Jordan McRae

Wizards’ Jordan McRae Sidelined At Least Two Weeks

Wizards swingman Jordan McRae underwent surgery on Wednesday to remove the pin in his right ring finger and will miss at least two weeks, according to a team press release.

The procedure was a precautionary measure to prevent infection, the release adds.

McRae suffered a fracture to that finger during the season opener against Dallas on October 23rd. He returned to action on November 6th. The pin became dislodged on a dunk attempt against Charlotte on November 22nd.

McRae has been a part of the team’s rotation but this could impact his presence on the roster. His $1.6MM contract, which was partially guaranteed at $600K, becomes fully guaranteed on December 20th.

McRae is averaging 8.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG and 2.8 APG in 18.1 MPG in 13 games this season.

Wizards Notes: Centers, Miles, Schofield, Ratings

The Wizards are trying to survive with no healthy centers on their roster, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. The foot injury that sidelined Thomas Bryant for at least three weeks was terrible news for a team that is already missing Ian Mahinmi because of an Achilles injury and Moritz Wagner with a sprained left ankle.

Rui Hachimura and Davis Bertans both started in the frontcourt in Tuesday’s loss to the Magic, while 6’5″ Admiral Schofield was called up from the G League for reinforcement. Katz notes that Wagner should return soon, but he’s averaging more than seven fouls per 36 minutes, so he may have a problem staying on the court.

The Wizards aren’t likely to make a roster move to address the predicament, Katz adds. Jordan McRae and Justin Robinson have partially guaranteed contracts, but management likes both players and isn’t likely to cut them for short-term help. The same holds true for two-way players Chris Chiozza and Garrison Mathews. After a 6-13 start, the focus of this season will remain on player development rather than wins and losses.

There’s more from Washington, D.C.:

  • C.J. Miles had successful surgery today to fix damaged ligaments in his left wrist, the Wizards announced on Twitter. No timeline has been set for Miles’ return, and there were concerns that surgery might keep him out of action for the rest of the season.
  • Before Schofield joined the Wizards last night, he played 38 minutes in a G League game for the Capital City GoGo, relays Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. He became the first player in franchise history and one of only a handful throughout the league who have appeared in two games in one day. “This is one of those days where you get to fall in love with the game again because it’s so much basketball,” said Schofield, who played 7:19 against Orlando. Robinson was also called up after playing in the early game, but wasn’t used.
  • The Wizards have suffered the largest decline in local television ratings of any NBA team, tweets John Ourand of Sports Business Journal. Washington’s games are drawing a 57% smaller audience than they did last season.

Southeast Notes: Spoelstra, Magic, Thomas, McRae

The NBA implemented a new coach’s challenge for the 2019/20 season, an addition that’s received mixed reviews among the league’s players, coaches and fans just one month into the campaign.

The feature is simple: To initiate the one-time, challenge, a head coach must call timeout and pursue review of a foul, out-of-bounds, goaltending or offensive interference call. While reviewing the play, the referees must see clear and conclusive visual evidence in order to overturn the ruling.

However, not all of the league’s 30 head coaches enjoy the new addition to the game.

“I don’t like it,” longtime Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of the challenge, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. “I’m an NBA basketball coach. I’m not an official, and I’m not trying to be an official.

“There are too many things to focus on. It doesn’t work like the NFL one. And I’m not bashing it to say I won’t be a part of it. We’ve challenged and won one. I’ll use it, but it’s distracting.”

Despite giving teams the option to challenge a potentially incorrect call, the addition of the coach’s challenge presents one clear problem: Slowing down a game that’s already been slowed enough by officiating in recent seasons, particularly toward the end of contests.

“I don’t know how that helps the flow,” Spoelstra said. “To me, it hurts the flow. It’s just another thing to focus on that’s distracting that has nothing to do with the game.

“For example, we had a game in Miami the other night and there was a bang-bang play, and it could have been called or not. I didn’t have a timeout to burn in that instance; I didn’t want to, like, gamble. And I see two fans going like this [motioning with a twirling finger]. That’s where we’re going? It’s like, I don’t know.”

There’s more out of the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Josh Robbins of The Athletic provides injury updates on Magic players Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and Michael Carter-Williams. Gordon has a combination of a right ankle contusion and right ankle sprain, Robbins notes, though his injury is improving and he’s receiving around-the-clock treatment. Vucevic is also rehabbing from an ankle injury, though the 29-year-old is no longer in a walking boot. Carter-Williams did some stationary bike work on Saturday to continue rehab on a left hip injury.
  • Wizards guard Isaiah Thomas is confident that he’ll return to his old All-Star form, as relayed by Kevin Brown of NBC Sports Washington. “A lot of people have counted me out, especially the last couple of years,” Thomas said. “But I know what I’ve been through, I know what my body’s been through. I know how good I feel I know I’m ready and I know given the opportunity, I can play at an All-Star level again. And that’s what I’m gonna showcase…I promise you I’m gonna be an All-Star, I’m gonna be an All-NBA basketball player again.”
  • Jordan McRae is finally having his special moment with the Wizards, Fred Katz of The Athletic details. McRae missed the entire 2017/18 season due to a shoulder injury and is coming off an up-and-down campaign with Washington, but he’s starting to solidify his role on the team this year. “There’s not a better feeling in the world — unless you sign a max contract. That might be a little bit better,” head coach Scott Brooks said. “It’s a great opportunity for Jordan. … But he still can’t relax. They always say the easiest thing is to make it. The hardest thing is to keep it. And he’s doing everything we ask. It’s good to have him back.”

Southeast Notes: Cauley-Stein, Hornets, Hawks, Magic

In an interesting, in-depth profile of Willie Cauley-Stein for The San Francisco Chronicle, Connor Letourneau notes that the Hornets presented the free agent big man with a $9MM offer during the summer before he opted to sign a minimum-salary contract with the Warriors.

Letourneau mentions the Hornets’ offer in passing and doesn’t provide any additional details on the timing or structure. Charlotte had its full mid-level exception available this offseason and theoretically could have offered Cauley-Stein $9MM for one year, or per year, though it would be surprising if he turned down such a proposal. A two-year deal in that range seems more realistic, but that’s just my speculation.

Either way, Cauley-Stein passed on the offer, which has helped open the door for Cody Zeller to take on a more prominent role in the Hornets’ frontcourt. As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes, Zeller has suddenly become a cornerstone for the franchise, averaging career highs in PPG (12.8) and RPG (10.5) so far this season. After missing 82 games over the last two years, Zeller says he feels great, while James Borrego suggests the big man is crucial to Charlotte’s offensive attack.

“We want to play through him,” the Hornets’ head coach said. “Cody allows us to play a number of ways, especially with pace. He’s a great runner. He starts our offense in transition. And he has to play-make for us — on and off the ball. He’s been primarily a screener over the years. Right now, I want the ball in his hands at the top of the (key) in DHO (dribble-handoffs).”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • In the wake of John Collins‘ 25-game suspension, Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk issued a statement saying the team believes that the big man “is truly remorseful for his actions.” Meanwhile, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic explores what the suspension means for the Hawks, who will start Jabari Parker in Collins’ place.
  • A strong second-half run buoyed the Magic into a playoff spot last season, but they haven’t been able to carry that momentum over to the start of the 2019/20 campaign so far. John Hollinger of The Athletic digs into what’s next for Orlando as the team tries to increase its ceiling.
  • Wizards guard Jordan McRae, who broke his finger on opening night last month, is anxious to return, as Candace Buckner of The Washington Post relays (Twitter links). I’d like to play tonight. I think I’m ready,” McRae said. “… I can’t wait six weeks. It’s a finger, I mean, granted, it is broken, but… I feel like I owe it to my team to play through a little pain.”

Jordan McRae Suffers Fractured Finger

Fresh off a season-opening loss to Dallas last night, the Wizards have announced via press release that guard Jordan McRae will require surgery to repair a mallet fracture in the tip of his right ring finger. Per the release, the procedure will be performed tomorrow and McRae’s status will be re-evaluated early next week.

McRae, who played 23 minutes and scored 11 points against the Mavs, had seen his role increase to start the 2019/20 campaign while Washington is dealing with injuries to fellow guards John Wall and Isaiah Thomas and forwards C.J. Miles  and Troy Brown.

As we relayed on Tuesday, both Brown and Miles were able to practice on Monday, while Thomas participated in a full practice Saturday. However, it still doesn’t appear as if any are ready to go just yet.

For now, two-way player Chris Chiozza figures to probably see a greatly increased role moving forward. Chiozza, 23, logged 19 minutes against Dallas and hit two of his three attempts from long range.

And-Ones: Wade, China, Stoudemire, Contracts

Six months after retiring as a player, Dwyane Wade is employed in a new capacity. According to an official press release (via NBA.com), Wade has reached a multiyear, multi-platform agreement with WarnerMedia, and will become a basketball commentator for TNT this season.

In addition to appearing on the network’s NBA broadcasts, Wade will make studio appearances during Turner Sports’ and CBS Sports’ NCAA tournament coverage later in the season.

“I’m thrilled and grateful to be joining the WarnerMedia family with many exciting opportunities ahead,” Wade said in a statement. “I have great respect for TNT’s team of analysts and their longstanding commitment to quality sports coverage. After sixteen seasons in the NBA, I look forward to connecting with my fans in this new role and bringing my own perspective to the game I love.”

Here’s more from around the NBA and the rest of the basketball world:

  • Chinese state television didn’t air the NBA’s opening-night games on Tuesday, while Chinese streaming partner Tencent only showed the Lakers/Clippers game, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst. CCTV typically shows the league’s opening-night doubleheader, but Tuesday’s decision is a signal that the ongoing NBA/China controversy is far from settled. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said earlier this week that the league has “no choice but to engage” China, as Ben Cohen of The Wall Street Journal details.
  • Speaking of China, former NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire has signed the Fujian Sturgeons of the Chinese Basketball Assocation, according to reports from Roi Cohen of Sport5 and Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (Twitter links).
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks provides some financial details on the rookie scale extensions signed on Monday, outlining (via Twitter) exactly how much bonus money is included in five of those deals. Marks also identifies four players who will receive increased partial guarantees as a result of remaining under contract with their respective teams through Wednesday (Twitter link). Those players are Christian Wood (Pistons), Jordan McRae (Wizards), Kendrick Nunn (Heat), and Trey Burke (Sixers).
  • In a conversation with Max Resetar of SLAM, good friends Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, and D’Angelo Russell joked about eventually teaming up. “When we’re all on the same team—I ain’t gonna tell you which team because I don’t know—we’re gonna do this again,” Russell said of the joint interview. While we probably shouldn’t assume the trio is destined to form a Big Three down the road, it’s worth noting that both Towns and Booker tried to recruit Russell to their respective teams when he was a free agent this summer.

Wizards Waive Pasecniks, Jones

The Wizards have waived center Anzejs Pasecniks and forward Jalen Jones, the team’s media relations department tweets.

Both players were recently signed to Exhibit 10 contracts and will likely wind up with the team’s G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go.

Pasecniks, a seven-footer from Latvia, was acquired by the Sixers on draft night in 2017 after he was selected with the 25th overall pick by Orlando. He played overseas the last two seasons for the Spanish team Gran Carania. Philadelphia renounced his NBA rights, clearing a path for him to join the Wizards for Summer League play.

Jalen Jones, a 6’7″ forward out of Texas A&M, has appeared in 32 total games for the Pelicans, Mavericks, and Cavaliers over the last two seasons. He was waived from his two-way contract with Cleveland in January and finished the 2018/19 season with Baskonia in Spain.

Jordan McRae and Justin Robinson are likely to get the last two roster spots now that Pasecniks and Jones have been waived, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. McRae’s veteran minimum salary includes a guarantee of $600K if he’s on the opening night roster. His $1.6MM contract would fully guarantee if he’s still on the Wizards through December 20th.

Robinson’s $988K contract doesn’t become fully guaranteed until January 10th. Robinson, a 6’2” guard, was signed in July after going undrafted out of Virginia Tech.

Guard Chris Chiozza will likely receive the team’s other two-way contract, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post tweets. Chiozza was signed to a training camp deal last month. The Wizards’ other two-way player is guard Garrison Mathews.

Wizards Notes: Starting SF, Bryant, Wall

Who will be the starter at small forward for the Wizards when the regular season opens up one week from today? According to the candidates laid out by Candace Buckner of The Washington Post, the race is down to three – Isaac Bonga, Admiral Schofield, and Jordan McRae – after Justin Anderson was waived earlier today.

With Bradley Beal and Ish Smith set in the backcourt and rookie first-rounder Rui Hachimura and big man Thomas Bryant likely to start up front, it’s down to Bonga, Schofield, or McRae to join that foursome in the starting lineup with both Troy Brown Jr. and C.J. Miles out injured.

“It’s still open,” head coach Scott Brooks said. “We got a lot of guys that are fighting for opportunities and, like I said, it’s not just talk — it’s wide open. Especially with all of the injuries, it’s really wide open.”

As Buckner notes, the Wizards should really opt to go with Bonga or Schofield if they are serious about a youth movement. But McRae is a scrappy veteran used to fighting for a roster spot, so it will be interesting to monitor the small forward position moving forward in Washington.

There’s more from the Wizards:

  • As Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington notes, the Wizards’ best chance to improve on defense lies with the aforementioned Bryant. The 22-year-old youngster hasn’t been much of a rim protector previously, but he possesses some natural abilities that suggest he has the potential to become one. Said Bryant, “I have to be one of those guys to make a big difference. A big man can be the anchor for the defense. I have to take that responsibility to heart every day, whether it’s in practice or the game.”
  • In another piece for NBC Sports Washington, Hughes relays that injured point guard John Wall suffered another infection after his Achilles surgery that delayed him getting out of his walking boot. “For me to be where I’m at right now, with all the setbacks and infections and then finding out my Achilles was ruptured and then going through another infection, it was like ‘man, when can I ever get past that point of just getting out of the boot and walking?'”
  • And in yet another article, Hughes writes how Wall is embracing his role as an assistant coach while out injured. Wall says this season will give him an idea of whether he wants to get into coaching someday. “I think this year will tell me whether I can be a coach or not… I think you have to have a lot of patience and you’ve gotta know how to interact with every player. Every player’s attitudes and character and mood swings are totally different. I learned from when a coach tried to coach me when I was young and I wasn’t the guy to coach.”

Wizards Notes: Sheppard, Wall, Roster, Brooks

New GM Tommy Sheppard indicated in a press conference this week that the Wizards will be giving a lot more minutes to younger players this year, relays Fred Katz of The Athletic. Sheppard stated that the organization wants to have each rookie play at least 1,500 minutes between the NBA and the G League. That represents a significant change from last season, when Bradley Beal led the league in minutes played and coach Scott Brooks relied heavily on his veterans.

Washington has a pair of rookies with guaranteed contracts in Rui Hachimura and Admiral Schofield, so they should see plenty of time with the Wizards. Garrison Mathews, who has a two-way deal, and Justin Robinson, who wasn’t drafted but has a chance to make the final roster, could both wind up at Capital City. Troy Brown, Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones, all second-year players who didn’t see much time last season, may spend time there as well.

“We gotta show them why and how it’s good for them,” Sheppard said about selling the approach to veterans. “But I think they’re active participants in it, and I think everybody appreciates that we’re trying to prolong careers. You make a bad decision on a player — they go out, and they pop a hamstring, or something happens which could’ve been avoided because of fatigue factor we didn’t recognize — that’s on us.”

There’s more from D.C., all courtesy of Katz:

  • John Wall is serving as a virtual assistant coach while he waits to return from a ruptured Achilles that may sideline him for the entire season. Sheppard said Wall is helping to teach the younger players, and the team won’t pressure him to try to return. “We’re not waiting on a calendar. There’s not a clock when he comes back,” he said. “He comes back when he’s 100 percent.”
  • The Wizards have 13 players with guaranteed contracts and may opt to go with a 14-player roster rather than the maximum of 15. “If you have 15 players and one gets hurt, (using a two-way player) is the only way you can plug it,” Sheppard said. “You have 14 players; you can sign somebody and bring them in that’s not in the G League. It gives you optionality … My vision, putting rosters together, it doesn’t make a lot of sense not to hold back a roster spot for the competition, for the inevitable injury, something.” Jordan McRae, who has a $400K guarantee, is considered likely to earn a roster spot, according to Katz, but injuries to Wall and Isaiah Thomas increase the need for another point guard.
  • Brooks, who is entering the fourth year of his five-year contract, will be judged on building a positive culture rather than wins and losses, Sheppard adds.

12 NBA Salary Guarantees To Watch In October

The majority of the NBA players who are currently on non-guaranteed contracts won’t have their salaries for 2019/20 become fully guaranteed until January 10. That’s the league-wide salary guarantee date and the default deadline that applies to players who haven’t negotiated an earlier salary guarantee date.

Still, some players did negotiate an earlier trigger date, and the majority of those deadlines will arrive in October. At least a dozen players around the NBA are believed to have partial or full guarantees that will go into effect in October.

Now, it’s worth noting that salary guarantee dates are somewhat malleable. If the player’s camp agrees, a team can quietly move that deadline back, giving the club more time to make a decision on whether or not to fully invest in its player for the 2019/20 season. The player doesn’t necessarily have to agree, but he may be on board with postponing that deadline if the alternative is being waived and receiving none of his salary.

Most of our information related to salary guarantee dates is coming from the salary database at Basketball Insiders, and BI hasn’t published all the details on the latest signings from around the NBA yet. In other words, there could be a few more recently-signed players who have October salary guarantee dates.

For now though, these are the 12 players believed to have salary guarantee dates coming up next month:

Full guarantees:

  1. Ivan Rabb (Grizzlies): Partial guarantee of $371,758 increases to full guarantee of $1,618,520 salary if not waived by October 19.
  2. Chris Boucher (Raptors): Partial guarantee of $125,000 increases to full guarantee of $1,588,231 salary if not waived by first day of regular season.
  3. Malcolm Miller (Raptors): Partial guarantee of $150,000 increases to full guarantee of $1,588,231 salary if not waived by first day of regular season.
  4. Duncan Robinson (Heat): Partial guarantee of $1,000,000 increases to full guarantee of $1,416,852 salary if not waived by first day of regular season.
  5. Kenrich Williams (Pelicans): Partial guarantee of $200,000 increases to full guarantee of $1,416,852 salary if not waived by first day of regular season.

Partial guarantees:

  1. Christian Wood (Pistons): $1,645,357 salary becomes partially guaranteed ($822,679) if not waived before first day of regular season.
  2. Trey Burke (Sixers): Partial guarantee of $405,000 increases to $810,000 if not waived by first day of regular season (full salary is $2,028,594).
  3. Jordan McRae (Wizards): Partial guarantee of $400,000 increases to $600,000 if not waived by first day of regular season (full salary is $1,645,357).
  4. Dragan Bender (Bucks): Partial guarantee of $300,000 increases to $600,000 if not waived by first day of regular season (full salary is $1,678,854).
  5. Ben McLemore (Rockets): Partial guarantee of $50,000 increases to $500,000 if not waived by first day of regular season (full salary is $2,028,594).
  6. Kendrick Nunn (Heat): Partial guarantee of $150,000 increases to $450,000 if not waived by first day of regular season (full salary is $1,416,852).
  7. William Howard (Jazz): Partial guarantee of $50,000 increases to $250,000 if not waived by first day of regular season (full salary is $898,310).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.