Kelly Oubre

Southeast Notes: Howard, Richardson, Oubre, Spoelstra

Dwight Howard will suit up for his fifth team in seven seasons as he prepares for a new start with the Hornets. The 31-year-old has been an effective player, when healthy, but has regressed from the player that was an MVP candidate in Orlando.

Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes Howard views his opportunity with the Hornets as a chance to reestablish himself. Under the guidance of his former and current coach Steve Clifford, Howard feels he can prove doubters wrong and prove to himself he can still be a productive player.

“This opportunity for myself to really get back everything that I would say has been taken away. I’m not too much worried about the naysayers, the rankings and stuff, but just the hearts of the people,” Howard said. “I’m in a much better place mentally, physically and spiritually than I have been in a couple of years.

Despite the downward trend in recent years, Howard posted 13.5 PPG and 12.7 RPG while scoring from the floor at a 63% clip last season in Atlanta. Charlotte has a need for defense and that is one part of Howard’s game that remains a threat.

Read more news around the Southeast Division below:
  • In a separate column, Bonnell writes that the Hornets did not have much financial flexibility to acquire a premier backup point guard after acquiring Howard. That led to the signings of Michael Carter-Williams and Julyan Stone; one player who has not done much since winning Rookie of the Year and the other hasn’t played in the NBA since 2014.
  • In his latest Ask Ira column, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes that Josh Richardsons four-year, $42MM contract extension is a worthwhile investment for the Heat. While he may not consistently crack the starting lineup, Richardson will be a key part of the team’s core going forward, Winderman adds.
  • Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni shared the honors of the new Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award, NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner writes.
  • Chase Hughes of CSN Mid Atlantic writes that Kelly Oubre, after a productive sophomore season in Washington, will be one of the team’s most vital players. Hughes notes that Oubre is the “most athletic player and best wing defender” on the Wizards‘ bench and will need to be consistent in that role to help the team.

Eastern Notes: Stone, Oubre, Celtics, Bucks

Julyan Stone‘s agent is hopeful of freeing his client from a European contract so that the point guard can sign with the Hornets, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Charlotte has offered Stone a two-year deal to be its third point guard behind Kemba Walker and Michael Carter-Williams but he first must be released from the contract he signed with Reyer Venezia in the Italian pro league. Stone’s agent, Giovanni Funiciello, told Bonnell that he’s hopeful a compromise can be worked out this week so that Stone can remain in the U.S. and be close to his ailing father.

In other news around the Eastern Conference:

  • Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis hopes that small forward Kelly Oubre develops to the point where he has to pay the 2015 first-round pick “a lot of money,” Chase Hughes of CSNMidAtlantic.com writes. Leonsis indicated that Oubre was slowed by a knee injury last season and that coach Scott Brooks believes Oubre “can be a difference maker.” The Wizards are expected to pick up Oubre’s fourth-year option for 2018/19 prior to the start of the upcoming season, setting up Oubre for a potential big payday in the summer of 2019.
  • All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas is very pleased with the Celtics’ offseason, highlighted by the free agent signing of forward Gordon Hayward, Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com tweets“We added Gordon Hayward, which is an All-Star-caliber player that’s going to help us get to the next level — and that’s the championship,” Thomas told Forsberg.
  • Jordan Brady has been named the first head coach of the Bucks’ G League team, the Wisconsin Herd, the Herd announced in a press release. Brady, 34, served as an assistant coach last season for the Salt Lake City Stars, the Jazz’s affiliate. He has also been an assistant coach with three other G League organizations.

Wizards Notes: Oubre Jr., Frontcourt, Draft

Second-year Wizards guard Kelly Oubre Jr. underwent platelet-rich plasma injections in his right knee today, Candace Bucker of the Washington Post reports. As a result, he won’t return to basketball activities until later this summer and even when he is cleared to play, he’s expected to sit out of July’s summer league.

Oubre Jr. was plagued by lingering knee issues for a number of weeks but didn’t miss any games due to the injury during the regular season or postseason.

PRP injections have gained in popularity around the league of late with Isaiah Thomas, D’Angelo Russell and Reggie Jackson all undergoing the procedure with mixed results in 2016/17 alone. Per Buckner, the goal of the procedure is to promote healing by injecting the patient’s blood into the injured area.

There’s more from the Wizards:

  • There are a number of eligible frontcourt alternatives that the Wizards could pursue should they decide to part ways with Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi, including a pair of bigs who plied their trade for playoff contenders in 2016/17. J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic discusses what players like Dewayne Dedmon and Kelly Olynyk could bring to the table.
  • Expect the implementation of two-way contracts to impact how teams like the Wizards draft players, J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes in a separate feature. With the new collective bargaining agreement, teams will be able to sign two players in addition to the usual 15 and those players will be able to bounce back and forth between their big league clubs and their Gatorade League affiliates.
  • The Wizards are actively seeking a reliable backup point guard for John Wall, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post writes in a separate article, after trialing a number of options in a carousal of options in 2016/17. The club has been busy auditioning shooters ahead of this month’s draft.

Wizards Notes: Bogdanovic, Oubre, Burke, Mac

Playing time will be the priority for Bojan Bogdanovic when he enters free agency this summer, relays Chase Hughes of CSNMidAtlantic. Bogdanovic was averaging about 27 minutes per game with the Nets before a midseason trade to Washington cut that number to about 23. Bogdanovic may have to look elsewhere if he wants a larger role, particularly if the Wizards are able to re-sign fellow small forward Otto Porter, who has the starting job locked down. Washington used a three-man rotation at the position after the deal, Hughes notes, with Porter, Bogdanovic and Kelly Oubre all contributing. Oubre is expected to have an expanded role next season. “I want to try to find a team where I can play heavy minutes,” Bogdanovic said. “I hope that I will play here maybe, but we will see. It’s a long summer in front of us before free agency. We’ll see.” Bogdanovic, who will represent Croatia in the European Championship this summer, added that he would like to remain on the same team with John Wall or find a point guard with similar skills.

There’s more news out of D.C.:

  • A platelet-rich plasma treatment has been prescribed for Oubre’s right knee, Hughes notes in a separate story. Oubre plans offseason workouts with teammate Bradley Beal, and possibly Wall, in hopes of becoming a better ballhandler.
  • The minutes totals for the starters in the Game 7 loss to the Celtics emphasizes the need to build a stronger bench, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Wall and Beal barely came out of Monday’s game, while Markieff Morris played nearly 42 minutes and Porter was close to 40. Buckner cites point guard as an area where important decisions must be made, with backups Trey Burke and Brandon Jennings both headed toward free agency. Burke fell behind rookie Tomas Satoransky in the rotation, then dropped out completely once Jennings was signed. Burke expressed frustration with the way things worked out and sounded ready to move on. “I don’t plan on my role being the same next year,” he said. “My agency is working very hard for me right now. I know what type of player I can be and I know what type of player I want to be. That’s not my plan. This summer, it’ll be great. I’m looking forward to the summer.”
  • The Wizards will take a closer look at three young prospects this offseason, Buckner adds in the same piece. Shooting guard Sheldon Mac and big men Daniel Ochefu and Chris McCullough will all be part of Washington’s entry in the Las Vegas Summer League. Mac, who changed his name from McClellan at midseason, has the best chance of the three to crack the rotation next year, according to Buckner, but his $1.3MM contract for 2017/18 in non-guaranteed.

Wizards’ Kelly Oubre Jr. Suspended For Game 4

11:44am: The NBA officially confirmed that Oubre has been suspended without pay for Game 4, announcing in a press release that he received the one-game penalty for “charging and making forceful and unwarranted contact” with Olynyk (Twitter link via Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com).

11:07am: Kelly Oubre Jr. will be suspended for Sunday’s Game 4 of the Wizards-Celtics series, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. The suspension comes on the heels of the Wizards small forward’s Game 3 altercation with Kelly Olynyk.

In a Game 3 that included eight technical fouls, Oubre’s ejection was most striking. After Olynyk was called for an offensive foul for setting an illegal screen that knocked Oubre to the ground, the Wizards’ second-year player rose up and proceeded to shove Olynyk, while shouting at him. Oubre was charged a flagrant 2 and ejected from the game.

Oubre scored 12 points in each of the first two games of the series and ranks second among bench players on the team in both points and minutes per game these playoffs. Bojan Bogdanovic, who scored 19 points in 29 minutes in Game 3, figures to benefit from the extra available minutes in Oubre’s absence. During the regular season, the Wizards’ bench ranked 29th in scoring with a mere 26.9 points per game.

Wizards Notes: Wall, Mahinmi, Jennings

The first round of the 2017 postseason has thus far served as an opportunity for John Wall to showcase his progress as an NBA superstar, Jonathan Tjarks of the Ringer writes in a new feature. These playoffs, he says, belong to the 26-year-old guard.

Up an early two games on the Hawks, Wall and the Wizards have been particularly tough on Atlanta. The relatively unheralded point guard has simply outmatched Dennis Schroder throughout their time on the court together.

Considering that Wall still doesn’t even have a signature shoe deal, as Tjarks points out, he’s flown under the radar compared to his superstar NBA counterparts. That would change if Wall is able to carry the Wizards into an Eastern Conference Finals showdown with the Cavaliers.

There’s more from Washington:

  • Center Ian Mahinmi didn’t play for the Wizards in either Games 1 or 2 of their first-round series and isn’t expected to be available in the next two either, Ava Wallace of the Washington Post tweets.
  • The NBA has come down on Kelly Oubre Jr. with a $25K fine for kicking a ball into the stands and striking a spectator, the league announced in a press release. The second-year guard kicked the ball into the air during Washington’s post-game celebration.
  • Acquired to provide a spark off the bench for the Wizards, Brandon Jennings did exactly that in Washington’s Game 2 over the Hawks. The eight-year veteran has been a valuable source of experience, too, writes Ava Wallace for the Washington Post.

Southeast Notes: Winslow, Oubre, Calderon, Delaney

Justise Winslow turned 21 on Sunday, spending his birthday away from the team as he continues to recover from a torn right labrum. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra used the occasion to point out Winslow’s potential, while mentioning the character he’s built at this stage of his career.

“He still has had a productive year of improvement,” Spoelstra told Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. “A summer of improvement, where he and J-Rich [Josh Richardson] were two of the top five players in the Orlando summer league; his summer improvement in August and September; the kind of preseason he had was terrific. Then he got hurt with his wrist. Going through all of that, I think, is important for a young player, and even going through adversity, can find a silver lining out of this. Even though it’s not ideal, it does develop character.”

More from the Southeast…

  • Scott Brooks has given Kelly Oubre chances to earn a spot in his rotation, unlike former Wizards coach Randy Wittman. According to J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic, Brooks has limited Oubre’s usage during “undisciplined” stretches, but Kelly’s role as a wing defender has emerged in 2016/17. “The game for Kelly, to me, is simple. Just compete,” Brooks said. “Deflections. Getting into the passing lanes. Contesting at the rim. Switching on our pick-and-roll coverage because he can guard one through four depending on the matchup and then rebound. The game rewards him when he does that.”
  • The Hawks are still evaluating backup point guards after acquiring Jose Calderon, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution writes. Calderon received minutes in each of his first five games following the trade, only for Malcolm Delaney to recently supplant him for the role of primary back-up. “We are excited about both of them,” Mike Budenholzer said. “I think they both can help us. I think it was great to give Jose a five-game stretch. Now, we are probably at a four- or five-game stretch for Malcolm. We’ll continue to look at that. We are considering both and think both will be helpful.”

Southeast Notes: Schroder, Ellington, Oubre Jr.

A mid-game argument resulting in an ugly defensive breakdown has some questioning the team harmony in the Hawks‘ lockerroom. In addition to a spat with Dwight Howard, 23-year-old point guard Dennis Schroder is said to have engaged with head coach Mike Budenholzer too, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes.

While Schroder and Howard were caught on camera arguing about a Howard turnover the previous possession, Stephen Curry wasted no time calling for the inbound pass and draining a three. The basket put the Warriors in front and they would go on to win the game. Shortly after the incident, Schroder – who at that point had led the Hawks in scoring with 23 points – was benched by Budenholzer for the remainder of the contest.

We need to learn to play together and stay together for 48 minutes,” Budenholzer said of his Hawks. “That is something that is important to us.

Vivlamore reminds readers that this isn’t the first time the Hawks have punished Schroder. When the guard returned to Atlanta late after the All-Star Break, he was suspended for one game. In that situation, Schroder cited passport complications as the reason for his delay.

Worth noting, Schroder has posted a photo of himself and Howard on Instagram and Twitter, a likely attempt to bury the hatchet, publicly at least.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

Wizards Notes: Mahinmi, Beal, Morris, Oubre

Wizards center Ian Mahinmi didn’t accompany the team on its current three-game road trip, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Independent doctors and the team’s medical staff will evaluate his condition, possibly on both knees. Mahinmi has only been able to play in one game after coming to Washington over the summer on a four-year, $64MM deal. He had surgery during the offseason to repair torn cartilage in his left knee, then developed soreness in the right knee that is believed to be tendinitis.

There’s more news out of Washington:

  • Even opponents are noticing the improvement in Bradley Beal this season, writes J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic. Returning from a three-game absence caused by a right hamstring strain, Beal fell one point short of a career high with his 41-point effort in Sunday’s win over the Clippers. “Brad looked like a totally different person,” said L.A. point guard Chris Paul. “A lot more aggressive. This is the Bradley Beal he should be all the time. … For this team to be as good as they want to be, he has to be like that.” It was Beal’s fifth game this season with 30 or more points, as he is validating the Wizards’ decision to give him a five-year max deal worth about $128MM.
  • Markieff Morris is starting to look like he can handle the role of third scorer behind Beal and John Wall, Michael writes in a separate story. He had 12 points in the fourth quarter Sunday to help close out the victory. It’s a role the Wizards have been hoping Morris could fill since they acquired him from the Suns at last season’s trade deadline.
  • Kelly Oubre is listed as active for tonight’s game after going through concussion protocol, Buckner tweets. Oubre was tested today in Indiana after clearing the 48-hour window.

Southeast Notes: Beal, Wall, Bazemore, Augustin

Bradley Beal called out his Wizards teammates for a lack of defensive effort after Saturday’s loss in Orlando, relays Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. The fifth-year shooting guard, who signed a five-year extension over the summer worth nearly $128MM, hinted that lineup changes could be coming soon if things don’t change. “The biggest thing we can control is our defense and that’s all about effort and wanting to play,” Beal said. “I think coach [Scott Brooks] is pretty fed up with the way we’re playing and I think he’s going to start playing guys who want to play and guys who want to show up.” The Magic were able to make up a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter when reserves Trey Burke, Marcus Thornton, Kelly Oubre and Jason Smith were on the court together, so those are probably the players Beal is talking about.

There’s more this morning from the Southeast Division:

  • The Wizards are being careful with point guard John Wall after two offseason knee surgeries, which will put a greater burden on Beal, writes J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic. Wall sat out Saturday’s game, which was the second night of a back-to-back, a situation where Wall will likely be held out as a precaution, at least for a while. Washington has three more back-to-backs on the schedule in November and two in December. “Trey and Tomas [Satoransky] got to step up as well and lead us as point guards,” Beal said. “I just got to be aggressive, play my game. Not take over and feel like I’ve got to do everything. I can’t do it by myself.”
  • Hawks guard Kent Bazemore is off to a rocky start after signing a four-year, $70MM contract this summer, notes Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. He shot just 28% from the floor during the team’s first five games and is trying to find other ways to contribute until his scoring touch returns. “That’s one of the main reasons they brought me back, my tenacity and my love and passion for the game,” Bazemore said. “At times I’ve gotten a little down on myself. I’m human. It’s good that I can finally recognize that there is a time and place for everything and the middle of a game is not the time to get down on yourself.”
  • D.J. Augustin‘s scoring has been a pleasant early-season surprise for the Magic, writes John Denton of NBA.com. The veteran point guard, who signed a four-year deal with Orlando this summer, is averaging 7.8 points per game off the bench in limited minutes. “He’s really grown,” said Orlando coach Frank Vogel. “I had him a couple of years ago [in Indiana] and he’s improved as a player. He’s not just a catch-and-shoot guy. He’s making good basketball plays with the pass and his creativity with creating his own shot as well has improved. So he’s given us a big lift.’’
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