Luke Kornet

Celtics Notes: Kornet, Smart, Fournier, R. Williams, More

After completing a three-team trade with Chicago and Washington that sent Moritz Wagner and Luke Kornet to Boston, the Celtics are expected to waive a player to pursue a veteran big man on the buyout market, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, who says Kornet would likely be the odd man out.

However, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link) hears that there are no immediate plans to drop Kornet. As Himmelsbach explains, since Daniel Theis is now a Bull and Tristan Thompson remains sidelined due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Celtics may need some extra depth at the five in the short term.

Himmelsbach’s report makes sense — whether Kornet remains on the roster for another day, another week, or the rest of the season, the Celtics will owe him the same amount of money, so the logical move would be to hang onto him until the team lines up a deal with a free agent center.

Of course, there’s no guarantee anything will materialize on the buyout market, but the Celtics intend to weigh all the options, as Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said today (Twitter link via Keith Smith of RealGM).

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • Within his Athletic story linked above, Weiss suggests that Thursday’s series of moves provide further evidence that Celtics ownership is reluctant to green-light a “long-term deep dive” into luxury tax territory.
  • Ainge assured Marcus Smart that the team wasn’t shopping him and that his name only came up in trade rumors prior to the deadline because he was being brought up by teams interested in him, a source tells Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter link). Smart was rumored to be part of the club’s trade talks with Orlando, but ultimately stayed put.
  • Having previously stated that he preferred not to use the Celtics’ massive trade exception on a player with an expiring contract, Ainge explained on Friday to reporters that he felt comfortable committing a significant chunk of that TPE toward Evan Fournier because he’s hopeful the veteran wing will remain in Boston beyond this season (Twitter links via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston). Ainge also said part of the reason he wanted to land an impact scorer like Fournier was that he sensed internal discouragement and wanted the players and coaches to “feel hope” (Twitter link via Forsberg).
  • The trade of Theis will free up a bigger role for Robert Williams going forward, according to Ainge, who said the third-year big man has been the club’s best defensive center this season (Twitter links via Smith).
  • Ainge said that Wagner and Kornet could join the Celtics as soon as today, while Fournier could report to the team in Oklahoma City this weekend. Additionally, the hope is that Thompson and Romeo Langford will be available at some point next week (Twitter links via Forsberg).

Celtics Trade Daniel Theis To Bulls In Three-Team Deal

6:27pm: The trade is now official, per a press release from the Wizards.

2:57pm: Ryan McDonough of provides the full details on the trade, explaining (via Twitter) that it’ll be folded into the previously-reported Bulls/Wizards swap that involved Wagner. The breakdown is as follows, per McDonough:

  • The Bulls will receive Theis, Green, Troy Brown, $1.3MM in cash from the Celtics, and $250K in cash from the Wizards.
  • The Celtics will receive Kornet and Wagner.
  • The Wizards will receive Daniel Gafford and Chandler Hutchison.

The C’s will end up $950K below the tax line as a result of their series of moves, tweets Marks.

2:31pm: The Celtics and Bulls have agreed to a deal that will send Daniel Theis to Chicago and Moritz Wagner to Boston, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links). K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago first reported the talks between the two teams (Twitter link).

According to Johnson and Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter links), Jeff Teague and Javonte Green were also discussed leading up to the deadline, with the possibility of a third team joining the mix. Teague will be sent to Orlando as part of the Evan Fournier trade and will subsequently be waived, per Josh Robbins and Jared Weiss of The Athletic.

It’s not clear if a third team will take on Green or if he’ll be end up going to the Bulls, but the Celtics are believed to be acquiring Luke Kornet from Chicago in the deal, tweets Murphy.

The move will get the Celtics get out of luxury tax territory following their acquisition of Fournier, as Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Meanwhile, it gives the Bulls a solid backup center following their earlier deal for Nikola Vucevic.

Bulls Notes: Kornet, Gafford, Trade Deadline, Porter

Luke Kornet has taken Daniel Gafford‘s spot in the Bulls‘ rotation as coach Billy Donovan looks for better floor spacing, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Gafford began the season as Chicago’s primary back-up center, but has seen only limited action for the past two weeks. Kornet’s shot hasn’t been falling since the change, but having another three-point threat on the court puts pressure on opposing defenses.

“They’re worried about him shooting the ball,” Donovan said. “That just creates space in itself. And I think sometimes when you look at Gaff and (Thaddeus Young) together where maybe Thad is on the perimeter or Gaff is up at the top, or Gaff is low and Thad is on the perimeter, sometimes the floor spacing can be a little bit more difficult or challenging. It’s up to me to be a little more creative to try to work with those two guys together. But it’s been more just trying to create that gravity on the 3-point line where teams are a little bit more apprehensive to load up.”

Kornet is thrilled to have the opportunity after appearing in just two of the season’s first 23 games. The 25-year-old has an expiring contract and faces an uncertain NBA future if he can’t get playing time.

“It’s been great to play,” he said. “… I think, especially early on, I was just getting my legs under me. It took a minute. But I feel like I’m starting to do better just in terms of being able to help us control what shots we’re giving up and just make everything contested. And then offensively, just trying to space and keep the ball moving is the primary thing I’m trying to do.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • The Bulls will hold an organizational meeting during the All-Star break to plot their strategy for the trade deadline, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago-Sun Times. Cowley speculates on what the team might be able to get in return for its most valuable trade assets: Young, Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine.
  • Even though Otto Porter Jr. won’t play again until after the break, there’s good news about the veteran forward, Cowley adds in a separate story. Donovan said Friday that Porter is starting to make progress with the back issues that have bothered him almost the entire season. ‘‘He’s been able to do a lot more the last three days,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘He’s ramped up quite a bit where he’s running, doing conditioning, shooting. There’s still no contact, but I was on the court with him (Thursday).’’
  • Chris Paul‘s performance as the Suns won Friday in Chicago exposed the huge need the Bulls still have at point guard, observes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports. Chicago committed 19 turnovers in the game, including 10 in the fourth quarter as Phoenix pulled away.

Bulls Notes: Karnisovas, Vonleh, Temple, Donovan

Executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas didn’t make sweeping changes during his first offseason running the Bulls, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports. Thirteen of the 15 players who finished last season on Chicago’s roster are back for training camp.

Karnisovas has a philosophy that emphasizes building through the draft and player development, Johnson adds. He is also holding onto the $25-$30MM in cap space the Bulls project to have for next summer’s talented class of free agents.

“We were pretty happy with the roster that we had,” Karnisovas explained in a session with reporters. “We didn’t have a lot of wiggle room to work with. We added players that are versatile. We added some leadership, experience to the roster we already had and that was the mentality. And also preserving cap room for next summer and using this season to look at our roster and evaluate and see what the long-term goals will be following this season.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Noah Vonleh was briefly in Denver with Karnisovas last season and could be a threat to earn a roster spot, Johnson states in the same story. Vonleh signed a non-guaranteed deal, and Karnisovas said he is “going to compete in training camp.” That may mean the Bulls are willing to waive a guaranteed contract such as Cristiano Felicio ($7,529,020) or Luke Kornet ($2.25MM).
  • Free agent Garrett Temple, who was the team’s only free agent addition with a guaranteed contract, was added for his “versatility, experience, leadership. Those would be my three things on Garrett.” Karnisovas tells Johnson (Twitter link). He also said the organization will “make every effort” to work out an extension with Lauri Markkanen (Twitter link). Markkanen expressed strong interest in a new deal earlier in the week.
  • Bulls players have already noticed a different atmosphere with Billy Donovan taking over for Jim Boylen as head coach, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Zach LaVine, who had numerous run-ins with Boylen during their time together, was among the players who commented on the change. “They’re showing their faces,” LaVine said of the new coaching staff. “I see them every morning. I get here around 8 o’clock and they’re already in the gym. They’re on the court with you. They’re talking to you about not just basketball, but personal life things. What things do you like to run? What don’t you like? They want you to be upfront. They’re willing to change and hear players’ opinions, so that’s something that’s been different than in the past.”

Central Notes: Oladipo, Bitadze, Kornet, Sabonis

Pacers head coach Nate McMillan states that star shooting guard Victor Oladipo, whose status for the NBA’s season restart has remained uncertain, will be a game-day decision for Indiana’s first seeding game in Orlando on Saturday, according to Eric Woodyard of (Twitter link).

“He went through practice today, he’ll go through practice tomorrow and like any other one of our players, we’ll see who’s available for Saturday,” McMillan said. Oladipo did play in all three of the Pacers’ scrimmages in Orlando.

Here are more notes from around the Central Division:

  • McMillan also said this week that Pacers rookie center Goga Bitadze, the No. 18 pick in the 2019 draft, remains “a couple of weeks away” from being able to suit up for Indiana, according to J. Michael of the Indy Star (Twitter link). McMillan indicated last week that Bitadze is struggling with a soft-tissue injury.
  • Bulls bench center Luke Kornet had a disappointing first season in Chicago, as Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago details. Kornet, who inked a two-year, $4.5 MM contract with the club last summer, was roundly outplayed by second-round rookie Daniel Gafford, and averaged just 6.0 PPG, 2.3 RPG, and 0.7 BPG.
  • With the team’s lone 2019/20 All-Star Domantas Sabonis away from the NBA’s restart campus dealing with plantar fasciitis, the Pacers are now looking to take a small-ball approach to their seeding games and subsequent playoff run, according to Mark Montieth of

Luke Kornet Out 6-8 Weeks With Foot, Ankle Injuries

Bulls center Luke Kornet may have played his last game of the season, according to a press release from the team, which indicates that the big man will miss approximately six-to-eight weeks due to foot and ankle injuries.

Kornet, who sustained the injuries in a practice last Friday, has been diagnosed with a severe left ankle sprain and a fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his left foot, per the Bulls.

Even if Kornet is able to make a quick recovery and return to action at the six-week mark, that would leave just three games on the Bulls’ schedule. The more likely scenario is that he’s done for the season. His two-year contract with Chicago includes a guaranteed second year, so barring an offseason trade, he figures to be back in the mix for the team in 2020/21.

Kornet has been limited to 36 games in his first season as a Bull. He has averaged 6.0 PPG and 2.3 RPG in a part-time role (15.5 MPG). A 36.0% career three-point shooter prior to 2019/20, Kornet has made just 31-of-108 attempts (28.7%) since arriving in Chicago.

In addition to Kornet, Wendell Carter Jr. remains on the shelf for the Bulls. Daniel Gafford and Cristiano Felicio are expected to continue handling the majority of the minutes at center until Carter is ready to return.

Daniel Gafford To Miss 2-4 Weeks With Dislocated Thumb

A right thumb injury suffered by Daniel Gafford in tonight’s game is expected to sideline the Bulls‘ rookie center for two to four weeks, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Gafford suffered the injury early in the first quarter when he deflected a pass, relays K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. The thumb appeared to bend backward, and Gafford ran straight to the training room.

Gafford is averaging 4.9 points and 2.5 rebounds in limited playing time through 31 games, but he has taken over a starting role since the loss of Wendell Carter Jr., who is out for four to six weeks with a sprained right ankle. Gafford has been excelling on defense, with a streak of 12 straight games with a blocked shot coming into tonight.

Johnson notes that coach Jim Boylen turned to Luke Kornet after Gafford had to leave the game and used some lineups with Lauri Markkanen at center.

Eastern Notes: Kornet, Morris, Pasecniks, Wall

The Bulls are trying to get by in the middle with rookie Daniel Gafford and Luke Kornet until Wendell Carter Jr. returns, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times relays. Carter is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with an ankle injury.

The Bulls used their room exception to sign Kornet to a two-year, $4.5MM contract during the offseason but he’s only appeared in 20 games this season, averaging 3.2 PPG in 9.7 MPG. He had 15 points against Detroit on Saturday but went scoreless against Boston on Monday.

‘‘[Kornet] was just waiting for his time to come back and show what he can do, and that’s what he did [Saturday],’’ Gafford said of his Bulls teammate.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Knicks are leaning toward retaining forward Marcus Morris, who will be a free agent again after the season, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. Morris, who will miss his fifth straight game Tuesday against the Bucks with a neck injury, may not be dealt unless they get back a star-quality player in a large package, Berman continues. Several playoff teams are interested in Morris, Berman adds, but the Knicks would prefer to preserve their 2020 or 2021 cap space in any deal.
  • The Wizards used part of their mid-level exception to convert center Anzejs Pasecniks‘ contract from a two-way deal to a standard one, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. Pasecniks was signed to a multi-year pact on Sunday. The Wizards will take a $482K cap hit this year. Pasecniks has a $250K guarantee on his $1.52MM salary for the 2020/21 season. The contract for next season becomes fully guaranteed if he remains on the roster through July 8, Katz continues. His $1.78MM salary for 2021/22 is non-guaranteed, Katz adds.
  • Wizards GM Tommy Shephard reiterated that point guard John Wall will not return this season unless he’s completely healthy, Mike DePrisco of NBC Sports Washington writes. Wall has been participated in 3-on-3 drills with members of the player development staff. “We’re not going to skip steps, we’re not going to get excited about 3-on-3,” Sheppard said. “Down the road, I think we’ll start to add more players to the court and make it feel more like home, but we’re not in a rush to see John come back unless he’s 100 percent healthy.”

Bulls Notes: Doyle, Carter, Gafford, Rotation

G League standout Milton Doyle dreams of securing a long-term NBA role, according to Sam Smith of

Doyle, an alum of  Chicago’s Marshall High School and Loyola University, is averaging 18.9 PPG, 6.5 APG and 4.4 RPG for the Windy City Bulls, the G League affiliate of the Bulls. Doyle is shooting 86% from the charity stripe and 34% from three-point land.

The 6’4″ combo guard cameoed for the Nets in 2017/18, appearing in 10 games and averaging 12.5 MPG, 3.4 PPG, and 1.8 APG. Last year, he played for UCAM Murcia of the Liga ACB in Spain.

He has returned to Chicago for a crack at the big time once again with the Bulls’ G League squad.

“It’s about finding a niche that will get a team to say they want me,” Doyle told Smith of his time with the Windy City Bulls.“I feel like I have the ability to come off the bench for a team and make plays whether it’s scoring or playing defense, getting others involved.”

There’s more out of Chicago:

  • Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. has impressed this season, according to NBC Sports Chicago’s KC Johnson. Most recently, Carter had an 18-point, 13-rebound, four-assist night against Rudy Gobert, the Jazz’s two-time Defensive Player of the Year, on Friday. “Games like that can turn him into an All-Star type big,” teammate Thaddeus Young observed. Carter has been a key fulcrum for the Bulls eking out a top five NBA defense.
  • Bulls stretch-four Luke Kornet was signed to a two-year, $4.5MM contract this summer to create some spacing off the bench. Athletic rookie power forward Daniel Gafford, the No. 38 pick in 2019, has thus far severely outperformed him. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times examines the two players’ 2019/20 seasons thus far.
  • Coach Jim Boylen shrank the injury-hampered Bulls’ rotation to eight players in a 111-104 loss to the Celtics yesterday. KC Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago wonders if this trend will continue, despite it pushing all the starters’ minutes over 35, with the exception of power forward Lauri Markkanen.

Bulls Notes: Markkanen, LaVine, Carter, Kornet

Of all the issues holding down the Bulls, none is more baffling than the slow start by Lauri Markkanen, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. A tense two-game stretch ended on a positive note Saturday as Zach LaVine resolved trust issues with coach Jim Boylen and put up 49 points in a dramatic win at Charlotte. However, Cowley notes that Markkanen was on the bench as the Bulls finished off their comeback.

“Well, I didn’t think Lauri played poorly,’’ Boylen said afterward. “He did not shoot the ball how we know he can shoot it. I did not think he played poorly. Just like Zach, just like Coby [White], just like [Kris Dunn], just like [Ryan Arcidiacono], just like everybody, Wendell [Carter], I’m going to keep coaching and my staff is going to keep coaching. Just try to keep leading these guys in the right direction. We’re going to keep looking at it.’’

Markkanen’s scoring average is down about five points from last season and his shooting percentage has dropped from 43.0% to 35.4%. Cowley cites increasing concern in the organization that he and LaVine might not be effective together. Rumors of a possible Markkanen trade have emerged recently, although a source in the organization strongly denied it.

There’s more Bulls news to pass along:

  • Chicago is giving fewer minutes to its best players than anyone else in the league, which may contribute to any chemistry issues between LaVine and Markkanen, notes Sam Smith of The Bulls have 10 players averaging at least 20 minutes per game, while most teams have six or seven. Both LaVine and Markkanen have seen their court time fall about 10% from last season.
  • Coaches are working with Carter to try to get his foul trouble under control, relays K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. The second-year center is averaging 12.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, but he’s also committing 4.2 fouls, which limits his time on the court. “I don’t know if it’s that I’m being too aggressive,” Carter said. “I talk to the refs. Every time I pick up my early fouls, I always try to ask them what exactly am I doing wrong. It seems my body is out of position or my hands are down. It’s just a concentration thing with me. I just have to go into the game knowing that I can’t be picking up early fouls.”
  • Backup center Luke Kornet has been cleared for basketball work a week after having nasal surgery, Johnson tweets.