Hornets Rumors

Gordon Hayward’s Wife Criticizes Hornets Over Handling Of Injuries

Gordon Hayward‘s wife has accused the Hornets of failing to protect injured players, writes Bryan Fonseca of The New York Post. Robyn Hayward criticized the franchise via her Instagram account.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Friday night that Gordon Hayward has suffered a fracture in his left shoulder that will keep him out indefinitely. Robyn Hayward pointed out that the team called it a left shoulder contusion, which isn’t nearly as serious.

“He actually has a fractured scapula… that they had him play with last game… that’s why he couldn’t move his arm up in the last game,” she wrote. “… Everyone who knows Gordon knows he has one goal and that’s to win and play the right way, he’s the most truthful player/person you’d find. If he’s not going to play it’s for something more than a bruise.”

Robyn promised to “stop there and not get into prior things,” but she shared the story of another Hornets player who had a similar experience.

“I’m over them not protecting players. Just was talking with a young player’s mom, and she was saying the same thing,” she added.

Injuries have been a recurring problem for Hayward since he suffered a fractured tibia and dislocated ankle in 2017. He played 44 and 49 games in his first two seasons with Charlotte after being acquired in a trade and has appeared in 11 so far this season. He’s making a little more than $30MM this year and has one season left on his contract at $31.5MM.

Gordon Hayward Out Indefinitely With Left Shoulder Fracture

NOVEMBER 26, 7:14am: Hayward will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis going forward, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

NOVEMBER 25, 8:54pm: Hornets forward Gordon Hayward has sustained a left shoulder fracture and is out indefinitely, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

According to Charania, Hayward is in the process of getting more testing done to reveal the full extent of the injury.

Hayward missed eight consecutive games earlier this month after suffering a left shoulder contusion on November 2. He returned on November 18 and had played three straight games prior to Friday’s victory over Minnesota, in which he was sidelined with the shoulder injury.

The 32-year-old had been a mainstay in the Jazz’s lineups prior to joining Boston as a free agent in 2017. Unfortunately, he suffered a severe ankle injury in his first game with the Celtics, and injuries have continued to plague him ever since — from 2017-22, he averaged just 43.6 games per season.

Through 11 games (32.3 MPG) in 2022/23, Hayward has averaged 16.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 4.4 APG on .445/.381/.767 shooting. In addition to Hayward, Charlotte has dealt with injuries to other key players, including star point guard LaMelo Ball (ankle sprains), who has appeared in just three games for the 6-14 Hornets.

Jalen McDaniels started in place of Hayward Friday night, and players like P.J. Washington and Kelly Oubre should continue to receive a heavy workload. Second-year big man Kai Jones also received a major uptick in playing time — he played double-digit minutes (28) for the first time in his career on Friday, recording career highs of nine points and 12 rebounds.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Bridges, Wizards, Mitchell, Magic

Amid a series of injuries to key players and off-court issues, the Hornets have started the 2022/23 season with a 4-12 record, which has led to speculation that they’ll be among the teams looking to trade veterans and retool the roster in order to land a top pick in next year’s draft. However, a rival GM is skeptical Charlotte will hold any sort of fire sale this season.

The hurdle is getting the owner to go along with it,” the GM told Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports. “It is Michael Jordan. He has never OK’d something like that and it is not clear he would, even if it gets bad this year, even if it puts them in a good spot in the draft for Victor (Wembanyama). He has been pretty strong against tanking. Hard to see another way forward for them now, though.”

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • Miles Bridges‘ status for this season is in limbo after he pleaded no contest in his felony domestic violence case. The NBA is investigating the incident, and Bridges is still a restricted free agent with the Hornets, but Shams Charania of The Athletic hears the Lakers and Pistons are among the teams monitoring his situation, he said on The Rally (Twitter video link).
  • The Wizards are still waiting for Will Barton to find his form this season, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The veteran wing was acquired in a trade with the Nuggets over the summer and his averages have dropped across the board in ’22/23. “I’m just really trying to figure out what my role is and figure out how I’m going to play in my minutes. But I can’t worry about that. I’ve just gotta go out there and try to be as effective as possible whenever I’m on the court. I think I’m figuring that out,” he said. Barton will be an unrestricted free agent in 2023.
  • Wizards two-way guard Jordan Goodwin underwent testing after injuring his left knee on Wednesday, and while there was some initial concern that it might be severe, head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said Goodwin is “day-to-day” going forward (Twitter links via Josh Robbins of The Athletic). He was ruled out for Friday’s victory over the injury-depleted Heat.
  • Within his latest 10 things column for ESPN (subscriber link), Zach Lowe wonders if the Magic will eventually go all-in for a lead guard. Lowe says he liked the Magic as a “stealth” Donovan Mitchell suitor this summer, but hears from sources that Orlando didn’t appear to have “dived deeply” into pursuing the former Jazz star.

Injury Updates: Magic, Bulls, Celtics, Raptors, Heat, Hayward, More

The Magic will be getting some reinforcements for Friday’s game in Chicago, according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Veteran guard Gary Harris has been cleared to make his regular season debut following offseason arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Price reports. Additionally, starting center Wendell Carter Jr. will be back in the lineup after missing Wednesday’s game due to a strained right plantar fascia.

Orlando’s opponents also got some good injury-related news on Friday. As Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes, Bulls guard Coby White (left quad contusion) and forward Patrick Williams (right ankle sprain) both said at Friday’s shootaround that they’ll be able to play against the Magic. White has missed the last eight games as a result of his injury; Williams sprained his ankle on Wednesday, but it appears the injury won’t cost him any games.

Here are several more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • As expected, Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon will be available on Friday vs. New Orleans after missing four games with a hamstring injury. However, the team announced that Marcus Smart (right ankle inflammation) will miss a second straight game (Twitter link).
  • The already shorthanded Raptors will be missing Gary Trent Jr. and Chris Boucher on Saturday vs. Atlanta due to non-COVID illnesses, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. However, Eric Koreen of The Athletic tweets that Dalano Banton‘s ankle sprain isn’t as serious as initially feared and Pascal Siakam (adductor strain) has resumed on-court activity. Another update on Siakam is expected in a week or so, Koreen adds.
  • Heat star Jimmy Butler (knee soreness) has been ruled out for Friday’s game against Washington and it’s possible that Bam Adebayo (knee contusion) won’t be available either, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Adebayo is currently listed as questionable.
  • Hornets forward Gordon Hayward, who has been on the shelf since November 2 due to a left shoulder contusion, has been upgraded from doubtful to questionable for Friday’s game vs. Cleveland, according to the team (Twitter link).
  • Pacers sharpshooter Chris Duarte isn’t expected to be available during the team’s upcoming four-game home stand, but could return from his ankle sprain at some point in the subsequent seven-game road trip, tweets Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. That trip begins on November 27 and runs through December 7.
  • Sixers guard Jaden Springer, currently assigned to the Delaware Blue Coats in the G League, will miss at least one week due to a right quadriceps strain, tweets Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com.

Hornets’ LaMelo Ball Re-Injures Left Ankle, Out At Least Friday

NOVEMBER 17: Ball did not practice on Thursday and will not play on Friday versus Cleveland, tweets Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

We’ll be without him here,” head coach Steve Clifford said. “I don’t think we have any idea how long.”

Clifford also told reporters that Ball had an X-ray after Wednesday’s game, which came back negative.

NOVEMBER 16: Point guard LaMelo Ball, who just made his 2022/23 regular season debut on Saturday, re-injured his left ankle late in Wednesday’s loss to Indiana and did not return, the Hornets announced (via Twitter).

According to the Hornets, Ball suffered a left ankle sprain — the same injury that caused him to miss the team’s first 13 games. He initially injured his ankle in preseason and it was fairly serious, since it was a Grade 2 sprain.

A first-time All-Star last season, Ball averaged 20.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.6 steals on .429/.389/.872 shooting in 75 games (32.3 MPG). While he had to shake off some rust in his first two games back this season, he was having a big night Wednesday prior to the injury, recording 26 points and six assists in 37 minutes.

After making the play-in tournament in each of the past two seasons, the Hornets have struggled early on in ’22/23, with Wednesday’s loss dropping their record to 4-12. In addition to Ball, Terry Rozier (ankle), Cody Martin (knee surgery) and Gordon Hayward (shoulder) have all had extended injury absences, and backup point guard Dennis Smith Jr. has missed the past two games with his own left ankle sprain (Twitter link).

If Ball and Smith miss more time with their ankle sprains, Theo Maledon and James Bouknight should see an increase in minutes.

Southeast Notes: Clifford, Ball, Banchero, Collins

Hornets head coach Steve Clifford believes the team can dispel the notion of being soft once it overcomes injuries, he told Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer.

“I think that we are very much viewed as a finesse offensive team and I think there is a lot of toughness here. … When we have everybody healthy we are going to be a team that plays with a lot of physicality,” he said. “I don’t see any reason why we can’t be good at all those energy effort areas. Defensive rebounding, defensive transition, keeping the ball out of the paint, being good at loose balls, being good at screening. I don’t see why we can’t do that. So I think that for me is a real positive.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hornets star LaMelo Ball struggled with his shooting and committed five fouls in his season debut against Miami on Saturday. Still, Ball – who had 15 points, six rebounds and six assists – was just happy to get back in action, according to Boone“I feel straight,” Ball said. “More games, it will get easier. So, I think I’m in a good spot.”
  • The top pick in the draft, the Magic‘s Paolo Banchero, missed his third consecutive game on Monday due to a left ankle sprain, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. Banchero was off to a sparkling start to his NBA career before suffering the injury. He’s averaging 23.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
  • After scoring 20-plus points in his first two games, Hawks forward John Collins has averaged 10.4 points in his last 11. Collins said it’s just a matter of touches, Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. He has taken 10 or fewer shots in seven of his last nine games. “I definitely feel like I can shoot the damn ball,” Collins said. “But, you know, sometimes it’s just hard to get a rhythm. I feel like my rhythm might be just a little bit off, but I’m respecting the game and trying to continue to stay in the gym and shoot and not really think too much about it.”

Scotto’s Latest: C. Johnson, Washington, G. Williams, Reddish, White

The Suns discussed a rookie scale extension with Cameron Johnson that would have been worth about $66-72MM over four years, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said on his latest podcast. Scotto points out that those figures are in line with recent contracts for shooters such as Davis Bertans, Joe Harris and Duncan Robinson, but there’s a belief that Johnson can earn more considering the expected rise in the salary cap and his role on a contending team.

Johnson was off to a great start, averaging 13.0 points per game and shooting 43.1% from three-point range, before undergoing meniscus surgery that could sideline him for up to two months. Scotto notes that Phoenix gave Mikal Bridges a four-year, $90MM extension and cites league sources who have told him the team doesn’t want to approach that number to keep Johnson.

On the same podcast, Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype said Johnson will be in demand as a restricted free agent, even if he doesn’t make a full recovery during the season. He notes that Collin Sexton received $72MM over four years after missing nearly an entire season with a meniscus tear and suggests that Johnson will get at least that much. Gozlan adds that Johnson is much easier to trade without an extension and wonders if that was the Suns’ plan all along.

The duo discussed several other players who are headed to restricted free agency:

  • The Hornets were offering P.J. Washington a four-year extension in the $50-52MM range, but he’s hoping for an annual salary closer to $20MM, sources tell Scotto. Washington has become a full-time starter with the loss of Miles Bridges and is averaging a career-high 14.6 points and 1.1 blocks per game. Gozlan believes Washington made the right decision, noting that the mid-level exception will soon be in the range of Charlotte’s offer.
  • The Celtics never offered Grant Williams more than $50MM in guaranteed money over four seasons, according to Scotto, who adds that Williams would have accepted a deal that paid him at least $14MM a year. Williams’ hot start puts him in line for a much bigger contract, and some sources tell Scotto he’ll get an offer starting in the $18MM range, which might be too high for Boston to match.
  • The Knicks didn’t have serious extension talks with Cam Reddish, but he has a chance to change his outlook after moving into the starting lineup, Scotto notes. Gozlan expects Reddish to get full MLE offers next summer if he keeps producing.
  • Coby White has become a trade candidate for the Bulls, NBA executives tell Scotto. White’s production continues to fall and he doesn’t appear to have a future in Chicago’s backcourt.

Cody Martin's Injury Prevents Matchup With Twin Brother

  • Caleb Martin was looking forward to facing his twin brother as the Heat and Hornets met twice in three days in Miami, but an injury changed those plans, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Cody Martin has played just one minute this season because of a knee injury, and Charlotte announced Friday that he had an arthroscopic procedure. He’ll reportedly miss approximately six weeks. “It’s tough on him, man,” Caleb said. “He’s obviously like me in terms of competing and wanting to be out there and contributing. It’s hard for him to need to sit out and watch other guys play.”

LaMelo Ball May Make Season Debut On Saturday

Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball, who has been sidelined for the entire regular season so far due to a left ankle sprain, is being upgraded to questionable for Saturday’s game in Miami, league sources tell Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). The Hornets have since confirmed Ball’s new designation (Twitter link).

While that doesn’t mean Ball is a lock to play tonight, Boone says there’s a possibility the point guard will be able to make his season debut vs. the Heat. If Ball is ultimately ruled out for Saturday’s game, his next opportunity to make his return would come on Monday in Orlando.

A first-time All-Star in 2021/22, Ball averaged 20.1 points, 7.6 assists, and 6.7 rebounds per game in 75 starts (32.3 MPG) for the Hornets, with a shooting line of .429/.389/.872. He sustained his ankle injury during a preseason game on October 10 and was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain the following day.

In Ball’s absence, Terry Rozier has taken on more ball-handling responsibilities and Dennis Smith Jr. has become a key part of Charlotte’s rotation. Smith, who came to training camp on a non-guaranteed deal, was expected to provide some depth behind Ball at the point, but has instead started 11 of 13 games and averaged nearly 30 minutes per night, putting up 10.2 PPG, 6.2 APG, and 3.6 RPG.

The Hornets have lost their last seven games and are now 3-10 on the season, so getting Ball back in the lineup will be crucial if they want to turn things around and vie for a playoff or play-in spot.

Hornets Minority Stakeholders Open To Selling

  • Gabe Plotkin and Daniel Sundheim, who own a minority stake in the Hornets, are open to selling a “sizable portion” of their share, Begley reports in the same story. Michael Jordan‘s stake in the Hornets would not be affected if the team’s minority shareholders were to sell most or all of their portion of the franchise.