Charlotte Hornets

Nicolas Batum Re-Injures Elbow; Jeremy Lamb Stepping Up

The Hornets may be without Nicolas Batum yet again, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. The 28-year-old swingman injured the same elbow that sidelined him for the first 12 games of the season.

While details are not yet known as to the extent of Batum’s recent setback, he missed the second half of the Hornets’ Wednesday night home game against Washington with a left elbow contusion.

In his five games of action for the Hornets, Batum has averaged 11.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

  • If Nicolas Batum ends up missing significant time with his re-injured left elbow, the Hornets will turn yet again to Jeremy Lamb who has emerged as a prolific perimeter scorer. The 25-year-old belongs in the conversation for Most Improved Player, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes.

25 Players Still On Non-Guaranteed 2017/18 Salaries

There are 25 players around the NBA playing on 2017/18 salaries that aren’t yet fully guaranteed. While having those salaries guaranteed will be a mere formality for some players, others may be at risk of losing their roster spot with decision day nearing. If teams keep non-guaranteed players under contract beyond January 7, their salaries will become guaranteed for the season on January 10, so clubs still have more than a month to decide whether to lock in these players’ full-season salaries.

Listed below is the team-by-team breakdown of the players who are still on non-guaranteed salaries or partially guaranteed salaries. Unless otherwise indicated, each of these players is set to earn the minimum. Partial guarantees are noted if they exceed a player’s prorated salary to date. Any teams not listed below are only carrying players with fully guaranteed salaries.

Atlanta HawksLuke Babbitt vertical

Brooklyn Nets

Charlotte Hornets

Chicago Bulls

Dallas Mavericks

Detroit Pistons

  • Eric Moreland: Partial guarantee of $1,000,000.
    • Full salary: $1,739,333

Houston Rockets

Indiana Pacers

Los Angeles Lakers

Milwaukee Bucks

Minnesota Timberwolves

New York Knicks

Oklahoma City Thunder

Orlando Magic

Philadelphia 76ersRichaun Holmes vertical

Phoenix Suns

San Antonio Spurs

Toronto Raptors

Utah Jazz

Washington Wizards

  • Sheldon Mac
    • Note: Mac is recovering from a torn Achilles and will continue to be paid his full-season salary until he’s cleared to return.

To keep tabs on these 25 players over the next several weeks, be sure to check back on our regularly-updated lists of salary guarantee dates and of non-guaranteed contracts.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images and USA Today Sports Images. Information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.

Monk Benched As Hornets End Losing Streak

  • Hornets coach Steve Clifford believes the lack of a team “identity” contributed to a recent six-game losing streak, relays Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Charlotte snapped that slide Saturday as Clifford juggled the rotation, which included benching rookie guard Malik Monk for the first time this season. “You lose six in a row and the defense has been bad,” Clifford explained. “It’s not Malik’s fault, it’s just his position; [Michael Carter-Williams is] a difference-maker defensively.”

Steve Clifford Wants To Win Now, Not Develop Youth

  • Make no mistake, Hornets coach Steve Clifford is more concerned about winning than developing youth, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. The bench boss values transparency with his players and isn’t afraid to commit to the guys that give the team the best chance of competing in the short-term.

Batum, Green, Ilyasova Returning From Injuries

A trio of players who have been sidelined for most or all of the 2017/18 season due to injuries are set to return to action for their respective clubs on Wednesday night, per various reports. JaMychal Green will play for the Grizzlies, Ersan Ilyasova will return for the Hawks, and Nicolas Batum will make his season debut for the Hornets.

Batum’s return may be the most notable of the three, as he has been sidelined since early in the preseason with a torn ligament in his elbow. Reports on Batum’s injury initially suggested he’d be out for eight to 12 weeks, with the Hornets confirming that they expected the veteran swingman to miss at least six weeks. Thursday will mark six weeks since the team made that announcement, so Batum made a speedy recovery. He’ll start tonight against the Cavs, according to the Hornets (Twitter link).

Green, the Grizzlies’ primary power forward, will return to action tonight after missing all but one game this season with an ankle injury, writes Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Jarell Martin, who appeared to be on the verge of losing his roster spot in training camp, stepped into Memphis’ starting lineup in Green’s absence. Martin figures to return to the bench tonight against the Pacers, while Green looks to begin making good on the two-year contract he signed with Memphis in September.

As for Ilyasova, the Hawks’ power forward, who signed a new two-year deal of his own in the offseason, has been on the shelf since October 27 with a bone bruise in his knee. However, after participating in today’s shootaround, he said he’s ready to go, per Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ilyasova opened the season in the starting lineup, but will come off the bench against the Kings tonight, according to head coach Mike Budenholzer.

2018 Salary Cap Outlook: Southeast Division

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:

Miami HeatTyler Johnson vertical
Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $117,444,952
Projection: Over the cap

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.

Charlotte Hornets
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.

Washington Wizards
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.

Orlando Magic
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.

Atlanta Hawks
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.

Previously:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Hornets Agree To Jersey Sponsorship Deal

  • The Hornets are the latest NBA franchise to team up with a sponsor for an advertisement patch on their jerseys, reaching a deal with local company LendingTree, per Katherine Peralta and Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. LendingTree, a Charlotte-based online company that matches borrowers with lenders, agreed to a three-year jersey sponsorship deal with the Hornets, as the team officially confirmed on Monday.

Nicolas Batum Thrives In First Scrimmage

With a full scrimmage under his belt, Hornets swingman Nicolas Batum is expected to make his 2017/18 debut on Wednesday, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. Batum tore a ligament in his left elbow back on October 4.

One of the biggest impacts that Batum will have on the team is with his ball movement, as he posted 5.9 assists in addition to his 15.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game for the Hornets last season.

I bet he got an assist to everybody he played with today. There were a couple of times when he hit me wide-open and I wasn’t expecting the ball,” Hornets forward Marvin Williams said after the practice.

The club will get an even better idea of how ready Batum is to return to in-game action when they ramp things up at the Hornets’ practice on Monday.

Hornets Will Need To Shake Up Lineup At Full Strength

The Hornets will soon be charged with the task of working Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Nicolas Batum back into their lineup, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. The former will return to action after a three-game absence tonight.

Batum, sidelined since October with a left elbow injury, could return to the court as early as next Wednesday. Both will be welcome additions to a Hornets lineup that has moseyed out to a 5-6 start this season.

Hornets Not Expected To Pursue Eric Bledsoe Trade

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