawks (2013-2015). He has appeared in 1,041 career NBA games and made 867 starts, posting averages of 16 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two blocks per game. His 34,685 career minutes played ranks him 70th all-time in NBA history. Brand was also the recipient of the 2005-06 Joe Dumars Trophy, presented each season to the player who exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship on the court.

Brand will join the Sixers for the second time in his career. He spent four seasons in Philadelphia from 2008-2012, averaging 13 points and seven rebounds per game. Brand averaged 16 points and eight rebounds for the Sixers in the 2011 NBA Playoffs and averaged 11 points across 18 total playoff games during his tenure in Philadelphia.

A two-time NBA All-Star, Brand was the first overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls and was named Rookie of the Year.

Marcus Morris and Paul George fined

Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris has been fined $15,000 for shoving Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, and George has been fined $10,000 for contributing to the altercation, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred at the conclusion of the Pacers’94-82 win over the Pistons on Jan. 2 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

O.J. Mayo fined by NBA

O.J. Mayo fined by NBA

Milwaukee Bucks guard O.J. Mayo has been fined $25,000 for aggressively pursuing a game official and failing to leave the court in a timely manner upon his ejection, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred after Mayo was assessed his second technical foul of the game with 4:08 remaining in the first quarter of Milwaukee’s 95-85 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday, Jan. 2 at Target Center.

Here’s the Sacramento Bee reporting on the Kings, who just unleashed a 142-point output against a struggling Phoenix Suns squad and on Monday will face a much higher-level opponent:

After monster effort against Suns, Kings face Thunder

There’s no telling which Kings team will appear Monday in Oklahoma City.

It could be the energetic team that runs and enthusiastically moves the ball. Or it might be the team that looks disinterested.

The Kings, 4-11 on the road, begin a two-game trip against the Thunder, followed by a game Tuesday in Dallas.

“We’re capable of being an elite team, so it’s just a matter of what Kings team shows up,” guard Darren Collison said. “We want the best Kings team to show up every night right now.”

The Kings might have been at their best in beating the Phoenix Suns on Saturday. Their 142 points were the franchise’s most in 23 years, and they shot a season-high 60.9 percent. But the Suns have lost eight consecutive games.

Clippers re-assign Branden Dawson to D-League

The L.A. Clippers announced today they have assigned forward Branden Dawson to the Grand Rapids Drive of the NBA Development League pursuant to the Flexible Assignment System.

This is the third Development League assignment for Dawson and his second in Grand Rapids this season. Dawson played in seven games for the Drive from Dec. 4 – Dec. 24 and averaged 4.9 points and 4.0 rebounds in 16.1 minutes.

In 13 total games played for both Bakersfield and Grand Rapids this season, Dawson is averaging 5.5 points and 3.9 rebounds in 16.8 minutes.

With the Clippers, Dawson appeared in two games and is averaging 1.0 point and 1.5 rebounds.

Jarrett Jack suffers torn ACL knee injury

Jarrett Jack suffers torn ACL knee injury

A tough season for the Brooklyn Nets just got tougher.

Nets guard Jarrett Jack has been diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and small medial meniscus tear in his right knee. The injury occurred during the second half of the Nets’ game at Boston on Saturday, January 2. Jack will miss the remainder of the season and will undergo surgery on a date that has yet to be determined.

Jack has played and started in 32 games for Brooklyn this season, posting averages of 12.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and a team-high 7.4 assists per game.

The Nets are 10-23 this season - the third worst record in the league.

Kings score 142 points on Suns

Coach George Karl moved into a tie for fifth on the NBA wins list with 1,155 when DeMarcus Cousins had 32 points and nine rebounds Saturday to lead the Sacramento Kings to a 142-119 victory over the Phoenix Suns, who lost their eighth in a row.

Karl matched Phil Jackson with the milestone win. The 63-year-old Karl is 1,155-795 in 27 seasons…

Darren Collison had 21 points and six assists and Marco Belinelli had 19 points for the Kings. Rudy Gay added 16 points and Rajon Rondo had 15 points and 15 assists.

– Associated Press

Brook Lopez’s size was too much for Boston’s smaller lineup.

The 7-footer scored a season-high 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, leading the Brooklyn Nets to a 100-97 victory over the Celtics on Saturday.

“I did my best to make the right play every time, realizing that, and just tried to read the double teams,” said Lopez, who scored seven of his points in a key 9-2 run when Boston was making its charge with a smaller, trapping lineup…

Joe Johnson added 20 points, Thaddeus Young 16 with 10 boards, and Bojan Bogdanovic 13 points for the Nets, who won for just the third time in 11 games.

– Associated Press

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