Delon Wright

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Young, Murray, Wright, Mills, Ingram

So now that the Hawks won the lottery, who might they select — if they keep the pick? Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal Constitution examines five prospects who could go No. 1, including Alexandre Sarr, Donovan Clingan, Nikola Topic, Zaccharie Risacher, and Reed Sheppard.

Getting the top pick provides more unexpected options for the direction of the Hawks’ franchise, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer writes. They could pursue a rebuild with the first pick by trading both Trae Young and Dejounte Murray to separate teams for two major hauls, or they could keep one of them and revamp the roster around the other, O’Connor notes. They could also look to trade down or move out of the draft altogether in an even bigger deal.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Young will have talks with the Hawks‘ front office prior to the draft regarding the direction of the team, Shams Charania of The Athletic said on FanDuel’s Run It Back program (video link). Charania notes the pairing of Young and Murray hasn’t worked and the Hawks will have to seriously consider moving at least one of them.
  • Delon Wright is headed to unrestricted free agency and the veteran guard would like to re-sign with the Heat, he told Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “Hopefully, wherever I go to will be good for me,” Wright said. “But I definitely would like to come back. I feel like I just got a snippet of what could be. Like I said, with a full summer, full training camp, I think it’ll help me have a better season, a better understanding of what (Erik Spoelstra) wants out of me.” Another veteran guard and unrestricted free agent, Patty Mills, expressed similar feelings. “Very quickly I inherited everything that this organization is about and felt every part of that,” Mills said. “So as far as the adjustment and making a run, I enjoyed every part of it.”
  • Add the Magic to the list of potential trade suitors for Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram, according to Marc Stein in a Substack post. It’s been reported that New Orleans won’t pursue a max extension with Ingram, fueling speculation that he could be traded this offseason. The Sixers, Hawks and Cavaliers have been previously named as teams likely to be interested in the high-scoring forward.

Heat Notes: D. Robinson, Highsmith, Wright, Jaquez, Swider, Butler

Duncan Robinson, one of several Heat players affected by health issues this season, said on Friday that – based on the medical feedback he has received – he has no reason to believe that his back issue will “linger or last,” per Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Robinson missed nine of the team’s final 14 regular season games due to the injury and played a limited role in the postseason.

The Heat were among the teams most affected by injuries for a second straight season in 2023/24, setting a new franchise record by using 35 different starting lineups. Speaking to reporters on Friday, head coach Erik Spoelstra said the team will do its homework this offseason to see if anything can be done to reduce its players’ injury risk going forward.

“We’re going to look at everything,” Spoelstra said, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “Because it’s not all apples to apples. I think what we do in terms of getting guys ready and in shape helps with soft tissue stuff. It’s the other stuff that we have to take a dive into. Two seasons ago, we were good. The last two seasons are a little bit skewed based on guys that missed the entire season that weren’t fully in our rotation. But that doesn’t also absolve it. We want to look at all the different angles on this.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • During their end-of-season media sessions on Friday, unrestricted free agents Haywood Highsmith and Delon Wright both expressed a desire to re-sign with Miami, according to Jackson and Chiang. “Definitely want to stay in Miami. My family lives here, my daughter lives here. That’s a priority to be around my daughter a lot,” Highsmith said, adding that he appreciates the Heat for being “all about winning” and feeling like a family. Highsmith has been with the team since 2021, whereas Wright just arrived in February, but the veteran guard has enjoyed his experience in Miami. “I definitely would like to come back,” Wright said. “I felt like I got a snippet of what it could be. With a full training camp, I will have a better understanding of what Spo wants out of me.”
  • Jaime Jaquez said on Friday that he doesn’t plan to play for Mexico in this summer’s Olympic qualifying tournament, per Jackson and Chiang. The Mexican national team will be in Puerto Rico vying for one of the four remaining spots in the men’s basketball tournament at the Paris Olympics.
  • Cole Swider‘s two-way contract is expiring, but the Heat have let him know they want to keep him around and he intends to be part of Miami’s Summer League team, he told reporters on Friday. “The Heat, a lot of these undrafted guys, did a great job developing them,” Swider said, according to the Herald. “I hope to be one of their success stories. I know they know what they’re doing. “I’ve improved defensively, learning the concepts of the Heat, how we play. I’ve proved I can play in the NBA.”
  • Dave Hyde of The South Florida Sun Sentinel advises the Heat against extending Jimmy Butler this offseason, suggesting that the cost would be too great for a player entering his late-30s when the extension would begin. Butler’s contract situation will be worth watching — in separate stories for The Athletic today, both David Aldridge and John Hollinger alluded to whispers that the 34-year-old’s long-term future may not be in Miami.
  • Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel takes a player-by-player look at the Heat’s roster, assessing what’s next for everyone who finished this season under contract with the club.

Heat Notes: Wright, Offseason Decisions, Butler, Draft

The Heat’s season ended in an appropriate way Wednesday night — with another new starting lineup. Injuries have forced coach Erik Spoelstra to juggle his rotations since training camp, and he unveiled his 37th starting unit in Game 5 at Boston, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

Rookie Jaime Jaquez was unavailable because of a hip injury he suffered in Game 4 and Spoelstra didn’t want to start Duncan Robinson, who has been limited by a back condition since late in the regular season, so veteran guard Delon Wright made the first playoff start of his career. Wright provided eight points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 33 minutes, but he had to leave the game briefly to get stitches in his lower lip and chin after being hit by an elbow.

In addition to Jaquez, Miami was without Jimmy Butler, Terry Rozier and Josh Richardson, who all missed the entire series due to injuries. However, Spoelstra refused to use that as an excuse, Chiang tweets.

“We’re not going to put this on the fact that we had some injuries,” Spoelstra said. “Let’s not take anything away from Boston. They’ve been the best team in basketball all season long.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • The early playoff exit leaves the franchise with a long offseason and a lot of financial decisions ahead, Chiang adds. Part of the future will be determined by player options held by Caleb Martin ($7.1MM), Kevin Love ($4MM), Richardson ($3.1MM) and Thomas Bryant ($2.8MM). Orlando Robinson has a non-guaranteed $2.1MM contract for next season, while Wright, Haywood Highsmith and Patty Mills are all headed for unrestricted free agency.
  • Miami faces a difficult decision on Jimmy Butler, who will become extension-eligible this summer, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes in his offseason preview for the Heat. Butler will make $48.8MM next season and holds a $52.4MM player option for 2025/26. Beginning July 7, he can sign a one-year extension worth $58.6MM, which would retain his ’25/26 salary, or a two-year, $112.9MM extension that would void the player option. Marks points out that Butler will turn 35 during the offseason and hasn’t topped 65 games in any of the last four years.
  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald examines the Heat’s options in this year’s draft. Players who could still be on the board when Miami picks at No. 15 include Purdue center Zach Edey, Duke power forward/center Kyle Filipowski, Providence guard Devin Carter, Colorado forward Tristan Da Silva, Duke point guard Jared McCain, Baylor center Yves Missi, Kansas small forward Kevin McCullar Jr., Baylor swingman Ja’Kobe Walter, USC point guard Isaiah Collier and Illinois shooting guard Terrence Shannon Jr.

Heat Notes: Butler, Rozier, Love, Martin, Wright

The Heat are trying not to focus on being shorthanded as they look for a way to upset the top-seeded Celtics, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. An already difficult task is being made even harder by the absence of starters Jimmy Butler, who sprained his MCL during a play-in game, and Terry Rozier, who has been sidelined with neck issues. In addition, Duncan Robinson has been limited by a lingering back injury he suffered late in the season.

“We have our guys, we have enough to get the job done,” coach Erik Spoelstra insisted after a 20-point loss in Game 3. “We understand the challenge and that’s what our competitors love about this series. We know we have to play hard and we also have to play well.”

Butler and Rozier have already been ruled out for tonight’s Game 4. Spoelstra told reporters on Sunday that Rozier is considered “day to day,” but no timetable has been set for his return. Butler was projected to miss “several weeks” after getting hurt on April 17, but he sounded optimistic in an interview with TNT’s Chris Haynes during Saturday’s game.

“I don’t know about a timeline, but we’ve been working,” Butler said. “I want to hoop. I want to get out here. I want some of this.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Spoelstra appears to be pivoting away from Kevin Love, who is facing a bad matchup against Boston, Chiang adds. The veteran big man, who was limited to one four-minute stretch in Game 3, is minus-24 in his 23 minutes of action in the series. “I was looking for a spark once we were down 20,” Spoelstra said in explaining the decision to bench Love. “This is not an indictment on anybody. Things move fast in a playoff series.”
  • Caleb Martin plans to “just be assertive and not be passive” tonight after he followed a 21-point Game 2 with five points on four shots in Game 3, Chiang states in a separate story. Martin, who starred against Boston in last year’s conference finals, said he needs to look to score more often. “I think there were sometimes I passed up shots,” he said. “I felt like I was trying to get the ball moving a little bit more, being a little bit less aggressive in letting it go. So that’s on me. I can’t be as passive. I got to let the ball go.”
  • Delon Wright, who missed Game 3 for the birth of a baby girl, has returned to the team and will be on the active roster tonight, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

Eastern Notes: Lillard, Giannis, Wright, Raptors, Hornets

After Shams Charania reported earlier today that Damian Lillard‘s availability for Game 4 of the Bucks‘ series with Indiana is uncertain, head coach Doc Rivers confirmed that the star guard is dealing with an Achilles strain, telling reporters that Lillard underwent an MRI.

Rivers didn’t know the results of that MRI when he spoke to the media, but he indicated that he isn’t necessarily counting on having Lillard available on Sunday, per Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“Not looking great, but we don’t know yet,” Rivers said.

As for the Bucks’ other injured star, Rivers said that Giannis Antetokounmpo (calf strain) will be working out “hard” on Sunday morning and that the team would “make a decision” on him after that (Twitter link via Jamal Collier of ESPN).

Asked if Antetokounmpo could be available for Game 4 following his Sunday morning workout, Rivers replied, “I doubt it, but we’ll see.”

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

Heat Notes: Butler, Jovic, Jaquez, Wright, Adebayo

As they look to bounce back after a Game 1 loss in Boston, the Heat can’t count on Jimmy Butler to return at some point later in the first round to give them a boost. While the team hasn’t provided any sort of official timetable on Butler’s recovery from an MCL sprain, Shams Charania of The Athletic said on FanDuel’s Run it Back show (Twitter video link) that the star swingman is going to remain on the shelf for a while.

“It’s crazy to me that Jimmy Butler played three quarters with what I’m hearing now was a severe MCL sprain,” Charania said. “He is not going to be back in this series. This is a rehab that’s go at least one month — could be two months of rehab.

“… Thankfully for him it wasn’t the ACL, it wasn’t a meniscus. But even if the Heat were to advance (beyond) this first round, somehow, his postseason availability is still very much up in the air.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Although Miami suffered a resounding loss in Game 1 on Sunday, there were at least a couple silver linings, as Anthony Chiang writes in a pair of stories for The Miami Herald. The team’s last two first-round picks – Nikola Jovic and Jaime Jaquez – made the first playoff starts of their respective careers and ultimately held their own despite some shaky moments in the first quarter. Additionally, buyout market addition Delon Wright came up big off the bench, scoring 17 points and making all five of his three-point attempts. Wright figures to play a regular role in the series with Terry Rozier (neck) sidelined.
  • The odds are against the Heat repeating last spring’s success and making another deep playoff run, but even in the event of a first-round exit, the team should be well positioned for the offseason, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Appearing on NBA Countdown (YouTube link), Wojnarowski said he expects a lot of action on the trade market this summer and pointed out that Miami is almost among the preferred destinations for disgruntled stars. That didn’t do the Heat much good in the Damian Lillard talks last summer, but the team should have more leverage with trade targets who have fewer years left on their contracts, Woj adds.
  • William Guillory of The Athletic takes a look at how Bam Adebayo became Udonis Haslem‘s successor as a pillar of “Heat Culture” and how the big man plans to uphold that ethos for years to come.

Heat Notes: Play-In, Rotation, Jaquez, Butler, Martin

The Heat are facing a “make-or-break” week if they want to avoid the play-in tournament, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. As Chiang writes, the Heat have gone just 17-24 this season against teams with winning records, and they face four such opponents this week: New York, Philadelphia, Houston and Indiana.

It will be the best to simulate how the playoffs are going to be,” guard Terry Rozier said. “This is a great four-game stretch, but we got to take it one game at a time. The Knicks we play next, we got to worry about that one and get that one at home and protect home court.”

How Miami fares this week will have a direct impact on competitive playoff races in both conferences, Chiang observes. The No. 7 Heat are currently sandwiched between the No. 6 Pacers and No. 8 Sixers in the East’s standings. If the Heat win those two games, they’ll also clinch the head-to-head tiebreakers over both clubs, but Indiana would hold the tiebreaker if it beats Miami on Sunday (if Philadelphia defeats Miami, the tiebreaker would likely be determined by conference record, Chiang notes).

Here are a few more notes out of Miami:

  • With Duncan Robinson and Kevin Love back from injuries, head coach Erik Spoelstra said the Heat’s rotation will likely be fluid as the postseason nears, Chiang adds in another story for The Miami Herald. “Here’s what the rotation is: whatever it takes,” Spoelstra said. “That’s where we are. We made this bed, where we are right now. Because of all the moving parts, everybody right now, it’s easy. You just be ready for your minutes, contribute in a positive way and help impact winning. That’s all it’s about right now. Everybody has signed up for that, everybody is bought into that.”
  • The “biggest challenge” of Jaime Jaquez‘s rookie campaign has been the NBA’s 82-game schedule, he told Chiang. While he’s having a very strong season overall, Jaquez’s production has dipped over the past few months, in part because he has been double-teamed at times when he catches the ball in the mid-post, according to Chiang. “I take it as a sign of respect,” said Jaquez, who was taken by the Heat with the 18th overall pick in last year’s draft following a four-year college career at UCLA. “Guys got to worry about me now. That’s what you want as a player. Now my next step is how do I adjust to the new coverages that I see and how I can make the right play.”
  • The Heat will need a more aggressive version of Jimmy Butler in order to have a shot at another deep playoff run, says Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Over his past four games, Buter is averaging just 8.3 shot attempts and 14.3 points per game, far below his season averages of 13.4 and 21.0, respectively. Still, each of those four games was lopsided, and Butler missed a game last week with an illness, Winderman notes.
  • In a mailbag column, Winderman wonders if Caleb Martin will be given the team’s most challenging defensive assignments in the postseason. Winderman also takes stock of which players might be pushed out of the rotation as the team gets healthier, with Patty Mills and Delon Wright likely to be on the outside looking in.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Wright, Peterson, Mosley

Ted Leonsisplan to move the Wizards from Washington, D.C. to Alexandria, Virginia appears to be on life support, according to David Aldridge of The Athletic.

As Aldridge details, Virginia senator Louise Lucas, who is the chair of the state senate’s Finance and Appropriations Committee, removed the proposal to build a new arena and “entertainment district” from the state’s 2024 budget, and that budget was approved on Saturday by Virginia’s General Assembly.

While it’s possible that proposal will be revived and regain momentum as a result of various political maneuvering, Aldridge believes the setback gives Leonsis a chance to return to the bargaining table with D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser to figure out a deal that would keep the Wizards in Washington going forward. Reaching a compromise to keep the Wizards in the nation’s capital would allow everyone to save face, Aldridge contends.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Heat guard Delon Wright, who signed with Miami last month after being waived by Washington, has been a DNP-CD for five straight games, including a surprising loss to his former team on Sunday. However, he’s not complaining about his role, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “I’m just trying to stay as ready as I can,” Wright said. “I can’t complain too much because I’m coming into a different situation with a team that just went to the Finals. I’m just trying to fit in. I’m not in a position to be moping around. So I just have to stay ready whenever I’m called upon and do the best I can with whatever role they give me.”
  • Nets guard Dennis Schröder, who knew Jeff Peterson in Atlanta before reuniting with him briefly in Brooklyn, said the Hornets‘ new head of basketball operations is a “great human being” who is honest, straightforward, and holds people accountable, per Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Peterson is already making a positive impression on Hornets players, Boone adds. “Yeah, he’s engaged,” Miles Bridges said. “He’s coming to every practice, every game. And just to have a GM who cares and shows up all the time means a lot.”
  • Jamahl Mosley‘s new four-year extension with the Magic doesn’t include a team option for the 2027/28 season, a league source tells Josh Robbins of The Athletic. That reporting suggests the deal is fully guaranteed.

Heat Notes: Rozier, Herro, Wright, Suspensions, Jovic, Jaquez

Terry Rozier will suit up for the Heat at Portland on Tuesday night after missing the previous four games with a sprained right knee, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald reports. Rozier is averaging 12.6 points, 5.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds per contest since being acquired from Charlotte.

Miami will also have Jimmy Butler and Nikola Jovic back after they served one-game league suspensions on Monday. Tyler Herro (left knee hyperextension) will sit out once again. Herro was injured on Friday against New Orleans.

Herro underwent an MRI on his injured knee on Monday that showed no structural damage, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

We have more on the Heat:

  • Delon Wright played a major role in the shorthanded team’s 121-110 victory over Sacramento on Monday night during his Heat debut, Chiang writes in a separate story. He contributed 13 points, two rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block in 35 minutes. Wright signed with Miami after being bought out by Washington. “The player of the game for us in the locker room was Delon,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I don’t think his stat line was spectacular by people probably on the outside. But, man, he plays winning basketball.”
  • Wright adds depth at the guard spots but it will be tough for him to get consistent minutes when everyone’s healthy, Chiang notes in his latest mailbag. With eight other players locked into the rotation, Wright will have to fight for playing time with Josh Richardson, Haywood Highsmith and Jovic.
  • Going back to the altercation with the Pelicans, Spoelstra was grateful that more players weren’t suspended for leaving the bench area. He praised the NBA’s head of basketball operations, Joe Dumars, for not penalizing players who stayed out of the scuffle. “[Dumars] understands it from a player’s perspective and I think that’s really important,” Spoelstra told Chiang. “That it’s not letter of the law, it’s observing it, looking at it, seeing all the context of it and then making the best decision based on everybody’s parties. The league, No. 1, the players and teams.”
  • Jovic and Jaime Jaquez Jr. were mentioned prominently in trade rumors last summer when the Heat pursued Damian Lillard before the Trail Blazers dealt the perennial All-Star to Milwaukee. Both players spoke to Winderman about what might have been if a trade had gone through. “Me and Jaime were not the biggest pieces in the trade, but of course you think if you’re going to be in a package,” Jovic said.

Heat Notes: Herro, Possible Suspensions, Wright, All-Star Game

Tyler Herro hyperextended his left knee late in Friday’s game, but the Heat guard doesn’t believe it’s a cause for concern, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Herro suffered the injury when he slipped and lost control of the ball. He grabbed at the knee in pain and had to be helped to the locker room, but he was moving fine after the game.

“It was just unfortunate having my knee bumped a little bit,” Herro said. “But I think structurally, everything is good — no major, even minor damage. They thought that everything was good. It just kind of scared me more than anything. It’s a little soreness. But I’ll see how I respond in the morning and go from there.”

Herro was already experiencing discomfort in his right foot, a condition that developed during the All-Star break, Chiang adds. He opted to play Friday because guards Josh Richardson and Terry Rozier are sidelined by injuries.

“It’s the same little area that I dealt with in the past with my right foot in my rookie year,” Herro said. “It’s the same thing as that. So we’re really trying to manage it right now.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Miami was able to hold on for a win Friday at New Orleans even though Jimmy Butler and Thomas Bryant were ejected following a fight early in the fourth quarter, Chiang states in a separate story. The scuffle began when Kevin Love tried to wrap up Zion Williamson on a layup attempt. Naji Marshall objected to the play, and he and Butler got into a shoving match. “I put my hand around his neck,” Butler said. “He put his hand around my neck, and it took off the way it did.” Several Heat players left the bench during the exchange, which will result in automatic one-game suspensions. Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) speculates that the suspensions may have to be staggered so Miami has enough active players for Monday’s game.
  • Delon Wright wasn’t used in his first game since signing with the Heat last week, Chiang adds. The 31-year-old guard has only been through one practice with his new team, and Chiang expects him to eventually get opportunities, especially with the banged-up backcourt. “He’s a guy that figures it out and we thought it would be a good fit for him and us, for the reasons of how he plays and how he competes and how he prioritizes defense and how disruptive he is on that side of the floor,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Then offensively, he’s always been a guy that just fits in, sets up a team. And those kinds of guys have a way of making it work quickly.”
  • In another piece, Chiang examines why Miami, a warm-weather city, hasn’t hosted an NBA All-Star Game since 1990.