Month: January 2020

Kings Unlikely To Trade Bogdan Bogdanovic

Bogdan Bogdanovic has been considered a potential trade target for contenders this winter, but the Kings are unlikely to move the third-year swingman, a league source tells James Ham of NBC Sports California.

Bogdanovic, 27, has battled injuries this season but is still averaging a career-best 14.3 PPG to go along with 3.6 APG and a .376 3PT%. There has been speculation that the Kings may look to move him before the February 6 trade deadline, since he’ll be a restricted free agent in July and the team has already committed big-money, long-term contracts to Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield. Pricey new extensions for De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley could be on tap during the next two years as well.

The Lakers and Kings reportedly discussed a deal involving Bogdanovic and Kyle Kuzma, but those talks didn’t go anywhere. Earlier today, Jon Johnson of WIP tweeted that Bogdanovic was one of two trade targets the Sixers are focusing on, along with Robert Covington.

However, all season long, reports have suggested that the Kings aren’t looking to trade Bogdanovic, and today’s update confirms as much. As Ham explains, Sacramento recognizes what kind of player Bogdanovic is when he’s healthy and knows how important he is to the franchise.

Barring a change of heart within the next couple weeks, the Kings would like to try to retain Bogdanovic and work out a long-term solution in the offseason, even though they know his value in restricted free agency could end up being in the range of $15-18MM per year, Ham writes.

The Kings reportedly offered Bogdanovic a four-year, $51MM+ extension in the fall, which he didn’t accept. The team can’t increase its offer during the season, but could once Bogdanovic reaches free agency. A sign-and-trade would also be a viable possibility during the summer — six RFAs were signed-and-trade during the 2019 offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cavs To Sign Alfonzo McKinnie To Second 10-Day Deal

The Cavaliers are bringing back Alfonzo McKinnie on a second 10-day contract, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who reports that the swingman will sign his new deal on Thursday.

McKinnie has appeared in 29 games for the Cavaliers this season, averaging 3.7 PPG and 2.7 RPG in 13.1 minutes per contest.

Having been claimed off waivers by the Cavs at the start of the regular season, McKinnie spent the first two-and-a-half months of the season on a non-guaranteed contract before being released earlier this month. Cleveland quickly brought him back on a 10-day deal and now will sign him to a second one. Once this contract expires, the team will have to either let McKinnie go or sign him to a standard deal.

By starting his 10-day clock tomorrow, Cleveland will maximize McKinnie’s new contract, since the club plays six games during that stretch. As Fedor notes, the ex-Warrior will also get a chance to face Golden State on the final day of the deal next Saturday.

The Cavs will have a full 15-man roster once McKinnie officially signs, though two of those 15 players – McKinnie and Tyler Cook – are on 10-day contracts which will expire before the trade deadline, giving the franchise some added flexibility.

Mavs Confirm Ruptured Achilles For Dwight Powell

Mavericks big man Dwight Powell has suffered a ruptured right Achilles tendon, the team announced in a press release. When Powell left Tuesday’s game with an Achilles injury, there was a fear that it would be a season-ending tear, and tests today confirmed as much.

According to the Mavs, Powell is currently weighing surgical options and updates will be provided as appropriate. It’s safe to say the 28-year-old will miss the rest of this season, and there’s no guarantee he’ll be ready to go for the start of the 2020/21 campaign, since recovery from an Achilles tear can take upwards of a full calendar year.

It’s a tough blow for the Mavericks, who were leaning heavily on Powell as their starting center alongside power forward Kristaps Porzingis. The former second-round pick has averaged 9.4 PPG and 5.7 RPG with a .638 FG% and solid interior defense in 40 games (37 starts) for Dallas this season. His 26.5 minutes per contest represented a career high.

The Mavs have some assets that could be used in a trade to acquire another center if they want to find a short-term fix. Those assets include a pair of 2020 second-round picks – including the Warriors’ second-rounder – as well as Courtney Lee‘s expiring contract and a trade exception worth nearly $12MM.

Dallas won’t be able to apply for a disabled player exception for extra cap flexibility. The deadline to request a DPE was January 15.

For now, the Mavs will likely rely on Porzingis, Maxi Kleber, and Boban Marjanovic to take on increased roles in their frontcourt, with forwards like Dorian Finney-Smith and Justin Jackson perhaps spending more time at the four.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: R. Jackson, Hachimura, Wagner, R. Williams

Pistons guard Reggie Jackson hopes to play tonight after being sidelined since the second game of the season with a back injury, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Jackson is officially listed as questionable for the game against the Kings. He’ll be on a minutes restriction and isn’t sure if he’ll be used as a starter or a reserve (Twitter link).

“I don’t know how well I’m going to feel. Adrenaline is a different thing so I imagine I’ll probably be winded a little early,” Jackson said (Twitter link).

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura has been cleared for all basketball activities, head coach Scott Brooks told reporters, including Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (Twitter link). Hachimura hasn’t played since suffering a groin injury December 16. “It’ll be great to have him back before the All-Star break, but you never know,” Brooks said (Twitter link).
  • The Wizards also got good news on Moritz Wagner, who has been cleared for non-contact activities after a check-up in New York City, Buckner tweets. Wagner has missed the past month with a sprained left ankle.
  • Injured Celtics center Robert Williams was able to do some running Tuesday and is set for another scan and evaluation February 4, the team tweeted. Team doctors expect to have a more concrete idea of when he can start playing again after that session. Williams has a bone edema in his left hip and won’t return until after the All-Star break.
  • Cavaliers center Ante Zizic is out indefinitely, tweets Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. He has been diagnosed with a vestibular condition that has forced him to miss the past five games.
  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone told reporters that among his injured rotation players, Gary Harris is the closest to returning, relays Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link). “When I say closest, I don’t know how close that is,” Malone explained.Paul (Millsap) and Jamal (Murray) are still a ways off.”

Amar’e Stoudemire Signs With Israeli Team

Veteran forward Amar’e Stoudemire is returning to Israel and has signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv for the rest of the season, according to Michael Bachner of The Times of Israel.

We relayed last month that Stoudemire was working out in South Florida in hopes of getting another chance at the NBA. The 37-year-old played briefly in China at the start of the season, but left after 11 games because he wasn’t happy being so far away from his family.

As Bachner explains, Stoudemire’s latest move sent shock waves throughout Israeli basketball because he is still a part-owner of his former team, Hapoel Jerusalem, which is an arch rival of Maccabi Tel Aviv. Because he has become a citizen of Israel, Stoudemire qualifies as an Israeli player. He will make roughly $55K a month.

“I am very humbled for the opportunity, happy to be in Israel, the place that I love,” Stoudemire said in a statement on Maccabi’s website. “I have a chance to play in the highest level in Europe, which is a dream come true.”

Maccabi is leading the Israeli league and has been successful in the EuroLeague, but has been hurt by injuries to several key players, including Omri Casspi.

Pelicans Ready for Zion Williamson’s Debut

The long wait for Zion Williamson is almost over as the celebrated rookie is set to make his NBA debut tonight. He was projected to miss six to eight weeks after undergoing meniscus surgery in late October, but the actual recovery time turned out to be 13 1/2 weeks as the Pelicans were extremely cautious with their franchise cornerstone. Williamson tells Andrew Lopez of ESPN that the long wait was often difficult for him to accept.

“There’s a lot of times when I wanted to punch a wall or kick chairs because it’s frustrating,” Williamson said. “To not be able to move your body the way you want to, not to make any athletic movements; I mean, it’s tough. Especially because I’m 19 and I haven’t even played my first NBA game. It was tough but I battled through it.”

The rehab process included changes to his diet and the way he moves to help reduce the stress on his knees. That includes learning a new way to land after jumping.

“I think it’s not landing straight legs, kind of don’t let all my force go into my legs,” he said. “It’s a lot of technical stuff. I really couldn’t explain it to you, to be honest. I could probably show you on a video better.”

Williamson is aware of the immense expectations surrounding his first regular season game. A sell-out crowd is anticipated, and teammate Brandon Ingram said this week he expects every home game to be sold out for the rest of the season. The Pelicans have played their way back into the playoff race after a 6-22 start, and fans believe Williamson will push them over the top.

He doesn’t mind sharing that enthusiasm.

“We did go through a bad stretch, but things have turned around,” Williamson said. “Everybody’s been playing better. I’m just looking to go join in and have some fun.”

There’s more surrounding the star rookie’s first game:

  • The Pelicans have “really pulled back in trade talks among all their players” in hopes of making a playoff push, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Tuesday on SportsCenter (video link from Tommy Beer of Forbes). The New Orleans front office wants to see how the team does in the seven games before the February 6 trade deadline before making a decision on the availability of Jrue Holiday and J.J. Redick, Woj adds.
  • Williamson’s debut comes with a few concerns, notes Dan Devine of The Ringer. Playing alongside Derrick Favors gives the Pelicans two frontcourt players with limited shooting range, and Zion’s presence might take away shots from Ingram, who is making a bid for the All-Star team. Also there are questions about whether New Orleans’ best small-ball lineup — Williamson, Ingram, Holiday, Redick and Lonzo Ball — can defend well enough to be effective.
  • Williamson has half a season to try to pass Grizzlies guard Ja Morant in the Rookie of the Year race, writes Preston Ellis of Bleacher Report, who observes that nobody has ever won the award while playing fewer than 50 games.

Magic Granted Disabled Player Excpetion

The Magic have received a disabled player exception for Al-Farouq Aminu, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic, citing reporting from Shams Charania.

The DPE is worth $4,629,000, which is half of Aminu’s salary for this season. It can only be used to sign a player for the rest of the season or to trade or make a waiver claim for a player with an expiring contract. Orlando is safely below the tax line and may try to take advantage of the DPE before the March 10 deadline.

Unlike the hardship provision, the DPE also doesn’t give the team an extra roster spot. The Magic currently have a full roster, but Gary Clark is on a 10-day contract that will expire tomorrow. Orlando also applied for a $2,903,220 DPE for Jonathan Isaac and is still awaiting a decision from the league.

Aminu had surgery earlier this month to fix a torn meniscus in his right knee. The team said he would be re-evaluated in 12 weeks, but he wasn’t expected back before April. The NBA only grants DPEs when players are expected to be sidelined through at least June 15, so it appears likely that Aminu’s season is over. He has two seasons left on the three-year deal he signed with Orlando over the summer.

With the Pistons receiving a DPE for Blake Griffin earlier today, that brings the total to seven for the season, which ties a record set in 2017/18, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. The Wizards ($4.36MM), Pelicans ($3.62MM), Trail Blazers ($2.85MM), Lakers ($1.75MM) and Nets ($839K) have already been granted DPEs, as our tracker shows.

Mason Plumlee Out 2-To-4 Weeks With Foot Injury

The Nuggets expect center Mason Plumlee to miss two weeks to a month because of an injured right foot, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Plumlee has been diagnosed with a cuboid injury, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post. He rolled the right foot after landing on a Timberwolves player during the first half of Monday’s game, but later returned to action. He said after the game that he received treatment from the training staff and X-rays didn’t reveal any damage.

“I just came down on someone’s foot,” he said. “X-rays were good.”

It’s the latest in a series of injuries for the Nuggets, who are already without Jamal Murray, Paul Millsap and Gary Harris. It should result in more playing time for Jerami Grant and maybe extra minutes for Michael Porter Jr.

Through 43 games, Plumlee is averaging 7.4 points and 5.6 rebounds in about 17 minutes per night.

Pistons Awarded Disabled Player Exception

The Pistons have been granted the $9.2MM disabled player exception they requested in the wake of an injury to Blake Griffin, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

As we noted two weeks ago, Detroit isn’t expected to use the exception to add a free agent because the team is so close to the tax line. However, it could prove useful on the trade market, allowing the team to move possibly Derrick Rose or Langston Galloway and take back a player with an expiring contract that fits into the DPE. That would create a $7.3MM trade exception (the amount of Rose’s or Galloway’s cap hit) that could be used this summer or next season.

Because the league only grants DPEs for players who are considered highly likely to be out of action until June 15, it’s safe to assume that Griffin’s season is now over, adds Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link). Griffin was declared to be out indefinitely after undergoing an arthroscopic debridement of his left knee on January 7.

According to Marks, the Pistons are just $3,669 under the luxury tax and just $5.8MM below the hard cap.

After a 16-28 start, Detroit is expected to be active on the trade market before the February 6 deadline. Andre Drummond has been prominently mentioned as a trade possibility, although interest around the league seems to have declined recently, with both the Hawks and Knicks pulling back.

Larry Fitzgerald Now Part Owner Of Suns

NFL star Larry Fitzgerald has purchased an undisclosed share of the Suns, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Adam Schefter of ESPN.

A longtime receiver with the Arizona Cardinals, Fitzgerald has forged a strong working relationship with Suns managing partner Robert Sarver and has been serving as an ambassador for the team.

Fitzgerald was part of the interview process when the organization hired Jeff Bower as senior vice president of basketball operations in April. He also helped to canvass for a public arena vote, but he won’t become more active with the NBA team until he retires from football, according to the authors. Fitzgerald signed a one-year extension with the Cardinals last week.

He becomes the second prominent NFL player to invest in the NBA, joining Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who bought part of the Bucks in 2018.

Wojnarowski and Schefter point out that Fitzgerald is well respected in the Phoenix community and should bring more credibility to the Suns and to Sarver, who has frequently been a target of fan anger amidst a string of losing seasons. Fitzgerald does extensive charitable work and was selected as the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2016.

“It’s an investment in something I have supported since I’ve been in Arizona,” Fitzgerald told Jim Trotter of NFL.com. “It gives me another connection in the community I love and always will live in. It’s a long-term commitment I wanted to make for life after football.”

Sarver and Fitzgerald have a friendship that dates back to 2005, a year after the wide receiver was drafted into the NFL, Trotter adds. Sarver brought up the idea of investing in the team two years ago when Fitzgerald was thinking of retiring.

“I had never really given it any thought before then,” Fitzgerald said. “I asked him to give me a little bit of time to think about it and wrap my mind around it. I thought it was a unique opportunity because I hadn’t heard of many other [athletes] doing it, but I wanted to really think about it because it’s a substantial capital commitment. It’s not something small.”