Christian Wood

Olympic Notes: Exhibition Game, Beal, Harris, Wood, Adebayo

There have been discussions about canceling Team USA’s exhibition game with Australia on Friday due to the U.S. team’s COVID issues, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Olgun Uluc tweet. Bradley Beal has been ruled out of the Olympics and Jerami Grant has also been placed under health and safety protocols. Australia defeated Team USA earlier in the week.

We have more on Team USA:

  • Coach Gregg Popovich is crestfallen for Beal, Joe Vardon of The Athletic writes. “I’m dying for him. We all are,” Popovich said. “Since he’s a little kid this has been a dream of his, he was playing great, he was having fun, being a big part of us coming together chemistry-wise and as a family. So for him and his family, his immediate family, it’s devastating. We just feel horrible about it.”
  • USA Basketball is checking into Tobias Harris‘ availability, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The Sixers forward is currently out of the country but is expected to return Saturday evening. Rockets big man Christian Wood is also being considered as Beal’s replacement.
  • Heat center Bam Adebayo contributed 12 points, five assists, and five rebounds in the team’s victory over Argentina on Tuesday. Adebayo’s versatility could be a major component for the squad, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. “The one thing about it is we don’t want everybody on the court thinking too much,” Adebayo said. “So I feel like with me and (Draymond Green), we have a responsibility to do all the little stuff — the screening, getting people open, making the extra pass. And obviously go score when there’s an opportunity.”

Southwest Notes: Winslow, Mavs, Wood, Marshall

Grizzlies executive VP of basketball operations Zach Kleiman has until August 1 to make a decision on the team’s $13MM option on Justise Winslow, and may still see the forward as part of the team’s future, writes Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

“There’s a lot of encouraging things that we saw from Justise,” Kleiman said. “I think he’s a player who can be very valuable and could potentially fit with what we’re doing.”

The oft-injured 25-year-old appeared in just 26 of a possible 72 games this season for Memphis due to a variety of maladies. He was out of the Grizzlies’ rotation in their first-round playoff series loss to the Jazz.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle acknowledged that, after a 45-point outburst from Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard in Game 6 of the teams’ first-round series, Dallas will need to get creative in a crucial Game 7, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “We have done everything in this series, and we’ll have to be ready with the kitchen sink in Game 7.” The Mavericks’ lone All-Star, Luka Doncic, has pushed his team to the brink of an upset thanks to his incredible play. Thus far in the series, he is averaging 40.8 PPG, 9.7 APG, 9.5 RPG, and 1.5 SPG.
  • When he was available, Rockets center Christian Wood proved his mettle during his first season with the club, says Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. The 25-year-old Wood, who has two years and $28MM left on the three-year contract he signed with Houston before the season, averaged 21.0 PPG (shooting 51.4% from the field and 37.4% from deep) and pulled down 9.6 RPG in 41 games.
  • Undrafted Pelicans rookie small forward Naji Marshall grew up as an underdog, which has served him well on his journey to the NBA, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. Clark notes that the Pelicans are hoping that Marshall could prove to be a sharpshooting swingman capable of fulfilling a variety of needs. Last month, New Orleans inked Marshall to a four-year contract (including the rest of the 2020/21 season). The deal is non-guaranteed for the 2023/24 season.

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Doncic, Ball, Wood

Thursday is the first day the Pelicans can sign another player to fill their 15th roster spot and avoid the luxury tax, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic.  Hollinger crunched the numbers after the Pelicans signed Didi Louzada, whose $123,056 salary as a draft rookie counts $98,940 less than a veteran signed to the same spot. On Thursday, New Orleans could sign a veteran to a rest-of-the-season deal for $122,097 and stay under the tax by $8,651.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks star point man Luka Doncic is in danger of being assessed a mandatory one-game league suspension, Tim MacMahon of ESPN writes. Doncic has 14 technical fouls this season after getting ejected from Dallas’ 111-99 loss to the Kings on Sunday. If he gets another technical, he’ll reach the league’s threshold of 15 technicals, which triggers a suspension. Doncic promises to avoid that scenario. “I won’t get another one,” he said.
  • Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball will head into free agency this summer and wherever he lands next season, he plans to prove he’s one of the top point guards in the league, as he told Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). “Being an All-Star is definitely my next goal on the list and I think that should be coming up pretty soon,” he said. The Pelicans must extend a $14.36MM qualifying offer to make Ball a restricted free agent.
  • The status of Rockets big man Christian Wood this week and the remainder of the season is in doubt. Wood said he’ll likely to need to sit out at least a couple of games, Mark Berman of FOX26 tweets“Right now with my ankle and my quad, I’m not sure about (playing) the next couple games,” he said.

Southwest Notes: Gay, Wood, Louzada, Burke

Spurs forward Rudy Gay has secured a $500K bonus after appearing in his 53rd game of the season on Wednesday night, reports Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

Gay’s contract with the Spurs includes a $500K annual incentive if he plays in at least 60 games. However, that 60-game threshold applies to a typical 82-game season. Prorated across just 72 games this season, that worked out to 52.7, meaning Gay had to play in 53 games to earn his bonus.

Because Gay received the bonus last season as well, it was deemed “likely” entering this year and was already baked into his $14.5MM cap hit for 2020/21, Marks notes. As such, the Spurs won’t have to account for a higher cap charge than expected at season’s end.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Christian Wood, who signed a three-year, $41MM deal with the Rockets just five months ago, is out to prove that he’s deserving of an even bigger payday when that contract expires. “I just want to show fans that by the time this contract’s up I think I’m gonna be a max (contract) player,” Wood said this week, per Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston (Twitter link).
  • While Didi Louzada‘s offensive game remains a work in progress, there’s optimism that he can be a positive contributor on the defensive end soon, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. The 22-year-old wing, a second-round pick in 2019, signed his first NBA contract with the Pelicans on Tuesday.
  • Mavericks guard Trey Burke, who signed a three-year contract last offseason, began the season as a regular contributor, but saw his role cut back starting in February, then fell out of the rotation when J.J. Redick arrived earlier this month. Over the last two games, he has once again been a factor, averaging nearly 30 minutes per game, as Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News details. “It could go from you being DNPs to you playing 15 to 20 minutes a night,” Burke said. “You just never know, always got to stay ready. For me, this year has been tough. It’s been something that I’ve kind of battled with myself.”

Health Updates: Rockets, Nance, Cavs, Hachimura, Clifford

After missing the Rockets‘ last three games while in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, second-year wing Kevin Porter Jr. has rejoined the team and will be ready to play on Tuesday, head coach Stephen Silas said today (Twitter link via Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston).

Rockets big man Christian Wood, who missed Saturday’s game with a minor ankle injury, is also in position to return on Tuesday, Silas said (Twitter link via Berman). The team should get further reinforcements prior to the end of the season, according to Silas, who expressed optimism that D.J. Augustin (ankle), Sterling Brown (knee), and Eric Gordon (groin) will also be back in the coming weeks.

Here are a few more health-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr., who injured his right thumb on Sunday, has been diagnosed with a fracture in that thumb, according to a team press release. Nance has been ruled out for Monday’s game vs. Toronto and will be re-evaluated daily as he undergoes treatment and rehab. Sources tell Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com that Nance will probably miss at least a week or two. With less than three weeks left in the regular season, there’s no guarantee we’ll see him again in 2020/21.
  • Within the same release, the Cavaliers provided updates on several more players, announcing that Matthew Dellavedova (neck strain), Isaiah Hartenstein (concussion symptoms), and Lamar Stevens (concussion symptoms) have also hit the injured list and will miss tonight’s game.
  • Wizards forward Rui Hachimura (knee) is set to return on Monday after missing the last four games, the team announced (via Twitter).
  • Magic head coach Steve Clifford, who registered a positive COVID-19 test, will remain out for Monday’s game vs. the Lakers, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic, who tweets that Tyrone Corbin will once again act as the club’s interim head coach. Clifford continues to be asymptomatic, Robbins notes.

Southwest Notes: Tucker, DeRozan, Mavs, Wood, Porter Jr.

P.J. Tucker has been traded by the Rockets to the Bucks but the veteran forward thought he’d be wearing a different uniform much sooner, Kelly Iko and Sam Amick of The Athletic report. Following a team meeting in January, Tucker expected to be included in the James Harden deal where he’s wind up in either Brooklyn or Philadelphia. Instead, Tucker – who is seeking an extension — spent two months waiting for the front office to find a new home for him.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • DeMar DeRozan has rejoined the Spurs, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. DeRozan had been away from the team for four games to attend his father’s funeral. DeRozan will be available to play against Cleveland on Friday.
  • With the Mavericks planning to rest Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis periodically, they might look to add another starting-caliber player before the trade deadline, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News speculates. Another experienced player off the bench who could provide an offensive boost would also be helpful, Caplan notes. But there are also some compelling reasons for the club to stand pat as well, which Caplan details.
  • With Christian Wood back in the lineup after a lengthy absence due to an ankle injury, he can now work on his chemistry with guard Kevin Porter Jr.., Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. Porter Jr. has averaged 19.6 PPG and 8.0 APG since returning from the G League.

Christian Wood Set To Return For Rockets

Rockets big man Christian Wood is expected to return on Wednesday night vs. the Warriors after missing the last 17 games with a sprained ankle, a source tells Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link). Houston has lost 17 times in a row since Wood went down with the injury.

Wood will start and will be on a minutes restriction, adds Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston (Twitter link).

Prior to the ankle sprain, Wood was making a case for an All-Star spot, averaging 22.0 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game with a .558/.421/.688 shooting line in 17 contests (31.2 MPG).

At the time of Wood’s injury, the Rockets were in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race at 11-10. Now, they have the NBA’s third-worst record and are considered likely to be sellers at the trade deadline, with Wood viewed as perhaps the lone untouchable player on the roster.

Even with Wood back in the lineup, Houston figures to have a shortage of depth on Wednesday vs. Golden State. John Wall (knee), Eric Gordon (groin), David Nwaba (wrist), Danuel House (knee), Ben McLemore (ankle), Dante Exum (calf), and Rodions Kurucs (oblique) are also dealing with injuries, while P.J. Tucker is away from the team as he awaits a trade. However, House and McLemore have been upgraded to questionable for Wednesday’s game, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

Southwest Notes: J. Johnson, Rockets, Nwaba, DeRozan

Mavericks forward James Johnson, who left the team over the weekend to attend a personal matter in Wyoming, missed a mandatory COVID-19 test and will be sidelined due to the health and safety protocols until he registers a certain number of negative tests, head coach Rick Carlisle said on Tuesday, per Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News.

Johnson is now back in Dallas, but he won’t be active for any of the Mavericks’ three remaining games this week, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News, who tweets that the earliest the veteran forward could be cleared is for the March 24 contest against Minnesota.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • In the latest episode of The HoopsHype Podcast, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype and Kelly Iko of The Athletic previewed the Rockets‘ trade deadline, discussing possible suitors for Victor Oladipo and P.J. Tucker, as well as other players who could be available. Iko believes Ben McLemore could be had for a second-round pick and suggests that Christian Wood is the closest thing to an untouchable player on the roster.
  • David Nwaba decided to forgo wrist surgery and play through the injury for the shorthanded Rockets, but he reaggravated the issue a couple games ago, putting surgery back on the table, according to head coach Stephen Silas, who said Nwaba is “probably going to be out for quite a bit” (video link via Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston).
  • Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan will miss a fourth consecutive game on Wednesday for personal reasons, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link).
  • Although the Pelicans suffered a brutal loss in Portland on Tuesday night, the decision to expand the rotation has served the team well, giving New Orleans’ young players a chance to see more minutes, writes Scott Kushner of NOLA.com.

Southwest Notes: Hayes, Vaccine, Gay, Mavericks, Wood

Pelicans big man Jaxson Hayes has regained his rotation spot and he’s determined to hold onto it, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune writes. In his past five games, Hayes is averaging 11.4 PPG, 3.8 RPG and 1.4 BPG in 17.5 MPG. The 2019 lottery pick, who had his third-year rookie-scale option picked up by New Orleans in December, has displaced Willy Hernangomez as the second-unit backup center.

The main thing I took away was I never want to be in that position again,” Hayes said of his February benching. “It’s not like it was a bad thing. I just always want to be on the court.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Eligible members of the Pelicans organization received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN. A majority of the players who were eligible received the shot did so, including Sindarius Thornwell, Lopez tweets. Italian Nicolo Melli also received the vaccine, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.
  • The Spurs had four games prior to the All-Star break postponed due to coronavirus issues. Two of the affected players, Rudy Gay and Derrick White, expressed their gratitude to the team’s training and medical staffs for the high quality of care to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News“They’re just great people, the most helpful people I’ve been around, and they care about us,” Gay said.
  • While the Mavericks plan to give stars Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis periodic nights off, don’t expect coach Rick Carlisle to give the team’s four rookies extended playing time, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News writes.
  • Rockets big man Christian Wood is hopeful of returning to action on Tuesday, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Wood has been sidelined since February 4 due to an ankle injury. He’s listed by the team as doubtful.

Scotto’s Latest: Lowry, Aldridge, Oladipo, Wolves

The Heat are among the teams that have reached out to the Raptors about veteran guard Kyle Lowry, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Some of the players discussed in a possible deal include Goran Dragic, Kelly Olynyk and Kendrick Nunn, according to Scotto.

Lowry, who will turn 35 this month, continues to remain productive, averaging 18.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.5 rebounds through 31 games. He recently pledged his loyalty to the franchise, but didn’t offer a guarantee that he will re-sign with Toronto when he becomes a free agent this summer.

As a one-year Bird player, Dragic has veto power over any trade, Scotto notes. If Dragic agrees to a deal and a new team declines his $19.44MM option for next season, his Bird rights will be reduced to Non-Bird when he enters free agency. Olynyk is headed for unrestricted free agency, while Nunn will be a restricted free agent if he receives a $4.7MM qualifying offer.

Scotto offers a few more tidbits in advance of the March 25 trade deadline:

  • The Heat have also talked to the Spurs about veteran big man LaMarcus Aldridge, who won’t play again until San Antonio can work out a deal. According to Scotto, Miami offered Avery Bradley, Maurice Harkless and Meyers Leonard to match salary and would be willing to include a minimum contract such as Chris Silva or KZ Okpala or possibly draft picks. The Spurs will have many suitors for Aldridge, and several league executives expect the Celtics to get involved with their $28.5MM trade exception, Scotto adds. Boston is about $19.9MM below the hard cap and would have to send at least $4.1MM in contracts to San Antonio in return.
  • Rockets guard Victor Oladipo may be the top player available before the deadline, a few executives tell Scotto. The Knicks and Heat are among the teams that are reportedly interested. Scotto adds that Christian Wood is the only player the rebuilding Rockets might consider untouchable.
  • Several teams have inquired about Timberwolves veterans Ed DavisRicky RubioJuan Hernangomez and Jake Layman. Minnesota would like to acquire a young forward such as the Hawks‘ John Collins or the Magic’s Aaron Gordon, Scotto notes, and has future first-rounders to offer starting in 2023.