Michael Carter-Williams

Southeast Notes: Whiteside, Simmons, Frazier, MCW

The knee soreness that forced Heat center Hassan Whiteside to sit out tonight’s game could become a long-term issue, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. In a video posted on the newspaper’s web site, Whiteside says the knee has been giving him problems since the season began. “It’s really bothering me, man,” Whiteside said. “We’re going to figure it out. We’re going to figure it out when we get back to Miami and figure out what’s wrong.”

The knee problems began on opening night when Whiteside suffered a bone bruise. He was held out of the next five games, but hasn’t missed another one until today. Whiteside has remained productive despite the pain, averaging 14.9 points and 12.7 rebounds in 15 games.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Free agent addition Jonathon Simmons was inserted into the Magic’s starting lineup Monday, and coach Frank Vogel plans to keep him in that role, relays Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Simmons took Terrence Ross‘ place in the starting five and responded with a team-high 21 points. Vogel said he will evaluate how he uses players before each game, but added, “I would anticipate ‘Simms’ being in the starting lineup indefinitely, until I decide otherwise.”
  • The Wizards just need a steady performance from point guard Tim Frazier as he fills in for the injured John Wall, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Frazier and Tomas Satoransky will both see increased playing time with Wall sidelined for about two weeks with knee inflammation. “He’s not going to play like John and we don’t expect him to play like John,” coach Scott Brooks said. “We want him to just play to his best ability, and that’s getting our team in the offense and not turning the ball over, take the open shot.”
  • Michael Carter-Williams, who joined his fourth team in four years when he signed with the Hornets this summer, believes he has found a comfortable situation in Charlotte, according to Sam Perley of NBA.com. Carter-Williams’ season debut was delayed after getting platelet-rich-plasma injections in both knees, but he has found a role as a defensive specialist off the bench, averaging a team-high 1.25 steals per game. “MCW is a difference-maker,” said Hornets coach Steve Clifford. “He changes our defense, he can guard multiple guys. He’s working his way into shape, he’s got terrific feel, he can play fast and slow [and] he can find people.”

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.”

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/1/17

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

11:21pm:

  • The Lakers sent center Thomas Bryant to their South Bay affiliate for the fourth time this season, the team announced on its website.

4:57pm:

  • The Grizzlies are sending Ben McLemore to the G League as he continues to recover from offseason foot surgery, reports ESPN’s Chris Haynes (via Twitter).
  • The Grizzlies also made a series of moves with rookie forward Ivan Rabb today, recalling him from the Memphis Hustle this morning, only to re-assign him to the G League and recall him again later in the day (all Twitter links). After participating in the Grizzlies’ shootaround and the Hustle’s practice, Rabb is with the Grizz for tonight’s game.
  • Point guard Michael Carter-Williams has been recalled from the G League by the Hornets, the team announced today in a press release. GM Rich Cho said that Carter-Williams scrimmaged with the Greensboro Swarm to test his knees — MCW may play on Charlotte’s upcoming four-game road trip, as Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer tweets.
  • The Spurs have recalled Tony Parker, Davis Bertans, and Derrick White from the G League, according to a pair of press releases from the team. Parker continues to rehab his injured left quadriceps, so he’s not ready to play for San Antonio yet.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 10/31/17

Here are the G League assignments and recalls for Halloween, from across the NBA:

Southeast Notes: Schroder, Oubre Jr., Carter-Williams

It wasn’t long ago when Hawks guard Dennis Schroder was regarded as an up-and-coming star. Lately, however, the market has soured on the German export. In a fan mailbag column, Chris Mannix of The Vertical writes that there’s a toxicity surrounding the 24-year-old that has limited his trade value.

Given that newly appointed Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk has been dead set on clearing cap room and maintaining financial flexibility, it seems logical that he would be looking to unload the final four years of Schroder’s contract. In reality, however, it may not be so simple.

While the idea of finding a buyer for Schroder a season or two seemed incredibly easy, concerns around the league about the guard’s maturity – especially after a recent assault charge – have limited what the Hawks could get for him.

In that case, Mannix writes, unless the Hawks want to give the 17.9-point-per-game guard away for next to nothing, they’d be better off sticking with him and hoping that he matures into a player they’re comfortable building around.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Point guard Michael Carter-Williams will have to wait to make his debut with the Hornets. Although the guard was recently cleared for contact, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports that he suffered a setback on Monday that will bump back his timeline.
  • If Kelly Oubre can play as he did in Washington’s season opener, he may well find a bigger role than the one he saw with the Wizards last season. As Candace Buckner of the Washington Post writes, Oubre thrived when he subbed in for Jason Smith, making a strong case to earn more minutes in a small ball version of the team’s lineup.
  • The Hawks have named Michelle Leftwich their new vice president of salary cap administration, Marc Stein of the New York Times writes.  She’ll work alongside general manager Travis Schlenk.

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.

Eastern Rumors: Jefferson, Dedmon, Pacers, MCW

The roster spot of Cavs veteran forward Richard Jefferson is in jeopardy, according to The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd. The signing of Dwyane Wade gives the Cavs 16 fully guaranteed contracts, along with Kay Felder’s partial guarantee. Even if Felder is traded or released, the Cavs will have to rid themselves of a guarantee contract and Jefferson is a likely candidate, Lloyd continues. Jefferson, 37, has a $2.5MM contract but if he’s released it will cost the club approximately $10.5MM in luxury taxes since it is a repeat offender, Lloyd points out. A second-round pick may have to be packaged to move Jefferson, Lloyd adds.

In other news around the Eastern Conference:

  • Center Dewayne Dedmon probably won’t be with the Hawks beyond this season but he can help them in the short term, as Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution explains. Dedmon, who played with the Spurs last season, will make $6MM this season with the Hawks and holds a $6.3MM player option for next season. But Dedmon would probably benefit from testing the market again if he has a solid season, Cunningham continues. He’s adept at rolling to the basket in the pick-and-roll and he’s efficient in transition but needs to cut down on his fouls, Cunningham adds.
  • The Pacers will start Darren Collison and Victor Oladipo at guard, Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic at forward, and Myles Turner at center in their preseason opener on Wednesday, coach Nate McMillan told Clifton Brown of the Indianapolis Star.  The surprise on the second unit, as Brown notes, is forward Damien Wilkins. The 37-year-old hasn’t played in the league since the 2012/13 season. He’s signed to a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal.
  • Hornets backup guard Michael Carter-Williams expects to be cleared for contact early next week, he told the Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell. Carter-Williams received platelet-rich plasma injections in both knees to promote healing of patella tears, Bonnell continues. He’s been restricted to noncontact drills during the first week of training camp.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Wizards, Jordan

The Hornets struggled to keep leads when their starters – particularly Kemba Walker and Cody Zeller – were on the bench last season. The question ahead of 2017/18 then, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer asks, is whether or not that will change this season.

Gone are all of Walker’s and Zeller’s backups, a veritable laundry list of players from Ramon Sessions, Brian Roberts and Briante Weber to Spencer Hawes, Roy Hibbert and Miles Plumlee. In their place are Michael Carter-Williams and Dwight Howard, both of whom were attained by the Hornets at relative bargains over the summer.

Of course the addition of Carter-Williams will provide size and defense to the Hornets’ second unit but the real draw is Howard, not because of what he’ll add off the bench but because of what his addition to the starting lineup entails.

As we’ve already written, head coach Steve Clifford has already committed to starting Howard when the season begins, that means Zeller himself will be able to work directly with the Hornets’ second unit to help do for them what he did for the starting five in 2016/17.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Wizards will have a number of players to replace Markieff Morris with when the season tips off. The forward is currently expected to miss six to eight weeks with a sports hernia. “We have versatility and we have depth. We can go in many different directions. We can go small. We can throw Kelly Oubre]in there. We can throw Jason Smith in there. Mike Scott we can put in there. There’s a lot of players that we can throw into the mix,” head coach Scott Brooks told Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic.
  • Hornets majority owner Michael Jordan will soon have a stake in another professional sports franchise. Jordan is part of Derek Jeter‘s group that has been approved to buy the Miami Marlins, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes.
  • Only time will tell how Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer and new general manager Travis Schlenk mesh over the next few years but the dynamic between the two could be worth watching as the organization’s priorities shift from winning ball games to developing for the future. Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that Budenholzer will embrace the rebuild, whether that’s his preference or not.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Wade, Gortat, Magic

The Hornets turned over their backup point guards behind Kemba Walker this offseason, with Michael Carter-Williams and Julyan Stone replacing Ramon Sessions, Brian Roberts, and Briante Weber. Unfortunately for Charlotte, the injury bug is plaguing the team’s new-look backcourt as training camp gets underway.

As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer details, Carter-Williams, who is recovering from platelet-rich plasma procedures on his knees, has yet to be cleared for contact drills, and Hornets head coach Steve Clifford isn’t sure when that will happen. Stone is also dealing with an injury, though his nagging groin issue isn’t expected to be a major problem.

If the Hornets do need additional point guard depth this preseason, it will be interesting to see if rookie Malik Monk gets some reps at the position. The team wanted to experiment in Summer League with Monk playing point guard, but he was battling an ankle injury of his own at the time.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Although Dwyane Wade hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning to the Heat within the next few years, his desire to join a championship contender trumps his desire to reunite with his old team at this point in his career, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
  • The low-post role in the NBA has evolved considerably in recent years, with teams prioritizing bigs who can shoot, but Wizards center Marcin Gortat isn’t too worried about the league’s shifting philosophy. “I’ve got two, three more years in me, [and] I’m gone.” Gortat said with a smile, per Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. “I’m glad I’m at the end of my career right now. I’m not going to shoot threes; I’m not going to develop threes. I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to try to bring back real centers. I’m just going to try to survive. I’m going to play my best. I’m going to try to spend all my six fouls as best as I can, get as many rebounds as I can, get some blocks, get some charges. Hopefully we’re going to win some games, then I’m gone.”
  • The Magic announced their training camp roster on Monday, and one name notably absent was Rodney Purvis‘. A report last month indicated that the former UConn shooting guard had agreed to a deal with Orlando. The Magic are currently carrying 19 players on their roster, leaving one open spot, but it’s not clear whether that reported agreement with Purvis will be finalized.
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