13 Jan

DERRICK JONES JR. CHANGES THE HEAT

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There hasn’t been an invitation to this year’s Slam Dunk Contest yet, but Derrick Jones Jr.’s athleticism has earned him something else.

A spot in the Heat’s rotation.

After starting the season as a situational player, Jones has become a consistent part of Miami’s rotation because of his athleticism and versatility on both ends of the court. Entering Tuesday’s contest against the Bucks that kicks off a four-game trip for the Heat (21-20), the 6-foot-7 forward has played in 17 of the past 18 games.

Jones, a 21-year-old who went undrafted out of UNLV in 2016, has found a skill he can excel with the help of his leaping ability and persistence. Nicknamed “Airplane Mode” because of his high-flying game, Jones has turned himself into one of the NBA’s top offensive rebounders at his position.
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25 Sep

COACH CARLISLE HEAPS PRAISE ON RAY SPALDING

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Dallas Mavericks rookie center Ray Spalding may earn some minutes early on after hearing Coach Rick Carlisle talk up the rookie.

The Dallas Mavericks drafted Ray Spalding late in the second round. At pick 56, most figured he was ticketed for G-League this season. He would play it out on a two-way contract in hopes of impressing the organization for a long-term deal in the future.

The 21-year-old Spalding showed something special, though. He earned a four-year deal with the Mavs. Only this season is guaranteed according to Spotrac. That means Ray Spalding has to continue to prove himself every single day.

Mavericks Head Coach Rick Carlisle likes a lot of things about Spalding’s game. Coach Carlisle was asked about what earned him that four-year deal after the team’s first practice on Sept. 22, and he heaped a ton of praise on Ray Spalding.
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24 Sep

BULLS FINALIZE TRAINING CAMP ROSTER

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September 24, 2018 – The Chicago Bulls have signed free agents Kaiser Gates and JaKarr Sampson to round out their 2018-19 training camp roster. Per team policy, terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

Gates (6-8, 227) played in three games on the Bulls’ 2018 MGM Resorts NBA Summer League team, averaging 6.7 points per game. Prior to his Summer League experience, Gates played three seasons at Xavier (2015-18), appearing in in 97 games (22 starts). He finished his career with an average of 5.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Gates’ statistical averages improved in each season at Xavier, averaging 7.2 points, 4.6 rebounds per game and scoring in double figures in 11 games in his final season. As a junior in 2017-18, his .378 shooting percentage from behind the arc ranked second on the Big East-champion Musketeers.

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21 Sep

DERRICK JONES JR. HOPING FOR BREAKOUT SEASON

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On Heat roster with many of the same faces, ‘Airplane Mode’ is working to show something new.

There aren’t too many unknowns when it comes to the Miami Heat’s roster.

After all, 14 players are returning from last season. But one player on the team who does have some unknowns surrounding his game is Derrick Jones Jr.

Jones, a 6-foot-7 and 200-pound wing player, has appeared in 52 regular-season games over his two-year NBA career after going undrafted out of UNLV in 2016. He possesses elite athleticism, with a vertical leap that was once measured at 48 inches and earned him the runner-up spot in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game’s Slam Dunk Contest and the nickname “Airplane Mode.”
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14 Sep

KOBI SIMMONS SIGNS ONE-YEAR DEAL WITH CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

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Former Arizona Wildcats guard Kobi Simmons is signing a one-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The dollar amount has not been reported, but it is likely a minimum contract.

Simmons spent the 2017-18 season on a two-way contact with the Memphis Grizzlies after going undrafted, and was waived by the team in August, despite a decent showing in Summer League.

The Cavaliers have reached four straight NBA Finals, but are in rebuilding mode after losing LeBron James to the Lakers, so Simmons has a legitimate chance to earn a spot in their rotation. But there is no guarantee he even makes the opening night roster, so he will need to have a strong showing in training camp and the preseason.
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13 Sep

DENG ADEL SET TO JOIN TORONTO RAPTORS

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Australian swingman Deng Adel is heading north to the NBA’s Toronto Raptors.

The 201cm tall, 21-year-old Adel has agreed to a partially guaranteed contract with the Raptors, The Athletic reported on Thursday.

Adel, a star at the University of Louisville before going undrafted at this year’s NBA Draft, appeared set to join the Minnesota Timberwolves after signing a training camp deal.

The Sudan-born, Melbourne-raised shooting guard who also plays as small forward also played with the Houston Rockets in the NBA Summer League in July.
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06 Sep

TERRY ROZIER FOCUSES ON THE UPCOMING SEASON

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GROTON — Celtics point guard Terry Rozier has been reconnecting with his teammates in recent days, and he has been glad to see that forward Gordon Hayward and point guard Kyrie Irving have recovered so well from their season-ending injuries.

Irving’s return is important for the Celtics, and it will also have a direct effect on Rozier, who stepped in admirably for the All-Star last March and then had a stirring playoff run in which he averaged 16.5 points, 5.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game, helping the Celtics to the cusp of the NBA Finals.

With Irving back, Rozier will resume his secondary role as his backup, despite proving that he is capable of quite a bit more. But that does not bother the fourth-year guard.
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02 Jul

HORNETS SIGN J.P. MACURA TO A TWO-WAY CONTRACT

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July 2, 2018 – Charlotte Hornets President of Basketball Operations & General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced today the team has signed guard J.P. Macura to a two-way contract. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Macura, an undrafted free agent from Xavier University, recorded averages of 12.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals in 34 games as a senior in 2017-18. The Lakeville, Minnesota, native ranked second on the squad in scoring and assists and third in rebounds per game as a senior. He ranked sixth in the Big East in steals, 11th in free-throw percentage (.821) and 14th in assists. Macura finished his college career ranked ninth on Xavier’s all-time leaderboard in free-throw percentage (.798), tenth in steals (166) and 19th in scoring (1,491).
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01 Jul

HEAT SIGNS DERRICK JONES JR.

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MIAMI, July 1 – The Miami HEAT announced today that they have signed forward/guard Derrick Jones Jr. As per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Jones Jr., who was originally signed to a two-way contract by the HEAT on December 31, 2017, appeared in 14 games (eight starts) with Miami last season and averaged 3.7 points and 2.4 rebounds in 15.2 minutes of action. He spent 13 games with the HEAT’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, averaging 19.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.69 blocks, 1.46 steals and 29.1 minutes while shooting 51.2 percent from the field. Prior to signing a two-way contract with Miami, Jones Jr. spent time with the Phoenix Suns and their G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns, earlier in the season where he totaled nine points, four rebounds, four blocks, three assists, a steal in 33 minutes of action during six games with Phoenix and averaged 15.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.81 blocks, 1.8 assists, 1.13 steals and 28.9 minutes in 16 games with Northern Arizona.
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29 Jun

RAY SPALDING IS HAPPY FOR THE OPPORTUNITY WITH THE MAVS AND READY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT

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Just a day after being drafted by the Dallas Mavericks, I connected with Ray Spalding’s camp and was set to chat with him over the phone on Friday morning. After missing his initial call, I noticed I had a voicemail upon arriving to the American Airlines Center.

And it was the voicemail that immediately impressed me.

It was one of the most polite, respectful voicemails I have ever received. And after speaking with him on the phone for a short period of time, it was clear that the well-mannered Spalding kid out of Louisville was excited for his shot in Dallas.
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