76ers’ Brand on Trey Burke: ‘good fit for our roster’

The Philadelphia 76ers have signed G Trey Burke, the team announced today.  According to reports, it’s a one-year deal.

Last season, In 58 games with the Knicks and Mavericks, Burke, 26, averaged 10.9 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 19.4 minutes per game.

“Trey’s experience as a ball handler matched with his scoring ability makes him a good fit for our roster,” Brand said. “We’re excited to welcome him to the 76ers and look forward to the positive impact he can have on our team.”

The former University of Michigan star, had a few breakout performances in his career, which included a career-high 42 points and 12 assists against the Hornets in March of 2018.

Burke was originally drafted by Minnesota with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft before his draft rights were traded to Utah. Following his debut season, Burke was selected to the 2013-14 All-Rookie First Team.

With the move, Burke, Raul Neto, and Shake Milton will probably be competing for the backup point guard spot. It’s a solid acquisition for the 76ers. You get a young guy in Burke who has shown flashes in his career. Also, if Burke can play well for the 76ers, he could possibly put himself in position to get a bigger deal with 76ers or elsewhere, the following season.

While fans loved T.J. McConnell, who signed with the Pacers this offseason, the additions of Burke and Neto should be an upgrade for the 76ers at the point guard spot.

Some believe that Burke resembles former 76ers great Allen Iverson. Hopefully, for 76ers fans, Burke’s game resembles Iverson next season.

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Preseason schedule for Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns announced today they will play a four-game preseason schedule in preparation for the club’s 52nd season, playing two home games at Talking Stick Resort Arena and two road games.

The Suns will begin preseason play on Tuesday, October 8 by hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves in Phoenix. The team will then hit the road to play at the Sacramento Kings on Thursday, October 10 and at the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday, October 12. The Suns will close their preseason slate at home against the Denver Nuggets on Monday, October 14.

The Suns’ full 2019 preseason schedule is listed below.

2019 PHOENIX SUNS PRESEASON SCHEDULE

DATE OPPONENT SITE TIME
Tues., Oct. 8 Minnesota Timberwolves Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix 7:00 p.m.
Thurs., Oct. 10 Sacramento Kings Golden 1 Center, Sacramento 7:00 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 12 Portland Trail Blazers Moda Center, Portland 5:00 p.m.
Mon., Oct. 14 Denver Nuggets Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix 7:00 p.m.

All times listed are Phoenix times

Ballmer on new arena: ‘I want the Clippers to have the best home in all of sports’

The L.A. Clippers today unveiled renderings and additional details of the team’s privately-financed sports and entertainment center anchored by their new basketball arena in Inglewood.

In addition to the arena, the proposed project located on West Century Boulevard between South Prairie Avenue and South Yukon Avenue will include the team’s business and basketball offices, training facility, community and retail spaces.

“My goal is simple. ,” said Clippers Chairman Steve Ballmer. “What that means to me is an unparalleled environment for players, for fans, for sponsors and for the community of Inglewood. Our goal is to build a facility that re-sets fans’ expectations while having a transformative impact on the city we will call home.”

The Inglewood Basketball & Entertainment Center will revitalize mostly vacant land under the flight path of Los Angeles International Airport into a vibrant campus. The project is targeted for completion by fall of 2024, following the expiration of the Clippers’ lease at STAPLES Center.

“Inglewood is a diverse, dynamic community blessed with a skilled workforce, emerging infrastructure and a bold economic blueprint for the future,” said Gillian Zucker, Clippers President of Business Operations. “In addition to the thousands of jobs this facility will create for the local community, we are equally committed to working with our new neighbors in the continuing renaissance developing in the City of Inglewood.”

The proposed arena will have a three-dimensional oval design with a unique exterior of diamond-shaped metal panels inspired by the concept of a basketball swishing through a net. In addition to attractive aesthetics, the panels have been designed to provide solar benefit for maximum energy efficiency, as part of the facility’s LEED GOLD-certified design.

The facility’s most striking feature, intended to highlight the temperate climate of Southern California, is the integration of indoor/outdoor “sky gardens.” These landscaped areas for food and beverage will be accessible from every concourse level. The complex also envisions a multi-purpose plaza complete with concert stage, community basketball courts and space for the community to gather and watch everything from Clippers Playoff games to movie premieres on a supersized LED screen.

The Clippers campus will achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions through a combination of carbon offset credits and sustainable design features.

The project is being developed by Wilson Meany, a developer heralded for its transformative mixed-use residential, retail, office and master-planned properties.

“We challenged the architects and designers on this project to create a landmark facility that exceeds current environmental standards and they have surpassed expectations,” said Chris Meany of Wilson Meany. “The new Clippers arena demonstrates that environmental protection and economic development need not be mutually exclusive.”

The project is expected to create an estimated 10,000 construction jobs and more than 1,500 permanent jobs, with local hire components in place to fill 30% of available construction jobs with local labor and 35% of the available arena operation jobs with local residents. When completed, the complex will generate an estimated $268 million in economic activity for Inglewood annually, and more than $190 million in new tax revenue from 2020-2045. That revenue will help support vital city services such as schools, parks, libraries and police and fire stations.

“We are excited to welcome the nation’s most philanthropic sports team to Inglewood,” said Mayor James T. Butts. “Over the past three years, the Ballmers and the Clippers have repeatedly demonstrated their commitment to improving communities like Inglewood. The Clippers’ presence in our city will create a sustainable revenue source and boost civic pride, revitalizing our community for years to come.”

More photos:

Plaza Entry - Clippers Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment CenterExternal View - Clippers Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment CenterAerial View - Clippers Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center

Photos/courtesy: Los Angeles Clippers

6 players added to USA Basketball Men’s National Team World Cup Training Camp Roster

USA Basketball Men’s National Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo  today announced the addition of six players to the USA National Team and to the roster of players expected to participate in the team’s Aug. 5-9 training camp, and he also confirmed that eight previously announced team members who were expected to attend the World Cup training and exhibition games have withdrawn.

Additionally, USA Basketball announced the 13-member USA Select Team that will train alongside and against the USA National Team Aug. 5-9.

Athletes added to the USA National Team roster and confirmed to participate in the World Cup training camp include NBA standouts Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics), Montrezl Harrell (Los Angeles Clippers), Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets), Julius Randle (New York Knicks), Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics) and Thaddeus Young (Chicago Bulls). Each of the six players possess previous USA Basketball experience.

Additional USA National Team members confirmed to participate in the World Cup Training Camp in Las Vegas include: Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings); Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons); Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers); Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks); Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors); Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks); Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz);Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics); P.J. Tucker (Houston Rockets); Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers); and Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics).

The 2018-20 USA Basketball National Team coaching staff features USA and San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. Serving as USA assistant coaches are Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce and Villanova University head coach Jay Wright.

No longer attending the USA training camp are: Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards); Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers); Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets); James Harden (Houston Rockets); Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers); Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers); Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers); CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers); and Paul Millsap (Denver Nuggets).

“Since USA Basketball started the men’s national team program in 2006, we have understood the necessity of fluidity within the program and the importance of having a deep national team roster that features both young and veteran standout NBA players,” said Colangelo. “The six players we added today are all outstanding players in their own right, and along with the other players who will attend the World Cup Team training camp, will offer Coach Popovich and his staff some remarkable athleticism and versatility.

“USA Basketball is looking to select the best team possible for the FIBA World Cup as we attempt to win a third straight gold medal. We have a deep roster of men who have played for USA Basketball and who have experienced playing in FIBA events, so they understand the competitiveness of FIBA basketball and have respect for the other national teams. We’re looking forward to exposing the selected players to FIBA World Cup competition and the incredible experience of representing their country in one of the world’s premiere basketball’s competitions.”

USA Basketball and Colangelo also today announced the 13-man USA Basketball Select Team that will train daily with the USA National Team from Aug. 5-8 at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center. All practices are closed to the public.

The Select Team members also will join with the National Team players and participate in the USA Blue versus USA White exhibition game that is scheduled for 7 p.m. (PDT) Aug. 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.  For game ticket information visit usab.com/mnttickets.

Featuring seven players owning prior USA Basketball experience, the Select Team roster also includes four members of the 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie first and second teams.

Selected for the 2019 USA Basketball Select Team were: Jarrett Allen (Brooklyn Nets); Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento Kings); Mikal Bridges  (Phoenix Suns); Jalen Brunson (Dallas Mavericks); John Collins (Atlanta Hawks); Pat Connaughton (Milwaukee Bucks); De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings); Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets); Jonathan Isaac (Orlando Magic); Mitchell Robinson (New York Knicks); Landry Shamet (Los Angeles Clippers/Wichita State); Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs); and Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks).

Former NBA head coach Jeff Van Gundy, who served as head coach of the 2017-19 USA Basketball’s six World Cup Qualifying Teams and the gold medalist 2017 USA AmeriCup team, will serve as head coach of the 2019 USA Basketball Select Team. Gonzaga head coach Mark Few, who served as head coach of the 2015 USA Pan American Games Team, will serve as a Select Team assistant coach.

“The purpose of the Select Team is to help prepare our National Team for the World Cup and to offer an opportunity for some younger NBA standouts to be involved in the USA Basketball National Team program,” said Colangelo. “These 13 players help extend the legacy of elite players who have been part of USA Basketball Select teams. Not only will this group help prepare the United States for the FIBA World Cup, but it will also provide them with valuable experience at the USA Basketball National Team level.”

Allen, Bagley, Brunson, Fox, Issac, White and Young all possess prior USA Basketball experience, and the 2019 USA Select Team features six players (Bagley, Bridges, Robinson, Shamet and Young) who completed their rookie NBA season in 2018-19, five players (Allen, Collins, Fox, Issac and White) who wrapped up their second NBA season, one fourth-year NBA player (Connaughton) and one fifth-year NBA player (Harris).

Bagley and Young were named to the 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie first team, Robinson and Shamet earned All-Rookie second team honors and Bridges received the highest point total of rookies to not make the 2018-19 All-Rookie first or second teams. Also, Collins was named 2017-18 All-Rookie second team.

JJ Redick on losing to Toronto: ‘The rest of the playoffs were tough to watch’

In the NBA, when you play in a Game 7, anything can happen, which was the case when the Philadelphia 76ers went toe-to-toe with the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

As we all know, this series came down to the final seconds, and it all ended when Kawhi Leonard made an improbable buzzer-beater to eliminate Philadelphia from the playoffs. Ultimately, the Raptors would win an NBA title, and 76ers could only think about what could have been.

On Tuesday, the New Orleans Pelicans had a conference call to introduce former 76ers G JJ Redick to the media. Redick signed a reported two-year deal at $26.5 million with New Orleans.

During the call, Redick, who spent two seasons in Philadelphia, discussed how he viewed the Raptors winning it all.

“In a way, you’re more mad about the sort of outcome of the Raptors winning because of how you lost, and at the same time, you are in some way, sort of validated because they were the team that won and you were that close,” Redick said.

“The rest of the playoffs were tough to watch. I’m such a fan of the game. I watch every playoff game. In some years when you realize you didn’t necessarily have a chance to win it all, it can be sort of enjoyable. When you feel like you’re in the running and you’re close, when you lose in that manner, it’s tough to watch. Yeah, it was tough to watch.”

While the 35-year-old Redick will not be apart of the 76ers moving forward, he did acknowledge that Philadelphia made him an offer, and he discussed how much of a great time had with the team.

“Yes, there was an offer made,” Redick said. “My time in Philly was two of the best years of my career. I love everyone in that organization. I have nothing but respect for (owners) Josh(Harris), Blitz(David Blitzer) and Elton(Brand) and Brett (Brown). I love all those guys.”

With Jimmy Butler and Redick out the door, the 76ers will look much different next season, but many believe by re-signing Tobias Harris, adding Al Horford and Josh Richardson, that the 76ers will be a better team next season. They will miss Redick’s shooting and Butler’s playmaking ability, but they will gain something on the defensive end. Whether that will equal better, will be something we will find out next season.

Listen to the audio below:

Suns agree to terms with Cheick Diallo

The Phoenix Suns and forward/center Cheick Diallo have agreed to terms on a contract, the team announced today.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a two-year deal.

Diallo, 22, has played three NBA seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans and this past season averaged career highs of 6.0 points and 5.2 rebounds in 14.0 minutes while making 62.0% of his field goals. Following the All-Star break in 2018-19, he averaged 8.9 points and 7.6 rebounds on 63.6% shooting from the field and 84.0% from the free throw line with eight double-doubles in 23 games, including a career-high 18 boards plus 16 points on Feb. 22 at Indiana. On a per-36 minute basis, Diallo holds career averages of 15.6 points, 13.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks.

The Mali-native was originally the 33rd overall selection in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft by the LA Clippers following one season at the University of Kansas. New Orleans acquired Diallo in a draft night trade and he played in 133 regular season games with the Pelicans in addition to seven postseason appearances during the team’s run to the 2018 Western Conference Semifinals.

The Suns’ roster now stands at 15 players.

Tim Duncan named Spurs Assistant coach

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that Will Hardy and Tim Duncan will be added to Gregg Popovich’s bench as assistant coaches.

Hardy first joined the Spurs as a basketball operations intern in 2010 after graduating from Williams College.

“Will Hardy is a talented, young basketball mind who has earned a great deal of respect from everyone in the organization thanks to his knowledge, spirit and personality,” said Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich. 

Duncan, a 1997 Wake Forest graduate, played 19 seasons with the Spurs before retiring in the summer of 2016.

“It is only fitting, that after I served loyally for 19 years as Tim Duncan’s assistant, that he returns the favor,” said Popovich.

Suns’ GM: ‘Frank(Kaminsky) is an exceptional shooter who will help us space the floor’

 The Phoenix Suns and forward/center Frank Kaminsky III have agreed to a multiyear contract, the team announced today. According to reports, it’s a two-year, $10 million deal.

“Frank is an exceptional shooter who will help us space the floor and give our guards more room to operate,” said General Manager James Jones. “His size and strong decision-making skills are also a great fit for the team we are building, so we are excited to welcome Frank to Phoenix.”

Kaminsky, 7-0, 240 pounds, is a four-year NBA veteran with career averages of 9.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in 282 games with the Charlotte Hornets. Over the last two seasons, Kaminsky has shot 37.3% from three-point range with 154 total makes, the second-best percentage of any qualified seven-footer over this stretch behind only Karl-Anthony Towns. In 2018-19, he shot a career-best 46.3% from the field and averaged 8.6 points in 16.1 minutes. In 21 games after the All-Star break this past season, Kaminsky averaged 12.8 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 45.4% from the field, 36.6% from long range and 79.2% from the stripe.

Selected ninth overall by Charlotte in the 2015 NBA Draft, Kaminsky entered the NBA following an outstanding four-year career at the University of Wisconsin. The unanimous National Player of the Year for 2014-15, he led the Badgers to a school-record 36 wins and national runner-up finish, averaging 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks while shooting 54.7% from the field, 41.6% from behind the arc and 78.0% from the line. A First Team All-Big Ten selection in each of his final two seasons, he helped Wisconsin to consecutive Final Four appearances for the first time in program history in 2014 and 2015. The Badgers retired his No. 44 in 2018. A native of Lisle, Illinois, Kaminsky played high school ball at Benet Academy.

Brand on Simmons: ‘He is one of the NBA’s most dynamic and talented young players’

The Philadelphia 76ers officially announced the extension for Ben Simmons on Tuesday, and according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a five-year, $170M contract with no option in final year and a 15 percent trade kicker. Simmons’ contract extends through the 2024-25 campaign.

With the move, the 76ers have the following core players under contract until at least 2023:

Joel Embiid: 2023
Tobias Harris: 2024
Al Horford: 2023

This is the core that GM Elton Brand and the 76ers’ organization will go with in their quest for an NBA title, which will be led by Embiid and Simmons.

“Ben Simmons is an important piece of our core, and he is one of the NBA’s most dynamic and talented young players,” 76ers GM Elton Brand said. “It was a priority for our organization that we finalize a contract extension with Ben this summer. He was Rookie of the Year in his first season, an All-Star in his second and we expect him to continue to grow and succeed for seasons to come. Ben positively impacts the game in so many ways, and we look forward to continuing our championship pursuits with him as one of our leaders.”

Last season, Simmons, 22, averaged career highs in points (16.9) and rebounds (8.8) to go along with 7.7 (sixth in the NBA) assists and 1.4 steals per game en route to his first career All-Star Game selection. But he had his struggles in the playoffs, especially against the Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Simmons averaged 11.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg, and 4.9 apg in that series. Those struggles are mainly because Simmons does not have a consistent jump shot.

If the 76ers want to take that next step, Simmons has to grow his game, which according to Tobias Harris, Simmons is working on this offseason.

“He’s made big improvements on his game; his jump shot is looking really good,” Harris said last week about Simmons. “He has the confidence to shoot it, and I just kept telling him there, ‘like, even in this workout when you are playing, have the confidence to shoot them and don’t get discouraged if you miss. This is where you build that type of confidence.’ So, it was a good sight to see how hard he has been working. He looks really good for a great year.”

If Simmons never develops a consistent jump shot, he will still have a lot of success in the NBA as evidenced by what we have seen thus far in his career.

However, if he grows his game, and develops a reliable perimeter game, he will be tough to guard, and Philadelphia should be able to take that next step as a team, which could be an NBA title.

Pels’ GM: Redick is among the very best shooters in league history

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has signed free agent guard JJ Redick. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a two-year, $26.5 million deal.

“JJ Redick is among the very best shooters and professionals in league history,” said Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin. “Coming off perhaps the best season of his remarkable career, his on-the-court resumé speaks for itself. However, it was his desire to dive into the role of mentor and veteran leader that spoke most directly to us and has us most excited about our future together. We are thrilled to be able to welcome JJ and his family to New Orleans and our community.”

Redick, 6-4, 200, comes off a 2018-19 campaign where the 13-year veteran averaged a career-best 18.1 points per game for the Philadelphia 76ers while shooting .440 from the field, including .397 from three-point range, to go with 2.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists.

Selected 11th overall by the Orlando Magic in the 2006 NBA Draft out of Duke University, Redick has appeared in 836 career regular season games with Orlando, Milwaukee, the L.A. Clippers and Philadelphia, posting averages on 12.9 points on .448 shooting, including .413 from three-point range, as well as 2.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per contest. Additionally, Redick has appeared in 110 career postseason games, averaging 10.9 points while shooting .371 from three-point range with Orlando, Milwaukee, the Clippers and Philadelphia.

In conjunction with the move, the Pelicans announced that the team has waived forward/center Christian Wood. Originally claimed off waivers by New Orleans on March 20, 2019, Wood appeared in eight games for the Pelicans last season, averaging 16.9 points and 7.9 rebounds.