Jae’Sean Tate

Trade Rumors: E. Gordon, Tate, Suns, Hyland, Vanderbilt, More

The list of teams interested in Rockets shooting guard Eric Gordon has narrowed to a handful of contenders, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, who reports that the Suns and Clippers are among the clubs still in the mix.

Gordon has made his preference for a trade known to the Rockets, but Houston doesn’t plan to deal him just for the sake of it, says Iko. A source close to Gordon tells The Athletic that the veteran isn’t expected to push for a buyout if he’s still a Rocket after the deadline, so the club would be OK hanging onto him. However, if the Rockets get an offer that includes a first-round pick, a promising young player, or a “defensive-minded veteran on team-friendly money,” they’ll likely pull the trigger, Iko writes.

According to Iko, forward Jae’Sean Tate is among the other Rockets players drawing trade interest ahead of Thursday’s deadline. The Suns, Nuggets, Celtics, and Wizards are among the teams eyeing Tate, sources tell The Athletic. However, Houston still values the 27-year-old due in part to his selfless playing style and his attention to detail, per Iko, and would require a strong offer to part with him.

A few teams also inquired on second-year wing Josh Christopher, but those discussions didn’t go far, according to Iko, and the former first-round pick has been playing well as of late, averaging 12.4 PPG on 61.5% shooting in his last five games (18.5 MPG). He sounds likely to stay put in Houston.

Here are more trade rumors and notes from around the NBA:

  • Multiple league sources tell Mike Singer of The Denver Post (subscriber link) that the Raptors – along with the Pelicans and Timberwolves – have registered interest in Nuggets guard Bones Hyland. Singer has heard from sources that Denver believes it has traction on acquiring a first-round pick for Hyland, though the team would prefer to acquire a win-now player who could immediately step into the rotation. The Nuggets are prioritizing a defensive-minded wing, Singer reiterates.
  • Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (subscription required) continues to hear from multiple sources that Jazz forward Jarred Vanderbilt is a leading trade target for the Sixers. Jake Fischer reported over the weekend that Philadelphia was interested in Vanderbilt.
  • The Nets sent $2.58MM in cash to the Kings in the Kessler Edwards trade that was completed on Tuesday, reports ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter). That money is enough to cover Edwards’ remaining salary for 2022/23 as well as his $1.93MM team option for ’23/24 if Sacramento chooses to pick it up.

Rockets’ Green, Tate Suspended One Game By NBA

Rockets guard Jalen Green and forward Jae’Sean Tate have each been suspended one game without pay for leaving the bench area during an on-court altercation on Friday in Sacramento, the league announced today (via Twitter).

As we previously detailed, the skirmish began in the fourth quarter of Sacramento’s win over Houston when Kings guard Malik Monk took exception to a loose-ball foul committed by Rockets guard Garrison Mathews (Twitter video link via Bleacher Report).

Following an official review, referees ejected both Monk and Mathews, along with Kings big man Chimezie Metu, who was called an “escalator,” and Rockets forward Tari Eason, who was referred to as an “instigator,” according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

The players directly involved in the incident escaped without suspensions, though the NBA has fined Mathews $35K and Monk $25K. The league deemed Mathews to be the instigator of the altercation, but said Monk continued it, with both players taunting one another.

While Metu won’t face an additional penalty, Eason has been fined $30K for escalating the fracas and making inadvertent contact with a game official, per the NBA.

Green and Tate weren’t directly involved in the incident, but a player who is not already in the game and leaves the bench in a situation like this one automatically receives a one-game ban. Orlando, for instance, recently had eight players hit with one-game suspensions for doing the same thing during an altercation in Detroit.

Green and Tate will serve their suspensions on Sunday when the Rockets visit the Clippers. They’ll lose 1/145th of their full-season salaries, which works out to about $65K for Green and $49K for Tate.

21 More NBA Players Become Trade-Eligible

Today is Sunday, January 15, which means that nearly two dozen 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 Sunday:

(* 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 Thunder guard Isaiah Joe, who becomes trade-eligible on Monday, Bucks swingman Pat Connaughton (trade-eligible on Wednesday), and Thunder forward Kenrich Williams (trade-eligible on Friday).

There are also several players who won’t become trade-eligible before this season’s February 9 deadline, including Lakers star LeBron James. Players on 10-day contracts are also ineligible to be dealt.

Rockets Notes: Mathews, Eason, Green, Tate, Gordon, Silas

After Kings guard Malik Monk took exception to a loose-ball foul committed by Rockets guard Garrison Mathews in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s contest in Sacramento, a brief on-court fracas broke out between the two teams (Twitter video link via Bleacher Report).

Following an official review, referees ejected both Monk and Mathews, along with Kings big man Chimezie Metu, who was deemed an “escalator,” and Rockets forward Tari Eason, dubbed an “instigator,” according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

Fines or suspensions could follow for the four players ejected from Friday’s game, and two more Rockets players could be in danger of one-game bans, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Jalen Green and Jae’Sean Tate both left the bench area during the altercation, which typically results in an automatic one-game suspension from the NBA. Orlando recently had eight players receive one-game suspensions for similar violations.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • With Eric Gordon once again on the trade block in Houston, Kelly Iko of The Athletic tries to find a deal that would make sense for both the Rockets and a potential trade partner. Iko cautions that expectations about Gordon’s value should be tempered — three of his four suggestions don’t involve Houston acquiring a first-round pick, and the one scenario that does include a first-rounder sees the Rockets taking on Richaun Holmes‘ multiyear contract from Sacramento.
  • The 10-32 Rockets are in danger of finishing with the NBA’s worst record for the third straight year, and Stephen Silas, who now has a 47-149 (.240) since becoming the club’s head coach, is no lock to coach the team beyond this season — or even for the rest of this season. Exploring that possibility, Jerome Solomon of The Houston Chronicle argues that Silas deserves better and has been dealt a terrible hand since getting his first head coaching job.
  • After making 33 starts and averaging a career-high 26.3 minutes per game last season, Garrison Mathews has come exclusively off the bench in 2022/23 and is playing just 12.7 MPG. However, he’s taking the demotion in stride and trying to make an impact in his limited role, writes Danielle Lerner of The Houston Chronicle. “It’s my role, and I’ve got to try to do it the best I can,” Mathews said. “I gotta go out there and hit shots. And if I don’t, then that’s my role. So I gotta be able to do that.”
  • The Rockets’ defense has been bad during their current slide (nine straight losses, 14 in their last 15 games), and those issues go beyond the team’s talent on that side of the ball, Lerner writes in another Chronicle story. According to Lerner, it often appears that Houston’s defensive effort is lacking, with basic assignments missed, especially in transition. The Rockets are allowing an NBA-worst 26.2 transition points per game this season, per NBA.com.

Southwest Notes: Green, Bane, Rockets, Tate, Spurs

Grizzlies swingman Danny Green is inching closer to making his season debut, tweets Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Green is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last May and has begun doing 5-on-5 work, according to Cole.

Participating in 5-on-5 scrimmages generally represents one of the last hurdles a player must clear in his rehab process before returning from a major injury, though it doesn’t necessarily mean Green’s return is imminent. Ricky Rubio and Jonathan Isaac, both coming off ACL tears, were cleared for 5-on-5 play in early December, and both players only returned to the court this week (Rubio in the NBA, Isaac in the G League).

Green has spoken about wanting to make it back before next February’s All-Star break and it sounds like he remains on track to meet that timeline.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Although Grizzlies swingman Desmond Bane has returned from a toe injury and is playing well, he doesn’t expect to be 100% for the rest of the season, Cole writes for The Commercial Appeal. “That’s something I’ll probably have to get taken care of in the offseason,” Bane said of his toe injury during an appearance on the Old Man and the Three podcast. “You never know how much you need to use your big toe until you can’t use it.”
  • In a mailbag for The Athletic, Kelly Iko discusses several Rockets-related topics, including Stephen Silas‘ job security, Kevin Porter Jr.‘s future in Houston, and potential offseason veteran targets. Iko says he’d bet on Silas finishing the season with the Rockets and identifies Myles Turner as a player he thinks the team should prioritize as a free agent this summer.
  • Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate, who played for the Sydney Kings in 2019/20, likes the idea of eventually finishing his professional career back in Australia. “Australia is by far one of my highlights,” Tate told The Ballers Magazine (link via NBL.com.au). “When I’m old and can barely get up and down there I would love to come back and just bee around the guys because the energy, the organization in Sydney – from top to bottom – was great.”
  • The Spurs‘ home game vs. Golden State at the Alamodome on Friday night is on track to break the NBA record for largest single-game attendance. As of Thursday, the club had sold 64,387 tickets for Friday’s contest, according to a press release. The previous attendance record was 62,046 for a Bulls/Hawks game at the Georgia Dome on March 27, 1998.

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.

Jae’Sean Tate To Return Thursday Following Lengthy Absence

Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate will return to action on Thursday against Utah, sources tell Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link). Tate will be on a minutes restriction, according to Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston (Twitter link).

The 27-year-old has only appeared in three games thus far this season, having last played on October 30. He has been dealing with a right ankle injury, which was evidently quite cumbersome given his lengthy absence.

Tate re-signed with Houston on a three-year, $22.1MM deal as a restricted free agent in the offseason. In his first two NBA seasons, both with the Rockets, he averaged 11.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.7 APG and 1.1 SPG on .501/.310/.701 shooting in 148 games (135 starts, 27.7 MPG).

It will be interesting to see which players have their minutes reduced with Tate returning to the lineup — the Rockets have a lot of young forwards on their roster.

Injury Updates: Middleton, Maxey, Booker, Wright, Tate

After making his season debut on December 2 following offseason wrist surgery, Bucks wing Khris Middleton has now missed four consecutive games with right knee soreness. Head coach Mike Budenholzer provided an update on Middleton’s status ahead of Friday’s game against the Nets, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic.

I think, I would say he is making progress, probably not at the rate we had hoped,” Budenholzer said. “To be able to get work in, to be ready to play — it’s really still, he only played I think four, five games — so there’s still that being ready for an NBA game and all that goes into that. So, we’ll see how the next 24, 48 hours go. … But I think overall we’re encouraged. And I think he’s in a good place and he’ll play when he’s ready. It’s a long season. We have to be patient. It’s hard for Khris. It’s hard for us, but just keep the big picture in mind always.”

While Budenholzer is typically vague when giving health updates, hopefully the fact that Middleton’s knee has been slow to respond doesn’t keep him out of action for much longer. Through seven games (24.6 MPG), the three-time All-Star is averaging 11.1 PPG, 2.6 RPG and 4.4 APG.

Here are some more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Sixers head coach Doc Rivers isn’t confident that Tyrese Maxey will return for Sunday’s matchup against the Knicks, but he provided an encouraging update on Friday, per Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “He’s making great progress,” Rivers said. “[He] had a great workout [Thursday], so he’s close.” The third-year guard has been sidelined since November 18 after suffering a foot fracture.
  • Suns star Devin Booker has been dealing with groin soreness since Saturday’s victory over New Orleans, with Friday marking his third straight missed game. Head coach Monty Williams isn’t sure when the shooting guard will be back in action, according to Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports (Twitter link). He’s been shooting the last couple of days. Not moving as much, but is progressing a bit…he’s chomping at the bit. As you can imagine, Book’s frustrated when he can’t play,” Williams said, adding that he wouldn’t speculate about whether Booker would play on Sunday.
  • The Wizards announced that guard Delon Wright, who has missed the team’s past 29 games with a hamstring injury, would be back in action on Friday against Sacramento, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link). Wright should bolster the Wizards’ defense, which ranks 22nd in the NBA.
  • Jae’Sean Tate has been sidelined since October 30 due to a right ankle injury, having made just three appearances for the Rockets thus far this season. However, head coach Stephen Silas said on Friday that the forward’s return “looks like it will be pretty soon,” tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

Injury Notes: R. Williams, Toppin, Toscano-Anderson, Tate

We heard last month that Robert Williams hoped to return to the court by Christmas Day, but the latest word from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski suggests the Celtics big man could be back even earlier than that. Wojnarowski said during an appearance on NBA Today on Wednesday that Williams has made “great progress” and is getting close to making his season debut (Twitter video link via Dan Greenberg).

“The timeline right now is still potentially 10-to-12 days, but don’t rule out the possibility that Robert Williams wakes up one day and decides he’s ready to return,” Wojnarowski said. “I think we expect he’ll be back before Christmas.”

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

  • Knicks forward Obi Toppin, who left Wednesday’s game in the second quarter with a sore right knee, is expected to undergo an MRI on Thursday to determine the extent of the injury, sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link).
  • Lakers wing Juan Toscano-Anderson will also be undergoing an MRI after spraining his right ankle in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s loss in Toronto, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Toscano-Anderson has been out of L.A.’s rotation for most of the season and played more minutes (16) on Wednesday than he had since October 23. It sucks,” head coach Darvin Ham said of the 29-year-old getting hurt while getting a rare opportunity to play a role.
  • Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate, sidelined since October 30 due to a right ankle injury, began running earlier this week, but there’s still no timeline for his return, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Tate has appeared in just three games this season after signing a new three-year contract with the club in the offseason.

Southwest Injury Notes: Morant, Jackson Jr., Wesley, Langford, Tate, Bertans

Ja Morant missed Sunday’s game against Washington with an ankle injury but it apparently will only be a one-game absence. The Grizzlies’ star guard is not on the injury report for Tuesday’s game against New Orleans, the team’s PR department tweets.

Meanwhile, Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. could make his season debut on Tuesday, as the forward is listed as questionable. Jackson has been rehabbing from offseason right foot surgery. Morant’s backcourt partner, Desmond Bane, is doubtful due to toe soreness.

We have more injury updates regarding the Southwest Division:

  • Spurs rookie guard Blake Wesley has begun his rehab from a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News reports. Wesley is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks of action. “It’s going good,” he said. “I’ve started jogging, lifting and getting my routine back. I’m on the court, not moving, but getting up shots and taking it day by day.”
  • Spurs guard Romeo Langford has been placed in the league’s health and safety protocols and will miss Monday’s game against Golden State, Orsborn tweets.
  • Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate has appeared in just three games due to an ankle injury and he’ll miss several more games. Coach Stephen Silas said Tate will be reevaluated in two or three weeks, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • Mavericks forward Davis Bertans, who has been sidelined with a right knee injury, participated in his first full practice on Monday since early in training camp, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Bertans is still listed out for the team’s game against the Clippers on Tuesday, the team’s PR department tweets.