Jason Maxiell

Report: Veteran NBA big man Jason Maxiell signs deal with Chinese team

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Unable to get an NBA deal, veteran power forward Jason Maxiell has signed a deal with the Tianjin Steel of the Chinese Basketball Association, reports Eurobasket.com’s David Pick:

Maxiell, a former first-round pick, played 10 seasons in the NBA with the Pistons, Magic and Hornets. He averaged 3.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in Charlotte last season. It’s not that big a surprise that he didn’t have much interest among NBA teams — in 10 years in the league he’s never been much more than a fourth big. He’ll get more minutes and put up better numbers in China.

Nikola Mirotic throws down dunk on Jason Maxiell (VIDEO)


Bulls rookie Nikola Mirotic — the guy coming in second in the Rookie of the Year voting after the season — is known more as a floor spacing big who can knock down threes.

But he can dunk, too. Just as Jason Maxiell of the Hornets.

Mirotic had 14 points in the fourth quarter to help the Bulls hold off the Hornets and win 98-86 on the night Jimmy Butler returned to the Chicago lineup. The win tied Chicago with Toronto for the three seed in the East. Getting that three seed will mean an easier first round matchup, the Bulls are getting healthy at the right time to chase that seriously.

Al Jefferson MRI shows no structural damage, but he’ll still miss time

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Al Jefferson heard a pop, injuring the area between the top of his calf and bottom of his knee.

That sounded worrisome, he got good news – at least for the circumstances.

Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer:

The test came back as well as it could have under the circumstances: The MRI showed no structural damage after Jefferson hobbled out of Wednesday’s home loss to the Sacramento Kings.

While he will obviously miss some time before returning to the lineup, it doesn’t look like an extended period.

The Hornets will enter Friday’s home game against the Chicago Bulls without either of their starting big men – Jefferson and power forward Cody Zeller.

Zeller will miss a second straight game with a right shoulder sprain.

Clifford said the short-term plan will be to start Bismack Biyombo at center and Marvin Williams at power forward. Jason Maxiell will back up Biyombo at center.

The Hornets can get by without Jefferson. They can get by without Zeller. They might even get by without either.

But it’s hardly an ideal situation for a team a half game outside playoff position.

After playing the Bulls tonight, Charlotte goes on a five-game road trip – facing the Jazz, Clippers, Kings, Timberwolves and Bulls. This stretch will be crucial toward determining whether the Hornets return to the playoffs.

PBT NBA Draft Preview: The Orlando Magic


Picks: 4, 12

Needs: Everywhere. No doubt there are a few nice young players on the Magic roster — Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, and Kyle O’Quinn grew on me — but none of them is a franchise anchor piece.

There is no place on the court the Magic could not use a talent upgrade, they need to take the very best player available. Regardless of position.

Trade possibilities: There has been no serious talk of the Magic trying to move up into the top three picks and it’s likely the assets that Cleveland or the Bucks would want are the kind of longer-term projects the Bucks are not yet ready to give up on.

But in the wake of the Joel Embiid injury, a team may want to move up into the Magic’s slot and snag him. For example, it has been rumored that the Celtics still want Embiid and might trade up. If Orlando got Boston’s No. 6 pick and a sweetener (a young player or Boston’s 17th pick) that may do the job. It depends on if the Magic are in love with any players and if they think said player would be there at 6. Sources had told me a week ago that the Magic were big on Marcus Smart, but there have been more recent reports that feeling has cooled.

Orlando has trade assets, starting with Arron Afflalo, who apparently the Timberwolves covet and Denver would like to get as part of their package for the elite power forward (the Nuggets have the No. 11 pick). If not Denver a number of teams will have interest in Afflalo. Also on the roster that could draw interest are Andrew Nicholson, Jason Maxiell and maybe Ronnie Price. fa

Predictions: The Joel Embiid injury has blown the top of the draft wide open and put the Magic in a very interesting spot — Embiid very well might fall to them. By all reports they are gathering a lot of information on the foot injury and what that could mean. This is potentially serious, this is the same spot on the foot Bill Walton and Yao Ming suffered breaks and were never quite the same after.

But if he is there at No. 4, the Magic need to take him. Yes, it’s a risk, but this is a league where you need elite players to reach the highest levels of the game and Embiid has the potential to be one of those guys. There are reports the Magic liked Dante Exum (now not likely there at 4) and Marcus Smart (likely still on the board) but Embiid is the potential franchise changer and you need to roll that dice, even if you sit on him for a full year. Didn’t seem to slow Blake Griffin much.

At No. 12, it depends on who is still on the board. If Elfrid Payton falls that far they should snatch him up as the point guard of the future (I’m very high on him). Likewise if Aaron Gordon or a good shooter fell that that far they’d have to consider it (Gary Harris and Rodney Hood may well still be available and good fits). But there is more and more buzz they may take Bosnian Josuf Nurkic, a true center but one expected to be stashed overseas for a couple years to mature. Watch for that pick.

Magic’s Nikola Vucevic has concussion, likely out a week or more

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During the third quarter of the Magic’s blowout loss to the Clippers Monday night, Nikola Vucevic went up to try and block a Blake Griffin shot, ended up getting flipped and took a hard fall where he landed on his side and his head hit the floor.

Vucevic suffered a concussion and the Orlando big man is likely out at least a week, tweets John Denton of the Magic’s official Web site. Vucevic is now in the league’s concussion protocol, where he will have to pass a series of mental tests (based on a baseline from an earlier test he took) to show he is symptom free plus do that after undergoing a series of increasingly physically demanding tests.

Vucevic is averaging 13 points and 11 rebounds a game for the Magic, playing well on a struggling team and looking like one of the guys they could count on as a long-term part of the core being built there.

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $90,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Wednesday night’s games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $10,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Wednesday. Here’s the FanDuel link.

This is Vucevic’s second concussion in as many seasons. He missed five games last year.

With him out look for Andrew Nicholson, Glen Davis, Jason Maxiell, and even Tobias Harris to get a little extra run.