As news comes in about D-League assignments and recalls today, we'll track it here, with the latest news at the top. Keep tabs on all of this year's D-League assignments and recalls by bookmarking our updated list.
- The Blazers have recalled Joel Freeland and Victor Claver from the Idaho Stampede, the Blazers announced via Twitter. They were sent down Friday, prompting Freeland's agent to express displeasure with the move. Blazers GM Neil Olshey responded by saying both Freeland and Claver indicated to him that they were enthusiastic about the opportunity for playing time, and both saw heavy minutes the last two nights for the Stampede. The Oregonian's Joe Freeman reported last night that the recalls were expected to take place (Twitter link).
- The Rockets have recalled rookie Terrence Jones from the D-League, the team announced. Jones was sent down to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Friday, but didn't appear in Saturday's game. He'll be active for Houston's game against Toronto today, according to the Rockets. The Rockets sent fellow rookie Donatas Motiejunas down on Friday along with Jones, but Motiejunas remains at Rio Grande Valley, as does Scott Machado, who's been there since his assignment on November 30th.
Thunder guard Kevin Martin is enjoying a "perfect opportunity" in Oklahoma City, after getting traded from Houston in the offseason, writes The Sacramento Bees' Jason Jones.
- On the recent news that the Grizzlies have hired ESPN.com's John Hollinger to join their front office, Nuggets head coach George Karl believes within a few years every team will have a statistician on board, writes the Denver Post's Adrian Dater.
- Responding to words from Joel Freeland's agent, in response to his supposed disappointment about being assigned to the Trail Blazers D-League affiliate Idaho Stampede, CSNNW.com's Chris Haynes spoke with Portland general manager Neil Olshey, who believes Freeland and Victor Claver were actually excited to get a playing opportunity.
Notes out of the Western Conference..
- Lakers fans are clearly frustrated with how the season has gone so far, but they should be grateful that they have Dwight Howard in the lineup rather than the sidelined Andrew Bynum, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com. The Lakers will take on the Bynum-less Sixers on Sunday evening.
- Joel Freeland's camp told HoopsHype (via Twitter) that they are unhappy with his assignment to the D-League by the Blazers. Agent Rafa Calvo pointed out that Freeland has been one of the top big men in EuroLeague for three years and doesn't need the extra time to adjust to the NBA. Despite that, Calvo says he and his client are trying to stay positive about the situation.
- Paul Ladewski of Sheridan Hoops wonders if the T'Wolves have a strong trading partner in the Bulls if they wind up moving Kevin Love. The Timberwolves might have an interest in power forward Nikola Mirotic who is widely considered to be the best player in Europe right now.
Here are Friday's D-League assignments and recalls:
- The Thunder have assigned Jeremy Lamb and Daniel Orton to their D-League affiliate, the team announced today in a press release. Oklahoma City has been making frequent use of the Tulsa 66ers this year in order to get its young players some minutes. It's the third assignment for Lamb and Orton.
- The Rockets are sending Donatas Motiejunas and Terrence Jones back to their D-League affiliate, tweets Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston. It's the second time each player has been sent to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers this season.
- Victor Claver and Joel Freeland have been assigned to the Idaho Stampede, the Trail Blazers announced today (Twitter link). Claver was sent down to the D-League for two games earlier this month, while Freeland has yet to join the Stampede this season.
Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston heard from head coach Doc Rivers that the Celtics could decide to recall Kris Joseph and possibly Fab Melo up from the D-League while Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox are out of action. More notably, after Danny Ainge told WEEI radio that Rajon Rondo would be given a two game suspension (Twitter link), Rivers gave the impression that the team won't necessarily try to make any subsequent roster moves anytime soon. You can find more of tonight's miscellaneous links from the Association here:
- HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy says (via Twitter) that the Raptors are weighing their free agent options at the small forward position.
- Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey told Joe Freeman of The Oregonian of his plans to use D-League assignments accordingly for Victor Claver, Joel Freeland, Will Barton, and Nolan Smith. While Olshey thinks that his young players are currently benefitting through their NBA experience, he believes the best time to send them to the Idaho Stampede (their D-League affiliate) would be after they have built a good enough foundation with the coaching staff and need significant minutes to continue developing.
- According to Anthony Slater of NewsOK, Thunder GM Sam Presti was spotted at Oklahoma State University's basketball practice to supposedly begin scouting Marcus Smart and Le'Bryan Nash, two college prospects who are currently touted as potential first round picks.
- The Nets announced that the right foot sprain which Brook Lopez suffered during last night's game is unrelated to the foot injury he sustained last season, and added that he is only expected to miss the next two games (Howard Beck of the New York Times reports).
The latest news and notes from the Northwest Division on Tuesday night:
The latest updates out of Portland from Trail Blazers training camp on Friday evening:
- Rookie guard Will Barton tells CSNNW.com's Chris Haynes that he will continue to sit out team practices until his sore hamstring is completely healed.
- Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge reports that Jared Jeffries underwent the cutting-edge orthokine treatment popularized by Kobe Bryant and baseball star Alex Rodriguez.
- Head coach Terry Stotts tells The Oregonian's Joe Freeman that he will not name a starting center in the immediate future, preferring to create competition in training camp between Meyers Leonard, J.J. Hickson, and Joel Freeland.
- Freeman also reports that Stotts will not begin making cuts to the training-camp roster for another couple of weeks.
In an interview with CSNNW.com
, Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts
talked about the different combinations he's been using in scrimmages early on and the improvisational aspect of his offensive philosophy. Here are a few more noteworthy links to look at from Portland tonight...
- Mike Tokito of The Oregonian takes a look at Joel Freeland, the 25-year-old NBA rookie who has made a name for himself in camp through his physicality, athleticism, and being vocal on defense.
- Ben Golliver of the Blazers Edge focuses on the background of David Vanterpool, the team's assistant coach who has been specifically tabbed to aid with the learning curve of rookie point guard Damian Lillard. In a separate article, Golliver writes that while Sasha Pavlovic is "strange fit" for this team, the 28-year-old forward looks ready to help his younger counterparts develop and compete for a significant role on the roster.
- In this video from CSNNW.com, Wesley Matthews mentions the importance of LaMarcus Aldridge and J.J. Hickson's impact defensively, the activity level of rookie Meyers Leonard, and the mindset he uses to improve every day.
- Will Barton talks to Chris Haynes of CSNNW about the strained hamstring he's been dealing with, the positions that he's capable of playing on the court, and a few more brief thoughts on training camp.
While Dave Deckard of Blazer's Edge thinks there's hope for the Trail Blazers in the near future, he also thinks a number of arguments frequently made by fans, players, or the media don't hold water. A team having a "great attitude" or "flying under the radar" doesn't mean a surprise season is coming, according to Deckard.
We have a handful of other Blazer notes to round up this morning, after GM Neil Olshey talked to Joe Becker on KGW on Sunday. Here are a few highlights from Olshey's comments, which Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge transcribed:
- Olshey felt that Damian Lillard was not only the best fit for the Blazers at No. 6 overall in June's draft, but also the best player available when Portland picked. The GM expects the rookie point guard to be productive immediately.
- Victor Claver and Joel Freeland should bring a team-first mentality to the Blazers, according to Olshey, who notes that Nicolas Batum is excited about the club's style of play getting some "international flavor."
- Olshey on Batum's new contract leading to increased expectations: "I think Nic's going to embrace it. It was one of the reasons we were so
anxious to embrace the offer sheet. When we met with Nic prior to him
signing it, that was something he really wanted. He wanted to embrace
being one of the leaders on the team. Having more responsibility on both
ends of the ball."
- Olshey praised Blazers owner Paul Allen and said that his experience in Portland has been "incredible" so far.
- The Blazers GM mentioned that he was excited to see Blazers players in the gym recently, pointing out that LaMarcus Aldridge, who organized the voluntary workouts, has been a "solid voice of leadership for the young guys."
SATURDAY, 3:44pm: The team has announced the signing is official (hat tip to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando).
WEDNESDAY, 9:30pm: Freeland is expected to sign his deal Thursday or Friday, according to Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune (Twitter link).
1:06pm: Freeland's agent, Rafa Calvo, confirmed to Joe Freeman of the Oregonian that his client and the Blazers are close to a deal and that a buyout with Freeland's Spanish club is in the works (Twitter links). Freeman adds that Freeland and Calvo are trying to negotiate a lower buyout so that Freeland won't have to pay 1MM euros himself (Twitter links).
9:48am: Freeland's three-year, $9MM deal is contingent on getting his buyout finalized with Unicaja Malaga, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. However, it doesn't appear that will be a major obstacle.
8:36am: Ian Whittell of the Wardle Whittell Agency passes along word, via Spanish reports, that Freeland has agreed to a three-year, $9MM deal with the Trail Blazers (Twitter link). We'll wait for confirmation, but it appears Freeland is a good bet to join the Blazers soon.
8:10am: Unicaja Malaga officially announced that Freeland has asked to leave the club for the Trail Blazers, tweets Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The buyout for the British forward is still being negotiated.
7:50am: The 2006 draft was an eventful one for the Trail Blazers, who came away with two of the best players of the class in LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy. Six years later, another of the team's first-round picks appears poised to finally head to Portland. According to a Tubasket.com report (translation via Sportando), Joel Freeland will buy out his contract with Spain's Unicaja Malaga and head stateside to sign a deal with the Trail Blazers.
Tubasket's report indicates that Freeland has informed Malaga of his decision, and that his buyout will be worth about 1.5MM euros. The 6'11" forward averaged 12.9 points and 7.5 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game over 31 contests in Spain's ACB League in 2011/12, according to DraftExpress.
When a player signs with a team holding his draft rights more than three years after the draft, he can sign for either the rookie scale amount on a four-year deal or for a larger salary on at least a three-year deal. Tubasket suggests Freeland will sign for three years, which makes sense given his large buyout and the Trail Blazers' free cap space. If Freeland were to sign for 120% of the rookie scale amount for the 30th overall pick, he'd be in line for just a $1.02MM first-year salary.
Portland GM Neil Olshey spoke in late June about meeting with Freeland and watching him in international play, and indicated there was mutual interest between the team and the 25-year-old. Victor Claver is also expected to leave his Spanish club and sign with the Blazers this offseason.