Maurice Harkless

Northwest Notes: Westbrook, Schroder, Neto, Harkless

Thunder guard Russell Westbrook is progressing in his rehab from knee surgery, though it’s unclear when he’ll make his return to the court, Royce Young of ESPN.com writes.

Westbrook underwent arthroscopic surgery in his right knee on September 12, and the former NBA Most Valuable Player is still unable to participate in full-contact drills. His status for Tuesday’s season-opener against Golden State is uncertain.

“Every day for him, he feels better and better,” coach Billy Donovan said after a team practice Thursday. “I don’t want to say [if he’ll be ready for Tuesday]. I know you guys want to know that, but that’s too far out and there will be a lot of things that will go into that decision.

“There’s certain things he’ll have to go through to get himself fully cleared to play, but he’s certainly moving in the right direction and he’s worked really hard at his rehab to get himself back.”

Despite not being able to play with full contact, Westbrook has participated in portions of team practices this month. The Thunder hope he can make his return next week, but they refuse to rush the process.

“He’s been in controlled situations that the medical staff has allowed him to do,” Donovan said. “And hopefully with the way he responds physically after going through a workout, they’ll be able to add a little bit more and more.”

There’s more notes out of the Northwest Division:

Northwest Notes: Allen, Nuggets, Harkless, Allen

Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen announced in a press release that he is once again being treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Allen was treated for the same cancer in 2009. Allen says he will remain involved in the operations of Trail Blazers as well as the NFL’s Seahawks and his other business ventures.

The statement reads in part, “A lot has happened in medicine since I overcame this disease in 2009. My doctors are optimistic that I will see good results from the latest therapies, as am I. I will continue to stay involved with Vulcan, the Allen Institutes, the Seahawks and Trail Blazers, as I have in the past. I have confidence in the leadership teams to manage their ongoing operations during my treatment.”

We have more news from around the Northwest Division:

  • The Nuggets have most of their rotation players back from last season and that led to a productive first week of training camp, according to Christopher Dempsey of the team’s website. “I think the advantage that we have is continuity – year four, we know each other,” coach Michael Malone told Dempsey. “That’s already in. … We’re ahead of the curve. So, we have hit the ground running. We are, I think, ahead of a lot of teams because of the continuity that we have.”
  • Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless has been limited in camp by a left knee injury he suffered last March, Joe Freeman of The Oregonian reports. Harkless would like to play in a couple of preseason games and ease his way into the regular season. “I want to play in a couple,” he said. “I don’t want to just go out there and just go all out. It’s tough on the body. Coming from an injury, it’s probably not smart to do.”
  • Jazz rookie guard Grayson Allen made a promising preseason debut, as Jordan Hicks of Basketball Insiders examines. Allen scored 19 points off the bench against Australia’s Perth Wildcats, making 7-of-14 shots overall while going 5-for-9 on 3-point tries. Bench scoring was an issue for Utah last season and the Duke rookie could prove to be a significant asset in another postseason run, Hicks points out.

Northwest Notes: Blazers, Roberson, Nuggets, Towns

The Trail Blazers didn’t make any major roster moves this offseason, but tweaked their roster slightly by adding players like Seth Curry, Nik Stauskas, and Anfernee Simons. Head of basketball operations Neil Olshey said on Monday that he’s “happy with what we did” over the summer, though he acknowledged that Portland was outbid for six veteran free agents (Twitter link via Joe Freeman of The Oregonian).

In other Trail Blazers news, starting small forward Maurice Harkless continues to recover from arthroscopic left knee surgery, and his availability during training camp is limited (link via Freeman). Harkless said he’ll be involved in practices, but he hasn’t been cleared to play in 5-on-5 games and doesn’t think he’ll be 100% in practices.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Andre Roberson, who ruptured his left patellar tendon last season, provided an update on his recovery timetable on Monday, indicating that he expects to be cleared for contact soon and back to full speed “around December.” Cliff Brunt of The Associated Press has the details, along with the full quotes from the Thunder‘s top defender.
  • The Nuggets aren’t providing any timelines for Isaiah Thomas or Michael Porter Jr. to make their respective debuts with the club, as Matt L. Stephens of The Denver Post writes. The team sounds ready to take a cautious approach with both players. “I do not have a date right now, I’m going to take my sweet time, because I’ve rushed it before and that did not work out for me,” Thomas said of his own status. “We’re not worried about right now. We’re worried about April, worried about the playoffs and me being as healthy as I can going into that stretch. However long it takes, I’m only going to go out on the court when I can produce at a high level.”
  • After officially signing his new maximum-salary extension with the Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns spoke to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic about the deal, which he admits took “a lot longer than I expected” to get done.

Injury Updates: Mitchell, Anderson, Harkless, Irving

Jazz star rookie guard Donovan Mitchell is questionable to play in Game 2 against the Thunder because of a left foot contusion, Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News reports. Mitchell, who scored 27 points with 10 rebounds in his playoff debut, is optimistic he’ll play Wednesday after undergoing an MRI. “I can walk. I’m good. I’m not limping,” Mitchell told Woodyard and other media members.

In other injury-related news:

  • Rockets power forward Ryan Anderson could return from an ankle sprain to play in Game 2 of their series against the Timberwolves, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. He missed the last four regular-season games and Game 1. “The last I heard is he had a good workout before the game,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni told Feigen. “He has a real good shot [to play on] Wednesday and definitely on Saturday.” Anderson shot well against Minnesota this season, averaging 12 PPG while making 50% of his 3-point tries.
  • Trail Blazers small forward Maurice Harkless has been upgraded to questionable for Game 2 against the Pelicans, Jason Quick of NBC Sports Northwest tweets. Harkless missed the last 10 games with a left knee injury. Harkless averaged 14.8 PPG in his last six outings prior to the injury.
  • Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving is already walking around without a noticeable limp just a little over a week after knee surgery, Taylor Snow of Celtics.com writes. Irving underwent season-ending knee surgery April 7 to remove two screws in his left knee. “I had just got done literally 10 minutes ago talking to our training staff and the people who are working most closely with him, and they feel great about his early [progress] a week in, or whatever it is,” coach Brad Stevens said. “That’s exciting, that’s encouraging. Again, he’s going to make a full recovery.”

Injury Updates: Embiid, Brewer, Harkless, Bembry

Joel Embiid said he’s feeling better as he recovers from facial surgery but the Sixers big man maintains that it is unlikely that he plays in the team’s Game 1 playoff matchup against the Heat, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

“œUnlikely,” Embiid said, “œbut there’s still a chance based on the way I’™ve been feeling the past couple of days and the way I’ve progressed. Unlikely, but we’re going to see how it feels.”

Embiid missed Philadelphia’s last eight regular season games after he suffered an orbital fracture near his left eye and a concussion during a March 28 matchup against the Knicks. While the Sixers did not lose a game during Embiid’s absence, adding a player who averaged 22.9 PPG and 11.0 RPG during the regular season would be a major postseason boost.

Check out more injury updates below:

  • Thunder guard Corey Brewer will receive treatment on his sprained knee over the next few days with the intention to play in the Thunder’s Game 1 matchup against the Jazz, tweets Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania. Brewer suffered the injury in Oklahoma City’s regular-season finale, causing concern about his postseason status.
  • The Trail Blazers got some positive news on Maurice Harkless, who is expected to return sometime during Portland’s first-round series against the Pelicans, sources tell Jason Quick of NBC Sports Northwest. Harkless missed Portland’s final nine games to clean out his left knee and was a key part of the team before the injury.
  • Hawks forward DeAndre’ Bembry has been diagnosed with a right wrist fracture, the team announced. He is expected to recover within four to six weeks.

Contract Notes: Embiid, Davis, Lillard, Lowry

When All-NBA voters decide whether or not to classify Anthony Davis as a forward or center on their ballots this year, they may indirectly impact the value of Joel Embiid‘s new contract by approximately $30MM.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN details, the extension Embiid signed with the Sixers last offseason will be worth 25% of the cap starting in 2018/19. However, the contract includes a clause that states his starting salary would increase to 30% if he’s named to the All-NBA First Team. That salary bump would increase his overall earnings by about $30MM over the life of the five-year deal, but it can probably only happen if Davis receives most of his All-NBA votes at forward. Otherwise, he seems like a good bet to beat out Embiid for the center spot on the First Team.

No player has more at stake as a result of All-NBA voting or various other benchmarks than Embiid. But that contract is just one of many that could be affected by a variety of award results, postseason outcomes, or other criteria.

Marks’ piece is worth checking out in full for all the details, but here’s a quick look at a few noteworthy contract situations:

  • Pelicans star Anthony Davis will become eligible for a Designated Veteran Extension in 2019 if he earns an All-NBA spot this year. However, Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is among the players who would need another All-NBA nod in 2019 to qualify for a supermax deal, even if he’s on this year’s All-NBA squad. Those Designated Veteran Extensions are known as supermax contracts because they start at 35% of the salary cap instead of 30%.
  • Kyle Lowry (Raptors) and Victor Oladipo (Pacers) would get sizable bonuses if their teams make deep playoff runs. Lowry would receive $500K for reaching the Eastern Finals, another $500K for winning the East, and another $500K for a title. Oladipo would earn $250K if Indiana reaches the NBA Finals.
  • All-Defense honors would pay off for Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday. Gobert will get a $500K bonus if he’s named to the All-Defense First Team, while Holiday would get $100K for a spot on the First Team or Second Team.
  • Among the players who have already earned bonuses: Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon ($900K for incentives related to points, rebounds, and games played), Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless ($500K for his three-point percentage), Bucks center John Henson ($500K for playing 75+ games), and Jazz guard Ricky Rubio ($175K for his field-goal and free-throw percentages).

Blazers’ Maurice Harkless Undergoes Knee Procedure

MARCH 28, 3:51pm: After undergoing a procedure on his left knee today, Harkless will be re-evaluated in two weeks, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The regular season will end two weeks from today, so it sounds like the Blazers likely won’t get Harkless back until the playoffs. The forward’s recovery could take about two to three weeks, league sources tell Wojnarowski.

MARCH 27, 9:41pm: Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless will undergo an arthroscopy Wednesday to remove a loose body in his left knee, the team announced in a press release. His timetable to return to action will be determined following the procedure.

Harkless is averaging 6.5 PPG and 2.7 RPG in 21.4 MPG. He’s coming off one of his best performances of the season, as he posted 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and four blocks against the Thunder on Sunday. He has scored 16 or more points in four of the last six games.

The Blazers are currently third in the Western Conference and this could be a significant blow if Harkless is not ready to return by the postseason. This leaves the club thin at the small forward spot, since Evan Turner and Harkless have played the bulk of the minutes there.

Northwest Notes: Wiggins, Stockton, Harkless

Despite reports of whispers this week that Andrew Wiggins is unhappy as the Timberwolves‘ third option, the Minnesota guard and head coach Tom Thibodeau rejected those reports, Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune writes.

Wiggins, 23, is in his fourth season with the Wolves but his numbers are down from the past two seasons. The former first overall pick is averaging 17.9 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 69 games. However, Thibodeau denied that the team’s leading shot-taker is unhappy with his role.

“I know Andrew’s character,” Thibodeau said. “There’s no way in the world Andrew is saying any of that, particularly from a guy who’s taken the most shots on our team.”

Earlier this week, Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN (Twitter link) said that Wiggins has “whispered to teammates” that he’s unhappy being a third option behind Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler — who is sidelined with a torn meniscus. “It’s just someone’s word of mouth. It wasn’t no quote from me,” Wiggins said. “Everyone that knows me knows I don’t talk much, I just go with the flow … I don’t whisper. If I say something, I’m going to say it clearly and loudly.”

Check out more Northwest Division notes below:

  • David Stockton, the son of Jazz legend John Stockton, agreed to a 10-day contract with Utah on Friday. The elder Stockton played with the Jazz for 19 seasons, becoming the NBA’s all-time assists leader and 2008 Hall of Fame inductee. Brad Rock of The Deseret News writes that John and the rest of the Stockton family are excited for the 26-year-old and his newest NBA opportunity. “I’m glad to stay out of that,” John Stockton said of his comparisons between him and his son. “He’s his own player and it wouldn’t do him any good to try to be me. He can just be the best he can be.”
  • Having reached 100 three-point attempts on the season, Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless is now eligible to receive a $500K bonus for his three-point shooting percentage, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Harkless will receive the bonus if his percentage is greater than 35%; he’s shooting 37.6% from the beyond the arc.

Northwest Notes: D. Harris, Crowder, Harkless, Wolves

Devin Harris is happy to have another shot at the postseason in Denver, relays Gina Mizell of The Denver Post. The veteran guard found his way back into the playoff race on Thursday when he was shipped from the Mavericks to the Nuggets in a three-team trade. Harris was preparing for a game at Golden State when he heard about the deal, then caught a flight to Dallas and then Phoenix to join his new team in time for Saturday’s game.

At age 34, Harris brings not just experience to Denver’s young backcourt, but playoff experience. He has been in 64 postseason games, including a trip to the Finals with Dallas in 2006.

“I don’t want to be playing golf right now,” Harris said. “I’d rather be playing meaningful basketball.”

There’s more tonight from the Northwest Division:

  • Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey has been a longtime fan of Jae Crowder, who was acquired Thursday in a three-team deal, says Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News. Crowder made an immediate impact in his Utah debut with 15 points and four rebounds in tonight’s win over the Trail Blazers“He’s really versatile defensively and can play really two through four with switches and physicality,” Lindsey said. “His build is quite obvious and the systems that he’s played in with Dallas, Boston and Cleveland, we’ve seen enough to think that he can mesh very well in how we play. We’re really anxious to get him here.” Lindsay also said as many as 20 teams asked about Rodney Hood before he decided to send him to Cleveland in that deal.
  • The recent re-emergence of Maurice Harkless has created a dilemma for Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts, according to Jason Quick of NBC Sports Northwest. The team’s former starting forward got expanded playing time this week because of injuries to other players and has convinced Stotts to expand his rotation, at least temporarily. “I think it’s just being back in the rotation,’’ Harkless said in explaining his recent success. “It’s hard to not know if you are going to play, how much you are going to play, then get thrown out there for six minutes. It’s tough to play like that and be consistent.’’
  • The Timberwolves were quiet at the deadline, and Michael Rand and Chris Hine of The Star Tribune make a case for why that was probably Minnesota’s best option.

Latest On Thunder’s Search For Wing Help

With Andre Roberson sidelined for the rest of the season, the Thunder are on the lookout for help on the wing. With less than 48 hours left until the arrival of this year’s trade deadline, let’s check in on the latest reports on OKC’s options…

  • There’s a “growing expectation” that the Thunder will make a move in advance of the trade deadline, since there’s a lot riding on this season, says ESPN’s Royce Young. Oklahoma City would prefer not to give up rookie Terrance Ferguson in a deal for a veteran rental though, Young adds.
  • TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link) identifies Maurice Harkless and Tony Allen as two potential targets to watch for the Thunder. Harkless would be an interesting fit, though it may be difficult for the Trail Blazers and Thunder to figure out a deal, since both teams are projected taxpayers and will be reluctant to add salary. As for Allen, Aldridge tweets that the veteran swingman has been cleared to play after recovering from his broken leg, but will need some time to get back to full speed.
  • The Thunder have done “due diligence” on Clippers guard Avery Bradley and Magic swingman Jonathon Simmons, per Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports. Mannix suggests that the Thunder might wait until closer to the deadline in the hopes that teams’ asking prices come down, noting that they could also wait until after the deadline and take their chances on what’s expected to be a “robust” buyout market.
  • Within his trade deadline preview, Jake Fischer of SI.com writes that the Thunder have shown interest in Clippers guard Lou Williams and expressed “serious” interest in Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans.
  • Oklahoma City has also been linked to Rodney Hood.