Norman Powell

Atlantic Notes: Durant, Irving, Powell, Ntilikina

Nets general manager Sean Marks offered an update on the status of injured stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving during remote interviews this week, relays NetsDaily. Durant continues to rehab an Achilles injury that has sidelined him since last year’s NBA Finals, while Irving is recovering from shoulder surgery on March 3.

“Specifically with Kevin, this rehab and return to practice was really looking great,” Marks said. “He was on the floor again. A lot people have seen that short little video that was posted and so forth. It was remarkable to see the way he was progressing. … I’ve talked to Ky multiple times. He seems to be doing very very well, rehabbing in his apartment in Brooklyn and between here and Jersey. So he’s doing well. I know both those guys are itching to get back, but get back at 100 percent.”

Marks also addressed the team’s unsettled coaching situation, as interim Jacque Vaughn only got to coach the team for two games after taking over for Kenny Atkinson. Marks said Vaughn and his staff are staying in touch with players and expressed hope that he will get more opportunity to show what he can do before a final decision has to be made.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Raptors guard Norman Powell is fully recovered from a twisted ankle he suffered during the team’s final game before the hiatus, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports. Powell has been watching a couple hours of film each day during the break and is concentrating on his defense off the ball (Twitter link).
  • The Knicks are less likely to try to move point guard Frank Ntilikina this offseason than they were last summer, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Several teams said New York reached out to them with trade proposals involving Ntilikina before last year’s draft and may have accepted an early second-round pick in return.
  • There is a “growing belief” that interim Knicks coach Mike Miller will have a role with the organization next season, although he remains a long shot to become the permanent head coach, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Miller has been studying tape and trying to keep the team running as normally as possible under the circumstances. “We’ve done a good job of making sure throughout the week our players hear from us almost on a daily basis — from the training staff, performance staff and medical staff,” he said. “They have been very well connected with us making sure everyone is safe.”

Raptors Notes: Gasol, Ibaka, VanVleet, Powell

Lost revenue from the NBA’s hiatus has the Raptors in a position of financial uncertainty as they look ahead to the offseason, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Toronto has just nine players signed beyond this season, and only four of them are part of the rotation. Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet are all headed for free agency, and the Raptors aren’t sure how much cap room they’ll have available.

The league may lose hundreds of millions in projected earnings if it can’t salvage a significant portion of its remaining season. That’s on top of lost money resulting from the dispute with China. Smith points out that Pascal Siakam‘s new extension, which begins next season, is based on a percentage of the salary cap. While that might give the Raptors more money to work with than they were expecting, it adds to the muddled financial picture.

There’s more from Toronto:

  • The Raptors should prioritize re-signing Gasol over Ibaka if they decide not to keep both, argues Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Even though Ibaka is five years younger and a better scorer, Murphy sees Gasol as a superior passer, defender and floor spacer. He also suggests that Gasol may be more willing to accept a large one-year contract, which allows the team to remain competitive in a talented 2021 free agent class.
  • Murphy had expected VanVleet to get an offer beyond what Toronto is willing to pay, but he cautions that a lower salary cap might change the equation. He projected that the Raptors would offer the fourth-year guard a new deal in the range of $17MM to $20MM annually. Only five or six teams will have the money to top that, and several of them already have young point guards in place. Murphy states that VanVleet’s best strategy may be to accept a long-term deal in Toronto that takes advantage of his Bird rights.
  • Norman Powell‘s improvement this season may tempt the Raptors to hold onto his contract rather than trade it for cap relief, Murphy adds. Powell is owed nearly $10.9MM next season and has an $11.6MM player option for 2021/22.

Injury Notes: Dedmon, Simmons, Powell, Williams

New Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon underwent a non-surgical procedure to address pain in his right elbow today, as Chris Kirschner of The Athletic relays (via Twitter). Atlanta has ruled out Dedmon for its next three games, but he’ll be re-evaluated on Monday, with his status updated at that point, Kirschner adds.

The Hawks are also without another newly-acquired center, Clint Capela, who continues to deal with a foot issue. However, the club has no shortage of options in the middle. With Dedmon and Capela sidelined, Atlanta figures to take a longer look at Damian Jones and Bruno Fernando.

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

  • The Sixers haven’t provided many details or a specific recovery timeline for Ben Simmons‘ back injury, so Rich Hofmann of The Athletic spoke to a pair of outside medical experts to try to get a sense of what may be causing the nerve impingement in Simmons’ back. Both doctors suggested that the most common cause would be a disc injury.
  • Raptors swingman Norman Powell (finger) has been cleared to practice and will be listed as questionable for Friday’s game vs. Charlotte, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. Head coach Nick Nurse had said on Tuesday that Powell was scheduled for a check-up next week, but it sounds like the 26-year-old could make it back this weekend.
  • Appearing today on Toucher and Rich in Boston, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said big man Robert Williams (hip) remains on track to return to action as early as this weekend, or shortly thereafter (Twitter link via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston).
  • Pelicans forward Kenrich Williams, who hasn’t played since January 6 due to a back injury, had his first full-contact practice today and has a chance to play on Friday, per head coach Alvin Gentry (Twitter link via ESPN’s Andrew Lopez).

Injury Updates: Lillard, Powell, Holmes, Herro, More

Having already missed the three games since the All-Star break, Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is expected to be sidelined for “a couple more,” a source tells Jason Quick of The Athletic (Twitter link). However, Lillard will make the three-game road trip to Indiana, Atlanta, and Orlando, Quick notes. Although we haven’t heard an official update from the Blazers, it sounds like there’s a chance Lillard could be back in the lineup by Monday when Portland faces the Magic.

Here are several more injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Raptors swingman Norman Powell, sidelined for nearly a month with a broken finger, is scheduled for a check-up in about a week, head coach Nick Nurse said on Tuesday evening (Twitter link via Blake Murphy of The Athletic).
  • Kings center Richaun Holmes (shoulder) has yet to practice and there’s still no timetable for his return, per head coach Luke Walton (Twitter link via James Ham of NBC Sports California).
  • There’s still no set return timetable for injured Heat players Tyler Herro (foot) or Meyers Leonard (ankle), writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Miami has been without both players for the last eight games, going 2-6 during that stretch.
  • Pelicans forward Kenrich Williams recently received an injection to treat pain and inflammation in his back, according to the team. Williams, who hasn’t played since January 6, is making “good progress” and is expected to be re-evaluated before the end of the week.

Norman Powell Fractures Ring Finger, Out Indefinitely

Raptors shooting guard Norman Powell fractured the fourth metacarpal of his left hand and will be out indefinitely, according to TSN Sports’ Josh Lewenberg (Twitter link) and The Athletic’s Blake Murphy (Twitter link). Powell injured his non-shooting hand during the fourth quarter of the 35-14 Raptors’ 105-92 defeat of the 17-33 Pistons last night.

Raptors bench guards Patrick McCaw and Terence Davis appear to be next in line to supplement Powell’s minutes throughout his indefinite absence, Lewenberg notes in a separate tweet.

Powell has blossomed during his fifth season with the Raptors. The 6’3″ shooting guard out of UCLA had career averages of 7.1 PPG and 2.1 RPG coming into the year, but is essentially doubling those marks  (15.3 PPG and 3.9 RPG) while shooting 49.8% from the field and 40.1% on 5.1 three-point attempts per game.

Siakam, Powell Return To Raptors

Rising Raptors star power forward Pascal Siakam and guard Norman Powell will both return to the starting five for Toronto in Sunday’s game against the Spurs, TSN’s Josh Lewenberg reports (Twitter link). Both will be placed on a minutes limit in their first game back since December. Lewenberg also notes that starting center Marc Gasol remains out (Twitter link).

Siakam, Powell, and Gasol, all Raptors starters, had all been sidelined indefinitely since a December 19 tilt against the Pistons. Siakam had been battling a stretched groin, Gasol a hamstring injury, and Powell a subluxation of his left shoulder.

Siakam is currently third in Eastern Conference All-Star frontcourt balloting, with 1,730,763 fan votes received as of January 9th, according to an Associated Press report (link via SI.com).

A fantastic two-way player, the 6’9″ Siakam had emerged as a borderline MVP candidate with his sterling performance for the 25-13 Raptors. For the 2019/20 season, the No. 27 pick in the 2016 NBA draft out of New Mexico State is averaging career-highs of 25.1 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.6 APG, 81.3% free throw shooting, and 39.2% shooting on 6.3 three-point attempts across 27 games.

Powell has also taken a leap this season, logging a career-high slash line of 14.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.1 SPG, and 4.9 three-point attempts per game. The 6’3″ shooting guard, drafted No. 46 out of UCLA in 2015, is connecting on 38.9% of those looks. Powell has also been appearing in a career-high 28.9 minutes a night for the Raptors.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Siakam, Gallinari, C’s, Sixers

While some pundits still believe the Raptors might target future assets at the deadline, that’s clearly not the plan, according to Bruce Arthur of The Toronto Star, who argues that the team should prioritize upgrading its roster and securing its spot among the Eastern Conference contenders.

Before the Raptors make any roster changes, it would benefit the front office to see the team’s full roster in action, something that hasn’t happened much this season. Currently, four of Toronto’s top six players in minutes per game – Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, Norman Powell, and Fred VanVleet – are sidelined, but the club may begin to clear its injured list soon.

Siakam, Gasol, and Powell all took part in practice on Friday on a limited basis, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski hears that there’s hope Siakam could be back in the lineup within the next week or so. A Sunday return would be a bit ambitious for Siakam or Gasol, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said today, but Powell is on track to be back on Sunday (Twitter link via Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca).

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Danilo Gallinari is among the potential trade targets the Celtics have monitored, a source tells Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. Pincus lays out how Boston could acquire a player like Gallinari or Andre Drummond, but since it would almost certainly involve moving Gordon Hayward or a package headed by Marcus Smart, I’m skeptical the C’s will seriously pursue either player.
  • The Sixers were victorious on Thursday in the first game of what could be a multi-week absence for Joel Embiid, but Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports argues the team should still be worried about not having its star center active. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Bobby Marks point out (via Twitter) that Norvel Pelle only has five NBA days left on his two-way contract and will have to return to the G League soon if Philadelphia doesn’t open up a 15-man roster spot for him.
  • After Kawhi Leonard denied having any offseason interest in the Knicks, the club found a way to put a positive spin on those comments, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. According to Berman, Kawhi’s uncle Dennis Robertson was in touch with the Knicks in the summer and wanted Leonard to listen to the team’s pitch. The Knicks claimed they canceled their scheduled meeting because they felt they were long shots for Leonard and believe the forward’s recent comments validate that decision, Berman notes.

Atlantic Notes: LeVert, Irving, Siakam, Gasol, Leonard

Nets guard Caris LeVert made his highly-anticipated return against the Raptors on Saturday night, seeing his first in-game action with the team since November 10.

LeVert, who had missed the last 24 games after undergoing surgery to address ligament damage in his thumb, finished with 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting off the bench despite being on a minutes restriction.

“I felt pretty good out there. Obviously we wanted to get a win, but just me personally, I felt pretty good,” LeVert said, as relayed by Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

LeVert is widely considered as one of the most talented players on the Nets when healthy, and it’s possible he’ll rejoin the team’s starting lineup in the coming weeks. He averaged 13.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game in 40 contests last season.

“Just adds one of our best players to the lineup quite honestly,” head coach Kenny Atkinson said of LeVert’s return. “A dynamic player, athleticism, quickness, speed. A guy that knows our system too. It’s not like some guy we signed out of the blue. I feel comfortable once he gets his rhythm. He knows what we’re doing on both sides of the ball so that’s a big comfort level.”

The Nets have been plagued with injuries to start the season, playing without Kevin Durant (torn Achilles’ rehab), Kyrie Irving (right shoulder; 11 games played), LeVert and others. Brooklyn owns the seventh-best record in the East at 16-18.

Here are some other notes from the Atlantic Division tonight:

  • Alex Schiffer of The Athletic details what we know about Kyrie Irving‘s lingering right shoulder injury, which has forced the six-time All-Star to miss the past 23 games. Irving recently received a cortisone shot for the shoulder impingement, opting to go this route instead of having arthroscopic surgery — for now. “I’m in a better place now that it’s been some significant time,” Irving said. “I tried to go without any anti-inflammatories, which is why it took so long. Now I’m at a place where the next step was to either get a cortisone shot or get surgery. So that was the ultimatum I was fixed with. So now I’m just doing the best I can to live off this cortisone and move forward if I need surgery in the future.”
  • Raptors big men Pascal Siakam (groin) and Marc Gasol (hamstring) still aren’t close to returning to action, head coach Nick Nurse said, as relayed by Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link). “I would still say, if I was guessing, the order of comeback would probably be Matt [Thomas] and Norm [Powell], Marc and then lastly Pascal if that’s the case,” Nurse said. “But I think we’re still, I mean, we’re still a ways away with Marc and Pascal. I think Norm and Matt are in the front-view mirror, let’s put it that way.”
  • Kawhi Leonard said he never considered joining the Knicks in free agency and denied scheduling a meeting with the team, Ian Begley of SNY.tv writes. “I never said I was considering going to the Knicks. Everybody knew where I wanted to go once I requested the trade so I don’t know where that came from,” Leonard said. New York lost out on Kawhi, who signed with the Clippers, as well as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, who signed with the Nets. The Knicks claimed they pulled out of a scheduled meeting with Leonard.

Raptors Notes: Siakam, Gasol, Powell, VanVleet

The Raptors, who have already been without Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and a handful of role players for stretches this season, will now put their roster depth to its biggest test yet. The team announced on Thursday that Pascal Siakam (groin), Marc Gasol (hamstring), and Norman Powell (shoulder) will all be sidelined indefinitely.

Siakam has been Toronto’s leading scorer and a borderline MVP candidate so far this season, while Gasol has been the team’s most valuable player on the defensive end. The loss of Powell shouldn’t be understated either — the 26-year-old swingman had been enjoying perhaps the best stretch of his career, averaging 16.8 PPG on .515/.423/.828 shooting in his last 20 games (30.8 MPG).

Here’s more on the Raptors as they look to fill the holes created by their latest series of injuries:

  • While the Raptors didn’t offer a definitive recovery timeline for any of their three newly-injured players, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Gasol is likely to miss a “period of weeks.” Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter links) suggests that Siakam’s injury will likely be the most short-term of the three, while Powell’s injury figures to keep him out the longest. Siakam’s groin issue is believed to be a mild strain that the club is handling with caution, Grange notes.
  • As both Grange and Eric Koreen of The Athletic point out, Powell’s shoulder subluxation sounds similar to an injury he suffered last season, which cost him six weeks. Koreen believes it will be a “best-case scenario” for Toronto if Gasol and Powell each only miss a few weeks.
  • Getting Fred VanVleet, Matt Thomas, and Stanley Johnson back soon would help the Raptors address their depth concerns, Blake Murphy of The Athletic notes in an in-depth look on the fallout of the team’s injury woes. There’s hope that VanVleet may be able to return as early as Friday, but Grange says Thomas will likely be out for another week or so.
  • Koreen, Murphy, and Grange all wonder if the Raptors might consider adding someone to their roster. The 15-man squad is currently full though, so in order to make room for someone new, Toronto would have to trade or waive a back-of-the-roster player — or qualify for a hardship exception, which appears unlikely for now.

Pascal Siakam Among Raptors Out Indefinitely

Earlier today, we passed along word that Marc Gasol will miss time with a hamstring injury and the news from The North has gotten worse. Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell are each out indefinitely, the Raptors announced in a press release.

Siakam sustained a stretched groin, per the team, after landing awkwardly during the Raptors’ tilt against the Pistons. Powell also left that game after colliding with another player and the wing has been diagnosed with subluxation of his left shoulder.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Gasol will miss “a period of weeks” with his injury. The team didn’t put a timetable on it, instead calling the big man out indefinitely as well. Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link) hears that Siakam will likely be the quickest to return of the three.

After a summer that saw Toronto win an NBA championship and lose Kawhi Leonard, the team came back this year focused and it shows in the Raptors’ 19-8 record. The club sits fourth in the Eastern Conference as of this writing. However, it’ll be tough for the Raptors to remain to hold their position in the standings, given their injuries and the fact that the Sixers and Pacers are within a game of them.