Javonte Green

Celtics Notes: Bates-Diop, Green, Azubuike, Madar, G. Williams

Keita Bates-Diop and Javonte Green could be a couple of relatively low-cost options for the Celtics in free agency, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com.

Bates-Diop posted career highs in several categories with San Antonio in 2022/23, including points (9.7), assists (1.5), three-point percentage (39.4%), free throw percentage (79.3%), games played (67), starts (42) and minutes per game (21.7).

However, a league source tells Deveney that the Spurs might just re-sign Bates-Diop or possibly look to sign-and-trade the 27-year-old combo forward.

As for Green, he started his NBA career with the Celtics and “would welcome” a return to Boston, a source tells Deveney.

Although he’s undersized for a forward at 6’4″, Green is an explosive athlete and a tenacious defender. He played well for the Bulls the past few seasons, but unfortunately he struggled to return from knee surgery during ’22/23, which leaves his future up in the air.

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • Free agent center Udoka Azubuike, a former first-round pick who spent the past three seasons with the Jazz, will be suiting up for Boston’s summer league squad, a team source tells Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Azubuike dealt with major ankle injuries during his tenure with Utah, but Weiss believes he could be a candidate for a two-way deal if he can improve in a couple areas.
  • Draft-and-stash prospect Yam Madar, an Israeli guard who has been playing overseas since he was a second-round pick in 2020, could be another option for a two-way contract, multiple league sources tell Weiss.
  • The Celtics are still actively involved in trade talks to improve their roster, Weiss adds.
  • A rival front office executive is skeptical Grant Williams will get more than the full mid-level exception in free agency, writes Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com. “There are definitely teams that like him, but I think no matter how it plays out and where he winds up, he’s probably going to come in for about mid-level exception money, around $12 million a year,” the executive said. “I don’t think he’s a cap-room offer — a guy you use room under the cap to sign. He’s more of an exception slot guy. I’m not sure you want to burn cap room on Grant Williams.” The Celtics recently issued Williams a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent, but it will be tricky to keep him around if they want to avoid the second tax apron after trading for Kristaps Porzingis. Still, Williams recently said he was open to returning — assuming it works out financially for both sides.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Chicago Bulls

For the rest of the regular season and postseason, Hoops Rumors is taking a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents during the 2023 offseason. We consider whether their stock is rising or falling due to their performance and other factors. Today, we’re focusing on a handful of Bulls players.

Coby White, G

  • 2022/23: $7.4MM
  • 2023/24: RFA
  • Stock: Up

White is a tricky player to gauge because he’s playing fewer minutes and taking fewer shots, so on the surface his numbers look worse. If you actually watch him play though, it’s clear that he has improved in meaningful ways.

For example, when he entered the league he was basically a low-efficiency gunner who didn’t provide a whole lot else. His ball-handling, decision-making and defense have all improved, and he has a much better feel for making plays within the flow of the game.

White, who was recently praised by head coach Billy Donovan, has seen his name has pop up in trade rumors the past couple seasons, but the fact that the Bulls held onto him through the deadline leads me to believe they’ll give him a $7,744,600 qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent.

Lonzo Ball might miss all of next season following a third left knee surgery, making guard depth a priority. White just turned 23 years old last month – I think they’ll bring him back.

Nikola Vucevic, C

  • 2022/23: $22MM
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Neutral

Vucevic’s counting stats in 2022/23 (17.5 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 3.3 APG) are virtually identical to last year’s (17.6 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 3.2 APG), but he’s scoring much more efficiently, mostly due to a career-high 58.7% on twos — he’s averaging about the same amount of points on 1.8 fewer shot attempts per game.

The veteran center has always been a quality defensive rebounder, but he is limited in other aspects defensively, particularly when it comes to protecting the paint – among centers who contest five-plus shots at the rim, he allows opponents to shoot 67.9% on those looks, which is the second-worst mark in the league, according to NBA.com. Chicago’s offense has been better when Vucevic is playing, but the team’s defense is significantly worse.

It’s hard to see Vucevic getting much more than his current $22MM salary from the Bulls or any other team. That said, he’s more or less the same player he was when he signed the deal, just four years older, and obviously the Bulls value him, otherwise they wouldn’t have traded for him a couple years ago. Maybe a short-term deal at a similar price could be in play – he will remain extension-eligible until June 30.

Patrick Beverley, G

  • 2022/23: $13MM + prorated minimum
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Down

Beverley’s free agency situation is strange. On one hand, the Bulls have gone 10-5 with him in the starting lineup – a very good mark, particularly for a team that has been wildly inconsistent in 2022/23.

He is an above average rebounder for a player his size (he’s 6’1″), pulling down 5.9 boards in 28 minutes thus far with the Bulls, though that seems unsustainable (it would match his career high from ’16/17). He has also done a very good job taking care of the ball, recording a 4.07-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio with Chicago.

So why is Beverley’s stock down? He is only shooting 34% from deep in ‘22/23 – 31.5% with Chicago thus far – after shooting 34.3% last season. His career rate is 37.4%, but it’s a little concerning that he’s been below average two years in a row, because he isn’t much of a scoring threat otherwise (he’s averaging 6.3 points per game, his lowest total since his rookie year in ‘12/13).

Three other factors are working against him. One, he’s on his fifth team in under a year, having been traded three times before reaching a buyout agreement with Orlando. Second, he’ll turn 35 years old this summer, so it’s hard to see him getting more than a one- or two-year contract.

Finally, he lost his Bird rights when he was bought out, so the Bulls will be limited in what they can offer him – they could give him a 120% raise on his current minimum salary, which would be around $3.1MM, but otherwise they would have to dip into one of their exceptions (mid-level or bi-annual) to give him more than the minimum. I suspect they’ll pursue a younger target with the MLE.

Long story short, there’s no realistic way the Bulls can offer him anything close to the combined $13.8MM he made this season, and I definitely don’t see another team approaching that figure.

Javonte Green, F

  • 2022/23: Minimum salary
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Neutral

If you had asked me earlier this season about Green’s stock, I would have said he was owed a raise on his minimum-salary contract – the Bulls have been better with him on the court each of the past two seasons. He brings a much-needed infusion of energy, toughness, and defensive versatility to a team that has been oddly apathetic at times.

The main reason his stock is neutral instead of up is his knee injury, which he has been slow to recover from. He underwent an arthroscopic debridement procedure in January, and it was initially reported that he was expected to miss about a month. Instead, he was out for about two-and-a-half months, and after playing two games last week, he’s on the shelf again.

Donovan said on Sunday that Green has been dealing with discomfort the day after playing, which is troubling. Green punches above his weight due to his explosive athleticism, but he’s only 6’4″ – hopefully this injury doesn’t affect that part of his game, because he’s a limited offensive player. Here’s to hoping he makes a full recovery.

Injury Notes: Brunson, Bulls, Cavaliers, KAT, Grizzlies

Knicks starting point guard Jalen Brunson will miss his second straight game on Monday with a sprained right hand, the team has announced (Twitter link).

The 6’1″ Brunson is enjoying a career season with his new club. Across 65 healthy games, he’s averaging 23.8 PPG on .489/.411/.833 shooting. The 26-year-old is also averaging 6.2 APG, 3.6 RPG and 0.9 SPG for New York.

Reserve guard Derrick Rose, who has been out of the rotation since the calendar rolled over to 2023, will also be inactive for this evening’s bout against the Rockets due to an illness, the Knicks add.

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

  • Bulls forward Javonte Green, who continues to recover from a January knee surgery after making a brief return to the lineup last week, will be out tonight against the Clippers, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). Johnson adds that veteran Chicago guard Alex Caruso is considered questionable to play.
  • Several Cavaliers players comprise the club’s injury report ahead of the team’s game Tuesday against the Hawks, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter links). Starting center Jarrett Allen is questionable with a groin strain, while starting small forward Isaac Okoro is also questionable due to a sore knee. Swingman Danny Green and point guard Raul Neto will not play. Wing Dean Wade is doubtful to play through an illness. Isaiah Mobley, Sam Merrill and Dylan Windler are all going to be working with Cleveland’s NBAGL affiliate, the Cleveland Charge.
  • Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns will sit out tonight’s game against the Kings as he manages his right calf strain injury on the second night of a back-to-back, the team has announced (Twitter link). Two-way player Matt Ryan is out with an illness. All-Star shooting guard Anthony Edwards is questionable due to a sprained right ankle. Guard Jaylen Nowell is also questionable with a left knee tendinopathy.
  • At least five Grizzlies players will be shelved for Tuesday’s contest against the Magic, Memphis has announced (via Twitter). Beyond Brandon Clarke, who’s out for the year with a left Achilles tear, Ziaire Williams, Vince Williams, Jake LaRavia and Steven Adams are all also sidelined. All-Star point guard Ja Morant is considered doubtful to play due to a sore right thigh.

Bulls Notes: DeRozan, Green, White, Beverley

Bulls All-Star small forward DeMar DeRozan is making his return to the lineup on Sunday after sitting out Friday’s win over the Trail Blazers with a right quad injury, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

“I feel good,” DeRozan said. “Everything’s a go. Regular-scheduled programming. It was just really sore after those three marathons that I ran. But I’m good, got a lot of treatment these last couple days—ice, recovery.”

DeRozan missed five games earlier this season with the same injury, which he reaggravated in a Wednesday loss to the Sixers, opting to leave early.

“I’ve been feeling it since January,” DeRozan added. “I just find ways to get through most of the games. Just that game was the worst as far as soreness. It takes a lot for me to sit out a game. I just wanted to take care of it these last couple days and get rid of the soreness.”

There’s more out of the Windy City:

  • After appearing in two games with the Bulls this week following a two-month absence, Javonte Green appears to have suffered a setback in his recovery from knee surgery. Green has now sat for two straight games, and head coach Billy Donovan stated that the forward is struggling with “soreness and discomfort” the day after playing, Johnson tweets. Donovan has not indicated that the team intends to shut Green down for the rest of the year. After today, Chicago will have just eight games left in the regular season.
  • Donovan is convinced that young Bulls reserve combo guard Coby White, already a good shooter, has taken his defensive game to the next level this season, Johnson writes in a separate piece. “He’s playmaking,” Donovan said. “He’s passing. He’s driving. He’s making good decisions. He’s defending. He’s playing two ways.” White will be a restricted free agent this summer, and is making a case for Chicago to retain him with his improved play.
  • The next three games for the Bulls and starting point guard Patrick Beverley will be against two of Beverley’s former teams, the Lakers (twice) and Clippers. Beverley is hoping to knock the Lakers down the standings from their current No. 8 seed in the West, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “They’ve gotten better after the trade,” Beverley said of the Lakers. “The Bulls after the All-Star break, we’ve gotten better, and that’s what it’s all about. At the end of the day, we’re playing basketball. We’re not out there a UFC fighter or a boxing match. We’re able to compete at the highest level, and to do it on a stage in L.A. is always fun.’’

Bulls’ Ball Had Knee Surgery, Out Indefinitely; Green To Return

Bulls guard Lonzo Ball underwent successful knee surgery on Monday, head coach Billy Donovan told reporters, including Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link).

We understand it’s going to be an uphill battle for him, but we know he’s going to do everything possible to get back on the court,” Donovan said.

According to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link), Donovan referred to Ball’s recovery timeline as “indefinite” and the team will prepare for next season’s training camp with the mentality that Ball will not be available.

Ball was set to receive a cartilage transplant in his left knee after two previous surgeries were unable to clear up persistent discomfort when he tried to ramp up his on-court activities. The 25-year-old has been sidelined since January 14, 2022, when he tore his meniscus.

This third surgery was something of a last resort, as there were reportedly concerns about Ball’s ability to resume playing. He could miss all of 2023/24 after missing the entire ’22/23 season.

In other health-related news for the Bulls, guard Alex Caruso will miss Monday’s game against Philadelphia, tweets Bulls radio play-by-play announcer Chuck Swirsky. He had previously been listed as questionable. As K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago notes (via Twitter), Caruso aggravated a left midfoot strain on Saturday, which caused him to leave the victory early.

On a positive note, forward Javonte Green will make his return to the lineup — he last played on December 31. Green underwent surgery in January, an arthroscopic debridement procedure on his right knee. An impending free agent, Green had been slow to recover, but was recently practicing with the team’s G League affiliate.

Bulls Notes: Ball, Replacements, DeRozan, Green

There are concerns that Lonzo Ball might miss all of next season after deciding to undergo a cartilage transplant in his left knee. Bulls coach Billy Donovan didn’t offer a specific prognosis, but he admitted Ball is facing “a long rehab,” writes Andrew Seligman of The Associated Press.

“For me to say, ‘I have no hope that he’s ever gonna play here again’ or ‘Yeah, he’s definitely going to be back,’ I just don’t know,” Donovan told reporters on Friday.

The procedure will be the third for Ball on his left knee in the past 14 months. He hasn’t played since January of 2022, but Donovan said his work ethic and attitude haven’t changed.

“Even though he comes in, he’s around the team for a period of time, there is a lot of time that he’s away from everybody,” Donovan said. “Just having to come to grips of not playing is really, really hard, I think, probably for him to absorb. But he handles himself incredibly well. He’s so consistent all the time with his spirit and disposition and what he’s tried to do every step of the way to get back.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Ball’s latest setback will force the Bulls to address their point guard situation this summer, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic, who adds that it’s hard to understand why the team wasn’t more aggressive in finding a replacement at the trade deadline. With no cap space and limited draft assets, the trade market appears to be the team’s best option. Mayberry notes that it’s now more likely that the Bulls will try to re-sign some combination of free agent guards Patrick Beverley, Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White.
  • DeMar DeRozan didn’t consider sitting out tonight’s game after playing 52 minutes and scoring 49 points in Friday’s double-overtime contest, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. With 13 games remaining and the Bulls fighting for a play-in spot, DeRozan understands there’s no time for load management. “I hoop all summer for free,” he said. “Why not do it when you’re getting paid for it? I’m looking forward to it.”
  • Javonte Green is trending toward a return after missing more than two months following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, Johnson tweets. Green was able to practice Friday with the Bulls’ G League affiliate, and Donovan said team doctors want to see how he responds to numerous practice sessions.

Bulls Notes: White, Ball, Beverley, Green, Vucevic, Schedule

Coby White didn’t get an extension last offseason, meaning he’ll be a free agent this summer. The Bulls can make him a restricted free agent by extending him a qualifying offer of $7.74MM.

The fourth-year guard wants to build up his value and show his versatility this season, he told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times.

“I just wanted to take steps this year and prove that I could do things that people thought I couldn’t do,’’ White said. “But with all that said, you just never know in this league, this business. You never know what’s really going on. So I just have to keep the mindset of keep it steady, keep it consistent, and hopefully everything will take care of itself.’’

White has been in the rotation much of the year, averaging a career-low 8.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 22.3 minutes per game.

We have more on the Bulls:

  • With Lonzo Ball possibly undergoing another procedure on his knee, the team’s brass will ponder whether to bring in another starter-level point guard this summer, Cowley writes in the same piece. “I do think the front office, ownership, will sit down after [Ball’s] decision is made, look at a timetable of how long this rehab and recovery will be, and then make decisions from there on what are the expectations of him coming back, what will the length of the rehab look like, how much more time he’ll miss?’’ coach Billy Donovan said. “I think that will be a conversation we would all have at the end of the year.’’
  • Zach LaVine says that Patrick Beverley has been a huge boost since joining the team as a free agent, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago tweets. “Energy. Heart. Toughness. Vocal. He gets us going,” LaVine said. “You can see how much he cares about winning and his teammates. We definitely needed someone like that. It shows with the impact he has on the game.”
  • Javonte Green was able to run and cut during practice for a second straight day, according to Donovan, Johnson tweets. An update on Green’s status is expected next week. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Jan. 11.
  • Nikola Vucevic‘s stats haven’t changed much from last season, other than his shooting percentage (51.2% compared to 47.3%). However, he feels like he’s having a better year than his first full season with the franchise, according to Johnson. “Last season, I felt I was up and down a little bit while trying to figure out my role,” said Vucevic, a free agent after this season. “So it was very important for me to come back and have a strong season and play well. I think I’ve been able to do that.”
  • The Bulls will have to adjust defensively to different styles in order to nail down a play-in tournament berth, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic writes. They begin a three-game homestand against the Kings on Wednesday. “We better be able to,” LaVine said. “You can’t take the same plan into each game, especially defensively. Going up against Sacramento coming up now, you can’t treat them like they’re Houston. … So it’s another thing for us to lock into. And after that game, you’ve got to switch it up and get ready for the next team.”

Bulls Notes: DeRozan, Vucevic, DeRozan, Green

Following a crushing three-point home loss to Indiana, DeMar DeRozan admits he’s exasperated with the Bulls’ inability to gain any traction in the Eastern Conference standings, Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times writes.

“It’s beyond frustrating that we lost again,’’ DeRozan said. “It’s overly frustrating to lose, especially when we say it’s a must-win. We’re making our own bed. We can’t complain about it. We’ve got to figure out these last games to dig us out of this hole and put ourselves in a position to make something out of it.’’

We have more on the Bulls:

  • Going along with that theme, impending free agent Nikola Vucevic admits it’s tough to imagine things turning around the rest of the season, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. “It doesn’t really depend on us anymore,” Vucevic said. “I mean, it does. We have to win. But we’re depending on the people in front of us, on how they do. So it’s hard to say after 65 games we didn’t figure it out. It’s tough to believe that something’s just going to (click) like that. We’ll see. We’re going to keep fighting, keep hoping something happens. But it’s obvious we’ve put ourselves in a very difficult spot now.”
  • Adding to the frustration is that Zach LaVine has been on his best offensive tear of the season, Cowley notes in a separate story. Over the last 10 games, he’s averaging just under 29 points per game while shooting 51.6% from the field and 42.9% on 3-point attempts. Chicago is 3-7 during that stretch.
  • Javonte Green “continues to progress” in his rehab but there’s no timetable for his return, according to a team press release. His status will be updated in approximately two weeks. Green underwent arthroscopic surgery to his right knee on Jan. 11 and coach Billy Donovan acknowledged over the weekend that Green is still struggling to make lateral movements.

Central Notes: Nwora, Turner, Dragic, Green

Jordan Nwora was acquired by the Pacers from the Bucks at the trade deadline and coach Rick Carlisle has been impressed by the reserve forward, Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star writes. Nwora, who is signed through next season, is averaging 9.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 20.2 minutes in six games with Indiana. “Nwora’s a skilled player,” Carlisle said. “Positionally, he does a better job defensively than a lot of people might think. …  He’s getting better and better for us.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Myles Turner, a prime trade candidate before last month’s deadline, is thrilled he signed a two-year extension with the Pacers, he told Alex Kennedy of Basketball News. “I’m glad that we got it done. I think it was a win-win for both sides,” Turner said. “I think I have a good relationship with (Pacers owner) Herb Simon, and I think he has a big belief in what I’m capable of as well. I’m glad that we were able to come to terms on an agreement. Behind the scenes, for me personally, I was open to the idea of free agency, but I also wanted to at least give Indy a fair chance, and both sides came to an agreement.”
  • The Bucks were interested in Goran Dragic because he gives them a pure point guard off the bench, Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes. Dragic could bring the ball up the floor and get the Bucks into their offense for 10 minutes per night during the postseason, Nehm speculates, which could ease the burden off their other play-makers. Current backup Jevon Carter has more impact on the defensive end and doesn’t typically bring the ball up the floor. Dragic signed on Saturday after clearing waivers.
  • Javonte Green was supposed to return to action by now after undergoing an arthroscopic debridement on his right knee in January. However, his recovery has gone more slowly than expected, Bulls coach Billy Donovan told K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago and other media members. “Different stuff that they try to push him towards, they have to go off of his tolerance,” Donovan said. “We’ve been kind of at the same thing where I think the linear, straight-ahead running has been pretty good. But they’ve not been able to progress him yet to any lateral stuff.” A free agent after the season, Green has only appeared in 28 games.

Bulls Notes: Vucevic, LaVine, Offseason Approach, Inactivity

Bulls executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas believes the team will be able to reach a contract agreement with center Nikola Vucevic, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes. Vucevic is headed to unrestricted free agency this summer unless he signs an extension.

“He’s having an unbelievable year,” Karnišovas said. “And you know we want him to be here.”

Vucevic said he’s willing to sign an extension but doesn’t feel the need to get something done before the season ends.

“If they want to talk extension, obviously we’re open to it,” he said. “But if they want to wait until summer, that’s fine too. We’ll see. Obviously, I’d be interested in re-signing here if we can work everything out.”

We have more on the Bulls:

  • Zach LaVine said he wasn’t fazed by a report that the Bulls and Knicks had discussions about him prior to the trade deadline, according to Johnson. “Those speculations don’t come out with winning teams,” LaVine said. “Didn’t happen last year, so I think being one of the leaders of the team and understanding your positioning and the position of the team, your name is going to get thrown in stuff like that.” Johnson downplayed the Chicago Sun-Times report, with his sources suggesting that those talks either never occurred or that they happened weeks earlier.
  • The Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley stuck by his LaVine story and said the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement on which players to include in the deal, even with the Bulls also getting back draft capital. A source told Cowley the Bulls aren’t as committed to LaVine long-term as some may think, and they could test the trade market for him once again this summer.
  • While the Bulls — expected to be very active before the trade deadline passed — wound up doing nothing, that won’t be the case this offseason, Johnson adds in a separate story. The franchise won’t go into a full rebuild, but the rest of the season will determine Karnisovas’ approach this summer. The Bulls have to give the Magic this year’s first-round selection unless it’s in the top four and they also have key contract decisions to make on Coby White, Ayo Dosunmu and Javonte Green, as well as Vucevic.
  • The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg heavily criticized the front office for its inactivity, labeling it a debacle and shameful that changes were not made to a roster that has failed to show signs of taking a big step forward.