Kris Dunn

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 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.

Southeast Notes: Bonga, Dunn, Bogdanovic, Herro, Robinson

Wizards forward Isaac Bonga got benched on Thursday after starting the first four games and coach Scott Brooks said it was simply a numbers game, Kevin Brown of NBC Sports Washington writes. With Rui Hachimura returning from an eye injury and reclaiming his usual spot in the lineup, Brooks had to choose between Bonga and Troy Brown as the backup. He chose Brown. “We’re trying to find minutes for Troy (Brown Jr.) and Bonga, and (Thursday) it was Troy, but who knows who it will be (Friday) night,” Brooks said.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said he had promising reports regarding guard Kris Dunn‘s arthroscopic right ankle surgery on Tuesday, according to Sarah Spencer of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Dunn is wearing a walking boot and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. The former Bull has yet to make his Atlanta debut. “It sounds as if everything went well, as well as the surgery can go, and he’s staying here at the hotel,” Pierce said. “But he’s post-op and laying low.”
  • Hawks free agent acquisition Bogdan Bogdanovic has averaged 15.3 PPG on 42.9% shooting from deep but Pierce says his value goes beyond perimeter shooting, Spencer writes in a separate story. “He hasn’t had any bad games,” Pierce said. “Bad games aren’t ‘make or miss.’ He’s taking those shots, I’ll live with them…. I trust his work. I’ve been praising the fact that he’s probably our hardest post-practice worker.”
  • Would the combination of Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson be enough to satisfy the Rockets in a potential deal with the Heat for James Harden? Not even close, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. Houston wants “significantly more than that” for Harden, sources inform Jackson.

Kris Dunn To Be Re-Evaluated In Two Weeks After Ankle Procedure

DECEMBER 31: Dunn underwent his arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle on Tuesday, and will be in a walking boot for the time being, the Hawks announced today in a press release. According to the team, he’ll be re-evaluated after resting for the next two weeks.

DECEMBER 27: New Hawks reserve guard Kris Dunn will have arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle to remove loose cartilage on December 30, according to a team press release.

The Hawks announced that Dunn had been partaking in “modified” individual and team practices after a November MRI revealed right knee cartilage disruption.

He had initially been sidelined as a Bull with an MCL sprain suffered against the Nets on January 31. In 51 games last season for Chicago (including 32 starts), Dunn averaged 7.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.4 APG, and 2.0 SPG.

Apparently, as his knee recovered, Dunn struggled with pain in his low back and right ankle. A subsequent MRI this month indicated that he was compensating for loose cartilage limiting his range of motion in the right ankle.

A recovery timeline for the defensive-oriented backup guard, who joined the Hawks this offseason on a two-year, $10MM deal, will be determined after the surgery.

This is not an insignificant blow for Atlanta, as the 26-year-old Dunn was projected to be a major defensive contributor to a very offensively-oriented club. The versatile 6’3″ Dunn can capably defend point guards and wings.

Dunn’s absence continued will continue to open up additional rotation minutes for reserve wings Cam Reddish and Tony Snell, and should yield more time for 34-year-old veteran point guard Rajon Rondo when he is able to suit up for the Hawks.

Kris Dunn To Miss At Least Three Games

Hawks guard Kris Dunn will miss at least the first three games of the regular season with what the team describes in a press release as a right knee cartilage disruption.

Dunn will be “reviewed” on December 28 and a status update will be provided at that time. The Hawks open the season on December 23 against Dunn’s former team, the Bulls. They’ll also play the Grizzlies (Dec. 26), Pistons (Dec.28) and Nets (Dec. 3o) this month.

Dunn has begun participating in individual workouts with contact and is progressing toward live team practice. One of several free agent signings the Hawks made in recent weeks, Dunn inked a two-year, $10MM contract with a second-year player option.

In the short run, Atlanta has enough guard depth to make up for his absence. Noted for his defensive prowess, Dunn is expected to play a key reserve role as a combo guard.

A former fifth overall pick, Dunn averaged 7.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 3.4 APG on .444/.259/.741 shooting in 51 games (24.9 MPG) last season for Chicago. The Bulls decided not to make him a restricted free agent, passing on their qualifying offer.

The press release also provided an update on lottery pick Onyeka Okongwu, who is dealing with inflammation of the sesamoid bone in his left foot. The former USC big man has begun participating in modified team practice with contact and is progressing towards unlimited team practice. He will be reviewed on December 18.

Southeast Notes: Dragic, Bamba, Hawks, Rondo

If the Heat opt to insert center Meyers Leonard back into their starting lineup – where he spent most of last season – alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, it would leave just two slots in the starting five available for Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, and Avery Bradley, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Dragic did well coming off the bench last season before joining the starters in the playoffs. However, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said he hasn’t talked to the veteran point guard yet about whether or not he’ll start. Spoelstra, who pointed out that the opening night lineup wouldn’t necessarily be permanent, is confident that Dragic would be willing to accept any role.

“We’ve been in this a long time together,” the Heat coach said. “It’s great to have guys who are all about winning.”

For his part, Dragic recently said that if Spoelstra asks himself to come off the bench again, it’ll be easier to adjust to this time around, since he now has a year of experience as a Heat reserve under his belt.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

Southeast Notes: Dunn, Okeke, Heat, Birch

Hawks guard Kris Dunn is hoping to bring a “dog mentality” with his new team on defense, an area where he’s excelled in his short NBA career, Sarah Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes.

Dunn signed a two-year, $10MM deal to join Atlanta in free agency. The 26-year-old was one of the better perimeter defenders in the league last season, also averaging 7.3 points, 3.4 assists and 25 minutes per contest. He shot a career-best 44% from the floor in those games, but also a career-worst 26% from deep.

“Just bringing the energy, bringing that dog mentality, basically what I did last year with the Bulls, just bring it over here,” Dunn said of what he plans to bring. “I wouldn’t say ‘teach’ but just bring it over and just bring everybody to a whole new level and a whole new standard, and I think we’ve got a couple great defenders already. I think they just need the motivation and someone out there to also help them and push them to be where they can be.”

In addition to Dunn, the Hawks also signed veteran point guard Rajon Rondo in free agency, pairing the duo with new signings Danilo Gallinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic. The team is clearly eyeing a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs next season after accruing just a 20-47 record last year.

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • The Magic are eager to see what Chuma Okeke can do this season, but the team is being careful not to put any unnecessary pressure on the 22-year-old, Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel writes. Okeke was drafted with the No. 16 pick in 2019 but sat out the entire 2019/20 season to rehab a torn ACL.
  • Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald examines how the Heat‘s first practice at American Airlines Arena in nine months went on Sunday. Miami is coming off a run to the NBA Finals, the franchise’s fifth trip in the past decade. The team lost starting forward Jae Crowder in free agency, as well as Derrick Jones Jr. and Solomon Hill, replacing the trio with Precious Achiuwa, Avery Bradley and Maurice Harkless“I just wanted to use it as a template to really see where guys were, what they were able to retain and how quickly the new players are able to get up to speed with things,” Spoelstra said of the practice.
  • Magic center Khem Birch is in the process of developing a corner three-point shot, Josh Cohen of writes. “I’ve been working on my game so I can play with Vooch [Nikola Vucevic] this season,” Birch said. “Working on the corner threes, so when he gets the ball in the post he can kick out, and also being more aggressive. When I’m on the court, a lot of teams tend to think I’m not a threat. I feel like playing with Vooch, I have to be more of a threat this season and that’s what I’ve been working on this offseason.”

Southeast Notes: Aminu, Bamba, Collins, Hawks, Hornets

Magic head coach Steve Clifford told reporters today that Jonathan Isaac, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Mohamed Bamba haven’t been cleared for contact work when training camp begins, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Isaac is recovering from a torn ACL and is expected to miss the entire 2020/21 season, so his absence is unsurprising. Aminu and Bamba were unavailable for the Magic at the end of last season due to knee surgery recovery and coronavirus complications, respectively. It’s not clear if those same issues are keeping them sidelined this fall, but Clifford said today that both players are still “a ways away” from being 100%, per Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links).

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Hawks big man John Collins is still hoping to sign a rookie scale extension before the regular season begins, admitting today that his contract situation is at the forefront of his mind (Twitter links via Chris Kirschner of The Athletic and Sarah Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
  • The Hawks issued a press release announcing injury updates on Kris Dunn (cartilage disruption in right knee), Onyeka Okongwu (inflammation of sesamoid bone in left foot), and Tony Snell (inflammation of cuboid bone in right foot). Dunn is participating in “modified” individual workouts, while Okongwu and Snell are currently limited to shooting and conditioning. Atlanta will provide another update on all three players on December 11.
  • The Hornets will open the 2020/21 season without any fans in attendance at Spectrum Center, the team announced this week in a press release. The Hornets indicated they’ll continue to work with state and local health officials – and the NBA – to develop a plan to get fans back in the building, ideally before the end of the season.
  • In the wake of the Hornets‘ acquisition of Gordon Hayward and release of Nicolas Batum, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer examines the salary cap impact of the two transactions. As Bonnell writes, despite the significant cap charges for Hayward and Batum, the club could still open up a sizeable chunk of cap room in 2021.

Hawks Sign Kris Dunn To Two-Year Deal

NOV. 28: The Hawks have made the signing official, per a press release.

NOV. 21: The Hawks have reached an agreement to sign free agent guard Kris Dunn, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). It’ll be a two-year contract worth $10MM, with a second-year player option, Woj adds.

Based on the terms reported by Wojnarowski, it sounds like Dunn could end up fitting into Atlanta’s room exception ($9.77MM over two years) once the team uses up its cap room. If that’s the plan, the Hawks should still have in the neighborhood of $25MM to spend on other players.

A former fifth overall pick, Dunn hasn’t developed much of an offensive game since entering the league in 2016, having averaged just 7.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 3.4 APG on .444/.259/.741 shooting in 51 games (24.9 MPG) last season for Chicago. The Bulls decided not to make him a restricted free agent, passing on their qualifying offer.

However, Dunn has become one of the NBA’s very best perimeter defenders, leading the league with 2.9 steals per 36 minutes in 2019/20. That makes him an ideal fit in Atlanta’s backcourt, where he could handle tough defensive assignments and allow Trae Young to focus primarily on his offensive game.

Dunn represents the second notable free agent agreement so far for the Hawks, who also struck a three-year deal with Danilo Gallinari. Atlanta is believed to be in the running for Bogdan Bogdanovic and Rajon Rondo too, though it’s not clear if the team’s deal with Dunn will affect either pursuit — there’s definitely some positional overlap with Rondo.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.