Miles Bridges

Olympic Notes: Bridges, Washington, Quickley, Stewart, Hernangomez

Hornets forward Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington and Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley are no longer with the U.S. Select Team scrimmaging against Team USA’s Olympic roster in Las Vegas, tweets ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. The three players have been removed from the mix due to the coronavirus protocols.

A person with knowledge of the situation told Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press that one of those three players tested positive for COVID-19, while the other two were deemed close contacts and are being held out for precautionary reasons. According to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (via Twitter), Quickley entered the protocols for contact tracing purposes rather than a positive test, which suggests that one of the Hornets forwards was the player who tested positive.

Here’s more on the Olympics:

  • The U.S. Select Team is down another player, according to Windhorst, who tweets that Pistons center Isaiah Stewart suffered an ankle injury during a scrimmage and left the game to receive treatment. There’s no indication at this point that Stewart’s injury is a significant one.
  • Timberwolves forward Juan Hernangomez, who had been preparing to represent Spain in the Olympics, dislocated his left shoulder during an exhibition game and will miss the Tokyo games, Reynolds writes for The Associated Press. The Wolves put out a statement indicating they’re aware of Hernangomez’s injury, but there’s no timeline yet for his recovery and return to the court.
  • Warriors guard Stephen Curry said it was a “hard decision” not to play for Team USA at the Olympics this summer, but he has “no regrets at all” about opting to skip the event, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN. “You take everything into account,” said Curry, who has won a pair of FIBA World Cup gold medals but hasn’t played in the Olympics. “I take how I’m feeling physically, mentally, what’s happening around the league, all those things. It’s not one specific reason or a part of it, but just knowing at the end of the day do I want to play or not? And the answer was no at the end of the day. And getting ready for next season (with a) relatively quick turnaround is important to me and I have a plan of how to do that and get ready for when training camp starts.”

Roster Announced For U.S. Select Team

The roster has been released for the U.S. Select Team, which will help Team USA prepare for the Olympics, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Select Team, which will practice with and scrimmage against the national team during the upcoming training camp in Las Vegas, is made up mostly of first- and second-year NBA players. It will be coached by Erik Spoelstra of the Heat.

Making up the roster are:

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Bridges, Heat, Hall

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard won’t be afraid to take “big swings” to improve his roster this offseason if the opportunities present themselves, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes.

The Wizards dealt with several COVID-19 and injury-related issues this season, finishing with just a 34-38 record. The team was eliminated by the Sixers in a five-game series after making it out of the play-in tournament.

“We’ve gotta continue to add talent everywhere we can, and I think we’ve shown that I’m not afraid to take big swings,” Sheppard said. “We’re not afraid to go out and acquire players in trades, to do whatever it takes.”

Prior to the season, Washington dealt John Wall and a future first-round pick to the Rockets in exchange for Russell Westbrook, a prime example of a big-swing move.

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Hornets forward Miles Bridges emerged as a well-rounded threat for the team this season, Sam Perley of NBA.com writes. Bridges averaged 12.7 points and a career-high six rebounds per game, serving as a key cog in the club’s rotation. “I feel like I can always get better at everything,” Bridges said during his exit interview, as relayed by Perley. “For this team, I play a lot of positions, a lot of different roles. I want to get better at everything – my IQ mainly. Learn how to finish games better, creating shots for myself and my teammates. I can always get better at defense, so for me, it’s just the full package.” Bridges will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason.
  • The Heat‘s early playoff exit will allow the team to spend more time reflecting on the season and planning for the summer, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. Team president Pat Riley — much like Tommy Sheppard — has never been afraid to take big swings to improve his team, something worth monitoring this offseason.
  • While Donta Hall provided relentless energy as a depth piece during his time with the Magic, he’s not under contract for 2021/22 and it remains to be seen whether he’ll have a place in the team’s future, notes Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel.

Hornets Notes: Offseason, Monk, Graham, Bridges, Rozier

The Hornets‘ season came to a disappointing end on Tuesday night, as the team’s defense provided little resistance in a 144-117 blowout loss to the Pacers. Indiana made 55.2% of its shot attempts, including 16-of-35 threes (45.7%) en route to the play-in win.

Despite the anticlimactic end, there was plenty to like about the Hornets’ season, says Brendan Marks of The Athletic. LaMelo Ball‘s promising rookie season was the most obvious bright spot, but the development from other young players such as Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington also showed that the club is on the upswing, as Marks writes. And participating in the play-in game at all was a good first step toward developing into a contender.

“It’s just a matter of how do we respond this summer? Do we use this as fuel, or do we feel sorry for ourselves?” head coach James Borrego said after the game. “Part of this is etching this in our memory bank, so as we grow, as we get better, as we work this summer, we don’t forget this moment right now. Next time we’re in this position, we’ll respond better. We’ll be better.”

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • While he declined to identify specific players or positions that the team will be targeting in the offseason, Borrego expressed confidence that Charlotte will be an attractive destination for free agents this summer, per Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter links).
  • One of the Hornets’ own free agents, Malik Monk, is open to re-signing with the team, he said today. If they want me here, I’d love to be here,” Monk said (Twitter link via Bonnell). “But I want to feel wanted.” Monk will be a restricted free agent as long as the Hornets issue him a $7MM qualifying offer.
  • Devonte’ Graham‘s free agency and potential contract extensions for Bridges and Terry Rozier are among the issues facing the Hornets this offseason, writes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link). In his own preview of Charlotte’s offseason, Bonnell notes that finding a solution at center and adding shooting will be among the club’s top priorities.

Miles Bridges Cleared To Return From COVID-19 Protocols

Hornets forward Miles Bridges has been cleared to return from health and safety protocols and is available for Saturday’s contest against the Knicks, the team announced (Twitter link).

Bridges was initially ruled out for 10-14 days due to the protocols on May 4, but head coach James Borrego indicated earlier in the week that the forward could return by this weekend.

In his third season, Bridges, 23, was in the midst of another strong campaign, averaging 12.4 PPG and 6.1 RPG in 29.0 minutes per contest.

Having Bridges back for the final two games will be a major boost for Charlotte as the team looks to secure a favorable play-in seed. The Hornets (33-37) are currently tied with the Pacers for No. 8 and are just a half-game ahead of the 10th-seeded Wizards. Charlotte will face Washington in the regular-season finale on Sunday.

Injury Updates: Lakers, Nets, Hornets, Pelicans, Mavs, C’s

The NBA’s injury report is of particular interest this week in the regular season’s final days, as we wait to see which players may or may not be available for teams fighting for playoff positioning.

A pair of big-market superstars, LeBron James and James Harden, are said to be targeting Wednesday returns for the Lakers and Nets, respectively. James has been listed as questionable by the Lakers, while Harden is probable for Brooklyn.

Each of those teams also has another star player whose status for Wednesday’s games is up in the air. Lakers big man Anthony Davis is questionable due to left adductor tightness, while Kyrie Irving is questionable due to the facial contusion he suffered on Tuesday.

The Nets hold the No. 2 seed in the East and the Lakers are hosting a Houston team that is 5-43 since February 4, so neither club should feel a ton of urgency to push its stars back into action if they’re not quite ready.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Hornets forward Miles Bridges, out since May 2 due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, has a chance to return this weekend, head coach James Borrego said today. However, Borrego’s responses to questions about Gordon Hayward‘s foot injury made it sound as if Hayward may not be ready for the play-in tournament, says Rod Boone of SI.com (Twitter links). Hayward hasn’t played since April 2.
  • The Pelicans need a win tonight in Dallas to remain in the hunt for a play-in spot, but they’ll be missing a number of key players, as Andrew Lopez of ESPN tweets. Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Steven Adams all remain out, and Lonzo Ball (right thumb) will join them on the sidelines.
  • Mavericks guard J.J. Redick, who left Tuesday’s game with right heel soreness, will also miss Wednesday’s game vs. New Orleans, writes Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News.
  • The Celtics, who appear likely to finish the regular season at No. 7 in the East, will be without Kemba Walker (left knee) and Marcus Smart (right calf) on Wednesday in Cleveland, notes Tom Withers of The Associated Press. Jaylen Brown has already been ruled out for the season, and Robert Williams remains on the shelf as well.

Miles Bridges Out 10-To-14 Days Due To Protocols

The Hornets may have to finish the regular season without Miles Bridges, who is expected to miss 10-to-14 days after entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The 10- to 14-day timeline is normally associated with a positive COVID-19 test, although that hasn’t been confirmed. Bridges is currently in quarantine, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

The third-year forward is having another productive season, averaging 12.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in 29.0 minutes per night.

Charlotte is eighth in the East with a 31-33 record and trying to avoid slipping into the lower play-in game. The Hornets enter tonight one game ahead of the Pacers and a game-and-a-half in front of the Wizards.

In addition to being without Bridges, the Hornets are also missing Gordon Hayward (foot), Devonte’ Graham (knee), Cody Martin (ankle), and P.J. Washington (personal), per the team (Twitter link).

And-Ones: All-Star Game, Olympics, Dunk Contest, SPACs

Speaking to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press, NBA commissioner Adam Silver went into more detail on why the league felt compelled to hold an All-Star Game this season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Silver, who has previously cited fan engagement as a key reason for not canceling the game, reiterated that point in his conversation with Reynolds.

“It’s the largest factor, the amount of engagement we get from our fans around All-Star,” Silver said. “Historically, in the modern digital age, we have roughly 100 million people vote for our All-Stars, and we came out about the same this year even with a shortened voting period.”

While Silver has insisted that the NBA is thinking about its fans, it’s safe to assume the league is also considering the interests of one of its largest broadcast partners, Turner Sports. The All-Star Game is one of TNT’s biggest annual events, and the network presumably pushed for the game to take place. If the game had been canceled, the league likely would’ve had to renegotiate aspects of its TV agreement with Turner Sports.

“My personal view is very few people do anything just for the money,” Silver told Reynolds. “But at the same time, while we’re clearly in a health emergency in this country, we’re also in the midst of an economic crisis and that extends to the NBA as well. There are tens of thousands of people who are dependent on the NBA for their livelihoods. So, for those who say we’re doing it for the money, they could say the same thing about our entire operation, about the fact that we’re even playing our season.”

Let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Team USA’s pre-Olympic camp in Las Vegas is scheduled to coincide with the NBA’s conference finals this summer, meaning one of the many difficult decisions USA Basketball will face relates to whether certain players are worth waiting for, Reynolds writes in another Associated Press story. The program is expected to have to make a handful of contingency plans as it prepares its roster for the Tokyo Olympics.
  • Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards, Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown, and Hornets forward Miles Bridges are among the players who have turned down invitations to participate in the 2021 slam dunk contest, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Pelicans star Zion Williamson also passed on the event, Haynes adds (via Twitter). The NBA will officially announce the participants for this year’s dunk contest, skills challenge, and 3-point contest tonight.
  • In a story for The New York Post, Josh Kosman and Thornton McEnery explore how the NBA will have soon have to make a decision on how to handle “special-purpose acquisition corporations” (SPACs) that want to purchase shares of franchises. The Warriors approached the NBA about selling a minority stake in their team to such a company, but withdrew that request when the league put off a decision, per Kosman and McEnery.

Hornets Exercise Options On P.J. Washington, Miles Bridges

The Hornets have picked up the third-year option for P.J. Washington and the fourth-year option for Miles Bridges, tweets Eric Woodyard of ESPN. The moves lock in Washington’s $4,215,120 salary and Bridges’ $5,421,493 salary for the 2021/22 season.

Washington, 22, was an impact player during his first season in Charlotte, averaging 12.2 points and 5.4 rebounds in 58 games. He was the 12th selection in the 2019 draft and became a starter right away.

The 22-year-old Bridges became a full-time starter in his second NBA season, averaging 13.0 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 65 games. He will be eligible for a rookie scale extension during the 2021 offseason.

All rookie scale decisions on 2021/22 team options must be made by December 29. You can follow the full list right here.

Eastern Notes: Huerter, Bridges, Lowry, Sexton

Earlier this week, Kevin Huerter said he expects the Hawks to make the playoffs next season (h/t Sarah Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). Atlanta is among the eight teams holding in-markets workouts this month.

The second-year wing player added that the Hawks are not far away from competing for a playoff spot, especially with the talent they have acquired. “There’s definitely teams that we think we can jump ahead of going into next year and we’re trying to make the playoffs,” said Huerter. “That’s kind of the main focus for us. It’s something we talked about even at the beginning of this training camp is a lot of individual stats and individual accolades have to be put aside and we have to really try to come together as a team.”

When the NBA postponed its season back in March, the Hawks had a record of 20-47,  which was the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference, behind the Cavaliers (19-47).

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Heading into his third season, Hornets forward Miles Bridges is looking to establish consistency, writes Sam Perley of Hornets.com. This season, the former Michigan State standout averaged 13 PPG, 5.6 RPG, and 1.8 APG. Charlotte head coach James Borrego said that the team gave Bridges more responsibility on the defensive end, which he earned. However, he also wants the small forward to be consistent offensively. The 22-year-old agrees with those statements and feels he has room for improvement. “I always want to improve on my defense,” he stated. “My off-ball defense, I feel like that’s gotten better with my communication. I feel like my on-ball defense is pretty good, but if I get better on my off-ball and my communication, I feel like I’ll be good.”
  • Eric Koreen of The Athletic looks at some potential trade ideas for Raptors All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry, noting that Toronto does not have to trade the veteran point guard – who is scheduled to make $31M next season – unless something drastic happens in the offseason. One trade that Koreen proposes is Lowry and a couple of draft picks to the Wizards for Bradley Beal. However, that proposal, among others, is tough and extremely unlikely.
  • Cavs general manager Koby Altman was impressed with second-year point guard Collin Sexton as in-market workouts wrap up, writes Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. Altman, who drafted Sexton two years ago, said that the young guard is the cultural leader of the team. “It’s really hard to compare him with other guards as that physique, that just speaks to his work ethic,” Altman explained. “It’s all him. We have certainly given him plans for how he wants to grow from a skill standpoint on the basketball floor, but everything off the floor, he’s locked in.” This season, the former first-round pick averaged 20.8 PPG and 3.1 RPG in 33 MPG.