Suns Rumors

Injury Notes: Haliburton, Bam, K. Murray, Nuggets, Suns, Hornets

Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton is expected to miss Saturday’s game against Miami, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. Indiana’s best player is officially listed as questionable.

As Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star tweets, Haliburton missed the team’s shootaround this morning due to a right knee bone bruise and an upper respiratory infection. The Pacers went just 6-20 without Haliburton last season, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter).

Haliburton, who signed a five-year, maximum-salary rookie scale extension in the offseason, is off to an All-NBA-caliber start to 2023/24, averaging career highs of 27.0 points and a league-leading 11.8 assists while posting an elite .519/.447/.880 shooting line. The Pacers host the Celtics on Monday for the quarterfinal of the league’s inaugural in-season tournament, so hopefully he’ll be back in time for that contest.

Heat center Bam Adebayo has also been ruled out of Saturday’s contest due to a left hip contusion, tweets Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (subscriber link) wouldn’t be surprised to see Orlando Robinson get the starting nod in his place, with Kevin Love continuing to come off the bench due to the synergy he’s developing with the second unit.

Here are a few more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • Kings forward Keegan Murray, the No. 4 overall pick of last year’s draft, will return on Saturday against Denver after missing four games due to lower back soreness, sources tell Sean Cunningham of Fox 40 KTXL (Twitter link). As for the Nuggets, Jamal Murray (ankle) and Aaron Gordon (heel) are questionable after missing Friday’s game against Phoenix, according to Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link).
  • Suns star Devin Booker is questionable for Saturday’s contest vs. Memphis, notes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Booker, who is dealing with an ankle sprain, missed Friday’s game against Denver. Eric Gordon is also questionable due to a right knee contusion.
  • Hornets backup center Nick Richards will return to action on Saturday after missing the previous six games while in the league’s concussion protocol, the team announced (via Twitter). No. 2 overall pick Brandon Miller will also be available after missing Charlotte’s last game with a left ankle injury.

Veteran NBA Wing Terrence Ross Retires

Veteran wing Terrence Ross, who played 11 NBA seasons from 2012-23, officially announced his retirement on Friday evening via his podcast (YouTube link).

Ross spent the first four-plus seasons of his career with the Raptors, who selected him eighth overall in the 2012 draft. He was traded to Orlando in 2017 in the deal that sent Serge Ibaka to Toronto and spent parts of seven seasons with the Magic prior to being bought out and waived in February, ultimately signing with the Suns to finish out the 2022/23 season.

The 32-year-old was an unrestricted free agent this past offseason after his deal with Phoenix expired and didn’t end up signing another NBA contract. He confirmed a rumor back in August that he was offered a deal by a Serbian club, but obviously he didn’t accept it.

Ross, who played college ball at Washington and won the 2013 dunk contest, cited injuries and a desire to spend more time with his family as motivating factors in his decision to retire.

Overall, Ross appeared in 733 regular season games, including 187 starts, averaging 11.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists while shooting 36.2% from three-point range in 24.5 minutes per night.

After the Magic won their ninth straight game on Friday night, head coach Jamahl Mosley was asked about Ross’ retirement, as Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel relays (via Twitter). Ross sat courtside at the game.

He just brought such a great joy to this group. … They look up to him, they’re still in chats together,” Mosley said. “I think he’s such a great veteran for our guys with a young group when he was here, it was great to have him.”

Injury Notes: Oubre, Sixers, Edwards, Murray, Booker, Wiggins

Sixers wing Kelly Oubre was a full practice participant on Thursday and also did some extra work after practice, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Oubre hasn’t played since November 10 after being struck by a vehicle. There was initially some optimism that he could be upgraded from out to questionable for Friday’s matchup with Boston, but sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium that the veteran swingman is targeting a return next week, possibly Wednesday against Washington or Friday against Atlanta (Twitter link).

According to Pompey, X-rays on Nicolas Batum‘s injured finger were negative and he plans to play against the Celtics. Star center Joel Embiid is questionable with an illness, but head coach Nick Nurse thinks he’ll be ready to go, Pompey adds.

Here are a few more injury notes:

  • Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards sustained a bruised right hip on Tuesday against Oklahoma City after taking a hard fall, causing him to exit the game, according to an Associated Press report relayed by Edwards is officially listed as doubtful for Thursday’s game against Utah, but forward Kyle Anderson indicated the fourth-year guard won’t play, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Free agent addition Troy Brown is likely to start in Edwards’ place, Krawczynski adds (via Twitter).
  • Making his return from a hamstring injury on Wednesday, Nuggets guard Jamal Murray contributed 16 points (on 4-of-14 shooting), six rebounds and six assists in 22 minutes. However, he appeared to roll his right ankle and might miss Friday’s contest in Phoenix, writes Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post. Murray said he was “frustrated” by the ankle injury, which he iced throughout the game when he wasn’t playing.
  • The Suns got good and bad news on Wednesday. Kevin Durant returned from a two-game absence in the loss to Toronto, but Devin Booker suffered a right ankle injury after landing on Dennis Schröder‘s foot, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. It’s unclear if Booker will miss time with the injury, but he had his worst game of the season trying to play through it yesterday.
  • Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins has been ruled out of Thursday’s game against the Clippers, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. The former No. 1 overall pick is dealing with right finger soreness. Golden State will be shorthanded, as Chris Paul (leg contusion) and Gary Payton II (calf) are also out.

Frank Vogel Says Bol Bol Will Get His Chance

  • Suns coach Frank Vogel told reporters after tonight’s game that Bol Bol will eventually get a chance to prove he can help the team (video link). A free agent addition this summer, Bol has played just seven total minutes in three games.

Magic Notes: Carter, Fultz, Okeke, Defense

Speaking to the media on Tuesday for the first time since breaking a bone in his left hand nearly four weeks ago, Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. admitted that he was frustrated at the time of the injury, knowing he would likely be facing an extended absence. However, he’s in better spirits now after having his cast removed, writes Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel (subscription required).

“Today was probably one of the best days of my life,” Carter said on Tuesday. “When [the doctor] was saying I didn’t have to wear the cast anymore, it was like, ‘OK, it’s another step in the right direction.’ I’m just super excited just to finally get back out there at some point and help this team continue to win.”

According to Beede, Carter expects it will be about two weeks before he gets the green light from team doctors to resume practicing in full. The former seventh overall pick has been replaced by Goga Bitadze, who has started the past 12 games in the middle for the Magic. As Beede writes, Orlando hasn’t missed a beat during that time, improving its record to 12-5, and Carter has enjoyed watching the team’s success from the sidelines.

“We’re one of those teams that can hold their own against any team in this league,” he said. “Being able to sit on the sidelines and watch the joy that everyone’s playing with, [it] just gives me extra confidence, extra motivation so when I come back I’ll be able to play with that same joy and confidence as they are.”

Here are a few more notes on the Magic:

  • Magic point guard Markelle Fultz will miss a 10th consecutive game on Wednesday due to left knee tendinitis. Fultz hasn’t played since November 9 and has only appeared in one game this month, but head coach Jamahl Mosley indicated on Tuesday that he’s “coming along,” per Beede (Twitter link). “We’re going to constantly see how he reacts to just what is happening each day,” Mosley said. “And he’s progressing. We’re just going to continue to evaluate as we go day-to-day with him.”
  • Chuma Okeke is a name to monitor as a possible trade candidate this season, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who notes that teams like the Cavaliers, Suns, Bucks, and Nuggets have expressed exploratory interest in Okeke in the past. The fourth-year forward, who will be eligible for restricted free agency in 2024, is considered a good locker room presence and a hard worker, Scotto adds.
  • Speaking to Marc J. Spears of Andscape, Mosley said the camaraderie and selflessness among the Magic players is one reason why he was confident about the team’s outlook coming into this season. “It’s one of the best groups I’ve been around because it is a genuine care for the next guy,” Mosley said. “… And there was a joy for whoever was successful on any given night. There was never a thing like, ‘Oh, that guy’s got it going, now I need to get mine.’ It was like, ‘Oh man, I’m so proud of you. Keep doing your thing.’ No matter who it was. And that speaks volumes for a younger group.”
  • Both Spears and Josh Robbins of The Athletic took a closer look at the Magic’s hot start this season. Winners of seven straight games, Orlando ranks second in the NBA with a 107.0 defensive rating. “Coach Mos, I give him credit, he came in from training camp saying he wanted to be a No. 1-caliber defensive team in the league,” Paolo Banchero said. “That is what we have been so far. Give huge credit to the coaches for instilling that in us and the players for executing it.”

Quarterfinals Set For NBA’s Inaugural In-Season Tournament

The last set of round robin games for the NBA’s first-ever in-season tournament took place on Tuesday night, and the eight quarterfinalists are now known.

In the Eastern Conference, the Bucks and Celtics joined the Pacers as group winners, while the Knicks claimed the wild card spot.

With a road victory over Miami on Tuesday, Milwaukee secured a 4-0 record in group play, and the Bucks’ +46 point differential was better than Indiana’s +39 mark, making them the No. 1 seed in the conference, with the Pacers coming in at No. 2.

A 124-97 victory over Chicago ensured that the Celtics finished group play with a 3-1 record and a +27 point differential. Orlando and Brooklyn also won three games in East Group C, but their respective point differentials (+22 and +20) weren’t quite good enough to match Boston’s.

The Magic and Nets were still in play for the wild card spot, but the Knicks’ 115-91 win over Charlotte on Tuesday increased their overall point differential to +42, giving them the edge over their fellow 3-1 Eastern clubs, including Cleveland.

Over in the Western Conference, the Lakers – who previously won their group – clinched the No. 1 seed based on Tuesday’s results. They’ll be joined in the quarterfinals by the 4-0 Kings and the 3-1 Pelicans and Suns.

The only other Western team to go undefeated in round robin games, Sacramento secured its spot with an impressive comeback win over Golden State, 124-123. The Kings’ overall point differential of +30 wasn’t anywhere close to the Lakers’ mark of +74, so Sacramento will enter the quarterfinals as the West’s No. 2 seed.

Because Houston fell to Dallas on Tuesday, the Pelicans finished as the only 3-1 team in Group B, clinching the West’s No. 3 seed.

The Suns, like New Orleans, were off on Tuesday, but benefited from the results of the action. Although the Timberwolves defeated Oklahoma City and matched Phoenix’s 3-1 record, Minnesota finished with a +0 point differential, far off the +34 mark posted by the Suns, who will be the West’s wild card team.

Here’s the quarterfinal schedule, per the NBA (Twitter link):

Monday, December 4:

  • Boston Celtics at Indiana Pacers (7:30 pm Eastern)
  • New Orleans Pelicans at Sacramento Kings (10:00 pm ET)

Tuesday, December 5:

  • New York Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks (7:30 pm ET)
  • Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers (10:00 pm ET)

The winners of those games will face one another in the semifinals on Dec. 7 in Las Vegas, with the finalists squaring off on Dec. 9. The quarterfinals and semifinals will count toward each club’s regular season record, but the final won’t.

The eight teams that have qualified as quarterfinalists have already earned bonuses worth $50K apiece for each of their players. Advancing to the semifinals would increase those bonuses to $100K per player, while making the final would bump the figure to $250K. The inaugural in-season tournament champion will receive bonuses of $500K per player.

Injury Notes: McCollum, James, Reddish, Murray, Markkanen, Durant, Connaughton

Pelicans guard CJ McCollum has been upgraded to questionable for Wednesday’s game against Philadelphia, the team’s PR department tweets. McCollum has been out since Nov. 4 after being diagnosed with a collapsed lung. McCollum has missed New Orleans’ last 12 games.

Trey Murphy III (knee) and Matt Ryan (calf) have been upgraded to doubtful. Murphy, a starter most of last season, has yet to make his season debut. Ryan hasn’t played since Nov. 18.

We have more injury-related updates:

  • Lakers star LeBron James is listed as questionable to play against Detroit on Wednesday due to a left calf contusion, according to the team’s PR department (hat tip to Orange County Register’s Khobi Price). Cam Reddish (left groin strain) and Anthony Davis (left adductor) are listed as probable, while Gabe Vincent, Rui Hachimura and Jarred Vanderbilt will not play.
  • Jamal Murray has been upgraded to questionable for the Nuggets’ game against Houston on Wednesday, Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports tweets. Murray has been out since Nov. 4 due to a hamstring strain.
  • Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen will miss at least two more games due to a left hamstring strain, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets. He’ll be reevaluated after the team returns from its two-game road trip.
  • The Suns have listed Kevin Durant (right foot contusion) and Grayson Allen (illness) as questionable to play Wednesday against Toronto, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports tweets.
  • Pat Connaughton exited the Bucks’ game on Tuesday early with a right ankle sprain, the team tweets.

Booker Thriving In Dual Offensive Role

  • With Chris Paul gone, Suns star Devin Booker has taken on the dual roles of being a top scorer and primary play-maker. He’s thriving with the added responsibility, Gerald Bourguet of notes. Booker is averaging 29.4 points, 8.9 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game and is scoring efficiently. “He came in scoring 70 against the Celtics pretty early in his career, so yeah, I don’t wanna say he’s just grown and grown as a scorer,” coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s always kind of had that killer instinct, but I think leadership, seeing all the different coverages that you see as an elite player over the years, it just gets you sharper with how to attack them.”

Devin Booker, Paolo Banchero Named Players Of The Week

Suns guard Devin Booker and Magic forward Paolo Banchero have been named the NBA’s players of the week, the league announced on Monday (via Twitter).

Booker, who won for the Western Conference, led Phoenix to a 4-0 week. He averaged 30.3 points, 7.8 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 block on .481/.429/.902 shooting in his four appearances, including a game-winning three-pointer over the Knicks on Sunday. The Suns have won seven straight and currently hold an 11-6 record.

Banchero, the East’s winner, guided Orlando to a perfect 4-0 week. The 2023 Rookie of the Year averaged 23.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.0 block on .544/.526/.625 shooting in four games, including victories over Denver and Boston. Like the Suns, the Magic have also won seven consecutive games, and are now 12-5.

According to the NBA (Twitter links), the other nominees in the West were Anthony Davis, Anthony Edwards, Paul George, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jerami Grant and Brandon Ingram, while Jarrett Allen, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Spencer Dinwiddie, Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Banchero’s teammate Franz Wagner were nominated in the East.

KD Day-To-Day After Missing Second Straight Game Sunday

  • Suns star Kevin Durant missed his second straight game on Sunday in New York due to right foot soreness, as relays. Durant, who warmed up before contest before being ruled out, is considered day-to-day. Phoenix’s next game isn’t until Wednesday in Toronto, so he’ll have some extra rest the next couple days.