Cavs coach Mike Brown has had a very strange trip through the NBA which has led him back to the helm in Cleveland after an intermission in L.A. However, Brown seems to have taken it all in stride. “It was weird for a while,” Brown said. “But it was a seamless transition for myself and my family. It almost, to a certain degree after we got over the initial shock of it, it almost felt like we never really left. It was almost like we went on vacation for a little bit.” Here's the latest out of Cleveland..
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
RealGM's Shams Charania notes that while Damion James has yet to speak about a training camp invite or regular season roster spot with the Heat, the 6'7 swingman may have boosted his stock after his solid play in Las Vegas over the last few weeks. James – who underwent foot surgery twice over the span of his first two season in the league – told RealGM: "Everybody knows I belong in the league…I’m completely, 100 percent healthy. It’s been a great experience for me. I really look up to the Miami Heat and I really appreciate them for letting me come and be a part of their organization. I just want to show them that I can play, show them that I can belong here.
Here's more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:
- Carrick Felix made a strong enough impression on Mike Brown that the Cavaliers coach thinks he has a good chance to make the regular season roster, writes Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer. As for other players who could have possibly earned invites to training camp, Brown mentioned Matthew Dellavedova, Cory Higgins, Jermaine Taylor, and Justin Harper.
- Wizards rookie Otto Porter did a brief interview with Hoopsworld about his experiences in summer league and what he needs to work on in preparation for training camp (video link).
- DeMar DeRozan gave his thoughts and impressions on some of his young Raptors teammates, having a full training camp to work alongside Rudy Gay, Masai Ujiri, and team's playoff chances (video link).
- Cody Zeller expounded on what he learned about the NBA game against summer competition and building chemistry with some of his teammates (video link).
- Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports tweets that Vitor Faverani's three-year deal with the Celtics is worth $6MM, which was the projected deal a few days ago.
- Frank Isola of the New York Daily News questions the leadership of Knicks owner James Dolan and is skeptical about how the team will fare next season.
- Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer discusses how the NBA's new CBA has benefitted the Bobcats.
Here are a few of the latest non-NBA links, from the D-League and overseas:
- Italy's Pallacanestro Cantu is still interested in signing Sundiata Gaines, but the point guard, who was waived in October by the Pacers, has also received an offer from a Chinese team, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.
- We heard yesterday that Spain's Lagun Aro was closing in on a deal with Jermaine Taylor, and today the team made the signing official (as translated by Sportando). Taylor had been in camp with the Timberwolves.
- At his introductory press conference with the Melbourne Tigers, Jonny Flynn explained that he wanted to sign where he'd have the "best chance to play," as Wendell Maxey of Ridiculous Upside writes.
- Celtics coach Doc Rivers is rooting for JaJuan Johnson, the former Celtic who was the first overall pick in last week's D-League draft. "I know he has the talent, I’ll put it that way," said Rivers, according to Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com. "I told him that this summer. He’s going to either have to pull it out of himself, or it’ll be there. But I do believe that he has NBA talent. And I hope he makes it."
- Johnson, Andrew Goudelock, and Justin Harper, the top three picks in the D-League draft, spoke to HoopsWorld about making the most of their time in the D-League.
- If former Spur James Anderson can improve his long-range jumper with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, don't expect him to be in the D-League for long, says Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside.
The Magic have waived Quentin Richardson, Justin Harper, and Chris Johnson, a team official told Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel (via Twitter). Richardson will be owed $5MM over the next two years while Harper is guaranteed $762K for this season. Johnson's deal was non-guaranteed.
Richardson was set to earn $2.627MM this season and held a $2.808MM player option for 2013/14 that now becomes guaranteed after being waived. The guard came to Orlando on a widely panned four-year deal worth more than $10MM in the 2010 offseason. In two years with the club, the 32-year-old averaged 4.4 PPG and 2.9 RPG.
Harper, 23, was taken with the 32nd overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Cavs before being traded to Orlando for two future second-round selections. The big man saw time in 14 games for the Magic last season.
Much of the news this time of year has to do with players fighting for roster spots, and we've already passed along a few such items today. The Timberwolves and Cavaliers have also made cuts, indicating that time is running out for NBA hopefuls to make an impression. Here's a roundup on camp invitees across the league.
- Dionte Christmas hasn't seen much playing time in the preseason, but he's still the frontrunner to make the opening-night roster among the five Celtics without fully guaranteed deals, according to Greg Payne of ESPNBoston.com. At $237K, Christmas has the most partially guaranteed money of the team's camp invitees.
- Damien Wilkins is the most likely camp invitee to make the Sixers, writes John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Derrick Brown had a "handful" of other training camp invitations, but chose the Spurs even though they only have one roster spot available because of his affinity for the way the organization is run, reports Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News.
- In the same piece, McDonald also passed along a comment from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who indicated the battle for the final roster spot is a tight one.
- Justin Harper has a guaranteed deal with the Magic, but it's only for the minimum salary and, as Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel notes, he's competing for a roster spot.
- If 6'6" swingman Tony Mitchell beats out three other camp invitees for the last spot on the Kings, it will be because of his defense, writes Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.
- Among several observations from the Heat's preseason loss to the Clippers in China, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel wonders if Rodney Carney might have been better served signing with a team that wasn't so deep on the wing.
- Robert Sacre has proven competent as he's started in place of Dwight Howard during the preseason, and Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com argues the Lakers are better off going with younger, cheaper talent for the end of the bench instead of pursuing another veteran.