Gordon Hayward

Southeast Notes: Young, Murray, Washington, Wizards

Trae Young saved the Hawks‘ season with a game-winning shot Tuesday night, and their series with the Celtics no longer seems like a mismatch as they head back to Atlanta, writes Jeff Schultz of The Athletic. Young drilled a 30-footer with 2.8 seconds left to cap off an improbable victory in Game 5. He scored the team’s final 14 points on a night where he played 44 minutes and didn’t check out of the game in the second half.

“I’ve been owning the moment my whole life. That’s what I do,” he said.

The heroic performance was gratifying for Young, who got off to a miserable start in the series, making 14 of 40 shots and committing 10 turnovers in the first two games in Boston. He has scored 35 and 38 points in the last two contests and has the Hawks believing they can pull off an upset.

“You look at his eyes and there was a calm,” coach Quin Snyder said. “Sometimes that happens in the middle of a storm.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks won Game 5 without Dejounte Murray, who was serving a one-game suspension for making contact with an official following Sunday’s contest. At Tuesday’s shootaround, Murray indicated that his issues with referee Gediminas Petraitis date back to his time in San Antonio, but added that he takes responsibility for the incident (video link from Coley Harvey of ESPN).
  • Re-signing restricted free agent P.J. Washington will likely be an offseason priority for the Hornets, according to Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez of The Charlotte Observer. After not receiving a rookie scale extension last fall, Washington responded with his best NBA season, averaging a career-high 15.7 PPG and ranking fourth in the league in clutch field goal percentage. Charlotte’s front office considers Washington part of the team’s young core and he has expressed a desire to stay there, Melvin-Rodriguez adds. She examines the entire roster, stating that Dennis Smith Jr. will likely get a new contract this summer, Kelly Oubre‘s fate will depend on what offers he gets in free agency and Gordon Hayward may not be moveable right away but could be more attractive at the trade deadline due to his expiring contract.
  • As the Wizards search for a replacement for dismissed general manager Tommy Sheppard, the NBA issued a memo stating that VP of player programs John Thompson III and assistant GM Brett Greenberg are currently running the basketball operations department, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic.

Hornets Notes: Smith, McGowens, Hayward, Washington

The Hornets‘ offense was clicking before LaMelo Ball‘s ankle injury on Monday, but now coach Steve Clifford needs to find a new approach for the rest of the season, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. The team scored just 91 points Wednesday as its five-game winning streak was snapped, marking just the fourth time since December that it failed to reach 100.

“It’s important that we understand that once you have a way to play, you’ve got to commit to that,” Clifford said after Wednesday’s loss. “From now to the end of the year, we’re not going to be scoring 135 a night anymore. We’ll play a lot better than this offensively, but we’re going to have to defend, rebound and be low turnover every night.”

Terry Rozier has taken over for Ball as the starting point guard in the two games since the injury, with Kelly Oubre sliding into the backcourt as his partner. The first guard off the bench has been Dennis Smith Jr., who has shown a notable improvement on defense since signing with the Hornets last offseason.

“I was out of the league because I got waived because (of injury and) I couldn’t play for the rest of the season, and going into the summer I didn’t have a deal or anything in place,” Smith said. “So everybody was like, ‘Oh, he can’t play, he’s not an NBA player.’ This, that and the third. It didn’t really mean much to me when they saying that because I know who I am. But to be able to come in and prove the people that believe in me right, I think that means a lot.”

There’s more from Charlotte:

  • Rookie guard Bryce McGowens had his two-way contract converted to a standard deal this week, but his play of late hasn’t matched his promotion, Boone writes in another Observer article. McGowens opted for extra practice time after Friday’s game, in which he misfired badly on two of his three shot attempts. “I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s the rookie wall,” McGowens said. “I would say it’s just getting back to the basics and the stretch that I had in midseason, just getting back to that, staying confident. I feel like these past couple of games it wasn’t there and I feel that.”
  • In a recent appearance on the Hornets Nest podcast, Gordon Hayward characterized his time with the franchise as “unlucky.” He notes that Charlotte has been plagued by numerous injuries since he was traded there in 2020.
  • P.J. Washington is listed as probable for Sunday after missing the last four games with a foot injury, Boone tweets.

Lakers Notes: Trade Deadline, Westbrook, Irving, Reaves

Now that Kyrie Irving is headed to Dallas, the Lakers are left to search for other ways to upgrade their roster, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register.

There don’t appear to be any other All-Star level talents available for what L.A. has to offer, so Goon believes the options now involve role players such as Mike Conley, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley from the Jazz, Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott from the Spurs or possibly Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier and Mason Plumlee from the Hornets.

The Lakers are also in a difficult situation because the player they most want to part with, Russell Westbrook, has a contract that will likely require three or four players in return to match salaries, Goon adds. Utah, Charlotte and San Antonio may not be interested in making such a complex deal when there are simpler options with other teams.

Last month’s acquisition of Rui Hachimura — and the likelihood of a new contract this summer — will cut into L.A.’s projected cap room. A rival executive told Goon that the Lakers want to limit this year’s hit on their repeater tax, which also reduces their options in the trade market.

There’s more on the Lakers:

  • Although Westbrook has been better this season, teams remain reluctant to take on his $47.1MM contract, Goon adds. The same executive says potential trade partners still want at least one future unprotected first-round pick attached in any Westbrook deal. Goon also speculates that the Lakers’ interest in Irving may have opened old wounds with Westbrook that could affect locker room chemistry if he remains with the team.
  • The Lakers received permission from the Nets to talk to Irving’s representatives when he was pondering his player option last summer, but they didn’t follow up, sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Even though L.A. appeared to be the most likely trade partner at the time, Irving’s agent, Shetellia Riley Irving, never heard from any member of the team’s front office. Buha’s sources say the Nets informed the Lakers that they wouldn’t have accepted Westbrook in an Irving deal, so his only path to L.A. was to decline the option and sign for the mid-level exception, which the Lakers didn’t believe he would do. L.A. reportedly tried again in early July and during Summer League, but Brooklyn wasn’t interested in dealing Irving at the time.
  • Austin Reaves talks about the difficulty of breaking into the NBA as an undrafted free agent during an interview with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Southeast Notes: Isaac, Beal, Hayward, Dedmon

Jonathan Isaac‘s return to the court on Wednesday, nearly 900 days after he last played in an NBA game, was a success, writes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Playing on a minutes limit for the Magic‘s G League affiliate, Isaac scored 15 points in just under 15 minutes while also chipping in five rebounds, an assist, and a blocked shot.

The veteran forward – who tore his ACL in August 2020 – referred to the game as a “great milestone” for him, but said he still had some things to work on as he prepares to return to the NBA.

“I’m not going look at it too deep because it was my first game back,” Isaac said. “I’m glad I got a couple of buckets to fall. It was really for my conditioning. I definitely got tired, so that’s something I got to keep working on.”

Isaac will play another game for the Lakeland Magic on Saturday, according to Dan Savage of OrlandoMagic.com (Twitter link). Orlando’s G League team hosts the Westchester Knicks on both Friday and Saturday, but Isaac obviously isn’t cleared for back-to-backs yet, so he’ll play in the second game of the set.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The Wizards announced on Thursday (via Twitter) that star guard Bradley Beal has been cleared to resume full basketball activities after having his left hamstring strain reevaluated. As Josh Robbins of The Athletic points out (via Twitter), when Beal was cleared following a similar injury to his right hamstring last month, he played in a game six days later. Given Beal’s repeated hamstring issues this season, the team will likely be at least as cautious this time around, Robbins says.
  • Injuries have limited Hornets forward Gordon Hayward to just 21 games so far this season, which he acknowledged is “definitely frustrating,” per Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Hayward has missed Charlotte’s last five contests due to a hamstring strain, but head coach Steve Clifford is hopeful the veteran will be back within the next week, Boone writes. “He wants to be out there so badly, but we’ve just got to make sure that he’s healthy when he comes back,” Clifford said. “A hamstring is a tricky one. The one thing we don’t want is he comes back a little bit early and it’s a month or it’s five weeks. And we can’t afford that.”
  • After serving a one-game suspension for a sideline outburst, Heat center Dewayne Dedmon will have to take on the challenge of winning back the team’s trust, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. As Winderman observes, several former Heat players – including Meyers Leonard, Dion Waiters, and James Johnson – were traded not long after being disciplined by the team in some form or another.

Cavs Rumors: Bey, Hayward, Love, Ross, Possible Targets

After discussing several possible Cavaliers trade targets on Jake Fischer’s podcast last week, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com expanded on the club’s hunt for a wing in a subscriber-only story on Tuesday, taking a closer look at why Mavericks swingman Tim Hardaway Jr. appeals to Cleveland, why the club is reluctant to part with former lottery pick Isaac Okoro, and much more.

Here are a few highlights from Fedor’s story:

  • Pistons forward Saddiq Bey “has some fans” in Cleveland, but there’s still a gap between how the Cavaliers and Pistons value him, writes Fedor, noting that Detroit’s asking price would have to come down significantly for Bey to be a realistic target for the Cavs. That line of thinking applies to a number of other possible trade candidates on the market, including Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma.
  • Although Gordon Hayward‘s skill set makes the Hornets forward a logical target for the Cavaliers, his $30MM salary makes him a long shot for Cleveland. Kevin Love ($28.9MM) would likely have to be included in a deal for Hayward, and trading Love isn’t a possibility the team has internally considered, according to Fedor, who has previously reported that there’s mutual interest between the Cavs and Love in continuing their relationship beyond this season.
  • If the Cavaliers liked Magic wing Terrence Ross, they could have acquired him “multiple times” in the past, Fedor writes, implying that the asking price was one Cleveland could have easily met. Fedor said on Fischer’s podcast last week that the Cavs don’t have much interest in Ross.
  • Fedor identifies Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith and Spurs veterans Doug McDermott and Josh Richardson as players worth monitoring in Cleveland’s search for wing help. He adds that the Cavs would have interest in Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson and Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate, but there’s no indication that either player will be available at this season’s trade deadline.

Gordon Hayward Plans To Return On Friday

DECEMBER 16: Hayward plans to make his return to the Hornets’ lineup on Friday, agent Mark Bartelstein confirms to Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

DECEMBER 15: Hornets forward Gordon Hayward, who has missed nine consecutive games with a left shoulder fracture, is “hopeful” he’ll be able to return to action on Friday against the Hawks, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Wojnarowski, Hayward will determine whether he’s ready to go after Friday’s shootaround.

Hayward also missed eight straight games early last month with what the Hornets called a left shoulder contusion. That apparent discrepancy was a point of contention for Hayward’s wife, who criticized the organization for not protecting its players after her husband was diagnosed with a fracture, not a contusion.

The 32-year-old has always been a productive player when healthy, and this season has been no different. Through 11 games (32.3 MPG) in 2022/23, he has averaged 16.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 4.4 APG on .445/.381/.767 shooting.

Hayward’s potential return will be a welcome sight for both the player and the team, as star point guard LaMelo Ball just returned on Wednesday. Ball has appeared in just four games thus far for the Hornets after dealing with a couple of left ankle sprains.

Injuries have been a significant issue for Hayward since he joined Boston as a free agent in 2017, but if he can stay healthy for the next few months perhaps he’ll boost his stock. He has one more year left on his current contract, which will pay him $31.5MM in ’23/24, so he’ll be a free agent in 2024.

Gordon Hayward’s Wife Criticizes Hornets Over Handling Of Injuries

Gordon Hayward‘s wife has accused the Hornets of failing to protect injured players, writes Bryan Fonseca of The New York Post. Robyn Hayward criticized the franchise via her Instagram account.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Friday night that Gordon Hayward has suffered a fracture in his left shoulder that will keep him out indefinitely. Robyn Hayward pointed out that the team called it a left shoulder contusion, which isn’t nearly as serious.

“He actually has a fractured scapula… that they had him play with last game… that’s why he couldn’t move his arm up in the last game,” she wrote. “… Everyone who knows Gordon knows he has one goal and that’s to win and play the right way, he’s the most truthful player/person you’d find. If he’s not going to play it’s for something more than a bruise.”

Robyn promised to “stop there and not get into prior things,” but she shared the story of another Hornets player who had a similar experience.

“I’m over them not protecting players. Just was talking with a young player’s mom, and she was saying the same thing,” she added.

Injuries have been a recurring problem for Hayward since he suffered a fractured tibia and dislocated ankle in 2017. He played 44 and 49 games in his first two seasons with Charlotte after being acquired in a trade and has appeared in 11 so far this season. He’s making a little more than $30MM this year and has one season left on his contract at $31.5MM.

Gordon Hayward Out Indefinitely With Left Shoulder Fracture

NOVEMBER 26, 7:14am: Hayward will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis going forward, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

NOVEMBER 25, 8:54pm: Hornets forward Gordon Hayward has sustained a left shoulder fracture and is out indefinitely, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

According to Charania, Hayward is in the process of getting more testing done to reveal the full extent of the injury.

Hayward missed eight consecutive games earlier this month after suffering a left shoulder contusion on November 2. He returned on November 18 and had played three straight games prior to Friday’s victory over Minnesota, in which he was sidelined with the shoulder injury.

The 32-year-old had been a mainstay in the Jazz’s lineups prior to joining Boston as a free agent in 2017. Unfortunately, he suffered a severe ankle injury in his first game with the Celtics, and injuries have continued to plague him ever since — from 2017-22, he averaged just 43.6 games per season.

Through 11 games (32.3 MPG) in 2022/23, Hayward has averaged 16.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 4.4 APG on .445/.381/.767 shooting. In addition to Hayward, Charlotte has dealt with injuries to other key players, including star point guard LaMelo Ball (ankle sprains), who has appeared in just three games for the 6-14 Hornets.

Jalen McDaniels started in place of Hayward Friday night, and players like P.J. Washington and Kelly Oubre should continue to receive a heavy workload. Second-year big man Kai Jones also received a major uptick in playing time — he played double-digit minutes (28) for the first time in his career on Friday, recording career highs of nine points and 12 rebounds.

Injury Updates: Magic, Bulls, Celtics, Raptors, Heat, Hayward, More

The Magic will be getting some reinforcements for Friday’s game in Chicago, according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Veteran guard Gary Harris has been cleared to make his regular season debut following offseason arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Price reports. Additionally, starting center Wendell Carter Jr. will be back in the lineup after missing Wednesday’s game due to a strained right plantar fascia.

Orlando’s opponents also got some good injury-related news on Friday. As Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes, Bulls guard Coby White (left quad contusion) and forward Patrick Williams (right ankle sprain) both said at Friday’s shootaround that they’ll be able to play against the Magic. White has missed the last eight games as a result of his injury; Williams sprained his ankle on Wednesday, but it appears the injury won’t cost him any games.

Here are several more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • As expected, Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon will be available on Friday vs. New Orleans after missing four games with a hamstring injury. However, the team announced that Marcus Smart (right ankle inflammation) will miss a second straight game (Twitter link).
  • The already shorthanded Raptors will be missing Gary Trent Jr. and Chris Boucher on Saturday vs. Atlanta due to non-COVID illnesses, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. However, Eric Koreen of The Athletic tweets that Dalano Banton‘s ankle sprain isn’t as serious as initially feared and Pascal Siakam (adductor strain) has resumed on-court activity. Another update on Siakam is expected in a week or so, Koreen adds.
  • Heat star Jimmy Butler (knee soreness) has been ruled out for Friday’s game against Washington and it’s possible that Bam Adebayo (knee contusion) won’t be available either, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Adebayo is currently listed as questionable.
  • Hornets forward Gordon Hayward, who has been on the shelf since November 2 due to a left shoulder contusion, has been upgraded from doubtful to questionable for Friday’s game vs. Cleveland, according to the team (Twitter link).
  • Pacers sharpshooter Chris Duarte isn’t expected to be available during the team’s upcoming four-game home stand, but could return from his ankle sprain at some point in the subsequent seven-game road trip, tweets Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. That trip begins on November 27 and runs through December 7.
  • Sixers guard Jaden Springer, currently assigned to the Delaware Blue Coats in the G League, will miss at least one week due to a right quadriceps strain, tweets Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com.

Southeast Notes: Ball, Goodwin, Young, Murray, Isaac

While there has been growing optimism that LaMelo Ball will soon make his season debut, it won’t happen on Monday night. The team’s PR department lists him as out for the Hornets’ contest against Washington (Twitter link).

Ball suffered a Grade 2 ankle sprain in a preseason game on October 10. Hornets forward Gordon Hayward (left shoulder contusion) also remains out of action.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Jordan Goodwin, who had his training campcontract converted into a two-way deal in mid-October, has been a pleasant surprise for the Wizards, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington notes. Goodwin had nine points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals against Memphis on Sunday and could have a steady role as the third point guard. “He has the heart of a dog. You can’t teach that and you can’t give it out, you’re born with it,” Bradley Beal said.
  • Jonathan Isaac hasn’t played in an NBA game since the 2019/20 season but the Magic forward is making progress. “I’ve been playing [5-on-5] the last few weeks and just getting in shape,” Isaac told Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel. “I’m still getting there. But in terms of body, knees and hamstrings, everything is great. I’m just not in game shape.” Isaac won’t put a timetable on his return, adding “I foresee myself in the next few weeks continuing to get more in shape and being more integrated with the team.”
  • The Hawks entered Monday’s action with a 6-3 record, thanks in large part to their backcourt of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. Both players are still adjusting to having another high volume guard alongside them but it’s working so far, ESPN’s Andrew Lopez writes. They’re averaging a combined 50.2 points and 17.5 assists per game. “We’re learning each other, trying to understand the new situation we’re both in,” Murray said. “Pushing each other and just knowing that it’s going be a long journey with ups and downs.”