Posts Tagged ‘Gustavo Ayon’

World Cup stacked with NBA players

VIDEO: USA tops Puerto Rico in exhibition

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – LeBron James was always taking the summer off from competitive basketball. Kevin Love decided to do the same just before the U.S. National Team opened training camp in Las Vegas last month. But there are still reasons for Cavs fans to watch the FIBA World Cup, which begins Saturday in Spain.

The Cavs are one of two teams that will have four players taking part in the World Cup. Kyrie Irving, of course, will start (at least some games) at point guard for the United States. He’ll face new teammate Erik Murphy, playing for Finland, in the USA’s first pool-play game.

Murphy, who was acquired in a trade from Utah last month, may not necessarily be on the Cavs’ opening-night roster. Only $100,000 of his $816,000 contract is guaranteed, the Cavs are already over the 15-man roster limit, and they’ve yet to sign Shawn Marion.

Irving has already faced Brazil’s Anderson Varejao in an exhibition game. And he could go head-to-head with his Cleveland back-up — Australia’s Matthew Dellavedova — in the knockout round.

The Rockets are the other NBA team that will have four players at the World Cup. James Harden, the Dominican Republic’s Francisco Garcia, Lithuania’s Donatas Motiejunas and Greece’s Kostas Papanikolaou will all represent the Rockets in Spain.

Papanikolaou is one of five incoming rookies at the tournament. The others are the Bulls’ Cameron Bairstow (Australia), the Nets’ Bojan Bogdanovic (Croatia), the Jazz’s Dante Exum (Australia), and the Pacers’ Damjan Rudez (Croatia).

Croatia’s Bogdanovic is not to be confused with Serbia’s Bogdan Bogdanovic, who was selected in this year’s Draft by the Suns and will play at least two years in Turkey before coming to the NBA. The Serbian Bogdanovic is one of six guys taken in the last two drafts who has yet to come over.

The others are Alex Abrines (OKC, Spain), Arselan Kazemi (PHI, Iran), Joffrey Lauvergne (DEN, France), Raul Neto (UTA, Brazil) and Dario Saric (PHI, Croatia). (more…)

FIBA Update: Three More Earn Bids

Luis Scola, now with the Pacers, had a major impact on Argentina's win over Canada.

Luis Scola, now with the Pacers, had a major impact on Argentina’s win over Canada.

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – Three more teams punched their tickets to next year’s World Cup of Basketball on Sunday. The Dominican Republic, Argentina and Mexico will be in Spain next summer, thanks to the results of the first two games at the FIBA Americas tournament in Caracas.

In the first game on Sunday, the Dominican used a 9-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to take control against Uruguay. They held on for their fifth straight win, earning the country its first berth in a major international hoops tournament since 1978. Al Horford didn’t play this summer, but he could join Francisco Garcia and company next summer in Spain. He certainly seems excited about the possibility…

In the second game, Argentina finished the third quarter on a 20-6 run to turn a nine-point deficit into a five-point lead. Behind a huge game (28 points and seven rebounds) from Luis Scola, they held on to beat Canada and get back to the world stage. And it will be interesting to see if veterans like Manu Ginobili, Carlos Delfino and Pablo Prigioni will join them for one more run next summer in Spain.

For Canada, this was a brutal end to the tournament. They won four of their first five games, but then lost their last three (by an average of six points) to get sent home. When Argentina made its third-quarter run, the Canadians simply couldn’t handle the pressure.

Cory Joseph (16.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists), Andrew Nicholson (15.0 points on 53 percent shooting) and Tristan Thompson (11.6 points and 10.0 rebounds) all had their moments during the tournament, but consistency was an issue.

If they finished in the top four, the trio (along with Joel Anthony) could have been joined by Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Kelly Olynyk at the World Cup next summer. With four wild card invitations to be handed out later this year, that possibility still exists, but there’s already a strong list of wild card candidates — including Brazil, China and Nigeria — who will be joined by a few solid European teams.

The Argentina win also clinched a spot for Mexico, who owned the tiebreaker over Venezuela. Mexico went on to make things doubly official with a win over Puerto Rico, who rested Carlos Arroyo, Renaldo Balkman and J.J. Barea, having clinched a top-four spot on Saturday. So we should be seeing the the Hawks’ Gustavo Ayon (averaging 16.4 points and 8.0 rebounds) next summer in Spain.

The FIBA Americas semifinals, which will be largely ceremonial, take place Tuesday.

Eurobasket field thins out after Monday

After Day 5 of Eurobasket, only one team remains unbeaten and, surprise, it’s Italy. Led by 42 combined points from the Spurs’ Marco Belinelli (23) and the Pistons’ Luigi Datome (19), the Italians beat Greece in a matchup of 3-0 teams on Sunday. Both teams, along with Finland (3-1) are on their way to the second round as Group D’s three representatives.

The other unbeaten teams going into Sunday’s action were host Slovenia and Mike Fratello‘s Ukraine squad. Slovenia held a 13-point lead in the third quarter over Croatia. But Croatia came back and won in overtime to join Spain and Slovenia at 3-1 in Group C. The Czech Republic has a shot to crash the party if they can beat Croatia on Monday.

Ukraine was knocked off by France (Tony Parker had 28 points), leaving things still up in the air in Group A, where Ukraine-Great Britain will be Monday’s big game. Similarly, Bosnia-Lithuania could shake things up in Group B.

Eurobasket top offenses (points scored per 100 possessions) through Sunday (4 games):
1. Greece – 115.6
2. Italy – 114.2
3. Georgia – 112.2
4. France – 111.2
5. Germany – 105.4

Eurobasket top defenses (points allowed per 100 possessions) through Sunday (4 games):
1. Spain – 76.0
2. Finland – 86.3
3. Lithuania – 90.6
4. Czech Republic – 92.2
5. Italy – 95.2

2014 World Cup of Basketball field

No. Team Qualified
1 Spain Host
2 USA 2012 Olympic champion
3 Iran FIBA Asia champion
4 Philippines FIBA Asia 2nd place
5 Korea FIBA Asia 3rd place
6 Australia FIBA Oceania champion
7 New Zealand FIBA Oceania 2nd place
8 Angola FIBA Africa champion
9 Egypt FIBA Africa 2nd place
10 Senegal FIBA Africa 3rd place
11 Argentina FIBA Americas top four
12 Dominican Republic FIBA Americas top four
13 Mexico FIBA Americas top four
14 Puerto Rico FIBA Americas top four
15 Eurobasket champion*
16 Eurobasket 2nd place*
17 Eurobasket 3rd place*
18 Eurobasket 4th place*
19 Eurobasket 5th place*
20 Eurobasket 6th place*
21 Wildcard
22 Wildcard
23 Wildcard
24 Wildcard

* If Spain finishes in the top six, the seventh place team will qualify.

Landscape Unchanged As Deadline Passes

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – The 2013 trade deadline will be remembered more for the lack of movement than for any deal that was made. We had a handful of transactions in the final hours before the deadline, but the best player dealt this week was a guy who has started a grand total of 52 games over seven seasons.

That would be J.J. Redick, who is heading to Milwaukee in a six-player trade. The Bucks are also getting Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith from Orlando. The Magic will receive Beno Udrih, Doron Lamb and Tobias Harris in return.

Redick is a role player, but one who should help the Bucks, who have struggled on both ends of the floor as they’ve lost eight of their last 10 games, dropping below .500 for the first time since early December. Now in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, they’re just three games in the loss column ahead of ninth-place Philadelphia.

The Bucks were reportedly the leaders in the race for Josh Smith, who is surprisingly staying in Atlanta … for the next few months or so. The Hawks apparently did not have a deal they liked, and will have to hope for a sign-and-trade deal in July if they want something in return for Smith. Our own Sekou Smith says that the Hawks will have “no chance” to re-sign Smith.

Atlanta did make a minor move, sending Anthony Morrow to Dallas for Dahntay Jones.

As much as the lack of a Josh Smith move was a surprise, so was the fact that the Utah Jazz stood pat. With Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter waiting in the wings, the Jazz have both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap on expiring deals. We don’t know if the Jazz had an opportunity to upgrade their backcourt this week, but maybe, like the Hawks, they’d prefer to let one (or both) of those guys walk in the summer.

The Boston Celtics made a minor deal, but held on to both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for the stretch run. They’ll be adding Jordan Crawford to their backcourt, sending Jason Collins and the contract of Leandro Barbosa to Washington in exchange for the volume scorer who has been out of the Wizards’ rotation for the last couple of weeks.

Other moves:

  • The Heat sent Dexter Pittman and a second-round pick to Memphis.
  • The Bobcats traded Hakim Warrick to the Magic for Josh McRoberts.
  • In order to get under the luxury tax line, the Warriors are sending Jeremy Tyler to Atlanta and Charles Jenkins to Philadelphia.
  • The Raptors traded Hamed Haddadi and a second-round pick to the Suns for Sebastian Telfair.
  • The Thunder sent Eric Maynor to Portland.
  • The Knicks sent Ronnie Brewer to OKC for a pick.

In addition to Smith, Richard Hamilton (Bulls), Andrea Bargnani (Raptors), Kris Humphries (Nets), Ben Gordon (Bobcats), DeJuan Blair (Spurs) and Evan Turner (Sixers) aren’t going anywhere. The Denver Nuggets didn’t get a shooter, the Brooklyn Nets didn’t get any of their targets (Smith, Millsap, etc.), and the Los Angeles Clippers will try to get past the Spurs and Thunder with what they have.

The new collective bargaining agreement certainly had a role in the inactivity. The new, steeper luxury takes goes into effect next season, so contracts that don’t expire this season are a heavy burden to bear. Two years from now, the repeater tax goes into effect, so there’s plenty of incentive for teams to get under the tax line this year as well.

And now that the deadline has passed, we can get on with the remainder of the season, knowing that the landscape hasn’t changed one bit.

Hornets To Acquire Anderson From Magic In Sign-And-Trade Deal

The New Orleans Hornets continued to add to their rebuilding process Sunday, agreeing to terms with restricted free agent forward Ryan Anderson, the NBA’s 2012 Most Improved Player winner, on a four-year deal worth between $34 and $36 million, according to league sources. The acquisition will officially be a sign-and-trade deal, with the Magic receiving center Gustavo Ayon from New Orleans. The deal cannot be consummated until after the end of the July Moratorium on the 11th.

The 24-year-old Anderson earned himself a big payday last season, shooting 39 percent from three-point range and averaging career highs in scoring (16.1 points per game) and rebounds (7.7) for the Magic. But it became apparent that the Magic, trying to figure out how to put a roster together amid swirling trade talks for Dwight Howard, weren’t going to be willing to pay what Anderson wanted in free agency. He played mostly power forward for the Magic last season and will likely have the same role for the Hornets, who took Anthony Davis with the first pick overall in last month’s Draft.  After dealing Ayon, New Orleans’ only other returning center on the roster would be free agent Chris Kaman, who is not expected to return.

Anderson’s deal is similar in average to the expected new contract the Bucks will give forward Ersan Ilyasova, who finished second to Anderson in the Most Improved Player vote and is a stretch four himself. Ilyasova and the Bucks are working on a five-year deal worth $45 million.

The Hornets have remade their roster in a matter of weeks, trading big man Emeka Okafor and forward Trevor Ariza to Washington in June for forward Rashard Lewis, whom they promptly bought out for $13.7 million. They took Davis and Duke freshman guard Austin Rivers in the first round of the Draft, and insist they will match the proposed $56 million offer sheet guard Eric Gordon received last week from the Phoenix Suns.

Ayon played well for the Hornets last season when Kaman was out with injuries, starting 24 games for New Orleans. He averaged 5.9 points and 4.9 rebounds in 20 minutes per game. He is a low-priced ($1.5 million) alternative for Orlando up front next season and would back up Howard if the All-Star center were somehow still on the Magic’s roster at the start of the season.

Rick’s Tips: Waiver Watching

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to All-Star week!

Think back to the five-month lockout for a second and realize that we were very, VERY close to A) Not having a season, and B) Not having All-Star weekend. Not a day goes by that I don’t appreciate the fact that we are now covering basketball instead of the business of basketball.

So enjoy All-Star weekend from Or-LIN-do and be sure to check out all the coverage on NBA TV, TNT and

Before we dive into the waiver wire, I have to tell y’all about a blockbuster trade I just pulled off in League Freak (12-team, 8-cat, head-to-head). I traded Danny Granger, Paul George and Serge Ibaka for Rajon Rondo and Andre Iguodala.

I have been desperately searching for a second guard all season, running through Chauncey Billups, Jameer Nelson, Brandon Knight, Paul George and Jeff Teague. All of those guys have had their moments, but none of them is the final piece to a championship puzzle. To wit, through eight weeks my squad is 33-31, good enough for fifth place. Not good enough.

My new starting lineup is: C Marc Gasol, F Josh Smith, F Andre Iguodala, G Rajon Rondo, G Stephen Curry, and sixth man Ryan Anderson.

While I like Granger, George and Ibaka, Granger’s 39 percent from the field is killing me, George is firing only 9.5 shots per game and Ibaka … and Ibaka … OK, I didn’t want to trade Ibaka, but you have to give to get in fantasy trades.

Sadly, I am not starting Rondo this week because I fear a one- or two-game suspension for tossing the ball at an official in Sunday’s loss to the Pistons. That said, Rondo is going to be fresh and frisky, and playing with a Boston-sized chip on his shoulder in the second half.

Rondo + chip = GOODIES!

I’ve always been a big fan of Iguodala and he’s having a strong all-around season, ranking 41st on the 8-cat chart with 12.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.1 threes, and 0.5 blocks. Bolstered by his first All-Star experience, and inspired by the 76ers’ push for home-court advantage in the first round, I see even bigger numbers from Iguodala in the second half.

Tell me what you think about this trade @NBATVRICK on twitter. But first, it’s time to hit the waiver wire…

Nicolas Batum

Hopefully you were watching NBA TV last Tuesday when Batum got the start over Wesley Matthews and went off for 33 points. Batum is averaging 22.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.5 threes in four games since getting the starting job.

Given the poor seasons from Matthews and Raymond Felton, and with Father Time creeping up on Gerald Wallace, the Blazers desperately need Batum’s offense and activity. And when you consider the fact that Batum is in a contract year … giddy up!

Nikola Pekovic

If you haven’t seen the NBA’s second-best revelation this year (behind Jeremy Lin), then you don’t know about his incredible size and strength, you don’t know he can beat most centers up and down the court, you don’t know about his soft hands and sweet feet, and you don’t know about his consistency. Allow me to break it down for you.

Pek is the Wolves’ new starting center and barring injury, there is no way Darko Milicic is getting his gig back. Last week in four games, Pek averaged 21 points on 58 percent shooting, 11.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. In 11 starts this year, Pek is averaging 16.3 points (61 percent from the field / 72 percent from the line), 10 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 31 minutes.

Again, if you haven’t seen him, you’re probably thinking those numbers have to come back to earth. But take it from a Wolves’ fan who watches every game — Pek is already one of the best centers in the NBA and the 26-year-old from Montenegro gets better with every game.

Corey Brewer

Injuries have opened up an opportunity for Brewer, who has finally found a home in Denver. Over the last five games, Brew is playing 32.8 minutes and turning the PT into 14.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.4 steals, and 1.2 threes. Enjoy it while it lasts, however, because Brewer’s going back to the bench once Danilo Gallinari is healthy.

Isaiah Thomas

Can you tell the Kings are desperate? They are now starting the 60th pick in the 2011 Draft at point guard. But I’m not mad at Thomas, who rocked the No. 1 pick in the 2011 Draft (Kyrie Irving) to the tune of 23-8-11 in 43 minutes on Sunday. Word on the street is that Thomas is going to keep the gig, so pick him up and see if he can keep it up.

Gustavo Ayon

Not too many people know about Ayon, so strike while the iron is hot — and under the radar. Ayon is a 26-year-old rookie from Mexico with double-doubles in his last two games. At 6-10, 250 pounds, Ayon has legit NBA size and his hustle is leading to fantasy goodies. With Carl Landry and Emeka Okafor out with knee injuries and Chris Kaman likely to be traded before the deadline, Ayon is good to go for at least the foreseeable future.