Bogdan Bogdanovic

Hawks Notes: Young, McMillan, Reddish, Bogdanovic

Hawks guard Trae Young returned Saturday, but he was clearly limited by injuries that forced him to miss the previous two games, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Young played 40 minutes, but didn’t have his usual explosiveness as he shot 4 of 17 from the field and scored 14 points.

He was still feeling the effects of a bone bruise in his right foot and a sprained right ankle that happened during Game 3. Saturday marked the first time he had stepped onto a court since the injury, other than testing it before Games 4 and 5. Young told reporters the bruise was in his heel and it affected him when he tried to get to the rim for a floater or a layup.

“Not being able to be out there for my team for two games, and then tonight just wanting to battle and try to fight through it as much as I could and try to be out there for my team, it’s definitely frustrating not being healthy and not being able to give my full 100 percent,” Young said.

There’s more from Atlanta:

  • One of the first orders of business for the offseason will be to negotiate a long-term deal with coach Nate McMillan, Bontemps adds. McMillan took over the Hawks in March when they were stuck in 11th place in the East and led them to the brink of the NBA Finals. “I don’t see interim on his label here soon,” Young said. “In my mind, I don’t think that will be a case that much longer.” 
  • Cam Reddish had a star-making performance in Saturday’s loss, observes Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Playing in just his third game since returning from Achilles soreness that had sidelined him since February, Reddish scored 21 points and hit six of his seven three-point attempts. Kirschner notes that Reddish didn’t have a good relationship with former coach Lloyd Pierce, and many in the organization think he has the potential to be the team’s best player. “I really took to Cam when I first got here,” McMillan said. “He was a kid that I talked to early and was really wanting to coach him. I see a lot of Paul George in Cam — his length, his ability to defend.”
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic, who was a restricted free agent last offseason, said the Kings told him they would match any offer and they saw his value as $15MM to $17MM a year, according to Kirschner. He wound up getting $18MM from Atlanta and said he had no desire to return to Sacramento, calling it disrespectful that the Kings worked out a sign-and-trade with the Bucks without telling him. “I remember talking with (coach) Luke (Walton) and (general manager) Monte (McNair), and they both told me how they wanted me,” Bogdanovic said. “I said, ‘OK, fine.’ They said they were going to wait for my offer because they couldn’t make a deal before going to the market. I’m talking with my guys from (Sacramento) and I wasn’t even looking at free agency. … I was in Serbia and no one reached out to me. No one talked with me. No one asked me anything. I woke up, I saw it and then I didn’t know what to do. I called my agent and he told me to calm down because there was nothing they could do because I was a restricted free agent and they couldn’t do anything like that.”

Trae Young To Play In Game 6

The Hawks will have Trae Young available for tonight’s Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, tweets Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The star guard missed the last two games with a bone bruise in his right foot.

Young has been outstanding in the series when he has been on the court, averaging 32.7 points and 6.0 assists while shooting 47.9% from the field. He suffered the injury in Game 3 when he accidentally stepped on an official’s foot.

Atlanta’s season will be on the line after dropping a 123-112 decision Thursday night in Milwaukee. The Bucks will be still without Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has been ruled out with a hyperextended left knee.

Bogdan Bogdanovic, who has been plagued by soreness in his right knee throughout the series, will also be available, Spencer adds (via Twitter).

Antetokounmpo Doubtful to Play In Game 6; Young Listed As Questionable

6:08pm: It’s believed the Bucks would give Antetokounmpo the green light to play in Game 7 if he sits out on Saturday and the Hawks win, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets.

4:33pm: Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is once again listed as doubtful to play as the team attempts to clinch the Eastern Conference Finals in Atlanta on Saturday, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Hawks star guard Trae Young is listed as questionable to play in Game 6 by his team with the season on the line, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.

With both of the teams’ top players sitting out, Milwaukee took a 3-2 lead in the series with a 123-112 win on Thursday. Antetokounmpo suffered a hyperextension of his left knee in Game 4, while Young sustained a right foot bone bruise in Game 3.

Hawks wing Bogdan Bogdanovic, who scored a team-high 28 points in Game 5, is listed as probable despite right knee soreness.

Bucks Notes: Portis, Bogdanovic, Lopez, Holiday

Nobody knows where Bobby Portis might have been Thursday night if the Bucks‘ offseason attempt to trade for Bogdan Bogdanovic had worked out, but he wouldn’t have been helping Milwaukee move to within a game of the NBA Finals, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. With Giannis Antetokounmpo sidelined by a hyperextended left knee, Portis moved into the starting lineup and contributed 22 points and eight rebounds in a Game 5 win over the Hawks.

Signing Portis wasn’t Plan A for the Bucks, who were focused on improving their outside shooting by adding Bogdanovic, a restricted free agent, in a sign-and-trade arrangement. Rumors of that deal with the Kings leaked in mid-November, but it wouldn’t have been legal at the time because it would have involved negotiations before the start of free agency. The NBA launched an investigation and the rumored trade wound up getting scrapped.

General manager Jon Horst landed Portis instead on a two-year contract worth $7.4MM. He brought a physical style to the team as Antetokounmpo’s backup and quickly became a fan favorite.

“Milwaukee’s a tough city,” Portis said. “You know, some people at the start of the season — they were telling us all about the city and how tough it is to live here and things like that, and you know, the city goes through a lot. So, when they see somebody that gives his all and works hard, because it’s a blue-collar city and I’m a blue-collar player, I’m going to make the shots — whether they are going in or not, I still give my all to the team 100 percent, for the name in front of the jersey and they love players like that.”

There’s more on the Bucks:

  • Portis is getting a chance to shine after being kept on the bench for the final three games of the Nets series. He might have faced an uncertain future if the Bucks had lost to Brooklyn, according to Vincent Goodwill of The Athletic, but now he has a chance to show that he can be part of Milwaukee’s future.
  • Brook Lopez also responded to Antetokounmpo’s absence with a career-best playoff performance, notes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Lopez posted 33 points and had seven rebounds, four blocks and two steals as Milwaukee turned to the veteran center to take advantage of Atlanta’s lack of size. “That was a great opportunity for him to I think just get the ball a little bit more, try and use him a little bit more and he came through big time,” coach Mike Budenholzer said.
  • The Bucks have been collecting players who fit well around Antetokounmpo, and that combination worked Thursday night, observes Royce Young of ESPN. One important offseason addition was Jrue Holiday, who was acquired in a trade with the Pelicans. Holiday is an elite defender whose scoring has been inconsistent throughout the playoffs, but he delivered 25 points and 13 assists in Game 5. “I just knew I had to be aggressive. Whatever that means, Giannis being out or not, I knew that I had to be aggressive,” he said.

Hawks’ Young, Capela Listed As Questionable For Game 5

Hawks guard Trae Young and center Clint Capela are listed as questionable for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets.

Young missed Game 4 on Tuesday with a right foot bone bruise, so the questionable tag should give Hawks fans some hope he’ll return to action in the pivotal game of the series. Atlanta’s 110-88 victory in Game 4 knotted the series at 2-2.

Capela is dealing with right eye inflammation. He caught an elbow from Bucks guard Sam Merrill in the late going, Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets. He contributed 15 points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes during Game 4.

Additionally, Bogdan Bogdanovic is listed as probable despite right knee soreness, Spencer adds.

The Bucks are likely to be without their star. Giannis Antetokounmpo is listed as doubtful after suffering a hyperextension of his left knee in Game 4. An MRI revealed no structural damage.

Trae Young Out For Game Four

Hawks star Trae Young has been ruled out for Game Four, report ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews.

According to Andrews and Wojnarowski, Young made every effort to be ready to play, but was hampered by a severe lack of mobility and amount of pain. The star point guard suffered a bone bruise and tweaked ankle in Game Three loss to the Bucks when he stepped on the foot of a referee while trying to get back on defense.

Young had previously gone through shoot-around, and had “looked good,” according to teammate Onyeka Okongwu. With the Hawks down two games to one in the series against the Bucksthis news comes as a devastating blow. Young’s availability for future games remains in question. He will continue to rehab and hopes to be ready for Game Five, tweets Wojnarowski.

Bogdan Bogdanovic, who has been hampered with right knee soreness, is available to play.

Hawks Will Have Bogdan Bogdanovic, Cam Reddish For Game 1

Hawks shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic has been cleared to play in tonight’s opener of the Eastern Conference finals, tweets Malika Andrews of ESPN. He had been listed as questionable because of soreness in his right knee and was a game-time decision.

Bogdanovic, who is in the playoffs for the first time in his four-year career, has been an effective weapon for Atlanta. He averaged 14.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists in the first round against the Knicks and posted a 13.3/3.9/1.7 line in the seven-game series with the Sixers.

Small forward Cam Reddish will return to the lineup after missing the past four months with right Achilles soreness, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Reddish returned to practice early this month, but he hasn’t appeared in a game since February 21.

Coach Nate McMillan made the announcement in a pre-game session with reporters, but said there’s no guarantee Reddish will see any action, adds Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter). McMillan noted that Solomon Hill and Tony Snell are ahead of him in the rotation and said the team will be careful with Reddish whenever he plays.

In his second NBA season, Reddish averaged 11.2 points and 4.0 rebounds through 26 games before being sidelined with the Achilles issue.

Southeast Notes: Zeller, Bogdanovic, Reddish, Magic, Dedmon

Cody Zeller has been in the NBA since 2013, but since the Hornets center signed a rookie scale extension in 2016 that tacked four years onto his four-year rookie contract, he has never been a free agent. Zeller, an unrestricted free agent this offseason, acknowledged that it’ll be a new experience for him, as Sam Perley of details.

“It’s crazy – my first free agency,” Zeller said. “I’ve only played for one team, so I don’t know how it’ll go or even logistically how it goes. I am eight years into my career and who knows how much longer I’m going to do this.

“I think the biggest thing is just being somewhere where I’m valued. I just want to win. I think we can make that step here if we’re all healthy and make that jump to becoming a competitive team that can make a deep run.”

Although Zeller referred to Charlotte as “home” and said he’s had a “great eight years” with the Hornets, he recognizes that his future is somewhat up in the air. The Hornets have identified center as a position they want to upgrade, so if they bring in a new big man or two, it’s possible there won’t be a spot for Zeller.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Hawks swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic (right knee soreness) and Cam Reddish (right Achilles soreness) have both been listed as questionable for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference on Wednesday, tweets Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Bogdanovic has started every game of the playoffs so far for Atlanta, while Reddish has yet to make his postseason debut.
  • After winning just 20 games a year ago, the Hawks are an unlikely final-four team, but they’ve succeeded this season by finding the exact contributions they need from every corner of their roster, says Rob Mahoney of The Ringer.
  • The degree of difficulty for the Magic‘s rebuild increased a little on Tuesday, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic. As Robbins writes, Orlando was fortunate to get the No. 8 pick from Chicago, but the team’s own pick slipping outside the top four will make it more challenging to land a future All-Star in the 2021 draft.
  • Heat center Dewayne Dedmon said at season’s end that he’d like to remain in Miami. Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald takes a look at whether that’s a realistic possibility.

Olympic Notes: Lillard, Green, Canada, Serbia, Italy

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and Warriors forward/center Draymond Green are among the first players to commit to Team USA ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, sources tell Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

Team USA figures to bring more than a dozen players to its initial camp this summer before paring down the roster to 12 for Tokyo, so Lillard’s and Green’s commitments don’t guarantee that they’ll be part of the final Olympic roster. However, it seems safe to assume that spots on the 12-man squad will be reserved for the two stars as long as they remain healthy and committed.

Green won a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics, while Lillard has yet to play for Team USA in a major international tournament. Green and Lillard are two of the 57 names listed as part of USA Basketball’s initial player pool in March, though as we noted last week, many of the players on that list seem unlikely to participate for a variety of reasons, including injuries.

Here are a few more updates from around the international basketball world:

  • Team Canada’s preliminary roster for the Olympic qualifying tournament later this month included 14 current NBA players. However, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic and Michael Grange of (Twitter links), at least three of those NBA players – Pacers forward Oshae Brissett, Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks, and Celtics center Tristan Thompson – now aren’t expected to participate.
  • The Serbian national team is preparing for the possibility of being without several key players for this month’s qualifying tournament, according to a MozzartSport report (hat tip to Sportando). Hawks swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic and reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets are among the players considered unlikely to be available for the OQT in Belgrade.
  • Longtime NBA shooting guard Marco Belinelli announced that he won’t be part of the Italian team attempting to earn an Olympic berth at this month’s qualifying tournament in Belgrade, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Belinelli, who is now playing for Virtus Bologna, wants to rest to make sure he’s 100% healthy for next season.

Hawks Notes: Roster, Hunter, Bogdanovic, McMillan

The Hawks‘ decision to load up on players who excel at dribbling, passing and shooting has helped them turn into an instant contender, writes Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Appearing in the playoffs for the first time since 2017, Atlanta had too much offense for the Knicks to handle in their first-round matchup, then surprised the Sixers in Game 1 of the conference semifinals.

The Hawks began their turnaround by drafting Trae Young in 2018. They have steadily built the offense around him, with deadly shooters like Danilo Gallinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic among their offseason additions. Atlanta set a franchise record by making 20 three-pointers in Sunday’s win at Philadelphia.

“That’s something we do. We have a lot of guys who can shoot the ball,” Kevin Huerter said. “When we get the ball moving side-to-side and not take the first shot on possessions, we’re a team that is capable of hitting 20 a game. I hope we don’t need to hit 20 moving forward in the series, but anytime you shoot like that, you give yourself a really good chance to win.”

There’s more from Atlanta:

  • One of the impressive things about Sunday’s victory is that it came without De’Andre Hunter, the team’s best perimeter defender, Kirschner adds. Hunter was ruled out after experiencing pain in his right knee, which was operated on in February to fix a partially torn meniscus. Hunter has felt on-and-off soreness in the knee since the surgery. He was able to do some shooting Monday and is considered a game-time decision for Game 2, Kirschner tweets.
  • After three seasons in Sacramento, Bogdanovic is thrilled to finally be in the NBA playoff spotlight, notes Paolo Uggetti of The Ringer. Bogdanovic earned a reputation as a big-game player in Europe before coming to the United States. “Here, he had to perform under pressure all the time,” said Maurizio Gherardini, general manager of Bogdanovic’s former Fenerbahce team. “But he likes that sort of pressure. … He was not afraid of that kind of responsibility on his shoulders.”
  • Young said in a recent radio interview that he expects Nate McMillan to be installed as the team’s permanent head coach, but isn’t surprised an announcement hasn’t been made yet, relays Tim Daniels of Bleacher Report. Counting the playoffs, McMillan is 32-12 since becoming interim coach. “It’s just the timing. We’re in the playoffs, it’s the end of the season,” Young said. “I don’t think it’s something they want to take away from the team right now. I mean, obviously, he’s done a great job with helping us turn this around, so I’d be surprised if he’s not with us next year.”