Jay Williams catches Raptors' eye

Updated: September 13, 2005, 9:06 PM ET
Associated Press

Toronto Raptors: General manager Rob Babcock said he is pursuing former Duke point guard Jay Williams, who did not play the past two seasons after suffering severe nerve damage to his foot following a motorcycle accident on June 19, 2003, the Toronto Sun reported.

Babcock watched the point guard work out last week in Chicago and also had lunch with the 2002-2003 Second Team NBA All-Rookie.

"We hit it off pretty good," Babcock said.

The GM described Williams' recovery at about 85 percent, adding that the former Chicago Bulls star would be a valuable addition to any team if he's anywhere close to 100 percent healthy.

"He has made huge progress," Babcock said. "A year ago he was learning to walk again and to run, now he's back on the court."

Babcock doesn't think Williams, 22, is ready to step in and play in the NBA immediately, but he is hoping to sign him and have him at training camp, which begins Oct. 4 at Brock University in St. Catharines.

Dallas Mavericks: The Mavericks are thinking sixth man, but Jerry Stackhouse would like them to think starter, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said.

"I'm not conceding anything," Stackhouse said.

Last season, Stackhouse's first with the Mavs, he was used primarily off the bench. Injuries limited him to 56 games -- he started seven -- and an average of 14.9 points in 28.9 minutes per game.

But Stackhouse says when Michael Finley was waived Aug. 15, it opened up an opportunity for him to become a starter. Of course, the team has since acquired Doug Christie, whom they hope to move into Finley's old slot.

Stackhouse said he believes the job should be won or lost in training camp.

"We're going to obviously miss Michael Finley because he did a lot for this franchise," Stackhouse said. "And, by adding Doug Christie, he should be able to help us improve our defense.

"But we first have to see if Christie's healthy and then go from there."

Cleveland Cavaliers: First-year coach Mike Brown added assistants Michael Malone and Melvin Hunt to his staff Tuesday.

Malone is the son of Brendan Malone, a former Cavaliers assistant who served as Cleveland's interim coach last season after Paul Silas was fired.

Malone spent the past two seasons as an assistant with the New York Knicks.

Hunt was an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers last season after spending five seasons with the Houston Rockets. He was a three-year starter at Baylor and played pro ball in the Caribbean and Mexico.

Brown, an assistant coach with Indiana before getting the Cleveland job, previously hired Hank Egan and Kenny Natt as assistants. Natt was with the Cavs last season.

Denver Nuggets: The team re-signed DerMarr Johnson, one of four players who shared off-guard duties last season.

Johnson started 40 games last season at shooting guard and played in 71 games, averaging 7.1 points and 2.1 rebounds. Terms of his deal were not released.

"He played a key role in our success last season and continues to get better," general manager Kiki Vandeweghe said in a statement.

Johnson, a four-year NBA veteran, shared shooting guard duties with Bryon Russell, Greg Buckner, and Wesley Person.

Additionally, the Nuggets hired Mark Warkentien as director of player personnel. Warkentien has worked in NBA front offices for 13 years, most recently as director of player personnel with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

He previously worked 10 years with the Portland Trail Blazers in various roles and two years as a scout with the Seattle SuperSonics.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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