Hornets coach Steve Clifford: Al Jefferson is pain free


iAl Jefferson is finally healthy. 

According to Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford, big man Al Jefferson has fully recovered from the plantar fascia tear he sustained during Charlotte’s first round playoff series against the Miami Heat. Jefferson suffered the injury in game one of the series. 

Al gave a valiant effort and continued to play through the injury, but every stagger became more and more painful for the former Boston Celtic. The injury forced to Jefferson sit out game four of the first round matchup, and Charlotte’s surprising season ended in somber fashion.

Q. Any concerns about Al Jefferson’s foot after the plantar fascia injury in the playoffs?

A. He’s here doing all the (voluntary) workouts. He’s had no pain, no restrictions.

Having Jefferson healthy is imperative for the Hornets as they look to continue their ascension to the top of the Eastern Conference. Charlotte has done an excellent job of bolstering their roster this offseason, adding Marvin Williams, Brian Roberts and making a big splash by signing Lance Stephenson. Add in a fully healthy Jefferson, and you have a team capable of grabbing home court in the first round of this years postseason.

Al Jefferson averaged 21.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game last year for the Charlotte Hornets.


MORE: Charlotte loses rookie power forward Noah Vonleh for 6-8 weeks due to sports hernia surgery. 

Earl Clark Signs With Grizzlies


According to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Memphis Grizzlies have signed forward Earl Clark to add another player to their training camp roster.


The Grizzlies add the Earl Clark signing to make a trio of deals for three different players. Guard Patrick Christopher and forward Luke Hancock also received deals for training camp. Earl Clark has been on five different teams in the matter of five years. Recently, he has spent time on the Cavs and Knicks. When he was traded from the Cavs to the Sixers last year, he was immediately put on waivers where the Knicks picked him up. 

Once upon a time, Earl Clark was a number 14 pick in the 2009 draft. He has come up very short in terms of living up to his draft spot. Clark is only averaging 4.4 points and 3.0 rebounds for his career. Since the Grizzlies have 14 players under contract that are locks to make the regular season roster, Clark is in a competition with Christopher and Hancock for the last open roster spot.



Sixers Sign St. John's JaKarr Sampson


According to David Aldridge, the Sixers have signed former St. John’s forward Jakarr Sampson to a partially guaranteed three-year deal.


The Sixers will be signing JaKarr Sampson as an undrafted free agent. The 6’8″ forward left St. John’s after just his sophomore year to take his shot at the NBA. After playing in the Orlando Summer League with Philadelphia, Sampson must have left a good impression on general manager Sam Hinkie. He averaged 8.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in the five games that he played.

The biggest plus about Sampson’s game is his athleticism. He doesn’t have all the characteristics one would want in a 3, but he has shown a good game above the rim, a decent mid range shot, and some pretty good rebounding instincts. One minus is that he has no perimeter shot. If he does make the Sixers’ roster after training camp, then he will be another project player on a team full of project players. The fact that a lot of players attempting to make the team are borderline NBA players gives Sampson a higher chance of making this team.



Strap City: Tony Allen



Tony Allen, one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. Go ahead and think that that’s not a true statement. Once you watch one game though, he will prove you wrong. He’s a gritty player and Memphis loves him for it. He embodies the kind of attitude you want from a player. Sure, he may not have all the offensive moves you might want from a shooting guard, but great defense is something you can’t argue against.

Many fans realized how much skill he really has when he played against Kevin Durant in the playoffs. He denied KD the ball, he played the passing lanes, forced turnovers, and caused Durant to miss a good amount of shots. Speaking of his defense on Kevin Durant, the video below shows highlights of a game against OKC where you can see Allen playing the type of hard-nosed defense he’s known for.

While looking at Tony Allen’s defensive ratings, one might say, “Well seeing a few ratings over 100 isn’t that great.” Think about this, Allen is always matched up with the best scorer on the other team. Even when he played great defense on Kevin Durant, it’s still Durant who will get his points no matter what defender is on him. Guarding players like that will always come with challenges no matter how good of a defender you are.

Watching Tony Allen’s defensive awareness on the floor is a spectacle on its own. If a player comes to screen him, he fights through it with all he has and makes sure that ball-handler doesn’t have an open look. He knows exactly when to fight over top of a pick and when to go under. He never leaves a shot uncontested and he plays the passing lanes like a ball-hawking safety in the NFL. Not only can he intercept passes, but he can pick the pocket of even the best ball-handlers in the game. This man is 6’4″ and he can play defense on players with the height of Kevin Durant all the way down to players at point guard. Tony Allen is a ferocious defender that any coach would love to have. I leave you with this highlight reel of Tony Allen’s career.



Larry Bird: Paul George's tweets on Ray Rice were 'thoughtless'


e8b314a2105bd055c94b7b905e36a679_crop_north.Bird was not happy with what Paul George had to say on Twitter.

On Thursday afternoon, Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird released a statement regarding Paul George’s public defense of Ray Rice. George foolishly tried to justify Rice’s heinous acts, and as a result there was a major uproar. Bird wasn’t happy about the incident.

Paul George’s tweets from earlier were thoughtless and without regard to the subject of domestic violence and its seriousness in society. We have talked to Paul to strongly express our displeasure and made it clear that the NBA and the Pacers’ organization will not condone or tolerate remarks of this nature. Paul understands that he was wrong and why his tweets were so inappropriate and is very apologetic.

George had already offered an apology on Twitter, but the Pacers star issued an official statement as well.

I want to apologize to all victims of domestic abuse for my insensitive tweets. They were obviously without proper understanding of the seriousness of the situation and I sincerely regret my poor choice of words.

George truly seems to regret the message he sent, and hopefully for the Pacers, Paul George thinks before he hits that “TWEET” button.


Delonte West signs with Yao Ming's Shanghai Sharks


delontewestThe former Dallas Maverick is headed to China.

According to Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, NBA veteran Delonte West has agreed to a one-year deal with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association. The Sharks are owned by former Houston Rockets big man Yao Ming.


West hasn’t played in the NBA since he appeared in 44 games with the Dallas Mavericks in 2012. The former Saint Joe’s Hawk played eight games with the Texas Legends, the Mavericks D-League affiliate in 2013, and last year he played in China with the Fujian Sturgeons.

This past summer, West played in three games for the Los Angeles Clippers during the NBA Summer League, but played poorly during his stint.

West yearns to return to the NBA, but this deal indicates that a career revival in the Association isn’t likely for the 31-year-old. Delonte West averages 9.7 points, 3.6 assists and 2.9 rebounds for his NBA career.



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