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Injury Updates: Bogut, Parker, J.R. Smith

After leaving Monday night’s game against the Hornets with an apparent leg injury, Mavericks center Andrew Bogut has initially been diagnosed with a hyperextended knee, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. MacMahon reports that Bogut will undergo an MRI on Tuesday, which the team is hoping will confirm that initial diagnosis.

As head coach Rick Carlisle said, the Mavericks believe they “dodged a bullet” on Bogut’s injury, which could have been much more serious, but the veteran center will still likely be sidelined for multiple weeks, per MacMahon. Bogut should return to the court well in advance of February’s trade deadline, and by the time he gets back in the lineup, the Mavs’ hopes of making a run at a playoff spot may have further dwindled, increasing the likelihood that the former No. 1 pick gets dealt. MacMahon reported on Monday that Dallas isn’t shopping Bogut at the moment, but could consider a move in the new year if the chance to make the postseason slips away.

Here are a few more injury notes and updates from around the NBA:

  • Having missed two games with a thigh contusion, Tony Parker returned to the Spurs‘ lineup on Monday, but was sidelined again with an apparent knee injury. There’s no official word on Parker’s situation yet, but head coach Gregg Popovich said the point guard’s latest injury could keep him out for an extended period (link via ESPN.com).
  • J.R. Smith didn’t return to the Cavaliers‘ game on Monday against Toronto after suffering a left knee injury in the first quarter. As Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com details, initial X-rays were negative, but Smith will be further evaluated to determine the extent of the injury.
  • While the aforementioned players were being knocked out of action, one injured player returned to his team’s lineup on Monday, as Al-Farouq Aminu was active for the Trail Blazers after being sidelined for nearly a month due to a calf injury (Associated Press link via ESPN.com). Aminu saw 17 minutes of action in his return for Portland.

Sixers To Hire Elton Brand As Player Development Consultant

The Sixers have reached an agreement to add Elton Brand to their basketball operations department, the team announced today in a press release. According to the announcement, Brand will serve as a player development consultant for the franchise, and will be “heavily involved in assisting the players in every facet of their on- and off-court development.”

“We are extremely excited to bring Elton Brand back into the organization where he will be a valuable resource to our young and developing team,” Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said in a statement. “Elton’s leadership and character displayed throughout his playing career as a player align perfectly with our vision, direction and culture of this basketball team, coaching staff and management group.”

Brand, who announced his retirement this fall, originally appeared poised to snag one of the Sixers’ 15 regular-season roster spots. In that role, he likely would’ve served primarily as a mentor who didn’t see a whole lot of playing time, so by hiring him in a player development role, Philadelphia keeps Brand in the fold without having him on the active roster.

[RELATED: Elton Brand announces retirement]

The No. 1 overall pick by the Bulls in the 1999 draft, Brand averaged over 20 points per game in his rookie season, then reached that mark in five more seasons over the course of his career. A two-time All-Star with the Clippers, Brand spent time in Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Atlanta during his 17-year career, finishing with averages of 15.9 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 2.1 APG, and 1.7 BPG in 1,058 total regular season contests.

Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote back in October that the Sixers had approached Brand about the possibility of a front office job, adding that the longtime NBA big man hadn’t ruled out the possibility at that time.

Al Horford Says Rockets Were His Second Choice

Celtics star Al Horford thought hard about joining the Rockets this summer before opting to go to Boston, relays A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE. Horford listed his finalists as Boston, Houston and Washington, in that order, if he decided to leave Atlanta.

“[Houston] and Boston were probably the two teams I was really, really looking at,” he said before today’s game in Houston. “Just a lot to consider. … “At the end of the day, I just felt I was better off being here in Boston.”

The Celtics haven’t been disappointed after giving Horford a four-year, $113MM deal. He has displayed the versatility that made him a two-time All-Star with the Hawks, averaging 14.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists through 20 games.

James Harden was part of the recruiting team that nearly convinced Horford to sign with the Rockets.

“I thought we had a chance,” Harden said. “I thought we had a real good chance, but obviously it didn’t work out. Which is fine.”

After Horford turned them down, the Rockets used their cap space to sign Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon and are off to a 14-7 start.

Someone who didn’t take the news quite as well as Harden was Horford’s father Tito, a former NBA player who went to high school in Houston, tweets ESPN’s Calvin Watkins. Al Horford said his father was “heartbroken” by the decision, but has since gotten over it.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 12/5/16

Here are Monday’s D-League assignments and recalls from across the NBA:

10:54pm:

  • The Nets have recalled guard Yogi Ferrell and forward Chris McCullough from their Long Island affiliate, the team announced in a press release. McCullough led the D-League team with 24 points and eight rebounds in today’s win over Sioux Falls. Ferrell is averaging 5.4 points and 1.6 rebounds in nine games with Brooklyn.

3:33pm:

  • Bulls forward Doug McDermott has missed the team’s last nine games due to a concussion, but he may be nearing a return. The club announced today in a press release that McDermott has been assigned to the Windy City Bulls, presumably to practice with the D-League squad before he rejoins the NBA team.
  • The Nets sent guard Yogi Ferrell back to the Long Island Nets for the team’s afternoon contest against Sioux Falls today, according to the club (Twitter link). Long Island lost the game, and Ferrell barely showed up on the score sheet, scoring four points on nine shots in 12 minutes of action.
  • The Lakers have recalled 2016 second-rounder Ivica Zubac from the D-League, the team announced today (Twitter link). Zubac hasn’t seen much action with the NBA club so far in his rookie year, but has played well for the L.A. D-Fenders, averaging 17.3 PPG and 8.5 RPG in six contests.
  • Jordan Mickey has returned to the Celtics, having been recalled from the Maine Red Claws, according to the team (via Twitter). Mickey was fairly quiet on Sunday, but had a huge game for Maine on Saturday, putting up 22 points, 15 boards, four assists, four steals, and four blocks.

Murry, Hollins Sign Overseas Deals

Two NBA veterans have reached agreements to play basketball overseas.

Guard Toure’ Murry has signed with the Yesilgiresun club in Turkey, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The 27-year-old guard was waived by the Timberwolves during the preseason. Murry started his career with the Knicks after going undrafted in 2013. He wasn’t re-signed after playing 51 games as a rookie, and had brief stints with the Jazz and Wizards the following season. Murry is averaging 2.6 points per night in 56 NBA games.

Ryan Hollins has signed with  CB Gran Canaria in Spain, according to Carchia. The 32-year-old center played for nine organizations in a 10-year NBA career. His last team was the Grizzlies, who waived him just before the end of last season. Hollins appeared in 518 NBA games with career averages of 3.7 points and 2.2 rebounds.

Rockets Notes: Motiejunas, D’Antoni, Brown

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni plans to give Donatas Motiejunas minutes at both center and power forward now that the team has matched his offer sheet, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “It’s great,” D’Antoni said. “Looking forward to having him in here and getting him going. He’ll be a nice addition, a nice boost.” Owner Leslie Alexander also complimented Motiejunas, relays Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston, saying, “There aren’t many seven-foot players who have the skills that D-Mo possesses. He sees the court very well. He’s a terrific passer and works hard to improve his game.” (Twitter link)

There’s more tonight out of Houston:

  • The official release time for Bobby Brown, who was waived to open a roster spot for Motiejunas, will determine how much he collects in salary, posts Calvin Watkins on ESPN Now. If Brown was let go before 5 p.m. Eastern, he will receive $253,759 and will clear waivers Wednesday. If it was any later, Brown will get $259,536 and will clear waivers Thursday.
  • The 32-year-old Brown handled the news of his release like a seasoned professional, Berman tweets. Brown, who earned a roster spot in Houston after being out of the league since the 2009/10 season, appeared in six games with the Rockets and scored two points. “They explained the whole situation as far as D-Mo,” Brown said. “It’s not difficult at all. I’ve been through it before. I’m older. I understand the business side now on how things go.”
  • Adding Motiejunas brings the Rockets’ team salary to the $103MM mark, Watkins tweets. Houston has moved up to 10th in the league in payroll, according to Bobby Marks of The Vertical (Twitter link).

Magic Are Ready To Trade For Scorers

Ranked 29th in points per possession, the Magic will turn to the trade market for help on offense, reports Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel.

Robbins cites a league source with knowledge of the situation, but it’s obvious to anyone who has watched the Magic that they need to find some scoring. The offseason trade for Serge Ibaka and the signing of Bismack Biyombo have helped Orlando build the NBA’s third best defense in points per possession, but a lack of offense has limited the Magic in a 9-12 start.

Robbins isn’t sure who Orlando’s front office might want to part with, but he lists four players with expiring contracts, which are usually attractive to teams hoping to cut salary. They are Ibaka, Jeff Green, Jodie Meeks and C.J. Wilcox. In addition, C.J. Watson has just a $1MM guarantee on his 2017/18 contract.

The unofficial start of the trading season is December 15th, when most of the offseason free agent signees are eligible to be dealt.

Report Of Surgery For Chandler Parsons Denied

6:55pm: Sportando is calling the report a “mistake” and is apologizing to Parsons for the erroneous story. (Twitter link)

6:50pm: Parsons has responded directly to Cauchi’s report with the message, “This isn’t true. Get your facts straight.” (Twitter link)

6:23pm: Sources close to Chandler Parsons are denying a report that the Grizzlies forward will need surgery on his left knee and may miss the rest of the season, tweets Chris Haynes of ESPN.com.

The original report came from Sportando’s Orazio Cauchi, who wrote that an operation is expected “in the coming weeks.”

Team sources tell Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com that Parsons’ rehab work on the knee is progressing as expected and that further surgery is not being considered (Twitter link).

Parsons underwent an operation in March to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. He signed a four-year, $94MM deal with Memphis in July, but has appeared in just six games. He was still recovering from surgery when the season began, then suffered a bone bruise on his left knee shortly after returning.

Matt Barnes In New York City Nightclub Fight

Kings forward Matt Barnes talked to police today to give his side of an alleged choking incident in a New York City nightclub, writes James Ham of CSNBayArea.

In a story first reported by TMZ, Barnes is accused of choking a woman and assaulting two other people who tried to intervene. He offered an explanation in a statement today on his Instagram account, posting, “There’s always two sides to a story.. The side the media consistently tries to paint of me…. And what actually happened! Don’t believe everything you read.”

The confrontation took place early this morning at the Avenue Nightclub, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Barnes said he was slapped by a women he “accidentally butt bumped” as he headed toward the VIP section, then claims he was knocked to the floor by several men, one of whom tried to choke him.

TMZ reports that teammate DeMarcus Cousins came to Barnes’ defense. Cousins claims he doesn’t know what started the incident, but said someone tried to choke Barnes.

Barnes’ attorney, Alex Spiro, sent an email to the Sacramento Bee proclaiming his client’s innocence.

“We do not believe a crime was committed,” Spiro wrote. “We are cooperating with law enforcement and are hopeful no charges will be pressed.”

The 36-year-old Barnes has become a valuable team leader since rejoining the Kings this summer. He is averaging 7.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists through 20 games.

The team released a statement this afternoon, saying, “We have clear standards of conduct and behavior expected of the entire Kings organization – on and off the court. We are working with all parties involved to gather information in order to take any appropriate next steps.”

Rockets Match Donatas Motiejunas’ Offer Sheet

4:18pm: The Rockets will create an opening on their 15-man roster for Motiejunas by waiving Bobby Brown, per Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com. The move doesn’t come as a surprise, since Brown’s contract was the only fully non-guaranteed deal on Houston’s books.

Watkins adds that Motiejunas will have to pass a physical before he officially rejoins the Rockets. The veteran forward underwent a medical examination with the Nets when he visited the team last week, so the physical isn’t expected to be an issue, despite concerns about his back.

Meanwhile, according to Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link), now that Houston has matched, Motiejunas’ deal is believed to be worth $31MM over four years. An earlier report suggested that the Nets’ offer featured $1MM annually in likely incentives, so perhaps those incentives are considered unlikely for the Rockets, in which case they won’t initially count against the cap.

3:58pm: The Rockets have matched the four-year, $35MM+ offer sheet Donatas Motiejunas signed with the Nets on Friday, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). Houston will have to clear a spot on its 15-man roster to make the move official and formally bring Motiejunas back into the fold.Donatas Motiejunas vertical

For Brooklyn, the offer sheet for Motiejunas represented the third time this year that the team had made an effort to land a restricted free agent from another club. However, as with the case when they inked Allen Crabbe (Trail Blazers) and Tyler Johnson (Heat) to lucrative four-year offer sheets, the Nets were stymied in their attempt to add young talent when the player’s original team matched the offer.

Motiejunas, the NBA’s last unsigned RFA of 2016, received a qualifying offer worth about $4.4MM from the Rockets back in June. However, the 26-year-old didn’t reach an agreement with Houston or sign an offer sheet with a rival suitor during the offseason, and that qualifying offer expired in October. Still, the Rockets maintained the right of first refusal on the big man, giving GM Daryl Morey the opportunity to match Brooklyn’s offer.

The four-year deal Motiejunas signed on Friday with the Nets has a reported base value of about $35MM, and features $500K annually in unlikely incentives, for a full value of $37MM. The contract only includes $5MM in guaranteed money for now, but Motiejunas will reportedly have the rest of his $8.5MM first-year salary guaranteed in January, and his $9MM salary for 2017/18 will become guaranteed if he remains under contract through March 1. In other words, he’ll receive at least $17.5MM or so in guarantees unless he’s waived within the next three months.

The Rockets’ last offer to Motiejunas in November was said to be a two-year proposal worth about $7MM guaranteed in year one. The second-year salary on that offer was non-guaranteed. Houston will now have Motiejunas under contract for four years rather than two, at a slightly higher rate, though the final two years of the new deal will remain non-guaranteed until July 2018 and July 2019, respectively.

While the Nets used their cap room to make Motiejunas an offer, the Rockets will retain him using their Bird Rights. Houston entered the day just slightly over the $94MM salary cap, so the deal figures to increase 2016/17 team salary to over $100MM. The club will still be comfortably below the tax line, which is in the $113MM range.

[RELATED: 2016/17 Salary Cap Snapshot: Houston Rockets]

Although Motiejunas struggled to stay healthy last season and his production took a significant hit, he looked like a player on the rise in 2014/15, when he averaged 12.0 PPG and 5.9 RPG to go along with a .504 FG% and a .368 3PT%. He has been plagued by back troubles in recent years, creating some long-term uncertainty about his health and limiting his market. The Rockets were said to have concerns about how his back will hold up in the long term.

For now though, Motiejunas looks like a good fit for Mike D’Antoni‘s system, and once he gets up to speed, he’ll likely assume a role as the club’s backup power forward behind Ryan Anderson. The former 20th overall pick may also see some time at center in smaller lineups, and his return could have an impact on Sam Dekker‘s and Montrezl Harrell‘s minutes.

Assuming the Rockets don’t make a surprise cut between now and March, Motiejunas will remain with the team throughout the 2016/17 season, since he’s not eligible to be traded. Free agents can’t be dealt for three months after signing contracts, which means Motiejunas won’t be trade-eligible until March 5 — that date falls after this season’s February 23 trade deadline.

The Rockets previously agreed to trade Motiejunas to the Pistons at the 2015/16 trade deadline, but that deal fell through due to concerns about the seven-footer’s back.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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