Abdel Nader

Injury Updates: Ball, LaVine, Nader, Collins, Lopez, Carter

Lonzo Ball and Zach LaVine will both miss the Bulls‘ upcoming three-game road trip so they can receive treatment for knee injuries, writes Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. Coach Billy Donovan updated their conditions in a media session before tonight’s game, saying the team’s first treatment plan for Ball’s knee was unsuccessful.

Ball, who was sent back to Chicago before Monday’s contest in Memphis, had his diagnosis changed from soreness in the knee to a bone contusion. Donovan said a timetable for his return won’t be set until the medical staff sees how he responds to the new treatments, adding that doctors haven’t considered the possibility of surgery yet.

“I think the biggest thing right now is what are the steps that we can do to get him back and get him healthy,” Donovan said. “I haven’t gotten into any detail with them (doctors) about that other than, hey, we’ll try this treatment, we’ll try this therapy, see how it goes, and then whatever the next step is that will be. But I haven’t been told what any next steps are gonna be.”

LaVine, who hasn’t played since leaving last Wednesday’s game in the first quarter, is responding to therapy for pain in his left knee, Donovan added. There’s no timeline for LaVine’s return either, but Donovan said he has been shooting free throws and doing strength training.

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • Suns forward Abdel Nader is making progress after missing the last 28 games with an injury to his right knee, but it will be a while before he can play again, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “He’s starting to ramp up,” coach Monty Williams said. “He hasn’t done any 1-on-1, 2-on-2, 3-on-3. So he’s still a ways away.”
  • Spurs center Zach Collins is getting closer to making his season debut after playing in the G League Monday, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express News (Twitter link). Collins expects to play another G League game Friday, and coach Gregg Popovich said there’s not a definite time when he’ll be called up.
  • The Bucks haven’t set a timetable for center Brook Lopez to return after having back surgery in early December, tweets Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We felt positive when we had the surgery,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “All the reports coming out of it, the hopes and the expectations. So nothing’s changed, nothing’s new. … This is all kind of to some degree what we expected, planned and we’ll continue to monitor and see how he progresses.”
  • Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. missed his seventh straight game tonight with soreness in his left hamstring, but acting head coach Jesse Mermuys said he’s “very close” to returning, tweets Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel.

COVID-19 Updates: Malone, Budenholzer, Hawks, Holiday, Marjanovic, Vincent, Nader

Two head coaches may clear health and safety protocols in time for their teams’ next games. Michael Malone traveled with the Nuggets to Oklahoma City and expects to be on the sidelines Sunday, tweets Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Malone missed four games while in the protocols, and acting coach Popeye Jones compiled a 2-2 record.

Darvin Ham, who is serving as acting head coach for the Bucks, is hoping Mike Budenholzer will be ready to return for Monday’s game at Charlotte, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic (Twitter link). Nehm suggests that Budenholzer still needs to return multiple negative tests before being cleared.

Here are more updates on COVID-19 and the health and safety protocols:

  • Hawks head coach Nate McMillan remains in the protocols, but assistant Chris Jent has been cleared and will serve as acting head coach for Sunday’s game against the Clippers, tweets Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • Bucks guard Jrue Holiday tested out of the protocols, tweets Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. However, Holiday sat out tonight’s game because of pain in his left ankle.
  • Mavericks center Boban Marjanovic has cleared the protocols, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
  • Heat guard Gabe Vincent is out of the protocols, but isn’t with the team for tonight’s game in Phoenix, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). Marcus Garrett is the only Miami player remaining in the protocols.
  • Suns forward Abdel Nader has also cleared the protocols, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Nader is recovering from a knee injury and will have to go through reconditioning before he can play again.
  • Follow our Health And Safety Protocols Tracker for a complete list of how the virus is affecting the league.

COVID-19 Updates: Payton, Nader, Lopez, Ross, Cavs, Duke

It has been an unusual week for Suns guard Elfrid Payton, who entered the health and safety protocols on Sunday, then exited them on Monday after what appeared to be a false positive. On Wednesday, prior to Phoenix’s game vs. Oklahoma City, Payton reentered the protocols, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic writes.

The specifics of Payton’s situation are unclear, but he’ll now remain in the protocols for at least six days unless he can once again return two consecutive negative COVID-19 tests at least 24 hours apart.

According to Rankin, Payton wasn’t the only Sun to be placed in the protocols on Wednesday — Abdel Nader has also joined that list. However, Nader has been out of Phoenix’s lineup since November 19 due to what the team has called “right knee injury management,” so his placement in the protocols had no real impact on the rotation.

Here are a few more COVID-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Magic center Robin Lopez has entered the COVID-19 protocols, the team announced on Thursday morning (via Twitter). However, Terrence Ross is listed on Orlando’s latest injury report as out due to “return to competition reconditioning,” which suggests he has exited the protocols. With Lopez in and Ross out, there are still five Magic players in the protocols.
  • The Cavalierslatest injury report lists Jarrett Allen, Dylan Windler, and Lamar Stevens as going through return to competition reconditioning, so they’ve cleared the protocols. Allen is considered doubtful for Thursday’s game in Washington, while Windler and Stevens are questionable.
  • Nets rookie David Duke has exited the health and safety protocols, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Brooklyn’s list of players in the protocols was in the double-digits earlier this month, but is now down to just two — Kessler Edwards and Day’Ron Sharpe.
  • Our running list of players in the protocols can be found right here.

Suns Notes: Jack, Payne, Nader, Shamet

The Suns announced some coaching changes this week, stating in a press release that Kevin Young has been promoted to associate head coach and Bryan Gates and Steve Scalzi have officially joined Monty Williams‘ staff.

Perhaps the most notable name included in the announcement was that of Jarrett Jack, a longtime NBA guard who has been hired as an assistant in Phoenix. The 37-year-old, who spent 13 seasons in the NBA, hasn’t been in the league since he appeared in 62 games for the Knicks in 2017/18.

However, Jack spent last season on the G League Ignite, acting as a mentor to the young prospects on the developmental squad, including eventual lottery picks Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga. After serving as something of an informal coach on the Ignite, Jack will officially take on that role in Phoenix under Williams, whom he played for in Portland (2005-08) and New Orleans (2010-12) early in his career.

Here’s more out of Phoenix:

  • Cameron Payne‘s three-year, $19MM contract with the Suns is partially guaranteed in its final year, according to Keith Smith of Spotrac, who tweets that the point guard is only assured of $2MM of his $6.5MM salary in 2023/24.
  • Abdel Nader‘s two-year deal with the Suns includes a team option on year two, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).
  • The Suns ended up not making any picks on draft night after attaching the No. 29 pick to Jevon Carter in a trade with Brooklyn. However, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic details, the player Phoenix acquired in that trade – Landry Shamet – has a more versatile offensive game than Carter and should immediately step into a regular rotation role.

Suns Re-Sign Abdel Nader

AUGUST 6: Nader’s deal is now official, the Suns announced in a press release.


AUGUST 3: The Suns and Abdel Nader are in agreement on a two-year, $4.2MM deal that will ensure the forward remains in Phoenix, agent Cervando Tejeda tells Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Nader, the 58th overall pick in the 2016 draft, was sent last offseason from Oklahoma City to Phoenix in the blockbuster Chris Paul deal. While he didn’t exactly make the impact that the Suns’ other acquisition in that trade did, Nader played well in limited rotation minutes, averaging 6.7 PPG and 2.6 RPG on .491/.419/.757 shooting in 24 games (14.8 MPG).

Nader dealt with some health issues this season and underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in late April. He was cleared to return to action late in Phoenix’s postseason run.

A two-year, minimum-salary contract for Nader would be worth about $3.8MM, so it’s possible the Suns were willing to go a little higher than that using the 27-year-old’s Bird rights to make sure he remains on the roster. It’s also possible this is some generous rounding at work and Nader’s deal is actually worth the minimum. We’ll keep an eye out for further confirmation.

Suns Notes: Kaminsky, Craig, Nader, Bridges, Crowder, Ayton

Torrey Craig, Frank Kaminsky and Abdel Nader could all pick up minutes during the remainder of the Finals in the aftermath of Dario Saric‘s knee injury, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. Saric suffered a torn ACL during the opening quarter of Game 1. Kaminsky played four minutes in Game 1 while Craig received 16 minutes of floor time. “Frank gives us quality size and playmaking ability,” coach Monty Williams said. “He’s smart.”

We have more on the Western Conference champions:

  • Mikal Bridges has developed into one of the league’s top 3-and-D wings, Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes. Bridges makes the team’s pick-and-roll offense lethal due to his cutting, screening and spot-up shooting. His ability to guard multiple positions is another underrated aspect of the team’s success, Buha adds. Bridges is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason.
  • Jae Crowder is another one of those top-level role players and ESPN’s Zach Lowe takes an in-depth look at the forward, who is appearing in his second straight Finals. Crowder has played an average of 31.7 MPG in the postseason despite modest offensive numbers. He scored just one point in Game 1 but was on the floor for 33 minutes. “You don’t even know what position Jae is,” Williams said. “But you know this: It becomes really hard to take him off the floor.”
  • Williams isn’t sure what Deandre Ayton‘s ceiling is but the coach wants his young center to focus on the present, Mark Medina of USA Today tweets. “It’s important to embrace where he is and embrace the work that he has to do today,” Williams said.

Suns Notes: Paul, Ayton, Booker, Nader

Although Chris Paul has put together a Hall of Fame career, there’s one significant thing missing — he’s never been to the NBA Finals. The Suns are one victory away after defeating the Clippers Saturday night, and Paul’s teammates are determined to get him there, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“I’ve been a fan of his for a long time, and I’ve learned so much from him this year, and I always talk about off the court how he carries himself, and he’s just a true professional at every level at all times,” Devin Booker said. “I have a lot of respect for him as a man, not even as a basketball player, just understanding how bad he wants this and how much time he’s put into it … 16 years, that’s a long time.”

Paul has experienced a lot of playoff misfortune during his career, from numerous injuries to blown leads. The closest he came to playing for a title was in 2018 when the Rockets took a 3-2 advantage over the Warriors in the conference finals. Paul hurt his hamstring late in Game 5 and missed the rest of the series as Golden State rallied to win.

“Everything happens for a reason,” he said. “Don’t dwell on things, you always remember, but I’m here now, excited about this opportunity, and all I can worry about right now is Game 5.”

There’s more on the Suns:

  • Center Deandre Ayton has been outstanding throughout the playoffs and seems well positioned to get a max extension this offseason, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. Ayton is averaging 20.3 points and 13.5 rebounds in the four games against the Clippers and contributed 19 points, 22 rebounds, four blocks and three assists Saturday night. He credits the addition of Paul with unlocking his full potential, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “He was the best thing that happened to my career,” Ayton said.
  • Booker started wearing a mask after breaking his nose in Game 2, but he got rid of it in the third quarter Saturday night. He had a sub-par shooting game on Thursday, but told sportswriter Gina Mizell that the mask wasn’t the only reason (Twitter link). “I’m not blaming anything on the mask, but I haven’t played basketball with the mask ever in my life,” Booker said. “It takes some getting used to and, at that point in that time, I didn’t want it.”
  • Abdel Nader saw his first game action since March 21, playing 5:22 in Game 4. Nader, who had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in April and just received clearance to play, tweeted afterward about how good it felt to be back.

Suns Forward Abdel Nader Cleared To Play

Suns forward Abdel Nader is expected to be available for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the Clippers on Saturday, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Nader underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in late April. Nader was also sidelined for several games early in the regular season due to a concussion.

Nader appeared in 24 games this season, averaging 6.7 PPG while making a career-best 41.9% of his 3-point attempts. He hasn’t seen any action since March 21.

It’s unlikely that coach Monty Williams will play Nader at this stage of the postseason, but it does give him another wing option at his disposal. Nader will be an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the season.

Pacific Notes: LeBron, Schröder, Holmes, Nader

Lakers star LeBron James could be back on the court next week, a source tells Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. The source has received reports from James’ workouts and said he has shown progress in his rehab from a high-ankle sprain. Goon lists possible return dates as Monday against the Nuggets, next Thursday against the Clippers or next Friday against the Trail Blazers.

Goon’s story echoes a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski over the weekend that James was close to returning. He has been sidelined since suffering the injury in a March 20 game.

Coach Frank Vogel told reporters there’s still no firm date for James to start playing again. He also refused to speculate on whether James will be used in back-to-back games for the rest of the regular season.

“He’ll tell me when he’s ready,” Vogel said. “He and the medical team will tell me when he’s ready. They’re having conversations about it each day. They’re monitoring his progression each day, seeing where he’s at and when he’s ready to play, he’ll play.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers guard Dennis Schröder is playing in his 58th game tonight, which moves him closer to a couple of contract bonuses, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. He will be eligible to receive a $250K bonus if the Lakers make the NBA Finals and another $250K if they repeat as champions. Schröder must play in at least half of the team’s postseason games to receive the money.
  • Kings center Richaun Holmes is campaigning for a spot on the All-Defensive Team, writes Jordan Ramirez of NBA.com. Holmes is valuable on both ends of the court, averaging 1.6 blocks per night and ranking second in the league in field goal percentage at 64.4%. “I just want to show the type of player that I am, just show that I’m one of the best two-way players, just show that I’m deserving of the All-Defensive Team and just continue to show (what I can do),” Holmes said. “I want to continue to get better on the floor and just let my numbers and things of that sort prove my case.”
  • Suns forward Abdel Nader is out indefinitely after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee this week, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.

Pacific Notes: Bagley, Fox, Nader, Warriors Staff, Curry

Marvin Bagley III‘s father created a stir when he tweeted that he wanted to see his son traded, something the younger Bagley refused to talk about. The Kings’ star, De’Aaron Fox, insists the controversy hasn’t bothered the team, Jason Jones of The Athletic writes.

“I don’t think anybody’s out there playing basketball worried about two tweets,” Fox said of the Kings. “And if you are, this ain’t what you should be doing because (people are going) tweet you every day of your life while you’re playing in this league. If that’s what you’re worried about, then I don’t know what to tell you.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns coach Monty Williams said Abdel Nader is “a full go” after recovering from a concussion, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic tweets. Nader hasn’t played since the preseason after taking hard fall at Utah. Nader was tossed into the Chris Paul trade with the Thunder and had his $1.75MM salary for this season guaranteed in November.
  • Josh Proctor has been named chief financial officer for the Warriors, the team announced in a press release. Proctor, who has over 20 years of financial management experience, will oversee all financial operations related to the Warriors and Chase Center. Liz Cardenas has been promoted to VP of financial planning & analysis, according to another press release.
  • Stephen Curry and the Warriors might find it beneficial to explore a trade down the road, Michael Pina of Sports Illustrated opines. Curry turns 33 in March and Golden State might need to consider a rebuild by 2022, when his contract expires. Pina speculates that many teams would be interested in Curry and would surrender major assets for the two-time MVP.