NBA PM: Burks Ready To Step Up For Jazz
As a rookie, Utah Jazz shooting guard Alec Burks was able to crack the nightly rotation, playing 15 minutes a game in the regular season and playoffs. With all the changeover on the Jazz’s roster, there is an opportunity for him to play a bigger role as a sophomore.
During the Orlando Summer League he showed that he was ready for it, averaging 17 points, three rebounds and two assists. After a successful stint in his first summer league, Burks went to the 2012 adidas Nations to help mentor some of the top young prospects from all over the globe. HOOPSWORLD was able to catch up with him there to talk about the value of Nations, his hopes for the 2012-13 season and the potential for the youthful Jazz to follow the development pattern of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Jazz General Manager Kevin O’Connor Steps Down
The Utah Jazz is searching for a new general manager. Kevin O’Connor, who served as general manager of the Jazz for the last 13 seasons, will be promoted to Utah’s top executive and will be in charge of hiring the team’s next GM, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Several executives have been linked to the Utah job, with San Antonio Spurs executive Dennis Lindsey being described as a “strong candidate,” according to Wojnarowski. Oklahoma City Thunder executive Troy Weaver and Cleveland Cavaliers assistant general manager David Griffin were considered, but are no longer in the running. Weaver, who had previously worked under O’Connor, decided to remain with the Thunder. Griffin made contact with Utah, but is no longer under consideration.
There’s no timetable for the Jazz to make a decision and other candidates may be considered.
Last season, the Jazz went 36-30 and finished with the third best record in the Northwest Division. Utah qualified for the playoffs despite being one of the youngest teams in the league, but they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round.
Howard Keeping It Low-Key
Orlando Magic All-Star Dwight Howard made an appearance last night at adidas Nations in Long Beach. Howard joked and talked with dozens of the players attending the event and shared his insights on making it to the NBA with the would-be prospects.
Howard did not conduct interviews with the media but did acknowledge that his back was progressing and while he looked trim and fit, hinted that it would still be some time before he was able to resume on court work.
Howard had a sizable disc “fragment” removed from his back in late April and has been rehabbing in Los Angeles.
The Magic have been exploring trade scenarios involving Howard, but have been unable to find a deal they would trigger. For his part Dwight has been trying to stay out of the news and is refusing interview requests.
Sources close to Howard said last night that all they were focused on was getting healthy and that Howard was solely focused on that and that alone.
The Magic will open training camp in roughly 53 days.
Martin Considering Lakers, Nets
After spending last season with the Los Angeles Clippers, unrestricted free agent Kenyon Martin is weighing his options and talking with a number of teams. The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets are among the teams expressing interest in the 12-year veteran, according to Sam Amick of SI.com.
It sounds like Martin wants to play for a contender that will give him significant minutes. Sources close to the 34-year-old had previously said that he wasn’t going to sign for the veteran’s minimum, but he may not have a choice given how long he has waited to sign. The list of teams with money to spend is short, especially when further narrowed down to only include contenders. The Golden State Warriors had expressed interest in Martin, but instead signed unrestricted free agent Carl Landry last week.
There’s no timetable for Martin to sign, but he’s negotiating with teams and considering his options.
Last season, Martin spent the first half of the season playing for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association. When the NBA lockout ended, Martin returned to the United States and signed with the Clippers for the mini-midlevel exception. He emerged as a leader for Los Angeles and helped them advance to the second round of the playoffs for only the second time in franchise history.
In 42 games with the Clippers, Martin averaged 5.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, one block and one steal.
The Lakers and Nets are each looking to bolster their bench, which is why they have expressed interest in the veteran power forward. Martin has proven that he can be a solid reserve on a contending team and he’s one of the best veteran free agents remaining on the market.
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