Svi Mykhailiuk

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Reed, Celtics, Tillman, M. Williams

Joel Embiid isn’t eligible to win a second straight Most Valuable Player award, but that doesn’t bother him at all, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers center will fall far short of the 65-game minimum to be considered for postseason honors after sitting out two months following meniscus surgery. Embiid returned this week and he’s enjoying being able to play without having to worry about the MVP race.

“I’m happy I’m not even in the conversation,” he said. “That conversation has been toxic for a very long time. I’ll be honest, this year is kind of boring. This year, there’s not enough toxicity going around. So it’s pretty fun, but at some point, it’s pretty bad, too. I’m glad I’m not nowhere near that. I’m just focused on getting back healthy. Obviously, all great candidates and they all deserve to win, which is unfortunate that only one person has [a chance] to win.”

Embiid admitted that he battled depression after tearing the meniscus in his left knee in late January, Pompey adds. Embiid is still dealing with those issues, but he said returning to the game and being with his teammates has helped improve his mental state.

“For me personally, I didn’t have to come back, but I want to play,” Embiid said. “I love playing basketball, and I want to be on the floor.”

Embiid will miss tonight’s game at San Antonio for injury recovery purposes, Pompey tweets.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Coach Nick Nurse experimented with a Twin Towers approach in Saturday’s win at Memphis, Pompey adds in a separate story. Embiid and Paul Reed played together for part of the second quarter, allowing the Sixers‘ perimeter players to be more aggressive with two shot blockers protecting the rim. “That’s something that I hope that we can go back to at some point,” Reed said. “I always look forward to playing with him at the same time. And I’m just glad I was able to play with him tonight, get the opportunity.”
  • The “stay ready crew” that comes off the Celtics‘ bench is significantly better than the reserves Joe Mazzulla had to work with last season, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Mazzulla rested his starters for the final six minutes of Friday’s win over Sacramento, giving the reserves some experience with a game on the line. “I feel like he’s doing a great job of keeping everybody involved,” Svi Mykhailiuk said. “That makes everybody stay ready because you might get that call at any time. You’ve got to be prepared, make sure you do your work, and buy into whatever we’re doing. You’ve got to understand we’ve got one of the best teams in the league — five, six All-Stars on the team — and just seeing the big picture. I think tonight showed that we’re a really deep team and coach really believes in us.”
  • Xavier Tillman, whom the Celtics acquired at midseason to provide frontcourt depth, was thrilled to hit his first NBA game-winner Friday night, per Souichi Terada of MassLive. Tillman sank a floater with 7.4 seconds remaining, and Boston held on for a one-point victory. “It was great getting the opportunity to do that,” Tillman said. “I feel like because it was crunch time, I was really locked in. Obviously the crowd was loud, but I was really zoned in, so it didn’t faze me as much. But it was great practice as far as what we’re going to go through as far as having that mental fortitude.”
  • Blake Murphy of examines the unlikely journey of Malik Williams, who signed a 10-day contract with the Raptors this week and wound up starting in his NBA debut. Toronto has used 30 players — one short of the record set this season by Memphis — which is why there was an opportunity for Williams, who was cut by the G League team in Sioux Falls earlier this season.

Celtics Notes: Brown, Trade Candidates, Tatum, Porzingis

Celtics wing Jaylen Brown and head coach Joe Mazzulla weren’t happy about the reversal of a foul call in the closing seconds of Monday’s 133-131 loss to Indiana. As Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe details, with the scored tied at 131 and three seconds to play, Buddy Hield was initially whistled for a foul on Brown’s shot attempt (video link), but the call was overturned after the Pacers challenged it.

While Mazzulla was clearly irritated, he didn’t have much to say in his postgame presser, according to Himmelsbach, who notes that the Celtics coach repeatedly referred to waiting until Tuesday afternoon to see what the league has to say in its Last Two Minute report. Mazzulla also mentioned that Hield admitted to him that he thought he fouled Brown.

“I mean, I told Joe what I told Joe,” Hield said. “But they have three refs out there and they had the replay center, and that’s what replay is for, I guess. I was thinking I might have hit (Brown) a little bit, but they have three refs out there and they have cameras and they slow down the angles of it. I felt like it was not excessive contact. I know I touched the ball, I maybe nicked Brown in the head a little bit. I’m not too sure.”

Brown was more vocal in expressing his frustration and was upset in particular because he was told by referee James Williams that the replay hadn’t shown Hield hitting him in the head. The Celtics star said he thought the call should be the subject of an investigation.

“That’s what pissed me off, because I know I got hit in the head,” Brown said. “And you see on the replay, it’s pretty obvious I got hit in the head. Then you look me in my eye and tell me that I didn’t. I think that needs to be investigated. Cost my team a game and of course I’m pissed about it.”

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • Although the 2023/24 salaries for Luke Kornet, Dalano Banton, Svi Mykhailiuk, and Lamar Stevens will now be fully guaranteed, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll finish the season in Boston, a source tells Brian Robb of Robb suggests it’s possible that one or more of those players could be used for salary-matching purposes in a trade. It’s also worth noting that attaching a future second-round pick or some cash to one (or more) of them would allow the team to reduce its projected luxury tax bill.
  • After signing a super-max extension over the summer, Jaylen Brown entered this season looking to improve his play on defense and said he wanted each member of Boston’s starting five to earn All-Defensive votes. As Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston details, Brown has delivered on his personal goal so far, with advanced statistics suggesting he has been one of the NBA’s better defensive players in the first half of 2023/24.
  • Celtics star Jayson Tatum missed Monday’s loss due to what the team called left ankle sprain injury management. Tatum also sat out games on December 20 and 29 as a result of that left ankle issue, so it appears that the club is just being cautious with his workload. Kristaps Porzingis, meanwhile, was back in action on Monday after leaving Saturday’s contest early due to an eye issue.

Fischer’s Latest: Hawks, Murray, Knicks, Wizards, Celtics

Echoing recent reporting from Adrian Wojnarowski, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports confirms that the Hawks are “certainly open for business” ahead of the trade deadline and says Atlanta has been one of the NBA’s most active teams in recent trade conversations.

According to Fischer, the Hawks have told multiple teams in recent discussions that the only untouchable players on their roster are guard Trae Young and forward Jalen Johnson. Notably missing from that group is guard Dejounte Murray, whom Atlanta has “made widely available,” sources tell Yahoo Sports.

While the pairing of Murray and Young in their backcourt hasn’t been as successful as the Hawks hoped, the former Spur would presumably still have significant value on the trade market, in large part due to the relatively team-friendly four-year extension he signed during the offseason. That deal, which begins in 2024/25, can be worth up to $120MM with incentives.

Pointing out that the Hawks control their own 2024 first-round pick and owe their 2025 first-rounder to San Antonio, Fischer suggests that it’s possible the team will move some veterans this year, add a 2024 lottery pick to a core headed by Young and Johnson, and look to get back to the playoffs next season.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • The Knicks made some calls to potential trade partners about veteran big men following Mitchell Robinson‘s injury, per Fischer, but after they added Precious Achiuwa in their trade with Toronto, rival executives now think the Knicks may be more focused on exploring backcourt trade targets ahead of the deadline. Fischer mentions Alec Burks of the Pistons and Malcolm Brogdon of the Trail Blazers as a couple possibilities, though it’s unclear if New York has actually expressed interest in either player.
  • The Wizards have let teams know that they’re open to trading veterans for draft assets, sources tell Fischer. That list of veterans may include Kyle Kuzma, who signed a new four-year contract with the club last summer, though there’s a sense that Washington would seek multiple first-rounders for the forward, Fischer writes.
  • The Celtics are expected to hang onto big man Luke Kornet through this weekend’s salary guarantee date, according to Fischer, who says that the team’s other non-guaranteed playersSvi Mykhailiuk, Dalano Banton, and Lamar Stevens – are also more likely than not to stick around through that deadline. Fischer adds that rival front offices are preparing for Boston to explore trades that improve the team’s bench.
  • In case you missed it, we also rounded up a few Pascal Siakam-related rumors from Fischer in a separate story.

Celtics Notes: Hauser, Banton, Pritchard, Porzingis

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown sat out Wednesday’s game, but the Celtics scored 112 points in a win over Philadelphia because of the performance of several complementary players, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Jrue Holiday made his first start, and he and Derrick White kept the offense humming, but Weiss points to Sam Hauser and Payton Pritchard as the stars of the night.

Hauser finished with 15 points and three assists and showed an improved ability to switch effectively on defense, Weiss states. He also observes that the third-year small forward appears crisper in releasing his jumper and is moving with more purpose on offense. Weiss believes free agent addition Svi Mykhailiuk is on his way to earning a rotation spot, so Hauser will have to keep producing in the preseason to have a chance at regular minutes.

There’s more on the Celtics:

  • Dalano Banton is trying to earn a roster spot, but he didn’t help his cause with Wednesday’s performance, Weiss adds. Banton started the second half, but was pulled from the game after 34 seconds after failing to dive for a rebound that landed at his feet. “Listen, there’s nothing more important than holding people to a high standard, especially when you believe in them and know they can be really, really good,” coach Joe Mazzulla said. “… Everybody on the roster competes at a high level and understands that taking pride in defense is number one.” 
  • Pritchard is making his new four-year, $30MM extension look like a bargain, Weiss notes. He had 17 points and three assists in 24 minutes Wednesday and looks like he’ll be an important component in Boston’s offense. Bobby Marks of ESPN breaks down Pritchard’s new contract, which will pay him $6.7MM in 2024/25, followed by $7.2MM, $7.8MM and $8.3MM the following seasons (Twitter link). His salary will range from 4.7% to 5.1% of the cap.
  • The Celtics are using the preseason to experiment with the different possibilities that Kristaps Porzingis brings to the offense, Weiss writes in a separate story. Porzingis displayed his versatility in Sunday’s opener, Weiss observes, successfully executing rim rolls, pick-and-pops and spot-up three-point shots. “I thought we passed up some open shots, but he gives us a different dynamic,” Mazzulla said. “(He) makes the game easier for all the guys, and it’s gonna continue to get better.”

Celtics Notes: Holiday, Tatum, Mykhailiuk, Porzingis

The last-minute trade for Jrue Holiday ahead of training camp upended some of the preparations that Celtics players had made for the coming season, notes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. As Windhorst writes, Derrick White had spent time with assistant coach Sam Cassell in Colorado this summer getting ready to become Boston’s new starting point guard, but Holiday figures to take on that role now.

Meanwhile, Kristaps Porzingis had spent a couple weeks before training camp getting to know Robert Williams and assessing how the two big men might play together. Porzingis will no longer get the opportunity to play with Williams, who was sent to Portland as part of the package for Holiday.

“I already could see how Rob is that charismatic guy for this group,” Porzingis said on Monday. “So it definitely hurts for this organization that he’s not here anymore.”

Still, the Celtics’ players, coaches, and executives alike are excited to get the opportunity to add Holiday, who is one of the league’s mostly highly regarded teammates and defenders.

“There’s a list of guys in the league that you always think you’ve never had a real chance to get that you think are perfect fits,” president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said on Monday, per Windhorst. “And Jrue is one of those guys.”

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe has more reactions and quotes from media day following an offseason of change that also saw longtime Celtics like Marcus Smart and Grant Williams head elsewhere. “I played together with Smart for seven-plus years, with Rob for (five-plus), so it’s like you grew up with these guys,” Jaylen Brown said. “For them not to be around is a little bit weird, but everybody has a journey and I know those guys are going to do great.”
  • Speaking to reporters on Monday, Jayson Tatum explained his decision to forgo surgery on a left wrist issue during the offseason.“I just got a bunch of second, third and fourth opinions (and) surgery wasn’t a common one,” Tatum said, per Windhorst. “I wasn’t all the way certain about it, but did all the right things this summer, took all the right measures, I guess, to make sure I was healthy and prepared to come into the season with no distractions.”
  • Svi Mykhailiuk could have signed a more lucrative contract to return to Europe as a free agent this summer, but opted to accept a one-year, minimum-salary offer from the Celtics that only includes a $200K partial guarantee. “Just being a part of something special,” he said on Monday in explaining his decision to remain stateside (Twitter link via Jared Weiss of The Athletic). “… I still feel like I’m an NBA player and I belong in the NBA and to keep on my journey.”
  • Porzingis said on Monday that he’s feeling great and will have no limitations in training camp after dealing with plantar fasciitis this summer, tweets Weiss. “Medical staff did a great job of loading up slowly and now as I’m getting close to training camp, we start tomorrow and I’m totally fine, ready to go,” Porzingis said.
  • Fellow big man Al Horford said he has been impressed by what he has seen from Porzingis so far in workouts, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. “When you really see a guy like that — he’s really 7-3, maybe even a little taller — just the way that he moves, his feel for the game, and some of the things he brings, I’m just really excited,” Horford said of his new teammate.

Eastern Notes: Washington, Bryant, Heat, Pistons, Mykhailiuk

Following a press conference to talk about his new three-year contract, Hornets forward P.J. Washington gave an exclusive interview to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

Washington, who was the last standard restricted free agent left on the board, said he was relieved to finally re-sign with Charlotte, nearly two full months after free agency opened at the end of June. He also touched on Miles Bridges‘ return, playing under head coach Steve Clifford, rookie additions Brandon Miller and Nick Smith, and what he’s been working to improve on this offseason, among other topics.

As far as the team’s goal, Washington says the Hornets are focused on something he has yet to achieve in his four-year career — making the playoffs.

That’s the main focus for us,” Washington told Boone. “Since I’ve been here I haven’t been in the playoffs at all. So I want to get a taste of that. I want to see how it feels, and I want to eventually win in the playoffs. I think we have a good coaching staff, we have a good front office, we have good players. So, I think we have everything it takes to be there. It’s just about us being consistent each and every day and trying, but we have to fight and make it happen.”

Here’s more from the East:

  • Veteran center Thomas Bryant says he prioritized the Heat in free agency because “they really wanted me,” according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. A skilled scorer, Bryant thinks his offensive versatility will help Miami. “I feel like I can help this team based on what I’ve seen as an interior presence, interior scoring, my versatility out there to be able to shoot the three and make mid-range jump shots and score at the rim,” Bryant said. “But I feel like the versatility that I will bring to the table will really help the team in a great way.” Bryant, who signed a two-year deal with the Heat that includes a player option, will be competing for backup center minutes, Chiang notes.
  • The Heat have a full 21-man offseason roster at the moment, but five players are on Exhibit 10 training camp deals, three are on two-way deals, and Orlando Robinson‘s contract is only partially guaranteed for $75K. In practical terms, that means the Heat only have 12 players with guaranteed standard contracts. Assuming Robinson makes the roster out of camp, Miami will still need to add at least one player to its standard regular season roster, Chiang adds in the same article. As Chiang writes, in the new CBA teams can carry fewer than 14 players on standard deals for a total of 28 days in a season, and only up to 14 consecutively.
  • The Pistons have an intriguing blend of youth combined with veterans who can shoot. While the young core gains more experience, Detroit’s depth should provide new head coach Monty Williams plenty of options ahead of training camp, per Keith Langlois of
  • Svi Mykhailiuk recently signed a one-year deal with the Celtics that — for now — is partially guaranteed at $200K. Jared Weiss of The Athletic examines what the veteran wing might provide for Boston, writing that Mykhailiuk is a talented if inconsistent offensive player who has some defensive limitations. Still, his size, shooting and complementary play-making could be useful off the bench, according to Weiss.

Contract Details: Mykhailiuk, Harrison, Washington, More

The contract that Svi Mykhailiuk signed with the Celtics is a one-year, minimum-salary deal that is partially guaranteed for $200K, Hoops Rumors has learned. If Mykhailiuk remains under contract through at least the start of the regular season, his partial guarantee would increase to 50% of his $2,346,614 salary, which works out to $1,173,307. He’d be assured of his full salary for 2023/24 if he isn’t waived on or before January 7.

Here are more details on a few recently signed contracts:

  • Shaquille Harrison‘s contract with the Grizzlies is a non-guaranteed Exhibit 10 deal, Hoops Rumors has learned. While there has been some speculation that Harrison could fill the extra roster spot Memphis will create after the first five games of the season (when Ja Morant can be moved to the suspended list), he seems unlikely to make the opening-night roster. So if the Grizzlies want to have him fill that spot, Harrison would likely be waived and then re-signed.
  • As previously reported, P.J. Washington‘s contract with the Hornets is worth exactly $46.5MM, with $1.5MM in total incentives ($500K per year). It’s fully guaranteed with no options. Since his bonuses are considered unlikely, Washington’s first-year cap hit is $16,847,826; he’ll make a base salary of $15.5MM in year two and $14,152,174 in year three.
  • The two-way contracts recently signed by GG Jackson (Grizzlies) and TyTy Washington (Bucks) are each just for one year, so both players will be eligible for restricted free agency in 2024.

Celtics Notes: Backup Center, Mykhailiuk, Brogdon, Free Agents

The Celtics completed their search for another wing by signing Svi Mykhailiuk this week, so the next priority should be finding a capable big man to provide depth in the frontcourt, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Boston now has 14 players with standard contracts, one short of the regular season roster limit. Only 11 of those are guaranteed, although Mykhailiuk could become the 12th once the details of his new deal are reported.

Robert Williams and Al Horford will handle most of the minutes at center, but Williams’ injury history and Horford’s age create a need for a quality backup at the position. Washburn suggests Kristaps Porzingis could see some time in the middle, but he’s more effective at power forward and is more comfortable playing away from the basket. Luke Kornet will be in camp, but his contract is non-guaranteed until the league-wide guarantee date of January 10.

Washburn identifies Bismack Biyombo and Dewayne Dedmon as available free agents, but states that neither is significantly better than Blake Griffin, who played for the Celtics last season and has expressed an interest in returning. Washburn also mentions former All-Stars Dwight Howard and DeMarcus Cousins, but says the organization doesn’t want to risk team chemistry by bringing in someone who’s unhappy with his role.

There’s more on the Celtics:

  • Mykhailiuk’s success against Boston may have sparked the organization’s interest, even though he wasn’t among the players who held workouts last month. Playing for the Knicks and Hornets last season, the 26-year-old swingman hit 24 three-pointers against the Celtics, the most of any opponent, according to Luke Scotchie of The Boston Globe. Overall, Mykhailiuk enjoyed the best shooting season of his career from long distance, connecting at 42.4% and making 1.3 per game.
  • There has been little news about Malcolm Brogdon since he was nearly sent to the Clippers in June in a deal for Porzingis, Brian Robb of MassLive notes in a mailbag column. The team hasn’t provided any updates on Brogdon’s health after he reportedly suffered a torn tendon in his right elbow in the Eastern Conference Finals. Playing again should help resolve any bitterness Brogdon might have over the trade situation, Robb states, but he may be less willing to sacrifice for the organization after nearly being moved.
  • The Celtics still may have interest in T.J. Warren and Lamar Stevens after bringing them in for tryouts, but they shouldn’t offer more than a partially guaranteed deal to either of them, Robb adds in the same piece.

Celtics Sign Svi Mykhailiuk To One-Year Contract

6:30pm: The signing is official, the Celtics announced in a press release.

3:28pm: The Celtics are signing free agent swingman Svi Mykhailiuk to a one-year contract, sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

A second-round pick (47th overall) back in 2018, the 26-year-old Ukrainian has bounced around quite a bit over his five NBA seasons, having played for six different teams over that span. Mykhailiuk spent most of 2022/23 with the Knicks prior being traded to Charlotte at the February deadline in the four-team deal that sent Josh Hart to New York.

While Mykhailiuk rarely saw action with New York, appearing in just 13 games for 40 total minutes, he played well for the Hornets down the stretch last season. In 19 games (22.5 MPG) with Charlotte, he averaged 10.6 PPG, 2.7 APG and 2.4 RPG on .441/.404/.676 shooting.

Mostly known as a solid outside shooter (36.0% career from deep), Mykhailiuk has appeared in 252 regular season games for the Lakers, Pistons, Thunder, Raptors, Knicks and Hornets. He also brings plus size on the wing, standing 6’7″ and weighing 205 pounds.

A report last month indicated that Greek club Panathinaikos was interested in Mykhailiuk’s services, but the veteran guard/forward was reportedly focused on finding another NBA opportunity, which has now come to fruition.

Boston, meanwhile, has been scouring the free agent market for wing depth, reportedly holding workouts with at least four veterans over the past week-plus. Mykhailiuk wasn’t among the players named, but obviously he was on the team’s radar.

The Celtics only have 13 players on standard contracts (11 guaranteed), so they won’t have to make a roster move to sign Mykhailiuk, though it’s unclear if he’ll receive a guaranteed deal.

International Notes: Embiid, Mykhailiuk, M. James, Onuaku, A. Brown

Appearing on SiriusXM NBA Radio (Twitter audio link), Team USA managing director Grant Hill confirmed that he’s talked to Joel Embiid about the possibility of playing for the U.S. at the 2024 Olympics and will continue to pursue the Sixers center.

Embiid is a citizen of both the U.S. and France, in addition to Cameroon, so he has plenty of options if he determines he wants to compete internationally next summer. If he were to decide to play for France alongside young phenom Victor Wembanyama, it would further upgrade a squad that Hill already expects to be one of Team USA’s top competitors.

“France is a team that’s probably been our toughest opponent, at least in the last (few years),” Hill said. “They beat us in the opening game in the Olympics in ’21, and then in a very close, hard-fought win, we beat them in the gold medal game. And then you think about Wembanyama and the potential of others (joining the team)… It’s not easy.”

Here’s more from around the international basketball world:

  • Free agent wing Svi Mykhailiuk is drawing interest from Greek club Panathinaikos, according to a report from (hat tip to A 2018 second-round pick who has appeared in 252 regular season NBA games over the past five seasons, Mykhailiuk is reportedly focused on finding another NBA opportunity, but if none materializes, Panathinaikos figures to be among his top suitors in Europe.
  • Veteran guard Mike James decided not to exercise the NBA opt-out clause in his contract and will remain with AS Monaco, as Donatas Urbonas of details. James was mentioned early in the offseason as a possible Suns target and there was speculation he may opt out after Kemba Walker joined AS Monaco, but it appears he’ll stick with the team for at least one more season.
  • Big man Chinanu Onuaku and forward Anthony Brown are among the former NBA players who recently signed new contract overseas. Onuaku completed a deal with Spanish club Joventut Badalona (press release), while Brown is rejoining Turkey’s Bursaspor Basketbol (Twitter link).