Caleb Martin

Hornets Notes: McDaniels, Collins, Center Issues, Martin

Second-year Hornets forward Jalen McDaniels, fresh off a recent assignment with the club’s G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, may be able to stick with Charlotte’s rotation thanks to his improving defense, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.

The 6’10” McDaniels’ wingspan and positional fluidity will be key in helping the Hornets on defense. “Knowing my rotations, and being in the right spots,” McDaniels said of the solution to finessing his skill set guarding the opposition. “Being the best defender (possible) is going to keep me in the league for a long time.”

There’s more out of Charlotte:

  • In another piece, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer weighs the pros and cons of a possible Hornets trade for Hawks restricted free agent-to-be John Collins. The talented power forward/center, who will probably command a maximum salary – or close to it – in the offseason, could be one of the best players on the freshly-exciting Charlotte. He is averaging 17.6 PPG and 7.5 RPG while posting a stellar slash line of .538/.383/.849 for a middling Atlanta club.
  • While a trade for Collins may not be realistic, it’s clear the Hornets need some level of upgrade at the center position, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Their vulnerabilities protecting the paint were exposed most recently in a 130-121 loss to the Warriors Friday. Even if Charlotte has to sacrifice a young prospect like Devonte’ Graham or Malik Monk, Bonnell posits, it may be worth it for the upgrade at the five.
  • Hobbled by injuries, the Hornets got some welcome availability news today, announcing that guard Caleb Martin is out of the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols and can suit up against the Kings tonight, the team announced on Twitter.

Injury/Illness Updates: Hayward, Martin, Schröder, Tucker, Wright

Hornets star forward Gordon Hayward practiced in full on Friday and is listed as probable to play against Golden State on Saturday, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweets. Hayward missed last Saturday’s loss to San Antonio with lower back discomfort. The Hornets haven’t played since due to a couple of COVID-19 related postponements.

We have more updates regarding injuries and illness around the league:

  • Hornets coach James Borrego indicated Caleb Martin will likely take longer than his brother, Cody Martin, to be cleared from the league’s health and safety protocols, Bonnell adds in another tweet. The Martin twins have missed Charlotte’s last two games.
  • Lakers starting point guard Dennis Schröder will miss his second consecutive game on Saturday after being placed under the league’s health and safety protocols, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin tweets.
  • Rockets forward P.J. Tucker returned to practice on Friday, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. Tucker has missed the last two games with a bruised thigh.
  • Pistons point guard Delon Wright departed during the fourth quarter of his team’s game against Memphis on Friday with a right groin strain, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets.

Southeast Notes: Martin Brothers, MCW, Hawks, Collins

Caleb Martin and Cody Martin remain out for the Hornets today due to coronavirus-related issues, and starting power forward P.J. Washington has been categorized as doubtful ahead of today’s contest against the Spurs, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).

When the Martins and Washington initially were held out Friday, Bonnell was unable to provide any additional info (in another piece) on whether either Martin brother or Washington had actually yielded a positive or inconclusive test for COVID-19 or had entered the league’s contact tracing protocols.

There’s more out of the Southeast:

  • After a 19-game injury absence, point guard Michael Carter-Williams provided an ample boost for an injury-plagued Magic squad, per Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel“I’m always ready to go play the point,” Carter-Williams said. “Coach has me do it in practice sometimes. I’m always staying sharp in that area for moments like this, so we can go out there and not skip a beat and still be successful.”
  • The Hawks have struggled to preserve leads in the fourth quarter, having gone just 9-7 this season when they’ve been ahead entering the final frame, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. “I don’t know if it’s always been the fourth,” head coach Lloyd Pierce notes of Atlanta’s recent struggles. “We’re trying to find our rhythm. We’re trying to find guys to find that belief to finish the game.”
  • Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel wonders if the struggling Heat should make a full-court press for two-way Hawks power forward John Collins. The power forward position has been problematic for Miami this season, while Collins – who is on an expiring contract – is averaging 18.1 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 1.6 APG for the 11-15 Hawks. He holds a slash line of .543/.391/.853.

Southeast Notes: Martin Brothers, McDaniels, Bamba, Huerter, Wizards

Hornets brothers Cody Martin and Caleb Martin will miss Friday’s game against the Timberwolves due to the league’s health and safety protocols, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. P.J. Washington has also been sidelined by the protocols, Marc Spears of ESPN tweets.

Hornets forward Jalen McDaniels has been recalled from the G League’s Greensboro Swarm, according to a team press release. McDaniels, who won’t be available until at least Sunday due to quarantine rules, has averaged 20 points and 11.5 rebounds in two games at Orlando’s bubble.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Mohamed Bamba has fallen out of the Magic‘s rotation and that shouldn’t be the case, Josh Robbins of The Athletic opines. The sixth pick of the 2018 draft needs playing time to establish how much improvement he’s made since his rookie campaign and coach Steve Clifford should give the young big ample opportunities to show what he can do, Robbins adds. Robbins also takes a look at the current rotation and Clifford’s usage of reserves Gary Clark and Khem Birch.
  • Hawks wing Kevin Huerter has averaged 13.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 3.8 APG since reclaiming a spot in the lineup, K.L. Chouinard of the team’s website notes. Huerter, who will be eligible for a rookie scale extension prior to next season, is on pace to set career-best marks in field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage, Chouinard adds. “It’s finding my spots and finding ways to stay aggressive and keep myself within the offense,” Huerter said.
  • The Wizards are 3-8 since returning from their coronavirus pause, prompting Scott Cacciola of the New York Times to take a closer look at the team’s struggles.

And-Ones: Johnson, Martin, COVID-19 Protocols, Bender

Mavericks forward James Johnson and Hornets forwards Cody Martin and Caleb Martin have been fined for their roles in an on-court altercation on Wednesday, according to an NBA press release.

Johnson, who was ejected, was fined $40K for deliberately pushing Cody Martin out of bounds, aggressively confronting him, and initiating the incident. Cody, who was also ejected, was fined $25K for pushing Johnson in retaliation and making contact with a game official. Caleb Martin was fined $20K for entering the altercation and making contact with a game official.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • The NBA is planning to require players and many team staffers to wear sensor devices during all team-organized activities outside of games starting January 7, according to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes. The plan is aimed on improving its contact tracing program. Players and specific staff members, such as coaches, will be required to wear Kinexon SafeZone contact sensor devices on the team plane, the team bus, during practices and while traveling to and from the arena or their home practice facility.
  • The league is placing more responsibility on team officials to monitor and mete out discipline for COVID-19 protocol violations among players and staff, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. The NBA told teams that they’re required to notify the league office of any discipline imposed. The league office still holds the power to override team decisions on player punishments.
  • Maccabi Tel Aviv has extended the contract of former NBA big man Dragan Bender for the remainder of the season, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando writes. Bender signed with the Israeli team in September. Bender played seven games with the Bucks last season before being waived in February. He joined the Warriors on a pair of 10-day deals and averaged 9.0 PPG and 5.9 RPG in nine games before the hiatus began.

Hornets Notes: Rozier, McDaniels, Martin

Terry Rozier, who joined the Hornets this past offseason, doesn’t have to fill Kemba Walker‘s shoes, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. The offensive doesn’t necessarily revolve around Rozier and the point guard is alright with that role.

“When you come to a new team, there are a lot of expectations when you get signed [to a big contract],” teammate Bismack Biyombo said. “He’s trusted the coaches and adapted to the system, which isn’t easy right away. And he has excelled.”

Here’s more from Charlotte:
  • Jalen McDaniels has been a pleasant surprise for the Hornets this season and lately, he’s been the first player off the bench for the squad, as Bonnell relays in a separate piece“We’ve said, ‘Here’s your role, here’s what we need from you. Go execute it’. And he’s doing that right now,” James Borrego said.
  • The buyouts of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marvin Williams paved the way for McDaniels to see more playing time. with the Hornets. Bonnell notes in the same piece. MKG went to Dallas after his buyout agreement while Williams landed in Milwaukee.
  • The Hornets are impressed with undrafted free agent Caleb Martin, who has split his time between the NBA club and its G League affiliate. “For him to make it in this league, he’s going to have to make that 3-ball,” Borrego said (via Bonnell in a separate piece).  “He was really good offensively — attacked the rim, played with great pace, moved the ball. And he competes defensively. I’ve got Cody a little bit ahead of him defensively right now — that’s why we drafted him — but Caleb’s got the same length and size and tenacity.”

Southeast Notes: Monk, Hornets, Capela, Heat

Speaking to reporters before tonight’s game, Hornets coach James Borrego pledged his support for Malik Monk, who has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of the NBA’s anti-drug program, relays Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Borrego said he hasn’t talked with Monk since the suspension was announced this morning.

“All of us face different things in life; it’s how you respond,” Borrego said. “It’s my belief, knowing Malik, that he’ll respond the right way. (The suspension) does put us in a bind. But in the end, this could be a very positive story. I look forward to talking to him.”

Bonnell points out that Monk has turned in some of the best performances of his career recently, averaging 17.8 PPG over the past 11 games while shooting 47% from the field and 38% from beyond the arc. Tuesday marked the first start of his three-season career.

While Monk is unavailable, Bonnell expects more playing time for rookies Cody Martin and Caleb Martin and possibly an early return from the G League for Dwayne Bacon.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • It appears Borrego will give opportunities to all three of the Hornets‘ centers for the rest of the season, Bonnell tweets. Cody Zeller, who has appeared in 53 of the team’s 58 games, was active for tonight’s game but didn’t play. Bismack Biyombo got the start with Willy Hernangomez as his backup.
  • Clint Capela has shown progress with running and movement, but there’s still not a definite plan for his Hawks debut, writes Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal Consitution. Capela, who was acquired from the Rockets at the trade deadline, is dealing with plantar fasciitis and a right calcaneus contusion. He will be re-evaluated on March 4. “He felt he came back too soon, and re-injured it, now he’s being cautious,” coach Lloyd Pierce said. “He thought it was a setback when he re-injured it as opposed to just coming back and taking his time and letting it completely heal.” 
  • The Heat still may be active on the buyout market, suggests Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. He mentions Solomon Hill, who has barely played since being acquired from the Grizzlies earlier this month, as a possible buyout candidate if Miami wants to open a roster spot. Winderman adds that the Heat can offer a portion of their mid-level or bi-annual exceptions, giving them an edge over teams that can only offer minimum contracts.

Hornets Notes: Jordan, Cap Room, Roster, Rozier

The Hornets haven’t made the playoffs since 2016 and haven’t won a postseason series since returning to the NBA in 2004 as the Bobcats. However, as the team goes through another rebuild, general manager Mitch Kupchak says team owner Michael Jordan is “100 percent on board with what we’re doing,” according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.

“We made a decision to take a certain approach for this summer and we knew what that would lead to (losing) this year. There are no surprises,” Kupchak said. “With our plan, it just takes time. You draft a kid who is 19 years old and it’s going to take two or three years for him to help us win. Also, we wanted to slowly dig our way out of some of the contracts we had. That takes a year or two.”

Some of those pricey veteran contracts Kupchak referred to are coming off the books this summer, and the Hornets project to have $28MM+ in cap room, as Bonnell details. As he has said in the past, Kupchak reiterated today that Charlotte doesn’t expect to be in the market for major free agents this offseason, but suggested the club will have several options for how to use that cap space.

“You can (trade for) a player from another team straight into cap room,” Kupchak said. “Or maybe (take on) a player who makes decent money (on an unwanted contract) and you get a draft pick.”

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • Asked about the Hornets’ biggest needs going forward, Kupchak mentioned rim protection, rebounding, and “a wing that can score,” according to Bonnell. However, the Hornets’ GM said the team plans to take the best player available in the draft and figure out the fit.
  • The Hornets have until Saturday to add at least one player to get back to the NBA-mandated roster minimum of 14. As Bonnell relays, Kupchak said today that Charlotte will likely go the 10-day contract route, and could call up a G League player from the Greensboro Swarm. The Hornets want to “look for someone we can develop,” Kupchak added.
  • Rookies Caleb Martin and Jalen McDaniels will probably stick with the Hornets for the rest of the season rather than being sent to the G League, according to Kupchak (via Bonnell).
  • The Hornets have never been a taxpaying team during Michael Jordan‘s tenure as owner, but Kupchak insisted that increasing payroll won’t be an issue once the team is ready to contend. Even the tax won’t be an issue for him,” Kupchak said, per Rod Boone of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Devonte’ Graham‘s breakout season has meant that Terry Rozier‘s role isn’t exactly what he was expecting when he signed with the Hornets last summer. But that’s okay with Rozier, as Bonnell writes in a separate Observer article. “If I sit here and complain that, ‘Oh, I should be the point guard!’ or ‘I should always have the ball in my hand!’ nobody really cares,” Rozier said. “(Graham) has put himself on the radar. You can’t take any of that away from him or this team. I just try to adjust.”

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Bertans, Adebayo, Young

Hornets head coach James Borrego has a unique way of keeping rookie forwards Caleb Martin and Jalen McDaniels galvanized to give maximum effort in Charlotte, as Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer relays. If their play is not to the level of their teammates, they will be sent down to develop with the team’s G League affiliate the Greensboro Swam.

“It’s their job to put pressure on me to keep them here,” Borrego said. “For them to stay in our program right now, there is a level of accountability, there is a level of professionalism they need to carry themselves with.” Small forward Martin went undrafted out of Nevada, while power forward McDaniels was selected by the Hornets with the No. 52 pick out of San Diego State.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Wizards big man Davis Bertans, an unrestricted free agent in 2020, credits coach Scott Brooks with letting him develop his shooting stroke, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News.
  • Newly-minted Heat All-Star Bam Adebayo was confident coming into the season that he could make the All-Star team if he hit certain statistical benchmarks and his team was winning, according to Khobi Price of the Miami Sun-Sentinel. His goal was averaging 16 PPG, 10 RPG and 5 APG in a winning environment. He is currently averaging 15.8 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists for the 35-19 Heat, alongside fellow All-Star Jimmy Butler“I guess my prediction was right,” Adebayo said during media availability Saturday.
  • To take the leap from All-Star to MVP, second year Hawks point guard Trae Young must evolve on defense, according to Scott Gleeson of USA Today.

NBA G League Assignment/Recalls: 1/7/20

Here are Tuesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA: