Robert Williams

Atlantic Notes: Burks, Milton, Williams, Kemba

Recently-acquired Sixers wing Alec Burks could take on more point guard responsibilities in the wake of Ben Simmons‘ injury. However, the 6’6″ guard is better suited for the shooting guard spot, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic contends.

Burks shoots the ball well of the catch, Bodner adds — the former Warrior made 37.5% of his 96 “no-dribble” attempts while in Golden State.

Here are more notes from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Sixers appear ready to have confidence in Shake Milton as the point guard replacement for Simmons, Mike Greger of Heavy.com relays. Gregor also details Milton’s rise to the NBA ranks.
  • Robert Williams is a wild card for the Celtics, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports writes. Williams, who was the no. 27 overall pick in the 2018 draft, is Boston big man with the highest ceiling.
  • The Celtics are playing it safe with Kemba Walker‘s return to the court, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports. Tuesday against the Cavs is a possible return date, as we detailed earlier today, but Blakely says that the need for caution “cannot be overstated.”

Robert Williams Cleared To Return For Celtics

Celtics center Robert Williams, who has been sidelined since December 6 due to a hip injury, has been cleared to return to action, head coach Brad Stevens confirmed today (Twitter link via Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe).

Williams, a first-round pick in 2018, was playing a part-time role for Boston earlier in the season before he went down with the hip ailment, averaging 3.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 1.1 BPG in 19 games (14.2 MPG).

The 22-year-old will play limited minutes for now, as Washburn notes, but he’ll give the C’s another option up front to go along with centers Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter. Boston’s next game is on Saturday night vs. Houston, which may not be an ideal spot for a big man like Williams to see much playing time, but it sounds like he should be active for that contest.

Meanwhile, point guard Kemba Walker is expected to miss Saturday’s game against the Rockets as he continues to deal with a knee injury, Stevens said today (Twitter link via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston). It will be the fifth straight game Walker has missed since the All-Star break.

However, the All-Star guard will likely ramp up his work over the weekend with an eye toward returning next week, Stevens added. It sounds as if a return on Tuesday vs. Brooklyn or on Wednesday in Cleveland remains in play for Walker.

Injury Notes: Dedmon, Simmons, Powell, Williams

New Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon underwent a non-surgical procedure to address pain in his right elbow today, as Chris Kirschner of The Athletic relays (via Twitter). Atlanta has ruled out Dedmon for its next three games, but he’ll be re-evaluated on Monday, with his status updated at that point, Kirschner adds.

The Hawks are also without another newly-acquired center, Clint Capela, who continues to deal with a foot issue. However, the club has no shortage of options in the middle. With Dedmon and Capela sidelined, Atlanta figures to take a longer look at Damian Jones and Bruno Fernando.

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

  • The Sixers haven’t provided many details or a specific recovery timeline for Ben Simmons‘ back injury, so Rich Hofmann of The Athletic spoke to a pair of outside medical experts to try to get a sense of what may be causing the nerve impingement in Simmons’ back. Both doctors suggested that the most common cause would be a disc injury.
  • Raptors swingman Norman Powell (finger) has been cleared to practice and will be listed as questionable for Friday’s game vs. Charlotte, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. Head coach Nick Nurse had said on Tuesday that Powell was scheduled for a check-up next week, but it sounds like the 26-year-old could make it back this weekend.
  • Appearing today on Toucher and Rich in Boston, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said big man Robert Williams (hip) remains on track to return to action as early as this weekend, or shortly thereafter (Twitter link via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston).
  • Pelicans forward Kenrich Williams, who hasn’t played since January 6 due to a back injury, had his first full-contact practice today and has a chance to play on Friday, per head coach Alvin Gentry (Twitter link via ESPN’s Andrew Lopez).

Atlantic Notes: Williams, Celtics, Horford, Embiid, Ujiri

The Celtics did not trade for a center but they’ll get another back in action soon. Robert Williams could return by the end of the month, according to Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a radio interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub that Williams, who hasn’t played since December 6 due to a hip injury, should be ready in a few weeks. “Robert Williams is progressing,” Ainge said. “He was out working on the court (Thursday). He’s starting his transition back into all the live action, and we anticipate him being back with us somewhere in the neighborhood of March 1.” Williams was averaging 3.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 1.1 BPG in 19 games prior to his injury.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Ainge sat the Celtics stood pat because he couldn’t find a deal that made sense, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston reports. Ainge didn’t want to pay a premium price for a second-unit addition. “I hear people talking about why we didn’t do a deal. A lot of times people want us to get the first- or second-best player on another team,” Ainge said. “Those players are expensive and, if we brought them here, they would be the seventh-, eighth-, or ninth-best player on our team.”
  • Forward Al Horford is looking for a silver lining to the Sixers’ four-game losing streak entering Friday’s action, Malika Andrews of ESPN relays. “It’s like finding ourselves,” he said. “Trying to figure it out. I think good is going to come out of this.” Philadelphia has won just nine road games, and center Joel Embiid believes he needs to be a little more upbeat. “I’m trying to get back to the fun Joel,” Embiid said. “Smile a little more. The whole season I told myself I was going to be serious. I felt like everyone looked at [me] in a way that I’m moody or I might not care. I do. I want to win.”
  • Even though the Knicks hired Leon Rose as team president, speculation over Masai Ujiri’s future will continue to grow unless he signs a new contract with the Raptors, according to Michael Grange of SportsNet Canada. There have been preliminary discussions between Ujiri and the team’s ownership group but nothing has changed regarding the Raptors president’s desire to put off his contract status until this summer, according to Grange. Ujiri’s contract runs out after next season.

Eastern Notes: Love, Bryant, Bertans, Augustin, C’s

Few NBA players have been mentioned more frequently in trade rumors this season than Kevin Love. However, with the Cavaliers and potential trade partners not seeing eye-to-eye on Love’s value, there appears to be no movement on a potential deal, with just over 24 hours left before Thursday’s deadline. For his part, Love sounds fully prepared to remain in Cleveland through the deadline.

“I don’t think anything is going to happen,” the Cavaliers’ power forward said, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “I really don’t, but we’ll see.”

As Fedor explains, sources have insisted for weeks that a Love trade is unlikely because the Cavaliers are unwilling to treat a deal as a salary dump. They view Love as a valuable trade chip and would balk at attaching a draft pick to him, while possible suitors believe they’d be doing Cleveland a favor by taking on the 31-year-old’s pricey long-term contract. That gap seems unlikely to be bridged by Thursday afternoon.

Here are a few more notes from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Thomas Bryant, who missed 20 games earlier in the season with a right foot injury, is once again dealing with soreness in that foot, the Wizards announced today (via Twitter). Bryant has been ruled out for at least the next two games and will be re-evaluated on Monday.
  • Asked today if he wants to stick with the Wizards through the trade deadline, forward Davis Bertans replied, “Of course, I love it here” (video link via Fred Katz of The Athletic).
  • Although they still have a strong hold on a playoff spot, the Magic have missed D.J. Augustin‘s leadership and shooting ability recently, as John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com details. Orlando has a 3-8 record in the last month without Augustin, who will likely remain on the shelf through the All-Star break due to his left knee bone irritation, head coach Steve Clifford said today (Twitter link via Josh Robbins of The Athletic).
  • Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters today that Robert Williams has been cleared for full practices after the All-Star break and that Daniel Theis – out with an ankle sprain – has no set timetable (Twitter link via Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald).

Trade Rumors: Covington, Randle, Henson, Celtics

The Clippers are among the teams pursuing Timberwolves forward Robert Covington, Sean Deveney of Heavy.com reports. A package of their first-round pick this year, forward Maurice Harkless, and a young player such as Jerome Robinson or Terance Mann could be enough to secure Covington, Deveney continues. Grizzlies forward Andre Iguodala, Suns center Aron Baynes and Magic guard D.J. Augustin are among the other potential targets for the Clippers, Deveney adds.

We have more trade chatter:

  • The Knicks have engaged in trade talks with the Hornets involving forward Julius Randle, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer tweets. Charlotte would be a surprising landing spot for Randle, who has a guaranteed $18.9MM salary for next season. However, the Hornets have three frontcourt players with large expiring contracts and will need reinforcements.
  • The Knicks had talks with the Cavaliers which included center John Henson but those discussions have died down, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Henson has an expiring $9.7MM contract.
  • Celtics GM Danny Ainge would like to strengthen the team’s bench but doesn’t see the center position as a major weakness, Jacob Camenker of NBC Sports Boston relays. The Celtics are reportedly one of the teams interested in acquiring Rockets center Clint Capela. Ainge indicated the roster “probably too many really young guys” but claimed he’s content with Daniel Theis, Enes Kanter, and Robert Williams manning the middle. “We’re not getting beat at the center position,” Ainge said. “We’re getting 17, 18 points per night. We’re getting double-figure rebounds. We’re just doing it as a team.”

And-Ones: 2020 Draft, Powell, Trade Market, Reed

A trio of guards — Georgia’s Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball and North Carolina’s Cole Anthony — top The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie’s latest draft board. Another guard, 18-year-old Killian Hayes, made the biggest move among the top 20 prospects. Hayes, who is playing in Europe, jumped from No. 16 to No. 7.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • The Nuggets’ Malik Beasley, the Spurs’ Lonnie Walker and the Celtics’ Robert Williams are among five buy-low trade targets for teams seeking to fortify their benches, according to ESPN’s Mike Schmitz.
  • Dwight Powell‘s season-ending Achilles injury was not only a major setback for the Mavericks but also Team Canada, Michael Grange of SportsNet Canada notes. Powell was expected to be a foundation piece for Canada’s Olympic push and his size, smarts, and athleticism will be hard to replace, according to Grange.
  • Veteran center Willie Reed has signed with the G League and returned to the Salt Lake City Stars, Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw tweets. Reed, 29, was playing in Greece but parted ways with Olympiacos earlier this month.

Injury Updates: R. Jackson, Hachimura, Wagner, R. Williams

Pistons guard Reggie Jackson hopes to play tonight after being sidelined since the second game of the season with a back injury, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Jackson is officially listed as questionable for the game against the Kings. He’ll be on a minutes restriction and isn’t sure if he’ll be used as a starter or a reserve (Twitter link).

“I don’t know how well I’m going to feel. Adrenaline is a different thing so I imagine I’ll probably be winded a little early,” Jackson said (Twitter link).

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura has been cleared for all basketball activities, head coach Scott Brooks told reporters, including Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (Twitter link). Hachimura hasn’t played since suffering a groin injury December 16. “It’ll be great to have him back before the All-Star break, but you never know,” Brooks said (Twitter link).
  • The Wizards also got good news on Moritz Wagner, who has been cleared for non-contact activities after a check-up in New York City, Buckner tweets. Wagner has missed the past month with a sprained left ankle.
  • Injured Celtics center Robert Williams was able to do some running Tuesday and is set for another scan and evaluation February 4, the team tweeted. Team doctors expect to have a more concrete idea of when he can start playing again after that session. Williams has a bone edema in his left hip and won’t return until after the All-Star break.
  • Cavaliers center Ante Zizic is out indefinitely, tweets Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. He has been diagnosed with a vestibular condition that has forced him to miss the past five games.
  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone told reporters that among his injured rotation players, Gary Harris is the closest to returning, relays Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link). “When I say closest, I don’t know how close that is,” Malone explained.Paul (Millsap) and Jamal (Murray) are still a ways off.”

Robert Williams Won’t Return Before All-Star Break

Celtics center Robert Williams, who has been sidelined for about a month because of a bone edema in his left hip, will remain out of action until after the All-Star break, according to a tweet from the team.

Coach Brad Stevens explained that Williams is undergoing a three- to four-week “workup program” that began at the start of January. His condition will be re-evaluated once he completes that program, but Stevens doesn’t expect him back before the break, which stretches from February 13-20.

Williams has been limited to 19 games this season, averaging 3.9 points and 4.6 rebounds in about 14 minutes per night. He played 32 games last year as a rookie, but spent much of the season in the G League.

Atlantic Notes: RHJ, TLC, R. Williams, Sixers

Due to the continued injury absences of Norman Powell, Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam, defensive-oriented forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has been used more frequently as a big-man passing alternative to the Raptors’ point guard stable, notes Michael Grange of Rogers SportsNet.

“I love doing it,” Hollis-Jefferson said of his expanded role as a passer once defenses key in on Raptors guards Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet. “Growing up in high school and college, even some in Brooklyn, just made plays with the ball whether that was bringing it up or whether that was catching it at the high post.”

When Toronto signed Hollis-Jefferson to a one-year, $2.5MM contract this summer, he was not anticipating being used extensively on offense. Laura Armstrong of the Toronto Star notes that Raptors coach Nick Nurse has been tactical about shifting around his rotation to adjust to opposing teams. This has forced players like Hollis-Jefferson and OG Anunoby to remain primed for starter minutes, though Nurse sometimes favors one over the other.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets wing Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is getting close to reaching the 45-day limit two-way players can spend with an NBA team, the New York Post’s Brian Lewis hears from YES Network and Fox Sports television analyst Sarah Kustok (Twitter link). The Nets will have to make a determination on whether or not they convert Luwawu-Cabarrot to a standard NBA contract. In 12 games with Brooklyn, Luwawu-Cabarrot has averaged 4.9 PPG and 2.2 RPG, while shooting 76.5% from the free-throw line and 37% from deep.
  • Celtics head coach Brad Stevens noted that doctors are encouraged by the latest MRI scanning the injured hip of center Robert Williams, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald reports (Twitter link). Stevens says that Williams will meet with a specialist after Boston’s road trip concludes tomorrow against the Wizards. “Tuesday I’m going to see somebody to get the final word,” Williams said, “but that was good news for me” (Twitter link).
  • The reeling Sixers, losers of four straight games, will look for perimeter help at the trade deadline, sources tell ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. The team will prioritize shooting wings with ball-handling skills. Philadelphia, currently 23-14 in the East, made just six of their three-point 27 attempts in a loss to the Rockets Friday night.