Moritz Wagner

Paolo Banchero, Moritz Wagner Set To Return For Magic

The Magic will have a couple of previously injured big men available for Friday’s home game against Philadelphia, writes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel (subscription required).

2022 No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero is slated to start (Twitter link) after a seven-game absence due to a left ankle sprain, while Moritz Wagner could make his 2022/23 regular season debut after incurring a right midfoot sprain during preseason.

Banchero had an excellent start to his NBA career, averaging a team-high 23.5 PPG along with 8.3 RPG, 3.6 APG and 0.9 BPG through 11 games (34.6 MPG). According to Price, the former Duke product said he’d never really dealt with an injury before.

I’ve just got to be patient,” Banchero said. “It’s my first time dealing with injuries. At first, I wanted to rush as quickly as possible trying to get back. I realized that wasn’t doing any good for me. I’m trying to learn to be patient and continue to be patient and listen to myself.”

Wagner was productive last season for Orlando, appearing in a career-high 63 games (15.2 MPG) while averaging a 9.0 PPG and 3.7 RPG as a reserve. The 25-year-old should help the team’s frontcourt depth and has been a solid scorer in limited minutes.

Unfortunately, Wendell Carter Jr. (right plantar fascia strain), Chuma Okeke (left knee soreness) and Terrence Ross (illness) have all been ruled out for the Magic (Twitter link). As Price notes in his article, both Carter and Okeke had previously been listed as questionable but were later downgraded. Ross was a last-minute addition to the injury report.

Carter will now have missed four of the past five games with the nagging foot problem. Plantar fascia injuries can be very fickle and typically only respond to rest, so we’ll see how that plays out over the course of the season. Okeke had appeared in all 18 games for the 5-13 Magic but exited Monday’s loss to the Pacers early with the injury.

Southeast Notes: Oladipo, Durant, Wagner, Maker

Victor Oladipo, who re-signed with the Heat this summer on a two-year deal worth approximately $18MM, has only appeared in 12 regular season games since he was acquired from Houston at the 2021 trade deadline, but he’s ready to return to top form, he told Vince Carter on the VC podcast (hat tip to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald).

He’s calling it his “Revenge Tour.”

“When I say revenge, I’m taking about God’s revenge,” Oladipo said. “They messed up my surgery, I sat back. I tore my quad, I sat back. But now it’s my time to rise, I truly believe that. So that’s the revenge tour. That’s what it’s all about. It’s one day at a time, it’s a constant grind every day. That’s what I’m focused on doing.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Kevin Durant‘s ultimatum to the Nets could be a potential boost for the Heat in trade talks, Chiang speculates. Brooklyn might decide to lower its asking price before having the awkward situation drags into training camp. The Heat have been unwilling to part with center Bam Adebayo or Jimmy Butler in a Durant deal. Adebayo is not currently eligible to be included in a Durant trade unless the Nets also trade Ben Simmons to the Heat or another team due to the Designated Rookie Extension rule. Miami’s current trade package would be highlighted by Tyler Herro.
  • Magic big man Moritz Wagner won’t play for Germany in the World Cup qualifiers or FIBA ​​EuroBasket 2022 due to an ankle injury, according to Eurohoops.net. The severity of the ankle injury wasn’t revealed but Wagner expressed disappointment that he won’t be able to participate. “The fact that my ankle isn’t healed is difficult to accept at first, but it’s part of the game,” he said in a statement released by the German federation. “This team is special and I’m looking forward to watching the boys play and supporting them.”
  • The plan for Makur Maker is to play with the Wizards’ G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, during the upcoming season,  Ava Wallace of the Washington Post. Maker was signed to an Exhibit 10 contract on Wednesday. The contract will allow Maker to receive a bonus worth up to $50K if he’s waived during the preseason and then spends at least 60 days as an affiliate player.

Southeast Notes: Murray, Banchero, Wagners, Wizards

Dejounte Murray tells Michael Scotto of HoopsHype there’s no reason to be concerned about how he’ll fit alongside new backcourt partner Trae Young. The Hawks gave up a sizeable package of draft picks to acquire Murray from the Spurs, teaming up two guards who have been primary ball-handlers throughout their careers. Murray says he and Young are both “hoopers” and they’ll find a way to make it work.

“He wanted me as bad as I wanted to go over there to help,” Murray said of Young. “They already have a culture over there that they built. There’s a brotherhood. For me, it won’t be too hard to fit in. I work hard, and I can adapt to any environment I’m put in with my style of play and willingness to learn and work. It’s going to be a smooth transition. I think we’ll figure it out. We’re both smart, and we love the game. When you add those things together, you figure out ways to win. The main goal is to win, and that’s what we both want.”

In the lengthy interview, Murray also discusses his affection for San Antonio, the mentality it took to recover from a torn ACL and his expectations for Atlanta heading into the upcoming season.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Paolo Banchero may be a big part of the foundation in Orlando after being taken with the No. 1 pick, but the Magic don’t expect him to assume a leadership role right away, per Nick Friedell of ESPN. Coach Jamahl Mosley hopes to emulate the Warriors, who give every player a role in building the culture. “You look at how Draymond [Green] is so vocal, but everybody knows how he ties and glues that team together,” Mosley said. Steph [Curry] doesn’t have to say much, but when he does, it speaks volumes. We want to build our guys in that regard where there’s such a chemistry, and then as guys rise and they get their voice and they get that feel of leadership, they start to stand up. “
  • The Magic‘s Franz Wagner and Moritz Wagner are on Germany’s roster for FIBA EuroBasket 2022, which will take place in September, according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. The Wagner brothers may also participate in World Cup qualifying games in late August.
  • Reports that the Wizards are among the teams interested in trading for Donovan Mitchell show that Washington will be aggressive about building a contender now that Bradley Beal has a long-term contract, observes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Robbins examines Mitchell’s potential fit in Washington and what it might cost to get him.

Magic To Guarantee Moritz Wagner’s 2022/23 Salary

Reserve Magic center Moritz Wagner will have his $1.9MM non-guaranteed salary for the 2022/23 NBA season become fully guaranteed, per Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel (via Twitter).

Wagner was drafted by the Lakers out of Michigan with the No. 25 pick in 2018. He spent one season with Los Angeles as a little-used reserve, averaging just 10.4 MPG. The 6’11” center spent the next few years on the move, being flipped first to the Wizards in 2019, then the Celtics and Magic during the 2020/21 season.

The team drafted his younger brother, 2022 All-Rookie small forward Franz Wagner, with the eight overall pick in 2021. The Magic brought Wagner back on his current two-year, $3.6MM deal during the same offseason. Across 63 games with Orlando in 2021/22, the 25-year-old backup big man averaged 9.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG, and 1.4 APG in 15.2 MPG, playing behind the Magic’s jumbo-sized frontcourt of Wendell Carter Jr. and Mohamed Bamba.

With the advent of top 2022 draft pick Paolo Banchero out of Duke and the expected return of Jonathan Isaac near the start of the 2022/23 season, Wagner may struggle to make Orlando’s big man rotation on a night-to-night basis.

Magic Notes: Rotation Changes, Ross, Fultz, M. Wagner

Magic coach Jamahl Mosley plans to experiment with different lineups for the rest of the season, writes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. The recent returns of R.J. Hampton and Markelle Fultz from injuries give Mosley more options to work with in juggling his rotations.

“These last [17] games are about finding different combinations that work together,” Mosley said. “We want to make sure these guys understand … different minutes and different opportunities for guys that haven’t played.”

One change that has taken place since the All-Star break, Price points out, is less reliance on the combination of Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs and Gary Harris. Mosley had them on the court together frequently after Suggs returned from a fractured thumb in mid-January, and the team was outscored by 31.4 points per 100 possessions in those minutes. Price notes that the three players haven’t been used together at all in the four games since the break, with Hampton seeing more time in three-guard lineups.

There’s more from Orlando:

  • Terrence Ross was a healthy scratch Friday night for the first time all season, Price adds. Ross was mentioned frequently in rumors ahead of last month’s trade deadline, but the Magic opted to keep him. “Terrence doesn’t get in the game because it gives another guy an opportunity,” Mosley said. “That’s one thing we’re going to continue to look at for the rest of these games: Different lineups, different rotations, certain guys will play, certain guys may not, but it’s a great way for our guys to learn and gain experiences. It’s finding out what it looks like from game to game. It’s a conversation game to game. These guys are willing and understand … they want their brothers to succeed, they want their brothers to get better. They’re very supportive in whichever way we go about it.”
  • Even though Fultz is healthy, it appears the Magic don’t plan to use him in both nights of back-to-backs. Fultz sat out Friday’s game at Toronto, but is expected to be active tonight in Memphis, the team announced (via Twitter). He has played twice since returning Monday from an ACL injury that sidelined him for more than a year, averaging 10.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 15.5 minutes of action.
  • Moritz Wagner isn’t on tonight’s injury report, so he may play after missing the past nine games with a left rib contusion, Price tweets.

COVID Updates: Joseph, Jackson, Murray, Johnson, Okeke, Rondo, Ball, Maxey

The league continues to be ravaged by COVID positives with an increasing number of players entering the league’s health and safety protocols. Here are the latest updates:

  • The Pistons, who already had six players in protocols, added guards Cory Joseph and Josh Jackson to the list, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets. The Pistons are scheduled to play the Spurs on Sunday night. San Antonio will be without Dejounte Murray, who also entered protocols on Sunday, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.
  • The Magic, who already had a handful of players in protocols, won’t have B.J. Johnson and Chuma Okeke available against Miami on Sunday after they joined the list, the team’s PR department tweets. Moritz Wagner has exited the protocols but is going through a reconditioning period before returning to action, per the team (Twitter link).
  • Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo has entered protocols, joining three other Lakers, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register tweets.
  • Two-way player Jose Alvarado became the third Pelicans players to enter protocols, Andrew Lopez of ESPN tweets.
  • Bulls guard Lonzo Ball has entered protocols, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The Bulls, who have experienced major COVID issues this month, also have Alfonzo McKinnie and Tony Bradley in protocols, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic tweets. McKinnie just signed a standard contract and he can be replaced via the hardship exemption, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Chicago has seen 14 players enter protocols this month.
  • On the positive side, the Sixers’ Tyrese Maxey was spotted at shootaround after exiting protocols, Keith Pompey of  the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

Three More Magic Players Enter COVID-19 Protocols

After placing forward Ignas Brazdeikis in the health and safety protocols on Thursday evening, the Magic canceled their morning shootaround and have had three more players enter the protocols today, per Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter links). A source tells Price that Terrence Ross, Moritz Wagner, and R.J. Hampton have joined Brazdeikis in the protocols and will be out on Friday vs. Miami.

Since vaccinated players haven’t been required to undergo daily testing for COVID-19 this season, those players have only been tested when they show symptoms of the virus or when they’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. If Brazdeikis tested positive on Thursday, it likely prompted a round of testing for the entire roster.

Assuming Brazdeikis, Ross, Wagner, and Hampton have tested positive for the coronavirus, they’ll be out for the next 10 days or until they register two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Orlando becomes the seventh team to have at least four players currently in the health and safety protocols, joining the Nets, Bulls, Lakers, Bucks, Knicks, and Kings. Orlando is also missing several players due to longer-term injuries, including Jalen Suggs, Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac, Michael Carter-Williams, and E’Twaun Moore, raising questions about whether tonight’s game vs. the Heat may need to be postponed.

It’s possible the Magic will have the minimum number of players available, but their current group of eight players includes Cole Anthony, Mohamed Bamba, and Gary Harris, all of whom are listed as questionable due to various ailments. Although the team is eligible to sign multiple free agents via the hardship exception, there may not be time before tip-off on Friday night to incorporate any new players.

Meanwhile, over in the Western Conference, Nuggets forward Bol Bol has reentered the health and safety protocols, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link). Bol spent several days in the protocols earlier this month.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Heat Youth, Hawks, Wagner

In a recent piece for The Athletic, Fred Katz and John Hollinger broke down the Wizards’ offseason, and what may still be in store for the new-look Washington team.

In the piece, the writers look at the team’s greatest strengths heading into the 2021/22 season (guard shot-creation and depth), possible defensive concerns stemming from the lack of defense-minded bigs behind 2021 standout Daniel Gafford, and how the team could cobble together mid-size contracts and young players in lieu of picks in order to find trades that help rebalance the roster.

As for where the Wizards end up in the Eastern Conference hierarchy this season, Hollinger says that after the top eight teams in the East, the Wizards are in a group of four where they are as good or better than any of the rest of their peers. Barring a Bradley Beal trade demand, he writes, they’re likely to return to play-in action.

We have more from around the Southeast Division:

  • In a piece for the Miami Herald, Barry Jackson talks to two veteran scouts to get their takes on Heat youngsters Omer Yurtseven, Max Strus, Marcus Garrett and KZ Okpala. Of Yurtseven, one scout says, “I’m not sure that (he) will be a rotation guy this year. But they have something there.” Both scouts agree that Strus can be a situational, end-of-rotation player, and that Okpala has a lot to prove before he’s considered a lock to remain with the team.
  • In an offseason review, Chris Kirschner of The Athetic profiles where the Hawks are now and where they could be going. Within the article, Kirschner quotes president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk as saying, “Those who want to get traded, they want to go somewhere they think they can win. And I think now that perception of us is out there, because we do have a young core that did show success in the playoffs. So the hope would be when a star player does ask to be traded, we’ll be one of the destinations he’ll be open to coming to.”
  • Keith Smith of Spotrac has the official numbers for Moritz Wagner‘s contract with the Magic: two years at the veteran’s minimum, with the second year non-guaranteed. Wagner joins his brother, eighth overall pick Franz Wagner, as part of Orlando’s young rotation.

Magic Sign Moritz Wagner To Two-Year Deal

AUGUST 23: The Magic have officially re-signed Wagner, the team announced in a press release.


AUGUST 4: The Magic have reached an agreement with free agent big man Moritz Wagner on a two-year deal, reports Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The 25th overall pick in the 2018 draft, Wagner spent his rookie season with the Lakers before being sent to Washington as part of the Anthony Davis blockbuster. He was subsequently flipped to Boston at the 2021 trade deadline in March and then waived in April. The Magic picked him up for the last three weeks of the season and apparently liked what they saw enough to bring him back.

Wagner averaged 11.0 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 1.1 APG with a shooting line of .409/.372/.879 in 11 games (26.0 MPG) for Orlando. Most of those figures exceeded his previous career highs.

Wagner figures to add depth to a Magic frontcourt that includes Wendell Carter and Mohamed Bamba. The team also reached a one-year deal with Robin Lopez to add some veteran experience to that group.

The move will unite Wagner with his younger brother, Franz Wagner, who was the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft. Orlando officially signed the younger Wagner to his rookie contract on Tuesday.

12-Team Field Set For Tokyo Olympics

Slovenia, Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic have secured their spots in the men’s basketball tournament at the Tokyo Olympics, winning their respective qualifying tournaments over the weekend. NBA players Luka Doncic (Slovenia), Moritz Wagner (Germany), and Tomas Satoransky (Czech Republic) were the MVPs of their tournaments, tweets Marc Stein.

Those four teams will join the U.S., Spain, Australia, France, Argentina, Nigeria, Iran, and Japan to make up the 12-team field for the tournament.

The groups are as follows:

  • Group A: Czech Republic, France, Iran, United States
  • Group B: Australia, Germany, Italy, Nigeria
  • Group C: Argentina, Japan, Slovenia, Spain

The preliminary round will begin on July 24, with each team facing the other three clubs in its group once. Following the round-robin portion of the tournament, the top two teams in each group – along with the two highest-ranked third-place teams – will advance to the single-elimination quarterfinals.

Rosters for the Olympics haven’t been officially locked in yet, but we have a pretty good idea of what most of the squads will look like. Team USA will, of course, feature the most star-studded group, with Damian Lillard, Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, and Bradley Beal leading the way.

Three players participating in the NBA Finals – Devin Booker, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday – are expected to be part of the U.S. Olympic squad. It’s possible those Finals could run as late as July 22 if they go seven games, but even in that scenario, the plan is for those Suns and Bucks players to fly to Tokyo right away in the hopes of being available for the July 25 contest vs. France.

While the U.S. will be the heavy favorite and will have the most NBA stars on its roster, a number of other NBA players will be taking part in the tournament.

Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes, and Matisse Thybulle are among the players representing Australia; Rudy Gobert, Evan Fournier, and Nicolas Batum are among those playing for France; Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe will suit up for Japan; Doncic will play for Slovenia; Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, and Juan Hernangomez are among the veterans in Spain’s player pool; and it sounds like Danilo Gallinari will play for Italy.

Nigeria, meanwhile, still has a ton of cuts to make, but could have as many as 10 NBA players on its roster for Tokyo, including Monte Morris, Josh Okogie, and Jahlil Okafor. For more details on the NBA players involved in the Olympics, check out the tracker from Albert De Roa of HoopsHype.

Serbia, Lithuania, Brazil, Croatia, Turkey, Greece, and Canada are among the notable programs that will miss out on the Tokyo Olympics. It was a particularly disappointing outcome for Team Canada, which lost to the Czech Republic in the semifinal of the qualifiers despite having eight current NBA players on its roster.

We won’t be closely covering the results of the Olympic tournament — the event overlaps with both the draft and free agency, so we’ll be busy focusing on the NBA. But we’ll keep an eye on Tokyo in case there are any injuries or other notable stories affecting the current NBA players involved in the games.