Kelly Oubre

Eastern Notes: Tatum, Herro, Oubre, Thibodeau, Brunson

Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum played with a small non-displaced fracture in his left wrist this past season, he revealed in an interview with Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report. Tatum suffered the injury on February 13 against the Hawks.

In May, Tatum revealed he was dealing with wrist pain after being fouled by Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, but he wouldn’t go into more detail. He received a cortisone shot for the pain and continued playing.

Tatum sounded optimistic that the wrist won’t be an issue going forward, as he’s no longer dealing with pain. The 24-year-old led Boston to its first NBA Finals berth since 2010 this season, averaging 25.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.2 assists in the playoffs.

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference:

  • Heat guard Tyler Herro unsurprisingly wants the team to run it back with the same group this season, as relayed by Betr (Twitter link). This would require that the team doesn’t acquire Kevin Durant or Donovan Mitchell, both of whom would likely require Herro to be traded. Miami suffered a significant blow when P.J. Tucker signed with the Sixers in free agency, but otherwise looks very similar to last season’s team.
  • Hornets forward Kelly Oubre Jr. should be monitored as a potential trade piece this season, an NBA executive told Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. Oubre, 26, averaged 15.0 points on 44% shooting last season. If the Hornets look to improve their center position, it’s possible he could be included in a deal.
  • Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau is “ecstatic” about the arrival of Jalen Brunson this season, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Thibodeau believes he can turn Brunson from a B-minus player to a B-plus one, a source tells Berman, which would largely start on the defensive end. Brunson signed a four-year, $104MM deal to join the Knicks this offseason.

Hornets Rumors: D’Antoni, Atkinson, Bridges, Trade Candidates

Mike D’Antoni is scheduled to meet with Hornets owner Michael Jordan on Tuesday to discuss the team’s head coaching position, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson had agreed earlier this month to become Charlotte’s new head coach, but backed out of his agreement with the team over the weekend.

D’Antoni, who was also a finalist before the Hornets chose Atkinson, had reportedly been scheduled to meet with Jordan a couple weeks ago, but it’s unclear if that sit-down ever took place — Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report wrote today that Atkinson was the only candidate to meet with the Hornets’ owner.

Besides D’Antoni, Terry Stotts was the other candidate believed to be a finalist for the Hornets before they reached a deal with Atkinson. It’s unclear if the team has any plans to meet with Stotts again now that its head coaching search is back on.

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • The Hornets want to retain “a large portion” of James Borrego‘s coaching staff, since many of them have one guaranteed year remaining on their current contracts, according to Fischer. Atkinson had wanted to bring in some of his own assistants, but he and the Hornets weren’t able to come to financial agreements for them, sources tell Fischer, who notes that Charlotte’s assistant coaches are known to be among the NBA’s bottom five in terms of salary.
  • Fischer adds that Atkinson’s decision not to join the Hornets doesn’t appear to have anything to do with a succession plan in Golden State, since there’s no indication Warriors head coach Steve Kerr plans to go anywhere anytime soon.
  • The Pistons and Pacers are believed to have interest in pursuing restricted free agents this summer and have been the only teams mentioned as potential threats to pursue Hornets RFA Miles Bridges, reports Fischer. Shams Charania of The Athletic wrote on Monday that Charlotte may be reluctant to match a maximum-salary offer for Bridges.
  • The Hornets are expected to gauge the trade market for Terry Rozier, P.J. Washington, Kelly Oubre, and Mason Plumlee “in advance of Bridges’ free agency,” writes Fischer. The fact that Fischer links those potential trade talks to Bridges’ contract situation suggests that Charlotte may be trying to save some money that could be put toward Bridges’ new contract.

Lakers Not Interested In Using First-Round Pick To Trade Westbrook

Teams that have spoken to the Lakers about Russell Westbrook have been demanding at least one first-round pick in any potential trade, league sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

However, the Lakers haven’t been receptive to that idea and have no intention – at least for the time being – of using one of their future first-rounders to facilitate a Westbrook deal, Buha reports.

Westbrook is expected to pick up his $47.4MM player option for the 2022/23 season and will be one of the league’s most expensive players following a disappointing first year in Los Angeles. Although he’ll be on an expiring contract, Westbrook will be a negative trade asset, with teams only willing to take him on if the Lakers sweeten the pot.

Having already traded away a pair of future first-round picks, the Lakers can currently only trade either their 2027 or 2028 selection. After next month’s draft, they’d be able to include their 2027, 2028, and 2029 first-rounders in trade discussions — if they move the ’27 or ’29 first-rounder, they wouldn’t be able to trade the ’28 pick due to the Stepien rule.

But the front office appears averse to attaching any of those picks to Westbrook, and Buha suggests it’s not just a negotiating stance to regain leverage. League sources tell The Athletic that people within the franchise genuinely believe that the right head coach and supporting cast can help Westbrook fit in better going forward.

Buha personally believes that bringing back Westbrook would be a mistake, arguing that the Lakers should be willing to include a first-rounder if necessary to make a deal or even to take the approach the Rockets did with John Wall, leaving the point guard at home to start the season. Waiving and stretching Westbrook’s contract or attempting to negotiate a buyout are other possible paths for L.A., but Buha views those as unlikely.

While the Lakers may not be interested in giving up a first-round pick just to dump Westbrook’s salary, it’s hard to believe they wouldn’t be more open to the idea if they’re getting a couple legitimate rotation players in return.

Buha identifies the Pacers and Hornets as potential trade partners that may appeal to the Lakers, listing Malcolm Brogdon, Myles Turner, Buddy Hield, Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier, P.J. Washington, Kelly Oubre, and Mason Plumlee as possible veterans of interest. I’m skeptical that a couple of those players would be legitimately attainable in a Westbrook deal, even with a first-round pick attached, but if the Lakers were willing to put two first-rounders on the table, more options would open up.

Hornets Might Have Interest In Russell Westbrook

League insiders have increasingly mentioned the Hornets as a team that might have interest in trading for Lakers guard Russell Westbrook, writes Marc Stein at Substack.

Charlotte would only be interested in Westbrook in order to create long-term financial flexibility, and based on salary-matching rules, the team would have to send out roughly $38MM to acquire the former MVP. Stein points to Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier as contracts the team might want to move to accommodate a new deal for Miles Bridges this summer, plus the future max extension of LaMelo Ball.

Hayward has been very productive when healthy for Charlotte, but injuries have again been a concern. After appearing in 44 of 72 games last season, he’s played in 49 of 79 contests this season and is listed as doubtful for Thursday’s matchup with Orlando (Twitter link). Hayward will earn $30.075MM next season and $31.5MM in 2023/24.

Rozier has also been productive over the past few seasons. His four-year, $96.26MM extension starts next season, so he’ll be under contract through ’25/26.

Pairing Hayward or Rozier with Kelly Oubre could work as a framework of a deal, Stein says. He also notes that Hornets owner Michael Jordan has long admired Westbrook, although it isn’t known whether that would play a factor in a potential trade.

The Rockets remain the most logical trade partner for Westbrook due to John Wall‘s salary being a near-perfect match, but the Lakers might not find that any more palatable than they did previously, considering Houston was asking for a first-round pick, per Stein.

League sources tell Stein that the Lakers also haven’t ruled out using the waive-and-stretch provision on Westbrook’s contract, which would split his $47.06MM player option over three seasons with annual hits of $15.69MM. Going that route would take Los Angeles out of the luxury tax and make it much easier to retain Malik Monk; the team badly wants to bring him back, so it’s considered a viable possibility.

Southeast Notes: Magic, Bol, Harris, Hawks, Oubre

According to president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman, the Magic‘s relatively quiet deadline wasn’t for lack of trying.

“We’re always aggressive, but sometimes aggressiveness doesn’t equal activity,” he said, per Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel.

In their lone move, the Magic acquired PJ Dozier and Bol Bol from Boston. They’ve already waived Dozier, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. Bol is recovering from foot surgery and may not be back this season either, but Weltman said the team is intrigued by the young big man and has yet to make a decision on him.

“We’ll have to get our people to get to know him and understand his situation,” Weltman said. “It’s around that timeline — about the end of the season — but I’m really not sure. When we get back from the trip, we’ll get him in here and get an understanding of what he’s dealing with and how far along he is.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Magic wing Gary Harris isn’t a lock to be bought out in the coming days or weeks, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. As a veteran on a rebuilding team with a big contract, Harris is a logical buyout candidate, but Smith hears that the team likes how he has helped its young guards. Orlando is also dealing with some injuries in the backcourt.
  • Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk wasn’t eager to shake up his roster after seeing how well the team has played since the Cam Reddish trade, he said on Friday. “Our last 12 games, we’re 9-3, so we feel good about the impact that (trade) had,” Schlenk said (Twitter links via Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). “Kind of have a set rotation now of guys, kind of know their roles. We looked at a lot of different stuff, but we’re comfortable with this group.” Schlenk added that the Hawks made a strong second half run last season: “We want to give them that opportunity to prove it to the world they can do it again.”
  • The Hawks have an open spot on their 15-man roster following the trade deadline, but aren’t targeting any specific types of players, according to Schlenk, who said the priority will be not to mess with the team’s chemistry. “We’ll look to see who’s out there, whether we look at young guys to bring in on 10-days, or whether there’s a veteran that becomes available that we feel like would fit in,” he said, per Spencer (Twitter link).
  • Hornets forward Kelly Oubre was fined $15K on Wednesday for violating league rules prohibiting the use of profane language directed toward the spectator stands, the league announced (via Twitter). The incident in question took place in Charlotte during the second quarter of Monday’s game vs. Toronto.

COVID-19 Updates: Grizzlies, Doumbouya, Oubre, Pistons, More

The Grizzlies now have a league-high four players in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. When they updated their injury report on Tuesday for Wednesday’s game vs. Milwaukee, the Grizzlies removed Yves Pons from the protocols, but added key contributors Kyle Anderson and Desmond Bane (Twitter link). Big man Killian Tillie also remains in the protocols for Memphis, and point guard Tyus Jones was added today (Twitter link).

While the Grizzlies shouldn’t have to wait too long to get some of their players back from the protocols, they’ll likely be shorthanded on the wing for their next few games, with Anderson and Bane both unavailable and Dillon Brooks (ankle) still on the shelf too.

Here are a few more protocol-related updates:

  • Lakers two-way forward Sekou Doumbouya entered the COVID-19 protocols on Tuesday, according to the team (Twitter link via Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group). Doumbouya had been in the G League with South Bay, so his absence won’t have a major impact on the NBA club.
  • Hornets forward Kelly Oubre and Pistons guard Frank Jackson are among the players to have exited the protocols this week, according to their respective teams (Twitter links). Jackson missed Tuesday’s game vs. Golden State due to reconditioning, while Oubre is listed as questionable for Wednesday’s contest in Boston.
  • Pistons rookie Luka Garza, who was on a G League assignment, had his status changed to “health and safety protocols” on Tuesday night’s injury report. Meanwhile, this morning’s injury reports no longer list Jazz guard Jared Butler or Kings wing Robert Woodard, an indication that both players have cleared the protocols.
  • Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley and top assistant Nate Tibbetts both entered the protocols on Monday, resulting in assistant Jesse Mermuys taking over on a temporary basis as Orlando’s acting head coach, per the team (Twitter link).

COVID-19 Updates: Oubre, Casey, Satoransky, Garuba, More

Hornets forward Kelly Oubre has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team announced today (via Twitter). Oubre will miss the team’s Monday night game vs. Milwaukee and will likely be sidelined longer than that unless he registered a false positive or inconclusive test. There are now two Charlotte players in the protocols, with Oubre joining Vernon Carey.

Here are more protocol-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Pistons head coach Dwane Casey has entered the protocols and will be replaced in the short term by assistant Rex Kalamian, tweets Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Half of the NBA’s 30 head coaches have now been placed in the protocols at some point this season.
  • Pelicans guard Tomas Satoransky has cleared the health and safety protocols and was back with the team today, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Rockets rookie Usman Garuba has exited the COVID-19 protocols and is no longer listed on the team’s injury report, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.
  • Raptors forward Yuta Watanabe and Heat two-way player Marcus Garrett are among the other players who have cleared the protocols, per Blake Murphy of Sportsnet.ca and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, respectively (Twitter links).
  • The Bucks are listing Pat Connaughton as questionable to play on Monday night and he posted an emoji of a plane today on Twitter, strongly signaling that he has exited the protocols and is flying to meet the team in Charlotte, as Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes (via Twitter). Whether or not Connaughton is available tonight, it sounds like he’s no longer in the protocols.

Southeast Notes: Oubre, Butler, Unseld, Capela

A few months before he reached free agency earlier this year, Kelly Oubre strongly suggested that he wanted to be a starter, telling reporters, “I can offer a lot more than coming off the bench.” However, he has been willing to accept a bench role with the Hornets so far, having started just five of 13 games for the team to open the season. On Wednesday, his reserve role put him in position for a historic performance — his 37 points off the bench represented a new franchise record for most points in a game by a non-starter, per Sam Perley of Hornets.com.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • As first reported by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Heat star Jimmy Butler will miss Thursday’s game vs. the Clippers due to his right ankle sprain. It remains unclear whether the injury will keep Butler out of action for multiple contests.
  • Count Montrezl Harrell among those who believe the Wizards hit a home run by hiring Wes Unseld Jr. as their new head coach this offseason. “I think it was just a great job picking the right head coach, man,” Harrell said, per Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. “As you can see, it’s resulted in our play.” Washington is tied for the East’s best record at 8-3 and the team has the fourth-best defensive rating in the NBA.
  • One reason for the Hawks‘ slow start to this season has been Clint Capela‘s inability to be the sort of two-way impact player he was last season, writes Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Capela tells Kirschner that he’s still working his way back to 100% after dealing with a lingering Achilles issue. The veteran center was limited during training camp and head coach Nate McMillan doesn’t believe his conditioning is where it would be if he had been fully healthy. “The fact that he didn’t really start running until he got to training camp set him back,” McMillan said. “He’s now trying to play himself into game shape with the season starting.”

Southeast Notes: Oubre, Carter, Hachimura, Johnson

The Hornets lost handily to the Warriors in Kelly Oubre‘s first trip back to the Chase Center, 114-92. He says it was strange to be back in the arena on an opposing team, but is happy with how he’s fit in thus far with the Hornets, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

It’s definitely weird being on the opposite side of the arena,” Oubre told Boone. “But at the end of the day, man, we are in the moment. So I’m really happy to be able to go against these guys and just get the jitters out for myself. It’s always weird when you go get comfortable somewhere and then you’re uprooted to another place where you have to become comfortable as well.

Oubre signed a two-year, $24.6MM deal with Charlotte in free agency over the summer. The second year is partially guaranteed at $5MM. Oubre says his energetic play is a good match with the young Hornets.

This is just a young, energetic group and we are just trying to figure this thing out,” Oubre said, per Boone. “We are all trying to become our best selves and we’re all trying to set up a culture with this team. And I’m just more so happy to be a part of the culture forming in this organization rather than being somewhere the culture is already formed, guys are pretty much older so they are relaxed in how they approach the game.

And here it’s just more like, ‘Let’s get it. Let’s go. Let’s go to war, let’s have fun while doing this.’ So I’m just super excited and ecstatic to be on this team.”

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • The young Magic are 2-7 to start the season. Fourth-year big man Wendell Carter Jr. knows it’s going to take time for the team to improve, writes Matt Murschel of The Orlando Sentinel. “Teams do not become great overnight,” Carter said. “It’s going to take time. It’s going to take a lot of time.”
  • Wizards forward Rui Hachimura is back with the team, but there’s still uncertainty about when he’ll rejoin the lineup. Coach Wes Unseld Jr. said that he tentatively expects Hachimura back “sooner rather than later,” according to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. “I don’t have a timetable, but I would agree with [‘sooner rather than later’],” Unseld said on Thursday. “He’s been around more, he’s working out, so it’s good to have him in the building and be present.
  • Hawks rookie forward Jalen Johnson, the 20th overall pick of the 2021 draft, has been assigned to the College Park Skyhawks, Atlanta’s G League affiliate, tweets Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Kirschner notes that two-way players Sharife Cooper and Skylar Mays were transferred to the Skyhawks as well.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Hornets, Riley, Butler

The 3-3 Hawks have yet to recapture the momentum that propelled them to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, writes Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. With an intimidating schedule coming up in which Atlanta will play several 2021 playoff teams, Kirschner offers his thoughts on how the club can adjust.

While forwards Cam Reddish and John Collins have exhibited plenty of growth, other key Hawks players have struggled a bit. Point guard Trae Young is struggling to adjust to the league’s new free throw rules, while shooting guard Kevin Huerter is struggling to connect from deep.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets have already enjoyed a promising start to the 2021/22 season, writes Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer. New additions Ish Smith and Kelly Oubre have fit in well thus far, with Oubre connecting on a solid 35.7% of his three-point looks. 2022 restricted free agent forward Miles Bridges has taken his scoring to borderline All-Star heights, and Boone is pegging his future contract in the $100MM vicinity. When it comes to perimeter depth, Boone observes that Cody Martin, Jalen McDaniels, and Nick Richards are also improving.
  • The hot start of the Heat has Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel wondering if team president Pat Riley has finally nailed the club’s supporting lineup around All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. The club has wholly recalibrated its frontcourt depth around Adebayo, and the early results have paid dividends thus far. The addition of former Raptors All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry has made a huge defensive impact on Miami, though his offense is struggling so far. Sixth man Tyler Herro also appears to have taken a leap in his third season.
  • Heat All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler has thrived alongside new addition Kyle Lowry. Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald wonders if Butler has been newly maximized as a player alongside the former six-time All-Star point guard.