Month: May 2024

Grizzlies GM: No Plans To Rebuild This Season

A loss in San Antonio on Wednesday extended the Grizzlies’ losing streak to nine games and dropped the team to 7-13 on the season. However, according to general manager Chris Wallace, the team has no plans to shift into rebuilding mode this year. As Wallace explained to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, the Grizzlies fully expect to contend once they get healthy, and they’re “full speed ahead” with the current roster.

“We’ve been in the playoffs seven years in a row,” Wallace said. “We’ve got a team when fully healthy and we get everything together is more athletic, more versatile and more potent offensively than we’ve had for a number of years. Even though the going has been a little difficult early, there’s still 62 [games] to play. We believe in this team.”

In the wake of the decision to bench Marc Gasol during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to Brooklyn, there was speculation about a potential trade involving Gasol. Memphis’ decision to dismiss David Fizdale a day later quieted those rumblings to a certain extent, but given the club’s health issues and its record through 20 games, there were some executives who believed the Grizzlies would continue to explore their options with Gasol. Wallace told MacMahon that’s not the case.

“We have no intention to trade Marc,” Wallace said. “We never seriously considered that at all. We never placed any calls to any teams in that regard. So that’s not happening. … It’s not just Marc that this whole equation is about. It’s also Mike Conley when he comes back. We’ve got two guys among the elite in the league at their respective positions that are still very much in their window with an awful lot of tread left on their tires.”

While the Grizzlies’ stance may frustrate some fans and observers, it would be tricky for the team to engage in an all-out rebuild at this point. Conley and Chandler Parsons still have multiple guaranteed years left on their massive contracts after this season, which would make it difficult to get a solid return in any trade involving them. Gasol, who has a slightly less lucrative salary and a shorter-term deal, has a bit more trade value, but hasn’t been at his best so far this season, limiting his appeal to potential suitors.

For his part, Gasol says he’s happy the front office is willing to stick with the current group a little longer. However, as MacMahon details, the veteran center acknowledges that the Grizzlies’ stance may change quickly if the team doesn’t start winning.

“You know how brutal and how the reality is in the NBA and how much things can change fast, so you’ve got to really do the most and get the most out of every minute that you’re able to,” Gasol said. “Obviously, you appreciate the confidence and the trust that they’re showing in myself and Mike, because maybe the next step once you try to fix it by replacing the head coach, then it’s your big guns, try to change them, too. That may be the natural step, but they’re sticking with us.”

Northwest Notes: Roberson, Aminu, J. Johnson, Craig

The Thunder’s slow start reached a new low tonight with a loss in Orlando, leaving a team expected to be among the NBA’s best after trading for Paul George and Carmelo Anthony with an 8-12 record and a 2-9 mark on the road. Part of the problem, suggests Erik Horne of The Oklahoman, is that Andre Roberson is an awkward fit in the starting lineup.

The starters perform well in the first quarter with a net rating [point differential per 100 possessions] of 23.8, the fourth-best mark in the league. However, their third quarter rating drops to 88.5, worst among the 16 NBA lineups that have played at least 60 minutes as a unit. Roberson is a defensive specialist, but opponents don’t respect his outside shot, especially from 3-point range, where he is hitting just 27%. Horne notes that Jerami Grant and Raymond Felton have logged nearly three times as many fourth quarter minutes as Roberson.

“I don’t necessarily feel like he’s uncomfortable,” coach Billy Donovan said of Roberson. “I do feel, with him getting acclimated to a new team, I just think some of that stuff’s going to take time. I’m not making excuses for our team, just dealing with the reality.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Trail Blazers will welcome forward Al-Farouq Aminu back Thursday night after missing 13 games with a sprained right ankle, relays Casey Holdahl of Portland expected Aminu to return in two to three weeks after he suffered the injury in a November 1 game, but he wound up missing almost the entire month. “It felt good to be back out there with the guys,” Aminu said after today’s practice. “Being able to contribute is always a good thing.”
  • Joe Johnson is making progress with his wrist injury and will be re-evaluated in two weeks, according to a story on the Jazz website. Johnson, who has been diagnosed with tendon instability in his right wrist, had another meeting with a hand specialist Tuesday. The 17-year veteran has played just seven games this season.
  • After three years of playing overseas, Nuggets forward Torrey Craig got his first taste of NBA action Tuesday, writes Christopher Dempsey of The 26-year-old signed a two-way contract over the summer and was called up to Denver this week after averaging 25.7 points per game in the G League. “It wasn’t too many nerves,” he said. “I’ve been playing basketball for a long time. So, I’m well adjusted to the atmosphere, to the game of basketball.”

Central Notes: Mirotic, LaVine, Wade, Oladipo

Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic admitted to having memory loss after being punched by teammate Bobby Portis, relays Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago. Mirotic met with the media today and publicly forgave Portis for the skirmish that left him hospitalized with two facial fractures. He said the organization reached out to him in the wake of the incident, as head coach Fred Hoiberg and assistant Jim Boylen visited him in the hospital and GM Gar Forman made several calls.

“Everybody was worried about me,” Mirotic said. “So I did feel support and I appreciated that from the front office. Now their goal is to make me get back in the game. I’m working on that.”

There’s more tonight from the Central Division:

  • Mirotic and Zach LaVine will get some work in the G League before they take the court for the Bulls, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Both players are practicing with the team’s Windy City affiliate while the Bulls are on a road trip. Hoiberg said a late-December return is most likely for LaVine, who is recovering from an ACL tear he suffered last season. “He didn’t do a lot [at Tuesday’s practice],” Hoiberg said of LaVine. “He was really sore, especially in the hamstrings and quads. He’s itching to get back. He’s a competitor. But we have to be really careful about not overloading him.”
  • Business decisions have taken Dwyane Wade to unexpected places over the past two seasons, but he tells Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel that he’s happy to be with the Cavaliers. After 13 years in Miami, Wade signed with the Bulls in 2016, then came to Cleveland this season after to agreeing to a buyout with Chicago just before training camp. “Obviously, you don’t know what’s going to happen from day to day,” Wade said. “This career path we all chose in the NBA, you just don’t know what’s going to happen with it. For me, I’m OK and I’m content with what I’ve done for 13 years. Did I think it was gonna shake out this way? No. But I’m not sitting here crying about it neither.”
  • Victor Oladipo admits to being upset over criticism of the trade that sent him and Domantas Sabonis to the Pacers in exchange for Paul George, relays Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report. “Of course it bothers me,” Oladipo said. “But people’s opinions, they are what they are. I can’t control that. All I can control is how hard I work.”

Southwest Notes: Conley, Hill, Anderson, Kleber

Mike Conley is making progress with his injured left heel and Achilles and should return in two to three weeks, according to a story on the Grizzlies’ website. The point guard has responded well to therapy and treatment to promote healing, the team says.

No timetable was set for Conley’s return when he first suffered the injury in mid-November. Memphis has gone 0-6 without Conley to fall into 12th place in the Western Conference and fired coach David Fizdale on Monday.

There’s more news from the Southwest Division:

  • Pelicans forward Solomon Hill is improving after surgery in August for a torn hamstring, tweets Scott Kushner of The Advocate. Coach Alvin Gentry told reporters tonight that Hill is a “little bit ahead of schedule” in the rehab process. “We talk to him and communicate with him to try to see what’s going on,” Gentry said. “But it’s just a time injury. You can’t work harder to come back quicker.” Hill was mainly a starter for New Orleans last season, averaging 7.0 points and 3.8 rebounds in 80 games.
  • Spurs swingman Kyle Anderson will be in a strong position when he enters free agency next summer, writes Michael C. Wright of ESPN. With Kawhi Leonard sidelined since preseason, Anderson has stepped into the starting lineup and has impressed San Antonio’s front office with his performance, averaging career highs in points (9.2), rebounds (6.3) and assists (3.2) through 20 games. “Free agency happens this coming July, and he’ll be in a better position because of the way he’s played,” Spurs GM R.C. Buford said. “We’ll be in a better position because we know the role that he can fill with the team that we have. We’ll evaluate Kyle’s free agency as a part of the whole team, but he’s clearly put himself in a position to be respected in free agency.”
  • Rookie Maxi Kleber is getting some of the credit for the Mavericks‘ improved performance over their past six games, relays Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. After a terrible start, Dallas has gone 3-3 since moving Kleber into the starting lineup. “Kleber’s given us a lot more flexibility defensively,” said coach Rick Carlisle. “He’s been one of our better defenders. When you add a guy like that, that can guard people individually and can switch liberally and keep little guys in front of him, that helps.”

Southeast Notes: Whiteside, Simmons, Frazier, MCW

The knee soreness that forced Heat center Hassan Whiteside to sit out tonight’s game could become a long-term issue, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. In a video posted on the newspaper’s web site, Whiteside says the knee has been giving him problems since the season began. “It’s really bothering me, man,” Whiteside said. “We’re going to figure it out. We’re going to figure it out when we get back to Miami and figure out what’s wrong.”

The knee problems began on opening night when Whiteside suffered a bone bruise. He was held out of the next five games, but hasn’t missed another one until today. Whiteside has remained productive despite the pain, averaging 14.9 points and 12.7 rebounds in 15 games.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Free agent addition Jonathon Simmons was inserted into the Magic’s starting lineup Monday, and coach Frank Vogel plans to keep him in that role, relays Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Simmons took Terrence Ross‘ place in the starting five and responded with a team-high 21 points. Vogel said he will evaluate how he uses players before each game, but added, “I would anticipate ‘Simms’ being in the starting lineup indefinitely, until I decide otherwise.”
  • The Wizards just need a steady performance from point guard Tim Frazier as he fills in for the injured John Wall, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Frazier and Tomas Satoransky will both see increased playing time with Wall sidelined for about two weeks with knee inflammation. “He’s not going to play like John and we don’t expect him to play like John,” coach Scott Brooks said. “We want him to just play to his best ability, and that’s getting our team in the offense and not turning the ball over, take the open shot.”
  • Michael Carter-Williams, who joined his fourth team in four years when he signed with the Hornets this summer, believes he has found a comfortable situation in Charlotte, according to Sam Perley of Carter-Williams’ season debut was delayed after getting platelet-rich-plasma injections in both knees, but he has found a role as a defensive specialist off the bench, averaging a team-high 1.25 steals per game. “MCW is a difference-maker,” said Hornets coach Steve Clifford. “He changes our defense, he can guard multiple guys. He’s working his way into shape, he’s got terrific feel, he can play fast and slow [and] he can find people.”

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/29/17

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Knicks sent Joakim Noah and Damyean Dotson to the G League today, then recalled them after the conclusion of the Westchester Knicks’ day game (Twitter links). Dotson scored 23 points in the loss to Maine, while Noah chipped in with nine points, five boards, and four assists.
  • Troy Williams has been re-assigned to the G League by the Rockets, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Williams figures to suit up tonight for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers against the Texas Legends.
  • The Kings have assigned a trio of players – Georgios Papagiannis, Malachi Richardson, and Justin Jackson – to the G League, the team announced today in a press release. The Reno Bighorns don’t play again until Saturday, so it’s not clear if the three youngsters will stick around that long, or if they’re just on assignment for practice purposes.
  • After helping the Delaware 87ers earn a win on Tuesday, rookie guard Furkan Korkmaz has been recalled to the NBA by the Sixers, per a press release from the team. Korkmaz had just 14 points on 3-of-12 shooting for Delaware last night, but was a team-best +19.
  • The Pacers have sent rookie center Ike Anigbogu to the G League, the club announced today. Anigbogu has played just 17 total minutes for Indiana so far this season, so assignments to the G League give him an opportunity to get more reps.

Hawks’ Dewayne Dedmon Out For 3-6 Weeks

Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon is expected to be sidelined for the next three to six weeks due to a left tibia stress reaction, the team announced today in a press release. That timeline would put Dedmon on track to return in mid- to late-December at the earliest.

Dedmon, 28, inked a two-year, $12.3MM contract with the Hawks back in July. That deal includes a second-year player option worth $6.3MM, so any health issues Dedmon experiences this season could have an impact on whether or not he picks up that option.

So far, Dedmon has been enjoying a career year as the Hawks’ starting center. The former USC standout is playing a career-high 24.4 minutes per game, and his efficiency hasn’t taken a hit as he has assumed that increased role. In 20 games, he has recorded 11.1 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and a .601 FG%.

With Dedmon sidelined, rookie John Collins figures to see more time at center. Miles Plumlee, Ersan Ilyasova, and Luke Babbitt are among the other candidates to receive more minutes in the frontcourt with Mike Muscala still on the shelf as well.

Clippers Notes: Rivers, Gallinari, Teodosic

While speculation about Doc Rivers‘ job security has subsided somewhat since the team snapped its nine-game losing streak last week, Rivers was asked about it today, and suggested it’s “so easy” to become a target when your team gets hit by injuries and losses start piling up (Twitter link via Arash Markazi of ESPN).

“There’s nothing much I can do about it though,” Rivers said (Twitter link via Markazi). “It’s different than it was 15 years ago. Now people want to place blame right away. Blame me, blame whatever. It’s the way it’s going to work. Who cares? That doesn’t bother me at all. I don’t read it anyway.”

As the Clips prepare for Thursday’s game against Utah, here are a few more notes on the club:

  • While online observers are pushing for the Clippers to undergo a rebuild, that means next to nothing to Rivers, as Markazi tweets. “The day I start answering the internet people is the day I’m an internet person,” Rivers said. “That’s not going to happen. I don’t listen to all that stuff. We’re going to do what’s best for the franchise.”
  • In a piece for The Vertical, Michael Lee makes a case for why Blake Griffin‘s latest injury should have the Clippers mulling the possibility of a drastic move.
  • Although the Clippers are expected to be without Griffin until January, two other injured players – Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic – are making progress and should be back on the court within the next five or 10 games, per Markazi (Twitter link).
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, the Clippers’ panic level should be at about a 7, according to Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.

Poll: Which Backcourt Duo Is NBA’s Best?

With Chris Paul healthy and James Harden playing some of the best basketball of his career, the Rockets‘ backcourt is making its case to be considered the NBA’s best, writes Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press.

Harden and Paul have combined for 14 All-Star nods between them, and the duo has helped lead the Rockets to a West-best 16-4 record so far this season. Harden, who has taken his game to another level, as Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer outlines, is currently leading the league with 31.7 PPG and 9.8 APG. Paul, who hasn’t yet played enough games to qualify for the NBA’s leaderboard, is also averaging a double-double – 10.8 PPG and 10.8 APG – and has only turned the ball over seven times in six games.

Although Houston’s new starting backcourt has looked unstoppable as of late, it’s not the NBA’s only pairing of All-Star guards. Any conversation about the league’s best backcourts would have to include the Warriors‘ combination of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and the Trail Blazers‘ duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.

Over in the Eastern Conference, one could argue that Wizards stars John Wall and Bradley Beal, along with the Raptors pairing of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, should also receive consideration.

Today, we’re asking you to make the call. Which backcourt duo is currently the NBA’s best? This isn’t about which one you’d rather have for the next 10 years, but which one you’d prefer now, for the rest of the 2017/18 season.

Vote below in our poll and jump into the comment section to explain your pick!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Mirotic Accepts Portis’ Apology, Ready To Move Forward

Bulls power forward Nikola Mirotic confirmed to reporters today that he has accepted Bobby Portis‘ apology for the punch Portis threw last month. However, Mirotic’s follow-up suggested that the relationship still isn’t overly friendly. Asked if he had told Portis he’d accepted his apology, Mirotic responded, “I guess he will know now,” per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times.

Mirotic’s comments to reporters today represented the first time he has spoken to the media since last month’s altercation. The 26-year-old, who continues to recover from facial injuries suffered as a result of Portis’ punch, declined to discuss the specifics of that incident, telling the media that he wants to focus on the future, writes Madeline Kennedy of The Chicago Sun-Times. That includes working alongside Portis.

“If I’m here, it’s because I want to support the team. He’s a part of the team. I’m going to support him too.” Mirotic said of Portis, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. “Bobby and me and all the team is doing what we’re supposed to do, being professional. I think so far we’re doing good. We’re in a good way.”

While Mirotic is saying the right things and sounds ready to “be professional” with Portis, I expect he would still be willing to waive his no-trade clause when he becomes eligible to be dealt on January 15. There’s no indication yet that the Bulls are considering a move, but Mirotic’s camp reportedly issued an ultimatum last month, expressing a desire for him to be dealt if Portis remains on the roster. Asked today about that request, Mirotic sidestepped the subject, as Cowley details.

“I just know that right now the only goal – [the] Bulls’ goal and my goal – is to make me get back with the team and practice together and get my strength back and as soon as I can, play with the team,” Mirotic said when he was asked about the reported ultimatum. When a reporter asked if he wants to be traded, Mirotic replied, “I’m really excited to be back. That’s all I can tell. That’s something my agent can tell you.”

Although the situation may not be entirely resolved, Mirotic’s stance is good news for the Bulls — as long as the 6’10” forward isn’t demanding a trade out of Chicago, the Bulls will retain some leverage should they decide to explore a deal.

As for Mirotic’s potential 2017/18 debut, head coach Fred Hoiberg indicated today that it’s not clear yet whether the big man will be back next week, but said the team is hoping he’ll be ready to go after participating in a few more practices (link via Nick Friedell of ESPN).