Javonte Green

Fischer’s Latest: Gobert, Jazz, Bulls, P. Williams, Snyder, Spurs

Confirming a pair of earlier reports, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report states that the Jazz haven’t entertained inquiries on Donovan Mitchell, but have been willing to engage in talks involving Rudy Gobert, with the Bulls among the potential suitors for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year.

According to Fischer, a Bulls offer for Gobert would – as expected – start with center Nikola Vucevic. The “popular package” discussed by various league executives would also include Patrick Williams, according to Fischer, who notes that the Jazz have long been seeking a wing defender like the former No. 4 overall pick.

However, as Fischer writes, the Bulls weren’t interested in discussing Williams during in-season trade talks for Jerami Grant, so it remains to be seen how open they’d be to including him in an offer for Gobert. If Williams is off the table, adding Coby White and Javonte Green would work from a salary-matching perspective, Fischer observes, but presumably the Jazz would be seeking a more substantial return for one of their two All-Stars.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • The Jazz offered Quin Snyder a variety of contract structures in an effort to keep him in Utah, but those offers were rebuffed, with Snyder deciding it was time to move on. The expectation in league circles is that Snyder – who is highly regarded by Spurs CEO R.C. Buford – would be the leading candidate for the coaching job in San Antonio when Gregg Popovich steps down, says Fischer.
  • The Jazz are still working on their list of head coaching targets and will begin to formally reach out to candidates in the coming days, according to Fischer. One of the names included in the team’s preliminary list of candidates was Terry Stotts, who has the same representation as Snyder and spent several weeks around the Jazz in 2021/22, Fischer notes.
  • While there’s some skepticism around the NBA about how much Jazz CEO Danny Ainge will cater to Donovan Mitchell, Ainge isn’t viewed as someone who “scours the market of the NBA’s up-and-coming head coaches,” Fischer writes. In other words, if Mitchell and team owner Ryan Smith both want to bring in former Jazz assistant Johnnie Bryant as Snyder’s replacement, Ainge likely wouldn’t stand in the way, sources tell Fischer.

Bulls Notes: Green, Donovan, LaVine, Thompson

Javonte Green has emerged as the most valuable piece of a three-team trade the Bulls made at the 2021 deadline, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Chicago also received Daniel Theis and Troy Brown Jr. in the deal with the Celtics and Wizards, but Brown has become indispensable for coach Billy Donovan. He was inserted into the starting lineup after an early-season injury to Patrick Williams and has been able to contribute as both a starter and reserve.

“I know what I’m on the team for and what I bring to the team. I’m going to continue to do that whether that’s coming off the bench or starting,” Green said. “I’m just here to do my job, be here for my teammates. Whatever they need me to do, I’m going to do it regardless if I’m starting or coming off the bench. It’s not like I’m mad about it or anything.”

Green was asked to fill both roles this week as Donovan started Tristan Thompson alongside Nikola Vucevic in Friday’s game against the Bucks, then used Green as a starter again Monday at Philadelphia. Green might have to adjust again if Williams and Alex Caruso return before the end of the season, but he says he’s ready for anything.

“From the beginning, from my first game in the NBA, I knew I could play at this level,” Green said. “I’m just getting a great opportunity, and I’m taking advantage of it.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Donovan said it’s up to him to get the team back on the right path after a fifth straight loss on Monday, Johnson adds in a separate story. Donovan, who has extensive playoff experience, including coaching in a conference finals, understands that many of his players are unfamiliar with that level. “I think it’s my responsibility for guys like Ayo (Dosunmu) and Coby (White) even Zach (LaVine), some of these guys who haven’t played in places that they want to play in this league, that there are certain things you can’t escape that have to do,” Donovan said. “And you have to confront them.”
  • LaVine is still dealing with swelling in his left knee that affects his mobility, but pain is no longer an issue, tweets Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. Donovan said LaVine is feeling better now than before he saw a knee specialist last month.
  • Even though the Bulls have hit a low point in the season, Thompson remains confident that he made the right choice in coming to Chicago after his buyout with the Pacers (video link from NBC Sports Chicago).

Eastern Notes: Harris, Hornets, LaVine, Green, Claxton

Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris has now missed 31 straight games due to an ankle injury, a process that head coach Steve Nash called “tricky,” Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets. Asked if Harris has experienced setbacks during his rehab, Nash acknowledged the forward’s progress has been stop and start.

“Yeah, there’s been some awareness (of it) and irritation,” Nash said. “He’s been doing a tug-of-war between making progress and then having some irritation. It’s really a process that’s been tricky.”

Last season, Harris scored 14.1 points per game, shooting 47.5% from three-point range in his 69 contests. The Nets own the best record in the Eastern Conference (29-16) despite Harris only playing 14 of those games.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • In a piece for The Charlotte Observer, Roderick Boone lists how several Hornets players have graded their seasons to date. Key players such as Terry Rozier, LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges all gave themselves assessments in the C range, suggesting they believe there’s plenty of room for improvement. On the season, Charlotte is 26-20, which includes a 13-6 home record and 13-14 road mark.
  • Bulls guards Zach LaVine (knee) and Javonte Green (adductor) are meeting their team in Oklahoma City, head coach Billy Donovan said, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic (Twitter link). The Bulls will play the Thunder on Monday. LaVine could return for that game, Mayberry adds.
  • Nets center Nicolas Claxton hopes to return early next week, Brian Lewis of the New York Post relays (via Twitter). Claxton has been dealing with a left hamstring injury and won’t rush the return process, Lewis adds in a separate tweet. He’s only appeared in 20 of the team’s 45 games this season.

Injury Notes: DiVincenzo, Bulls, Wiseman, Nuggets

Donte DiVincenzo‘s string of bad luck continued over the weekend, as the Bucks guard rolled his surgically repaired left ankle during warmups on Saturday and is expected to be sidelined for a little while, according to Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link).

The Bucks haven’t issued a formal update on DiVincenzo’s status or his potential recovery timeline, but Owczarksi says there’s a belief he’ll be out for “a few weeks.”

It’s a frustrating setback for DiVincenzo, who missed the start of the season while recovering from ankle surgery, then contracted COVID-19 when he was about to return last month. He appeared in just three games for the Bucks before sustaining his latest injury.

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

  • The Bulls are expected to be without guard Javonte Green and forward Tyler Cook for a little while. As Jamal Collier of ESPN writes, head coach Billy Donovan said on Monday that Green will likely miss two-to-four weeks due to a strained groin. Donovan also stated that Cook has a “pretty significant” ankle sprain and will be out for a couple weeks, tweets K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.
  • The Warriors hope that second-year center James Wiseman, who participated in the team’s shootaround on Monday, can begin contact drills next week, says Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports Bay Area. Wiseman has exited the health and safety protocols, but continues to work his way back from the knee surgery that ended his rookie season.
  • In a recent interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said the team will give stars Jamal Murray (ACL) and Michael Porter Jr. (back) all the time they need to recover from their respective injuries. Unlike Porter, who is expected to return in 2022/23, Murray has a chance to return to the court this season, though Malone warned that’s not a given. “I’ve told him many times — and I think it’s important for him to hear it from me — (that) there’s absolutely zero pressure for him to come back this year,” Malone said. “At the same time, I tell him, ‘Listen, if it’s in the cards for you to come back and play this year, great. If it’s not in the cards for you to come back and play this year, great.’ He’s gonna come back when he is ready.”

Lakers’ Westbrook, Cavs’ Okoro Enter COVID-19 Protocols

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin (Twitter link). Lakers guard Avery Bradley has also been placed in the protocols, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Westbrook and Bradley are the fourth and fifth Lakers to enter the protocols within the last three days, joining teammates Talen Horton-Tucker, Dwight Howard, and Malik Monk.

It’s unclear if the two Lakers guards have registered confirmed positive tests for COVID-19, but if they have, they’ll be sidelined for at least 10 days or until he returns two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

The news of Westbrook and Bradley entering the protocols coincides with reports that the Lakers have agreed to sign Isaiah Thomas to a 10-day contract using a hardship exception. Westbrook’s and Bradley’s absences should open the door for Thomas to get some run at the point guard spot.

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

  • Cavaliers forward Isaac Okoro has entered the health and safety protocols, sources tell Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link). No other Cavs players are currently in the protocols, so we’ll have to wait to see if Okoro is a one-off or if any of his teammates join him in the coming days. If Okoro tested positive for COVID-19, he’ll be in the protocols for at least 10 days or until he returns two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.
  • Bulls head coach Billy Donovan told reporters, including Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times, that Coby White and Javonte Green are the only two players on the team who have cleared the health and safety protocols and have been conducting individual workouts. That leaves eight players in the protocols, and many of them – including Zach LaVine, Ayo Dosunmu, Alize Johnson, and Troy Brown Jr. – may not be back until after Christmas, according to Donovan.
  • Raptors big man Precious Achiuwa has cleared the health and safety protocols, tweets Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Koreen also provides a few injury updates on Raptors players — Dalano Banton (illness) is good to go, while OG Anunoby (hip) and Khem Birch (knee) will be listed as questionable for the club’s game vs. Golden State on Saturday.

Zach LaVine, Troy Brown Jr. Join Seven Other Bulls In Protocols

Bulls star Zach LaVine has been placed in the league’s health and safety protocols, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Troy Brown Jr. has entered the protocols as well, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports (Twitter link), giving the team nine players affected by COVID-19.

Chicago was down to 11 available players Saturday night after Ayo Dosunmu and Stanley Johnson were both put in the protocols earlier in the day. The Bulls will need eight eligible players for Tuesday’s game in Detroit, and Wojnarowski suggests that postponements may be considered if the team’s outbreak continues (Twitter link). COVID-19 upended the NBA schedule early in 2020/21, but no games have been moved so far this season.

The team has already signed Johnson and Alfonzo McKinnie under the hardship exception and can continue to add players if necessary, points out Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

Chicago has a lighter schedule this week that could help alleviate the roster crunch. After Tuesday’s game, the Bulls will travel to Toronto on Thursday and will get two days off before hosting the Lakers next Sunday. Coby White and Javonte Green both have the potential to return during the week if they clear the protocols, K.C. Johnson tweets.

Under league rules, if LaVine and Brown tested positive, they will miss a minimum of 10 days unless they submit two consecutive negative tests more than 24 hours apart.

Bulls’ Javonte Green In Health And Safety Protocols

DECEMBER 4: Green has tested positive for COVID-19, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Coach Billy Donovan said Green has returned to Chicago.

DECEMBER 3: Bulls wing Javonte Green has entered the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (via Twitter). Johnson notes that the Bulls have been testing daily after Coby White tested positive on Wednesday.

It’s unclear at this time whether Green tested positive as well. If he did, he’d be out for at least 10 days or until he returns two negative tests a minimum of 24 hours apart.

The 28-year-old Green has been an important member of the Bulls’ eighth-ranked defense. Through 23 games (12 starts), he holds averages of 5.4 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 20.6 MPG with a .495/.385/.750 shooting line. His counting stats may be modest, but they belie his impact. Green is often tasked with guarding the top scorers on opposing teams, usually at a size disadvantage.

In a separate tweet, Johnson relays that Alex Caruso is questionable for Saturday’s game against the Nets. The Bulls’ depth would be very limited if he’s unable to play, with White and Green already sidelined.

The Bulls currently sit with a 15-8 record on the season.

Central Notes: Allen, Rubio, Simmons, Green

The Cavaliers‘ fast start has raised expectations in Cleveland, Jarrett Allen tells Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Coming off a 22-50 season, the Cavs were hoping to improve enough to contend for a spot in the play-in round, but the team is now 9-8 and has started to aim a little higher.

“We’re definitely shooting for the playoffs,” Allen said. “First, I think people thought, let’s just get in for the play-in game, be one of those ninth or tenth seeds. But now, I guess you’ve got to be in the play-in if you’re seven or eight, but we want to be in one of the old seven or eight playoff spots.”

Allen covers several topics in the interview, including the five-year, $100MM contract he signed during the offseason. Although he was a restricted free agent and the Cavaliers could have waited to match any offer on the open market, they were aggressive and reached a deal quickly to keep him in Cleveland.

“I never thought that would happen,” Allen said of being a $100MM player. “I’m not saying that I didn’t believe in my basketball abilities. I didn’t know that people saw that in me on the court. And you know, now that I have it, nothing’s really changed. I’m still who I am. I’m still going to be who I am on the court. There’s a reason I got the $100 million. I don’t think I need to go out there and shoot 20 threes a game. It’s a dream, and we’ll keep it that way.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers‘ offseason addition of Ricky Rubio has become more important with the loss of Collin Sexton for the rest of the season, writes Kevin Pelton of ESPN. Rubio has ranked second on the team in minutes played in the four games since Sexton was injured.
  • Recent rumors about a possible Ben Simmons trade don’t make sense for the Pistons, according to Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Primarily a ball-handler on offense, Simmons isn’t a good fit for a team that already has Killian Hayes and Cade Cunningham, Beard points out. There are also questions about how Simmons would affect the culture of a young team and concerns about taking on his hefty contract.
  • Part of the Bulls‘ improvement on defense stems from more playing time for Javonte Green and the trade for Derrick Jones Jr., since both Green and Jones can guard multiple positions, observes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. They have been asked to contribute more to the team’s interior defense while Nikola Vucevic is sidelined with COVID-19. ‘‘Position-less basketball, right?’’ Green said. ‘‘That’s our job. We’re not here to completely shut down anybody; we’re here to do our part in making life hard on (opposing big men) while (center Nikola Vucevic) is out.”

Central Notes: Cunningham, LeVert, Williams, Green

Cade Cunningham only scored two points in his NBA debut Saturday night, but he was happy to finally be on the court, writes Eric Woodyard of ESPN. A sprained ankle he suffered in training camp forced the overall No. 1 pick to miss the entire preseason and the Pistons‘ first four games.

“I think it was good. I feel like coming in, just being able to make some plays off the ball, get some rebounds. I felt like I was solid defensively,” he said. “And, I mean those are the points that I really wanted to come out and just prove to myself that my ankle was straight and that I could move, guard and do everything else. So, I got all the jitters out now and now I can just go play free.”

Because of lingering concerns about the ankle, Cunningham is beginning his NBA career under a restriction of 20 to 25 minutes per night. He played 18 minutes Saturday, recording seven rebounds and two assists while shooting just 1-of-8 from the field as Detroit picked up its first win of the season.

“I try to keep my energy in the right place,” Cunningham said. “I try to keep my head in the right place and so, my team, they know what they expect out of me, I know what I expect out of me, so that’s all that’s really mattering to me. People can say whatever they want, outside of that, but I probably won’t hear it.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Also making his season debut Saturday was Pacers swingman Caris LeVert, who suffered a stress fracture in his back during training camp, notes Akeem Glaspie of The Indianapolis Star. LeVert, who is dealing with a minutes restriction too, made an impact while he was on the court, scoring 15 points in 15 minutes. “The hope is that there wouldn’t be a long period where there’s a restriction but right now it’s just really hard to say, it’s really impossible to say,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Would’ve been great to have him in the second half but that just wasn’t in the cards.”
  • The Bulls will take steps not to lose an entire year of development for Patrick Williams, who will have surgery today to repair torn ligaments in his left wrist, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘He’s probably going to lose a significant amount of muscle mass in his upper body because he’s not going to be able to lift or do anything from that standpoint,” coach Billy Donovan said. ‘‘The more we can keep him engaged with our team (the better) because what happens is the season is going on, and these games are coming and coming and coming, and he can feel like he’s over here on an island.’’
  • Donovan tabbed Javonte Green to fill the open spot in the Bulls‘ starting lineup, just as he did when Williams had an ankle injury during the preseason, Cowley adds. Donovan explained that Green’s energy and versatility on defense make him a good fit with the team’s other starters.

Bulls Rule Out Patrick Williams For 4-6 Months Due To Wrist Injury

2:57pm: Williams will undergo surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left wrist and is expected to miss approximately four-to-six months, the Bulls announced in a press release.

If Williams can get back within four or five months, that’d put him on track to play again before the regular season ends. However, a six-month recovery would run into late April.

1:10pm: Bulls forward Patrick Williams is expected to be sidelined for the rest of the 2021/22 regular season after dislocating his left wrist, a source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links).

According to Wojnarowski, Williams sustained a perilunate dislocation and will soon undergo surgery. There’s hope that he’ll be able to return for the playoffs, but that’s not a sure thing, Woj adds.

The Bulls have yet to officially confirm Wojnarowski’s report, but head coach Billy Donovan admitted this afternoon that Williams’ injury is “pretty significant,” as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago tweets. The injury occurred during Thursday’s game against the Knicks, when Williams was fouled by Mitchell Robinson on a drive to the basket and came down on his wrist (video link). Robinson was assessed with a Flagrant 1 on the play.

It’s a brutal turn of events for Williams, the No. 4 pick in the 2020 draft who was expected to be a key part of a revamped Bulls roster this season. Many of the team’s top scoring options – Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic – aren’t great defenders, so Williams’ ability to slow down opposing scorers was considered especially valuable.

With Williams unavailable, Chicago’s defense and depth will be tested. As Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report tweets, Javonte Green, who has averaged just under 16 minutes off the bench in the first five games of the season, looks like the best bet to replace Williams in the starting five.