Timberwolves hire assistant GM
Minnesota Timberwolves President Gersson Rosas has rounded out his front office with the hiring of Joe Branch as assistant general manager. Branch was previously an agent under the Roc Nation group, helping lead their basketball operations. His clients included the Nets’ Caris Levert and Miami’s Justise Winslow.
Rosas’ previous hires in the front office include Sachin Gupta as executive vice president and Gianluca Pascucci as assistant GM. General manager Scott Layden, who was hired by former President Tom Thibodeau, is still under contract and still on staff.
Rosas has also transformed the assistant coaching staff under Ryan Saunders, bringing in Bryan Gates, David Vanterpool, Pablo Prigioni and Kevin Hanson.
JORDAN DONATES TO BAHAMAS: Hornets owner and six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan is pledging $1 million to organizations assisting with Hurricane Dorian relief efforts in the Bahamas.
Jordan said in a statement Tuesday on Twitter through his spokeswoman Estee Portnoy that he’s “devastated” at the destruction in the Bahamas, adding “my heart goes out to everyone who is suffering and to those who have lost loved ones.”
Jordan, who owns property and frequently visits the Bahamas, says as the recovery and relief efforts continue he will be tracking the situation closely and working to identify nonprofit agencies where the funds will have the most impact.
Jordan added that “the Bahamian people are strong and resilient and I hope that my donation will be of help as they work to recover from this catastrophic storm.”
Spain earns spot in semifinals
SHANGHAI — Ricky Rubio scored 19 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in a game-deciding 11-0 run in the final minutes, and Spain advanced to the World Cup semifinals by topping Poland 90-78 on Tuesday night.
Willy Hernangómez scored 18 points, Rudy Fernandez added 16 and Rubio had a game-high nine assists for Spain (6-0), which had been beaten in the quarterfinal round of the last two World Cups — by France in 2014, and by Serbia in 2010 when the tournament was still called the world championship.
But Spain broke through this time, and will face either Australia or the Czech Republic in the semifinals at Beijing on Friday.
A.J. Slaughter scored 19 points and Adam Waczynski finished with 15 for Poland (4-2), which is assured of finishing no worse than eighth at its first appearance at the World Cup since 1967.
ARGENTINA 97, SERBIA 87: The last time Luis Scola went to the semifinals of the World Cup, he was 26 and waiting to bring his long, flowing dark hair to the NBA for the first time.
He’s 39 now. A decade-long career in the NBA has come and gone. The hair is closely cropped now, with plenty of gray mixed in there.
And he’s back in FIBA’s Final Four.
Scola scored 20 points, Facundo Campazzo finished with 18 points and 12 assists and Argentina stunned Serbia in the World Cup quarterfinals in China on Tuesday night. Argentina (6-0) plays next in Friday’s semifinals at Beijing, against the winner of Wednesday’s quarterfinal in Dongguan between the U.S. (5-0) and France (4-1).
“It means a lot,” Scola said.
Serbia was considered the pre-tournament favorite by many, and came in expecting to win gold after losing title games to the U.S. at the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Argentina had other plans and Scola made a very loud statement after the game — this outcome, he insisted, was no fluke.
Jets pick up K Ficken
NEW YORK — The New York Jets have signed Sam Ficken to try to solve their ongoing kicking woes.
The team also announced Tuesday it has waived Kaare Vedvik after he missed an extra point and a 45-yard field-goal attempt in the Jets’ 17-16 season-opening loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Ficken becomes the team’s fourth kicker since July. The Jets opened training camp with Chandler Catanzaro, who retired after a shaky preseason opener. Taylor Bertolet replaced him, but also had issues. He missed two extra points in his first game, and then kicked two field goals to account for all the scoring in a 6-0 victory over Philadelphia, but missed three other attempts.
Vedvik was claimed off waivers from Minnesota on Sept. 1, and Bertolet was waived.
Ficken was with Green Bay during training camp before he was waived among the Packers’ final cuts. The former Penn State standout has also spent time with Jacksonville (2016), Kansas City (2017), the Los Angeles Rams (2017-18) and Seattle (2019).
Former consultant sentenced
NEW YORK — A former Adidas consultant who became a key government witness in a college basketball corruption case has been sentenced to one year of probation.
Thomas “T.J.” Gassnola received the term on Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan after apologizing for his crimes.
Gassnola had pleaded guilty in a scheme to funnel secret payments to the families of top recruits and agreed to testify against a former Adidas executive and two other defendants at a 2018 trial. All three were convicted of fraud charges.
He told jurors he was among a crew of fixers conducting what he described as “black ops” to try to get prized prospects to sign with Adidas-sponsored basketball programs.
As part of probation, the 47-year-old Gassnola’s will have to serve two months of home detention.