Moritz Wagner

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.

Rosters Announced For Olympic Qualifying Tournaments

Four qualifying tournaments to determine the final four teams in the men’s basketball pool at the Tokyo Olympics are set to tip off on Tuesday. In advance of the Olympic qualifiers, the 24 teams involved have officially set their 12-man rosters, according to a press release from FIBA.

More than two dozen current NBA players are participating in the tournament, and 11 of the 24 teams competing for Olympic spots have at least one current NBA players on their respective rosters. Of those clubs, Team Canada has the biggest contingent of NBA players — eight of the 12 players on Nick Nurse‘s squad finished the season on an NBA roster. Turkey is next with four NBA players.

The four qualifying tournaments will take place in Serbia, Lithuania, Croatia, and Canada. Only the winner of each six-team group will advance to Tokyo. Those four winners will join Japan, Nigeria, Argentina, Iran, France, Spain, Australia, and the U.S. in the 12-team Olympic tournament.

The teams that move onto the Olympics may tweak their rosters for Tokyo, depending on the availability of certain players. For instance, if Greece were to win its qualifying tournament, perhaps Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo – who remains active in the playoffs for now – would make an effort to join the team in Tokyo next month.

Here are the NBA players on the OQT rosters:

Belgrade, Serbia

Kaunas, Lithuania

Split, Croatia

Victoria, Canada

There are also many former NBA players among the 24 rosters, including Mario Hezonja (Croatia), Milos Teodosic (Serbia), Jan Vesely (Czech Republic), Timofey Mozgov (Russia), and Anthony Bennett (Canada).

To view the full rosters, be sure to visit FIBA’s official site and click through to each team from there.

Southeast Notes: Wagner, Reddish, Hawks, Dragic

Moritz Wagner has made an immediate impact with the Magic, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel notes. Wagner signed a rest-of-the-season deal with Orlando last week and scored 24 points in a comeback win over Memphis on Saturday. Wagner was traded by Washington to Boston and then was waived before the Magic came calling.

“Getting waived isn’t fun, I’ll be honest with you,” Wagner said. “That’s totally different than getting traded. Emotionally and mentally, that’s something you’ve got to deal with and show resiliency and move on from that. So I take a lot of pride in the fact that I’m doing that, and kind of take it day by day.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Forward Cam Reddish might not realize his true potential with the Hawks, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic opines. Reddish could be part of a package to acquire a star player as the franchise aims to become a true title contender. Injuries have limited Reddish to 26 games in his second season and he didn’t shoot well prior to being sidelined in February. Reddish was the 10th overall pick in the 2019 draft.
  • The Hawks have been given approval to increase attendance for postseason games to 7,625 fans, approximately 45% of State Farm Arena’s full capacity, according to a team press release. The Hawks opened the season with no fans in attendance before increasing capacity to 1,300 fans on January 26 and 3,000 fans on March 13.
  • Goran Dragic appears to be peaking at the right time again for the Heat, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. Dragic, who shined in the postseason last summer, has scored 18 points in two of his past three games. “I’m getting there, I’m getting there,” he said. “You know, still working on my confidence and everything. But the last few games, I feel awesome, my legs were there, I was running the ball more.”

Magic Notes: Isaac, Lottery Odds, Porter, Wagner

Jonathan Isaac remains the best young talent on a Magic team filled with players age 23 and younger, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Isaac is sitting out the entire season after suffering a torn ACL last August, but he still has the potential to be the cornerstone of the organization and a future candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, according to Robbins.

The obvious question about Isaac involves durability, as he played just 34 games last season and only 27 in his rookie year of 2017/18. There are also concerns about his development on offense, as Robbins notes that he hasn’t excelled yet as either a shooter or passer. Even so, Robbins sees him as the most valuable asset on the roster.

Markelle Fultz, who has injury issues of his own, ranks second on Robbins’ list, followed by Chuma Okeke, Wendell Carter Jr., Cole Anthony, Mohamed Bamba, R.J. Hampton and Donta Hall.

There’s more from Orlando:

  • A six-game losing streak has the Magic back in line for the best odds for the June 22 lottery, notes Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel. The teams with the three worst records will each have a 14% chance to land the top pick, and the Magic have slid into second place, percentage points ahead of the Timberwolves and a half-game in front of the Pistons. Parry examines Orlando’s chances of finishing in the bottom three and finds that the team has the league’s 16th-toughest schedule the rest of the way. You can follow the race for draft position in our Reverse Standings.
  • Otto Porter Jr. continues to get daily treatment on his painful left foot, but the Magic don’t know when he might play again, said interim coach Tyrone Corbin (Twitter link via Parry). Acquired from the Bulls at the trade deadline, Porter has only appeared in three games for Orlando and hasn’t played since April 3. “Some days he’s on the floor, he’ll come out and shoot a little bit and see how he responds,” Corbin said, “and if it’s a positive thing they increase his work a little bit, but if it’s not as good they kind of have to pull him back. But he’s in there every day trying to work it on out and trying to get back on the floor.”
  • Big man Moritz Wagner, who signed with the Magic on Tuesday, could make his debut tonight in Cleveland, according to Parry (Twitter link).

Magic Sign Moritz Wagner, Cut Robert Franks

9:40am: The Magic have officially signed Wagner, the team announced in a press release. Franks has been released early from his 10-day contract in order to open up the necessary roster spot.


9:00am: The Magic have agreed to sign free agent big man Moritz Wagner, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). It’ll be a standard contract for Wagner rather than a 10-day deal, Wojnarowski adds.

Wagner, who turned 24 on Monday, has already played for three teams since being selected with the 25th overall pick in the 2018 draft. He spent his rookie year with the Lakers, was traded to the Wizards in the three-team Anthony Davis blockbuster in 2019, then was flipped to the Celtics at this year’s deadline in a three-team deal that also involved the Bulls. Boston subsequently waived Wagner.

A 6’11” forward/center, Wagner has averaged 6.5 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 122 career games (14.1 MPG) as a pro. While the German has some potential as a floor-stretching big man, his three-point shot has been unreliable since he entered the NBA — he has made just 30.2% of his outside attempts.

Having shifted into rebuilding mode, the Magic will see what they can get out of Wagner down the stretch as he presumably auditions for a spot on next year’s roster. It’s not clear yet whether or not Wagner’s deal with the Magic will cover multiple seasons, but even if it’s just a rest-of-season pact, he’d be eligible for restricted free agency this offseason.

Orlando doesn’t currently have an open 15-man roster spot, but has two players on 10-day deals. As we noted earlier today, Robert Franks‘ and Donta Hall‘s 10-day contracts run through Saturday and Sunday, respectively. If the Magic want to officially sign Wagner before this weekend, they could terminate one of those two contracts early (the player would still be paid for 10 days of service).

Atlantic Notes: Parker, Wagner, Thibodeau, Raptors

Jabari Parker‘s new contract with the Celtics runs for two seasons and includes a pair of guarantee dates for 2021/22, according to Jared Weiss and Jason Jones of The Athletic. Parker will receive $100K if he remains on the roster through July 31 – although that date could change if the league calendar is adjusted – and another $1,041,517 if he is still with the team at the start of next season. According to The Athletic’s sources, those combined figures are half of his total $2,283,034 salary with Boston.

The Celtics represent the latest chance for Parker, who was the second player chosen in the 2014 draft. Injuries and other factors have prevented Parker from establishing himself, as Boston will be his seventh team in seven years. He played three games for the Kings this season before being waived last month.

Former Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac was intrigued enough by Parker to trade for him at last year’s deadline, Jones states, but Parker was injured and out of shape when he reported to the team. He contracted COVID-19 before the summer restart, which prevented him from making any impact in Orlando. He was in better condition when training camp began in December, but suffered a back injury and took time away from the team for personal reasons.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics‘ decision to waive Moritz Wagner to make room for Parker was a matter of fit, Weiss and Jones add. Luke Kornet has established himself as the team’s third center and Grant Williams has been playing in the middle in small-ball lineups. Wagner doesn’t have a next team lined up yet, but he will try to return to the league this season, a source tells the authors. He wouldn’t be eligible for the playoffs with a new team because he was on Boston’s roster past April 9.
  • The Knicks‘ path toward becoming playoff contenders began with a mini-camp last summer, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. While 22 teams were in Orlando for the restart, the other eight were given permission to have a two-week session with players and coaches. That gave newly-hired Tom Thibodeau a chance to get to know his personnel and introduce his system.
  • The Raptors have been fined $25K for “failing to comply with league policies governing player rest and injury reporting,” the NBA announced (via Twitter).