Rudy Gobert

NBA Reveals Award Finalists

The NBA is in the process of revealing its finalists for each of the major year-end awards on TNT, the winners of which will be announced at the official award show on June 26.

Below is an ongoing list that we’ll update as the NBA on TNT crew reveals more.

Most Improved Player of the Year
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Rudy Gobert
Nikola Jokic

Hoops Rumors Analysis: MIP


Sixth Man of the Year
Eric Gordon
Andre Iguodala
Lou Williams

Hoops Rumors Analysis: Sixth Man


Rookie of the Year
Malcolm Brogdon
Joel Embiid
Dario Saric

Hoops Rumors Analysis: ROY


Coach of the Year
Mike D’Antoni
Gregg Popovich
Erik Spoelstra

Hoops Rumors Analysis: COTY


Defensive Player of the Year
Rudy Gobert
Draymond Green
Kawhi Leonard

Hoops Rumors Analysis: DPOY


Most Valuable Player of the Year
James Harden
Kawhi Leonard
Russell Westbrook

Hoops Rumors Analysis: MVP

No Paul George, Gordon Hayward On All-NBA Teams

The NBA has officially announced its All-NBA teams for the 2016/17 season, and neither Paul George nor Gordon Hayward is among the 15 players honored. That’s big news for both players and their teams, since they’ll be ineligible for the Designated Veteran Extension, reducing the amount of money the Pacers and Jazz – respectively – could offer their star forwards in contract extensions this offseason.

Here are this year’s All-NBA teams:

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Based on this year’s All-NBA voting results, Wall is now eligible to sign a Designated Veteran Extension this summer, while Leonard is eligible to sign one next summer. Harden, Westbrook, and Curry are also eligible to sign DVEs this summer, as Bobby Marks of The Vertical notes (via Twitter).

Those Designated Veteran Extensions – which are dependent on a player making an All-NBA team in the year before he signs an extension, or in two of the previous three years – apply to players finishing up their rookie scale extensions. They allow a player re-signing with his own team to earn up to 35% of the salary cap, rather than just 30%. So, if we assume a $101MM salary cap for 2017/18, a player like Curry could sign a new Warriors contract with a starting salary of $35.35MM, instead of $30.3MM.

The Pacers and Jazz will still be able to offer George and Hayward larger and longer contracts than any other team, but the advantage won’t be as significant as it would have been if those players had earned All-NBA spots. Teams can offer their own Bird-rights free agents up to five years (instead of four) and 8% raises (instead of 5%).

Hayward figures to opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer, while George is expected to reach free agency in 2018. George could still become eligible for the DVE in ’18 if the Pacers hang onto him through next season and he earns All-NBA honors a year from now. However, there’s no guarantee that Indiana will be willing to take that risk.

As for the rest of the All-NBA votes, there weren’t any major surprises, particularly on the first two teams. Perhaps the biggest surprise, in a year which was dominated by four clear-cut MVP candidates, is that Harden was the only player who received 100 out of 100 possible First Team votes. Westbrook and James received 99 apiece, while Leonard received 96.

Note: Hoops Rumors readers voted last month on All-NBA teams, and our squads looked awfully close to the official ones, with a couple notable exceptions. You can check out the results of our voting right here.

Northwest Notes: Thomas, Rabb, Gobert

Isaiah Thomas has gone from last selection in the 2011 NBA Draft to one of the league’s top budding superstars with the Celtics. As he prepares for a Game 7 showdown against the Wizards, stories about Thomas’ unlikely path to stardom continue to circulate and the Timberwolves are the latest team to be connected with the 5’9″ point guard.

As Sam Vecenie of Vice Sports details, Minnesota had interest in selecting Thomas with the 57th pick in the draft (Thomas selected 60th by the Kings) but elected to go with Tanguy Ngombo, a Congolese forward playing in Qatar. Few projected Ngombo to be drafted, leaving a lot of mystery surrounding not just his skills, but his identity. Chaos ensued when it was discovered that Ngombo may not be 21 years old as the team believed.

After speaking to Ngombo, the team realized he was not sure of his age due to restricted access to his passport and no official birth certificate. Eventually, the team rescinded its rights to Ngombo and he continued his career in Qatar while Thomas — after a subpar stints in Sacramento and Phoenix — is a two-time All-Star in Boston.

Here are additional news tidbits in the Northwest:

  • The Trail Blazers are expected to hold a private workout with University of California product Ivan Rabb after the combine, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes (via Twitter). Rabb, 20, has spent the last two seasons with the Golden Bears; the 6’11” center averaged 14.0 PPG and 10.5 RPG this past season.
  • Speaking of Portland, the team’s president of basketball operations Neil Olshey spoke to Scott Howard-Cooper on NBA TV to discuss the team’s future and possible strategy from the combine. “We’ve been rebuilding the organization based of of Damian Lillard’s timeline, we’ve been lucky enough to be a playoff team in both of those years,” said Olshey (via NBA.com). “It’s whatever the best decision long-term for the franchise is. If that’s three rookies, it’s three rookies. If that’s an aggregation of picks to get an impact player, then that’s what it’ll be.
  • Jazz center Rudy Gobert told L’Equipe he will not suit up for Team France for the Eurobasket 2017. After suffering an injury during the playoffs, and playing through a full regular season plus the postseason, he would rather prepare for rigors of the 2017/18 campaign.“It was a tough decision for me,” he said. “But my knee injury during the playoffs, the long season in the NBA, the talks with the Jazz: I need to work on my body this summer. I am not leaving the project Team France.”

Jazz Notes: Hayward, Hill, Diaw, Ingles

After being swept by the Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals, the Jazz enter the offseason with one major question: Will Gordon Hayward be in Utah next season and beyond? Speaking to the media at the Jazz’s end-of-season media press conference, the former first-round pick from 2010 had nothing but the highest of praises for the team, Ryan McDonald of Deseret News Sports writes.

“It’s been so much fun for me here in Utah and growing up here, starting a family, growing from a basketball standpoint, growing from just a man standpoint,” Hayward said. “I have nothing but love for everybody in Utah.”

At 27 years old, coming off a season in which he set career-highs in PPG (21.9) and RPG (4.7), and made his first All-Star team, the Butler University product will have no shortage of potential suitors. Teammates like budding star Rudy Gobert expressed kind sentiments, telling the media that he “don’t want to see him leave because he’s a big part of what we’ve been building.” Per Jody Genessy of the Deseret News, Jazz guard George Hill expressed the belief that Hayward’s “heart is here in Utah.”

From enduring a 25-win season in 2013 to eliminating the Clippers in the playoffs this season, Hayward was a major part of making Utah a contending team. However, the 6’8″, 225-pound forward says he hasn’t given much thought to his future.

Here is additional news surrounding the Jazz:

  • Hill, who is a free agent himself this offseason, expressed his desire to remain in Utah. The 31-year-old averaged 16.9 PPG and 4.1 APG in 49 regular season contests for a Jazz team that went 51-31, good for fifth place in the West. Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune noted that Hill’s family will play a role in his free agency decision but the veteran feels the Jazz have “more than enough” to compete with the team’s current core (Twitter links).
  • Boris Diaw, the seasoned veteran who provided a spark off the bench, is also uncertain about a return next season. The Jazz hold an option on the 35-year-old France native, who he indicated his desire to return next season, per Genessy (via Twitter). “I’d like to be back here, but I’d definitely understand any choice that they make,” he said.
  • Joe Ingles, a restricted free agent this offseason, may have the upper-hand on his teammates in regards to a return. The Jazz can match any offer he receives — and both parties have a mutual interest in a reunion, Jones reports (via Twitter). Andy Larsen of Salt City Hoops quoted Ingles, who said all of Utah’s impending free agents want to return (via Twitter).

Rudy Gobert To Return For Game 4

After being upgraded to questionable earlier in the day, it now appears as though Rudy Gobert is healthy enough to return to action tonight, Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets.

Gobert had been sidelined since banging his knee on the first play of Game 1. Shortly after the injury was sustained, the big man underwent X-rays and an MRI which both revealed that there was no structural damage.

With Gobert in the lineup, the Jazz will get the opportunity to exact revenge on a Clippers team that has hopped out to a 2-1 lead over their shorthanded opponents. In Game 3, of course, Clips forward Blake Griffin went down with a toe injury that will cost him the remainder of the postseason.

In 81 games for the Jazz this season, Gobert emerged as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate with an improved offensive game. His 14.0 points and 12.8 rebounds per game, coupled with the sheer length that he possesses around the rim, will serve the visiting Utah squad well.

Northwest Notes: Nurkic, Gobert, Garnett

After playing sparingly in Game 3, Jusuf Nurkic and the Trail Blazers have decided to shelve the big man once again. Per Mike Richman of the Oregonian, the Bosnian Beast will not play at all in Game 4.

He didn’t do any further damage,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said of Nurkic playing through a fractured leg. “There was soreness, tenderness and it just wouldn’t be wise to have him play through that.

Limited to shifts of 3-5 minutes, Nurkic didn’t catch much of a rhythm on offense. Though he pulled down 11 rebounds, he only scored two points in his 17 minutes on the court.

There’s more from the Northwest:

  • When the Jazz tip off for Game 4 of their first-round series later tonight there’s a 50% chance that they’ll see Rudy Gobert return to action, Tim MacMahon of ESPN writes. The big man was formally updated to questionable earlier today.
  • The Jazz failed to capitalize when Clippers forward Blake Griffin left Game 3 injured but the fact that fans can ruminate on the team’s inability to slow Chris Paul simply means that they’re playing meaningful games again, Brad Rock of the Deseret News writes, and that’s something that they can be excited for.
  • For the second time in a week, former Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett spoke about his relationship with franchise owner Glen Taylor. A report on ESPN details the conversation KG had with the Associated Press, including how he felt Flip Saunders‘ passing was handled.

Northwest Notes: Gibson, Roberson, Favors

Taj Gibson helped the Thunder with both his offense and defense since arriving in Oklahoma City and he’s already earned the respect of his teammates, Cliff Brunt of USA Today writes.

“They see I’m in here late nights, early mornings, just constantly working with my teammates, constantly putting work in,” Gibson said. “The confidence is going to be there because they understand you do the work, but I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help my team.”

Gibson will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. He’s making $8.95MM this season in the last year of a four year deal.

Here’s more from the Northwest:

  • Andre Roberson has done a great job on the defensive end in the Thunder’s first three playoff games, as Erik Horne of The Oklahoman details. Roberson will be a restricted free agent this summer.
  • Derrick Favors, who has one season and $12MM left on his contract after this season, is seeing extended playing time for the Jazz while Rudy Gobert recovers from a knee injury. Favors didn’t play particularly well on the defensive end, but coach Quin Synder understands that the struggles are a result of playing too many minutes, as Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News relays. “You don’t have to look any further than the guy played 38 minutes and he hasn’t played that many minutes all year,” Snyder said. “He’s battling. He’s competing, playing hard, and we’re asking a lot of him right now. We’re going to keep doing that, and he’s going to give us everything he has.”
  • Improving on the defensive end will be a top priority for the Nuggets and the team may look to the free agent market this summer to find upgrades, Nick Kosmider of The Denver Post speculates in his latest mailbag. The scribe names Gibson, Blake Griffin, and Serge Ibaka among the players who could help the team improve on that end of the floor.

Northwest Notes: Westbrook, Oladipo, Gobert, Burks

ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy believes the Thunder should seriously consider playing Russell Westbrook the entire game during the postseason, as he told Mel Bracht of The Oklahoman. The Thunder outscored the Rockets in Game 2 by 11 points in the 41 minutes that Westbrook played. Westbrook’s 51-point, 10-rebound, 13-assist effort was wasted in a 115-111 loss that gave Houston a 2-0 series lead. Oklahoma City is better off with Westbrook staying on the court even if he wears down as the game goes on, Van Gundy told Bracht. “I think he gives them a better chance even if he is diminished somewhat due to fatigue by playing the whole game,” Van Gundy said. “Maybe it will be different at home, but the dropoff is huge.”

In other playoff developments around the Northwest Division:

  • Thunder coach Billy Donovan doesn’t want Victor Oladipo‘s shooting woes to affect his overall game, the Associated Press reports. The shooting guard is averaging 8.5 PPG and shooting 19% from the field through the first two playoff games. Donovan wants Oladipo to realize his defense and rebounding are also important. “Victor’s not a one-dimensional player — he can do a lot of different things,” Donovan said. “Taking his mindset off the ball going in the basket, and him realizing, ‘I’m not going to allow myself to be defined by that because there’s too many other things I can do out there to help this team.'”
  • Forward Doug McDermott was a bright spot for the Thunder in Game 2, as he scored 11 points in 14 minutes. “I knew I could have an impact on this series,” McDermott told Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. “I know my shot’s always gonna be there, and they have to respect that.”
  • Jazz center Rudy Gobert will remain sidelined for Game 3 of the series against the Clippers, according to another AP story. He hyperextended his left knee and suffered a bone contusion in the opening minute of the series. The Jazz were outscored 60-38 in the paint in Game 2 while going with a smaller lineup most of the way.
  • The Jazz will also be without shooting guard Alec Burks for Game 3, the team’s PR department tweets. Burks received a platelet-rich plasma injection into his left knee on Thursday. Burks, who averaged 6.7 PPG in 15.5 MPG over 42 games during the regular season, has not appeared in the series.

Rudy Gobert To Miss Game 2 With Knee Injury

APRIL 17, 1:14pm: Gobert will be ruled out for Game 2 against the Clippers, and his status going forward will be determined on a game-by-game basis, reports Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune.

APRIL 16, 8:42am: Jazz center Rudy Gobert could miss the rest of the series after hurting his knee on the first play of Saturday’s game with the Clippers. A statement issued by the team calls the injury “a left knee hyperextension and bone contusion.”

Gobert was removed from the game with 11:43 left in the first quarter after banging knees with L.A.’s Luc Mbah a Moute. He underwent X-rays, which were negative, and an MRI that revealed no ligament damage.

Utah’s medical staff said Gobert will continue to be re-evaluated to determine when he might be able to play again. He has not yet been officially ruled out for Game 2, though it would be surprising to see him get back on the court so quickly.

Although the Jazz pulled out Saturday’s game on a last-second shot by Joe Johnson, they figure to have an uphill battle without Gobert. A candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, he averaged 14 points, 12.8 rebounds and a league-leading 2.6 blocks in 81 games.

Rudy Gobert Talks DPOY, Utah, Hayward

With the 2016/17 regular season nearing its conclusion, Jazz center Rudy Gobert is receiving serious consideration for this year’s Defensive Player of the Year award, despite the fact that Utah often flies under the radar in discussions about the NBA’s contenders and stars. Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype spoke to several players around the league, including Myles Turner, Elfrid Payton, and Willie Reed, who said Gobert deserves the award, with Reed calling him a “game-changer.”

Gobert himself also spoke to Kennedy about what it would mean to be named Defensive Player of the Year, as well as several other subjects, including the idea that he’s overlooked a little in Utah and the possibility of an All-Star teammate re-signing with the Jazz this summer. The whole piece is worth checking out, but here are a few of the notable quotes from Gobert:

On the possibility of winning Defensive Player of the Year:

“It would be great. Obviously, I play to win games, but you make history with those kind of things. It would be great to make history. I’d be the second French player to win it after Joakim Noah. It would be great for me, great for my country. It would just be great.”

On the Jazz, a top-five seed in the West, flying under the radar:

“We talk about it sometimes [as a team]. I’ve been here for four years now and Gordon [Hayward] has been here for seven years, so we understand it. We understand that it’s about the market, so we have to do more than other teams to get that respect. We also understand that we have to win games. At the end of the day, if we win games, we’re going to get the recognition that we deserve. That’s why we just focus on winning and getting better.”

On how he’ll try to convince Hayward to stick with the Jazz in free agency:

“I’m just going to ask him, ‘Do you want to win a championship?’ I feel like with the way we’ve improved the last few years, since Quin [Snyder] got here, I don’t think it’d be a great decision to leave now. At the same time, I know sometimes there are personal decisions and I can’t really control any of that. But I know he likes to win. I know he likes it here in Utah, and his wife and kids like it here too. If he doesn’t want to live here anymore or there’s another city he wants to live in or he feels like he has a better chance to win a championship somewhere else, it’s his decision. But I’m going to remind him that I really want to win a championship and I think we can do it.”

On whether Gobert can picture himself spending his entire career in Utah:

“Yeah, why not? I obviously love living [in Utah] and I want to win, like I said. So if the goal is to win a championship very soon, there’s no reason to leave. I love my coach, I love the fans, I love the organization. There’s no reason for me to think about leaving.”

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