Bojan Bogdanovic

Jazz Notes: Conley, Bogdanovic, Ingles, Clippers

Jazz guard Mike Conley is listed as questionable to play in Game 2 of the team’s second-round series against the Clippers on Thursday night, per the NBA’s official injury report. Conley, who suffered a mild right hamstring strain in Game 5 of the first round against Memphis, was also listed as questionable leading up to Game 1 vs. the Clippers on Tuesday before being ruled out.

The Jazz have a reputation for being careful with injuries. The team held Donovan Mitchell out of the first game of the postseason last month, much to Mitchell’s dismay. So while it seems like Conley is getting closer to returning to action, we shouldn’t expect to see him on the court until the club is confident he’s 100% or close to it.

Here’s more out of Utah:

  • The contributions of Bojan Bogdanovic are crucial to Utah’s title hopes, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. Bogdanovic’s decision to sign a four-year contract with the Jazz as a free agent in 2019 represented a big win for the franchise both from a basketball perspective and a symbolic one, as Jones details. “We were glad that he chose us because he had options,” Jazz executive VP of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey told Jones. “Him choosing us was a sign that we could be a destination market, and it’s just been an excellent marriage. He’s met our level defensively. He’s such a versatile scorer and he’s a huge weapon for us because of how many ways he can score and shoot the ball.”
  • Even if the Jazz advance to the NBA Finals and don’t finish their season until July 22, don’t expect Joe Ingles to skip the Olympics this summer, tweets Joe Vardon of The Athletic. I’ll get on a plane the next day and I’ll make my way over to Japan,” said Ingles, who will represent Australia at the Tokyo games.
  • The Jazz haven’t forgotten the way the Clippers seemingly tanked at the end of the regular season to get into the No. 4 seed, avoiding a possible matchup with the Lakers in the Western Semifinals and lining one a series with Utah instead. Entering the second round, it sounded like Utah was using that as motivation, as Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register writes. “Obviously, we’re a matchup that the Clippers felt like was an advantageous matchup for them,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder told reporters on Tuesday.

Northwest Notes: Morris, Jazz Depth, SGA, Carmelo

Nuggets reserve point guard Monte Morris is nearing his return to the floor, tweets Mike Singer of the Denver Post. Morris is “definitely getting closer” to suiting up again for Denver, head coach Michael Malone said.

Nevertheless, Singer notes that Morris will remain sidelined for the next few games as he continues to rehabilitate from a hamstring injury that has kept him out since April 16.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • With Jazz All-Star guards Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley both absent, Utah has been able to showcase the depth of its roster, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. Wing Bojan Bogdanović has become a prime scoring option on the perimeter for Utah, and even greener players like two-way rookie point guard Trent Forrest have stepped up to help the Jazz remain very much in the race for the West’s top seed.
  • Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault has revealed that star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is still grappling with a “significant” plantar fascia tear, tweets Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman. “It’s not something that you should really mess around with,” Daigneault said. “If we got aggressive with him, it could compromise him long term, which makes no sense for us for a player that is as important to our franchise as he is.” Gilgeous-Alexander has been sidelined since March with the injury.
  • After scoring 14 points in a 123-114 loss to the Hawks, veteran Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony has cracked the NBA’s all-time top 10 scoring list, writes Casey Holdahl of Trailblazers.com“Top 10 in anything of all-time is a special moment, so I don’t want to take this moment for granted,” said Anthony. “I don’t want to downplay it, I’m excited about it, I’m blessed to be able to accomplish this in year 18. I think that’s what people should look at, the fact that I’m in my 18th season.” Anthony has been a productive offensive contributor during his second season with Portland. He will be a free agent this summer.

Injury Updates: Exum, Hayes, Bogdanovic, Okogie, Towns

Cavaliers guard Dante Exum departed Monday’s game against Orlando in the opening minute with a right calf strain, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He went down with a non-contact injury and eventually hobbled to the bench, unable to put weight on his leg. Cleveland players spoke with optimism regarding the injury after the game, Fedor tweets.

Here are a few more injury-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Pistons lottery pick Killian Hayes left Monday’s game against Milwaukee during the third quarter with a right hip injury, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets. Hayes has started regularly during his rookie season. He’ll have an MRI on Tuesday, coach Dwane Casey said after the game.
  • Jazz swingman Bojan Bogdanovic has continually experienced soreness in his surgically repaired right wrist, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News writes. Bogdanovic put on a brace during Sunday’s game against San Antonio and it helped dramatically, as he scored 28 points. “I really hate to play with anything on my body, any tape, any brace, anything,” he said. “But I really needed it because my wrist is kind od sore whenever I follow through when I’m shooting.”
  • Josh Okogie is closer to returning than Karl-Anthony Towns for the Timberwolves, Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweets. Okogie has missed the last four games with a left hamstring strain. Towns has only played two games due to a dislocated left wrist. Meanwhile, Jaylen Nowell is ramping up in practice and is close to making his season debut. He’s been sidelined with a left ankle injury.

Northwest Notes: Morris, Collins, Bogdanovic, Maledon

Nuggets reserve point guard Monte Morris agreed to a new, three-year extension with Denver this offseason. Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports tweets the full details of the agreement, which is fully guaranteed with no player or team options. It will pay Morris $8.4MM for the 2021/22 season, $9.1MM in 2022/23, and $9.8MM in 2023/24.

The No. 51 pick by the Nuggets out of Iowa State in the 2017 draft, Morris has carved out a core rotation role with the club during the last two seasons. In 2019/20, he averaged 9.0 PPG, 3.5 APG, 1.9 RPG and 0.8 SPG. He sported a slash line of .459/.378/.843.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • After undergoing left ankle surgery in September, Trail Blazers power forward Zach Collins went through a light, half-speed workout this week, per Casey Holdahl of Blazers.com (Twitter link). Holdahl suggests that Portland hopes to have Collins back on the court in mid-to-late January.
  • Jazz starting small forward Bojan Bogdanović saw his first in-game action since May wrist surgery on Saturday in a preseason contest against the Suns. Bogdanovic exhibited the many ways he can contribute to the team’s offensive output, according to Sarah Todd of the Deseret News“It’s kind of kind of strange, this is my first time in my life that I didn’t play for this long,” Bogdanovic remarked after the game.
  • Thunder rookie guard Theo Maledon had a sparkling preseason debut for Oklahoma City, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. The 6’5″ guard, drafted with the No. 34 pick this year, scored 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting and pulled down five rebounds in a 121-108 victory over the Spurs.

Northwest Notes: Conley, Bogdanovic, Horford, Blazers, Morris

Jazz point guard Mike Conley cleared all COVID-19 protocols and practiced in full on Tuesday, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets. Utah has one unnamed player who has yet to be cleared. Conley had close contact with a family member who tested positive, which forced him to the sidelines. He had to produce seven consecutive negative tests before he could exit quarantine.

We have more from around the Northwest Division:

  • Jazz swingman Bojan Bogdanovic says he’ll be ready to play at the start of the season, Tony Jones of The Athletic tweets. Bogdanovic, who underwent wrist surgery in May and missed the restart, has been practicing in full this week.
  • Al Horford and rookie Theo Maledon will join the Thunder once they complete coronavirus protocols, Brandon Rahbar of the Daily Thunder tweets. Horford and Maledon were officially acquired from the Sixers on Monday. “Theo, for a young player, he has a lot of experience and has a certain maturity about him,” new head coach Mark Daigneault said. “Al, we’re very fortunate that he’s here and to have a player of his caliber.”
  • Among the three members of the Trail Blazers organization to test positive for the virus was one player, coach Terry Stotts told Jason Quick of The Athletic (Twitter link). Zach Collins (ankle) and Jusuf Nurkic, who just arrived Sunday, also missed the first practice on Tuesday.
  • The Nuggets are confident backup point guard Monte Morris and EuroLeague import Facundo Campazzo will be able to play together in the second unit, Kendra Andrews of The Athletic writes. Rookie draft pick RJ Hampton will need more seasoning before he’s ready for big minutes, Andrews said. Denver and Morris, one of the team’s top reserves the past two seasons, agreed on a three-year, $27MM extension on Monday.

Northwest Notes: McLaughlin, Jackson, Pokusevski, Bogdanovic

Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders said today that the team hopes to add another point guard to its depth chart behind D’Angelo Russell and Ricky Rubio, tweets Jon Krawczysnki of The Athletic.

While Saunders didn’t explicitly name him as the player the Wolves want to bring aboard, restricted free agent Jordan McLaughlin is the most obvious candidate for that role, Krawczynski notes. McLaughlin, who was on a two-way contract with Minnesota last season, is the only RFA who has yet to secure a new deal for 2020/21.

The qualifying offer McLaughlin received from the Wolves last month is for another two-way deal, but he and the team are likely trying to negotiate a standard contract that would give him a spot on Minnesota’s 15-man roster for the regular season.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Frank Jackson‘s two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Thunder has a partial guarantee worth $250K for 2020/21, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. The second year of Jackson’s new deal is non-guaranteed.
  • Several reports leading up to the 2020 draft linked Aleksej Pokusevski to the Thunder, but the Serbian forward was still surprised to be drafted by Oklahoma City at No. 17, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. “Before the draft we didn’t have any contacts,” Pokusevski said. “I didn’t talk to anyone. I was shocked that I was chosen at No. 17 and drafted to OKC. I was shocked. I didn’t know that it was going to happen, and I was very happy about it.”
  • Jazz forward Joe Ingles is looking forward to playing with center Derrick Favors again, writes Aaron Falk of UtahJazz.com. “He’s obviously a guy I feel super comfortable playing with,” Ingles said of Favors, noting that the two veterans played a lot of minutes together during the big man’s previous stint in Utah.
  • Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic (wrist) practiced in full this week and looks to be on track to play in the team’s regular season opener, says Tony Jones of The Athletic.

Northwest Notes: Blazers, Bogdanovic, Green, Nuggets

The Trail Blazers were aggressive about seeking out roster upgrades this offseason, trading for Robert Covington and Enes Kanter while signing Derrick Jones in free agency and bringing back Rodney Hood on a new deal.

According to Jason Quick of The Athletic, a push from Damian Lillard provided president of basketball operations Neil Olshey with some extra motivation as he completed those transactions. Lillard said he’s been “transparent” with Olshey about wanting the team to make roster moves that give the Trail Blazers a “real shot” at winning a title.

“That’s just what I’ve been communicating to him: ‘Come on man, let’s really make a run for it. Let’s go for it,'” the Trail Blazers’ star point guard said. “Let’s not be the organization that says, ‘Oh, we’ve made the playoffs this many years in a row. We’ve got a good culture, we’ve got this …’ Let’s put ourselves out there and try to do whatever we can do to give ourselves a real shot. Let’s try to bring the glory back to Portland.”

Covington and Jones will likely open the regular season as the Trail Blazers’ starting forwards, head coach Terry Stotts said on Tuesday, per Casey Holdahl of Blazers.com. That would mean Carmelo Anthony coming off the bench, which is something the team discussed with him before he re-signed.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic, who is coming off of wrist surgery, said on Tuesday that he’s “really happy” with where he’s at in his recovery process, though he admitted he’s not sure whether or not he’ll be ready for the start of the season. Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune has the details.
  • The Clippers, Lakers, Spurs, Sixers, and Bucks were among the teams that had interest in JaMychal Green in free agency, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post, but the veteran forward ultimately chose the Nuggets. Green cited the Nuggets’ unselfish play, young talent, and tenacity in explaining his decision. “Blowing a 3-1 lead, they just fought,” Green said, referring to Denver’s Western Conference Semifinals win over his Clippers. “It just showed you the type of heart they had.”
  • The Nuggets experienced more roster turnover than usual this fall. Now, facing an unorthodox training camp and preseason schedule, head coach Michael Malone says it’ll be a challenge to get everyone integrated and comfortable before the regular season begins. “Continuity has been one of our greatest strengths for the last few years, and this is probably the first time in my five going on six years we’ve had this much of a turnover,” Malone said, according to Kendra Andrews of The Athletic. “So that will be the biggest challenge.”

Jazz Notes: Gobert, Favors, Bogdanovic, Azubuike

Asked today during a media session about the possibility of signing Rudy Gobert to a contract extension in the coming weeks, Jazz executive VP of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey declined to offer any specifics, but suggested the team would be happy to get something done.

We don’t comment on past, present or future negotiations, but we love Rudy,” Lindsey said, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon (Twitter link). “We want Rudy to be here for the rest of his career.”

Tony Jones of The Athletic, who has said repeatedly that Gobert and the Jazz are actively discussing a new contract, reiterated that point today (Twitter link).

Gobert is eligible to sign an extension anytime before he reaches free agency during the summer of 2021, though if the Jazz are willing to give the All-Star center a super-max deal starting at 35% of the cap (which seems unlikely), they’ll have to get it done by December 21.

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • Lindsey said today that the Jazz’s decision to bring back Derrick Favors in free agency was motivated by feeling undersized defensively last season against teams with multiple big men, such as the Lakers (Twitter link via Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune).
  • Bojan Bogdanovic‘s recovery from wrist surgery is progressing well, according to Lindsey, who said the team will decide in about a week whether the veteran forward is ready to progress to contact workouts (Twitter link via Walden).
  • Addressing Utah’s decision to use the No. 27 pick in the draft on Udoka Azubuike, Lindsey said the team took the “best player available” route (Twitter link via Walden). The Jazz’s analytics models ranked the former Kansas center as the second-best prospect in the draft, while the club’s scouts ranked him in the top 10, Lindsey added.
  • Tony Jones of The Athletic provides a training camp primer for the Jazz, discussing Gobert’s contract situation, Donovan Mitchell‘s new extension, and the club’s goal of getting back into the top 10 for overall team defense in 2020/21.

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Bogdanovic, Roberson, Blazers

For the Jazz, adjusting to the NBA’s campus in Orlando was especially difficult during the first two days of the trip, Tony Jones of The Athletic details. 

Like other teams, each player and staff member in Utah’s traveling party had to quarantine for the first 48 hours once they arrived. The sudden adjustment to being isolated was an eye-opener for many within the franchise.

“Those first 48 hours sucked,” Joe Ingles said with a chuckle. “The window of the room was sealed shut, so I couldn’t open it. So I fear over the course of some months, the room is going to get a little stanky.”

Coaches and staff members were no exception to this, naturally, with head coach Quin Snyder offering his perspective on the first 48 hours of his journey.

“We had a lot of time to ourselves,” Snyder said. “It was a lot of time to think. I had to be careful to not overthink.”

Utah is entering the resumed season with the fourth-best record in the Western Conference at 41-23, trailing the No. 3 seed Nuggets by 1.5 games and the No. 2 seed Clippers by three games.

Here are some other notes out of the Northwest Division tonight:

  • The Jazz are also adjusting to life without Bojan Bogdanovic in Orlando, Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News writes. Bogdanovic is slated to miss the rest of the season after undergoing wrist surgery in May, averaging 20.2 points in 63 games on the year. “Missing Bojan, having to adjust the way we play, our style, I think Coach is adapting in a way that helps us out to play more freely but still have a lot of structure and the way he wants us to play,” Royce O’Neale said.
  • Thunder forward Andre Roberson joined the team in practice on Friday for the first time in nearly a year, Royce Young of ESPN writes. Roberson, who last saw NBA action over two years ago, first sustained a ruptured patellar tendon in January of 2018. He suffered a setback later in the year that required additional surgery, then experienced another setback six weeks later by sustaining an avulsion fracture in his knee. “He looked really, really good in terms of the way he was moving,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “It was great to see him out there. I was really happy for him. But like we’ve talked about in the past, we’ll see how he can continue to build up and develop here over the next week, but he was out there today and he participated in everything.”
  • The Trail Blazers’ big men looked good in their returns to the court last week, Jason Quick of The Athletic writes. Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins have both healed from their respective injuries, with Portland now sporting three seven-foot players when including Hassan Whiteside. “They both looked like the way we remembered them,” coach Terry Stotts said. “I told Nurk that — he’s the Nurk I remember playing at both ends of the floor. He made some really good passes, good rebounds. And Zach was full of energy. You couldn’t tell either one of them missed time. It was very encouraging.”

Jazz Notes: Bogdanovic, Perrin, Booker

Bojan Bogdanovic originally injured his right wrist in a late November game, Tony Jones of The Athletic tweets. The Jazz swingman will undergo wrist surgery on Tuesday and won’t return if the season resumes. Bogdanovic had an MRI after the original injury and tried to play through the pain but aggravated it at various times throughout the season, Jones adds.

We have more on the Jazz:

  • The team won’t immediately seek a replacement for vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin, Jones reports in a separate tweet. Instead, the current staff will divide up his responsibilities. Perrin is joining the Knicks as an assistant GM after being in Utah’s front office since 2001.
  • Recently retired forward Trevor Booker has become a fan favorite in Utah despite only playing two years with the Jazz, as Sarah Todd of the Deseret News details. Booker was playing in the Chinese Basketball Association but returned to the U.S. to undergo foot surgery. He decided to retire after the pandemic. When Booker announced his retirement on social media, he received an outpouring of well wishes from Jazz fans.
  • Georges Niang provided details about the precautions being taken at the team’s training facility. Get the details here.