Wayne Ellington

Heat Notes: Martin, Butler, Ellington, Roster Additions

Heat forward Caleb Martin will miss his second straight game on Saturday with tendinosis in his left knee, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Martin was originally listed as probable for Friday’s contest in Boston, but he was later downgraded to questionable and then ruled out 30 minutes before gametime. Martin felt pain in the knee during the season opener and he wants to avoid aggravating it.

“Taking it day by day. Just being smart about it,” Martin said. “Trying to be smart and make sure it doesn’t linger and prolong. Just get with the medical staff and the coaches and make sure we’re all on the same page. But my agenda is to try to play every game, but also be smart at the same time.”

Martin explained that the pain started during his offseason workouts a few weeks before training camp. He was a limited participant in camp and sat out the first four preseason games before feeling well enough to play in the fifth. Martin was able to play 20 minutes on Wednesday, but Chiang notes that he shot just 1-of-7 and struggled to contribute on both offense and defense.

“It’s pain tolerance and then just being smart about it,” Martin said. “We’re on the same page with the medical staff. We understand that it’s early. I played the first game and obviously I know I didn’t play up to par that game, but I kind of wanted to get my feet wet. That was kind of the main indicator from the last game going into (Friday’s game against the Celtics), so I know it would have been tough to try to play (Friday).”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Jimmy Butler will be held out of tonight’s game for rest purposes, but it’s not a violation of the NBA’s new player participation policy, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Butler logged more than 33 minutes on Friday in Boston, so the rest on a back-to-back is permitted.
  • Wayne Ellington was hoping to find a front office position this summer, but Heat coach Erik Spoelstra convinced him to become an assistant coach, Winderman adds in another story. Ellington played for nine teams in 13 NBA seasons, but he feels a special bond to Miami and to Spoelstra. “We just had some clear, crystal-clear conversations,” Ellington said. “Obviously, Spo and I had always been connected and never really lost that connection. So it just made more sense for me, after those conversations that we had, to take this route.”
  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald got an anonymous scout to rate all the newcomers to the Heat’s roster. The scout was especially high on first-round pick Jaime Jaquez, whom he calls a “throwback” who is ready to play right away, and free agent addition Thomas Bryant.

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Butler, Richardson, Ellington

Even with Joel Embiid manning the paint for Team USA, Heat center Bam Adebayo is still expecting to be on the national team’s roster, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. Adebayo told reporters that he’d already received an invite from Team USA to be on the roster for next year’s Olympics.

If he remains healthy, Adebayo plans to play for Team USA in Paris after winning a gold medal with the Americans in Tokyo in 2021. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is an assistant under national team head coach Steve Kerr and is looking forward to coaching Adebayo in the event, according to Chiang.

I think it’s awesome for Bam,” Spoelstra said. “I think it’s continuing to help establish him as one of the ultimate winners in this league. He was one of the most impactful players in USA Basketball, and we understand why. I don’t even know what his stats were in the Olympics. But in talking to everybody at Team USA, they felt like he was a must for that roster because of everything he does on both ends of the court and because he’s such a winner.

Adebayo is entering his seventh season in the NBA and holds career averages of 14.7 points and 8.5 rebounds.

We have more from the Heat:

  • The NBA implemented new rules impacting teams resting healthy players this offseason. Though Jimmy Butler is defined as a star player who is subject to these rules, he says it will have “zero” effect on how many games he plays in the regular season, Marc Berman of The Palm Beach Post writes. “I’m going to play the games that I am healthy and I’m going to go out there and help my team win,” Butler said. Butler also said he didn’t care about any postseason awards. Players must now play in a minimum of 65 games to be eligible for postseason awards, like MVP.
  • After sending Josh Richardson out in the trade that brought Butler to Miami in 2019, head coach Erik Spoelstra always thought his return was inevitable, Chiang writes in a separate story. Spoelstra was right, as Richardson signed with the Heat this offseason. “It almost happened a couple times,” Richardson said. “But all the chips didn’t fall in place. But I mean, when I left, me and Spo talked about it, that it was going to happen eventually. It’s just one of those things.
  • Even though Wayne Ellington played with nine franchises during his 13-year career, Miami left a lasting impression on him, Chiang writes in another story. That’s why Ellington decided to come back to the Heat as a player development coach, replacing Anthony Carter, who left to join the Grizzlies’ staff. “When I got here, I really bought into what the culture was about, I really bought into what the coaching staff was preaching and I put the work in and I saw that change and it helped me become who I thought I could be as a player,” Ellington said.

Heat Notes: Ellington, Roster, Jaquez, Lillard

Wayne Ellington, a 13-year veteran whose last NBA stint came with the Lakers in 2021/22, has joined the Heat as a player development coach, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Ellington will replace Anthony Carter, who left Miami a couple months ago to join the Grizzlies.

Ellington, 35, hasn’t officially retired, but the fact that the longtime shooting guard is joining Miami’s coaching staff is an indication that his playing days might be coming to a close.

According to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link), Ellington was considering continuing his career in a front office role, but the Heat offered him a job as a coach and he accepted it. The team just made the announcement, but Ellington has already been acting in an unofficial capacity for several weeks, Reynolds adds.

The 28th pick of the 2009 draft, Ellington has played in 770 regular seasons games (20.9 MPG) for nine teams during his career, averaging 8.0 PPG and 2.1 RPG while shooting 38.2% from three-point range. He had his most productive seasons during his tenure with the Heat from 2016-19, averaging 10.5 PPG as a shooting specialist (38.4% from deep on high volume).

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald explore what’s next for the Heat after they were unable to trade for Damian Lillard, who landed with the Bucks in a three-team blockbuster. As the authors note, the Heat will have to fill their 14th standard roster spot before the season starts — they currently only have 13 players on standard deals, including Orlando Robinson‘s partially guaranteed salary.
  • First-round pick Jaime Jaquez was involved in the Lillard trade rumors and he admits he heard the speculation, he told Chiang of The Miami Herald. “I won’t lie, at first it was in the back of my head,” Jaquez said earlier this week. “Like what’s going to happen? Am I going to leave? You never know. But as we moved on and time went on, I just got really comfortable in my situation that whatever happens happens. I just believe it’s all a part of a bigger plan. Things happen for a reason. If I stay, great. If I get traded, it was fun while it lasted. But I try not to worry about that. I can only control what I can control.” The former UCLA standout also said he’s fully healthy following a shoulder injury in Summer League and has been working on his shooting and defense ahead of his rookie season.
  • Missing out on Lillard is “close to a worst-case scenario” for the Heat, contends William Guillory of The Athletic. As Guillory writes, Lillard would have been an ideal fit on the offensive end, and he’ll also be joining the rival Bucks, which not only improves Milwaukee’s roster but also may make Giannis Antetokounmpo more likely to sign an extension. Guillory believes the Heat can’t just stand pat and need to bolster their offensive firepower to make another deep playoff run. He also wonders if Tyler Herro will have any lingering resentment after being involved in trade rumors all summer.

Lakers Notes: Westbrook, Klutch, Carmelo, Offseason

The Lakers‘ front office is internally blaming pressure from Klutch Sports Group for last summer’s acquisition of Russell Westbrook, multiple sources tell Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

As has been reported by several outlets since last August, Klutch clients LeBron James and Anthony Davis played a part in recruiting Westbrook, helping convince the Lakers to go after the former MVP instead of trying to sign-and-trade for DeMar DeRozan or acquire Buddy Hield from Sacramento.

Still, while James, Davis, and their agency may have had a hand in the Westbrook trade, VP of basketball operations Rob Pelinka and the rest of the Lakers’ front office ultimately had the final say. Pincus, who suggests that assigning the blame to Klutch Sports “may be an epic level of passing the buck,” writes that NBA front offices should consider their stars’ input but that the top basketball executives are responsible for making the decisions they feel are best for the team.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

Nuggets’ Facundo Campazzo Suspended For Game 1

Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo will be ineligible to suit up for Game 1 of the team’s series against Golden State this Saturday, having been suspended for one game by the NBA, the league announced today in a press release (Twitter link).

Campazzo was hit with a one-game suspension for “forcefully shoving” Lakers guard Wayne Ellington in Sunday’s regular season finale, according to the NBA. Ellington received a $20K fine for escalating the incident by making a “threatening comment” on Twitter after the game.

A video of the incident can be viewed right here.

Campazzo is the second Nugget to receive a one-game suspension this season for shoving a player who had his back turned. Fortunately, Ellington wasn’t injured like Heat forward Markieff Morris was when he was hit from behind by Nikola Jokic in November.

Campazzo was a significant part of Denver’s rotation earlier in the season, but hasn’t played regular minutes in recent weeks, so his absence shouldn’t have a huge impact on the Nuggets, who will be relying more on guards like Monte Morris and Bones Hyland.

The one-game ban will cost Campazzo $20,517, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Injury Notes: Lakers, Jazz, Bulls, Heat

Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Anthony Davis is progressing each day as he inches closer to a return to action, as Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet tweets.

Anthony has had a good week … He’s had a productive week,” Vogel said.

Davis continues to do spot shooting, which began on Monday. Davis originally suffered a right foot strain on February 16, so he’s a little more than four weeks into his four-to-six week recovery timetable.

Lakers reserves Carmelo Anthony and Wayne Ellington were both unable to play on Friday at Toronto due to non-COVID illnesses, Trudell relays (via Twitter).

Talen Horton-Tucker missed the game as well, per Blake Murphy of Sportsnet (Twitter link). Horton-Tucker has been battling a Grade 2 ankle sprain.

Here are more injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • The Jazz are dealing with a plethora of maladies at the moment. Six players were listed as out for Friday’s game against the Clippers, the team announced (Twitter link): Donovan Mitchell (right calf contusion), Bojan Bogdanovic (left calf strain), Danuel House (left knee bone bruise), Hassan Whiteside (non-COVID illness), Trent Forrest (right wrist sprain), and Udoka Azubuike (right ankle sprain).
  • Bulls coach Billy Donovan says Lonzo Ball has been experiencing discomfort in his rehab, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “He has not responded,” Donovan said. “There’s no setbacks. It’s still the same thing. He has not been able to do anything full speed. And anytime we get him close to that, there’s discomfort. So I think they’re going to probably at least look at, you know, ‘Do you back off and let him rest for a little bit and see if that helps?’” Johnson notes that Friday marked seven weeks since Ball underwent surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his left knee, and given his lack of progress, it seems highly unlikely he’ll return in the six-to-eight week recovery timetable Chicago originally provided. Donovan said there’s been no talk of Ball missing the remainder of the season, but the team is still determining the next steps in his recovery process.
  • On a more positive note, Donovan said Patrick Williams has been a full participant in G League practices with the Windy City Bulls, with no setbacks. He also said there was a “very real” possibility that Williams could return to action versus Toronto on Monday or Milwaukee on Tuesday, Johnson tweets. Williams has been targeting a return next week; he’s been out since October due to wrist surgery.
  • Jimmy Butler (sprained right ankle) and Victor Oladipo (back spasms) both missed the Heat‘s 120-108 win over the Thunder on Friday, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes. It’s the third time Butler has sprained his right ankle this season, Chiang notes, which is definitely a concerning trend. However, the injury isn’t considered serious. On the bright side, Caleb Martin (hyperextended left knee) and P.J. Tucker (left knee irritation) were both able to play after being listed as questionable. Martin had missed the past three games for the 47-24 Heat, who hold the No. 1 seed in the East.

Lakers Notes: Horton-Tucker, Ellington, Carmelo, Defense

A pair of Lakers guards are working toward their returns to the court, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN relays (via Twitter).

Head coach Frank Vogel told reporters on Monday that Talen Horton-Tucker has had the stitches removed from his surgically-repaired right thumb and will begin shooting on Tuesday. Vogel also said that Wayne Ellington, who has yet to play this season due to a hamstring injury, will practice with the South Bay Lakers in the G League before debuting for the NBA team.

Horton-Tucker and Ellington are among a handful of Lakers that have yet to play this season due to injuries — Kendrick Nunn and Trevor Ariza have also been on the shelf since the regular season began. The club has managed to stay afloat in part by getting contributions from bench players who weren’t expected to play regular roles, including undrafted rookie Austin Reaves and recently-added veteran Avery Bradley.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Carmelo Anthony, who scoffed at the idea of playing a bench role for the Thunder back in 2017, said on Sunday that he believes there’s a “misconception out there” about his willingness to play any role asked of him. “I think people don’t really understand me,” the Lakers forward said, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “… I’m easily adaptable, man, to any situation.” Anthony is thriving in a reserve role so far this season, averaging 16.7 PPG on .500/.522/.786 shooting in seven games (27.0 MPG).
  • With strong defenders like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marc Gasol, and Alex Caruso no longer on the roster, the Lakers are asking their stars to do more “dirty work” on the defensive end, as Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group details. “I think for a lot of our guys – Bron, A.D., Melo, Russ – a lot of their careers they’ve had a lot of ‘dirty work’ guys around them,” Frank Vogel said. “And now they have to support each other in that way and really commit to guarding their own man and executing our scheme.”
  • Count Vogel among those that believes the NBA should consider tweaking its rules to crack down on the so-called “Euro foul,” as Mike Trudell of Lakers.com tweets. While the NBA has made some changes this year to how fouls are called, the league has yet to address these intentional fouls to stop fast breaks.

Lakers Notes: Vogel, Westbrook, Reaves, Ellington

Lakers coach Frank Vogel believes fans and the media are overreacting to an 0-2 start, writes Bill Oram of The Athletic. Friday night was particularly bad for L.A. as the team was blown out by the Suns in a game that saw Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard get into a sideline altercation, Rajon Rondo have a dispute with a courtside fan, and Vogel receive a technical foul after running onto the court to question a call.

“We’re just disappointed that we’re not winning, that’s all,” Vogel said. “Look, these are some of the greatest players ever to play because of their competitive spirit. If you don’t win, there’s going to be frustration. That’s what makes them great.”

The Lakers are still learning to play together after having the largest roster turnover in the league during the offseason, with just three players remaining from last year’s team. They added a group of former All-Stars, but there are concerns that the roster is too old and doesn’t fit well together. Oram suggests that Friday’s performance reflects a lack of discipline as well.

“I think that can get overly blown when you lose a game,” LeBron James told reporters. “You have some techs here, you see an altercation. You start saying, ‘OK, these guys are ultimately … the whole thing’s frustration.’ Well, we’re competitors. If you don’t get mad at certain things on the floor that you feel like you should have done better, then what are you here for?”

There’s more on the Lakers:

  • Russell Westbrook was significantly better on Friday than he was in the season opener, per Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Westbrook put up familiar statistics with 15 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists and was able to drive to the rim several times. L.A. played without a center for part of the fourth quarter, and Buha expects Vogel to continue to experiment with lineups to find the best combination to go with Westbrook.
  • Austin Reaves helped the Lakers rally in the fourth quarter and is making a bid to be part of the regular rotation, Buha adds. The rookie guard gives the offense another play-maker and a three-point threat. “We’re learning about our team,” Vogel said. “Gave some of the other wings a chance, the first chance. Weren’t getting much done as a group in the first three quarters, and as a coach, when you’re down big, you try to change the game with a small lineup and a different guy at the wing. And Austin came in and played really well.”
  • Wayne Ellington‘s season debut will be delayed at least one more game, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Ellington has been ruled out for Sunday’s contest with a strained hamstring, but the team hopes he’ll be available sometime during the coming week.

Kendrick Nunn To Miss Multiple Weeks With Bone Bruise

Lakers guard Kendrick Nunn has been diagnosed with a bone bruise in his right knee and he’ll be out multiple weeks, coach Frank Vogel told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and other members after Thursday’s practice (Twitter link).

Nunn dealt with an ankle sprain in the same leg during training camp, though the club was hopeful he’d be back by opening night. He had an MRI on the knee after experiencing some soreness and it revealed the bruise. He’ll be re-evaluated in about two or three weeks, according to Vogel.

Nunn signed a two-year contract with Los Angeles after Miami pulled its qualifying offer to him, making him an unrestricted free agent in August. Nunn reportedly turned down more money from the Knicks and other suitors in order to join the Lakers. Nunn was projected to be Russell Westbrook‘s primary backup at the point, along with seeing some minutes at the shooting guard spot.

His absence will thrust veteran Rajon Rondo into the backup point guard role and newly-acquired Avery Bradley could also see action there. Wayne Ellington has been ruled out of Friday’s game against Phoenix with a hamstring injury, McMenamin adds.

Injury Notes: Diakite, P. Williams, C. White, Zion, Lakers

Thunder forward Mamadi Diakite has been diagnosed with a left hip fracture and has been ruled out indefinitely, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter links). Diakite sustained the injury during Sunday’s preseason game against Milwaukee, Mussatto adds.

It’s an unfortunate turn of events for Diakite, who was claimed off waivers by the Thunder last month and was trying to prove he deserved a spot on the regular season roster. Only $100K of Diakite’s minimum-salary contract is guaranteed, making him a potential casualty of a roster crunch.

Although the Thunder haven’t revealed their plans for their 15-man regular season roster, they’re carrying 13 players on guaranteed contracts, and Kenrich Williams is a lock for the roster despite his non-guaranteed salary. That leaves just one available 15-man spot — if Diakite’s injury takes him out of the running, Gabriel Deck and D.J. Wilson would likely be the top contenders for it.

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

  • Bulls forward Patrick Williams appears to be nearing a return. He participated fully in Wednesday’s practice and said his injured ankle “feels good,” per Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Bulls guard Coby White, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, still isn’t close to being cleared for contact. Head coach Billy Donovan said on Wednesday the team is about three or four weeks away from determining the next step in White’s rehab process (Twitter link via Cody Westerlund of 670TheScore.com).
  • Pelicans head of basketball operations David Griffin said last month he thought Zion Williamson, who underwent offseason foot surgery, would be ready for opening night. However, head coach Willie Green confirmed on Monday that Williamson still isn’t running or participating in team activities, according to William Guillory of The Athletic, who says Zion’s uncertain status leaves New Orleans in limbo with the regular season around the corner.
  • Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is hopeful that Malik Monk (groin) and Kendrick Nunn (ankle) will be ready to go by opening night, per Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group (Twitter links). However, veteran guard Wayne Ellington is dealing with a hamstring strain that makes him more of a question mark for the start of the season.