Jae'Sean Tate

Southeast Notes: Bridges, Wizards, Beal, Lowry, Chalmers

Hornets forward Miles Bridges met the “starter criteria” on Friday when he appeared in Charlotte’s starting lineup for the 41st time this season. The starter criteria applies to players who are eligible for restricted free agency at season’s end, and dictates the amount of their qualifying offer. By meeting the criteria, Bridges ensured his qualifying offer will increase to $7,921,300.

The amount of Bridges’ qualifying offer probably won’t have much of an impact on his free agency. He’s having a breakout season and is a good bet to be paid in excess of $20MM per year on his next contract, so accepting his one-year QO likely won’t be an option he seriously considers, even now that it’s worth a little more.

Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate also met the starter criteria on Friday by making his 41st start of the season, but Houston holds a minimum-salary team option on Tate for the 2022/23 season, so he won’t reach restricted free agency until ’23, assuming he’s not extended before then.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The Wizards announced today that Pat Delany, who was serving as the team’s acting head coach while Wes Unseld Jr. is in the COVID-19 protocols, has entered the protocols himself. Assistant Joseph Blair, Washington’s new acting head coach, told reporters that star guard Bradley Beal has exited the protocols and will be a game-time decision on Monday (Twitter link via Josh Robbins of The Athletic).
  • In an article for The Athletic, Robbins and David Aldridge discussed the Wizards‘ needs and identified some possible trade targets for the team, including Jerami Grant, Harrison Barnes, and Thaddeus Young.
  • Heat guard Kyle Lowry won’t face his old team for the first time on Monday after all, having been ruled out of Miami’s game vs. Toronto for personal reasons, as Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel tweets.
  • Veteran guard Mario Chalmers admitted he was disappointed not to play at all during his recent 10-day stint with the Heat, but said he didn’t want to be a “disruption” for the team and is looking forward to proving with Miami’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, that he deserves another shot at the NBA level. “Hopefully another 10-day comes out of it and I get signed for the rest of the year,” Chalmers said, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

Kyle Lowry, Jae’Sean Tate Exit Protocols

The Heat, who have signed six replacement players in the last two days, will have some additional reinforcements for Friday’s game in Houston. Point guard Kyle Lowry has exited the health and safety protocols and is listed as available to play vs. the Rockets, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link).

Lowry only entered the COVID-19 protocols on Christmas Day, so he may have benefited from the NBA’s new shortened minimum quarantine period. It’s also possible he tested out of the protocols by returning two consecutive negative results at least 24 hours apart.

The Heat still have seven players in the protocols for the time being, including Duncan Robinson and P.J. Tucker.

Miami’s opponent on Friday also got some good news today, as Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate has cleared the protocols, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Like Lowry, he’ll be available for tonight’s contest.

Tate’s stay in the protocols was even shorter than Lowry’s — he just entered them on Wednesday, so he likely got the two negative tests he needed. His teammates D.J. Augustin, Garrison Mathews, and DeJon Jarreau remain in the protocols.

Deandre Ayton Enters Protocols; Trae Young Cleared

Suns center Deandre Ayton has entered the league’s health and safety protocols, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Assuming Ayton has been vaccinated, he will out at least six days or until he returns two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart. He joins teammates Jae Crowder and Elfrid Payton in protocols as well as head coach Monty Williams. Ayton is averaging 17.0 PPG and 11.1 RPG.

On the flip side, Hawks star guard Trae Young has cleared the protocols and will play against Chicago on Monday, Wojnarowski reports in a separate tweet. Atlanta has a 1-2 record since Young entered protocols. He produced a second negative test to exit the protocols, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic tweets.

Young won’t have many of his usual teammates in uniform with him. Atlanta still has 10 other players in the protocols.

In Houston, Rockets players Jae’Sean Tate and Kenyon Martin Jr. have entered protocols, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. That increases the number of Rockets players in protocols to four.

The Wizards, who already had a handful of players in protocols, added Aaron Holiday to the list, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington tweets.

Rockets Notes: Porter, Silas, Theis, Wood, Tate, Gordon

Third-year guard Kevin Porter Jr., who dealt with off-court issues early in his NBA career, said earlier this week that the Rockets “saved my life” and “picked me up when I was down.” Head coach Stephen Silas isn’t taking those words lightly, telling reporters on Tuesday that it means a lot to him to develop such important relationships with players, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

“It means everything,” Silas said. “That’s why you coach. For the stories, for the guys who maybe aren’t given a shot or feel like they are not able to have the opportunity they deserve. Hopefully, I can put … him in a position where he can be as successful as he can possibly be, whatever it is.”

Silas only has one year of experience as a head coach under his belt, but showed during his years as an assistant coach that he was capable of making those connections with his players, according to Rockets guard D.J. Augustin.

“Steve’s always been like that,” Augustin said, per Feigen. “I was with Steve in Charlotte when he was an assistant. He’s always been a great people person. Some coaches, they’re not good with communicating with players off the court. Steve is that guy who has the ability to kind of connect with players, especially with younger guys.”

Here’s more on the Rockets:

Southwest Notes: Tate, Hernangomez, Hayes, Pelicans

Jae’Sean Tate wants to reward the Rockets‘ faith in him after they decided to guarantee his contract for the upcoming season, tweets Mark Berman of Fox 26. Tate, who played two years overseas before coming to the NBA, will make about $1.52MM.

Tate was an All-Rookie First Team selection, averaging 11.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 70 games. He quickly established himself as a starter and was one of the few bright spots in a difficult season for Houston. The Rockets will have a $1.78MM team option on Tate for 2022/23.

“I’ve been working really hard this summer and my whole goal is just to prove (general manager) Rafael (Stone), (executive) Patrick and (owner) Tillman (Fertitta) right,” Tate said. “That they did the right thing guaranteeing those contracts. I think that’ll show this year.” (Twitter link)

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • It doesn’t appear that Juan Hernangomez, who was acquired from the Timberwolves this week, will have a future with the Grizzlies. ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweeted on Saturday that Hernangomez wasn’t asked to report to the team or take a physical, just like Rajon Rondo, who is now a free agent after reaching a buyout agreement with Memphis. Hernangomez has two years and $14.3MM left on his contract, although the final year doesn’t become guaranteed until June 20, 2022, notes Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.
  • Body camera footage has been released from the arrest of Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes in Los Angeles last month, per Christian Clark of NOLA.com. Hayes had an altercation with police after the incident, which he said stemmed from a fight with a girlfriend. He was treated at a hospital for minor injuries and charged with resisting arrest.
  • The Pelicans received $1.2MM in the sign-and-trade deal that sent Lonzo Ball to the Bulls, tweets Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

Rockets Guarantee Jae’Sean Tate’s 2021/22 Salary

The Rockets have guaranteed Jae’Sean Tate‘s salary for the 2021/22 season, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Tate will earn approximately $1.52MM next season.

Tate, 25, had an impressive rookie season for Houston in 2020/21, averaging 11.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 2.5 APG on 50.6% shooting and playing tough defense across 70 games (29.2 MPG). The performance earned him a spot on the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team.

Tate’s second-year salary wasn’t scheduled to become guaranteed until January, per Basketball Insiders. However, as Feigen explains, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta made the decision to lock in the forward’s salary a few months early. The move was designed to reward Tate for his play last season and to send the message that the team values his “determined play and attitude,” Feigen adds.

Tate’s contract extends for one more year beyond 2021/22 — the Rockets have a $1.78MM team option for ’22/23, which seems likely to be eventually exercised.

The Rockets have also officially signed David Nwaba, Feigen reports.

Ball, Edwards, Haliburton Head All-Rookie Team

LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Jae’Sean Tate and Saddiq Bey comprised this year’s All-Rookie First Team, the NBA announced on Thursday in a press release.

Ball, who was named Rookie of the Year on Thursday, led first-year NBA players in assists (6.1 APG) and steals (1.59 SPG) and ranked second in scoring (15.7 PPG) and rebounding (5.9 RPG) for the Hornets. Edwards, the No. 1 pick in the draft by the Timberwolves, averaged a rookie-high 19.3 PPG.

The Kings’ Haliburton ranked third among rookies in scoring (13.0 PPG) and second in assists (5.3 APG). Bey, the 19th overall pick, made a rookie-high 175 three-pointers for the Pistons. Tate, who went undrafted in 2018 and played in Australia last season, averaged 11.3 PPG and 5.3 PPG for the Rockets.

Ball and Edwards were the only unanimous First Team selections, receiving 99 of 99 potential First Team votes. Haliburton got 98, while Bey had 63 and Tate received 57.

Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley narrowly missed out on the top five, having earned 51 votes for the First Team.

Here are both All-Rookie teams in full, with their voting point totals notes in parentheses. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

2020/21 All-Rookie First Team:

2020/21 All-Rookie Second Team:

Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo (42), Magic guard Cole Anthony (40), and Warriors center James Wiseman (24) were among the players who just missed the cut. Nine other players received votes — you can view the full voting results right here.

Rockets Notes: Injuries, Thomas, Reynolds, Tate, Brooks

As has been the case for much of the 2020/21 season, the Rockets have a crowded injury report today, with 10 of the team’s players having been ruled out for the regular season finale in Atlanta.

However, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (via Twitter), none of those 10 players are dealing with long-term injuries that will hinder their ability to conduct offseason training or participate in Summer League games.

That includes Khyri Thomas, who underwent an MRI this weekend after he “tweaked” his Achilles on Friday (Twitter link via Feigen). According to head coach Stephen Silas, that Achilles injury isn’t severe, which bodes well for Thomas and the Rockets — the young swingman just signed a four-year contract with the team on Friday.

Here’s more out of Houston:

  • Cameron Reynolds will only spend three days (two games) with the Rockets before his rest-of-season contract expires, but even that brief stint with his hometown team means a lot to the Pearland, Texas native, as Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston relays. “I’ll never forget this,” Reynolds said, adding that several family members were in attendance to watch him on Friday. “I’ll never forget being able to play for the Houston Rockets. This is huge for me.”
  • After going undrafted in 2018, Jae’Sean Tate played for a new team in each of his first three professional seasons, so he’s especially appreciative of being able to enter the 2021 offseason knowing he’ll remain under contract with the Rockets and won’t have to find a new home. “It’s kind of surreal,” Tate said, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “This is what I’ve been dreaming of. This is what I’ve been working so hard for, to come in on the back end of my first year. It went by so fast; I feel I just walked into training camp. Also, it just makes me hungrier because I know there are so many things I can work on and get better at.”
  • Armoni Brooks, who went undrafted in 2019, didn’t make his NBA debut until last month, but he has played big minutes (25.6 MPG) for an injury-ravaged Rockets team and his 54 three-pointers are the most ever by any NBA player through the first 19 games of his career. In a separate Houston Chronicle story, Feigen looks at what’s next for Brooks, who is shifting his focus to summer workouts.

Health Updates: A. Davis, J. Brown, Rockets, Tate

Already playing without primary ball-handlers LeBron James and Dennis Schröder, the Lakers lost another one of their top scorers during Thursday’s loss to the Clippers, when Anthony Davis exited due to back spasms.

As Dave McMenamin of ESPN details, Davis left Thursday’s game in the first quarter and didn’t return. The Lakers’ All-Star big man also tweaked his right ankle, though he said his back injury was the issue that knocked him out of the game.

The Lakers have a crucial game on tap for Friday night in Portland — the two teams are tied in the standings for No. 6 in the West, and have split their two games so far this season. The winner of tonight’s game will earn the end-of-season tiebreaker and will be in great position to avoid the play-in tournament, so L.A. would love to have Davis available.

According to McMenamin, Davis said late on Thursday night that he anticipates being able to suit up against the Blazers in what he called “probably the biggest game” left on the schedule. He’s listed on the latest injury report as probable.

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

  • Celtics wing Jaylen Brown, who missed Wednesday’s game with a right ankle sprain, will also be out on Friday. However, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said during a radio appearance that he thinks Brown will be back for Sunday’s game vs. Miami (Twitter link via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston).
  • The Rockets have a whopping 13 players on their injury report for Friday’s contest in Milwaukee, writes Danielle Lerner of The Houston Chronicle. Kevin Porter Jr. (ankle) and Avery Bradley (personal) are among nine players who have been ruled out. And, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle points out (via Twitter), the four players not on the injury report have made 10 combined NBA starts.
  • The Rockets did get one piece of good news today, as Feigen tweets that Jae’Sean Tate has cleared the health and safety protocols. Tate registered a false positive for COVID-19, followed by three negative tests. However, he’s still listed as questionable for Friday’s game due to a left knee contusion.

Southwest Notes: Hardaway, Ball, Tate, Louzada, Porzingis

Tim Hardaway Jr. has been improving his free agent stock with some high-level offensive performances in recent games. The Mavericks guard erupted for 42 points against Detroit last week and tore up Miami’s defense for 36 points on Wednesday, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News notes. He drained a franchise record-tying 10 three-pointers against the Heat. “When you have been hot like that, had it going, you’re not really focused on any records or anything like that,” said Hardaway, who will be an unrestricted free agent after this season. “The game was just coming to me.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball tied his career best with 33 points against Golden State on Tuesday, bouncing back from a 3-for-18 shooting performance the previous game. He vowed to franchise player Zion Williamson in a text message that he wouldn’t have two bad outings in a row, according to ESPN’s Andrew Lopez. “I’m glad he’s my teammate,” Williamson said. “You love to have teammates like that can say stuff like that and come the next day and show out. He just wants to win.” Williamson’s “love” for Ball could be a factor in how aggressive the franchise is willing to be in retaining the point guard as a restricted free agent this summer.
  • The Rockets, who already have numerous players sitting out, added another one to the inactive list when forward Jae’Sean Tate was placed under the league’s health and safety protocols, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. The undrafted rookie has appeared in 65 games, including 53 starts, averaging 11.2 PPG and 5.4 RPG.
  • Didi Louzada has finally completed the work visa process and joined the Pelicans, Will Guillory of The Athletic tweets. New Orleans officially signed the draft-and-stash prospect on April 27. The Brazilian signed a multiyear contract after playing in Australia this season. He’ll be available to play on Friday, Lopez tweets.
  • Kristaps Porzingis is making progress from his sore right knee and Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle expects him to return before the postseason, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets“I anticipate that he will play regular-season games at some point, but I don’t know when,” Carlisle said. The big man has been out since April 29.