Rudy Gay

Southwest Notes: Cousins, Pelicans, Conley, Gay

The season-ending injury to DeMarcus Cousins hasn’t changed the Pelicans‘ plans to add talent by the February 8 trade deadline, according to Scott Kushner of The Journal Times. The loss of Cousins, who was averaging 25.5 points and 12.9 rebounds per game, leaves a big hole in the lineup and New Orleans will be aggressive on the trade market to try to compensate for his absence.

The Pelicans, who hold a three-game lead over the ninth-place Clippers, don’t plan to change their approach on the court without Cousins. They will continue to push the pace and emphasize ball movement, with Anthony Davis sliding from power forward to center except in rare occasions when he is on the floor with Omer Asik.

“There’s a whole lot of season left,” Jrue Holiday said. “There’s still half the season left. So, people have to step up and we’ve got to come together even more.”

There’s more this morning from the Southwest Division:

  • The injury to Cousins may alter the Pelicans‘ future in several ways, Kushner writes in a separate story. The immediate and most obvious decision is whether to trade for another big man, with Enes Kanter, Brook Lopez and DeAndre Jordan among the possible names who might be available. The next choice is how to handle Cousins’ free agency this summer. Sources tell Kushner that New Orleans was planning to offer a max deal worth about $175MM over five years, but that’s far from certain now with Cousins projected to be sidelined for six to 10 months, then facing an uncertain future once he recovers. The injury may also affect the status of GM Dell Demps and coach Alvin Gentry, who were both on shaky ground coming into the season. They appeared to be safe with the Cousins-Davis tandem meshing well and the Pelicans on their way to a playoff appearance, but a late-season collapse could signal the end for both in New Orleans.
  • Grizzlies point Mike Conley, who will have season-ending heel surgery, had been considering the procedure for a long time before he and the team decided it was necessary about a week ago, relays Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “He always knew he could have done this. He wanted to avoid it,” said his father and agent, Mike Conley Sr. “It wasn’t like he saw somebody and they said he needed to do it. He didn’t want to be out four or five months this season if he could avoid it. But he’ll be back at top shape in five months.”
  • The Spurs expect injured forward Rudy Gay to return after the All-Star break, according to Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News. Gay, who has missed the past 15 games with bursitis in his heel, was hoping to start playing again next week, but after consulting with doctors the decision was made to be cautious.

Rudy Gay To Miss At Least Two Weeks With Bursitis

Spurs forward Rudy Gay will be sidelined for at least the next two weeks with retrocalcaneal bursitis in his right heel, the team announced on its website.

The injury forced Gay out of Thursday’s game with the Knicks, and he had an MRI this morning that revealed the damage. The Spurs said Gay has begun a program of rest and rehabilitation and his condition will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

This is Gay’s first significant physical setback since returning from an Achilles injury he suffered midway through last season. The 31-year-old has played in 34 of San Antonio’s 36 games so far and is averaging 11.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per night.

He signed a two-year deal with the Spurs over the summer and has an $8.8263MM player option for next season.

Texas Notes: Noel, Curry, Gay, Capela

Once Mavericks center Nerlens Noel recovers from thumb surgery, he may see increased playing time in an attempt to build his trade value, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Noel had fallen out of the rotation before the procedure, which was conducted over the weekend. He is expected to be sidelined three to six weeks.

Noel has played just 18 games and is averaging 12.5 minutes per night as Dallas tries to work out playing time for all its big men. Noel’s salary is a little less than $4.19MM on an expiring contract, and Sefko notes that he won’t provide much cap relief for any team that might trade for him. Jean-Jacques Taylor of The Morning-News suggests that the most the Mavericks can hope for in return is a second-round pick.

There;s more NBA news from the Lone Star State:

  • Mavericks guard Seth Curry, who hasn’t played yet this season because of a stress fracture in his left leg, could be a long way from returning, Sefko writes in a separate story. Curry called it a “couple week by couple week situation” when he talked to reporters before Tuesday’s game. “The path I’m on right now, the MRI shows it’s gotten a little better,” he said. “But there’s a chance [he could need a procedure]. It’s a tricky situation and hard for me to say. It’s very frustrating. Recovery-wise, I get out there and work out and feel OK, and it’ll bother me the next day.” 
  • The offseason signing of Rudy Gay helped the Spurs survive the injury to Kawhi Leonard, notes Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports. Gay is the latest in a long line of veterans who have opted to come to San Antonio even though they could have gotten more money elsewhere. Gay is making slightly more than $8.4MM this year and has a player option worth more than $8.826MM for next season. “It’s a situation where, you have to pay a lot of attention to detail and it’s a winning mentality,” Gay explained. “That’s something I was away from, for so long, you kind of create bad habits. I’ve had to re-teach myself. And I’ve had to continue to do it every day.”
  • Rockets center Clint Capela is putting together his best season as he heads toward restricted free agency next summer, relays Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Capela is averaging career highs in points [13.7] and rebounds [11.0] and leads the NBA in both field goal percentage [.677] and dunks [75], many as the pick-and-roll partner of James Harden“I know exactly when to roll,” Capela said. “I know exactly how to make the big go on James and just get behind the big. I know the details of he goes quick. I just love it. I love it.”

Texas Notes: McRoberts, Noel, Gay, Nene

Mavericks center/power forward Josh McRoberts doesn’t know when he’ll be able to play again, but he hopes to start practicing soon, relays Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. McRoberts, who was acquired from Miami in an offseason trade, has been diagnosed with a “lower extremity injury” that has kept him out all season. It’s the latest in a string of mishaps that limited him to 81 games over the three seasons before he came to Dallas.

“Basically, it’s just my foot having been broken three different times,” McRoberts explained. “That’s pretty much what it is. I’m trying to get my foot healthy and feeling good and get it to a place where Casey [Smith, athletic trainer] and the staff feel comfortable with where we’re at to be able to get out on the court and stay out on the court and not have any setbacks.” 

McRoberts hopes to be able to practice in the next week or so and says there’s “no doubt” he will  play at some point this season. He is making a little more than $6MM in the final year of his contract.

There’s more NBA news from the Lone Star State:

  • Mavericks center Nerlens Noel is expected to make a full recovery after undergoing thumb surgery Friday at the Cleveland Clinic, according to Joe Vardon of Noel had a torn ligament repaired and should return in four to six weeks. The 23-year-old, who will be an unrestricted free agent in July, is averaging 4.0 points and 4.1 rebounds in 18 games.
  • Rudy Gay was considered an odd fit when he signed with the Spurs this summer, but the move has worked out, notes Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype in a Twitter video. Gay has accepted a reduced role in San Antonio, playing just 23.5 minutes per night, and is averaging 12.4 points and 5.6 rebounds. He has also adopted the Spurs’ language, as Kennedy includes a recent quote of Gay saying, “For us to be successful, we have to find the open man and pass up a good shot for a great one.”
  • The Rockets can’t find enough minutes for veteran center Nene, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Going into the season, the team hoped to play him 19 minutes per game, but he has reached that total just once and is averaging 14.4 minutes. “I don’t know how important it is right now,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “The biggest thing is just to make sure he’s healthy going into the playoffs. That’s the biggest thing we want to do and getting his rhythm before that happens. But that’s a long time from now. I’m not worried about that right now.”

Florida Notes: Gay, Whiteside, Magic, Augustin

Rudy Gay might have been a better free agent target for the Heat than Kelly Olynyk, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. In response to a reader’s question, Winderman notes that Gay was rehabbing from his Achilles injury in Florida and expressed interest in coming to Miami before winding up in San Antonio. Gay got a little more than $17MM over two years, with about $8.8MM of that as a player option for next season. Olynyk received $46MM over four years from the Heat.

Gay would have given Miami a proven alternative at small forward when Rodney McGruder was lost to a left tibia stress fracture. The Heat couldn’t have known in July that McGruder would be unavailable, but Winderman says depth at that position would have been desirable if the plan all along was to move Justise Winslow to power forward. Gay is averaging 11.8 points and 5.3 rebounds through 16 games with the Spurs, while Olynyk is putting up 9.2 points and 5.5 boards in 15 games.

There’s more this morning from the Sunshine State:

  • In the same piece, Winderman questions whether the Heat will be willing to make another max offer to Hassan Whiteside if he opts out of his current deal after next season. As small-ball continues to spread throughout the league, some teams are re-evaluating the worth of traditional centers. Whiteside will have an early-termination option on his salary of slightly more than $27MM for 2019/20.
  • After being one of the league’s early-season surprises, the Magic already face a crossroads to their season after Saturday’s 40-point loss to the Jazz, writes Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando came out of the gate at 6-2, but is back at .500 after dropping four straight games. Coach Frank Vogel hinted that changes might be on the way and called last night’s performance “unacceptable,” a sentiment shared by many of the players. “I think we lost what made us good at the beginning of the season: playing together, having fun out there, enjoying the game,” Nikola Vucevic said. “Over-dribbling, over-trying to get stuff instead of just playing simple basketball, like we did earlier in the year, it just affects us little by little. It just takes away from our energy. It’s like it’s taking little bites [out of us]. By the end of the game, there was no energy left.”
  • The Magic got some good news Saturday with the return of veteran guard D.J. Augustin. An important part of Orlando’s surprising early-season success, Augustin missed seven games with a hamstring injury. He was held scoreless in 17 minutes yesterday, but was averaging 8.3 points and 5.1 assists through his first eight games and shooting 39% from 3-point range.

Texas Notes: Gay, Paul, Harden, Withey

Rudy Gay was back on the court for the first time since January in Friday’s preseason game against the Kings, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. San Antonio’s top free agent addition of the summer managed just four points in 18 minutes, but was happy that he felt no effects from the left Achilles tendon tear that ended his time with the Kings. “I’ve practiced pretty hard, just knowing I can get up there still, jump and be athletic,” Gay said. “It takes a lot of pressure off me.”

Gay got the start at small forward Friday and may continue in that role as long as Kawhi Leonard is sidelined with a right quadriceps issue. Gay has been a starter throughout his 11-year NBA career, but is expected to step into a reserve role once the team is at full strength.

There’s more today out of Texas:

  • The Spurs‘ latest rookie project comes to the team with a desire to be a great defender, relays Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Brandon Paul went undrafted out of Illinois in 2013 and has spent most of his career in Europe. The 26-year-old shooting guard signed a two-year deal with the Spurs in July with a one-season guarantee of $815,615. “Anybody can put the ball in the basket,” Paul said. “But in order to stick out, you’ve got to be able to play both ends of the floor.”
  • Rockets star James Harden is engaged in a verbal battle with former coach Kevin McHale through the media. After McHale said on NBA TV this week that Harden is “not a leader,” the MVP runner-up responded today by calling McHale a “clown,” relays Tim MacMahon of ESPN“I did anything and everything he asked me to do,” Harden said. “I’ve tried to lead this team every day since I stepped foot here in Houston. To go on air and just downplay my name, when honestly he’s never taught me anything to be a leader … but I’ve done a great job. The organization, my coaches, you can ask any of those guys how I’ve worked extremely hard every single day to better [myself], obviously as a basketball player, but be a leader as well.”
  • Mavericks center Jeff Withey has worked on his 3-point shooting to try to fit into coach Rick Carlisle’s system, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Withey signed a two-year contract worth nearly $3.4MM this summer, but only $350K of that is guaranteed. “We like his length, shot-blocking ability,” Carlisle said. “[Owner] Mark [Cuban] was really a key guy on this. He’d been studying him for a while. And he’s shown that he can knock in some perimeter shots from time to time.”

Spurs Notes: Leonard, Popvich, Gay, Lauvergne

The right quadriceps injury that might keep Kawhi Leonard sidelined through the preseason is a carryover from last season, writes Melissa Rohlin of The San Antonio Express-News. The Spurs issued a press release today explaining that Leonard is in a rehab program for quadriceps tendinopathy, with coach Gregg Popovich noting that the All-Star forward’s recovery has gone slower than anticipated. He added that it is not related to the ankle injury Leonard suffered in the playoffs.

Although the team isn’t sure when Leonard might be ready, Popovich offered hope that he might be back before the regular season starts. “They are still rehabbing his thigh,” the coach said. “He will probably miss the beginning of preseason or a good deal of preseason. We are not going to put a timetable on it. But he is working on it, and we will get him back as soon as we can.”

There’s more tonight from San Antonio:

  • Popovich, who was one of the pioneers in resting healthy players, supports the NBA Board of Governors’ move to allow commissioner Adam Silver to fine teams who take similar action, relays Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Teams can be docked up to $100K if they hold players out of nationally televised games. “The NBA is trying to make the game great for players, for fans and they’ve been very fair,” Popovich said. “Owners, coaches, general managers, the league have all been great about sharing information and trying to figure out ways to take care of the players and, at the same time, make sure it’s a great experience for everybody. So we are all on the same page.”
  • Free agent addition Rudy Gay was among the most impressive players in this week’s scrimmage, Orsborn writes in a separate piece. Gay delighted the coaching staff with his ability to take the ball strong to the basket after having surgery for a torn left Achilles tendon in January. “He has surprised all of us by being ready so quickly, so that’s great,” Popovich said. “He will have to get a little bit of rust off. But you can tell this guy is a basketball player. At both ends of the floor, he’s got a great basketball mind.”
  • The Spurs have also been impressed by Joffrey Lauvergne, who signed a two-year deal in July, Osborn adds in the same story. The French center, who spent time with the Thunder and Bulls last season, is expected to be a primary backup to Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge“His offensive awareness has been really good as far as choosing when to try to score, when to kick the ball, play with his teammates on defense,” Popovich said. “Rebounding-wise, he’s very willing. He’s got a good aggressiveness to him.”

Southwest Notes: Gay, Smith, Mavericks, Pelicans, Grizzlies

Rudy Gay‘s season in Sacramento ended abruptly last season due to a torn left Achilles tendon. After declining his $14.2MM option for 2017/18, Gay signed a two-year pact with the Spurs looking to reestablish himself. Early indicators for the 31-year-old are positive, Tom Osborn of San Antonio-Express News writes.

“I think he’s going to be great,” guard Danny Green said to Osborn. “He’s going to give us that versatility of playing four smalls (because) he can play inside and out and guard bigs. Once he gets into shape and gets comfortable with that Achilles, I think he’ll be great for us.”

Gay has a career average of 18.4 PPG in 11 NBA seasons. If he can regain his pre-injury form for the Spurs, San Antonio will have another productive scorer in their lineup. A scorer that Green compared to Kevin Durant due to his ability to quickly shoot the ball.

Below are additional news tidbits around the Southwest Division:

Texas Notes: Nowitzki, Gay, D’Antoni

Fans are paying an average of $1,300 per ticket for the Mavericks‘ season finale in hopes of seeing Dirk Nowitzki‘s final game, but Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News warns that Nowitzki’s retirement isn’t a sure thing. The German star hasn’t made a decision about playing beyond this season and says health may be the main factor. A right Achilles problem early last season limited Nowitzki to 54 games and doomed the Mavericks to a 3-17 start.

“If I miss another 30 to 40 games in a row, then obviously, it’s not meant to be,” said Nowitzki, who is preparing for his 20th NBA season. “But if I can stay sort of healthy like I did at the end of the season, when I thought I moved OK and had some good games, then maybe we’ll do two more [seasons]. But we’ll see how it goes.”

There’s more news tonight out of Texas:

  • Assuming he spends the entire year in Dallas, Nowitzki will join Kobe Bryant as the only players with 20 years of service to the same organization. During an appearance this week on Sirius XM radio, Nowitzki lamented the league’s move away from franchise cornerstones (h/t to Michael Singer of USA Today). “The new NBA is a little different,” he said. “It’s about making money, it’s about winning and not as much about being loyal anymore.” Nowitzki displayed his loyalty this summer by re-signing for $10MM over two years after opting out of a $25MM salary.
  • Rudy Gay hasn’t played a game yet for San Antonio, but he already calls himself “a Spur for life,” relays Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News. Gay agreed to a two-year, $17MM contract this summer that contains an $8.8MM player option for next season, but he sounds fully committed to San Antonio. “I think it was a do-or-die point in my career,” said Gay, who is coming off an Achilles injury that ended his season in January. “I wanted to be with an organization that was known for winning and can help me raise my game to the next level.”
  • Rockets mentor Mike D’Antoni accepted his Coach of the Year award Friday from the National Basketball Coaches Association, writes Steve Aschburner of D’Antoni was a co-winner along with Miami’s Erik Spoelstra after guiding Houston to a 55-27 record and the third seed in the Western Conference. “The tie was legitimate and there were five or six others who received significant votes,” said NBCA president Rick Carlisle of the Mavericks. “So it really spoke to the quality job that everybody did from top to bottom.”

Southwest Notes: Miller, Gay, Morey

With a vacancy in their starting lineup, the Pelicans could look to trot out Darius Miller in their first five, Will Guillory of The Times-Picayune writes. Miller was acquired after seasoning his game abroad over the last two seasons.

Miller may be a better bet to replace Solomon Hill than Tony Allen because of the spacing issues that will present themselves with Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday in the backcourt together.

Of course free agent Dante Cunningham could potentially take that spot if he is eventually signed but Guillory notes that there’s no indication that will happen before training camp begins next week.

There’s more from the Southwest:

  • After tearing his Achilles last season, Rudy Gay is betting on himself to salvage his career with the Spurs. The forward signed for $17M over two seasons but could opt out of his 2018/19 commitment to pursue a more lucrative offer if he earns one after this year, Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News writes.
  • The NBA is more about money and winning than it is about loyalty, Dirk Nowitzki says. Dane Carbaugh of NBC Sports recently parsed through comments that the 19-year Mavs veteran made this week.
  • Rockets general manager Daryl Morey may be the NBA’s most outspoken executive, Dan Feldman of NBC Sports writes. According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, Morey is fined far more often than is reported, not necessarily surprising considering how quick he is to issue provocative statements through the press.