Steven Adams

Western Notes: Landale, Grizzlies, Towns, Gobert

Backup center Jock Landale, who will be a restricted free agent if Phoenix gives him a qualifying offer, hopes to remain with the Suns long term.

“This is a city and a fanbase and an organization I’d love to be a part of for the rest of my career if I could,” Landale said (Twitter video link via PHNX Suns).

The 27-year-old Australian had relatively modest numbers in the regular season, averaging 6.6 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 69 games (14.2 MPG).

However, after making just one brief appearance in Phoenix’s five-game series against the Clippers, Landale made his mark against Denver, as Phoenix was plus-34 over his 106 minutes in the series, with a positive plus/minus in five of his six games despite the club losing four of those contests and ultimately getting eliminated.

Here’s more from the West:

Grizzlies Notes: Adams, Brooks, Bane, Offseason

Grizzlies center Steven Adams didn’t play after January 22 due to a knee injury, but the team is hopeful he’ll be ready to go in October, Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal tweets.

“The target for Steven Adams is to return at the beginning of next season,” Grizzlies general manager Zach Kleiman said. Adams signed a two-year, $25.2MM extension last offseason that kicks in next season.

We have more on the Grizzlies:

  • Dillon Brooks didn’t have any trouble talking to LeBron James during the first-round series but he got fined by the league for not talking. He was docked $25K for violating league rules governing media interview access, the league’s communications department tweets. The fine stemmed from Brooks’ failure to participate in team postgame media availability during the first round.
  • Brooks did meet with the local media on Sunday and expressed no regrets for trash talking, including called James “old,” Cole reports. “No, that’s who I am,” Brooks said. “I don’t regret it. I’m a competitor. I compete.” Kleiman was noncommittal on Sunday when asked about Brooks’ future with the franchise. The veteran forward is an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • Regarding that issue, Mark Giannotto and Cole believe it’s best if the Grizzlies let Brooks walk. Both Commercial Appeal reporters feel the club should re-sign Brooks only as a last resort after exploring many other options to upgrade the wing spot.
  • What should the Grizzlies do this offseason after their first-round flameout? Yossi Gozlan of Hoops Hype and Bobby Marks of ESPN both explore that topic, including how much Desmond Bane could receive in an extension.

Southwest Notes: Adams, Lofton, McCollum, Vogel, Borrego

Grizzlies center Steven Adams has slowly progressed during his recovery from a sprained right knee, which is why he’s likely to sit out the postseason, coach Taylor Jenkins told Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

“We thought we were making headway with the process and all that, but each evaluation we had with the doctors kind of revealed it’s not progressing like we need it to. … No setbacks, no reinjuries, it was just not progressing to a level,” the Grizzlies’ head coach said. “Obviously some unfortunate news, but that’s why we’re going to try to do everything possible to try to get the best decision possible for him.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Due to Adams’ injury, the Grizzlies wound up signing G League Rookie of the Year Kenneth Lofton Jr. to a standard contract. It wasn’t a given, Cole tweets. Jenkins said the Grizzlies did their “due diligence” on bringing in a free agent big man for the playoffs, but ultimately decided to reward Lofton for how well he’s played and his knowledge of the system.
  • Pelicans guard CJ McCollum will undergo right thumb surgery next week, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune tweets. McCollum, who previously revealed the injury and the likelihood of surgery, said it’s been an issue for several months. McCollum also indicated his shoulder has bothered him in recent games and he’ll have it evaluated, Will Guillory of The Athletic adds in another tweet.
  • Frank Vogel, the Lakers’ head coach during their championship run in the Orlando bubble in 2020, was interviewed for the Rockets’ head coach position on Wednesday, Kelly Iko of The Athletic tweets. The Rockets are interviewing a number of former head coaches, as well as some prominent assistants, for the job.
  • In a separate piece, Iko takes a closer look at whether former Hornets coach James Borrego would be a good fit as the Rockets’ head coach. Iko spoke at length with former Hornets assistant Nick Friedman to get a better feel for Borrego’s coaching style.

Grizzlies’ Steven Adams Likely Out For Postseason

Starting Grizzlies center Steven Adams will likely miss Memphis’ entire postseason run, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Adams has been sidelined for Memphis since suffering a PCL sprain in his right knee in late January. Last month, he received a stem cell injection to treat the ailment and was ruled out for another four weeks.

As Tim MacMahon of ESPN notes, the Grizzlies initially expected Adams to miss three-to-five weeks with the injury.

Memphis had high expectations for the 29-year-old coming into the season, and accordingly had signed him to a two-year, $25.2MM extension during training camp. The 6’11” Adams had been an integral part of the Grizzlies’ defensive identity when healthy this season, averaging 8.6 PPG on 59.7% shooting from the field, 11.5 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.1 BPG and 0.9 SPG.

The Grizzlies will miss not only his rebounding acumen, impossible screens and defense around the rim, but also his solid play-making from out of the high post.

Memphis, the No. 2 seed in the West at 51-30, will need to lean more heavily on Adams’ backup, Xavier Tillman, who has performed ably in his stead. Across his 29 starts sans Adams, Tillman is averaging 9.7 PPG and 6.7 RPG.

Rookie two-way forward Kenneth Lofton Jr. is being elevated onto Memphis’ standard roster to help address the loss. The Grizzlies are also without key reserve big man Brandon Clarke for the 2023 postseason due to a torn left Achilles tendon.

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 (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.

Steven Adams Out At Least Four More Weeks

Grizzlies center Steven Adams had a stem cell injection on Wednesday as part of his treatment for a PCL sprain in his right knee, the team announced (via Twitter). His condition will be reevaluated in about four weeks.

Adams hasn’t played since January 22, but there had been hope that he was nearing a return. He was doing 5-on-5 work in practice in late February, and coach Taylor Jenkins floated the possibility that he might be able to play on the team’s recent road trip, which wrapped up Tuesday.

With a month left in the regular season, it’s almost certain that Adams won’t be back before the playoffs. His availability for the postseason will depend on how his knee responds to the latest treatment.

The news on Adams continues a brutal week for the Grizzlies, who saw Ja Morant step away from the team for an indefinite time following a gun-related incident over the weekend and learned that Brandon Clarke will be lost for the season with a torn Achilles. That means Memphis, which has fallen into third place in the West after three straight losses, will have to finish the season without two of its frontcourt rotation players.

The Grizzlies’ recent downturn began after Adams suffered his injury. He’s averaging 8.6 points and 11.5 rebounds in 42 games and brings a physical presence in the middle that has been missed.

The 29-year-old agreed to a two-year extension before the start of the season and is under contract through 2024/25.

Grizzlies Notes: Morant, Adams, Jones, Clarke

At some point before Ja Morant flashed a gun at a strip club on an Instagram Live video over the weekend, the Grizzlies held a players-only meeting in which veteran center Steven Adams spoke out about the need for better discipline during road trips, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (Twitter video link via The Rally).

As Charania explains, the Grizzlies are 26-5 at home this year but just 12-20 in road games, and part of Adams’ message was about cutting back on going out and partying while on the road.

“I’m told those in the room when Steven Adams spoke about, they knew exactly who he was directing this to,” Charania said. “It was no one other than Ja Morant.”

In the wake of Saturday’s incident and the news that Morant will be away from the team for at least two games (and likely longer), Marc J. Spears of Andscape suggests that the young point guard could look to Carmelo Anthony‘s career arc as a blueprint worth following.

Anthony entered the NBA as No. 3 overall pick and a rising star who had just won a title at Syracuse, but made a series of off-court headlines in his first few years in the league — he allegedly got into a fight at a New York nightclub, was charged for possession of marijuana, and was arrested for a DUI, among other incidents. However, he eventually surrounded himself with more positive influences and shifted his focus more to basketball. The onus is now on Morant to choose a similar path.

Here’s more on the Grizzlies:

  • In an appearance on ESPN’s First Take (YouTube video link), Brian Windhorst suggested that while the NBA announced a new investigation into Morant on Saturday following the Instagram Live video, that was more like a continuation of an ongoing process due to previous allegations. “The NBA isn’t starting an investigation into the situation because their last investigation from Ja never stopped,” Windhorst said. “They’re concerned, and they have been doing background information and gathering information even more than normal over the last few weeks trying to understand what’s going on here.”
  • Grizzlies point guard Tyus Jones has long been considered one of the best backups in the NBA. Now, with Morant away from the team indefinitely, Jones will be a key factor in ensuring the team keeps pace in the West’s playoff race, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Jones adjusted nicely in his first game as a starter on Sunday, racking up 25 points, 12 assists, and five steals in a six-point loss to the Clippers. Memphis outscored L.A. by three points when Jones was on the court.
  • While Morant and Dillon Brooks – who was suspended for Sunday’s game – have dominated the headlines, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton (Insider-only link) writes that Brandon Clarke‘s season-ending Achilles injury shouldn’t be overlooked. As Pelton writes, Clarke has proven his value in certain playoff matchups – like last year’s series vs. Minnesota – and his absence will further weaken a frontcourt that has already been shaky without Adams in recent weeks.

Southwest Notes: Adams, McCollum, Eason, Spurs

Grizzlies center Steven Adams has been out since January 22 after spraining the PCL in his right knee, but he appears to be nearing a return. Head coach Taylor Jenkins said Adams has begun 5-on-5 work in practices and the team is hopeful Adams could play by the end of the upcoming road trip, though that isn’t set in stone (Twitter link via Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian).

The road trip Jenkins is referring to starts Wednesday in Houston and ends next Tuesday in Los Angeles, so Adams could be back within around a week. Remarkably, despite missing the past 13 games, Adams still leads the NBA in total offensive rebounds with 214 (Ivica Zubac is second with 196).

The 29-year-old is averaging a career-high 11.5 rebounds (5.1 offensive) in 27.0 minutes per game through 42 games in 2022/23. The Grizzlies have gone 5-8 without Adams over the past month-plus.

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • Pelicans guard CJ McCollum has been bothered by a right thumb injury, which he described as a ligament issue, and plans to undergo an MRI “soon,” per Christian Clark of (Twitter links). “It’s not ideal,” he said. “I’m playing. I have to be better, and I will be better. I understand what’s at stake for us. What’s at stake for our seeding. And how these next few games are going to define our season.” As McCollum noted, the 30-31 Pelicans’ spot in the postseason is quite tenuous — they’re currently the No. 10 seed, but three teams are right on their heels for the final spot in the play-in tournament.
  • Tari Eason‘s offensive numbers are solid, if unspectacular for a rookie — he’s averaging 8.7 points on .442/.347/.750 shooting splits in 19.6 minutes per game. However, the 21-year-old forward has made his presence felt on the other end of the court for the Rockets, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes. “I see a lot of people talking about some of the best defenders in the league,” Eason said as part of a larger quote. “I want to be one of those dudes they talk about. I feel like I’m the best rookie defender in this class.” Eason ranks sixth among rookies with 5.6 rebounds per night, per Feigen, and second in steals and deflections. His 2.8% steal percentage ranks fifth in the entire NBA, according to
  • The Spurs have had to use a couple of 19-year-old rookies — Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley — at point guard lately due to a mysterious foot injury to starter Tre Jones. According to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News, the Spurs aren’t quite sure what’s going on with Jones’ foot. “It’s a strange injury,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s one of the toughest young men on the planet. There’s nothing on the (MRI) film or anything like that. He just can’t go.”

Grizzlies Notes: Adams, Bane, Morant, Arena

The Grizzlies have lost six of seven games since Steven Adams went down with a knee sprain, and it’s clear the team has missed its starting center, says Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

“I’ve said it multiple times: You’re not going to replace what Steven does,” head coach Taylor Jenkins said. “I wish we could get every rebound, but it’s willpower. We were first in the league in offensive rebounding and defensive rebounding when he’s on the floor, and that’s even when he’s healthy and in the lineup. And then we’re 28th, even when he’s healthy and sitting on the bench, we’re like 28th in rebounding on both sides. So, we’ve got to find a way.”

Adams’ 11.5 rebounds per game are a career high and represent the highest average for any Grizzlies player this season. Beyond that, his traditional stats are modest (he’s the team’s eighth-leading scorer with 8.6 PPG), but Memphis has a -1.3 net rating when he isn’t playing, the lowest mark for any single player on the team. As Cole relays, Adams’ teammates certainly recognize the value he provides.

“I mean, (Adams) was a big part of what we do,” Desmond Bane said. “Similar to guys like Draymond (Green) and other guys that may not fill up the stat sheet in every single area, but their magnitude is felt on the court. A veteran presence, a screen-setter, rebounder, and a connecter on offense … he does a lot for us.”

Here’s more on the Grizzlies:

  • After being eliminated in the first round of last season’s three-point contest, Desmond Bane was determined to get another invite and win it. However, while his .437 3PT% makes him a solid candidate to be included in this year’s field, he has changed his tune and doesn’t plan to take part in this year’s contest in Utah, Cole writes for The Commercial Appeal. “I want to take some time with my son,” Bane said. “We been moving around a lot. I’d rather hang out with him.”
  • Asked about an alleged incident involving his associates that took place after a Grizzlies/Pacers game last Sunday, Ja Morant was dismissive of the report. “All that stuff pretty much false. It’s been proven,” Morant said, per Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “That’s all I got to say on it.” According to The Athletic’s reporting, members of the Pacers traveling party alleged that someone in an SUV (in which Morant was a passenger) pointed a red laser at them; a Pacers security guard said he believed the laser was attached to a gun.
  • In a subscriber-only story for The Daily Memphian, Chris Herrington makes a case for why the Grizzlies should be focusing on a three-year contention window and should be active at the trade deadline.
  • The latest budget proposal from Tennessee governor Bill Lee includes funds that would go toward renovating FedExForum, according to Adam Friedman and Duane W. Gang of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. The city of Memphis requested money from the state to put toward the Grizzlies’ home arena in the hopes of ensuring the team remains in the city long-term. The Grizzlies’ lease with the city at FedExForum runs through the 2028/29 season.

Grizzlies’ Steven Adams Out 3-5 Weeks With Knee Sprain

Grizzlies starting center Steven Adams is expected to miss three-to-five weeks after spraining the PCL in his right knee on Sunday against Phoenix, Memphis announced (via Twitter).

According to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal (Twitter link), Adams was injured on the final play of the two-point loss to the Suns.

Considering how physical his game is, you would expect Adams to have a lengthy injury history, but he has actually been quite durable — he has played 76-plus games in six of his nine seasons leading up to 2022/23, missing a career-high 14 games two years ago with New Orleans. Unfortunately, he’s likely to exceed that total over the next handful of weeks.

Adams will be tough to replace while he’s out. Not only is he one of the most fearsome screeners in the NBA and a solid defender, he also leads the league in total offensive rebounds (214), offensive rebounding percentage (19.8%), total rebounding percentage (22.2%), offensive rebounds per game (5.1), and is fourth in rebounds per game with a career-high 11.5 in just 27.0 minutes per contest.

The 29-year-old had been especially great on the boards recently, averaging 14.0 rebounds (5.8 offensive) over his past 15 games (27.6 minutes). The Grizzlies are the top rebounding team in the league in part due to his efforts.

With Adams sidelined, Xavier Tillman and Brandon Clarke should see more frontcourt minutes. Memphis is currently 31-16, the No. 2 seed in the West.