Malik Monk

Hornets Notes: Monk, GM Search, Hernangomez

Given all the pricey long-term contracts on the books, blowing up the Hornets’ roster and rebuilding would be a painful process, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. However, in Bonnell’s view, an overhaul of some sort needs to happen. Eleven players on the current roster have guaranteed contracts for next season, but if the Hornets bring back nearly the same roster in 2018/19, they’re “running themselves into a wall that will not budge,” says Bonnell.

At 28-38, the Hornets aren’t technically eliminated from the postseason, but their playoff hopes are on life support, and the players sound like they know it. “(With) the talent in this room, starting with us, everyone expected something more,” Nicolas Batum said after the team’s latest loss. Marvin Williams also expressed concern about the Hornets’ collective effort.

“It’s been difficult. It hasn’t ever been this way here,” Williams said, per Bonnell. “I remember, even going back to my first year here (the 33-48 season in 2014-15), we weren’t very good, but we still competed, we still defended. We weren’t the most talented, but we played hard. We didn’t just play for ourselves, we played for each other and for coach. Right now, we’re just not giving the effort we need to give.”

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • Whether or not Michael Carter-Williams is able to get back on the court this season after suffering a shoulder injury, rookie guard Malik Monk should remain in the Hornets’ rotation the rest of the way, Bonnell writes in a separate piece for The Charlotte Observer. With Charlotte’s playoff aspirations no longer realistic, the team needs to see what it has in Monk, according to Bonnell.
  • Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders explores whether it would make sense for the Hornets to hire a veteran executive like Mitch Kupchak as their next general manager, or whether the club would be better off rolling the dice on an unproven candidate with promise.
  • League sources tell Kyler that former Cavs GM David Griffin was contacted by the Hornets as part of their search, but Griffin may not be a serious candidate for the Charlotte position. According to Kyler, the prevailing thought on Griffin is that he’ll want “complete control” in his next job, and the Hornets may not be willing to sign off on that.
  • Speaking to Ben Nadeau of Basketball Insiders, Willy Hernangomez admits that 2017/18 has been a tough season for him, but says he’s comfortable in Charlotte and is happy to get a fresh start. “It’s a new environment and a new chapter, so I have new goals — I feel more free here, they want me to create for others,” Hernangomez said. “Maybe in New York, I was just playing the low-post instead of the pick-and-roll. Here, I can do many things: create offense, maybe three-pointers, rebound, play pick-and-roll — so I feel more comfortable here.”

Bucks Interested In Malik Monk

In addition to looking for help at center, the Bucks are reportedly interested in potentially acquiring a shooting guard before next week’s trade deadline.

According to Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times, one possible candidate is Hornets‘ rookie Malik Monk, who has fallen out of Charlotte’s rotation while working to improve his defense and adjust to the NBA game. League sources tell Woelfel that the Bucks have contacted Charlotte about Monk.

Woelfel adds that there is apparently a split in the Hornets’ hierarchy as to whether the team should hold on to Monk or move him. As highlighted before and mentioned above, the 19-year-old Monk has struggled for much of his rookie season, averaging a lowly 5.2 points per game on 33% shooting from the floor.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Monk’s best game of the season came against Milwaukee on November 1, when he poured in 25 points on five of eight from long range.

The Bucks are currently over the salary cap, but possess a $5MM trade exception that was created when they traded Roy Hibbert to Denver last season. The team also has some non-essential players that could be included in trades for salary-matching purposes.

Southeast Notes: Hood, Walker, Monk, Payton

Rodney Hood‘s ability to score off the bench could make him a perfect fit for the Wizards, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The 25-year-old Jazz guard seems like a good bet to be traded by the February 8 deadline, and Washington could be among the suitors.

Hood is averaging 16.7 points per game while shooting 41.3% from the field and 38.6% from 3-point range. He has an expiring contract worth a little less than $2.4MM, so matching salaries wouldn’t be difficult.

The Wizards would like to improve their bench and find some relief for Bradley Beal, who is playing about 36 minutes per night. Reserve guard Jodie Meeks, who signed a two-year deal with Washington last summer, is shooting just 36.2% from the field and 30.6% from long distance.

There’s more news from the Southeast Division:

  • Despite rumors over the past week, the Hornets aren’t likely to part with Kemba Walker, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Bonnell says coach Steve Clifford seemed genuinely surprised to be asked about the possibility, which is an indication that it hasn’t received serious discussion. Walker, who will be a free agent after next season, is happy in Charlotte and considers it home, Bonnell adds.
  • Unrealistic expectations led to the disappointment over Malik Monk‘s rookie season, Bonnell writes in the same piece. Fans were hoping Monk could be a difference maker when the Hornets took him with the 11th pick in last year’s draft, but he’s only 19 and still needs a lot of improvement on defense. Clifford notes that an ankle sprain over the summer slowed Monk’s development.
  • Magic guard Elfrid Payton has been mentioned in trade rumors, but he is hoping to remain in Orlando and help the franchise improve, relays Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders. Payton has shown statistical improvement in his fourth NBA season, but the Magic remain at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. He is trying to ignore the trade talk and focus on the task at hand. “I don’t get caught up into the things like that,” Payton said. “Today I’m an Orlando Magic. I play for the Orlando Magic and I’m gonna give them 100 percent of me. I’m somebody that likes to finish what I started, so I definitely would like to see this through and try to turn this organization around.”

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/27/17

Here are the notable G-League transactions around the NBA today:

  • The Hornets have recalled Malik Monk from the Greensboro Swarm, according to the team’s Twitter feed. The 2017 No. 11 overall pick appeared in one G League game and he scored 25 points.
  • The Spurs have assigned Derrick White to the Austin Spurs, according to the team’s website. White has played in six games to date with the G League club and he’s averaging 11.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 22.3 minutes per game.
  • The Wolves have assigned Justin Patton to the G League, according to the team’s Twitter feed. Patton has already appeared in six games for the Iowa Wolves, scoring 9.5 points per contest.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/25/17

Here are the G-League transactions from around the NBA today:

  • The Hornets assigned rookie forward Dwayne Bacon and guard Malik Monk to their affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, the team announced in a press release. It’s first assignment for both players. Bacon has appeared in 28 games, averaging 3.6 PPG and 3.1 RPG in 15.9 MPG. Monk has seen action in 29 games, averaging 5.9 PPG and 1.5 APG in 14.5 MPG. Monk, the No. 11 selection in the draft, had two 20-plus point games in early November but has seen his playing time diminish this month.
  • The Trail Blazers are expected to assign rookie power forward Caleb Swanigan to the Canton Charge on Tuesday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The Blazers do not have their own affiliate. Swanigan has only played a total of 10 minutes over the past 18 games.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Walton Jr., Monk

A lack of depth played a role in the Wizards‘ recent loss to a short-handed Cavaliers team, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. In a matchup where both teams were missing players, the Cavs still managed to hurt them with a capable 10-man rotation.

Hughes writes that the Wizards will be in a better position when John Wall and Markieff Morris completely return to full health but even then it may not be enough to legitimately compete with an elite team like the Cavs.

That presents one question for Washington’s front office; whether the Wizards should make a move prior to the trade deadline considering that a trip to the NBA Finals will almost certainly have to go through Cleveland at some point.

There’s more from the Southeast Division today:

  • Two-way Heat signee Derrick Walton Jr. has already spent at least 22 days with the big league club, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. The new contract format permits players to spend 45 games total with the NBA squad and the rest with a team in the G League.
  • The Hornets have cut back rookie guard Malik Monk‘s role because of his weak defense, Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype writes. Charlotte has been outscored by 15.4 points per 100 possessions with Monk on the court, worse than any other player in their 12-man rotation.
  • It’s reasonable to picture Heat president Pat Riley showing an interest in Paul George if he were to be made available by the Thunder. Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel discussed the possibility in a question-and-answer feature with readers.

Kyler’s Latest: Jordan, Gasol, Bazemore, Hornets

The NBA trade deadline is just over seven weeks away, so it’s only a matter of time before teams start discussing potential deals a little more earnestly. In anticipation of trade talks heating up, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders takes a closer look at a handful of players whose names figure to come up frequently in trade rumors in the coming weeks, passing along the latest nuggets of info on each of those guys. Here are a few highlights from Kyler’s piece:

  • Source close to the situation tell Kyler that a Cavaliers offer for DeAndre Jordan would be built around Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, and a first-round pick, though Cleveland is only willing to discuss its own pick at this point, rather than the Nets’ first-rounder. It remains to be seen whether the Clippers will be willing to move Jordan, but the big man’s future in L.A. is “anything but clear,” writes Kyler.
  • More and more people around the NBA believe that the Grizzlies would be willing to explore the market for Marc Gasol, but it may require Gasol telling them he wants out, per Kyler.
  • League sources tell Kyler that the Hawks might be open to moving Kent Bazemore for the right combination of expiring contracts and a first-round pick. Even if that pick is “highly protected,” as Kyler suggests, I’d be very surprised if any team is willing to pay that price for Bazemore, who is owed $18MM+ in 2018/19 and $19MM+ in 2019/20.
  • The prevailing belief around the league is that the Hornets would like to move one of their big contracts, such as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist‘s. However, Charlotte would likely need to attach a young player to a deal in order to dump salary. Kyler suggests Malik Monk and Dwayne Bacon likely aren’t going anywhere, identifying Frank Kaminsky as a possible name to watch.
  • The Magic and Kings are also worth keeping an eye on, according to Kyler, who identifies Nikola Vucevic and George Hill as a pair of potential trade candidates. Orlando isn’t looking to shake things up for the sake of it, but Vucevic figures to draw interest. As for Hill, his significant cap hit limits his trade value, but he’d probably “welcome a move,” says Kyler.

Southeast Rumors: Monk, Heat, Simmons, Isaac

Malik Monk‘s spotty minutes in recent games is due to Michael Carter-Williams defensive ability and not some sort of punishment for the first-round pick, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports. The Hornets have played much better defensively with Carter-Williams in the rotation and Monk became the odd man out, Bonnell continues. Monk is still learning to play point guard after being a shooting guard in college and has plenty of work to do defensively, Bonnell adds.

In other developments around the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat may have invested too much on complementary pieces, Ira Winderman of the Florida Sun Sentinel opines. It’s fair to question whether the club would be better off now and into the future by spending on top players rather than doling out large contracts to players such as Josh RichardsonTyler Johnson, James Johnson and Kelly Olynyk, Winderman adds.
  • Magic coach Frank Vogel made his first non-injury related change to the starting lineup Monday, inserting swingman Jonathon Simmons in place of Terrence Ross, John Denton of the Magic’s website reports. Vogel wants to give Simmons more playing time and Ross has spent most of his career coming off the bench, Denton notes. “Terrence and I have been in conversations about him maybe being more involved when coming off the bench and with Simmons, we’d like to see what we look like with him having a bigger role,’’ Vogel said.
  • Magic rookie power forward Jonathan Isaac could return as early as Wednesday from the ankle sprain he suffered on November 11th, Denton notes in a separate story. The lottery pick missed his eighth consecutive game on Monday. “It’s definitely taken longer than I thought it would,” Isaac told Denton.

Southeast Notes: Isaac, Vogel, Olynyk, Monk

Magic forward Jonathan Isaac is missing his fifth straight game tonight with a sprained ankle, but the team hopes to have him back by the end of its current road trip, writes Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. The sixth player take in this year’s draft, Isaac has averaged 6.1 points and 4.4 rebounds in his first 12 NBA games. At 6’10”, he is tall and versatile enough to defend several positions.

“You hate to say you’re missing a 20-year-old rookie, but we are,” Magic coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s a dynamic player, especially on the defensive end, and he’s missed. But every single team in the league has got guys out.” Orlando is starting a four-game road trip tonight that will run through Monday.

There’s more news from the Southeast Division:

  • Vogel considered making a lineup change, but decided to keep the same starting five for tonight to allow his point guards to get more comfortable in their return from injuries, Robbins adds in the same story. Elfrid Payton and D.J. Augustin both missed time with hamstring problems, with Payton coming back November 13 and Augustin returning Saturday. “[We’re] staying the course right now,” Vogel said. “I think we’re still dealing with not having been at full strength and we’re trying to keep guys in their roles while we try to achieve that.”
  • Pat Riley’s decisions to bring back most of last season’s roster and use future cap room on a small number of players aren’t working out so far, writes Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. Miami is off to a 7-9 start and there are concerns that the current roster doesn’t fit well together. The problems have been particularly acute in the second half of games, where the Heat rank last in the league in scoring, field goal percentage and 3-point shooting. The worst move of the offseason appears to be the four-year, $50 million deal for Kelly Olynyk, who at 18.4 minutes per game is playing less than in any of his four seasons in Boston.
  • Hornets coach Steve Clifford believes the lack of a team “identity” contributed to a recent six-game losing streak, relays Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Charlotte snapped that slide Saturday as Clifford juggled the rotation, which included benching rookie guard Malik Monk for the first time this season. “You lose six in a row and the defense has been bad,” Clifford explained. “It’s not Malik’s fault, it’s just his position; [Michael Carter-Williams is] a difference-maker defensively.”

Hornets Notes: Batum, Lamb, Carter-Williams, Rookies

The Hornets should find out soon whether Nicolas Batum will require surgery for a torn ligament in his left elbow, relays Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Batum is projected to be sidelined six to eight weeks with the injury, which he suffered in a preseason game Wednesday. He will meet with a specialist Monday in Dallas to determine whether surgery is the best option.

Batum’s injury has been diagnosed as a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. He wore a wrap on the elbow at Friday’s practice and said he was relieved when X-rays showed there was no fracture. Although Batum described the injury as painful, he promised to return as quickly as possible. “When I put my arms up, I feel something,” he said. “If this were my shooting arm, it would be like a tragedy. It’s not and that’s good.”

There’s more out of Charlotte:

  • Coach Steve Clifford plans to move Jeremy Lamb into the starting lineup during Batum’s absence, Bonnell writes in a separate piece. Lamb has made just a handful of starts during his first five seasons in the NBA, but he has been Charlotte’s top preseason scorer. “He’s worked so hard, and not just for two months — steady work since he’s gotten here,” Clifford said. “The more he’s worked, and the more he sees how his hard work is paying dividends, he’s notched it up even more. You get confidence when you work at a good pace. And now it’s all paying off for him.”
  • Michael Carter-Williams reported no physical problems after his first scrimmage as a Hornet, Bonnell notes in another story. The former Rookie of the Year, who agreed to a one-year, $2.7MM deal this summer, wasn’t medically cleared until Friday because of patella tendon tears that required platelet-rich plasma treatments on both knees. The scrimmage was only half-court, but Carter-Williams found it encouraging. “It’s great to compete out there; it’s what I missed the most,” he said. “My timing is a little bit off. I need to get back to playing at the pace of this team. My knees have been fine.”
  • The injury to Batum means first-round pick Malik Monk and second-rounder Dwayne Bacon may have to contribute sooner than expected, Bonnell writes in another piece. “That rookie stuff goes out the window at this point,” Kemba Walker told them.