Posts Tagged ‘Donatas Motiejunas’

Rockets Appear To Have Landed Asik





HANG TIME, Texas — Maybe it’s time the Rockets struck up a partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. You know the motto: “We always get our man.”

The Rockets appear set to go 2-for-2 in their pursuit of free agents, reeling in center Omer Asik from the Bulls just a week after landing point guard Jeremy Lin from the Knicks.

Chicago has until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday to match the Houston offer sheet, which is a similar $25.1 million bookend to the deal they gave Lin. But it seems the Bulls have already made their decision, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

And just as the Rockets spent that Saturday lockup up a replacement, the Bulls agreed Saturday with a player who could fill in for Asik.

“The Knicks signaled their intention to let Lin go when they reached a sign-and-trade agreement with Raymond Felton. The Bulls appear ready to sign center Nazr Mohammed to replace Asik, with Mohammed indicating via Twitter he is leaving the Thunder.

The Rockets had reached agreement with Asik in the first full day of free agency after meeting with him as soon as the free agency recruiting period began at midnight July 1. They tried to trade for Asik, a stellar defensive player off the Bulls’ bench, the past two seasons. He averaged 3.1 points and 5.4 rebounds in 14.7 minutes per game last season.

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Selby, Lillard Named Co-MVPs

By Drew Packham, NBA.com

LAS VEGAS — Memphis guard Josh Selby and Portland point guard Damian Lillard were named co-MVPs of the Las Vegas Summer League on Sunday.

Selby, the Grizzlies’ second-year guard out of Kansas, led all players in scoring at 27.5 points per game as Memphis went 2-2 entering its final game Sunday. Selby shot 59.3 percent from the floor — including 70.6 percent on 3-pointers. Selby made at least five 3-pointers in each game, talling 24 in the four games (24-for-34). Selby was also active defensively, averaging 2.5 steals.

Lillard, whom the Blazers took sixth overall in the 2012 Draft, averaged 26.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.6 assists in four games. Lillard shots 43.8 percent from the floor, highlighted by a 31-point, seven-assist performance in Thursday’s 84-78 win over Atlanta. Lillard finished second in scoring (first among rookies) and sixth in assists (third among rookies).

All-Summer League Team:
Josh Selby – Memphis Grizzlies
Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers
Malcolm Thomas – Chicago Bulls
Bradley Beal – Washington Wizards
Tobias Harris – Milwaukee Bucks
John Henson – Milwaukee Bucks
Jeremy Lamb – Houston Rockets
Dominique Jones – Dallas Mavericks
Cory Joseph – San Antonio Spurs
Jimmy Butler – Chicago Bulls
Kemba Walker – Charlotte Bobcats
Donatas Motiejunas – Houston Rockets
Jae Crowder – Dallas Mavericks

Rockets Rookies Off To Hot Start




By Drew Packham, NBA.com

LAS VEGAS — If it’s not one Rockets rookie, it’s another.

Houston has a plethora of first-year players trying to break trough in Las Vegas.

So far, they’re all making their cases well.

Three Rockets are among the top 13 rookies in scoring through four days of action, which must make management happy as they try to take the franchise into a new era which potentially includes the addition of Dwight Howard. With the young players excelling, the pieces must look more and more enticing to Orlando, if Houston does decide to go that route.

  • No. 12 pick Jeremy Lamb is proving to be an even better scorer and slasher than advertised — and holds a top spot in the most recent Rookie Ladder — with a 20.3 point averaged on 51 percent shooting.
  • No. 18 pick Terrence Jones out of Kentucky has been a beast, averaging 16.7 points and 6.7 rebounds.
  • Houston’s Draft night pickup from 2011, Donatas Motiejunas, is proving to be quite the asset as well. Motiejunas has been up and down in the three games, but is averaging 15 points and 6.3 rebounds.
  • No. 16 pick Royce White, known for his versatility, nearly notched a triple-double in Monday’s victory over the Kings. White scored 11 points to go with 10 rebounds and seven assists in his best game of the summer.

White says it’s a quick learning process as he tries to adjust to the new level.

“It’s a different pace, a different length,” White said. “But it’s still based on the same principles, the same fundamentals. The coaches are just telling us to play hard and have fun. Sometimes I get too caught up with wanting to do well and the team doing well and we just need to have fun.”

When they’re playing like this, there’s plenty of fun to go around.


Las Vegas Summer League: Day 1 Recap

By Drew Packham, NBA.com



The first day of Summer League action in Las Vegas closed out a marathon day of hoops (Just ask Lang Whitaker, who was a trooper  and blogged the whole thing for NBA.com). We got our first look at several lottery picks, including Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who had 18 points, eight rebounds and four steals to help the Bobcats blow out the Kings 121-87 in the nightcap. Kidd-Gilchrist and Kemba Walker was an animated backcourt for the Bobcats, bringing a lot of energy, laughing and clapping throughout the game. (This is what winning feels like, Kemba.)

Rookie of the day: Donatas Motiejunas, Rockets. The Rockets’ 2011 draft night acquisition scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds in his first action with the team. Motiejunas was aggressive and showed off his shooting touch, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers.

Non-rookie of the day: Klay Thompson, who came on in the second half of the season, scored 24 points to lead Golden State’s 90-50  dismantling of the Lakers. The second-year guard out of Washington State was 6-for-8 on 3-pointers and showed why the Warriors were willing to deal Monta Ellis to the Bucks last season.

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Motiejunas Has Eye-Opening Debut

By Drew Packham, NBA.com



LAS VEGAS — Rockets rookie Donatas Motiejunas was happy, but not satisfied, with his eye-opening Summer League debut.

Houston’s 7-foot big man scored 25 points, grabbed nine rebounds and showed he’s not only a big man who can run the floor, but one that can knock down the outside shot as well. Motiejunas hit both 3-pointers he took and showed no hesitation showing off his smooth lefty stroke.

“If people don’t know, I will show them what I can do,” Motiejunas said. “I’ve been doing it in Euroleague, so it’s nothing new.”

Along with the range, the 21-year-old ran the floor hard, showing athleticism and aggressiveness, which the coaches love, but want him to rein in.

“He needs to become efficient,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said of the rookie, who was 11-for-13 from the floor. “A lot of times these young guys mistake activity for achievement. Sometimes you can get a little bit out of control, a little bit wild, but that’s all part of the growing process. You don’t have to worry about him — he’ll go hard.”

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Report: Knicks Land Camby In Sign-And-Trade Deal

The New York Knicks continued to spend for quality depth before the end of the July Moratorium, agreeing to terms with veteran center Marcus Camby on a three-year, $13 million contract Monday in a sign-and-trade deal with Houston that will send Toney Douglas, Josh Harrelson and Jerome Jordan to the Rockets, along with two future second-round picks.

The 38-year-old Camby is still a productive player, averaging 7.1 points and 9.3 rebounds last season in 24 minutes a night for the Rockets after being traded to Houston from Portland for Jonny Flynn and Hasheem Thabeet. In New York he’ll be the backup to starter Tyson Chandler at center and spot Amar’e Stoudemire at power forward. It will be Camby’s second tour of duty in New York, after playing for the Knicks from 1998-2002.

His deal, according to a source, is only partially guaranteed for the third season, meaning it will either be a two-year deal for $10 million or revert to the three-year, $13 million deal if New York decides to keep him.

Douglas saw significant playing time as a rookie, but injuries and the electric play of Jeremy Lin consigned him to a deep reserve role last season. But in Houston, Douglas will be one of the few point guards on the roster. The Rockets have committed to giving Lin a four-year deal worth $28 million when the free-agent moratorium ends on July 11, but the Knicks are almost certain to match.

New York also agreed to terms last week with Jason Kidd to be Lin’s backup next season. Houston lost free agent Goran Dragic to the Suns in a free-agent deal and opted to trade last season’s starter at the beginning of the year, Kyle Lowry, to Toronto for a conditional Lottery pick.

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Some Thoughts On The End of Chicago’s Pre-Draft Camp

CHICAGO – Downtown to O’Hare at 6:15 p.m. on a Friday? No problem.

So, quickly, a few thoughts as the two-day pre-draft camp ends at the University of Illinois Chicago…

  • Dion Waiterswithdrew from the combine after the first day, a move that essentially confirms unusually candid statements from at least one opposing executive that the Syracuse shooting guard has received a draft promise and will be cancelling future workouts.It is not known which team (apparently) gave Waiters the completely unenforceable verbal agreement in exchange for the completely unenforceable verbal agreement to call off whatever showcases had been scheduled. But with Waiters bound for the lottery anyway and climbing the board as June 28 approaches, logic dictates it would be someone in the 5-to-10 range. He would be foolish to give up the chance to reach mid-lottery for a promise from a team in double digits.Raptors president Bryan Colangelo told the Toronto Star that “His agent has told me there’s a promise to another team,” which is more public candor than normal from an executive or agent on the topic. And as Colangelo noted as well, Toronto, or anyone could still take Waiters. Just as the team that gave Waiters the promise could conveniently forget the handshake arrangement on draft night if another player is unexpectedly available.
  • There is a good chance the Trail Blazers will wait until after the draft to hire a new coach or remove the interim tag from Kaleb Canales.Indications are that general manager Neil Olshey, hired Monday, is more open to keep both lottery picks and build for the future in contrast to the previous plan that seemed to lean toward trading No. 6 and/or No. 11 for immediate help in win-now mode around LaMarcus Aldridge. The new Portland management team, wanting the roster to help dictate the coach, is more likely to see the direction of the team before deciding whether to go with an assistant in line for a first job or an experienced hand.

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Eurocamp: Day 3

TREVISO, Italy – I came, I saw, I worked nonstop and absolutely, positively did not enjoy the food and beverage of the land or dine al fresco along a charming piazza on a perfectly breezy evening or have nightcaps of tiramisu and gelato. Although it would be OK if I did since one place was recommended by a general manager, so that counts as work.

There were productive days all around. The adidas Eurocamp that ended Monday was as successful as could be expected for the 30 teams represented at the largest annual international pre-Draft gathering, considering most of the players likely headed to the lottery June 23 declined to participate and two of the biggest names, Bismack Biyombo and Donatas Motiejunas, both had underwhelming individual workouts. But Jonas Valanciunas, Biyombo and Montiejunas at least met with teams, some in repeat visits, to allow executives to get a better sense of the players’ personalities.

Valanciunas confirmed earlier in the day, the deadline to withdraw from the draft, that he gave no consideration to pulling out, contrary to guessing that wrongly passed as guessing in some media outlets. His buyout terms are still being discussed and has become a source of concern for teams not interested in spending a top-five pick for a center who isn’t coming to the NBA for at least a year, but no one in a position to know ever expected a different outcome.

“It’s the 11th Commandment,” said one front-office official in attendance. “They just found it: Greed is undefeated.”

Meaning a difficult negotiation is expected to be completed before the draft to generate a financial windfall for Valanciunas and his team in Lithuania. He could be picked as soon as No. 4 to Cleveland.

Other news, notes and observations from the third and final day:

  • Lucas Nogueira, a possibility for the first round, was the biggest name to pull out on deadline day, agreeing with the assessment from teams he is not close to being physically ready for the NBA. Nogueira said he plans to be in the 2012 draft.
  • The top international prospects – Motiejunas, Biyombo, Valanciunas and Enes Kanter, who has stayed in the United States after a freshman year at Kentucky – all do well with English and most are engaging. There will not be any communications problems. I have not talked with Jan Vesely.
  • One executive was walking past in the gym. He stopped and turned. “Good triumphs over evil,” he said, smirking. Meaning Mavericks over Heat. Distaste for Miami and the coordinated effort to add LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Dwyane Wade isn’t just for fans and the media.
  • Opinions remain as unsettled as before the camp on the top international prospect in a draft when five players with overseas backgrounds could go in the top 10. Most picks are for Vesely or Valanciunas, with lesser support for the others, even if Kanter may be the first off the board with the Jazz known to be seriously considering him. One executive called Valanciunas “a future franchise center.”

Eurocamp: Day 1

TREVISO, Italy – The very intriguing Bismack Biyombo went through the motions of an individual workout in the afternoon and the conflicting Donatas Motiejunas staged the same audition in the evening, but the only real potential draft shakeup from the first day of the adidas Eurocamp on Saturday was the uncertain contract status, and lottery position, of Jonas Valanciunas.

While some NBA front offices rate Valanciunas the best of the European prospects who will dot the top 10 on June 23 – some still prefer Enes Kanter, by way of Kentucky, or Jan Vesely – Valanciunas has not reached a buyout agreement with the team in his native Lithuania in unwanted drama for teams who want to know with certainty whether a first-round pick will deliver a player for next season or an international headache.

How unwanted?

As one general manager put it, reminding in the universal language of messy contracts: “It goes back to Ricky Rubio.”

Cue the ominous organ music.

Plus, one NBA executive said Saturday he was told by someone who would know that a separate buyout is being negotiated to allow Valanciunas to play in Italy if the work stoppage in the United States scheduled to begin July 1 drags into the 2011-12 regular season. Under that complicating scenario, Valanciunas joins an Italian club with a clause that he gets out of that contract as soon as the lockout ends. Allegedly.

NBA clubs are understandably concerned and factoring the great unknown into their calculations. But most executives polled Saturday believe the problem will be resolved before the draft, and not with the $3-million buyout that has been reported. The more-likely outcome, they believe, is that the Lithuanian team gets a percentage of Valanciunas’ salary for a set period, meaning the higher he goes on June 23, the better it is financially for both sides.

Meanwhile, another European prospect, Nikola Mirotic, could get knocked from the first round because of a buyout so exorbitant that another general manager calls it a “nightmare.” That is not nearly the issue of the Valanciunas uncertainty, though, because Mirotic would have been considered a bubble first-rounder even with a clean move to the United States.

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