Isaiah Briscoe

Isaiah Briscoe Undergoing Surgery To Repair Torn Meniscus

Magic backup point guard Isaiah Briscoe will undergo arthroscopic surgery this Wednesday to repair the torn meniscus in his right knee, the team announced today (via Twitter). According to the club, there’s no set timeline for Briscoe’s recovery — his return to basketball activities will hinge on how he responds to rehab after the surgery.

While it’s good news that the Magic aren’t ruling out Briscoe for the rest of the season, his chances of playing again in 2018/19 may not be great, especially if Orlando doesn’t clinch a playoff spot. The regular season ends in less than a month, and players who have undergone similar procedures in recent years typically miss more time than that.

This past fall, for example, Russell Westbrook had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus on September 12 and returned to game action on October 21. Last season, Jimmy Butler underwent a similar procedure on his torn meniscus on February 25 and played his next game on April 6, returning just in time to help Minnesota clinch a playoff spot.

Every player’s injuries and recoveries are a little different, but it seems safe to assume that the Magic will be preparing for life without Briscoe for at least the next few weeks. In his absence, Jerian Grant will be first in line to assume backup point guard duties behind D.J. Augustin.

Grant, who held that primary backup role earlier in the season before Briscoe surpassed him on the depth chart, has averaged 4.2 PPG and 2.8 APG in 53 games (16.6 MPG) in 2018/19, with a shooting line of .414/.357/.684. The Magic have a -8.1 net rating with Grant on the court this season, compared to a +1.5 rating when he sits.

The Magic currently rank ninth in the Eastern Conference, a game behind Miami for the No. 8 seed.

Southeast Notes: Briscoe, Magic, Wizards, Hawks

An MRI on Isaiah Briscoe‘s injured right knee revealed a small meniscus tear, the Magic announced today (via Twitter). According to the club, Briscoe has been ruled out for tonight’s game against Dallas and treatment options are being evaluated.

It’s a tough break for the Magic, as Briscoe had recently taken the reins from Jerian Grant as the club’s backup point guard behind D.J. Augustin. Depending on how the Magic and Briscoe decide to treat his meniscus tear, he could miss significant time, which would put pressure on Grant to re-assume a key role during Orlando’s playoff push.

If the Magic decide to look outside of the organization for veteran help at the point guard position, there are plenty of options available, including Tim Frazier and Jarrett Jack. For now though, Grant appears set to become Augustin’s primary backup once more.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • In an extensive Q&A with Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel, Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman discusses Markelle Fultz‘s rehab process, what it would mean to the franchise to make the playoffs, and 2019’s free agent period, particularly as it relates to Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross. Weltman was extremely noncommittal when asked about a recovery timetable for Fultz, whom head coach Steve Clifford is not expecting back this season.
  • Fred Katz of The Athletic explores what could be a logjam at center for the Wizards in 2019/20. While the club would like to retain restricted free agents Bobby Portis and Thomas Bryant, Ian Mahinmi remains under contract and Dwight Howard appears increasingly likely to exercise his player option.
  • Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution provides injury updates on a trio of Hawks bigs, most notably tweeting that Omari Spellman looks like a long shot to return before the ennd of the 2018/19 season. Vivlamore also tweets that Alex Poythress is in a walking boot and will be out for “a while” after spraining his ankle, and adds (via Twitter) that Miles Plumlee has begun to take contact in his one-on-one work.

Southeast Notes: Portis, Walker, Briscoe, Vucevic

The Wizards and Bobby Portis will decide this summer if they want their relationship to be long-term, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Acquired from the Bulls at the trade deadline, the 24-year-old power forward will be a restricted free agent in July. Portis is posting career highs with 15.3 PPG and 8.9 RPG in his nine games with Washington and is enjoying his new surroundings.

“Everything is pretty good, man. I like being a Wizard. I love being here,” he said. “I think this is a good fit for me through and through.”

However, Portis’ return next season isn’t a sure thing. Thomas Bryant will also be a restricted free agent, and Hughes doesn’t expect the front office to invest heavily in both. Washington will also have decisions to make on free agents Trevor Ariza, Wesley Johnson and Jeff Green, who will all be unrestricted.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Even if the Hornets can re-sign star guard Kemba Walker, there’s no guarantee they can ever surround him with enough talent to become a contender, observes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. GM Mitch Kupchak made inquiries about Bradley Beal, Marc Gasol and Harrison Barnes prior to the trade deadline, but wasn’t able to acquire any of them. Bonnell notes that if Charlotte commits about $200MM to Walker over the next five years, it will become tougher than ever for the team to add a second star.
  • Isaiah Briscoe‘s journey to the NBA took a detour through Estonia, but that experience has given him a toughness that benefits the Magic, writes John Denton of NBA.com. Briscoe was passed over in the 2017 draft and had to spend a year in Europe before receiving an NBA opportunity. “Isaiah is a tough-minded kid, undrafted and went overseas to get to the league, so he has a chip on his shoulder, and he has that mindset,’’ said teammate D.J. Augustin. “He’s a big, physical body for a point guard and he uses it out there well.’’
  • Magic center Nikola Vucevic hasn’t decided if World Cup basketball will be part of his summer plans, he said in an interview with TrendBasket (translated by Sportando). Vucevic indicated that Orlando’s postseason fate could determine whether he suits up for Montenegro. “I have not decided yet,” he said. “First we have to finish the season where we are trying to make the playoffs. We are focused on making the playoffs now. I will be free agent when the season ends. I am going to be busy for a while. I hope my situation will be clearer in July.”

Southeast Notes: Wizards, McGruder, Bamba, Briscoe

Even if the Wizards are granted an $8.6MM disabled player exception, they’re more likely to sign players to 10-day contracts than use that exception, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Washington applied for the exception due to John Wall‘s season-ending heel surgery.

The Wizards’ cap issues make it unlikely they’d find a free agent enticing enough to sign for the remainder of the season by using a portion of the exception. The Wizards inked point guard Ramon Sessions to a pair of 10-day contracts last season before signing him for the rest of the season, Hughes notes.

We have more from around the Southeast Division:

  • Shooting guard Rodney McGruder could lose his rotation spot if Heat coach Erik Spoelstra decides to expand Tyler Johnson‘s minutes, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes in his latest mailbag. In that instance, Dion Waiters would start ahead of McGruder and Johnson would receive second unit minutes. Waiters returned from ankle surgery three games ago. McGruder has played fewer than 20 minutes in three of the last four games.
  • An MRI on rookie center Mohamed Bamba‘s sore foot showed no structural damage, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Magic coach Steve Clifford said Bamba is unlikely to play this weekend, Robbins adds. The sixth overall pick sat out against Utah on Wednesday.
  • Clifford is inclined to keep rookie Isaiah Briscoe in the Magic’s rotation as the backup point guard, Robbins reports in another tweet. Briscoe has averaged 17.5 MPG in the last two games, contributing 5.5 PPG and 3.5 APG. The undrafted Kentucky product has displaced Jerian Grant, who had been backing up D.J. Augustin. Briscoe’s salary is non-guaranteed after this season, while Grant could be an unrestricted free agent if the club doesn’t extend a $3.76MM qualifying offer.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/16/18

Here are Friday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Pistons have assigned third-year forward Henry Ellenson and rookie guards Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown to the Grand Rapids Drive, Keith Langlois of the team’s website tweets. That will allow the trio to play in two Drive home games this weekend, Langlois notes. The Pistons are in the midst of a rare four-day layoff and there’s no need for any of them to remain with the NBA club during that stretch.
  • The Celtics have recalled center Rob Williams, forward Guerschon Yabusele and guard Brad Wanamaker from the Maine Red Claws, the team’s PR department tweets. All three started in the Red Claws’ loss to Raptors 905 on Thursday, combining for 52 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists.
  • The Magic have assigned guards Isaiah Briscoe and Melvin Frazier Jr. to Lakeland, allowing them to get some game action against Greensboro on Friday, the Magic’s PR department tweets. Briscoe, an undrafted point guard, has played five games with Orlando this season. Frazier, a second-round pick in June, has seen action in two NBA games.
  • The Grizzles recalled rookie guard Jevon Carter for the team’s morning shootaround, re-assigned him to the Memphis Hustle for afternoon practice, then recalled him once again in time for the team’s game against the Kings on Friday, the team’s PR department tweets. Carter, an early second-rounder, is still looking to make his NBA debut.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/15/18

Here are Thursday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/11/18

Here are Sunday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/10/18

Here are Saturday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • Grizzlies rookie Jevon Carter was on the move today, being recalled from the Memphis Hustle, reassigned for the G League team’s practice, then recalled again for tonight’s NBA game, according to a tweet from the Grizzlies.
  • The Thunder recalled Abdel Nader from Oklahoma City Blue, the team announced in an email.
  • The Magic sent rookies Isaiah Briscoe and Melvin Frazier to their Lakeland affiliate for tonight’s home opener, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic.
  • The Pistons recalled Henry Ellenson and Khyri Thomas from their Grand Rapids affiliate, according to an email from the team.
  • The Suns recalled rookie De’Anthony Melton from their affiliate in Northern Arizona, the team announced on its website.
  • Jacob Evans has been recalled from Santa Cruz, according to a story on the Warriorswebsite.

Magic Likely Done In Free Agency

After re-signing Aaron Gordon to his four-year, $76MM deal, using part of their mid-level exception to reach agreements with rookies Melvin Frazier and Isaiah Briscoe, and adding a reliable backup point guard in Jerian Grant to spell incumbent starting point guard D.J. Augustin, the Magic are likely finished adding players to their roster through free agency this summer, reports Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.

“We’re in a pretty good place with our financial flexibility, all things considered, but the roster is done as we sit here today,” Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman says. “We don’t feel like there are any holes that we need to shore up. We can always get better, and we’ll always be on the lookout for ways to get better. At this point, that would come probably more in the form of a trade if we were to do anything for the remainder of the summer.”

The Magic are currently projected to have a team salary around $110.9MM, assuming the team retains the services of backup guard Rodney Purvis, whose $1.4MM salary is non-guaranteed. Per Robbins, Orlando will also look to fill its open slots for two-way contracts and could bring in additional players on training camp deals.

The statement from Weltman all but puts to rest the speculation surrounding Isaiah Thomas, who was reported to be “negotiating a possible deal” with the Magic last week. Per Robbins, Orlando considered Thomas, but negotiations never took place, as the club believes Augustin is fully capable of leading this year’s squad.

“We’re always looking for ways to improve our roster at every position, but we are in capable hands with D.J.,” Weltman said. “D.J. is a very good player and he’s coming off the best year of his career under trying circumstances. D.J. represents what we want to be about: a professional who prepares, who plays for his teammates and who always brings the same personality to the team irrespective of the highs and lows of the season.”

Weltman also added that newly-acquired center Timofey Mozgov is not currently a candidate to be bought out, despite likely being buried on the depth chart behind Nikola Vucevic and heralded rookie Mohamed Bamba. Rather, the team hopes Mozgov will impact the team off the court through his experience and professionalism.

Should the Magic change their mind and decide to re-enter the free-agent fray, they still have nearly $7MM of their mid-level exception remaining after signing both Frazier and Briscoe to deals exceeding two seasons.

Contract Details: Curry, Evans, Exum, Favors

Since the July moratorium lifted on Friday, more and more official contract details are surfacing for completed deals. Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders and Bleacher Report has been relaying many of those details on his Twitter feed as he updates his salary database at Basketball Insiders, so we’ll pass along several of his notes on 2018’s free agent and draft pick signings.

Via Pincus, here are some specifics on the deals completed within the last several days:

Free agent signings:

  • Seth Curry‘s agreement with the Trail Blazers was originally reported as a two-year contract with a second-year player option, but it appears to just be a one-year, $2.795MM deal (Twitter link).
  • The Pacers‘ deal with Tyreke Evans has a cap hit of $12.4MM, which includes $100K in likely incentives (Twitter link).
  • Dante Exum can technically only earn the full $33MM on his three-year deal with the Jazz if he maxes out his incentives. The base value of the deal is $9.6MM per year, but it can drop to $9.1MM annually or increase to $11MM depending on his bonuses (Twitter link).
  • Derrick Favors can earn up to $18.8MM per year in his deal with the Jazz, or as little as $16MM annually (Twitter link). The cap hit for now is $16.9MM per year, with a July 6 guarantee date for year two.
  • Raul Neto‘s pact with the Jazz also includes modest incentives — he has an annual cap charge of $2.15MM, which can increase or decrease by $50K depending on his bonuses (Twitter link). Neto’s second year has a July 6 guarantee date.
  • Isaiah Briscoe‘s agreement with the Magic is a three-year, minimum-salary contract with a $500K guarantee in year one (Twitter link). It uses part of Orlando’s mid-level exception.

Draft pick signings:

  • The Suns signed No. 31 pick Elie Okobo to a deal that starts at $1.2MM, then is worth the minimum for the next three years (Twitter link). Two seasons are guaranteed, with a non-guaranteed third year and a fourth-year team option.
  • Devonte’ Graham‘s three-year deal with the Hornets is worth approximately $4.07MM (Twitter link). The first two years are guaranteed for the 34th overall pick, who was signed using part of Charlotte’s mid-level exception.
  • The Magic‘s three-year contract with No. 35 pick Melvin Frazier starts at $1.05MM and is guaranteed for two years, with a third-year team option (Twitter link). It also uses part of Orlando’s mid-level exception.
  • Gary Trent Jr., the 37th overall pick in the draft, got a fully guaranteed three-year deal from the Trail Blazers (Twitter link). Although all three years are worth the minimum salary, Portland had to use part of its mid-level exception to go more than two years for Trent.
  • The Lakers‘ deal with No. 39 pick Isaac Bonga starts at $1MM and includes two guaranteed seasons (Twitter link).