Collin Sexton

Central Notes: Dosunmu, White, Kalamian, Holiday, Sexton

Rookie Ayo Dosunmu and third-year guard Coby White have expanded roles in the absence of Lonzo Ball and Zach LaVine and they’ve performed well, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago notes. Ball is out six-to-eight weeks after undergoing knee surgery and LaVine didn’t join on the Bulls on their three-game road trip due to a less serious knee injury.

Dosunmu and White have started the last three games, with Dosunmu averaging 18.0 PPG, 8.0 APG and 5.7 RPG and White posting 17.0 PPG, 4.3 APG and 4.3 RPG.

DeMar DeRozan has been impressed with Dosunmu’s maturity. “He accepts his mistakes,” DeRozan said. “He holds himself accountable. And that’s big for a young guy to be able to do that.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Pistons assistant coach Rex Kalamian has agreed to become the head coach of the Armenian national team, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnaworski tweets. Both of Kalamian’s parents are Armenian-Americans. Kalamian, who recently served as acting coach when Dwane Casey missed some games for personal reasons, will continue in his duties in Detroit.
  • Jrue Holiday returned to action on Wednesday after missing six games due to left ankle soreness. Though he only scored nine points in 22 minutes, he gave the Bucks a boost in numerous areas, Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes. “Wish I had a little more (time on the floor), but I think just trying to get my timing back, get my legs back, get my feel for the game back,” Holiday said. “I feel like I haven’t played in a long time, so just trying to get back right.”
  • Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton, who underwent season-ending knee surgery two months ago, will be a restricted free agent after the season. Bryan Fonseca of Basketball News explores the pros and cons of Cleveland trading Sexton before next month’s deadline. Fonseca ultimately concludes the Cavs should retain Sexton, providing another shot-creator and catch-and-shoot option on a team with playoff aspirations beyond this season.

Central Notes: Cavs, Matthews, Kalamian, McKinnie

Appearing on the HoopsHype Podcast alongside Michael Scotto, Chris Fedor of said he believes the Cavaliers will look to be buyers at this season’s trade deadline, and could be open to surrendering their 2022 first-round pick, which may not end up in the lottery as initially anticipated.

Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, and Terrence Ross are among the players who could appeal to the Cavaliers, per Fedor, though some of those players may be more attainable than others. While LeVert and Ross are believed to be available, I’d be surprised if Brooklyn parts with Harris.

Fedor also addressed several more topics during his conversation with Scotto, suggesting that Ricky Rubio has become more likely to be extended than traded and noting that the Cavaliers are comfortable going into restricted free agency with Collin Sexton. Cleveland recognizes that only a handful of teams will have cap room available in 2022 and is skeptical that any of those clubs will make it a top priority to pry away Sexton from the Cavs, Fedor explains.

Here are a few more notes from around the Central:

  • Bucks wing Wesley Matthews is no longer listed in the health and safety protocols, as Eric Nehm of The Athletic tweets. Milwaukee still has three players in the protocols, including Giannis Antetokounmpo.
  • Rex Kalamian, who has been an NBA assistant coach for 28 years, got a chance to serve as the Pistons‘ acting head coach on two occasions in the past week – including on Tuesday – when Dwane Casey was away from the team for personal reasons. As James L. Edwards III of The Athletic details, Kalamian appreciates the opportunity, but remains happy in his role as an assistant. “As an assistant coach, you do a lot more development with the players than the head coach,” he said. “The head coaches are not nearly as involved with the day-to-day development of players. But as an assistant, that’s something that has always been fun for me and a challenge to step in and get on the court every day with players.”
  • Carving out a role with the Bulls has been a “dream come true” for Alfonzo McKinnie, who is currently on his second 10-day contract with his hometown team. “I’m a West Side kid. I grew up like 10, 15 minutes down the way,” McKinnie said on Monday, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “House was a Bulls house. Watched the Bulls growing up. So just being able to compete on the highest stage in my hometown, on my favorite side of the city, the West Side, it’s been surreal to be honest. Just putting that jersey on has been everything for me.”

Central Notes: LeVert, Sexton, Markkanen, Vucevic, DiVincenzo

The Cavaliers‘ search for a scoring guard to replace the injured Collin Sexton and the Pacers‘ interest in moving some of their veteran players could lead to a possible trade, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

Cleveland looks like a legitimate contender in the East with seven wins in its last nine games and will probably be seeking an upgrade before the February 10 trade deadline. An obvious area to address is replacing the 16.0 points per game that Sexton delivered before being lost for the year with a torn meniscus.

Caris LeVert is struggling with his shot this season, hitting just 42.1% from the field and 28.9% from three-point range, but he has a history of being a productive scorer. He is under contract for $17.5MM this season and $18.8MM in 2022/23, and at age 27 he fits in well with the Cavs’ timeline.

Indiana is known to like Sexton, who is only 22 and will be eligible for restricted free agency after the season. Vardon isn’t sure if the Pacers will commit to him in light of the injury, although it could allow them to re-sign him to a shorter, low-cost deal while he works his way back.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Cavaliers forward Lauri Markkanen has to fulfill a commitment to Finland’s military, but it shouldn’t affect his NBA availability, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.
  • Bulls center Nikola Vucevic has been struggling with his shot after missing two weeks with COVID-19 and he expressed his frustration after Saturday’s loss in Miami, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Vucevic was just 3-of-15 from the field and missed several opportunities close to the basket. ‘‘It’s tough when you want to play well and go out there and help the team win and don’t do your job,’’ he said. ‘‘I have a lot of pride in myself and put the work in, obviously. It’s not working for me right now, but that’s part of it. I’ve never been through a slump like this, and I just have to work myself out of it. I’m not doing what I’m supposed to do.’’
  • When Donte DiVincenzo makes his season debut this week, he will return to a Bucks team that has changed since DiVincenzo suffered an ankle injury in the playoffs, notes Brian Sampson of Forbes. The offseason addition of Grayson Allen, who has become a starter in the backcourt and has provided a shooting upgrade, will likely push DiVincenzo into a reserve role, but he remains valuable because of his defense and rebounding.

Collin Sexton Out For Season After Meniscus Surgery

Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton will miss the rest of the season after having surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his left knee, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The team first announced Sexton’s injury on November 8, but there was no recovery timeline mentioned at the time. Now we know he’ll miss the remainder of the season.

It’s a devastating blow for the fourth-year guard, who’s eligible to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season. The Cavs were reportedly interested in a long-term contract with Sexton, but missing the rest of the season will hurt his leverage in negotiations.

Sexton had been quite healthy his first three seasons; he played in all 82 games as a rookie, all 65 of the team’s games in his second season, and 60 out of 72 games last season.

The eighth overall pick in 2018, Sexton was the Cavaliers’ leading scorer in each of the last two seasons, having put up a career-best 24.3 PPG in 60 games in 2020/21 with a solid .475/.371/.815 shooting line. He was off to a slower start this season, with his shooting line dipping to .453/.244/.744, but his 16.0 PPG is still the second-highest mark on the team, only trailing the 17.8 PPG of point guard Darius Garland.

Obviously it’s bad news for the Cavs as well, who are very undermanned at the moment. Rookie Evan Mobley, who looked like a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year, will miss the next two-to-four weeks with a right elbow sprain. Kevin Love just returned from a bout of COVID-19, while Lauri Markkanen is working his way back to shape after battling the virus. Starting center Jarrett Allen has missed the past three games as well with a non-COVID illness, so the Cavs have been without four of their five original starters the past two games.

The Cavs started the season 9-5 (7-4 with Sexton), but have lost their last three games and now sit at 9-8. Their next game is Monday, Nov. 22 against Brooklyn.

With Sexton on the shelf, Cleveland has leaned more heavily on Garland and veteran point guard Ricky Rubio, with Dylan Windler and Denzel Valentine receiving rotation minutes in recent games. Second-year wing Isaac Okoro has also seen heavy minutes since returning from injury.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (Twitter link), the Cavs could eligible for a disabled player exception worth approximately $3.2MM (roughly half of Sexton’s salary) if Sexton is deemed likely to be out through June 15th.

Marks also relays that the Cavs are currently $3.1MM below the luxury tax threshold and have no open roster spots. Using a disabled player exception does not free up a roster spot, and if used, it counts against the cap. So, even if they were granted a DPE, there’s certainly no guarantee the Cavs would actually use it. 

Cavaliers Notes: Sexton, Windler, Okoro, Allen

Coach J.B. Bickerstaff will explore his options as the Cavaliers try to survive without starting guard Collin Sexton, writes Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. Sexton was diagnosed Monday with a torn meniscus in his left knee, and the Cavs are still determining the best way to deal with the injury and how much time he might miss. Cleveland is one of the NBA’s surprise teams with a 7-4 start, and Sexton has been the top scorer at 16.0 points per game.

Bickerstaff doesn’t have a similar scoring threat at shooting guard, where Sexton has started all 11 games, so playing time might depend on nightly matchups. He said everyone will need to “tick up a couple of notches” until Sexton returns.

“So those guys that are stepping in and their minutes are going to increase, they’ve got to find ways to help,” Bickerstaff said. “Whether they create shots for other people, whether it’s the shots for them, on the defensive end of the floor, they take those challenges. So it’s going to be everybody that’s got to contribute a little bit more. The guys that are taking those minutes and then the guys who are playing as well. They’re going to have to find a way to help us more as well.”

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • Sexton’s absence could result in more minutes for Dylan Windler, who is fully healthy after injuries limited him to 31 games in his first two seasons, Russo adds. Windler is playing just 9.9 minutes per night, but he’s shooting 50% from three-point range. “I think he’s finding his way,” Bickerstaff said. “And the only way that happens in the league is by playing. You have to believe and have the confidence, but you’ve got to get the experience of being on the floor and playing against other NBA players and playing with your teammates so that they know where you’re going to be and what spots you like and all those things. So, the more and more he plays, the more comfortable he’ll get.”
  • The Cavs are welcoming back swingman Isaac Okoro, who is returning tonight after missing seven games with a strained left hamstring, according to Chris Fedor of Okoro will be on an undetermined minutes restriction, Fedor adds.
  • Center Jarrett Allen, the Eastern Conference Player of the Week, is quickly building chemistry with new frontcourt partners Lauri Markkanen and Evan Mobley, writes Katie Heindl of Uproxx.

Collin Sexton Has Torn Meniscus In Left Knee

An MRI administered today on Collin Sexton‘s injured left knee revealed that the Cavaliers guard sustained a meniscus tear, the team announced in a press release. Sexton left Cleveland’s Sunday win over New York in the second quarter after feeling discomfort in the knee.

The Cavs have yet to announce a potential recovery timeline for Sexton. That will likely be determined once the club decides whether the injury will be treated surgically or non-surgically. According to the press release, the 22-year-old will undergo additional evaluation before his status is updated.

The news puts a damper on Cleveland’s strong start to the season. After winning no more than 22 games in each of the last three seasons, the Cavs are off to an impressive 7-4 start in 2021/22, with youngsters like Sexton, Darius Garland, and Evan Mobley leading the way.

Sexton, the eighth overall pick in 2018, was the Cavaliers’ leading scorer in each of the last two seasons, having put up a career-best 24.3 PPG in 60 games in 2020/21. He was off to a slower start this season, with his shooting line dipping to .453/.244/.744, but his 16.0 PPG still represents the highest mark on the team.

Recovery from a meniscus tear can vary from player to player depending on how the injury is treated, but it typically results in an absence of at least weeks, if not months. Hopefully we’ll get clarity soon on what Sexton’s timetable might look like.

With Sexton on the shelf, Cleveland figures to lean more heavily on Garland and veteran point guard Ricky Rubio, with Dylan Windler, Denzel Valentine, and Kevin Pangos among the reserves who could compete for minutes.

Sexton will be eligible for restricted free agency in 2022. The Cavs reportedly hope to sign him to a long-term deal.

Charania’s Latest: Sexton, Hachimura, T. Bryant

Besides sharing updates on the Celtics’ possible interest in Ben Simmons, a potential return timeline for Pacers forward T.J. Warren, and Sixers center Joel Embiid entering the health and safety protocols, Shams Charania of The Athletic touched upon a few other topics from around the NBA in his latest Inside Pass column. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The Cavaliers are still interested in working out a new deal with Collin Sexton once he reaches restricted free agency in 2022, according to Charania, who says Sexton and his camp sought a four-year rookie scale extension worth about $100MM, while Cleveland wanted a fifth year. This seems a little odd, since any rookie scale extension covering five years has to be worth the maximum salary. But perhaps Charania meant that the Cavs preferred to wait until free agency to work something out with Sexton, since they can offer a five-year, non-max deal at that point.
  • Wizards forward Rui Hachimura, who has been sidelined to start the season for personal reasons, is expected to be “reintegrated fully” within the next couple weeks, sources tell Charania. Hachimura will have to through a ramp-up process before he’s ready to return to the court.
  • The Wizards remain hopeful that center Thomas Bryant, who is coming off an ACL tear, will return before January, per Charania. The team has previously stated that it hopes Bryant will be able to play “sometime in December,” so that timeline remains unchanged.

Cavs Notes: Rubio, Mobley, Sexton, Garland

Ricky Rubio enjoyed perhaps the best game of his NBA career on Sunday in a win over the Knicks, racking up a career-high 37 points and eight 3-pointers to go along with 10 assists. After the game, however, the veteran Cavaliers point guard was eager to praise one of his young teammates, as Chris Fedor of details.

“He’s special and he will be special,” Rubio said of rookie big man Evan Mobley. “We don’t even know how (high) his potential can be. … He’s really mature for his age. He knows how to play the game the right way. Scoring 26 points your first game in MSG is hard to do. We’re proud to have a teammate like him. It’s fun.”

While Mobley’s 26 points were a career high, he also contributed to the victory in several other ways, adding nine rebounds and five assists while anchoring the Cavs’ defense, writes Fedor. The 20-year-old was a plus-26 on the night.

Since LeBron James‘ exit from Cleveland in 2018, the team has sought a young star to build around, and Mobley is showing strong signs he’s capable of being that player.

“He’s earned our trust. We can depend on him,” Bickerstaff said. “How many 19- or 20-year-olds can you say that about?”

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton exited Sunday’s game early due to a left knee injury and will be further evaluated on Monday to determine the severity of the injury, Fedor writes for A source tells Fedor that Sexton felt discomfort after bumping knees with teammate Jarrett Allen in the second quarter. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was unable to provide an update after the game.
  • Darius Garland is exhibiting growth across the board early in his third NBA season, according to Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. Garland, who has posted career-best rates in APG (7.6), FG% (.476), and 3PT% (.440) so far, is still working on becoming a more vocal on-court leader and finding a balance between making plays for teammates and seeking out his own shot, Russo notes. Garland will be eligible for a rookie scale extension during the 2022 offseason.
  • For more out of Cleveland, be sure to check out our Cavs team page.

Details On Starter Criteria For 2022 RFAs

The NBA’s rookie scale, which determines the salaries first-round picks earn during their first four seasons, also dictates how much the qualifying offers will be worth for those players when they reach restricted free agency after year four. However, the value of those qualifying offers can fluctuate depending on whether or not a player has met the “starter criteria.”

Here’s how the starter criteria works in a typical year:

  1. A player who is eligible for restricted free agency is considered to have met the starter criteria if he plays at least 2,000 minutes or starts 41 games in the season before he reaches free agency.
  2. A player can also meet the criteria if he averages either of those marks in the two seasons prior to his restricted free agency. For instance, if a player started 50 games one year and 32 the next, he’d meet the starter criteria, since his average number of starts over the last two seasons is 41.

The first method of meeting the starter criteria will remain unchanged this season, but that second method will look a little different due to the truncated nature of the 2020/21 season.

For starter criteria purposes, the number of starts and minutes a player logged last season will be prorated upward by 82/72 to account for the 72-game schedule, Hoops Rumors has learned.

For example, Suns center Deandre Ayton started 69 games last season. Typically, Ayton would require 13 more starts this season to meet the starter criteria, since 82 total starts would get him to the required average of 41 over the last two seasons.

However, Ayton’s 69 starts last season came in just 72 regular season games. Prorated across a typical 82-game schedule, he would’ve made 78 starts. That means he’ll only need four starts this season to meet the starter criteria. In other words, he should get there next Wednesday, barring an injury.

Hornets forward Miles Bridges, meanwhile, only started 19 games last season, but he played 1,932 total minutes in Charlotte’s 72 games. That works out to 2,200 minutes when prorated across an 82-game schedule, meaning he’d require just 1,800 more this season in order to meet the starter criteria. Since he’s part of the Hornets’ starting five now, Bridges could also meet the criteria by simply getting to 41 starts in 2021/22.

A player’s ability or inability to meet the starter criteria can affect the value of the qualifying offer he receives as a restricted free agent, as follows:

  • A top-14 pick who does not meet the starter criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to the amount the 15th overall pick would receive if he signed for 120% of the rookie scale.
  • A player picked between 10th and 30th who meets the criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to the amount the ninth overall pick would receive if he signed for 120% of the rookie scale.
  • A second-round pick or undrafted player who meets the criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to the amount the 21st overall pick would receive if he signed for 100% of the rookie scale.
  • For all other RFAs, the standard criteria determine the amounts of their qualifying offers.

In most cases, a qualifying offer is a mere placeholder that allows a team to retain its right of first refusal on a restricted free agent — very few players actually accept the one-year offer. Still, a player who fails to meet the starter criteria could have his free agency reshaped by an adjusted qualifying offer.

For instance, Kings big man Marvin Bagley III would be in line for a qualifying offer worth $14,762,309 if he meets the starter criteria or just $7,228,448 if he doesn’t.

Bagley would need to start 35 games this season in order to meet the starter criteria, which might be a long shot, given that he’s out of the rotation for now. Still, a $7.2MM qualifying offer could be more palatable to the Kings – or whichever team has him on its roster by the end of the 2021/22 season – than a $14.8MM one would be. Somewhat paradoxically, Bagley may have a better chance of actually receiving his QO if he starts fewer games this season.

Collin Sexton (Cavaliers), Lonnie Walker (Spurs), Donte DiVincenzo (Bucks), and Josh Okogie (Timberwolves) are some of the other top candidates to meet the starter criteria this season. We’ll be keeping an eye on them and the rest of 2022’s RFAs-to-be over the next several months.

Central Notes: Sexton, Pangos, Cunningham, K. Martin

A maximum-salary rookie scale extension wouldn’t have been a realistic starting point for the Cavaliers in their negotiations with Collin Sexton, and it wasn’t something Sexton’s camp ever demanded, sources tell Chris Fedor of

According to Fedor, Sexton’s representatives initially sought a contract in the $100MM range, but wasn’t stuck on that number and was open to negotiating a deal with a lower total salary. However, the two sides ultimately couldn’t reach an agreement, putting the fourth-year guard on track for restricted free agency in 2022.

“The approach is still the same,” Sexton said after Monday’s extension deadline passed, per Fedor. “I’m just coming in ready to work. We’ve got one goal and that’s to win and get to the playoffs. I was disappointed. But that doesn’t take away from the teammates itself. We’re going to figure it out, and we’re going to win basketball games together and have a good season. … I know they want me here. So, just a little disappointed, but at the end day, we move on.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Since going undrafted out of Gonzaga in 2015, Kevin Pangos has spent six years overseas, gradually becoming one of the top guards in Europe. Now, having signed this summer with the Cavaliers, Pangos is finally getting to live his NBA dream, Fedor writes for “Every single year I would have liked to be in the NBA. But I just tried to control what I could control and know that the spot I was in, I was there for a reason and I hadn’t quite earned it yet,” Pangos said. “There was a lot of growing I had to do on and off the floor, as a person and a player. I think that allowed me to get to the point where I am today.”
  • No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham, who is recovering from a minor ankle injury, won’t play in the Pistons‘ regular season opener on Wednesday, but he could make his NBA debut before the end of the month. As Rod Beard of The Detroit News relays, general manager Troy Weaver said during a radio appearance on Wednesday that he anticipates “hopefully seeing (Cunningham) when we get back off the road.” Following Wednesday’s home opener, Detroit has a three-game road trip, then returns home on October 30, so that could be a tentative target date.
  • Pacers wing Kelan Martin, who pushed his guarantee date back twice this offseason in the hopes of making the team, did so again after earning a 15-man roster spot, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link). Although Martin’s $1.7MM still isn’t fully guaranteed, he did receive a partial guarantee this week, says Agness.