DeAndre Jordan

Nets’ DeAndre Jordan To Be Reevaluated In One Week

Nets‘ center DeAndre Jordan suffered a dislocated middle finger earlier this week but the injury will not require surgery, tweets ESPN’s Malika Andrews. Instead, the veteran big man will be re-evaluated next week.

Without Jordan in its lineup, Brooklyn will need to rely heavily on the young tandem of Jarrett Allen and Nicolas Claxton. The Nets will face the Bucks, Sixers and Lakers in their next three contests, so the absence of Jordan will sting.

In the first year of a four-year, $40MM deal he signed with Brooklyn, the veteran has been a stabilizing influence. Primarily a backup for the Nets, Jordan has served as a mentor while averaging 8.0 PPG and 9.7 RPG in 21 minutes per contest.

Atlantic Notes: Gasol, Ibaka, Jordan, Nets, Sixers

After getting two injured players – Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell – back on Sunday, the Raptors will get more reinforcements on Wednesday, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca, who tweets that Marc Gasol is set to return to the team. The big man has been sidelined since December 18 due to a hamstring injury.

With Gasol healthy again, the Raptors will have a decision to make. Gasol was the team’s starting center before going on the injured list, but Serge Ibaka has been playing some of his best basketball in years during Gasol’s absence, averaging 18.1 PPG and 10.3 RPG with a .541 FG% and a .441 3PT% in 12 games as a starter.

According to Raptors lead assistant coach Adrian Griffin, head coach Nick Nurse will make the decision on who will start at center (Twitter link via Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun). Nurse likes to experiment with his lineups and may try different combinations when Gasol returns, but I’d be surprised if the former Defensive Player of the Year doesn’t reclaim his starting spot, either right away or down the road.

Gasol and Ibaka are on expiring contracts, so both veteran Raptors centers will be motivated to finish the season strong.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • In an interesting piece for ESPN.com, Malika Andrews of ESPN.com examines how DeAndre Jordan‘s gregarious personality and positive locker-room presence factored into the Nets‘ decision to invest $40MM in him this past summer. “We knew we were wading through some uncharted waters where we’ve never been before — where expectations are a little bit bigger,” GM Sean Marks said. “To have a guy like DJ, who can hopefully keep the mood light behind the scenes is — it’s really important.”
  • Within Andrews’ article, Marks acknowledged that the Nets expect to become a taxpaying team next season. The GM suggested that Brooklyn’s investment in Jordan was related to the fact that 2019 was one of the last opportunities the club will have for a while to use cap room. “We’re going to be a tax team,” Marks said. “We are married to that. There’s a limited amount of times and ways you can continue to add to your team. You better do it now. You’re gearing up for a run.”
  • Derek Bodner and Rich Hofmann of The Athletic list 19 potential trade targets for the Sixers at the deadline, including some backup fours, catch-and-shoot players, and combo guards. Meanwhile, David Aldridge of The Athletic makes the case for why acquiring another point guard should be the 76ers’ top priority in trade talks.

Jared Dudley Talks Kuzma, Griffin, Knicks, More

Jared Dudley isn’t one of the NBA’s best players, but he’s one of the league’s best interview subjects, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic, who notes that Dudley is willing to talk to virtually any reporter about virtually any subject.

In his own Q&A with Dudley, Oram asked the Lakers‘ forward about his music tastes, his favorite current teammate, his least favorite NBA cities, how he spends his off days, his biggest fears, and much more.

If you have an Athletic subscription, the conversation is definitely worth checking out in full. But here are a few of Dudley’s more noteworthy comments:

On Kyle Kuzma‘s mini-controversy related to his trainer’s anti-LeBron James comments:

“Not only have I talked to him (about it), other players have talked to him. So when it comes to Kuz, this has been good for him, his maturity and having to deal with it. When I heard he was meeting with the media (on Saturday), that’s something I would do. I would have gone to social media right then and there. ‘He don’t speak for me. Yes I’ve trained with him, but this is where I view it at.'”

On his least favorite current or former teammate:

“I don’t get along with Blake Griffin now. When I was with him I didn’t have a bad relationship with him. That team (the 2013/14 Clippers) was the most toxic team. It was weird because it was a bipolar type team. We were somewhat cool off the floor; we weren’t cool on the floor.

“I just don’t like his personality and attitude. I think he’s a great basketball player and I think you can differentiate the two. It’s easy to be the greatest teammate when you’re winning. How about when you’re losing? How about when you’re down 20? And that’s the biggest thing with that team. It was the biggest front-running team. You’re up 20, everything’s good, throwing lobs. Down 20, people want to fight, bickering. I don’t want to say my least favorite … That’s a teammate right now that I don’t talk (to), don’t get along (with), words aren’t exchanged on the court, yada yada.”

On how he has weighed taking the most lucrative contract offer vs. playing for a contender:

“I never have taken a discount because, for one, I’m never going to get that back. I never believed on that. That being said, I signed a one-year deal (with the Lakers). I might have potentially been able to get a two-year deal somewhere else, but I wanted to come to the Lakers because this not only benefits me this year to win a championship but long-term. Media, dealing with you guys. If I try to become a head coach or a GM, I’ve now played with LeBron, I’ve been on a championship-caliber team. It helps my whole resume going forward.”

On the first change he’d make for the Knicks if he were in position to do so:

“I’d be getting rid of that practice facility in Westchester. Nobody wants to live there, no one wants to commute there. You have to get as close to the city as possible. That’s why Brooklyn got Kevin Durant. I told DeAndre Jordan who told Kevin Durant: The (Nets’) practice facility is two minutes from (Barclays Center). They didn’t even know that. I lived in the city. It took me 12 minutes to get to the practice facility. That’s a huge bonus. People bash the Knicks, but I definitely wouldn’t bash the Knicks. I would have gone there if the Lakers wouldn’t have offered me, or Brooklyn. If it was my third or fourth option, sure.”

Nets Notes: Kurucs, Tucker, Roster, Jordan

With David Nwaba on the shelf due to a season-ending Achilles tear, second-year forward Rodions Kurucs is getting another opportunity to earn a regular role for the Nets, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. After a promising rookie season, Kurucs has been out of the rotation for most of this season, but he logged 11 minutes in Saturday’s win over Atlanta.

“The period of time when I was on the court, basically next man up. Just got David’s minutes a little bit, trying to get some organization right now,” Kurucs said. “Feels great now.”

Kurucs’ role in Brooklyn changed in part due to all the changes the roster underwent this summer, and perhaps in part due to the off-court legal issues he’s dealing with. Still, the Nets haven’t given up on him as his court case plays out, and may have to lean on him until regular contributors start to get healthy.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • The Nets were among the teams interested in signing G League standout, Rayjon Tucker, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link). Tucker, who had been averaging 23.8 PPG for the Wisconsin Herd, agreed to a guaranteed deal with Utah on Monday.
  • Net Income of NetsDaily wonders if the Nets’ reported interest in Tucker suggests a roster move might be around the corner for the team. A hardship exception to add a 16th man is a possibility, but waiving a current member of the 15-man squad might make more sense, as the NetsDaily article lays out.
  • The Nets faced some criticism for handing a DeAndre Jordan a four-year, $40MM contract this past summer, but it’s hard to imagine where the team would be without him, says Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Jordan has averaged 10.0 RPG despite playing just 21.3 minutes per contest and is showing off a newfound passing ability — his 3.8 assists per 36 minutes are easily a career high.

Atlantic Notes: Simmons, Scott, Nets, Lowry

Ben Simmons made his second career 3-pointer last night, but Sixers coach Brett Brown is looking forward to the day that Simmons’ long-distance shooting isn’t a story anymore, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Brown challenged Simmons to make the 3-pointer a regular part of his arsenal, telling reporters he would like him to shoot at least one every game.

“This is what I want,” Brown said, ”and you can pass it along to his agent, his family and friends. I want a 3-point shot a game, minimum. The pull-up 2s … I’m fine with whatever is open. But I’m interested in the 3-point shot. The mentality that he has where he’s turning corners and taking that long step, that gather step, and bringing his shoulders to the rim and trying to dunk or finish tight, will equal higher efficiency, or getting fouled. That’s the world that interests me the most. Those two things.”

Shortly after signing a five-year extension this summer, Simmons talked about becoming more of an outside shooting threat. That hasn’t materialized so far, as he has taken just four in 21 games.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Mike Scott took advantage of his first start of the season Saturday, delivering 21 points in a win over Cleveland, relays Mike Narducci of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Scott broke out of a shooting slump with nine first-quarter points as the Sixers built a big lead. “Just to try to find something to jump-start him,” Brown said in explaining the lineup change. “He has been down. We need him to be up.”
  • When the Nets signed DeAndre Jordan this summer, they weren’t sure how he was going to fit with Jarrett Allen, but the centers have made the pairing work, observes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Jordan and Allen are the only teammates in the league who rank in the top 10 in effective field goal percentage and rebound percentage. “During the summer, there could’ve been a lot of negative thinking in my head,” Allen said. “… But I took it as a positive. They brought him in, and he’s a great person to learn from — first-team All-Defense — he had a great background and I just tried to learn from him as much as I could.”
  • Kyle Lowry was surprised to learn that he’s the longest-serving active professional athlete in Toronto, notes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star“I thought I was going to be here for a year, two years, and be long gone,” said Lowry, who has played 507 regular season games for the Raptors. “Come up here for business and that’s about it but, at the end of the day, I think the perseverance and the work I’ve put in and the belief the organization has in me means something.”

Injury Updates: Kyrie, McGruder, E. Davis, Fall

After missing Wednesday’s game in Boston, Nets point guard Kyrie Irving has also been ruled out of Friday’s rematch with the Celtics in Brooklyn, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. Irving, who continues to deal with a right shoulder impingement, will miss his eighth consecutive game as a result of the injury.

The Nets and Celtics face one another four times this season, but the next two games won’t take place until after the All-Star break. Irving’s first opportunity to play his old team will be on March 3, when the Nets travel to Boston again for a prime-time showdown on TNT.

The Nets did get some good injury news on Thursday, as the team announced that center DeAndre Jordan has been listed as probable for Friday’s game vs. the Celtics after missing Brooklyn’s last two contests.

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

  • Rodney McGruder, who has been playing a regular rotation role for the Clippers during the team’s seven-game winning streak, has been ruled out of Friday’s game vs. San Antonio after suffering a right hamstring strain on Wednesday, per the team. As Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register details, head coach Doc Rivers is prepared to be without McGruder “for a while,” though the club has yet to announce any sort of timeline for the swingman’s recovery.
  • Veteran center Ed Davis appears to be nearing a return for the Jazz. Davis, who was diagnosed with a fractured fibula nearly four weeks ago, has been upgraded to questionable for Utah’s game in Memphis on Friday, tweets Ben Dowsett of Forbes.
  • Celtics rookie big man Tacko Fall was diagnosed with a right knee bone bruise this week while playing for the Maine Red Claws, Boston’s G League affiliate (Twitter link). Fall is off to a good start in Maine, with 15.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 2.7 BPG in six games (24.0 MPG), but he’ll miss at least the next week or two, according to the team.

Atlantic Notes: Kanter, Celtics, Jordan, Raptors

After signing with the Celtics in the offseason, Enes Kanter was the team’s starting center on opening night, but hasn’t suited up since then, having been on the shelf since the regular season opener due to a left knee contusion. Having missed seven games, Kanter has now been cleared to return, as Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston tweets.

While it’s not clear what role he’ll play in his first game back, Kanter should be active for the Celtics on Monday night vs. Dallas. Boston won all seven contests he missed and will look to keep up that streak now that the big man is reentering the rotation.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • With Tony Parker set to have his jersey retired in San Antonio, Mike Monroe of The Athletic revisits the 2001 draft, when the French point guard was nearly selected at No. 21 by the Celtics. As Monroe tells it, new Boston GM Chris Wallace was prepared to select Parker, but was overruled by C’s legend and team president Red Auerbach, who wanted Joseph Forte instead. Forte only ended up playing in eight games for the Celtics, while Parker – selected by the Spurs at No. 28 – became a six-time All-Star and future Hall-of-Famer.
  • In his Friday column for ESPN.com, Zach Lowe noted that DeAndre Jordan has gotten off to a poor start in the first season of a lucrative four-year contract with the Nets, failing to deter opponents from scoring at the rim. Brooklyn will need more from the veteran center going forward to justify its investment, Lowe argued. As Brian Lewis of The New York Post details, Jordan was one of the few bright spots during a blowout loss to Phoenix on Sunday, scoring 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting and grabbing 12 rebounds.
  • In the wake of the Raptors‘ impressive shorthanded win over the Lakers, Mark Medina of USA Today explores how Toronto has set itself up in both the short-term and long-term to stay competitive despite the loss of Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

Atlantic Notes: Morris, Raptors, Nets, Jordan

Knicks forward Marcus Morris recently expressed some disappointment that he didn’t get an opportunity to remain with the Celtics when he became a free agent this summer. Responding to those comments in an appearance today on Toucher and Rich in Boston, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge acknowledged that the C’s didn’t make Morris an offer once the team locked in on Kemba Walker. However, Ainge did say the team put a three-year extension offer on the table for Morris before the 2018/19 season began (Twitter link via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston).

Because Morris was earning a fairly modest salary last season, the Celtics’ ability to give him a significant raise would have been limited. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter), Boston would have been able to offer up to about $34.36MM for three years, the same deal Spencer Dinwiddie got from Brooklyn.

Whether or not the Celtics went as high as $34MM+, Morris did better as a free agent in terms of 2019/20 salary — but his $15MM deal with New York only covers one season. If he had known what awaited him in free agency, it’s possible he would have more open to that three-year extension offer last year. And if he had accepted it, it likely would have had a ripple effect on the Celtics’ future plans, including perhaps their ability to land Walker.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • With Patrick McCaw out at least a month after undergoing knee surgery, head coach Nick Nurse said before Wednesday’s game that undrafted rookie Terence Davis will get the first shot at becoming the eighth man in the Raptors‘ rotation (Twitter link via Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca). Davis committed five fouls in just seven minutes on Wednesday, but still looks like the frontrunner for those minutes, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic, who views Matt Thomas and Chris Boucher as other candidates.
  • Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot could have made more money by returning overseas, but he decided to accept a two-way contract with the Nets, as he explains to Chris Milholen of NetsDaily. “I wanted to still keep a foot in the NBA,” said Luwawu-Cabarrot, who played with Long Island Nets head coach Shaun Fein several years ago in France. “The Nets always gave their two-ways an opportunity to play and that was the goal. I am just trying to get better with everything I work on. In the G League, be a leader of the team, try to do something good with the team.”
  • In other Nets news, Brian Lewis of The New York Post explores Rodions Kurucs‘ struggles to adjust to a new role this season, while Peter Botte of The New York Post says DeAndre Jordan‘s ankle injury isn’t as bad as initially feared. Jordan is being listed as day-to-day.

Nets Notes: Irving, Durant, Jordan

Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and DeAndre Jordan first began talking about the possibility of playing on the same NBA team during the 2016 Rio Olympics, according to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan. The USA Basketball teammates didn’t get the chance to become NBA teammates until the 2019 offseason, but agreed when they all hit free agency this offseason that now was the time to make that plan a reality.

As MacMullan details, Irving told Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge during his exit interview this spring that he planned to move on, and he had already decided at that point that he’d head to Brooklyn. Durant spent hours researching Nets general manager Sean Marks, while Jordan talked to veterans like Jared Dudley about their experiences in Brooklyn. Ultimately, all three players decided it was the right landing spot for them.

Here’s more on the Nets, including several more tidbits from MacMullan’s deep dive:

  • Durant recognizes that the Nets aren’t the immediate championship favorite that the Warriors were during his years in Golden State, but he wants to help lead his new team to a title. “Obviously leaving Golden State, I’m not expecting anything better than that,” he said, per MacMullan. “I see this situation as, ‘All right, I’m coming to a young organization that has championship aspirations but doesn’t quite know what that feels like.'”
  • As Marks tells McMullan, there’s plenty of excitement within the organization about eventually being able to add Durant to Nets’ lineup. “He goes out and takes a couple of set shots — not jumpers — and the whole gym stops,” Marks said. “You can hear a pin drop. That’s great for our guys, because they sense this guy is waiting in the wings. We’re not waiting for him, but man, it’s kind of a cool feeling to know he’s coming.”
  • Irving, who has spent nine years working with his own performance specialist, has been somewhat resistant to the Nets’ player-performance program, according to MacMullan. However, Marks insists that Irving’s pushback on that issue has been “neither unexpected nor disruptive.”
  • There’s some concern among Nets officials about Irving’s mood swings — MacMullan suggests that he can become unwilling to communicate with coaches and even teammates in down moments. Sources tell ESPN that one such funk happened during Brooklyn’s trip to China, but the team is hopeful that having a good friend like Durant around will help.
  • As Bleacher Report relays (video link), Durant said in an appearance on Serge Ibaka‘s YouTube cooking show that the idea of finishing his playing career by spending a season on a EuroLeague team like Barcelona appeals to him.

Atlantic Notes: J. Brown, Siakam, VanVleet, Jordan

Appearing this week on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s ‘Toucher and Rich,’ Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge explained that he and the C’s felt comfortable investing more than $25MM per year in Jaylen Brown because of his “very bright future” and the league’s rising salary cap, as Jacob Camenker of NBC Sports Boston relays.

“Yeah, it’s a bet on his future,” Ainge said. “It’s also the way the league is going. There’s big increases in the salary cap. I’ve been through this 17 years, and I remember when we signed [Rajon] Rondo there was lots of questions, like, ‘What are you doing paying him so much money?’ Same thing with Avery Bradley. Even Marcus Smart, there was a lot of criticism. I just think in two years those contracts turn out to be good contracts, not bad ones.”

A report a few days before Monday’s rookie scale extension deadline indicated that the Celtics had offered Brown $80MM over four years. Ainge denied that report, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said this week on Zach Lowe’s podcast that he heard Boston “improved its offer significantly” right before the deadline (link via RealGM).

“One of the reasons why I think they did that was because…they saw where things were going,” Windhorst said. “If Buddy Hield gets this, then our guys (get this).”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • After officially signing his new contract extension with the Raptors earlier this week, Pascal Siakam spoke to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated about still feeling as if he’s capable of further improvement now that he’s a maximum-salary player. Siakam also discussed the challenges he and the rest of the team will face this season without Kawhi Leonard leading the way.
  • Unlike Siakam, Fred VanVleet won’t be eligible for a contract extension before his current contract expires in 2020. In an appearance on Sportsnet’s ‘Tim and Sid,’ VanVleet said he doesn’t plan to speak about his upcoming free agency much this season, but made it clear his preference would be to re-sign with the Raptors. “I’ve been on record about how I feel about this place,” he said, per Thomas Ketko of Sportsnet.ca. “This organization knows how I feel about this place. So in a perfect world, we know what would happen.”
  • New Nets center DeAndre Jordan was “largely an afterthought” in his debut in Brooklyn, recording just two points and three rebounds in 16 minutes, writes Howie Kussoy of The New York Post. Jordan, who admitted he was “a little surprised” to be coming off the bench, is confident he’ll find a rhythm in his new role. “We’re basketball players,” he told Kussoy. “We have to learn how to adjust.”