Markelle Fultz

Southeast Notes: Goodwin, Reddish, Hunter, Porter Jr., Magic

Hawks guard Brandon Goodwin and forward Cam Reddish won’t play in Game 3 against Philadelphia on Friday, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic tweets. Goodwin is dealing with a minor respiratory condition, while Reddish is still working his way back from right Achilles soreness. Reddish has played 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 in practices, but hasn’t progressed to 5-on-5 yet, Sarah Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. He hasn’t appeared in a game since February 21.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks have missed De’Andre Hunter‘s defensive versatility against the Sixers, Kirschner writes. Hunter, who is out for the season due to a knee injury, has the ability to guard four positions. Hunter would have been a major upgrade over Solomon Hill, who can’t defend as well and also doesn’t offer as much offensively as Hunter.
  • Otto Porter Jr. didn’t get much of a chance to show what he could do for the Magic due to injuries, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel writes. Porter was acquired by Orlando from Chicago at the trade deadline to make the salaries match up in the Nikola Vucevic blockbuster. Porter, an unrestricted free agent this summer, was limited to three games with the Magic due to a foot injury.
  • The first step in the Magic’s latest rebuild begins with the return of starters Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz from major knee injuries, Parry writes in a separate story. The draft is another key, since the Magic could have two top-10 picks, if the Bulls’ pick they own doesn’t move into the top four. They could also move Gary Harris or Terrence Ross for more cap flexibility or assets, Parry adds.

Magic Notes: MCW, Ennis, Fultz, Coach Search

Veteran Magic guard Michael Carter-Williams provided helpful on-court production and off-court leadership during the first season of his two-year, $6MM deal with the club, writes Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel.

After missing the first half of the year due to a foot injury, Carter-Williams stepped in as the starting point guard on February 12 with Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony both injured for much of the season. He started in 25 of his 31 games for the club, averaging 8.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 4.2 APG.

Carter-Williams’ 2021/22 salary is guaranteed, though it remains to be seen what sort of role he’ll have with a team that has shifted into rebuilding mode.

There’s more out of Orlando:

  • Veteran Magic wing James Ennis helped supply 3-and-D contributions when healthy during a difficult 2020/21 season in Orlando, per Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel. Ennis is a free agent, having signed a one-year, $3.3MM contract with Orlando in the offseason after the team traded for him while he was finishing up his prior contract with the Sixers in February 2020. Various injuries (most persistently, a calf ailment) limited Ennis to just 41 total games (37 starts) with the Magic, averaging 8.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.5 APG and 0.8 BPG. He boasted a solid shooting line of .473/.433/.805. Parry notes that the Magic currently do not have a small forward signed for the 2021/22 season, and may look to the 30-year-old Ennis to fulfill that position in the immediate future.
  • Magic point guard Markelle Fultz was frustrated by yet another injury-abbreviated season, the final under his rookie-scale contract, reports Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel. Fultz, who underwent surgery for a torn ACL in January, signed a three-year, $50MM extension with Orlando in the 2020 offseason. He helped power the team to a 5-2 start to kick off the 2020/21 season before suffering his injury. A solid finisher and defender, Fultz has yet to develop his outside shooting. Parry notes that rookies Cole Anthony and R.J. Hampton could compete for the long-term starting point guard position in the years ahead, and cautions that an exact timeline for Fultz’s anticipated return next season remains unclear. A standard 12-month ACL recovery would push Fultz’s return to January 2022.
  • The Magic’s newly-opened head coaching job should appeal to candidates eager to develop young players, writes Josh Cohen of Magic.com. The Magic have an intriguing core of under-24 youth, and will add to that tally in a hurry, with possibly two lottery selections and one early first-rounder (the No. 33 selection) in next month’s draft. “This job has tremendous growth potential, which is very attractive,” team president Jeff Weltman said. “It has organizational strength and ownership behind it. We are moving into a new practice facility next year. There are a lot of good things happening here. Most importantly, we have a lot of bright young talented players.”

Southeast Notes: Fultz, Haslem, Capela, Wizards

Within the last two years, the Magic‘s medical staff has been tasked with helping Chuma Okeke, Jonathan Isaac, and Markelle Fultz rehab from ACL tears. As the player who suffered his injury most recently, Fultz is reassured by observing how the club’s staff has handled his teammates’ recoveries, he tells Josh Robbins of The Athletic.

“Seeing what my (team’s) medical staff has done with people who had ACL injuries, I know they have some experience with that,” Fultz said. “That also gives me a little bit of confidence going into it, and I have a little bit of a blueprint to see how it goes and how it feels. I have people to ask questions that are my peers, somebody who I can relate to, which also gives me a boost of confidence going into it knowing that they’ve come back stronger and better.”

Although Fultz won’t get back on the court until the 2021/22 season, he said his knee “feels amazing,” and he told Robbins that he can’t wait to suit up again for a Magic team that has shifted into rebuilding mode.

“It just puts another chip on my shoulder again, to come back and play for this organization and the city, and just give it my all,” the former No. 1 pick said. “(I want to) just show them the love that I have for the city and how thankful I am for the opportunities that they’ve given me.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • In what has become an annual tradition, Heat center Udonis Haslem said this week that he’s unsure whether or not he’ll play another year and that he plans to make that decision sometime after the season (Twitter link via Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel). The big man, who will turn 41 next month, has signed one-year contracts with Miami for five consecutive years.
  • As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), Hawks center Clint Capela passed the 1,757-minute threshold on Wednesday, making him eligible to earn a $500K bonus based on defensive rebound percentage. Capela needs that number to be higher than 30% to receive his bonus — it’s currently a league-best 34.4%, per Basketball-Reference.
  • Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington contends that a handful of GM Tommy Sheppard‘s roster moves – including drafting Rui Hachimura, trading for Russell Westbrook, and acquiring Daniel Gafford – have the Wizards on a positive trajectory.

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.