Pelicans sign Toney Douglas to second 10-day contract

Pelicans sign Toney Douglas to second 10-day contract

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has signed guard Toney Douglas to a second 10-day contract.

Douglas, 6-2, 185, has appeared in three games for New Orleans, averaging 9.0 points, 4.0 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 22.0 minutes per game. Prior to joining the Pelicans, Douglas played for the Jiangsu Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association, appearing in 35 games while averaging 19.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.1 steals. Drafted 29th overall out of Florida State in 2009 by the Los Angeles Lakers, Douglas had appeared in 297 career NBA games with New York, Houston, Sacramento, Golden State and Miami, averaging 7.8 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists.

Report: Goran Dragic seeks trade from Suns

Report: Goran Dragic seeks trade from Suns

Here’s the Arizona Republic reporting on the Suns and guard Goran Dragic, who may be going their separate ways in the next day or two, or this summer:

Report: Goran Dragic seeks trade from Suns

The Dragon’s fire has turned toward the Suns organization.

Goran Dragic, the closest thing to a face of the franchise for the Suns, wants to be traded by Thursday’s 1 p.m. deadline, according to multiple league sources after the parties met Tuesday.

Dragic has lost trust in the Suns organization because they have brought in two other point guards, Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas, and reduced his playmaking role since he returned to Phoenix during free agency in 2012 to be Steve Nash’s heir apparent.

The Suns, who traded Dragic in 2011, traded for Bledsoe in 2013 when he was one of the most-sought trade commodities and created a dual-playmaker backcourt. Dragic thrived when Bledsoe missed half of the season and they ultimately found chemistry for a 48-win season.

Celtics may want guard Isaiah Thomas

Celtics may want guard Isaiah Thomas

As Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline approaches, here’s CSNNE reporting on the Celtics and Suns:

Celtics may want guard Isaiah Thomas

When the Boston Celtics pulled off a pair of blockbuster deals to land Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in 2007, both were available for reasons that the Celtics had no control over but were in position to take advantage of.

A similar situation might be brewing with the Phoenix Suns, who are likely to unload one of two point guards — Goran Dragic or Isaiah Thomas — by Thursday’s trade deadline.

If Suns management decides to unload Thomas, the Celtics will be among the teams to look closely at swinging a deal for the 5-foot-9 guard, a league source told CSNNE.com on Tuesday.

Deron Williams struggling for Nets

Deron Williams struggling for Nets

The Brooklyn Nets are 21-31 this season and getting 12.9 points (38.4% FG) and 6.1 assists in 30.7 minutes per game from point guard Deron Williams, though the veteran’s contributions have been less than that lately. Here’s the New York Post reporting:

Though fans have been down on Williams for a long time, he was playing well early in the season, and the team was performing significantly better with him on the court than off it.

But after coming back from fractured rib cartilage that kept him out for virtually all of January, Williams has been a shell of himself, averaging 7.3 points in 28 minutes per game in the final six games before the break. He was shooting 15-for-51 (29.4 percent) and 4-for-17 (23.4 percent) from 3-point range in that span, and ducked out of the locker room in Memphis without speaking to reporters in the final game before the break.

If the Nets are going to make a run at a playoff spot, they absolutely have to get Williams going again. He’s easily the best 3-point shooter on a team without many options from deep, and gives the Nets another creator and scorer on the perimeter. But when he’s playing as he is now, he doesn’t give them much of anything.

Here’s the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporting on Mavs point guard Rajon Rondo and his probable soon-to-be teammate Amar’e Stouemire, who was waived by the Knicks. Once Stoudemire clears waivers he will reportedly sign with Dallas:

rajon rondo

Point guard Rajon Rondo did say he and Stoudemire have a close connection which will finally be realized whenever Stoudemire puts his signature on the Mavs’ contract.

“Stoudemire and I have always talked throughout the years of playing against each other,’’ Rondo said. “We wanted to become teammates, and hopefully it will come true soon.

“But him as a player, I think he’s still a dominant big in our game. He’s very powerful, he can finish at the rim.’’

Rondo also thinks Stoudemire will be extremely motivated after he left a New York Knick team that’s the worst in the NBA at 10-43, to join a Mavs team that’s 36-19 and seeded fifth in the Western Conference.

Playoffs remain possible for Celtics

Here’s the Boston Herald reporting on the Celtics, who certainly weren’t expected to compete for a playoff spot, but they play in the Eastern conference:

The Celtics begin the stretch run with a game in Sacramento on Friday, and despite a 20-31 record, talk of the playoffs persists.

They are one loss out of both the seventh and eighth playoff seeds in the Eastern Conference. The weakened state of the East considered, the Celtics have a very good chance of remaining within reach of the postseason. The most telling sign of improved play is their 7-5 record over the last five games.

The trade deadline arrives on Thursday, and with it, more stability for coach Brad Stevens. He started the season with a plan based on the talents of Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green, and once those two players were traded, had to reconfigure his entire strategy.

It’s difficult for a young coach to work on the fly like this, but to Stevens’ credit, his players continue to buy into the plan.

Pistons have interest in Joe Johnson

Detroit Pistons have interest in Joe Johnson, who makes a ton of money

Here’s ESPN New York reporting discussion between the Pistons and Nets:

Pistons have interest in Joe Johnson

The Detroit Pistons reached out to the Brooklyn Nets, inquiring about swingman Joe Johnson, league sources told ESPNNewYork.com’s Ohm Youngmisuk Tuesday.

Nothing is imminent, but the Pistons talked to the Nets about a package involving injured point guard Brandon Jennings and expiring contracts, league sources said.

The Nets continue to field inquiries from other teams.

Johnson is making $23.2 million this season and is due $24.9 million next season, the final year of his deal. The 33-year-old veteran is averaging 15.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

Chris Bosh has been playing hurt

Chris Bosh has been playing hurt

Chris Bosh

Here’s the Miami Herald reporting on Heat star Chris Bosh, who is averaging 21.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game this season:

Chris Bosh’s inconsistent offense before the All-Star break was a clear signal that the Heat’s power forward needed a few days off to reset his body.

With his All-Star obligations complete, Bosh now has five days to rest some nagging aches, including a persistent pain in his side. Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard revealed over the weekend that Bosh was playing through an injury before the All-Star break, and although Bosh downplayed the news while in New York, there’s little question something has been affecting his jump shot over the past two weeks.

“Your body will follow your mind, and sometimes it’s good to get away,” Bosh said. “You have to give credit to the commissioner and the players for coming together and actually making it a longer break, but sometimes you just have to reset.

“If things are going well, or if things aren’t going well, you have to let your body rest, you have to take advantage of the time, and when you’re stuck in the brain sometimes you have to step away from the game, and that’s when you get the most ideas.”

Kings hire George Karl as head coach

Sacramento Kings hire George Karl as head coach

Kings hire George Karl as head coach

The Sacramento Kings announced today that George Karl will become the team’s new head coach, according to General Manager Pete D’Alessandro. Karl becomes the 27th coach in franchise history and the 16th during the Sacramento-era. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We’re fortunate to be taking a step towards returning this franchise to prominence with one of the best coaches in basketball on our sideline,” said D’Alessandro. “George knows how to win, as evidenced by a lifetime track record of success and ability to maintain consistency throughout his three decades in the game. We’re excited to welcome him to Sacramento.”

“I’m extremely excited for the opportunity to coach again in the NBA, and I’m thankful it’s happening in Sacramento,” said Karl. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of helping guide the franchise back to greatness. We have an owner in Vivek Ranadivé who is committed to winning, a roster with some impressive components already assembled and an exciting new development downtown. Anyone who follows basketball, even at a casual level, understands that Kings fans are renowned for their passionate support of the team. I’ve coached against the Kings in some important moments over the years and was always amazed by the level of energy they bring to the game. We’re going to provide them with more instances to display that enthusiasm.”

Karl joins the Kings as a veteran of 25 seasons on the bench for five NBA franchises (Cleveland, 1984-86), Golden State (1986-88), Seattle (1991-98), Milwaukee (1998-2003) and Denver (2004-2013), where he was named the 2012-13 NBA Coach of the Year after guiding the Nuggets to a franchise-record 57 victories and the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference—marking the 22nd postseason appearance in his coaching career. His 21 consecutive NBA campaigns of .500 or better achieved from 1991-92 through 2012-13 is the longest such streak in league annals. He is tied with Lenny Wilkens for eighth all-time with 80 playoff victories and has 12 Coach of the Month nods to his credit—tied for second-most in NBA history. He joined the 1,000 win club on Dec. 10, 2010 in a victory over Toronto, adding his name to a rarified quadruple-digit coaching pantheon that includes Rick Adelman, Don Nelson, Wilkens, Jerry Sloan, Pat Riley, Jackson, Larry Brown and Gregg Popovich.

Before joining the Kings, Karl most recently spent nearly two seasons as an NBA analyst for ESPN across a multitude of network platforms, including SportsCenter, NBA Coast 2 Coast, and NBA Tonight.

A two-time cancer survivor, Karl is active in a number of cancer outreach and awareness organizations, working closely with programs such as the Cancer Care Initiative at Swedish Medical Center to provide information and assistance for patients and their families. Additionally, he and his life partner Kim Van Deraa devote energy to several philanthropic organizations. Established in 2012, the George Karl Foundation supports cancer care programs, educational platforms, animal rights advocacy and environmental initiatives.

Karl, 63, has three children, daughters Kelci and Kaci and a son, Coby. In 2007-08, Coby and George became just the third father/son duo to face each other in an NBA game and the first to do so in a postseason game as Denver took on Coby’s Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the 2008 NBA Playoffs.

Magic hire Igor Kokoskov as assistant coach

Orlando Magic hire Igor Kokoskov as assistant coach

The Orlando Magic have named Igor Kokoskov (kuh-KOS-kov) assistant coach, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

Kokoskov, 43, has spent 14 seasons as an assistant coach in the NBA, most recently with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2013-14 campaign. During his tenure on an NBA bench, Kokoskov’s teams have made six conference finals appearances, two NBA Finals trips and captured one NBA World Championship.

Prior to joining the Cavaliers, Kokoskov spent five seasons with the Phoenix Suns from 2008-13. He also spent five seasons with the Detroit Pistons from 2003-08, reaching the conference finals in each campaign and earning the 2004 NBA title.

In 2000, Kokoskov became the first full-time, non-American assistant coach in NBA history, when he was named to Alvin Gentry’s staff with the Los Angeles Clippers. He spent three seasons with the Clippers from 2000-03. Kokoskov later became the first non-American assistant to win an NBA championship and also the first to serve on an NBA All-Star Game coaching staff. Kokoskov also owns the distinction of being the first European coach to hold a full-time position with an NCAA Division I-A school, when he served as an assistant at the University of Missouri during the 1999-00 season under Quin Snyder, now head coach of the Utah Jazz.

A native of Belgrade, Serbia, Kokoskov owns extensive international experience as a head coach and assistant coach. He was an assistant with the Serbian national team at the 2004 Athens Olympics under renowned European coach Zeljko Obradovic. Kokoskov has enjoyed seven successful summers (2008-14) as the national team head coach for the Republic of Georgia. His team has twice qualified for the European Championships during his tenure, something the nation had never done previously. In 2012, his work with the national team earned him the Order of Honour, Georgia’s highest civilian honor.

Prior to his move to the United States, Kokoskov instructed the former Yugoslavia’s top amateur and professional players for eight years, including a stint as an assistant coach for the nation’s junior national team. He has participated in the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program and administered other clinics throughout Africa and Europe.

Here’s the Indianapolis Star helping to add clarity to the health status of the Pacers’ Paul George, who is injured and has not played a game this regular season:

Will Paul George be playing for Pacers by mid March?

While George made a business trip to New York City to endorse his line of hats, he also created a fuss with comments about making a full comeback by mid-March.

“March 1 isn’t when I wanted to play my first game, but when I wanted to be full-out practicing, doing up-and-down full court without any restrictions or limitations,” George said in a Friday interview with Yahoo Sports. “From there on, it’s seeing how far I can progress to where I play my first game. My hope is it’s an opponent where I feel comfortable coming back to where there isn’t too much pressure to perform, where I can ease my way back in. But I want to say mid-March, I could probably come back around that time.”

Later that night, the team released a statement to reel back these comments. While the statement repeated that George was “hopeful” and “optimistic” with that timeline of a return, the team also emphasized that the decision rests with the Pacers’ medical staff.

Jazz may keep Enes Kanter

Here’s the Salt Lake Tribune reporting the latest on the Utah Jazz and center Enes Kanter, who is averaging 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds in 27.1 minutes per game this season:

Jazz may keep Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter and his agent very publicly asked the Jazz last week to trade the young center by Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

However, the Jazz are unlikely to bend to Kanter’s demand.

The Salt Lake Tribune has learned, via NBA sources, that while the team will listen to offers, Kanter is still valued highly by the franchise and very much in its long-term plans.

Following last Wednesday’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks — a game in which he suffered a first-half injury and sat out the rest of the way — a frustrated Kanter told The Tribune he hoped to be dealt by the deadline. The next day, Kanter’s agent, Max Ergul, confirmed the trade request in an interview with 1280 AM.

Knicks waive Amare Stoudemire

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has waived forward Amar’e Stoudemire.

“Amar’e’s period as a Knickerbocker has come to pass, at his request. His time here should be marked by recognizing his effort – it was 100-percent,” Jackson said. “As we move forward in structuring this team, we will look for players that exhibit his desire to win.”

According to the New York Daily News, “the Knicks and Stoudemire reached agreement on an undisclosed buyout on the remainder of the veteran big man’s $23.4 million salary for this season to give him a chance to catch on with a playoff contender.

Stoudemire, 6-10, 245-pounds, finished his Knicks career averaging 17.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in 255 games over five seasons, while making three consecutive NBA Playoff appearances from 2011-13. His 4,411 total regular-season points ranks him 36th all-time. In 2011, Stoudemire represented New York at the NBA All-Star Game, becoming the first Knicks player to be named a starter for the Eastern Conference in 14 years, scoring 29 points.

“Everyone here at the Knicks organization appreciates the contribution Amar’e has made to the team and the entire City of New York over the past five seasons,” Knicks General Manager Steve Mills said. “We have developed a relationship that has translated into a long-term friendship, and it will continue through the remainder of his NBA career, and beyond.”

“I feel truly blessed to have been able to play for the incredible New York fans, Mr. Dolan, my coaches, teammates and the entire Knicks organization for the past five years,” Stoudemire said. “I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to contribute positively on the court and in the community. Although I leave the Knicks with a heavy heart, I wish the organization the best of luck. Once a Knick always a Knick.”

According to the New York Post, “the Knicks have a roster spot open to sign a D-League player, a free agent or use on a player they acquire to fill their trade exceptions gained in the January trade with the Cavaliers and Thunder. Second-round pick Thanasis Antetkoumnpo, the Greek swingman who has played well for the Westchester affiliate in the D-League, could be a candidate, though he still is viewed as a project.”

Russell Westbrook wins 2015 All-Star MVP

Russell Westbrook wins 2015 All-Star MVP

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who went nuts in the 2015 NBA All-Star exhibition and won the game’s MVP award:

The Thunder point guard scored 41 points in the Western Conference’s 163-158 victory at the Garden, highlighted by an alley-oop dunk that left Westbrook rubbing his head because he knocked it on the bottom of the backboard. With his final free throw just before the buzzer, Westbrook surpassed Michael Jordan’s 40-point performance in the 1988 game. He couldn’t quite catch Wilt Chamberlain’s 42-point record from 1962.

But clearly, he’s in elite company. The upstaged LeBron James was impressed.

“He’s unbelievable. He’s an unbelievable talent in our league. His motor, his athleticism, his demeanor about how he approaches the game, it’s all great,” said James, who led the East with 30 points. “And it’s great for our league. And he showed that tonight, showcased it on the big stage.”

Kevin Durant supports idea of fewer back-to-backs

Here’s the New York Post reporting Kevin Durant’s approval of the possablity that the league schedule will someday present fewer back-to-back games. Safe to say the vast majority of players would agree with this:

Kevin Durant supports idea of fewer back-to-backs

Durant is in favor of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s pledge to try and eliminate four games in five nights and greatly reduce back-to-backs in the NBA’s regular-season schedule.

“Yeah, it’s nice,” said Durant, who had just three points on 1-for-6 shooting in 10 minutes. “As much as we can get rest and still be at a high level, it’s always cool for us.

“But we’re all gamers in this league and everybody likes to play, so whatever schedule they put out is what we have to do.”

Knicks, Amare Stoudemire agree to buyout

Report: Knicks, Amare Stoudemire agree to buyout

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting that the Knicks and Amar’e Stoudemire have agreed to go their separate ways:

Amar’e Stoudemire’s days in New York are over but he could find a new home by the end of the week.

A league source told the Daily News that Stoudemire and the Knicks formally reached a buyout prior to Sunday’s All Star Game and that the six-time All Star, who should clear waivers by Wednesday, could be in a new uniform by the time the league resume on Thursday.

Several teams in the Western Conference are expected to pursue Stoudemire, who would be a solid addition to a playoff team as a reserve. The Dallas Mavericks have already been mentioned as a possible destination. Two others clubs in the West that could be in the running are San Antonio and Golden State.

Jimmy Butler plays limited minutes in 2015 All-Star game

Here’s ESPN Chicago reporting on Jimmy Butler (Bulls), who played in the 2015 All-Star game but only got limited court time as he’s dealing with an injury:

Butler played only nine minutes and scored six points as he continued to be limited by a right shoulder strain that kept him out of Thursday night’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Butler said he spoke to Eastern Conference head coach Mike Budenholzer before the game about limiting his minutes and acknowledged that his shoulder felt “all right” after playing for the first time in almost a week.

“I wish I was 100 percent healthy so I could do a lot more,” Butler said. “But it was fun.”

For a player whose career has been defined in large part by his defensive accomplishments, Butler admitted that it was tough to be in a game in which defense was looked down upon.

“A few of my guys was like, ‘Yo, chill. Don’t do all of that,’” Butler said. “So I couldn’t be the player that I am.”

Stephen Curry very happy to win 3-point contest

The NBA’s three-point contest at All-Star weekend may just be an exhibition that exists purely for fun, but Warriors guard Stephen Curry wanted that championship and was pumped to finally claim it. Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting:

Stephen Curry very happy to win 3-point contest

Stephen Curry was so salty about losing in the three-point competition the first three times he participated that he actually reviewed game tape of past winners before entering Saturday night’s competition at the Barclays Center.

After seeing that the majority of those who won before him had approached the ball racks with the right sides of their bodies, the Warriors’ point guard made the adjustment for an epic Three-Point Contest and set an NBA record by putting up 27 points in the championship round.

“I’m very happy right now,” Curry said. “I wanted to win it and get it done. Thankfully, I was able to accomplish that.

“It was a crazy, competitive and high-class field of eight shooters. I think this is the best field that’s ever been in a three-point shootout, so it’s a pretty cool moment for me.”

John Wall shows understanding of media

John Wall shows understanding of media

Here’s CSN Washington reporting on Wizards guard John Wall, who continues to rise as a star on the court while saying the right things when no game-clock is running:

John Wall shows understanding of media

The surliness rising to the surface with Kevin Durant, particularly when it comes to his comments about the media this weekend, isn’t as much of a surprise as some think. He’s just finally being honest. That’s good for him, but he’d benefit by taking a page from Wizards point guard John Wall, who has dealt with far more criticism and ridicule during his five-year career and doesn’t pout and rant about it.

“I think they do a great job. Sometimes media have to make their stories. Sometimes they’re going to have to say bad things, they’re going to say negative things but that’s part of their job,” Wall explained during Friday’s session. “It’s like us on the basketball court, sometimes you’re going to have good games, sometimes you’re going to have bad games.”

A reporter had just asked Wall if media criticism causes trust issues: “No, some players don’t trust other players neither. It’s all about you. You can build a friendship with them but understand it’s a business they have to do so if they make a bad story you can’t get mad at those guys for doing their job.”

Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting on the Warrior and their plans for a future new arena in San Francisco:

Fresh off his trip to the Bay Area this month, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Saturday that the Warriors are “on track” to build a new arena for the 2018-19 season and praised the franchise’s latest plans for the state-of-the-art facility in San Francisco.

“In San Francisco, I’ve seen the plans, and I’ve sat with the ownership there,” said Silver, who attended the Warriors’ 128-114 victory over Dallas on Feb. 4. “I think it looks fantastic. It’s an incredible undertaking to build a new arena in San Francisco. They intend to privately finance it. I think that’s an incredible contribution on the part of these owners.

“It always amazes me in this day and age when there aren’t great, state-of-the-art arenas in any major city, because these are multiuse facilities. Basketball is, of course, 41 regular-season dates and some preseason. Hopefully, in the case of the Golden State Warriors this year, there will be a lot of playoff dates. But the majority of the dates are used for other programming in the community, whether it’s the circus, ice shows, graduations, concerts, you name it.”

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