Month: March 2019

Heat Notes: Bosh, Adebayo, Waiters, Johnson, Wade

The Heat are set to retire Chris Bosh‘s jersey on Tuesday during halftime of their match-up against the Magic, celebrating Bosh’s career in Miami and closing the book on a positive note.

Bosh, who spent six seasons with the Heat that included two NBA championships and four Finals appearances, was forced to end his career early after being diagnosed with blood clots in 2015 and 2016. He wanted to return with the team following the diagnosis, but the chance of greater injury — or worse — was too much to risk for both the Heat and the rest of the league.

“Micky [Arison] and Pat ]Riley] — and this is one thing I have to get straight with people all the time — we never not talked,” Bosh said, as relayed by Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. “We communicated through this whole ordeal. And my message was always the same, ‘I want to play the game. I want to explore more options to be able to play.’ “

Bosh eventually accepted the reality that his playing days were over, recently confirming his retirement from the NBA. In addition to winning two titles, Bosh was an 11-time All-Star, a dominate force capable of scoring from inside and out. His ability to stretch the floor at the center position helped transcend the game into what it is today, with more and more teams testing five-shooter lineups each season.

“You can’t live two lives,” Bosh admitted. “I’m going to parent-teacher conferences with my kids, and there’s these different things to get done throughout the day — and I’m trying to get a workout in. The longer I went without playing games, or having a contract or anything, the more difficult it got, the more fire I lost.”

There’s more today out of Miami:

  • Ira Winderman ponders whether the expectations for Bam Adebayo should increase in a separate article for the Sun Sentinel. Adebayo has started the last 14 games in place of Hassan Whiteside, who’s seen inconsistent playing time off the bench. Miami went 10-4 during that stretch.
  • Dion Waiters and James Johnson are exploding back onto the scene just in time for the Heat, Winderman opines. Johnson [sports hernia] and Waiters [ankle surgery] have mostly been away from the Heat over the last calendar year, but both contributed to the team’s win in Washington on Saturday night. “I feel explosive these last four games, to be honest,” Johnson said. Both players are working to regain their stamina and consistency as the team makes a final push to contend for the playoffs.
  • Add Scott Brooks, Jeff Green and Tomas Satoransky to the long list of NBA figures who believe Dwyane Wade shouldn’t retire after the season. “The NBA needs to just fine the Miami Heat for allowing him to retire,” Brooks said, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “They should not allow him to retire. He’s too good to retire. I hope he changes his mind.” Wade has heard this frequently since announcing his decision to retire, but is adamant that he won’t change his mind. His final regular-season game is scheduled for Wednesday, April 10 against the Nets at Barclays Center.

Heat Not Expected To Re-Sign Charles Cooke

The Heat probably won’t offer a second 10-day contract to guard Charles Cooke when his current deal expires today, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel.

Cooke was signed March 15 to get Miami back to the league minimum of 14 players. The 24-year-old spent most of the season with the Heat’s G League affiliate in Sioux Falls, averaging 14.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 2.2 APG in 37 games. He didn’t appear in any games for Miami and was kept in the G League for nearly the entire 10 days.

The Heat have two weeks to replace Cooke and get back to the league minimum, but Winderman believes they won’t be in a hurry to make a move. With just 17 days left in the regular season, Miami is likely to wait until its next deadline before adding a player or two to fill the roster.

Bucks Waive Trevon Duval

The Bucks have waived rookie guard Trevon Duval, who spent the season on a two-way contract, the team announced on Twitter.

Duval played most of the year in the G League, averaging 12.5 points, 3.6 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 38 games with the Wisconsin Herd. He got into three games for Milwaukee, playing six total minutes and averaging 1.7 PPG.

Duval went undrafted last summer after one season at Duke. He played for the Rockets’ summer league team before catching on with the Bucks.

 

Because he was a two-way player, the move won’t affect Milwaukee’s roster. All 15 slots are filled by players with guaranteed contracts.

Former NBA Coach Avery Johnson Out At Alabama

Avery Johnson, who spent seven years as an NBA head coach with the Mavericks and Nets, is no longer the coach at Alabama, tweets Jeff Goodman of Stadium. He had been negotiating a separation agreement with the university since Thursday, and a deal was announced today.

Johnson was mentioned as a possible replacement for Tyronn Lue in Cleveland when he was let go in October. Johnson mentored Cavs rookie point guard Collin Sexton during his lone year with the Crimson Tide and may have interest in renewing their relationship in the NBA.

The Cavaliers will search for a long-term head coach once the season ends, and it’s not clear if current coach Larry Drew will be considered for the job.

Johnson spent four years at Alabama, compiling a 75-62 record with one NCAA Tournament appearance. He is 254-186 as an NBA head coach and took the Mavericks to the NBA Finals in 2006.

B.J. Johnson Returns To G League

B.J. Johnson, whose second 10-day contract with the Hawks expired on Friday, has rejoined the Magic’s G League affiliate, tweets Adam Johnson of 2 Ways and 10 Days.

The Lakeland Magic added Johnson to take the place of Anthony Brown, who suffered a season-ending injury. Johnson spent most of the year in Lakeland before getting the opportunity with Atlanta, averaging 15.4 PPG and 5.1 RPG in 39 G League games. Lakeland’s regular season ended last night, but Johnson will be eligible for the playoffs.

After going undrafted out of LaSalle, Johnson signed an Exhibit 10 contract with Orlando in September, but was waived before the season began. The rookie swingman appeared in six games during his time with the Hawks, averaging 3.5 points and 1.3 rebounds per night. He earned $47,371 in each of his 10-day deals.

Lakers Talked To Lonzo Ball About Changing Shoes

Lonzo Ball and his family have been the most visible representatives of Big Baller Brand, but the Lakers expressed concern that BBB shoes might be responsible for Ball’s frequent ankle injuries, according to Ramona Shelburne and Paula Lavigne of ESPN.

Ball has been sidelined since hurting his ankle on January 19 and was ultimately shut down for the rest of the season with a Grade 3 ankle sprain and a bone bruise. It’s the third ankle injury in two NBA seasons for Ball, who played just 47 games this season and 52 last year.

“Yeah, they talked to me,” Ball said of Lakers management. “They asked me about it, and I told ’em, ‘I feel comfortable. If I wasn’t comfortable, I wouldn’t play in ’em. If I didn’t play in [his signature BBB shoes], I’d play in Kobe [Bryant’s signature Nike shoe]. I work out in [LeBron James‘ signature Nike shoe], but that’s because they’re heavier.”

Ball told the Lakers he was willing to make adjustments to his Big Baller shoes, but said he meant “just minor things.”

The Lakers also reached out to Alan Foster, a partial owner of Big Baller Brand, about customer complaints to the Better Business Bureau, the ESPN story states. The company received a failing grade from the bureau in 2018 because of 184 consumer complaints, mostly related to shipping issues.

“They still have an F with us,” Blair Looney, president of the Better Business Bureau of Central California and Inland Empire Counties, told ESPN. “We are continuing to work with them on straightening things out.”

The information about the Lakers is contained in a larger story about Ball ending his relationship with Foster, the family’s former business manager, over concerns about a criminal past and his inability to account for $1.5MM.

Celtics Notes: Williams, Irving, Stevens, Hunter

The Celtics are dealing with another injured center after rookie Robert Williams took a hard fall onto his back in last night’s game, writes Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston. Making his first career start because of injuries to Al Horford and Aron Baynes, Williams left the game with a back contusion in the second quarter.

“I’m guessing we’re looking at a Jaylen (Brown) time frame from this year, at least,” coach Brad Stevens said. Brown suffered a similar injury last March and missed six games. Boston has nine games left, so it’s possible that Williams won’t return until the playoffs. Jayson Tatum also fell on his back last night, but his injury appears to be less severe.

Losing Williams could affect the Celtics’ plans for their open roster spot. There was a report Friday night that they would be signing Greg Monroe to a 10-day contract, but when that didn’t happen yesterday, there were suggestions that the opening might go to Thomas Robinson, who joined the organization’s G League affiliate last week. If Williams is out for the rest of the season, that might tip the scales back in favor of Monroe.

There’s more this morning out of Boston:

  • Kyrie Irving appeared to take another swipe at his young teammates, saying the Celtics need to be “more mature down the stretch” after blowing an 18-point fourth quarter lead in a loss to the Hornets, relays A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Irving, who has been outspoken about the difficulties of being a veteran leader on a young team, also questioned Stevens’ approach to handling Kemba Walker, who scored 18 fourth quarter points to lead the comeback. “We should have probably trapped him more like every other team does in the league but we didn’t,” Irving said. “He torches us every time we play them, so it’s no surprise.”
  • Before Saturday’s meltdown, Stevens indicated rotation changes could be coming, Blakely adds in a separate story. He told his players that “toughness” will determine who plays in the postseason. “We are in evaluation stage on who’s reliable,” Stevens said. “… If you don’t have that reliability; if you don’t have that toughness. If you don’t have the ability to move on to what’s next, you don’t last very long.”
  • R.J. Hunter hasn’t taken the court for Boston since signing a two-way contract in January, but he believes he’s a mentally stronger player than when he was drafted by the team in 2015. He talks about that aspect of the game an interview tweeted by the Celtics.

Al Jefferson Confirms Retirement

Al Jefferson, who announced last week that he plans to play in the BIG3 this summer, told Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe his NBA career is over. (Twitter link).

“I was able to be home for Thanksgiving and Christmas for the first time since high school,” Jefferson said.

The 34-year-old center played for five teams in 14 NBA seasons, ending his career with the Pacers. Indiana waived him in July to save $6MM on his $10MM contract for the current season. The Pacers offered him a chance to re-sign, but Jefferson opted to play in China, saying he had a chance for a “nice payday.”

The Celtics selected Jefferson with the 15th pick in the 2004 draft. He also spent time with the Timberwolves, Jazz and Hornets, averaging 15.7 PPG and 8.4 RPG in 915 games.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/23/19

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

  • The Kings have assigned Cody Demps, who signed a 10-day contract yesterday, back to their Stockton affiliate, tweets Jason Jones of The Athletic. He’s posting an 11.8/4.8/3.2 line in 49 G League games.
  • The Spurs assigned Lonnie Walker to Austin for tonight’s regular season finale, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link).

Five Key Stories: 3/16/19 – 3/23/19

If you missed any of this past week’s biggest headlines from around the NBA, we’ve got you covered with our Week in Review. Here are some of the most noteworthy stories from the last seven days:

After nearly three years away from the NBA, Jimmer Fredette is returning with the Phoenix Suns. Fredette developed into a star in China, leading the CBA in scoring this season at 36.9 PPG. He will be trying to revive his NBA career after being the 10th player taken in the 2011 draft.

The Suns’ search for a new GM heated up this week with a couple of prominent names rumored to be candidates. Phoenix has reportedly spoken to TNT analyst Kevin McHale and has interest in Bulls consultant Jim Paxson. The Suns have been operating without a full-fledged GM since firing Ryan McDonough in October.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers pledged his loyalty to the franchise, saying he plans to remain in his position for a “long time.” Rivers shot down rumors that he might consider joining the Lakers, saying he still has work left to do with the Clippers.

The Bucks were hit with three significant injuries this week as they try to hold on to the top spot in the East. Malcolm Brogdon is expected to be sidelined through at least the first round of the playoffs with a minor plantar fascia tear in his right foot, Nikola Mirotic will miss 2-4 weeks with a fractured thumb and Pau Gasol is out for about a month with an injured ankle.

The Trail Blazers may have sidestepped a major injury when C.J. McCollum was diagnosed with a popliteus strain in his left knee. McCollum will be re-evaluated this week to determine how much time he will miss.

Here are 10 more headlines from the past week:

  • The Lakers got good news about Brandon Ingram, who underwent surgery on his right arm for a blood clot condition. Surgeons removed the clot and he is expected to recover within 3-4 months.
  • Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose had arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. Rose stayed healthy for most of this season and averaged 18.0 PPG, putting him in the race for Sixth Man of the Year.
  • In addition to Rose, the Timberwolves declared Robert Covington and Jeff Teague out for the season. Covington hasn’t played since December 31 due to a right knee bone bruise, while Teague is dealing with an injured left foot.
  • Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. will miss the rest of the season because of a stress reaction in his left tibia. He played just 19 games for Dallas after being acquired from the Knicks.
  • The Grizzlies will finish the season without C.J. Miles, who has a stress reaction in his left foot. Miles appeared in 13 games for Memphis after being acquired from the Raptors in the Marc Gasol trade last month.
  • The Pelicans claimed Christian Wood off waivers and parted ways with veteran forward Jason Smith. The Bucks waived Wood to make room for Tim Frazier, who was cut by New Orleans last month.
  • A report suggested that the Jazz and Grizzlies may revisit trade talks this summer involving Mike Conley. Utah was considered among the front-runners to land Conley, but the teams couldn’t work out a deal before the deadline.
  • The Spurs are close to bringing Donatas Motiejunas back to the NBA after two seasons in China. The 28-year-old is reportedly nearing a deal with San Antonio.
  • Sophomore center Daniel Gafford of Arkansas will enter the NBA draft and hire an agent. He was considered a possible first-round pick last year, but now projects at the top of the second round.
  • Jason Terry is the latest former NBA star to join the BIG3. The 41-year-old had hoped to play another NBA season, but never received an offer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.