Daniel Theis

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Thomas, Butler, Theis

Any dreams the Knicks may have had about teaming up Jimmy Butler and Kyrie Irving next season appear to be dead, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. The Sixers are considered likely to re-sign Butler to a long-term contract after acquiring him from Minnesota in a deal that should become official tomorrow. That follows Irving’s declaration last month that he intends to remain with the Celtics when he hits free agency.

Butler and Irving are friends and there was talk earlier this year that they might be interested in teaming up in New York, with Butler “liking” an Instagram comment that suggested such a move. New York would have needed to trade for one of them, then sign the other next summer. The Knicks were on the list of teams that Butler gave the Timberwolves when he first made his trade request, but they never seemed interested in making a deal.

The Knicks’ options to land a franchise-changing star in free agency are beginning to dwindle, Braziller notes, and their success may depend on getting Kevin Durant or Kawhi Leonard to consider New York.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks forward Lance Thomas had been experiencing knee pain for weeks before deciding to have surgery on Thursday, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN. “Lance is our leader and we just [want to] get him back feeling good and get him back in that locker room with his voice,” coach David Fizdale said. Thomas will be re-evaluated in about a month, with Kevin Knox and Mario Hezonja expected to get more minutes while he’s sidelined. Fizdale may also use bigger lineups with Noah Vonleh at power forward (Twitter link).
  • Sixers center Joel Embiid got a positive report on Butler when he reached out to Timberwolves stars Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, relays Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Even though Butler clashed with both players during his time in Minnesota, they expect him to be a positive influence in Philadelphia. “They thought that he was going to be good for us,” Embiid said. “They thought that we were definitely going to get along. He wants to win. Wiggs told me that he thought that we were going to win the East for sure.”
  • Celtics center Daniel Theis, who has been sidelined with a plantar fascia tear since October 27, hopes to return next week, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston.

Injury Updates: Theis, Giannis, Harkless, Harris

The Celtics may be without big man Daniel Theis for the next few weeks, head coach Brad Stevens acknowledged today (Twitter link via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston).

While Stevens said Theis’ injury won’t require surgery and isn’t necessarily as bad it sounds, the 26-year-old is dealing with a torn plantar fascia in his right foot and has been ruled out indefinitely (Twitter links via Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald and the Celtics’ official account).

Theis doesn’t play a major role for the Celtics, but has been productive in limited minutes. So far in his second season with the franchise, he has averaged 6.0 PPG and 3.4 RPG in just 12.2 minutes per contest.

Here are a few more noteworthy injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, who initially returned to Saturday night’s game after taking a blow to the head, has been placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol and will miss at least Monday’s game against Toronto, the Bucks announced today. The Raptors will be without their own star player, having announced that Kawhi Leonard will rest in the first game of the club’s back-to-back set.
  • Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless continues to deal with the effects of the arthroscopic knee surgery he underwent in March. As Joe Freeman of The Oregonian details, Harkless’ left knee pain recently resurfaced and will keep him out of Monday’s game against Indiana. It’s not clear whether Harkless will continue to miss more time beyond that contest.
  • Mavericks guard Devin Harris, who remains out of action due to a hamstring injury, has been targeting Wednesday’s game against the Lakers as a potential return date, but that’s not set in stone, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. “I ran on it for the first time,” Harris said on Sunday. “The next step is to run on it comfortably. It didn’t feel quite right.”

Atlantic Notes: Butler, Burke, Lowry, Theis

The Knicks are committed to a long-term rebuilding plan, but a chance to get Jimmy Butler at a bargain price might change their minds, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. New York was one of three preferred locations Butler gave to Timberwolves officials today when he asked to be traded. The Nets and Clippers, also big-market teams, were the other two.

Knicks president Steve Mills provided a window into the team’s thinking Monday when he said the team wouldn’t give up valuable assets in exchange for a player about to enter free agency. Butler expressed a willingness to re-sign with any of the three teams on his list, although he’s going to want a five-year max deal.

Butler’s impending free agent should help drive down the price and could force Minnesota to take far less than his normal value. Berman suggests Courtney Lee would be part of any offer, along with Tim Hardaway if the Knicks feel good about their chance to attract Kyrie Irving in free agency next summer. Berman warns that their reluctance to part with first-round picks or point guard Frank Ntilikina will make it difficult for the Knicks to get a deal done.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks will have a three-way battle for the starting point guard spot in training camp and Trey Burke is confident that he’ll come out on top, Berman writes in a separate story. Burke, Ntilikina and Emmanuel Mudiay, who all saw significant playing time last season, will be in an open competition for starting honors when camp opens next week. “I think all three point guards go in with the right mentality,” Burke said. “We know we’re going to be competing with each other. We also know we’re on the same team and we’ll be making each other better while we’re competing. That’s win, win, win. We’re all looking forward to it. I know I am.”
  • Raptors president Masai Ujiri understands the strong friendship between Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, but he doesn’t expect the trade that split up Toronto’s longtime backcourt to have any effect on Lowry’s play, relays Doug Smith of The Toronto Star“That [trade] was a blow to him,” Ujiri said. “I think basketball-wise Kyle is always ready, he’s always going to be ready, he’s training hard and he’ll be ready.”
  • Celtics center Daniel Theis made amazing progress as a 3-point shooter before a meniscus injury cut short his season in March, notes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Theis was just 5 for 26 [19.2%] from long distance from October to December, but improved to 13 of 32 [40.6%] over the rest of the year. Theis has fully recovered from surgery and is expected to be cleared for all basketball activities by the start of camp.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens Talks Rotation, Injuries, Smart

The Celtics will enter the 2018/19 season widely viewed as the odds-on favorite to come out of the Eastern Conference. However, during an appearance at the ABCD Hoop Dreams fundraiser on Tuesday, head coach Brad Stevens said he doesn’t want his players entering the season even taking for granted that they’ll be a playoff team, let alone a title contender.

“Nobody’s played a game yet; nobody’s lost a game yet,” Stevens said, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. “We have to go back and earn all that.”

Besides addressing expectations for the Celtics in 2018/19, Stevens touched on a number of other topics of note, including the perception that Boston’s depth could work against the team by limiting playing time for veterans who believe they’ve earned more minutes. Here, via Blakely, are a few of the highlights from Stevens:

On concerns over whether there are enough minutes to go around:

“We have a really good locker room. It’s no secret to anybody that there’s 240 minutes in a game. (It’s) human nature of being disappointed if you’re taken out — that’s OK. But if we struggle with that, we won’t be pretty good. If we don’t (struggle with that), we have a chance to be pretty good.”

On whether he has a plan in mind for the Celtics’ rotation:

“I’m more focused on how we want to play and not necessarily how we’re going to rotate. Things can change, your rotation can change in a heartbeat. Bottom line is, we have an idea of who will play together and who best fits together. But we’ll see how it all shakes itself out.”

On Daniel Theis and the other injured Celtics:

“I’ve been told that everybody is gonna be ready to go. Daniel was in the gym this morning. He looks great. He has not been cleared for 5-on-5 play yet, but the anticipation is he will by the start of training camp, September 25.

“(Gordon Hayward) looks good. I saw him a couple weeks ago in San Diego. I went out there and watched him work out. He looked really good. … He’ll be cleared to (play) some 5-on-5 like very, very soon, anytime soon.”

On bringing back Marcus Smart after an extended restricted free agency:

“Marcus knows how we all feel. Restricted free agency is restricted free agency; there’s pluses and minuses to that. Obviously, we’re thrilled to have him back for a long time. … We went into free agency hoping that would be the case. And we all know what Marcus brings to the table. I keep going back and one of the moments where you have chills when you reflect back on a season was when he entered the game against Milwaukee and the first thing he did was dive on the floor. Everybody says they want it and want to do that type of stuff. He’s a guy that does it every day. We appreciate the way he competes. We love having him around. I’m glad he’s here for the long term.”

Celtics Notes: Theis, Bird, Irving, Schedule

Forward Daniel Theis is making steady progress in his recovery from a torn left meniscus injury and expects to be ready for training camp, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston reports.  The 6’9” German native was enjoying a solid rookie campaign before his season ended in mid-March. Theis has returned to the team’s training facility to continue his rehab and recently began doing full-court sprints.  “I’ve been back two weeks,” he told Blakely. “I’ve been doing new stuff every day.” Theis was a rotation player last season, appearing in 63 games, including three starts. He averaged 5.3 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 14.8 MPG. He’ll have to fight for minutes next season with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum established as starters and Marcus Morris, Semi Ojeleye, Guerschon Yabusele and rookie Robert Williams also on the 15-man roster.

In other developments involving the Celtics:

  • Swingman Jabari Bird considers his first opportunity to play last season as a turning point in his career, as he explained to Marc D’Amico of Celtics.com. Bird got his number called in the second half with the team trailing by eight against the Sixers. Boston rallied for its first win of the season. “Getting drafted is one thing. That’s an honor. Playing Summer League and having some good games, that’s one thing,” he said. “But when you do it in an NBA game, regular season, road game, hostile environment, it just felt like I really belong at this level. Moving forward, I just knew: I’m here for a reason.” Bird parlayed his two-way deal last season into a standard two-year contract this summer with the first season guaranteed.
  • Kyrie Irving is expected to opt out of his contract next summer and become a free agent but coach Brad Stevens has no plans to discuss the situation with his point guard, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports reports. Stevens told Mannix that the atmosphere around the franchise speaks for itself. “I’m not going to talk to him about it at all,” Stevens said. “One of the things I want to do is give everything I can to all these guys while they’re here. Hopefully, the people that are here recognize that it’s a really good environment with a high upside for a long time.”
  • In his latest post, Blakely offers a month-by-month breakdown of the Celtics’ just-released regular-season schedule.

Daniel Theis, Wayne Selden Get Salary Guarantees

When center Daniel Theis signed a two-year contract with the Celtics last summer, the second year of that deal was non-guaranteed. However, Theis would be assured of his full 2018/19 salary guarantee if he remainder under contract through July 10.

According to multiple reports, including one from Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe (Twitter link), the C’s had no intention of waiving Theis by Tuesday. As such, his $1,378,242 salary for next season is now guaranteed.

It was an easy decision for Boston after Theis enjoyed a solid rookie year as a regular part of the team’s rotation. In 63 games (14.9 MPG), the German big man averaged 5.3 PPG and 4.3 RPG, providing crucial depth in the Celtics’ frontcourt. His season came to an early end in March when he underwent surgery to repair his left knee lateral meniscus, but he should be ready to go for training camp.

Meanwhile, another player – Grizzlies shooting guard Wayne Selden – also had a July 10 guarantee deadline on his salary for 2018/19. However, Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com recently indicated (via Twitter) that Memphis elected to guarantee Selden’s full $1,544,951 salary prior to the start of Summer League.

Theis and Selden will both be eligible for restricted free agency in the summer of 2019.

Atlantic Notes: DeRozan, Lowry, Nets, Theis, Burroughs

DeMar DeRozan was named to the All-NBA team on Thursday, joining Vince Carter as the only Raptors players in history to make several All-NBA teams. While it’s a special honor for DeRozan, it does not mean he is a lock to return to Toronto next season, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun writes.

The Raptors began an overhaul after another early postseason exit, firing head coach Dwane Casey. Wolstat writes that Casey’s dismissal may not be the only significant move the team makes, but there is a strong chance that DeRozan remains. Sources tell Wolstat that the team will “explore all options.”

DeRozan earned All-NBA honors for good reason, as he enjoyed arguably his best season to date. He averaged 23.0 PPG, good for 11th in the NBA, to go with a career-best 5.2 APG and 3.9 RPG in 80 games. The one-two punch of  Kyle Lowry and DeRozan has led Toronto to several successful regular seasons — including the best record in the Eastern Conference this season — but after repeated early playoff exits, general manager Masai Ujiri will look everywhere to improve.

Check out more Atlantic Division notes:

  • Speaking of Lowry, the Raptors point guard missed out on several “unlikely” incentives in his contract by not making an All-NBA team, Blake Murphy of Raptors Republic details. Lowry could have maxed out his incentives at $2.17MM but will instead pocket just $200K in bonuses.
  • The Nets will have several choices to make when it comes to the roster for next season as several players are headed for either restricted or unrestricted free agency. Michael Scotto of The Athletic (subscription required) breaks down the Nets’ pending free agents and their individual likelihood of returning to Brooklyn.
  • Daniel Theis joined the Celtics roster hoping to be a valuable contributor to a potential championship winning team. Unfortunately, a torn left meniscus ended his season early and he just recently joined the Celtics as a spectator on the bench. Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe detailed Theis’ recovery and the progress he has made. Theis hopes to join the German team for the FIBA World Cup before joining the Celtics for training camp next season.  “It’s a good preparation for me, too,” Theis said. “I think I can start basketball like full contact in August. Then if I can play high level in, like, September it’s good for me, it’s good for the team to see how I’m progressing in terms of training camp in September.”
  • Eugene Burroughs won’t return to the sidelines to coach the Sixers‘ G League affiliate next season, sources tell Adam Johnson of 2Ways10Days. In two seasons as a head coach, Burroughs compiled a 42–58 record.

Co-Owner Wyc Grousbeck Confident About Celtics’ Future

Celtics co-owner, managing partner, and CEO Wyc Grousbeck appeared today on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston before tonight’s Game 2 between the Celtics and Cavaliers to discuss a bevy of topics, as relayed by Adam Kaufman of WBZ-AM NewsRadio 1030 (click here for links).

Perhaps most interestingly, Grousbeck uncovered the fact that the Cavs were interested in obtaining/would have accepted Jayson Tatum instead of the Nets’ upcoming pick in the 2018 NBA Draft in last summer’s blockbuster trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Celtics. Ultimately, the Celtics preferred to send the pick instead of their prized rookie, which sure appears to have been the right decision as we sit here today.

Faced with the upcoming free agency of Marcus Smart this summer and the potential free agency of Irving, Al Horford, and Terry Rozier next summer, Grousbeck was also asked to discuss the Celtics’ willingness to dip into the luxury tax if necessary. Per Kaufman, Grousbeck said the Celtics are prepared to “pay for performance” and “to do whatever it takes to win again.”

As for Irving’s knee injury that has kept him out of this year’s postseason, Grousbeck said that he has no long-term concerns about Irving’s knee, which parallels the report from about a month ago that Irving was already seen walking around without a noticeable limp just a little over a week after his surgery.

Given Irving’s positive prognosis, the relative youth of the Celtics’ roster and head coach, and the prowess the team has exhibited so far this postseason without Irving, Gordon Hayward, or Daniel Theis, it’s no surprise that Grousbeck feels very confident about his team’s future, even going as far as to say he’d be disappointed if the Celtics aren’t back in the same position they’re in now for the next five years.

Celtics Notes: Brown, Horford, Theis, Hayward

Jaylen Brown missed the second half of Saturday’s close-out game against the Bucks because of a Grade 1 right hamstring strain, but he’s optimistic he’ll be ready for the start of the next series, according to Chris Forsberg of ESPN. Brown will have an MRI today to learn the full extent of the damage.

“Massage, rest, ice, all of the above,” he said in describing his treatment plan. “I hate taking pills. Like, I probably haven’t taken a pill in over 10 years. But they’ve got me taking anti-inflammatories and stuff like that. So just whatever it takes. Because I wouldn’t miss this next series for the world.”

Coach Brad Stevens said Brown probably could have returned to the game if needed, but he decided to be cautious, especially as the Celtics pulled away in the second half. Brown ran some test sprints and rode an exercise bike at courtside before taking a seat on the bench for the fourth quarter.

There’s more this morning from Boston:

  • With the two stars they added last summer both sidelined by injuries, the Celtics have turned to their top free agent addition from 2016, notes Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports. Al Horford helped finish off Milwaukee with 26 points, eight rebounds and three assists in Game 7 and seems to have won over a Boston fan base that was skeptical after he was given a $113MM contract over four years. “He’s such a pro with how he approaches his job,” said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “And he knew what Boston was about. He knew the history. We get so much out of Al. He’s been such a stabilizing force for our team.”
  • Rookie center Daniel Theis reached a milestone in his recovery this weekend when he was cleared to walk without crutches for the first time since surgery, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Theis, who had his left knee lateral meniscus repaired in mid-March, probably won’t be cleared to start playing again until July, according to Stevens.
  • Gordon Hayward continues to do rehab in Indiana as he works his way back from a fractured ankle, Blakely tweets. Hayward was at Saturday’s game, but doesn’t expect to travel with the team in the next round.

Injury Updates: Thomas, Ball, Irving, Curry

Isaiah Thomas is declaring his right hip to be “fixed” after season-ending surgery, relays Bill Oram of The Orange County Register. Thomas played just 17 games for the Lakers before opting for the March 28 procedure to address lingering problems in the hip. He talked to reporters at Friday’s game and proclaimed his time with in L.A. to be successful.

“I came in here with … nothing on my agenda and nothing in my plans,” Thomas said. “I just wanted to play basketball and get that joy back and being on the Lakers brought that joy back from having a tough couple of months in Cleveland.”

Thomas added that the pain in his hip never went away, even as he sat out for seven months in an attempt to rehab the joint. He expressed confidence that the situation won’t affect his offers in free agency, believing that teams will understand he was trying to play through an injury.

There’s plenty of news tonight on the injury front:

  • The season may not be over for rookie guard Lonzo Ball, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Ball, who has missed the past five games with a left knee contusion, participated in some drills today and the Lakers have upgraded him to questionable for Sunday’s contest. Teammate Kyle Kuzma is also questionable after suffering a mild sprain to his left ankle Friday night.
  • The Celtics expect Kyrie Irving to be ready for training camp after having knee surgery today, according to Chris Forsberg of ESPN. Irving had two screws removed from his left knee and has a projected recovery time of four to five months. “The surgery went exactly as planned, and we expect Kyrie to be fully healthy for training camp in the fall,” president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a prepared statement.
  • Celtics center Daniel Theis, who had season-ending surgery on his left knee, said he hopes to be able to get off his crutches in two to three weeks, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston.
  • Celtics forward Guerschon Yabusele will have an MRI on his knee after sitting out practice today, according to Tom Westerholm of MassLive“They don’t think it’s anything,” coach Brad Stevens said of team doctors, “but they’re going to get some imaging just to make sure.”
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr declined to offer an update on Stephen Curry before tonight’s game, tweets Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. The star guard will miss at least the first round of the playoffs with an MCL sprain. “There’s nothing there,” Kerr said. “[Check back] next week.”
  • The Nuggets are preparing to finish the season without guard Gary Harris, who is recovering from a knee injury, relays Gina Mizell of The Denver Post (Twitter link). “Right now, I’m not expecting Gary Harris back [in the regular season],” coach Michael Malone said before today’s game. “We have to continue to find ways to win games and compete at a high level with the players that are available, and Gary’s not on that list right now.”
  • The Bucks had hoped that Malcolm Brogdon could play tonight, but decided to hold him out for another game, writes Matt Velazquez of The Journal Sentinel. Brogdon hasn’t been available since since partially tearing his left quadriceps tendon more than two months ago. “Honestly there hasn’t been many setbacks,” Brogdon said. “I’ve had maybe two or three sore days in the whole rehab process and that’s not many at all. Very few setbacks. I’ve made progress, progress, taken big steps almost every day so it’s been a very smooth rehab so far.”