Grayson Allen

Central Notes: Allen, Pacers Draft, Sharpe, Bucks Draft

Bucks wing Grayson Allen underwent a surgical procedure on his left ring finger, according to The Associated Press.

“A lot of times, guys do maintenance-type stuff, routine stuff in the offseason to kind of get ready,” general manager Jon Horst said. “It was good for him to kind of approach it in the offseason. It’ll be fine. There’s no kind of lasting effects.”

Allen, whose two-year, $18.7MM extension kicks in next season, averaged 11.1 PPG and 3.4 RPG in 27.3 MPG during the regular season.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Pacers will work out six more draft prospects on Monday, according to the team’s website writer Wheat Hotchkiss. As previously reported, that group includes projected lottery pick Shaedon Sharpe (Kentucky). The other prospects who will visit include Jake LaRavia (Wake Forest), Alfonso Plummer (Illinois), Jermaine Samuels (Villanova), Aaron Thompson (Butler), and Vince Williams Jr. (VCU).
  • Speaking of Sharpe, he held a Zoom press conference on Friday and said he’d fit well with the Pacers if they use their lottery pick (No. 6 overall) on him. “I feel like I could really play with those guys just because they have good guys that can really handle the ball, play defense, switch on defense,” Sharpe said to The Indianapolis Star’s James Boyd and other media members. “I feel like I can score and really impact the game.” Sharpe is certainly not lacking in confidence. “I see myself being one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball,” he said.
  • The Bucks hold the No. 24 pick and could be in the market for a wing player. The Athletic’s Eric Nehm takes a look at nine prospects who could potentially be available at that spot, including LaRavia, MarJon Beauchamp and Patrick Baldwin Jr.

Bucks Notes: Game 7, Middleton, Carter, Hill, Allen

The Bucks missed an opportunity to end their series at home Friday night and they’ll have to regroup quickly as they head to Boston for Game 7, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Milwaukee has already won twice on the Celtics’ home floor in the series, and Giannis Antetokounmpo said he and his teammates will have a relaxed attitude heading into Sunday’s showdown.

“No matter what happens, we’re gonna leave that game and we’re going to be better,” Antetokounmpo said. “If we’re going to be the team advancing to the next round, great. I hope so. We’re gonna play hard, but if we’re not, at the end of the day, we’re gonna learn from this one. We’re gonna be better. So for me just go out and play free. Be fearless, play free, we don’t owe nobody nothing.”

There’s more from Milwaukee:

  • The Bucks haven’t found an effective way to replace Khris Middleton, who has already been ruled out for Game 7 with a Grade 2 MCL sprain, Nehm states in the same story. Jevon Carter, who was signed in February, took Middleton’s spot in the rotation during the first two games against Boston and George Hill replaced him once he returned from injury in Game 3, but neither is the complete player that Middleton is. “Jevon’s been good. He’s helped us,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “So we gotta look at everything, but I think the defense and everything … I think George really helps us defensively. And Jevon can too. They’re different in how they help us defensively.”
  • Budenholzer will also have to decide how much to use Grayson Allen in Game 7, Nehm adds. Allen has made some important contributions in the series, but he was a minus-29 and missed all four of his three-point shots in Game 6. Boston has been targeting him on defense and taking advantage of switches to create mismatches. “The plus-minus is a tough stat and sometimes it’s good, but Grayson is doing his best,” Budenholzer said. “He had some good looks. Just some nights they go, some nights they don’t. Sometimes you get good looks …  It can flip. You make one or two of those, he feels a lot better. Less transition defense, more halfcourt defense, but as a group, we gotta be better.”
  • An outdoor watch party in Milwaukee for Sunday’s game has been canceled in the wake of shooting incidents on Friday night that left 21 people wounded, according to Jim Salter of The Associated Press. The Bucks said 11,000 people attended Friday’s watch party.

Central Notes: Portis, Hill, Hayes, Brogdon

Bobby Portis and Grayson Allen helped the Bucks survive the absence of Khris Middleton in a Game 3 rout of the Bulls, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Portis took Middleton’s spot in the starting lineup and posted 18 points and 16 rebounds as Milwaukee pulled away early. Allen hit five three-pointers on his way to a career playoff high of 22 points.

It was a timely performance for Portis, who will have to decide on a $4.565MM player option that was included in the two-year deal he signed last offseason. Portis was in demand last summer before opting to return to the team that he helped win a championship.

“I just take the shots that are given to me,” Portis said. “I’m a guy that, I don’t really try to go get the game, I let the game come to me. If somebody doubles Giannis (Antetokounmpo) or they build a wall and I’m open, then that’s the shot that you have to shoot for the possession. It’s possession-for-possession in the playoffs, half-court setting, and obviously, teams’ defenses are always going to be built around trying to stop ’34,’ so the guys around him have to be able to open the floor up and knock down shots and space the floor, so just let the game come to us.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Bucks guard George Hill may miss extended time with an abdominal strain, tweets Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Hill hasn’t played since being hurt on April 8, and coach Mike Budenholzer said his condition shouldn’t be considered “day to day.”
  • The Pistons believe second-year guard Killian Hayes could benefit from a summer of pick-up basketball, according to Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. They saw improvement in Hayes’ mental approach to the game this season and want him to experience a setting where he has to win to keep playing. “You guys play pick-up. How hard do you have to play to stay on the court,” coach Dwane Casey asked reporters. “If not, you wait until next, waiting three more games. He’s never had to go through that, and that’s not a knock on him. It’s just something a young man, 18, 19-year-old had to go through. He played on club teams in Europe that practiced three times a day, structured. He hasn’t had a chance to go out and spread his wings and do some of the things he can do.”
  • Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon, who was shut down for the season on March 18 because of back pain, is looking forward to more time playing alongside new backcourt partner Tyrese Haliburton next season, per Wheat Hotchkiss of NBA.com“He’s a great young talent, great young point guard,” Brogdon said. “Super unselfish. He’s the guy you want to play with. He’s the guy that’s going to help you win. I think the fit is great for me, for the organization. I’m excited to play with him.”

Central Notes: Middleton, Ball, Caruso, Sexton

How will the Bucks survive their first-round series against the Bulls without Khris Middleton? Jrue Holiday needs to ramp up his production, Eric Nehm of The Athletic opines. Middleton will be out at least two weeks with an MCL sprain and he’s the only big wing in the rotation, Nehm notes. Coach Mike Budenholzer could go a number of ways with his starting lineup, from Grayson Allen to Pat Connaughton to even Bobby Portis, which would give Milwaukee a jumbo look.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball has already been ruled out for the postseason and there’s still reasons for long-term concern, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Ball has continued to deal with discomfort in his left knee and coach Billy Donovan isn’t sure when he’ll be able to begin an offseason training program. “If it gets to a place where he’s still having discomfort after a longer period of time, I don’t know what the next step would be,” Donovan said.
  • Added last offseason on a four-year, $37MM pact, Alex Caruso is paying big dividends for the Bulls in the playoffs, Sam Smith of the team’s website writes. Caruso’s defense was the underrated reason why Chicago won Game 2 in Milwaukee. “He made a couple of big threes, had a couple of rebounds that were big. … He’s really a great guy because he will not shortcut or rest on the court, so to speak,” Donovan said. “He’s going to give you everything he has. He’s smart, knows what he has to do, is physical defensively for our team and he gives you everything he has.”
  • Multiple sources tell Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the Pistons could make a run at Cavaliers restricted free agent Collin Sexton this summer to pair him up with Cade Cunningham in Detroit’s backcourt. The Pistons could have the most cap space in the league this summer but Fedor is uncertain if anyone will give Sexton an offer sheet that Cleveland wouldn’t match, noting Sexton’s season was a washout after he tore the meniscus in his left knee 11 games into the campaign.

Central Notes: Jones Jr., Allen, Jackson, LaVine, Bagley

The Bulls were furious at the Bucks’ Grayson Allen after his hard foul against Alex Caruso in January resulted in Caruso fracturing his right wrist. Derrick Jones Jr. appeared to exact some revenge on Friday, though Jones claims his flagrant foul against Allen wasn’t intentional, ESPN’s Jamal Collier writes.

“I’m not a dirty player. Honestly, I talked to every ref that was there (Friday),” the Bulls forward said. “I didn’t think that was a flagrant. They said I hit him in his head. I didn’t even feel it. I just felt him bump my hip and fall. That’s all I felt.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Pistons reserve guard Frank Jackson missed Friday’s game with a bilateral lumbar spine spasm, according to Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter links). Jackson underwent an MRI, Sankofa adds (Twitter link). The Pistons hold a $3.15MM option on Jackson’s contract for next season. He has only appeared in one game since Feb. 11.
  • It would be surprising if Zach LaVine bolted the Bulls during free agency this offseason, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago opines. LaVine loves living in Chicago and playing for Billy Donovan. He has also repeatedly praised the front office for upgrading the roster, while the ownership group is committed to paying him.
  • Pistons big man Marvin Bagley III had a strong outing after missing three games due to a sprained ankle, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com notes. Bagley, who will enter free agency this summer, had 18 points and eight rebounds off the bench and is thrilled he got traded to Detroit. “When I first got here, the energy was good,” he said. “You can feel it. You can feel how everybody’s connecting. On the road, team dinners, coming together. It’s a great feeling. I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Bucks Rumors: DiVincenzo, Center, Wing Defender

Fourth-year swingman Donte DiVincenzo has generated “considerable” trade interest from teams around the NBA this season, sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. However, the Bucks don’t intend to move DiVincenzo unless they can get back a good young player or a veteran who will help them win this season, per Scotto.

Last fall, when DiVincenzo and Grayson Allen were both eligible for rookie scale extensions, Allen signed a new contract with the Bucks and DiVincenzo didn’t. That made some people around the league wonder if Milwaukee was choosing Allen over DiVincenzo, but that wasn’t the case, according to Scotto, who says the team tried to extend both players and still has interest in re-signing DiVincenzo as a restricted free agent this summer.

Here’s more on the NBA’s defending champions:

  • The Bucks are interested in adding a backup center to their roster, either on the trade market or via a buyout signing, Scotto confirms. Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report previously named Jalen Smith and Daniel Theis as a couple possibilities for Milwaukee.
  • Some rival executives are curious to see whether the Bucks will look to acquire a wing defender who can play a role similar to the one P.J. Tucker did on last season’s title squad, according to Scotto. The club may have hoped that offseason signee Semi Ojeleye would be able to fill that hole, but he got off to a poor start and hasn’t been part of the regular rotation since November.
  • In case you missed it, DiVincenzo recently told The Athletic that he’s not concerned about being mentioned in trade rumors or about his looming free agency.

Central Notes: Bulls, Allen, Pistons, Bitadze

There have been expectations the Bulls will do something to improve their frontcourt depth before next month’s trade deadline, but that may be much more difficult due to backcourt injuries, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times notes. Long-term injuries to Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso could alter the Bulls’ plans, since their backcourt trade assets are now depleted.

We’re thin there now, and we went from really having a deep backcourt – but our backcourt was never really deep this year because we were always dealing with something,” Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said. “It’s been a flux of guys in and out so we were never whole back there. So I haven’t had enough conversations with (executive VP) Arturas (Karnisovas) to really get into any details of what the thought process may be at this point and time.’’

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Bucks issued a statement voicing their displeasure over Grayson Allen‘s one-game league suspension, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. Allen’s hard foul caused Caruso’s wrist injury. “We disagree with the suspension. We support Grayson and look forward to him rejoining our team for Friday’s game vs. New York,” the statement read. The Bulls, on the other hand, feel Allen barely got a proverbial slap on the wrist. Nikola Vucevic said, “The play Grayson Allen made has no place in basketball,” adding that it was a “very, very dirty play,” K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago tweets.
  • While development of young players is the Pistons’ top priority, coach Dwane Casey is weary of moral victories, Pistons.com Keith Langlois writes. The Pistons committed 22 turnovers in a six-point loss at Denver on Sunday. “We’re getting to the point, going into the end of the year and next year, where close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades,” Casey said. “It’s things we can control. Last 10 games we were fourth in the league in turnovers, 12 a game, and then we had this tonight. That’s what was more disappointing.”
  • Pacers third-year center Goga Bitadze has received extensive playing time in three of the last four games. Bitazde, who hails from the country of Georgia, is excited for the opportunity. “For three years everybody has been waiting for me to play and waiting for me to play,” Bitadze said to the Indianapolis Star’s James Boyd. “It was frustrating for them and me as well, but finally for me to get these minutes and for people to get to see me play against the Warriors … it was a really good game for me and for my country.” Indiana has already exercised its option on Bitadze’s contract for next season.

NBA Suspends Grayson Allen For One Game

The NBA has suspended Bucks guard Grayson Allen for one game without pay as a result of a flagrant foul 2 on Bulls guard Alex Caruso, the league announced on social media (Twitter link). The league deemed the contact on the play to be “unnecessary and excessive.” Allen will serve the suspension on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at Cleveland.

Caruso suffered a fractured wrist as a result of the hard foul and will be sidelined at least six-to-eight weeks. Bulls coach Billy Donovan told reporters, including Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic (via Twitter), that Caruso’s wrist surgery will take place Monday morning.

“For Alex to be in the air like that and for him to take him down like that, it could’ve ended his career,” Donovan said as part of a larger quote, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). Donovan also noted that Allen “has a history of this.”

Caruso has averaged 8.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game this season and is one of Chicago’s best defenders. The Bulls are already missing several players due to injuries, including Zach LaVine (knee), Lonzo Ball (knee), Patrick Williams (wrist), Javonte Green (adductor) and Derrick Jones Jr. (knee).

The Bucks are currently 30-19 and the No. 4 seed in the East, while the Bulls are 28-16, the No. 2 seed.

Central Notes: Allen, Caruso, Turner, Markkanen

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer is defending Grayson Allen after he committed a Flagrant 2 foul Friday night that caused Bulls guard Alex Caruso to suffer a fractured wrist, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Allen has been accused of dirty play since he was in college, and Chicago coach Billy Donovan raised those allegations after Friday’s incident, saying that Allen “has a history of this.”

Speaking to reporters before tonight’s game, Budenholzer offered condolences for the injury, but said he doesn’t believe Allen did anything to purposefully put Caruso at risk.

“Competition is tough and there are things that happen in the games that are unfortunate,” Budenholzer said. “And I know that Caruso is going to miss some time and I feel for him. I don’t want that for any of our opponents, for anybody, but there was nothing that was done intentionally.”

The league office is still reviewing the play to determine if there will be further punishment for Allen, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Caruso didn’t think his injury was serious when he left the arena Friday night, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. He and the Bulls found out this morning that the wrist is broken, which will sideline him for at least six-to-eight weeks. Johnson points out that this was only the second game back for Caruso after weeks of dealing with hamstring and foot injuries, along with a lengthy stretch in the health and safety protocols.
  • Despite being one of the league’s best shot blockers and part of the Pacers‘ foundation for the last six and a half years, Myles Turner is no stranger to trade rumors. In an interview with Mark Haynes of ClutchPoints, Turner says he has gotten accustomed to hearing his name thrown around. “I would say the first time I’ve dealt with trade rumors was probably like four years ago,” Turner said. “I didn’t know what to think of it. As the summers progressed, I kept hearing more things, and that stuff was almost getting done. I kind of got used to hearing it all the time. I just took it as part of the business.”
  • Lauri Markkanen‘s versatility has enabled the Cavaliers to succeed while starting three big men, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com“People get so caught up in his offensive game — shot-making, shot-taking — that they don’t pay attention to all the other things that he does for us,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We would not be able to play the lineup and the size that we play without him. Us being unique and different is because of him and his ability to do that. We don’t lose sight of that. We don’t let him lose sight of that.”

COVID-19 Updates: Whiteside, Adams, Barton, Hornets, Spurs, More

Jazz center Hassan Whiteside has entered the league’s health and safety protocols, per Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune (via Twitter). Utah’s frontcourt depth is extremely depleted; in addition to Whiteside, Rudy Gobert, Rudy Gay, and Udoka Azubuike are all in the protocols, while 10-day hardship signee Norvel Pelle is out Wednesday against Cleveland with a non-COVID illness, Walden tweets. Whiteside is now the sixth Jazz player currently in the protocols.

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

  • Grizzlies center Steven Adams is listed as questionable with a non-COVID illness for Thursday’s contest against Minnesota, Memphis’ PR department tweets, so he has cleared the protocols.
  • The Nuggets received two pieces of good news, as Will Barton has exited the COVID-19 protocols and Markus Howard, who was supposed to be sidelined at least six weeks with a sprained knee, is listed as questionable for Thursday’s contest against Portland, per Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link). Howard has missed the past four weeks.
  • The news out of Charlotte is a mixed bag, as Vernon Carey Jr. has cleared the protocols, but rookie big man Kai Jones has entered for the Hornets, per the team’s PR department (Twitter links).
  • Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell have cleared the protocols for the Spurs and are available Wednesday night against Houston, Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News tweets.
  • Bucks guard Grayson Allen said he was fortunate to have an asymptomatic case of COVID-19 and will be available Thursday against the Warriors, according to Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link). Allen also mentioned that the time away helped him recover from the flu.
  • Rockets guard Armoni Brooks has cleared the health and safety protocols and is available Wednesday against the Spurs, tweets Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.