Semi Ojeleye

COVID-19 Updates: Hachimura, Roby, Grizzlies, Bucks, Robsinon, Suns, Nance, Hawks

Wizards power forward Rui Hachimura has exited the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, though an exact timeline for his return to the court has yet to be determined, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Hachimura, 23, has missed the entirety of the Wizards’ 37-game 2021/22 NBA season thus far, due to a combination of an extended personal absence and subsequently his stint in the protocols. The 6’8″ big man is averaging 13.7 PPG and 5.8 RPG across his two seasons with Washington thus far.

Here are more protocol-related updates from across the league:

  • Young Thunder reserve center Isaiah Roby has entered the NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols, per Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman (Twitter link).
  • Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks and guard De’Anthony Melton have cleared the NBA’s coronavirus protocols but remain questionable ahead of tomorrow’s game against the Pistons as they continue to re-condition, while forward Kyle Anderson has also cleared protocols but will most likely not play due to back soreness, according to Memphis’s PR team (Twitter link).
  • Bucks forwards Jordan Nwora, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, and Semi Ojeleye have exited the league’s COVID-19 protocols and are available for a short-handed Milwaukee team tonight against the Raptors, per Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link). We first mentioned earlier today that that triumvirate of Bucks players was nearing a return. Through the game’s first half, Nwora is the only one of the three that has played.
  • $90MM Heat shooting guard Duncan Robinson has exited the NBA’s coronavirus protocols and will reunite with the team in Portland ahead of its game against the Trail Blazers tonight, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The team has announced that Robinson will play (Twitter link).
  • Suns centers Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee, along with starting power forward Jae Crowder, have all cleared COVID-19 health and safety protocols but will remain sidelined for Thursday’s home contest against the Clippers as they work their way back into game shape, reports Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic.
  • Trail Blazers forward Larry Nance Jr. has cleared the league’s coronavirus protocols and will be available to play tonight against the Kings, per Aaron J. Fentress of the Oregonian (Twitter link). We had first noted earlier today that Nance had registered an inconclusive COVID-19 test and that a quick return was a possibility.
  • Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic and small forward Jalen Johnson have exited health and safety protocols, writes Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Spencer says the two players are expected to consult with Atlanta’s medical staff in Los Angeles ahead of the team’s games against the Lakers and Clippers on Friday and Sunday. Spencer adds that Johnson struggled a bit with the coronavirus and could need additional conditioning time.

Julius Randle, Three Pacers Enter COVID-19 Protocols

Knicks power forward Julius Randle has entered the health and safety protocols and will miss Friday’s game vs. Oklahoma City, the team announced today (via Twitter). If Randle registered a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, he’ll remain sidelined for at least six days or until he can return two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Randle logged 26 minutes in the Knicks’ win in Detroit on Wednesday night after playing over 37 minutes on Tuesday in Minnesota, so his teammates and recent opponents will likely be monitoring for symptoms of their own in the coming days.

Here are a few more COVID-related updates from around the league:

  • After placing Jeremy Lamb in the health and safety protocols on Wednesday, the Pacers have had three more players enter the protocols today, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that Malcolm Brogdon, Chris Duarte, and Isaiah Jackson are joining Lamb. Indiana had avoided a COVID-19 outbreak so far this month, but it may be catching up to the team now.
  • Bucks forward Semi Ojeleye has entered the protocols, tweets Wojnarowski. Milwaukee had multiple players in the protocols earlier in the month, but Ojeleye is the team’s lone player affected for now.
  • Timberwolves forward Jarred Vanderbilt has exited the COVID-19 protocols and should be available on Friday vs. Utah, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link). Minnesota is down to just three players in the protocols, though Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell are two of those three.

Bucks’ Ojeleye Out At Least Three Weeks With Calf Injury

Bucks forward Semi Ojeleye, whose season debut last month was delayed by a left calf strain, has now sustained an injury in his right calf and will be sidelined again, the team announced in a press release.

According to the Bucks, an MRI confirmed that the injury Ojeleye suffered on Friday vs. Oklahoma City is a strained right calf. He’ll remain on the shelf for at least three weeks before he’s reevaluated.

Ojeleye, who turns 27 in December, has struggled with his shot in his first 11 games in Milwaukee, making just 25.5% of his attempts from the field, including 21.4% of his threes. However, he has been a regular rotation player for the team, providing solid defense in 19.8 minutes per contest.

Even if Ojeleye is cleared to return three weeks from today, he’ll miss the Bucks’ next 11 games. While he’s unavailable, Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Jordan Nwora are among the reserve forwards who could see an increase in playing time. Center Brook Lopez may also be ready to return from his back injury during Ojeleye’s absence, further solidifying the team’s frontcourt.

Central Notes: Ojeleye, LaVine, Bulls, Hayes

After signing a minimum-salary deal with the Bucks in the offseason, Semi Ojeleye has had his debut with his new team pushed back by a calf injury that he suffered early in training camp. Ojeleye didn’t think it would keep him out long, but he was ultimately on the shelf for nearly a month and is finally set to return to action, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic (Twitter links).

“Honestly, I was thinking I was going to get back in the next couple days, the next couple days, the next couple days and then it kind of took a little longer than I hoped, but it was all in God’s time and now it’s time to go,” Ojeleye said on Wednesday. He’s expected to be active for tonight’s Bucks game vs. Minnesota.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Bulls guard Zach LaVine confirmed that he intends to play through a small ligament tear in his left thumb, but said he’ll be smart about it and won’t take any risks if the medical staff advises against it. “I don’t want to put myself in any danger,” LaVine said (Twitter link via Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago). “I don’t have all the information on it yet. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow and go from there. You know me, I try to play through everything. If I’m able to, I will. If not, we’ll see how it goes.”
  • Appearing on the HoopsHype podcast with Michael Scotto, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago discussed a number of Bulls-related topics, including his first impressions of Lonzo Ball and LaVine’s long-term future. “I’d say every indication I’ve been given both internally from his side and the organization is this is a match made to move forward together,” Johnson said of LaVine, who will be a free agent in 2022.
  • Killian Hayes‘ sophomore season with the Pistons got off to a shaky start when he scored just two points on 1-of-11 shooting in two games vs. Chicago, but his performance in Monday’s loss to Atlanta (12 points and no turnovers in 27 minutes) was more encouraging, writes Keith Langlois of Hayes’ backcourt role figures to change a little once Cade Cunningham is ready to make his debut.

Bucks Sign Semi Ojeleye To One-Year Contract

AUGUST 6: The Bucks have officially signed Ojeleye, the team announced on Friday (via Twitter).

AUGUST 2: The 2021 NBA champion Bucks will be adding forward Semi Ojeleye to shore up their frontcourt depth, agent Sean Kennedy informs Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter).

Eric Nehm of The Athletic reports (Twitter link) that Ojeleye is set to join the Bucks on a one-year, minimum-salary contract.

Selected with the No. 37 pick in the 2017 NBA draft out of SMU by the Celtics, the 6’6″ forward spent his first four NBA seasons in Boston. Though not much of a scorer (his career-best average thus far is 4.6 PPG in 2020/21), Ojeleye nevertheless found his way into the rotation for the Celtics’ various playoff-bound teams over the years, including two Eastern Conference Finals teams in 2018 and 2020.

A versatile defender, Ojeleye could fill the absence left by veteran tweener forward P.J. Tucker, who is expected to depart for the Heat after agreeing to a new two-year,  $15MM deal.

In 2020/21, Ojeleye averaged the aforementioned 4.6 PPG, to go along with 2.6 RPG, in 17.0 minutes per contest. He played in 56 games, starting 15. The 26-year-old Ojeleye proved to be a reliable three-point shooter last year, albeit on a modest volume, connecting on 36.7% of his 2.8 looks from long range.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Celtics Rumors: Gordon, Nesmith, Smart, Langford, More

The Celtics and Nuggets continue to lead the Aaron Gordon sweepstakes, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, who reports that the Magic forward would welcome the opportunity to play for either team, or for the Trail Blazers.

While one Wednesday report suggested that Denver had taken the lead as the frontrunner to land Gordon, the Celtics continue to pursue the veteran forward, with John Collins and Harrison Barnes looking to be increasingly less likely targets, Weiss writes.

Weiss suggests that the Timberwolves appear to be falling back in the race to land Gordon, but all indications are that the Magic will continue talks right up until the deadline.

According to Weiss, the Celtics’ desire package for Gordon would be Aaron Nesmith and a first-round pick, giving Orlando the opportunity to create a sizeable traded player exception. However, the team will likely need to up that offer, either by including another first-rounder or by expanding the trade to include Marcus Smart and Evan Fournier.

Here’s more from Weiss on the Celtics:

  • While Romeo Langford was mentioned on Wednesday along with Nesmith as a candidate to be an outgoing piece in a Gordon trade, Weiss says the former Hoosiers guard doesn’t have much value due to his injury history and the fact that he was already a “polarizing” prospect entering the 2019 draft. As such, it doesn’t make much sense for the Celtics to sell low on him. Nesmith has more trade value, as Weiss notes.
  • Grant Williams and Semi Ojeleye haven’t been included in any trade packages that have “advanced to a serious stage,” sources tell Weiss.
  • One league source speculated to Weiss that there’s a chance the Celtics could do something more complex involving Gordon, like sending Smart to Orlando and trading draft capital to New Orleans for Lonzo Ball. However, that sounds like a longer shot.
  • Tristan Thompson has been frequently mentioned as a trade candidate, and there’s been some frustration that his on-court impact has been modest, per Weiss. However, Thompson is close with Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker, and even if there’s been some frustration with his production, it hasn’t become “animosity” by any means.

Eastern Notes: Oladipo, Celtics, Heat, Beal, Cavs

Victor Oladipo turned down a contract extension offer from the Pacers that started at over $25MM, league sources tell former NBA executive Ryan McDonough of (Twitter link). NBA rules would have allowed Indiana to go up to a starting salary of $25.2MM on an extension for Oladipo, and it sounds like the team was willing to go that high, based on McDonough’s report.

With Oladipo seeking a more lucrative contract in free agency, where he’ll be eligible for a starting salary worth up to $33.7MM, the Pacers realized they would likely lose him during the summer of 2021, McDonough explains. That’s why Indiana was willing to move him in a deal for Caris LeVert this week. That trade between the Rockets and Pacers – which was separated from the rest of the James Harden blockbuster – isn’t yet official, but should be soon.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • After dealing with a roster shortage for much of the week, the Celtics will have some reinforcements for Friday night’s contest vs. Orlando, their first game since last Friday. Jaylen Brown, Daniel Theis, Semi Ojeleye, and Javonte Green are all out of the NBA’s health and safety protocols and are available tonight, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.
  • With Harden off the market, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald revisits the Heat‘s potential trade options if they want to make a splash before the March 25 deadline. As Jackson has mentioned multiple times in the past, Miami would be very interested in Bradley Beal if the Wizards were to make him available.
  • The Cavaliers will carry approximately $309K in dead money for Thon Maker after waiving his non-guaranteed contract to accommodate their Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince acquisitions, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Maker was paid about $11.9K per day for 26 days of service.

NBA Postpones Tuesday’s Celtics/Bulls Game

The NBA has postponed Tuesday’s game between the Celtics and Bulls due to the health and safety protocols, the league announced today. A source tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link) that Boston is short on the minimum number of players.

Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Grant Williams, Tristan Thompson, Robert Williams, Javonte Green, and Semi Ojeleye are all out due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, while Kemba Walker and Romeo Langford are sidelined with injuries.

It’s the second postponement announced today – along with Monday’s Mavericks/Pelicans contest – and the NBA’s third in the last two days. The Celtics’ game against the Heat on Sunday was also postponed.

Despite a growing number of teams and games being impacted by the COVID-19 protocols, NBA spokesman Mike Bass told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN on Sunday that there are no plans to pause the season. Bass said the league had anticipated postponements and “planned the schedule accordingly.”

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently conveyed a similar sentiment to a group of team owners, executives, coaches, and NBPA leaders. Silver suggested that January would likely be the worst month for the league and the virus, but expressed optimism about things improving in February and beyond, especially once vaccinations are more widespread.

“They tell us it’ll be better later in the season, but I just hope this doesn’t break the league in the next few weeks,” one general manager told Wojnarowski.

In today’s press release, the NBA said that it will be meeting today with the NBPA to discuss the possibility of modifying the league’s health and safety protocols. The NBA also has a conference call lined up today with the league’s general managers to discuss these issues, sources tell Woj (Twitter link).

Celtics To Guarantee 2020/21 Salaries For Theis, Ojeleye

The 2020/21 salaries for Daniel Theis and Semi Ojeleye will become guaranteed if they’re not waived today, and the Celtics intend to hang onto both players, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter links).

Theis will have a fully guaranteed $5MM salary for the coming season as a result of the move, which was always expected, given the crucial role he played for the team in 2019/20. The 28-year-old was Boston’s starting center, averaging 9.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 1.3 BPG in 24.1 minutes per contest. He’ll be eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2021.

Ojeleye, meanwhile, wasn’t a lock to be retained, but the cost ($1.75MM) isn’t substantial. Himmelsbach had reported on Thursday that Ojeleye’s status may be affected by what happened with Gordon Hayward and other players in free agency.

Presumably, with Hayward, Brad Wanamaker, Enes Kanter, and Vincent Poirier all headed elsewhere and team salary having declined significantly, the C’s are comfortable that there’s enough room for the forward on the roster and on the cap.

Ojeleye played a limited role for the club in 2019/20, averaging 3.4 PPG and 2.1 RPG on .408/.378/.875 shooting in 69 games (14.7 MPG).

Celtics Pick Up Option On Ojeleye, Status Still Uncertain

The Celtics have picked up Semi Ojeleye‘s team option for next season, Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets.

Ojeleye’s contract remains non-guaranteed until Saturday. If Boston guarantees his deal, he’ll have a salary of $1.75MM.

That’s a bargain price for a rotation piece. Ojeleye appeared in 69 regular-season games last season, including six starts, and averaged 3.4 PPG and 2.1 RPG in 14.7 MPG.

However, it’s unlikely Ojeleye’s contract will be guaranteed, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe tweets. His status could be affected by the Gordon Hayward situation and other potential deals, Himmelsbach adds. Hayward decided to opt out of his contract so that he could become an unrestricted free agent.

Ojeleye was a 2017 second-round pick and has appeared in 198 games with Boston over three seasons.