NBA roundup: Griffin leaves Team USA; Davis replaces himBy The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Thu, Jul 12, 2012 7:00 PM EDT
All-Star forward Blake Griffin left Team USA training camp Wednesday, the day his new five-year contract with the Clippers became official, to return to Los Angeles for an MRI on his left knee. Griffin was injured in a team drill, according to Yahoo Sports, and a source told Sports Illustrated the initial prognosis was "not good." Anthony Davis, the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft and one of the final players cut from the roster last week, was summoned to return to camp. Davis was scheduled to play for the U.S. team in Thursday's game against the Dominican Republic. The Olympics begin in 125 days in London. Griffin injured the same knee in the playoffs and was limited for the final three games of the first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies. Griffin suffered multiple knee injuries at Oklahoma before entering the draft in 2009. He signed a five-year, $95 million deal with the Clippers on Wednesday. ---Center Brook Lopez signed a four-year deal to remain with the Brooklyn Nets, the team announced, and although the team did not release details, multiple media outlets reported the deal is worth $61 million. Under NBA rules, Lopez, a restricted free agent, cannot be traded until Jan. 15, essentially ending the Nets' pursuit of Orlando center Dwight Howard. Lopez, 24, is entering his fifth year in the NBA, but he played only five games in 2011-2012 because of foot injuries. He averaged 20.4 points and 6.0 rebounds while starting all 82 regular-season games in 2010-2011. --The Dallas Mavericks plan to waive center Brendan Haywood using amnesty provision that forces teams to pay the remainder of a player's contract while keeping it off the books for salary cap and luxury tax purposes. Haywood has a salary of $8.3 million for 2012 and is owed more than $27 million over the next three seasons. The Mavericks, in turn, are reportedly planning to commit a chunk of their newfound cap room to sign Elton Brand. Brand was waived by the 76ers via the amnesty clause. Brand would join a frontcourt that features Dirk Nowitzki and center Chris Kaman, who signed a one-year, $8 million contract Thursday morning. --The Charlotte Bobcats agreed to terms with veteran point guard Ramon Sessions. Sessions has played for four teams since he was drafted in the second round by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2007. The Bobcats will be his fifth. He finished last season as a starter for the Lakers, who acquired Sessions at the trade deadline from the Cavaliers. Sessions averages 11.1 points and 5.0 assists per game in his career. --The Pacers agreed to a one-year deal unrestricted free agent point guard D.J. Augustin on Thursday, filling the vacancy created when Darren Collison was dealt to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. Augustin's $4 million qualifying offer as a restricted free agent was withdrawn by the Bobcats, who had been negotiating a sign-and-trade deal with Indiana. --The Minnesota Timberwolves continue searching for shooters. The Wolves plan to execute a four-year, $45 million offer sheet with Blazers guard Nicolas Batum, unwilling to recognize Portland's position that it would match all offers for the restricted free agent. The possibility of a sign-and-trade deal exists. Minnesota was also in talks with the Bulls about acquiring Kyle Korver from the Bulls. Korver is owed $5 million for next season, and the Bulls have until Saturday to decline his option, which includes a buyout of $500,000. --The Timberwolves announced center Darko Milicic was waived, designating him as the team's amnesty player. The amnesty provision should save the Wolves roughly $7 million against the 2012-13 salary cap and clear enough space to sign a wing player. Milicic spent parts of three seasons as the Timberwolves' starting center, averaging 7.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks over 122 games and 110 starts with the Wolves. --Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov voiced support for his front-office and coach Avery Johnson for building a roster worthy of the franchise's inaugural season in Brooklyn. "I'm thrilled with the way our team has come together," Prokhorov said in a statement. My congratulations and appreciation go out to general manager Billy King, assistant general manager Bobby Marks and head coach Avery Johnson for their tenacity, nerve and heart throughout this process. With the re-signing of Deron Williams and the trade for Joe Johnson, we go into our new home led by an All-Star backcourt and with every hope of a great season for the Brooklyn Nets. I can't wait until opening night." The Nets re-signed Williams and acquired Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks. When discussions with the Magic and other teams geared toward landing All-NBA center Dwight Howard proved fruitless, the Nets re-signed center Brook Lopez, a restricted free agent, to a four-year deal. --The Portland Trail Blazers re-signed free agent power forward J.J. Hickson to a one-year deal worth up to $4 million. Hickson was claimed off waivers from the Kings in March and averaged 15.1 points and 8.3 rebounds in 19 games.
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