Danilo Gallinari

Eastern Notes: Thybulle, D. Robinson, Lowry, Celtics, Hart, Pistons

Sixers center Joel Embiid knows that teammate Matisse Thybulle has been mentioned in trade rumors leading up to Thursday’s deadline, but the All-Star big man praised Thybulle’s defensive abilities and said he’d like to see the team hang onto the fourth-year wing, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“Personally, I would love to have him,” Embiid said. “I think he’s one of our better defenders, especially on the perimeter. We don’t have a lot of guys that cause steals or blocks, and all that stuff, extra possessions. That takes extra possessions from the other teams. He’s someone that fits on every NBA team based on his defensive skill set. I think he helps us a lot. But then again, I don’t make the decisions.”

There are a handful of reasons why Thybulle has been mentioned as a trade candidate. His offensive limitations have been exposed in past postseasons, he’s headed for free agency this summer, and the Sixers are only slightly above the luxury tax line, so moving off a small amount of salary could save them a significant amount of cash at season’s end.

Here’s more from around the East:

  • The Heat have explored trading forward Duncan Robinson, but Robinson’s pricey long-term contract and uncertainty about his status following finger surgery have decimated any value he might have, per Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. According to Jackson and Chiang, potential trade partners have sought multiple first-round picks in talks involving Robinson, so the Heat are more focused on discussions centered around Kyle Lowry, with the Clippers still in the mix.
  • The Celtics‘ trade offer for Jakob Poeltl consisted of guard Payton Pritchard, injured forward Danilo Gallinari, and multiple future second-round picks, reports Brian Robb of MassLive.com. While that proposal would’ve given the Spurs a promising young player in Pritchard, it fell well short of what Toronto was offering in terms of draft compensation.
  • Fred Katz of The Athletic explores how Josh Hart will fit in with the Knicks and explains why New York wanted him, noting that he’s a classic Tom Thibodeau sort of player. Katz also notes that the protection terms on the team’s traded 2023 first-round pick (it will turn into four second-rounders if it lands in the lottery) will allow the Knicks to remain flexible with all of their future first-rounders this offseason and beyond.
  • The Pistons have reportedly set a high asking price for veterans Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, who are both under contract for next season, and head coach Dwane Casey understands why the front office has taken that stance, as Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (subscriber link) relays. “(Burks) and (Bogdanovic) are the perfect fit for our rebuilding program, and we’re ready to take off and go forward next year,” Casey said. “Those two guys are just important pieces now and also going forward.”

Celtics Rumors: Pritchard, Gallinari, Poeltl, Bamba

The Celtics have been exploring the possibility of pairing Payton Pritchard and Danilo Gallinari in an outgoing trade package as they seek frontcourt reinforcements, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Pritchard and Gallinari are earning a total of approximately $8.72MM this season, so if the Celtics traded them together, they could take back a player earning up to nearly $11MM (125% of the outgoing salary, plus $100K).

As Fischer observes, the group of players earning less than $11MM includes centers like Jakob Poeltl of the Spurs and Mohamed Bamba of the Magic, though I suspect Boston would need to include at least one more sweetener to land Poeltl and may be hesitant to part with Pritchard in a deal for Bamba.

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • Pritchard spoke to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe about his role in Boston, expressing conflicted feelings about having the opportunity to play for a legitimate title contender while not seeing the court as much as he’d like. The third-year guard said the team’s success doesn’t “necessarily” make it easier to accept his limited minutes. I’m a competitor and I want to play,” Pritchard said. “I’d play this game for no money if that’s what it means, because I love it. So the biggest thing for me is being somewhere I’ll play and really contribute to winning.”
  • Speaking to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, Gallinari addressed his ongoing ACL recovery process and said he’s prepared for the possibility of being on the move at the trade deadline. “(The front office and I) haven’t talked about the trade situation,” Gallinari said. “But I’m 34 years old, I’ve been in the league 15 years. Whatever happens, happens. It’s out of my control, and I’m focused in on my job.”
  • Jay King of The Athletic evaluates several hypothetical trade proposals submitted by fans, considering whether any of them are realistic. King’s favorite of the bunch is a theoretical deal that would send Pritchard and a second-round pick to Utah for Jarred Vanderbilt.

Celtics Notes: Gallinari, Poeltl, Hernangomez, Frontcourt

After tearing his ACL during a World Cup qualifying game in August, Danilo Gallinari is considered highly likely to miss the entire 2022/23 NBA season, but the Celtics forward hasn’t given up on the idea of returning to action this spring, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.

“My mindset is that I want to play, and that I’m going to play at the end of the season,” Gallinari said. “I want to play in the playoffs. So that’s the mindset that helps me every day get better and motivates me even more.”

Recoveries from ACL tears often take a full calendar year, but that’s not always the case. Another veteran returning from a torn ACL, Danny Green, is on track to make his season debut next week, less than nine months after he sustained his injury. A similar timeline for Gallinari could put him in line for a return in May — it’s certainly possible the top-seeded Celtics will still be playing at that point.

However, as Himmelsbach observes, even if Gallinari’s recovery process moves quickly, the Celtics would likely be reluctant to bring him back in such a “high-intensity, high-stakes” environment when he hasn’t played for the entire season. The 34-year-old recognizes that and is prepared to accept the possibility of being sidelined until the fall, but he doesn’t want to give up hope on this season quite yet.

“My mindset is there is definitely a chance,” he said. “So when I think about the season, it’s definitely not a lost season for me. So, we’ll see. That’s the mindset that helps me and pushes me to get better every day. If it happens, it’s going to be great. If it doesn’t, I’m looking forward to next season.”

Here’s more out of Boston:

  • Jay King of The Athletic poses three key questions facing the Celtics at the trade deadline, including whether they’ll acquire more frontcourt help. Although King’s sources confirmed that Boston is scouring the market for big men, those sources downplayed the odds of the team making a play for Spurs center Jakob Poeltl, suggesting that if Poeltl is moved, it’ll be to a team that’s a better long-term fit for him.
  • Poeltl is one of the players on a list of six potential Celtics frontcourt targets compiled by Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. Naz Reid of the Timberwolves and Willy Hernangomez of the Pelicans are among the other options Forsberg explores. A report earlier this week from Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo suggested the Celtics and Heat are among the teams keeping an eye on Hernangomez, as Eurohoops relays.
  • The 35-14 Celtics have proven that they’re a legitimate championship contender, so the primary goal for the rest of the season should be managing minutes for their top eight players and ensuring they’re as healthy as possible entering the postseason, contends Chad Finn of The Boston Globe, writing that head coach Joe Mazzulla should be prioritizing June over January.

Several Contenders Pursuing Malik Beasley

Malik Beasley is a popular target heading into this year’s trade deadline, with several contenders expected to make a play for the Jazz guard, writes Sean Deveney of Heavy.

The desire around the league for more shooting, combined with a shortage of sellers, could produce an “overheated” market for Beasley, an Eastern Conference executive tells Deveney. The 26-year-old is averaging 13.7 PPG for Utah while connecting at 39.9% from the field and 35.8% from three-point range. His contract is relatively affordable, with a $16.5MM team option for 2023/24.

“It is a thin market,” the executive said. “You are going to have to overpay because there are not a ton of guys you can go out and get. … A lot of playoff teams are trying to figure out what it is going to take to get him.”

The Jazz are asking for a first-round pick in return for Beasley, along with a young player and whatever it takes to match salaries, according to Deveney, who hears that Utah is willing to take on salary beyond this season if it believes the players if acquires can eventually be moved for another first-rounder.

Deveney cites the Heat as among the top contenders for Beasley, possibly as part of a larger deal that would also bring Kelly Olynyk back to Miami for a package that includes Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin along with picks and other young players. Miami prefers to hold onto 2022 first-round pick Nikola Jovic, according to Deveney, who believes that stance could change as the deadline nears.

Deveney also mentions the Cavaliers in a rumor first floated last week by Marc Stein. The proposed three-team deal would send Beasley to Cleveland, Caris LeVert‘s expiring contract to the Hawks and John Collins to Utah.

The Bucks and Nets are also interested in Beasley, Deveney adds, but both teams are limited in the draft assets they can offer. Milwaukee doesn’t have a first-round pick to trade until 2029, while Brooklyn would like to deal Seth Curry or Joe Harris for Beasley, but can’t trade a first-rounder until 2028.

The Celtics, who nearly traded for Beasley last season before acquiring Derrick White, probably won’t be involved in the pursuit this year, Deveney states. He expects them to seek a less expensive wing if they’re active in the market at all, possibly offering Danilo Gallinari and Payton Pritchard in return.

Deveney identifies the Pelicans and Warriors as “dark horses” in the Beasley chase, with New Orleans having the combination of draft capital, young players and salary fillers that Utah is seeking, and Golden State able to get involved if management decides to part with either James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga or Moses Moody.

Atlantic Notes: Korkmaz, Raptors, Claxton, Celtics

With the Sixers‘ 2022/23 team salary just barely over the luxury tax line, there have been rumblings that the team will look to trade a non-rotation player to duck out of tax territory. Furkan Korkmaz, one player who has been cited as a candidate to be moved in such a deal, has heard the rumors, but is trying to not let them affect him, as Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays.

“I just let those guys handle it — my agent, my organization-wise,” he said. “Right now, I don’t think it’s going to make a lot of sense for me to say anything about it, because it’s not in my hands at some point. … For me, the best thing that I can say is I want to be happy, you know? I want to be on the court. And whatever they think is working with the team, that’s fine with me.”

Korkmaz has been a rotation regular in Philadelphia over the last several years, averaging 20.8 minutes per game in 194 appearances during the three seasons prior to this one. In 2022/23, he has appeared in just 23 contests and averaged only 10.9 MPG.

Given his decline in production over the last year and the fact that he’s owed a guaranteed $5.37MM next season, Korkmaz wouldn’t be a positive asset on the trade market — especially since potential trade partners would recognize that the Sixers want to duck the tax, reducing Philadelphia’s leverage.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Asked on his podcast by co-host Izzy Gutierrez about the Raptors‘ struggles this season, Pelicans guard CJ McCollum said he expects Toronto to make a move or two before the trade deadline. “I think in terms of what they need or what they’re lacking, something’s gonna happen. I don’t know what,” McCollum said (hat tip to HoopsHype). “There’s rumblings about certain players on the team not being happy. And due to tampering, I can’t speak to that, but I think they’re gonna move someone at some point.”
  • In a conversation with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Nets center Nic Claxton said he feels like he’s “barely scratching the surface” of his potential and that he believes he can become one of the NBA’s best two-way players. Claxton also believes he should be the frontrunner for the Defensive Player of the Year award. “I’m defending one through five and neck and neck as the (NBA’s) leading shot blocker,” he said. “I’m doing everything on the defensive end for the team, anchoring the defense every single night.”
  • Jared Weiss of The Athletic takes a closer look at some of the Celtics‘ trade assets, examining which players might be available at the deadline and whether the team will have an opportunity to use its disabled player exception. Weiss identifies Danilo Gallinari and Payton Pritchard as two of the team’s top trade candidates and suggests the DPE will likely be saved for the buyout market.

Celtics Receive Disabled Player Exception

The NBA has granted a disabled player exception to the Celtics for the injury suffered by Danilo Gallinari, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The DPE is worth $3.23MM, which is half of Gallinari’s salary for this season, and can be used through March 10.

Gallinari suffered a torn left ACL in August while playing for Italy in a World Cup qualifying game. He underwent knee surgery in late September and is expected to miss the entire season.

The 34-year-old swingman signed a two-year contract with Boston in free agency after spending the last two seasons with the Hawks. He has a player option on the second year of the deal that he’s almost certain to exercise considering the injury.

Disabled player exceptions can be used to sign a free agent, to claim a player off waivers, or to acquire a player in a trade. They can only be used to add one player and must be used on a one-year contract (ie. a free agent can only be signed for one year and a waiver claim or trade acquisition must be in the final year of his deal).

Injury Notes: Bagley, Bogdanovic, Mobley, Curry, Gallinari

The Pistons will find out the extent of Marvin Bagley III‘s right knee injury when he undergoes an MRI on Wednesday, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets.

Bagley suffered a non-contact injury when he slipped during the opening quarter of the Pistons’ preseason game against the Thunder on Tuesday. He had to be helped off the court. Detroit re-signed Bagley on a three-year, $37MM contract this summer.

Another Pistons forward, Bojan Bogdanovic, acquired from the Jazz last month, is nursing a calf strain, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets.

We have more injury-related info:

  • Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley is making good progress in his recovery from a right ankle sprain and could appear in a preseason game, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. Mobley underwent a lengthy workout after Tuesday’s practice. “We’re hopeful. We haven’t ruled it out,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “It’s always about tomorrow and how it responded the day before. But we have not ruled him out from playing in a preseason game.”
  • Nets guard Seth Curry will not play in the remaining two preseason games and his status for opening night is questionable, Nick Friedell of ESPN tweets. Curry is still working his way back from left ankle surgery in May.
  • The Celtics’ Danilo Gallinari, who is expected to miss the season due to a torn left ACL, started walking a few days ago and is receiving physical therapy on his knee, Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets.

Celtics Expect Robert Williams To Miss 8-12 Weeks Following Knee Procedure

Celtics big man Robert Williams has undergone an arthroscopic procedure to remove loose bodies from his left knee and to address swelling in that knee, the team announced today (Twitter link).

While the surgery had been expected, the Celtics revealed that the recovery timeline will be longer than initially anticipated. According to the club, Williams is expected to resume basketball activities in approximately eight-to-12 weeks. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski previously estimated a four-to-six week timetable.

Williams enjoyed a breakout season in 2021/22, establishing new career highs in PPG (10.0), RPG (9.6), BPG (2.2), games played and started (61), field goal percentage (73.6%), and several other categories. He also helped anchor the NBA’s top defense.

Williams initially underwent surgery on the knee in March after tearing his meniscus. He was able to return to the court less than a month later and played a part in the Celtics’ run to the NBA Finals, though he wasn’t at 100% in the postseason. The 24-year-old sat out five games in the second and third rounds of the playoffs and reportedly required extensive treatment as he dealt with fluid build-up.

The decision was made this fall for Williams to undergo another procedure when he began his ramp-up process and experienced some discomfort in the knee. Based on the timeline announced today by the Celtics, it sounds like he’ll miss at least the first month or two of the regular season.

In Williams’ absence, Boston will lean on big men Al Horford and Grant Williams, with others like Luke Kornet, Noah Vonleh, Mfiondu Kabengele, and Luka Samanic vying for roster spots and playing time.

The Celtics also confirmed today (via Twitter) that Danilo Gallinari underwent surgery to repair his torn left ACL. They didn’t announce a projected recovery timeline for the forward, but the expectation is that he’ll miss most or all of the 2022/23 season.

Atlantic Notes: Grimes, Toppin, Celtics, Warren

Second-year guard Quentin Grimes could replace Evan Fournier in the Knicks‘ starting lineup, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. When New York signed Jalen Brunson this summer, there were concerns that he and Fournier might not provide enough defense as a backcourt combination.

Begley states that starting Grimes as the shooting guard and having Fournier come off the bench was among several scenarios discussed by Knicks management this summer. Another option the team considered is moving RJ Barrett into the backcourt and giving Cam Reddish a chance to start at small forward.

Although Fournier would be an expensive reserve, Begley doesn’t believe New York should try to trade him. Begley notes that the Knicks need all the shooters they can get, which is why they signed Svi Mykhailiuk earlier this week.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Members of the Knicks‘ coaching staff believe Obi Toppin could see an increased role, Begley adds in the same piece. Toppin showed progress during his second NBA season and could become a starter if New York finds a taker for Julius Randle.
  • Despite some speculation to the contrary, Jay King of the Athletic hears that the Celtics don’t plan to reach out to a veteran big man to help replace Robert Williams (Twitter link). Sources tell King that the roster spot that formerly belonged to Bruno Caboclo will likely go to another young center or power forward. Williams will undergo arthroscopic surgery and is projected to miss four to six weeks.
  • Surgeries for both Williams and Danilo Gallinari have been scheduled for Thursday, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens called Williams’ injury “short term.”
  • T.J. Warren could be the Nets‘ leading scorer off the bench if he can overcome the foot problems that have plagued him for the past two seasons, Alex Schiffer of The Athletic writes in an overview of Brooklyn’s roster. Warren averaged 19.8 points per game and shot 40.3% from three-point range during his last healthy season. Schiffer believes the team is strong everywhere but center, and he points to Dwight Howard as a potential low-cost addition who could provide experience in the middle.

Celtics Notes: Gallinari, Free Agents, Brogdon, G. Williams

The Celtics are expected to apply for a disabled player exception in the wake of Danilo Gallinari‘s ACL tear, a source tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. A report Friday indicates that Gallinari hasn’t given up hope of playing toward the end of the upcoming season, but it appears to be a long shot given his age and the severity of the injury.

If the request is approved, Boston’s DPE would be about $3.2MM, which is half of Gallinari’s salary for 2022/23. The team would be able use that amount to sign a free agent, claim a player off waivers or acquire a player through trade, though Himmelsbach views that last option as unlikely because the Celtics already have two trade exceptions that are worth more.

Boston signed Gallinari in July to provide veteran help off the bench and another three-point shooting threat. His contract includes a $6.8MM player option for next season that he seems almost certain to exercise in light of the injury.

There’s more from Boston:

  • With Gallinari likely unavailable for the entire season, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe looks at some options that are still available on the free agent market. He points to Carmelo Anthony, who might welcome the chance to end his career on a title contender, along with DeMarcus Cousins, Jeremy Lamb, Dwight Howard and LaMarcus Aldridge. Washburn notes that Kevin Durant‘s trade demand worked to the Celtics’ advantage because it froze the free agent market for several weeks, leaving a wealth of veteran players available in September.
  • Malcolm Brogdon may used as the primary backup wing to Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, Brian Robb of MassLive writes in a mailbag column. Brogdon, who was acquired from the Pacers in July, has the size to handle the role at 6’5″ and is probably the team’s best defensive option at that position. Robb notes that it would also provide more backcourt minutes for Derrick White and Payton Pritchard.
  • Grant Williams will likely ask for a starting salary in the mid-teens in his extension negotiations, Robb adds in the same piece. Robb doesn’t believe president of basketball operations Brad Stevens will meet that price, even though Williams becomes more important with Gallinari sidelined.