Beckley Mason of the New York Times examines the chemistry and cohesiveness that have galvanized the Trail Blazers this season, prompting LaMarcus Aldridge to call this the ‘happiest time in his career’: “Guys are playing so (unselfishly) — our team chemistry is unreal right now…Coach Stotts gives us the freedom to play loose and make plays, and guys aren’t abusing it.”
Veteran point guard Earl Watson also weighed in: “Everyone accepts their role, and the roles were never defined. It’s the truth of our team, the DNA of our team. The way we fit together, it’s like the perfect storm, so to speak.”
Here’s more out of the Western Conference tonight:
The Thunder have exercised their 2014/15 options on Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones III, the team announced. The options cover the third NBA seasons of Lamb and Jones, while Jackson is secured for his fourth, as our rookie contract option tracker shows. Jackson is the only one who’s played a significant role for Oklahoma City so far, but none of the option pickups come as a surprise.
Jackson and Lamb will both earn a little more than $2.2MM in 2014/15, while Jones will see about half as much. Their respective draft positions and relative years of experience determine their salaries. Lamb, drafted 12th in 2012, is the only lottery pick of the group. Jones was the 28th pick in that same draft, while Jackson came off the board at No. 24 in 2011.
The $5,535,570 worth of payroll the Thunder is adding to its books for 2014/15 pushes its total commitments to $67,592,441, well above the estimated $62.1MM salary cap.
A look at a few notes from around the NBA's Western Conference.
HoopsWorld's Susan Bible wonders whether Thunder sophomore Reggie Jackson, with an assist from extra playing time in the D-League, has surpassed Eric Maynor to become the primary backup to Russell Westbrook. Maynor will be a restricted free agent this summer, while Jackson's rookie deal isn't up until 2015. Jackson and Maynor's respective playing time over the last three games have definitely been worth noting, as the former Boston College product has averaged 16.3 MPG to Maynor's 1.3 (including two DNP-CDs). We have more tidbits to share from the Western Conference, and you can find them below:
- Jeremy Lin is becoming a better fit next to James Harden, as Royce Young of CBSSports.com observes. The Rockets have gone 7-2 in their last nine games, with Lin averaging 14.1 PPG and 6.7 APG.
- The Mavericks are hoping that Dwight Howard will leave the Lakers in free agency next summer, tweets Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. As Chuck Myron outlined over the summer, signing Howard appears to be a risky strategy from a salary cap perspective, even if it's possible.
- Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune provides a fuller picture of Rockets coach Kevin McHale's recent comments about Royce White.
- While former Kings second round draft pick Hassan Whiteside isn't currently under contract with an NBA team, Ryan Ripley of Ridiculous Upside highlights how the 7-footer's recent performances with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the D-League has helped quell some past concerns about his play.
- Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News thinks that Dan Fegan (the newly hired agent of DeMarcus Cousins) could be instrumental in forcing a trade out of Sacramento with Cousins' chance at a contract extension looming (Twitter link).
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
We'll keep track of all the day's D-League transactions here, with the latest news at the top. Catch up on all the D-League comings and goings this season with each assignment and recall listed in this post.
- The Celtics have recalled Kris Joseph from the Maine Red Claws, as Sportando's Emiliano Carchia notes via Twitter. Joseph's return to Boston isn't a surprise, as Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com noted when he was sent down yesterday that Joseph expected to travel with the Celtics on their upcoming road trip. Joseph shot just 3-for-16 last night as the Red Claws lost to the Erie BayHawks.
- The Warriors announced they have sent Kent Bazemore and Jeremy Tyler to the D-League Santa Cruz Warriors. Both were sent down for one-day stints earlier this season. Neither has seen meaningful action for Golden State this year, though Tyler started 23 games for the big club as a rookie in 2011/12. Bazemore and Tyler will be around for Santa Cruz's home debut. The D-League team, which had played as the Dakota Wizards before the Warriors purchased the club this year, played its first seven games on the road this season while its arena was under construction.
- The Thunder have recalled Reggie Jackson, DeAndre Liggins and Perry Jones III from the D-League, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). The Thunder have shuttled all three, along with Daniel Orton and Jeremy Lamb, back and forth between Oklahoma City and the Tulsa 66ers this year. Jackson has played particularly well in his time with the 66ers, putting up 28.0 points, 8.3 assists and 7.3 rebounds per game in three D-League contests this season, including a 37-point effort last night. Liggins is averaging 11.6 PPG, 7.6 RPG and 4.8 APG in three games with Tulsa, while Jones has played four D-League contests, posting 11.5 PPG and 5.3 RPG. Only Jackson has seen significant time with the big club, logging more than 24 minutes against the Timberwolves on Thursday.
We'll round up today's D-League assignments and recalls here. Make sure to keep up with every D-League assignment and recall for the 2012/13 season with this post.
- Thunder point guard Reggie Jackson has been sent to the D-League for a second-time this season, tweets Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman. His first stint was a one-day assignment earlier this month, and he registered 20 points and 11 assists in his only game with the Tulsa 66ers. The second-year Boston College product has played a limited role for Oklahoma City this year after serving as the primary backup to Russell Westbrook for a stretch last season.
- The 76ers have assigned Arnett Moultrie to the Sioux Falls Sky Force of the D-League.
- The Suns have recalled Kendall Marshall from the Bakersfield Jam. The 12th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Marshall led the D-League with 7.6 APG while he was playing for Bakersfield.
- The Celtics announced that they have recalled forward Kris Joseph from the Maine Red Claws. Joseph, a 6’7" forward, appeared in seven games for the Red Claws this season and has posted averages of 20.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 2.0 steals in 38.1 minutes per game.
- The Nets announced that forward Toko Shengelia and guard Tyshawn Taylor have been assigned to the Springfield Armor of the NBA Development League. Neither rookie has seen significant playing time with the Nets so far this season. Both players will suit up for the Armor tonight. Shengelia, a practice favorite of coach Avery Johnson, was acquired from the 76ers after being drafted 54th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. Taylor, a rookie out of Kansas, has made ten appearances on the year, scoring 13 points with three steals and two assists.
The Portland Trail Blazers have recalled rookie forwards Victor Claver and Will Barton from the Idaho Stampede of the NBA D-League, the team announced this morning.
Claver and Barton were sent down on Friday, and played in two games for the Stampede. Barton averaged 19.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 2.0 APG. Claver averaged 11.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 1.0 APG.
Here are the rest of the D-League moves from Sunday:
We're keeping track of all of the D-League assignments and recalls of 2012/13 right here, and we'll round up today's moves in this post, with the latest on top.
- The Thunder have assigned Reggie Jackson to the Tulsa 66ers, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). The second-year point guard has seen only 56 minutes of action across 10 games for Oklahoma City this year after losing to Eric Maynor in the battle to become the team's primary backup point guard. Jackson is the fifth player the Thunder has sent to the D-League at different points this season, and he'll join Jeremy Lamb and Daniel Orton, who were demoted earlier today.
- The Celtics announced forward Kris Joseph has been assigned to the Maine Red Claws of the D-League for a third time this season. The 6'7" Joseph has averaged 21.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 39.0 minutes over three contests for the Red Claws this season. He's also hit the floor for three times with the big club in Boston, but has totaled only nine NBA minutes.
- The Thunder announced that they have sent guard Jeremy Lamb and center Daniel Orton back to the Tulsa 66ers of the D-League. Both players were recalled just yesterday along with Perry Jones III. Lamb and Orton are presently the only Thunder players on the 66ers' roster with Jones remaining in Oklahoma City and DeAndre Liggins having been recalled last week.
Comcast's Ric Bucher tweets that the Lakers are expected to keep their coaching staff intact, as many of the players have personal favorites among the current assistants. A few days ago, head coach Mike D'Antoni spoke favorably of the coaches that had carried over after Mike Brown's firing, telling ESPN LA: "They're good coaches. I know almost all of them anyway. They work extremely hard. We are in a lot. I just felt like, 'They're here, they're good, why change it?" The list includes former interim-head coach Bernie Bickerstaff, Steve Clifford, Chuck Person, and most notably Eddie Jordan, who had been originally hired by Brown to install the Princeton offense. Here's the rest of what we're hearing out of the Western Conference tonight:
The Thunder have excerised their third-year option on guard Reggie Jackson, according to a tweet from SI.com's Chris Mannix. Jackson was selected with the 24th pick in the 2011 draft, and averaged 3.1 PPG, 1.6 APG and 1.2 RPG in 45 games last season. The option guarantees Jackson $1.33MM for the 2013/14 season.
With the team's presumed backup point guard Eric Maynor set to become a restricted free agent after the season, Oklahoma City might be geared towards playing the more economic option (Jackson) this year.