OG Anunoby

Injury Updates: Mirotic, Griffin, Anunoby, Oladipo

Nikola Mirotic has only played 14 games since the Bucks traded for him in February, but the club expects him to be ready for its playoff opener against the Pistons tomorrow, relays Malika Andrews of ESPN. Mirotic, who has been sidelined for nearly a month with a broken left thumb, was able to participate in a full practice Friday and a non-contact workout today, both times with the thumb lightly taped.

“Not much soreness, as we expected,” he said. “I should be ready to go.”

Mirotic moved into the starting lineup three games before getting hurt, replacing injured guard Malcolm Brogdon. Sterling Brown has been starting in Mirotic’s absence.

“Niko has been traveling with us,” Eric Bledsoe said. “He has been around practice. We have been feeling his energy. Him just being around has been big for us. I think he’s doing pretty good.”

There are more injury updates to pass along:

  • The Pistons aren’t sure if Blake Griffin‘s sore left knee will allow him to be ready for Game 1, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Griffin offered no clues after today’s practice as the team prepared to fly to Milwaukee. “We’re taking this day by day,” he said. “I’m not looking forward to a day that’s not here right now in front of me. I’ll sit with our training staff and whoever else needs to be in on that decision and make that each day.” Griffin sat out four of Detroit’s final seven games as the team was battling for a playoff spot. He was limited to riding an exercise bike during today’s practice.
  • On top of their loss to the Magic today, the Raptors got some bad health news about OG Anunoby, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Originally projected to miss at least two weeks after an emergency appendectomy on Thursday, Anunoby may now be sidelined until the Eastern Conference Finals.
  • There’s no chance he’ll return for the playoffs, but the Pacers are encouraged by the progress Victor Oladipo has made since suffering a ruptured quad tendon in January, tweets Scott Agness of The Athletic. Oladipo has been in Miami since the injury and is reportedly doing “really well.” He will see a doctor in a few days and hopes to be in Indiana for Games 3 and 4 of the Pacers’ playoff series.

OG Anunoby Expected To Miss At Least Two Weeks

Raptors forward OG Anunoby underwent an emergency appendectomy on Thursday night after being diagnosed with acute appendicitis, the team announced in a press release.

The Raptors didn’t provide any sort of timetable for Anunoby’s recovery, simply indicating that there’s no timeline for his return and his condition “will be updated as appropriate.” However, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets that the young forward is expected to be sidelined for at least two weeks.

The Raptors’ first-round series against the Magic is scheduled to conclude on April 27, if seven games are necessary, so it’s safe to assume that Toronto won’t be counting on having Anunoby available at all vs. Orlando.

With Anunoby and Patrick McCaw sidelined, it will be interesting to see how the Raptors fill the back end of their playoff rotation. Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, and Marc Gasol are expected to start, with Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka, and Norman Powell contributing off the bench.

Unless the team plans to roll with an eight-man rotation, Jeremy Lin and/or Jodie Meeks could see regular minutes. Based on his initial recovery timeline, it’s possible McCaw will also be available at some point in round one.

Raptors Made Offer For Mike Conley, Marc Gasol?

3:44pm: The Grizzlies would be looking for more than Lowry and Valanciunas in return for Conley and Gasol, according to Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News, who hears that Memphis asked for Pascal Siakam (Twitter link). The Raptors aren’t trading Siakam, but would be willing to include Delon Wright and a future first-round pick, says Lawrence.

Toronto’s 2019 first-round pick is committed to San Antonio, so the 2021 first-rounder would be the next one available.

2:18pm: While the Grizzlies have reportedly been primarily engaged in talks with the Jazz and Pistons for Mike Conley, another potential suitor has entered the mix, according to Jake Fischer of SI.com. League sources tell Fischer that the Raptors have contacted Memphis and offered Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas in a deal for both Conley and Marc Gasol.

It’s a fascinating offer from Toronto’s perspective, as the second-best team in the East appears willing to give up an All-Star guard and an important rotation piece in a proposal that would reshape its roster. Lowry has been made aware of the Raptors’ trade talks involving him, per Fischer.

On the other hand though, it’s hard to see why the Grizzlies would jump at Toronto’s offer, unless the franchise isn’t totally committed to rebuilding. Lowry has a cap number similar to Conley’s, albeit with a contract that expires a year earlier. Valanciunas has a $17.62MM player option for next season.

By comparison, Utah’s offer for Conley reportedly includes a sizable expiring contract (Ricky Rubio‘s) and a first-round pick. It could also feature a prospect like Dante Exum or Grayson Allen, according to Fischer. Detroit’s offer for Conley is said to include Reggie Jackson and a first-rounder. The Grizzlies are believed to be seriously considering both teams’ offers, per Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link).

According to Fischer, the Grizzlies turned down the Raptors’ initial offer and would prefer to receive younger players – such as OG Anunoby – and/or draft assets from Toronto.

Meanwhile, Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca provides a different perspective, tweeting that he’s heard the talks between the Grizzlies and Raptors were initiated by Memphis and didn’t progress very far.

While Grange’s and Fischer’s accounts on which team initiated the talks seem contradictory, it’s possible both are accurate — perhaps Memphis made the first call and the Raptors, in turn, returned the Grizzlies’ call to let them know what they’d be willing to offer. If the Grizzlies didn’t like what they heard, discussions may not have advanced from there.

Raptors Notes: Leonard, Anunoby, Miles

The Raptors are about ready to start playing Kawhi Leonard in back-to-back games, relays Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Leonard was limited to nine games last season with a quad injury and Toronto hasn’t used him on consecutive nights since acquiring him in an offseason trade. However, coach Nick Nurse told reporters tonight that it will happen soon.

“I think we are there,” Nurse said. “I think, after we get here to the new year, we’ll be there. No promises, but I think we’re there.”

Leonard is posting MVP-level numbers in his first season in Toronto, averaging 26.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game. He was inactive tonight after scoring 37 points Friday. It’s the ninth game he has missed this season, with five of those being classified as “load management.” The next back-to-back on the Raptors’ schedule will be January 5 and 6 against the Bucks and Pacers.

There’s more from north of the border:

  • Leonard is still bitter over a comment from Kevin Durant four years ago, which could provide complications for any team hoping to add both star free agents, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. After Leonard was named MVP of the 2014 Finals, Durant seemed to dismiss the accomplishment, saying he was a product of the Spurs’ system.
  • OG Anunoby provided a glimpse of the talent that some people have been raving about in Friday’s win over the Cavaliers, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Starting for the fourth time this season, Anunoby tied his career highs with 21 points and eight rebounds. “I was planning on his growth being really a big leap forward this year,” Nurse said before the game. “For any number of reasons it hasn’t happened yet, but I still believe in the guy. I still believe we’re going to see that.” Anunoby is a versatile defender in addition to his offensive skills, but Smith notes that it’s hard to carve out minutes for him when the lineup is fully healthy.
  • Norman Powell‘s return from injury could squeeze C.J. Miles out of the rotation, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports. The 31-year-old has seen his production regress in his second season with Toronto, averaging 5.1 PPG in 28 games while shooting .315 from the floor and .286 from 3-point range. He has an $8.73MM player option for next season.

Raptors Exercise 2019/20 Options On Siakam, Anunoby

The Raptors have exercised their 2019/20 rookie scale options on forwards Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, the team has announced in a press release. We learned earlier today that the team would be passing on Malachi Richardson‘s ’19/20 option.

[RELATED: Decisions On 2019/20 Rookie Scale Options]

Siakam’s fourth-year option will count for just $2,351,839 on Toronto’s cap next season, while Anunoby’s third-year option is even more modest, coming in at $2,281,800. The Raptors may be over the tax line again next season if Kawhi Leonard re-signs, but exercising the options on Siakam and Anunoby was an easy decision for the team, given the on-court value the duo provides.

Siakam, the 27th overall pick in the 2016 draft, has started seven of the Raptors’ eight games this season and has looked better than ever, with 10.9 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, and 1.3 SPG, plus a .594 FG%. Anunoby has missed a few games early in the season for personal reasons, but continues to develop into a reliable three-and-D wing.

The Raps will face more decisions on Siakam and Anunoby after July 1, 2019, when Siakam will become eligible for a rookie scale extension and the club will have the opportunity to pick up Anunoby’s fourth-year option for 2020/21.

NBA Announces 2017/18 All-Rookie Teams

The NBA has officially announced its First and Second All-Rookie Teams for the 2017/18 season. Ben Simmons of the Sixers and Donovan Mitchell of the Jazz – widely viewed as the top two contenders for this season’s Rookie of the Year award – were the only two players to be unanimously selected to the First Team. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum received 99 of 100 potential First Team votes.

Listed below are the NBA’s All-Rookie teams for 2017/18, with the player’s vote total in parentheses. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

First Team:

  • Ben Simmons, Sixers (200)
  • Donovan Mitchell, Jazz (200)
  • Jayson Tatum, Celtics (199)
  • Kyle Kuzma, Lakers (193)
  • Lauri Markkanen, Bulls (173)

Second Team:

Jackson, who received one First Team vote to go along with 43 Second Team votes, narrowly beat out Bam Adebayo of the Heat for the final spot on the Second Team — Adebayo finished with 44 points.

Outside of Adebayo and the 10 players who earned spots on the All-Rookie teams, 14 other players received votes, with De’Aaron Fox (Kings), OG Anunoby (Raptors), and Jarrett Allen (Nets) leading the way among that group.

Atlantic Rumors: Miller, Sixers, Dinwiddie, Irving

The small forward spot continues to be a nagging problem for the Raptors, as Michael Grange of SportsNet details. Two-way player Malcolm Miller got a chance to start on Sunday with OG Anunoby sidelined by a sprained ankle, though he only played 14 minutes. Norman Powell has struggled for most of the season, Grange adds. “That position is probably going to be fluid,” coach Dwane Casey told Grange and other media members. “We’ll keep looking at different people. It’s a situation where we’ve got to get a lot of people ready and this is an opportunity to do that.”

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • The owner of the Sixers’ Wells Fargo Center will pump $250MM into the building for renovations, Bob Fernandez of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Comcast Spectacor will make those upgrades over the next three summers, with about 21,500 seats being replaced without affecting any Sixers games. The company chose that plan over tearing it down and building a new facility on the same lot, Fernandez adds.
  • Nets forward DeMarre Carroll has challenged point guard Spencer Dinwiddie to figure out how to coexist with D’Angelo Russell, he revealed to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Dinwiddie hasn’t come close to matching the numbers he put up with Russell sidelined by a knee injury and Carroll is trying to shake Dinwiddie out of his funk. “What toes are you going to step on if you’re helping the team?” Carroll told Lewis. “That Spence was helping our team win a lot of games, so it’s not stepping on toes. … That’s why all of y’all have grown to love Spence, because of the way he’s been playing, attacking the goal, playing with a chip on his shoulder. He’s just got to get back to that Spence, playing like he’s got a chip on his shoulder.”
  • Kyrie Irving has emerged as a stable, consistent leader since he was traded to the Celtics, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBCSports.com opines. Irving has embraced the concept of doing whatever coach Brad Stevens asks of him even if it adversely affects his statistics, Blakely concludes.

Atlantic Notes: James, Smart, Theis, Anunoby

A Philadelphia-based company purchased billboard space near Quicken Loans Arena pleading for LeBron James to sign with the 76ers in free agency this summer. While some may find the gesture as a distraction, James is flattered that in his 15th season, people are still trying to recruit him, Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor writes.

“You can say it’s a distraction, it’s not. Not a distraction,” James said Tuesday morning. “It is actually very flattering that I’m sitting here at 33 and in my 15th year and teams or guys — I don’t want to say teams because that becomes tampering — but people in their respective city want me to play for them. That’s cool I think. That’s dope.”

James will hit unrestricted free agency for the third time this summer and there has been a lot of talk that he is considering a second departure from Cleveland. For his part, James has downplayed every rumor and report surrounding his future and noted that he will personally address his decision at the appropriate time.

Check out other Atlantic Division notes below:

  • The effect of Marcus Smart has been noticeable for the Celtics since the guard’s return to the court. In Boston’s first two victories after the All-Star break, Smart impacted the ball on both sides, prompting Kyrie Irving to acknowledge his teammate’s difference-making abilities, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston relays. “He just adds a lot of versatility to our offense and our defense,” Irving said. “He has a high awareness on both ends. He’s able to create opportunities for all of us at both ends of the floor and we appreciate that.”
  • Daniel Theis has shown improvement all season long and plays the game with maturity beyond his years, Blakely writes in a separate story“He’s been great,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said. “Been what you expect him to be from a skill set standpoint and activity standpoint. But he does it every night. One of the best things you can be called in this league is consistent. And he’s very consistent.”
  • The Raptors‘ recent struggles at the small forward spot may pave the way for a lineup change, Michael Grange of Sportsnet writes. OG Anunoby has been a stable defensive presence, but his offensive shortcomings could force a change.

Atlantic Notes: Noah, Carroll, Nets, Anunoby

The Knicks have played three games since Joakim Noah was reinstated from a 20-game drug-related suspension. The former NBA Defensive Player of the Year has been inactive for all three contests. With three centers ahead of Noah on the Knicks’ depth chart (Enes Kanter, Kyle O’Quinn, and Willy Hernangomez), he is patiently waiting for an opportunity that may never come, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

Noah, 32, signed a four-year, $72MM deal with New York last offseason. That contract has become arguably the most untradeable deal in the NBA, given his declined skillset, recent drug suspension, and high salary. Head coach Jeff Hornacek said he will not change the Knicks’ lineup to insert Noah into the rotation anytime soon. Thus, the former Bulls center has accepted the reality of his predicament.

“Listen, man, you guys understand the situation right now,’’ Noah said. “I’m just trying to be the best that I can be. I don’t know what that is. I’m not playing. I haven’t played in 10 months. I’ve gone through some injuries. I’ve gone through a lot of things. But at the same time this is not — I’m not making an excuse. This is my reality.”

Noah played in 46 games for the Knicks last season, averaging 5.0 PPG, his lowest total in a season where he played at least 30 games. While he does provide some value on defense and he grabbed 8.8 RPG last season, Noah’s best bet to play is if the Knicks cut their losses and stretch him — which we wrote is a possibility earlier this week.

Check out other news across the Atlantic Division:

  • DeMarre Carroll has been a vocal and physical presence for the Nets early this season but his work off-the-court defines his legacy, Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily profiles. Caroll overcame a rare liver disease while he was a college player at Missouri and enjoyed a successful near decade-long NBA career. As Puccio writes, Carroll’s Carroll Family Foundation has been a crucial part of his efforts to help others with his coach and fellow teammates speaking glowingly of the ninth-year forward.
  • Joe Tsai, who purchased a 49% stake in the Nets recently, had reportedly included a unique stipulation in the sale where he refused to cover any losses associated with player contracts. However, a Nets source denied that to NetsDaily and the original report from Bloomberg News has been altered to state that such a provision was discussed but never agreed upon.
  • While P.J. Tucker‘s stint in the Toronto impressed the Raptors, particularly his defensive toughness, head coach Dwane Casey believes the team has another Tucker-type player in OG Anunoby, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star writes.

Atlantic Notes: Carmelo, Raptors, Anunoby, Kyrie

It appears all but certain at this point that the Knicks will begin training camp with Carmelo Anthony still on their roster, but Anthony’s camp is holding out hope that the team can get a trade done before Monday, writes Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. According to Isola, Anthony and his family have “mentally” moved to Houston, having believed that the Knicks would get a deal done with the Rockets.

Unless the Knicks were bluffing all offseason about their unwillingness to take Ryan Anderson‘s contract in a trade with the Rockets, it doesn’t seem likely that the two teams will get a deal done in the coming days, so we’ll see what happens if and when Anthony has to report to camp with the Knicks.

In the meantime, here are a few more items from around the Atlantic division:

  • Having lost some veteran depth in the offseason, the Raptors will be counting on some young players to step up and claim rotations roles. Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca explores whether those youngsters will be ready to contribute.
  • Within his piece, Lewenberg also notes that the Raptors don’t expect to get injured first-round pick OG Anunoby back on the court until November at the earliest, and writes that the team is taking a “zero tolerance” policy with Bruno Caboclo. Caboclo was removed from Brazil’s national team this summer for refusing to re-enter a game, and Raptors sources cited some behavioral issues in the G League last season as well, says Lewenberg.
  • Following up on Kyrie Irving‘s comments this week on ESPN’s First Take, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders suggests there’s nothing wrong with the new Celtics point guard wanting to get out from under LeBron James‘ shadow and be his own star.
  • Earlier this afternoon, we passed along several comments from Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, including his assertion that the club is “cautiously optimistic” about working out an extension for Joel Embiid.