Knicks coach Derek Fisher said that it was very important for New York to sign Louis Amundson and Lance Thomas for the remainder of the season, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com reports (Twitter link). Both players are inked to 10-day deals that expire this week. In five appearances for the Knicks this season, Thomas has averaged 9.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in 26.0 minutes per game. Amundson has also made five appearances for New York, and his averages are 4.6 points and 5.8 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per night.
Here’s more from around the league:
- All of the injuries that the Heat have endured this season haven’t allowed the team to see how effective its intended roster could be, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. “The most disappointing thing is we’re not even having a chance to be at full strength, to even see what we could do,” said Miami center Chris Bosh. “Not 100%, but just at least have most of our guys. It just seems like every time we’re about to turn the corner, there’s a drawback. And it is what it is. I can’t really say anything else.”
- The Cavaliers have recalled Joe Harris from the Canton Charge, their D-League affiliate, the team has announced. This was Harris’ third jaunt of the season to the D-League. Harris has played in two games for the Charge this season, averaging 18.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in 39.5 minutes per game.
- The Warriors have assigned center Festus Ezeli to the Santa Cruz Warriors, their D-League affiliate, the team has announced in a press release. Ezeli has missed the last 16 games with an ankle sprain. Golden State also announced that it has recalled Ognjen Kuzmic, who concludes his fifth sojourn of the season in Santa Cruz.
- With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, Basketball Insiders’ Cody Taylor looked at some players whom the Hawks, Hornets, Heat, Magic, and Wizards could be willing to deal.
- Lorenzo Brown will earn $48K from his 10-day contract with the Wolves, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). One-year veterans, like Brown, and rookies cost their teams slightly less than other players when they sign 10-day contracts, as Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors explained earlier this month.
The Pistons‘ Brandon Jennings will be evaluated Sunday after leaving Saturday’s game with pain in his left leg, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com (Twitter links). There are fears that it is an Achilles injury, but nothing can be certain until he undergoes some tests. Jennings said he felt like he had been kicked in the back of his lower leg. “It doesn’t look good,” said Detroit coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy, who expressed concern that Jennings will be out of action long-term. The Pistons have an open roster spot and can sign a player to a 10-day contract to replace Jennings.
There’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- Dion Waiters may have a productive NBA career, but it was time for him to leave the Cavaliers, writes Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal. Cleveland had been listening to offers for Waiters for more than a year, according to Lloyd, but couldn’t find the right deal until the January 5th trade that sent him to Oklahoma City. LeBron James was a defender of Waiters when he returned to the Cavaliers, but gave up by the end, Lloyd writes. “I ain’t really care what nobody say,” said Waiters, who will return to Cleveland with the Thunder on Sunday. “It ain’t affect me. I slept good every night.”
- The Hawks and Lamar Patterson are still watching each other closely, reports KL Chouinard of Hawks.com. Patterson, a second-round pick by Atlanta last year, just missed making the team’s roster out of training camp and is spending this season in the Turkish Basketball League. He still talks to many of the Hawks players and hopes to eventually be part of the team. “I’m over here working, just trying to become the best player I possibly can,” Patterson said. “Hopefully I can suit up in a Hawks uniform next season.”
- Former Buck Carlos Delfino hopes to resume his NBA career next season, tweets Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times. Delfino, who also played for the Pistons, Raptors and Rockets, underwent foot surgery in December of 2013. Milwaukee traded his rights to the Clippers on August 26th, 2014, but Los Angeles waived him three days later.
The D-League is becoming an integral part of the NBA’s process of developing younger players, as well as a source for locating hidden gems to bolster rosters during the course of the season. You can easily stay on top of which players are coming and going from the D-League all season by checking out our 2014/15 D-League Assignments, Recalls tracker, which is updated daily. You can also find this page anytime on the right sidebar under “Hoops Rumors Features.”
Here are the latest D-League moves:
- With Iman Shumpert set to return from his shoulder injury and expected make his Cavs debut this week, Cleveland has assigned Joe Harris to its D-League affiliate, the Canton Charge, the team has announced. This will be Harris’ first stint of the season in the D-League.
- The Nuggets have assigned Erick Green to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team has announced. Green becomes the first player of the season assigned by Denver to the D-League.
- The Spurs have assigned Kyle Anderson to the Austin Spurs, their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This will be Anderson’s second trek of the season to Austin, where he logged 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists in 41 minutes of action in his only D-League appearance.
- The Grizzlies have re-assigned Jordan Adams, Russ Smith, and Jarnell Stokes to the Iowa Energy, the team has announced. This will be each player’s fourth D-League sojourn of the season.
- John Jenkins was recalled from the Idaho Stampede, the Jazz‘s D-League affiliate, the Hawks have announced. The third-year shooting guard wound up with Idaho via the new rules that allow the Hawks and the dozen other NBA teams that share the Fort Wayne Mad Ants as their D-League affiliate to assign players to other affiliates if the Mad Ants are out of room. In 11 D-League games this season, Jenkins is averaging 18.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 28.4 minutes.
The release of Josh Smith is easily identifiable as the turning point for the Pistons, but the acquisition of Anthony Tolliver, which took place two days later, has benefited the team, too, as Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic examines. The deal appears to have helped all three sides, with the Suns on a roll just as the Pistons are and Tolliver having seen an uptick in playing time since his arrival in Detroit. Tony Mitchell, the player the Pistons gave up in the deal, has found a new home after the Suns let him go, as we passed along earlier today. There’s more on the Pistons amid the latest from the Eastern Conference:
- The Celtics are reportedly meeting with Andre Dawkins this week as they mull signing him to a 10-day contract, but if they do, he’ll spend most if not all of his time with the C’s on D-League assignment, a league source tells A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com (Twitter link).
- Retirement is far from the mind of 35-year-old Rasual Butler, who credits his time with the Thunder’s D-League affiliate in 2012/13 for his keeping his career aflame and helping spark his sudden resurgence with the Wizards this season, as he tells Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Celtics coach Brad Stevens admires the Hawks, as Julian Edlow of WEEI.com observes while wondering whether the best path the Celtics can take back to contention involves following Atlanta’s egalitarian approach instead of chasing stars.
- The Pistons are recalling Gigi Datome and Spencer Dinwiddie from the D-League, tweets Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Datome averaged 13.3 points in 25.3 minutes per game and made 6 of 13 three-point shots in his first-ever D-League action, while Dinwiddie has put up 13.0 PPG and 5.4 assists per game in 29.8 MPG across seven D-League games this season.
- Heat camp invitee Chris Johnson has signed with Turk Telekom Ankara of Turkey, the team announced (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). The former LSU center, who’s not to be confused with the swingman by the same name from the University of Dayton, played in China earlier this season following his release from the Heat prior to opening night.
Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy has shown no hesitation to make major moves, as Josh Smith‘s release made clear, and Van Gundy also pulled off a trade last month, swapping Tony Mitchell for Anthony Tolliver. The Lakers have apparently inquired about Greg Monroe and Brandon Jennings and the Pistons are reportedly shopping Luigi Datome, but Van Gundy doesn’t sound like he wants to make a move with the team having won 11 of its past 13.
“I’m really, really happy with the guys we have here right now,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really, really happy with our culture and how guys are working. We’ve got the right things going for our future.”
Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference as the Pistons clash with the first-place Hawks, who’ve won 12 in a row:
- It’s believed that the Sixers would be content with 2014 No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid missing the entire season, just as Nerlens Noel did last year after he went sixth overall, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Some inside the Sixers organization question Embiid’s work ethic, and the former Kansas big man has clashed with a member of the Sixers’ training staff, Pompey hears. A source tells Pompey that Embiid’s weight has ballooned to 300 pounds, but Embiid denied that to Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com.
- Jeff Zillgitt and Sam Amick of USA Today imply that there’s mutual interest in a new deal this summer between the Hawks and soon-to-be free agent Paul Millsap. Atlanta was eyeing a longer deal than the two-year pact Millsap signed in 2013, but the power forward who turns 30 next month, wanted to engineer a shot at another payday not long into the future, Zillgitt hears (Twitter link).
- A trade that would have sent Lance Stephenson to the Nets appeared close last week until the Nets grew skittish about him, but the Brooklyn native isn’t anxious to leave the Hornets, notes Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. “I want to be here,” Stephenson said. “I feel I can definitely help this squad… It’s really not up to me.”
- Lauren Powell Jobs, the widow of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, has been “sniffing around” the idea of making a run at purchasing the Nets, sources tell Robert Windrem of NetsDaily. She was part of a group that came up short in pursuit of the Clippers, as the NetsDaily scribe notes.
10:30pm: The signing is official, according to the team’s twitter feed.
SATURDAY, 1:42pm: The Kings will sign Quincy Miller to a 10-day contract, Shams Charania of RealGM reports (Twitter link). With Sacramento’s current roster count sitting at 14 players, no corresponding roster move will be needed to add Miller. Multiple teams were reportedly interested in signing Miller, including the Clippers, Pacers, Hawks, Thunder, and Spurs.
Miller had been playing with the Reno Bighorns, Sacramento’s D-League affiliate. In 14 D-League appearances this season Miller had averaged an impressive 26.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. He was shooting 52.2% from the field, and a solid 35.6% from three-point range.
The 22-year-old Miller was selected No. 38 overall in the 2012 NBA draft, and then spent two seasons with the Nuggets. Miller attended training camp with Denver this season, but was waived back in October. His career NBA averages are 4.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 0.5 assists. His slash line is .366/.316/.702.
The Kings have reportedly been seeking to add a stretch four as well as a wing defender, and have recently made rookie Nik Stauskas available in trade discussions. It’s unclear if signing Miller is related to this talk, seeing as he’s not necessarily known as a shut-down defender, and despite being 6’9″, Miller isn’t strong enough to guard most NBA power forwards.
SATURDAY, 12:49pm: The Clippers are also interested in Miller, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). Los Angeles has a meeting with the player scheduled for Sunday morning, Spears notes. The Clippers currently have two open roster spots.
FRIDAY, 3:25pm: Former Nuggets small forward Quincy Miller is meeting with the Pacers, Hawks, Thunder and Spurs at this weekend’s D-League showcase, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). Miller has been playing for Sacramento’s D-League affiliate for the past month after the Nuggets waived him before opening night.
The 22-year-old is averaging 25.6 points in 29.0 minutes per game with the D-League’s Reno Bighorns, though the team’s lightning-fast pace no doubt benefits his scoring. He possesses plenty of talent, having been the fifth-rated prospect coming out of high school, according to the Recruiting Services Consensus Index, but he’s been slow to recover his form after tearing his left ACL as a high school senior. The Lakers were reportedly chief among several teams interested in him shortly after his release from the Nuggets, a group that also apparently included the Rockets and Pacers, but he went without a deal before joining the D-League in early December.
Indiana appears to have the most persistent interest, having been linked to the Dwon Clifton client earlier in the season, but the Pacers, like Atlanta, Oklahoma City and San Antonio, would have to clear a roster spot, since they’re carrying 15 players who are signed for the rest of the season. The Pacers have the most financial flexibility thanks to their $5.305MM disabled player exception for Paul George, but it seems unlikely that Miller would receive any more than the minimum salary this season.
After initially targeting Darius Miller for a 10-day contract, the Clippers changed their mind and inked Dahntay Jones the following day instead. The reason for the sudden shift in direction, according to Clippers president of basketball operations Doc Rivers, was that after watching Miller work out, Rivers wasn’t happy with the shape that he was in, Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times reports (Twitter link). Rivers did leave open the possibility of Miller getting a 10-day deal later on in the season, Bolch adds.
Here’s more from the Western Conference:
- If the Lakers are completely out of playoff contention come March, a likely scenario with the team currently 10 games out of the final playoff spot in the brutally tough West, then Los Angeles might shut down Kobe Bryant for the remainder of the season, Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times reports.
- Josh Smith is beginning to find his niche with the Rockets, and the team hopes that adding a potential difference maker without having to raid its core will pay off come playoff time, Michael Lee of The Washington Post writes. Smith also said that he views getting waived by Detroit as “a blessing” because he was given the chance to receive every dime owed him as well as upgrade to a contending team, Lee adds.
- Grizzlies big man Marc Gasol will be one of the most sought after free agents next summer, and the veteran is playing the best basketball of his career at just the right time for him to cash in on it, Shaun Powell of NBA.com writes. Powell also examines a number of teams that could entice Gasol, should he choose to leave Memphis, including the Blazers, Hawks, Lakers, and Spurs.
David Blatt believes his comment questioning whether Kevin Love is a max player was “misunderstood or misconstrued” by many, but Love says he and the Cavs coach are on the same page, as Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group relays.
“Kevin Love for me is a player of the highest order,” Blatt said. “Whether you want to define that by max contract or any other thing, he’s one of the best players in the NBA and that’s the way we value him.”
Love can hit free agency this summer if he turns down his player option, but tonight he’ll hit the floor against the Suns and seek to help Cleveland avoid dipping below .500. There’s more on the Cavs amid the latest from around the league:
- The Cavs would be interested in Tayshaun Prince if he and the Celtics strike a buyout deal, tweets Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio. Cleveland apparently had interest in trading for Prince prior to Monday’s swap that sent him to Boston. Prince and Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge are set to discuss the forward’s situation, and a buyout is on the table, as Chris Mannix of SI.com reported Monday.
- Al Horford would welcome Hawks GM Danny Ferry back from his leave of absence, as the center tells Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link). Ferry has appeared unlikely to return in the wake of racially charged comments he made about Luol Deng.
- Fringe first-round draft prospect Chris McCullough will miss the rest of the season for Syracuse after tearing the ACL in his right knee, the school announced Monday (Twitter link). The freshman power forward is No. 29 in Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress prospect rankings and comes in 31st with Chad Ford of ESPN.com. NBA teams saw him as a long-term project even before the injury, Givony tweets.
- Russia’s Dynamo Moscow has let go of former Nets point guard Tyshawn Taylor, the team announced (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). Taylor appeared in 23 games for Brooklyn last season, making three starts, but has been out of the NBA since the Pelicans waived him shortly after the Nets traded him to New Orleans nearly a year ago.
Three Southeast Division teams would make the playoffs if they started today, and a fourth, the Hornets, are but two games out of the final postseason spot. The fifth-place Magic are within hailing distance at four and a half games out, but key decision-makers in Orlando appear to be getting antsy, as we detail amid the latest from the Southeast:
- Magic officials feel as though the team has lost its way over the past few weeks, and while they believe that the inexperience of the roster is responsible for the team’s struggles, they’re looking deeper to find the genesis of the problems, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Speculation surrounds the job security of Jacque Vaughn, but Vaughn says he’s not concerned and many players tell Robbins that the coach is not to blame. Vaughn’s contract runs through 2015/16 after the team picked up his option this past offseason.
- Hassan Whiteside had a one-day stint with the Grizzlies in November but says that no one else wanted him when the Heat picked him up shortly thereafter, observes Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald. “It’s different because I got a coach who will play me, so I get to play,” Whiteside said. “You can’t get on the court without a contract. I called the Clippers for a workout, they said no. I called every team for a workout, they said no, except the Heat. The Heat gave me a chance and, I mean, it’s only right for me to give 110% effort every time.” Whiteside’s 23-point, 16-rebound performance Sunday seemed like a turning point for him and the Heat, as Goodman and Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel examine.
- The Hawks have recalled Adreian Payne from the D-League, the team announced via press release. The 15th overall pick of the 2014 draft had been on his fourth assignment of the season since December 30th with the D-League affiliate of the Spurs, who took him in under the new rules in place for the Hawks and the 12 other NBA teams who share a D-League affiliate.