- The Magic‘s veterans are looking to keep the team focused as the regular season starts to wind down, Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel writes. Orlando currently holds an 18-38 record, the second-worst mark in the East, placing five games behind the No. 10 Bulls. “I feel like myself, T-Ross (Terrence Ross), MCW (Michael Carter-Williams), Bac’ (Dwayne Bacon), Gary (Harris), we can help them — all the young guys — have the right approach every game,” James Ennis said. “I know it’s kind of tough playing these last games. I don’t know if we can make the playoffs or not, but it’s just our jobs to keep everybody engaged and just staying focused on the goals for our team and ourselves.”
Cannady signed a 10-day deal with Orlando on April 6, but the team ended that contract early in order to make room for another 10-day signing, Donta Hall. Since the Magic waived two-way player Karim Mané around the same time, there was an expectation that Cannady might be brought back to fill the two-way slot formerly held by Mané. Now it’s official.
[RELATED: 2020/21 NBA Two-Way Contract Tracker]
Undrafted in 2019, Cannady has spent most of his first two professional seasons in the G League. After playing for the Long Island Nets as a rookie, he joined the Magic for training camp in December, then suited up for Orlando’s G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic, during the 2020/21 “bubble” season.
Cannady’s regular season numbers in 13 games (25.8 MPG) for Lakeland were relatively modest, as he averaged 11.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 2.7 APG. However, the 24-year-old knocked down 40% of his three-point attempts and played a key part in the Magic’s postseason run, scoring 22 points in the team’s NBAGL championship win to earn Finals MVP honors.
During his abbreviated 10-day contract with Orlando, Cannady saw limited action in three games, scoring 14 points in 13 total minutes. He and fellow point guard Chasson Randle are now the Magic’s two-way players.
- Magic center Mo Bamba, the No. 6 pick in the 2018 NBA draft, is firmly behind new addition Wendell Carter Jr., the No. 7 pick in the same draft, in Orlando’s rotation. Josh Robbins of The Athletic notes that Bamba’s rookie-scale contract expires after the 2021/22 season, and that for him to stake out a long-term future with the Magic, he will need to significantly improve his fitness.
The Bulls were among the most active teams at the trade deadline, adding five new players to their roster, but so far the changes haven’t worked out the way they hoped, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports. Chicago has gone just 3-7 since then while playing a difficult schedule that featured nine road games and seven against playoff contenders.
“Every night we have one category I would say we don’t perform well,” said center Daniel Theis, who was one of the new additions. “One night it’s turnovers that cost us a game. (Sunday), we didn’t get to the line a lot. (Monday), we didn’t shoot the ball well from 3. Now we’ve got to put together a complete game. If we play defense like (Monday) and we make our shots, we’re gonna win games.”
There’s more from Chicago:
- Before the Bulls hosted Orlando tonight, Magic coach Steve Clifford talked to his former center, Nikola Vucevic, about the adjustment to a new team, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “He’s getting comfortable here (with Chicago),” Clifford said. “I think it’ll be a great place for him. He’s very upbeat, very excited about his teammates … loves (Bulls coach) Billy (Donovan).”
- The decision to trade for Vucevic was a way for the Bulls’ front office to show Zach LaVine that they’re serious about winning, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of Bleacher Report. LaVine is widely expected to turn down an extension offer from Chicago in order to sign a more lucrative deal as a free agent, Blakely says.
- The addition of Vucevic has cut into Lauri Markkanen‘s playing time and there’s reason to question whether he’ll return next season, Blakely adds. Vucevic and Markkanen both excel as scorers, but haven’t been effective as a defensive combo. “In the right kind of system, Markkanen could be a really good player,” an Eastern Conference executive told Blakely. “I don’t know if Chicago is it; it’s certainly not it if they think him and Vucevic can play together.” The Spurs may make a strong effort to sign Markkanen this summer, according to Blakely.
- The Knicks are eyeing Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball in free agency and their main competition could come from the Bulls, sources tell Marc Berman of The New York Post. Chicago was involved in trade talks regarding Ball at last month’s deadline.
It’s been nearly two months since we checked in on the status of 2021’s traded first-round picks, and there have been plenty of shifts in the NBA standings since then. Those changes have an impact on where in the draft certain traded picks will land, as well as whether or not some protected picks will change hands at all.
With just over a month left in the 2020/21 regular season, it’s worth revisiting the traded first-round picks for 2021. With the help of our reverse standings tool, here’s our latest look at which of those traded picks are most and least likely to change hands, and which ones are still up in the air:
Picks that will definitely change hands:
- Knicks acquiring Mavericks‘ pick (unprotected).
- Rockets acquiring Bucks‘ pick (top-nine protected swap).
The only unprotected traded pick for the 2021 draft, the Mavs’ selection currently projects to be the No. 21 overall pick. That would be a reasonably good outcome for the Knicks, but there’s even more upside here — since Dallas is currently the No. 7 seed in the West, a win in the play-in tournament may be necessary to secure a playoff spot.
The NBA has yet to clarify exactly how draft positioning will be affected by the play-in results, but presumably if the Mavs don’t clinch a postseason berth in the play-in, that pick would move into the lottery.
Meanwhile, the Rockets will acquire the Bucks’ pick, currently projected to land at No. 24 overall, in a swap for their own second-rounder (No. 32, for now).
Picks that definitely won’t change hands:
- Grizzlies acquiring Jazz‘s pick (1-7 and 15-30 protection).
- Pelicans acquiring Lakers‘ pick (8-30 protection).
- Rockets acquiring Pistons‘ pick (top-16 protected).
The Jazz are definitely making the postseason and the Pistons definitely aren’t, so their picks (currently projected to be No. 30 and No. 4, respectively) won’t change hands.
The Grizzlies should at least be able to count on getting Utah’s first-rounder in 2022, when it will become top-six protected. It may be a while before the Rockets get a pick from Detroit though — that first-rounder remains heavily protected in 2022 (top-16), 2023 (top-18), and 2024 (top-18) before those protections start to loosen a little.
As for the Lakers‘ pick, it isn’t technically a lock yet — there’s theoretically a scenario in which L.A. misses the playoffs and then moves into the top four in the lottery, sending its pick to the Pelicans. But that’s an extreme long shot. The Lakers’ pick is at No. 23 for now.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Knicks have the ability to swap their own 2021 first-rounder for the Clippers‘ pick. At the moment though, New York’s pick would be No. 15 and L.A.’s would be No. 26, so that won’t happen.
Still up in the air:
- Warriors acquiring Timberwolves‘ pick (top-three protected).
- Magic acquiring Bulls‘ pick (top-four protected).
- Thunder acquiring Warriors‘ pick (top-20 protected).
That Timberwolves pick will be a fascinating one to watch in the lottery. If Minnesota finishes with a bottom-three record, there will be a 40.1% chance it remains in the top three.
The Warriors will actually be rooting for the Wolves to finish with the NBA’s worst record, since in that scenario, there’s a 59.9% chance the pick lands at No. 4 or No. 5. If the Wolves instead have the third-worst record, the pick would be just as likely to land in the top three, but could slip as far as No. 6 or No. 7.
The Magic will have a good chance of landing the Bulls‘ pick, which currently projects to be the No. 10 overall selection. If Chicago remains in that spot, there would only be about a 14% chance of the pick moving up into the top four.
Golden State’s own pick, which currently projects to be No. 13, is unlikely to be sent to the Thunder unless the Warriors get hot late in the season. Assuming the Warriors’ first-rounder is protected, Oklahoma City would instead receive Minnesota’s second-round pick (currently No. 31).
Latest on the Rockets/Thunder/Heat/Blazers/Nets situation:
As a reminder, this series of trades and pick swaps is too convoluted to fit cleanly into any of the above sections. Here’s a breakdown of how it works:
- The Thunder will have the right to swap either their own first-round pick or the Heat’s first-round pick for the Rockets‘ first-round pick, but only if Houston’s pick doesn’t fall in the top four. In other words, if Houston gets a top-four pick, the Rockets will keep their own first-rounder; if not, the Thunder will get the two most favorable picks of their own, the Heat’s, and the Rockets’, and Houston will get the least favorable.
- Once the first step is complete, the Rockets will be left with at least one first-round pick, and almost certainly two, since they’re also owed the Trail Blazers‘ first-rounder (top-14 protected). They would then have the right to swap either of those picks for the Nets‘ first-rounder (unprotected).
As of today, the Rockets have the second-worst record in the league, giving them a 52.1% chance of having their pick land in its top-four protected range on lottery night. In that scenario, Houston would keep its first-rounder (tentatively No. 2) and would get the Trail Blazers’ pick at No. 22. The Thunder would keep their own pick (No. 6, pending lottery results) and receive the Heat’s first-rounder (No. 17), while the Nets would hang onto their own selection (No. 27).
On the other hand, if the Rockets’ pick falls outside of the top four, the Thunder would acquire it along with their own first-rounder, while Houston would get Miami’s pick at No. 17.
No matter how the rest of the season plays out, it’s safe to assume that lottery night on June 22 will have massive implications for the Timberwolves, Warriors, Rockets, and Thunder, and potentially for the Magic and Bulls as well.
While the Pistons, Cavaliers, and a handful of other lottery teams will also be invested in the results that night, the outcome won’t be quite as all-or-nothing for those clubs.
3:08pm: The Magic have made it official, announcing in a press release that they’ve waived Mané. It’s the third roster move of the day for Orlando, as the team also ended Cannady’s 10-day contract and signed Hall to a 10-day deal.
Mané, who will turn 21 next month, signed a two-way contract with Orlando in November as an undrafted free agent out of Vanier College in Canada. He has appeared in just 10 games for the Magic, averaging 1.1 PPG and 1.4 RPG in 8.8 minutes per contest.
Mané saw more action in the NBA G League when he was assigned to the Walt Disney World bubble for the NBAGL’s 2020/21 season, but failed to take full advantage of the opportunity. In 15 games (22.3 MPG) with the Lakeland Magic, he recorded 5.5 PPG and 5.1 RPG with a dismal .340/.098/.364 shooting line.
According to Parry, Mané’s impending release is expected to be the first in a series of moves that will lead to Orlando signing Donta Hall to a 10-day contract.
Since Mané has been occupying a two-way contract slot and Hall will join the 15-man roster, it’s not clear what the next step is for the Magic — it’s possible the team is eyeing a two-way deal for one of its two young players currently on 10-day contracts (either Devin Cannady or Robert Franks).
APRIL 13: The Magic have officially signed Hall to a 10-day contract, the team announced today in a press release. In order to create room for Hall on the 15-man roster, Orlando released Devin Cannady from his 10-day deal, which had been set to expire on Thursday night.
Hall also signed a 10-day contract with the Raptors in February, but didn’t appear in any games for Toronto. He played three games for the Raptors’ G League affiliate in the Orlando “bubble,” along with nine games for G League Ignite, averaging a combined 10.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per night.
The 23-year-old had brief NBA stays last season with the Pistons, who signed him to a pair of 10-day contracts, and the Nets, who added him as a replacement player for the summer restart. Hall played nine total games as a rookie, averaging 4.3 PPG and 4.2 RPG.
Orlando has a roster opening, so it won’t have to make a move before adding Hall. He will earn $99,020 on the 10-day contract.
Aaron Gordon asked the Magic to trade him because he had grown weary of trying to change that franchise’s culture, he explained to Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Gordon is thrilled to play for a prime contender like the Nuggets.
“I felt like it was time,” Gordon said of his trade request. “I spent a good seven years in Orlando doing my best to change the culture, uplift the culture, turn the culture into a basketball mecca. That’s the ultimate goal. It was difficult. I was looking for insight. Looking to be a part of a winning culture, to see what that is really about, instead of being a part of a culture that you’re trying to turn into a winning culture.”
We have more from the Western Conference:
- J.J. Redick was in uniform on Monday for the first time since the Mavericks acquired him from the Pelicans at the trade deadline last month, Dwain Price of Mavs.com tweets. He participated in his first full practice with Dallas on Saturday. The veteran guard has been sidelined since March 3 by a sore right heel and Achilles and underwent a non-surgical procedure last month. Dallas traded for Redick to have another outside shooting option heading into the postseason. Redick entered Monday’s game in the first quarter.
- Spurs forward Lonnie Walker revealed that a wrist injury has nagged him throughout the season, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News tweets. Walker missed nearly three weeks of action before returning this past weekend. “It was extremely frustrating,” he said. “I’ve been dealing with this hand/wrist injury for a few months prior to me sitting down. For me to sit down is probably one of the hardest things in the world for me to do.”
- Trail Blazers swingman Nassir Little has earned more playing time at shooting guard, Jason Quick of The Athletic writes. The team’s first-round pick in 2019 played 24 minutes against Detroit on Saturday and contributed 11 points. “We’ll be doing it again,” coach Terry Stotts said. “He still has to learn some of the tricks of the trade as far as guarding perimeter players — coming off pin downs, guarding pick and rolls — but I think he is capable of doing that and we have to continue to see how he does in that role.”
APRIL 12: The Magic have officially signed Franks to a 10-day deal, the team announced today in a press release.
The move gives Orlando a full 15-man roster, meaning that if the club still intends to sign Hall, it will have to happen after one of the current 10-day contracts expires (or after the Magic waive someone).
Franks, 24, went undrafted in 2019 out of Washington State but ended up signing a two-way deal with the Hornets. He never saw time in the NBA and was waived by Charlotte in January 2020.
Franks later inked an Exhibit 10 deal with the Magic last November but was waived less than a month later. He later suited up for the Lakeland Magic, Orlando’s G League affiliate, during the 2020/21 bubble season.
In 14 G League games with Lakeland, Franks averaged 12.1 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 1.5 APG.
The Magic currently have 13 players on standard contracts, with Devin Cannady on a 10-day deal and Donta Hall also expected to sign a 10-day pact at some point. If Orlando wants to sign both Franks and Hall before Cannady’s 10-day deal expires next Thursday, the team will need to waive someone else to make room on its 15-man roster.
Dedmon, 31, signed a rest-of-season contract with the Heat earlier this month and is available to make his season debut on Sunday against Portland. He’s expected to provide depth for a Miami team that also has Trevor Ariza, Bam Adebayo, Andre Iguodala, Nemanja Bjelica and Precious Achiuwa in the frontcourt.
“I feel like I fit on the defensive end, helping with the rim protection, helping rebound, getting more opportunities for these shooters we’ve got here,” Dedmon said of his fit with the club.
“So I come in, block a couple of shots, get a couple more offensive boards, provide a little more offense for the guards. I feel like that will help a lot. … I’m not Bam. I’m not looking to come in here and do what Bam does. I come in here and try to fill a defensive void that I feel like they need.”
There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:
- The Magic and forward Otto Porter Jr. didn’t hold any buyout discussions prior to Friday’s playoff eligibility waiver deadline, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports (via Twitter). Orlando acquired Porter in a deal with Chicago featuring Nikola Vucevic last month. The 27-year-old – who also didn’t have any buyout talks with the Bulls, per Stein – has appeared in three games with the team so far and is set to become a free agent this summer.
- Hawks guard Tony Snell has suffered a right ankle sprain and bone bruise, the team announced (Twitter link). In addition to Sunday’s game against Charlotte, Snell will also miss Tuesday’s game against Toronto and will be re-evaluated when the club returns to Atlanta.
- The Wizards were encouraged with the return of center Daniel Gafford against the Suns on Saturday, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. Gafford had missed the last six games with a sprained ankle. He finished with nine points, five rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes against Phoenix, playing off the bench. “It felt great,” Gafford said. “With the limited time that I was out there, it felt natural and it felt good to be out there after this six-game stretch where I’ve been missing. It was kind of sore at the end, but other than that I just felt good being able to get up and down the floor.”