Jarrett Allen

Central Notes: Haliburton, Mobley, Allen, Bogdanovic

The Pacers were expected to be one of the NBA’s worst teams before the season began, but they’re fourth in the East after 18 games, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. The turnaround that led to the 11-7 start began in February with a trade that brought Tyrese Haliburton from the Kings. The electrifying 22-year-old guard quickly took charge of his new team.

“He immediately saw the opportunity to be the leader of a franchise,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He never looked at if it was just his thing just by virtue of being here. He knew he had to do the right things, put the work in, not skip steps. He’s done everything we could have asked. … Haliburton has been a godsend for this franchise.”

Haliburton is putting up numbers that should have him in contention for an All-Star berth with 19.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and a league-leading 11.1 assists per game. He’s creating good shots for his teammates, and he’s running the show with a relaxed demeanor that keeps everyone at ease.

“There’s a lot of authentic people in this room,” Haliburton said. “And a lot of people who feel like we have something to prove. We don’t come with a lot of egos. We’re a lot of young guys who feel like we have a lot to prove to ourselves and others and understanding the best way for us to prove anything is to win. And obviously guys have a chip on our shoulder. Every major writer in America, it feels like, put us 15th in the East and 30th in the NBA.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo paid a huge compliment to Cavaliers second-year big man Evan Mobley after their meeting Friday night, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The two-time MVP suggested that Mobley might eventually be a better player than him. “I didn’t average what he is in my second season, so he’s already ahead of me,” Antetokounmpo said. “It’s in his hands. If he stays humble, continues to work hard, focuses on the game and shows love to the game of basketball, he is going to be really good.”
  • Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game with a low back contusion, tweets Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. Allen landed hard after attempting to block a shot in the first quarter Friday and was eventually ruled out.
  • Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic appears to have avoided a serious injury after a collision on Friday (Twitter video link from Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic). Bogdanovic is listed as questionable for Sunday with knee and ankle soreness, tweets Keith Langlois of NBA.com

Lamar Stevens Replacing Caris LeVert In Cavs’ Starting Lineup

Lamar Stevens is replacing Caris LeVert as the Cavaliers‘ starting small forward on Friday against the Hornets, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who hears from sources that the Cavs plan to use Stevens as a starter “for the foreseeable future.”

Stevens’ $1.8MM contract for 2022/23 is non-guaranteed and the Cavs hold a $1.9MM team option on the 25-year-old for ’23/24, while LeVert will be a free agent next summer.

Fedor writes that the move is being made in an effort to rediscover the team’s “lost defensive identity” amid a five-game losing streak. Stevens is a strong, tough and versatile defender, though he has offensive limitations — he has only made 25.3% of his career three-point attempts on low volume.

According to Fedor, forward Dean Wade would have been in contention for the starting small forward job, but he’s currently sidelined with right knee soreness. Friday marks his fourth straight missed game.

Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said prior to Friday’s game that Wade’s knee was infected and he’s currently taking antibiotics to treat it, per Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Just kind of have to wait and let them set in and do their thing. He is progressing, but it’s not something you can control,” Bickerstaff said.

As Fedor notes, Stevens had only appeared in three of the Cavs’ first 12 games for a total of 23 minutes prior to starting in place of the injured Jarrett Allen the past couple games, but clearly Bickerstaff liked the energy Stevens brought. Allen will be back Friday, Fedor adds.

LeVert has mostly struggled since scoring a season-high 41 points against Boston on October 28, averaging just 10.3 points on .389/.281/.733 shooting over his past nine games (32.3 minutes), though he has chipped in 5.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists per night over that span. Moving him to the bench will allow him more on-ball opportunities and let him play his more natural position of shooting guard, Fedor notes.

Cleveland holds an 8-6 record entering Friday’s home game versus Charlotte.

Health Updates: Cavs, Doncic, Zion, Connaughton, Banchero, Celtics

As expected, Cavaliers wing Dylan Windler has received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection in his injured right ankle, the team confirmed today in a press release.

According to the Cavaliers, Windler will miss approximately four-to-six weeks while recovering, with the ankle stabilized in a walking cast for the time being. Health issues have limited the former first-round pick to just 81 total appearances since he entered the NBA in 2019.

Meanwhile, Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen has officially been ruled out for Wednesday’s game vs. Milwaukee, tweets Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. However, it sounds like Allen’s left ankle soreness, which sidelined him on Sunday, is no longer the primary issue — he’s listed on the official injury report as having a non-COVID illness.

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

  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic will miss a game for the first time this season on Wednesday, with the club opting to give him a rest night vs. Houston (Twitter link). Doncic is averaging a career-high 37.2 minutes per game and played 40 minutes in the first half of the team’s back-to-back set on Tuesday, so this decision had been expected, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets.
  • Pelicans forward Zion Williamson will miss a second consecutive game on Wednesday due to a right foot contusion, the team announced. Head coach Willie Green‘s comments on Tuesday suggested that it isn’t a serious injury, so perhaps Williamson will be able to return on Friday vs. Boston.
  • It appears Bucks wing Pat Connaughton will likely make his regular season debut on Wednesday vs. Cleveland. Connaughton, who has been on the shelf due to a right calf strain, has been upgraded to probable, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic.
  • Magic rookie forward Paolo Banchero will miss a fourth straight game on Wendesday vs. Minnesota due to a left ankle sprain, according to the team (via Twitter).
  • The Celtics will be without two key members of their backcourt on Wednesday vs. Atlanta, having ruled out both Malcolm Brogdon (right hamstring tightness) and Marcus Smart (right ankle inflammation), the team announced (via Twitter).

Injury Notes: GPII, Beal, Allen, Holiday, Connaughton, O. Porter

Trail Blazers guard Gary Payton II, who is recovering from abdominal surgery, is getting closer to a return, but isn’t quite ready to make his regular season debut, writes Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian.

“He’s still progressing,” head coach Chauncey Billups said after the Trail Blazers practiced on Monday. “Not ready to play yet. He’s doing more and more. I don’t have a timeline.”

As Fentress details, Payton traveled with the Blazers during their six-game road trip that concluded on Saturday and said last week that he was “close.” However, the team is taking a cautious approach and wants to ensure that the veteran guard is 100% healthy before he takes the court.

Payton signed a three-year, $26MM+ contract in July with the Blazers, who have played well even without one of their top offseason additions available. Their 9-4 record puts them in a tie for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

Here are a few more health-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Wizards star Bradley Beal will return to action on Wednesday vs. Oklahoma City after missing five games due to COVID-19 and reconditioning, tweets Ava Wallace of The Washington Post.
  • Although J.B. Bickerstaff‘s comments on Sunday suggested the Cavaliers hoped Jarrett Allen would be back for Wednesday’s game vs. the Bucks, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link) hears from a source that Allen isn’t expected to travel to Milwaukee with the team.
  • In a Twitter thread, Eric Nehm of The Athletic provides a series of health-related updates on Bucks players, noting that Jrue Holiday (ankle sprain) and Pat Connaughton (calf strain) both practiced on Tuesday, though their statuses for Wednesday’s game vs. the Cavs are to be determined. Holiday has missed Milwaukee’s last three contests, while Connaughton hasn’t played yet this season.
  • Raptors forward Otto Porter Jr., whose debut with the team was delayed by a hamstring injury, is sidelined again, this time due to a dislocated toe, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. It’s unclear how much time Porter might miss, but he has already been ruled out for Wednesday’s game vs. Miami.

Eastern Notes: VanVleet, Barnes, Allen, Irving, Udoka

Raptors guard Fred VanVleet will miss his second straight game on Monday due to a non-COVID illness, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. The Raptors are facing the struggling Pistons in Detroit. Forwards Pascal Siakam and Precious Achiuwa are also out of action, while big man Khem Birch is listed as questionable.

We have more from the Eastern Conference

  • Scottie Barnes had a rough shooting night in Indiana on Saturday and the Raptors need more from their dynamic second-year forward, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. Barnes is averaging 13.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game but he has only reached the 20-point mark once despite the team’s injuries. Teammate Thaddeus Young says Barnes will break out soon. “Sometimes guys have a bad streak of games, or sometimes they have a bad start to the season then they take off at some point,” he said. “Things will change; they always do.”
  • Jarrett Allen missed Sunday’s game due to ankle soreness but coach J.B. Bickerstaff indicated prior to the game the Cavaliers center will likely return this week, Kelsey Russo of The Athletic tweets. “The thinking behind it is having today will give him like four days of rest before Milwaukee (on Wednesday),” Bickerstaff said. “It’s just been sore and he’s been powering through it.”
  • Nets guard Kyrie Irving sent out a tweet on Sunday related to his suspension, Brian Lewis of the New York Post relays. Irving stated that he was not trying to incite racial disharmony or prejudice. “I was not put here on earth to participate in any religious/political wars or incite racial disharmony/prejudice within communities,” he wrote. “We are all equal under the sun and I am here to participate in the building of an Equal world and follow the Word from the Most High/GOD/YAH.”
  • The Celtics were willing to let Ime Udoka take the Nets job without demanding any compensation in return, according to Jay King of The Athletic. Now, the organization still has to decide what to do with Udoka after the season unless another suitor comes along. It seems likely Udoka will never coach the team again, King adds.

Central Notes: Beauchamp, Nwora, Dosunmu, Mitchell, Bagley

Rookie MarJon Beauchamp has looked ready for his opportunity as he moved into the Bucks‘ starting lineup this week, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Beauchamp played just 12 total minutes in his first six games, but injuries to other players have expanded his role. In Wednesday’s double overtime win at Oklahoma City, he was on the court for nearly 30 minutes, scoring 19 points, and he followed that up with 34 minutes Friday night.

“It’s not a perfect process,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “It’s hard. He’s probably confused at times and hears probably multiple (things) – hopefully not from me. I would say right now we’re more in the mindset of encouraging him to be aggressive and find ways to impact the game and not just be in the corners (offensively). Because it is going to naturally happen. You’ll get to that and it’s important that you’re good and your footwork in the corners is good and your ability to read closeouts in the corners is good, but he’s also, we feel like can help us and give us more.”

The absence of Khris Middleton and Pat Connaughton has also opened up more minutes for Jordan Nwora, who re-signed with the Bucks shortly before training camp began in September.

“Honestly it’s more just the hustle and effort all around, just playing a lot harder than I have in the years past,” Nwora said. “Not just on the offensive end but on the other side of the ball, running in transition. Not just chucking up shots, trying to find people on offense when I’m playing with those guys (the starters).”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Last season’s frustrating playoff performance inspired Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu to improve his game during the offseason, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. The Bucks swarmed DeMar DeRozan during their first-round series and dared Chicago’s other players to beat them from the outside. No one could deliver, as the Bulls shot just 28.3% from three-point range for the series and Dosunmu was 3-of-13. “I always want to get better,” said Dosunmu, who’s connecting at 38.3% on three-pointers this season. “So far I’ve prepared myself being shot-ready at all times. I try to take all the open shots. I try to get downhill, play to my strengths, playmake. But when the three is open, I’ve really been focusing on that.
  • Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Timberwolves due to a right ankle strain, tweets Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Jarrett Allen and Dean Wade are also questionable, and there are concerns that Wade might have bursitis in his right knee (Twitter link).
  • Marvin Bagley III, who suffered a sprained MCL and bone bruise in his right knee during the preseason, could return for the Pistons tonight, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com (Twitter link). After playing Friday night for the first time this season, Alec Burks is listed as questionable.

Cavaliers Notes: Windler, Bickerstaff, Mitchell, Allen

Cavaliers swingman Dylan Windler will receive a platelet-rich plasma injection in his injured right ankle, sources tell Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Windler made the decision after getting a second opinion from a doctor that his agent recommended, Fedor adds. Windler is expected to be in a walking boot for about three weeks after the PRP shot, and the team hopes a new treatment plan will help him avoid surgery.

Windler has been out of action since trying to contest a teammate’s shot during the final practice before Cleveland’s first preseason game. The injury wasn’t believed to be serious, and there was an expectation that he would be ready for the regular season opener October 19.

After three weeks of rehab, Windler was able to dress for the Cavs’ November 2 game in Boston, though he didn’t see any playing time. But the ankle started hurting again the next morning and he didn’t travel with the team on its current five-game road trip.

Fedor notes that injuries have been a recurring issue for Windler since he was selected with the 26th pick in the 2019 draft. He missed his entire first season due to a stress fracture in his leg and has played in just 81 out of 229 games.

There’s more on the Cavaliers:

  • Even though Cleveland has one of the league’s best records, the team is still learning how to be a contender, Fedor states in a separate story. Some of the Cavs’ shortcomings were on display Monday as they let a double-digit lead slip away in the final minutes against the Clippers. “Through all the hype, we’re a team that is still building,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “As a coach, you don’t expect to win them all. You expect to have some adversity and ups and downs. But it’s all about what happens next.”
  • The Cavaliers should consider making Donovan Mitchell their primary closer late in close games, Fedor adds. He has been sharing that role with backcourt partner Darius Garland, but Mitchell has more experience from his time in Utah.
  • Jarrett Allen‘s career took off after he was traded to the Cavaliers in January 2021, but he wasn’t excited about the deal at first, per Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. Allen, who made his first All-Star team and signed a contract extension in Cleveland, said he needed time to adjust to the city. “It did take some growing,” Allen said. “It’s not a good perception of Cleveland around the league, that’s just the honest truth. Nobody sees Cleveland as like, ‘Oh, I want to go there.’ But once I got here, it was like, I do want to be here. I thought that I just fit in well.”

Team USA Rumors: Young, Beal, Allen, Embiid

Under former USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo, continuity was a top priority for the men’s national team. Colangelo required players to make two-year commitments to the program, maintained a pool of about 40 Team USA players, and conducted training camps in summers when there was no major international competition.

However, as Joe Vardon of The Athletic details, new managing director Grant Hill has decided to take a different approach, having concluded – along with new Team USA head coach Steve Kerr – that it’s not realistic to expect NBA superstars to commit back-to-back summers to the national program.

The plan for Team USA is to spend the next several months, into the spring, building the team that will represent the country at the World Cup in the Philippines next fall. USA Basketball will then repeat that process the following year in preparation for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, Vardon writes.

While it remains to be seen which players will ultimately suit up for Team USA at those two events, Vardon’s article includes some additional info on potential candidates. Here are some highlights:

  • Hawks star Trae Young has long wanted to play for Team USA at a World Cup or Olympics, but hasn’t gotten the chance to do so yet. He’s optimistic he’ll get that chance now that Hill – a minority owner of the Hawks – is so involved in the process. “It’s exciting, knowing someone who has more of a say,” Young told Vardon.
  • Wizards star Bradley Beal missed the last World Cup due to the birth of his son and also had to sit out of the Olympics after contracting COVID-19, but he’s interested in playing for the team going forward. “I definitely see myself playing for USA,” Beal told Vardon. “That’s always been a goal of mine, obviously to play in the Olympics, but there’s a step to get there (the World Cup). So if it’s available to me, for sure.”
  • Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen is receiving “heavy consideration” from Team USA officials, according to Vardon. Allen would be interested if he’s invited to take part, telling Vardon he would “take a lot of pride in representing us on a stage in front of the world.”
  • Confirming a previous report from Marc Stein, Vardon says Team USA is very interested in Joel Embiid, a native of Cameroon who has French and U.S. citizenship. USA Basketball hasn’t begun a formal recruitment of Embiid, but doesn’t want to see him join a French frontcourt that already features Rudy Gobert and Victor Wembanyama.
  • Jayson Tatum, Bam Adebayo, Devin Booker, Khris Middleton, and Zach LaVine are among the players who won gold with Team USA in Tokyo and would be welcomed back if they want to play in the 2023 World Cup, says Vardon.

Cavaliers Notes: Mitchell Trade, Mobley, Roster

The Cavaliers began talking to the Jazz about a possible Donovan Mitchell trade around the time of the Las Vegas Summer League, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscriber-only link). Fedor classifies those initial discussions as “unproductive,” noting that the Cavs felt Utah’s asking price was too high. However, he says the two teams reengaged about two weeks ago, then reached another impasse last week before general manager Koby Altman reconnected with Jazz GM Justin Zanik on Tuesday morning.

Multiple members of the Cavaliers’ front office believed that New York or another team rich on draft assets was capable of making stronger offer than Cleveland could, says Fedor. But those offers didn’t come, and the Jazz opted to accept the Cavs’ proposal.

While there are minor concerns about Mitchell’s “score-first mentality” and the size of Cleveland’s new-look backcourt, the three-time All-Star represents a major upgrade in talent for the Cavaliers, Fedor writes, adding that Mitchell – who will be 26 next Wednesday – also perfectly fits the club’s timeline. The Cavs ultimately decided to risk taking a big swing, feeling as if the opportunity was too good to pass up.

Here’s more out of Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers weren’t one of the teams reported to be on Mitchell’s list of preferred landing spots, but ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on the Hoop Collective podcast that the longtime Jazz star was “very excited” when he found out he was headed to Cleveland and that the Cavs weren’t giving up any of their stars in the deal.
  • Also in that same Hoop Collective podcast, Windhorst noted that the acquisition of Mitchell will likely make Evan Mobley ineligible for a five-year maximum-salary extension during the 2024 offseason. Teams are only allowed to have two of those “designated rookie” extensions on their books at once, and Mitchell and Darius Garland (both of whom signed designated rookie extensions) will still be under contract when Mobley becomes extension-eligible. Mobley would still be eligible to sign a four-year maximum-salary extension in 2024, or he could wait until restricted free agency in 2025 and sign a five-year max deal at that time.
  • One “prominent” Eastern Conference coach told Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports that he believes the addition of Mitchell will help the Cavs unlock Mobley’s offensive upside. “You’re not throwing the ball down to him much anyways,” the coach said. “But a two-man game with either guard in the middle or side (pick-and-roll) will be tough.”
  • Even with Mobley, Garland, and Jarrett Allen still improving, some members of the Cavs organization were worried that the roster wasn’t strong enough to evolve into a legitimate contender in a tough Eastern Conference, which helped pave the way for the acquisition of Mitchell, writes Jason Lloyd of The Athletic.
  • Cleveland’s trade for Mitchell is a statement deal, according to Kelsey Russo of The Athletic, who says it shows the Cavs are no longer content with being plucky young upstarts.
  • A panel of ESPN insiders breaks down the Mitchell trade, debating where the Mitchell/Garland backcourt duo ranks in the East and evaluating Cleveland’s ceiling following the deal.

Jazz Trying To Get Best Mitchell Offers Before Training Camp

The Jazz are trying to get the best trade offers for Donovan Mitchell, particularly from the Knicks, before training camp opens in September, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Tim MacMahon said on the latest episode of The Hoop Collective podcast

Windhorst characterized training camp as an “arbitrary deadline” for the Jazz, noting that it’s a typical negotiating tactic to apply pressure in order to get the best offers.

Basically they’re trying trying to get the Knicks to put the kind of offer that it will take to get Donovan Mitchell on the table before training camp,” MacMahon said, adding that the Jazz would prefer to avoid first-year head coach Will Hardy having to deal with a “circus” in camp.

ESPN’s Tim Bontemps observed that it would behoove both teams to make the trade before camp opens, and MacMahon explained why that’s the case.

If you’re the Knicks, you’re trying to get this guy and have him be your franchise player, him and (Jalen) Brunson be your new backcourt for now and for years to come,” MacMahon said.

You want as much time with those guys in the gym together practicing as possible. So I think it’s in both teams’ best interests to get a deal done before camp starts. But it is an artificial deadline, and we all understand that (Jazz president) Danny Ainge is not going to pull the trigger until he gets his price.”

Despite it being less than ideal, holding onto Mitchell into the season is still a viable option for Utah because he still has three years left on his contract, with a fourth-year player option in 2025/26.

While the Cavaliers have reportedly “removed themselves” from Mitchell talks, Windhorst provided an interesting tidbit about the situation before that report came to light.

Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley and Darius Garland, those three guys, I heard the Cavs told the Jazz they’re not available,” Windhorst said.

It makes sense that the Cavs would be reluctant to part with their three core players. Both Garland and Allen were first-time All-Stars last season, Mobley was the runner-up for Rookie of the Year, and all three are under contract for multiple seasons.

It’s possible the Jazz said we need one of these three players in return to make a deal and the Cavs ended the discussions, though that’s pure speculation on my part.