Jakob Poeltl

Southwest Notes: Brunson, Rivero, Poeltl, Pelicans

Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson tells Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News that the NBA’s hiatus convinced him to have surgery to fix a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Brunson underwent the operation March 13, two days after the league shut down over coronavirus concerns. He was hoping to wait until after the season to address the shoulder, but the break gave him a reason to get it done right away.

“I truly was trying to get back and trying to finish the season out,” Brunson said. “But also in the back of my mind, I wasn’t putting surgery off and saying it wasn’t a possibility. The morning of the day the NBA shut down, we were talking about when I could get it done if I wanted to get it done — just hypothetically — and then that night is when everything started happening, so we said ‘Hey, let’s get it done ASAP.’ We didn’t know how long this was going to be, how long it was going to take.”

Brunson was averaging 8.2 PPG in his second NBA season before the injury sidelined him in late February. He’s rehabbing at home, but doesn’t expect to return this season no matter what happens when the league resumes play.

“As of right now, I think it’s ruled out,” Brunson said. “I think we’re just planning on next year’s training camp. That’s if everything is going along schedule. But as of right now, I’m just focusing on rehab and getting back to full strength.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Mavericks are keeping an eye on Cuban prospect Jasiel Rivero, relays Dario Skerletic of Sportando from an original report by Chema de Lucas. The 27-year-old forward is averaging more than 9 points and 5 rebounds per game in the Champions League.
  • Spurs center Jakob Poeltl believes he has fully recovered from a right MCL strain that sidelined him for five days before the shutdown began, according to News4SanAntonio. Poeltl talked about his condition in an interview with Austria’s Die Presse, saying he believes he’ll be able to return whenever games resume. “Although I have no experience with knee injuries, I expect that I will have no problems if the season continues,” Poeltl said.
  • Executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin thinks the culture change he wanted to bring in his first season with the Pelicans has been successful, writes Jim Eichenhofer of NBA.com. “It’s fairly clear we’ve got really, really good, high-character humans here,” Griffin said. “The culture has changed a great deal for the better. I think players love being a part of what we’re building.”
  • The Pelicans have expressed interest in guard Elijah Bryant of Maccabi Tel Aviv, tweets Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Bryant, who turns 25 next week, played in Summer League the past two years with the Bucks and Sixers.

Jakob Poeltl Suffers Right MCL Sprain

Spurs big man Jakob Poeltl underwent an MRI on Sunday that revealed a right MCL sprain, the team announced in a press release. The injury will likely force Poeltl to miss multiple weeks of action.

No concrete timetable was issued by the team, but Poeltl wrote on social media that he expects to miss roughly two-to-four weeks.

“As today’s examination showed, I suffered a grade 2 MCL strain of the right knee,” he wrote. “I will presumably miss the next two to four weeks. Since knee injuries can be very severe, I’m happy that I didn’t sustain a more serious injury.

“Nevertheless, this is an annoying situation. We’re in the midst of a very important phase, which is why every missed game hurts twice as much. I hope to be back on the floor as soon as possible.”

Poeltl, 24, exited the team’s game on Saturday with a bruised right knee after playing just four minutes. He’s averaged 5.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 16.6 minutes in 58 games this season, starting in 10 of those contests.

The Spurs originally acquired Poeltl as part of the trade that landed Kawhi Leonard in Toronto and DeMar DeRozan in San Antonio back in 2018. The team is already playing without LaMarcus Aldridge, who is currently listed as day-to-day with a shoulder injury.

Poeltl was the No. 9 pick in 2016, showing capable talent on both ends of the floor at 7’1″. San Antonio is 3-7 in its last ten games and will host Indiana on Monday.

Trade Rumors: Clippers, Herro, LaVine, Poeltl, More

Chris Mannix of SI.com is among the latest reporters to weigh in this week on the Clippers‘ search for a center. According to Mannix, Los Angeles’ coaching staff has some concerns about the team’s rebounding. We heard on Monday that the Clips are also wary of facing star centers like Rudy Gobert or Nikola Jokic in the postseason.

Sources tell Mannix that there’s some interest within the Clippers’ front office in Tristan Thompson, whom the Cavaliers have put on the trade block. Mannix also names disgruntled Kings big man Dewayne Dedmon as a possible target, though he cautions that Dedmon wouldn’t be a preferred option for L.A.

The Clippers have Maurice Harkless‘ $11MM+ expiring contract available to use as a salary-matching piece for a trade target earning an eight-figure salary, but the team will have to be careful about how it fires that bullet. Acquiring a pricey center like Thompson or Dedmon using Harkless’ deal could take the team out of the market for a wing in the same salary range, such as Marcus Morris or Robert Covington.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Heat have told teams that Tyler Herro is unavailable at this time, according to Mannix. If Miami wants to do something major, Herro would likely be the first player a potential trade partner asks about, but the Heat have no interest in moving him.
  • The Bulls have received some trade feelers for Zach LaVine, but a source tells Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link) that the 24-year-old is “off-limits.” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe said essentially the same thing on a podcast this week.
  • Teams are calling the Spurs to ask about Jakob Poeltl, but the asking price is believed to be too high, tweets Jabari Young of CNBC. Poeltl will be a restricted free agent at season’s end, so it’s possible San Antonio will lower its price by Thursday if the big man isn’t in the team’s long-term plans.
  • Nuggets power forward Juan Hernangomez is among the players of interest for the Rockets, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Denver is reportedly seeking a second-round pick for Hernangomez.

Lowe’s Latest: Redick, Bertans, Collins, Drummond, OKC, More

A number of players who have been mentioned as trade candidates this season may not be moved – or may not be available at all – at Thursday’s deadline, ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes in an article jam-packed with trade-related rumors and speculation.

For instance, teams who have called the Pelicans asking about J.J. Redick have been “shooed away,” sources tell Lowe. The Wizards have taken a similar approach to clubs inquiring on Davis Bertans, though Lowe notes that could change if Washington is offered something concrete that moves the needle more than a future first-round pick.

As Shams Charania of The Athletic reported last week, teams have been monitoring John Collins in case the Hawks think about trading him, but there’s no indication Atlanta has interest in moving Collins “on any of the general terms being bandied about,” Lowe writes.

The Pistons‘ talks involving Andre Drummond aren’t entirely dormant, but it’s “far from a sure thing” that he’ll be moved, according to Lowe, who suggests that even if Detroit does make a deal, the return will likely be less than the team envisioned.

Meanwhile, the Thunder have been mentioned all season long as a potential seller, given their offseason moves and their veteran trade candidates. But the safest bet is that they stand pat with guys like Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schroder, and Steven Adams, per Lowe.

As Lowe points out, the Thunder could still have leverage to make deals after the season, when Schroder and Adams will be entering contract years and Gallinari will be a prime sign-and-trade candidate. The Heat are among the teams to inquire on Gallinari this season, sources tell Lowe.

As noted above, Lowe’s latest ESPN piece is filled with many more trade rumors and notes. Here are several of the highlights:

  • Lowe confirms a previous report that the Nuggets and Heat are among the teams to express interest in Jrue Holiday. Lowe also names the Raptors as a club that would be an ideal fit for the Pelicans guard, but he has a hard time envisioning a deal involving any of those teams unless they’re willing to part with young players like Michael Porter Jr., Tyler Herro, or OG Anunoby, which seems unlikely.
  • The Pacers could probably net a first-round pick for backup guard Aaron Holiday, but haven’t shown any real interest in moving him, says Lowe.
  • The chatter about the Trail Blazers making a major win-now move has died down, sources tell Lowe.
  • According to Lowe, the Lakers have explored the Kyle Kuzma market and are eyeing several ball-handlers, including Kings swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic, who has also received interest from the Hornets.
  • The Sixers don’t intend to include Matisse Thybulle in any deal and seem most likely to “tinker” around the edges of their roster, per Lowe.
  • The Grizzlies have asked for a first-round pick from teams inquiring on Jae Crowder, according to Lowe. However, he’d “bet heavily” against any potential trade partner meeting that price.
  • Lowe provides updates on both Morris brothers, suggesting that the Knicks “seem hell-bent” on keeping and re-signing Marcus Morris, and citing sources who say the Pistons could probably get a second-round pick for Markieff Morris.
  • A lot of teams have asked the Bucks about Sterling Brown, while Pistons youngsters Christian Wood and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk have also generated interest, according to Lowe, who thinks that Detroit is more likely to engage in talks on Wood than Mykhailiuk. Lowe also hears that a few clubs have “poked around” on Kings big man Harry Giles, and identifies Denzel Valentine (Bulls), Jakob Poeltl (Spurs), Marvin Williams (Hornets), and Malik Monk (Hornets) as other under-the-radar trade candidates to watch.

Hawks Notes: Poeltl, Free Agency, Young

The Hawks, who have been linked to centers like Andre Drummond, Steven Adams, and Dewayne Dedmon in recent weeks, also expressed trade interest in Spurs big man Jakob Poeltl, reports Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report.

The Spurs typically don’t make many in-season trades and Poeltl hasn’t really been cited as a trade candidate this winter. Still, the Hawks may have been interested to know whether the former lottery pick is in San Antonio’s long-term plans, since he’ll be eligible for restricted free agency this summer. The 24-year-old center is averaging 5.2 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 1.4 BPG in a part-time role (17.6 MPG) for the Spurs this season.

While nothing may end up happening with Poeltl, the report is the latest indication that the Hawks are surveying the market for a center who could potentially fit in their frontcourt alongside John Collins.

Let’s round up some more items out of Atlanta…

  • Trae Young thinks the Hawks’ “exciting young players” will make prospective free agent targets seriously consider Atlanta in the offseason, as he tells Scotto. Multiple agents who spoke to Scotto agree that the Hawks will be a major player in free agency, though some pointed to the team’s significant cap room as the primary factor. “Every team that offers money would be considered,” one agent told Scotto. “An agent that says otherwise is just lying or stupid. They need to add quality veterans to help the young guys. Atlanta would be under consideration.”
  • In that same conversation with Scotto, Young said it’s still too early to judge the 2018 draft-night blockbuster between the Mavericks and Hawks, despite Luka Doncic‘s success in Dallas this season. “[Doncic’s] on a team, and they’ve got more veterans and is a team that’s more looking to win now,” Young said. “We’re more of a team that wants to win now, but we’re focusing more on developing, and we’re one of the youngest teams in the league. It’s just two totally different situations, so it’s just hard to really judge who won or lost [the trade] right now.”
  • Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk has been patient since assuming control of the front office in 2017, biding his time as the club accumulates draft assets and young prospects. Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer takes a look at whether Schlenk can realistically maintain that patient approach going forward, with Atlanta’s roster in need of some help.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2020: Southwest Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. 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 Southwest Division:

Derrick Favors, Pelicans, 28, PF/C (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $37.6MM deal in 2018
A power forward by trade, Favors has emerged as the Pelicans’ starting center. Over a nine-game span prior to Friday’s action, Favors posted six double-doubles while averaging 11.2 PPG and 14.4 RPG. With an expiring $17.65MM contract, Favors is a candidate to be dealt before February’s deadline. Favors left Friday’s game with a hamstring injury but as long as it’s not serious, he could be an intriguing rental. Several teams were already monitoring Favors prior to his recent productive run. Jaxson Hayes is the future center for the Pelicans and Favors doesn’t stretch defenses but his steady contributions will draw some attention in a weak free agent market.

Isaiah Hartenstein, Rockets, 21, PF/C (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3.92MM deal in 2018
Hartenstein doesn’t get many opportunities but he puts up strong numbers when the Rockets are shorthanded in the frontcourt. In a three-game stretch in late December, Hartenstein averaged 14.7 PPG on 73% percent shooting and 11.3 RPG. In six G League outings this season, he has posted 21.3 PPG, 14.5 RPG and 4.7 APG in 33.3 MPG. The Rockets have a June 29 deadline to guarantee Hartenstein’s $1.66MM salary. It’s hard to see the Rockets letting the 21-year-old 7-footer walk away at that price.

Josh Jackson, Grizzlies, 22, SF (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $18.2MM deal in 2017
Following two troubled seasons with the Suns, Jackson was dealt to the Grizzlies during the offseason. Memphis decided to have Jackson work on improving his game and reputation at the G League level. The fourth overall pick of the 2017 draft has toiled there during the first three months of the season. Jackson was suspended two games for violating team rules last month, then went into an offensive funk until a 35-point outburst against the Iowa Wolves Monday. There’s no indication the Grizzlies have any interest in re-signing the unrestricted free agent this summer.

Ryan Broekhoff, Mavericks, 29, SG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $2.25MM deal in 2018
Broekhoff suffered a fractured left fibula late last month and is out indefinitely. Tough break — literally — for the Australian swingman, who wasn’t playing much anyway. He has appeared in 10 games this season, averaging 3.7 PPG in 7.7 MPG, after playing 42 games with Dallas last season in his first NBA campaign. Dallas would have to extend a $1.9MM qualifying offer to him in June to make him a restricted free agent. It seems likely that Broekhoff will return overseas next season to resume his career.

Jakob Poeltl, Spurs, 24, C (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $12.2MM deal in 2016
The Raptors’ 2016 lottery pick hasn’t really developed with a change of scenery over the past two seasons. Though Poeltl has made modest increases in his rebounding, assist and shot-blocking averages this season, his playing time remains limited to 15-20 minutes per game. The 7-footer doesn’t provide much offensively and has yet to develop a 3-point shot. He’s also a poor free throw shooter. San Antonio would have to extend a $5.1MM qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. That’s a reasonable price for a second-unit player but San Antonio may let him walk and seek an upgrade.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Spurs’ Murray, Poeltl Hoping To Sign Extensions

Spurs guard Dejounte Murray and big man Jakob Poeltl are seeking rookie scale extensions but neither is dwelling on next week’s deadline, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News reports.

Murray, the team’s projected starting point guard, is playing this season at the bargain rate of $2.32MM since he was drafted No. 29 overall in 2016. He’ll be a restricted free agent next summer, provided the team extends a qualify offer after this season, if he can’t agree to an extension before next Monday’s deadline.

“My mind is not on that at all,” Murray told Orsborn. “Obviously, I want to be here for as long as I can, but those are things I can’t control.”

It might be in the franchise’s best interest to see how Murray looks this season, rather than extending him. He missed all of last season after tearing his ACL in a preseason contest. He earned NBA All-Defense Second Team honors in 2017/18 and coach Gregg Popovich says Murray “looks confident” this preseason. However, Murray admits he’s rusty after sitting out a full year.

Poeltl, acquired from the Raptors prior to last season, is making $3.75MM this season after getting drafted No. 9 overall in 2016. He’s part of the Spurs’ frontcourt rotation.

“I’m not really thinking about it a whole lot,” Poeltl said of an extension. “If we come to an agreement, I’m happy, obviously. But it has to be a good contract for both parties, obviously.”

If an extension is reached, it will probably be a team-friendly deal since Poeltl isn’t a stretch four or five, Orsborn notes.

Thus far, rookie scale extensions have come at a trickle, with Ben Simmons, Caris LeVert and Jamal Murray the only eligible players who have signed such an agreement.

Southwest Notes: Spurs, Poeltl, Pelicans GM, Llull

Gregg Popovich has the Spurs on the verge of another playoff appearance in a season that could have been a disaster, writes Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. Early-season injuries forced Popovich to use a point guard committee until Derrick White was healthy, Bryn Forbes, Davis Bertans and Jakob Poeltl all had to step into important roles and the retirement of Manu Ginobili and the departure of Tony Parker cut the last ties to the Spurs’ glory days. Still, with a 43-31 record, the franchise is on the verge of its 22nd straight trip to the playoffs.

“For guys that have been elsewhere, they come in and they can sense it’s a different environment,” Patty Mills said. “They can notice the difference. It takes some time for players to adjust to how different it is. People have always said you needed to be a certain type of person to be in this environment and to be coached by Pop, and it’s true. The way he coaches his players is a certain way. You’ve seen the way he’s coached Tim (Duncan) and Manu. You see that interaction between coach and player, and everyone else falls in line after that. You know if he yells at you, you can’t say anything back. It’s those little things you have to get guys to understand.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Popovich would like to make Poeltl the Spurs‘ starting center for the rest of the season, but matchups may keep that from happening, notes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. With so many teams playing non-traditional lineups, it’s not always wise to put two big men on the floor. “We like to play big because we do a pretty good job of locking down the paint with myself and (LaMarcus Aldridge) on the court,” Poeltl said. “We’ve got to find the right matchups and the right situations where we can do that.”
  • Interim GM Danny Ferry will be among the candidates as the Pelicans conduct their GM search, according to Fletcher Mackel of WDSU in New Orleans (Twitter link). Owner Gayle Benson said Monday that the franchise will consider five or six candidates to become the replacement for Dell Demps, who was fired in February. Based on what he has heard, Mackel believes that Ferry will be on that list, along with former Cavaliers GM David Griffin, Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon and Rockets VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas.
  • As the NBA marks its 13th annual Latin celebration, Rosas talks with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated about the need to get more Latin Americans involved in management.
  • Spanish guard Sergio Llull, whose rights have been held by the Rockets since 2009, hasn’t ruled out coming to the NBA someday, his agent, Ernest Berenguer, says in an interview with NBA Spain (translated by Sportando). Llull will be 34 when his contract with Real Madrid expires in 2021.

Spurs Exercise 2019/20 Options On Jakob Poeltl, Derrick White

The Spurs have exercised the 2019/20 options in the contracts of Jakob Poeltl and Derrick White, the team announced in a press release. The club also exercised the $2.3MM option in Dejounte Murray’s contract for the season, as we noted earlier.

Poeltl was traded to the Spurs as part of a package featuring Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan in July, and is expected to provide depth in the frontcourt for San Antonio. His maturity and focus at the age of 22 has impressed Spurs’ staffers in his short time with the team.

Poeltl appeared in all 82 contests with the Raptors last season, holding per-game averages of 6.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 18.6 minutes. He was drafted with the No. 9 pick in 2016 after playing two collegiate seasons at Utah.

White, a 6’5″ combo guard who’s in his second NBA season, was selected by the Spurs with the 29th pick in 2017. He played just 17 games last season with the franchise, spending most of his time with the team’s G League affiliate Austin Spurs.

The Spurs have a cap charge of $3.7MM for 2019/10 by picking up Poeltl’s team option, and a separate charge of $1.9MM by exercising White’s option. Poeltl’s rookie contract is due to expire in 2020, while White has a fourth-year option for the 2020/21 campaign.

Southwest Notes: Poeltl, Okafor, Matthews, Batum

Jakob Poeltl is hoping an offseason trade to the Spurs will give him a better shot at playing time, relays Tom Orsborne of The San Antonio Express-News. Poeltl was an overlooked part of the deal that sent Kawhi Leonard to Toronto and DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio, but the former first-round pick may find a greater opportunity to show off his skills with his new team. Poeltl describes himself as willing to do the “dirty work” and is thrilled about the opportunity with the Spurs.

“That is one of the things I am most excited about, just the fact that this program has such a big history of developing players,” Poeltl said. “Players that stay here or players that then go somewhere else and become really good players. So, I am really excited for the process. It’s going to be a lot of work, but I am looking forward to it.”

There’s more news from the Southwest Division:

  • In an Instagram post, Pelicans center Jahlil Okafor thanks Kevin Love for bringing mental health issues into the open last season. Okafor, who signed a partially guaranteed two-year deal earlier this month, displays a more toned body in the post, but states that he underwent a greater change on the inside. “I’ve learned how to identify and manage different stressors such as anxiety,” Okafor wrote. “Learning how to identify certain stressors has also allowed me to over come them. Often times because of my size and profession people may view me in a certain way, but in reality I deal with the same struggles as countless others.”
  • Trade speculation will continue to follow Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews in the upcoming season, according to a Dallas Morning News profile. At age 31 and entering the final year of his contract after opting in over the summer, Matthews could be expendable after the team assembled its backcourt of the future in the past two drafts.
  • The Rockets should consider gambling on Hornets forward Nicolas Batum, writes Rahat Huq of Forbes. Houston could use another strong wing defender after losing Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in free agency, and Charlotte may be willing to take Ryan Anderson in return because Batum’s contract is even larger. Batum is owed more than $49.5MM over the next two seasons and has a $27.1MM player option for 2020/21.