A glance at Magic training camp

A glance at Orlando Magic training camp

Here’s the Orlando Sentinel with insight on Magic training camp, which is set to open:

The team will have 19 players in training camp, although two of them could be limited early on. Gordon is still recovering from a fractured jaw that he suffered in mid-July and likely won’t begin participating in full-contact, 5-on-5 drills until mid-October. Magic officials recently learned that Fournier tweaked one of his ankles during France’s final game in EuroBasket 2015, and the team could proceed cautiously with him.

On Thursday, the Magic announced the signing of four new players who will attempt to earn a roster spot: point guard Keith Appling, center Nnanna Egwu, guard Jordan Sibert and center Greg Stiemsma.

Appling will compete against newcomer Shabazz Napier for the role as Orlando’s third point guard, while Egwu, Sibert and Stiemsma likely will compete against forward Melvin Ejim for the 15th spot on the roster.

Guard Tyler Harvey, whom the Magic drafted late in the second round in June’s draft, will not attend training camp and instead will spend the season with the Magic’s NBA Development League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks. The Magic will retain Harvey’s draft rights.

Some key Mavs still recovering from injury

Some key Mavs still recovering from injury

With NBA training camps opening soon, preseason around the corner, and the regular season beginning in late October, some key Dallas Mavericks are coming off major surgeries. Here’s the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporting:

Some key Mavs still recovering from injury

With the NBA regular-season opener a mere 34 days away, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban isn’t sure if two of his starters will be in the opening-day starting lineup when his squad plays at Phoenix on Oct. 28.

Shooting guard Wesley Matthews underwent surgery to repair a left torn Achilles tendon on March 11 while he was playing for the Portland Trail Blazers. Matthews signed a four-year, $70 million free-agent contract with the Mavericks on July 9.

Small forward Chandler Parsons had surgery on May 1 to address a cartilage injury to his right knee. Parsons signed a three-year, $46 million free-agent contract with the Mavericks in the summer of 2014.

The Mavericks are expecting both players to be leaders in their quest to help the team recapture its glory years. But will they be available for the season opener against Phoenix?

“They’re on schedule, so there’s a chance,’’ Cuban said Thursday afternoon. “But we’re not going to rush them.

Here’s the New York Post with a fun feature on 7-3 Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis, who took a stroll around NYC and joked to one young fan that he’ll “be 8-feet by the end of the season.”

“Since I’ve been like 15, I can’t really hide, you know?” Porzingis says. “I always stand out. At one point, you’re just like, ‘I can’t be hiding my whole life. I gotta get used to this.’ Now I’m enjoying it.”

He is wise beyond his 20 years and a 7-foot-3 cutup. As he stares straight ahead and smiles for a photo with a short young man named Adam Eliassof, he startles him by telling him, “I’m gonna be 8-feet by the end of the season.”

Before more stargazers and curiosity seekers can flood the Seventh Avenue entrance to his next basketball home, Porzingis, with his older brother Martin and Knicks staffer Gregg Schwartz and several security men in tow, begins walking through the 33rd Street Plaza, where a man shouts out: “Kristaps, I need you to put on some weight.”

Truth be told, Porzingis already has bulked up, to 240 pounds, likely on his way to 250. He sneers at the stereotypical perception of European players as soft and uses it to fuel the fire that burns within him to be great. He doesn’t intend to let stronger, meaner opponents bully him.

Doug Christie joins Kings broadcast team

Here’s the Sacramento Bee with news on the Kings broadcast team:

Doug Christie joins Kings broadcast team

Former Kings guard Doug Christie, who played 15 NBA seasons, has joined Comcast SportsNet California as an analyst for the team’s pregame and postgame shows.

Christie will team with returning anchor Guy Haberman and analyst Bobby Jackson, another former Kings guard.

A glance at new Clippers additions

The Los Angeles Clippers will be deeper this upcoming season. It’ll be interesting to see how the chemistry develops. Here’s the Orange County Register reporting:

A glance at new Clippers additions

Joining fellow newcomers Lance Stephenson and Paul Pierce, and holdovers Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford, [Josh] Smith gives the Clippers a versatility they’ve lacked.

“The whole goal was we needed multiple positions,” Rivers said. “I wanted the second unit to be guard-less, meaning Austin isn’t a point guard, Lance isn’t a point guard, Jamal’s not a point guard. But all of them can dribble. Josh can dribble. That was our goal. We wanted four (guys). If we could somehow come up with five in the second unit where they literally could all bring the ball up, the versatility they create for that unit … We can play a unit of Josh and Paul at four and five and Lance, Jamal and Austin.

“That’s just chaotic. Who do you guard? Paul will just stand out by the 3 and dare you. Jamal can do his things. Austin and Lance are downhill players. We had a vision of how we wanted to play. That always helps when you’re building a team. We thought, this year, the pool of players you could go after was so much larger than the year before that we had a chance to accomplish our goal.”

Lakers sign Metta World Peace

Lakers sign Metta World Peace

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed forward Metta World Peace, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

According to the Orange County Register, “the contract essentially confirms the endorsement Coach Byron Scott gave World Peace last week, when he trumpeted the former champion’s virtues in an interview with the Register. “We know what type of defender he is,” Scott said. “He’s a guy who’s going to get on you. “He’s strong, he’s physical, he’s tough. He’s made Julius work, which I think is great. Then when the game is over he’s always talking to Julius about certain things that he feels Julius can do better.”

A 15-year NBA veteran who spent four seasons in Los Angeles between 2009-13, World Peace holds career averages of 13.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.8 steals in 33.0 minutes per game over 931 contests (833 starts) with the Bulls, Pacers, Kings, Rockets, Knicks, and Lakers. Born Ron Artest before changing his name during the 2011 offseason, World Peace was an integral member of the Lakers’ 2010 NBA Championship team, starting all 23 playoff games and averaging 11.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.5 steals in 36.5 minutes per game during the postseason.

Selected with the 16th pick of the 1999 NBA Draft by Chicago, the 35-year-old was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2003-04 in addition to being chosen as an All-Star and member of the All-NBA Third Team that same year. He has also garnered four NBA All-Defensive Team selections and made the postseason nine times (including all four of his seasons in L.A.) with four different franchises.

His most recent NBA action came during the 2013-14 season when he appeared in 29 games for the New York Knicks, and has since played in the Chinese Basketball Association and Lega Basket Serie A, Italy’s top division.

World Peace was honored with the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2011, and is actively involved in mental health awareness initiatives.

Here’s the Denver Post with an update on Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic, who averaged 6.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks — impressive considering he played just 17.8 minutes per game last season:

Jusuf Nurkic will not be ready for start of training camp

Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic will not be ready for the start of training camp as he continues to rehab his left knee, general manager Tim Connelly said Wednesday.

“We’re going to take our time with him,” Connelly said.

Nurkic underwent surgery in May to repair a partially torn left patella tendon. The original timetable was three to four months. Connelly, however, did say that Nurkic was “ahead of schedule,” but he wouldn’t “put a firm timetable on when he’ll be back.”

Jason Richardson retires from NBA

Jason Richardson, aka J-Rich, was a dunk phenom and a mighty fine basketball player. Between 2001 and 2015 he averaged 17.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. A fantastic NBA career is in the books. Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer blog reporting:

The thought was that Jason Richardson would extend his career as a member of the Atlanta Hawks.

But the shooting guard, who was with 76ers the past three seasons, announced his retirement Wednesday on his personal Instagram page.

“Today is a bitter sweet moment for me,” he wrote. “ I’m officially announcing my retirement from pro basketball. I like to thank the organizations and fans in Charlotte, Phoenix, Orlando, Philly and especially The Bay Area for their loyal support the past 14 years. Walking away was the hardest decision I had to make but choosing my health and spending time with my family is more important to me! God bless!”

This announcement comes after Richardson had signed a non-guaranteed, one-year deal with the Hawks for the league minimum back in August.

You forgot — at least a little — about Kevin Durant. Not totally. You remember he existed, of course. But the domination he regularly unleashes on the court hasn’t been on your mind in a while. Well, if all goes well, he’ll soon serve up some helpful reminders. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

Kevin Durant cleared to play without limitations

In 2011, Nike leveraged Durant’s obsession into an ad campaign labeled Basketball Never Stops. At the time, for KD, it so rarely did. His most serious NBA injury was a minor ankle sprain.

Then the foot fracture happened last October. Then the setbacks followed. Then the bone graft ended his season. Then a summer of rehab and reflection and careful progression bled into this upcoming, all-important nine months for both Durant and his franchise.

Sam Presti unofficially opened it on Wednesday afternoon with his preseason state of the Thunder address. In it, he said Durant has received full medical clearance for training camp. He’s been doing non-contact court drills since late July. But that recently progressed to full-speed 5-on-5 scrimmages, the last step in his long road back.

“In terms of limitations, he doesn’t have any,” Presti said.

But that doesn’t mean there won’t be precaution.

Now this is a fun discussion. There’s no one right answer to who the greatest shooter in NBA history is, because it’s just an opinion. But even though Stephen Curry’s NBA career still has a very long way to go, many people are answering the question by pointing in his direction. Here’s WEEI.com reporting:

Danny Ainge spent nearly eight seasons alongside Larry Bird, the man many consider the greatest shooter in NBA history, so he doesn’t say the following lightly: Stephen Curry is the best shooter he’s ever seen.

Ainge made the observation on Twitter during the playoffs, which ended with Curry’s Warriors claiming the title, and he explained himself earlier this week in an interview with WEEI.com from his Waltham office.

“I think Larry was as good a shooter as I’ve ever seen before Steph. And Ray Allen is up there, too,” Ainge said. “If anybody were to come in and tell me, ‘Larry Bird‘s the best shooter of all time,’ I wouldn’t have much argument. Same with Ray. I probably wouldn’t argue. It’s really close.”

Timberwolves waive Anthony Bennett

Timberwolves waive Anthony Bennett

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has waived forward Anthony Bennett.

With the move, Minnesota’s roster stands at 18 players.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, it was a mutually agreed-upon contract buyout “will save the team a little more than $2 million on the $5.8 million they owed him for this coming season.

“In speaking with Anthony and his representatives over the past few days, we came to the conclusion that this was the best outcome for both parties,” said Timberwolves general manager Milt Newton. ‘When you look at our team, our deepest position is probably power forward. This move balances out our roster while also allowing Anthony another opportunity in the NBA. He has a lot of talent and his play this summer internationally made this a difficult decision for us.

“During his short time here Anthony has carried himself with class and represented the franchise in a very professional manner. We thank him for his positive attitude and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

Acquired by the Wolves on August 23, 2014 as part of a three-team trade with Cleveland and Philadelphia, Bennett appeared in 57 games with Minnesota last season averaging 5.2 points in 15.7 minutes per game.

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today the team has signed free agents Jeff Adrien, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Corey Webster.

Jeff Adrien, 6-7, 245, appeared in 17 games last season for the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he averaged 3.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in 12.6 minutes per game before signing with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association. In China, Adrien appeared in 11 games, averaging 13.6 points on .551 shooting from the field, 11.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. Prior to his stint in Minnesota, Adrien was a member of the Houston Rockets’ preseason roster.

Undrafted in 2009 out of the University of Connecticut, Adrien has appeared in 153 career games for Golden State, Houston, Charlotte, Milwaukee and Minnesota, holding averages of 4.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in 14.0 minutes per game. Adrien has also appeared in the NBA Development League, suiting up for Erie and Rio Grande Valley, and his international experience also includes stints in Spain, Italy and Russia in addition to China.

Chris Douglas-Roberts, 6-7, 210, appeared in 12 games for the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2014-15 season, averaging 1.6 points and 1.0 rebounds in 8.6 minutes per game.

Drafted 40th overall by New Jersey in the 2008 NBA Draft out of the University of Memphis, Douglas-Roberts has appeared in 222 career games (61 starts) with New Jersey, Milwaukee, Dallas, Charlotte and the Los Angeles Clippers, holding averages of 7.1 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists.

Corey Webster, 6-2, 190, is a native of Aukland, New Zealand, who most recently played for the New Zealand Breakers of the Australian National Basketball League. In 32 games for the Breakers last season, Webster averaged 15.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steals per game.

Webster is a member of the New Zealand Men’s National team, and led his team in scoring in the 2015 FIBA Oceania Championships.

New Orleans’ roster now stands at 18.

Nets sign Chris Daniels

The Brooklyn Nets have signed forward/center Chris Daniels, General Manager Billy King announced today.

We assume this is a non-guaranteed contract that merely brings Daniels to training camp.

Daniels (6’9”, 265) spent the 2014-15 season with the Guangdong Southern Tigers in China’s CBA. In his seven-year pro career, Daniels has competed in South Korea, Puerto Rico, China, Jordan and Lebanon, as well as the NBA D-League. Daniels played collegiately at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (2004-08), where he is still the program’s all-time leading scorer. He also helped lead the Islanders to their first and only NCAA Tournament appearance in 2007.

Will Roy Hibbert and Lakers mesh?

Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News discussing Lakers center Roy Hibbert, who is in an interesting situation because he’s joining a roster of players that aren’t a team quite yet. Chemistry must be developed. Kobe Bryant is returning from injury, but to what? The Lakers have some interesting pieces. Still, little is expected. But that gives Hibbert a chance to shine more than he recently has. Anyway:

Will Roy Hibbert and Lakers mesh?

It may have seemed head-scratching from afar that the Pacers had no interest in retaining a player who once attracted a four-year, $58 million max contract offer so he could not sign with the Portland Trail Blazers. Yet, Hibbert averaged only 25.3 minutes per game, his lowest since his second year in the NBA, because the Pacers had the personnel and intent to play at a faster style. No one will mistake the current Lakers with the Showtime Era. But can Hibbert adjust his accelerator?

On one hand, the Lakers want Hibbert to play at a methodical pace because of factors involving Kobe Bryant’s durability and the team’s aforementioned defensive issues. But the Lakers also have a young core, including point guard D’Angelo Russell, combo guard Jordan Clarkson and power forward Julius Randle. It would be in the Lakers’ interest to tap into that speed to generate easy baskets.

Numerous reports say Hibbert has lost a significant chunk of weight this offseason, which should help the conditioning required from a Scott training camp. But that might just mark one of many steps Hibbert will have to take to keep up with everyone else.

Deadline looms for Dion Waiters extension

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on OKC Thunder shooting guard Dion Waiters, who presents the deal with a difficult decision:

Deadline looms for Dion Waiters extension

The NBA season is rapidly approaching, much to the delight of NBA fans everywhere. As if NBA front offices didn’t have enough on their plates going into the season, they face another deadline. Teams have until Nov. 2 (normally Oct. 31, but that date falls on a Saturday this season) to extend the rookie scale contracts of players selected in the first round of the 2012 NBA draft.

The Thunder is on the clock to lock up Dion Waiters, the fourth overall pick in that draft, to a long-term deal by that date.

Waiters’ play was erratic and uneven after his Jan. 5 arrival via a trade with Cleveland and New York. He averaged 11.0 points per game in his first 29 appearances for the Thunder, shooting 37.8 percent from the field and 28.3-percent from 3-point range. This wasn’t terribly unusual given that Waiters was still considered a raw talent and was trying to fit into a new team with revolving lineups.

Anthony Bennett must prove NBA value soon

Anthony Bennett has gone from the first overall pick in the NBA Draft to an afterthought. It’s too early to totally write him off as an NBA player, but there’s no reason for optimism yet. He needs to emerge, and soon. Here’s the National Post reporting:

Anthony Bennett needs to prove NBA value soon

Anthony Bennett has been a disappointment thus far in his NBA career. It goes beyond the stigma of him being the first-overall pick in 2013, although that certainly is the biggest factor when it comes to public perception.

Bennett has been an unproductive NBA player, full stop. In his rookie season, he was out of shape thanks to off-season shoulder surgery, emerging as a lost player who endured an embarrassing scoreless streak. His second season, in Minnesota, was a bit better. Still, he missed 25 games, including a stretch due to an ankle injury, and fell out of favour with coach Flip Saunders. It was understandable, as Bennett remained totally unreliable on both ends of the floor.

Still, Monday’s news that Bennett might be on his way out of Minnesota in return for nothing still qualifies as a surprise.

Knicks sign guard Travis Trice

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has signed guard Travis Trice.

Trice, 6-0, 170-pounds, averaged 15.3 points, 5.1 assists and 3.2 rebounds over 33.6 minutes in 39 games as a senior at Michigan State University. He averaged 19.0 points and 4.2 assists in leading the seventh-seeded Spartans to the Final Four of the 2015 NCAA Tournament and finished his career with 202 three-pointers, fifth best in school history. The Huber Heights, OH-native. appeared in seven 2015 Summer League games for Miami’s entry at Orlando and Las Vegas, averaging 4.4 points and 1.3 assists over 10.6 minutes.

Knicks sign DaJuan Summers

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has signed forward DaJuan Summers. 

Summers, 6-8, 240-pounds, holds career averages of 3.3 points and 1.0 rebounds over 9.9 minutes in 83 games (seven starts) over four seasons with Detroit, New Orleans and Los Angeles Clippers. He last played in the NBA for L.A. Clippers appearing in two games in 2012-13.

The Baltimore, MD-native, was originally selected by Detroit in the second round (35th overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft following three seasons at Georgetown University. He played overseas in each of the last two seasons for Gran Canaria in Spain (2014-15) and Budivelnyk Kyiv in Ukraine (2013-14). He has also played for Maine of the NBA Developmental League (2012-13) and in Italy for Siena (2011-12).

The Detroit Pistons announced today that guard Darrun Hilliard underwent surgery to repair a broken nose suffered while playing pick-up basketball last week. The surgery was performed by Dr. Mike Rontal of Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, MI Campus. Hilliard will be fitted with a mask for the next three weeks and will continue all basketball-related activities.

Hilliard, 6-6, 205, was drafted 38th overall by the Pistons in the 2015 NBA Draft from Villanova University.

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team is hosting a free open scrimmage at Target Center on Monday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. Due to the overwhelming popularity of the Wolves’ previous open scrimmage this summer, fans will need to reserve their seats in advance exclusively at www.timberwolves.com starting at 10 a.m. on Sept. 23. A maximum of six free tickets are available per order.

The scrimmage tips off the 2015 Timberwolves Training Camp and features the team’s full roster. Target Center doors open at 6 p.m., and concessions and merchandise stands will be open. Season members will have access to a VIP seating area.

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