Utah Jazz sign Bryce Cotton to second 10-day contract

The Utah Jazz announced today that team has signed guard Bryce Cotton to a second 10-day contract. Cotton signed his first 10-day with the Jazz on Feb. 24 and has appeared in one Jazz game, posting three points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal in seven minutes in a win at Denver on Feb. 27.

When the Jazz signed him from the NBA Development League’s Austin Spurs, Cotton (6-1, 165, Providence) was averaging 22.4 points (third in the D-League), 4.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.3 steals in 40.5 minutes in 34 games (all starts). He scored in double figures on 31 occasions and recorded 20-plus points in 20 games. He also registered 40-or-more points twice, including a season-high 43 points, eight rebounds, nine assists and two steals at Reno Bighorns. His 43 points rank tied for third in the D-League in scoring performances. Cotton was named D-League Performer of the Week on Feb. 23.

A native of Tucson, Ariz., Cotton played four seasons at Providence (2010-14). He earned All-Big East First Team honors twice (2013, 2014) and was named the 2014 Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player. He finished his career ranked fourth all-time in scoring at Providence and became the fifth player from a major conference to average 20-plus points and five-or-more assists in a season since 2002, when he did so as a senior.

Utah Jazz sign Jerrelle Benimon to 10-day contract

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has signed forward Jerrelle Benimon of the Jazz’s NBA Development League affiliate, the Idaho Stampede, to a 10-day contract. Benimon becomes the NBA’s 43rd overall NBA D-League Call-Up of the 2014-15 season and the 32nd different player to be called up.

Benimon (6-8, 245, Towson) appeared in 35 games (29 starts) for the Stampede this season, averaging 19.9 points (ninth in the D-League), 10.6 rebounds (sixth in the D-League), 4.3 assists and 1.0 steals in 34.9 minutes per contest. He is also shooting 62.4 percent from the floor this season, which ranks eighth in the D-League. Benimon recorded 19 double-doubles, including one triple-double (20 points, 17 rebounds, 12 assists vs. Reno Bighorns on Nov. 28). He scored in double figures in 33 games, including 19 contests with 20-plus points and two games of 30-or-more points. Benimon was selected to the 2015 NBA D-League All-Star Team, and was also named to the Honorable Mention All-Showcase team earlier this season.

The 23-year-old forward attended 2014 training camp with the Denver Nuggets, averaging 2.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in 8.1 minutes in six preseason games before being waived on Oct. 22.

A native of Warrenton, Va., Benimon played two seasons at Georgetown (2009-11) before transferring to Towson (2011-14). He was named Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Player of the Year twice (2013, 2014), becoming just the eighth player in conference history to win back-to-back player of the year honors. Benimon also earned All-CAA First Team honors in 2013 and 2014 and was selected to the 2014 CAA All-Defensive Team. He was not selected in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Benimon becomes the 18th D-League Call-Up in Jazz history, and the seventh this season. He is the second call-up from the Stampede since the team became the Jazz’s direct affiliate prior to this season.

Benimon will wear uniform #22 for the Jazz.

Following the move, the Jazz roster now stands at 15 players.

Wesley Matthews suffers season-ending injury

Wesley Matthews suffers season-ending injury

Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews will miss the remainder of the season after rupturing his left Achilles tendon in Portland’s 94-75 win over the Dallas Mavericks Thursday at the Moda Center.

The injury occurred at the 10-minute mark of the third quarter.

Matthews posted averages of 15.9 points (44.8% FG, 38.8% 3-PT, 75.2% FT), 3.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.28 steals and 33.7 minutes in 60 games (all starts) for the Trail Blazers this season.

According to the Oregonian, “the Blazers initially announced that Matthews had a “left foot injury” and would not return to the game. Following magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests on Matthews’ left leg, the team updated his status saying he would miss the remainder the Blazers season with the Achilles injury. Rehab for a ruptured Achilles is usually projected between six to nine months. The Blazers have not announced if or when Matthews will undergo surgery for the injury.”

George Hill helping Pacers do big things

George Hill helping Pacers do big things

The Pacers deserve more mentions from us and everybody else as well. Written off before the season even started, they’ve played excellent basketball for a while now. Here’s the Indianapolis Star with some insight:

George Hill helping Pacers do big things

Who knew an Indiana Pacer other than Paul George could key such a productive second half of the season?

That has become the case with George Hill, whose strong return from injury has improved the starting lineup as well as the unit that comes off the bench.

With Hill averaging 14.5 points over the past 11 games, the Pacers are 9-2 and in playoff contention entering Friday’s home game against Chicago because the entire team is clicking.

Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Watson have combined for 57 starts this season, but as a recent tandem of reserves they’re giving opponents fits.

Stuckey has averaged a team-high 15.6 points since Hill went back to starting Feb. 4. Included in that surge are seven games of 15 or more points and back-to-back 30-point efforts. Stuckey’s totals have been fueled by 51 percent shooting (52.2 percent on 3-pointers) and 3.6 assists.

Draymond Green recognizes that the other team is in trouble

Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle with a fun Warriors item on the challenge of going against them:

Draymond Green feels sorry for teams that have to guard smaller Warriors lineup

Draymond Green feels sorry for opposing defenses when the Warriors go small.

Would they try to switch to a bigger defender when Golden State runs a pick and roll for Stephen Curry?

“Good luck with that,” Green said, chuckling, after practice Thursday.

Keep two guys on Curry?

“That opens me up to make plays with three other shooters around,” Green said. “That’s three-on-two. It’s tough for teams to defend.”

While Green is having a breakthrough season offensively, it’s the 6-foot-7 forward’s ability to defend from the center position when the Warriors go small that has everybody excited. Golden State has gone with the smaller lineup more often recently, and it worked again in Wednesday night’s comeback win over the Bucks.

Craig Sager back for NBA on TNT

Craig Sager back for NBA on TNT

Craig Sager, he of daring yet highly questionable fashion decisions, is back in action for the NBA on TNT broadcast team. Here’s the Associated Press reporting:

Craig Sager returned to his familiar spot on the NBA sideline Thursday after being treated for leukemia.

The veteran reporter worked Oklahoma City’s game against Chicago for TNT, 11 months after he was diagnosed with leukemia.

“I’m 60 yards shorter off the tee, but I feel good,” Sager told The Associated Press upon his arrival at the United Center.

Best known for his outlandish outfits, Sager wore a red, black and gray plaid jacket and matching Nike shoes that sparkled in the dark for the occasion.

“Bulls colors,” he explained.

Timberwolves add Justin Hamilton, waive Glenn Robinson III

Timberwolves add Justin Hamilton

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has claimed center Justin Hamilton off waivers. He’s bench material and adds a bit of frontcourt depth, especially while Nikola Pekovic isn’t at 100% health.

Hamilton, 24, has played in 24 games (five starts) this season with the Miami Heat, averaging 2.8 points and 2.0 rebounds in 12.0 minutes per game. In his second year out of Louisiana State University, the 7-0 center played in eight games last season for Miami and the Charlotte Bobcats, averaging 3.3 points and 0.9 rebounds per game. Hamilton was originally drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 45th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Hamilton was traded from the Heat to the New Orleans Pelicans on February 19, 2015. He did not appear in a game with the Pelicans before being waived on March 3, 2015.

Robinson III appeared in 25 games this season with Minnesota, averaging 1.2 points in 4.3 minutes per contest. The Wolves drafted the 6-7 forward with the 40th overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft.

In a subsequent move, the team has waived forward Glenn Robinson III.

The Wolves roster stands at 15 players.

Bradley Beal still working his way back to form

Here’s CSN Washington reporting on Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal:

Bradley Beal still working his way back to form

Two games into his return, Bradley Beal is shooting just 8-for-28, or 28.5%, and his legs aren’t all the way there. He was off for three weeks while he was recovering from a stress injury in his lower right leg and hasn’t quite been himself yet.

The Wizards (34-27) are 1-1 with him back in the lineup and might’ve been able to steal Tuesday’s game at the Chicago Bulls, a 97-92 loss, if Beal shot better than 2-for-8 in the third quarter.

Beal had a wide-open look with 56 seconds left that could’ve tied the score at 94 with a three-pointer, but he misfired. Most of his shots came up short which is an indication of heavy legs.

Gregg Popovich does not want a stretched-out NBA schedule

Here’s the San Antonio Express-News blog reporting what Spurs coach Gregg Popovich thinks of an NBA schedule that goes deeper into the summer:

Gregg Popovich does not want a stretched-out NBA schedule

One would imaging that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich would lead the drum beat for any NBA schedule change that would lessen the amount of back-to-back games, and especially the dreaded four-in-five nights.

If it comes at the expense of a longer season, however, he’s not a fan.

“I think the season is long enough,” Popovich said. “I will not come to work in July. If there’s a game in July, count me out.”

Even a championship game?

“Count me out. Count me out. Life is too short.”

Popovich was joking — we think — but his point remains: The NBA season already stretches over nine full months, from the start of training camp in October until finishing up with the Finals in June.

Blazers play small-ball down stretch vs Clippers

Here’s the Oregonian with some insight on the Trail Blazers:

Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts turned to a small-ball lineup down the stretch and in overtime of the Portland’s comeback win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.

LaMarcus Aldridge shifted to center, Nicolas Batum played de facto power forward along with Arron Afflalo, Wesley Matthews and Damian Lillard in the backcourt. It was the second time in the last three games Stotts has turned to that group to close out a game, after employing the same unit in a win over Oklahoma City last week.

“You’ve got four very good three point shooters, you’ve got a couple guys who can penetrate, you’ve got a couple perimeter guys who can post up and obviously (Aldridge) is a matchup problem in a lot of different ways,” Stotts explained.

“Offensively it can be very effective and you kind of have to pick your poison if you’re the opponent. The key to that is being able to defend.”

Atlanta Hawks sign Jarell Eddie to 10-day contract

hawks blog entry

The Atlanta Hawks have signed rookie guard Jarell Eddie (first name is pronounced “jur-RELL”) to a 10-day contract, it was announced today by Head Coach Mike Budenholzer.

Eddie has appeared in 37 games this season with the Austin Spurs of the NBA Development League, averaging 11.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 25.6 minutes (his .422 3FG% ranks ninth in the D-League). During the 2015 All-Star Weekend, Eddie won the D-League Three-Point Contest.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “the 6-foot-7 Eddie passed his physical with the Hawks and was officially signed Thursday. He practiced with the team and will be available for Friday’s game against the Cavaliers at Philips Arena. The 10-day contract will expire March 15. The Hawks can sign him to a second 10-day contract. After that, the team would have to sign him for the remainder of the season.”

Eddie participated in the Hawks’ 2014 training camp, and played in three preseason contests. He saw action in the 2014 Las Vegas NBA Summer League with the Washington Wizards.

He played four seasons at Virginia Tech, and as a senior in 2013-14, averaged 13.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 32.6 minutes.

Eddie will wear uniform no. 3.

Amar’e Stoudemire unable to find Dallas spa that offers wine baths

Here’s ESPN Dallas reporting on a tragic situation that should alarm and shock you all:

Amare Stoudemire unable to find Dallas spa that offers wine baths

After spilling into the courtside seats in pursuit of a loose ball, Amar’e Stoudemire ended up soaked in beer.

It’s the closest he’s come to getting one of his famous red wine baths since leaving New York.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think it has the same effect,” coach Rick Carlisle cracked to a referee, a conversation caught by the Fox Sports Southwest cameras on Saturday night.

Stoudemire looked for a spa in Dallas that offered vinotherapy, but it was a fruitless search. That lack of luxury is a minor inconvenience that ranks pretty far down the list of challenges presented to Stoudemire during his adjustment period since joining the Dallas Mavericks after the All-Star break.

Heat assign Zoran Dragic to D-League

Miami Heat assign Zoran Dragic to D-League

Heat assign Zoran Dragic to D-League

The Miami HEAT announced today that they have assigned guard Zoran Dragic to their NBA Development League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Zoran has appeared in eight NBA games this season, including two with the HEAT since being acquired in a three-team trade on February 19, totaling six points, three rebounds and an assist in eight minutes of action. He spent last season with Unicaja Malaga in Spain, appearing in 22 Euroleague games and averaged 10.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 22.5 minutes while shooting 41.3 percent from the field.

Ray Allen will not play in NBA this season

Fewer three-point shots will be made this season, as very-veteran sharpshooter Ray Allen has announced he won’t be playing in the 2014-15 season. Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting:

Ray Allen will not play in NBA this season

Ray Allen’s NBA end game, at least for now, remains his appearance as a starter in Game 5 of last season’s NBA Finals with the Miami Heat.

The 10-time All-Star guard announced Wednesday through his agency that he will not play this season and then reassess his plans for 2015-16.

“Over the past several months, I have taken a lot of time to deliberate what is best for me,” Allen said. “I’ve ultimately decided that I will not play this NBA season. I’m going to take the remainder of this season, as well as the upcoming off-season, to reassess my situation, spend time with my family and determine if I will play in the 2015-16 season.”

Devyn Marble out 4-6 weeks due to detached retina

Orlando Magic guard Devyn Marble has suffered a detached retina in his left eye, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today. Marble is expected to miss four to six weeks of action.

Marble (6’6”, 200, 9/21/92) has appeared in 16 games (seven starts) during his rookie season with Orlando, averaging 2.3 ppg., 1.9 rpg. and 1.1 apg. in 13.0 minpg. He also played in six games with the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League, averaging 13.0 ppg., 5.2 rpg., 2.2 apg. and 1.17 stlpg. in 30.3 minpg.

Marble was originally selected in the second round (56th overall) by Denver, his draft rights, along with Evan Fournier, were acquired by Orlando in exchange for Arron Afflalo on June 26. He played in 136 career games during four years at the University of Iowa, averaging 12.5 ppg., 3.4 rpg., 2.9 apg. and 1.29 stlpg. in 27.6 minpg. Marble ranks second on the school’s all-time games played list with 136. He also ranks in Hawkeyes’ history in scoring (fifth, 1,694 points), assists (sixth, 397) and steals (seventh, 176).

Pelicans sign Elliot Williams to 10-day contract

Pelicans sign Elliot Williams to 10-day contract

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has signed guard Elliot Williams to a 10-day contract.

Williams won’t be expected to do much more than provide some backcourt depth while playing very limited minutes. Generally the same situation for most players on a 10-day deal.

Williams, 6-5,180 has most recently played for the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League. Appearing in 25 games for Santa Cruz, Williams has averaged 21.8 points, 7.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds in 36.8 minutes per game while being named a NBA D-League All-Star. Previously this season, Williams has signed 10-day contracts with Utah and Charlotte. Williams appeared in five games for Utah, averaging 3.6 points in 8.4 minutes per contest.

Selected by Portland with the 22nd overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft out of Memphis, Williams has appeared in 96 career games with Portland and Philadelphia in addition to Utah, averaging 5.3 points and 1.6 rebounds in 14.0 minutes per game.

Williams will be available for tonight’s game against Detroit at the Smoothie King Center. New Orleans’ roster now stands at 14.

Pelicans waive Justin Hamilton

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has waived center Justin Hamilton, who was acquired on February 19 along with guard Norris Cole and forward Shawne Williams as part of a three-team trade with Phoenix.

Hamilton, 7-0, 260, did not appear in a game with New Orleans. Hamilton appeared in 24 games this season with Miami, averaging 2.8 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. Drafted 45th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft out of Louisiana State University by Philadelphia, Hamilton has appeared in 32 career games with both Miami and Charlotte, averaging 2.9 points and 1.7 rebounds. Hamilton has also spent time overseas, playing for KK Cibona (Croatia) and VEF Riga (Latvia). In 2013-14, Hamilton appeared in 39 games for the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA D-League, averaging 19.2 points and 9.3 rebounds on his way to being named an NBA D-League All-Star, All NBA D-League First Team and NBA D-League All-Defensive First Team.

New Orleans’ roster now stands at 13.

Rondo emphasizing defense with Mavs

Rondo emphasizing defense with Mavs

Here’s ESPN Dallas reporting on the Mavericks (40-22 this season) and Rajon Rondo, who are still adjusting to each other:

Rondo emphasizing defense with Mavs

Rajon Rondo dutifully answered questions about his offensive aggression Monday night, explaining how and why he attacked off the dribble during his 19-point performance.

But Rondo’s interest level seemed to rise when the discussion turned to Dallas’ defense.

“Our focus is a lot more on the defensive end of the floor,” Rondo said after the Mavs’ 102-93 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. “Offense never wins championships. Scoring 108 or whatever we were scoring means nothing if you’re giving up 105 or 110.

“I’ve been trying to preach defense and get on the same page defensively as a team and just string continuous stops together. Not just trading baskets, getting two or three stops in a row, and that’s what we did tonight to open up a lead in the second half.”

Blake Griffin may return fairly soon for Clippers

Here’s the Los Angeles Times reporting on Clippers forward Blake Griffin:

Blake Griffin could return fairly soon for Clippers

Blake Griffin has intensified his workouts since undergoing elbow surgery and could return as soon as Sunday, which would qualify as perfect timing for the Clippers and the NBA.

The Clippers play the Golden State Warriors, the team with the best record in the Western Conference, that day in a nationally televised game at Oracle Arena in Oakland.

“I guess it’s possible, yeah,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said Monday when asked whether Griffin could play against the Warriors exactly four weeks after learning he would need surgery to remove a staph infection from his right elbow.

Rivers described Griffin as going “full-tilt” in his workouts but cautioned that team doctors would ultimately need to clear the All-Star forward before he was allowed to play again.

Sacramento Kings hire Vlade Divac

nba blog

The Sacramento Kings announced today Vlade Divac has been named Vice President of Basketball and Franchise Operations.

In this capacity, Divac’s responsibilities will include advising the Kings front office and coaching staff, assisting the organization’s global branding efforts, augmenting fan outreach initiatives and oversight of player development programs. Additionally, he will facilitate talent evaluation and help foster relationships between the team and a growing pipeline of European athletes.

One of the most respected and revered individuals in franchise history, Divac returns to Sacramento having spent more than a decade serving the NBA and international sporting communities with the same distinction that solidified his reputation as a consummate teammate, player, humanitarian and overall difference-maker on and off the basketball court.

“With an unparalleled philanthropic track record that spans the globe, Vlade Divac is the epitome of our NBA 3.0 philosophy,” said Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé. “He has a unique perspective and global stature that will only further elevate our organization around the world.”

“It’s a great honor returning to the city that has provided a lifetime of unforgettable experiences,” said Divac. “Sacramento and the Kings organization were always in my thoughts and I often dreamed of having a role in helping our amazing fans realize the ultimate NBA prize. I’m thankful to Vivek for the opportunity and look forward to creating more special memories here.”

“Over the past year that I have gotten to know Vlade, he has proven himself as an ambassador to the Sacramento community,” said Kings General Manager Pete D’alessandro. “The organization is fortunate to have him as an advisor. I look forward to his contributions, especially with respect to his knowledge of the international game.”

Divac, 47, has served in a variety of administrative and leadership roles since retiring from professional basketball in 2007. In addition to his philanthropic efforts focused on helping children in his native country and other reaches of the globe, he was named President of the Serbian Olympic Committee in 2009. Under his guidance, Serbian athletes have enjoyed greater success and the country is experiencing a resurgence on the international stage.

In 16 NBA campaigns with Los Angeles, Charlotte and Sacramento, Divac averaged 11.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game over 1,134 contests. He is only one of four players in league annals to accrue at least 13,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists, 1,200 steals and 1,600 blocked shots, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon and Kevin Garnett with that distinction. His six seasons in a Kings uniform marked the most successful period in team history, including a league-high 61 wins in 2001-02 and a trip to the Western Conference Finals. His name adorns the franchise record book in several key categories, ranking third all-time during the Sacramento-era in rebounds (3,538) and blocked shots (523), ninth in points scored (5,176), seventh with 454 games played, eighth in free throws made (1,209) and eighth in steals (453). Divac’s jersey was retired by the Kings in 2009.

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