Bogdan Bogdanovic

Eastern Notes: Butler, Pistons, Bogdanovic, Oladipo

Heat star Jimmy Butler is appreciative of his teammates’ “disciplined gambles” on defense, Khobi Price details for The Sun Sentinel. Miami most recently defeated Cleveland for its fourth straight victory, winning the contest 115-101 and forcing 15 turnovers.

“I love that we got some guys who’ll gamble,” Butler said, “so I won’t be the only one getting in trouble when I miss an assignment.”

In addition to Butler, the Heat also have defensive-minded players Victor Oladipo, Trevor Ariza and Andre Iguodala on their roster. All three are known for getting in the passing lanes or stripping ball-handlers, which often leads to easy points in transition.

Since Oladipo debuted with Miami, head coach Erik Spoelstra has rolled with a starting lineup of Oladipo, Duncan Robinson, Butler, Ariza, and Bam Adebayo to turn the heat up (no pun intended) defensively.

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference:

  • Keith Langlois of Pistons.com shared 24 thoughts on the present and future of the Pistons, who currently own the third-worst record in the league at 14-35. Detroit most recently suffered a 125-81 defeat to the Knicks and will visit the Thunder (20-29) on Monday.
  • Chris Kirschner of The Athletic recently published a Q&A with Hawks wing Bogdan Bogdanovic, who discussed his role with the team, changes under Nate McMillan, and more. Bogdanovic has poured in 76 points over his last three games, shooting 29-for-52 (56%) from the floor. “I’m just being more aggressive and I feel like we’ve started to build chemistry between us,” Bogdanovic said. “When you really look into it, we’ve only played a couple of games together. It hasn’t been many. Since I got hurt, having the restriction minutes off and now that I’ve been off of it, it’s been fun.”
  • Heat guard Victor Oladipo admitted that the major leg injury he suffered in 2019 isn’t fully behind him, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel tweets. “One leg is stronger than the other,” he explained. “So I have some hypertrophy in one leg than the other. So working my way back and finding my balance is something I’m continuing to work at.” Oladipo underwent surgery just over two years ago on a ruptured quad tendon.

Fischer’s Latest: Graham, Hornets, Mavs, Fournier, Knicks, More

While it remains unclear how LaMelo Ball‘s wrist injury will affect the potential availability of fellow Hornets guard Devonte’ Graham, some people around the league were already skeptical that Charlotte would trade Graham this week, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

“They’ll try to keep him, and they’re willing to pay,” one assistant general manager said of Graham, who is eligible for restricted free agency this summer. Team executives polled by Fischer estimated that it may cost about $13-16MM annually on a four-year deal for the Hornets to re-sign Graham.

Ball’s injury may make the Hornets less likely to address their center position with a one-year stopgap, but it shouldn’t discourage them from remaining on the lookout for a long-term solution, per ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

Both Fischer and Lowe reiterate that Pacers center Myles Turner is high on Charlotte’s wish list, which has been previously reported. Fischer also identifies Grizzlies big man Gorgui Dieng as a potential target for the Hornets and says Charlotte has also called the Lakers asking about Montrezl Harrell.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • The Mavericks have been the “loudest rumored team” for Magic guard Evan Fournier, according to Fischer, who says that one possible package would consist of James Johnson and a pair of second-round picks.
  • The Hawks are worth keeping an eye on as a possible Victor Oladipo landing spot, says Fischer, adding that the team has made Bogdan Bogdanovic and Cam Reddish available.
  • The Knicks have signaled interest in using their $15MM in cap room to accommodate a three-team deal, per Fischer. Some people within the team’s front office are against the idea of surrendering any draft assets for a player who could be signed this summer.
  • Fischer adds the Rockets, Pacers, and Bulls to the list of teams that have looked into a possible acquisition of Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie. Miami, Detroit, and Toronto have previously been cited as possibilities for Dinwiddie.
  • Although the Pelicans and Bulls had some earlier discussions centered around Lauri Markkanen and Lonzo Ball, those talks haven’t seemed substantial, sources tell Fischer.

Hawks Rumors: Smart, Bogdanovic, Collins, Hunter, Ball

The Hawks have expressed interest in Celtics guard Marcus Smart, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic. Smart, who is one of the NBA’s stronger perimeter defenders, would be a nice fit in Atlanta’s backcourt alongside Trae Young, but Boston’s appetite for trading Smart is unclear.

At 21-21, the Celtics have had a disappointing season, but they’re still a playoff team and Smart plays a key role for the club. Boston likely won’t simply trade him for picks or prospects, so any deal that sends him to Atlanta would likely have to include a player like John Collins or Bogdan Bogdanovic, as Jared Weiss and Sam Amick of The Athletic write.

Speaking of Bogdanovic, in addition to drawing interest from the Celtics, he’s being eyed by a few other teams as well. Charania adds the Warriors to the list of players with interest in Bogdanovic, while Weiss and Amick say the Clippers are also on that list.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • League sources with knowledge of the Hawks’ Collins trade discussions tell Weiss and Amick that there’s a “significant gulf” in how much Atlanta values the big man and how much teams are willing to give up for him. The fact that the Hawks only offered in the range of $90MM in extension talks last offseason has created the impression they wouldn’t go any higher than that this summer when Collins reaches restricted free agency, which isn’t the case.
  • According to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic, the Hawks’ initial response to the Celtics‘ inquiries on Collins was to try to build a deal around Jaylen Brown, which was a non-starter for Boston.
  • ESPN’s Zach Lowe estimates that the odds of a Collins trade this week are only about 30%, given how highly the Hawks value him and how badly they want to make the postseason. It would be difficult for the club to find a fair deal without taking a step back in the short term.
  • Hawks wing De’Andre Hunter may return to action as soon as Monday night, sources tell Charania. Hunter has been sidelined since January 29 after undergoing meniscus surgery.
  • Charania confirms that the Hawks are among the teams expected to pursue Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, which was first reported by Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer on Sunday.

O’Connor’s Latest: Collins, Bogdanovic, Gordon, Oladipo, More

The Hawks are receiving significant interest on star John Collins ahead of the trade deadline, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer writes. Among the interested teams are the Celtics, Kings, Mavericks, Pistons and Timberwolves.

Collins, who was drafted 19th overall by Atlanta in 2017, is averaging 18.2 points and 7.8 rebounds in 30.6 minutes per game this season. The 23-year-old’s role has decreased a little with the additions of Danilo Gallinari and Clint Capela, though he’s started in all 42 contests for the team this year.

Atlanta is seeking one young player and a first-round pick in any deal involving Collins, O’Connor notes. The team reportedly sought Malik Beasley and a first-rounder from the Timberwolves, but Minnesota ultimately declined the offer.

Here are some other notes from O’Connor as the March 25 deadline nears:

  • The Celtics‘ and Hawks‘ discussions surrounding Collins have also included Bogdan Bogdanovic, according to O’Connor. Bogdanovic signed a contract to join Atlanta in free agency, appearing in just 17 games this season due to injury.
  • The Rockets have discussed a deal with the Magic involving Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, though the team’s may need to find a third club to finalize any deal, O’Connor notes. Oladipo likely wouldn’t have a future in Orlando, as the 28-year-old spent the first three seasons of his career there and is set to reach free agency this offseason. The Rockets could also add a first-round pick or other assets to make a deal happen.
  • The Mavericks are among the teams who’ve held trade discussions with the Cavaliers on center Andre Drummond. Cleveland is hoping to move Drummond ahead of the deadline, though a buyout is likely if a trade doesn’t materialize in time.
  • The Warriors recently inquired on Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman, O’Connor reports, though talks stalled. Osman is shooting just 36% from the field and 32% from deep in his 40 games this season.
  • Grizzlies center Gorgui Dieng could receive a buyout if the team is unable to trade him, O’Connor writes. Dieng hasn’t played in the club’s last nine games.
  • According to O’Connor, the Warriors are shopping Kelly Oubre Jr., who is set to become a free agent at season’s end. Oubre’s averaging 14.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 30.4 minutes per game this season, making $14.37MM.

Knicks Notes: Front Office, Thibodeau, Quickley, More

In an entertaining, in-depth story for The New York Post, Yaron Weitzman takes a deep dive into the inner workings of the Knicks‘ front office, exploring how president of basketball operations Leon Rose has skillfully managed a handful of competing viewpoints and voices in the basketball operations department.

As Weitzman details, Rose has had to consider input from head coach Tom Thibodeau, who has little patience for a rebuild and wondered if RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson could be traded for “seasoned veterans”; from executive VP William Wesley – aka “World Wide Wes’ – who frequently zeroed in on players who attended the University of Kentucky or signed with CAA; and from cap expert Brock Aller, who advocated for a patient, flexible approach to using the team’s cap room.

Rose has managed to make everybody happy so far — he acquired Derrick Rose, like Thibodeau wanted, drafted Immanuel Quickley, which Wesley “pushed for like crazy,” and used the Knicks’ cap room primarily on affordable one-year signings, which was Aller’s preference.

“His job is to sort through different opinions from different people and make the best decision,” a rival executive said of Rose. “It certainly seems like he’s doing that well.”

Here are a few more highlights from Weitzman’s story, which is worth checking out in full:

  • Wesley, who had been hyping up Quickley for months, badly wanted the Knicks to select him at No. 23 and was “furious” when the team made a last-second decision to trade back to No. 25, loudly declaring, “Coach says we need shooting, Quickley’s the best shooter.” The Knicks ultimately landed the Kentucky point guard with the 25th pick.
  • According to Weitzman, when conversations in the front office focused on players who had no connections to Kentucky or to CAA, Wesley would often close his eyes. “When Wes said ‘we,’ people weren’t sure if he was referring to the Knicks or Kentucky,” one source said of World Wide Wes, who has a long-standing friendship with Wildcats coach John Calipari.
  • Meetings between Thibodeau and Aller sometimes became heated, given their diametric points of view on winning now vs. rebuilding. Weitzman says Thibodeau would sometime mockingly refer to Aller as “Hinkie,” a reference to Sam Hinkie, who infamously took an extreme long-term view when he rebuilt the Sixers.
  • Thibodeau pushed for the Knicks to use their cap room to pursue veteran free agents such as Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris, and Bogdan Bogdanovic, per Weitzman. While the Knicks were said to be in the mix for Hayward, they ultimately used their space to sign veterans like Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks, and Elfrid Payton to one-year deals.

Hawks Notes: Pierce, McMillan, Schlenk, Bogdanovic

Addressing reporters on Monday night following the announcement of Lloyd Pierce‘s dismissal, general manager Travis Schlenk didn’t offer a ton of specific details for why the Hawks made a head coaching change, simply stating that the team was underachieving relative to its expectations, as Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta-Journal Constitution writes.

“As we said at the beginning of the season, our goal was to have progress this year, to move forward,” Schlenk said. “And we just felt like that wasn’t happening as quickly as we wanted it to. … We felt like for the organization, it was the best thing for us to do moving forward.”

Hawks owner Tony Ressler has admitted to pressing for the team’s big spending spree during 2020’s free agency period and badly wants to get back to the postseason. However, Schlenk said that he and his basketball operations staff made the decision to move on from Pierce, with Ressler’s approval.

“Certainly Tony signs off on all major moves we make on the basketball side or on the business side, as far as that goes, but this wasn’t a decision that Tony made,” Schlenk said, according to Spencer. “… I don’t think it’s any secret that Tony is very passionate and wants the organization to be successful. He’s willing to give us all the resources that we need to be able to do that. Up to this point in my tenure here, he’s been extremely supportive of any decision I feel like we needed to make, and this was the same situation here.”

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Nate McMillan will be the Hawks’ interim head coach and is the first candidate named by Chris Kirschner of The Athletic in his list of possible permanent coaching options for Atlanta. Schlenk was noncommittal on Monday when asked about the possibility of McMillan holding the job permanently, stating that the Hawks will cross that bridge when they get there, per Spencer.
  • Pierce’s firing raises some bigger questions about the Hawks’ decision-making, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who suggests the clock has begun ticking on Schlenk and the front office, especially if the team’s 2020 free agent additions don’t start providing more value soon. While injuries to Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kris Dunn, and De’Andre Hunter this season have been unlucky, the signings of Danilo Gallinari and Rajon Rondo look like “clear failures,” Hollinger contends.
  • Schlenk shared some good news during his Tuesday morning appearance on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, announcing that Bogdanovic will play on Tuesday on a minutes restriction (Twitter link via Mike Conti). Bogdanovic has been out since January 9 due to a knee injury.
  • A pair of veteran NBA coaches – Rick Carlisle and Gregg Popovich – expressed disappointment in the Hawks’ decision to fire Pierce, as Dwain Price of Mavs.com and Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press relay.

Southeast Notes: Bogdanovic, Gallinari, Len, Dragic

Hawks swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic has progressed his rehabilitation to include one-on-one play with contact, the team tweets. Bogdanovic hasn’t played since January 9 due to an avulsion fracture in his right knee. His next step will be reintegration into team practice. Bogdanovic was one of the premier acquisitions of the offseason, signing a four-year, $72MM offer sheet that the Kings declined to match.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Another of the Hawks’ high-level acquisitions, Danilo Gallinari, is showing signs that he’s prepared to make a bigger impact. Gallinari’s 38-point eruption against Boston on Wednesday is more of what the team expected when Gallinari arrived in a sign-and-trade with the Thunder, as coach Lloyd Pierce told The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner“That’s Gallo. We know he’s capable. We know he can give us some more. We want him to give us more,” Pierce said.
  • Wizards center Alex Len has a strong bond with the team’s player development coach David Adkins and assistant Ryan Richman going back to his college days at Maryland. That was the biggest reason he signed with Washington after getting released by Toronto, Fred Katz of The Athletic writes. “I’m kind of like the brother and D.A. is kind of like the uncle/father type of guy in the relationship, I would say,” Richman said.
  • Goran Dragic has shown he can remain a rotation player beyond this season, so the Heat might be inclined to retain the veteran point guard this offseason at the right price, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel speculates. Miami holds a $19.44MM option on Dragic’s contract for next season, which it will almost certainly decline. However, the front office could ask him to return for one of its smaller exceptions.

Hawks Notes: Hunter, Reddish, Point Guard, Bogdanovic

Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter, who underwent a lateral meniscus arthroscopic debridement procedure earlier this week, won’t be back on the court for the team anytime soon. Addressing Hunter’s situation today on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, general manager Travis Schlenk suggested that the 23-year-old will be sidelined until at least late March, and likely sometime in April.

“The doctors say, typically, on average, these things are seven to 10 weeks,” Schlenk said, per Mike Conti of 92.9 The Game. “And most of the guys are ready to go by eight weeks. So, we’re hopeful.”

The Hawks’ initial announcement on Hunter indicated that his status would be updated when he’s re-evaluated in two weeks. According to Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link), the club hopes to have a clearer idea at that point about which end of the seven-to-10 week timeline is more likely to apply to Hunter.

Here’s more out of Atlanta:

  • Chris Kirschner of The Athletic explores what Hunter’s absence will mean for the Hawks in the short term and the long term, noting that the pressure on new starting small forward Cam Reddish will increase. Kirschner also expects Atlanta to play it safe with Hunter’s return timeline to help avoid any recurring knee issues.
  • In a separate story for The Athletic, Kirschner and John Hollinger discussed a few Hawks-related topics, including the hole at backup point guard that Rajon Rondo hasn’t adequately filled. Hollinger, who questioned Atlanta’s decision not to claim Elfrid Payton when New York waived him in November, suggested that Payton, George Hill, Delon Wright, and T.J. McConnell could be potential targets if Atlanta tries to shore up the position via trade.
  • Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, who was only able to play nine games for his new team before being sidelined by a right knee fracture, spoke to Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the injury and his goal to return before the end of the first half. “Anything before All-Star would be really good for me, but I don’t want to put the pressure on it,” Bogdanovic said. “But I would like to play before the All-Star (break), if it was me, and if my body heals up.”

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Vincent, Monk, Pierce

Earlier this week, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk updated Mike Conti of Sports Radio 92.9 The Game (Twitter link) on the health and availability status of a handful of Atlanta players. Veteran point guard Rajon Rondo and center Onyeka Okongwu could be available later this week. Sharpshooting forward Danilo Gallinari, a pricey offseason acquisition, will not be traveling with the club on the road this week but is nearing his own return.

Hawks shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, however, will miss “several weeks” as he continues to rehabilitate from the avulsion fracture in his right knee. JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets that later examinations did not reveal further ligament damage.

Meanwhile, after requiring a walking boot following a December 29 right ankle surgery, Hawks reserve guard Kris Dunn had the boot removed today, Sarah K. Spence of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Twitter link). He’ll be reevaluated in two weeks.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • With the Heat lineup limited by coronavirus health and safety protocols and injuries, sharpshooting guard Gabe Vincent showcased his ability to perform at the NBA level, scoring a career-best 24 points in a 137-134 Tuesday overtime defeat to the Sixers. Vincent, signed to a two-way contract this season, could warrant a look even when all of Miami’s players return, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. “He is a very good basketball player,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That extends far beyond spot-up shooting … Can guard multiple positions, competes, good team defender. Rebounds at his position. Offensively, you can play him like we did last night as our point guard.”
  • Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer posits that shooting guard Malik Monk might be just what the doctor ordered as the Hornets struggle on offense. Monk not been a part of the Charlotte rotation yet this season. The 22-year-old has appeared in just two games for Charlotte this season, averaging 5.5 MPG. Across his four-year career, he is averaging 8.5 PPG, 1.9 APG and 1.7 APG.
  • In a roundtable of NBA writers for The Athletic, Chris Kirschner opines that Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce will be on the figurative “hot seat” this season. After a blistering 4-1 start, the Hawks went 1-4 in their subsequent five games. Several of those defeats came at the hands of the Knicks, Cavaliers, and Hornets, hardly Eastern Conference powerhouses. The Hawks are currently hanging onto the No. 8 seed in the East, having lavished significant offseason money on veteran depth.

Southeast Notes: Lopez, Pasecniks, Crowder, Hawks Crowds, Bogdanovic

Veteran Robin Lopez has moved into the Wizards’ starting lineup due to the season-ending loss of center Thomas Bryant but the rotation will be flexible, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington relays. Moritz Wagner will get some opportunities and power forward Rui Hachimura could man the middle in small-ball sets. The Wizards also have Anzejs Pasecniks on the roster.

“It’s going to definitely be by committee,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • There’s a good reason why the Wizards should take a closer look at Pasecniks, Hughes writes in a separate story. His $1,517,981 contract becomes fully guaranteed if he remains on the roster past January 31. A 2017 first-round pick, the 7’2” Pasecniks could help a defense that has been lacking in the early portion of the season, Hughes adds.
  • It has become more perplexing that the Heat didn’t make a strong push to re-sign Jae Crowder, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel opines. They made Crowder a large, one-year offer in order to protect their cap space this summer but the forward chose more long-term security by inking a three-year, $29.2MM contract with the Suns. The Heat have cycled through Maurice Harkless, Meyers Leonard, Andre Iguodala and Kelly Olynyk in the power forward rotation and could have enjoyed more stability with Crowder, Winderman adds.
  • The Hawks have pushed back the targeted return of ticketed fans at State Farm Arena to January 26 due to COVID-19 concerns, according to a team press release. The Hawks will open at 10% capacity (approximately 1,700 tickets) before gradually increasing throughout the season, pending adequate conditions.
  • A medical expert interviewed by The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner estimates that Bogdan Bogdanovic will miss 4-6 weeks due to the avulsion fracture in his right knee, assuming surgery isn’t required. In Bogdanovic’s absence, Kevin Huerter and Cam Reddish will assume bigger roles, Kirscher adds.