Rui Hachimura

NBA Postpones Friday’s Wizards/Bucks Game

The game between the Wizards and Bucks that was scheduled to be played on Friday in Milwaukee has been postponed, the NBA announced tonight (Twitter link).

It’s the sixth consecutive postponement for the Wizards, who haven’t played since January 11. The team was cleared to return to the court to practice on Wednesday, but remains significantly shorthanded.

Deni Avdija, Davis Bertans, Troy Brown, Rui Hachimura, Ish Smith, and Moritz Wagner are out due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, while Thomas Bryant (ACL) and Russell Westbrook (quad) are sidelined due to injuries, leaving just eight available players on the roster (Twitter link).

According to the NBA’s announcement, the game is being postponed due to the number of unavailable players for the Wizards, contact tracing affecting players on the roster, and the club’s lengthy layoff from practicing.

As Fred Katz of The Athletic wrote earlier tonight, Bradley Beal and the Wizards had been planning to lobby for a postponement of Friday’s game, since they felt that potentially playing with the league-mandated minimum of eight players after not practicing for the last week would result in a high risk of injury for the active players.

The next game on Washington’s schedule is Sunday in San Antonio. The hope is that the Wizards will have enough available players – and enough practice time between now and then – to be ready to play that game.

The NBA has now postponed 17 contests this season. The full list is here.

Wizards Cancel Practice As Two Players Enter Health And Safety Protocols

3:33pm: Rui Hachimura and Moritz Wagner are the two Wizards affected by the NBA’s health and safety protocols and are currently listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game vs. Utah, as Fred Katz of The Athletic relays (via Twitter).

9:35am: The Wizards have had two players enter the NBA’s health and safety protocols related to COVID-19, according to the team, which announced this morning (via Twitter) that it has canceled today’s scheduled practice due to “an abundance of caution.”

It’s not clear which two Wizards players are affected or whether they’ll require a quarantine period. The NBA has been cagey about providing many specifics related to its health and safety protocols, but those protocols apply to players who return a positive or inconclusive COVID-19 test, as well as those who may have had close contact with someone who tested positive.

This marks the fifth straight day that a Wizards player or a player on their previous opponent entered the health and safety protocols, notes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link). The Wizards’ opponents from Friday (Boston) and Saturday (Miami) are each missing several players due to the coronavirus protocols. Washington played the Suns on Monday night.

For now, there’s no indication that the Wizards’ Wednesday game against Utah is in jeopardy, but we’ll have to wait for additional updates on the two players in the protocols and see if any other players join them.

Southeast Notes: Lopez, Pasecniks, Crowder, Hawks Crowds, Bogdanovic

Veteran Robin Lopez has moved into the Wizards’ starting lineup due to the season-ending loss of center Thomas Bryant but the rotation will be flexible, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington relays. Moritz Wagner will get some opportunities and power forward Rui Hachimura could man the middle in small-ball sets. The Wizards also have Anzejs Pasecniks on the roster.

“It’s going to definitely be by committee,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • There’s a good reason why the Wizards should take a closer look at Pasecniks, Hughes writes in a separate story. His $1,517,981 contract becomes fully guaranteed if he remains on the roster past January 31. A 2017 first-round pick, the 7’2” Pasecniks could help a defense that has been lacking in the early portion of the season, Hughes adds.
  • It has become more perplexing that the Heat didn’t make a strong push to re-sign Jae Crowder, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel opines. They made Crowder a large, one-year offer in order to protect their cap space this summer but the forward chose more long-term security by inking a three-year, $29.2MM contract with the Suns. The Heat have cycled through Maurice Harkless, Meyers Leonard, Andre Iguodala and Kelly Olynyk in the power forward rotation and could have enjoyed more stability with Crowder, Winderman adds.
  • The Hawks have pushed back the targeted return of ticketed fans at State Farm Arena to January 26 due to COVID-19 concerns, according to a team press release. The Hawks will open at 10% capacity (approximately 1,700 tickets) before gradually increasing throughout the season, pending adequate conditions.
  • A medical expert interviewed by The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner estimates that Bogdan Bogdanovic will miss 4-6 weeks due to the avulsion fracture in his right knee, assuming surgery isn’t required. In Bogdanovic’s absence, Kevin Huerter and Cam Reddish will assume bigger roles, Kirscher adds.

Southeast Notes: Bonga, Dunn, Bogdanovic, Herro, Robinson

Wizards forward Isaac Bonga got benched on Thursday after starting the first four games and coach Scott Brooks said it was simply a numbers game, Kevin Brown of NBC Sports Washington writes. With Rui Hachimura returning from an eye injury and reclaiming his usual spot in the lineup, Brooks had to choose between Bonga and Troy Brown as the backup. He chose Brown. “We’re trying to find minutes for Troy (Brown Jr.) and Bonga, and (Thursday) it was Troy, but who knows who it will be (Friday) night,” Brooks said.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said he had promising reports regarding guard Kris Dunn‘s arthroscopic right ankle surgery on Tuesday, according to Sarah Spencer of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Dunn is wearing a walking boot and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. The former Bull has yet to make his Atlanta debut. “It sounds as if everything went well, as well as the surgery can go, and he’s staying here at the hotel,” Pierce said. “But he’s post-op and laying low.”
  • Hawks free agent acquisition Bogdan Bogdanovic has averaged 15.3 PPG on 42.9% shooting from deep but Pierce says his value goes beyond perimeter shooting, Spencer writes in a separate story. “He hasn’t had any bad games,” Pierce said. “Bad games aren’t ‘make or miss.’ He’s taking those shots, I’ll live with them…. I trust his work. I’ve been praising the fact that he’s probably our hardest post-practice worker.”
  • Would the combination of Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson be enough to satisfy the Rockets in a potential deal with the Heat for James Harden? Not even close, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. Houston wants “significantly more than that” for Harden, sources inform Jackson.

Wizards Notes: Hachimura, Beal, Westbrook

The Wizards announced on December 21 that forward Rui Hachimura would be sidelined for approximately three weeks due to an eye issue (bi-lateral epidemic keratoconjunctivitis). However, he’s set to easily beat that recovery timeline.

Head coach Scott Brooks told reporters today that Hachimura will play on Thursday night vs. Chicago, as Ava Wallace of The Washington Post tweets. The second-year forward is expected to see about 20 minutes of action, Brooks added (Twitter link via Fred Katz of The Athletic).

While Hachimura isn’t exactly a star-caliber difference-maker, the Wizards will welcome any reinforcements they can get, given their slow start. Washington is tied for the NBA’s worst record at 0-4 so far.

Here’s more out of D.C.:

  • Bradley Beal‘s frustration was evident after Tuesday’s loss to Chicago, as he left without speaking to the media, a rarity for the Wizards star, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Beal explained to reporters today that he was watching film and said he doesn’t intend to let his frustrations carry over (link via Fred Katz). Still, it’s worth keeping a close eye on Beal this season, especially if the Wizards keep losing — if his commitment to the team wavers, there will be plenty of rival clubs ready to inquire on his availability.
  • Here’s more from Beal on the energy in the Wizards’ locker room following the 0-4 start:Nobody’s mad at their teammate or hates the next man. It’s not that type of emotion or feeling. I feel like everybody’s pissed off, I feel like that’s a good thing (Twitter link via Ava Wallace).
  • The Wizards should make a stronger effort to surround Russell Westbrook with more three-point shooters during his minutes, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic, who notes that Westbrook has played some of his minutes alongside three non-shooters.
  • In case you missed it, the Wizards picked up their 2021/22 options on Hachimura and Troy Brown, but opted to pass on their options for Jerome Robinson and Moritz Wagner.

Wizards Exercise 2021/22 Options On Troy Brown, Rui Hachimura

2:56pm: Fred Katz of The Athletic confirms (via Twitter) that the Wizards are declining their fourth-year options on Robinson and Wagner.

2:52pm: The Wizards have picked up their fourth-year option on Troy Brown and their third-year option on Rui Hachimura, the team announced today in a press release.

The options apply to the 2021/22 season, fully guaranteeing each player’s salary for next year. Brown will make $5.17MM in the final year of his rookie contract, while Hachimura’s third-year option is worth $4.92MM.

The 15th overall pick in the 2018 draft, Brown emerged as a regular rotation player for Washington in 2019/20, averaging 10.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, and 2.6 APG with a .439/.341/.784 shooting line in 69 games (25.8 MPG).

Hachimura, the ninth overall pick in the 2019 draft, averaged 13.5 PPG and 6.1 RPG in 48 games (30.1 MPG) last season, earning a spot on the All-Rookie Second Team. He’s currently sidelined due to an eye issue.

Teams typically pick up all of their rookie scale options at once, so it’s worth noting that today’s announcement from the Wizards didn’t mention Jerome Robinson ($5.34MM fourth-year option) or Moritz Wagner ($3.89MM fourth-year option). Assuming those options aren’t exercised by Tuesday’s deadline, Robinson and Wagner will be on track for unrestricted free agency in 2021, and Washington won’t be able to offer them starting salaries higher than the values of their declined options.

Rui Hachimura Out For Three Weeks Due To Eye Issue

Wizards forward Rui Hachimura will be sidelined for approximately three weeks due to bi-lateral epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC), the club announced today in a press release.

Hachimura is essentially dealing with a severe case of pink eye, according to Wizards head coach Scott Brooks, who said the second-year forward has blurred vision and is sensitive to light (Twitter link via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington).

Hachimura, who missed Washington’s last two preseason games, is “getting better,” Brooks said. However, it sounds like he won’t be able to make his regular season debut until sometime in the new year. The Wizards will play their 11th game of the season three weeks from today, so Hachimura will likely be sidelined for at least 10 contests.

The ninth overall pick in the 2019 draft, Hachimura averaged 13.5 PPG and 6.1 RPG in 48 games (30.1 MPG) last season, earning a spot on the All-Rookie Second Team.

While Davis Bertans would be the most obvious candidate to take Hachimura’s spot in the starting lineup, Brooks has typically liked to bring Bertans off the bench, notes Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link). If Bertans doesn’t get bumped into the starting five, the club could turn to Anthony Gill or shift Deni Avdija to the four and start another wing, says Katz.

Ja Morant, Kendrick Nunn Headline All-Rookie Team

Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, who previously won the Rookie of the Year award, was the only player unanimously selected to this year’s All-Rookie First Team, the league announced in a press release.  A panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters selected the team.

Heat guard Kendrick Nunn collected the second-most First Team votes (98) and total points (197). Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke, Pelicans forward and top overall draft pick Zion Williamson, and Warriors forward Eric Paschall rounded out the First Team.

Morant and Clarke became the first Grizzlies duo named to the All-Rookie First Team since the 2001/02 season, when Pau Gasol and Shane Battier earned the honor. Nunn is the first Heat player named to the First Team since Michael Beasley in 2008/09.

Heat guard Tyler Herro, Raptors guard Terence Davis II, Bulls guard Coby White, Hornets forward P.J. Washington, and Wizards forward Rui Hachimura gained All-Rookie Second Team honors.

Knicks wing and third overall pick RJ Barrett finished 13 points behind Hachimura for the final spot on the Second Team, with Sixers forward Matisse Thybulle narrowly missing a spot as well.

The voting was conducted based on regular-season games played prior to the restart.

Wizards Notes: Mathews, Beal, Rotation, Hachimura

Having been one of the first NBA teams to arrive at the Walt Disney World campus on Tuesday, the Wizards announced today (via Twitter) that their quarantine period has ended and they’ll conduct their first practice later this afternoon.

However, one player who won’t participate in that practice is two-way guard Garrison Mathews. Sources tell Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link) that Mathews didn’t travel to Orlando with the team for personal reasons. According to Katz, Mathews hasn’t tested positive for the coronavirus, but it remains unclear whether he’ll join the team later or miss the rest of the season.

Mathews, a rookie out of Lipscomb, appeared in just 18 games for the Wizards during the season, averaging 12.6 minutes per contest, so he wasn’t exactly an indispensable rotation piece. Still, Matthews would likely have moved up on the depth chart with Bradley Beal sidelined for the restart, so if he doesn’t eventually join the club at Disney, he’ll be missed.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • Although Beal was shut down for the rest of the season due to a rotator cuff injury, Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said this week that he doesn’t think surgery “is an option at all” for the All-Star guard. Rest and a longer training camp period should have Beal ready to go for 2020/21, according to Sheppard. “I think if we had another month of ramp-up time, Bradley would probably be ready to play,” Sheppard said, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “These are eight games vs. 82 next season and all the seasons beyond that. I think it’s worth mitigating the risk right now for what’s ahead.”
  • In a separate story for NBC Sports Washington, Hughes contends that Beal’s performance this season showed that we still don’t know exactly what his ceiling is.
  • With Beal, Davis Bertans, and John Wall not participating in the summer restart, a handful of younger Wizards will get a chance to take on larger roles, according to Jackson Filyo of, who points to Troy Brown Jr., Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant, Moritz Wagner, and Jerome Robinson as players who could step up. “I’m so excited for this opportunity,” Hachimura said, per Hughes. “I think we have a chance to make the playoffs.”

Wizards Notes: Beal, Grant, Hachimura, Go-Go

Wizards guard Bradley Beal still hasn’t finalized a decision on whether or not he’ll participate in the NBA’s restart, but head coach Scott Brooks said today that Beal is expected to join the club on its flight to Florida this week, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes.

Beal said last week that he remains undecided about whether he’ll play this summer, expressing some concerns about the shortened ramp-up period and the possible injury risk. Brooks, who said there’s no specific timeline for Beal’s decision, said today that his All-Star guard is looking “great” in workouts.

“His physical condition has been pretty good and continues to improve every day along with our other guys,” Brooks said, per Youngmisuk. “We are all getting tested every day and as of right now he’s a go and we are all going down there ready to compete and get better and play to get in a playoff position. He looks great.”

The Wizards, who are 5.5 games out of the last playoff spot in the East, will be without All-Star point guard John Wall and sharpshooter Davis Bertans during the restart — Wall continues to rehab his Achilles injury, while Bertans opted out due to his impending free agency and his ACL injury history.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • Jerian Grant, who replaced Bertans on the Wizards’ summer roster as a substitute player, called it a “dream come true” to join his hometown team, as Jackson Filyo of details. Grant, who grew up in the D.C. area, worked as a ball boy for the franchise as a kid, and his father Harvey Grant played for the then-Bullets from 1988-93.
  • Rui Hachimura, who would be preparing to represent Japan in the Tokyo Olympics this summer if not for the coronavirus, remains hopeful that he’ll be able to play for his home country in 2021, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “I’m honestly so sad about it. We can’t do anything about it,” Hachimura said of the postponement, adding that he has been looking forward to the event for years. “Of course, I would like to play in the Olympics. Next year, we’ll see how things go.”
  • Pops Mensah-Bonsu, the general manager of the Capital City Go-Go, won’t return to the Wizards’ G League affiliate for the 2020/21 season, according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. “I wanted to pursue some other things at this moment in time,” Mensah-Bonsu said. The remainder of the 2019/20 NBAGL season was canceled and it’s unclear when next season will start — that uncertainty played a part in Mensah-Bonsu’s decision, per Buckner.