Month: April 2024

Recovery Is “Complete” For Kristaps Porzingis

The Mavericks consider Kristaps Porzingis‘ recovery process “complete” as the team prepares to open camp, tweets Dwain Price of Mavs.com. Coach Rick Carlisle told reporters at Media Day that Porzingis is likely to play in one of the first two preseason games, either October 8 against the Thunder or October 9 against the Pistons, adds Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com (Twitter link).

Carlisle expects the organization to adopt a load management plan for Porzingis to help him get through the season, but the details haven’t been worked out, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. It’s likely that he will sit out some back-to-back games, but that will be determined by how he responds to training camp.

Porzingis addressed the media today, saying that getting to the postseason will be a priority. “In our mind we have to make the playoffs,” he said. “That’s the goal for us.” Porzingis also discussed his pairing with Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic, declaring, “It could be a nightmare for (opponents) going forward.”

The 24-year-old appeared headed for stardom in New York before suffering an ACL injury midway through the 2017/18 season. He wound up in an escalating feud with the front office that resulted in a trade to Dallas eight months ago.

Porzingis hasn’t played in an NBA game since February of 2018, so no one is certain how long it will take him to return to his former level. He averaged 17.8 points and 7.1 rebounds during his time with the Knicks and had just earned his first All-Star nod before the injury.

Knicks Notes: Free Agency, Fizdale, Ntilikina, Morris, Injuries

After an underwhelming offseason finally came to an end on Monday, a long-standing silence was broken when president Steve Mills, general manager Scott Perry and head coach David Fizdale took the podium at Knicks media day to discuss the franchise’s outlook.

The Knicks, who entered last summer with hopes of pursuing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant after finishing with the league’s worst record at 17-65, lost both superstars to the rival Nets and were forced to execute Plan B as free agency began.

“Free agency is a process,” Mills said, as relayed by Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic (Twitter link). “There are certain parts of it you can’t control. We had a plan in place… It played out in a way we were prepared for it to go.”

New York opted to sign nine new players to its roster, including seven directly from free agency and two from the NBA Draft. When asked why the team once again failed to securing meetings with superstar free agents, Mills rejected the notion.

“There were a lot of max-type players that we could have met with, that were interested in coming here,” Mills said, according to Vorkunov (Twitter link). “We had a certain way that we wanted to build this team. This is how we chose to build it.”

As for why Durant and Irving chose Brooklyn over New York, with both teams having enough salary-cap space to acquire the duo in free agency, Mills’ response was blunt.

“You’ll have to talk to those players about why they made the decisions that they made,” he said, according to Adam Zagoria of Forbes.

On the plus side, the Knicks sport a promising young core that consists of Dennis Smith Jr., RJ Barrett, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson, one that stands out from the team’s group around this time last season.

Perry defended his decision to sign a glut of power forwards in free agency (Randle, Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson and Marcus Morris), noting the importance of maximizing his team’s chances at being successful this season.

“We only had one player in the frontcourt under contract [entering the summer] and that was Mitchell Robinson,” Perry said, according to Zagoria. “We were going to have to go out and stock our frontcourt and each and every one of those players plays multiple positions. These guys can move around. We’re in the era of positionless basketball. This really fits into how we want to play the game.”

There’s more out of New York on media day:

  • The Knicks’ young players will have to work hard in order to earn playing time in a rotation that includes several NBA veterans, Fizdale explained, as relayed by Vorkunov. “We’re in that next phase of development where guys will have to earn it,” said Fizdale.
  • Scott Perry wouldn’t commit to a decision on Frank Ntilikina’s fourth-year contract option for next season, tweets Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. The team has until October 31 to make a final decision on whether to pick it up, with the option valued at roughly $6.17MM.
  • Marcus Morris decided to sign with the Knicks over the Spurs partially because he’d be closer to his hometown in Philadelphia, Vorkunov tweets. Morris originally committed to a deal with the Spurs but reneged on the agreement, choosing to join the Knicks and spurning those in San Antonio.
  • The team issued a medical update on Monday, stating that Damyean Dotson (right shoulder) likely won’t play in the preseason, though he could be ready for the start of the regular season. Reggie Bullock (cervical disc herniation) is making progress from his surgery and will be re-evaluated in early November.

Myers: Warriors Will Provide Klay Thompson Update At All-Star Break

After tearing his ACL during the NBA Finals in the spring, Klay Thompson has expressed doubt that he’ll be back on the court for the Warriors before the All-Star break. Speaking today to reporters, Golden State’s president of basketball operations Bob Myers confirmed as much.

He’s doing fine,” Myers said of Thompson. “We’ll have an update on him at the All-Star break.”

Assuming Thompson’s rehab process doesn’t unexpectedly speed up in the coming months, the earliest he might return would be February 20, the Warriors’ first game after the All-Star break. That would be the team’s 56th game of the season.

Of course, based on Myers’ comment that the Warriors won’t even provide an update on their All-Star sharpshooter until mid-February, it’s also possible that his return date will come even later than that.

As we wait to see how Thompson’s recovery progresses, here are a few more Warriors notes from Media Day:

  • Willie Cauley-Stein suffered a strained left foot during a recent workout and will miss training camp, Myers said today (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic). Head coach Steve Kerr acknowledged that Kevon Looney now looks like the probable starter at center to open the season.I had big plans for Looney anyway,” Kerr said (Twitter link via Slater).
  • Myers said that there are no plans to put Stephen Curry on a minutes limit or to have him sit out games this season for load management reasons (Twitter link via Friedell). Still, the Warriors will keep an eye on the former MVP’s minutes as the seasons unfolds.
  • Kerr said he intends to stagger Curry’s and D’Angelo Russell‘s minutes to some extent this season to help balance the Warriors’ offense (Twitter link via Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated).
  • Myers admitted that it will be hard to make any changes to Golden State’s roster this season due to the team’s hard cap (Twitter link via Mark Medina of USA Today).

Nuggets Notes: Bol, Beasley, Porter, Small Forward

Nuggets rookie Bol Bol told reporters at Media Day that he expects to be cleared for five-on-five drills sometime in late October or November, relays Kyle Fredrickson of The Denver Post. Bol is still recovering from a season-ending foot injury he suffered last year at Oregon. He signed a two-way deal with Denver after being drafted with the 44th pick, but hasn’t been medically cleared to start playing again.

Bol said the team has been “taking it slow” regarding his rehabilitation and no plan has been set for when he might be able to return. He may spend the entire season in the G League, but because the Nuggets don’t have a direct affiliate, his playing time will be determined by another organization.

“It’s kind of like a check-step process,” Bol said of his recovery. “Month by month, you check in to see how I am doing. But I think in the next month or two I’ll be able to (play) five-on-five.”

There’s more from Media Day in Denver:

  • With three weeks left before the deadline for a rookie scale extension, Malik Beasley is focusing on his game and letting newly hired agent Rich Paul take care of negotiations, tweets Nick Kosmider of The Athletic. Beasley, who will be a restricted free agent next summer if no deal is reached, chose Klutch Sports as his representative last week.
  • Michael Porter Jr. remains a mystery after sitting out his rookie year and most of his lone college season with back issues, but he’s ready to start proving he was worth a lottery pick, tweets Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports. Porter said it was tough to skip Summer League again, but he has been focused on preparing for the season. “My time will come eventually,” Porter said. “So I’ll be patient. I’ve been working through this stuff for a couple of years, so what’s another month or so?”
  • Coach Michael Malone promises an “open competition” for the starting spot at small forward, Dempsey tweets.

Bulls Sign Milton Doyle

SEPTEMBER 30: The Bulls have officially signed Doyle, the team announced today. The club’s training camp roster features 19 players – Simisola Shittu, who reportedly agreed to sign with Chicago, isn’t on the list at this point.

SEPTEMBER 23: The Bulls have reached a deal with former Nets guard Milton Doyle, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the two sides have agreed to a partially guaranteed contract. It’s not clear if Doyle’s partial guarantee will exceed the $50K figure that Exhibit 10 recipients and two-way candidates generally receive.

A Chicago native, Doyle went undrafted out of Loyola in 2017 and spent most of his rookie season on a two-way contract with Brooklyn, appearing in 10 NBA regular season contests for the team. The majority of his minutes came in the G League, as he averaged 20.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 4.4 APG in 45 games with the Long Island Nets.

After his two-way deal with the Nets expired, Doyle signed with Spanish team Murcia for the 2018/19 season. Now, the 25-year-old is back stateside and seeking an NBA roster spot.

While the Bulls are carrying only 14 players on fully guaranteed contracts, Shaquille Harrison is the odds-on favorite to claim the 15th and final spot on the club’s regular season roster, given his $175K partial guarantee.

Chicago has an open two-way slot, so if Doyle doesn’t make the 15-man squad, he may be a candidate for that opening. He could also simply end up joining the Windy City Bulls as an affiliate player — Windy City, Chicago’s G League affiliate, acquired his returning rights from Long Island in a trade today.

Wizards Notes: Injuries, Wall, Starters, Wagner

The Wizards will open training camp with several important players sidelined, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. John Wall, who may miss the entire season with a ruptured Achilles, is obviously a non-participant. He’s joined on the sidelines by Isaiah Thomas, who is recovering from thumb surgery; Troy Brown, who has a left calf strain; Ian Mahinmi, who is battling Achilles pain; and C.J. Miles, who had surgery on his left foot in July.

“We have some challenges ahead right now with our limited guys in training camp,” coach Scott Brooks admitted.

There’s more from Media Day in Washington:

  • Brooks answered “no” when asked if he’s mentally prepared to face a full season without Wall, but admitted that it’s a possibility (Twitter link). He promised the team will be patient with Wall’s rehab process, adding, “He’s not going to play until he’s ready to play 100 percent.” (Twitter link). Wall also addressed reporters, saying he will take cues from his body and is in “no rush” to return (Twitter link).
  • With so much turnover in the past eight months, the starting lineup remains unsettled heading into camp, Brooks said (Twitter link). Bradley Beal and Thomas Bryant will both be starters, but the other three spots depend on what happens during the preseason.
  • Moritz Wagner is looking forward to a greater opportunity in Washington after playing just 43 games as a rookie with the Lakers, relays Chris Crouse of HoopsRumors (video link). Wagner, who was part of the trade that sent Anthony Davis to L.A., spent much of his first season in the G League. “My agent called and told me I was traded,” Wagner said. “That’s kind of how the business goes, I guess. That’s what you sign up for. People always talk about being traded as a bad thing. I think in my situation it was the best thing that could happen to me.”

L.A. Notes: Leonard, L. Williams, LeBron, Bradley

Kawhi Leonard understands that he has an opportunity to make history by leading a third team to an NBA title, writes Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Robert Horry and John Salley both won rings with three franchises, but neither played a starring role like Leonard did in San Antonio and Toronto. He’s a team leader now for the Clippers and has a chance to bring a championship to the city where he grew up.

“That would be a great accomplishment,” Leonard said. “That feat would be something to talk about once I’m done playing, and being able to do that in my hometown would be amazing. Growing up, [Staples Center] was one of the first NBA arenas I ever went to. So to do all of that here would be special. But we have work to do first.”

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • The addition of Leonard and Paul George will mean a reduced role for Lou Williams, but the three-time Sixth Man of the Year is ready to adapt to whatever is necessary, relays Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Even though he came off the bench, Williams often ran the offense and served as the top scorer late in games. Having two stars on hand means those duties will now be shared. “At the end of the day, I am a sixth man, I am a backup,” Williams said. “No matter how much you dress it up, no matter how much history I’ve made, no matter how many special things I’ve done off the bench, I’m still a backup and I understand that to the core of me.”
  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers tells Arash Markazi of The Los Angeles Times that he briefly quit the team in 2013 after former owner Donald Sterling vetoed the signing of J.J. Redick. The incident happened less than a week after Rivers was hired, and he changed his mind when Sterling relented the next day.
  • LeBron James is ready to prove he’s still among the league’s elite players after the longest offseason of his career, Vardon writes in a separate story. LeBron’s summer included shooting “Space Jam,” working on his game and spending time with family and friends, but for the first time in 13 years it didn’t include the playoffs.
  • Avery Bradley has quickly emerged as the Lakers‘ most feared defender, observes Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. Bradley is glad to be back in Los Angeles after ending last season with the Grizzlies“This is a whole new opportunity for me to prove myself each and every night,” he said. “There’s no bigger stage than this. Each and every night, every opportunity I get I’m going to try to prove, to show the world I’m the best perimeter defender in the NBA.”

Celtics Officially Sign Maten, Gates; Camp Roster Set

The Celtics have made a handful of roster moves to set their roster for training camp, the team announced today in a press release. Boston waived recently-signed players Bryce Brown and John Bohannon, officially signing Yante Maten and Kaiser Gates using the newly-created openings.

Maten, 23, spent most of the 2018/19 season on a two-way contract with the Heat. He appeared in just two games for Miami but thrived for the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the G League. The rookie power forward averaged 23.5 PPG and 9.7 RPG in 30 games for Sioux Falls, earning a spot on the All-NBAGL Second Team. After being waived by Miami this summer, he reached an agreement with Boston.

Gates, who will turn 23 in November, joined the Bulls for training camp last fall after going undrafted out of Xavier. He was waived by Chicago before the season began and reported to the team’s G League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls. In 50 NBAGL games, the forward recorded 12.7 PPG and 6.4 RPG with a .408/.375/.786 shooting line. Earlier this month, he agreed to sign with the Celtics.

As for the Celtics’ waived players, Brown is expected to become an affiliate player for the Maine Red Claws, while Bohannon will likely rejoin to Boston’s G League team as a returning rights player.

The Celtics now have a full 20-man roster heading into camp, including 14 players on guaranteed salaries. Assuming Boston plans on carrying a 15th man, Maten and Gates figure to compete with Tacko Fall and Javonte Green for that spot.

Spurs Waive Matt Farrell

The Spurs have released former Notre Dame guard Matt Farrell, league sources tell JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors (Twitter link). With Farrell now on waivers, San Antonio has officially announced its training camp roster, which consists of 19 players.

Farrell, 23, went undrafted in 2018 and spent his first professional season in the G League, playing for the Sixers’ affiliate. In 45 games (27.0 MPG) for the Delaware Blue Coats, the 6’1″ point guard averaged 10.8 PPG, 5.6 APG, and 3.2 RPG with a shooting line of .410/.351/.755.

San Antonio’s NBAGL team, the Austin Spurs, acquired Farrell’s returning rights in a trade with the Blue Coats earlier this month. As a result of his Exhibit 10 contract with San Antonio, Farrell will now be in line for a bonus worth up to $50K if he spends at least two months with Austin, where he’ll start the 2019/20 season.

Eastern Notes: Isaac, Giannis, Nets, Heat, Lowry

Magic forward Jonathan Isaac gets lead billing this year in Zach Lowe’s annual ESPN.com column on his six most intriguing players of the upcoming season. As Lowe details, Isaac has put on about 15-20 pounds this offseason as he looks to bulk up his thin frame a little, and the team has high hopes for him going forward, particularly on the defensive end.

According to Lowe, it’s “hard to overstate” how much Orlando loves Isaac. In fact, sources tell Lowe that the Magic have “batted away” any and all trade inquiries on the former No. 6 overall pick. The front office views Isaac as a standard-bearer for the culture that the team is trying to create, Lowe adds.

As we look forward to seeing whether a breakout year is coming for Isaac, here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • In an in-depth story for ESPN.com, Tim Bontemps examines the two possible long-term paths for the Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who will be eligible for a super-max contract extension next summer. Antetokounmpo’s decision on whether to re-up with the Bucks or explore other options will have a massive impact not just on basketball in Milwaukee but on the entire NBA.
  • The role of Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson in the team’s successful foray into free agency this summer shouldn’t be overlooked, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post, who points out that both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant praised Atkinson in their initial comments to the media last week.
  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald offers a pair of hypothetical trade scenarios that could see the Heat add Chris Paul and Bradley Beal to their roster. Although Jackson’s suggestions would certainly appeal to Miami, there has been no indication that the Wizards will move Beal or that the Thunder will meet the Heat’s demands in a CP3 trade.
  • While Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, and Marc Gasol figure to be mainstays in the Raptors‘ starting lineups, head coach Nick Nurse may shuffle through players for the other two spots, as Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca tweets. Meanwhile, Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca explores whether it makes sense for the Raptors and Lowry to work out an extension sooner rather than later.