Cole Anthony

Magic Notes: Carter, Bamba, Anthony, Trade Exception

The new four-year extension for center Wendell Carter Jr. is a good deal for both him and the Magic, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Robbins sees the $50MM extension as a much safer investment than the five-year, $100MM contract the Cavaliers gave Jarrett Allen this summer. Carter, who was acquired from the Bulls in March, is a year younger than Allen and appears to have a long career ahead as a reliable big man who can rebound and switch on defense.

New head coach Jamahl Mosley has asked Carter to start taking more three-pointers and has used him at power forward during the preseason alongside Mo Bamba. With Jonathan Isaac and Chuma Okeke both sidelined by injuries, Carter and Bamba could be in the starting lineup for Wednesday’s season opener.

“The one thing that helps him is that he’s got great, active feet, and I think him understanding who’s a shooter, a non-shooter, those are going to be some scenarios that we’re going to have to continue to monitor,” Mosley said about Carter’s ability to defend outside the lane. “But I think he did a really good job of understanding how he could guard some of these fours in the league.”

There’s more from Orlando:

  • The Magic have one more day to work out an extension with Bamba, but Robbins doesn’t expect it to happen. He notes that Bamba was slowed by an injury and then COVID-19 during his first two offseasons, and this summer was his first chance to really improve his conditioning. If Bamba turns in a strong season, he could be in demand as a restricted free agent in July.
  • Cole Anthony was productive in the preseason after a disappointing performance during Summer League, Robbins notes in a separate story. Anthony may have been dealing with an injury in Las Vegas as he said, “It’s a world’s difference just how much better I feel right now.” He will likely start the season as the back-up point guard, although that could change when Markelle Fultz returns after offseason knee surgery.
  • The Magic are in position to make a significant move before the trade deadline, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. Orlando has a $17.1MM trade exception after sending Evan Fournier to the Celtics last season, along with $22.5MM in breathing room below the tax line.

Magic Exercise Third-Year Contract Options On Anthony, Hampton, Okeke

The Magic announced in a press release (via Twitter) that they have opted to pick up their third-year team options on second-year players Cole AnthonyChuma Okeke and R.J. Hampton. This move will keep them under contract through the 2022/23 season.

The conclusion of October serves as the deadline for rookie scale option decisions for 2022/23. The salaries for all three young Magic players through the ’22/23 season are now guaranteed. That year, Anthony will earn $3.6MM, Okeke will make $3.4MM, and Hampton will pull in $2.4MM.

When healthy, the 6’2″ Anthony, showed plenty of promise at the point. The No. 15 pick in the 2020 draft averaged 12.9 PPG, 4.7 RPG and 4.1 APG across 47 games.

Okeke, the No. 16 selection in the 2019 draft out of Auburn, only made his NBA debut during the 2020/21 season. The 6’6″ power forward averaged 7.8 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 2.2 APG in 45 appearances.

Hampton was drafted with the No. 24 pick and kicked off his NBA career with the Nuggets. After failing to carve out meaningful rotation minutes across 25 games with Denver, Hampton was sent to the Magic. In Orlando, the 6’4″ guard averaged 11.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG and 2.8 APG over 26 games.

You can track all of the rookie scale team option decisions for 2022/23 right here.

Magic’s Isaac, Fultz Won’t Be Ready For Opening Night

Young Magic cornerstones Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz, who are both coming off ACL tears, won’t be ready to play in the team’s regular season opener next month, sources tell Josh Robbins of The Athletic.

As Robbins explains, the Magic’s organizational policy is to avoid setting specific timelines or return dates for players who are recovering from injuries. However, Robbins has heard that the team will exercise significant caution with both Isaac and Fultz. The front office views getting the two players back into games and getting them through the 2021/22 season without any new health issues as two of its top organizational priorities, Robbins adds.

“Both of those guys have been, as you would expect if you cover our team, relentless in their approach,” president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said of Isaac and Fultz. “They’ve been working daily grinding. They both look really good. I will not elaborate on timelines. To me as a layman, this is where I just don’t want any setbacks. … But right now, they continue to progress through their rehab right on course and they’re making progress.”

As Robbins observes, Isaac is about 14 months removed from his ACL injury, while Fultz underwent surgery on his ACL only about nine months ago, so the forward may be on track to return a little sooner than the former No. 1 overall pick.

The Magic will also be missing veteran guard Michael Carter-Williams to start the regular season, putting point guard duties in the hands of youngsters Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony.

Here’s more on the Magic:

  • Isaac confirmed on Monday that he has yet to take the COVID-19 vaccine, but suggested that a recent Rolling Stone report misrepresented his views. “I am not anti-vax,” Isaac told reporters, including Robbins. “I’m not anti-medicine. I’m not anti-science. I didn’t come to my current vaccination status by studying Black history or watching Donald Trump press conferences. … But with that being said, it is my belief that the vaccine status of every person should be their own choice, and completely up to them without bullying, without being pressured, without being forced into doing so. I’m not ashamed to say that I’m uncomfortable with taking the vaccine at this time.”
  • Suggs and fellow lottery pick Franz Wagner are both candidates to begin the season in the Magic’s starting lineups, but new head coach Jamahl Mosley isn’t prepared to speculate about the makeup of his starting five quite yet, according to Robbins. “I think it’s a little early to tell which way we’re going to go with lineups and the roster and rotations,” Mosley said on Monday. “We want to get that first part of training camp started just so we can see what the different combinations look like.”
  • Chuma Okeke won’t be participating in full-contact drills at the start of training camp, since he recently sustained a right hip bruise during a voluntary workout, per Weltman (via Robbins).
  • The Magic are expected to have “thorough” discussions with Wendell Carter Jr.‘s reps about a possible rookie scale extension before opening night, says Robbins. “I would love to be here for a long time,” Carter said. “I love Orlando. I love the city. I love my teammates. I love the people here, the weather, everything. So I would love to be here, but right now, I’m just focused on training camp.”

Southeast Notes: Bamba, Anthony, Haslem, Love

The Magic are coming to something of a crossroads with Mohamed Bamba, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic.

The former No. 6 overall pick has only started six games in three years, with five of them coming in the final 24 games of last season, after the Magic traded the team’s long-standing linchpin, Nikola Vucevic, to the Bulls. Of course, those starts only came when Wendell Carter Jr., who came back from Chicago in the deal, wasn’t playing.

With Bamba entering the final year of his rookie contract, Robbins talks to NBA scouts about the future for the big man.

Talent-wise, he has a ceiling that he could be really good if he’s locked-in,” one scout said. “He has a chance, but I don’t know if his motor will let him get there.”

In examining Bamba’s strengths, Robbins quotes the big man’s 91st-percentile for percentage of opposing teams’ shots blocked, as well as his burgeoning jumpshot, but scouts worry that his tools are far ahead of his defensive instincts and reactivity. One scout says that Orlando may ultimately be better served to let another team try to develop Bamba once his rookie deal expires. However, Robbins observes that a new coach and system could be huge for his development, and that the team still seems at least relatively committed to him.

We have more news from around the Southeast Division:

  • In a similar piece from earlier this month, Robbins talked to scouts about Cole Anthony, who, like Bamba, faces a similar uncertainty given the Magic‘s depth at the point guard spot. The scouts came away more impressed with Anthony’s ability to get into the paint and play with physicality than expected, especially on the offensive glass, but almost unanimously said his lack of vision as a playmaker and his limitations defensively will probably keep him from becoming a starting point guard for a good team.
  • Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel believes that it’s possible we see a mid-season send-off for lifelong Heat veteran Udonis Haslem, he writes in a recent mailbag. He also says Haslem may have been biding his time and waiting for the perfect moment to get his big farewell.
  • In a separate piece, Winderman calls Kevin Love‘s recently-reported disinterest in a buyout “pure posturing,” while saying the Heat would likely be interested, especially with a bit of a hole at the power forward position. However, he’s unsure if Miami currently holds the “contender” status in the eyes of players that could woo Love over a team like the Lakers or Warriors.

Southeast Notes: Butler, Thor, Magic, Dinwiddie

After finalizing his new four-year, maximum contract extension over the weekend, All-NBA Heat swingman Jimmy Butler spoke about why he wanted to commit to Miami long-term, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald.

“They allow me to be me here, love who I am as a person and player,” Butler said of the Heat organization. “Love the guys I have an opportunity to hoop with. I think we’ll be a really good team. We’re consistently getting better, adding the right amount of vets to get over the hump and win a championship. It means everything to me to represent this great organization.”

Butler, who turns 32 in September, said that he wants to finish his career in Miami.

“It’s a place for me,” Butler said. “Teammates allow me to be me. When I’m wrong, they’re going to tell me I’m wrong. When I’m right they still probably tell me I’m wrong. I love them for that. Blessing to play with these guys and [head coach Erik Spoelstra] and [team president] Pat Riley.”

A four-time All-NBA selection, five-time All-Star, and five-time All-Defensive Team member while with the Bulls, Timberwolves and Heat (he did not earn any of these honors with his other NBA team, the Sixers), Butler showed no signs of slowing down during the 2020/21 regular season. He averaged 21.5 PPG on 49.7% shooting from the field and 86.3% from the free-throw line, as well as career-best averages of 7.1 APG, 6.9 RPG, and 2.1 SPG.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Hornets rookie power forward JT Thor was signed to a four-year deal, with the first two seasons guaranteed, using some of Charlotte’s cap space, reports Bobby Marks of ESPN (Instagram video link). The 18-year-old big man was selected with the No. 37 pick out of Auburn in this year’s draft.
  • The young core of the rebuilding Magic – including rookie lottery picks Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner, along with second-year point guard Cole Anthony – is exhibiting encouraging signs of development during NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, writes Dan Savage of Magic.com. “It’s about them developing camaraderie, and their ability to just tie together and move forward growing together,” new head coach Jamahl Mosley said of the Summer League squad. “Just continuing to build off each other and for each other.”
  • After having waived shooting guard Dwayne Bacon this weekend, the Magic project to have an open 15th roster spot, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Robbins anticipates Orlando will probably leave this final roster spot available in case an opportunity arises for the team to take on an unwanted contract – along with a draft pick – into its sizable trade exception.
  • New Wizards starting point guard Spencer Dinwiddie has several intriguing incentives in his three-year, $62MM deal with Washington, as Michael Scotto of HoopsHype details (Twitter link). Dinwiddie will be earn a $1.5MM bonus if he plays in 50+ games, $100K if the Wizards win a first-round playoff series, $571K should the Wizards make the Eastern Conference Finals, and $400K if the Wizards qualify for the NBA Finals. As Bobby Marks of ESPN (Instagram video link) first reported, Dinwiddie would net a scant $1 bonus for winning the NBA Finals. Marks added in the same video that the partial guarantee on Dinwiddie’s 2023/24 salary will become fully guaranteed if he plays in 50+ games during the 2022/23 season.

Ball, Edwards, Haliburton Head All-Rookie Team

LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Jae’Sean Tate and Saddiq Bey comprised this year’s All-Rookie First Team, the NBA announced on Thursday in a press release.

Ball, who was named Rookie of the Year on Thursday, led first-year NBA players in assists (6.1 APG) and steals (1.59 SPG) and ranked second in scoring (15.7 PPG) and rebounding (5.9 RPG) for the Hornets. Edwards, the No. 1 pick in the draft by the Timberwolves, averaged a rookie-high 19.3 PPG.

The Kings’ Haliburton ranked third among rookies in scoring (13.0 PPG) and second in assists (5.3 APG). Bey, the 19th overall pick, made a rookie-high 175 three-pointers for the Pistons. Tate, who went undrafted in 2018 and played in Australia last season, averaged 11.3 PPG and 5.3 PPG for the Rockets.

Ball and Edwards were the only unanimous First Team selections, receiving 99 of 99 potential First Team votes. Haliburton got 98, while Bey had 63 and Tate received 57.

Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley narrowly missed out on the top five, having earned 51 votes for the First Team.

Here are both All-Rookie teams in full, with their voting point totals notes in parentheses. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

2020/21 All-Rookie First Team:

2020/21 All-Rookie Second Team:

Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo (42), Magic guard Cole Anthony (40), and Warriors center James Wiseman (24) were among the players who just missed the cut. Nine other players received votes — you can view the full voting results right here.

Magic Notes: Anthony, Bacon, Bamba, Weltman

The offensive play of Magic rookie point guard Cole Anthony during the 2020/21 season proved he could be a valuable long-term addition for Orlando, writes Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel.

Anthony, who stepped into the role of starting point guard after Markelle Fultz tore his ACL early in the season, averaged 12.9 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.1 APG, and 0.6 SPG across 27.1 MPG for the year. Anthony was an inefficient shooter, with a first-season slash line of .397/.337/.832, but that’s generally par for the course with rookie guards.

Depending on where the Magic land in the upcoming draft, there is a chance that Anthony could get extended run as a starter for at least part of the 2021/22 season while Fultz recovers. He will enjoy his first true offseason with the club this season, as COVID-19 precautions precluded a Summer League and limited offseason activies last year.

There’s more out of Orlando:

  • Do-everything Magic swingman Dwayne Bacon helped stabilize the Magic amid injuries and roster churn during his first season with the club, writes Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel. Bacon was the sole Magic player to suit up for all 72 games for the team. Parry wonders if, thanks to the addition of rookie guard R.J. Hampton at the trade deadline and the possibility that the Magic could draft a high-upside young wing this summer, Orlando’s front office will opt to guarantee the second year of Bacon’s deal. Bacon’s limitations as an off-ball shooter could factor into this decision.
  • Magic center Mohamed Bamba finished the season on a high note, following the trade of Nikola Vucevic and the release of Khem Birch, writes Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel. Operating as the primary backup behind new Orlando starting center Wendell Carter Jr., Bamba exhibited intriguing flashes of his offensive upside, plus some defensive promise as a rim protector.
  • Magic team president Jeff Weltman is reluctant to speculate about how long it will take his youth-heavy rebuilding club to develop, writes Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel. “I don’t apply timelines,” Weltman said. “I don’t know what one person’s development is going to look like juxtaposed next to another, but I just believe that we have a lot of talent on this team, and a lot of character and a lot of guys that want to win and we have a lot of ways to add more of those guys.” Weltman will get to add some exciting new additions this offseason, with the Magic expected to net two lottery picks (their own and the Bulls’ selection, provided it does not move into the top four in the draft lottery).

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.