Dylan Windler

COVID-19 Updates: Payton, Nader, Lopez, Ross, Cavs, Duke

It has been an unusual week for Suns guard Elfrid Payton, who entered the health and safety protocols on Sunday, then exited them on Monday after what appeared to be a false positive. On Wednesday, prior to Phoenix’s game vs. Oklahoma City, Payton reentered the protocols, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic writes.

The specifics of Payton’s situation are unclear, but he’ll now remain in the protocols for at least six days unless he can once again return two consecutive negative COVID-19 tests at least 24 hours apart.

According to Rankin, Payton wasn’t the only Sun to be placed in the protocols on Wednesday — Abdel Nader has also joined that list. However, Nader has been out of Phoenix’s lineup since November 19 due to what the team has called “right knee injury management,” so his placement in the protocols had no real impact on the rotation.

Here are a few more COVID-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Magic center Robin Lopez has entered the COVID-19 protocols, the team announced on Thursday morning (via Twitter). However, Terrence Ross is listed on Orlando’s latest injury report as out due to “return to competition reconditioning,” which suggests he has exited the protocols. With Lopez in and Ross out, there are still five Magic players in the protocols.
  • The Cavalierslatest injury report lists Jarrett Allen, Dylan Windler, and Lamar Stevens as going through return to competition reconditioning, so they’ve cleared the protocols. Allen is considered doubtful for Thursday’s game in Washington, while Windler and Stevens are questionable.
  • Nets rookie David Duke has exited the health and safety protocols, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Brooklyn’s list of players in the protocols was in the double-digits earlier this month, but is now down to just two — Kessler Edwards and Day’Ron Sharpe.
  • Our running list of players in the protocols can be found right here.

Five More Cavaliers Players Enter Protocols

12:28 PM: The five players who have entered the protocols are Allen, Lamar Stevens, Dylan Windler, Denzel Valentine and RJ Nembhard, the Cavaliers announced (via Twitter). Their game with the Hawks Sunday has been postponed due to the outbreak.


11:24 AM: Tonight’s game between the Cavaliers and Hawks is expected to be postponed, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). It would be the third game of the season to be called off, following the Bulls’ games this week against the Pistons and Raptors.


11:21 AM: Center Jarrett Allen is among the five players being placed in the protocols, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Allen has been among the reasons for Cleveland’s turnaround, averaging 16.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 28 games.


10:30 AM: Five Cavaliers tested positive for COVID-19 today and there are concerns that the team may not have eight available players for tonight’s game in Atlanta, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Cleveland is already without Evan Mobley and Isaac Okoro, who both entered the protocols this week.

Most players who would be eligible to join the team under the hardship provision are currently in Las Vegas for the G League Showcase, explains Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link). Travel issues would make it difficult for any of them to be in Atlanta by game time.

The Cleveland players haven’t been identified yet, but because they tested positive, they will have to spend 10 days in the protocols unless they can submit two consecutive negative tests for the virus at least 24 hours apart. The Cavaliers, one of the season’s early surprises with a 19-12 record, are scheduled to play four times in the next 10 days, including tonight’s game.

Follow all the latest COVID-19 updates in our daily tracker.

Cavaliers Notes: Windler, LeVert, Wade, Allen

The Cavaliers, who have assigned Dylan Windler to the G League to give him some playing time, still believe in the third-year forward, writes Ashley Bastock of Cleveland.com. Windler has appeared in 17 NBA games this season, but his minutes have declined as injured teammates returned to action. He’s playing just 10.8 minutes per night and averaging 2.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists.

“We know who Dylan is and we believe in what Dylan can bring and how he can help this team,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We just have to continue to support him and help him, and giving him those minutes is our way of helping.”

Injury problems have plagued Windler since he was selected with the 26th pick in the 2019 draft. He missed his entire first season with a stress fracture in his lower leg that ultimately required surgery. He made his NBA debut last December and fractured his hand nine minutes into his first game. He later developed pain in his knee and had to again undergo season-ending surgery.
With the Cavaliers in a playoff race this season, Bickerstaff doesn’t have the luxury of working Windler back into the lineup.

“I think it’s good for him to get reps,” Bickerstaff said. “It’s tough when you’re not playing a whole bunch of minutes to kind of catch a rhythm and figure out where your need is. So you lose a little bit of that rhythm. Going out, getting reps gives you that rhythm and allows you to gain confidence and remember what it’s like to play five-on-five.”

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers should be considered a “strong suitor” for Caris LeVert, whom the Pacers are reportedly putting on the trade block, tweets Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. LeVert offers many of the same qualities as Collin Sexton, who has been lost for the rest of the season after meniscus surgery. The front office is looking for upgrades at shooting guard and the team has assets to offer Indiana, Fedor adds, while noting that many people in the Cavs’ organization like LeVert.
  • Dean Wade has been cleared to return from a calf injury he suffered while being kicked during a game, according to Fedor (Twitter link). Wade has been sidelined since November 24, but he may not play tonight because the injury has prevented him from practicing.
  • The Cavaliers have been rebuilding since LeBron James left for Los Angeles, but they may finally have the right combination in place to get back to the playoffs, per Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today (subscription required). Part of the turnaround has been the rapid improvement of center Jarrett Allen, who was acquired from the Nets in a January trade. “It’s leadership,” Bickerstaff said. “He and I had a conversation last year about where I thought he could go, and the job we needed to do to get him there. Coming from where he was in Brooklyn, that wasn’t his role or responsibility, but we knew that moving forward that we were going to need that from him. We knew that was in him.”

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 Cleveland.com. 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.

Cavaliers Exercise 2022/23 Options For Garland, Windler, Okoro

The Cavaliers have exercised the fourth-year contract options for Darius Garland and Dylan Windler, along with the third-year option for Isaac Okoro, the team announced in a press release. All the option decisions cover the 2022/23 season.

The moves lock in the salaries of $8,920,795 for Garland and $4,037,278 for Windler, who will both be eligible for rookie scale extensions next summer. Okoro will receive $7,040,880 in 2022/23 and will be extension-eligible during the 2023 offseason, assuming Cleveland picks up his fourth-year option as well.

Garland, the fifth pick in the 2019 draft, showed considerable improvement during his second NBA season and is considered to be a cornerstone for the team’s future. He averaged 17.4 points and 6.1 assists last year while shooting 39.5% from three-point range and earned three votes in the Most Improved Player balloting.

Windler has been hampered by injuries at the start of his NBA career as he missed his entire first season and played just 31 games last year. He will need a strong performance this season to show that he’s worthy of a long-term investment.

Okoro, the No. 5 pick in 2020, was a member of the All-Rookie Second Team last season. He led all rookies in minutes per game and ranked in the top 10 in steals, points and assists.

Central Notes: Wanamaker, Windler, Markkanen, Nwora

Veteran point guard Brad Wanamaker signed a training camp deal with the Pacers this week and he’s out to prove he deserves a spot on the 15-man roster, David Woods of The Indianapolis Star writes.

“I didn’t come here just to come here,” Wanamaker said. “I came here to compete, show what I’m capable of and try to make the roster.”

Wanamaker has a shot to be the third point man behind Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. McConnell.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Following two injury-riddled seasons, Dylan Windler is making his case for a rotation spot as the Cavaliers’ backup wing, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes. Windler had 12 points and four rebounds in 22 minutes in Cleveland’s preseason game on Friday. “To be out here at the start of the season and contributing in the ways that I’m supposed to, it feels great,” he said. “I don’t control the rotations. That’s coach’s job. I’ve just got to come in, get my work in, do what I do and continue to prove myself when I get the opportunities.”
  • Lauri Markkanen will spend most of his time at power forward but Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff also plans to use him at small forward in jumbo lineups, according to Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. “It’s one of those things where I believe he’s one of our best players,” Bickerstaff said. “So we have to do what we can to get him on the floor so he can help us. His versatility helps. Right now, you see the strength of our bigs and the fact that they are so versatile and they can play next to each other, you can get them out there on the floor.”
  • Forward Jordan Nwora only appeared in 30 regular-season games with the Bucks during his rookie campaign but he’s angling for more playing time this season, Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes. Coach Mike Budenholzer is looking for Nwora, a second-round pick in 2020, to become a more complete player. “I think, defensively, he’s making progress in practice, making progress in the games,” Budenholzer said. “He’s really got to improve on that end, and he’s making steps in the right direction.” Nwora will be a free agent next summer, either restricted if he receives a qualifying offer, or unrestricted.

Central Notes: Cavs’ Rotation, Pacers’ TPE, Vaulet, Cunningham

Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff is planning on a 10-man rotation but the last two spots could change from game-to-game, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer speculates.

“We’re working our way to what will be probably a 10-man rotation and then there’s different nights that are going to call for different things and we will go to those different guys,” Bickerstaff said.

By process of elimination, Denzel Valentine, Kevin Pangos, Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler, Dean Wade, Lamar Stevens and Mfiondu Kabengele are the players vying for those rotation minutes and each brings a different skill set to the table.

We have more on the Central Division:

  • The Pacers picked up a $7.33MM traded player exception from the Spurs in the Doug McDermott sign-and-trade but it’s highly unlikely they’ll use it this season, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. They were just $763,905 below the luxury tax line before dumping Edmond Sumner‘s contract on Wednesday, which moved them $2.8MM under the tax line. That’s still not nearly enough incentive to use the exception, since the franchise has no desire to be a taxpayer.
  • The Pacers received the rights to Juan Pablo Vaulet in the Sumner trade with Brooklyn but he won’t be playing in the NBA this season, Nat Newell of the Indianapolis Star notes. He signed a two-year contract with AEK Athens in July. The 6’6” Vaulet was originally drafted by Charlotte in 2015.
  • Top pick Cade Cunningham sat out the Pistons‘ preseason opener against San Antonio on Wednesday, Rod Beard of The Detroit News tweets. Cunningham is recovering from a mild ankle sprain.

Central Notes: Windler, Cunningham, Lecque, Bucks, Dosunmu

Cavaliers forward Dylan Windler is eager to prove himself this season after dealing with multiple injuries to start his career, Kelsey Russo of The Athletic writes.

Windler, 25, was drafted by the team No. 26 overall in 2019. He’s appeared in just 31 games since then, all coming during the 2020/21 season. The Belmont product averaged 5.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 16.5 minutes per game in those contests.

“My knee is feeling the best it’s felt since I’ve been here, so that’s huge for me,” Windler said. “That was half the battle for me last year, fighting through that. It led to more problems, not only physically but mentally.

“I’m in a clear headspace right now. Had the best training camp I’ve had by far, so I’m ready to prove myself all over again and help this team win a lot of games.”

Here are some other notes from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons are being patient with rookie Cade Cunningham‘s development, Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes. Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall this summer, cementing the 20-year-old as its franchise cornerstone going forward.
  • The Bucks recently brought in Jalen Lecque as part of a free-agent group workout, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Lecque has only appeared in nine NBA games since going undrafted in 2019. He appeared in 14 contests with the Pacers’ G League affiliate last season, averaging 14.3 points per game on 39% shooting. Milwaukee currently has 20 players under contract, the most it’s allowed to have at once.
  • Bulls rookie Ayo Dosunmu has received praise during training camp for his strong play, Sam Smith of NBA.com writes. Chicago selected him with the No. 38 pick in this year’s draft. “The scrimmages and practices have been great,” Dosunmu said as part of a larger quote. “I come out here each and every day and compete to make our team better. They’ve been using me as a point guard on the second unit and a combo guard on the second unit, someone who will go out there and make guys better, use my playmaking skills and also being tenacious on defense. Running the floor, playing the right way, trying just to carve a role out on the team.”

Cavs Rumors: Sexton, Love, Vaccinations, Windler, Valentine

Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton was the subject of some trade rumors earlier in the offseason, but he remains in Cleveland and general manager Koby Altman said today that he wants Sexton to stay with the team for years to come, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

“We want him here long term. He wants to be here long term. We’re working with his representation to see that through, but this is someone that has been with us since the start of this thing and we love him,” Altman told reporters. “We will deal with that behind closed doors. The feelings are mutual in terms of something long term.”

Sexton is eligible for a rookie scale extension up until October 18, the day before the regular season begins. While Altman didn’t go into much detail about those negotiations, Fedor suggests that De’Aaron Fox, Donovan Mitchell, and Jaylen Brown have been brought up in those talks as possible financial comparables. Fox and Mitchell signed maximum-salary deals, while Brown received slightly below the max.

If the Cavs and Sexton don’t reach an extension agreement in the coming weeks, neither Altman nor head coach J.B. Bickerstaff expects the fourth-year guard’s contract situation to affect his performance on the court this season, for better or worse.

“I don’t think (the contract) will ever affect Collin’s internal drive,” Altman said, per Fedor. “I don’t think contract or anything else will ever affect that. He just innately loves this game and wants to get better.”

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • According to Fedor (Twitter link), Kevin Love told reporters on Monday that there were never conversations this offseason about him accepting a buyout, and he has yet to have a conversation with Bickerstaff about his role for the upcoming season.
  • Altman said his expectation is that everyone on the roster will be vaccinated against COVID-19 within the next few weeks (Twitter link via Fedor).
  • Multiple sources tell Fedor that Dylan Windler‘s left knee is “feeling good” following April surgery, and the third-year wing is expected to be available for training camp. As one of the team’s better shooters, Windler could be in line for a regular role this season, but he’ll have stay healthy, writes Fedor.
  • Denzel Valentine‘s two-year, minimum-salary deal with Cleveland has a $500K partial guarantee in 2021/22, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. Valentine’s second-year salary is fully non-guaranteed.

Cavs Rumors: Simmons, Love, Frontcourt, Valentine, Mathews, Windler

The Cavaliers, who have been mentioned throughout the summer as a possible Ben Simmons suitor, continue to have interest in landing the Sixers star, writes Marc Stein of Substack.

Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com mentioned Cleveland’s pursuit of the three time All-Star today as well, adding that the Cavs could enter the fray as a third team in a Simmons trade in order to acquire either Simmons or a different asset, like they did in the James Harden trade to acquire Jarrett Allen (Taurean Prince was also acquired by the Cavs in the Harden deal, and was recently traded to the Timberwolves for Ricky Rubio).

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers continue to be in a tough spot with Kevin Love, Fedor notes. Love played just 25 games last season and his impact on the court has diminished over the course of his contract, which still has two years and $60MM remaining. Such a hefty sum will make it difficult to trade Love without attaching assets, which doesn’t interest the Cavs unless they feel the situation becomes untenable. Fedor adds that the previously rumored buyout talks went nowhere, which means the team and player are stuck with each other — for now.
  • Evan Mobley is the presumed starting power forward for the Cavs, with $100MM man Allen slotting in at center, Fedor opines, which would make newly-acquired Lauri Markkanen the team’s de facto sixth man. How coach J.B. Bickerstaff manages the frontcourt situation is worth monitoring for a number of reasons, particularly because Markkanen was disappointed about coming off the bench for the Bulls last season, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. According to Fedor, the Cavs have talked about having Mobley, Allen, and Markkanen each playing about 26-30 minutes per night.
  • The Cavs continue to look for wing depth and shooting, Fedor notes, which is crucial to the team’s offensive development. The Cavs were one of the worst shooting teams in the league last season, ranking 25th in FG%, 26th in FT%, 29th in 3PT made, 28th 3PT attempts, and 30th in 3PT%. Sources tell Fedor that Denzel Valentine is interested in Cleveland and that Garrison Mathews could be another possible target.
  • Dylan Windler, who underwent surgery in April on his left knee, isn’t a lock to be ready for the start of training camp, says Fedor.