The Kings are dedicated to expanding their brand internationally, Will Robinson of Reuters reports. Kings president Chris Granger expressed his interest in appealing to NBA fans over in India: “Our overall mission for us is to become India’s home team.” This announcement is hardly surprising since we’ve heard numerous times that David Stern and the NBA as a whole are keen on expanding the league’s presence overseas.
Have a look at the latest international news:
- Former first-round pick D.J. White will be returning to China. Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports that the Sichuan Blue Whales are bringing aboard the ex-Bobcats big man. Although White was in Chicago for training camp, he failed to make the Bulls’ opening day roster and most recently saw playing time for the Shanghai Sharks. White will join Hamed Haddadi on the Blue Whales, another former NBA player.
- Al Thornton inked an international deal today in Puerto Rico. According to Sportando, the Brujos de Guayama have announced his signing. The former lottery pick hasn’t seen NBA action since 2010/11 when he put up a meager 7.4 PPG for the Wizards and Warriors.
- Dan McCarney over at Spurs Nation takes a look at how the Spurs depth is due largely to the team’s excellent assortment of international players. McCarney notes that with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker aging, great play off the bench from “The Foreign Legion” is critical.
Now that NBA teams have finalized their opening night rosters, free agents and camp invitees who missed the cut could turn to the D-League. NBA clubs are allowed to retain D-League rights for up to three players they had in camp, and many D-League squads will still hang on to players’ rights from last season. Many D-League hopefuls, however, have their sights set on November 1st, the night of this year’s draft. Over at D-League Digest, Gino Pilato has a primer for this year’s draft, while at Secret Rival, Mark Porcaro examines the players we know will be part of the draft pool.
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the Association:
- By way of Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com, an anonymous NBA general manager explains first-hand why his team is in tank mode this season. Any guesses on which GM it might be?
- Just five days after we passed along word that former NBA lottery pick Al Thornton had joined China’s Xinjiang Flying Tigers, Evan Wang of Hupu.com tweets that the two sides have parted ways (hat tip to Sportando). Xinjiang is eyeing James Singleton as a potential replacement for Thornton.
- Although it looks like Thornton will return stateside for now, China has become a hot destination for former NBA players and NBA hopefuls, as our international player movement tracker shows. In an interesting and in-depth piece for Bleacher Report, Jared Zwerling details the emergence of the Chinese Basketball Association.
- Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports takes a look at undrafted players who earned spots on NBA opening night rosters, as well as prospects who left college early and didn’t land on a roster.
- After identifying a few trade candidates around the NBA yesterday, Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld lists a few more today, including some big names (Rajon Rondo, Pau Gasol) and some under-the-radar possibilities (Alonzo Gee, Andre Miller).
NBA teams are in the process of finalizing their rosters in advance of the regular season, and many clubs in other leagues around the world find themselves in the same boat. As such, we’ve got a few notable international signings to pass along today….
- Since Terrence Williams was cut by the Celtics in June, the only report we’ve heard on him involved a change in representation. Several months later, Williams has changed agents yet again, and has also signed with a team in Turkey. Guido Guida of Gazzetta dello Sport tweets the details on Williams’ change in agencies, while Obrad Fimic of Alti Sport confirms (via Twitter) that his new client has signed with Turk Telekom.
- Emiliano Carchia of Sportando passes along a tweet from Evan Wang indicating that former NBA lottery pick Al Thornton has signed with China’s Xinjiang Flying Tigers. Thornton, who spent four NBA seasons with the Clippers, Wizards, and Warriors, also played briefly in China last season, averaging 27.4 PPG and 9.5 RPG for the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions.
- J.R. Bremer, who appeared in 100 NBA games with the Celtics, Cavs, and Warriors, has signed with Gaziantep in Turkey, the team announced on Twitter (English translation via Sportando). As our international player movement tracker shows, Bremer finished last season with Italy’s EA7 Milano.
Forward Al Thornton has signed with the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to a report from Sina.com.cn passed along by Sportando. The former 14th overall pick of the 2007 draft was in mini-camp with the Nets earlier this year and was reportedly in the mix for a roster spot.
Thornton, 28, spent last season with Puerto Rico's Guayama where he averaged 18.7 PPG. The forward's last stint in the NBA came in 2010/11 when he played in 71 games with the Wizards and Warriors, including 23 starts in Washington. For his career, Thornton has averaged 11.9 PPG and 4.2 RPG in 28 minutes per contest.
The Celtics took a 3-2 lead in their series with the Sixers tonight with a 101-85 victory in Game 5. There's plenty happening off the court for Atlantic Division teams as well, so let's dive in:
- The Knicks and interim coach Mike Woodson are nearing agreement on a long-term deal, writes Newsday's Al Iannazzone. The deal could become official in the next couple days.
- Sixers president Rod Thorn has no intention of retiring, as Tom Moore of phillyBurbs.com writes, denying a report to the contrary Sunday by the Philadelphia Inquirer that said coach Doug Collins would take over for Thorn, with assistant coach Michael Curry replacing Collins.
- The Nets held a minicamp for free agents who didn't play in the NBA this past season, headlined by 2006 No. 3 overall pick Adam Morrison, as Colin Stephenson of The Star-Ledger and Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv note. Morrison and others at the camp, like Al Thornton, Hilton Armstrong and Julian Wright could wind up on Brooklyn's summer league team and audition for an invitation to join the Nets in training camp.
- Deron Williams, who was at Nets facilities this weekend as the team worked out draft prospects, was present again during today's free agent minicamp, fueling speculation he'll re-sign with the team, as Zagoria chronicles.
The latest news and notes from around the NBA on Thursday night:
- Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel speculates on the future of forward Ersan Ilyasova, who is set to potentially earn a large payday as he hits unrestricted free agency.
- Sean Deveney of the Sporting News talks to journeyman Al Thornton, who is attempting to work his way back into the NBA.
- Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico wonders whether the Oklahoma City Thunder model of rebuilding is replicable.
With 10 games on the schedule for Sunday, let's take a quick look around the league to see what's happening:
- Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel responds to a reader's question wondering if the Heat are setting themselves up for NBA Finals failure by not beefing up their post play. Winderman points to LeBron James as a player who could utilize his unique size to provide the Heat with an option to slow down the game in fourth quarter by getting the ball in the paint.
- Former Warriors forward Al Thornton has signed to play with Puerto Rico's Brujos de Guayama according to Sportando. The former Seminoles star averaged 7.4 PPG and 3.0 RPG during the 2010/2011 season with time split between Golden State and Washington.
- The Hornets are playing a waiting game with injured guard Eric Gordon, writes John Reid of The Times-Picayune. The former Indiana star was acquired prior to the start of the season in the Chris Paul blockbuster but has only played in two games thus far. He'll become a restricted free agent this summer with the Hornets holding hope that they can re-sign him for a manageable price.
- Brian Kamenetzky of ESPN.com says it's been an unique season for Pau Gasol as he awaits his fate amidst trade rumors that he'll be moved prior to the trade deadline. Kamenetzky concedes his affection for the Barcelona native but would trade him to the Nets in exchange for Deron Williams in a heartbeat.
- According to Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Twitter), Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is currently searching for Jeremy Lin's 2010 Mavericks summer league jersey so he can sell it on eBay. No word yet on the reserve price.
While we wait for official word on the Knicks' pending roster moves, let's round up a few odds and ends from around the NBA: