Tag: Nikola Vucevic

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets

Magic guarantee Dewayne Dedmon’s contract


The Magic have shuffled backup centers this summer – signing Jason Smith and signing-and-trading Kyle O’Quinn to the Knicks.

They’ll keep a  little stability behind Nikola Vucevic in Dewayne Dedmon.

Dedmon’s 2015-16 minimum salary was fully unguaranteed if not waived by Saturday. Orlando let that deadline pass, fully guaranteeing Dedmon’s salary, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders.

Dedmon is big (7-foot, 245 pounds), and he plays like it. He blocks shots, pulls in rebounds and fouls a ton. He’s underdeveloped offensively, but his size allows him to contribute.

He spent most of last season in the Magic’s rotation, even starting 15 games. Orlando should aim for Dedmon to improve or for him to see a smaller role this year.

The window for Dedmon to hit the next level is slowly closing, though it’s more open than it would be for the typical player who turns 26 next week. Dedmon didn’t begin playing basketball until late in high school, indicating he could blossom a little later, too.

He has already proven himself worth a minimum contract to provide center depth. The chance he improves made this an easy call for the Magic.

Hakeem Olajuwon and Dikembe Mutombo make surprise appearances for Team Africa in NBA exhibition game (VIDEO)

Houston Rockets Championship Anniversary Luncheon

A contingent of current and former NBA players have spent the past week in Johannesburg, South Africa as part of the league’s annual Basketball Without Borders clinic. But this year’s edition of the event is special in that it includes the NBA’s first-ever officially sanctioned exhibition game on the content of Africa. The game features a team of African NBA players including Luol Deng, Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo against “Team World,” which features the likes of Chris Paul, Bradley Beal, Marcus Smart and the Gasol brothers.

Fans in South Africa got an extra surprise during the game on Saturday: two of the most legendary African players in NBA history, and two of the most important ambassadors for the sport in Africa, suited up along with the current players. Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon and second all-time leading shot-blocker Dikembe Mutombo checked into the game in throwback Rockets and Nuggets jerseys, respectively:

Olajuwon scored on the Magic’s Nikola Vucevic using his patented “Dream Shake”:

And Mutombo got a stop against the Jazz’ Trey Burke:

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said this week that it’s only a matter of time until the NBA plays a regular-season game in Africa. This exhibition game is just the first step in that direction. But it was cool to see two legends in action alongside current players helping to grow the sport all over the world.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon undergoes surgery for fractured jaw

Denver Nuggets v Orlando Magic

Aaron Gordon was the standout player of the Orlando Summer League a couple weeks back, averaging 21.7 points and 11.7 rebounds a game (both tops in the entire league). He also shot 50 percent from three.

However, his summer workouts have been put on hiatus for a few weeks after surgery to repair a fractured jaw, the team announced Friday. He is expected to be back and ready to play by the start of the NBA season, although no official timetable was announced.

How did it happen? From the official release:

Gordon, 19 and the second-youngest player in the NBA this past NBA season, was injured while visiting with family and horsing around with older brother, Drew. The native of San Jose, Calif. underwent surgery in California earlier this week.

Drew played part of last season with Philadephia.

Gordon is part of a promising young core that could make the Magic a team on the rise in the East next season. They have Elfrid Payton at the point, Victor Oladipo at the two, Tobias Harris at the three, Gordon at the four, and Nikola Vucevic at center, with guys like Channing Frye and Mario Hezonja off the bench. If Gordon can make the leap in the fall that he showed in the summer — and if he can stay healthy when around his family — he will be a big part of that future.

Gregg Popovich will coach Team Africa in exhibition against Team World featuring Gasol brothers

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Four

We already knew Luol Deng (Team Africa) and Chris Paul (Team World) would serve as captains in the NBA’s first exhibition game in Africa.

Who else will participate in that Aug. 1 contest in Johannesburg, South Africa?

NBA release:

Team Africa, comprised of players born in Africa and second-generation African players, will feature team captain and two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng (Miami Heat; Great Britain; born in South Sudan), Al-Farouq Aminu (Portland Trail Blazers; U.S.; parents from Nigeria), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks; Greece; parents from Nigeria), Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets; France; parent from Cameroon), Bismack Biyombo (Toronto Raptors; Democratic Republic of the Congo), Boris Diaw (San Antonio Spurs; France; parent from Senegal), Gorgui Dieng (Minnesota Timberwolves; Senegal), Festus Ezeli (Golden State Warriors; Nigeria), Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder; Congo)*, and Luc Mbah a Moute (Sacramento Kings; Cameroon).


Team World, comprised of players from the rest of the world, will feature team captain, NBPA President and eight-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers; U.S.), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards; U.S.), Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets; U.S.),Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies; Spain), Pau Gasol (Chicago Bulls; Spain), Jeff Green (Memphis Grizzlies; U.S.), Marcus Smart(Boston Celtics; U.S.), Evan Turner (Boston Celtics; U.S.) and Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic; Montenegro).

Five-time NBA Champion Gregg Popovich will coach Team Africa, with 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks and Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams serving as assistant coaches.  Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King and Toronto Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri are the Team Africa general managers, with Eric Waters (Washington Wizards) serving as the team’s athletic trainer.

Brooklyn Nets Coach Lionel Hollins will coach Team World, with Boston Celtics Coach Brad Stevens serving as assistant coach.  San Antonio Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford is the Team World general manager, while Keon Weise (Orlando Magic) will be the team’s athletic trainer.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will attend the game along with NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and NBA Africa Ambassador Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria).

There’s a good amount of talent on both teams and coaching staffs – which speaks to just how far basketball has come in Africa and how committed the NBA is to growing it further.

Exhibition games are always hit or miss, but I’m looking forward to watching this one.

Report: Lakers trying to trade for DeMarcus Cousins

Memphis Grizzlies v Sacramento Kings

Sacramento decision maker Vlade Divac has made it clear: He doesn’t want to trade DeMarcus Cousins. So stop asking, unless you’re offering Michael Jordan.

Yet, in the wake of Cousins’ frustrations with the constantly shifting plans of the Kings ownership, plus coach George Karl saying he never had an untradable player, the offers keep coming. Even though they are all long-shots. At best.

The latest long shot is from the Los Angeles Lakers, in a possible three-way deal with Orlando, as reported by Marc Stein at ESPN.

The Los Angeles Lakers have emerged as one of the most determined trade suitors for Sacramento Kings All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, according to league sources….

Sources say that the Lakers, Kings and Orlando Magic have had exploratory dialogue on a three-way Cousins trade that would land the 24-year-old in Los Angeles. All three teams hold top-six picks in Thursday’s NBA draft, and Orlando has a young top-flight center of its own in Nikola Vucevic, who could theoretically fill the Cousins void….

The Lakers would appear to have limited assets to get into the trade sweepstakes for Cousins — in the event Sacramento’s stance changes — beyond surrendering prized young big man Julius Randle and/or the No. 2 overall pick in Thursday’s draft.

How do you think Sacramento trading its best and most popular player by far to the hated Los Angeles Lakers would go over with an already frustrated fan base?

I can’t see this happening. For one thing, it’s going to take more than the Lakers’ No. 2 pick — which would be Duke’s big man Jahlil Okafor. No way the Lakers would give up Randle and the No. 2, but would the Lakers surrender Jordan Clarkson and the No. 2? It’s likely going to take at least that — and that may not be enough.

All that’s if you can get the Kings to change their minds. Which is unlikely at best.

The Lakers can poke around a little, but they are better off with a young nucleus of Clarkson, Randle and Okafor.

Okafor would be good with that, he told NBC’s Sports ProBasketballTalk on Monday that he did see a fit in Los Angeles. And he likes the idea of playing with Kobe Bryant.

“I think I can learn a ton,” Okafor said of playing with Bryant in what might be Kobe’s final season. “He’s been in the NBA a while, he came into the league early — I think he was younger than me when he came into the league — so I want to pick his brain and learn as much as I can….

“It’s all about he wants to win. So do I.”

That sounds like a good Lakers foundation.