- The Nets are trying to remain positive and maintain a “next man up” mentality after losing D’Angelo Russell to a right knee injury for the foreseeable future, writes Anthony Puccio for NetsDaily.com. The Nets also lost Jeremy Lin to a right knee injury after he suffered a ruptured patella tendon in the season opener, but head coach Kenny Atkinson is confident in the players being called on to step up. “We have a good group of wings, and guards,” said Atkinson. “I think we’ve developed sufficiently enough to withstand injuries.”
- With D’Angelo Russell and Jeremy Lin in street clothes, now is Isaiah Whitehead‘s time to earn playing time at the point guard position, Greg Joyce of the New York Post writes. “I think I’ve matured a lot since last year,” Whitehead says of the fluctuations in his role with the Nets. “I don’t think I would have been able to handle that last year. But I’ve matured a lot, knowing it’s for the better. … I think I reacted well to it.“
D’Angelo Russell‘s original diagnosis of a left knee contusion last Saturday yielded a nightmare outcome for the Nets as their starting point guard underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Friday, the team announced. No timetable for Russell’s return was given, so Brooklyn will be without its best, youngest, and most valuable player for an extended period.
Russell, 21, was in the midst of his best season to date, averaging a career-best 20.9 PPG, 5.7 APG, and 4.7 RPG in 12 games for Brooklyn. The organization acquired Russell in an offseason trade that saw longtime Net Brook Lopez shipped to the Lakers. While Russell was expected to miss a few games, now he will likely sit out several months due to surgery but general manager Sean Marks did not sound too worried about the procedure.
“This was a direct correlation to the incident that happened in Utah,” Marks said (via ESPN). “I think with any 21-year-old that’s played a lot of basketball you’re going to have a little bit of wear and tear. The good thing is he’s young enough and he’s certainly going to bounce back from something like this. We’re not too concerned in that regard.”
The Nets were pegged for another losing season — despite upgrading with young talent — and thus far, the team sports a 6-9 record. Brooklyn’s prime backup to Russell, veteran Jeremy Lin, suffered his own season-ending knee injury so he will not be able to help. Spencer Dinwiddie will be the Nets’ starter in Russell’s absence, giving the organization an extended look at 24-year-old point guard. Dinwiddie promptly made Nets history in the team’s win over the Jazz on Friday, becoming the first Net to score 25+ points, make 6 three-pointers, dish out 8 assists, and no commit a turnover (via Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily).
At this point, the Nets will be without their best player for several months, but he is expected to return before season’s end. While the Nets are not expected to compete for the playoffs, they are just two games out of a playoff spot through 17 games.
What do you think? Should the Nets be concerned about Russell’s health long-term since he does have a history of knee ailments? Is rushing Russell back to make a run something Brooklyn needs to consider or should they bring him along slowly?Sound off below!
- DeMarre Carroll has been a vocal and physical presence for the Nets early this season but his work off-the-court defines his legacy, Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily profiles. Caroll overcame a rare liver disease while he was a college player at Missouri and enjoyed a successful near decade-long NBA career. As Puccio writes, Carroll’s Carroll Family Foundation has been a crucial part of his efforts to help others with his coach and fellow teammates speaking glowingly of the ninth-year forward.
- Joe Tsai, who purchased a 49% stake in the Nets recently, had reportedly included a unique stipulation in the sale where he refused to cover any losses associated with player contracts. However, a Nets source denied that to NetsDaily and the original report from Bloomberg News has been altered to state that such a provision was discussed but never agreed upon.
- The “reality of the NBA” has forced the Nets to experiment with smaller lineups. That’s head coach Kenny Atkinson‘s justification for why Timofey Mozgov‘s role has shrunk over the course of the season, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes.
- Sidelined Nets guard D’Angelo Russell underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee today, the team’s official Twitter account tweets. Russell has been out of action since November 11. Expect the team to apply for a disabled player exception. Per Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders, general manager Sean Marks says there’s “probably a good chance” that they do. A DPE would be designed to replace Jeremy Lin, rather than Russell, since Lin is out for the season.
The Nets are without an exact timetable for D’Angelo Russell‘s recovery from a knee contusion, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes, so they haven’t made any reactionary moves to replace him just yet.
If the 21-year-old, who has been sidelined with the injury since last Saturday, ends up in street clothes long-term, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson may look to bring in reserves.
“We’re not there. It’s updates every day, that’s where we are,” Atkinson said. “If it were contrary to that, somebody would be here. So we’re just obviously [expecting not to need that].”
In the meantime, Alex Squadron of the New York Post writes, the Nets will turn to Spencer Dinwiddie as their temporary starter. They also have Isaiah Whitehead and Sean Kilpatrick available to step up in Russell’s absence too.
“Spencer’s made a jump up. Isaiah has got a year under his belt. And obviously Sean played a lot of minutes [for the Nets] last year,” Atkinson said. “I just think our roster is a lot better equipped this year to deal with guys being out.”
There’s more out of Brooklyn tonight:
- In addition to Spencer Dinwiddie and Isaiah Whitehead, Caris LeVert also saw time at the one in the club’s Tuesday night loss to the Celtics, writes Bryan Fonseca of Nets Daily. “I thought our defense was pretty good,” head coach Kenny Atkinson said of the decision to try their swingman at the point. “Caris handled the ball a fair amount and that worked out OK. We need more of a sample size. We need to feel it out more. I am giving you a little bit of a vague answer, but we’re still trying to figure it out.“
- With a clearly established role, fourth-year guard Joe Harris is stepping up and thriving. As the New York Post’s Alex Squadron writes, Harris has reached double figures seven times this season, shooting 38.5% from beyond the arc.
- While the Nets have struggled to stay healthy of late – and win games, for that matter – one thing that’s going particularly well is the development of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Alex Squadron of the New York Post writes that the versatile forward has made progress in 2017/18. “It’s great to see,” head coach Kenny Atkinson says. “I have a special place in my heart for Rondae for some reason. We have a good relationship.“
Two NBA veterans have been among the most impressive G League standouts early in the season, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Emeka Okafor, 35, has spent the past four years recovering from surgery on a herniated disc in his neck. He joined the Sixers for training camp and opted to stay with the organization’s affiliate in Delaware. He is averaging 14.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game and is shooting better than 60% from the field.
Kendrick Perkins was the Cavaliers’ final roster cut and went to Cleveland’s affiliate in Canton. He is averaging 13.0 points and 10.3 rebounds through three games. He has dropped weight and may still be able to help an NBA team at age 33.
There’s more news from the NBA and the G League:
- Today is an important day for four players who were claimed off waivers during the offseason, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. The Bulls‘ David Nwaba and Kay Felder, the Hawks‘ Nicolas Brussino and the Bucks‘ DeAndre Liggins are all now eligible to be traded.
- The Sixers used the remainder of this year’s cap space for the renegotiation/extension with Robert Covington, leaving just eight teams with cap room, according to Marks (Twitter link). They are the Bulls [$15.1MM], Mavericks [$12.5MM], Suns [$8.9MM], Pacers [$6.1MM], Kings [$4.3MM], Nets [$3.4MM], Hawks [$589K] and Magic [$549K].
- Veteran guard Shannon Brown has been claimed from the G League player pool by the Wisconsin Herd, tweets Chris Reichert of 2 Ways and 10 Days. The 31-year-old last played in the NBA in 2014, when he appeared in five games with the Heat.
- Christian Wood has joined the Delaware 87ers as a returning player, according to Reichert (Twitter link). He played 13 games for the Hornets last year and ended the season in the G League.
- International stars are having a greater impact on the NBA than ever before, writes Tom Ziller of SB Nation. Many of the league’s best young players hail from overseas, such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kristaps Porzingis, both considered early-season MVP candidates, along with Ben Simmons, Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic. Ziller credits former commissioner David Stern for his focus on expanding the league to overseas markets. That strategy not only created more revenue, it exposed the NBA to an international audience and created a new reservoir of players.
NBA rosters will undergo some changes over the course of the 2017/18 season, particularly around the trade deadline, and those changes may have an impact on teams’ cap sheets for future seasons. Based on the NBA’s current rosters, however, we can identify which teams are most and least likely to have cap room in the summer of 2018, which will dictate the type of moves those clubs can make in the offseason.
We’re taking a closer look at each of the NBA’s 30 teams by division this week. Today, we’re tackling the Southeast division. With the help of salary information compiled by Basketball Insiders, here’s how the summer of 2018 is shaping up for the five Southeast teams:
Since the start of the 2016 offseason, the Heat have handed out lucrative long-term contracts to Hassan Whiteside, James Johnson, Dion Waiters, Kelly Olynyk, and Josh Richardson. It will be Tyler Johnson‘s deal that will be the toughest to swallow in 2018/19 though. Because of the way his 2016 offer sheet from the Nets was structured under the old CBA, Johnson’s cap charge will jump from about $5.88MM this season to $19MM+ next year.
Barring major cost-cutting moves, the Heat will be well over the cap in 2018/19, and may end up surpassing the luxury tax line too.
Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $116,377,251
Projection: Over the cap
The Hornets have six players on their roster set to make at least $12MM apiece in 2018/19, including two – Nicolas Batum and Dwight Howard – earning about twice that. Most of those contracts won’t be easy to move, and Charlotte won’t want to dump the more team-friendly salaries from that group, like Kemba Walker‘s $12MM expiring deal. As such, we can expect the Hornets to head into the 2018 offseason as an over-the-cap club.
Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $115,896,497
Projection: Over the cap
Despite the fact that John Wall‘s super-max extension won’t go into effect until 2019/20, the Wizards have nearly $116MM committed to just eight players next season. Even if the team were to trade a non-core player on an eight-figure salary, such as Ian Mahinmi or Marcin Gortat, it wouldn’t be enough to create meaningful cap space.
Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $78,180,655
Projection: Up to approximately $19.5MM in cap room
The summer of 2018 will be a good test for just how attached the Magic’s new front office is to the old regime’s top draft picks. Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton will be restricted free agents, and if Orlando intends to retain both players – or even just Gordon – the team’s cap room will disappear. Letting Gordon and Payton walk and waiving Shelvin Mack and his non-guaranteed salary would get the Magic up to nearly $20MM in cap space.
Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $56,232,915
Projection: Up to approximately $41MM in cap room
The Hawks’ maximum available cap space for 2018 will hinge in part on whether Dewayne Dedmon and Mike Muscala decide to pick up their respective player options. Those options being exercised would reduce the Hawks’ max cap room to about $31MM, which would still be more than enough to make a major addition or two — or to take on a couple undesirable contracts along with picks or young players, if Atlanta isn’t ready yet to accelerate its rebuilding timeline.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
NBA rosters will undergo some changes over the course of the 2017/18 season, particularly around the trade deadline, and those changes may have an impact on teams’ cap sheets for future seasons. Based on the NBA’s current rosters, however, we can identify which teams are most or least likely to have cap room in the summer of 2018, which will dictate the type of moves those clubs can make in the offseason.
We’ll be taking a closer look at each of the NBA’s 30 teams by division over the next week. Today, we’re starting with the Atlantic division. With the help of salary information compiled by Basketball Insiders, here’s how the summer of 2018 is shaping up for the five Atlantic teams:
The Raptors have nearly $125MM in guaranteed money on their books for the 2018/19 season, easily the most of any Atlantic teams. If Toronto can’t clear any of that money of its cap, the club would almost certainly surpass the tax threshold, based on the latest cap projections from the NBA.
The most obvious way for the Raptors to create a bit of breathing room would be to find a taker for Jonas Valanciunas, who is due a $16.5MM salary next year. Still, Toronto has reportedly explored potential Valanciunas trades before and hasn’t found any viable options, so it won’t necessarily be easy for the Raps to move his salary. And even if they do, it would take more than that to get under the cap.
Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $104,650,766
Projection: Over the cap
The Celtics currently project to be a little over a $101MM cap, and they’d go even further beyond that threshold if they want to re-sign Marcus Smart or Aron Baynes, or retain non-guaranteed players like Daniel Theis. Even if Boston is willing to let those players go, there’s no obvious path to carving out a chunk of cap room, so the C’s figure to be an over-the-cap team.
Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $68,601,762
Projection: Up to approximately $28MM in cap room
Our cap projection for the Nets assume that the team hangs onto Spencer Dinwiddie, who has a non-guaranteed salary. However, it also assumes that Jeremy Lin will turn down his $12MM+ player option. Considering Lin will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, there’s actually a good chance that he’ll play it safe and pick up his player option rather than taking his chances on the open market. In that scenario, Brooklyn’s cap space would be cut nearly in half.
New York Knicks
Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $68,004,397
Projection: Up to approximately $12MM in cap room
Why do we have the Knicks projected to have far less cap room than the Nets, despite both teams having nearly equal guaranteed salary? We’re assuming that Enes Kanter will exercise his $18MM+ player option for next season, as was reported back in August. Of course, nothing is official yet, and a big season for the Knicks could change the landscape for Kanter. But for now, it seems unrealistic to expect him to opt out.
Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $56,928,155
Projection: Up to approximately $39MM in cap room
Even if we count on the Sixers exercising team options for T.J. McConnell and Richaun Holmes, the team should have a ton of flexibility. A Robert Covington extension would cut into that flexibility, but should still leave up to about $25MM in cap room. If the 76ers want to create enough space to sign a player to a maximum salary, finding a taker for Jerryd Bayless‘ expiring $8.6MM contract would likely be the first step.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Further evaluation, including an MRI, is planned for Russell after he was hurt in Saturday’s loss to the Jazz. He played 32 minutes and scored 26 points before landing awkwardly and limping off the court with 2:57 remaining.
“No update. Checking him out now,” Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson told Brian Lewis of The New York Post after the game. “I didn’t really see it. I didn’t see the play. I think when he landed on a jump, I believe that’s when it happened. … We’re evaluating him now. I guess we’ll do more tests [Sunday].”
Russell has been off to a strong start after being acquired in a summer trade with the Lakers. He is posting career highs in several major categories with 20.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game.
The injury-plagued Nets are already shorthanded in the backcourt with Jeremy Lin out for the season because of a torn patellar tendon and Spencer Dinwiddie sidelined by a hamstring injury. Power forward Trevor Booker returned from back problems Saturday night, while rookie center Jarrett Allen has an injured foot.