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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26 Jun

10 THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT MAVERICKS SECOND-ROUND PICK RAY SPALDING

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1) Ray Spalding was born on March 11, 1997 in Louisville, Kentucky.

2) Initially, the Mavericks had the 54th pick in the NBA draft. Then, they sent the 53rd pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for the 56th and 60th picks, the former of which was used on Spalding.

3) In his first two seasons at Louisville, Spalding averaged a little under six points and about five rebounds in under 20 minutes per game. His junior season is where he really blossomed. In 27.7 minutes per game, Spalding averaged 12.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game on 54 percent shooting from the floor. He also started trying to develop his shot, attempting 19 3-pointers in his final season. In his first two seasons, he only attempted six combined. However, a lot of his buckets came from above the rim.
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24 Jun

DIKEMBE DIXSON: THE FLAME IS GETTING HOT WITH THE MIAMI HEAT THIS SUMMER

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UIC Flame Dikembe Dixson looks to get hotter with the Miami Heat this summer.

A UIC Flame, Dikembe Dixson isn’t afraid to get hot.

The question is, how heated can he get with Miami this summer?

Despite not trading for a 2018 NBA Draft pick on Thursday night, the Miami Heat front office is getting ready to feast its eyes on some new talent. With 2018 Summer League play starting up on July 2, another batch of undrafted talent will soon be pulling out all the stops to try and lock in a professional contract.
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22 Jun

CHICAGO BULLS ADD KAISER GATES TO SUMMER LEAGUE TEAM

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Another basketball player from St. Francis High School in Alpharetta will get a shot in the NBA.

Kaiser Gates, a native of north Fulton County and 2015 graduate of the school, went unselected in the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night, but was signed by the Chicago Bulls on Friday and will join the team in the NBA’s Summer League.

Gates, 21, played his college ball at Xavier, but left a year early to pursue a career in pro basketball. The Musketeers made the NCAA Tournament each year that Gates was on the team. This past season, the 6-foot-8, 225 lbs. forward helped Xavier earn its first No. 1 seed in the tournament in school history.

Leading up to the draft, Gates worked out for the Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“I feel like I have a lot to prove,” Gates told BasketballInsiders.com. “I feel like a lot of the guys in the draft this year, I’m just as good if not better than (them), so I got to show that.”

In his junior season at Xavier, Gates averaged 7.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per-game while also shooting 37 percent from behind the arc.

At St. Francis — where he shared the court with current NBA players Kobi Simmons and Malik Beasley — he won two state titles and finished as the school’s all-time leading rebounder. In the 2017 NCAA Tournament, Gates and Simmons faced off in the Sweet 16. Simmons went undrafted last year, but signed with the Memphis Grizzlies. Beasley was a first-round selection by the Denver Nuggets in 2016.

Steve Kyler of BasketballInsiders.com tweeted that Gates is a “probable two-way candidate.” Players signed to two-way contracts are assigned to that team’s G-League affiliate, but can play in a limited number of NBA games if called up. Simmons played on one last season for the Grizzlies. The Bulls’ G-League affiliate plays in a Chicago suburb, under the name “Windy City Bulls.”

For now, Gates will have to prove himself at the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas. He’ll suit up for the Bulls on July 7 when they take on the Cavaliers, a game that airs at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN 2.

By Mitchell Northam, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

22 Jun

KNOX HAS ALWAYS BEEN HARD TO THE CORE

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“One thing that the Knicks fans can understand about the Knox family is that nobody works harder than the Knox’s,’’ Kevin Knox Sr. said. “And we’re a blue-collar family. We’ve always had a chip on our shoulder. I think that’s why Kevin’s always had success wherever he went.’’

The Knicks used the No. 9 pick in Thursday night’s NBA Draft on Knox, a versatile 6-foot-9 forward from Kentucky, who averaged 15.6 points. A lot has been made about his sweet stroke and ability to stretch defenses.

But that’s not what might separate Knox from the group of very talented forwards that was in this draft.

Call him Hard Knox.
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21 Jun

KNICKS PICK KEVIN KNOX AS THEIR DRAFT GAMBLE

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With injury-plagued Michael Porter Jr. dropping like a rock to No. 9 and fans at Barclays Center chanting his name, the Knicks wouldn’t take a chance on the Missouri forward.

But the Knicks still wound up taking something of a chance on draft night with Kentucky freshman Kevin Knox, the second-youngest player in the draft at age 18 and the youngest Knicks draft pick since the forgettable Maciej Lampe in 2003.

The 6-foot-9 Knox, like a late-closing thoroughbred from the state where he played college ball, beat out the more established Mikal Bridges of Villanova despite his up-and-down freshman year. Knox averaged 15.6 points and shot 44.5 percent — 34.1 percent from 3-point range — and struggled on defense.
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18 Jun

ANTONIO BLAKENEY MUST PLAY A ROLE IN THE CHICAGO BULLS FUTURE

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While much of the focus last season was on the results of the Jimmy Butler trade, the Chicago Bulls had their own star forming in the G-League.

Chicago Bulls two-way guard Antonio Blakeney was one of the pleasant surprises of the 2018 season. As a Tiger at LSU, Blakeney was teammates with the NBA’s best rookie (or, non-rookie) Ben Simmons.

Blakeney is no stranger to creating his own shot, given Simmons’ known shooting struggles. His 17.2/4.8/1.7 stat-line led many analysts to believe he would hear his name called at the Draft. When that didn’t happen, the Bulls pounced on a player they had likely aggressively scouted, and signed him to their Summer League squad. There, it was pure bliss.
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31 May

MANGOK MATHIANG’S UNREAL JOURNEY FROM SOUTH SUDAN TO AUSTRALIA TO THE NBA

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Greensboro, North Carolina — It’s early April in Charlotte, North Carolina, but the spring has yet to properly break. The NBA playoffs are still weeks away but for the Charlotte Hornets, the reality of an early end to their season has already hit home. There will be no post-season basketball for them in 2018, so this might be the best opportunity to play some of their prospects from the G-League to hopefully unearth a diamond in the rough for next season and beyond.

A Dwight Howard technical foul during a game against the Brooklyn Nets — his 16th of the 2017-18 campaign — results in a one-game ban the following night when the team is set to face the Memphis Grizzlies.

The stage has been set for Mangok Mathiang.
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18 May

HOW TERRY ROZIER AND HIS SISTER BONDED THROUGH STRUGGLE

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After Terry Rozier scored 21 points in the Celtics’ Feb. 11 loss to the Cavaliers, his older sister, Tre’Dasia Tucker, waited patiently for him in a hallway in the bowels of TD Garden. It was the first time she had seen him play in Boston, the first time she’d heard Celtics fans howl for him, and now she was excited for them to go to dinner and talk all about it.

Rozier drove his sister to one of his favorite restaurants, Strip by Strega, and when they arrived at the Back Bay steakhouse, Tucker asked her brother to grab her walker. She has cerebral palsy and is unable to walk without assistance, and even then she can usually travel just short distances.

But Rozier shook his head. He reminded her that she was with him now, and that nothing had changed from when they were teenagers.
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