Frank Kaminsky

Suns’ Frank Kaminsky Has Surgery, Out At Least Eight More Weeks

Suns big man Frank Kaminsky had successful surgery for the stress reaction he suffered in his right knee, per our JD Shaw (Twitter link). Kaminsky will be reevaluated in eight weeks, which would be the beginning of March.

Kaminsky was diagnosed with the stress reaction on November 21, nearly seven weeks ago. The Suns are expected to sign Bismack Biyombo for the rest of the season as a replacement to Kaminsky and Dario Saric, who suffered a torn ACL last July, during Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Through nine games, Kaminsky was averaging 10.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.8 blocks, and just 0.6 turnovers in 20.1 minutes per night. He was also shooting a career high 54.5% from the field and 90.0% from the free throw line (small sample size). Against Portland on Nov. 10, he had a huge game, putting up 31 points, seven rebounds, and three assists on 12-of-18 from the field, 2-of-5 from deep, and 5-for-5 from the line.

Kaminsky will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. He re-signed with the Suns on a minimum contract last offseason.

Suns Notes: Kaminsky, Ayton, Sarver, Smith

The stress reaction that Suns big man Frank Kaminsky suffered in his right knee won’t keep him out for the rest of the season, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Kaminsky didn’t join the team for its current four-game road trip as doctors are trying to determine the best way to deal with the injury.

“We’re going to miss him for sure, but we’re hopeful he can get back sooner rather than later,” coach Monty Williams said. “He’s a huge part of our team, culture and we just have to wait and see, but just feel for him cause he was playing so well.” 

Kaminsky is coming off one of the most productive stretches of his career. When starting center Deandre Ayton missed six games with a right leg injury, Kaminsky averaged 14.6 points per game in that stretch, including a career-best 31-point outing. He averaged just 6.6 PPG in 15.2 minutes per night last season for Phoenix, but his role has expanded with Dario Saric rehabbing a torn ACL.

There’s more from Phoenix:

  • Ayton was upset over not getting an extension before the deadline, but he has put aside any hard feelings because the Suns are winning, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype states in a podcast with Rankin on several Suns-related topics. Ayton felt disrespected to be left out while some of his teammates were extended, Rankin reveals, but as long as he keeps playing well, he’ll be in position to demand a huge contract next summer.
  • Also on the podcast, Rankin says the investigation of owner Robert Sarver will likely last for several months. He notes that it’s being done by the same law firm that recently investigated the Mavericks, which took about eight months to complete. Rankin says the players have talked about the allegations against Sarver and are doing their best to prevent them from becoming a distraction.
  • Questions about Jalen Smith‘s work ethic led to the Suns’ decision not to pick up his third-year option, Rankin adds. It’s significant that when Ayton was sidelined, most of his minutes went to Kaminsky instead of the 2020 lottery pick. Rankin notes that Smith has an unusual combination of skills and the Suns don’t have a G League affiliate where he can develop his talents.

Frank Kaminsky Suffers Stress Reaction In Knee, Out Indefinitely

Suns big man Frank Kaminsky has suffered a stress reaction of the right knee and will be out indefinitely, per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link).

Kaminsky had been playing well in the absence of Deandre Ayton and was receiving rotation minutes prior to Ayton’s return. In fact, Kaminsky and JaVale McGee played so well that Zach Lowe of ESPN wondered how the Suns’ strong performance during Ayton’s absence might affect his leverage in contract negotiations next summer.

Through nine games, Kaminsky was averaging 10.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.8 blocks, and just 0.6 turnovers in 20.1 minutes per night. He was also shooting a career high 54.5% from the field and 90.0% from the free throw line (small sample size).

Against Portland on Nov. 10, he had a huge game, putting up 31 points, seven rebounds, and three assists on 12-18 from the field, 2-5 from deep, and 5-5 from the line.

It’s unclear how long Kaminsky will be out, but obviously it’s bad news for him personally and for the Suns’ depth. Kaminsky will be an unrestricted free agent in 2022. He re-signed with the Suns on a minimum contract last summer.

Pacific Notes: Beverley, Kaminksy, Horton-Tucker, Wiseman

Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley received a warm welcome and a video tribute from the Clippers Saturday, but the rest of the night didn’t go as he hoped, writes Tomer Azarly of Clutch Points. Beverley managed just five points as Minnesota suffered its worst loss of the season, but he was happy to be back in front of the fans who cheered him for four years.

After being acquired in 2017 in the deal that sent Chris Paul to Houston, Beverley became the emotional core of a team that was a perennial contender in the Western Conference. He was traded twice over the summer, spending a few days with Memphis before winding up with the Wolves.

“Man, I got nothing but love,” he said. “Nothing but love for the city of L.A., obviously. You come here in the beginning, some kind of semblance to Minnesota. First-year eighth seed. You take that and try to build from it and did something special here. Came up short, didn’t win a championship, but went to the Western Conference Finals, something that the team never did so, man, it was great. It was really great. Was happy to see some old friends. Unfortunate loss obviously, but it was good. Really emotional, really good though.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • With Deandre Ayton sidelined by a right leg contusion, Frank Kaminsky has played so well that Suns coach Monty Williams wants to keep him in the rotation, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Kaminsky explained why he was happy to stay with Phoenix in free agency, even without a guarantee of regular playing time (video link).
  • Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker is listed as probable to make his season debut today, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link). Horton-Tucker underwent surgery on his right thumb during the preseason.
  • When the Warriors left on their current road trip, injured center James Wiseman stayed behind to work with a few coaches and participate in scrimmages, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Wiseman hasn’t played yet this season while recovering from knee surgery.

Suns Re-Sign Frank Kaminsky

AUGUST 9: The Suns have officially announced the return of reserve center/power forward Frank Kaminsky.

AUGUST 5: Free agent big man Frank Kaminsky has agreed to return to the Suns on a one-year deal, his agents Mark Bartelstein and Andy Shiffman tell Marc Stein (Twitter link). Kaminsky’s one-year deal will be worth the veteran’s minimum, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7.

Kaminsky, 28, first joined the Suns for the 2019/20 season after four years in Charlotte. He signed with Sacramento during the 2020 offseason, but was released by the Kings at the end of the preseason and was claimed off waivers by the Suns, resulting in him spending another season in Phoenix.

Kaminsky appeared in 47 regular season games for the Suns in 2020/21, averaging 6.6 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 1.7 APG with a shooting line of .471/.365/.617. He wasn’t in the club’s regular playoff rotation, making 10 appearances and logging just 6.8 minutes per contest.

With Dario Saric in danger of missing the entire 2021/22 season due to a torn ACL, there’s a viable path to play regular minutes for Kaminsky. Newcomer JaVale McGee and second-year big man Jalen Smith will be among the other reserves vying for playing time in the frontcourt, but Kaminsky’s ability to space the floor will make him a better fit in certain lineups.

Suns Notes: Paul, Booker, Ayton, Kaminsky, Game 3

The backcourt pairing of Chris Paul and Devin Booker has reached historic levels this season, particularly during the first two games of the NBA Finals, Gina Mizell of writes.

Paul and Booker have caused problems for the Bucks’ defense, combining to score a total of 59 points in Game 1 and 54 points in Game 2. The two stars are now just two wins away from securing an NBA championship for the first time in their respective careers.

“I’m having a hard enough time trying to figure out how to guard those two,” said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, who’s thrown a variety of defensive schemes at Phoenix thus far. “I can’t come up with a good comparison for you.”

There’s more out of Phoenix tonight:

  • Mark Medina of USA TODAY examines the special bond between Deandre Ayton and former NBA player Mychal Thompson as native Bahamians. “I tell him how proud I am of him and to keep going,” Thompson said of Ayton. “He’s the greatest player we’ve ever had from the Bahamas.” Ayton has welcomed the advice with open arms, averaging 16.2 points and 12.1 rebounds in 36.5 minutes per game in 18 playoff contests.
  • The Suns could benefit from Frank Kaminsky serving as a frontcourt X-factor the rest of the series, Dana Scott of the Arizona Republic writes. Phoenix is already playing without Dario Saric due to a torn ACL, making it imperative that Kaminsky is prepared to step into the rotation. “For me, my mentality this whole playoffs is just, ‘Stay ready,'” Kaminsky said before Game 2. “You never know what can happen. I’ve been ready, I’ve been putting the work in.”
  • The team is treating Sunday’s Game 3 as a must-win contest, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. With a win, Phoenix would take a commanding 3-0 lead heading into Game 4 on Wednesday. “For us, the biggest game of the year is tomorrow,” Paul said on Saturday. “Tomorrow. It’s a must-win game for us. We’ve got to come out with that mindset. Know that they’re home, they’re more comfortable, they will be in front of their fans, but we got to be us. We got to be us and we got to be the hungrier team, and so that’s what we’ll do.”

Suns Notes: Kaminsky, Craig, Nader, Bridges, Crowder, Ayton

Torrey Craig, Frank Kaminsky and Abdel Nader could all pick up minutes during the remainder of the Finals in the aftermath of Dario Saric‘s knee injury, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. Saric suffered a torn ACL during the opening quarter of Game 1. Kaminsky played four minutes in Game 1 while Craig received 16 minutes of floor time. “Frank gives us quality size and playmaking ability,” coach Monty Williams said. “He’s smart.”

We have more on the Western Conference champions:

  • Mikal Bridges has developed into one of the league’s top 3-and-D wings, Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes. Bridges makes the team’s pick-and-roll offense lethal due to his cutting, screening and spot-up shooting. His ability to guard multiple positions is another underrated aspect of the team’s success, Buha adds. Bridges is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason.
  • Jae Crowder is another one of those top-level role players and ESPN’s Zach Lowe takes an in-depth look at the forward, who is appearing in his second straight Finals. Crowder has played an average of 31.7 MPG in the postseason despite modest offensive numbers. He scored just one point in Game 1 but was on the floor for 33 minutes. “You don’t even know what position Jae is,” Williams said. “But you know this: It becomes really hard to take him off the floor.”
  • Williams isn’t sure what Deandre Ayton‘s ceiling is but the coach wants his young center to focus on the present, Mark Medina of USA Today tweets. “It’s important to embrace where he is and embrace the work that he has to do today,” Williams said.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Pacific Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Pacific Division:

Nicolas Batum, Clippers, 32, PF/SF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.56MM deal in 2020

Batum had several teams interested in him last fall when Charlotte waived him and stretched out the $27.1MM remaining on his contract. He’s proven to be a bargain for the Clippers after signing for the veteran’s minimum.

Batum has been a regular presence in the rotation (28.4 MPG), serving as a “glue guy,” content to play defense and grab some rebounds without getting a lot of shot opportunities. His shooting percentage has dropped lately, but he’s still averaging a career-best 41.4% on 3-point attempts. It’s been a bounce-back season after he languished on the Hornets’ bench a year ago. He’ll get offers commensurate for a veteran role player.

Andre Drummond, Lakers, 27, C (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $794K deal in 2021

Cleveland couldn’t find a way to trade Drummond due to the $28.75MM in the final year of his contract. Once he cleared waivers, he had a choice of contenders and landed with the defending champions. It’s a tricky situation with Marc Gasol still on the roster and not thrilled about losing his starting role, but Drummond finds himself pursuing a championship for the first time in his career. If he can blend well with LeBron James and Anthony Davis once they return from injuries, the league’s most prolific rebounder can enhance his resume as he heads into unrestricted free agency this summer.

Damion Lee, Warriors, 28, SG/PG (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $4.5MM deal in 2019

Lee started 36 games for Golden State last season after the team went into tank mode. He earned his way from a two-way contract to a standard three-year deal. However, his 2021/22 salary – albeit a modest $1.9MM by NBA standards – isn’t guaranteed. It includes a partial guarantee of $500K if he’s still on the roster in mid-summer.

Lee has gotten steady minutes as a second-unit player, but really hasn’t contributed much offensively – he’s averaging 4.4 PPG over his last seven games. As a tax team, Golden State needs to fill its bench with low-cost options, so Lee could stick but the club could also seek a better scoring threat at that spot.

Frank Kaminsky, Suns, 28, PF, (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $1.88MM deal in 2020

It’s been a rough stretch for Kaminsky, who was placed under the league’s health and safety protocols at the beginning of the month. Prior to being sidelined, Kaminsky saw his playing time diminish – he averaged 3.5 PPG in 13.3 MPG during six appearances in March. Kaminsky was on Phoenix’s roster last season, had a $5MM option declined, then returned to the Suns after the Kings placed him on waivers. The ninth overall pick of the 2015 draft will find it difficult to regain his second-unit role once he returns. Kaminsky will likely have to settle for the veteran’s minimum to stick around in the league next season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Health Updates: Harden, Durant, Drummond, More

The Nets announced today that James Harden, who left Wednesday’s game with hamstring tightness, has also been ruled out for Thursday’s contest vs. Charlotte. However, according to Shams Charania of Stadium (video link), the injury isn’t considered to be serious, and Harden will be day-to-day going forward.

Harden’s teammate, Kevin Durant, has been dealing with a more serious hamstring issue, having not played at all since February 13. But Charania says Durant is “closing in” on a return to action, adding that if this were the postseason, the star forward would already be playing. Durant still isn’t expected back until possibly sometime next week.

Meanwhile, Blake Griffin will rest on the second night of a back-to-back for injury management purposes, but the Nets will have their other buyout-market addition, LaMarcus Aldridge, available on Thursday for the first time, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

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

  • Andre Drummond‘s debut with the Lakers didn’t exactly go as planned. The veteran center left the game with a right toe bruise, a diagnosis that understated how painful the injury was, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes. “I didn’t really think anything of it,” Drummond said, referring to a play where Brook Lopez stepped on his foot. “I came back in the second quarter and it was hurting a little bit more. And then after halftime, I finally took my sock off to look and my whole toenail was gone. So, it was just all bad from there. I couldn’t walk or run. So I just told Coach (Frank Vogel) to take me out.” Drummond is considered day-to-day.
  • Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova has yet to appear in a game this season due to a concussion and an appendectomy, but that may change on Thursday. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said on Wednesday that Dellavedova is close to being ready, and that he’s hopeful of a “Delly sighting” against Philadelphia, tweets Chris Fedor of
  • Suns big man Frank Kaminsky isn’t injured, but he’s on the shelf for now after being placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.
  • As we relayed earlier today, Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will remain sidelined through at least mid-April.

Pacific Notes: Caruso, Smith, Morris, Kaminsky

Lakers guard Alex Caruso said he never tested positive for COVID-19, but someone he had seen around Christmas-time tested positive and he was placed under the league’s healthy and safety protocols because of contact tracing, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register tweets.

Caruso understands why the NBA set up those protocols but it was still a frustrating situation for him, Goon adds. The guard missed five games but returned to action for the Lakers on Thursday, playing 20 minutes and scoring eight points against San Antonio.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns rookie Jalen Smith didn’t make the team’s three-game road trip that began Friday in Detroit due to health and safety protocols, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. Smith, the 10th overall pick, hadn’t played since Phoenix’s second game against Sacramento because of an ankle injury.
  • Marcus Morris has no issue with Clippers coach Tyronn Lue concerning his second-unit role, Goon writes. Morris, who re-signed with the franchise for four years and $64MM this offseason, made his season debut on Wednesday. Morris had been sidelined by knee soreness. “In hindsight, I was fine with either, but I have seen how well those guys are jelling with the first unit and I thought I could help the second unit with scoring, with leadership, things like that,” Morris said. “I just told him, ‘Hey, if that is what you want to do, I’ll go along with you.’”
  • Forward Frank Kaminsky made his feelings apparent about the Suns before he re-joined them, Gina Mizell of the team’s website writes. Phoenix declined a $5MM option on his contract but claimed him after the Kings waived him late in training camp. “For some reason, people tell you, ‘Don’t let it be known where you want to go or where you want to play,’” Kaminsky said. “But I don’t care. I wanted to play here. I wanted to be with this team and with this group of people.”