Andre Drummond

Injury Notes: Caruso, Bulls, Bucks, Embiid, Hartenstein

Bulls defensive ace Alex Caruso will be available for tonight’s play-in tournament game in Miami, head coach Billy Donovan said (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago).

Guard Ayo Dosunmu (quad) and center Andre Drummond (ankle) will be active too, Donovan added. All three players had previously been listed as questionable.

Caruso was said to have sustained a “significant” left ankle sprain in Wednesday’s play-in victory over Atlanta, but the swelling subsided over the past couple days and he told reporters on Friday morning he expected to suit up. The injury was an aggravation of a previous sprain.

Duncan Robinson, who has been battling a back issue, will be available tonight for the Heat, tweets Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Robinson was technically active for Wednesday’s loss to Philadelphia, Chiang notes, but he didn’t see any action — that might change with Jimmy Butler sidelined due to a knee sprain.

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

  • Bucks guard Damian Lillard was a full practice participant on Friday, but two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (left calf strain) was unable to do any live drills, according to a report from ESPN. Reserve guard A.J. Green, who sat out Tuesday’s practice with a left ankle sprain, was able to go through most of Friday’s practice. There have been mixed messages from Milwaukee on Antetokounmpo’s status, with president Peter Feigin saying he”definitely will not be back for Sunday,” when the Bucks will host the Pacers in Game 1 of their first-round series. Head coach Doc Rivers is still holding out hope that the perennial All-NBA First Team member will be ready though, per ESPN. “I don’t know yet,” Rivers said. “We’re still hoping. He hasn’t done anything. Would we throw him out there? Yeah, we would. For us, still we’re not sure.”
  • Speaking of Lillard, the Bucks‘ All-Star said he aggravated his Achilles tendon in Sunday’s loss to Orlando, but his adductor has been giving him the most trouble, as Eric Nehm of The Athletic relays (Twitter links). Lillard missed four games over the past few weeks with various injury designations, but he said the week off has helped him recover.
  • Sixers center Joel Embiid is officially questionable for Saturday’s Game 1 in New York with what the team is calling left knee injury recovery, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic. Embiid, who missed a few months after tearing his meniscus in January, has been considered questionable for nearly every game since he returned to action at the beginning of April.
  • Since January 20, Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein has only played 30-plus minutes five times due to Achilles soreness. However, two of those instances came in his last two regular season games, and he said he’s ready for an increased workload in the postseason, according to Katz (Twitter link).

Injury Notes: Giannis, Butler, Bulls, Pelicans/Kings

After Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday that the Bucks are preparing to be without Giannis Antetokounmpo for the start of their first round series against Indiana, Shams Charania of The Athletic confirmed on Thursday on Stadium’s Playoff Preview show (Twitter video link) that the star forward’s status “is still in doubt” for the series.

“He has been rehabbing daily with that strained calf, getting treatment,” Charania said. “He has had even some stationary workouts on the court, but he is doubtful to start the series. I’m told this injury could be anywhere from two to four weeks, potentially. We know his superhuman ability, but that clearly puts his status for this series in jeopardy.

“The Bucks (and) Giannis have to have some level of caution in being careful with this calf injury. Already this season, Giannis has had Achilles tendinitis, a hamstring injury as well, and now this calf strain. The last thing (they) would want is for him to get back, rush on the floor with a calf injury, not being 100% and then potentially tweaking that or leading to even worse injuries.”

Crucially, Charania didn’t clarify whether or not the two-to-four-week timeline he cited applies retroactively — Antetokounmpo has been sidelined since April 9 as a result of the injury, so he has already been out for 10 days. Assuming the projected recovery timeline described by Charania began on the date of the injury, the two-time MVP still has a chance to play at some point in round one.

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

  • Jimmy Butler‘s agent Bernie Lee took exception with Thursday’s reports that his client would miss several weeks as a result of his knee injury, suggesting that they were premature, as Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald relays (via Twitter). “We’re going to see the doctor later today,” Lee said on Thursday afternoon, “and it just blows my mind that somebody that wasn’t in the arena has somehow come up with a medical timeline of something that literally four of us, one is the person that got hurt, and me, the person that has conversations with everything, that everything gets filtered through. We don’t even know and now we’re having to live in someone else’s created reality of you know something that I didn’t know.” The Heat subsequently confirmed that Butler had sustained an MCL sprain, though the team didn’t offer any sort of timeline beyond ruling him out for Friday’s play-in game. MCL sprains are typically multi-week injuries.
  • Bulls role players Alex Caruso (left ankle sprain), Ayo Dosunmu (right quad contusion), and Andre Drummond (left ankle sprain) have all been listed as questionable for Friday’s play-in game vs. Miami. Dosunmu and Drummond, who were also both listed as questionable for Tuesday’s contest, seem like relatively safe bets to play, while Caruso is expected to be a game-time decision.
  • There are no surprises on the Pelicans/Kings injury report for Friday, though the absences on each side are notable. Zion Williamson (left hamstring strain) is the only New Orleans player sidelined, while Sacramento is missing Malik Monk (right knee sprain) and Kevin Huerter (left shoulder surgery).

Central Notes: Mitchell, Lillard, Dosunmu, Drummond, Fontecchio

After missing 16 of the Cavaliers‘ final 26 games due to pain in his left knee, Donovan Mitchell said Wednesday that he’s “100 percent,” writes Tom Withers of The Associated Press. Mitchell had a platelet-rich plasma injection in the knee and was given plenty of rest as the team’s medical staff monitored his condition to prepare him for the postseason.

Withers notes that the injury affected Mitchell’s movement, as his usual explosiveness and quick change of direction were missing for weeks. A recent 33-point game against Indiana seemed to be a sign that he’s getting back to normal, and Mitchell said he’s ready to carry the playoff scoring load.

“That is just expected of me,” he said. “That’s who I am to myself, who everybody’s expecting me to be. But at the end of the day, I set my own personal goals and this is one of them. It just happens to align with everybody else’s expectations, too. I mean, I put that on me, and I’m not worried about that. I prepped for these moments. My teammates believe in me, and I believe in myself. Now I can sit here and say about this is all I want, but I got to go out there and do it.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Bucks guard Damian Lillard returned to practice today after sitting out Tuesday due to left adductor pain that started over the weekend, according to an Associated Press story. Lillard did some shooting and “all of the walk-through stuff,” according to coach Doc Rivers, who hopes to have him more active when practice resumes Friday. Milwaukee was 1-8 without Lillard this season.
  • Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu, who has been dealing with a bruised quad, was cleared to play and is in the starting lineup for tonight’s game with Atlanta, tweets KC Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Reserve center Andre Drummond, who is recovering from a sprained left ankle, is also active (Twitter link).
  • Simone Fontecchio expects to return to the Pistons next season and said he’s become more familiar with coach Monty Williams’ approach to the game, per Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit News (Twitter link). “I’m a restricted free agent, so most likely I’m going to be here,” Fontecchio said. “That’s good because being here the last two months, I understand Monty’s system and what his philosophy is and how we play. I’m definitely going to work this offseason knowing what my role is going to be.”

Central Notes: Cavaliers, DeRozan, Dosunmu, Drummond, Rivers, Giannis

The boos that the Cavaliers heard as they left the court after Sunday’s loss to Charlotte weren’t directed at the players, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. There was an organizational decision to rest several rotation members rather than prioritize a win that would have earned the team the No. 2 seed and avoided a potential second-round matchup with the league-leading Celtics. The result was embarrassing, as Cleveland was outscored 18-2 to end the game and will face Orlando in the first round after falling to fourth place.

Vardon notes that the loss of Craig Porter Jr. to a sprained ankle in the first quarter left the Cavs short on ball-handlers. With Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland and Caris LeVert all sitting out, there was no one to run the offense as the lead slipped away.

“It was difficult (to watch), but we had our plan in place with what we were gonna do with our guys,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “(Our starters) were gonna play those three quarters, and then Craig not being out there made it a little difficult to organize and score in the fourth quarter, but we wanted to stick to our plan, and no matter what was going to happen, we were going to give our guys an opportunity to play.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Thirty-four-year-old DeMar DeRozan finished the season as the NBA’s leader in minutes, per Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. The Bulls swingman was on the court for 2,988 minutes, his highest total in a decade, as he became the first player over age 30 to league the league in that category since LeBron James did it six years ago. “And he doesn’t miss practice. He doesn’t miss shootaround,” Coby White said of DeRozan. “He’s early to everything. Those are the things I notice. He’s always on time. He’s always one of the first ones there. You know how some guys can be. And for him, it’s just his professionalism day in and day out never changes.”
  • The Bulls have some injury concerns heading into Wednesday’s play-in game, notes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Ayo Dosunmu has a bruised quad and Andre Drummond is dealing with a sprained left ankle, and neither is certain to play against Atlanta. ‘‘Ayo is having issues with the running and the starting and the sprinting and the stopping,’’ coach Billy Donovan said. ‘‘There’s been some discomfort there for him. He has to get over that hurdle. I think there is hope he can clear those hurdles.’’
  • Bucks coach Doc Rivers is looking forward to a playoff matchup against Indiana, which was 4-1 against Milwaukee this season, according to Jamal Collier of ESPN. They haven’t faced each other since January 3, which was before Rivers took over the team. “Indiana has had our number all year, so perfect opponent,” Rivers said. “They’ve played great against us. They have great confidence against us. We’ll have great focus because we’re going to have to.”
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo may not be available for the start of that series, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The Bucks star hasn’t played since Tuesday when he suffered a soleus strain in his left calf, and Rivers confirmed over the weekend that there are doubts about his status for the opener.

Bulls Notes: Self-Induced Errors, Drummond, Dosunmu, More

The Bulls lost to the Knicks on Tuesday in disappointing fashion, making a series of self-induced errors, including Torrey Craig attempting to throw an alley-oop to himself before getting knocked down by teammate Andre Drummond, who thought the pass off the backboard was intended for him. The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry sees that play as a microcosm of Chicago’s season: style over substance.

To me, it was just really disappointing,” coach Billy Donovan said. “You’re down by (nine points). There were a lot of self-induced things that I thought we contributed to. Not only that play but other plays that weren’t as loud as that. But that play was disappointing to me.

The Bulls are locked into the play-in tournament but clinched home-court advantage in the No. 9 vs. 10 game against the Hawks by defeating the Pistons on Thursday.

We have more on the Bulls:

  • Drummond left Tuesday’s game with a badly turned left ankle. According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Drummond had to be taken to the training room in a wheelchair and Donovan said his ankle was very swollen. On Thursday, Donovan said Drummond is using a motorized scooter because of weight-bearing issues regarding the swelling in his ankle, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago tweets.
  • Ayo Dosunmu missed Tuesday’s game with an injured quad, Cowley adds in the same piece. “I don’t know how long it will or will not be because I think he felt OK after the game [Sunday] in Orlando,” Donovan said. “I think after he felt a little better, it just hasn’t progressed.” According to Johnson, Dosunmu’s deep thigh contusion is giving him issues with being able to contract his quad muscle.
  • In case you missed it, Kentucky is reportedly finalizing a deal to hire Mark Pope of BYU as their next head coach. But if there were any doubts, Donovan reaffirmed his commitment to the Bulls on Tuesday and shot down any rumors of him potentially leaving for the college ranks, ESPN’s Jamal Collier writes.
  • With the Bulls headed for the play-in and potentially out of the playoffs in the coming weeks, Cowley opines that general manager Arturas Karnisovas and the Bulls should change their philosophy when it comes to this roster. Cowley believes this version of the team has reached its peak and the front office should consider trading some of its star players and entering a rebuild.

Eastern Notes: Stewart, Drummond, House, Maxey

Despite his pregame altercation with Suns big man Drew Eubanks prior to the All-Star break, Pistons forward/center Isaiah Stewart could play against Indiana on Thursday, James Edwards III of The Athletic reports.

Stewart punched Eubanks on Wednesday after they exchanged words. Stewart, who didn’t play in that game due to an ankle sprain, was later arrested on an assault charge and issued a citation.

A resolution to his legal case is not expected prior to Thursday’s game. The NBA is investigating the situation but is not expected to hand down any punishment prior to that game. Meanwhile, Stewart could be healthy enough to play.

If Stewart is found guilty of misdemeanor assault, he’ll likely only have to pay a small fine and would not serve any jail time, Edwards adds.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • While Andre Drummond has gone from an All-Star to a valuable reserve, the Bulls center believes he’ll be in the league for many more years, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “I can play another eight to 10 years if I want to. I haven’t lost a step. It’s just opportunities I need to get,” Drummond said. He’s also headed to free agency and looking forward to seeing his worth on the open market. “I’m excited to see what happens in the offseason. Whatever team sees me as an asset, I’m ready. Obviously, I’m here now and I love it here. I would love to be here still,” the veteran center said.
  • Free agent Danuel House Jr. is weighing a number of options, including interest from the Hawks, according to the Pat Bev Pod (Twitter link). Considering the source is another current player like Patrick Beverley, who was teammates with House in Philadelphia up until the trade deadline, this info would appear to be very credible. House was traded, along with a second-round pick, by the 76ers to the Pistons, who quickly waived him.
  • Speaking of the Sixers, Tyrese Maxey made his first appearance as an All-Star over the weekend. He was humbled by the honor, he told Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Honestly, as a kid, I grew up saying I’d be an All-Star and those different things,” Maxey said. “But when it actually comes to light and it comes to something that you are and you see your name on the list, it’s kind of surreal. I know a lot of hard work went into it. I got what I deserved, but to still actually see it come true is like crazy.”

Stein’s Latest: Thompson, Magic, Warriors, Caruso, Hawks, More

While he believes that Klay Thompson will ultimately remain in Golden State and eventually retire as a member of the Warriors, Marc Stein writes at Substack that the Magic have been “increasingly mentioned” as a potential suitor for the veteran sharpshooter, who is eligible to reach unrestricted free agency this summer.

Thompson is eligible to sign an extension with the Warriors at any time between now and June 30, but if the two sides don’t reach an agreement by then, he’ll become a free agent and would be able to sign with any team.

While it’s hard to imagine Thompson ending up with the Magic, they’re well positioned to put some pressure on the Warriors — with Markelle Fultz and Gary Harris on expiring contracts and Joe Ingles, Moritz Wagner, and Jonathan Isaac not on guaranteed contracts for 2024/25, Orlando could generate a significant amount of cap room in the offseason.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • Despite a belief that Alex Caruso was essentially off-limits at this month’s trade deadline, the Bulls gave “real consideration” to the possibility of moving him before trade talks with the Warriors collapsed, Stein writes.
  • Stein also confirms that Chicago and Sixers had serious discussions about an Andre Drummond deal, but hears from one league source that the Bulls were only willing to move Drummond if they were able to line up another center to replace him. When no such opportunity materialized, they decided to hang onto Drummond.
  • There’s a sense that the Hawks will make a trade involving one of their starting guards – Trae Young and Dejounte Murray – sooner rather than later. “They know they have to trade one or the other,” one source told Stein.
  • While Mike Budenholzer‘s name has been mentioned in league circles as a possibility for the Nets‘ permanent head coaching job, Stein suggests that Budenholzer could very well be a top candidate for multiple jobs this spring, so he has reason to be patient to see how the head coaching market plays out.

Sixers Came Close To Trading For Andre Drummond

The Sixers thought they had a trade in place to acquire center Andre Drummond from the Bulls prior to last Thursday’s deadline, but Chicago pulled out of those talks hours before the deadline, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

League sources tell Scotto that Chicago had been seeking three second-round picks in exchange for the veteran center. It’s not clear if Philadelphia was unwilling to meet that asking price or if the Sixers’ offer wasn’t to the Bulls’ liking for another reason (such as perhaps the perceived quality of the second-rounders or a requirement that Chicago take back an unwanted contract in return).

The Celtics and Mavericks also made offers for Drummond, per Scotto, but ultimately went in different directions at center, with Boston trading for Xavier Tillman and Dallas landing Daniel Gafford. The Lakers, Suns, and Rockets were among the other clubs to express interest in the big man, sources tell HoopsHype.

Drummond, who is on an expiring $3.36MM contract, was considered the Bulls’ top trade candidate leading up to the deadline after Zach LaVine underwent season-ending foot surgery. The 30-year-old has averaged 8.1 points and 8.6 rebounds in 16.7 minutes per game across 55 appearance (nine starts) this season, and Chicago has posted a better net rating when he’s on the court than when he isn’t.

In the end, the Bulls stood pat at the trade deadline for a third consecutive year, while the Sixers are believed to still be on the lookout for a center to provide depth up front during Joel Embiid‘s injury absence.

Rockets’ Stone Discusses Adams Deal, Green, Deadline Talks

After the Rockets acquired Steven Adams a week before the trade deadline in a move with next season in mind, the front office had plenty of discussions about deals that would’ve helped the team more in the short term, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required). According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, Houston kicked the tires on players like Kelly Olynyk, Andre Drummond, Jericho Sims, and Xavier Tillman, among others, but couldn’t find a trade that worked for both sides.

“We certainly weren’t going to do something that would hurt us on a going-forward basis,” general manager Rafael Stone said. “The moves we were the most excited about were moves where we thought that could help us in the short term and also the long term, the moves subsequent to (the trade for) Steven.
We were very excited about acquiring Steven. Subsequently, a lot of the ones we had long discussions about were moves that would have provided elements this year maybe that we don’t have, as well as stuff for the future.

“But they didn’t happen, and we’re fine with that. We like our group, and this gives everybody on our current roster an opportunity to shine.”

If the Rockets had wanted to make a more significant deal, it would’ve likely required them to part with a player from their young core: Alperen Sengun, Jalen Green, Jabari Smith, Tari Eason, Amen Thompson, or Cam Whitmore. But Stone said the team wasn’t looking to move on from any of those youngsters, adding that he and head coach Ime Udoka were in agreement on the deals they pursued and those they didn’t.

“We’re looking at the long term more so than anything,” Udoka said. “When you have that many young, talented players, you want to see what they become and not rush to judgment on anything.
As far as those guys, everyone’s going to check in when you have this amount of young talent. We’re trying to win. We’re in the development and winning stage at the same time, so people checked in. We knew they would. They are talented young guys, and we have some duplicated positions there. We like what we’re seeing from those guys and want to see what we are as a whole unit.”

Here are a few more of Stone’s most notable comments from Monday’s post-deadline media session:

On the acquisition of Adams:

“I think we got a really high-level basketball player. A guy who’s been a dominant rebounding force in the NBA for the last five, six years. One of the best defenders in the NBA. We obviously feel great with Alperen, but now we have two truly starter-level centers next year. Depth is extraordinarily important. On top of that, he’s a very different player and will be a good complement on and off the court for our group.”

On the long-term fit of Jalen Green, whose name popped up in some predeadline rumors:

“Jalen has been and continues to be, on paper, a great fit with us. He has a skill set that isn’t really replicated on our roster. My expectation of him – and he knows this, and I think he echoed in his postgame comments – my expectation is that the defense, which has gotten better, is still going to get a lot better. That the physicality and the efficiency are all going to get better. He needs to take those steps. That’s extraordinarily important. He’s aware of it. We’re aware of it. And that’s the challenge for him and for us.”

On Stone’s assessment of his own job performance in the past year:

“I’m happy with the choices we made. I think for the most part, we’ve gotten what we want. And the additions of Fred (VanVleet) and Dillon (Brooks) were necessary and really important. I like that we brought Boban (Marjanovic) back. I like that we have Jeff (Green). I love the hire of Ime. And then I think we did well drafting Cam and Amen. So we had a very successful offseason, which set us up to make the right steps for this season.

“But I would say for myself, similar to our young guys, it’s not good enough. And so they need to improve. Our front office — not just me, all of us, our coaching staff, all of us — we’ve got to continue on the grind and make sure the choices we make between now and the end of the season, the ones in the offseason all set us up to have the best possible chance to win a championship in the short term. Not meaning like a year or two, but not 20 years either. And that’s very much our goal. And my goal.”

Bulls Notes: DeRozan, Drummond, Buyout Market, Donovan

Signs continue to point toward Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan agreeing to a contract extension with the franchise in the offseason, according to NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson (Twitter video link). This comes on the heels of both sides expressing interest in a long-term pairing earlier this week.

Johnson says if the Bulls knew DeRozan was going to walk in the offseason, they would have tried acquiring something of value from him at the deadline. Instead, Chicago stood pat, while DeRozan likened the pairing to a marriage in comments to reporters on Thursday.

While Johnson points out that DeRozan has made similar comments in the past, it’s especially potent this time given the fact they came at the deadline. The Bulls can’t afford to let him leave for nothing and Johnson doesn’t expect them to. Chicago faced a similar situation last season with Nikola Vucevic and they ultimately extended him.

Of course, this doesn’t automatically mean DeRozan is going to re-up with the Bulls. He remains on track to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason and while he’s 34 years old, he still has averaged 25.3 points per game and has two All-Star appearances since arriving in Chicago. He’s likely to have several suitors. Still, the team that makes the most sense for now to offer a multiyear, big-money extension is the Bulls.

We have more notes on the Bulls:

  • Despite drawing trade interest, Andre Drummond remained a Bull through the deadline. In recent games, head coach Billy Donovan has leaned more into dual big-man lineups, playing Drummond and Vucevic alongside one another. Drummond is enjoying that pairing, Johnson writes. “We’re trying something different and adjusting to what we want to do, not what the other team is doing,” Drummond said. “We’re a force together in the paint. We make teams have to deal with us at both ends of the court. I really like that lineup and I’m looking forward to more of it.” Drummond is averaging 9.9 points and 9.2 rebounds per night since Jan. 1 and drew a start next to Vucevic against the Timberwolves on Feb. 6.
  • The Bulls were heavily involved in last season’s buyout market, expressing interest in Russell Westbrook before eventually signing Patrick Beverley, who helped the team finish 14-9 and win a play-in game. Johnson writes that the Bulls are once again open to exploring that avenue to add talent after not making any trade acquisitions. Thaddeus Young, Danilo Gallinari, Evan Fournier and Danuel House are among the possibilities Johnson points out. Joe Harris is also available.
  • Donovan expressed that he was thankful the trade deadline was in the rear view mirror, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “‘For me, I wouldn’t necessarily use the word ‘relief,’” Donovan said. “I’ve always taken the approach, ‘This is our team.’ Now, if it changes, then you have to adjust. I think when you start speculating, you lose sight of the group that you have in front of you because those decisions are not decisions you necessarily have control over. For me, it wasn’t like the trade deadline passed, and I was like, ‘Oh, wow, what a relief this was.’” Chicago is currently 25-28 and ninth in the Eastern Conference.