Coby White

Injury Notes: Mitchell, White, Luka, Green, Curry

After previously being listed as questionable, Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell returned to the starting lineup on Wednesday following a seven-game absence, as first reported by Chris Fedor of (subscriber link).

Mitchell has been dealing with a left knee bone bruise that required a PRP injection to promote healing. He would have been in strong contention for an All-NBA team, but he missed his 18th game of the 2023/24 season on Monday, and is no longer eligible for postseason awards.

Led by a strong performance from Darius Garland and excellent team three point shooting (20-45, 44.4%), the Cavs were victorious in Mitchell’s return, defeating New Orleans by 21 points.

Here are some more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • Bulls guard Coby White, one of the frontrunners for the Most Improved Player award, was injured after having his shot blocked by Pascal Siakam with about 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of Chicago’s overtime victory over Indiana (Twitter video link). After the game, head coach Billy Donovan called it a hip injury and said White would undergo additional testing, but the fifth-year guard appeared to be in good spirits in the locker room, as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago relays (Twitter links).
  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic exited Wednesday’s victory over Golden State late in the fourth quarter and was later ruled out with left hamstring soreness, the team announced (via Twitter). It’s unclear if the MVP candidate will miss additional time with the injury.
  • Warriors forward/center Draymond Green was ruled out for Wednesday’s loss due to lower back soreness, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. On a brighter note, two-time MVP Stephen Curry practiced with the G League’s Santa Cruz Warriors on Wednesday and will join Golden State in Los Angeles for Friday’s practice before determining whether he’ll face the Lakers on Saturday, head coach Steve Kerr told Slater and other media members (Twitter link).

Central Notes: Mathurin, Gibson, Pistons Guards, Bulls

Losing Pacers reserve shooting guard Bennedict Mathurin for the year will have an intriguing ripple effect on the team’s bench as it prepares for the postseason, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star.

As Dopirak notes, Indiana is now without two of its top-scoring reserves from the start of the season, between Mathurin and Buddy Hield, who was dealt to the Sixers at the trade deadline. Forward Doug McDermott, the Pacers’ own sharpshooting acquisition added at the deadline, continues to rehabilitate his right calf strain, though he’ll be a big part of the bench when he does play. Rookies Ben Sheppard and Jarace Walker seem likely to get significantly more responsibility as the season winds down.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Workaholic new Pistons veteran power forward Taj Gibson, 38, is over a decade older than most of his new teammates. Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press writes that the 10-53 club appreciates Gibson’s daily grind, even in his 15th NBA season, and hopes that he can inspire the Pistons’ young, talented lottery pick core. Gibson is on a 10-day deal, so there’s no guarantee he’ll remain with in Detroit for the rest of the season.
  • The Pistons’ decision to, at last, stagger young guards Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey so that one of them remained on the floor at all times seemed to work wonders on Thursday in a 118-112 win over the Nets, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Head coach Monty Williams opted to employ a lineup of Cunningham alongside his second unit in the third quarter that really helped the club hold serve against Brooklyn.
  • Young Bulls guards Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu have each taken big leaps in their development this season, with White in particular enjoying a breakout year. A lot of their growth has happened with star shooting guard Zach LaVine, the team’s priciest player, sidelined due to injury. Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic thinks the improvement of the young guards could be negatively impacted by a LaVine comeback next year, and wonders if the Chicago front office will look to offload the two-time All-Star.

Central Notes: Giannis, White, Craig, Wade

Giannis Antetokounmpo will return to the Bucks‘ lineup tonight against Golden State after missing Monday’s game with left Achilles tendinitis, tweets Jim Owczarski of The Journal-Sentinel. Coach Doc Rivers confirmed Antetokounmpo’s status after watching him go through his pre-game warmup.

In a full story by Owczarski, Antetokounmpo talks about the career breakthrough he was able to make when he learned to “get over” himself and accept that his performance doesn’t always have to be the difference between winning and losing. Antetokounmpo adds that he feels like this is the most mature he has been since he entered the NBA.

“I’m able to get to my spot better and execute. And if the ball doesn’t go in, I’m OK with it,” he said. “I think it’s called abundance mentality. I know what I’ve done in the past and that gives me like, confidence, and I’m able to go out there and execute without thinking, not having self-doubts about myself or think I’m not good enough. Kind of like being OK with me. So, that allows me to play good basketball. Mentally, I’m in a very good place.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Bulls guard Coby White has emerged as one of the top candidates for Most Improved Player, notes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. White scored 37 points in a comeback victory Monday at Sacramento — the seventh time this season he has reached the 30-point mark. “It would mean a lot to me,” he said of the award. “Just to show the progress I’ve made and to set the example to younger guys around the NBA that people can count you out and say what you want about you. But as long as you stay true to who you are, keep working and stay humble throughout, things can come your way.”
  • Bulls wing Torrey Craig is getting close to returning from a sprained right knee that has kept him out of action since the All-Star break, Johnson tweets. Coach Billy Donovan told reporters, “There’s some optimism he could play tomorrow (at Golden State).”
  • Dean Wade‘s 20-point explosion in the fourth quarter against Boston on Tuesday showed why the Cavaliers were willing to give him a three-year extension and part with Kevin Love last season, states Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. Wade’s production will become more important while Evan Mobley is sidelined with a sprained left ankle.

Central Notes: Stewart, Fontecchio, Bitim, White

Pistons forward Isaiah Stewart returned to action on Tuesday after serving a three-game NBA suspension for punching the Suns’ Drew Eubanks during a pre-game altercation. Stewart played 34 minutes and contributed 11 points and nine rebounds, along with providing a much-needed defensive presence. He’ll remain in the lineup going forward, coach Monty Williams said.

“We’re gonna run with these guys for a while and see if we get some synergy, especially on defense,” Williams told Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press.

Stewart offered an apology for losing his temper, Sankofa relays (Twitter links). “I always want to represent the organization in great fashion,” he said. “I apologized to my teammates and coaches because it’s been a tough season and I don’t want to bring anything upon them. And I’m glad they had my back.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Forward Simone Fontecchio joined the NBA last season by signing with the Jazz. Fontecchio, 28, felt it was a now-or-never opportunity after starring in Europe. He was acquired by the Pistons at this month’s trade deadline. “It was a no-brainer to be honest. Once you see that train passing you, you just want to catch it,” Fontecchio told James Edwards III of The Athletic. “I just thought, ‘It’s a three-year deal. I’m going to do everything I can to make this work. If it doesn’t, I’ll just go back to Europe. It’s OK. I tried my best.’ I’ve been putting in a lot of work the last two years. I’m thankful to be in the position that I am now.” He’ll be a restricted free agent after the season.
  • Bulls rookie Onuralp Bitim got extended playing time against Cleveland on Wednesday with Alex Caruso sidelined and made a favorable impression. Bitim scored the first 10 points of his NBA career and added six rebounds in 27 minutes, including all 10 minutes in the double-overtime triumph. “I really can’t describe how I feel. But it’s not about my English, even my own language,” Bitim, a native of Turkey, told K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “I was dreaming of this moment for a really long time. And I was really trying to be ready and my teammates really helped me, my coaches. I knew the chance was going to come. You just never know when. You just have to be ready.” Bitim was promoted from a two-way deal to a multiyear standard contract on Sunday.
  • Coby White is having a breakout season, but the Bulls are concerned about their point guard burning himself out by putting in too much work, rather than pacing himself, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley. “You don’t want to lose that perspective, but there’s a point of how efficiently you can work with the time you have and developing the routine,” coach Billy Donovan said. “And we’ve talked to him a lot about it where, ‘Listen, coming in the gym and driving yourself into the ground is not always the solution or the answer.’ I would rather have a guy like Coby that’s willing to put the work in than a guy where you’re like, ‘Come on, let’s watch more film, let’s get in the gym.’ He’s never shied away from work. But I also think that when you’re coaching somebody, the routine has got to be theirs because there’s nothing worse for a player than to go into a game with the anxiety of, ‘I’m not prepared.’ Where is that balance? He’ll have to strike that for himself.”

Central Notes: McConnell, Middleton, Gallinari, Bulls

T.J. McConnell was considered a possible trade candidate back in the fall when he began the season out of the Pacers‘ rotation, but the veteran point guard made himself indispensable in Indiana as a result of his play with the second unit, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star.

Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton referred to McConnell as “the best backup point guard in the NBA” and suggested that his performance on defense sets an example for other players on the roster. Head coach Rick Carlisle, who said back in October that he was “almost in tears” telling McConnell that he wouldn’t be part of the rotation to open the season, lauded the veteran for the way he has responded.

“(McConnell’s) adaptability is the story of his career,” Carlisle said. “Undrafted, everybody’s betting against him. I remember the story that the first game he suited up here, Nate McMillan said, ‘Hey, you’re probably going to be in the rotation.’ Something happened the first game of the year and then he didn’t lose the job for the next three or four years. He’s special that way.”

“I just really was focused on whether if I’m in the lineup or I’m not, just remaining professional,” McConnell said. “One of those things where you’re not trying to do woe-is-me, it’s one of those things just to remain a great teammate, and whether I’m in the rotation or not, just be there for the guys and be a pro and be a good teammate. That’s really all I was focused on. When my number’s called, just be a professional at that point and go out and do your job. That’s really how I looked at it.”

McConnell is under contract for one more season beyond this one, with his $9.3MM salary for 2024/25 currently partially guaranteed for $5MM.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Bucks forward Khris Middleton isn’t ready to return from the left ankle sprain that sidelined him for the last five games before the All-Star break, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Head coach Doc Rivers said that Middleton won’t be available on Friday or Sunday, even though he’s improving. “He’s getting better. He feels great. He just doesn’t feel 100 percent,” Rivers said. “A playoff game, he’d clearly play, but it’s too early. There’s no reason to worry about it or panic about it.”
  • Within the same Athletic story, Nehm explores Danilo Gallinari‘s decision to sign with the Bucks, noting that the veteran forward believes he’ll fit in well with Milwaukee’s frontcourt players. Gallinari added that he’s capable of playing more than he has this season in Washington and Detroit (14.8 minutes per game in 32 appearances), but that he’s not necessarily expecting that. “I don’t care about playing every night, not playing one night, play the other night, I’m here to help,” he said. “… I’m not looking for guaranteed minutes or this kind of stuff. I’m just here to help.”
  • A resounding loss to Boston on Thursday served as a reminder for the Bulls of the difference between being competitive and being a contending team, says K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. According to Johnson, in order to exit the organization’s “current cycle of mediocrity,” the Bulls‘ front office will have to show the same sort of creativity and aggressiveness this summer that it showed during the 2021 offseason, when the team landed DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso in free agency without using cap room.
  • Observing that DeRozan and Coby White lead the NBA in total minutes played this season, Annie Costabile of The Chicago Sun-Times wonders whether the two Bulls starters will be able to maintain their current rates of production while continuing to handle such a heavy workload.

Central Notes: Hield, Milton, Brown, White, Drummond, Caruso

Buddy Hield has been involved in trade rumors since before the start of training camp, but his Pacers teammates hope he won’t be going anywhere, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Hield may be considered expendable because he’s headed for unrestricted free agency after he and the team were unable to reach an extension agreement. Although Hield’s $18.6MM expiring contract could bring a nice return, Tyrese Haliburton and T.J. McConnell both told Dopirak that his shooting skills are too valuable to part with.

“I think the one thing that people need to understand with Buddy Hield — and I’ve played with him my whole career — is the gravity that he has as a basketball player,” Haliburton said. “His spacing even when he’s not making shots — which isn’t often, I mean, he’s one of the best shooters who’s ever touched a basketball — his gravity when he’s on the floor and in our stack actions and in our movement actions, a lot of times, you have to respect what he does even if he’s not making shots in the game. You have to run two at them and that kind of opens up everything for us.”

Dopirak notes that Hield is having a subpar season, even though Indiana has developed into one of the league’s best offenses. His scoring has dropped to 12.0 PPG after he averaged 16.8 PPG last year, and his three-point shooting percentage and volume have both declined. Still, only 14 players have made more three-pointers this season, which means Hield puts constant pressure on opposing defenses.

After being traded at the deadline in both 2017 and 2022, Hield isn’t stressed about the possibility of it happening again.

“It’s the business of basketball,” he said. “One thing is I always thank God I have a jersey on me. You always appreciate that somebody wants you out there. If it happens, some team is going to get a Buddy who is ready to play and is excited for new opportunities. Right now I’m happy at Indiana and just taking it day-by-day and we’ll see what happens.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Shake Milton appears to be a buyout candidate for the Pistons once today’s trade with Minnesota is finalized, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. Hollinger speculates that Milton could wind up with the Bucks, considering how well he played for coach Doc Rivers during their time together in Philadelphia. Hollinger believes Detroit is more likely to hang onto small forward Troy Brown, who fills a position of need and has a non-guaranteed salary of $4MM for next season.
  • K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago looks at how Coby White has become a foundational piece for the Bulls after being made available at the last few trade deadlines. The three-year, $36MM contract White signed last summer looks like a major bargain, Johnson adds.
  • Finding someone willing to part with a second-round pick in exchange for Andre Drummond could be the Bulls‘ only move before the deadline, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. A source tells Cowley that teams continue to call about Alex Caruso, but he’s unlikely to be moved unless the front office receives an offer that “completely blew them away.”

Trade Rumors: Bucks, Wright, Suns, Mavs, Hornets, Knicks, Magic, Bulls

The Bucks remain committed to upgrading their roster in the hopes of contending for a championship this season and are “shopping hard for help,” one league source tells Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

Milwaukee doesn’t have a ton of trade assets on hand to offer, so the team’s most likely outgoing package would consist of Pat Connaughton, Cameron Payne, and Portland’s 2024 second-round pick (currently projected to be No. 35), says Fischer. Connaughton and Payne only make up $11.4MM in outgoing money, so Bobby Portis and his $11.7MM cap hit would need to be included if Milwaukee targets a higher-salary player, Fischer notes.

One potential target who has been linked to the Bucks is Wizards guard Delon Wright, sources tell Fischer. Wright would be a logical fit for a Milwaukee team looking to improve its perimeter defense, though it’s unclear how high he ranks on the Bucks’ list of targets, Fischer writes, adding that the veteran point guard has a wide-ranging market.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Suns are still viewed as the leading suitor for Hornets forward Miles Bridges, league sources tell Fischer. Phoenix’s offer would likely consist of Nassir Little, Josh Okogie, and two second-round picks, per Fischer, though Charlotte is holding out hope of landing a first-rounder for Bridges. The Pistons and Jazz also continue to be linked to the Hornets forward, who has the ability to veto a trade, but the Mavericks – who are seeking forward help – haven’t shown interest in Bridges or Nets forward Dorian Finney-Smith as of late, Fischer reports.
  • The Hornets are fielding more trade inquiries on forward P.J. Washington than any other player, though they aren’t necessarily actively shopping him, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Fischer confirms a previous report stating the Mavericks are among the teams with interest in Washington, but hears that the Clippers are an unlikely landing spot.
  • Although the Knicks are among the other clubs with interest in Washington, sources tell Fischer, New York is believed to prefer Raptors wing Bruce Brown. Fischer adds that Quentin Grimes continues to generate interest from teams like the Hawks and Jazz, while Tony Jones of The Athletic said during an appearance on ESPN 700 in Utah that he believes Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson would welcome a trade to the Knicks (hat tip to Patrick Byrnes of
  • There have been some whispers around the league about the Magic targeting an experienced point guard such as Kyle Lowry (Hornets) or Chris Paul (Warriors), but Fischer doesn’t believe Orlando has trade interest in either player. Additionally, while the Magic could use some more outside shooting, the club isn’t thought to be pursuing upgrades in that area unless there’s a player who would be a positive on defense as well, according to Fischer, who cites Kings sharpshooter Kevin Huerter as one example of a player who is not on Orlando’s wish list.
  • Bulls guard Coby White is considered off limits in trade talks and Chicago’s asking price for Alex Caruso is very steep, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. With Zach LaVine out for the season, center Andre Drummond now appears to be the Bull most likely to be dealt, Fischer adds.

Bulls Notes: DeRozan, Lowry, Caruso, White

DeMar DeRozan typically doesn’t get involved in the Bulls‘ front office decisions, but he might change that stance if it means bringing long-time friend Kyle Lowry to Chicago, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

Lowry, who was DeRozan’s teammate for many years in Toronto, was traded from Miami to Charlotte on Tuesday and could be on the move again before the February 8 deadline. It’s unlikely that the Bulls would deal for Lowry’s $29.7MM contract, but they have an open roster spot and DeRozan is willing to help facilitate a signing if Lowry reaches a buyout agreement with the Hornets.

“If it was asked of me, whether from him if that was something he wanted to do (or management), for sure. Why not?” DeRozan said. “That’s one of my closest friends, one of the smartest players I’ve played with since I been in the league.”

DeRozan revealed that Lowry called and informed him of the impending trade before the news broke Tuesday morning. DeRozan offered support to the 37-year-old guard, who is facing an uncertain basketball future for the first time in many years.

“For me, it flips to being there for him more so as a friend. Basketball kind of goes out the window,” DeRozan said. “Even last night, I just texted him before I went to sleep and asked him how he was feeling mentally. That’s all I care about first.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • While several Eastern Conference rivals have already made significant moves, the Bulls’ trade outlook continues to be quiet, Johnson adds. No market has developed for Zach LaVine, who is currently sidelined with a sprained ankle, and the front office hasn’t shown any inclination to trade Alex Caruso despite interest around the league, according to Johnson.
  • Caruso was honored to be included in the 41-player pool for the 2024 Olympics that was released Tuesday, tweets Julia Poe of The Chicago Tribune. “Hopefully I’m lucky enough to get selected and go,” Caruso said. “That would be an even bigger accomplishment and exciting adventure.”
  • In a full story for The Chicago Tribune, Poe looks at whether Coby White should be given a larger role in the Bulls’ clutch possessions considering his improvement this season. Even when White is having a huge scoring night, DeRozan is typically the focus of the crunch-time offense.

Central Notes: Ivey, Muscala, Gallinari, Giannis, White

It took nearly half a season, but Jaden Ivey is back to being a central part of the Pistons‘ offense, writes James L. Edwards of The Athletic. Ivey appeared headed for stardom after earning All-Rookie honors last year, but new head coach Monty Williams started the season with a clean slate and forced everyone to earn their playing time. Edwards observes that Williams seemed to have little patience with mistakes from Ivey, who rarely played more than 25 minutes in a game during the season’s first two months.

That changed with a recent injury to Cade Cunningham and an organizational meeting that resulted in a larger role for Ivey, Edwards adds. Over the last nine days, Ivey has the highest usage rate on the team at 31.8% and he tied a career high with 32 points Wednesday night.

“Like I said, I’m trying to learn,” Ivey said. “Each and every day is a learning opportunity for me. Like (Williams) is still trying to figure out everyone and the system, I’m still trying to figure out as much as I can. We’re growing as a team. Sometimes you find growth in the losses.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Williams expects newly acquired Mike Muscala and Danilo Gallinari to be part of the Pistons‘ rotation, according to Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Gallinari didn’t play Wednesday, but Muscala made his debut with the team, taking James Wiseman‘s place in the rotation. “If you look around the league at young teams, what they’ve done is surround their guys with savvy, experienced players who can still play,” Williams said. “Anytime you do that with high-level, high-character guys like Mike and Gallo, it’s going to be a benefit to your team. It’s not just the in-game stuff. You get a chance to watch how these games work, how they prepare and understand why they’ve been around so long. It’s gonna be an asset to the organization and the program.”
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out Wednesday’s game with a right shoulder contusion, but the Bucks don’t expect him to miss much time, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “Well, from what I’ve been told, he went through shootaround and then prior to the game tonight, he just felt that he couldn’t go,” coach Adrian Griffin told reporters. “So, we’re just being smart. And I don’t believe it’s going to be multiple games. It’ll just be day-to-day for now.”
  • In an interview with Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic, Bulls guard Coby White talks about a spiritual transformation last summer that led to his breakthrough season.

Seventeen More Players Become Trade-Eligible

Today is Monday, January 15, which means that a total of 17 players who signed free agent contracts meeting specific criteria this past offseason are now eligible to be traded.

Most offseason signees became trade-eligible on December 15, but players who met the following criteria were ineligible to be moved for an extra month:

  1. The player re-signed with his previous team.
  2. He got a raise of at least 20%.
  3. His salary is worth more than the minimum.
  4. His team was over the cap and used Bird or Early Bird rights to sign him.

The following players met that criteria and are eligible to be traded as of Monday:

(* Players marked with an asterisk have the ability to veto trades.)

Most of the players on NBA rosters are now eligible to be moved, though a small handful still can’t be dealt. That group includes Heat guard Dru Smith, who becomes trade-eligible on Monday, Hornets guard Ish Smith (trade-eligible on January 24), Lakers star Anthony Davis (trade-eligible on February 6), and Pistons forward Kevin Knox (trade-eligible on Feb. 8).

There are also several players who won’t become trade-eligible prior to this season’s February 8 deadline, including stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, and Jaylen Brown. Players on 10-day contracts are also ineligible to be dealt.