- Lottery pick Jett Howard will play for the NBA G League Osceola Magic this week, Jason Beede of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley said it will be great for Howard to get steady minutes with Osceola. The 11th overall pick has made just five brief appearances in Orlando’s games this season.
Despite a promising summer that saw him play a key role for Serbia’s national team at the World Cup, Nikola Jovic has been unable to crack the Heat‘s regular rotation so far this season, appearing in just two games for the club. Noting that the former first-round pick “needs to play,” head coach Erik Spoelstra confirmed on Saturday that Jovic will be sent to the G League for “a few games,” according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.
Jovic doesn’t see the assignment to the Sioux Falls Skyforce as a step back, explaining that he welcomes the opportunity to get on the court.
“I just want to play. That’s it,” the 20-year-old said. “I just want to get some playing time, stay in a rhythm, you never know what’s going to happen [with the Heat]. Maybe they’ll need more help from me, you never know. I just want to improve and these guys do a great job at it. Even being in the G League, I feel like it’s going to be great for me.”
As Chiang explains, while Jovic has flashed an intriguing combination of ball-handling, facilitating, and shooting for his size (6’10”), his defense is still very much a “work in progress,” which is a key reason why he hasn’t been able to establish a consistent role in Miami.
Here are a few more items from around the Southeast:
- Speaking to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Magic guard Cole Anthony suggested that competing in the World Cup helped teammates Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner become “more complete players” and said that making the playoffs is Orlando’s goal this season. Anthony also reiterated a point he made last month, telling Scotto that he’s happy to have resolved his contract situation by signing a rookie scale contract extension due to the security it provides. “It allowed me to play the game without the stress of worrying if I play badly that shoot, that’s my career,” Anthony said.
- In that same conversation, Anthony lauded Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley for the role he has played in the team’s growth, telling Scotto that Mosley is “up front” and “candid” with his players. “I can tell why people in Dallas spoke highly of him,” Anthony said of the former Mavericks assistant. “He’s a really good dude who cares about his players about all of us beyond basketball. It’s been fun to play for him. He allows us to play through a lot of our mistakes. He’s also grown as a coach. This is his first head coaching gig. He’s doing a great job. He’s gotten better as a coach, and we’ve gotten better as players. It’s been fun.”
- In an appearance on Sportsnet 590 The Fan (Twitter video link), NBA commissioner Adam Silver discussed the status of Miles Bridges, who returned on Friday from a suspension related to domestic violence charges, despite the fact that the Hornets forward faces newer allegations. As Silver explained, the league intends to let the legal process play out before deciding whether to assess an additional punishment related to those allegations.
- Magic power forward Jonathan Isaac was able to play both games of a back-to-back this week for the first time since December of 2019, per Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. Isaac is finally healthy after missing more than two years with leg injuries. “The guys have so much confidence in him,” coach Jamahl Mosley said. “Him being at that rim, whether it’s blocking the shot or just changing and alternating shots — it’s what he’s capable of doing.”
The term “poison pill” doesn’t actually show up in the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, but it’s used colloquially to refer to a provision in the CBA that affects players who recently signed rookie scale contract extensions.
As we explain in our glossary entry, the so-called poison pill provision applies when a player who signed a rookie scale extension is traded before the extension takes effect.
In that scenario, the player’s incoming value for the receiving team for matching purposes is determined by averaging his current-year salary and the salaries in each year of his new extension. His current team, on the other hand, simply treats his current-year salary as the outgoing figure for matching purposes.
For instance, Spurs wing Devin Vassell is earning a $5,887,899 salary in 2023/24, but signed a five-year, $135MM extension that will begin in ’24/25.
Therefore, if San Antonio wanted to trade Vassell this season, his outgoing value for salary-matching purposes would be $5,887,899 (this year’s salary), while his incoming value for the team acquiring him would be $23,481,317 (this year’s salary, plus the $135MM extension, divided by six years).
[RELATED: 2023 NBA Rookie Scale Extension Recap]
Most of the players who signed rookie scale extensions aren’t realistic candidates to be traded anytime soon. But even in the event that a team does want to look into trading one of these recently extended players, the gap between the player’s incoming trade value and outgoing trade value could make it a real challenge to find a deal that works for both sides.
The “poison pill” provision applies to 14 players who signed rookie scale extensions in 2023. Here are those players, along with their outgoing salaries and incoming salaries for trade purposes:
|Outgoing trade value
|Incoming trade value
Once the 2024/25 league year begins next July, the poison pill provision will no longer apply to these players. At that time, the player’s ’24/25 salary would represent both his outgoing and incoming value.
Until then though, the gap between those outgoing and incoming figures will make it tricky for several of these players to be moved, though it affects some more significantly than others.
The small difference between Pritchard’s incoming and outgoing trade figures, for instance, likely wouldn’t be very problematic if the Celtics decide to trade him. But the much larger divide between Bane’s incoming and outgoing numbers means there’s virtually no chance he could be dealt to an over-the-cap team in 2023/24 — given that the Grizzlies have no desire to move Bane, that’ll be a moot point, but it’s still worth noting.
However, the Warriors’ official statement confirmed that an MRI on Curry’s sore right knee showed no structural damage, which is what head coach Steve Kerr told reporters on Tuesday. The plan is for the 35-year-old to be reevaluated later in the week, according to the club.
Here are a few more injury-related updates from around the NBA:
- After missing the last 10 games due to left knee tendinosis, Heat forward Caleb Martin has been listed as available for Thursday’s game vs. Brooklyn, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Martin hasn’t played since Miami’s regular season opener, but will rejoin a team riding a six-game winning streak.
- Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving, who was originally listed as questionable, will miss Wednesday’s game in Washington due to a sprained left foot, head coach Jason Kidd told reporters, including Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter links). “Left foot is bothering him, sore,” Kidd said. “We’re just not taking any chances.”
- The Celtics will be without a pair of key starters for their Wednesday showdown with Philadelphia. The team has ruled out Jaylen Brown (illness) and Kristaps Porzingis (right knee contusion), tweets Malika Andrews of ESPN.
- Magic wing Gary Harris, who has missed the last five games due to a right groin strain, is listed as available for Wednesday’s game vs. Chicago, notes Dan Savage of OrlandoMagic.com (Twitter link). Harris averaged 18.6 minutes per game in Orlando’s first four contests this season before getting hurt in the fifth.
- Kings forward Trey Lyles has been cleared to resume basketball activities, sources tell Sean Cunningham of Fox 40 Sacramento (Twitter link). Lyles hasn’t played yet this season due to a left calf strain and will require a reconditioning period before being activated.
- Hornets forwards Gordon Hayward (hamstring) and Brandon Miller (ankle) both missed Tuesday’s game, but head coach Steve Clifford doesn’t sound concerned about either injury, writes Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Clifford said the team was being cautious with both players – especially Hayward, whose hamstring could turn into a “four-to-six” week injury by not playing it safe – and that he’s hopeful both will be back in action on Friday.
The Lakers, Heat, and Sixers are among the teams expected to have a “level of interest” in Bulls guard Zach LaVine, Shams Charania of The Athletic said during an appearance on The Rally (Twitter video link). Charania reported on Tuesday that the Bulls and LaVine have become increasingly open to exploring the possibility of a trade after Chicago got off to another slow start this season.
The Lakers’ big three experiment with Russell Westbrook alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis didn’t work well, with the team eventually moving off Westbrook in favor of reliable depth around its two superstars. It’s unclear how eager Los Angeles would be to sacrifice some of that depth to bring in another ball-dominant, offensive-minded guard like LaVine.
The Heat, meanwhile, were linked to Damian Lillard for much of the offseason and would perhaps view LaVine as an intriguing alternative, though he’s not the play-maker that Dame is. As for the Sixers, the belief is that they want to turn some of the assets they received for James Harden into another impact player, but the emergence of Tyrese Maxey has lessened the need for another guard. A report on Tuesday downplayed Philadelphia’s interest in LaVine.
In addition to monitoring LaVine, teams around the NBA are keeping an eye on DeMar DeRozan in case the Bulls decide to make him available as well, according to Charania.
“The sense around the league is whether it’s LaVine or DeRozan or both, there could be movement in Chicago sooner than later,” Charania said.
Here’s more on LaVine:
- The Lakers are among five destinations that Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype believes make sense for LaVine, but his other four suggestions are teams not mentioned by Charania: the Magic, Pistons, Hornets, and Mavericks. Dallas may not be an ideal fit for LaVine after adding Kyrie Irving earlier this year, but the Mavs have reportedly had interest in the Bulls guard in the past, Gozlan notes.
- In a mailbag for The Athletic, Kelly Iko makes the case that the Grizzlies would be an ideal fit for LaVine, contending that pairing him with Desmond Bane on the wing would help the team in the short term and open up space for Ja Morant to operate when he returns from his suspension.
- Steve Popper of Newsday doesn’t view the Knicks as a likely suitor for LaVine, suggesting that it wouldn’t make sense to give up RJ Barrett as part of a larger package for the Bulls guard, since LaVine is five years older, significantly more expensive, and has been more injury-prone.
- As good as LaVine has been as a scorer in recent years, his best hasn’t been good enough for the Bulls, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic, who suggests that it might be in both sides’ best interest to go in a new direction.
Veteran center DeMarcus Cousins, who last played in Puerto Rico, is drawing “strong” interest from a team in the Chinese Basketball Association, sources tell Orazio Cauchi of BasketNews.com. While it’s unclear which team in China is pursuing Cousins, one of BasketNews’ sources believes that a deal will be reached.
As Cauchi explains, Cousins – who has earned four All-Star nods and been named an All-NBA player twice – was already in China for a series of promotional events. Negotiations with the mystery CBA team have reportedly gotten more serious since he arrived in the country.
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- While Las Vegas and Seattle are the destinations most frequently cited for the next round of NBA expansion, commissioner Adam Silver said during an appearance on NBC Sports Boston’s Celtics telecast on Monday (Twitter video link via The Shift) that he wouldn’t rule out a pair of Canadian cities as eventual homes for NBA franchises. “I know there’s interest from Montreal, we’ve heard from them,” Silver said. “There’s still ongoing interest in Vancouver. … There will be more opportunity (in Canada) over time.”
- Keith Smith of Spotrac recently took a closer look at each team’s projected spending power for the 2024 offseason, naming the Magic, Sixers, and Pistons as the clubs that are in the best position to create significant cap room.
- Netflix has conveyed some interest in broadcasting the NBA’s in-season tournament in future seasons, sources tell John Ourand of Sports Business Journal. The 2023/24 in-season tournament games are airing on ESPN, TNT, and regional sports networks, but that could change in the NBA’s next media deal.
- Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report ranked the best players and prospects on two-way contracts, with Pelicans sharpshooter Matt Ryan and Celtics big man Neemias Queta earning the top spots on his list.
After spending last season in Milwaukee playing for a Bucks team with title aspirations, veteran forward Joe Ingles opted to sign with the Magic in free agency, joining a rising club that hasn’t made the postseason since 2020.
Speaking to Eric Nehm of The Athletic, Ingles explained that Orlando and the Magic “ticked a lot of boxes” for him and his family when he was considering his options as a free agent this summer. There’s a local school that’s a good fit for his son Jacob, who is autistic, and he liked the role that head coach Jamahl Mosley was offering, as well as the ability to be a veteran leader on a young team.
“I’m very well aware of where I’m at in my career,” Ingles said. “Like, I’m not going to play 35 minutes, so I’ve been enjoying that side of it. And then obviously, the lifestyle for the kids and (my wife) Renae and everything just kind of lined up. The money’s a bonus in the scheme of things, but it kind of ended up being a pretty easy decision at the end of it.”
Ingles, who is earning $11MM in his first season in Orlando, spoke to Nehm about a handful of other topics. Here are a few of the highlights:
On spending the 2022/23 season with the Bucks:
“We really enjoyed the year. Everything was really good, except the way we lost. So that part was the disappointing part, but I guess that’s kind of like the NBA. It’s hard to win. I think we had the best record or the second-best record or whatever we had. It shows you how good the league is. … (But) I got to play with some great players and learn a lot and obviously playing for (Mike Budenholzer) and doing all that stuff was really cool. So definitely no regrets of why I went there or the decision, but obviously winning would have topped that off.”
On joining a team that isn’t currently considered a contender:
“It’s an adjustment, even just the mindset of like, ‘Yeah, you guys might not have won games previously or many games previously, but f–k that. We’ve been in every game this year, why can’t we win these games?’
“… I think it’s just us learning on the fly, playing the right way, winning, closing games. We talked a lot about like not beating ourselves, like I think we had 12 turnovers at halftime the other night. We were still in the game though, so those things can show how good we can be. And I think that is the defensive end. We might have 12 turnovers, but if we can be a top five, top 10 or whatever that ends up being defensively, then we’re going to put ourselves in a position to be in every game.”
On Paolo Banchero and the Magic’s “young” roster:
“(Banchero) works his ass off. He is really unselfish. He’s a great teammate. I think having that combination of stuff sets you up pretty well for the future. Obviously he’s got a lot of basketball ahead of him and so does Franz (Wanger). All that potential and now it’s about us harnessing that and putting it in the right spots. Using our young guys, or whatever people want to call them, in the right way.
“I think to me it’s like, ‘Oh, you’re young. You’re young, young, young.’ But I think it’s a positive, too. Like if we’re young, that means someone is old. So, it’s like, let’s use that to our advantage and a part of that is obviously getting experience. And I mean, there’s been two or three games this year we probably should watch like we should be 6-2 or 7-1. … So, for us, it’s just taking those lessons and yeah, it’s been a fun year so far.”
Vanderbilt, 24, has yet to make his 2023/24 regular season debut, missing all 10 of the Lakers’ games due to left heel bursitis. Since he’s been sidelined for several weeks and has been dealing with a foot injury, it might take him some time to ramp up his conditioning.
Still, it’s obviously a positive update for both Vanderbilt and the team. The Lakers’ defense is currently ranked 22nd in the league, and having one of their top defenders nearing a return should help with that figure.
Here are a few more injury notes from around the NBA:
- Suns guard Bradley Beal missed Phoenix’s first seven games with a lower back injury, which he tweaked during Sunday’s loss to Oklahoma City, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Beal said his back was “a little tight” throughout the game and he needs to be “smart moving forward” after choosing to play the second half despite being less than 100 percent. “We’ve been trending in the right direction,” Beal said. “This is probably the first day we’ve had, I don’t want to say a setback, but where it’s gotten tight throughout the course of a game. It’s just evaluating that seeing how; recovery is always the biggest question. How I feel afterward. See how I feel (Sunday night), in the morning and hopefully I don’t feel like I got hit by a bus and I’ll be good to go come Wednesday.”
- Magic guards Gary Harris and Markelle Fultz will be sidelined Tuesday in Brooklyn, but they’re traveling with the team on Orlando’s four-game road trip, according to Dan Savage of OrlandoMagic.com (Twitter link). It will be the fifth straight absence for Harris, who is battling a right groin strain, while Fultz is dealing with left knee soreness.
- Nets center Nic Claxton had a strong performance in Sunday’s victory over Washington, notes Dan Martin of The New York Post. Claxton, who had missed the past eight games with a high left ankle sprain, finished with 10 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks in 28 minutes.
- Unfortunately, Lonnie Walker aggravated a left knee injury on Sunday, Martin adds, but the Nets guard sounds determined to play through it. “I’ll be ready for the next game,” said Walker. “If my leg’s not broken, I’m gonna keep playing. We’ll see how it goes [Monday]. … It’s a lot of pain. I’ve been playing through it.” Walker is officially questionable for Tuesday’s game with a left knee contusion, while Ben Simmons will miss his fourth straight game with a left hip contusion, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter link).
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported earlier this week that the Suns are optimistic about getting Booker back at some point during their three-game home stand, which begins tonight. While Charania suggested a Friday return was a possibility, it appears that’s not in the cards — Phoenix’s home stand continues with games on Sunday (vs. Oklahoma City) and Wednesday (vs. Minnesota) before the club heads back out on the road.
Here are a few more injury-related notes from around the NBA:
- Nets wing Cameron Johnson (calf) will be available on Friday in Boston for the first time since opening night, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter links). However, Ben Simmons will remain on the shelf for a second consecutive game due to left hip soreness.
- Celtics big man Al Horford, who didn’t play both ends of back-to-back sets last season, will be held out of Friday’s game, which is part of the team’s first back-to-back of 2023/24, notes Jay King of The Athletic (Twitter link). However, Horford’s frontcourt partner Kristaps Porzingis says he intends to play both Friday and Saturday, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Boston is listing Horford as out due to right knee injury management.
- Kings star De’Aaron Fox will be unavailable for Friday’s in-season tournament game vs. Oklahoma City, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee tweets. It’s the fifth straight contest Fox has missed as a result of his sprained right ankle.
- While Magic wing Gary Harris missed his third consecutive game due to a right groin strain on Thursday, Markelle Fultz returned from the left knee ailment that cost him three games and reclaimed his spot in the starting lineup (Twitter link). Orlando didn’t appear to have any restrictions on Fultz during the Mexico City showcase — his 29 minutes were right in line with season average.