Cole Anthony

Cole Anthony Set To Return For Magic

Magic point guard Cole Anthony will return to action on Wednesday after missing nearly two months, the team announced today (Twitter link). Anthony had been sidelined since February 9 due to a fractured rib.

Anthony, the son of former NBA player and current broadcaster Greg Anthony, was drafted out of University of North Carolina by the Magic with the 15th overall pick last fall.

On the season, the rookie has appeared in 25 games, averaging 11.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per contest. He hit a game-winning buzzer beater to beat the Timberwolves on January 20.

Khem Birch (illness) and Michael Carter-Williams (illness) will also return tonight after multiple missing multiple games, per Orlando’s announcement.

The Magic are currently 17-33 and hold the 14th seed in the Eastern Conference.

Southeast Notes: Anthony, Heat Arena, Monk, Riley

Injured Magic rookie point guard Cole Anthony, recovering from a rib fracture suffered on February 9, has been progressing in his rehab, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel tweets.

Magic head coach Steve Clifford addressed: Anthony’s improvement: “He’s able to be on the court more now. He can’t do any contact. The rib isn’t totally healed, so he’ll have to do another MRI before he’s ready for contact but he is able to do, like work out with the ball, shooting, ball handling, things on the court that he wasn’t able to do a week ago.”

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The cryptocurrency exchange FTX has purchased naming rights for the Heat‘s home court, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The current American Airlines Arena will soon be rebranded. FTX will pay $2MM per year for the moniker.
  • The Hornets face interesting decisions this summer on 2021 restricted free agents Devonte’ Graham and Malik Monk. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer wonders if Charlotte should prioritize retaining Monk, who has been on a tear of late, in the offseason. Bonnell notes that, in terms of each player’s potential fit alongside future of the franchise LaMelo Ball, Monk can be reliably slotted both alongside Ball and as a legitimate backup point guard option. The Hornets may need to let at least one of Graham or Monk walk to seek out a free agent upgrade at the center position.
  • Heat team president Pat Riley discussed Miami’s new veteran additions, and why his team opted to retain its promising youth, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. The Heat added shooting guard Victor Oladipo, recently a two-time All-Star, plus forwards Trevor Ariza and Nemanja Bjelica, without giving up intriguing young players Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson, both of whom many assumed could be moved. “They can become truly great,” Riley said. “I hate to have that come back to [bite] us if we move them… We’re happy with both of them. They’re both [going through a shooting slump]. They’ll come out of it.” Riley was also excited for Oladipo’s diverse offensive game and his defensive promise: “He’s not just a shooter. He can really defend.”

Southeast Notes: Heat, Gay, Anthony, Zeller, Wizards

The Heat made their deal for Trevor Ariza with over a week to go until the March 25 trade deadline. One reason for Miami’s willingness to act early was the team’s inability to find common ground with the Spurs or Rockets on trade compensation for Rudy Gay or P.J. Tucker, a source tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Gay and Tucker had been previously mentioned as potential Heat targets, and Gay was the preferred choice for some of those within the organization, according to Jackson. However, the Spurs’ asking price was deemed too high for Miami’s liking — the two teams also made no progress in talks for LaMarcus Aldridge, Jackson adds.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Magic rookie Cole Anthony, who has been sidelined since February 9 due to shoulder and rib injuries, isn’t close to returning, head coach Steve Clifford said this week, per Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel. “He was on the court yesterday for the first time just doing some light shooting,” Clifford said on Wednesday. “Let’s put it this way: It’s more than days, it’s weeks before –– and I shouldn’t even say –– I don’t know exactly, but it’s not that close is the feedback (from the training staff).”
  • After starting Thursday night’s game vs. the Lakers, Hornets center Cody Zeller didn’t play at all in the second half, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Zeller’s role is worth watching with the trade deadline around the corner — if Charlotte makes a move, it could involve the center position and Zeller’s $15.4MM expiring contract.
  • Fred Katz and John Hollinger of The Athletic teamed up to break down some hypothetical trade deadline deals involving the Wizards, including swaps that would send players such as George Hill, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Wayne Ellington to D.C.

Cole Anthony Sidelined Until After All-Star Break

Magic rookie guard Cole Anthony has a non-displaced fracture of his right first rib and will not return before the All-Star break, according to a team press release.

Anthony suffered the injury a week ago against Portland. Beyond the prognosis that he can’t play until after the March 7 All-Star game, there is no timetable for his return. It will depend upon how he responds to treatment. He was originally diagnosed with a shoulder strain.

Anthony, the 15th overall pick in last year’s draft, is averaging 11.0 PPG and 3.8 APG in 26.7 MPG. He’s started 17 of 25 games, entering the lineup when Markelle Fultz suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Anthony averaged 15 PPG and 5.5 APG in the four games prior to playing 14 minutes against the Trail Blazers. Michael Carter-Williams has taken over most of the point guard duties in his absence, with newly-signed two-way player Chasson Randle expected to assume a backup role following Frank Mason‘s injury and subsequent release.

Southeast Notes: Anthony, MCW, Aminu, Beal, Heat

With Markelle Fultz already out for the season due to a torn ACL, the Magic continue to have a hard time keeping their point guards healthy. Rookie Cole Anthony is the latest to have to deal with a health issue, as he was diagnosed with a shoulder strain following Tuesday’s loss to Portland.

As Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel details, the injury is muscular, so Anthony didn’t require an MRI. It also doesn’t sound too significant, as the rookie hasn’t yet been ruled out for Thursday’s contest vs. Golden State — he’s listed as questionable.

In another piece of relatively positive news for the Magic, veteran point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who has been on the shelf since January 4 due to a left foot sprain, has been upgraded to questionable for Thursday’s game (Twitter link). While there’s no guarantee that both Anthony and Carter-Williams will be in action tonight, it doesn’t sound like either player is far off.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Magic forward Al-Farouq Aminu returned on Tuesday after missing over a year due to knee problems. While the plan was for him to play in both halves of that game, he was ruled out of the second half after experiencing some hamstring tightness, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Like Anthony and MCW, Aminu is listed as questionable for Thursday’s game.
  • Speaking to Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports, agent Mark Bartelstein explained why his client – Wizards star Bradley Beal – has no desire to be dealt despite his team’s struggles. “He doesn’t want to quit on something,” Bartelstein said. “He’s an incredibly loyal guy, and he wants to always feel like he’s done everything he can to help something or someone be successful. It’s the way he was raised and what his values are based upon. … It’s the team that drafted him, the team that’s invested in him, and he desperately wants to make them a championship contender.” Beal will miss Friday’s game vs. New York due to rest, the Wizards announced today (via Twitter).
  • The Heat will play their next seven games on the road, but when they eventually return home on February 24, they’ll increase the fan capacity at AmericanAirlines Arena to roughly 3,000 people, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

Southeast Notes: Westbrook, Herro, Anthony, Hunter

Frustrations may be boiling over for Wizards guard Russell Westbrook, who was involved in his second on-court incident of the week Friday night, writes Chris Cwik of Yahoo Sports. Westbrook was ejected from the loss to the Hawks after a game-long battle with Rajon Rondo. They both received technicals for a second-quarter altercation, then Westbrook picked up another one after shoving Rondo in the fourth quarter.

Westbrook was also involved in a double-technical incident Tuesday in Houston during an exchange with John Wall, the player he was traded for in December. The combination of losing and a sub-par shooting year are undoubtedly contributing to Westbrook’s short fuse.

“Honestly, it’s more on me,” he responded when asked about the dispute with Rondo. “I cannot allow myself to stoop down to anybody’s level. That’s not my character, who I am.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat may have another looming COVID-19 problem, according to an ESPN story. Tyler Herro learned at halftime Saturday night that someone he lives with has tested positive for the virus. He’s not sure yet if he’ll have to quarantine. Kendrick Nunn didn’t play Saturday because the team was awaiting his test results, but he was cleared by the second quarter. Jimmy Butler returned after missing 10 games due to health and safety protocols.
  • The Magic are being patient with first-round pick Cole Anthony as he goes through the ups and downs of being a rookie, notes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Anthony, who has moved into the starting lineup for the past 12 games, has impressed teammates with his desire to improve. “He’s hard on himself,” said James Ennis, who serves as a mentor to Anthony. “He doesn’t like making mistakes. I give him credit. He’s tough. It’s hard to find young guys like that. He listens, also. So it’s hard to find young guys that come in and listen and want to compete and just want to be perfect.”
  • The Magic aren’t likely to re-sign Evan Fournier when he becomes a free agent after this season, Robbins adds in the same piece. Although Fournier is only 28, Orlando has some cap concerns after giving extensions to Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz. Robbins expects the team to explore trade offers for Fournier if it falls out of the playoff race before the March 25 deadline.
  • De’Andre Hunter‘s condition will be reviewed this week after an MRI Saturday showed articular wear and tear in his right knee, the Hawks announced in a press release. Hunter will be held out of Monday’s game against the Lakers.

Eastern Notes: Anthony, Pacers Crowds, Wizards, Rose

In the wake of Markelle Fultz‘s season-ending knee injury, rookie Cole Anthony has becomes the Magic’s No. 1 point guard, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel writes. Anthony, who was selected with the No. 15 pick in the draft, logged a season-high 32 minutes on Wednesday when Fultz was injured.

“Cole, in my opinion, he’s the starter right now and I think that he’s ready to take it and grow with it and we all have great confidence in him,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Pacers will allow a limited number of fans to home games beginning on January 24, according to a team press release. The Pacers will limit sales to approximately 1,000 tickets per game through January 25 and consider gradual increases for remaining games. The Marion County Health Department will currently allow 25% capacity, or roughly 4,500 fans.
  • Now that plans have been revealed for the G League season, the Wizards will assign players to the Pelicans’ G League club, the Erie Bayhawks, for the games in Orlando, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. Both franchises will chip in the costs associated with participating in the “bubble” season, Katz adds.
  • The Pistons will likely ask for a first-round pick for Derrick Rose if they decide to deal him or if Rose requests a trade, Rod Beard of the Detroit News speculates. Rose, who will become an unrestricted free agent after the season, could help a contender that needs scoring off the bench.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Harden, Bradley, Richards, Anthony

When they were exploring a possible James Harden trade before the start of the season, the Heat were open to including “a couple” of their young players and their 2025 first-round pick in a package for the star guard, says Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. However, the Rockets‘ asking price was significantly higher.

According to Jackson, even if the Heat had offered Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Precious Achiuwa, KZ Okpala, and first-round picks in 2025 and 2027 (along with Andre Iguodala and Kelly Olynyk for salary-matching purposes), it’s not clear that would have been enough to satisfy the Rockets.

The Heat reportedly pulled out of Harden discussions on December 21. Jackson writes that team president Pat Riley thinks highly of Harden, but would only be willing to make a deal for the Rockets star at “a price that’s palatable to him and the organization.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Avery Bradley‘s defense has been as strong as advertised, and he’s also making an impact on offense in his first season with the Heat, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Bradley’s play in the early going has impressed his teammates, as well as head coach Erik Spoelstra. “Avery is a guy that can play in any system,” Spoelstra said. “As long as it’s a contending team, he fits. He’s a really good basketball player. He’s a winner. And he’s a two-way player, a legit two-way player.”
  • Rookie Hornets center Nick Richards has been ruled inactive for today’s game against the Hawks due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, the team announced (via Twitter). It’s not clear how long those protocols will keep Richards out of action, but it shouldn’t have an impact on Charlotte’s rotation, as he has logged just 11 total minutes so far this season.
  • The Magic have a spotty player development over the last decade, having set the franchise back years by failing to get the most out of the likes of Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, and others, according Josh Robbins of The Athletic, who examines how the team is looking to avoid repeating those failures with 2020 first-rounder Cole Anthony.

Southeast Notes: Fournier, Gordon, Anthony, Adebayo, Westbrook

The rookie scale extensions handed to Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac could impact the futures of Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon with the Magic, Josh Robbins of The Athletic opines. Fournier is entering his walk year and with the money expended on Fultz and Isaac, it would be tough for the club to re-sign Fournier and remain under the luxury tax, Robbins notes. Gordon and Isaac are best suited as power forwards, so when Isaac returns from his knee injury after this season, Gordon is likely to be dealt, Robbins adds.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • In a separate piece, Robbins examines how various players on the Magic saw their stock drop or fall during training camp. Notably, rookies Cole Anthony and Chuma Okeke saw their stock rise as members of the second unit in preseason games.
  • The Heat locked up Bam Adebayo with a five-year max extension last month. The big money won’t make Adebayo stop looking for ways to improve his game, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. “Just because I got money doesn’t mean that I got complacent,” Adebayo said.
  • There’s a feeling of familiarity for Russell Westbrook with the Wizards, starting with his former coach with the Thunder, Scott Brooks, Michael Lee of The Washington Post writes. Westbrook is seeking a comfort zone while playing for his third organization in as many seasons. “Really, it’s just being at peace,” Donnell Beverly, Westbrook’s business partner, told Lee. “I don’t think that’s where he’s been the last few years. I don’t think he’s been at peace.”

Isaac Okoro, Cole Anthony Sign Rookie Contracts

The Cavaliers and Magic have both signed their first-round picks, the teams announced today.

Cleveland came to terms with Auburn forward Isaac Okoro, who was the fifth overall selection. Orlando reached a deal with North Carolina guard Cole Anthony, who was taken with the 15th pick.

Neither team announced the terms of the deals, but both players are eligible to receive up to 120% of the rookie scale. That would be $6,400,920 for Okoro and $3,285,120 for Anthony.