Isaiah Jackson

COVID-19 Updates: Powell, Kings, Pacers, Lopez, Springer, Pons

Trail Blazers wing Norman Powell entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Sunday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

As our tracker shows, Powell is currently the only Portland player in the protocols. However, the Trail Blazers are also missing Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum due to injuries, so Powell’s absence means the team is without its three top scorers. Lillard, McCollum, and Powell are averaging a combined 63.2 points per game so far this season.

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

  • The Kings added one big man – center Damian Jones – to the protocols on Sunday as another – forward/center Chimezie Metu – exited, per reports from James Ham of ESPN 1320 and Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter links).
  • Pacers swingman Torrey Craig and center Isaiah Jackson were back at practice on Sunday, signaling they’ve cleared the protocols, tweets James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. Indiana still has four players in the protocols.
  • Robin Lopez remained sidelined for Sunday’s game vs. Washington, but the Magic center was no longer listed in the protocols, having progressed to return to competition reconditioning (Twitter link via Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel).
  • Sixers rookie Jaden Springer has exited the protocols, but has been ruled out for Monday’s game in Houston due to a non-COVID illness, as Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays (via Twitter).
  • Grizzlies two-way player Yves Pons was placed in the health and safety protocols on Saturday, but was no longer listed in the protocols for Sunday’s game, suggesting he registered a false positive or inconclusive test (Twitter links).

Julius Randle, Three Pacers Enter COVID-19 Protocols

Knicks power forward Julius Randle has entered the health and safety protocols and will miss Friday’s game vs. Oklahoma City, the team announced today (via Twitter). If Randle registered a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, he’ll remain sidelined for at least six days or until he can return two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Randle logged 26 minutes in the Knicks’ win in Detroit on Wednesday night after playing over 37 minutes on Tuesday in Minnesota, so his teammates and recent opponents will likely be monitoring for symptoms of their own in the coming days.

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

  • After placing Jeremy Lamb in the health and safety protocols on Wednesday, the Pacers have had three more players enter the protocols today, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that Malcolm Brogdon, Chris Duarte, and Isaiah Jackson are joining Lamb. Indiana had avoided a COVID-19 outbreak so far this month, but it may be catching up to the team now.
  • Bucks forward Semi Ojeleye has entered the protocols, tweets Wojnarowski. Milwaukee had multiple players in the protocols earlier in the month, but Ojeleye is the team’s lone player affected for now.
  • Timberwolves forward Jarred Vanderbilt has exited the COVID-19 protocols and should be available on Friday vs. Utah, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link). Minnesota is down to just three players in the protocols, though Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell are two of those three.

Pacers Rumors: Simmons, Turner, Sabonis, Duarte, Jackson

The Pacers are considered the NBA team most likely to make a significant move on the trade market, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. However, Fischer says there’s a leaguewide skepticism that Indiana will embark on a full-fledged rebuild after hiring head coach Rick Carlisle to a four-year contract just months ago.

“Carlisle is not going to allow that to happen,” one assistant general manager told Bleacher Report. “They’re going to ‘middle build.’ They’re going to go with a sense of competing.”

As Fischer observes, a deal for 25-year-old star Ben Simmons would be the sort of big move the Pacers could make if they want to look toward the future while remaining competitive in the present. But none of Indiana’s top trade chips is the kind of star the Sixers would covet as the centerpiece as a Simmons deal. If the Pacers make a serious push for Simmons, they may have to loop in a third team, Fischer writes.

Here’s more on the Pacers from Fischer:

  • As Shams Charania reported on Monday, the expectation among rival executives is that the Pacers will move one of their standout big men – Myles Turner or Domantas Sabonis – but not both. Fischer says Indiana may ultimately make its decision based on which player commands a higher return, which suggests the team doesn’t strongly prefer one over the other.
  • Although Turner has been involved in trade rumors for years, the Pacers have always highly valued him, according to Fischer, who hears from sources that the club turned down a Pelicans offer that included the No. 4 pick in the 2019 draft. That pick was eventually sent to the Hawks, who drafted De’Andre Hunter.
  • Sabonis’ value around the NBA is mixed, but Fischer names the Trail Blazers as one team that may be interested. Fischer also mentions the Kings, pointing out that Carlisle thinks highly of Harrison Barnes, but a Monday report indicated Sacramento hasn’t pursued Sabonis or Turner at all this season.
  • Malcolm Brogdon can’t be traded this season after recently signing an extension. But besides Brogdon, rookies Chris Duarte and Isaiah Jackson are viewed by rival executives as the only Pacers players who are probably off-limits in trade talks. “Sabonis, Turner, (T.J.) Warren, (and Caris) LeVert all can be had at the right price,” another assistant GM told Fischer.
  • In other Pacers news, the team has assigned center Goga Bitadze to the G League for the first time this season, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. As Agness points out, Bitadze has been out of Indiana’s rotation for weeks and could use some reps with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

Pacers Open To Roster Shakeup, Intend To Be Active On Trade Market

After getting off to a slow start this season, the Pacers have become receptive to the idea of pivoting to a rebuild and trading multiple veterans, sources tell Shams Charania and Bob Kravitz of The Athletic. According to The Athletic’s duo, the team intends to be “very active” prior to the February 10 trade deadline.

Charania and Kravitz identify swingman Caris LeVert and big men Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis as some of the Pacers’ potential trade candidates. All three players have generated “significant interest” from rival teams, per The Athletic’s sources. It’s unclear if Indiana would be willing to move both Turner and Sabonis or just one of the two, but Charania and Kravitz suggest a breakup of the two centers “now appears on the horizon.”

T.J. Warren, who is on an expiring contract, could also theoretically be a trade chip, but he continues to recover from a foot injury and has told team management that he’d like to remain in Indianapolis, sources tell Charania and Kravitz. Malcolm Brogdon is ineligible to be traded this year after recently signing an extension.

The Pacers would like to open up more playing time for rookies Chris Duarte and Isaiah Jackson. The team raved about Jackson during the preseason and Duarte has quickly become a favorite of head coach Rick Carlisle, according to The Athletic.

Pacers owner Herb Simon, who is 87 years old, has historically resisted the idea of rebuilding due to concerns that any extended period of losing could substantially hurt attendance in one of the NBA’s smaller markets. However, with the Pacers already second-last in the league in attendance this season, Simon – apparently recognizing that it can’t get much worse – has become more willing to get on board with a rebuild, per Charania and Kravitz.

The Athletic’s duo clarifies that the Pacers don’t intend to embark on a years-long “tankathon” akin to the Sixers’ “Process,” but president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard and the front office are prepared to make some major roster changes and look ahead to the future after starting the season with a 10-16 record (13th in the East).

It’s worth noting that Indiana has been hurt this season by poor showings in crunch-time minutes and perhaps isn’t as bad as that 10-16 record suggests. Despite missing Warren – their top scorer in the 2020 Orlando bubble – the Pacers have a positive point differential through their first 26 games. However, even with some better late-game luck and a healthy Warren, the current roster probably doesn’t have the upside to legitimately contend for a title.

Rival teams aren’t sure how soon the Pacers will be ready to make deals, according to Charania and Kravitz. The expectation is that the front office will exercise patience and wait for the best offers to materialize, so it’s possible Indiana won’t do anything major until closer to the deadline. Trade talks around the league figure to start picking up a little next Wednesday, when more than 100 players become newly trade-eligible.

Injury Notes: Hayes, Bertans, I. Jackson, Murray

Second-year guard Killian Hayes is expected to miss at least the next two games as the Pistons‘ medical staff attempts to alleviate the soreness in his sprained left thumb and increase its mobility, the team announced today.

As Keith Langlois of Pistons.com notes (via Twitter), the injury has been an ongoing problem for Hayes, who first sat out on November 5 due to the ailment. He had mostly been playing through the injury up until Sunday, but has aggravated it several times, Langlois adds.

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

  • Wizards forward Davis Bertans and Rui Hachimura both practiced with the Capital City Go-Go in the G League today, per Chris Miller of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link). Bertans, who has been out for three weeks due to a left ankle sprain, will be a game-time decision tonight. Hachimura, who missed the start of the season for personal reasons, continues to ramp up his conditioning.
  • Pacers rookie big man Isaiah Jackson has been recalled from the G League and will be available on Monday vs. Chicago, writes James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. Jackson hasn’t played since October 27 due to a hyperextended left knee.
  • Nuggets guard Jamal Murray said on Instagram Live over the weekend that he’s feeling “great” as he ramps up his pre-game workouts in his recovery from ACL surgery, tweets Mike Singer of The Denver Post. The hope is that Murray will be able to return before the end of the season.

Eastern Notes: Hunter, Reddish, Jackson, Strus, Hornets Front Office

With De’Andre Hunter sidelined a minimum of eight weeks after undergoing wrist surgery, the Hawks will naturally rely more on Kevin Huerter and Cam Reddish at the wing spot, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Coach Nate McMillan will likely shorten his rotation with Hunter out.

Kirschner also notes both Hunter and Reddish are eligible for rookie scale extensions before the start of next season and it will be challenging to keep both due to luxury tax bill concerns. The Hawks should consider flipping some of their young talent for an established second star, Kirschner adds.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Pacers rookie big man Isaiah Jackson was assigned to the G League Fort Wayne Mad Ants to continue rehabbing a knee injury, according to James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star. Jackson hyperextended his left knee against Toronto on October 27. “He’s doing better,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s going to … start doing some live practice stuff with the Mad Ants, and we’ll see. He may join us later in the week, but we’ll have to see.”
  • Heat reserve Max Strus missed five games due to a sprained left knee and has shown signs of rust since returning, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. He shot 3 of 10 from 3-point range and committed three turnovers in his first two games back. “I need to get conditioned,” Strus said. “I haven’t been able to run a lot. So I need to get my wind back. Things are just a little fast. So I just got to find my rhythm again. That will come with just playing, so I’ll be back in no time.”
  • The Hornets have made three front office promotions. Buzz Peterson was named senior VP of basketball operations and assistant GM, Larry Jordan was elevated to VP of player personnel and David Duquette was named an assistant GM, according to a team press release. All three have been with the organization for 10 or more years.

Injury Notes: Brown, Pacers, Raptors, Bucks

Celtics All-Star wing Jaylen Brown is dealing with lingering after-effects from contracting COVID-19, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

Brown says it’s taking his body much longer to recover than normal, which is part of the reason he’s had up-and-down performances thus far.

Like, I feel great. And then it feels like instead of playing one game, it kind of feels like I played three. I’m used to my body responding and recovering a lot faster. I know I just turned 25, but this can’t be what it looks like on the other side,” Brown said Friday.

Head coach Ime Udoka recently said Brown’s inconsistency has been “mind-boggling,” according to Bontemps. Brown agreed, but he’s still not feeling right.

Ime came and talked to me about it yesterday,” Brown said. “It didn’t bother me. It’s mind-boggling to me too. I was surprised that my body didn’t respond the way it normally responds. I’m usually able to have that zip, that pop, flying up and down the court, but it wasn’t there. I think that was obvious.

I don’t think he was out of line or anything for that. I gotta be better and get with my medical staff and figure how to get my body to the point where I feel normal. Some days I feel fantastic and then it’s like two, three days, it takes my body too long to feel fantastic again. That’s an issue for me. As I navigate that, we have to still tighten up on the details, tighten up on our defense and find a way to win games. Even though I don’t feel the same on the court, I could still be better in certain areas and detailed in certain areas. That’s more the conversation that we have,” Brown said.

Brown is also suffering from patellar tendinopathy in his left knee, relays Bontemps, which is why he missed a game versus the Rockets on Sunday.

Here are some more injury notes from around the league:

  • We noted yesterday that Pacers rookie Isaiah Jackson suffered an injury on Wednesday and will be out “a while,” per head coach Rick Carlisle. The team provided an update today in press release, stating that Jackson has a hyperextended left knee and is considered week-to-week.
  • Caris LeVert missed the game tonight, but he’s close to returning for the Pacers, relays Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link).
  • Raptors forward Pascal Siakam is progressing from his shoulder injury, but he’s still weeks away from returning, tweets Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. Grange says the best-case scenario is Siakam might return in mid-November.
  • In a separate tweet, Grange says that Raptors forward Yuta Watanabe suffered a setback with his calf injury and was unable to practice today.
  • Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer doesn’t expect Brook Lopez or Jrue Holiday to play this weekend, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic (via Twitter). In a follow-up tweet, Nehm relays that Bobby Portis will miss tomorrow’s game as well (reconditioning).

Eastern Notes: Rose, Magic Injuries, Jackson, Markkanen

Derrick Rose considered retirement a few years ago due to persistent knee injuries, but he doesn’t plan on retiring anytime soon, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. “Hopefully, I’m going to try to Tom Brady this thing, play as long as possible, make sure I really take care of my body,” he said. “And if I’m playing play with joy. I don’t have to score 30 points a night anymore to affect the game.” Rose re-signed with the Knicks on a three-year deal this summer.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Magic fans are irritated by the team’s lack of transparency regarding injury updates on Markelle FultzJonathan Isaac and Chuma Okeke, Josh Robbins of The Athletic writes. Fultz and Isaac are still rehabbing from knee injuries, while Okeke has been out since training camp with a bone bruise in his hip. No timetable has been announced for any of those players.
  • Rookie forward Isaiah Jackson will be “out for a while,” according to Pacers coach Rick Carlisle, due to a hamstring injury, David Woods of The Indianapolis Star reports. The 22nd pick of the draft was injured during the Pacers’ game on Wednesday. “He’s walking in a brace, so that’s good good news, compared to the severity that there could have been,” Carlisle said.
  • Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff credits Lauri Markkanen with making the team’s jumbo lineup effective, Kelsey Russo of The Athletic writes. Markkanen has played small forward in lineups with Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen on the floor. “The biggest shoutout has to go to Lauri Markkanen,” Bickerstaff said of the former Bulls forward. “To me, he’s the reason why it works. His willingness to do that, and again, sacrifice some comfort. He’s the reason why we’ve been able to get away with it so far and why it’s been able to work.”

Pacers Notes: Jackson, Carlisle, Brogdon, Sabonis

The Pacers traded up in the draft to take rookie big man Isaiah Jackson, viewing him as an elite athlete and rim protector, writes Akeem Glaspie of the Indianapolis Star. Jackson, 19, has a 7’5″ wingspan and head coach Rick Carlisle believes he will eventually be able to guard every position on the court.

His defensive versatility is absolutely breathtaking,” Carlisle said. “I just have not seen a guy, move, block shots, change shots, be able to guard in any position the way I’ve seen him be able to do it.”

President of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard was effusive in his praise as well, noting that although Jackson had no practice time for Summer League, he had an outsized impact, tying a Summer League record with seven blocks in his final game.

I’m not trying to compare him to Paul George right now but as a pure athlete he does some things that I’ve not seen in the gym in a long time,” Pritchard said. “He is a fast-twitch athlete. He’s at the rim all the time and I don’t know if it was fair the way we looked at him. I thought he played great this summer, but when you look at how it came to play, I mean it was like no practice — in the games — and I don’t know if we saw the full Isaiah Jackson, but we have really high hopes for him. I think he’s got super talent, he’s a good worker, and I think sky’s the limit for him. We got a diamond in the rough there.

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Guard Malcolm Brogdon is focused on developing as a leader entering his third season with the team, writes Brendan Rourke of Pacers.com. Brogdon says that the team’s leadership void was obvious last season, and he’s taking it upon himself to step up. He hosted a team-bonding trip in Los Angeles in August, playing pick-up games and holding team dinners, in order to build team chemistry.
  • Back-to-back All-Star Domantas Sabonis is hoping to improve his three-point shot, writes Wheat Hotchkiss of Pacers.com. Hotchkiss notes that Carlisle has implemented more five-out sets in training camp, which were effective in his time in Dallas, and believes that having big men space the floor helps everyone offensively.
  • Be sure to check out our Pacers team page for more updates out of Indiana.

Pacers Notes: Stanley, LeVert, Duarte, Jackson

Cassius Stanley may already be nearing the end of his time with the Pacers, writes J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star. Indiana withdrew its qualifying offer last week for Stanley, who was taken with the 54th pick in the 2020 draft, making him an unrestricted free agent.

It’s the latest in a series of events that show the second-year shooting guard might not be in the organization’s long-term plans. Stanley saw limited playing time last season, averaging about four minutes per night in 24 games, even though management instructed former coach Nate Bjorkgren to use him more often to help develop his game, sources tell Michael. Stanley rarely got off the bench, even with injuries to Jeremy Lamb, Malcolm Brogdon and Edmond Sumner.

During this year’s Summer League, Stanley found himself behind undrafted rookie Duane Washington, who signed a two-way deal with the team. Michael got conflicting reports from sources about whether Stanley will be invited to training camp, and the best offer he might get from the Pacers is a one-year Exhibit 10 contract. Michael states that Stanley figures to get similar or even better offers from other teams.

There’s more from Indiana:

  • The Pacers’ search for a third point guard includes a plan to use Brogdon off the ball more often, Michael adds. Indiana explored point guard options in free agency and brought back T.J. McConnell at $35MM over four years. Caris LeVert can help with playmaking duties, but new coach Rick Carlisle prefers to keep him as the primary scorer and doesn’t want to burden him with running the offense, according to Michael.
  • First-round pick Chris Duarte showed off his versatility during Summer League, Michael observes in a separate story. Duarte directed the defense and displayed an ability to be a finisher, a shooter or a creator on offense. “We’re putting him in different situations, wanting him to read the game, feel the game,” said coach Mike Weinar. “A lot of the NBA game now is feel. When you get towards the playoffs and intense basketball you certainly don’t want to be calling plays all the time.”
  • Rookie Isaiah Jackson showed good instincts on defense, even though he didn’t get to practice with his teammates before Summer League began, Michael adds. Jackson was acquired from the Lakers in a trade and wasn’t cleared to play until midway through the first game.