Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Crawford, Mack

The Hornets have taken significant steps forward this offseason but one of the big questions heading into the 2017/18 campaign will be whether wings Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Nicolas Batum will be able to thrive together.

In a recent mailbag, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tackled the question arguing that the lanky pair help the squad more than hinder them. Bonnell refers to the Hornets’ defensive woes as the major culprit for Charlotte’s disappointing 2016/17 campaign, saying that taking Kidd-Gilchrist out of the picture would only make matters worse.

Bonnell does add, however, that the Hornets would be wise to feature rookie Malik Monk as soon as he’s able to prove that he’s reasonably competent on the defensive end. If he slots in at the two, Batum could then slide up to the three.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks acquired Jamal Crawford in the three-way deal that sent Danilo Gallinari to the Clippers and immediately began pursuing a buyout with the 36-year-old veteran. Exact details of the buyout are not yet known but Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets that the guard’s cap hit will be around $11MM in 2017/18.
  • There’s no disputing Shelvin Mack‘s track record of success, he suited up for the 60-win Hawks of 2014/15 and served a valuable role for the 2016/17 Jazz squad that climbed back to relevance. According to John Denton of Orlando’s official website, the former Butler Bulldog thinks that even the Magic can be winners in the immediate future.
  • After a breakout 2013/14 campaign in which he filled in admirably for an injured Kobe Bryant, Jodie Meeks has posted three forgettable, injury-plagued seasons. Now a member of the Wizards, the soon-to-be 30-year-old is ready to reset and start anew. “I came back from my thumb at the end of the season,” he told Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I played okay and finished out the season healthy. This summer I got some rest. Now I’m working out again and I feel fine.
  • After riding the pine for the Wizards in 2016/17, Sheldon Mac and Daniel Ochefu have taken noticeable steps forward, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes.

Southeast Notes: Magic, Green, Millsap, Hornets

If the Magic can’t land one of the candidates they want for team president, they will try to get a big name to fill the GM role, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Interim GM Matt Lloyd remains a candidate to keep his job either way, but would probably be more secure if Orlando can get a high-profile president. The Magic are reportedly interested in Cavaliers GM David Griffin, whose contract expires at the end of the season. Former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie probably won’t be a candidate, as a source told Kyler that Hinkie is looking for an “ideal situation” and isn’t ready to return to the NBA. (Twitter link).

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Magic won’t try to keep free agent forward Jeff Green, writes Kevin P. Smith of Real GM in his offseason preview. Green spent a year in Orlando after signing with the team last July. He averaged 9.2 points and 3.1 rebounds in 69 games, mostly as a reserve. Smith thinks there’s a better chance that Orlando could try to keep fellow free agent Jodie Meeks if he agrees to an affordable price. In the draft, the Magic may take advantage of a field rich in point guards to find a replacement for Elfrid Payton.
  • Re-signing free agent forward Paul Millsap will be an offseason priority for the Hawks, tweets Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. The 31-year-old has been with Atlanta for the past four seasons, making the All-Star team in each one. He’s coming off a career-best scoring year at 18.1 points per game, along with 7.7 rebounds and a career-high 3.7 assists. “We are going to make every effort imaginable to keep him,” said Hawks owner Tony Ressler.
  • The Hornets face a tough offseason with no available cap room and probably the 11th pick in the draft, writes Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders. Charlotte’s best option to improve is through trades, with Greene mentioning Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams and Miles Plumlee as options because they all have deals that average less than $15MM annually. The Hornets also have a $1.7MM exception from the Troy Daniels deal that expires in mid-July.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Neal, Hornets, House

The Heat have been granted a $1.3 million salary-cap exception, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. The exception can be used through March 10 to sign a single player whose contract expires at the end of the season. The amount is half the salary for Justise Winslow, who underwent season-ending shoulder surgery earlier this month. The Heat would have to open a spot to use the exception because they have a full roster after signing Okaro White on Tuesday.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said his familiarity with Gary Neal played a role in the team’s decision to sign the veteran guard to a 10-day contract, relays Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Budenholzer was an assistant with the Spurs when Neal played for San Antonio from 2010-13. “I have a great comfort level and confidence in Gary,” the coach said. “His ability to shoot and make shots and be a weapon coming off the bench in big games. He is a competitive guy, a smart guy.” Budenholzer plans to use Neal primarily as a third point guard.
  • The Hornets will have to make roster changes to have a shot making a playoff run, contends Tom Sorensen of The Charlotte Observer. He argues that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist isn’t the same player he was before his injury and says the Hornets need to acquire another scorer to take the late-game load off Kemba Walker.
  • Wizards rookie Danuel House had a CT scan on his right wrist today, tweets J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic. The undrafted shooting guard out of Texas A&M has played just one game this season and will probably be sent to the D-League when he does return. House has just a $100K guarantee on his $905,249 salary for next season.

Eastern Notes: McGruder, Bentil, Kidd-Gilchrist

 The Heat announcing that Rodney McGruder made the team’s regular season roster may have surprised some around the league, but coach Erik Spoelstra loves the player’s work ethic and grit, writes Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. “You love his perseverance, his fortitude, the grit,” Spoelstra said. “These things you can’t teach, you have to go through life experiences to develop it. The way he came through is almost text book in how you would want to develop a player — go overseas, learn how to handle more responsibilities and then start the process of training camp and summer league. Then, play a season and a half with our D-League team under our staff and really develop there and then finish off with another summer league, a full summer of development, a training camp, all the way to the 11th hour. And he just pushed through and persevered and worked on just getting better as a basketball player. You really root for guys like that. By the end of it, he really felt like a veteran Miami Heat player through all those experiences. But a lot of guys don’t have the type of makeup to be able to go through all those experiences without getting discouraged.

Here’s more from the East:

  • Ben Bentil got a solid partial guarantee of $250K when he signed with the Celtics earlier this year, and after he was cut by Boston, he received some more guaranteed money from a second time. Per Chris Reichert of Upside and Motor (via Twitter), the Pacers – who will send Bentil to their D-League affiliate in Fort Wayne – guaranteed $50K of his salary for the few hours he spent on the NBA roster.
  • Hornets small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is tired of questions regarding his twice injured shoulder and insists he is 100% healthy entering the season, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. “I don’t want to talk about my injury anymore,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “I’ve been back to my old self ever since I started playing again. I feed off my energy. That’s always how I’ve played. My goal is to be healthy the whole season. When I get to that point, I’ll say ‘Yes! Let’s Go!’
  • The relationship between LeBron James and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has come a long way over the past few seasons, Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com notes. “I think everybody learns every day in the decisions they make and the things they do,” Gilbert said. “It was just a whole different feeling from Day 1 [when James came back in 2014]. Keep in mind that we just had one bad night in five years that we were here with LeBron — remember the first two [years James played in Cleveland], Gordon Gund ran and owned the team. But we never had a bad day until the way it ended. And as bad as it was, it was one day, it was one night and everybody is a grown man and obviously we focused on the job here. And sometimes things happen for a reason, right? You just never know it at the time.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Southeast Notes: Ibaka, Hornets, McRoberts

Serge Ibaka opened camp with the Magic this week by expressing a desire to remain with the franchise for the long term, but as Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel writes, those comments don’t mean much unless Ibaka is repeating them next July. In Schmitz’s view, it will require a Magic playoff berth – or something very close to it – for Ibaka to maintain interest in re-upping with the team when his contract expires next summer. In that scenario, the Magic would have room to re-sign Ibaka and land another noteworthy free agent, but it will depend on how the team’s season plays out.

Here’s more from around the Southeast division:

  • The Hornets made a handful of free agent signings this summer, but one of their most important additions is being called a “de facto” free agent signing by head coach Steve Clifford. As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes, Clifford feels that getting a healthy Michael Kidd-Gilchrist back for the 2016/17 campaign will be like adding a new player for the Hornets. The former No. 2 overall pick played just seven games last year due to shoulder problems.
  • In a separate piece for The Observer, Bonnell examines Christian Wood‘s role in Charlotte, noting that the young power forward will likely spend a good chunk of the year with the Greensboro Swarm, the Hornets’ D-League affiliate.
  • Josh McRoberts revealed today that he broke his foot during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in May, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). Before McRoberts made that announcement, Winderman had examined the potential role this season for the Heat forward, who is limited in camp as his foot continues to recover.

Southeast Notes: Satoransky, Green, Kidd-Gilchrist

Despite rumors that he was happy in Europe, Tomas Satoransky always planned to come to the NBA, relays J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com. The 6’7″ combo guard, who has played overseas since being drafted in 2012, signed with the Wizards Thursday for $9MM over three seasons. Satoransky had frequent meetings with team vice president Tommy Sheppard during his time in Europe, Michael reports. Satoransky was reluctant to commit to Washington earlier because he believed he needed more experience and wasn’t sure there was room on the roster for him. The Wizards have since gotten rid of Andre Miller, Ramon Sessions, Gary Neal and Garrett Temple. Satoransky sought a $5.5MM mid-level exception from the Wizards in 2014, but they decided to use the money on Paul Pierce. They now have Satoransky signed for the next three years at about half that price. “I’m realistic,” he said. “I know it will take some time for me to adjust for a new type of game, for an NBA style of game.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:
  • The Heat may have kept Gerald Green if he had made 3-pointers like they expected, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The veteran swingman connected on just 84 of 260 shots from long range, or 32%. He shot 35% and 40% from downtown in his two seasons with Phoenix before coming to Miami. Winderman adds that the Heat feel like they have to give a greater role to Tyler Johnson after matching his $50MM offer sheet from the Nets. With Justise Winslow expected to start at small forward, Josh Richardson earning more minutes and James Johnson and Derrick Williams added in free agency, there was little playing time left to offer Green.
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist doesn’t believe he came back too early from an injury last season, he states in an interview posted on the Charlotte Observer website. After having surgery on his right shoulder in October, the Hornets forward returned in January and managed just seven games before tearing his labrum for a second time. He blames the repeat injury on bad luck. “I just fell on my shoulder,” he said. “It was a freak accident.” The fully recovered Kidd-Gilchrist declares himself to be “200 percent” and says he’s looking forward to next season.

Southeast Notes: Brown, Robinson, Kidd-Gilchrist

Former Nets interim coach Tony Brown will be Scott Brooks‘ lead assistant with the Wizards, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Sources tell Wojnarowski the deal is currently being finalized. Brown had an 11-34 record in Brooklyn after taking over for the fired Lionel Hollins in January. The Nets parted ways with him when they hired Kenny Atkinson shortly after the regular season ended. Brown started his coaching career as an as assistant with the Trail Blazers during the 1997/98 season and has also worked for the Pistons, Raptors, Celtics, Bucks, Clippers and Mavericks. Toronto assistant Rex Kalamian turned down an offer from the Wizards last week.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Thomas Robinson, who opted out of his contract with the Nets this week, could be a nice fit with the Wizards, according to Ben Standig of CSNMidAtlantic. The 6’10” power forward, who has been with five teams in his four-year NBA career, was born in Washington, D.C., and could be a low-cost option for a team in need of size. Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris are the only two Wizards’ big men with guaranteed contracts for 2016/17. Robinson averaged 4.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in 71 games last season. He will be a restricted free agent after opting out of a deal worth $1,050,961.
  • The HornetsMichael Kidd-Gilchrist is focused on training camp after twice tearing the labrum in his right shoulder and missing nearly all of the 2015/16 season, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Kidd-Gilchrist, who was limited to seven games during the year, was recently cleared for on-court activities and vows to be healthy when training camp begins. “I’m shooting, I’m lifting, I’m running,” he said. “I’ll be ready for next season.” The Hornets have him under contract for four more years.
  • Dwyane Wade and Josh Richardson are the only Heat players who will definitely be on the roster next season, contends Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel. Tyler Johnson is probably third on that list, Winderman writes, unless someone offers him huge money in free agency. Among the rest of the roster, Goran Dragic could be dealt to open cap space, Chris Bosh has ongoing health problems and Justise Winslow and Josh McRoberts could be trade pieces. Everyone else is either a free agent or has a contract that isn’t fully guaranteed.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Out For Season

FEBRUARY 17TH, 11:47am: The surgery took place today, the team announced, confirming that Kidd-Gilchrist is out for the season.

FEBRUARY 16TH, 11:05am: Kidd-Gilchrist will have surgery on his torn labrum and indeed miss the rest of the season, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

FEBRUARY 11TH, 3:22pm: Hornets small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder, as an MRI revealed today and as the team announced. Charlotte did not provide a timetable for his return, stating only that he would be re-evaluated after the All-Star break, but Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer relays that Kidd-Gilchrist is likely out of commission for the remainder of the 2015/16 season.

This marks the second time in the past five months that Kidd-Gilchrist has suffered a right shoulder injury, as he underwent surgery in October to repair the same type of injury after he was hurt during the preseason. Kidd-Gilchrist’s latest injury occurred during Wednesday night’s contest against the Pacers when he hit the court hard and Indiana big man Ian Mahinmi landed on him. Kidd-Gilchrist, who inked a four-year, $52MM extension this past fall, was originally projected to miss the entire 2015/16 campaign as a result of his first injury but swiftly recovered and made his season debut January 29th. The Hornets are 5-2 in the games Kidd-Gilchrist played since making his return, edging back into the playoff hunt with a 27-26 record, Bonnell notes.

The 22-year-old, who is best known for his defense and hustle, was averaging 12.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists over his seven appearances this season. His career averages are 9.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists to go with a shooting line of .467/.240/.689.

Kidd-Gilchrist Returning To Play This Season

JANUARY 29TH, 2:33pm: Kidd-Gilchrist has received clearance to play in games and is expected to be available tonight against the Trail Blazers, the Hornets announced.

JANUARY 6TH, 2:57pm: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist vowed today to return to action this season, three months after suffering a torn labrum in his right shoulder that appeared likely to cost him all of 2015/16, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. The team is hesitant to release a timeline for his recovery, but coach Steve Clifford thinks Kidd-Gilchrist will indeed return to play in games before the regular season is through, Bonnell notes.

“For sure. No question I’m going to play this season,” Kidd-Gilchrist said to Bonnell. “I’m going to play. It’s a matter of when now.”

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports originally reported that the former No. 2 overall pick faced a six-month recovery, though he later deemed him likely to miss the entire season, largely a semantic difference, since the end of the regular season was about six months out from the time of his injury. Regardless, Kidd-Gilchrist looks like he’s beating projections, Bonnell writes. The team recently cleared Kidd-Gilchrist for all non-contact activities, and the next step would be for him to resume contact drills, Bonnell points out.
The Hornets have also surpassed expectations, compiling a 17-17 record thus far, and that’s made a playoff berth a more likely proposition than it seemed when the injury took place. The loss of Kidd-Gilchrist, to whom the Hornets gave a four-year, $52MM extension before the season, seemed to doom the team’s postseason hopes. Instead, it’s been the loss of Al Jefferson to injury and a drug-related suspension that’s dragged the team down of late. Charlotte has lost the last seven games in which Jefferson didn’t appear. Jefferson, a free agent at season’s end, is projected to miss about another five weeks with a tear in the lateral meniscus of his right knee.
Charlotte could have sought a disabled player exception worth $3,165,702, but they’ve held off. The Hornets have until January 15th to submit an application to the league, but the NBA only gives those exceptions out if the injured player is substantially likely to miss the rest of the season, which no longer appears the case for Kidd-Gilchrist.

Southeast Notes: Kidd-Gilchrist, Fournier, Heat

The Hornets decided in the offseason to emphasize offense at the expense of defense as they made their personnel moves, and Charlotte has indeed taken a step back on the defensive end, as Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer examines. Part of that has to do with the absence of prime defender Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but his return, which he’s promised to make before season’s end, won’t solve all of the club’s defensive problems, Bonnell writes. Nonetheless, the Observer scribe wouldn’t be surprised if the former No. 2 overall pick is playing within a month’s time. See more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Magic aren’t entirely sure about keeping Evan Fournier in restricted free agency this summer, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. It’s expected they’ll at least look into other options before recommitting to him, just as with the team’s courtship of Paul Millsap that preceded the Tobias Harris re-signing this past summer, according to Kyler. In any case, the team’s use of Fournier at shooting guard instead of Victor Oladipo doesn’t signal that the franchise has lost faith in the former No. 2 overall pick and instead shows that the team is adjusting the way it’s developing young players as it focuses more on the present, Kyler explains.
  • Soon-to-be free agent Hassan Whiteside‘s style of play, personality and general way of going about his business is “not congruent” with the way of the Heat, as Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com opined on a recent edition of “The Lowe Post” podcast with ESPN colleague Zach Lowe (audio link; transcription via RealGM).
  • Wizards draft-and-stash prospect Tomas Satoransky has a deal on a four-year extension with Barcelona of Spain that includes NBA outs, according to international journalist David Pick (Twitter link). He’s put pen to paper, Pick reports, though Javier Maestro of Encestando counters that he hasn’t officially signed it yet (translation via HoopsHype). In any case, Satoransky is in no hurry to come to the NBA, Maestro writes.
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