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Basketball news gathered from around the net.

Vogel Sees Absence Of George, Stephenson As Opportunity For Wing Players

Frank Vogel insists he believes the Indiana Pacers will continue to be a competing team despite losing Paul George to injury and Lance Stephenson in free agency.

“We’re going to be fine,” Vogel said. “We’ve got more than enough to compete with the best and we’re going to have another great season. Our approach is, we’re going to try to not skip a beat.

“Two guys being gone – Lance being gone, Paul not being with us because of injury – creates opportunities for other guys. Both at that position and also at other positions to carry a bigger role.”

Vogel sees the lack of George and Stephenson next season as further opportunity for wing players, including Chris Copeland and free agent acquisitions C.J. Miles, Rodney Stuckey and Damjan Rudez.

“Those guys are solid NBA veterans,” Vogel said. “It’s not like we’re going to fill the spots with guys who were in the D League last year. And we feel [2013 first-rounder] Solomon Hill is going to be an elite defensive player and a guy who can knock down open shots. We could have played him 25 minutes a game last year and we would have been all right. We just had such depth.

“Chris Copeland is going to get a chance to play more. Damjan Rudez, one of the best shooters in Europe, is coming over to play at the ‘three’ or the ‘four.’ So we’ve got answers. You look at that, combined with our point guard rotation’s intact with George Hill and C.J. Watson, our big rotation’s intact with [Luis] Scola, [Roy] Hibbert and [Ian] Mahinmi. There are reasons to be optimistic.”

Via Steve Aschburner/NBA.com

Ray Allen Still Undecided On Playing Future; Wizards Among Teams 'Periodically' Reaching Out

Ray Allen is still undecided about playing next season but has several NBA teams awaiting his decision.

The Washington Wizards are among the teams interested in Allen. The Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers and Chicago Bulls have also reportedly been interested.

The Wizards are "periodically" checking in on Allen.

Via Jorge Castillo/Washington Post

A.J. Price Signs Camp Deal With Cavaliers

A.J. Price will attend training camp with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Price played in 28 games for the Minnesota Timberwolves last season.

Price has averaged 5.9 points and 38.1 percent shooting in his career.

Via Terry Pluto/Cleveland Plain Dealer

Blake Griffin Surprised Clippers Sold For $2 Billion

Blake Griffin was asked about whether he was surprised that the Los Angeles Clippers sold for $2 billion to Steve Ballmer.

"Yeah," Griffin said. "I thought it was gonna go for a lot. I thought it was gonna be in the billions. But I didn't think 2 billion."

Griffin also discussed how Donald Sterling used to bring women inside the Clippers' locker room after games.

"He would bring them in the locker room," Griffin said. "Guys would be in there. The showers are kind of elsewhere. I don't think they would really go back there. But he would bring people in the locker room while we were just in towels. One year he came in and led a "hip hip hooray" chant and held my arm up in the air. Then he went to another teammate and did the same thing. Guys just started scattering as fast as possible. [laughs]."

Via Zach Baron/GQ

Marcus Williams To Sign One-Year Deal With Nuggets

Free agent Marcus Williams has reached agreement to sign a one-year contract with the Denver Nuggets, a league source told RealGM.

Williams played collegiately at Arizona, where the 6-foot-7 forward played a starting role and averaged 16.6 points and 6.8 rebounds as a sophomore.

Williams was the 33rd overall draft pick to the San Antonio Spurs in 2007.

Williams has played 13 NBA games for the Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers -- most recently with San Antonio in 2009. He spent parts of two years in the NBA D-League before becoming a star in the Chinese Basketball Association, winning the MVP award with Shanxi.

Via Shams Charania/RealGM

Ainge Undecided On Celtics' Plan With Rondo

Danny Ainge is not sure what the Boston Celtics will ultimately decide to do with Rajon Rondo, who can become a free agent in 2015.

"The truthful answer is I really don't know," Ainge insisted. "I have no intention. I'm not trying to trade Rondo, but because he's a free agent this summer, he assured me that he wants to stay in Boston. We'd love to keep him in Boston."

Rondo has played in just 68 games over the past two seasons.

"The possibility of a trade is not out of the question," Ainge said. "Nobody is untradeable, but I don't see that happening." 

 

Via Worcester Telegram

Bledsoe's Free Agency Serving As Test Case For Reggie Jackson

Reggie Jackson is monitoring the contract situation of Eric Bledsoe, who remains a restricted free agent.

Jackson is eligible for a contract extension and could become a restricted free agent himself next summer if he is unable to agree upon a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Jackson has made it clear that he desires a starting role, while also suggesting that he seeks the salary that comes along with that.

 

Bledsoe is the closest comparison to Jackson due to his development in the NBA backing up Chris Paul, while Jackson has backed up Russell Westbrook.

Via Darnell Mayberry/Oklahoman

Celtics To Formally Complete Evan Turner Signing Before Camp

The Boston Celtics will complete and announce the signing of Evan Turner before training camp, according to a source.

Turner has not officially signed despite his reported deal for part of the midlevel exception in late July.

The Celtics have the limit of 20 players on the roster without Turner officially signed.

Via A. Sherrod Blakely/Comcast SportsNet

Zoran Dragic On Verge Of Leaving Europe For NBA

Slovenia star Zoran Dragic is in advanced discussions to leave his European club, BC Unicaja, to sign with an NBA team, league sources told RealGM.

After the Slovenian national team’s elimination in the FIBA World Cup to Team USA last Tuesday, Dragic focused on reaching terms on a deal in the NBA and has made significant progress this week. As a skilled, polished player, Dragic has shown glimpses of NBA upside.

Dragic, 25, had 11 points and five rebounds in 28 minutes of action against the United States in the World Cup.

RealGM reported on Sept. 9 that Dragic was in talks on a possible deal with the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic. The Phoenix Suns have long maintained dialogue with Dragic, and they’ve been an obvious suitor due the relationship with the 6-foot-5 guard’s older brother, Goran Dragic.

Dragic holds a buyout for the NBA until Oct. 5 with Unicaja Malaga, but he’s set to make a decision much before the date.

In seven games in this year’s world championships, Dragic averaged 12.9 points, four rebounds and 1.3 assists. He scored nearly 11 points per game for Unicaja a season ago.

Via Shams Charania/RealGM

Denzel Bowles Close To Signing With Jilin Of China

Free agent center Denzel Bowles is closing on an agreement with Jilin of the Chinese Basketball Association, a source told RealGM.

Bowles worked out for Detroit this week, and the 6-foot-10 big man received a training camp invitation from the Pistons.

Bowles played for Jilin last season and had a workout for the Charlotte Bobcats upon his return. He averaged five points and 4.2 rebounds in the NBA Summer League in July with the Denver Nuggets.

Bowles, 25, split his college basketball at Texas A&M and James Madison, averaging 17.6 points and 8.8 rebounds as a senior in the CAA conference.

Via Shams Charania/RealGM

Andray Blatche Signs $2.5M Deal With Xinjiang Guanghui

Andray Blatche has signed a one-year deal with Xinjiang Guanghui of the Chinese Basketball Association.

Ramon Sessions Agrees To Two-Year, $4.2M Deal With Kings

The Kings are using their biannual exception to sign Ramon Sessions.

Jarell Eddie Agrees To Camp Deal With Hawks

Jarell Eddie has agreed to a non-guaranteed training camp contract with the Hawks, league sources told RealGM.

Wolves Offer Max Contract To Eric Bledsoe, Pushing For Sign-And-Trade

The Wolves are offering Eric Bledsoe a four-year, $63 million max contract.

Shanghai Making Strong Push To Sign Aron Baynes

The Spurs would retain Aron Baynes' restricted free agent rights if he signs abroad.

Timberwolves Optimistic About Extension For Ricky Rubio

The Timberwolves and Ricky Rubio have discussed a contract extension.

Lou Amundson Signs Camp Deal With Cavs

Lou Amundson recently worked out for the Cavaliers.

Hamady Ndiaye Likely To Sign In China After Nets Void Deal

Hamady Ndiaye will most likely sign in the Chinese Basketball Association when his injury recovers to full strength, a source told RealGM.

Miroslav Raduljica Signs Deal With Shandong Lions In China

Miroslav Raduljica has signed a one-year contract with Shandong of the Chinese Basketball Association, sources told RealGM.

RealGM Radio: On The Atlantic Division With Kharpertian, Weiss

Daniel Leroux, work through an eventful off-season in terms of players and coaches alike from the Jason Kidd fiasco to the major New York / Dallas trade that brought Jose Calderon to the Knicks.

Mickael Pietrus Works Out For Kings

Mickael Pietrus remains on the workout trail.

Lorenzo Brown To Sign One-Year Deal With Pistons

Lorenzo Brown has reached agreement on a one-year contract with the Pistons, a league source told RealGM.

Sources: Taj Gibson Not Too Thrilled To Continue Being Backup Forward

Taj Gibson privately isn't too thrilled about the prospect of continuing to be a reserve forward, according to sources.

Popovich Worried Spurs Will Get Satisfied From 13-14 Championship

Gregg Popovich made sure the Spurs used their 2013 NBA Finals defeat as motiviation, but he faces the opposite problem now.

Canton Charge Hire Jordi Hernandez As New Head Coach

The Cavaliers have hired Jordi Fernandez as the new head coach of their exclusively owned and operated NBA Development League affiliate, the Canton Charge.

Kyrylo Fesenko Signs Camp Contract With Timberwolves

Kyrylo Fesenko has played five NBA seasons with the Jazz and Pacers.

Josh Akognon Signs With Foshan Of China

Josh Akognon has signed a contract with Foshan of the Chinese Basketball Association, sources told RealGM.

Randy Culpepper Signs With Jilin

Randy Culpepper played collegiately at UTEP.

Heat Hire Keith Smart, Chris Quinn For Coaching Staff

The Heat have hired Keith Smart as assistant coach and Chris Quinn as assistant coach/player development.

Kings Agree Upon One-Year Guaranteed Deal With Ryan Hollins

Ryan Hollins most recently played for the Clippers.
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