Durant rolls into news conference on scooter

The Oklahoma City star is recovering from foot surgery.

      
 

 

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Miami Heat News: Heat Sign Larry Drew II

The Miami Heat front office have decided to add point guard Larry Drew II, son of Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Larry Drew, Sr. Drew appeared in 11 games with the Heat during the Orlando and Vegas Summer Leagues where he averaged 4.4 points, 3.6 assists, and 1.6 steals while shooting 50 percent from the three-point line.
Drew also spent considerable time in the D-League last season as he helped guide the Sioux Falls Skyforce to the playoffs. He appeared in 41 regular season games, including 36 starts, and averaged 11.4 points and 7.0 assists while shooting 47.4 percent from the field.
Since NBA teams are allowed to designate four players released from their training camp for direct assignment to their D-League affiliates, it is expected that Drew will be waived and added to the Heat’s D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Drew is not expected to be in uniform for the Heat’s final two preseason matchups beginning with the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

The po…

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Lakers News: Rounding Up Latest Buzz Surrounding Point Guard Position

The Los Angeles Lakers are attempting to rebound from the worst season in franchise history, and as we saw last season, the team’s health will play a crucial role in that endeavor once again.

Things didn’t exactly begin in flawless fashion for the team in 2014, as Nick Young suffered a thumb injury that required surgery. Here’s a look at the cast he’s currently wearing on his shooting hand, courtesy of the LakersScene Instagram account:

While that injury is a bit unsettling for Lakers faithful, there’s more recent injury news that could potentially shake up the team’s starting lineup.

Veteran Steve Nash was once expected to start at the point guard position for the Lakers this season after an injury-plagued 2013-14 campaign in which he only saw action in 15 games (10 starts). Well, according to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com, the guard is still dealing with the same ailment:

Those injuries began to affect Nash’s status in the preseason. Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com reported the guard asked to be held out of Sunday’s contest against the Golden State Warriors.

With Nash already missing time on the floor, we’re already seeing shades of last season, and that’s not exactly comforting.

Luckily, the Lakers made a very smart decision to bring in Jeremy Lin over the offseason.

Since Lin arrived in Los Angeles, he’s taken on the role of Kobe Bryant‘s understudy and has been attempting to soak in as much knowledge as possible from the all-time great. During an interview with Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding, Lin spoke of what he’s learned:

He cares about all the little things. It’s like the stuff that he talks to me about, I didn’t ever think about it. Little stuff. I’m, like, ‘Oh, OK. That’s one way to look at it.’ He’s challenging me to expand my perspective. I think that’s really important, and that’s something that I love doing. It’s a blessing that he’s here in the same locker room.

It’s apparent that Lin is improving under Bryant’s tutelage. Through two preseason games, he’s scored 15 points, accumulated 14 assists, seven boards and just two turnovers. He’s handling the ball better than he ever has, and he’s shown the ability to facilitate effectively.

Perhaps those performances is all head coach Byron Scott needed to see, as Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reported a potential switch on the depth chart:

That may be a brilliant decision. While Nash (when healthy) is a great option due to his lengthy experience, ability to see the floor and skill at creating shots for his teammates, a role on the bench could be very beneficial in regards to maintaining his health throughout the season.

Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News spoke with the guard and tweeted what he had to say about a possible change in his role:

It certainly appears as though the writing is on the wall. Nash’s health continues to deteriorate, Lin has shown reasonable improvement over the offseason, and Scott is considering a switch at the position.

Bryant could wind up benefiting greatly from mentoring Lin, as it looks like he may be starting in the backcourt with his pupil this season.

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Why an MVP Season from Dirk Nowitzki Could Be Bad News for the Reloaded Mavs

The Dallas Mavericks are reloaded and ready to compete for Western Conference supremacy, adding Chandler Parsons and bringing back Tyson Chandler in the offseason.

What can we expect from Rick Carlisle’s team this year?

Richie Whitt of NBC5 Dallas joins Adam Lefkoe to play a game of over/under in the video above.

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Miami Heat News: Heat Cut Reggie Williams and Chris Johnson

The first casualties are in, and they’re not all that surprising. The Miami Heat cut veteran Reggie Williams and center Chris Johnson on Monday.
The cuts mean the Heat are down to 18 players with just five preseason games left. The team needs to trim its roster to a maximum of 15 players by October 27, just two days before its season opener versus the Washington Wizards.
Williams was expected to compete with Shannon Brown for the backup shooting guard spot behind Dwyane Wade, but he never established himself during training camp or the preseason. In the three games he was on the Heat’s roster, he didn’t receive a single minute of playing time. Considering the Heat’s lack of depth at the swingman positions, it was shocking that the veteran guard couldn’t even receive playing time in coach Erik Spoelstra’s lineups.
The five-year vet was signed by Miami on August 12. He’s a career 37 percent shooter from beyond the arc and had spent stints with three different teams prior to signing wi…

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Lakers News: Latest Reports on Availability of Kobe Bryant, Nick Young and More

Before we know it, a new NBA season will commence, and the Los Angeles Lakers will begin their journey to bounce back from the worst season in franchise history. Obviously, the health of the team will play a crucial role in its ability to bounce back, so keeping up on player availability is pertinent.

Kobe Bryant missed all but six games last season, Steve Nash only appeared in 15 contests, and Nick Young will need to stay healthy, as his role figures to increase in the coming season. Recent reports have provided some insight as to how each of these players is looking as the preseason rolls along.

Here’s a glance at the status of all three players for the foreseeable future.

 

Kobe Bryant

Bryant is entering his 19th year with the Lakers after missing almost the entire 2013-14 season. While he’s healthy and practicing, there are still questions about exactly how much the 36-year-old guard will be able to contribute in the regular season.

A tweet from Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times relayed comments from trainer Gary Vitti and Bryant, which help shed a little light on the subject:

Judging by those comments, we’re looking at somewhere between 32 and 36 minutes per game. That’s not too shabby. In the Lakers’ championship-winning season of 2009-10, Bryant played an average of 36.1 minutes per game and was highly efficient.

The most integral part of this Los Angeles team, Bryant shouldn’t bite off more than he can chew and play more than the recommended minutes. Keeping him healthy for an entire season far outweighs getting an extra two minutes of production from the team’s star.

 

Nick Young

Young’s first season with the Lakers went quite well. He appeared in 64 games, starting nine, and played an average of 28.3 minutes per contest as one of the team’s most dependable role players. He averaged 17.9 points per game, and that production will be necessary in the coming season.

Unfortunately, things didn’t get off to a great start for the forward, as a thumb injury will hold him out for an extended period of time. According to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, Young’s return could come a bit sooner than expected, though:

We should get an update after the conclusion of his surgery. In the meantime, Young leaves us with this, via his Instagram account:

Luckily, he won’t be guarding Kobe during the regular season.

 

Steve Nash

Nash enters his third year with the Lakers, but he only played in a total of 15 games last season. Health and longevity have become concerns for the guard, who is now 40, and things began in ominous fashion just before the preseason commenced.

After tweaking his ankle in practice, Nash was considered day-to-day. His status changed after Mike Trudell of Lakers.com tweeted an update from head coach Byron Scott:

Nash participated in the team’s first preseason game Monday, which is a great sign. However, he’ll definitely be a player to monitor as the regular season approaches.

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Lakers News: Latest Comments from Wesley Johnson, Byron Scott and More

Playing out of position can stagnate a player’s career. Los Angeles Lakers small forward Wesley Person did that for much of the 2013-14 season.

Johnson can’t completely attribute his partially disappointing NBA career to being moved from his natural position, but last year’s stint in Mike D’Antoni’s small-ball lineup didn’t help him gain any momentum.

After being taken No. 4 overall in the 2010 NBA draft, Johnson has yet to average double figures in scoring, but he is making some strides.

New head coach Byron Scott says Johnson’s days of playing power forward are over, per Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

“He aint playing power forward anymore,” Scott said. “He has everything that he needs to be a very good player in this league. It’s just a matter of me pulling it all out of him. I think this year he’s going to surprise some people and have a good year.”

Johnson agreed that playing against the bigger, stronger forwards in the league was tough. 

“I’m back on the wing again. I get to guard the 3s (small forwards), mix it up with the 2s (shooting guards). It was crazy. I was guarding Blake and banging with Z-Bo (Randolph). That aint me. Get me on the wing. I’m very glad to be back.”

Johnson is only 27 years old. He is in the physical prime of his life, and through four years in the NBA, he has gained valuable experience in his time with three different franchises.

Despite spending too much time near the paint last season, Johnson averaged career highs in all but one major statistical category. Thus, there’s reason for optimism heading into the 2014-15 season.

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2010–11 Minnesota 79 63 26.2 .397 .356 .696 3.0 1.9 .7 .7 9.0
2011–12 Minnesota 65 64 22.6 .398 .314 .706 2.7 .9 .5 .7 6.0
2012–13 Phoenix 50 21 19.1 .407 .323 .771 2.5 .7 .4 .4 8.0
2013–14 Los Angeles 79 62 28.4 .425 .369 .792 4.4 1.6 1.1 1.0 9.1
Career   273 210 24.7 .408 .346 .739 3.3 1.3 .7 .7 8.1

The Lakers’ roster and current situation offer a great opportunity for Johnson to make a big impact. The team is in a rebuilding stage, and the player who will more than likely be ahead of Johnson in the rotation has the game of a sixth man.

According to the team’s depth chart on ESPN.com, Johnson is listed as the backup small forward behind Nick Young. Swaggy P might be best served coming off the bench to provide instant offense. That could give Johnson an inroad to more minutes and perhaps even a starting role.

Johnson could also see time as Kobe Bryant‘s backup at the 2-guard position. 

Playing solid defense will be the key to extended playing time for Johnson. If he can prove himself to be a better-than-average defender, Scott will find minutes for him.

Last season, Johnson averaged 1.1 steals per game in 28 minutes of action. His length and agility give him the tools to be a presence in the team’s perimeter defense. Don’t be surprised to see Johnson have another career year and gain some votes for Most Improved Player.

 

Stats per Basketball-Reference.com

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Cavs News: Cavaliers Acquire Keith Bogans in Trade With Celtics

It has been confirmed that yesterday the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Keith Bogans from the Boston Celtics in exchange for Malcolm Thomas, Erik Murphy, John Lucas, the 2016 and 2017 second round draft picks, and Dwight Powell (the 45th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft).
Sources say Cavs are expected to package their three non-guaranteed deals (Erik Murphy, John Lucas and Malcolm Thomas) in trade for KBogans
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) September 25, 2014
Celtics trade Keith Bogans to Cleveland for Dwight Powell, Erik Murphy, John Lucas III and Malcolm Thomas, sources told ESPN. — Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) September 25, 2014
Since Bogans will earn a salary of a little over $5 million in non-guaranteed earnings next season paired with Brendan Haywood’s $16 million of non-guaranteed salary, Cleveland is evidently looking to use this money towards a huge deal next summer.

Brendan Haywood is owed $10.5 mil next year – none of which is guaranteed; Keith Bogans is $5.3 mil/$5.5 mil next 2 se…

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Cavs News: Cavaliers Sign Free Agent Lou Amundson

Speculation that began earlier this week about power forward Lou Amundson possibly signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers was confirmed late this morning with a congratulatory tweet from Amundson’s representatives at Priority Sports.
Congrats @LouAmundson17 on signing with the @cavs! We’re excited for you Louuuuuu!
— Priority Sports (@PrioritySports) September 19, 2014
The 6-9 Amundson, an eight-year veteran in the NBA, was reported to have worked out with the Cavaliers, sparking hints that he would be added to the team’s preseason roster. His role, if he makes the final cut, would be a limited one, having averaged just two points and under three rebounds per game in 19 games last season. Still, Amundson is excited about the response he’s gotten from fans on Twitter.
Appreciate the warm welcome from all the Cavs fans on twitter, I know how passionate you all are about your team. Very excited to be here! — Louis Amundson (@LouAmundson17) September 19, 2014

The Amundson signing is cle…

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Miami Heat News: Heat Sign PF Khem Birch

The Miami Heat have signed yet another big. The Heat announced early Sunday through their official website that they have signed 6’9″ forward Khem Birch to round their roster to a total of 17 players. As per club policy, details of the deal were not disclosed.
Birch is an undrafted rookie. The UNLV product averaged a double-double with the Rebels during the 2013-14 season, posting averages of 11.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Birch provides Miami with a much-needed defensive presence as he was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year and finished second in the NCAA in blocks per game and total blocks (124).
OFFICIAL: The @MiamiHEAT have signed F Khem Birch. http://t.co/1WsiChHQoA
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) September 14, 2014
Despite going undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft, Birch impressed the Heat enough during his Summer League stint with the Washington Wizards. The forward averaged 5.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.17 blocks in six games (all starts) during the 2014 Ve…

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