Avery Bradley

Heath Updates: Porzingis, Kleber, J. Brown, R. Williams, Hunter, Carter, Bradley

The Mavericks are in good shape to avoid a play-in game, but they may have to finish the regular season without big men Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

Porzingis has already been declared out for today’s game against the Cavaliers, marking the sixth straight game he will miss and the ninth in the last 10 games. He suffered a sprained left ankle on March 22, then returned three games later and had to leave with soreness in his right knee. He tested the knee before Friday’s game, shooting for about 15 minutes.

Kleber has sat out the past three games with pain in his right Achilles. He is officially listed as questionable for today, but coach Rick Carlisle doesn’t expect him to play.

“Not having Kleber or Porzingis puts us in a more precarious situation,” Carlisle said. “But we’ve just got to figure it out. Five games left. Every game is super meaningful. We understand it. We’re just going to stay in the present, stick to the process and keep working.”

Here are some more injury-related updates:

  • Celtics forward Jaylen Brown will miss today’s showdown with the Heat because of a sprained right ankle, tweets Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. The team had hoped Brown could be ready, but he will sit out his third straight game. Robert Williams is considered probable for today with turf toe, but coach Brad Stevens said there will be a lot of game-time decisions for him for the rest of the season, Murphy adds (via Twitter).
  • Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter will be a game-time decision at best on Monday, according to Kevin Chouinard of NBA.com (Twitter link). Coach Nate McMillan indicated that a final decision will be made after today’s practice and Monday’s walkthrough. Hunter has missed the past 24 games and has only played twice since January 29.
  • Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. is dealing with blurry vision and slightly impaired depth perception, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. He will miss tonight’s game with a left eye abrasion (Twitter link).
  • Rockets coach Stephen Silas said there’s no timetable for a return by guard Avery Bradley, who is out for personal reasons, relays Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston (Twitter link).

Health Updates: A. Davis, J. Brown, Rockets, Tate

Already playing without primary ball-handlers LeBron James and Dennis Schröder, the Lakers lost another one of their top scorers during Thursday’s loss to the Clippers, when Anthony Davis exited due to back spasms.

As Dave McMenamin of ESPN details, Davis left Thursday’s game in the first quarter and didn’t return. The Lakers’ All-Star big man also tweaked his right ankle, though he said his back injury was the issue that knocked him out of the game.

The Lakers have a crucial game on tap for Friday night in Portland — the two teams are tied in the standings for No. 6 in the West, and have split their two games so far this season. The winner of tonight’s game will earn the end-of-season tiebreaker and will be in great position to avoid the play-in tournament, so L.A. would love to have Davis available.

According to McMenamin, Davis said late on Thursday night that he anticipates being able to suit up against the Blazers in what he called “probably the biggest game” left on the schedule. He’s listed on the latest injury report as probable.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Celtics wing Jaylen Brown, who missed Wednesday’s game with a right ankle sprain, will also be out on Friday. However, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said during a radio appearance that he thinks Brown will be back for Sunday’s game vs. Miami (Twitter link via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston).
  • The Rockets have a whopping 13 players on their injury report for Friday’s contest in Milwaukee, writes Danielle Lerner of The Houston Chronicle. Kevin Porter Jr. (ankle) and Avery Bradley (personal) are among nine players who have been ruled out. And, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle points out (via Twitter), the four players not on the injury report have made 10 combined NBA starts.
  • The Rockets did get one piece of good news today, as Feigen tweets that Jae’Sean Tate has cleared the health and safety protocols. Tate registered a false positive for COVID-19, followed by three negative tests. However, he’s still listed as questionable for Friday’s game due to a left knee contusion.

Southwest Notes: Bradley, Porter, Pelicans, Martin

Rockets reserve guard Avery Bradley is close to returning to the floor from a calf injury, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Bradley has missed the past two games for Houston, and four of the last five.

“I’ve just been dealing with this calf situation all season,” Bradley noted. “Unfortunately, it came back a little bit. I’m just trying to be smart and making sure I’m working hard each and every day so I can come back strong.”

The Heat signed Bradley to a two-year, $11.6MM deal during the 2020 offseason, though the second year is a team option. Injuries and COVID-19 have limited the 30-year-old to just 25 games combined for Miami and Houston this season.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Though recently-acquired Rockets swingman Kevin Porter Jr. enjoyed a career night against the Bucks on Thursday, head coach Stephen Silas is hopeful Porter can have more consistently effective scoring nights, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “I don’t really know if we have a true feel for how good he can be or not,” Silas observed. “I think if you take the game that he had against Minnesota (10 points on 2-of-12 shooting) and the game he had against Milwaukee, you don’t want to really focus on either. You want to focus somewhere in between. He had a poor game and then a great game. You can’t do that in an NBA season where you’re kind of going up and down, up and down with your emotions or your evaluations.”
  • As the Pelicans remain in the play-in tournament mix, Will Guillory of The Athletic assesses several important threads worth tracking in May. Key among these is the play of Brandon Ingram, who Guillory believes needs to improve his passing and defense to be a true long-term compliment to All-Star forward Zion Williamson. Guillory also hopes to see more of versatile guards Lonzo Ball and Kira Lewis Jr. in tandem on the floor.
  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle appraises the growth of athletic rookie wing Kenyon Martin Jr., the youngest Rockets player. Martin is all too aware of what he needs to improve going forward to achieve his full potential. “I know what I need to work on and I need to focus on to get ready for next season,” Martin said. “Making my shot more consistent… Being comfortable on the ball and defensively, just learning from watching film and picking it up on that side of the floor.” Martin is averaging 13.5 PPG on 53.8% shooting across his past four games.

Rockets Notes: Olynyk, Bradley, Martin, Brown

The qualifying tournaments to determine the final four men’s basketball teams that will participate in the Tokyo Olympics will begin on June 29, about a month before the NBA’s free agent period gets underway.

Rockets big man Kelly Olynyk will be a free agent this summer, but he’s not planning to skip those qualifiers to avoid risking an injury before signing a new contract. As Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle details, Olynyk acknowledged that he’ll take his impending free agency into account as he considers his decision, but he wants to represent his home country as Team Canada looks to secure an Olympic berth.

“It’s always been a goal of mine to play in the Olympics and represent Canada on the highest stage. Hopefully, we can this summer,” Olynyk said. “… Usually, your free agency is done July 1 and the Olympics are the beginning of August and you’re good to go. Now, the Olympics are the end of July and free agency is the beginning of August, so it’s kind of flip-flopped. Obviously, that plays a role and you have to think about it, whether it’s insurance or what the best route to go is. We’ll cross those bridges when they come but my goal is to go out there and play and represent my country.”

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • Since the Rockets don’t project to be able to open up much cap room this offseason, John Hollinger and Kelly Iko of The Athletic wonder if the team might opt to remain over the cap, perhaps bringing back Olynyk and Avery Bradley on short-term deals as possible 2022 trade chips.
  • In a separate story for The Athletic, Iko takes a deep dive into Kenyon Martin Jr.‘s development as a rookie this season, exploring the strides he has made and how he fits into Houston’s long-term plans. Martin pointed to improving his shot off the dribble as something he intends to work on before his second season.
  • Rockets wing Sterling Brown has missed the team’s last two games with left knee soreness, but head coach Stephen Silas doesn’t expect the injury to be a “long-time thing,” predicting that Brown will return soon, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Silas also offered high praise for Brown’s play this season: “He’s shooting the ball consistently for us, shooting the ball extremely well, having a career season. He’s someone I can put on the floor whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, he will produce on both ends of the floor.”

Rockets Notes: Tanking, Porter Jr., Bradley, Olynyk

Rockets head coach Stephen Silas bristles at the notion that the team should tank the rest of the way and improve its odds in a top-heavy lottery, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “We’re trying to win every single game,” he said. “I think you see this with the disappointment that our guys have, with the fight that they have, my reaction to games. I don’t even know if that needs to be squashed or not. It’s a non-issue.”

GM Rafael Stone said this week that the Rockets don’t have to worry about their lottery position because of their stockpile of draft picks. However, the team will have to swap its pick (likely with the Heat’s selection) if it falls outside of the top four.

We have more on the Rockets:

  • Kevin Porter Jr. has the offensive skills and athleticism to be a major component on offense, and he could also be a difference-maker defensively, as described in another Feigen story. Porter made a key block in a victory over Dallas on Wednesday. “He takes pride in it,” center Christian Wood said. “He’s a young, tremendous player on both sides of the floor. He can do it. He just has to keep that up and we’re going to be great.” 
  • Guard Avery Bradley has missed quite a few games in recent seasons but he still feels he has no peer when it comes to defense, Feigen writes. “I know that’s going to be one of my roles here,” said Bradley, acquired from Miami in the Victor Oladipo deadline deal. “I’m always going to embrace that. I know defensively, there’s no one in the NBA who can do what I can do.” The team holds a $5.9MM option on Bradley’s contract next season.
  • Kelly Olynyk has been a pleasant surprise since being traded from the Heat in the Oladipo swap (17.4 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 3.0 APG) and The Athletic’s Kelly Iko explores what Olynyk may command in free agency. Iko speculates that Houston, which now holds his Bird Rights, would re-sign him if Olynyk’s price tag doesn’t exceed $11MM annually.

Southwest Notes: Thomas, New Rockets, Hart, Johnson

With veteran point guard Isaiah Thomas now joining the Pelicans on a 10-day contract, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets that New Orleans will be an additional $110,998 closer to the NBA’s luxury tax cap. Thomas, meanwhile, will earn $159,698 during his 10-day stint with the club.

Marks adds that the Pelicans remains $253,803 below the tax at present, but, assuming new addition James Johnson does not achieve certain bonus clauses in his expiring $16MM deal, the team may save an additional $253K at season’s end.

Thomas will wear jersey No. 24 in tribute to departed Lakers star Kobe Bryant, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN. He last wore No. 4 with the Wizards during the 2019/20 season. The 5’9″ point guard will not suit up this evening for the Pelicans as they face off against the Rockets, due to the league’s coronavirus protocols, but is expected to join the club Monday, tweets Will Guillory of The Athletic.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Former Heat and Celtics teammates Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk are excited to remain together for the rebuilding Rockets, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Feigen notes that the duo has played more games together than anyone else on Houston. “That’s kind of a crazy stat that [he and I] have played more together than any other two teammates on our team,” Olynyk observed. “Hopefully, we can bring that chemistry.”
  • The 21-27 Pelicans will strive to make a playoff push without injured shooting guard Josh Hart. Hart is expected to miss several weeks with a torn UCL in his right thumb, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com“Could he get back by the end of the year? Yeah,” head coach Stan Van Gundy said. “But he’s not going to be back in two weeks. It’s a significant amount of time. He’s going to miss the vast majority of what’s left of the season.” New Orleans, the No. 12 seed, is currently just 1.5 games behind the tenth-seeded Warriors (and a play-in opportunity) in the West at present.
  • Second-year Spurs wing Keldon Johnson is discovering how to navigate erratic output as he continues to hone his NBA game, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News“That’s just the NBA for you,” his teammate Derrick White said. “The league kind of figures you out, and you just got to make adjustments.” Even still, Johnson has increased his contributions on the floor for San Antonio. He has started 42 of his 44 contests with the Spurs this year, after starting just one game last season, and has seen his minutes and touches increase significantly.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Southwest Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Southwest Division:

Justise Winslow, Grizzlies, 24, SF/PF (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $39MM extension in 2019

The Grizzlies waited a long time to see what they had in Winslow after acquiring him from the Heat last February. The 25-year-old was injured when he was traded and never returned to action last season. During the summer restart in Orlando, he suffered a left hip displacement, which also caused him to miss the first 25 games this season.

Winslow appeared in 16 games off the bench since returning to action and hasn’t provided much punch, averaging 7.1 PPG and 4.8 RPG with a woeful PER of 5.28. He’s currently sidelined by a sore thigh. The team holds a $13MM option on his contract for next season and Winslow, whose career seemed to be taking off two seasons ago as a point forward, will be hunting for another fresh start this summer.

Gorgui Dieng, Spurs, 31, PF/C (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1MM deal in 2021

The Grizzlies couldn’t find a trade for Dieng because his contract was too big but after he cleared waivers, he reportedly had at least eight teams interested in signing him. The Spurs, who had just reached a buyout with LaMarcus Aldridge, won him over with a recruiting pitch. Dieng’s popularity as a free agent last week bodes well for him this summer, though he’s currently sidelined by a sore shoulder. Minnesota overpaid him for him in 2017 (four-year, $62.8MM). Dieng’s next contract will probably be closer to veteran’s minimum numbers but he’s still valued as a quality second-unit big.

Boban Marjanovic, Mavericks, 32, C (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $7MM deal in 2019

Boban still has enough star power to land a Goldfish cracker commercial. In another era, Marjanovic might have been one of the game’s biggest draws. Alas, there’s little use for a slow-footed 7’4’’ center the way the game is played today. Marjanovic can still dominate in spurts against certain opponents but those opportunities are few and far between. The gentle giant is always fun to watch when he gets a chance to play but he’s only seen spot duty in 22 games. Hopefully, Dallas or another team will give him at least a minimum deal this summer so he can make a few more commercials with his pal Tobias Harris.

Avery Bradley, Rockets, 30, PG, (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $11.6MM deal in 2020

Bradley started 44 games for the Lakers last season, then opted out of the restart and watched the team win the championship from afar. He declined a $5MM option to stay with the Lakers and signed a two-year deal with Miami to join its guard rotation. That didn’t go well, as Bradley has been injured most of the season. His salary was thrown into the Victor Oladipo trade and he now finds himself on one of the league’s worst teams. It’s hard to imagine that Houston will exercise its $5.9MM option on Bradley’s contract for next season, so he’ll be shopping his services again this summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southwest Notes: Ball, Pelicans, Bradley, Redick

Lonzo Ball has told the Pelicans’ front office that he wants to remain with the team, head of basketball operations David Griffin said after the trade deadline (Twitter link via Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Times-Picayune). Ball’s name was bandied about in trade rumors but New Orleans didn’t find a proposal to its liking before the deadline. The team will have to extend a $14.36MM qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent this summer.

We have more news from the Southwest Division:

  • The Pelicans still haven’t proven they’re true contenders, Kushner writes. The Pelicans, who are five games below .500, didn’t make a major move before the trade deadline. But they have shown little progress during the season despite the changes that were made this offseason and new coach Stan Van Gundy hasn’t been able to fix their defensive issues.
  • Avery Bradley could make his Rockets debut on Monday, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Bradley, who was acquired in the Victor Oladipo trade with Miami, has been dealing with a calf injury. He has only appeared in 10 games this season due to a variety of ailments.
  • J.J. Redick still isn’t ready to make his Mavericks debut, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. Dallas acquired the veteran perimeter shooter from New Orleans on Thursday. Redick is still rehabbing from a nonsurgical procedure on his right heel that has sidelined him since the All-Star break.

Nuggets Notes: Bradley, Luxury Tax, Gordon, Tucker, Barnes, Murray

The Nuggets would have some interest in guard Avery Bradley if he’s bought out, Mike Singer of the Denver Post tweets. Bradley was part of package the Heat shipped to Houston for Victor Oladipo. Bradley has only appeared in 10 games this season due to injury. There’s a $5.9MM team option on the remaining year of his contract.

We have more on the Nuggets:

  • The team’s ownership is willing to pay the luxury tax in a future season as long as the club is a prime contender for the title, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN. Denver has managed to stay below the tax threshold this season. Aaron Gordon‘s contract and Michael Porter Jr.‘s rookie deal expire after next season, giving the franchise a season-and-a-half to evaluate whether keeping both of them, along with stars Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, is worth a big luxury tax bill. However, ownership doesn’t want to be a “repeater” tax team, Lowe adds. Teams are subject to repeater penalties when they’ve been a taxpayer in three of four seasons.
  • Prior to acquiring Gordon from the Magic, the Nuggets discussed a P.J. Tucker trade with the Rockets but never got close to an agreement, Lowe reports in the same story. They also sent feelers to the Kings regarding Harrison Barnes but Sacramento wasn’t interested in dealing him.
  • Murray has been very proactive about his interest in playing for Team Canada in the Summer Olympics, Raptors and Team Canada coach Nick Nurse told The Athletic’s Blake Murphy (Twitter link).

Heat Acquire Victor Oladipo From Rockets

10:25pm: The trade for Oladipo is now official, according to press releases from both clubs.


2:10pm: Victor Oladipo is on the move, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that the Rockets have agreed to send the two-time All-Star to the Heat.

According to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link), the Rockets are acquiring Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, and a 2022 draft-pick swap. The pick swap involves first-rounders, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets.

Houston will have the ability to swap either its own 2022 first-rounder or Brooklyn’s 2022 first-rounder for Miami’s pick, MacMahon adds in another tweet.

According to David Weiner of ClutchFans (Twitter link), the 2022 first-round pick swap is lottery-protected. A separate report from ClutchFans (Twitter link) explains that if the Heat miss the playoffs next season and that protection applies, they’d instead send a ’22 second-round selection to Houston — it would be the least favorable of the Sixers’ and Nuggets’ second-rounders.

Miami’s interest in the high-scoring guard, an unrestricted free agent after the season, was well-known, as was Oladipo’s interest in playing for the Heat.

The Heat now have a formidable 1-2 punch at the wing spots in Jimmy Butler and Oladipo as they attempt to reach the NBA Finals for the second straight season. Miami also acquires Oladipo’s Bird rights, which gave the Heat added incentive to make this deal.

It appeared to be a foregone conclusion that Oladipo, who was acquired by Houston from Indiana earlier this season in the multi-team trade that sent James Harden to the Nets, would be dealt again when he turned down a two-year, $42.5MM extension offer from the Rockets last month.

He played 20 games for Houston, averaging 21.2 PPG, 5.0 APG and 4.8 RPG in 33.5 MPG.

Olynyk has an expiring $12.6MM contract and Bradley’s $5.9MM salary for next season includes a team option. Olynyk, who became expendable when Miami agreed to acquire Nemanja Bjelica from the Kings, started 38 of 43 games this season for Miami, averaging 10.0 PPG and 6.1 RPG in 26.9 MPG.

Bradley, who was signed as a free agent last offseason, has only appeared in 10 games this season due to injuries.

After a busy day on the trade market, Miami has two open roster spots. The team will sign at least one player via the buyout market, Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press tweets. LaMarcus Aldridge looks like a top target for the Heat.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.