NBA Announces Finalists For Sportsmanship, Teammate Of The Year Awards

The NBA announced the 2023/24 finalists for a pair of awards on Tuesday, naming the six players who are eligible to win the Sportsmanship Award for this season, as well as the 12 players who are in the running for Teammate of the Year honors.

The Sportsmanship Award honors the player who “best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court,” per the NBA. Each of the league’s 30 teams nominated one of its players for the award, then a panel of league executives narrows that group to six finalists (one from each division) and current players voted for the winner.

The trophy for the Sportsmanship Award is named after Joe Dumars, the Hall-of-Fame guard who won the inaugural award back in ’95/96. This season’s finalists are as follows (via Twitter):

None of this year’s finalists for the Sportsmanship Award have earned the honor in the past, so the 2023/24 winner will be a first-timer. Mike Conley won the award last year for a record fourth time.

Meanwhile, the NBA also announced its finalists for the Teammate of the Year award for 2023/24. According to the league, the player selected for the honor is “deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on- and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and commitment and dedication to team.”

The voting process is similar to the Sportsmanship Award — a panel of league executives selects 12 finalists (six from each conference) for the award, then current players vote on the winner.

Like Conley with the Sportsmanship Award, last season’s Teammate of the Year – Jrue Holiday – has the record for most times winning the award (three), but isn’t among the finalists for 2023/24. Of this season’s 12 finalists, the only one to take home the award in the past is Conley, who claimed it in 2019.

The Teammate of the Year finalists finalists are as follows (via Twitter):

Central Notes: Turner, Portis, Lillard, Vucevic, Bulls

The Pacers‘ blowout win over Brooklyn on Monday was marred to some extent by an injury sustained by starting center Myles Turner. As Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star writes, Turner dislocated his right index finger late in the first half. After shooting a pair of free throws left-handed, he headed to the locker room and didn’t return to the game.

Head coach Rick Carlisle told reporters after the victory that Turner underwent X-rays, which were negative, so the finger doesn’t appear to be fractured. However, it’s unclear whether the big man will be able to play through the injury or if he’ll have to miss some time.

Turner has started 72 of the Pacers’ first 76 games this season, averaging 16.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks in 27.1 minutes per night. Reserve center Isaiah Jackson started three of the four games Turner missed, while Jalen Smith subbed in for the other. Both Jackson and Smith would be candidates for increased roles if Turner is unavailable for any games going forward.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Bucks big man Bobby Portis has built a strong case for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award this season due to his versatility, energy, leadership, and strong production off the bench, argues Lori Nickel of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. However, as Nickel notes, the award has gone to a shooting guard in 11 of the last 12 years. “I’ve wanted to win it. I’ve been talking about it for, like, five years,” Portis said last week. “Yeah. But they never vote for me though. Because I’m a big man and it is not cool; they told me it’s more of a guard award.”
  • Damian Lillard has been ruled out for the Bucks‘ game in Washington on Tuesday due to a right groin strain, tweets Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Lillard also missed Sunday’s contest in Atlanta, though that was said to be for personal reasons.
  • Nikola Vucevic‘s three-point percentage has dipped noticeably in the first season of a three-year contract — his 28.6% mark is his worst since he started regularly attempting outside shots seven years ago. However, as Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times writes, Bulls head coach Billy Donovan praised the veteran center for his play this season and indicated he doesn’t believe the 33-year-old’s skills are diminishing. “He’s a consummate professional, he’s incredibly reliable, he’s durable, he’s available, which is the most important thing,” Donovan said. “I know he’s a much, much better shooter than he has shown this year. I really believe that.”
  • Despite losing to Atlanta on Monday, the Bulls clinched a spot in the Eastern Conference’s play-in tournament, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Even if they don’t win another game, the Bulls can’t finish worse than 36-46, while the 11th-place Nets can’t do better than 35-47.

Atlantic Notes: Lowry, Embiid, Anunoby, Watford

Since joining the Sixers as a buyout-market signing, Kyle Lowry has started 15 of the 18 games he has played for his hometown team, averaging 8.7 points and 4.8 assists per night while knocking down 39.0% of his three-point attempts.

As Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes, Lowry’s role in Philadelphia is among the biggest any buyout player in recent history has taken on, but that’s perhaps not surprising given the history between the veteran point guard and the Sixers’ head coach. Lowry and Nick Nurse were together for years in Toronto, including for the team’s 2019 championship, and Nurse still trusts the six-time All-Star at age 38.

“He’s a good organizer,” Nurse said. “I think that he’s really helped our defense get better and better just by (understanding) a lot of the things that we want to do as a coaching staff. He kind of makes sure they get done out there on the floor. He’s been really good in that sense.”

For his part, Lowry has been ready and willing to accept a lesser role than the one he played under Nurse in Toronto.

“I’m not the go-to guy on this team. I’m the guy that is going to help the go-to guys get better, get open looks,” Lowry said. “If I need to be a go-to guy, I can. Whatever I’m needed (for), I will be able to do.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Confirming reporting that Joel Embiid is very close to returning for the Sixers, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said during a SportsCenter appearance on Monday that Embiid’s knee has been “sound” during his ramp-up process and that he’s focused now on improving his conditioning (Twitter video link).
  • The Knicks have updated the designation for OG Anunoby‘s right elbow injury, referring to it as tendinopathy – also known as tennis elbow – after having previously listed him as out due to “injury management,” per Stefan Bondy and Michael Blinn of The New York Post. Shams Charania of The Athletic said during an appearance on FanDuel’s Run it Back show on Monday (Twitter video link) that Anunoby appears more likely than Julius Randle to return to action in the coming days or weeks.
  • After being in and out of the Nets‘ rotation for much of the season, forward Trendon Watford has been very productive off the bench for the past five games, averaging 15.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.6 assists with a .667/.500/.647 shooting line in 25.4 minutes per night, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The late-season surge may help convince Brooklyn to issue him a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent this offseason. “I just take advantage of the work I’ve been putting in in the dark,” Watford said. “And I felt like even early in the year when I felt like I should have been playing, even when I wasn’t, I was still just putting in the work, knowing opportunities were going to come.”

Rajon Rondo Confirms Retirement From NBA

Longtime NBA point guard Rajon Rondo confirmed during an appearance on the All the Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson (YouTube link) that he has retired as an NBA player.

Asked by Barnes if his NBA career is over, Rondo replied, “Absolutely,” adding that he wants to focus on spending time with his kids.

Rondo, 38, last played in the league during the 2021/22 season when he appeared in 39 total games for the Lakers and Cavaliers. He played in 957 regular season games and 134 additional postseason contests over the course of 16 years in the NBA, winning titles in 2008 with the Celtics and 2020 with the Lakers.

Rondo was never an elite scorer, but was a talented play-maker and defender who led the league in assists per game three times and made four All-Defensive teams. He also earned All-Star nods in four consecutive seasons in Boston from 2010-13 and was named to the All-NBA third team in 2012.

After spending the first eight-and-a-half years of his career with the Celtics, the former 21st overall out of Kentucky was traded to the Mavericks and spent the next several years bouncing around the NBA. In addition to Boston, Dallas, Cleveland and the Lakers, Rondo also suited up for the Kings, Bulls, Pelicans, Hawks, and Clippers.

The veteran point guard finished his career with regular season averages of 9.8 points, 7.9 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.6 steals in 29.9 minutes per game, with a shooting line of .456/.324/.611. He earned approximately $118MM in salary over the course of his career, per Basketball-Reference.

While his playing time and production declined in his later seasons, Rondo’s exit from the NBA may have been expedited by a series of legal issues in recent years. Most recently, he was arrested in Indiana this January for unlawful possession of a firearm, drug paraphernalia, and marijuana.

Celtics Notes: Williams, White, Brown, Hauser

Hornets big man Grant Williams has fond memories of his days with the Celtics, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe writes. Williams was moved to Dallas in a sign-and-trade transaction last offseason. He was then dealt to Charlotte at the trade deadline.

“That’s where I was first drafted; that’s the team that believed in me,” Williams said. “I had so many great memories of the team there, the players there, the organization and the city. I’m thankful just to be able to go back and be well received. Honestly, I loved my time in Boston and I loved those years. I enjoyed the experience there and now it’s a matter of when I go back, trying your best to keep your emotions in and compete and that’s something I’ll have to do for the rest of my career.”

Charlotte will play at Boston on April 12.

We have more on the Celtics:

  • Derrick White earned a $500K bonus by surpassing 185 three-pointers made this season, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. The bonus was deemed unlikely before the season, so Boston will have an additional $500K charged toward its team salary. White’s cap hit for 2024/25 is now adjusted to $20,071,429.
  • Jaylen Brown sat out Monday’s game against Charlotte due to a hand sprain, Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets. The good news is the coach Joe Mazzulla said Brown’s injury is minor and he was held out as a precaution, Washburn tweets.
  • Sam Hauser had his second biggest output of the season against the Hornets in Boston’s 118-104 win. He knocked down seven three-pointers while scoring 25 points, Steve Reed of The Associated Press notes. Boston holds a club option on Hauser’s $2.09MM contract for next season. “I think just layers of our offense is what unleashes him,” Mazzulla said. “The guys understand that he’s a weapon in different ways, and so when we get to the second and third layer of our offense, especially when teams are guarding us a certain way, it really unleashes guys like Sam. And his teammates continuing to trust him and find him within the layers of our offense.”

And-Ones: Clingan, Knecht, Sears, Gambling

UConn center Donovan Clingan is zooming up the draft boards after his dominant performances in the NCAA Tournament. In the latest ESPN mock draft, Jeremy Woo and Jonathan Givony list Clingan as the No. 3 overall selection to Charlotte.

Clingan is averaging 15.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game in the tournament, including an overwhelming defensive effort in the Elite Eight against Illinois. Tennessee forward Dalton Knecht, who scored 37 points against Purdue on Sunday, is projected as the No. 8 pick.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • On a similar topic, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor agrees that Clingan has been the biggest riser on draft boards with his tournament performances. O’Connor projects Clingan as a high-level rim protector with potential All-Defensive team ability. He is also an excellent finisher at the rim, has good hands, and makes smart decisions in the post. In fact, UConn’s entire starting five could get drafted, according to O’Connor, who also sees Alabama’s Mark Sears as a Jalen Brunson clone.
  • In the wake of the Jontay Porter investigation, among other gambling-related controversies in other sports, The Athletic’s Jim Trotter criticizes sports leagues for welcoming legalized gambling. Trotter argues that those leagues have sacrificed the ideal of protecting the integrity of their games in order to rake in more money.
  • In case you missed it, Danuel House has changed agents after failing to hook on with another NBA team. He was traded from Philadelphia to Detroit before February’s deadline, then cut loose by the Pistons.

Pacific Notes; Lue, Monk, Lyles, Vezenkov, LeBron, Davis, Vincent

Tyronn Lue called his team soft after a 3-6 stretch late last month. The Clippers got the message, reeling off three consecutive victories for the first time since early February, Law Murray of The Athletic writes. They’ve defeated Philadelphia, Orlando and Charlotte during the winning streak.

The Clippers will finish off a four-game road swing at Sacramento on Tuesday. “Getting a win however you’ve got to get it is the most important thing, but we’ve still got a lot to build on and get better with,” Lue said. “We’ll take the win. The Philly and the Orlando games were two good games that we needed – two gritty wins, tough wins on the road. And then (Sunday), just sticking with it even though we didn’t do a good job defensively.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Kings coach Mike Brown said they’ll use a committee approach to replace Malik Monk, who is sidelined with an MCL sprain. “You can’t replace Malik,” Brown said, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “That’s tough. He did a lot for us and he could easily start for a lot of teams, but he was on the floor a lot of times down the stretch in our games, so to think that one person is going to come in and replace him, it’s not possible, so we have to do it by committee. It’s just the next guy up, and if your number is called, you have to go play within what you do and play your role as best you can.”
  • On the flip side, forwards Trey Lyles and Sasha Vezenkov were back in action for the Kings during Saturday’s win over Utah, Anderson notes. Lyles, who hadn’t played since March 12 due to a left knee sprain, had 11 points, four rebounds, three assists and one blocked shot. Vezenkov, who missed 22 games with a Grade 3 right ankle sprain, added five points, two rebounds, one assist and two steals in 10 minutes. “The size just helps especially on the glass, and both those guys, whether they come up with it or not, they’re battling,” Brown said. “They’re hitting bodies. They’re guys who are both used to taking big shots. They both are really, really good 3-point shooters. You’ve got to guard them outside that line, so it opens up the floor a little bit more for everybody else. “
  • Anthony Davis (left knee) and LeBron James (left ankle) are listed by the Lakers as questionable to play against Toronto on Tuesday, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tweets. Jarred Vanderbilt (foot sprain) and Cam Reddish (personal reasons) will miss the game, as will Gabe Vincent (left knee injury recovery). Vincent returned to action on Sunday after being sidelined for over three months due to knee surgery and had two points in 14 minutes against Brooklyn.

Spurs’ Vassell, Sochan To Miss Remainder Of Season

Spurs guard Devin Vassell and forward Jeremy Sochan will miss the remainder of the season, according to a team press release.

Vassell underwent an MRI Monday morning in San Antonio. The exam revealed a stress reaction to the third metatarsal head in his right foot.

Sochan has been diagnosed with a left ankle impingement and he’ll undergo arthroscopic surgery. That determination was made after the Spurs medical team consulted with outside experts.

Vassell signed a five-year rookie scale extension with $135MM in guaranteed money last October. That extension kicks in next season. He finished this season with averages of 19.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.1 steals in 33.1 minutes per game. He appeared in 68 games, including 62 starts.

Sochan completes his second NBA season with averages of 11.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 29.6 minutes per game. The No. 9 pick of the 2022 draft appeared in 74 games, including 73 starts.

Southeast Notes: Russell, Johnson, Griffin, Gueye, Miller, George

The Magic may take a run at D’Angelo Russell in free agency this summer. The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, who covers the Lakers, has heard that Orlando would be the biggest threat to sign away the combo guard (hat tip to Jesse Cinquini of

“Orlando is the team that — talking to people with the Lakers, talking to people outside the Lakers — Orlando is the team that probably gives them the most concern in terms of a potential suitor,” Buha said.

Russell would give Orlando’s backcourt an offensive boost. He’s averaging 18.1 points and 6.4 assists per game while shooting a career-best 41.9% from deep this season. Russell holds an $18.7MM option on his contract for next season and can become an unrestricted free agent by turning down that option.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks forward Jalen Johnson will return to action on Monday night against the Bulls, The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweets. Johnson, who is averaging 16.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per contest, has been out since March 18 after suffering an ankle sprain against the Lakers. The Hawks currently hold the final spot for the East’s play-in tournament at No. 10 in the conference.
  • Several other Hawks players still require more time to come back from their injuries, the team’s PR department tweets. AJ Griffin (right high ankle sprain) has progressed to individual basketball activities and will be re-evaluated in seven-to-10 days. Mouhamed Gueye (right UCL sprain) has progressed to full contact workouts, while Onyeka Okongwu (left big toe sprain) has resumed individual basketball activities. He will also be re-evaluated in seven-to-10 days.
  • Hornets rookie forward Brandon Miller has labeled Clippers forward Paul George the “Greatest Player of All-Time.” Miller got a chance to match up against his idol on Sunday, contributing 22 points, six rebounds and four assists in 40 minutes during Charlotte’s 12-point loss. George paid back Miller with a compliment, according to Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer. “He’s got a ton of game, and a ton of talent and I’m in his corner,” George said. “So can’t wait to see him fully blossom and be one of those guys that carried the league for a long time.”