Brandan Wright Rumors

Suns Acquire Brandan Wright

January 9 at 5:57pm CST By Eddie Scarito

NBA: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat

5:57pm: The Suns have officially waived Mitchell, the team announced in its press release.

5:27: The trade is official, the Celtics have announced in a press release.

5:07pm: The Suns will waive Tony Mitchell in order to clear a roster spot for Wright, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic reports (Twitter link).

4:39pm: The Suns are set to acquire center Brandan Wright from the Celtics, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter links). Phoenix will be sending Boston the first-round pick that it owns from Minnesota, Wojnarowski adds. The pick is top 12 protected this season, and top 12 protected in 2015/16, and if it does not convey by the 2016 NBA draft, then the pick will turn into two second-rounders. Boston will also create a $5MM trade exception in the deal, an amount equivalent to Wright’s salary. Phoenix currently has 15 players on its roster, so a corresponding move will need to be made prior to completing the deal.

Wright was the centerpiece player in the trade with Dallas for Rajon Rondo, though Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge had recently informed Wright that he was on the trading block. Trading the 27-year-old big man out of North Carolina is the latest step in Ainge’s rebuilding plan in Boston, and the team is obviously valuing the future over the present with its moves this season.

In 320 career games, Wright has averaged 7.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.0 block per game. His career slash line is .609/.000/.685.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Bucher’s Latest: Kings, Pelicans, Cavs

January 9 at 1:10pm CST By Chuck Myron

It’s no secret that the Nets trio of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson are available on the trade market, and they’re among a long list of players that GMs say teams are open to trading as the February 19th deadline approaches, according Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher. Jeff Green, Brandan Wright, Lance Stephenson, Greg Monroe, Brandon Jennings, Goran Dragic, Nik Stauskas, Ben McLemore, Jason Thompson, Arron Afflalo and most of the other Nuggets are also on that list, with Bucher, in many cases, confirming earlier reports. Still, Bucher hears plenty of new rumbles, as he passes along in his piece, and we’ll hit the highlights here:

  • Kings owner Vivek Ranadive unilaterally made the decision to fire former coach Michael Malone, sources tell Bucher, even though GM Pete D’Alessandro claimed the decision as his own. Most of the Kings organization was pleased with the direction the team was headed in and believed the team was overachieving, though there were doubts that Malone was the long-term solution, Bucher writes.
  • Ranadive wanted to make a splash with Malone’s successor, but Kings front office executives prevailed upon him to keep Tyrone Corbin as head coach, according to Bucher. Ranadive would relish the chance to turn the screws on the Warriors, of whom he used to be a part-owner, by hiring Mark Jackson, the ex-Warriors coach, a source tells Bucher, who nonetheless believes that the team won’t hire Jackson during this season.
  • Talk “circulating around the league” suggests that Pelicans owner Tom Benson is eyeing former Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars and former Mavs and Nets coach Avery Johnson if he decides to make changes, Bucher writes. Still, Pelicans sources tell Bucher that the club hasn’t contacted either Dumars or Johnson, and that there are no signs that Benson is definitively displeased with either GM Dell Demps or coach Monty Williams.
  • Several executives from around the league don’t believe the pair of trades the Cavs made this week assure the team of any more than a second-round appearance, according to Bucher. One exec tells Bucher that the Cavs “overinflated” the market with what they gave up for Timofey Mozgov.

Michael’s Latest: Wright, Nelson, Green

January 9 at 10:39am CST By Chuck Myron

The Wizards opened a roster spot when they waived Glen Rice Jr. this week, and the team is looking at several avenues to fill it, as J. Michael of CSNWashington.com reports. The Celtics figure prominently, as we note amid the revelations from Michael’s piece:

  • Celtics president of basketball ops Danny Ainge has told Brandan Wright he’s on the block, though it’s unlikely that Wright ends up in Washington, in part because of the high demand for him, Michael writes. Michael doesn’t specify whether the Wizards are pursuing him. Wright went to Boston in the Rajon Rondo trade.
  • The player most likely to end up in Washington’s open roster spot is Jameer Nelson, another one of Boston’s acquisitions in that Rondo deal, according to Michael, who says the point guard is expected to negotiate a buyout. The Wizards will be in “hot pursuit,” Michael writes. Nelson is making $2.732MM this season and has a player option worth nearly $2.855MM for next season, and he’s upset about his playing time, even though he insists that he and Celtics coach Brad Stevens are on the same page. Nelson will once more remain on the Inactive List for tonight’s game, tweets Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
  • The Wizards have maintained “routine” contact with Ray Allen since first reaching out to him in July, sources tell Michael. The Wizards plan to keep chasing him until he retires or gives a definitive “no,” according to Michael. Still, the notion that Allen ends up in Washington sounds like a long shot, Michael writes.
  • Celtics forward Jeff Green is expected to turn down his $9.2MM player option for next season, according to Michael, and the Wizards would be interested in signing him if Paul Pierce also opts out, Michael adds.
  • The Wizards have been keeping a close eye on D-Leaguers Khem Birch and Damion James, Michael reports. Birch declined an invitation to Wizards training camp invite to instead head to the Heat‘s camp, according to Michael, and the power forward is now with Miami’s D-League affiliate. James was with the Wizards in camp and currently plays for the affiliate of the Mavs.

Celtics Notes: Rondo, Stevens, Smart

December 19 2014 at 10:14pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Celtics coach Brad Stevens discussed what the new players garnered from the Rajon Rondo trade will mean to the franchise, Jimmy Toscano of CSNNE.com reports. “Well I think all three of them have roles on this team,” Stevens said. “I think we’ll determine the extent of those as I get my arms wrapped around everything more. They are three guys that add to our team. I mean Jameer Nelson is a guard that can really shoot the ball that has scored and has been a consummate leader and everybody talks about the kind of person he is. Former coaches, players.

 Jae Crowder is a guy that we think has a big upside. Can shoot the ball. Has shot it better this year, shooting it almost 35% from three. He’s a guy that can guard both the three and the four and even some twos on occasion. He’s a tough guy. Just a competitive tough guy. 

And obviously Brandan Wright. Brandan is a guy that, this is kind of how my job works in communicating with our front office, that after we play a game maybe I’ll say, ‘Man, I think he’s really under-valued,’ because of the way he gets to the rim, the way that he finishes, and I think his second jump on rebounds is as quick as anybody’s around. So we’ll figure out how they’ll all fit with what we’re trying to do and how we can fit ourselves to bees situate them.”

Here’s more from Beantown:

  • Rondo was the best player that Stevens ever coached, and he was sorry to see him go, Toscano writes in a separate article. “We all feel like Rajon had a tremendous impact,” Stevens said. “I’m understating it and stating the obvious here. He had a tremendous impact on this organization, the city, certainly as a championship member of the Celtics. I think to a man in that locker room, the coaching staff, the players certainly wish him nothing but the best.
  • Rookie point guard Marcus Smart was surprised that the Celtics pulled the trigger on the trade, Toscano also reports. “To be honest, yeah I am [shocked],” Smart said. “Seems like it just came out of nowhere to me because we weren’t really focused on a trade and everything that was going on. We were focused on this team. So I have to say I was [shocked].
  • Smart also said that trading Rondo shows the front office’s confidence in the team’s younger players, Toscano adds. “The confidence that it has in these young players including myself is tremendous,” Smart said. “That was a big move from the guys upstairs and it just shows a lot how they believe in these young guys and this young team that they have.

Mavs Acquire Rajon Rondo

December 18 2014 at 8:52pm CST By Eddie Scarito

The Mavericks have acquired Rajon Rondo from the Celtics, the teams announced in a pair of press releases. Also heading to Dallas in the swap is Dwight Powell. Boston receives Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, the Mavs’ 2015 first-rounder if it falls anywhere from No. 4 to No. 14, as well as a 2016 second-round pick. If Dallas doesn’t send out the first-round pick in 2015, it’ll be top-seven protected from 2016 through 2020. The Celtics create a trade exception worth $12,909,090, the equivalent of Rondo’s salary. To accommodate the transaction, which otherwise would have left the Celtics with 15 players, the Celtics waived Vitor Faverani. The unbalanced deal leaves the Mavs with an open roster spot.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers

“We would like to thank Rajon for everything that he has done for the Celtics organization and the success we have experienced during his tenure with us,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in the team’s statement.

This deal came together rather quickly after a report revealed last night that Ainge was willing to deal Rondo. Numerous teams, including the Lakers, Rockets, Knicks, Kings, and Pacers showed immediate interest, though Ainge was said to be looking to deal Rondo to a Western Conference team if at all possible.

With Rondo set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and 2014 first-rounder Marcus Smart showing quite a bit of promise, trading Rondo instead of running the risk of losing him for nothing became Ainge’s best option. The Celtics had been hesitant to commit to the idea of a maximum-salary deal for Rondo, something he will likely be seeking in free agency. Rondo and his representatives have reportedly told the Mavericks that the Bill Duffy client would be inclined to sign a new deal with the team this summer, something that was likely a priority for Dallas before the team agreed to the swap.

The trade marks the end of Rondo’s eight-plus seasons in Boston, and signals that the Celtics are heading into a rebuilding phase rather than trying to retool and find another star player to pair alongside the 28-year-old guard out of Kentucky. Rondo’s career averages, all with the Celtics, are 11.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 8.5 assists, and 1.9 steals. His career slash line is .473/.252/.614.

In adding Wright, the Celtics address one of their biggest weaknesses, which is interior defense. The  27-year-old big man is averaging 8.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game this season. His career numbers are 7.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 1.0 blocks per contest. His career shooting numbers are .610/.000/.686. Wright, who is making $5MM this season, will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Losing the 6’10” Wright leaves Dallas dangerously thin behind Tyson Chandler, which will be a concern going forward, and it could require the Mavs to make another roster move to correct the problem.

Crowder is a 24-year-old wing who is set to become a restricted free agent this summer. In a little over two seasons in the league, the former Cavs second-rounder has averaged 4.6 PPG and 2.3 RPG. His slash line is .411/.331/.710. He’ll likely compete with rookie James Young for playing time. There could be more minutes available if Ainge decides to deal Jeff Green, as he is reportedly contemplating, though Ainge has issued a denial about shopping him.

The 32-year-old Nelson has been nursing a strained shoulder this season, but has still appeared in 23 contests, all as a starter. He is making $2,732,000 this season and has a player option for 2015/16 for $2,854,940. It remains to be seen if he’ll assume the starting duties in Boston or if the team will hand over the reigns to Smart, whom they drafted with the No. 6 overall pick in this year’s NBA draft. Nelson’s career numbers are 12.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, and 5.3 APG. His career slash line is .441/.374/.817.

Receiving the 6’11” Powell isn’t likely to solidify the Mavs’ depth in the frontcourt. He is signed through next season, but his $845,059 salary for 2015/16 is non-guaranteed. In five games this season, the rookie is averaging 1.8 points in 1.8 minutes per game. Powell has spent more time in the D-League this year than with the big club in Dallas.

Faverani hadn’t appeared in a game this season, as he is still recovering from offseason surgery on his knee. The 26-year-old big man from Brazil is still at least a month away from being able to practice, and even further away from being ready for game action. In 37 career appearances, all with the Celtics, Faverani has averaged 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per contest. Faverani’s $2.09MM salary for this season will stick on Boston’s books, but the Celtics avoid paying his non-guaranteed salary of $2.18MM for next year.

Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images. Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link) first reported the deal. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports added that Powell would head to Dallas and that the Celtics would waive Faverani, as well as details about the protection on the first-rounder headed to Boston (All Twitter links). Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders noted that the Celtics would be able to create a trade exception (Twitter link).

Rajon Rondo Rumors: Thursday

December 18 2014 at 4:55pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Celtics appear to have turned up the heat on Rajon Rondo talks, as several reports from Wednesday detailed. We’ll round up today’s latest in this post, with any additional updates throughout the day added to the top:

  • According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter links), Dallas and Boston are progressing toward completion of a trade for Rondo tonight. The Mavs would send Wright, Crowder, Jameer Nelson, a future first round pick, and a future second-rounder to Boston, Stein adds.
  • The Rockets have dropped out of trade talks with the Celtics, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweets.
  • Rondo and his representatives have made it clear to Dallas that the All-Star guard would be inclined to sign a new deal with the team this summer, Wojnarowski adds.

4:25pm update:

  • The first-rounder Dallas is offering as part of its package for Rondo is its 2015 pick, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link).

3:58pm update:

  • While the Lakers are in the hunt for Rondo, there is a strong desire in Los Angeles’ front office not to give up too much now for him via a trade, and instead, they would prefer to pursue Rondo in free agency this summer, Chris Mannix of SI.com reports (Twitter link).
  • The Mavs are emerging as the frontrunner in pursuit of a deal to acquire Rondo, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link).
  • Dallas is currently offering a package that includes Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, and a first round pick, Wojnarowski adds.
  • The Lakers and the Knicks both declined to be a part of three-way deals that could have sent Rondo elsewhere, Wojnarowski tweets.
  • With Dallas in the lead for Rondo, the Rockets are “still fighting” to land Rondo, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link).

2:31pm update:

  • The Lakers made an offer that included Jordan Hill and a first-round pick, if not more, for Rondo and Jeff Green, but the Celtics turned them down, according to USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt (Twitter link). The Lakers would have indeed had to have added more salary to such a deal to make it work, and Hill isn’t trade-eligible until January 15th.

2:21pm update:

  • The Celtics are asking too much for Rondo for the Kings to engage in talks about him with Boston as they have in the past, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). A report late Wednesday seemed to indicate that Sacramento had spoken recently with the Celtics regarding the point guard, but it’s unclear just how long ago the teams last discussed the matter.

12:51pm update:

  • The Lakers have offered Steve Nash and multiple picks to the Celtics for Rondo, as Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com hears (Twitter link).

12:36pm update:

  • The Mavs are confident that they can convince Rondo to stay in Dallas for the long term if they convince the Celtics to trade him, sources tell Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link). That falls in line with Berger’s report from earlier that Rondo would be open to re-signing with the Mavs and Rockets if he were dealt to either team.

10:57am update:

  • The Rockets have been pursuing Rondo longer than the Mavs have, but Goran Dragic was more attractive to Houston than Rondo was over this summer, Stein notes (Twitter links). Rondo and Dragic both appear likely to hit free agency in the summer ahead.

8:59am update:

  • The Mavs have advanced to the offer stage and have made a pitch featuring Brandan Wright as the key piece, reports Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. Dallas would have to add others to make the salaries match. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge has begun to move on from the idea of pairing Rondo with another superstar, spurring his apparent interest in gauging deals for Rondo, but the market for Rondo doesn’t appear as strong as Ainge had hoped, the Herald scribe writes. However, Ainge is in no rush to simply accept whatever he can find for Rondo just so the point guard doesn’t leave the C’s empty handed in the coming summer’s free agency, Bulpett adds.
  • Jae Crowder‘s name has also come up in talks, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.
  • Rondo is open to re-signing with the Mavs and the Rockets if the Celtics trade him to either of those teams, a source tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. It’s “certain” that the Rockets will use their nearly $8.375MM trade exception by Friday, Berger writes, as they’ve reportedly been trying to do, and that stands to alter what Houston has to offer for the Celtics point guard.
  • The Lakers are among the teams to have chatted up the Celtics in recent days about a Rondo trade, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com, seconding an earlier report that the Rockets had done the same. The Lakers and the Knicks are on the “periphery” of Rondo talks, and the Lakers are more of a free agency option than a potential trade destination, as Berger adds in his piece.
  • The Pacers have also asked the C’s about Rondo, USA Today’s Sam Amick reports.
  • Rondo reiterated his fondness for Boston late Wednesday to reporters, including Ben Rohrbach of WEEI.com“How many times do you want me to say it?” Rondo asked. “We discussed it on media day. My thoughts and my opinions as far as the organization [haven't] changed, so … I’m enjoying life. You can’t win ‘em all, but these guys are funny, I’m young and I’m doing what I love to do. It’s a dream come true. I can’t be upset about anything, really.
  • Ainge was vague in addressing the latest Rondo chatter in this morning’s radio appearance with Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb on 98.5 The Sports Hub (audio link), as Rohrbach passes along (Twitter link). “I wouldn’t say it’s any different from any year,” Ainge said. “… We’re having a lot of discussions, just like we do every year.” 

Celtics Willing To Trade Rajon Rondo

December 17 2014 at 10:19pm CST By Eddie Scarito

10:19pm: The Celtics are also talking to the Knicks and the Kings, though the discussions with the Mavs are the most serious, Stein reports. The Mavs would most likely send Wright and at least one first round draft pick to Boston for Rondo, Stein adds.

9:15pm: The Mavericks are serious suitors for Rondo, Wojnarowski reports (Twitter link). Brandan Wright and Monta Ellis are among the players being mentioned who could potentially head to Boston, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com notes (Twitter links). The Rockets have also discussed a potential deal for the point guard with Boston as well, Wojnarowski adds.

4:29pm: According to Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link), word around the league is that the Celtics are the ones making preliminary calls to teams about Rondo. Mannix also notes that the Kings are the team to watch in regards to acquiring Rondo.

4:12pm: The Celtics are showing a renewed willingness to pursue trade packages that include point guard Rajon Rondo, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports. According to Wojnarowski, Boston’s front office has left a strong impression with rival organizations around the league that it is prepared to make a deal that includes the veteran guard. Boston has been engaged in discussions described as “serious” in recent days, but no trade agreement is imminent, the Yahoo! scribe adds.

Trade discussions involving Rondo have been focused more toward Western Conference teams than with those in the East, Wojnarowski notes. The Celtics’ asking price for the 28-year-old remains “pretty high, probably higher than most want to pay,” one league official told Wojnarowski. Rondo is averaging 8.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 10.6 assists in 31.8 minutes per games this season.

Celtics GM Danny Ainge has been consistently shopping forward Jeff Green, in an attempt to secure a trade package that includes a first-round draft pick, Wojnarowski notes. With Boston now seemingly willing to trade Rondo, this would suggest that Ainge is prepared to embark on a full rebuild of the franchise, and perhaps attempt to guide the team toward a much higher spot in June’s NBA draft, Wojnarowski writes.

With Rondo set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and 2014 first-rounder Marcus Smart showing quite a bit of promise, trading Rondo instead of running the risk of losing him for nothing would seem like a wise move on the organization’s part. The Celtics have been hesitant to to commit to the idea of a maximum-salary deal for Rondo, something he will likely be seeking in free agency.

If Ainge is indeed looking at Western Conference teams, the two most likely suitors would probably be the Kings, who were previously said to be interested in acquiring Rondo, and the Lakers, another franchise also known to have significant interest in the point guard’s services. If Boston decides to try and deal with an Eastern team, the Knicks and the Pistons would immediately come to mind as potential suitors, though that is just my speculation.

And-Ones: Cobbs, Bass, Wright, Casey

November 29 2014 at 3:40pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Justin Cobbs has signed a deal with the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reports (Twitter link). Cobbs was released yesterday by the German club VEF Riga after a one-month tryout. The 23-year-old point guard signed with Riga earlier this month shortly after the Hornets released him in advance of opening night.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Brandon Bass‘ minutes are down this season to 18.5 minutes per game from 27.6 last season, but the Celtics big man is still determined to be productive, Jimmy Toscano of CSNNE.com writes. “My mindset? It’s the same,” Bass said. “I’m just trying to get better, try to make the best of my opportunities. I try to be efficient and see how it goes.”
  • The Mavs’ Brandan Wright is on a record-breaking pace for field goal percentage in a season thus far, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News writes. This increase in production comes at a good time for Wright, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. “Brandan’s come a long way,” head coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s worked very hard since getting here. He’s gotten stronger, his shooting has gotten better. His free throw shooting has come light years. And he’s a smart player. He knows how to play within our system very well. And this year, he’s playing the four [power forward] pretty well, too. And that’s challenging without the spacing of a stretch-four out there beside him. We just need him to continue on the path he’s on, because he’s a very important guy for us.”
  • Raptors head coach Dwane Casey, whom the team re-signed to a three-year deal this offseason, has been garnering nothing but praise around the league for his work in Toronto the last two seasons, Eric Koreen of The National Post writes.
  • The Pistons have re-assigned forward Tony Mitchell to the Grand Rapids Drive of the NBA D-League, the team announced in a press release. This will be Mitchell’s second trip to the D-League this season.

Western Notes: Mavs, Warriors, Thunder

October 16 2014 at 8:56pm CST By Chris Crouse

Dallas GM Donnie Nelson admits 5’7” point guard Yuki Togashi’s immediate future isn’t likely with the Mavs but rather with the team’s D-League affiliate, writes Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Nelson explains, “I’d say it’s a long shot at best for him to make [an NBA regular season] roster right now. But it’s an opportunity for him to make his dream come true in reality to play for the Legends and, like so many guys before him, to use this as a springboard to get in the league.”

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Golden State’s decision to not include Klay Thompson in a Kevin Love trade will determine the fate of the Warriors, Cavs and Wolves, opines Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. Golden State never wavered from its original stance of not breaking up its talented backcourt despite the appeal of bringing Love to the Bay Area, notes Bontemps.
  • Mavs big man Brandan Wright faces a pivotal year in his NBA career, writes Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. Wright, who is in the final season of a two year, $10MM contract, has carved out a nice niche as a role-player in Dallas.
  • Reggie Jackson is the biggest “winner” from Kevin Durant‘s injury, writes Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman. Jackson, who the Thunder have until October 31st to offer an extension, will have an opportunity to showcase himself on the offensive end in Durant’s absence.
  • Durant underwent successful surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot, the Thunder announced in a press release. According to the release, Durant will be re-evaluated in six weeks to determine his next step toward returning to action
  • The Wolves currently have a logjam at the small forward position and the team is rumored to be fielding offers for Chase Budinger to help pare down the roster to 15. One player who is looking likely to make the regular season roster is Glenn Robinson III, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities notes (Twitter link). According to Wolfson, Robinson, who is signed to a partially guaranteed deal,  has impressed the team during training camp.

Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.

Western Notes: Wright, Burke, Griffin, Gasol

October 10 2013 at 10:58pm CST By Alex Lee

We already covered the East, now let’s check in on what is happening around the league out West tonight:

  • Brandan Wright sustained a small, non-displaced fracture to his left shoulder that is unlikely to require surgery, the Mavericks announced today.  Wright, who re-signed with the team in July, is entering his sixth year in the league and third with the Mavs.  No timetable has been set for his return.
  • Rookie point guard Trey Burke is concentrating on making a good impression on his opponents as the Jazz‘s preseason gets into full swing, writes Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune.  Burke, who the Jazz took in June at No. 9, figures to run the point for a young but talented team in Utah.
  • Blake Griffin suffered a bone bruise in his left knee in a Wednesday night scrimmage while attempting to dunk, writes Broderick Turner of the L.A. Times.  Griffin’s precautionary MRI showed no structural damage, reports Turner, but the All-Star forward is still likely to miss an undisclosed amount of practice and preseason time.
  • If Pau Gasol, more physically and mentally ready than he’s been in years, has the type of season he expects to have in Los Angeles, he believes the Lakers will want to re-sign him in the offseason, writes Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News.  However, Gasol is unlikely to be willing to accept a significant pay cut to stay in the purple and gold, per Medina.  Gasol will make $19.3MM this year.