James Harden

NBA Announces 2019/20 All-NBA Teams

The NBA has officially announced its All-NBA teams for the 2019/20 season. Voting was completed prior to the league’s restart in July and was based on results through March 11.

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Lakers forward LeBron James, widely considered the two frontrunners for this year’s MVP award, were the only two players to be unanimously voted to the All-NBA First Team this season. Rockets guard James Harden, Lakers big man Anthony Davis, and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic rounded out the First Team.

The full All-NBA teams are listed below, with their vote totals in parentheses. Players received five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote, and one point for a Third Team vote, so Giannis and LeBron scored a perfect 500 — First Team nods from all 100 voters.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Among the players who just missed the cut were Bucks forward Khris Middleton (82 points), Sixers center Joel Embiid (79), Wizards guard Bradley Beal (32), and Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (26). A total of 11 other players also received at least one All-NBA vote — the full results can be found right here.

Today’s announcement is great news from a financial perspective for Siakam and Simmons. As a result of Siakam’s Second Team nod and Simmons’ Third Team spot, both players will earn starting salaries worth 28% of the 2020/21 salary cap, rather than 25%. Players who sign rookie scale extensions can earn maximum salaries up to 30% of the cap if they negotiate Rose Rule language into their deals.

The exact value of those new contracts will depend on where exactly the ’20/21 cap lands. Assuming it stays the same as in 2019/20 ($109.141MM), Siakam’s four-year extension would be worth $136.9MM instead of the $122.2MM it’d be worth if it started at 25% of the cap. Simmons’ five-year pact would be worth $177.2MM rather than $158.3MM.

While it’s also worth noting that All-NBA berths are of great importance to players seeking super-max contracts, there aren’t any real developments to report on that front as a result of this year’s votes. Antetokounmpo and Gobert remain eligible for super-max extensions, but they’d already qualified based on their previous accolades.

Embiid would have become super-max eligible in 2021 if he had earned an All-NBA spot, but he’ll need to make an All-NBA team next season to gain eligibility now, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

Hoops Rumors readers accurately picked 12 of this season’s 15 All-NBA players in our spring poll. Beal, Embiid, and Devin Booker were your picks who didn’t make the official list. Of the 12 who made it, 11 made the exact team you projected, with Paul (who made Second Team instead of Third Team) representing the only exception.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rockets Notes: Morey, Fertitta, D’Antoni, Coaching Job

General manager Daryl Morey’s job is safe and Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta declared that Morey and the basketball operations department will conduct the search for a new head coach, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

Fertitta, who made his comments on CNBC, said he will merely sign off on the recommendation made by Morey and his staff.

“It begins and ends with the general manager,” Fertitta said. “You can talk to me all day long. I personally wouldn’t know what coach to hire. That’s why you have a basketball operations team that’s made of a half a dozen people that use all kinds of analytics and experience.”

Mike D’Antoni‘s decision to leave Houston was made public on Sunday.

We have more on the Rockets:

  • Fertitta’s lack of communication with D’Antoni after the Rockets were eliminated by the Lakers led to the coach’s decision to depart, Kelly Iko and Sam Amick of The Athletic report. D’Antoni spoke with Morey and everyone on the team prior to the flight back to Houston on Sunday. D’Antoni expected a phone call from ownership regarding the season and its future plans for him but that didn’t come. Prior to boarding the plane, D’Antoni decided he would leave the franchise and test the open market.
  • Expectations will remain high for the Rockets and that’s one factor for potential head coaching candidates to consider, Feigen opines. The Rockets’ core players are on the wrong side of 30 and their window is closing. If the franchises decides to rebuild after Russell Westbrook and James Harden finish out their contracts, the Rockets don’t possess many assets, Feigen adds.
  • Jeff Green isn’t thinking about retiring, though as a free agent it’s uncertain whether he’ll be back in Houston. Get the details here.

Rockets Notes: Chandler, Green, Harden, Coach

Rockets center Tyson Chandler is undecided about whether he’ll continue his playing career or retire, according to Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated, who tweets that “opportunity and the state of the world” will be major factors in the 37-year-old’s decision.

Chandler originally thought he’d retire a year ago, but decided that he still had the desire to keep playing. He had an extremely limited role for the Rockets in 2019/20, appeared in just 26 contests and logging a career-low 8.4 minutes per game. His role became increasingly non-existent as the team pivoted to micro-ball — January 18 was the last time he logged more than one second of game action.

Here’s more from out of Houston:

  • Unlike Chandler, Jeff Green isn’t considering the possibility of retiring after this season. While the 34-year-old will be a free agent this offseason, he’s intent on continuing his career, tweets Spears.
  • Everything should be on the table for the Rockets and general manager Daryl Morey this offseason as they consider potential roster changes, according to Chris Herring of FiveThirtyEight. That includes considering the possibility of a James Harden trade, Herring notes.
  • Although the Rockets’ list of potential head coaching candidates starts with Tyronn Lue, there are plenty of candidates worth considering, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Feigen provides a long list of potential targets to replace Mike D’Antoni on Houston’s bench, including Jacque Vaughn, Jeff Van Gundy, David Fizdale, and many others.

Rockets Notes: House, Harden, Game 4 Loss, Chandler

Danuel House faces an uncertain future with the Rockets after leaving the Disney World complex following an alleged violation of campus rules, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. According to the NBA, House “had a guest in his hotel room over multiple hours on September 8 who was not authorized to be on campus.” His absence removes a productive player from Houston’s bench and raises questions about what the front office plans to do with him.

Feigen notes that House is one of the few Rockets who is both relatively young, at age 27, and has a team-friendly contract. House still has two seasons left on the three-year, $11.15MM deal he signed last summer. He shot 38.1% from 3-point range on a team that emphasizes long-distance shooting more than anyone else in the league, and he provides athleticism in the front court along with another ball-handler.

The Rockets have the option of trading House, but Feigen states it’s likely to be at a significant discount given his current situation. Coach Mike D’Antoni refused to comment on House’s status before tonight’s Game 5, telling reporters, “The team can address that later. Right now, just thinking about playing and winning tonight.” (Twitter link from Feigen)

There’s more on the Rockets:

  • With the season hanging in the balance, John Hollinger of The Athletic wonders if the organization will eventually consider trading James Harden. The Rockets have repeatedly gambled to try to build a championship team around Harden, but they are now in a position with no cap room, no draft picks this year, no commitment to pay the luxury tax and no young players they can trade for veterans. Harden can opt out of his current deal after the 2021/22 season, and he may be tempted to leave while he still has a shot at winning a ring.
  • There was “audible shouting” coming from Houston’s locker room following the Game 4 loss to the Lakers, Shams Charania of The Athletic says on Stadium (video link). He adds that players are “really holding each other accountable” to bring better effort and better body language for the rest of the series.
  • Veteran center Tyson Chandler has been added to the injury list for Game 5, Feigen tweets. Chandler has been declared out of tonight’s game due to neck spasms, but he hasn’t played at all in the postseason except for shooting two free throws after another player was injured.

Rockets Notes: Game 7, Harden, Westbrook, Chandler

More than the fate of this season will be on the line for the Rockets tonight as they face the Thunder in Game 7 of their first-round series, writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Houston is in danger of wasting another year of James Harden‘s prime, and both he and Russell Westbrook will have the chance to opt out of their current contracts and become free agents in the summer of 2022.

Although the Rockets have gone through two recent shakeups by trading for Westbrook last July and fully embracing small-ball by dealing starting center Clint Capela in February, O’Connor believes more changes could be on the way, especially if the team gets bounced in the first round. Mike D’Antoni seems unlikely to return as head coach, and general manager Daryl Morey might have to consider changes to his philosophy of surrounding Harden and Westbrook with standstill shooters.

There are also concerns that Westbrook, an inconsistent 3-point shooter, doesn’t fit as well with Harden as Chris Paul once did. Playing just his second game since returning from a quad injury, Westbrook was particularly bad in the Game 6 loss, turning the ball over seven times.

“We’ve gotta take care of it. Starting with myself,” said Westbrook, who is expected to remain on a minutes limit tonight. “I’m just trying to figure out rhythm and timing, but I’ll figure it out next game.”

There’s more Rockets news to pass along:

  • The team will make a greater effort to get the ball to Harden in the closing minutes if tonight’s game is close, D’Antoni tells Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Although stats show Harden’s usage hasn’t changed much in the final minutes of the three close games in the series, he didn’t touch the ball in the final seconds Monday with the Rockets trailing by two points. “Obviously, we’re trying to get him involved,” D’Antoni said. “We just kept turning it over before he had a chance to get involved. There was a number of turnovers that probably shouldn’t happen. We’ll talk about it. He knows. He’ll be ready to go.”
  • While Westbrook was disappointing in Game 6, the Rockets made the right move by acquiring him in exchange for Paul and a parcel of draft picks, argues Mark Medina of USA Today. Medina points out that Paul’s injury history made him risky for Houston, even though he has stayed healthy this season. There was also noticeable tension between Paul and Harden that built up over two seasons, while Westbrook and Harden are long-time friends.
  • Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press talks to several little-used players, including Rockets veteran center Tyson Chandler, about the experience of being stuck in a closed environment without seeing much playing time.

NBA Announces All-Bubble Awards

The NBA announced today that Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has been named the Player of the Seeding Games, earning de facto MVP honors for the league’s restart.

Lillard, who averaged 37.6 PPG and 9.6 APG on .497/.436/.888 shooting in eight seeding games, led the Blazers to a 6-2 record, allowing the team to surpass the Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed in the West. Portland will earn the conference’s final playoff spot if it picks up a win over Memphis today or tomorrow.

Lillard was the unanimous selection among 22 media voters for the bubble’s MVP award. Devin Booker (Suns) received 19 second-place votes, with T.J. Warren (Pacers) picking up two and Luka Doncic (Mavericks) getting the other one. Booker, Warren, Doncic, James Harden (Rockets) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks) all received third-place votes.

Meanwhile, Suns head coach Monty Williams was named the Coach of the Seeding Games, per today’s announcement. The selection comes as no surprise after Williams led Phoenix to an 8-0 record this summer. The Suns narrowly missed out on a spot in the play-in tournament, but were the only club that went undefeated during the seeding games, despite initially being ranked 21st of the 22 teams invited to Orlando.

Williams was a near-unanimous choice, with Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts receiving one first-place vote and finishing second overall in voting. Nets coach Jacque Vaughn and Raptors coach Nick Nurse were among the other top vote-getters.

The NBA also announced All-Seeding Games First and Second Teams, as follows:

First Team:

  • Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers)
  • Devin Booker (Suns)
  • Luka Doncic (Mavericks)
  • James Harden (Rockets)
  • T.J. Warren (Pacers)

Second Team:

Lillard, Booker, and Doncic were unanimous First Team selections, with Harden and Warren each receiving 18 of 22 First Team votes. Antetokounmpo received the other eight First Team votes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giannis Antetokounmpo To Miss Monday’s Game

The Bucks and Raptors will face one another on Monday night in a possible Eastern Conference Finals preview, but the MVP frontrunner won’t be taking part in the game. Milwaukee announced in this afternoon’s injury report that Giannis Antetokounmpo won’t play against Toronto due to oral surgery.

It’s probably safe to assume the ailment wouldn’t sideline Antetokounmpo for an important playoff game, but with the Bucks and Raptors locked into the East’s Nos. 1 and 2 seeds, respectively, there’s no real need for the two teams to go all-out tonight.

It’s possible the Raptors will be without some of their key rotation players as well. Kyle Lowry (lower back soreness), Fred VanVleet (hyperextended right knee), and Serge Ibaka (right knee contusion) are all listed as questionable for the second end of a back-to-back set.

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

  • Rockets star James Harden will sit out on Tuesday vs. San Antonio for rest purposes, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. However, Houston will get two other guards back this week, per Feigen, who says that Russell Westbrook (quad) will return on Tuesday and Eric Gordon (ankle) will play on Wednesday vs. Indiana. Each player will suit up for one of two games in the back-to-back set.
  • The Pelicans have listed Jrue Holiday (right elbow contusion), Brandon Ingram (right knee soreness), and Zion Williamson (right knee soreness) as out for Tuesday’s game vs. Sacramento. Head coach Alvin Gentry said today that the three players are sitting out for “precautionary” reasons, per ESPN’s Andrew Lopez (Twitter link). New Orleans was eliminated from playoff contention over the weekend.
  • It’s not an injury, but Suns center Deandre Ayton didn’t start this afternoon’s game vs. Oklahoma City because he missed his scheduled COVID-19 test on Sunday, tweets Gina Mizell. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links), Ayton was re-tested on Monday morning and received clearance to rejoin the team, arriving late to the game against the Thunder.

NBA Announces Finalists For 2019/20 Awards

The NBA has announced the finalists for several awards as the seeding games on the Orlando campus move forward and the postseason nears. It was announced in July that all awards for the 2019/20 season would be based on games up until March 11, when the coronavirus pandemic shuttered play. Media members made their votes before the seeding games began on July 30.

NBA Most Valuable Player Finalists:

NBA Defensive Player of the Year:

NBA Rookie of the Year:

NBA Most Improved Player:

NBA Sixth Man of the Year:

NBA Coach of the Year:

  • Mike Budenholzer (Bucks)
  • Billy Donovan (Thunder)
  • Nick Nurse (Raptors)

The winners for the awards will be announced during the NBA playoffs after the seeding games period concludes on August 14.

Southwest Notes: Zion, Burke, Doncic, Harden

Zion Williamson played just 14 minutes in Saturday’s blowout loss to the Clippers, and his time is expected to remain limited in Monday’s showdown with the Grizzlies, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Williamson was barely a factor yesterday, making 3-of-7 shots and committing three turnovers in the 23-point defeat. The Pelicans came to Orlando with hopes of reaching the playoffs, but have now dropped to 12th place with six games remaining.

The team was heavily criticized for not using Williamson down the stretch of its opening loss to the Jazz, but vice president David Griffin explained yesterday that the star rookie didn’t have much practice time to get back into game shape after the four-month hiatus. Williamson briefly left the Walt Disney World campus to tend to a family matter and was quarantined upon returning.

“It makes sense to me that there’s so much attention — obviously, he’s a phenom,” Griffin said. “The league office itself takes as much interest in this as the fans do, and I’m grateful, frankly, that the fans take as much interest as they do. What I’m frustrated by is that there has to be a conspiracy theory involved when literally there’s not one thing different that’s being done with him than was done for every player on this roster when we got here, and he missed 13 days of what those guys got. Now all of the sudden, because the stakes are raised and because, unfortunately, we were selected for seven national (television) games, we’re supposed to reinvent the wheel.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Trey Burke had a memorable debut with the Mavericks, scoring 31 points and hitting eight 3-pointers Friday night, but barely played in the fourth quarter as Dallas saw a big lead slip away, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. “I think some of the guys on the side were wondering the same thing,” Burke said, referring to his teammates. “I just got here. I know Coach has a lineup at the end of the game that he trusts at this point.” Coach Rick Carlisle explained that Burke, who was signed as a replacement player for Willie Cauley-Stein and has only been in Orlando for about a week, was tired late in the game.
  • The Mavericks feature an offense that statistically ranks as the NBA’s best ever, but they have trouble holding onto leads, notes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Luka Doncic believes that will eventually change with experience. “We’re a young team. We’ve got a lot to learn,” he said. “We’ll get better for sure. I know we’re going to get together when it matters most in the playoffs, so I’m not worried about that.”
  • Ahead of their meeting tonight, McMahon examines the history of the feud between Rockets star James Harden and the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, which began with last year’s MVP race.

Southwest Notes: Popovich, Powell, Finney-Smith, Harden

The Spurs enter the NBA’s restart in 12th place in the Western Conference and coach Gregg Popovich has made it clear he’s more concerned with player development than a playoff run, Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News reports. “For us in our specific situation, development is more important than anything,” Popovich said. “I’m not too concerned with trying to figure out how to match up with the Lakers or Clippers or Celtics or Raptors or Rockets or Nuggets or anybody else.” San Antonio’s postseason chances have already been dimmed by the loss of LaMarcus Aldridge (shoulder) and Trey Lyles (appendicitis).

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks big man Dwight Powell can’t play in Orlando as he continues to rehab from Achilles tendon surgery but he chose to go to the campus anyway. His reasoning, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Callie Caplan? Powell has steady access to the team’s training staff, workouts and team activities. “I’m still part of this team, whether I can contribute on offense or defense, still proud to be a Dallas Maverick,” Powell said.
  • Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith is brimming with optimism as seventh-place Dallas heads into the seeding games already assured of a playoff berth, Eddie Sefko of the team’s website reports. “I feel like we can beat anybody, especially if we’re healthy and we come out with an us-against-the-world mentality,” he said.
  • Russell Westbrook is still trying to clear COVID-19 protocols but the other half of the Rockets’ dynamic backcourt has returned to the team. James Harden practiced on Thursday after his arrival in Orlando was delayed due to family issues, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. “I pushed myself through it,” Harden said.