Kris Dunn

Hawks Notes: Dunn, Huerter, Goodwin, Bogdanovic

After being sidelined by injuries for the past 15 months, Kris Dunn returned to the court Monday in his debut with the Hawks, writes Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Dunn, one of the league’s best perimeter defenders, sprained his MCL in January of 2020, the first of a series of injuries that have kept him out of action. An MRI in November showed cartilage disruption in his knee, and then pain in his right ankle and lower back began in December. He has spent the last four months rehabbing from arthroscopic surgery.

“I just felt like different things just kept happening,” Dunn said. “My initial injury was my knee. I felt like I was on the verge of getting better there, then the ankle situation happened. I felt like I was on the verge of getting better there (with my ankle), then the knee kept (having issues), it was just back and forth trying to get back the alignment right. It was a long process. Every emotion you can think of, I went through during that 15 months. But I have a great support system in the organization, my teammates, the coaching staff, everybody kept belief in me, and deep down inside, I’m going to just keep working. I did, and I’m happy I did it.”

Dunn played 13 minutes Monday night and will remain on a minutes restriction for a while. He signed a two-year deal with the Hawks during the offseason that includes a $5MM player option for next season.

There’s more from Atlanta:

  • Kevin Huerter will undergo an MRI today on his sprained left shoulder, tweets Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Huerter suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of Monday’s loss in Detroit.
  • Also injured last night was guard Brandon Goodwin, who left the game with an ankle impingement, Spencer adds (via Twitter). An X-ray taken after the game was negative, and the team said his status will be updated “as appropriate.” Goodwin offered his own update, tweeting, “Ankle good.”
  • The return of Bogdan Bogdanovic has helped Nate McMillan turn around the Hawks since taking over for Lloyd Price, writes Kevin Pelton of ESPN (Insider link). In McMillan’s first game as interim coach, Bogdanovic returned from an avulsion fracture in his right knee — since then, he has been on the court for most of the minutes without Trae Young.

Southeast Notes: Gafford, Collins, Hawks Injuries, Olynyk

Daniel Gafford thought there was a “50-50” chance he could be dealt by the Bulls before the Wizards traded for him, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic.

“I was in and out (of the lineup). I wasn’t really playing as much,” Gafford said. “So, there was a lot of stuff going on in my head, just really trying to stay as positive as I could.”

He’s thriving thus far since joining the Wizards, averaging 11.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 2.0 BPG in 17.1 MPG through his first eight games.

The Wizards were not only interested in adding an athletic body in Gafford. They also liked his affordable contract — he has a non-guaranteed $1.78MM salary next season, a guarantee Washington will almost certainly pick up given his production.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks big man John Collins admits that trade rumors affected him mentally before the deadline, he told Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (video link). “It’s not an easy thing to deal with,” he said. Collins will be a highly-coveted restricted free agent this summer, since he was unable to reach an extension agreement with the club last fall. “Very disappointing to not have something done,” he said. “I wanted to stay here, I want to be here. Now the situation being as it is, just (have to) weigh all my options.”
  • De’Andre Hunter, Tony Snell and Kris Dunn missed the Hawks’ game against Orlando on Tuesday and there’s no timetable for their return. Coach Nate McMillan provided updates on the trio on Monday and noted that Hunter (knee) was unable to participate in practice, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic tweets. Snell did some light running and shooting, while Dunn did some live work. They’re both sidelined by ankle injuries.
  • While Heat guard Victor Oladipo is sidelined by an knee injury, one of the players traded to Houston, Kelly Olynyk, has thrived in his new NBA home, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. “It’s different for me coming from Boston and then Miami, just a different role,” Olynyk said. “But it’s been a great opportunity for me to go out there and play and help these young guys and help this team in a different way than my role was in Miami.” He had 10 points and eight rebounds against his former team on Monday.

Lou Williams Considered Retirement After Trade

Veteran guard Lou Williams contemplated retirement following the trade that sent him from the Clippers to the Hawks on Thursday. As the three-time Sixth Man of the Year winner explained in a post on Instagram, being dealt away by the Clippers – his team for the last four years – hit him hard.

I thought about retiring yesterday. You give so much to an organization and you wake up and boom, it’s no more,” Williams wrote. “Then in true Clipper nation fashion I was reminded that my talent and contribution was appreciated and it made me reflect on what’s to come. There’s plenty left in my tank and I’m privileged to continue my career in my backyard.”

The Clippers didn’t want to move Williams, but he was the only salary-matching piece that made sense in their deal for Rajon Rondo, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic.

The Hawks, incidentally, received high marks on that trade from ESPN’s Kevin Pelton (Insider link). Rondo hadn’t been effective this season and was owed a guaranteed $7.5MM salary for 2021/22, so trading him for Williams’ expiring $8MM deal and multiple second-round picks was an “enormous win” for Atlanta, Pelton argues.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Although it’s a win for the Hawks overall, the Rondo trade will cost the team a respected veteran leader in the locker room, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic, who says some players were going to the point guard for guidance over former head coach Lloyd Pierce. Kirschner notes that Williams, a 16-year veteran, should help replace Rondo’s leadership.
  • With Rondo gone, the Hawks don’t have a clear-cut backup point guard, but general manager Travis Schlenk said today that he thinks Williams can fill that role, with Bogdan Bogdanovic and others also sharing ball-handling responsibilities, per Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Schlenk added that the team will count on Williams to inject more offense into a second unit that has often struggled to score without Trae Young on the floor.
  • Atlanta never had any “serious conversations” about a John Collins trade prior to Thursday’s deadline, Schlenk told reporters. “We’ve been steadfast that we view John as a big part of our team, a big part of our franchise,” the Hawks’ GM said, according to Spencer. “Like with all our players, we do our due diligence to see what their value is, but I don’t think that you’ve ever heard myself or anybody else in the Hawks organization say that we don’t place great value on John. We do.”
  • Schlenk told reporters today that the plan is for Kris Dunn (ankle) to scrimmage on Monday, and that the guard could make his Hawks debut near the end of the team’s current West Coast road trip, tweets Spencer. That trip concludes on April 2 in New Orleans.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Southeast Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Southeast Division:

Moritz Wagner, Wizards, 23, PF/C (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $5.99MM deal in 2018

Wagner’s younger brother Franz is pursuing a national championship with Michigan and could be a lottery pick this summer. Moe Wagner, who played in the national championship game with the Wolverines in 2018, is currently biding his time on the Wizards’ bench.

Despite the season-ending injury to starting center Thomas Bryant, Wagner has fallen behind Alex Len and Robin Lopez in Scott Brooks’ rotation and hasn’t gotten his number called in the last four games. Washington declined its fourth-year option on Wagner in December, so he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer. A first-round pick by the Lakers in 2018, Wagner can only hope he’ll get a fresh start after seeing his career stall in Washington.

Kris Dunn, Hawks, 27, PG/SG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $10MM deal in 2020

Dunn left Chicago and signed a two-year deal with the anticipation that he’d be a second-unit mainstay in Atlanta. Hawks fans are still waiting to see Dunn take the court. He underwent right ankle surgery in late December and has yet to make his team debut, though he has returned to practice. For a team intent on making the postseason, the Hawks may not have the luxury of waiting for Dunn to get into a rhythm. Thus, there’s no guarantee he’ll be in the rotation when he suits up. Dunn likely agreed to a $5MM player option with the aim of playing well enough to test the market again this summer. It’s a safe bet now he’ll exercise that option.

Duncan Robinson, Heat, 26, SF (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3.1MM deal in 2018

Robinson’s name has been linked to some trade rumors, but whether or not Miami retains him, he’ll be making way more money next season. Robinson is expected to command an offer in the $15-$20MM range annually as a restricted free agent. That’s the value of a wing who can consistently knock down 3-pointers. Robinson established himself as a big-time shooter when he made 44.6% of his 3s last season in his second NBA campaign. That percentage is down to 38.9% this season but he’s still receiving around 30 MPG as a starter in coach Erik Spoelstra’s rotation.

Devonte’ Graham, Hornets, 26, PG/SG (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $4MM deal in 2018

It’s been a rough season for Graham after his breakout sophomore campaign in which he averaged 18.2 PPG and 7.5 APG. He’s dealt with some injuries, including a sore knee, and now he’s lost his starting job to rookie phenom LaMelo Ball.

The less he plays, the more time he spends hanging around the 3-point line rather than attacking the rim. With Ball leading the pack for the Rookie of the Year award, there’s speculation that Graham – a restricted free agent after the season — is available in trade talks. If Charlotte doesn’t deal Graham, it will have to decide how much it’s willing to pony up to retain him if he receives an offer sheet.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Hawks Notes: Collins, Dunn, Vaccinations

Hawks big man John Collins is receiving “heavy interest” ahead of next Thursday’s trade deadline, league sources tell Zach Lowe of ESPN. However, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on the latest episode of The Woj Pod that he believes Collins is unlikely to be dealt, suggesting it’ll be hard for Atlanta to get good value for the 23-year-old, given his small cap hit and his looming restricted free agency.

“I think they can figure out John Collins’ future,” Wojnarowski said. “I know there was a limit they were willing to go in negotiations – around $90MM – on a (preseason) extension. … They can figure that out after the season.”

Brian Windhorst of ESPN (Insider link) conveys a similar sentiment, reporting that the Hawks have told teams inquiring on Collins that they intend to match any contract offer for him in the offseason.

While that hasn’t stopped the trade offers from coming, per Windhorst, Atlanta remains focused on making the playoffs and has been red-hot since Nate McMillan took the head coaching reins, winning seven straight games and moving up to the No. 5 seed in the East. Collins figures to play a crucial part in the club’s efforts to secure a postseason berth.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • According to a team press release, veteran guard Kris Dunn returned to modified team practice on Wednesday and is traveling with the Hawks on their eight-game road trip, which gets underway Saturday in Los Angeles. Dunn, who is coming off of ankle surgery, has yet to play a game for Atlanta, but there’s optimism he’ll make his debut before the end of the month.
  • As of Thursday night, 36 members of the Hawks’ organization, including 14 players, had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. As Spencer explains, all of those individuals meet the current eligibility requirements in Georgia, while the three players who have yet to receive their first dose aren’t yet eligible.
  • Injured forward De’Andre Hunter (knee) is due to be re-evaluated today. The Hawks have yet to issue an update on his status, but the expectation is that he’ll be available at some point during the team’s upcoming road trip.

Southeast Notes: Reddish, Hunter, Dunn, Gordon, Bradley

Cam Reddish is showing progress, but the Hawks swingman will be sidelined at least two more weeks. Reddish, who has missed the last nine games due to Achilles soreness, has been cleared to remove his walking boot and will now start low-level rehab activities, Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. The 2019 lottery pick, who is averaging 11.2 PGG and 4.0 RPG this season, hasn’t played since February 21.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Another key Hawks player, forward De’Andre Hunter, could return to action as soon as Thursday, GM Travis Schlenk told Mike Conti of 92.9 The Game (Twitter link). Hunter, who is averaging 17.2 PPG and 5.4 APG, has not played since January 29 and underwent meniscus surgery on his right knee in early February. Free agent acquisition Kris Dunn, who hasn’t played this season due to an ankle injury, could make his Atlanta debut during the team’s upcoming eight-game road swing.
  • Aaron Gordon‘s name has popped up frequently in trade rumors, prompting The Athletic’s Josh Robbins, Jason Quick, and Jon Krawczynski to break down the prospects of a Gordon trade to the Trail Blazers or Timberwolves. The discussion concludes that it’s unlikely the Magic would be offered a sufficient package from either team for the starting forward, whose contract expires after next season.
  • Heat guard Avery Bradley was listed as questionable for Tuesday night’s game against the Cavaliers but he did not dress, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald tweets. Bradley has missed 19 consecutive games due to a right calf strain.

Kris Dunn Expected To Make Hawks Debut In March

The Hawks are expecting veteran guard Kris Dunn to appear in his first game for the team before the end of the month, as Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes.

Dunn, who signed a two-year, $9.8MM with Atlanta in November, had his Hawks debut delayed after he went under the knife in December to address an ankle injury. According to general manager Travis Schlenk, the team was fully on board with Dunn’s decision to undergo an arthroscopic procedure on his ankle, knowing it would keep him sidelined until the second half.

“He made the decision, and we fully supported him to get that fixed, knowing that it would put us in a situation where he would miss the first half of the season and we’d get him back later on this month,” Schlenk said, per Spencer. “So we’re always going to support the players when it comes to doing the right thing for them, medically.”

Dunn is one of many Hawks 2020 free agent additions who has missed time due to an injury this season. Danilo Gallinari has been sidelined for 12 of Atlanta’s 36 games, while Rajon Rondo has missed 16 and Bogdan Bogdanovic has been out for 25.

The hope is that Dunn, who has a reputation as a strong perimeter defender, can help shore up a unit whose 112.5 defensive rating ranks 13th in the Eastern Conference and 23rd in the NBA.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Richards, Bacon, Hornets

An exact recovery timeline for new Hawks guard Kris Dunn is unclear following a PRP injection to treat right knee discomfort this week, per Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Dunn is also still recovering from a December right ankle scope.

Breakout swingman De’Andre Hunter is still on track to return in seven-to-10 weeks following a February 8 right meniscus surgery. The Hawks noted that Hunter has started to partake in “weight-bearing lower limb strength activities, form shooting and ball handling.”

The Hawks also revealed that reserve point guard Rajon Rondo participated in shooting and running drills this week, his latest injury this season being a left ankle sprain incurred last month.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets have sent rookie center Nick Richards back to their G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, according to Quinton Wash of Hornets.com. Richards, the No. 42 selection out of Kentucky in the 2020 draft, has played limited minutes across eight games with the club so far this season.
  • In his first season for the injury-ravaged Magic, swingman Dwayne Bacon has proven his worth both as a starter and a sparkplug off the bench, according to Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel“When you’re in a game at such a high level, you’re not going to make every shot, so you’ve just got to stick with it,” Bacon said. “The same intensity, same, just everything, the total ingredients to be a good shooter, you’ve got to do the same thing, each and every time.”
  • After missing out on All-Star inclusion altogether during the 2019/20 season, Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal finds himself an All-Star starter for the first time this year. Fred Katz of The Athletic details Beal’s journey to starter status this season. “I definitely think the snub [last year] has a little bit to do with it,” Beal said. “I wouldn’t say all the way to the point to where I would start, but I think it was just gaining the recognition of last year and then it just carried over to this year and me just constantly working on my game and playing the way I’ve been playing.”

Southeast Notes: Butler, Dunn, Richards, Hawks

Heat All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler will remain out of commission for tonight’s contest against the Clippers, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN tweets. The 31-year-old forward has been out since January 9 due to the league’s coronavirus protocols. He has been doing conditioning work this week, though there is no timetable for him to return to the court, according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press (Twitter link).

After a stellar postseason run that resulted in an all-time 2020 NBA Finals performance, Butler has appeared in just six games for the Heat this season. Miami has struggled in his absence, going 3-8 without him. The Heat will also be without several other rotation players tonight, including Goran Dragic, Avery Bradley, Andre Iguodala, Maurice Harkless, Meyers Leonard and Chris Silva, per Reynolds (Twitter link).

There’s more from around the Southeast:

  • As he recovers from a December 29 right ankle surgery, Hawks reserve wing Kris Dunn will miss at least two more weeks before being re-assessed, according to press release from the team. The Hawks indicated that Dunn has been able to partake in individual on-court practice activities.
  • The Hornets have recalled rookie Nick Richards from the NBA G League’s Orlando “bubble” campus, per Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Richards was added back to the club so that Charlotte could have 12 active players, the required threshold unless a team is limited by injuries or COVID-19 protocols. After sending five players to suit up for their NBAGL squad, the Greensboro Swarm, yesterday, the Hornets were left with just 11 available players. Bonnell anticipates that Richards return to the “bubble” at some point this season (Twitter link).
  • Although the Hawks made a splash with several big-money veteran free agent signings during the offseason, it is the 9-9 club’s incumbent youngsters that have had the biggest impact so far this season, as Chris Kirschner of The Athletic details. Second-year swingmen De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish, both 2019 lottery selections, have made impressive strides as scorers, while big man John Collins has vastly improved on defense. “We feel like we can be in the mix with some of these top teams,” third-year All-Star point guard Trae Young said. “For us, we’re just going to go out there and believe we should win each and every game, which we should.”

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Vincent, Monk, Pierce

Earlier this week, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk updated Mike Conti of Sports Radio 92.9 The Game (Twitter link) on the health and availability status of a handful of Atlanta players. Veteran point guard Rajon Rondo and center Onyeka Okongwu could be available later this week. Sharpshooting forward Danilo Gallinari, a pricey offseason acquisition, will not be traveling with the club on the road this week but is nearing his own return.

Hawks shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, however, will miss “several weeks” as he continues to rehabilitate from the avulsion fracture in his right knee. JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets that later examinations did not reveal further ligament damage.

Meanwhile, after requiring a walking boot following a December 29 right ankle surgery, Hawks reserve guard Kris Dunn had the boot removed today, Sarah K. Spence of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Twitter link). He’ll be reevaluated in two weeks.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • With the Heat lineup limited by coronavirus health and safety protocols and injuries, sharpshooting guard Gabe Vincent showcased his ability to perform at the NBA level, scoring a career-best 24 points in a 137-134 Tuesday overtime defeat to the Sixers. Vincent, signed to a two-way contract this season, could warrant a look even when all of Miami’s players return, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. “He is a very good basketball player,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That extends far beyond spot-up shooting … Can guard multiple positions, competes, good team defender. Rebounds at his position. Offensively, you can play him like we did last night as our point guard.”
  • Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer posits that shooting guard Malik Monk might be just what the doctor ordered as the Hornets struggle on offense. Monk not been a part of the Charlotte rotation yet this season. The 22-year-old has appeared in just two games for Charlotte this season, averaging 5.5 MPG. Across his four-year career, he is averaging 8.5 PPG, 1.9 APG and 1.7 APG.
  • In a roundtable of NBA writers for The Athletic, Chris Kirschner opines that Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce will be on the figurative “hot seat” this season. After a blistering 4-1 start, the Hawks went 1-4 in their subsequent five games. Several of those defeats came at the hands of the Knicks, Cavaliers, and Hornets, hardly Eastern Conference powerhouses. The Hawks are currently hanging onto the No. 8 seed in the East, having lavished significant offseason money on veteran depth.