Matt Ryan

Injury Notes: McCollum, James, Reddish, Murray, Markkanen, Durant, Connaughton

Pelicans guard CJ McCollum has been upgraded to questionable for Wednesday’s game against Philadelphia, the team’s PR department tweets. McCollum has been out since Nov. 4 after being diagnosed with a collapsed lung. McCollum has missed New Orleans’ last 12 games.

Trey Murphy III (knee) and Matt Ryan (calf) have been upgraded to doubtful. Murphy, a starter most of last season, has yet to make his season debut. Ryan hasn’t played since Nov. 18.

We have more injury-related updates:

  • Lakers star LeBron James is listed as questionable to play against Detroit on Wednesday due to a left calf contusion, according to the team’s PR department (hat tip to Orange County Register’s Khobi Price). Cam Reddish (left groin strain) and Anthony Davis (left adductor) are listed as probable, while Gabe Vincent, Rui Hachimura and Jarred Vanderbilt will not play.
  • Jamal Murray has been upgraded to questionable for the Nuggets’ game against Houston on Wednesday, Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports tweets. Murray has been out since Nov. 4 due to a hamstring strain.
  • Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen will miss at least two more games due to a left hamstring strain, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets. He’ll be reevaluated after the team returns from its two-game road trip.
  • The Suns have listed Kevin Durant (right foot contusion) and Grayson Allen (illness) as questionable to play Wednesday against Toronto, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports tweets.
  • Pat Connaughton exited the Bucks’ game on Tuesday early with a right ankle sprain, the team tweets.

Pelicans’ Matt Ryan Out 10-14 Days With Calf Strain

Pelicans forward Matt Ryan has been diagnosed with a mild right calf strain and is expected to miss about 10-to-14 days, the team announced in a press release.

Ryan, who was injured during Saturday’s loss to Minnesota, is on a two-way contract with New Orleans. Two-way players are only eligible to be active for 50 NBA games, but the 26-year-old has already appeared in all 13 of the Pelicans’ contests this fall.

Known for his shooting prowess, Ryan is off to a strong start in 2023/24, averaging 9.3 points on an excellent .458/.471/.929 slash line in 22.9 minutes per night. All of those figures represent career highs for the third-year forward.

The Pelicans have once again dealt with a litany of injuries this season. Trey Murphy (knee surgery) has yet to make his season debut, CJ McCollum (small pneumothorax in his right lung) has missed the past seven games, and Larry Nance Jr. is out with a rib fracture. Several other players have missed multiple games as well.

On a more positive note, guard Jose Alvarado (ankle) plans to make his season debut tonight.

With Ryan out, the Pelicans will lean even more heavily on rookie first-rounder Jordan Hawkins to provide outside shooting.

And-Ones: Cousins, Expansion, 2024 Cap Room, Netflix, More

Veteran center DeMarcus Cousins, who last played in Puerto Rico, is drawing “strong” interest from a team in the Chinese Basketball Association, sources tell Orazio Cauchi of While it’s unclear which team in China is pursuing Cousins, one of BasketNews’ sources believes that a deal will be reached.

As Cauchi explains, Cousins – who has earned four All-Star nods and been named an All-NBA player twice – was already in China for a series of promotional events. Negotiations with the mystery CBA team have reportedly gotten more serious since he arrived in the country.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • While Las Vegas and Seattle are the destinations most frequently cited for the next round of NBA expansion, commissioner Adam Silver said during an appearance on NBC Sports Boston’s Celtics telecast on Monday (Twitter video link via The Shift) that he wouldn’t rule out a pair of Canadian cities as eventual homes for NBA franchises. “I know there’s interest from Montreal, we’ve heard from them,” Silver said. “There’s still ongoing interest in Vancouver. … There will be more opportunity (in Canada) over time.”
  • Keith Smith of Spotrac recently took a closer look at each team’s projected spending power for the 2024 offseason, naming the Magic, Sixers, and Pistons as the clubs that are in the best position to create significant cap room.
  • Netflix has conveyed some interest in broadcasting the NBA’s in-season tournament in future seasons, sources tell John Ourand of Sports Business Journal. The 2023/24 in-season tournament games are airing on ESPN, TNT, and regional sports networks, but that could change in the NBA’s next media deal.
  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report ranked the best players and prospects on two-way contracts, with Pelicans sharpshooter Matt Ryan and Celtics big man Neemias Queta earning the top spots on his list.

And-Ones: Self, 2024 FAs, G League, Harrison, More

Longtime University of Kansas head coach Bill Self has signed an amended lifetime contract with the school’s basketball program, according to a press release. The deal is worth approximately $53MM over the next five years, a source tells Jeff Goodman of The Messenger (Twitter link).

Self, who has never coached in the NBA, was mentioned a few years ago as a possible successor for Gregg Popovich in San Antonio. However, he shot down those rumors on multiple occasions and said he had no intention of leaving the Jayhawks — this latest contract agreement confirms that’s still the case.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report looks ahead to 2024 NBA free agency, previewing the potential top stories and attempting to forecast landing spots for the best free agents in the class. Three Clippers stars – Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and James Harden – headline Pincus’ list.
  • The NBA G League announced this week that it has entered into a streaming partnership with Tubi, an ad-supported video-on-demand service. “NBA G League TV” will be the result of the union and will air more than 75 live NBAGL games on Fridays and Saturdays each season, starting tomorrow with the opening night of this year’s Showcase Cup.
  • After initially reporting that veteran NBA guard Shaquille Harrison was on track to finalize a contract with Olimpia Milano, Fabrizio Lorenzi of La Repubblica now says that talks between the two sides have stalled, as Sportando relays.
  • Following up on the report that the NBA is considering expanding its draft from one day to two days, Zach Harper of The Athletic offers his other suggestions for draft-related changes, including moving it to after free agency.
  • Hawks forward Jalen Johnson, Pelicans wing Matt Ryan, and Suns center Drew Eubanks are among 10 players singled out by John Hollinger of The Athletic as names who are “emerging from obscurity” and making themselves worth watching in the early going this season.

Injury Notes: Davis, Hayes, Jones, Herro, C. Thomas

After previously expressing optimism that he wouldn’t miss additional time with the injury, Lakers big man Anthony Davis was ruled out of Wednesday’s game vs. Houston due to left hip spasms, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes.

The Lakers were also without reserve center Jaxson Hayes, who is dealing with a left ankle sprain, McMenamin adds.

Davis initially sustained the injury on Monday against Miami, exiting the game in the third quarter. Sources tell McMenamin the Lakers are hopeful Davis will be back in action for Friday’s matchup in Phoenix.

Here are a few more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • The Pelicans were extremely shorthanded on Wednesday, with multiple rotation players sidelined for various reasons. A third starter — wing Herbert Jones — was ruled out ahead of the matchup vs. Minnesota due to a right fibula contusion, tweets Will Guillory of The Athletic. With so many players injured, all three of the team’s two-way players (Matt Ryan, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Dereon Seabron) received first-quarter minutes, with Robinson-Earl getting a starting nod, Guillory adds (via Twitter). Robinson-Earl just signed his two-way deal with the Pelicans last week.
  • Heat guard Tyler Herro is off to a strong start in 2023/24, but unfortunately he sustained a right ankle sprain in the first quarter of Wednesday’s game vs. Memphis and was ruled out for the remainder of the contest, the team announced (via Twitter). Bally Sports Heat has the video (Twitter link), with Herro landing on Jaren Jackson Jr.‘s foot following a floater in the lane. Herro was unable to put weight on his leg after the injury and hopped to the locker room.
  • Another player off to a terrific start this season is Nets guard Cam Thomas. Unfortunately, he suffered a left ankle sprain on Wednesday vs. the Clippers and missed the remainder of the game, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter links), who adds that Thomas will undergo an MRI on Thursday. The 2021 first-round pick rolled his ankle after stepping on P.J. Tucker‘s foot (Twitter video link via Lucas Kaplan of NetsDaily).

Southwest Notes: Ryan, Murphy, Wembanyama, Lively, Bane

Matt Ryan, whose two-way contract was claimed off waivers by New Orleans after being released by Minnesota, had a strong debut with the Pelicans, writes Christian Clark of (subscriber link).

The 26-year-old forward converted a trio of three-pointers in under three minutes during the second quarter, shifting the momentum of the game. While he only played 14 minutes, Ryan was a game-high plus-20 in the Pelicans’ 111-104 victory over Memphis, Clark notes.

After the game, Ryan reflected on his experience as a DoorDash driver once his college career ended, which coincided with the NBA shutting down the season due to the pandemic in March 2020.

I was kind of getting bored going from home to the gym,” Ryan said. “I wanted to do something that was easy to drop and go play right away. I had a car. Was capable of delivering food. I did that for a little bit. But I stayed in the gym. Stayed focused on my goals. When the opportunity came, I was ready.”

Ryan is now on his fourth team, having made previous stops with the Celtics, Lakers and Wolves. He remains steadfast in his belief that he’s an NBA player, and he should have more opportunities to showcase his long-range shooting with Trey Murphy sidelined, Clark adds.

I truly believed I could play at this level,” Ryan said. “It would have been easy to stop or take a mid-level job in Europe. I wanted to play in the NBA. I always did. I believe that I can. I’m going to continue to try to show it.”

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • Murphy’s return timeline is up in the air due to a torn meniscus in his left knee, which required surgery, but he already feels like an essential piece for the Pelicans, Clark writes in another subscriber-only story for Murphy, who was the 17th pick of the 2021 draft, is now in his third season. In 2022/23, he averaged 14.5 PPG and 3.6 RPG in 31.0 MPG across 79 appearances (65 starts), posting an impressive shooting line of .484/.406/.905. The Pelicans exercised their ’24/25 team option on Murphy, making him eligible for a rookie scale extension next summer. Clark suggests the 6’9″ sharpshooter could land a nine-figure payday on his next contract.
  • While Spurs No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama had some moments of brilliance against Dallas in his regular season debut, recording 15 points (on 6-of-9 shooting), five rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block, he also committed five turnovers was limited to just 23 minutes in the loss due to foul trouble, notes Jonathan Givony of ESPN.
  • In the same story, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon says Mavericks center Dereck Lively II, who was the No. 12 overall pick, was the more impactful big man, notching 16 points (7-of-8 shooting), 10 rebounds, a steal, a block and a game-high plus-20 in 31 minutes off the bench. “He played f—ing amazing,” Mavs superstar Luka Doncic said.
  • Desmond Bane is finding his voice as a leader of the Grizzlies, particularly with Ja Morant suspended and Steven Adams out for the year with a knee injury, as Kelly Iko of The Athletic relays. Not only has the fourth-year guard become more vocal, he leads by example as well — he has an “obsessive work ethic,” according to Iko. “He’s the one on the team who I call ‘Cap’ for captain,” said rookie GG Jackson. “You can tell from his vibe in practice or even around the facility that he’s the lead dog, the most mature professional on the team. I still try to act a little goofy to add positivity, but he always has his head on the straight and narrow. He’s very serious about his craft. When it’s time to get to it he’s locked in.”

Pelicans Claim Matt Ryan Off Waivers

6:37pm: The acquisition of Ryan is now official, per a Pelicans tweet.

4:21pm: Swingman Matt Ryan has been claimed off waivers by the Pelicans, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Ryan, who went undrafted out of Chattanooga in 2020, split his 2022/23 season between the Lakers and Timberwolves. The 26-year-old managed to secure a standard roster spot to start the year with the Lakers, but was cut after appearing in just 12 contests with the club.

Ryan quickly agreed to a two-way deal with Minnesota, but played sparingly for the Timberwolves as well. At the NBA level last year, he averaged 3.6 PPG on . 370/.381/.833 shooting splits, 0.8 RPG and 0.5 APG in 34 total games.

Minnesota issued a two-way qualifying offer to Ryan in June, making him a restricted free agent, and he eventually signed that QO. However, he didn’t claim a regular season roster spot and was waived by the Wolves on Friday.

The Pelicans will take on Ryan’s one-year, two-way contract, and won’t have to make a corresponding roster move, since they had an open two-way slot. Ryan joins Dereon Seabron and Kaiser Gates as New Orleans’ two-way players.

Wolves Cut Matt Ryan, Convert Daishen Nix To Two-Way Deal

1:20pm: The moves are official, per RealGM’s transaction log.

11:16am: The Timberwolves are making a roster change ahead of the regular season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Minnesota will waive sharpshooter Matt Ryan and convert Daishen Nix‘s Exhibit 10 contract to a two-way deal.

Ryan appeared in 34 total games for the Lakers and T-Wolves in 2022/23, averaging 3.6 points in 9.1 minutes per game while making 38.1% of his three-point attempts.

Ryan’s ability to hit outside shots – he’s a career 40.1% three-point shooter in 37 G League regular season appearances – helped earn him a two-way qualifying offer from Minnesota in June, and he eventually accepted that QO in September. However, he’ll lose his two-way spot just a few days ahead of opening night.

Nix, 21, had a solid preseason for the Wolves after joining the team on a non-guaranteed camp deal, averaging 6.0 points and 3.3 assists in just 10.6 minutes per contest, with a red-hot shooting line of .571/.750/1.000.

The young guard already has 81 games of NBA experience under his belt with the Rockets, having spent the last two seasons in Houston. He averaged 3.7 PPG and 2.3 APG in 16.0 MPG (57 appearances) in 2022/23.

Nix will join Luka Garza and Jaylen Clark as Minnesota’s two-way players, while Ryan will become an unrestricted free agent if he passes through waivers without being claimed.

Matt Ryan Returns To Timberwolves On Two-Way Deal

2:25pm: Ryan has officially re-signed with the Wolves on a two-way contract, per’s transaction log. As we relayed in a separate story, Ryan’s roster spot for the regular season isn’t necessarily safe, as he’ll have to compete with Minnesota’s camp invitees to retain his two-way spot.

7:57am: After remaining on the restricted free agent market for nearly three months, swingman Matt Ryan is signing a two-way contract to return to the Timberwolves, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Ryan opened last season on a non-guaranteed contract with the Lakers, but was waived at the start of December and quickly caught on with the Timberwolves on a two-way deal, finishing the season in Minnesota.

He appeared in 35 total games for the two Western clubs in 2022/23, averaging 3.6 points in 9.1 minutes per game while making 38.1% of his three-point attempts.

Ryan’s ability to hit outside shots – he’s a career 40.1% three-point shooter in 37 G League regular season appearances – helped earn him a qualifying offer from the Timberwolves in June that made him a restricted free agent. He had the option of accepting that QO, equivalent to another one-year, two-way contract, or seeking out an offer sheet from a rival suitor, which Minnesota could have matched.

Given that he’s remaining with the Wolves, it appears Ryan was unable to find a viable offer from another team this summer. He was one of two restricted free agents still on the market, along with fellow two-way RFA Theo Maledon of the Hornets.

Once Ryan officially re-signs, Minnesota will have filled all three of their two-way slots. Luka Garza and Jaylen Clark are the other two Wolves on two-way deals.

Western Notes: Westbrook, Ryan, Pelicans, Ayton, Mavs

Russell Westbrook fit in even better than expected down the stretch with the Clippers last season, according to Law Murray of The Athletic, who notes that the veteran point guard was an effective change-of-pace option for a slow team and showed a willingness to work off the ball more than he has in the past.

With Westbrook returning to the Clippers after re-signing as a free agent, Murray explores whether the former MVP can have the same sort of impact in 2023/24 and what the team’s contingency options look like if Westbrook isn’t as effective or gets injured.

Terance Mann and Bones Hyland look like the best in-house alternatives at the point if the Clippers are unable to trade for James Harden or another veteran. However, the team still wants to see more aggression out of Mann as a play-maker and creator, while Hyland is an undersized defender, Murray writes.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Although Matt Ryan is signing a new two-way contract with the Timberwolves, he’s not necessarily guaranteed to keep that roster spot into the regular season, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Ryan will compete for a two-way spot with Minnesota’s other camp invitees. Krawczynski adds (via Twitter) that the sharpshooter worked out for the Pelicans last week before agreeing to re-sign with the Wolves.
  • Following up on the recent Deandre Ayton trade rumors, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports puts together 10 hypothetical multi-team deals that send Ayton to the Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard to a third team, and other assets to the Suns.
  • Mavericks director of player health and performance Casey Smith, who has been on the team’s bench for the last two decades, will have his role adjusted this season, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link). Smith won’t travel with the Mavs on a regular basis or be on their bench, MacMahon says.