Tag: Ronny Turiaf

Gorgui Dieng

Timberwolves rookie Gorgui Dieng tweaks ankle in scrimmage


Now is the time of year when basketball players — trying to get in shape before camp — start getting nagging injuries. Some of these are far more serious than others.

The Minnesota Timberwolves may feel like they are owed some good injury Karma after last season, but on Friday this happened to rookie center Gorgui Dieng.

Doesn’t sound too bad. Which is good news for the Timberwolves and Dieng (the No. 21 pick and a key backstop in Louisville’s national title run).

Dieng is going to be battling with Ronny Turiaf and Chris Johnson for the minutes behind Nikola Pekovic at the five. Dieng is the one of that group who really needs training camp, he told PBT at Summer League the speed and athleticism of the game was making him feel a little overwhelmed at first. And that was Summer League, not actual NBA basketball.

Expect to hear a lot of little things like this, even as camps open in just over a week. The key is to separate the serious from the minor, and this sounds kind of minor.

Ronny Turiaf happy to be on Rubio’s team after battling him in international competition

Ronny Turiaf,  Matt Barnes
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We’re almost out of the deep offseason woods, where in our effort to provide constant content, the mildly amusing quotes of fringe players make it into stories of their own during the slow summer months.

But we’re not there just yet.

Ronny Turiaf, now with the Minnesota Timberwolves, had an interesting remark when describing his excitement about playing alongside his new teammates.

From the Associated Press:

Ronny Turiaf has traded elbows with Nikola Pekovic in the post and chased Ricky Rubio around the court in international competition long enough.

The eight-year veteran said he’s happy to join the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he will serve as a mentor and an extra big man off the bench to help prepare the younger players for what everyone expects will be a run at the franchise’s first playoff berth since 2004.

“It’s a great thing for me to fit in. I’m tired of playing against Ricky in Spain. It’s good to be on his good side,” Turiaf said on Wednesday, drawing chuckles from the crowd. “I’m actually really being serious about it.”

Turiaf played for the French national team in the 2012 Olympics, and played for a team there professionally during the lockout in 2011. He’s played for six teams in his eight NBA seasons, most recently appearing in 65 games for the Clippers last year.

The first NBA training camps are set to open just nine days from now, so enjoy your Turiaf content while it lasts.

Report: Antawn Jamison agrees to one-year deal with Clippers

Antawn Jamison

UPDATE: 5:49 p.m.: It’s official now, as multiple reports confirm that Jamison has agreed to a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum salary (around $1.4 million) to play for the Clippers.

Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports that Memphis and Chicago were also interested in adding Jamison, but that his preference all along was to stay in Los Angeles.

“Just happy to be a Clipper and contend for a championship,” Jamison told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles.

Aug. 25, 11:00 p.m.: Antawn Jamison played for the Lakers last season, and like seemingly so many before him, he’s looking to now get on with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Matt Barnes, Ronny Turiaf, Caron Butler, and Lamar Odom were all Clippers last season who were with the Lakers at one time or another, and it appears that Jamison is ready to be added to that increasingly long list.

From Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles:

The Los Angeles Clippers are closing in on a deal with veteran forward Antawn Jamison, a source close to the situation told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Sunday.

Jamison, 37, played for the Los Angeles Lakers last season, averaging 9.4 points and 4.8 rebounds. He has been unabashed in his desire to play for a championship contender in the final years of a 15-year career in which he has averaged 18.8 points and 7.6 rebounds. He will likely surpass 20,000 career points early next season.

The acquisition of another veteran who can score to shore up the end of the Clippers’ bench is interesting, but not as interesting as what it may mean for another of the team’s reported free agent targets.

Odom was reportedly the preferred option over Jamison in ClipperLand, but with the recent allegations of drug use and family issues, Jamison is apparently the more stable option.

The story has gotten worse where Odom is concerned over the past day or so, and with no comment from him or anyone in his camp refuting the disturbing news, it isn’t a surprise that the Clippers are turning elsewhere to add a veteran presence to round out the roster.

American players stashed overseas, it doesn’t work out all that often

Raptors Heat Basketball

At least six players American college players drafted in the second round — including James Ennis of Miami and Colton Iverson of the Boston Celtics — and as many as 11 total could sign their first contract overseas.

It’s a full blown trend — for a long time NBA teams had drafted European players then stashed them overseas, but now they are trying it more with Americanized players. Some players prefer it. Ennis, for example got six figures to play in Australia, if he had gone to the D-League he would have made $25,000.

But does it work?

Not all that often. Then again second round player don’t pan out all that often in the NBA anyway (yes, there are exceptions, but look back to like 2010 and only a handful of the 30 guys drafted in the second round are still in the league, while 11 never played in the NBA at all).

Our man Scott Schroeder dug into the numbers over at SB Nation and found 27 American players drafted in the second round who signed their first contract overseas.

Thirteen of those 27 players are still plying their trades in Europe, with their rights still held by the NBA team that drafted them, while five others were released by their NBA teams after failing to earn a roster spot upon their return to the states. There are therefore just nine of 195 players (drafted in the second round in the past 10 years) that have succeeded with what this year’s draft-and-stash second rounders hope to accomplish.

Who are the success cases? Matt Bonner and Ronny Turiaf are the names you know. After that it’s guys like Kyle Singler, Jerome Jordan, Jarvis Varnado and Nick Calathes.

Looking at the evidence, it’s difficult to think that all of this year’s second-round picks currently signed overseas are going to someday have successful stateside returns. Players like Singler, Songaila, Turiaf and Bonner have shown it’s possible, however, to go overseas and return to the team that drafted you, thereby proving that the non-international draft and stash process can sometimes work out for the player.

Which is to say, what Iverson, Ennis and guys like Pierre Jackson (New Orleans), Mike Muscala (Atlanta Hawks), Erick Green (Denver Nuggets), and Alex Oriakhi (Phoenix Suns) are trying to do can be done. But I’d be careful betting on it working.

Report: Clippers nearing two-year deal with free agent big man Byron Mullens

Boston Celtics v Charlotte Bobcats

The Clippers have had a strong offseason, shoring up plenty of areas on the roster with a variety of moves intended to push the team to the league’s top tier, or at the very least, further than the first round of the playoffs.

The one area that L.A. is still sorely lacking in is frontcourt depth, however, and the team’s most recently reported acquisition will likely only help in that regard as a technicality, at best.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

Free-agent center Byron Mullens is nearing an agreement on a two-year contract with the Los Angeles Clippers, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The proposed deal, which would include a player option for the 2014-15 season, is on course to be finalized late Wednesday or Thursday, sources said.

The thinking here is that the Clippers need another big body to replace the departed Ronny Turiaf, and one that will hopefully play better than the woefully ineffective Ryan Hollins. But Mullens has yet to prove capable of filling that role through his first four NBA seasons.

Mullens is that elusive “stretch four” that teams with a strong presence at the point guard position are clamoring for, but while he has no trouble taking outside shots or even launching plenty from three-point distance, they tend to go in at a very low percentage.

Last season with the Bobcats, Mullens shot 208 three-pointers, and connected on just 66 of them, good for a mark of 31.7 percent. He also shot 33.3 percent 10-15 feet from the basket, and 33 percent when he was 16-23 feet out. Most troubling, given these numbers, is the fact that 7.5 of his 10.6 field goal attempts per game came shooting jumpers from one of these spots on the floor.

Mullens isn’t known for his abilities on the defensive end either, but the Clippers needed size more than anything else at this point. Despite his known shortcomings, Mullens averaged 10.6 points and 6.4 rebounds in 26.9 minutes per game in Charlotte last season.

It’s clear right now that L.A.’s biggest challenge will be holding onto the leads built by the starters. Because once you get past Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, you’re looking at Hollins and now Mullens to come in off the bench and spell the guys who can actually play.

In other words, expect the Clippers to play a lot of small ball with the second unit next season.