Stephen Graham

Nuggets Finalize Coaching Staff

The Nuggets have hired former Rockets assistant Chris Finch to join their coaching staff, the team announced today.  Finch, who spent five years as an assistant in Houston and two as a D-League coach with Rio Grande Valley, is among four hirings and five promotions as Denver finalized the staff for head coach Michael Malone.

Today’s other announced hirings were assistant coach Jordi Fernandez, who spent the past two seasons as coach of the Cavaliers’ D-League affiliate in Canton; player development representative Stephen Graham, who played six years in the NBA and served as a D-League assistant in Fort Wayne last season; and head video coordinator Travis Armenta, who spent the past five seasons as assistant video coordinator for the Kings.

Wes Unseld Jr., an assistant coach with the Nuggets last season, has been promoted to Malone’s lead assistant. He coached with the Wizards, Warriors and Magic before coming to Denver. Also promoted were assistant coaches Micah Nori and Ryan Bowen, new player development coach Ognjen Stojakovic and new assistant video coordinator Tommy Massimino Jr.

Odds & Ends: Jefferson, Carroll, Kobe

It’s a lighter-than-usual Friday night slate in the NBA, with only nine games this evening, but it’s been plenty eventful off the court the past couple of weeks. Hoops Rumors readers have pegged Kyle Lowry as the most likely centerpiece of the next major deal, and as we wait to see whether that will be the case, here’s more from the Association:

Bucks Cut Graham, McKinney Jones, Czyz

1:03pm: The Bucks have also released Stephen Graham and Trey McKinney Jones, taking their roster down to 15, the team announced on Twitter. Both were on non-guaranteed contracts. None of the team’s camp invitees had much of a shot to make the opening-night roster, since the team began preseason with 15 fully guaranteed deals.

9:45am: The Bucks have released Olek Czyz, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (via Twitter).  The Polish forward spent last season with Virtus Roma in Italy and left a guaranteed gig overseas to try and hook on with Milwaukee this offseason.

Czyz played alongside Gigi Datome in Italy and averaged 5.6 PPG and 3.7 RPG in just 14.5 minutes per contest across 48 games.  Czyz joined the Bucks at a time when they already had 15 players under guaranteed contracts and was signed at the same time as Junior Cadougan, Trey McKinney Jones, and Stephen Graham, so his chances were never that strong.

The Bucks could theoretically try and steer him to their D-League affiliate, but it could be tough to pry open a spot as they share the Fort Wayne Mad Ants with five other clubs.

NBA Hopefuls: Graham, Carr, Addison, D-League

As we creep closer to the time when NBA teams begin to whittle down their rosters, let’s take a look at some NBA hopefuls, current and future, that are presently making news:

  • Stephen Graham, currently in camp with the Bucks, is determined to land a contract that keeps him in the NBA this season after floating between the D-League and overseas since the NBA lockout, writes Shams Charania of RealGM, who adds that Milwaukee already has 15 players on guaranteed deals. While he never found a permanent home in the NBA, Graham did spend time on seven teams in six seasons in the NBA before the Nets waived him in 2011.
  • Aquille Carr, the 20-year-old phenom from Baltimore who was previously playing in China, has signed a D-League contract for this season in an attempt to prepare himself for the 2014 NBA Draft, writes Gino Pilato of the D-League Digest.  As Pilato notes, Carr is following in the footsteps of Glen Rice Jr., who spent a season in the D-League after getting booted from Georgia Tech’s basketball team and ended up being drafted 35th and traded to the Wizards. Commissioner David Stern recently boasted of the improvement of the D-League when it comes to developing young players.
  • Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside takes a look at 26-year-old Brian Addison, who was one of a handful of players that stood out to the Knicks at last month’s tryout for their D-League affiliate, the Erie Bayhawks. Addison, who went to Buffalo University, has played professionally in Portugal, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
  • In a separate post, Schlosser reports the names of five players who are set to enter next month’s D-League Draft: Kyle Hunt, Orion Outerbridge, Jamine Peterson, Akeem Ellis and Derick Beltran. Schlosser also mentions Dami Sapara and Ahmad Aasiya-Bey as two talented prospects who have already stated their intentions to join the league.

Bucks Officially Sign Cadougan, Jones, Graham, Czyz

According to Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel, the Bucks have officially signed Junior Cadougan, Trey McKinney Jones, Stephen Graham, and Olek Czyz to non-guaranteed deals. We heard about the invitations of Cadougan, Jones, and Czyz earlier this month, although it should be noted that Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times had implied the training camp addition of Graham earlier this afternoon.

These signings will bring Milwaukee's training camp roster to 19, which is currently made up of 15 guaranteed and four non-guaranteed contracts. 

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Odds & Ends: Bibby, Graham, Kuester

According to Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report, Mike Bibby – who is reportedly well-liked by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich - was invited to San Antonio's training camp and had a good chance of making the team. However, the veteran guard now won't be able to attend because of a foot/heel injury (Twitter link). It's been a bit of a Jazz fest as far as news goes this evening, but here are some other noteworthy links we've gathered up from around the Association:

  • Bradford Doolittle of ranks the league's top ten frontcourts (Insiders only). 
  • Stephen Graham could possibly have an invitation to participate in Bucks camp this fall (Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times via Twitter). There hasn't been any further mention of an official invitation, but we'll look to relay any updates as they surface. 
  • 76ers rookie head coach Brett Brown doesn't feel inclined to bring along a former head coach as an assistant, notes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer“I don’t feel with this team that it’s mandatory that I have to surround myself with perspective or wisdom or, you know, an Owl that’s been there, done that…I feel that this year’s team is about development. And I feel like it’s about … teaching, relationships and energy more than NBA wisdom."
  • Former Pistons head coach and Lakers assistant John Kuester, however, has been rumored to be a potential candidate for Brown's coaching staff in Philadelphia.
  • The Score's Mark Deeks discusses Paul George's max contract extension as well as a potential one for Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. While Deeks understands the logic behind securing George for the long term, he feels that offering the same type of deal to Cousins would be an enormous gamble. 

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Minor Moves: Songaila, Wright, Graham, Williams

We'll keep tabs on the day's notable international or D-League-related transactions here:

  • Darius Songaila, an eight-year NBA veteran who played 10 games for the 76ers last season, has signed with Spanish team CB Valladolid, tweets Sportando.
  • Former NBA players Antoine Wright and Stephen Graham have joined D-League teams, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). Wright will play for Reno while Graham is heading to Fort Wayne.
  • The Mavericks have re-assigned Sean Williams to their D-League affiliate, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas. Williams had been recalled from the Texas Legends earlier this month.