Month: October 2020

Bulls Notes: Carter, Valentine, Boyle, LaVine

Wendell Carter Jr. was back on the court today for the first time since suffering a high ankle sprain on January 6, but he knows there’s a lot of work ahead to get back to normal. Playing under a minutes restriction, Carter posted six points and nine rebounds in a loss to the Knicks, then talked to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times about the adjustment of getting back into game shape.

“I got winded pretty quickly,’’ he said. “I tried to train and get prepared, but there’s nothing like playing out in a game. (The ankle) felt OK. Certain movements make you feel a little funny, but that comes with a sprained ankle. They say you just gotta work through it.’’

Carter’s return was a welcome sight for the Bulls, who probably lost center Luke Kornet for the rest of the season earlier this week. Coach Jim Boylen plans to ease Carter back into the lineup with about 20 minutes per game.

“I thought he had some moments where he looked like Wendell, and I thought he had some moments where he looked like he was in preseason still,’’ Boylen said. “That’s part of it. That’s why he’s on a minutes restriction. We’ll take it for the first night, and we’ll move forward.’’

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Also returning today was Denzel Valentine, who hasn’t played since Feb. 2 because of a hamstring injury, Cowley writes in a separate story. A lottery pick in 2016, Valentine has had to fight for playing time this year and knows his time with the Bulls may be nearing an end. “It’s huge,’’ he said of his approach for the rest of the season. “Just to prove to myself and everybody else that I belong for good.’’
  • Despite an alarming rate of injuries, Boylen is quick to defend the team’s training practices and medical staff, relays Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. Kris Dunn appears to be out for the season along with Kornet, while no dates have been set for the return of Lauri Markkanen, Chandler Hutchison or Otto Porter. “We’ve had trauma. Trauma’s different,” Boylen said. “A broken finger, a broken foot, two knees. You know, things that happen from contact, collision. Those are things I think are very difficult to control.”
  • After the Bulls dropped to 20 games under .500 with today’s loss, Zach LaVine spoke with K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago about the challenges of staying focused for the season’s final 22 games. “You have other stuff creep into your mind. You’re looking at the finish line instead of looking at the next day. You have to fight that,” LaVine said. “… I had basketball taken away from me with my ACL injury for a while, and it gave me a new perspective on it. Since that, I try to play in any game that I can.”

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/29/20

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

Five Key Stories: 2/23/20 – 2/29/20

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:

Sixers star Ben Simmons will miss a critical part of the season because of a nerve impingement in his lower back. He will be re-evaluated in early March, but the team doesn’t expect him back on the court for a while. Teammate Joel Embiid was also injured this week, suffering a sprained shoulder, but his prognosis is much better.

Hornets guard Malik Monk was suspended indefinitely for a violation of the NBA’s anti-drug program. He won’t be allowed to play again until he is in “full compliance.” The team and coach James Borrego both expressed their support for Monk.

The Pacers lost Jeremy Lamb for the rest of the season with a severe knee injury. Lamb suffered a torn left ACL, a torn meniscus and a lateral femoral condylar fracture. No recovery timeline has been provided beyond this season.

The slumping Jazz shook up their starting lineup, replacing Joe Ingles with Royce O’Neale. Original reports had O’Neale taking Mike Conley‘s place, but coach Quin Snyder opted to move Ingles to the bench.

Former Heat guard Dion Waiters will meet with Lakers officials Monday to talk about joining the team. Waiters has been a free agent since being waived by the Grizzlies after a trade sent him there at the deadline.

Here are 10 more noteworthy headlines from around the basketball world this week:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kevin Durant Will Consider Olympics

As Kevin Durant continues to rehab his torn Achilles tendon, there’s a chance his return to the court might happen at the Summer Olympics, according to Ben Golliver of The Washington Post. Durant was among 44 finalists on a list released by USA Basketball earlier this month, and his business partner, Rich Kleiman, says the Nets star is giving it serious consideration.

“[Tokyo is] definitely a possibility,” Kleiman said. “He allowed his name to be in the group of finalists. But there are other benchmarks in front of him that are more important before he makes those decisions.”

Kleiman doesn’t specify what those benchmarks are, but one is presumably a return to full health. Durant has made “significant progress” lately, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post, who states that he has been holding regular workouts with teammates who aren’t part of Brooklyn’s rotation.

“I have no question he’ll be back better than ever,” Kleiman said. “By next season, I expect nothing but KD. Great things will happen. Injuries are a part of the game, and it’s obviously been a bit frustrating. The Nets are still in playoff position. The players are developing and getting better. I expect things to pick up. Everyone knows what [Durant and Kyrie Irving] can do when they’re playing and healthy.”

Durant is a two-time Olympian, winning gold medals at the 2012 Games in London and the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. Lewis notes that 2016 is when Durant, Irving and DeAndre Jordan formed a bond as Olympic teammates and began talking about playing for the same NBA franchise.

Golliver adds that Durant’s playing career may have been interrupted by the injury, but his business ventures are still on track. His video series titled “The Boardroom” returned this week for its second season on ESPN Plus.

Hoops Rumors Originals: 2/23/20 – 2/29/20

Every week, the Hoops Rumors writing team creates original content to complement our news feed. Here are our original segments and features from the past seven days:

Wolves Reach Buyout Deal With Allen Crabbe

The Timberwolves placed shooting guard Allen Crabbe on waivers, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Crabbe agreed to a buyout with the team, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The Wolves confirmed the move in a press release.

Crabbe spent about six weeks in Minnesota after being acquired from the Hawks in a January 16 deal. He appeared in nine games, averaging 3.2 PPG and 1.3 RPG in 14.6 minutes per night. Because he was waived before tomorrow’s deadline, he will be eligible for the playoffs if another team picks him up.

Crabbe had been away from the team for several games because of personal reasons, so a buyout wasn’t surprising, notes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The move may be enough to get the Wolves under the luxury tax, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Minnesota was $894K above the tax line before parting with Crabbe. He was still owed about $4.6MM on his $18.5MM contract, while the prorated minimum on a replacement would fall at $516K. The amount Crabbe agreed to give back in the buyout hasn’t been reported.

The Wolves now have a roster opening that they can fill or keep for the rest of the season.

Kings Waive Anthony Tolliver

The Kings have placed veteran forward Anthony Tolliver on waivers, the team announced in a press release.

Tolliver got into nine games with Sacramento after being acquired from the Trail Blazers in a January 21 trade. He averaged 1.0 points and 1.2 rebounds in 9.1 minutes per game. The 34-year-old was on his second tour of duty with the Kings and has played for nine teams in his 12-year NBA career.

Tolliver will be playoff eligible if he signs with another team before the end of the season. Tomorrow is the deadline for players to be released without having their eligibility for the postseason affected.

Sacramento had a full 15-man roster before the move, so the team now one open spot.

Mo Harkless To Finish Season With Knicks

When Maurice Harkless was traded from the Clippers to the Knicks, many assumed that the forward would agree to a buyout with New York and move on to a more competitive team. However, will not be the case.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com (Twitter link), Harkless and the Knicks are not in buyout discussions and the veteran will remain with the team through the season.

There were reports earlier this month suggesting the Knicks had no plans to buy out Harkless or any of their veterans. However, it was a point worth confirming after the 26-year-old this week admitted this week that moving from a contender to a non-competitive team has been hard.

Harkless is in the final year of his contract and will hit the free-agent market this offseason. Not many teams are expected to have available cap space and we’ve seen players stick with bad clubs as opposed to agreeing to a buyout for presumed financial reasons. For example, Tristan Thompson declined to enter into a buyout agreement with the Cavs since the team owned his Bird Rights and could sign-and-trade him this summer.

Like Thompson, by taking this approach Harkless may be able to reap a bigger payday than signing outright in free agency since there are a lack of clubs with flexibility. The Knicks acquired Harkless’ Bird Rights when they acquired him, so they could go over the cap to sign the forward.

Sixers May Attempt To Trade Al Horford This Offseason

The Sixers were expected to be among the best teams in the league, but through two-thirds of the season, they’ve been a major disappointment. Injuries are part of that, but fit among Philadelphia’s highest-paid players is a major reason why the team has failed to meet those lofty expectations.

The franchise inked Al Horford to a four-year, $109MM deal this offseason and the big man may not make it to year two in South Philly. According to Jeff Zillgett of USA Today, the Sixers may be open to dealing the veteran big this offseason if they can get shooting in return.

The Sixers did not try to move Horford at the trade deadline, Zillgett adds. Horford’s lucrative contract, which features a partial guarantee on the final season, may be a deterrent for potential trade partners if Philadelphia looks to move the 33-year-old.

Atlantic Notes: Burks, Milton, Williams, Kemba

Recently-acquired Sixers wing Alec Burks could take on more point guard responsibilities in the wake of Ben Simmons‘ injury. However, the 6’6″ guard is better suited for the shooting guard spot, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic contends.

Burks shoots the ball well of the catch, Bodner adds — the former Warrior made 37.5% of his 96 “no-dribble” attempts while in Golden State.

Here are more notes from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Sixers appear ready to have confidence in Shake Milton as the point guard replacement for Simmons, Mike Greger of Heavy.com relays. Gregor also details Milton’s rise to the NBA ranks.
  • Robert Williams is a wild card for the Celtics, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports writes. Williams, who was the no. 27 overall pick in the 2018 draft, is Boston big man with the highest ceiling.
  • The Celtics are playing it safe with Kemba Walker‘s return to the court, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports. Tuesday against the Cavs is a possible return date, as we detailed earlier today, but Blakely says that the need for caution “cannot be overstated.”