Brooklyn Nets

Rudy Gobert, D’Angelo Russell Set To Return Friday

Two players who have yet to play in 2018 are expected to return to the court on Friday, with one playing in Utah and one in Brooklyn. According to reports, both Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell are set to play tonight.

Jazz head coach Quin Snyder confirmed today to reporters that Gobert will be back against the Knicks, as Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News notes (via Twitter). Gobert is expected to be on a minutes restriction for now, as he works his way back to full strength.

Gobert had been on the shelf since December 15 due to a knee injury, having missed Utah’s last 15 games. The Jazz have been using some smaller lineups in Gobert’s absence, with Derrick Favors spending more time at center. With Gobert back, the club will have some additional lineup flexibility, and may start to seriously consider possible Favors trades.

Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, Russell told reporters, including Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter link), that he expects to suit up and get back on the court tonight for the Nets, who are hosting the Heat. Russell, the Nets’ major offseason acquisition, hasn’t played since November 11 due to a knee injury of his own.

It will be interesting to see how Russell’s return impacts Spencer Dinwiddie, who has assumed starting point guard duties and has been enjoying a breakout season with both Russell and Jeremy Lin sidelined. Dinwiddie has struggled with his shot lately, but is still posting solid overall numbers — he has averaged 14.4 PPG and 7.2 APG since Russell went down, and figures to continue playing a key role even with the former second overall pick back in the lineup.

Joe Harris Not Concerned With Free Agency, Loves Playing For Kenny Atkinson

  • Despite a breakout year with the Nets, Joe Harris hasn’t concerned himself with the fact that he’ll be a free agent in the summer. “I love playing for [head coach Kenny Atkinson]”, Harris told Sam Blum of The Daily Progress. “I love the teammates that we have and everybody else that’s in the organization. We have a lot of great people, top to bottom. I really don’t think about that stuff a whole lot. I focus on trying to get better here collectively and individually and just enjoying it while I can.

Nets Granted Disabled Player Exception

The league has granted the Nets a $6MM disabled player exception for the loss of Jeremy Lin, Shams Charania of The Vertical reports (Twitter link). Lin ruptured the patella tendon in his right knee on opening night.

Organizations which receive a disabled player exception can use it to sign a player, but it must be a one-year pact. Teams can also use a DPE to trade for a player who is in the final year of his deal. Brooklyn’s exception, along with the Pelicans’, which was also granted today, will expire on March 12.

Brooklyn is under the salary cap by approximately $3.6MM and nearly $24MM below the luxury tax line, so the franchise won’t have any reservations about using the exception should the right opportunity arise.

Atlantic Notes: Fultz, Nets, DeRozan, Burke, Knicks

Markelle Fultz has missed almost 40 games this season as he’s battled a phantom shoulder injury that has taken away his ability to shoot the ball. While Fultz is practicing with the team, he is still a long way from making a return and the situation has head coach Brett Brown confused, per ESPN.

Fultz shot 50% from the field in his lone college season; he impressed the Sixers so much that the team traded up to draft him first overall in last year’s draft. However, a muscular imbalance in the shoulder hampered Fultz’s shot so much that he did not even attempt a three-point shot while healthy. Brown said he has “never experienced anything like this” but that Philadelphia is dedicated to helping Fultz find his stroke.

“It’s reclaiming the shot that he used to have,” Brown said. “The timeline of when that happens, none of us know. But I feel like there is discomfort in his shoulder and it does affect his shot.”

In four games this season, Fultz averaged 6.0 PPG, 2.3 RPG, and 1.8 APG while shooting 33% from the field.

Check out other Atlantic Division notes below:

  • Jahlil Okafor and D’Angelo Russell, two of the first three overall picks in the 2015 NBA Draft, are with the Nets organization now and general manager Sean Marks is impressed with their maturity. As Net Income at NetsDaily writes, Marks spoke to WFAN recently gave a glowing review of the organization and how it has helped its young players get acclimated.
  • Raptors star DeMar DeRozan was fined $15,000 for public criticism of the league’s officiating, the NBA announced on Tuesday.
  • Trey Burke played just eight minutes of the Knicks‘ win over the Nets on Monday but his impact was noticeable, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Burke lit up the G League with the Knicks’ affiliate and showed glimpses of the player who was the ninth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
  • In a separate story, Berman of the New York Post examines the Knicks‘ potential strategy as the trade deadline nears. At 20-24, the Knicks are currently three games out of the eighth playoff spot. A strong run could put the team in playoff position but head coach Jeff Hornacek has repeatedly stated the developing the young players comes before worrying about the playoffs. Berman notes that if the Knicks sell, their main priority will be clearing up the logjam at center that features four capable players (Enes Kanter, Kyle O’Quinn, Willy Hernangomez, and Joakim Noah).

Pelton: Dinwiddie, Harris Sell-High Trade Candidates?

Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic has been the subject of more trade rumors than virtually any other NBA player over the last several weeks, but he’s not the only “sell-high” trade candidate around the league, writes Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com. In an Insider-only piece, Pelton identifies several players whose trade value may not get higher than it is right now, including Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans, Suns center Alex Len, and Nets teammates Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris.

Those players may not be on the move before next month’s trade deadline – Pelton admits that the idea of dealing Dinwiddie would be a “particularly tough sell” for the Nets – but it would make sense for those clubs to at least explore the possibilities.

Nets Sign James Webb III To Two-Way Contract

4:48pm: The signing of Webb is official, per team release. The club also confirmed the release of Wiley.

3:21pm: The Nets are expected to cut Wiley to make room for Webb, according to a NetsDaily report.

11:48am: The Nets intend to sign G League forward James Webb III to a two-way contract, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). As we noted this morning, Monday is the last day that teams can sign players to two-way deals this season, so Brooklyn will have to finalize the signing today.

In order to clear room on their roster for Webb, the Nets will also have to make a roster move involving one of their current two-way players, Jacob Wiley and Milton Doyle. Brooklyn currently has a full 15-man NBA roster, so converting one of those two-way players to a standard contract isn’t an option unless someone else is waived.

Webb, who played his college ball at Boise State, went undrafted in 2016 and joined the Sixers for training camp. After being cut by Philadelphia prior to the 2016/17 season, he caught on with the team’s G League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers. Webb has since appeared in 60 games for the 87ers, averaging 12.6 PPG and 8.4 RPG with a .439/.361/.747 shooting line.

Once his two-way contract with the Nets becomes official, Webb will make the move over to the Long Island Nets. He’ll also be eligible to spend up to 22 days with Brooklyn the rest of the way.

Nets Assign D'Angelo Russell To G League For Practice

  • As he continues to rehab his injured knee, D’Angelo Russell has been sent to the G League, the Nets announced today in a press release. Russell will practice with the Long Island Nets and will be recalled to the NBA later today, according to the club.

Last Day For Teams To Sign Two-Way Deals, Apply For DPEs

January 15 is an important date on the NBA calendar. As we outlined earlier this morning, it’s the day that several of the players who signed free agent deals in 2017 become trade-eligible for the first time on those new deals. In addition to being the first day that those players can be traded, January 15 is also the last day for teams to complete certain roster moves. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Last day for teams to sign players to two-way contracts:

If you were following Hoops Rumors over the weekend, you likely noticed a flurry of roster moves involving two-way contracts. That’s because January 15 represents the deadline for teams to sign players to two-way deals. If a club doesn’t finalize a two-way signing today, it can’t do so for the remainder of the 2017/18 league year.

A handful of two-way signings reported over the weekend – including the Lakersdeal with Gary Payton II and a pair of Pistons agreements – will need to be made official today. Additionally, the Bucks, Timberwolves, and Wizards each still have an open two-way slot, as our tracker shows, so if they don’t want to leave that second slot empty all season, they’ll need to fill it today.

Salaries for all two-way players will become fully guaranteed for 2017/18 on January 20.

Last day for teams to apply for a disabled player exception:

As our glossary entry on the disabled player exception explains, the DPE is a tool that can be granted to teams by the NBA. It gives a club a one-time cap exception that can be used to replace a player who suffered a season-ending injury.

The Celtics applied for and received a disabled player exception back in the fall after Gordon Hayward went down, but the Nets didn’t file for a DPE after Jeremy Lin‘s season-ending injury that same week. They’re expected to do so by today’s deadline, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The Heat are also worth watching, since they’ll be eligible for a DPE if Dion Waiters is ruled out for the season, as is expected.

New York Notes: Beasley, Hardaway, Burke, LeVert

With Tim Hardaway Jr. back in the fold, Michael Beasley will likely see his role diminish moving forward, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. Beasley played 16 minutes on Friday against the Grizzlies, the same night that Hardaway’s long-awaited return took place.

Before Hardaway’s injury, the Knicks’ bench was rotational with Beasley, Lance Thomas, and others seeing the court when the situation called for it. While Beasley played well in Hardaway’s absence, notching a pair of 30+ point outings in that time, he will have to readjust to the role he filled to start the season.

 “Every one of (our bench players) lends us something and it could be situational,” head coach Jeff Hornacek said. “Lance (Thomas) has done a great job defending some of these guys. Prior to when Tim was here, there were nights when Lance didn’t play. There were nights Mike didn’t play. So we’ll probably end up going back to that.”

  • Speaking of Hardway, he notched 16 points in 25 minutes for the Knicks in Friday’s loss. After missing 20 games, it was a welcome sight for the Knicks to have Hardaway back, and he felt much better than he expected, Marc Berman of the New York Post relays.
  • The Knicks‘ signing of former lottery pick Trey Burke is official. Burke has arrived in New York and will be in uniform the Knicks’ tilt against the Pelicans, Grey Joyce of the New York Post writes.
  • Quincy Acy got his first start of the season – and second in his 70-game career with the Nets – and played well, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. The veteran center posted eight points, six rebounds, and made a crucial three-pointer late in the game.
  • Caris LeVert has played well in his second NBA season and despite his early shooting struggles, he has shown the Nets the potential of a standout player, Tom Dowd writes in a profile for NBA.com. LeVert, 23, was the 20th overall pick in last year’s draft and after missing most of his rookie season due to injury, he has made great strides in his sophomore campaign.
  • The Nets will file with the NBA to receive a disabled player exception for Jeremy Lin before tomorrow’s deadline, tweets Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Lin went down with a season-ending ruptured patella tendon in his right knee on opening night.

Pistons Notes: Van Gundy, Jackson, Leuer, Moreland

Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy addressed trade rumors surrounding his team during a session with reporters today. Detroit is among several teams linked to Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic as the Pistons try to remain in the playoff race with a roster weakened by injuries.

“We have a roster spot available and there’s people calling,” Van Gundy said in comments tweeted by Rod Beard of The Detroit News. “We’re just seeing if there’s anything that makes sense for us. When you’re down a starting point guard, there’s not a lot of people shopping their starting point guard to you.” (Twitter link).

Reggie Jackson is out until at least the All-Star break with a sprained right ankle. Forward Jon Leuer hasn’t played since October 31 because of a sprained left ankle and may be headed for surgery. After a fast start, the Pistons have fallen into a sixth-place tie in the East at 21-18 and are barely holding on to a playoff spot.

“We’ve got [Leuer] down and [Jackson] down,” Van Gundy added. “There’s a lot of need and we’re looking around. We don’t have anything going on right now, but we’re looking around for people to fill holes.”

There’s more today out of Detroit:

  • The Pistons have plenty of options to target before the February 8 deadline, writes Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype. He lists Orlando’s Evan Fournier, Brooklyn’s Joe Harris, Miami’s Wayne Ellington, Dallas’ Wesley Matthews and Atlanta’s Kent Bazemore as players to watch.
  • Pistons center Eric Moreland has a bit of security for the first time in his career, notes Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Moreland had his $1,739,333 contract guaranteed this week, providing him with some stability after four years of trying to earn a steady NBA job. Moreland went undrafted out of Oregon State in 2014 and signed with the Kings, but played just 11 games at the NBA level in two seasons. He signed a partially guaranteed three-year deal with the Pistons over the offseason, but says he hasn’t been focused on this week’s guarantee deadline. “I play the same way, money or no money,” he said. “I don’t even play basketball for money. I just want to go out there and keep learning. This is my first year playing. I can’t get involved in that. That’s just not my mentality. I’m not trying to survive like that.”
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