Month: February 2024

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Okafor, Noel, Simmons

Joel Embiid has been cleared for 28 minutes per game, another sign that his recovery from foot problems is going well, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The rookie center had been limited to 24 minutes along with restrictions on back-to-back games. Even with those limits, he has averaged 18.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per night in 12 contests. The decision to expand his minutes was made after consultations with team doctors. Embiid underwent a CT scan on Monday that showed his foot is in good shape. “Everybody would see the impact that Joel has when he is on the floor,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “The four minutes by all indications will give us a better chance of winning.”

There’s more news out of Philadelphia:

  • The postponement of tonight’s game with the Kings robbed fans of the chance to see Embiid and Jahlil Okafor on the court together, writes Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers’ first-round picks in 2014 and 2015 have shared the court for just two minutes and 36 seconds so far this season, but Brown had planned to use them extensively to match up with Sacramento’s big front line. “Tonight, there are matchups the other team puts on the floor that justify it and feel it’s not hurting the team,” Brown said before the game. “You want to judge it on defense and are we getting up and down the floor and matchups, but tonight seems like a good night to make it happen.”
  • Nerlens Noel is expected to join the Sixers for practice on Thursday after a short stay in the D-League, tweets Derek Bodner of PhillyMag. Noel was sent to the team’s affiliate in Delaware Tuesday on a rehab assignment.
  • Rookie Ben Simmons continues his slow recovery from surgery after fracturing his right foot in October, Bodner tweets. Simmons, who is expected to take over at point guard when he returns, was at a recent practice working on post passes to Embiid and Okafor while sitting on a chair.

And-Ones: Postponement, Goodwin, Adams, Smith

The Sixers and Kings will have to find room on their schedules for a make-up game after tonight’s contest in Philadelphia was postponed because of excess moisture on the floor of Wells Fargo Center. Crews worked for about an hour trying to dry the court before the game was officially called off. No makeup date was announced, but there is speculation that it will be rescheduled when the Kings make their next Eastern swing in late January. Both teams are off and the arena will be available on January 30th, tweets The Vertical’s Bobby Marks.

There’s more basketball news tonight:

  • Archie Goodwin, who was waived by the Pelicans November 20th, has been claimed by the Greensboro Swarm of the D-League, according to a tweet from D-League Digest. The Hornets’ affiliate reportedly tried to trade Goodwin’s rights, but couldn’t work out a deal (Twitter link). Goodwin spent the last three seasons with the Suns, but was released in the preseason. The Pelicans signed him earlier this month when injuries left them shorthanded, but he played just three games in New Orleans.
  • Shooting guard Jordan Adams, who was claimed by the Oklahoma City Blue on Monday, has failed his physical, according to D-League Digest (Twitter link). The team will still retain the rights to Adams and will not move back to the top of the waiver order (Twitter link). Adams, a UCLA product, was waived by the Grizzlies during the preseason. A first-round pick in 2014, he had spent the past two seasons in Memphis, playing 30 games in 2014/15 and two games last season.
  • Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue says a mental lapse by J.R. Smith that led to an easy Bucks basket Tuesday night is a sign of an overall focus problem by the team, writes Dave McMenamin of Smith walked to the Milwaukee bench to greet Jason Terry during an inbounds play, leaving Matthew Dellavedova open for an easy layup. “Obviously we both know it wasn’t intentional, but it was just a lack of focus,” Smith said. “One of the multiple things that compounded onto the loss was just as a team we haven’t been as focused as we previously were.”

Isaiah Austin Cleared To Play Basketball Again

Former Baylor star Isaiah Austin has been medically cleared to play basketball and is considering offers overseas, writes Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog. Austin declared for the NBA draft after his sophomore season, but his career was derailed when doctors discovered he had Marfan syndrome, a disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue.

Austin announced the news in a video on his Instagram account, saying, “Ever since the draft I’ve been getting checked by my doctor, and through those checkups, we’ve been monitoring my heart, making sure that nothing has changed, and he said that I am stable.”

Austin, now 23, was considered to be a late first-round pick in 2014 after averaging 11.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game in his final season at Baylor. His condition was discovered at the NBA combine, according to The first sign of trouble was an electrocardiogram test that showed an abnormality in his heart. Further genetic tests confirmed that he had Marfan syndrome.

Austin learned of the diagnosis days before the draft and was told he could not safely continue to play basketball. NBA commissioner Adam Silver called him up to the dais and made him a ceremonial pick.

“I am cleared,” Austin announced in the Instagram video. “I am about to be out here pursuing my dream. Ever since my doctors told me that I was cleared, it’s been in my mind — I want to go chase this. It’s always been my dream. At the same time, I’m a God-faring man, and I believe that everything happens in life for a reason, so why would God put it in my doctor’s heart to say that I was cleared if he didn’t want me to go and chase my dream and share my testimony with millions of people around the world.”

Kings Notes: Cousins, Casspi, Gay, Stauskas

Kings coach Dave Joerger has gone back to a bigger starting lineup in an effort to improve the team’s defense, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Kosta Koufos is back with the starters, being used at center with DeMarcus Cousins at power forward. Joerger briefly tried a small-ball starting lineup, but wasn’t satisfied with the results. “I’m trying to protect DeMarcus a little bit by letting Kosta take the hits on a bigger guy like [Washington Wizards center Marcin] Gortat,” Joerger said. “And defensively more pick-and-rolls and try to save [Cousins’] legs for the end.” 

There’s more news out of Sacramento:

  • Cousins continues to put up incredible numbers, averaging 28.7 points and 10.4 rebounds per night, but the Kings need more production from their complementary players, writes James Ham of CSNBayArea“We’ve just got to be better,” Omri Casspi said after Monday’s overtime loss at Washington. “Our bench guys and our role players have to do a better job of helping DeMarcus. It feels like he’s doing anything he can to win the game for us. We’ve just got to be better.”
  • Rudy Gay confirmed that he has left Octagon Basketball, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today. Gay, who has suggested that he won’t be re-signing with Sacramento after he becomes a free agent next summer, may be joining Roc Nation, an agency headed by rapper Jay Z (Twitter link). However, he told Jones that the change isn’t related to his impending free agency (Twitter link).
  • Nik Stauskas says it doesn’t bother him to hear that the Kings feel like they should have drafted someone else in 2014, Jones posts on Facebook. Owner Vivek Ranadive recently told Amick that he preferred Magic guard Elfrid Payton over Stauskas as the No. 8 pick. “Like I said, they did me a favor sending me here to Philadelphia,” Stauskas replied. “I’ve had a really good opportunity to play even though I hadn’t been performing though my first year with the Sixers. I’m thankful that the organization gave me an opportunity, they drafted me, but if they felt like the made a mistake by drafting me then they felt like they made a mistake. I can’t do anything about it now.”

Danuel House Has Fractured Wrist, Out At Least 6 Weeks

Wizards rookie Danuel House has been diagnosed with a fractured right wrist and will miss at least six weeks, according to J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic. Surgery won’t be necessary, as doctors have decided to let the injury heal on its own.

House has a $543,471 contract with only $100K guaranteed, but the Wizards must pay his full salary as long as he is injured, notes Bobby Marks of The Vertical (Twitter link). All NBA contracts will become fully guaranteed on January 10th, which is roughly six weeks from now. House is also signed for next season for a non-guaranteed $905,249.

A 6’7″ shooting guard out of Texas A&M, House suffered the injury last week in practice. He has gotten into just one game with the Wizards with one minute of playing time.

Dion Waiters Expected To Miss At Least Two Weeks

Heat guard Dion Waiters will be out of action for at least two weeks with a Pectineus tear, the team announced on its website.

Waiters, who was diagnosed today after an MRI, has been sidelined for more than a week with what was thought to be a groin ailment. He didn’t accompany the team on its current three-game road trip. Coach Erik Spoelstra said Waiters’ condition will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

Waiters was one of several free agents signed by the Heat this summer. He agreed in late July to a two-year, $6MM contract with a player option on the second season. The 24-year-old has appeared in 16 games, all starts, with averages of 14.2 points, 4.0 assists and 3.4 rebounds per night. He is shooting 38.4% from the field and 34.4% on 3-pointers.

The pain of losing Waiters is lessened somewhat by the recent return of Wayne Ellington, who missed the first five weeks of the season after suffering a quad injury in Miami’s final preseason game.

Community Shootaround: Grizzlies’ PG Situation

Mike Conley‘s name hasn’t come up often in discussions about the early frontrunners for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award, but you could make a case that the veteran point guard has been one of the most important players to his team during the season’s first month.

As’s advanced data shows, the Grizzlies have had a +6.5 net rating per 100 possessions with Conley on the court, compared to a -13.8 mark when he’s on the bench, a gap of 20.3. As a point of reference, the Rockets have a +6.4 net rating per 100 possessions when James Harden is in the game, as opposed to a -10.4 net rating when he’s not playing — that’s a gap of 16.8.

A glance at Conley’s traditional per-game numbers also reveals the extent to which he has contributed to the Grizzlies’ success this season. Memphis’ floor general is averaging a career-high (and team-high) 19.2 PPG to go along with 5.7 APG, and is shooting an incredible 46.7% from three-point range.

Given how important Conley is to the Grizzlies, it goes without saying that the back injury he suffered on Monday, which is expected to sideline him for at least six weeks, is a major problem for the team. Memphis has a solid 11-7 record so far, but the club is also missing Chandler Parsons, James Ennis, and Brandan Wright, and doesn’t have much point guard depth behind Conley.

After playing in Toronto on Wednesday night, the Grizzlies will face a challenging December schedule that includes two contests apiece against the Cavaliers and Celtics, along with games against the Warriors, Rockets, Jazz, Thunder, and Trail Blazers. Then, to start the new year, they’ll play road games against the Lakers, Clippers, and Warriors within the first week. By that time, Conley may be nearing his return, but it’s possible Memphis will have slipped down the standings in the Western Conference.

Conley’s absence is expected to be measured in weeks rather than months, and the Grizzlies will give up their 2017 first-round pick if it doesn’t land in the top five, so it doesn’t make much sense for the team to try to tank at this point. Memphis will do everything it can to stay in the postseason mix, which may mean adding another point guard to a group that currently features a pair of rookies, Andrew Harrison and Wade Baldwin.

On Tuesday, we learned that the Grizzlies have expressed some interest in Norris Cole, who has a history with head coach David Fizdale, though he’s currently playing in China. Cole is hardly the only potential target for Memphis though — Xavier Munford, Mario Chalmers, Will Bynum, Toney Douglas, and Kendall Marshall have all been cited as possible options, though Chalmers is still recovering from an Achilles injury.

There’s also no shortage of promising point guards in the D-League at the moment. In a list put together this week by NBADL reporter Chris Reichert for, five of the top six candidates for an NBA call-up were point guards, including Briante Weber, Isaiah Taylor, and Spencer Dinwiddie. Of course, the Grizzlies already have two young point guards on their roster, so they may prefer a veteran as a short-term replacement during Conley’s absence.

What do you think? Should the Grizzlies sign a veteran free agent point guard? Should they look harder at D-League options? Or can they survive Conley’s absence with Harrison and Baldwin playing larger roles, treading water until their starting point guard returns? Jump into the comments section below and let us know how you’d handle the situation if you were running the Grizzlies.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 11/30/16

Here are Wednesday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA, with the latest updates added to the top of the list throughout the day:


  • The Nets have assigned a pair of players to the D-League, sending Yogi Ferrell and Chris McCullough to the Long Island Nets, the team announced today in a press release. Long Island will host an afternoon contest against the Santa Cruz Warriors on Thursday, so the duo will likely suit up for that game.


  • As expected, the Hawks have assigned 2016 first-rounder DeAndre’ Bembry to the D-League, tweets Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Since Atlanta doesn’t have its own D-League squad, Bembry will play for the Salt Lake City Stars, Utah’s affiliate.
  • A day after being recalled by Golden State, rookie center Damian Jones has been sent back to the Santa Cruz Warriors, the team announced today in a press release. Santa Cruz had an early game today, which Jones participated in — he picked up two points, four rebounds, and a pair of blocks.
  • In addition to confirming Nerlens Noel‘s D-League assignment (noted below), the Sixers announced today that they’ve recalled Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot from the Delaware 87ers after a brief D-League stint for the rookie.


  • The Sixers are sending Nerlens Noel to their D-League affiliate for injury rehab purposes, league sources tell Marc J. Spears of According to Spears, Noel, who has yet to make his 2016/17 debut after undergoing a knee procedure, is set to practice on Wednesday with the Delaware 87ers, Philadelphia’s D-League affiliate. Like Jerryd Bayless, who was recently assigned to the 87ers on a rehab assignment, Noel is not expected to play in any games during his time in Delaware. The big man hopes to return to the Sixers by mid-December.

Reggie Bullock Expected To Miss 2-4 Months

Pistons guard Reggie Bullock will undergo surgery to repair his torn left meniscus, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical (via Twitter). According to Charania, Bullock is expected to be sidelined for two to four months following the procedure.

Bullock’s torn meniscus was first confirmed last Friday by the Pistons, though at the time the team didn’t provide a timeline for the fourth-year veteran’s recovery, suggesting further evaluation was required. As I observed last week, players who suffer a torn meniscus are typically sidelined for at least a few weeks, and occasionally end up missing several months depending on the severity of the tear, as well as how the injury is treated and rehabbed. With Bullock set to go under the knife, it looks like he’ll miss most of the 2016/17 season.

The 25th overall pick in the 2013 draft, Bullock spent time with the Clippers and Suns before arriving in Detroit. Last season, he averaged a career-high 11.6 minutes per game for the team, and while his numbers (3.3 PPG, 1.8 RPG) were modest, he played solid defense. Bullock was extension-eligible this offseason, but didn’t ink a new deal with the Pistons, so he remains on track for restricted free agency in the summer of 2017. The 25-year-old, whose 2016/17 debut was delayed by back and hip problems, has appeared in just four games this season.

In Bullock’s absence, the Pistons have struggled to find a reliable backup for starting shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Stanley Johnson, Darrun Hilliard, and Michael Gbinije are all in the mix, but no one has stepped up and grabbed hold of the role so far, as we noted on Tuesday.

New York Notes: Nets, Knicks, Noah, Kilpatrick

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said today that he won’t surrender control of the franchise, and will remain the team’s majority owner, but will seek out a local minority ownership partner to “strengthen” the team’s presence in New York, per Ohm Youngmisuk of

According to Bloomberg’s Scott Soshnick (via Twitter), the Nets have hired Steve Greenberg of Allen & Co. to help find a local investor to buy a minority stake in the franchise. Net Income of NetsDaily adds (via Twitter) that Prokhorov is only interested in selling a piece of the Nets — he won’t also sell a portion of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, the parent company that owns the Barclays Center.

Here are several more Nets- and Knicks-related notes from out of New York:

  • The Knicks – and head coach Jeff Hornacek – finally trusted Joakim Noah in a key situation on Monday, and it backfired on them, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Meanwhile, Fred Kerber of The New York Post examines the Noah situation and wonders whether it’s a blip on the radar or the start of a $72MM disaster.
  • In an interview with Karizza Sanchez of, Iman Shumpert was asked about Phil Jackson‘s “posse” comment regarding LeBron James, and replied that the Knicks president has “always got a comment.” More from Shumpert, who grew up rooting for the Bulls and was traded away from the Knicks by Jackson: “You traded me away from New York, cool. It’s all business, it’s all love, whatever. But I’m a grownup now. You not my hero no more. The Bulls era is gone, Mike is gone, Pippen is gone, you ain’t coaching the Bulls no more. So, I don’t care what you got to say about ’Bron.”
  • Sean Kilpatrick has appeared in 52 NBA games, including 40 with the Nets, but none were better than Tuesday’s win over the Clippers, in which he scored 38 points grabbed 14 rebounds, both career highs. After the win, Kilpatrick spoke to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders about how Nets GM Sean Marks changed his life.
  • Can 2016 first-rounder Caris LeVert become a foundational piece for the Nets? Reed Wallach of NetsDaily takes a closer look.