National Basketball Association
NBA News Wire
  • NBA notebook: 76ers to promote Brand to GM role
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 18, 2018

    The Philadelphia 76ers will name former on-court star Elton Brand, who had two separate stints for the team in his 17-year playing career, to fill the club's vacant general manager role, ESPN reported Tuesday.

    • NBA sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that Brand will be promoted from his current position as the team's vice president of basketball operations. Per the report, Brand will be announced as the new GM at a press conference on Thursday.

      Wojnarowski said that Brand, 39, impressed both team ownership and head coach Brett Brown during the team's extended interview process, one that raised eyebrows around the league for lasting months past the NBA draft in June as well as the start of free agency in July.

      The surprising choice of Brand to handle the team's GM duties will cap a turbulent offseason for the up-and-coming 76ers, who leapt from just 10 wins two seasons ago to 52 last season. Brown has served as the interim GM since Bryan Colangelo was dismissed in June on the heels of a controversy surrounding Twitter burner accounts used to critique players and share privileged information.

      --Miami Heat president Pat Riley said that shooting guard Dion Waiters won't be ready for the start of training camp on Sept. 25 and likely will miss the start of the regular season.

      Waiters underwent surgery on the left ankle in mid-January and was informed at the time that he might not be available at the beginning of the season. Waiters averaged 14.3 points in 30 games last season. He played in his final game on Dec. 23 before undergoing the surgery a few weeks later.

      The Heat open the season on Oct. 18 against the Magic in Orlando and will have Dwyane Wade available to play shooting guard. Wade officially signed his one-year, $2.4 million deal on Tuesday. The 12-time All-Star has indicated this will be his final season.

      --Minnesota Timberwolves center Justin Patton had surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot, the team announced.

      The procedure, performed in New York, was deemed successful in addressing the fractured fifth metatarsal in Patton's right foot. Per the team, the 6-foot-11 center will be out of action indefinitely and did not disclose a timetable for recovery.

      It marks the second straight year that Patton, the No. 16 overall pick in 2017, has sustained a broken foot before the season. Entering his rookie season last year, Patton fractured his left foot, which sidelined him for summer league and training camp.

      --The NBA salary cap is climbing to $109 million in 2019 and $118 million in 2020, The Athletic reported.

      Luxury-tax rates will be $132 million next season and $143 million in 2020, per the report.

      In June, the NBA announced it set the salary cap for the 2018-19 season at $101.9 million.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: 76ers to promote ex-center Brand to GM role
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 18, 2018

    The Philadelphia 76ers will name former on-court star Elton Brand to fill the team's vacant general manager role, ESPN reported Tuesday.

    • NBA sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that Brand, who had two separate stints for the Sixers in his 17-year playing career, will be promoted from his current position as the team's vice president of basketball operations.

      Per the report, Brand will be announced as the new GM at a team press conference on Thursday.

      Wojnarowski said that Brand, 39, impressed both team ownership and head coach Brett Brown during the team's extended interview process, one that raised eyebrows around the league for lasting months past the NBA draft in June as well as the start of free agency in July.

      Brand beat out several reported candidates who interviewed, both internally and externally. Last month the Sixers reportedly interviewed Golden State Warriors assistant general manager Larry Harris, Utah Jazz assistant GM Justin Zanik and Houston Rockets vice president Gersson Rosas. Other in-house candidates reportedly included 76ers assistant GM Ned Cohen and player personnel exec Marc Eversley.

      The choice of Brand to handle the team's GM duties marks a bit of a surprise, but it will cap a turbulent offseason for the up-and-coming 76ers, who leapt from just 10 wins two seasons ago to 52 this past season. Brown has served as the interim GM since Bryan Colangelo was dismissed in June on the heels of a controversy surrounding Twitter burner accounts used to critique players and share privileged information.

      After public reports of the Sixers being rebuffed in efforts to bring other high-profile personnel executives, such as Houston GM Daryl Morey and San Antonio GM R.C. Buford, the team seemed to be digging in for a much longer selection process that would last into the regular season. Brown told local reporters this summer that the team was interested in hiring a more "collaborative" GM instead of giving complete and final say in personnel decisions to one person.

      "There are a very small number of elite sitting GMs and they're generally under contract with teams for a long time," Sixers managing partner Josh Harris told ESPN last month. "We're going to have a pretty selective list. This is not going to be huge tournament. We're going to talk to some people who aren't sitting GMs who could add value to our situation."

      Brand also had been serving as GM of the Delaware Blue Coats, the 76ers' G League affiliate. He retired for good from his playing career in 2016 after playing 17 games with the 76ers in his second go-around with the team.

      Brand, the former Duke star and No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft, was a 20 points-per-game scorer six times in his career and averaged a double-double in points and rebounds on six occasions. The two-time All-Star finished with career averages of 15.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in mostly starring roles with the Chicago Bulls (1999-2001), Los Angeles Clippers (2001-08) the 76ers (2008-12, 2016), Dallas Mavericks (2012-13) and Atlanta Hawks (2013-15).

      In addition to tabbing Brand as the team's GM, the 76ers also reportedly plan to promote Alex Rucker to executive vice president of basketball operations. Cohen and Eversley will retain their roles, sources told Wojnarowski.

      --Field Level Media

  • Heat G Waiters likely will miss start of season
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 18, 2018

    Shooting guard Dion Waiters' ankle surgery isn't progressing as fast as hoped.

    • Miami Heat president Pat Riley said Tuesday that Waiters won't be ready for the start of training camp on Sept. 25 and likely will miss the start of the regular season.

      Waiters underwent surgery on the left ankle in mid-January and was informed at the time that he might not be available at the beginning of the season.

      "Dion will not be returning to the court until the Heat medical team and training staff deem him healed, rehabbed and physically conditioned for all basketball activities," Riley said in a statement.

      The news stunned Heat point guard Goran Dragic.

      "This is kind of out of the blue for me," Dragic said. "At the end of the day, he knows what is best for him. I'm hoping he's going to be ready when we need him."

      Waiters averaged 14.3 points in 30 games last season. He played in his final game on Dec. 23 before undergoing the surgery a few weeks later.

      The Heat open the season on Oct. 18 against the Magic in Orlando and will have Dwyane Wade available to play shooting guard.

      Wade officially signed his one-year, $2.4 million deal on Tuesday. The 12-time All-Star has indicated this will be his final season.

      "We are very delighted that Dwyane decided to return," Riley said. "I believe that Dwyane can play a big part in us winning. That's what he is all about. I'm glad he's back."

      --Field Level Media

  • T-wolves C Patton out indefinitely after foot surgery
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 18, 2018

    Minnesota Timberwolves center Justin Patton had surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot, the team announced Tuesday.

    • The procedure, performed in New York, was deemed successful in addressing the fractured fifth metatarsal in Patton's right foot. Per the team, the 6-foot-11 center will be out of action indefinitely and did not disclose a timetable for recovery.

      Prior to surgery on Sunday, a source told the Star Tribune that Patton broke his right foot during pre-camp workouts.

      It marks the second straight year that Patton has suffered a broken foot before the season. Entering his rookie season last year, Patton fractured his left foot, which sidelined him for summer league and training camp.

      Last season's foot injury delayed his NBA debut, with the former Creighton center playing 38 games for the Iowa Wolves, Minnesota's G League affiliate, before playing under four minutes in a game against Utah on April 1.

      In April, Patton underwent surgery to "encourage further healing" in his left foot and the fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot.

      Patton, the No. 16 overall pick in 2017, joined the Timberwolves in a draft-night trade that brought star forward Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA salary cap: $109M in 2019, $118M in 2020
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 18, 2018

    The NBA salary cap is climbing to $109 million in 2019 and $118 million in 2020, The Athletic reported.

    • Luxury tax rates will be $132 million next season and $143 million in 2020, per the report.

      In June, the NBA announced it set the salary cap for the upcoming 2018-19 season at $101.9 million.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Jack's going back to New Orleans
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 18, 2018

    Guard Jarrett Jack, by no means a stranger to New Orleans, is going back for a third NBA stop there, according to a report from The Athletic on Monday.

    • Jack, who played 115 games for the New Orleans Hornets 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, then two games for the New Orleans Pelicans in 2016-17, will sign a one-year contract, according to the report from Shams Charania.

      Jack played 62 games, starting 56 of them, for the New York Knicks last season, averaging 7.5 and 5.6 assists in 25 minutes per game.

      The Georgia Tech product will be starting his 14th NBA season, having also played for Portland, Indiana, Toronto, Golden State, Cleveland and Brooklyn.

      In 867 games, 399 as a starter, he has averaged 10.8 points and 4.6 assists in just under 28 minutes per game.

      Jack was taken in the first round, 22nd overall, by Denver in the 2005 draft, and he was traded to Portland the draft rights to Linas Kleiza and the draft rights to Ricky Sanchez.

      --Field Level Media

  • SI's Lee Jenkins joins Clippers' front office
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 18, 2018

    Sports Illustrated is losing a second writer in 13 months to a front office job with an NBA team.

    • Lee Jenkins, SI's lead NBA writer for the past eight years, is departing to become executive director of research & identity for the Los Angeles Clippers.

      According to the Clippers, Jenkins' position is the first of its kind for any NBA team. He will use his extensive reporting background and interviewing style to contribute to the franchise's amateur and professional scouting infrastructure.

      "Sports Illustrated called on my 30th birthday, the greatest gift of my professional life," the 40-year-old Jenkins said in an article by the magazine. "I was one of those kids who grew up running to the mailbox on Thursday afternoons. SI taught me to read, and then, to write. With dream jobs, reality often disappoints, but everything about SI only exceeded my imagination. I've worked alongside my idols, Tim Layden, Tom Verducci and S.L. Price, and with my friends, Michael Rosenberg, Chris Ballard and Greg Bishop. There is no honor in this business like sharing a page with them.

      "SI remains the ultimate platform for sportswriting and I would not leave for another media outlet. But I was offered an extraordinary opportunity to work in the front office of an NBA team and see the league I cover from a different angle. I've been privileged to tell a lot of triumphant basketball stories over the past decade. With Steve Ballmer and Jerry West, Lawrence Frank and Michael Winger, Doc Rivers and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, I'm going to try to help build one."

      Jenkins will work with Clippers president of basketball of operations Frank and general manager Winger in the franchise's reshaped front office.

      "Lee has spent his career profiling elite athletes, including most of the top players in the NBA," Frank said in a Clippers release. "Given Lee's talent, knowledge, and credibility, we hope to blend his approach with our existing evaluation systems and highlight the personalities of our players. He is the NBA's preeminent storyteller and adding him to the team is a reflection of Steve's commitment to innovation and building a best-in-class organization."

      The other SI writer who recently departed was Luke Winn, formerly a senior writer who covered college basketball, baseball and the Olympics before he was hired by the Toronto Raptors as director of prospect strategy in August 2017.

      On Monday night, Jenkins told ESPN: "As a reporter, I can ask a hundred questions to a hundred people, but I could never know what really goes on behind the curtain. The deadline. The draft. Free agency. All the strategy and gymnastics and prep work that goes into those events, but also the everyday of an organization. On a personal level, I came to the realization that no matter how many player profiles I write, I still have a ton to learn about the NBA, and the best way to learn it is through immersion. ...

      "This team is interested not just in what players do but who they are -- how they're wired, how they're motivated -- and that's an area I love to explore. But I have to be honest with myself. This is all very new and there will be trial and error. All I know for sure is that the Clippers have the tools to build one of the great sports stories, and I'm excited to contribute."

      Jenkins joined SI as a senior writer in 2007. His primary beat has been the NBA since 2010.

      --Field Level Media

  • Spurs hire Barry as VP of basketball operations
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 17, 2018

    The San Antonio Spurs hired former player and television analyst Brent Barry as vice president of basketball operations on Monday.

    • Barry reportedly had been considering making such a move since early this decade.

      The 46-year-old Barry retired as a player in 2009 and joined Turner Sports the following year. He worked for NBA TV in addition to broadcasts on TNT.

      Barry was part of two NBA title teams with the Spurs (2005 and 2007) during his 14-year playing career. He averaged 9.3 points, 3.2 assists, 3.0 rebounds and made 1,395 3-point baskets in 912 games (449 starts) with the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Seattle SuperSonics, Spurs and Houston Rockets.

      Barry replaces Monty Williams, who departed in June to become an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers.

      Barry is the son of basketball Hall of Fame member Rick Barry.

      --Field Level Media

  • Wade back with Heat for final season
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 17, 2018

    Dwyane Wade kept his fans waiting to almost the cusp of NBA training camp, but in an emotional video, he told them what they wanted to hear.

    • "I feel like it's right to ask you guys to join me for one last dance, for one last season," he said about his decision to return to the Miami Heat for a 16th NBA season.

      Wade, a 36-year-old free agent, had previously said it was either play for the Heat this season or retire, and he opted for the former.

      "This is it. I've given this game everything that I have, and I'm happy about that. I'm going to give it for one last season, everything else I have left," he said in the 10-minute video titled "One Last Dance ..." and posted on YouTube.

      The 12-time All-Star played his first 13 seasons with the Heat before signing with the Chicago Bulls for 2016-17. He started the 2017-18 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers before being traded back to Miami for the final 21 games of the season.

      Wade holds career averages of 22.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He averaged 12.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game coming off the bench for the Heat last season.

      He was a key part of three NBA championship teams in Miami, the first alongside Shaquille O'Neal in 2006 and then two with LeBron James and Chris Bosh, in 2012 and 2013. Wade was the NBA Finals MVP in 2006.

      Wade was selected to the NBA All-Defensive team three times, and he won the league's scoring championship in 2008-09 when he averaged 30.2 points.

      Wade reportedly received a three-year, $25 million offer to play this summer for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls in China.

      Wade's return leaves the Heat with 20 players, the maximum, on their training camp roster.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Timberwolves C Patton breaks right foot
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, September 16, 2018

    Minnesota Timberwolves center Justin Patton is out indefinitely after injuring his foot in a recent workout with no set timetable for his return, the team announced Sunday.

    • The Timberwolves did not detail any information regarding surgery or recovery, but a source told the Star Tribune that the team's 6-foot-11 center broke his right foot during pre-camp workouts and that he will have surgery in the coming days.

      It marks the second straight year that Patton has suffered a broken foot before the season. Last year entering his rookie season, Patton fell victim to a fractured left foot which sidelined him for summer league and training camp.

      Last season's foot injury delayed his NBA debut, with the former Creighton center playing 38 games for the Iowa Wolves, Minnesota's G League affiliate, before playing under four minutes in a game against Utah on April 1.

      In April, Patton went under the knife in order to encouraging "encourage further healing" in his left foot and the fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot from the previous injury last summer.

      Patton, the No. 16 overall pick in 2017, joined the Timberwolves in a draft-night trade that brought star forward Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Butler, Thibodeau to meet about Wolves future
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, September 16, 2018

    Four-time NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler, whom the Minnesota Timberwolves acquired by trade with high expectations, is beginning the final season of his contract, and he and Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau have some things to talk about.

    • According to multiple reports, the two will be meeting Monday to cover some serious topics regarding the direction of the franchise.

      Thibodeau, also the club's president of basketball operations, is feeling pressure to keep Butler in the fold past this season along with 22-year-old center Karl-Anthony Towns.

      Butler, however, has some issues with the 7-foot Towns, and in July he was quoted by the Chicago Sun-Times as saying he is "all but fed up with the nonchalant attitude of his younger teammates," a not-so-veiled reference to Towns, and that he has "no intentions" of signing a longer-term deal with the Timberwolves.

      Thibodeau has come under scrutiny from club owner Glen Taylor, ESPN reported, saying Taylor was having regrets about turning over control of the basketball operations to Thibodeau, who is in Year 3 of his own five-year contract.

      Thibodeau dealt Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and a No. 7 overall pick to Chicago to get Butler in June 2017.

      In six seasons with the Bulls and one in Minnesota, Butler has career averages of 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 32.8 minutes per game.

      --Field Level Media

  • Raptors' Leonard works out with Kobe
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 14, 2018

    Is Kawhi Leonard possibly receiving some personalized instruction heading into the NBA season -- from Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant?

    • Leonard, who has been trying to get in playing all shape all summer before starting the season with the Toronto Raptors, was spotted with Bryant -- and several members of the Raptors organization -- during one recent workout. The evidence was shared in a group photo on Raptors assistant Phil Handy's Instagram account.

      What does it mean, though, for the veteran forward and 2014 NBA Finals MVP who played seven seasons with the San Antonio Spurs before getting traded to Toronto in July, along with Danny Green, for DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl?

      Maybe nothing, but rumors that Leonard might eventually wind up with the Lakers continue to persist. He also worked out at UCLA in August with LeBron James.

      Handy was a Lakers assistant coach during Bryant's reign and a Cleveland Cavaliers assistant before James moved on.

      Leonard, who only played in nine games with the Spurs after he injured his quadriceps before the 2017-18 season, also has purchased a house in the Toronto area, leading some to believe the Raptors will do what they can to sign the All-Star to an extension.

      "We are who we are. We are going to be prepared, we are going to make things as smooth ... I think you want to be genuine, you want to be real," Raptors president Masai Ujiri recently said on Adrian Wojnarowski's podcast regarding what might work in Toronto's favor. "You know, this is who we are. We might not be the best ones in weather, but we might be the best ones in many other places: the diversity, the city, the uniqueness of a place like [Toronto], fans, the atmosphere. ... And then you have to put the basketball together.

      "Maybe before, the basketball wasn't a part of it, but I know there's a part of him that I'm sure thinks this team has a chance. With his teammates and seeing how hard these guys are working. We have to show who we are. There is no fake sales job here -- this is what it is."

      --Field Level Media

  • Heat star Wade still unsure about new season
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 14, 2018

    Will he or won't he?

    • The Miami Heat still do not know if star shooting guard Dwyane Wade will play a 16th season for the team next season. The reason? Wade himself continues to say he has not made up his mind.

      While speaking to reporters Thursday about the upcoming opening of a Miami restaurant, the 12-time All-Star was asked about his plans for the 2018-19 season with Heat training camp scheduled to begin in less than two weeks. And once again, Wade could not confirm a final decision.

      "I wish I had an answer for you. I don't have it today," Wade said to reporters, per The Sun-Sentinel.

      One thing both he and the team are aware of is that Wade will either retire or play for the Heat next season.

      "I always said that when I got traded back to Miami, that was it for me," Wade said. "I said it in the first interview and I don't want to pack my bags to go nowhere. My family's here, my kids are growing, so definitely if I'm not wearing a Miami Heat jersey next year, I'll be wearing it under one of my sweaters or jackets."

      Wade was reportedly offered a three-year, $25 million contract in July to play for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls of the Chinese Basketball Association, which would have made him the highest-paid player in China. But Wade, 36, says he isn't considering joining the CBA or any other team other than Miami.

      The Heat have 19 players on their training camp roster, leaving one spot open for Wade. His longtime teammate Udonis Haslem, who joined the Heat along with Wade in 2003, re-signed with the team last week for the $2.4 million veteran minimum.

      Because Wade left the team as a free agent when he joined the Chicago Bulls before the 2016-17 season, the Heat no longer have his "Larry Bird rights" and are restricted in how much the salary cap-strapped team can pay him. The Heat can offer Wade either a $2.4 million veteran-minimum salary for 2018-19 or the team's mid-level exception for $5.3 million.

      --Field Level Media

  • Celtics F Hayward: 'My goal is to help us get that banner'
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 13, 2018

    Gordon Hayward said Thursday he's ready for his Boston Celtics debut, take two.

    • Hayward said he's recovered and expects to be on the floor when the Celtics open the regular season against the Philadelphia 76ers on Oct. 16. His 2017-18 season lasted just five minutes, ended by a gruesome leg injury.

      "I'm just excited to be out there," Hayward, 28, told reporters at the Auerbach Center on Thursday afternoon. "It's been so much fun to be able to play again and play with my teammates. These past few weeks and the next probably month or so will be good to get back into the game."

      Hayward said his recovery and rehabilitation was "the most difficult thing" he's had to do. Now, however, he said he has been playing full-court, 5-on-5 games for two weeks with "pretty much no restrictions."

      He said he isn't 100 percent in terms of basketball ability but is getting there.

      "The last step for me, as far as from a physical standpoint, is just the little explosion, that little last juice [and] bounce that you get," he said. "That's going to take maybe the longest time, but like I said, for the most part, I feel very good."

      Hayward said that in his return to 5-on-5 play, he hasn't been afraid to cut or jump. He's looking to regain his timing and rhythm, and he is eager to regain the groove with his teammates. And once the season starts, he doesn't care if he's contributing as a starter or by coming off the bench.

      "It's not something I'm worried about at all," Hayward said. "We're worried about winning and putting another banner up. ... We have so much depth, we have so much talent, it doesn't matter who starts for me. My goal is to help us get that banner."

      Without Hayward, Boston finished 55-27, good for second place in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics had a 2-0 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals, but squandered it and lost the series in seven games.

      Hayward played seven seasons in Utah before signing a four-year, $128 million contract with Boston in July 2017. With Utah, he had career averages of 15.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 31.3 minutes per game.

      --Field Level Media

  • Celtics G Bird pleads not guilty to assault, other charges
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 13, 2018

    Boston Celtics guard Jabari Bird entered a not guilty plea on Thursday to charges of domestic assault, strangulation and kidnapping.

    • He was arrested Sept. 7 after he allegedly assaulted a woman, identified in court as a girlfriend, in Brighton, Mass. Bail was set at $50,000 cash.

      Bird also was ordered to stay away from the woman and witnesses and to abstain from drugs and alcohol.

      Prosecutors said in court Thursday that the woman reported that Bird, 24, threw her against a wall during an argument at his home. Over the course of four hours, he assaulted her at least a dozen times, including numerous acts of strangulation, prosecutors said at his arraignment.

      The woman told police that Bird would strangle her until she fell "limp" and that once she caught her breath, he would begin his attack again. She also said Bird kicked her in the stomach, dragged her as she tried to escape and closed her in a bathroom.

      Eventually, she told police, she was able to leave the residence after Bird had "seizure-like" symptoms and passed out.

      The Celtics issued a statement Thursday.

      "Most importantly, our thoughts are with the victim of this incident. The Celtics organization deplores domestic violence of any kind, and we are deeply disturbed by the allegations against Jabari Bird," the Celtics said. "Pursuant to Domestic Violence Policy in the NBA's labor agreement, matters of this kind are handled by the League Office, not the team, and so the Celtics will be working with both the league and local authorities to assist in their ongoing investigations. The team will have no further comment at this time."

      Bird is a former McDonald's All-American and played college basketball at Cal. The Celtics selected him with the 56th pick of the 2017 draft. He spent his rookie season on a two-way contract and in July signed a two-year deal, with the first year fully guaranteed at $1.35 million.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA notebook: OKC's Westbrook has knee surgery
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 12, 2018

    Former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook could miss the first few games of the NBA season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, the Oklahoma City Thunder announced Wednesday.

    • The All-Star guard will be re-evaluated in four weeks, and he is expected to miss all of the preseason. The Thunder begin regular-season play Oct. 16 against the Golden State Warriors.

      The Thunder said Westbrook experienced stiffness and inflammation in his knee during individual workouts in the last week. He chose to have the surgery as a preemptive measure so that he didn't face knee issues throughout the season.

      Westbrook, who turns 30 in November, holds career averages of 23.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game in 748 games. He is a seven-time All-Star and won the 2016-17 league MVP award.

      --Legendary NBA broadcaster Ralph Lawler announced that his upcoming 40th season as the "Voice of the Clippers" will be his last.

      Lawler, 80, said he plans to retire at the conclusion of the 2018-19 season. He has called more than 3,100 games since joining the then-San Diego Clippers in the franchise's first year in California in 1978. He moved with the team to Los Angeles in 1984.

      The Clippers will celebrate "Ralph Lawler Night" at Staples Center for the last regular-season game on April 10 against the Utah Jazz.

      --Dirk Nowitzki said he sees a huge upside in No. 3 overall pick Luka Doncic after watching him in Dallas Mavericks scrimmages this week.

      Doncic, 19, did not suit up for summer league, but his work this week impressed Nowitzki, who knows a bit about entering the league as a young foreign star with high expectations.

      "He's been here now for a week, scrimmaged every day, works hard and I really like what I see," said Nowitzki, who was just six months older when he entered the NBA from Germany. "He's really incredible with the ball for a big guy, and he's a legit 6-8."

      --Field Level Media

  • Clips broadcaster Lawler to retire after season
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 12, 2018

    Legendary NBA broadcaster Ralph Lawler announced Wednesday that his upcoming 40th season as the "Voice of the Clippers" will be his last.

    • Lawler, 80, said he plans to retire at the conclusion of the 2018-19 season. He has called more than 3,100 games since joining the then-San Diego Clippers in the franchise's first year in California in 1978. He moved with the team to Los Angeles in 1984.

      "My wife Jo and I have grappled with this decision annually for 15 years," Lawler said in a statement. "I now realize that I have spent half of my 80 years as a part of this team. The Clippers are a big part of my life's DNA. Yet it is important that we have some 'life after basketball.'"

      Clippers supporters and fans around the NBA are familiar with Lawler's many catchphrases, including "Bingo!" after a made 3-pointer and his signature line, "Oh, me. Oh, my."

      His broadcasting colleagues frequently reference "Lawler's Law," which states that the team that reaches 100 points first usually wins the game.

      The Clippers will celebrate "Ralph Lawler Night" at Staples Center for the last regular-season game on April 10 against the Utah Jazz. The first 10,000 fans will receive Lawler bobbleheads.

      "Ralph Lawler isn't just the voice of the team. He has been the heart and soul of the Clippers," said team chairman Steve Ballmer in a statement. "His will be large shoes to fill."

      --Field Level Media

  • OKC's Westbrook has knee surgery, could miss opener
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 12, 2018

    Former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook could miss the first few games of the NBA season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on his right knee, the Oklahoma City Thunder announced Wednesday.

    • The All-Star guard will be re-evaluated in four weeks, and he is expected to miss all of the preseason. The Thunder begins regular-season play Oct. 16 against the Golden State Warriors.

      The Thunder said Westbrook experienced stiffness and inflammation in his knee during individual workouts in the last week. He chose to have the surgery as a pre-emptive measure so that he didn't face knee issues throughout the season.

      Training camp opens Sept. 25.

      Westbrook first faced knee problems in 2013, when he suffered a meniscus tear in his right knee during the playoffs. He underwent three knee surgeries over a nine-month period.

      Westbrook, who turns 30 in November, holds career averages of 23.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game in 748 games. He is a seven-time All-Star and won the 2016-17 league MVP award.

      --Field Level Media

  • Nowitzki impressed with Doncic after scrimmages
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 12, 2018

    Dirk Nowitzki said he sees a huge upside in No. 3 overall pick Luka Doncic after watching him in Dallas Mavericks scrimmages this week.

    • Doncic, 19, did not suit up for summer league but his work this week impressed Nowitzki, who knows a bit about entering the league as a young foreign star with high expectations.

      "He's been here now for a week, scrimmaged every day, works hard and I really like what I see," said Nowitzki, who was just six months older when he entered the NBA from Germany. "He's really incredible with the ball for a big guy, and he's a legit 6-8.

      "He's unbelievable in the pick-and-roll. He does, like, over-the-head and between-the-leg passes to cutters," said Nowitzki, who made his comments Tuesday in a radio interview on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas "The savviness he brings, the court vision -- I couldn't believe what I saw for a 19-, 20-year-old. Unbelievable. He's a good shooter when he has time. I think he's going to be great for us for a long, long time."

      The Mavericks acquired Doncic -- whom team owner Mark Cuban said was the top prospect on their board and "it wasn't even close" -- from the Atlanta Hawks for the rights to fifth overall pick Trae Young and a future first-round pick.

      Doncic, who signed his rookie deal in July, will make a bit more than $5.4 million in 2018-19. Last year's third overall pick, Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, signed a four-year, $30 million deal with club options in the third and fourth seasons.

      Nowitzki signed on for a 21st season this summer and will make $5 million in 2018-19.

      Doncic helped lead Real Madrid to the Liga ACB championship and EuroLeague title last season. The latter competition ended less than a week before the NBA draft on June 21. Between all of his commitments to teams in Europe, Doncic has appeared in more than 150 games over the past two seasons.

      Doncic will wear No. 77 for the Mavericks, a number he wore for the Slovenian national team. He wore No. 7 with Real Madrid.

      --Field Level Media

  • Heat finalize deal to bring back Haslem
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 10, 2018

    The Miami Heat made it official Monday night, bringing back three-time NBA champion and 15-year veteran Udonis Haslem on a one-year deal.

    • Haslem, 38, reportedly will play for the veteran's minimum. He has spent his entire career in Miami since joining the team undrafted out of Florida in 2003.

      "It's great to have our captain back," Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement. "We're looking forward to having UD back for his 16th season with the Heat."

      Haslem played just 72 minutes in 14 games last season, totaling eight points, 10 rebounds and five assists. He has averaged 7.7 points and 6.8 rebounds in his career.

      Miami went 44-38 last season to earn the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Heat were eliminated by the Philadelphia 76ers in five games in the first round.

      --Field Level Media

  • Deng signs one-year deal with Wolves
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 10, 2018

    Veteran forward Luol Deng has signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 2018-19 season, the team announced Monday.

    • The two-time All-Star met Monday with Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau, who doubles as president of basketball operations, and hammered out a deal. Terms were not released per team policy, but The Athletic reported the one-year deal is worth $2.4 million, pending the results of a physical.

      Deng, 33, became a free agent on Sept. 1 when he agreed to a buyout with the Los Angeles Lakers. The 14-year veteran appeared in only one game with the Lakers last season and was looking for the chance to play meaningful minutes elsewhere in 2018-19.

      Deng played for Thibodeau for parts of four seasons in Chicago from 2010-14, making the All-Star team in 2011-12 and 2012-13. He also made the NBA All-Defensive second team in 2011-12. Deng is also reunited with former Bulls teammates Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson.

      The No. 7 pick in the 2004 NBA Draft out of Duke, Deng has played for the Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and the Lakers. He has averaged 15.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists for his career in 880 regular-season games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Suns' Booker undergoes hand surgery
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 10, 2018

    Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker underwent surgery on his right hand on Monday and will need approximately six weeks of recovery time, the team announced.

    • Booker, who turns 22 next month, signed a five-year, $158 million contract extension this summer.

      The Suns open training camp on Sept. 25 at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. Phoenix opens the regular season on Oct. 17 at home against the Dallas Mavericks.

      The operation successfully repaired Booker's fifth metacarpophalangeal joint, according to a team statement. Surgery was performed by Dr. Steven Shin at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles.

      According to a report by the Phoenix radio station 98.7 FM Arizona, the original injury occurred during a practice on March 14 when Booker jammed his hand, a day before he shot 3-for-18 in a loss to the Utah Jazz. For the remainder of the season, Booker was forced to wear a splint before he eventually missed the season's final 12 games.

      Booker has averaged more than 22 points per game in each of the past two seasons for Phoenix. The former Kentucky star produced a career-best 24.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game in his third NBA season in 2017-18.

      The Suns drafted him with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

      --Field Level Media

  • Hood on verge of returning to Cavaliers
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, September 9, 2018

    Rodney Hood is on the verge of returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers after agreeing to accept the team's one-year, $3.4 million qualifying offer, Cleveland.com reported on Sunday.

    • Hood, a restricted free agent, reportedly bypassed a multiyear deal worth about $7 million annually.

      Hood was hoping for a bigger payday, but the market was lukewarm after his poor playoff showing for the Cavaliers.

      The 6-foot-8 forward was in and out of the rotation while averaging just 5.4 points in 17 playoff games. He shot just 16.7 percent (4 of 24) from 3-point range.

      Perhaps worse, Hood refused to enter Game 4 of the second-round series against the Toronto Raptors when asked to sub in during the fourth quarter. He later apologized to his teammates and the organization.

      Hood was acquired by the Cavaliers in February and averaged 10.8 points in 21 games. He averaged 16.8 points in 39 games with the Utah Jazz prior to the trade.

      Hood, who turns 26 in October, has a 13.0 career scoring average over four seasons, and Cleveland hopes he's a player that might emerge with LeBron James gone and off to the Los Angeles Lakers.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA notebook: Celts' Jabari Bird could face multiple charges
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, September 8, 2018

    Boston Celtics guard Jabari Bird is expected to appear in court Monday after his arrest Friday night for an alleged domestic violence incident in Brighton, Mass., that could lead to multiple charges, including assault and battery, strangulation and kidnapping, according to Boston.com.

    • Bird is under police watch at a Boston-area hospital, according to the Boston Police Department on Saturday. The alleged victim, whose name was not released, is being treated at a separate hospital.

      "We are aware of the incident involving Jabari Bird and are taking it very seriously," according to a statement from the Celtics that was released Saturday. "We are actively gathering information and will reserve further comment at this time."

      Bird, 24, was a second-round pick by Boston in the 2017 NBA Draft, but spent most of his season with the Maine Red Claws, Boston's G-League affiliate. He signed a two-year contract with the Celtics this summer.

      --Former University of North Carolina swingman P.J. Hairston, who also played two seasons in the NBA, is wanted in North Carolina for an alleged assault on a female.

      The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., reported that the Guilford County Sheriff's Office said Hairston, 25, has an outstanding warrant for assault, interfering with emergency communications and injury to personal property.

      Hairston, who is believed to live in Oak Ridge, N.C., also is wanted in Vance County for driving with a revoked license, and he has a pending domestic violence protective order, officials said.

      --The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed free agent guard David Nwaba, general manager Kobe Altman announced, in a deal reported to be in the works more than a month ago, but was recently finalized.

      Nwaba also discussed potential deals with the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers and other teams. Previously a restricted free agent, Nwaba's $1.7 million qualifying offer was pulled by the Bulls in mid-July, making him an unrestricted free agent.

      The 25-year-old averaged 7.9 points and 4.7 rebounds in 23.5 minutes per game across 70 appearances (21 starts) last season with the Bulls, who claimed him off waivers in July 2017.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former NBA player Hairston wanted on assault charge
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, September 8, 2018

    Former NBA and University of North Carolina swingman P.J. Hairston is wanted in North Carolina for an alleged assault on a female.

    • The News & Observer in Raleigh reported that the Guilford County Sheriff's Office said Hairston, 25, has an outstanding warrant for assault, interfering with emergency communications and injury to personal property.

      Hairston, who is believed to live in Oak Ridge, N.C., also is wanted in Vance County for driving with a revoked license, and he has a pending domestic violence protective order, officials said.

      His troubles with the law go back to June 2013, when he was arrested for possession of marijuana -- those charges later were dropped -- after the car he was riding in was pulled over in a traffic stop. Police also found a handgun and ammunition in the car, which was rented in the name of a convicted felon.

      He never played for UNC after that, and his college career was over after two seasons. He played in the NBA Development League and entered the NBA draft in 2014. Hairston was selected with the 26th overall pick by the Miami Heat and traded to the Charlotte Hornets.

      He played two seasons in the NBA, splitting time between Charlotte and Memphis, averaging 6.0 points and 2.4 rebounds in 111 career games.

      --Field Level Media