Jonathan Isaac

Southeast Notes: Wade, Vucevic, Isaac, Wizards

Despite a well-documented friendship, two championships won together as members of the Heat in 2012 and 2013, and having an integral role in bringing King James to Miami back in 2010, Dwyane Wade will not involve himself in the upcoming free agency of LeBron James, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.

“No, I don’t have anything to do with it, none of that,” Wade said. “One thing I know is he makes his own decisions. So when we get to that point, hopefully he takes a good look at the place he’s at and gives that real consideration, and then goes from there. It’s his decision and I don’t want nothing to do with it at all.”

As part of his interview with ESPN’s Jorge Sedano, Wade also spoke on his time with the Cavaliers, saying that he is appreciative of General Manager Koby Altman for helping to facilitate his reunion with the Heat.

“As I texted the general manager, Koby, after everything went down, I thanked him for putting me in a good position and also told him, ‘You did one hell of a job to bring the guys that he brought into the organization,'” Wade said. “And it’s not anything negative against the guys that were there, but it just wasn’t working, it wasn’t fitting the way that a championship organization wants to see it fit. And they brought in some good pieces. And so, they’re happy, I’m happy.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • In another piece for the Sun-Sentinel, Winderman reports that Wade will not be held out of back-to-back games as a matter of course as he was during his previous tenure with the Heat. In fact, Wade is active tonight against Philadelphia after playing 21 minutes in last night’s loss to Toronto.
  • Out since December 23 after fracturing the metacarpal of his left index finger in a loss against Washington, Magic center Nikola Vucevic plans to return to the floor for Orlando’s first game back after the All-Star break – against New York on February 22 – reports Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel“I expect to be back against the Knicks, so I’ll stay in Orlando during the break and keep working on my game,” Vucevic said Monday night. “Then we’ll have two or three good practices before we play the Knicks, so I think it’ll be good for me to use that extra time to work more on my game.”
  • Another injured Magic frontcourt player, rookie Jonathan Isaac, is looking to return soon as well, writes John Denton of NBA.com. Isaac, who has been out since Dec. 26 with recurring right ankle issues, has gained 11 pounds while on what the team called a rehabilitation and conditioning program.
  • Faced with a slew of injuries at the point guard position, the Wizards had to get creative during one recent practice, according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. John Wall, Tim Frazier, and Tomas Satoransky are all out with injuries, so Washington, armed with only seven healthy players, used Kamran Sufi, a player development manager, as a point guard during practice. Satoransky returned to the line-up tonight against New York, while Wall and Frazier remain out.

Lowe’s Latest: Cavs, Jordan, Magic, Nuggets, Sixers

On Monday, we rounded up some of the highlights from a Lowe Post podcast featuring ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Adrian Wojnarowski. Late last night, Lowe published an extensive look at the trade market at ESPN.com, following up on some of the scuttlebutt he shared in that podcast. While there are a few repeated items with Lowe’s piece, he also has plenty of new notes for us as Thursday’s trade deadline approaches. Let’s dive in…

  • Lowe views Marc Gasol as a target that would make sense for the Cavaliers if they’re willing to trade the Nets’ 2018 first-rounder. However, he notes that the Grizzlies seem satisfied to stand pat, and the two teams haven’t discussed Gasol. Rival executives also say that the Cavs continue to act as if they won’t trade the Brooklyn pick.
  • Outside of the teams already known to have expressed interest in DeAndre Jordan – such as the Rockets, Bucks, and Trail Blazers – the Wizards are another club that has looked into the Clippers center, says Lowe. However, despite investigating the market for Jordan, Washington hasn’t gained any momentum toward a deal.
  • Every Magic player except for Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac is “readily available,” sources tell Lowe. Most people around the league think that Elfrid Payton will be playing somewhere besides Orlando next season, Lowe adds.
  • As Lowe observes, Nuggets may not be able to afford Will Barton‘s next contract, but the team appears okay with holding onto him through the deadline and risking losing him for nothing this summer. Denver also remains on the lookout for point guards, having kicked the tires on Pacers backup Cory Joseph, per Lowe. However, potential targets like Joseph and Garrett Temple may not be viable due to the guaranteed 2018/19 money on their contracts.
  • The Sixers are approaching the trade deadline as buyers, but no longer have as many extra first-round draft picks as they’ve had in recent years, so they may only willing to dangle second-rounders, says Lowe.
  • According to Lowe, the Timberwolves have been very cautious about discussing the 2018 first-rounder they’ll get from the Thunder, since they recognize they’ll need cheap players to fill out the roster as Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns get very expensive.
  • The Warriors remain on the lookout for bench help — they inquired on Avery Bradley, but got nowhere, league sources tell Lowe.
  • The Heat don’t appear to have traction on any major deals, according to Lowe.

Southeast Notes: Whiteside, Vucevic, Ilyasova

The Heat have been aggressive on the trade market, but don’t expect them to deal Hassan Whiteside without a significant haul coming back in return, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes. The franchise knows all too well how much of a role the 28-year-old has played in the team’s emergence as a defensive force.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra has reined in his inconsistent big man’s minutes this year, a luxury he can afford with other options like Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo on the roster.

Despite the decreased workload, Whiteside is as efficient as ever, posting 14.4 points and 11.8 rebounds per game in just 25.8 minutes of action. Those are per-36 rates of 20.0 and 16.4, respectively, up from 18.8 and 15.6 per-36 in 2016/17.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

Southeast Notes: Whiteside, Payton, Gordon

Heat center Hassan Whiteside returned from injury this week after missing 13 games with a bone bruise in his left knee. In his absence, the Heat modified their offense a bit to involve their big men in more dribble handoffs and other ball-handling activities, showcasing the skill of players like Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo. And as Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel reports, Whiteside will be called upon to continue this change.

“You’re going to get assists when you handle the ball more,” he said. “It’s just part of the game. (Coach is) putting it into the big’s hands more (and) I love it, man. I can’t wait to get my hands into that. It’s not as much pick-and-roll as much as it was. It’s more handoffs, bigs flashing to the elbows, that sort of stuff.”

And while Whiteside is eager to see how he fits into the new offense, Winderman figures that the adjustment will be gradual as Whiteside’s playing time increases. As head coach Eric Spoelstra explained, “The rhythm, the timing, the cohesiveness, you can’t take it for granted. You actually have to spend time working at it and getting back into the swing of things. It’s one thing to watch it. It’s different when you drill five on five.”

There’s more today from the Southeast Division:

  • Magic guard Elfrid Payton may be playing some of the best basketball of his career, and it’s on the heels of head coach Frank Vogel asking Payton for more production and aggressiveness in the wake of a rash of injuries to the Magic roster, reports John Denton of NBA.com. Payton has averaged 19.2 points, 7.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds a game on 59.5 percent shooting since he was approached by Vogel.
  • As we discussed yesterday, Magic rookie Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely while he recovers from injury. In another piece for NBA.com, Denton explains how Isaac is being patient and waiting for his ankle to completely heal. Said Isaac, “Just take my time, day-by-day. It’s tough (being out). It takes time and trying to come back when it’s not completely there (physically) is tough, so I just have to be patient and take it day-by-day.’’
  • In yet another story for NBA.com, Denton also profiles how Aaron Gordon is beginning to embrace pressure packed moments. Gordon, only 22, has already made two game-winning three pointers for the Magic this season.

Jonathan Isaac Out Indefinitely

The Magic have decided to withhold rookie forward Jonathan Isaac from game action indefinitely while the sixth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft tries to fully recover from a stubborn right ankle sprain suffered back on November 11, reports Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.

Isaac missed 17 consecutive games after initially injuring the ankle before returning to action on December 17. Isaac then reaggravated the injury on December 20, causing him to miss two more games on December 22 and 23. Isaac then returned the day after Christmas, but continued to have problems with his ankle.

Magic officials have put Isaac on a rehabilitation and conditioning program to help him continue his development while out with injury. When specifically asked how Isaac’s development has been impacted by the injury, head coach Frank Vogel stated, “It’s hampered him a lot, but mentally he’s still being taught the game and still being kept engaged in everything. There’s still development. There’s still growing. There’s still experience happening. It’s just a lot slower than it would be if he was in there.”

Vogel also commented on the decision to sit Isaac (per Robbins), stating “It’s really just about getting him to where he’s at his best and not yo-yoing him in and out of games and having him re-tweak it. [We want to] strengthen the ankle and strengthen his legs and conditioning so that it’s not an issue anymore.”

Isaac, 20, had been averaging 5.3 PPG and 3.7 RPG in 15 games during his rookie season.

Southeast Notes: Richardson, Isaac, Graham, Howard

Josh Richardson has emerged as the most efficient small forward the Heat have had since LeBron James departed for the Cavaliers, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel. Injuries to other wing players have given Richardson an expanded role and he’s taken full advantage, averaging 17.6 PPG this month on 54.8% overall shooting and 50.9% from long range. “This is a continuation of the end of last season, completing a good summer of development,” coach Erik Spoelstra told Winderman and other beat reporters. “He’s gaining more confidence with game minutes. I think that will only continue to get better.”

  • Magic rookie forward Jonathan Isaac‘s latest right ankle injury is not as severe as the one that kept him out for 17 games, John Denton of the team’s website reports. Isaac has missed the last two games after re-injuring the ankle on Wednesday. He’s hopeful he can return as early as Tuesday’s game against Miami. “It’s completely different and just a little re-aggravation,” Isaac told reporters. “Feeling OK and it’s the same thing – day to day – and hopefully I’ll get back soon.”
  • Hornets shooting guard Treveon Graham played a strong 28 minutes off the bench on Saturday and could see steadier playing time, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. Graham scored 14 points as the club rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat the Bucks. Graham needs to be productive to stay on the roster. His $1.3MM contract doesn’t become fully guaranteed unless he’s still on the roster through January 10th.
  • The Hornets were fearful that center Dwight Howard would be out an extended period after suffering a dislocated left ring finger on Friday, Brendan Marks of the Charlotte Observer relays. Instead, Howard returned to action on Saturday. “I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a month or two months based on the way it kind of looked and the way it was popping out or whatever,” acting coach Stephen Silas told Marks.

Southeast Notes: Heat Injuries, Hornets, Isaac

The Heat have dealt with a plethora of injuries this season but, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes, the team is slowly but surely making progress. Hassan Whiteside, for example, has started doing on-court work for the first time since being sidelined eight games ago.

While there’s still no timetable for Whiteside’s return, Heat fans can take solace in the fact that head coach Erik Spoelstra seems convinced that Rodney McGruder will return to the court by the end of the season.

I will not answer [in more detail] because he will read it and take it as major progress and then start banging on my door and say I’m ready to play,” the Heat coach said. “He’s out of the boot and doing more work, all non-impact at this point.

Finally, there was hope that Justise Winslow would be able to return within the week for the Heat. The forward received optimistic MRI results after injuring his knee on Wednesday. Spoelstra, however, pumped the brakes on that one saying that he wouldn’t commit to that timetable. Winslow is currently limited to bicycle and pool work.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division tonight:

Southeast Rumors: Monk, Heat, Simmons, Isaac

Malik Monk‘s spotty minutes in recent games is due to Michael Carter-Williams defensive ability and not some sort of punishment for the first-round pick, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports. The Hornets have played much better defensively with Carter-Williams in the rotation and Monk became the odd man out, Bonnell continues. Monk is still learning to play point guard after being a shooting guard in college and has plenty of work to do defensively, Bonnell adds.

In other developments around the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat may have invested too much on complementary pieces, Ira Winderman of the Florida Sun Sentinel opines. It’s fair to question whether the club would be better off now and into the future by spending on top players rather than doling out large contracts to players such as Josh RichardsonTyler Johnson, James Johnson and Kelly Olynyk, Winderman adds.
  • Magic coach Frank Vogel made his first non-injury related change to the starting lineup Monday, inserting swingman Jonathon Simmons in place of Terrence Ross, John Denton of the Magic’s website reports. Vogel wants to give Simmons more playing time and Ross has spent most of his career coming off the bench, Denton notes. “Terrence and I have been in conversations about him maybe being more involved when coming off the bench and with Simmons, we’d like to see what we look like with him having a bigger role,’’ Vogel said.
  • Magic rookie power forward Jonathan Isaac could return as early as Wednesday from the ankle sprain he suffered on November 11th, Denton notes in a separate story. The lottery pick missed his eighth consecutive game on Monday. “It’s definitely taken longer than I thought it would,” Isaac told Denton.

Southeast Notes: Isaac, Vogel, Olynyk, Monk

Magic forward Jonathan Isaac is missing his fifth straight game tonight with a sprained ankle, but the team hopes to have him back by the end of its current road trip, writes Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. The sixth player take in this year’s draft, Isaac has averaged 6.1 points and 4.4 rebounds in his first 12 NBA games. At 6’10”, he is tall and versatile enough to defend several positions.

“You hate to say you’re missing a 20-year-old rookie, but we are,” Magic coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s a dynamic player, especially on the defensive end, and he’s missed. But every single team in the league has got guys out.” Orlando is starting a four-game road trip tonight that will run through Monday.

There’s more news from the Southeast Division:

  • Vogel considered making a lineup change, but decided to keep the same starting five for tonight to allow his point guards to get more comfortable in their return from injuries, Robbins adds in the same story. Elfrid Payton and D.J. Augustin both missed time with hamstring problems, with Payton coming back November 13 and Augustin returning Saturday. “[We’re] staying the course right now,” Vogel said. “I think we’re still dealing with not having been at full strength and we’re trying to keep guys in their roles while we try to achieve that.”
  • Pat Riley’s decisions to bring back most of last season’s roster and use future cap room on a small number of players aren’t working out so far, writes Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. Miami is off to a 7-9 start and there are concerns that the current roster doesn’t fit well together. The problems have been particularly acute in the second half of games, where the Heat rank last in the league in scoring, field goal percentage and 3-point shooting. The worst move of the offseason appears to be the four-year, $50 million deal for Kelly Olynyk, who at 18.4 minutes per game is playing less than in any of his four seasons in Boston.
  • Hornets coach Steve Clifford believes the lack of a team “identity” contributed to a recent six-game losing streak, relays Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Charlotte snapped that slide Saturday as Clifford juggled the rotation, which included benching rookie guard Malik Monk for the first time this season. “You lose six in a row and the defense has been bad,” Clifford explained. “It’s not Malik’s fault, it’s just his position; [Michael Carter-Williams is] a difference-maker defensively.”

Southeast Notes: Isaac, Porter Jr., Richardson

The Magic have been hard at work gaining insights about their roster this preseason and have already come up with a five-man group that they’re fond of. John Denton of the Magic’s official site writes that Frank Vogel particularly enjoyed playing Elfrid Payton alongside Jonathon Simmons at the two with Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon at the three and four, respectively, with Bismack Biyombo at center.

That’s scary for other teams because there is a lot of athleticism out there and a lot of guys who can guard point guard through power forward,” Payton, entering his fourth year with the Magic, said. “There’s so much speed and athleticism there. Even though we’d be seen as a small unit, Jonathon [Simmons] is athletic, Isaac is athletic, A.G. is athletic and I don’t think we’d lose anything on the rebounding end. I look forward to seeing that [lineup] more.

The scribe also notes that Isaac, while famously raw as a 20-year-old, 210-pound forward, could still be utilized as a defensive specialist for the Magic in his first year in the pros. “He’s NBA-ready to come in and impact our team on the defensive end right now,” Vogel said.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

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