NBA News & Notes: Pelinka named Lakers GM, Cavs' Bogut breaks leg

March 8, 2017

In this week's NBA news, the Lakers named their new GM, and the Cavs suffered a blow to their frontline.  For these stories and all the latest NBA headlines, read below:

Lakers name Pelinka GM

After waiting several days for Rob Pelinka to sever his business ties, the Los Angeles Lakers have officially named him as the team's new General Manager.  He will replace the recently fired Mitch Kupchak.

In his role, Pelinka will report to Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss and President of Basketball Operations, Earvin “Magic” Johnson.  Pelinka has never previously worked as a general manager.

“Rob’s knowledge of the NBA landscape and the CBA, as well as his relationships with GMs around the league, are invaluable,” said Johnson. “After running a successful sports agency and as someone who truly understands the inner workings of salary caps and player negotiations, he will bring the additional skills and experience needed in the Lakers executive office.  Rob is a winner and the Lakers are fortunate to have him.”

Pelinka, 47, joins the Lakers after spending the greater part of two decades representing many of the NBA’s top talent.  During his tenure as an agent, Pelinka was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the Top 10 Sports Agents in the World.

“We have worked closely with Rob for many years and have first-hand experience with his knowledge of the league and the business of basketball,” said Buss.  “In our recent discussions, it was clear that he also shares our goal of returning the Lakers to being an elite NBA franchise. Together with Earvin and Coach Walton, I believe we are in a great position to bring winning basketball back to the Lakers.”

The Lake Forest, Illinois native earned his B.B.A. from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan with high honors in 1993, before receiving his J.D., Cum Laude, from the University of Michigan Law School in 1996. While at Michigan, Pelinka earned a 1989 National Championship as a member of the Wolverines basketball team and also took part in three NCAA Final Fours (1989, 1992 and 1993).

“I am beyond grateful to join the Lakers front office,” said Pelinka.  “The Lakers are a gold standard for sports franchises in the world, so we all share a responsibility to pursue excellence in everything we do.  Excellence is what the Lakers stands for, what Jeanie Buss and Earvin Johnson embody, and what Coach Walton demands from our players.  That obsession for greatness is what will bring Lakers basketball back to a championship level. With Jeanie and Magic guiding the vision, I am thrilled to help architect the future.  I am really excited to get to work.”

In other Lakers news . . .

Hapless Jim Buss tries to oust sister Jeanie

Shortly after Lakers owner Jeanie Buss removed her incompetent brother Jim from his Basketball Operations role and replaced him with someone who actually knows the game in Magic Johnson, the noted nepotism beneficiary, Jim, and his fellow sibling co-owner Johnny, tried to orchestrate a coup to oust Jeanie from owning the team.

The details of the seemingly botched effort are well documented by ESPN's Ramona Shelburne in her highly-detailed article.

It is interesting to note, that Jim, a man who has never been successful in any single endeavor he has undertaken in his life, likewise bungled this attempt to get rid of his sister.

Jim reportedly asked Mr. Romie Chaudhari to be a member of the Lakers board of directors, but Chaudhari declined.  Buss then astonishingly proceeded to name him anyways, causing Chaudhari to issue a statement denying all interest in the position.

The drama is far from over, as there is a court date looming, but Jeanie's decision looks more brilliant every day.

Bogut breaks leg

In just his first game with his new team, Cavaliers center Andrew Bogut sustained a broken leg, causing him to miss the rest of the season.

Andrew Bogut suffered a fractured left tibia. His tibia has been set and he is undergoing a non-surgical treatment and recovery plan commencing immediately with an extended period of immobilization and healing stimulation.

Bogut will not be available to play the remainder of the regular season and playoffs, but is expected to successfully complete his recovery process in advance of training camp for the 2017-18 NBA season.

Meanwhile, Cavs guard JR Smith (right thumb) has been cleared to resume full practice activity and is listed as Questionable versus Detroit.

Kemba Walker and Kawhi Leonard named NBA Players of the Week

The Charlotte Hornets’ Kemba Walker and the San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Feb. 27 through Sunday, March 5.

Walker averaged 27.7 points (third in the East), 6.3 assists (tied for fifth in the East), 4.3 rebounds and 1.33 steals for the week as the Hornets went 2-1.  The All-Star guard opened the week by recording 30 points, seven assists and five rebounds and hitting the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:55 to play in a 109-104 victory at the Los Angeles Lakers.  On March 4, he scored a team-high 27 points and added four assists, four rebounds and two steals in a 112-102 road win over the Denver Nuggets.

Leonard led the Spurs to a 3-0 week behind averages of 32.0 points (second in the West), 9.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and a league-best 4.0 steals.  On March 1, he hit the game-winning basket with 2.4 seconds remaining to cap a 31-point outing in a 100-99 victory over the Indiana Pacers.  The All-Star forward closed the week with 34 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and a season-high six steals in a 97-90 overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 4.  That performance marked his 90th straight game with at least 10 points, the longest streak by a Spur since Tim Duncan’s 91-game run ended in 2003.

Other nominees for the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, Dallas’ Seth Curry, New Orleans’ DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, Phoenix’s Tyler Ulis, Portland’s Damian Lillard, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Washington’s Bradley Beal and Bojan Bogdanovic.

Westbrook continues to put up MVP numbers

Russell Westbrook’s streak of scoring at least 40 points may have ended at four consecutive games on Sunday in Dallas, but the Oklahoma City guard is still leading the way in one of the most prolific seasons for 40-point performances in NBA history.

The league has produced 83 40-point games in 2016-17, which is already the sixth-highest single-season total ever and the second-most over the last 25 years. The NBA is on pace for 109 40-point games this season, which would edge the 2005-06 season (108) for second place on the all-time list.
The NBA record for most 40-point games in a season is 142 in 1961-62, when Wilt Chamberlain posted 63 on his own.

This season, Westbrook leads with 13 and Houston’s James Harden has nine.
Westbrook and Harden are two of the 30 players who have scored 40 or more points in a game this season. The NBA single-season record for most players with at least one 40-point game is 32, set in 2008-09.

Talkin' Smack

Kyle Korver, Cavaliers guard: “[LeBron James] is numero uno when it comes to making players around him better. He obviously puts you in situations to succeed, but he just exudes confidence. How he talks to you: He’s intense, he’s fired up. He just breeds confidence in the guys. The situations he puts you in because of his skill level and then his personality and his leadership, it just elevates guys around him.”

Eddie Sefko, Dallas Morning News: “Sometime in the next few games, [Dallas’ Dirk] Nowitzki will pass the 30K barrier – and every single one of those points has been scored while wearing a Mavericks' uniform. … Maverick fans have been privileged to watch him for 19 seasons. And it will be 20 when he calls it a career after the 2017-18 season, which he plans to play to put an exclamation point on his career. And what a career it has been.”

Brett Dawson, The Oklahoman: “They would stream into the gym at Ames High all winter long, a who’s who of college basketball’s most-recognizable names. … They came to watch the Little Cyclones play in the shadow of Iowa State University, and Ames High forward Doug McDermott was in a shadow, too – the long one cast by his friend and high school teammate, Harrison Barnes. … These days, McDermott and Barnes are peers as well as friends, two of fewer than 500 men in the world good enough to be on NBA rosters.”

Hawks coach Budenholzer suspended

Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer has been suspended one game without pay for making contact with a game official, it was announced by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

Coach Budenholzer also made contact with a game official last season on November 21, 2015 during a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The most recent incident occurred with 2:42 remaining in the third quarter of the Hawks’ 135-130 loss to the Cavaliers on March 3 at Philips Arena.

Budenholzer served his suspension on Sunday, March 5 when the Hawks hosted the Indiana Pacers.

The Numbers

Brook Lopez, Nets: The 7-foot center last week became the second player in team history to score 10,000 points. Buck Williams is the franchise leader with 10,440 points.

Alan Williams, Suns: He has recorded a point-rebound double-double in each of his last three games and four of his last five, all off the bench. During Phoenix’s current three-game winning streak, the 24-year-old forward is averaging 13.7 points and 13.3 rebounds.

Tobias Harris, Pistons: The 24-year-old forward is averaging 16.7 points and shooting 51.5 percent from the field in 24 games off the bench, his predominant role since late December.

Jaylen Brown, Celtics: The No. 3 pick in NBA Draft 2016 is averaging 13.2 points (on 54.5 percent shooting) and 5.2 rebounds in his last six games.

Jusuf Nurkic, Trail Blazers: Acquired Feb. 13 in a trade with Denver, the 7-foot center from Bosnia and Herzegovina is averaging 14.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists in six games with Portland.

Bojan Bogdanovic, Wizards: He has scored 27 points twice in his last three games, making 6-of-7 from three-point range in the first of those big outings (March 1 at Toronto) and 8-of-10 in the second (March 5 vs. Orlando).

Utah Jazz: With Sunday’s overtime victory at Sacramento, Utah improved to 11-2 with a starting lineup of George Hill, Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert.

Felder named D-League Performer of the Week 

Kay Felder of the Canton Charge, playing on assignment from the Cleveland Cavaliers, was named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, Feb. 28 through Sunday, March 5.

Felder (5-9, Oakland) led Canton to a 3-0 week, averaging 30.7 points (second in the league) on 47.4 percent shooting to go with 6.7 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 2.3 steals. On March 4, he hit six three-pointers and scored a season-high 41 points to go with five assists and four steals in a 121-116 victory over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. On March 5, he tallied 26 points and a season-high 10 assists in a 118-88 win over the Westchester Knicks. Felder’s 10 assists helped Canton tie a franchise record with 35 assists on 47 field goals.

In seven games on assignment this season, Felder is averaging 30.6 points, 6.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals. He has appeared in 37 games for the Cavaliers this season, averaging 4.0 points and 9.5 minutes. Felder was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers after the Atlanta Hawks selected him with 54th overall selection in NBA Draft 2016 presented by State Farm.

Other top performers considered included Delaware’s Aaron Harrison, Grand Rapids’ Jordan Crawford, Los Angeles’ Travis Wear, Northern Arizona’s Xavier Silas, Raptors 905’s Brady Heslip Santa Cruz’s Phil Pressey, Texas’ Manny Harris and Windy City’s Jarell Eddie.

By Staff of and news services

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