Abdel Nader

International Notes: Nader, McLemore, Frazier, Walker

Abdel Nader has signed with the South East Melbourne Phoenix for the remainder of the 2023/24 NBL season, the team says, (Twitter link via Olgun Uluc of ESPN). The NBA’s Suns waived Nader back in February 2022 and he never worked his way back into the league. Nader, 30, appeared in 202 NBA games with the Celtics, Thunder and Suns.

We have more from around the international basketball world:

  • Longtime NBA guard Ben McLemore has parted ways with Greece’s AEK Betsson, according to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops.net. It was his first stint in Europe after playing in China last season. In Greece’s Stoiximan Basket League, McLemore averaged 9.7 points and 3.9 rebounds in seven appearances. McLemore played for the Kings, Grizzlies, Rockets, Lakers and Trail Blazers over the course of his nine-year NBA career, which spanned from 2013-22.
  • Greece’s Promitheas Patras has signed former NBA guard Tim Frazier, according to Eurohoops. Frazier previously played in that country with AEK Athens and, most recently spent time in France with SIG Strasbourg. The 33-year-old averaged 11.3 points, 5.0 assists and 2.8 rebounds with AEK in 2022/23 and posted 8.3 points, 4.4 assists and 3.3 rebounds over seven games with Strasbourg. He appeared in 289 NBA games, most recently in 2021/22 when he saw action in 12 contests with the Magic and Cavs.
  • Kemba Walker is enjoying his transition to European basketball, playing for AS Monaco, Eurohoops relays. In an interview with Joe Arlauckas of The Crossover, Walker said, “I wanted to have a new experience. I wanted to try to experience the world. And it’s really been an easy adjustment. These guys welcomed me with open arms, treated me with a lot of respect. Just really made my transition super easy.” The former NBA All-Star had a nine-game stint with the Mavs last season.

Suns Release Abdel Nader, Justin Jackson

The Suns have officially waived Abdel Nader, the team announced today in a press release (Twitter link via Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic). Phoenix had to remove a player from its 15-man roster in order to accommodate its acquisition of Aaron Holiday.

Nader, 28, was sent from Oklahoma City to Phoenix during the 2020 offseason in the Chris Paul trade. Since then, he has appeared in 38 games with the team, averaging 5.1 PPG and 2.3 RPG on .457/.386/.723 shooting in 13.2 MPG.

Injuries marred Nader’s time with the Suns. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in late April 2021, and while he returned from that injury in the playoffs and was available to start the 2021/22 season, that knee continued to give him problems. Nader hadn’t played for Phoenix since November and was being listed on the injury report as out due to right knee injury management.

The Suns will be on the hook for the rest of Nader’s $2MM this season, but won’t owe him any money beyond that. He had a $2.16MM team option for 2022/23.

Phoenix also terminated the 10-day contract of Justin Jackson, per today’s announcement. Jackson’s deal, signed last Tuesday, would’ve expired at the end of the day, so he’ll become a free agent a day early. Unlike Nader, Jackson won’t have to pass through waivers.

Injury Updates: Ball, LaVine, Nader, Collins, Lopez, Carter

Lonzo Ball and Zach LaVine will both miss the Bulls‘ upcoming three-game road trip so they can receive treatment for knee injuries, writes Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. Coach Billy Donovan updated their conditions in a media session before tonight’s game, saying the team’s first treatment plan for Ball’s knee was unsuccessful.

Ball, who was sent back to Chicago before Monday’s contest in Memphis, had his diagnosis changed from soreness in the knee to a bone contusion. Donovan said a timetable for his return won’t be set until the medical staff sees how he responds to the new treatments, adding that doctors haven’t considered the possibility of surgery yet.

“I think the biggest thing right now is what are the steps that we can do to get him back and get him healthy,” Donovan said. “I haven’t gotten into any detail with them (doctors) about that other than, hey, we’ll try this treatment, we’ll try this therapy, see how it goes, and then whatever the next step is that will be. But I haven’t been told what any next steps are gonna be.”

LaVine, who hasn’t played since leaving last Wednesday’s game in the first quarter, is responding to therapy for pain in his left knee, Donovan added. There’s no timeline for LaVine’s return either, but Donovan said he has been shooting free throws and doing strength training.

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • Suns forward Abdel Nader is making progress after missing the last 28 games with an injury to his right knee, but it will be a while before he can play again, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “He’s starting to ramp up,” coach Monty Williams said. “He hasn’t done any 1-on-1, 2-on-2, 3-on-3. So he’s still a ways away.”
  • Spurs center Zach Collins is getting closer to making his season debut after playing in the G League Monday, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express News (Twitter link). Collins expects to play another G League game Friday, and coach Gregg Popovich said there’s not a definite time when he’ll be called up.
  • The Bucks haven’t set a timetable for center Brook Lopez to return after having back surgery in early December, tweets Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We felt positive when we had the surgery,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “All the reports coming out of it, the hopes and the expectations. So nothing’s changed, nothing’s new. … This is all kind of to some degree what we expected, planned and we’ll continue to monitor and see how he progresses.”
  • Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. missed his seventh straight game tonight with soreness in his left hamstring, but acting head coach Jesse Mermuys said he’s “very close” to returning, tweets Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel.

COVID-19 Updates: Malone, Budenholzer, Hawks, Holiday, Marjanovic, Vincent, Nader

Two head coaches may clear health and safety protocols in time for their teams’ next games. Michael Malone traveled with the Nuggets to Oklahoma City and expects to be on the sidelines Sunday, tweets Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Malone missed four games while in the protocols, and acting coach Popeye Jones compiled a 2-2 record.

Darvin Ham, who is serving as acting head coach for the Bucks, is hoping Mike Budenholzer will be ready to return for Monday’s game at Charlotte, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic (Twitter link). Nehm suggests that Budenholzer still needs to return multiple negative tests before being cleared.

Here are more updates on COVID-19 and the health and safety protocols:

  • Hawks head coach Nate McMillan remains in the protocols, but assistant Chris Jent has been cleared and will serve as acting head coach for Sunday’s game against the Clippers, tweets Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • Bucks guard Jrue Holiday tested out of the protocols, tweets Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. However, Holiday sat out tonight’s game because of pain in his left ankle.
  • Mavericks center Boban Marjanovic has cleared the protocols, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
  • Heat guard Gabe Vincent is out of the protocols, but isn’t with the team for tonight’s game in Phoenix, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). Marcus Garrett is the only Miami player remaining in the protocols.
  • Suns forward Abdel Nader has also cleared the protocols, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Nader is recovering from a knee injury and will have to go through reconditioning before he can play again.
  • Follow our Health And Safety Protocols Tracker for a complete list of how the virus is affecting the league.

COVID-19 Updates: Payton, Nader, Lopez, Ross, Cavs, Duke

It has been an unusual week for Suns guard Elfrid Payton, who entered the health and safety protocols on Sunday, then exited them on Monday after what appeared to be a false positive. On Wednesday, prior to Phoenix’s game vs. Oklahoma City, Payton reentered the protocols, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic writes.

The specifics of Payton’s situation are unclear, but he’ll now remain in the protocols for at least six days unless he can once again return two consecutive negative COVID-19 tests at least 24 hours apart.

According to Rankin, Payton wasn’t the only Sun to be placed in the protocols on Wednesday — Abdel Nader has also joined that list. However, Nader has been out of Phoenix’s lineup since November 19 due to what the team has called “right knee injury management,” so his placement in the protocols had no real impact on the rotation.

Here are a few more COVID-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Magic center Robin Lopez has entered the COVID-19 protocols, the team announced on Thursday morning (via Twitter). However, Terrence Ross is listed on Orlando’s latest injury report as out due to “return to competition reconditioning,” which suggests he has exited the protocols. With Lopez in and Ross out, there are still five Magic players in the protocols.
  • The Cavalierslatest injury report lists Jarrett Allen, Dylan Windler, and Lamar Stevens as going through return to competition reconditioning, so they’ve cleared the protocols. Allen is considered doubtful for Thursday’s game in Washington, while Windler and Stevens are questionable.
  • Nets rookie David Duke has exited the health and safety protocols, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Brooklyn’s list of players in the protocols was in the double-digits earlier this month, but is now down to just two — Kessler Edwards and Day’Ron Sharpe.
  • Our running list of players in the protocols can be found right here.

Suns Notes: Jack, Payne, Nader, Shamet

The Suns announced some coaching changes this week, stating in a press release that Kevin Young has been promoted to associate head coach and Bryan Gates and Steve Scalzi have officially joined Monty Williams‘ staff.

Perhaps the most notable name included in the announcement was that of Jarrett Jack, a longtime NBA guard who has been hired as an assistant in Phoenix. The 37-year-old, who spent 13 seasons in the NBA, hasn’t been in the league since he appeared in 62 games for the Knicks in 2017/18.

However, Jack spent last season on the G League Ignite, acting as a mentor to the young prospects on the developmental squad, including eventual lottery picks Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga. After serving as something of an informal coach on the Ignite, Jack will officially take on that role in Phoenix under Williams, whom he played for in Portland (2005-08) and New Orleans (2010-12) early in his career.

Here’s more out of Phoenix:

  • Cameron Payne‘s three-year, $19MM contract with the Suns is partially guaranteed in its final year, according to Keith Smith of Spotrac, who tweets that the point guard is only assured of $2MM of his $6.5MM salary in 2023/24.
  • Abdel Nader‘s two-year deal with the Suns includes a team option on year two, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).
  • The Suns ended up not making any picks on draft night after attaching the No. 29 pick to Jevon Carter in a trade with Brooklyn. However, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic details, the player Phoenix acquired in that trade – Landry Shamet – has a more versatile offensive game than Carter and should immediately step into a regular rotation role.

Suns Re-Sign Abdel Nader

AUGUST 6: Nader’s deal is now official, the Suns announced in a press release.

AUGUST 3: The Suns and Abdel Nader are in agreement on a two-year, $4.2MM deal that will ensure the forward remains in Phoenix, agent Cervando Tejeda tells Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Nader, the 58th overall pick in the 2016 draft, was sent last offseason from Oklahoma City to Phoenix in the blockbuster Chris Paul deal. While he didn’t exactly make the impact that the Suns’ other acquisition in that trade did, Nader played well in limited rotation minutes, averaging 6.7 PPG and 2.6 RPG on .491/.419/.757 shooting in 24 games (14.8 MPG).

Nader dealt with some health issues this season and underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in late April. He was cleared to return to action late in Phoenix’s postseason run.

A two-year, minimum-salary contract for Nader would be worth about $3.8MM, so it’s possible the Suns were willing to go a little higher than that using the 27-year-old’s Bird rights to make sure he remains on the roster. It’s also possible this is some generous rounding at work and Nader’s deal is actually worth the minimum. We’ll keep an eye out for further confirmation.

Suns Notes: Kaminsky, Craig, Nader, Bridges, Crowder, Ayton

Torrey Craig, Frank Kaminsky and Abdel Nader could all pick up minutes during the remainder of the Finals in the aftermath of Dario Saric‘s knee injury, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. Saric suffered a torn ACL during the opening quarter of Game 1. Kaminsky played four minutes in Game 1 while Craig received 16 minutes of floor time. “Frank gives us quality size and playmaking ability,” coach Monty Williams said. “He’s smart.”

We have more on the Western Conference champions:

  • Mikal Bridges has developed into one of the league’s top 3-and-D wings, Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes. Bridges makes the team’s pick-and-roll offense lethal due to his cutting, screening and spot-up shooting. His ability to guard multiple positions is another underrated aspect of the team’s success, Buha adds. Bridges is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason.
  • Jae Crowder is another one of those top-level role players and ESPN’s Zach Lowe takes an in-depth look at the forward, who is appearing in his second straight Finals. Crowder has played an average of 31.7 MPG in the postseason despite modest offensive numbers. He scored just one point in Game 1 but was on the floor for 33 minutes. “You don’t even know what position Jae is,” Williams said. “But you know this: It becomes really hard to take him off the floor.”
  • Williams isn’t sure what Deandre Ayton‘s ceiling is but the coach wants his young center to focus on the present, Mark Medina of USA Today tweets. “It’s important to embrace where he is and embrace the work that he has to do today,” Williams said.

Suns Notes: Paul, Ayton, Booker, Nader

Although Chris Paul has put together a Hall of Fame career, there’s one significant thing missing — he’s never been to the NBA Finals. The Suns are one victory away after defeating the Clippers Saturday night, and Paul’s teammates are determined to get him there, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“I’ve been a fan of his for a long time, and I’ve learned so much from him this year, and I always talk about off the court how he carries himself, and he’s just a true professional at every level at all times,” Devin Booker said. “I have a lot of respect for him as a man, not even as a basketball player, just understanding how bad he wants this and how much time he’s put into it … 16 years, that’s a long time.”

Paul has experienced a lot of playoff misfortune during his career, from numerous injuries to blown leads. The closest he came to playing for a title was in 2018 when the Rockets took a 3-2 advantage over the Warriors in the conference finals. Paul hurt his hamstring late in Game 5 and missed the rest of the series as Golden State rallied to win.

“Everything happens for a reason,” he said. “Don’t dwell on things, you always remember, but I’m here now, excited about this opportunity, and all I can worry about right now is Game 5.”

There’s more on the Suns:

  • Center Deandre Ayton has been outstanding throughout the playoffs and seems well positioned to get a max extension this offseason, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. Ayton is averaging 20.3 points and 13.5 rebounds in the four games against the Clippers and contributed 19 points, 22 rebounds, four blocks and three assists Saturday night. He credits the addition of Paul with unlocking his full potential, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “He was the best thing that happened to my career,” Ayton said.
  • Booker started wearing a mask after breaking his nose in Game 2, but he got rid of it in the third quarter Saturday night. He had a sub-par shooting game on Thursday, but told sportswriter Gina Mizell that the mask wasn’t the only reason (Twitter link). “I’m not blaming anything on the mask, but I haven’t played basketball with the mask ever in my life,” Booker said. “It takes some getting used to and, at that point in that time, I didn’t want it.”
  • Abdel Nader saw his first game action since March 21, playing 5:22 in Game 4. Nader, who had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in April and just received clearance to play, tweeted afterward about how good it felt to be back.

Suns Forward Abdel Nader Cleared To Play

Suns forward Abdel Nader is expected to be available for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the Clippers on Saturday, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Nader underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in late April. Nader was also sidelined for several games early in the regular season due to a concussion.

Nader appeared in 24 games this season, averaging 6.7 PPG while making a career-best 41.9% of his 3-point attempts. He hasn’t seen any action since March 21.

It’s unlikely that coach Monty Williams will play Nader at this stage of the postseason, but it does give him another wing option at his disposal. Nader will be an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the season.