Al-Farouq Aminu

Southeast Notes: Anthony, MCW, Aminu, Beal, Heat

With Markelle Fultz already out for the season due to a torn ACL, the Magic continue to have a hard time keeping their point guards healthy. Rookie Cole Anthony is the latest to have to deal with a health issue, as he was diagnosed with a shoulder strain following Tuesday’s loss to Portland.

As Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel details, the injury is muscular, so Anthony didn’t require an MRI. It also doesn’t sound too significant, as the rookie hasn’t yet been ruled out for Thursday’s contest vs. Golden State — he’s listed as questionable.

In another piece of relatively positive news for the Magic, veteran point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who has been on the shelf since January 4 due to a left foot sprain, has been upgraded to questionable for Thursday’s game (Twitter link). While there’s no guarantee that both Anthony and Carter-Williams will be in action tonight, it doesn’t sound like either player is far off.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Magic forward Al-Farouq Aminu returned on Tuesday after missing over a year due to knee problems. While the plan was for him to play in both halves of that game, he was ruled out of the second half after experiencing some hamstring tightness, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Like Anthony and MCW, Aminu is listed as questionable for Thursday’s game.
  • Speaking to Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports, agent Mark Bartelstein explained why his client – Wizards star Bradley Beal – has no desire to be dealt despite his team’s struggles. “He doesn’t want to quit on something,” Bartelstein said. “He’s an incredibly loyal guy, and he wants to always feel like he’s done everything he can to help something or someone be successful. It’s the way he was raised and what his values are based upon. … It’s the team that drafted him, the team that’s invested in him, and he desperately wants to make them a championship contender.” Beal will miss Friday’s game vs. New York due to rest, the Wizards announced today (via Twitter).
  • The Heat will play their next seven games on the road, but when they eventually return home on February 24, they’ll increase the fan capacity at AmericanAirlines Arena to roughly 3,000 people, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

Al-Farouq Aminu Practices, May Play Tuesday

Magic forward Al-Farouq Aminu was able to fully participate in a team practice today and may even return to the floor tomorrow for the first time this season against the Trail Blazers, per head coach Steve Clifford (Twitter link via Josh Robbins of The Athletic).

Aminu been unavailable since tearing his right meniscus on November 29, 2019 in a 90-83 loss to the Raptors. The 30-year-old is on the second season of a three-year, $29MM contract he inked with the Magic in the summer of 2019.

The versatile 6’8″ forward has appeared in just 18 games for Orlando during his tenure with the club. Aminu holds career averages of 7.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.2, and 1.0 SPG.

An Aminu return would be a huge on-court boon for the Magic. Orlando is dealing with a rash of injuries, including to starting forwards Jonathan Isaac (out for the season with a torn left ACL) and Aaron Gordon. (out for the next 3-5 weeks with a left ankle sprain).

Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel tweets that Magic point guard Michael Carter-Williams participated in practice as well, though injured shooting guard Evan Fournier did not partake. A sprained left foot has rendered Carter-Williams unavailable since January 4. Fournier has been struggling with back spasms intermittently throughout the 2020/21 season.

Southeast Notes: MCW, Okeke, Hawks, Wall, Hornets

The Magic will be without Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac for the rest of the season due to their torn ACLs, but the team is moving closer to getting some of its other injured players back on the court. According to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link), head coach Steve Clifford said that veteran guard Michael Carter-Williams (foot) could return as soon as Friday after missing Orlando’s last 12 games.

Meanwhile, Clifford couldn’t provide exact timetables for when Magic forwards Chuma Okeke (knee) and Al-Farouq Aminu (knee) will play again, but did say that Okeke will likely be ready to go before Aminu is, Robbins adds.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • After winning 24, 29, and 20 games in the last three seasons, the Hawks are in playoffs-or-bust mode this season, prompting Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer to consider whether the team is finally on the other side of its rebuild. As Tjarks notes, Atlanta has barely gotten anything out of its veteran free agent additions so far, so the emergence of De’Andre Hunter as a capable running mate for Trae Young has been huge.
  • Rockets guard John Wall, who suggested earlier this week that he was disappointed by how the Wizards handled his exit from the franchise, got a chance on Tuesday night to show his old team what it’s missing, as Fred Katz of The Athletic writes. Wall had a team-high 24 points in 24 minutes en route to a 107-88 Houston win over Washington.
  • Hornets head coach James Borrego is still experimenting with his rotation to determine which lineups work best, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. There is not going to be a set rotation for a bit,” Borrego said on Wednesday. The team sent five players to the G League this week, but Borrego still has 11 healthy players available on the NBA roster.

Al-Farouq Aminu Undergoes Procedure On Right Knee

Magic forward Al-Farouq Aminu has undergone a minor arthroscopic procedure to address the continued swelling in his troublesome right knee, the team announced today in a press release.

According to the Magic, Aminu’s return to the court will depend on how he responds to treatment and rehabilitation. However, the club says the procedure went as planned and will put the veteran on track to complete this final phase of his rehab.

Magic head coach Steve Clifford said earlier this week that Aminu hasn’t been cleared for contact and is still “a ways away” from returning — today’s update provides some additional context. The 30-year-old has been sidelined for virtually the entire calendar year, having undergone surgery on his right knee back in January to repair a torn meniscus.

Aminu was one of the first free agents to come off the board during the summer of 2019, agreeing to a three-year, $29MM deal with Orlando. He was coming off a solid season in Portland in which he averaged 9.4 PPG and 7.5 RPG on .433/.343/.867 shooting while playing strong defense. However, he was limited to just 18 games in his first season with the Magic and struggled in a part-time role before being sidelined by his knee injury. His shooting line dipping to an abysmal .291/.250/.655 in those 18 games.

The Magic are also currently without Jonathan Isaac, who will miss the entire season due to a torn ACL, and Mohamed Bamba, who is believed to still be dealing with the aftereffects of his bout with the coronavirus.

Southeast Notes: Aminu, Bamba, Collins, Hawks, Hornets

Magic head coach Steve Clifford told reporters today that Jonathan Isaac, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Mohamed Bamba haven’t been cleared for contact work when training camp begins, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Isaac is recovering from a torn ACL and is expected to miss the entire 2020/21 season, so his absence is unsurprising. Aminu and Bamba were unavailable for the Magic at the end of last season due to knee surgery recovery and coronavirus complications, respectively. It’s not clear if those same issues are keeping them sidelined this fall, but Clifford said today that both players are still “a ways away” from being 100%, per Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links).

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Hawks big man John Collins is still hoping to sign a rookie scale extension before the regular season begins, admitting today that his contract situation is at the forefront of his mind (Twitter links via Chris Kirschner of The Athletic and Sarah Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
  • The Hawks issued a press release announcing injury updates on Kris Dunn (cartilage disruption in right knee), Onyeka Okongwu (inflammation of sesamoid bone in left foot), and Tony Snell (inflammation of cuboid bone in right foot). Dunn is participating in “modified” individual workouts, while Okongwu and Snell are currently limited to shooting and conditioning. Atlanta will provide another update on all three players on December 11.
  • The Hornets will open the 2020/21 season without any fans in attendance at Spectrum Center, the team announced this week in a press release. The Hornets indicated they’ll continue to work with state and local health officials – and the NBA – to develop a plan to get fans back in the building, ideally before the end of the season.
  • In the wake of the Hornets‘ acquisition of Gordon Hayward and release of Nicolas Batum, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer examines the salary cap impact of the two transactions. As Bonnell writes, despite the significant cap charges for Hayward and Batum, the club could still open up a sizeable chunk of cap room in 2021.

Magic Notes: Coronavirus, Fultz, Aminu, Isaac

The Magic became the first team to report to the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus on Tuesday, but not all of the team’s players were in attendance. Here are a few of the latest updates on the Magic:

  • A player on the Magic – who hasn’t been identified – tested positive for COVID-19 and didn’t accompany the club to Disney, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. According to Nick Friedell of ESPN (Twitter link), president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said the Magic expect the player to rejoin the team once he’s cleared to do so.
  • Point guard Markelle Fultz has a non-coronavirus personal matter to address and has been excused from reporting to the NBA’s campus for now, according to Reynolds (Twitter links). He’s expected to rejoin the club at some point too.
  • Injured forward Al-Farouq Aminu didn’t travel with the team to Disney and is continuing his rehab work at the Magic’s practice facility, tweets Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel. It’s not clear whether Aminu still has a chance to return this season.
  • The Magic’s other injured forward, Jonathan Isaac, is with the club at the NBA’s Disney campus, notes Parry (Twitter link). Isaac continues to rehab the knee injury that has sidelined him since the start of January, but remains unlikely to play this summer. He’s at the stage where he can do a little light court stuff, but that’s about it,” Weltman said of Isaac, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Southeast Notes: Iguodala, Beal, Magic, Hornets

Andre Iguodala turned 36 years old in January, but that didn’t stop him and the Heat from agreeing to a contract extension when he was dealt to Miami at the February trade deadline. Speaking to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, Iguodala said that the new deal, which provides a $15MM guarantee for 2020/21 and a $15MM team option for ’21/22, was something both sides pushed for at the time of the trade.

“Both sides knew the window we have — my window and the team’s window,” the Heat forward said. “We all know about when teams want cap space. It’s hard to get acclimated with a group of guys in two months. The locker room is a special place. I wanted to be somewhere where I could grow with the guys, a lot of the young talent that I have a good impression of, help them grow, especially Bam (Adebayo), Kendrick Nunn, Tyler (Herro) and Duncan (Robinson). I didn’t want it to be a two-, three-month thing.”

As Jackson points out, the Heat hadn’t expected to be a major player on the 2020 free agent market, so adding $15MM for Iguodala to next season’s books shouldn’t hurt the team. And in the 2021 offseason, the $15MM team option can be turned down with no penalty if the club needs to create cap room.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • General manager Tommy Sheppard said this week that the Wizards will be “very protective” of star guard Bradley Beal during the NBA’s restart, but there’s no indication Beal won’t play as the team pushes for the final playoff spot in the East, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.
  • Magic head coach Steve Clifford still isn’t committing one way or the other on whether Jonathan Isaac and Al-Farouq Aminu will be available this summer, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link). Asked today about the two injured forwards, Clifford replied, “They’re both in here working every day. … I just think it’s really early to try to make an intelligent decision on anything like that.”
  • Joe Wolf, who has been the head coach of the Hornets‘ G League affiliate for the last two seasons, won’t have his contract with the Greensboro Swarm extended, the club announced today in a press release.

Latest On Jonathan Isaac, Al-Farouq Aminu

Jonathan Isaac‘s rehab from his sprained left knee is going well, sources tell Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. However, it’s widely expected that Isaac will not play once the season resumes. The Magic have been cautious with bringing their young talent back from injury, as they were with Isaac previously, Mohamed Bamba, and Markelle Fultz.

The status of Al-Farouq Aminu, who underwent knee surgery back in January, is also up in the air, though it doesn’t sound like he’ll rejoin the team. Getting healthy and getting in basketball shape are two different objectives.

They have not played basketball in a long, long time,” president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said. “So it’s more than just saying, ‘Your knee is strengthened.’ It’s a matter of reconditioning and making sure that we’re not putting any of our players at risk for further injuries. So we’ll see as we go along how we get there. But I’m not prepared to apply any timeline or anything like that at this point. They’ve got a lot of work ahead of them.”

If the two forwards are not playing, it’s hard to see them joining the team in Disney World. The Magic are the current owners of the eighth seed in the East, sitting 5.5 games ahead of the Wizards for that spot.

Isaac, Aminu Unlikely To Play Until Next Season

Magic forwards Jonathan Isaac and Al-Farouq Aminu are unlikely to return this season despite the extended layoff, according to Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel.

Isaac suffered a knee injury on New Year’s Day and hasn’t played since that game in Washington. Isaac was establishing himself as a defensive force before the severe left knee sprain.

Aminu hasn’t played since November 29. Aminu underwent arthroscopic surgery in early January to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

The Magic were granted a disabled player exception for Aminu but were denied another one for Isaac’s injury.

“Not a whole lot of news there,” Orlando president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said of the duo. “As always, we’re going to wait and see how they respond to rehab. They’re both working very hard.”

Both players have guaranteed contracts for next season and the Magic plan to proceed with caution. Orlando is currently No. 8 in the Eastern Conference as play is expected to resume on July 31.

“There’s a difference of being healthy and then being safely healthy,” Weltman said. “It will have been a long, long time since those guys played and you know organizationally that we’re never going to put our guys in a position where they’re exposed to any sort of risk of injury. So that being said, we’ll just continue to see how they progress.”

Southeast Notes: Magic, Hornets, Heat

Speaking to Josh Robbins of The Athletic, Magic head coach Steve Clifford said that he and his staff are using the NBA’s layoff to “refresh mentally,” but admits he has spending some time every day on film study.

“You do get to watch film at a more leisurely pace when you don’t have a game coming up the next day, and there are certainly things that you can learn,” the Magic head coach said. “That will be part of all of our time. Then we’ll just start to plan for when, hopefully, we get to get back together.”

Clifford also spoke to Robbins about a handful of other topics, including how frequently he’s communicating with Magic players during the hiatus, the strides Markelle Fultz has taken this season, and the possibility of getting Al-Farouq Aminu and/or Jonathan Isaac back when play restarts. Clifford was noncommittal on potential return timelines for Aminu and Isaac.

“If those guys should come back, or one of them, obviously, that’d be great,” he said of the Magic’s injured forwards. “Both of them have been with us (on recent road trips and rehabbing at our facility). It would be like adding a new player from a talent standpoint.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast: