Markelle Fultz

Magic Granted DPE For Fultz’s Injury

The NBA has granted the Magic a Disabled Player Exception worth approximately $6.14MM due to Markelle Fultz‘s season-ending injury, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. The DPE will expire on April 19.

It’s the second DPE awarded to Orlando this season. The Magic were also granted a DPE following Jonathan Isaac‘s season-ending ACL tear. Fultz tore the ACL in his left knee early this month.

The DPE is a salary cap exception designed to allow teams to add a replacement for a player who suffers a season-ending injury. It’s worth either half the injured player’s salary or the value of the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, whichever is lesser. Fultz has a $12,288,697 salary this season.

The disabled player exception doesn’t give a team an extra roster spot, but it allows the club to add a player without requiring cap space to do so. It can be used to sign a free agent, to claim a player off waivers, or to acquire a player in a trade. However, it can only be used on one player and can only accommodate a player on a one-year deal. A free agent signee can’t get a multiyear contract, and any trade or waiver target must be in the final year of his contract.

The Magic currently have a full 15-man roster and are approximately $3MM away from the luxury tax line. However, guard Michael Carter-Williams is dealing with a sprained left foot and is out indefinitely, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets, which might increase the odds of the Magic making a roster move.

Southeast Notes: Fultz, Hunter, Len, Magic

The Magic‘s performance as of late without point guard Markelle Fultz has highlighted his importance to the club, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. The Magic are 1-6 since Fultz was lost for the season with an ACL tear. Fultz’s savvy court vision had been a key component of the Magic’s offense.

“We’ve got to figure something out to try to get us going into offense smoother and understand how we’ve got to play,” shooting guard Terrence Ross noted. “With no Markelle we’re trying to figure it out, but it’s tough. So we’ve got to keep going at it.”

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks wing De’Andre Hunter has grown into the club’s most reliable player, with an improved offensive attack, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic opines. Hunter’s development can be a boon to the franchise in both the short and long term. “He has a chance to be really, really special,” Hawks center Clint Capela said. “To be able to guard the star on the opposite team every night, (it) has been amazing to see that.”
  • With the Wizards losing starting center Thomas Bryant for the year due to a torn left ACL, the club may need to shore up the position with some additional help. Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington posits that recently-waived big man Alex Len could be an intriguing defensive fit for the team.
  • Given the season-long absences of recently-extended young starters Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac, Josh Robbins of The Athletic explores whether or not it makes sense for the Magic to tank for a high draft pick this season.

Markelle Fultz Undergoes Surgery To Repair Torn ACL

Magic guard Markelle Fultz, who suffered a torn left ACL earlier this month, underwent successful surgery on Wednesday to repair that tear, the team announced in a press release.

The Magic confirmed in their announcement that Fultz will miss the remainder of the 2020/21 season, as expected. His return next season will depend on how he responds to treatment and rehabilitation, per the club. If the ’21/22 regular season tips off in October, it’s possible the former No. 1 pick won’t be ready, since it often takes upwards of a year for players to return from major ACL injuries.

Fultz, 22, averaged a career-best 14.3 PPG and 6.1 APG in his seven healthy games this season, though his shooting percentages in the early going (.396 FG%, .250 3PT%) were well below his modest career rates.

Although Fultz faces a long recovery timeline, he at least won’t have to worry about dealing with restricted free agency during the summer of 2021, since he signed a three-year contract extension in December. That new deal will pay him a guaranteed $16.5MM salary both next season and in 2022/23.

[RELATED: 2020/21 NBA Contract Extension Tracker]

The Magic will also play the rest of the 2020/21 season without young cornerstone forward Jonathan Isaac, who suffered a torn ACL of his own. The team was granted a disabled player exception following Isaac’s injury and has applied for one to replace Fultz as well. Now that the point guard has undergone surgery and his recovery outlook is clearer, that application will likely be approved soon.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Okongwu, Fultz, Hornets

The Wizards are promoting Amber Nichols, naming her the general manager of the Capital City Go-Go, Washington’s G League affiliate, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Nichols, who had previously been the Go-Go’s assistant GM, becomes the second female general manager in the NBAGL, joining Tori Miller of the College Park Skyhawks.

The Capital City Go-Go opted out of this season’s G League bubble, so the team won’t be in action again until 2021/22. However, Nichols figures to be keeping a close eye in the coming weeks on the Erie BayHawks, New Orleans’ affiliate. The Wizards are sending four affiliate players and a player development coach to Erie for the upcoming NBAGL season.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Onyeka Okongwu, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 draft, has yet to make his NBA debut as he recovers from a left foot injury. However, he’s not on the Hawks‘ latest injury report, and Sarah Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link) says Okongwu is excited to get back on the court. Now I’m really feeling good,” he said. “Now I’m really feeling like my old self.”
  • Magic officials and players have said that Markelle Fultz has remained upbeat as he begins the long process of coming back from a torn ACL, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “I think he’s got a great attitude about the whole thing,” head coach Steve Clifford said. “Let’s put it this way: He’s handling his injury a lot better than his coach is.”
  • Hornets assistant Jay Hernandez will be heading to the G League bubble to coach the Greensboro Swarm next month, according to a press release from the team. Hernandez will return to the Hornets when the NBAGL season ends. “This plays to my strengths, and is also something I want and need to do,” Hernandez told Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. “… I know all (the Hornets’) teaching points, I know the talking points. I can go in there very confidently, knowing exactly what (Hornets coach James Borrego) wants to do and how he wants to do it.”

Magic Apply For Disabled Player Exception For Fultz

Having already been granted a disabled player exception following Jonathan Isaac‘s season-ending ACL tear, the Magic have now applied for a second DPE in the wake of Markelle Fultz suffering the same injury, reports Josh Robbins of The Athletic.

As we explained when the Magic were approved for their initial disabled player exception, the DPE is a salary cap exception designed to allow teams to add a replacement for a player who suffers a season-ending injury. It’s worth either half the injured player’s salary or the value of the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, whichever is lesser.

In the case of Fultz, who is earning a $12,288,697 salary this season, a disabled player exception would be worth about $6.14MM.

The disabled player exception doesn’t give a team an extra roster spot, but it allows the club to add a player without using cap space to do so. It can be used to sign a free agent, to claim a player off waivers, or to acquire a player in a trade. However, it can only be used on one player and can only accommodate a player on a one-year deal. A free agent signee can’t get a multiyear contract, and any trade or waiver target must be in the final year of his contract.

The Magic currently have a full 15-man roster and are less than $3MM away from the luxury tax line, per Robbins, so the odds probably aren’t great that the team would make use of two disabled player exceptions before the April 19 deadline. Still, they’re useful tools to have available and could be used to creatively structure a trade at the deadline.

As Robbins notes, the Magic could also consider applying for a hardship exception if they want to add immediate help to a roster hit hard by injuries. Unlike the DPE, approval for a hardship exception allows the team to sign an extra player to its standard 15-man roster. Teams qualify when they have at least four players who have missed three or more games, assuming those players are expected to be sidelined for at least two more weeks.

In addition to the season-ending injuries to Isaac and Fultz, the Magic will be without Chuma Okeke (bone bruise) for several weeks, and there has been little indication when Al-Farouq Aminu (knee surgery) might be able to return.

Southeast Notes: Fultz, Hawks, Westbrook, Richards

In the wake of the season-ending ACL tear suffered by Magic point guard Markelle Fultz this week, Josh Robbins of The Athletic weighs in on what the injury means for Orlando’s future. The Magic’s hot 6-2 start to the 2020/21 season suggested that perhaps Fultz and the rest of the club’s available young core might have taken the next step in their development.

With Fultz now sidelined and reserve Michael Carter-Williams currently absent as well, rookie Cole Anthony takes his place at the point. Two-way second-year point guard Jordan Bone will be Anthony’s primary backup.

Frank Urbina of HoopsHype brainstorms some potential free agent candidates to shore up the club’s point guard depth, including former two-time All-Star Isaiah Thomas, Yogi Ferrell, and new Santa Cruz Warriors guard Jeremy Lin.

“It was really tough just to see your teammate go down — but of all people, Markelle,” Bone said of his Magic teammate. “He’s set the intensity since Day 1 for us guards and the team collectively.”

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • In a wide-ranging new mailbag, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic ponders the possibility of a Hawks trade to clear up roster minutes for the club’s many solid players, among other hot topics. Kirschner notes that GM Travis Schlenk and owner Tony Ressler would need to both think making a move could significantly improve the roster for a deal to get done.
  • Wizards star point guard Russell Westbrook dislocated an unspecified finger on his right hand during a 141-136 loss to the Sixers, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Hughes later added (Twitter link) that Westbrook is currently day-to-day, and his status for tomorrow’s game against the Celtics is thus up in the air.
  • Hornets rookie center Nick Richards has cleared the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols and is now available for Charlotte’s contest against the Pelicans tomorrow, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweets.

Markelle Fultz Tears ACL, Done For Season

Recently-extended Magic starting point guard Markelle Fultz is set to miss the rest of the 2020/21 season after tearing the ACL in his left knee, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. Fultz suffered the injury during the first quarter of tonight’s 105-96 defeat of the Cavaliers. Fultz’s three-year, $50MM contract extension will kick in during the 2021/22 season.

This is quite a blow for the Magic. Fultz will join the club’s fellow injured 2017 lottery draftee Jonathan Isaac on the sidelines for the duration of the 2020/21 season. Isaac received an $80MM extension of his own ahead of the season, all of which he is set to miss as a result of his own torn left ACL, which he incurred during the 2020 NBA playoffs this past August.

Fultz was selected with the No. 1 pick by the Sixers in the 2017 NBA draft. After various shoulder injuries limited the 6’3″ guard to just 33 games across his first two seasons, Philadelphia traded a still-injured Fultz to the Magic ahead of the 2019 deadline.

Fultz was available for 72 of Orlando’s 73 games during the subsequent 2019/20 season, and developed into a reliable, athletic starter for the playoff-bound Orlando.

In 27.7 MPG, he averaged 12.1 PPG (on 46.5% shooting from the field), 5.1 APG, 3.3 RPG and 1.3 SPG. This season, Fultz was averaging 14.3 PPG, 6.1 APG, 3.6 RPG, and 1.0 SPG during the Magic’s first seven games.

With Fultz sidelined, Michael Carter-Williams and rookie Cole Anthony figure to see more minutes at the point this season. Both of Orlando’s two-way players – Jordan Bone and Karim Mane – are point guards as well.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Herro, Magic, Hornets

The next phase in the development of Heat All-Star center Bam Adebayo could be improving his shot creation, and veteran point guard Goran Dragic should still have a huge role for the club even as he returns to the super-sub role he had ahead of the Heat’s Finals run this summer and fall, per Seth Partnow and Dave DuFour of the Athletic.

Partnow and DuFour also wonder whether the 34-year-old Dragic’s incredible run during the 2020 Orlando restart, including a scorching playoff tear, was a blip on the radar or can be replicated this season.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Tyler Herro has supplanted Dragic as the Heat’s starting point guard in his second season, as Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald details. Dragic started at the point for most of the 2020 NBA playoffs.
  • Newly-extended Magic players Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac are excited for their opportunity to contribute to Orlando’s growth as a club, per Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel“Not everybody gets extended, and to be a part of this group… and to be with this organization, it means everything to me,” Isaac said. “I love the coaching staff. I love the team. I love that they have belief in me, and they have it because I have belief in myself.” Isaac is expected to miss the entire 2020/21 season with a torn left ACL.
  • The Hornets will be forced to scramble a bit after losing starting center Cody Zeller for four-to-six weeks with a fractured left hand, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. While Bismack Biyombo will probably get the nod as Zeller’s replacement at the five, Bonnell expects head coach James Borrego to lean more on small-ball lineups that would feature 6’7″ forward P.J. Washington at center and Miles Bridges at power forward.

Contract Details: Isaac, Fultz, Kennard, White

The terms of Jonathan Isaac‘s four-year extension with the Magic are a little more favorable than initially reported, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic and Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

Originally said to be an $80MM deal, Isaac’s new contract actually has a base value of $69.6MM, or $17.4MM per year. It also includes $2.6MM in annual incentives that he’ll receive for each season in which he plays in 70 of 82 games (or the prorated equivalent in a shortened season). So Isaac will earn the full $80MM only if he stays healthy enough to appear in 70 or more games for four consecutive seasons starting in 2021/22.

The Magic further protected themselves by including Exhibit 3 language in the deal, per Hollinger and Marks. While the exact details of that language are unclear, an Exhibit 3 clause allows a team to limit or eliminate a player’s salary protection in the event of a specific injury — presumably, for Isaac, the language will cover any ongoing issues related to his left knee, following this year’s left ACL tear.

Here are a few more details on recently-signed extensions:

  • Markelle Fultz‘s three-year, $50MM extension with the Magic includes guaranteed $16.5MM salaries in each of the first two seasons, according to Hollinger and Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The $17MM third-year salary is partially guaranteed for just $2MM. Fultz also has $1MM in unlikely annual incentives for winning the Most Improved Player award, says Hollinger.
  • Luke Kennard‘s four-year, $56MM extension with the Clippers includes a fourth-year team option, so only about $41.2MM is fully guaranteed, tweets Smith. However, Kennard can also easily achieve $1.1MM in annual incentives by playing in at least 66 games or logging 1,772 minutes ($620,454) and by playing in the first round of the playoffs ($477,273), reports Hollinger. Kennard’s other annual incentives include $143,182 apiece for making the Conference Finals and NBA Finals, $190,909 for winning a title, and $334,091 for a defensive rating below 105, according to Hollinger.
  • Derrick White‘s four-year extension with the Spurs has a guaranteed base value of $70MM and is structured as an increasing deal with annual 8% raises, tweets Smith. There are $1.25MM per year in incentives, according to Hollinger: $500K for appearing in 70 games, $500K for making 185 three-pointers, and $250K for making an All-Defense team. White has only made 135 career three-pointers in three seasons, including 79 in 2019/20.

Southeast Notes: Fournier, Gordon, Anthony, Adebayo, Westbrook

The rookie scale extensions handed to Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac could impact the futures of Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon with the Magic, Josh Robbins of The Athletic opines. Fournier is entering his walk year and with the money expended on Fultz and Isaac, it would be tough for the club to re-sign Fournier and remain under the luxury tax, Robbins notes. Gordon and Isaac are best suited as power forwards, so when Isaac returns from his knee injury after this season, Gordon is likely to be dealt, Robbins adds.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • In a separate piece, Robbins examines how various players on the Magic saw their stock drop or fall during training camp. Notably, rookies Cole Anthony and Chuma Okeke saw their stock rise as members of the second unit in preseason games.
  • The Heat locked up Bam Adebayo with a five-year max extension last month. The big money won’t make Adebayo stop looking for ways to improve his game, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. “Just because I got money doesn’t mean that I got complacent,” Adebayo said.
  • There’s a feeling of familiarity for Russell Westbrook with the Wizards, starting with his former coach with the Thunder, Scott Brooks, Michael Lee of The Washington Post writes. Westbrook is seeking a comfort zone while playing for his third organization in as many seasons. “Really, it’s just being at peace,” Donnell Beverly, Westbrook’s business partner, told Lee. “I don’t think that’s where he’s been the last few years. I don’t think he’s been at peace.”