Kurt Helin

D-League’s Jaron Johnson was throwing it down at Summer League Friday

Leave a comment

Jaron Johnson had a rep around the D-League as a high flying dunker.

He averaged 18.2 points per game last season for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the D-League last season — the former Louisiana Tech star can do more than just dunk — and that earned him a showcase chance on the D-League Select team at Summer League in Las Vegas.

But he can still dunk, as he showed the Pelicans on Sunday.

Good news for Lakers’ Larry Nance Jr.: MRI shows only sprain, no fracture in hand

2 Comments

This is great news for the Lakers and young forward Larry Nance Jr.

An MRI Friday on his injured right hand showed only a sprain, no fracture as the Lakers had said was probable.

Nance averaged 5.5 points and 5 rebounds a game for the Lakers last season, showing promise as a rookie forward. At Summer League he averaged 8 points and 7 boards a game, shooting just 44.4 percent.

No physical break means not much time off from training and working on his game this summer, which is a good thing for a young player. Plus, no surgery, which is a great thing.

Cavaliers trade Sasha Kaun to Sixers (who waive him); Cleveland signs Chris “Birdman” Andersen

Getty Images
4 Comments

We had told you before that Chris Andersen was headed to the Cleveland Cavaliers to be a backup center.

But Friday a little salary cap maneuvering had to happen for the Cavaliers to pull that off. From Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Free agent Chris “Birdman” Andersen agreed to a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, league sources told The Vertical.

To clear the roster spot for Andersen, the Cavaliers sent center Sasha Kaun and cash to Philadelphia on Friday. The Sixers plan to waive Kaun, league sources said. Cleveland also gets a $1.33 million traded-player exception for the Kaun deal, a source said.

To put it simply, the Cavaliers sent the Sixers cash to use their cap space. The cash the Cavs sent to the Sixers certainly covers Kaun’s $1.3 million salary, plus a little. Also, the Sixers got the rights to Chukwudiebere Maduabum.

Andersen is a lower cost replacement for Timofey Mozgov (who was overpaid by the Lakers). The way Lue wants to play, smaller and faster, the backup center spot is going to get limited minutes anyway, and at this price Andersen will be a good fit.

76ers sign prospect Dario Saric two years after draft-night trade

11 Comments

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers have signed international prospect Dario Saric two years after they acquired his rights on a draft-night deal.

Saric was originally drafted by the Orlando Magic with the 12th overall pick of the 2014 NBA draft and he was quickly traded to the Sixers for Elfrid Payton.

“We are thrilled to finally announce the highly anticipated signing of Dario Saric to an NBA player contract with the Philadelphia 76ers,” said Sixers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo in a statement. “Our basketball team stands to benefit from both the on-court development and physical maturation of Dario as a professional player in Croatia and Turkey over the last few years.”

The 22-year-old Saric, a 6-foot-10, 243-pound power forward, played the last two seasons with the Turkish team Anadolu Efes. He was named MVP of the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament after averaging 14 points, 10 rebounds and two assists for his native Croatia.

Saric and fellow 2014 draft pick Joel Embiid have yet to play for the Sixers. Embiid should make his debut after missing the last two seasons with foot injuries.

Saric and Embiid join a roster that includes fellow lottery picks Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor and this year’s No. 1 overall pick, Ben Simmons.

Cavaliers’ coach Tyronn Lue defends Kevin Durant’s move to Warriors

Getty images
13 Comments

Deep down, Tyronn Lue has to be a little frustrated with Kevin Durant.

Lue just led the Cavaliers to an NBA title, his team beat the Golden State Warriors in seven games (twice on the road) and gained confidence that could carry over into next season. Then Durant goes and makes the Warriors much better. Lue’s life got harder. The Cavs aren’t in a position to make big roster moves to counter KD, they need to do it with internal improvement.

But when asked about it by Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, Lue put on his former player hat and backed Durant’s right to choose.

“People get mad about what he did, but to me, I’ve been a player and I’ve been a coach. When you’re free, that means you’re free. You can do what you want to do. He opted to go to Golden State. That’s his choice,” Lue said. “But they don’t say anything or get mad when guys get cut or they trade guys. Nothing is said about that. But as soon as a guy picks a team he wants to go to, it’s a big deal. I don’t understand it. I like KD. I support him in whatever he wants to do.”

Lue makes a point a lot of players make — guys have no control over where they get drafted, over trades, and players lower down on the food chain from Durant get cut and waived all season long. The one time players get control over their working environments is free agency, and they want to take advantage of it. Just like the rest of us would with our jobs.

Adam Silver may not like what it does to competitive balance. Fans may turn on the Warriors and see them as villains. But Durant had the hammer and made the choice he felt was best for him and most likely to get him rings — you can’t judge a player by how many rings he gets then question him making a move to improve his chances of getting one.

Guys who played — like Lue — get that.