Jordan McRae

Wizards Notes: Culture, Bryant, Smith, Mathews

The culture in Washington has changed dramatically from last season and Ish Smith believes the team the Wizards could be on a similar path to the one the Nets are on, as he told Hoops Rumors and other media in attendance after the team’s recent win over the Celtics.

“Brooklyn, I thought, did a great job of it last year. They’ve been doing a great job over the last two years – they haven’t had any true superstars, but now they do,” Smith said. “They’ve just been playing hard and guys have emerged out of nowhere.

“You look at Joe Harris; Joe Harris wasn’t a household name, now he is one. Spencer Dinwiddie, I can go down the line, all of those guys who played really, really well and held down the fort – and they made it to the playoffs last year. Obviously, D’Angelo [Russell] was a household name and everybody knew who he was, but I thought Brooklyn had laid that [foundation] down. We’re just trying to play hard, try to play smarter. We’re embodying who Coach [Scott] Brooks is. Coach Brooks is a fighter and that’s who he was his whole career. I think we’re doing a great job of doing that these last few games.”

The Wizards have had a stockpile of injuries and players without much brand recognition have stepped up. Here’s more on the unique squad out of Washington:

  • The front office would like to promote Anzejs Pasecniks, who is on a two-way deal, to the 15-man roster, though good luck guessing which player would be waived if that happens. Gary Payton II‘s contract for the season became fully guaranteed on Tuesday, which makes the Wizards roster 15-for-15 in guaranteed contracts.
  • Thomas Bryant could make his return to the court this weekend. The Wizards play the Hawks on Friday and the Jazz on Sunday.
  • Wizards guard Jordan McRae spoke about how Smith, has impacted the club “Ish [Smith] is doing what Ish does. We’ve been going through droughts where we can’t score. Him being the point guard, him being the leader that he is, he’s taken it upon himself,” McRae said. We recently detailed how Smith is channeling his inner Steve Nash for the Wizards.
  • Brook said there is no update on Garrison Mathews, who is dealing with an ankle sprain, Fred Katz of The Athletic relays on Twitter.

Wizards Guarantee Jordan McRae’s Salary

Jordan McRae‘s salary for this season became fully guaranteed by the Wizards on Friday, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.

Washington’s intentions to retain McRae were reported earlier this month. McRae has been sidelined in recent weeks due to a finger injury.

McRae’s $1.6MM contract was already partially guaranteed at $600K prior to Friday’s deadline. He is averaging 8.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG and 2.8 APG in 18.1 MPG in 13 games this season while backing up the team’s star, Bradley Beal.

The 28-year-old shooting guard underwent surgery on his right ring finger in early December to remove a pin from a previous surgery. The procedure was a precautionary measure to prevent infection.

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

McRae had his first workout since the surgery in Toronto on Friday, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post tweets. The Wizards are in town to play the Raptors.

Wizards Expected To Guarantee Jordan McRae’s Contract

The Wizards intend to fully guarantee Jordan McRae‘s contract this season even though he’s currently sidelined by a finger injury, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post reports.

McRae underwent surgery on his right ring finger last week to remove a pin from a previous surgery. The procedure was a precautionary measure to prevent infection. He’s expected to miss at least two weeks.

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

McRae’s $1.6MM contract, which was already partially guaranteed at $600K, becomes fully guaranteed on December 20, per Basketball Insiders.

He is averaging 8.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG and 2.8 APG in 18.1 MPG in 13 games this season while backing up the team’s star, Bradley Beal.

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 23. He returned to action on November 6. The pin became dislodged on a dunk attempt against Charlotte on November 22.

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

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 Go-Go, 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.