Cedi Osman

Central Notes: Maker, Evans, Pistons, Osman

Thon Maker has given the Pistons an energetic boost since he was acquired from the Bucks in a three-team swap at the trade deadline, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes.

The 7-footer fell out of Milwaukee’s rotation, but has proven to be a solid backup for Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin. The Pistons outscored Phoenix by 20 points when Maker was on the court Thursday, as he scored 10 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots in 28 minutes.

“He’s been great,” Griffin said of his Pistons teammate. “Just his energy, man. He’s just always everywhere. And if he’s not blocking shots, he’s swinging for the fences. It’s making people think and it’s making people be aware of where he is.”

Maker will make a guaranteed $3.57MM next season and will be eligible for a rookie scale extension with the Pistons prior to opening night.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Pacers swingman Tyreke Evans admits it’s been a roller-coaster season for him, Scott Agness of The Athletic reports. Evans has battled injuries, a bout with food poisoning and the tragic death of a nephew during the course of the season. Evans’ playing time has dropped dramatically from last season, when he averaged 19.4 PPG for Memphis in 52 games. He’ll return to the free agent market after signing a one-year, $12.4MM contract from Indiana. “Yeah, it’s tough,” he told Agness. “Everybody knows what type of player I am. (Since) I got drafted, I’m better with the ball in my hands. I’m a team player and just want to win this late in my career.”
  • D’Angelo Russell‘s breakthrough season with the Nets after the Lakers gave up on him illustrates why the Pistons explored trades for young point guards Dennis Smith Jr. and Markelle Fultz prior to the trade deadline, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. The Pistons will likely continue to pursue a young point guard during the offseason, since starter Reggie Jackson has one more season left on his contract and reserves Ish Smith and Jose Calderon will be unrestricted free agents, Ellis adds.
  • Forward Cedi Osman is considered part of the Cavaliers’ future core, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports in his latest mailbag. The team could sign Osman to an extension this summer but there hasn’t been any talk of doing that yet, Fedor continues. However, he’s a front-office favorite and has made positive strides in recent months. He’s shown signs of being more than just a bench rotation player and his 3-point shooting has improved, Fedor adds.

Central Notes: LaVine, Lopez, Brogdon, Osman

Zach LaVine‘s offer to pay a fine for coach Jim Boylen shows the progress their relationship has made in three months, writes Malika Andrews of ESPN. The Bulls have given their approval for LaVine to cover the $7,000 penalty, which was incurred after Boylen was ejected for an argument with Clippers coach Doc Rivers during Friday’s game. However, NBA rules state that a fine must be paid by the person it was issued to, so LaVine’s offer may not be accepted.

Andrews recalls that LaVine was openly critical of Boylen’s coaching decisions when he replaced Fred Hoiberg in December, while Boylen publicly questioned LaVine’s commitment to defense. LaVine helped organize a meeting involving players, coaches and management after Boylen scheduled a practice the day after a 56-point loss. The tension has disappeared as Boylen has solidified his hold on the head coaching spot, and LaVine is now willing to stand up for him.

“What Jim did, I personally respect that a lot,” LaVine said. “He really cares about us and he’s going to fight for us. That shows his true character the way he feels about us.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Bulls center Robin Lopez seemed like a prime candidate for a trade or a buyout, but he has stayed and become a veteran leader on a young team, writes Sam Smith of NBA.com. Lopez, who will be a free agent this summer, has been a reliable contributor, playing in 62 of Chicago’s 70 games. “He’s in great shape, takes great care of himself, eats well. His body looks the same as when he was 25,” Boylen said. “When you have a veteran guy who never wants to sit out or skip practice, there’s a lot of power in that.”
  • Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon is projected to miss six to eight weeks with a plantar fascia tear in his right foot, but the team is optimistic his recovery time will be closer to six weeks, according to Andrews and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. That would have him back in time for the second round of the playoffs.
  • Turkish native Cedi Osman is excited about the chance to face Team USA — and possibly Cavaliers teammate Kevin Love — in this year’s FIBA World Cup, relays Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Turkey has been slotted in Group E along with the United States, the Czech Republic and Japan. “We are going to shoot our shot and, of course, it’s going to be tough, but we’re going to try to do our best,” Osman said. Love is considering the tournament, but hasn’t committed yet after missing most of the season because of foot surgery.

Cavs Notes: Thompson, Osman, Dellavedova, Payne

Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson called out the team after suffering a 28-point blowout loss to Houston on Friday, detailing how they failed to execute a defensive game plan centered around James Harden during the contest.

The game plan, Thompson said, was to keep it 2-on-2 on the ball and force Harden and Clint Capela to score. It was designed to make sure other players weren’t effective behind Harden as a passer, which is when the Rockets are at their best.

“Obviously have to give Harden a lot of credit for his scoring ability, but we can live with him scoring all the points as long as other guys are not contributing,” Thompson said, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “We didn’t do that tonight. Didn’t do that at all.”

Instead, the Cavs trailed by as many as 44 points and lost their 12th game in a row. Cleveland’s record now sits at 8-35 on the season, with the patience of Thompson reaching a boiling point after the loss.

“How many games has it been? At this point, we’ve taught everything we can teach,” Thompson said. “Now it’s up to the players to come out there and just do their job. Do your job. Simple. Our players didn’t do their job.”

There’s more out of Cleveland today:

  • Cedi Osman quickly earned the respect of LeBron James last season, Fedor notes in a separate story for Cleveland.com. Osman accidentally injured James during one of his first scrimmages, but James appreciated his effort level and work ethic on the team. “For me, every practice with him, dinner, lunch, being together was special. It was my favorite,” Osman said of James. “I will say I was really proud when he was talking about me to the media. What he was saying about me, all that good stuff, that was really special to me.” Osman and James have remained in touch throughout the 2018/19 season despite mostly being thousands of miles apart, checking in on each other over text.
  • Matthew Dellavedova is focused on a new role in his second stint with the Cavs, Joe Gabriele of Cavs.com writes. Dellavedova joined Cleveland, a much younger team, via trade last month, mentoring Collin Sexton and others this season. “I’m just trying to talk with him about what I’m seeing out there, what he’s seeing out there – and just talk through the game,” Dellavedova said of Sexton. “We’ve watched quite a bit of game-tape together. But he works extremely hard on the court and in the weight room. So, as long as he keeps doing that, he’s going to have a really good chance.”
  • Cameron Payne is fighting to prove himself during his 10-day contract, Joe Vardon of The Athletic writes. Payne, remembered by some fans as Russell Westbrook‘s dance partner during pre-game rituals in Oklahoma City, has averaged 11.7 points in three games with the Cavs. “It’s crazy that that’s what people do remember me for,” Payne said. “Like I really haven’t, I wouldn’t necessarily say I’ve had the opportunity, but I started out playing behind Russ and D.J. Augustin, now he’s starting with the Magic. Then I got hurt. Then I’ve been just out. I came back and I’d be able to play and just get sprinkled in, and I never really got back to my full potential.”

Cavs Notes: Love, Osman, Sexton, McCaw, Korver

Marc Stein of The New York Times predicted this week that trade talks involving Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love will heat up in advance of next month’s deadline, but sources reiterated to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com that Cleveland hasn’t had “deep discussion” about that scenario. Fedor added that it isn’t high on the club’s list of priorities.

Still, if the Cavs get an enticing offer for Love this season, they’ll have to consider it. That’s a possibility head coach Larry Drew is aware of and prepared for, even if it’s probably a long shot.

“Would I be surprised (if Love were traded)?” Drew said on Thursday, per Fedor. “As far as trades are concerned, I understand the nature of this business. Anybody can be traded. I’ve been in this league long enough where I’ve seen that happen. I think any deal that makes sense for any team, sure, they’ll be willing to pull the trigger. But that’s just the nature of our business.”

For now, Drew is simply looking forward to getting Love back in his lineup. The five-time All-Star has been sidelined since October due to a foot injury, but is said to be targeting a mid-January return.

“Our guys are ready for him to come back,” Drew said. “We miss him dearly. He’s our main guy, he’s our go-to guy. We’re missing a lot of points, we’re missing a lot of rebounds in our lineup. Whenever it’s time for him to come back, we’re going to be ready.”

Here’s more out of Cleveland:

  • Cedi Osman and Collin Sexton have two of the worst defensive ratings in the NBA, prompting Joe Vardon of The Athletic to explore whether the Cavs are asking too much of the young duo. For his part, Osman has appreciated the opportunity to work through his ups and downs so far this season. “This is really important for my development — even on nights when I’m struggling, it’s really important that coaches are trusting in me,” the second-year forward said. “Those crucial minutes, they always put me in the game and they want me to feel that pressure. I really appreciate that.”
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com takes a look at whether newly-added shooting guard Patrick McCaw, who made his Cavs debut on Wednesday, can help improve the team’s defense against opposing point guards. McCaw’s $3MM salary for this season will become fully guaranteed if he remains under contract with the Cavs through Monday.
  • Having been traded from Cleveland to Utah earlier this season, Kyle Korver won’t be looking for any sort of payback when he faces the Cavs on Friday, as Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News relays. Korver said he had too many “great experiences” as a Cavalier to be anything but appreciative for his time in Cleveland. “Some people come back with a chip on their shoulder and feel like they’ve got to give it to the other team, but it’s not going to be like that for me,” Korver said. “Just a lot of gratitude for the time I had there.”

Eastern Notes: Bledsoe, Cavaliers, Ross

The Knicks are expected to target superstar free agents this summer with Kevin Durant atop their wish list. Yet, they could be looking at the second tier of free agents if they miss out on one of the top stars and, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the team’s front office likes Eric Bledsoe‘s game.

The 28-year-old point guard is enjoying a career year for the Bucks and he would fill a major void for the Knicks should he sign with them in the offseason. New York has lacked stability at the position over the last few years.

Emmanuel Mudiay has shown flashes of potential this season, averaging 14.1 points per contest since becoming the starter 11 games ago. Still, the 22-year-old has flashed potential before, leading him to become the No. 7 overall pick in 2015, and it’s likely New York will at least consider upgrades once the season ends.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference.

  • The Cavaliers aren’t interested in trading Kevin Love unless they are blown away by an offer, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes. The franchise wants Love around for the long-haul when Collin Sexton is more seasoned and the team adds other young prospects.
  • Cedi Osman is still viewed as part of the Cavaliers‘ future, Fedor relays in the same piece. Osman has started 20 games for Cleveland this year and is averaging 11.2 points per game. However, he is shooting just 36.6% from the field.
  • Terrence Ross, who will be a free agent after the season, has evolved into a consistent threat for the Magic, John Denton of NBA.com details. Steady production has always been the shooting guard’s weakness, though this season, he’s been able to contribute on a nightly basis.

Central Rumors: Redick, Irving, Brown, Cavs

Sixers guard J.J. Redick nearly signed with the Pacers in free agency, he revealed during a podcast with ESPN’s Zach Lowe. Redick’s comment was tweeted by Scott Agness of The Athletic. Redick stayed with Philadelphia after the Sixers improved their one-year offer to $12.25MM but that was still less than the Pacers were willing to pay. “I wouldn’t have started but I felt like I fit what they needed,” Redick said. “I just envisioned playing two-man (game) with (Domantas) Sabonis.”

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks’ desire to sign Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving could have a negative impact on the Bulls’ free agency plans next summer, according to an NBC Sports Chicago post. The Knicks have reportedly made Irving their No. 1 target in free agency and it’s been previously rumored that Irving and Jimmy Butler might join forces. If the Bulls wanted to bring back Butler after trading him away last summer, Irving’s potential interest in the Knicks could sidetrack that plan, the report adds.
  • One of the officers involved in the Sterling Brown arrest last January has been fired, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story passed along by NBC Sports. The Bucks swingman filed a civil lawsuit against the Milwaukee police department after he was arrested and tasered for a parking violation. The officer was fired for violating social media policy and not for his conduct the night of Brown’s arrest, the city’s police chief told the Journal Sentinel.
  • The Cavaliers could be more interesting and successful without LeBron James than many people expect, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer opines. The development of first-round pick Collin SextonAnte Zizic and Cedi Osman will be intriguing to watch and GM Koby Altman will likely make more moves during the season to reshape the team’s future, Pluto continues. Trading J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson, who have seemed disinterested during the regular season during the James era, would move the process along, Pluto adds.

Cavaliers Notes: Workouts, Osman, Sexton, Thompson

Kevin Love‘s duties in taking over for LeBron James as team leader include organizing the Cavaliers’ annual pre-camp workouts, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Love, whose leadership role was cemented when he agreed to a four-year, $120MM extension this summer, is hosting the voluntary sessions this week at the University of Miami.

Most of the players who are under contract are expected to attend. Coach Tyronn Lue is in Miami as well, but won’t participate if the players-only tradition continues. Tristan Thompson, Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic are all out of the country to play in World Cup qualifiers.

James, who signed with the Lakers in July, organized the workouts in each of the past four seasons. They are usually held in vacation spots, with coaches and front office personnel accompanying the team but letting the players run things.

There’s more today out of Cleveland:

  • Osman can look forward to a much larger role in his second season with the Cavaliers, Vardon notes in a player profile. Osman may inherit James’ role as starting small forward, although Rodney Hood is also a candidate. The 23-year-old saw action in 61 games as a rookie, averaging 3.9 points per night. Osman played several years in Europe before coming to the NBA and appeared much more polished in this year’s Summer League, according to Vardon.
  • Collin Sexton will need to improve his shot, especially from long distance, to become a Rookie of the Year candidate, Vardon states in another profile. Sexton tied with Suns center Deandre Ayton as the favorite for the award in a poll among players drafted this year. However, his success could depend on improving his accuracy from 3-point range, where he hit just .336 last year as a college freshman, and just .242 in SEC games.
  • Thompson, who owns a championship ring and has made four straight trips to the NBA Finals, hopes to create that same atmosphere of success on the Canadian national team. He has been playing for his home country for nearly a decade and believes there’s an opportunity for Canada to become a major player in international competitions. “Right now we have a wave of really good players in the NBA,” Thompson said, “but who knows? Maybe 15 years from now we have a drought, so while guys are here and at a high level, let’s take advantage of it.”

Injury Notes: Smart, Love, Ingram, Wall

Celtics guard Marcus Smart is making progress in rehabbing a torn ligament in his right thumb and hopes to be available for the second round of the playoffs, writes Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.

A cast on his hand was recently replaced by a splint with an opening at the top that allows him to move his thumb, and he has been able to do some light exercises with the injured digit. Smart tore the ligament earlier this month and underwent surgery March 16. His original prognosis had him out six to eight weeks, which sets a potential return about the time of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

“Definitely right now, that’s what we’re shooting for,” he said. “The way it’s going now, we’re on the right path. Hopefully nothing happens where it gets delayed.”

There are more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Kevin Love has been placed in concussion protocol and will miss tonight’s game, the Cavaliers announced on their website. He suffered a front tooth sublexation last night and experienced concussion-like symptoms at halftime.
  • After missing nearly four weeks with a strained groin, Lakers forward Brandon Ingram expects to return tonight, tweets Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum Sports Net.
  • Coach Luke Walton says Lakers rookie Josh Hart has looked good in three-on-three games and may be cleared to play Friday, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • John Wall, who has been sidelined since having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in late January, may be able to return tomorrow, according to a tweet from the Wizards. Coach Scott Brooks said Wall will participate in the team’s shootaround and a decision will be based on how the knee responds. He is officially listed as questionable.
  • Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari is targeting Friday to return from a fractured right hand, relays Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. “I hope to play a few minutes against Portland [Friday],” Gallinari said in an interview with Italian outlet Sky Sport. “The hand is not completely healed, but we’ll see how I can help the team in the games left in the regular season. I will try to bite the bullet for the playoff race. The franchise asked me to grit my teeth and play. I will try to do that.”
  • After re-injuring his right ankle Monday, Celtics forward Marcus Morris will sit out tonight’s game, according to a tweet from the team. He will probably return Saturday, according to Himmelsbach (Twitter link).
  • Celtics coach Brad Stevens provided an another update on Gordon Hayward, saying he’s still limited to the Alter-G treadmill and hasn’t been cleared to run on the court (Twitter link). “There will be nothing more exciting for him than being able to get back out on the basketball court,” Stevens said (Twitter link).
  • Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman may be cleared to return to action after a hip flexor injury. He tweeted an image of himself accompanied by the word, “finally.”
  • Jazz center Tony Bradley has cleared concussion protocol, tweets Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News.

Central Notes: Cavs, LeBron, Felicio, Kennard

Like many teams this season, the Cavaliers have been bit by the injury bug, with All-Star Kevin Love the most glaring omission from the line-up for most of this year’s campaign. In a recent game against Chicago, the Cavs were without six rotation players – Love, Kyle Korver, Larry Nance Jr., Rodney Hood, Tristan Thompson, and Cedi Osman.

Moreover, Cavaliers’ head coach Tyronn Lue remains out with health issues. Yet, things are now beginning to turn around. Osman and Korver remain out, but Love returned earlier this week and, as reported by Joe Vardon of The Plain Dealer, Nance Jr., Hood, and Thompson all returned for tonight’s game against Phoenix, albeit on minutes restrictions.

Vardon adds that there is still no word on whether Lue will join the Cavaliers on an upcoming three-game road trip, with interim coach Larry Drew stating, “I haven’t heard anything. I’m just going to proceed and take it a game at a time until I hear something different.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • In another article for The Plain Dealer, Vardon details LeBron James‘ response to Cavaliers‘ fans putting up a billboard in James’ favor in his hometown of Akron, OH. “I haven’t seen it, but, like I said before, it’s very flattering. It’s just, I don’t know, it’s very humbling. I know my hometown, so, I already know there’s no place like Akron, that’s for sure.”
  • Sam Smith of Bulls.com takes a look at how Bulls‘ big man Cristiano Felicio is looking to improve his game to show he deserves the $32MM contract Chicago gave him over the summer. “I know a lot of people talk whatever they want to. I am not focusing on them. I am just focusing on myself and trying to get better. I know I wasn’t playing well at the beginning of the season (but) now they are giving me an opportunity again, and I am trying to show, go out and show them I can play.”
  • It may have taken awhile, but Pistons‘ rookie shooting guard Luke Kennard is now firmly entrenched in the Pistons’ rotation and is an important part of Detroit’s future, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Teammate Blake Griffin likes what he’s seen out of Kennard lately, saying, “He’s been great this stretch. Not only scoring the ball but running offense with poise when he has it, playing good defense, being in passing lanes, passing the ball well. He’s done everything. He’s very capable of doing that and it’s been huge for us.”

Central Notes: Cavaliers, Osman, Teletovic, Payne

Today will bring the Cavaliers’ first look at Isaiah Thomas since trading him to the Lakers last month, notes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Thomas became a scapegoat for all that went wrong in Cleveland through the first half of this season. He was expected to take the place of Kyrie Irving as one of the centerpieces of the deal with the Celtics, but a lingering hip injury, poor shooting and a questionable effort on defense caused the Cavs to unload him as part of a roster makeover at the deadline.

There weren’t many people in Cleveland who were sad to see Thomas leave, but former teammate Jeff Green still maintains a relationship with him.

“I wanted him to do well,” Green said. “I watched him from his early on days in Sacramento and Phoenix. And what he did in Boston was remarkable for that organization, and I wanted him to succeed. I wanted him to get what he deserves, and also, that max deal and being on a winning team and winning a championship. But, you know, it didn’t happen, it didn’t work out, and I’m still rooting for him to do well. Just not against us.”

There’s more news from the Central Division:

  • Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman will be sidelined for about two weeks with a left hip flexor strain, the team announced on its website. An MRI confirmed the damage Saturday after the injury forced him out of Friday’s game with the Clippers.
  • The Bucks will have to wait until November to petition the league for salary cap relief involving Mirza Teletovic, writes Matt Velasquez of The Journal Sentinel. Milwaukee can seek to have the $10.5MM Teletovic will make next season removed from its cap because of a medically induced retirement. However, the team must wait a year from the last game he played, which was November 7. Teletovic had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee later that month, which is when doctors discovered blood clots in his lungs.
  • Bulls guard Cameron Payne is trying to erase the negative perception that many Chicago fans have after his poor play last season, relays K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Payne was a disappointment in 11 games after being acquired from the Thunder, then was sidelined until February 22 of this season following foot surgery. “I think I’ve played well,” Payne said. “Obviously I had a couple bad shooting days. But I feel the second unit has been playing pretty good. But we’re not winning so it really doesn’t matter.”