Caris LeVert

New York Notes: Dinwiddie, LeVert, Knox, Ntilikina

The Nets are looking forward to having three of their most productive players together for the stretch run, writes Mike Mazzeo of The New York Post. Spencer Dinwiddie will return to action tonight after thumb surgery sidelined him for about a month. The trio of Dinwiddie, D’Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert, who recently came back after missing three months with a dislocated right foot, have only been on the court together for 90 minutes all season.

“D’Lo is obviously playing at a high level. Caris is working his way back into form,” Dinwiddie said. “They’re going to do what they do, and our focus and our sights are set on the playoffs and trying to win as many games as possible, trying to be that team that not only makes it but strikes a little fear into some of those top seeds’ heart.”

Dinwiddie will be available for back-to-back games, coach Kenny Atkinson said, but his minutes will be limited at first and will gradually increase. The Nets were 6-8 while he was injured.

There’s more NBA news out of New York:

  • LeVert doesn’t want to blame the injury for the struggles he has encountered since returning, Mazzeo relays in a separate story. The Nets guard was off to a career-best start before getting hurt, averaging 18.4 PPG in his first 14 games. In the seven games since coming back, his scoring has dropped to 8.9 PPG. “Three months is a long time to be out, but I don’t want to put it all on the injury,” LeVert said. “I feel like I could have had better energy and defensively and maybe sparked something offensively. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it was.”
  • Knicks rookies Mitchell Robinson and Allonzo Trier continue to exceed expectations, but first-round pick Kevin Knox‘s shooting woes are concerning, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Knox has hit just 5-of-28 shots in his last two games, continuing a problem that caused him to lose a starting job in the preseason. “I want him to stay aggressive,” coach David Fizdale said. “We’re not going to get caught up in the percentages right now. He’s taking shots he can make. So keep taking them.’’
  • After missing more than a month with a strained groin, Frank Ntilikina may return during a three-game road trip, Berman adds in another story. Ntilikina could be cleared for practice tomorrow, which would mark the first time he has played alongside Dennis Smith Jr. Ntilikina had taken over the Knicks‘ starting point guard role before being sidelined, but that position now belongs to Smith.

Nets Notes: Rotation, Kurucs, LeVert, Davis

Now that the Nets have a healthy lineup again, it’s up to coach Kenny Atkinson to find the right combinations to break them out of a slump, writes Greg Joyce of The New York PostCaris LeVert, Allen Crabbe and Jared Dudley recently returned from injuries, leaving Spencer Dinwiddie, who had thumb surgery in late January, as the only player still sidelined. However, Brooklyn has lost six of its last eight games and has fallen back to .500.

“I think part of getting healthy again is just getting that chemistry and getting our lineups right,” Atkinson said. “That’s where we’re a little — confused is the wrong word, but we’re trying to figure it out what the best thing is and who’s getting the minutes and all that. It’s almost like another new season for us with all our returning players.”

LeVert was off to a sizzling start before suffering a dislocated foot in November, and backcourt partner D’Angelo Russell didn’t begin to excel until LeVert got injured. Atkinson has to find a way for them to be effective together, while also working out a logjam at power forward, where Treveon GrahamRondae Hollis-Jefferson and Dudley are all battling for playing time.

There’s more today out of Brooklyn:

  • Also competing for minutes at forward will be rookie forward Rodions Kurucs, even though he was held out of the lineup Thursday, Joyce adds in a separate story. Atkinson said the 21-year-old, who was part of the Rising Stars Challenge, will remain in the mix for a spot in the rotation.
  • LeVert expected to be out for the season when he first suffered his injury, relays Bryan Fonseca of NetsDaily“I looked down and I was like, ‘Man, this is bad,’” LeVert said in an appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter. “But I think, probably 15-20 minutes after it happened, they kind of told me that it may have only been a dislocation. And that was the best case scenario in that situation.”
  • Ed Davis was happy to get a one-year, $4.4MM offer from the Nets last summer, but he wasn’t sure he would be joining a contender, notes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “When I signed here in July, I didn’t think this was a playoff team, honestly,” Davis said. “But when I got here and started to see players and how good guys were — and see coach, his philosophies and his schemes — my mindset changed.”

Atlantic Notes: Brand, Nets, Atkinson, Irving

After years and years of asset collection and patience being the primary focus of the Sixers‘ plans, Elton Brand has dramatically changed the team’s course of action in a few months. First it was trading for Jimmy Butler. Then this past week, Brand took it to another level by trading several future assets for Tobias Harris, effectively creating a “big four” in Philadelphia.

These moves were made because Brand’s mindset is that the Sixers are in a position to contend for a championship right now. As Brian Seltzer writes for the 76ers’ team website, Brand is acting with a sense of urgency and focus on building a true championship team this season.

Should the 76ers re-sign both Harris and Butler, the team would instantly become one of the more expensive in the league, but Brand should be satisfied with the group of talent he has assembled for the foreseeable future.

There’s more from the Atlantic division:

Caris LeVert Set To Return For Nets

The Nets‘ most significant addition at the trade deadline may be the return of one of their own players. According to Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter link), injured guard Caris LeVert is ready to get back on the court and will be available for tomorrow night’s game against Chicago.

LeVert, 24, was off to a great start in 2018/19 before going down with a gruesome right foot injury in November. While it initially looked like we might not see him again until the 2019/20 season, the third-year guard was diagnosed with a dislocated foot, with the team indicating that he was expected to return before the end of the season. He’s now on track to return to the Nets before the All-Star break.

Prior to the injury, LeVert 18.4 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.7 APG, and .475/.311/.721 shooting in 14 games (29.7 MPG). While it remains to be seen whether he’ll pick up right where he left off, LeVert should help the Nets solidify a playoff spot, adding more talent to a squad that could be a tough out in the postseason.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/5/19

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

  • The Nets assigned oft-injured guards Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert to their affiliate in Long Island for practice, the team announced (Twitter link). Brooklyn recalled both men after practice, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post (Twitter link). LeVert has not played since Nov. 12 when he suffered a right foot dislocation and Crabbe has been sidelined with a sore knee since Dec. 12. Crabbe will be available Wednesday against the Nuggets while Brooklyn is hopeful LeVert can return shortly thereafter.
  • The Wizards assigned John Jenkins to their G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, the team announced (Twitter link). Jenkins has yet to play in a game with Washington and has appeared in just one game with the Go-Go.
  • The Bulls assigned Antonio Blakeney to their G League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls, the team announced (Twitter link). Blakeney has appeared in 40 games with Chicago this season, averaging 7.8 PPG and 1.6 RPG.
  • The Lakers assigned rookie Isaac Bonga to their G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers, the team announced (Twitter link). The 19-year-old has averaged 12.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG and 2.6 APG with South Bay.

Nets’ Caris LeVert May Return By All-Star Break

Nets guard Caris LeVert is on track to begin participating in five-on-five practices soon, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who hears that there’s optimism LeVert will return to the court for Brooklyn before the All-Star break.

It’s great news for the Nets and for LeVert, who went down with a gruesome right foot injury in November. While it initially looked like we might not see him again until the 2019/20 season, the third-year guard was diagnosed with a dislocated foot, with the team indicating that he was expected to return before the end of the season.

Even based on that recovery timeline, it’s a little surprising that LeVert is already nearing a return. If he’s able to get back on the court before the All-Star break, he’ll only have missed about three months. He’s expected to practice with Brooklyn’s G League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, later this week, per Wojnarowski.

LeVert, 24, was off to a great start in 2018/19 before his injury, averaging 18.4 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.7 APG, and .475/.311/.721 shooting in 14 games (29.7 MPG). While it remains to be seen whether he’ll pick up right where he left off, LeVert should help the Nets solidify a playoff spot, adding more talent to a squad that could be a tough out in the postseason.

Nets Notes: Allen, Russell, Trades

There aren’t many “untouchables” in the NBA when it comes to trade talks, though most teams have a few players that it would take a king’s ransom to part with. Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, and D’Angelo Russell have earned their place in the Nets‘ long-term outlook and barring an overwhelming return, Michael Scotto of The Athletic doesn’t envision any of the three going anywhere anytime soon.

Before the season, Russell’s inclusion on the list may have seemed silly, but the former No. 2 overall pick is having his best season as a pro and he’s become a key part of the team’s success.

“Everything that we do offensively, he is sort of the lifeblood of us,”  Joe Harris said after a recent Nets win. “Everything flows through him. He does a really good job of dictating the pace, getting guys in rhythm, and just doing a really good job on every level. He does a really good job facilitating for others and for himself. Obviously, we’re really lucky to have a player of his caliber on our team.”

Russell will be a restricted free agent after the season. GM Sean Marks has a history of going after other team’s RFAs and this offseason, he’ll likely get a taste of his own medicine with rival teams looking at Russell.

Scotto offers more in his piece for The Athletic. Here are the highlights:

  • Ed Davis, who signed a one-year deal last summer, hopes to remain with the Nets long-term, as he tells Scotto. “I’m at a point in my career where I don’t want to keep bouncing around,” Davis said. “This is my fifth team. I’ve got a wife and kids. They like it here. It’s close to home, so hopefully, when the season is over, we can figure something out and make something work.
  • The Nets love Allen’s ability to pick up schemes quickly and his coachability, Scotto adds in the same piece. Allen has made highlight reels with his ability to make monstrous blocks but he’s actively working on his offense, including a corner 3-point shot.
  • Harris and Rodions Kurucs are unlikely to be traded but if either player was put on the trade block, the Nets would likely garner a first-round pick in return, Scotto speculates. The scribe adds that if there were a re-draft of this year’s rookie class, Kurucs, who was selected with the No. 40 overall pick, would be a first-rounder.

Nets Notes: Russell, Dinwiddie, Durant, LeVert

The Nets started winning when D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie figured out how to work together, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn’s point guards had an uneasy relationship early in the season, which left coach Kenny Atkinson reluctant to put them on the court at the same time. But with them working in tandem, the Nets have the league’s best record since December 7 at 16-5.

“Now they’re accepting their roles,” DeMarre Carroll said. “Those two are the head of the snake; they’re going to take us as far as we go. They finally realized that and understand they’re not in competition with each other anymore. They can do it collectively. One guy can have one night, and the other guy can have the other night. Or they can do it both together. But that’s maturity. They’re finally growing up, and you can see them maturing on and off the court.”

There may have been a financial component to their competitiveness. Russell is headed toward restricted free agency this summer after not getting an extension in the fall, while Dinwiddie signed a three-year, $34MM extension last month.

There’s more news from Brooklyn:

  • Dinwiddie plans to appeal to Kevin Durant to join the Nets in free agency this summer, relays Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Brooklyn will have enough cap space to offer Durant a maximum contract and could get close to two max offers by trading Allen Crabbe for an expiring deal and renouncing the rights to Russell.
  • Caris LeVert had a promising workout yesterday, but team officials are refusing to comment on when he might return, Lewis relays in another story. LeVert hasn’t played since suffering a dislocation in his right foot on November 12. “I’m not going to speculate,” Atkinson said. “I don’t want to give you something and be wrong. That’s the last thing I want to do. No specific update. [He’s] progressing. I know he had another great workout [Friday]. That’s as far as my medical background goes, but progressing nicely.”
  • Kenneth Faried was waived this morning after agreeing to a buyout, just three weeks after Atkinson complimented him on the way he has handled minimal playing time. “He’s been fantastic,” Atkinson said at the time. “It’s weird, some guys, they check out. He hasn’t.” Acquired from Denver in an offseason trade, Faried appeared in just 12 games for the Nets, averaging 9.8 minutes per night.

Nets Sorely Missing Caris LeVert

After Nets swingman Caris LeVert went down with a gruesome leg injury a little less than a month ago, the team feared the worst, with several of LeVert’s teammates seen visibly crying after the injury occurred.

Fear turned to relief, however, when tests revealed a subtalar dislocation of the right foot, no broken bones, and a prognosis of a possible return to the court this season.

Since the injury, however, the Nets are 2-11 and have lost eight straight after blowing another big lead against the Thunder tonight. Before the injury, the Nets were off to their best start since the 2014-2015 season with a 6-7 record. So not surprisingly, the relief that Brooklyn felt after LeVert’s diagnosis is starting to wane, writes Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily.

“I just think Caris gives us a different dimension, especially against the switching teams,” head coach Kenny Atkinson said. “Teams were much more hesitant to switch against us because he’d just blow by the big that was guarding him. It’s a dimension we don’t have (now).”

In other words, LeVert made players better on both ends of the floor, with veteran Jared Dudley even going as far as to publicly call LeVert the Nets’ best player earlier this week. “We lost our best player and have lost three to five games by like two to six points, Dudley tweeted. (We) could easily be (a) .500 basketball team.”

There is still no timetable for LeVert’s return, but the Nets still presumably hope to have him back on the court before the end of the 2018/19 season.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Butler, Nets

The Raptors have been the best team in the NBA so far this season, in no small part due to the offseason additions of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. As Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes, one of the key qualities that both veterans bring to the table is their play down the stretch of a close game, as evident in the duel against Kevin Durant and the Warriors last week.

As Bontemps points out, both Green and Leonard have been on the floor for the most intense moments of the NBA Finals and both players are battle-tested as they look to lead the Raptors to the promised land this season.

The Raptors still have to iron out some late-game kinks in order to close out tough games (especially come playoff time), but at least this season they will have two players that can thrive in such moments on the floor. There aren’t many other teams that can claim that, especially in the Eastern Conference.

There’s more from the Atlantic division:

  • Since joining the 76ers, Jimmy Butler is averaging the fewest minutes per game since his sophomore season and the fewest shot attempts since his third year in the league. However, as Keith Pompey points out for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Butler is focused on winning and leading the 76ers, especially in crunch time moments, which he has done several times this season.
  • After an injury derailed Caris LeVert‘s promising season, the Nets have struggled to bounce back as they have lost six straight games in a variety of ways. Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes about the team’s struggles since losing their leading guard.
  • Given those aforementioned struggles for the Nets and the fact that they actually own their first round draft pick this year, could it possibly be time for the team to tank? At least one writer from NetsDaily isn’t afraid to ask the tough question.