T.J. McConnell

Central Notes: Bagley, Mobley, Vildoza, McConnell, Komoroski

Marvin Bagley III is headed to free agency this summer but Pistons coach Dwane Casey hopes the front office re-signs the young power forward, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets. Detroit can make him a restricted free agent by extending a $7.3MM qualifying offer. Bagley has played well since being traded by Sacramento, averaging 14.6 PPG and 6.8 RPG in 27.2 MPG while appearing in 18 games for the Pistons.

We have more Central Division news:

  • Cavaliers rookie Evan Mobley is questionable to play against Brooklyn on Friday, Kelsey Russo of The Athletic tweets. Mobley hasn’t played since March 28 due to an ankle injury but he was able to do “everything” at practice in Orlando on Thursday, coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. Jarrett Allen is listed as out, although he went through an individual workout.
  • Guard Luca Vildoza signed a two-year, $1.8MM contract with the Bucks, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. His contract for next season is non-guaranteed and includes a $500K trigger date if he’s not waived before Milwaukee’s first regular season game. Vildoza was signed on Wednesday.
  • T.J. McConnell surprised a lot of people by returning to action this week, even though the Pacers are out of the playoff picture. McConnell played 15 minutes on Tuesday after missing 55 games due to a hand injury. McConnell told Joel Lorenzi of the Indianapolis Star he just “wanted to feel like a basketball player again.” “They’ve been talking about coming out here and creating that chemistry, and what better way to get that chemistry started than to come back now?” he said. “You know, I just wanted to feel like a basketball player again. It was hard sitting there.”
  • Cavaliers CEO Len Komoroski is stepping down from his post at the end of the season, according to a team press release. Komoroski’s career with the Cavaliers began in 2003 as a team president. He took on the CEO title in 2013. He will remain affiliated with Rock Entertainment Group.

T.J. McConnell To Return On Tuesday

APRIL 5: McConnell will play against his former club on Tuesday, according to James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. McConnell has missed the past 55 games after having wrist surgery in December.

APRIL 4: In a somewhat surprising development, the Pacers have upgraded guard T.J. McConnell to questionable for Tuesday’s game against Philadelphia, the team tweets.

With the season winding down and Indiana well out of the playoff race, it was generally assumed McConnell’s season was over. McConnell’s season was derailed in early December when he underwent surgery to repair a torn scapholunate ligament in his right wrist.

Prior to the injury, McConnell appeared in 23 games this season and was averaging 8.4 PPG, 4.8 APG, 3.3 RPG and 1.0 SPG in 24.2 MPG. McConnell re-signed with Indiana in the offseason, agreeing to a four-year deal worth nearly $34MM. He was a key reserve for the Pacers the previous two seasons after spending the first four seasons of his career with the Sixers.

McConnell could simply be testing out the wrist to see if all is well but getting him back in uniform could have an ulterior motive. With several other guards on the roster, including second-year players Tyrese Haliburton and Chris Duarte, the Pacers could be showcasing McConnell to teams interested in dealing for a veteran guard this summer.

Pacers Notes: Anderson, Turner, McConnell, Jackson, Draft

Swingman Justin Anderson is eager to display his skills after receiving a 10-day contract from the Pacers on Thursday, James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star writes.

“I just want to be out on the court and show my impact, show what I can bring. I’ve been biting at this for a long time,” Anderson said. “Unfortunately, injuries have kind of had me in and out of the NBA, but that’s over and done with. I only have two tibias, two legs, and both of those have been operated on, and I’m back stronger than ever.”

Anderson was averaging 27.8 PPG, 6.9 RPG and 4.4 APG in 22 games with the G League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

We have more on the Pacers:

  • T.J. Warren was ruled out for the remainder of the season on Thursday due to his ongoing foot issues. Myles Turner (foot) and T.J. McConnell (wrist) probably won’t see the court for the remaining 12 games as well, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. Turner has been out since mid-January, while McConnell hasn’t played since December 1.
  • Isaiah Jackson has entered the NBA’s concussion protocol and will not play Friday at Houston, Boyd writes in a separate story. Coach Rick Carlisle said the rookie big man suffered the injury during the team’s home loss to the Grizzlies on Tuesday when he was hit in the face with the ball.
  • With the Pacers headed for the lottery, Carlisle has kept an eye on potential draft prospects, Boyd tweets“I’ve been watching stuff for the draft since January. … There’s a lot of really good players,” he said.

Pacers Notes: Sykes, Brogdon, Stephenson, Turner, McConnell, Warren

Pacers guard Keifer Sykes, a rookie at age 28, has taken a remarkable path to the NBA, according to James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. It’s an in-depth look at Sykes’ journey — from the harrowing gun violence of his youth in Chicago’s South Side, to starring for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, several stops overseas and much, much more.

Sykes’ mother, Lisa, was thrilled when she learned that his contract had been guaranteed for the remainder of the season.

My heart was just filled with so much joy when he got what he wanted, and that’s to play in the NBA for his dream,” Lisa Sykes said. “When I see him play against his favorite people, seeing him playing against Chris Paul and he went to Chris Paul’s camp, it’s like it’s (full) circle.”

It’s a fascinating story and I recommend checking out the full article.

Here’s more from Indiana:

  • Head coach Rick Carlisle provided injury updates on several players Thursday, including Malcolm Brogdon, who suffered a concussion during Tuesday’s 127-124 loss to Cleveland. Brogdon was struck by an errant elbow from Evan Mobley and will be sidelined for the back-to-back road games this weekend against the Spurs and Hawks, Boyd of The Indianapolis Star tweets.
  • Lance Stephenson aggravated his left ankle sprain during Thursday’s practice and had to leave the court early, Carlisle said. He’s unsure whether Stephenson will be able to play in the upcoming games this weekend, per Boyd (Twitter link). Stephenson has missed four of the team’s last six games, including two straight.
  • Myles Turner and T.J. McConnell are making progress from their foot and wrist injuries, respectively. Carlisle said Turner was able to do 30 minutes of non-contact work during Thursday’s practice and has been gradually ramping up activity, but there’s still no timeline on his return (Twitter link via Boyd). Carlisle called McConnell week-to-week. Given Indiana’s place in the standings (22-45, fifth-worst in the NBA) and the fact that both players are under contract through at least next season, it wouldn’t be surprising if they’re held out for the remainder of the season.
  • In one of the more bizarre and unfortunate storylines of the 2021/22 season, T.J. Warren continues to be sidelined with a stress fracture in his left foot. He hasn’t played at all this season after playing just four games last season, originally suffering the injury in December of 2020. Carlisle said there was “no update on T.J Warren” when asked about his status by James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star (via Twitter). Warren will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Central Notes: DeRozan, Haliburton, McConnell, LeBron

Bulls wing DeMar DeRozan considers his latest All-Star appearance, his fifth overall and first since 2018, to be his favorite All-Star selection thus far, per Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago.

“It’s hard to go against the first time I was here [in 2014 while with the Raptors],” DeRozan said. “But to be here again after everything I went through, it’s sweet.”

DeRozan is in the midst of possibly his best NBA season yet, his 13th in the league. In 55 games for the 38-21 Bulls, the 32-year-old out of USC is averaging 28.1 PPG (his highest scoring average ever, fifth in the NBA this year), 5.2 RPG, and 5.1 APG, with a shooting line of .517/.343/.866.

“Over the span of my career I did a lot of learning, personally, on the court, outside the court,” the 6’6″ Bulls swingman said. “Just trying to understand a lot of dynamics of just being a man first. And a lot of that, looking in the mirror moments and understanding a lot of things is this moment now, of just me being in my complete balance.”

DeRozan also leads the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring with 443 points and counting. Schaefer writes that DeRozan is posting a clutch-time shooting line of .541/.667/.902. The Bulls are currently the second seed in the Eastern Conference, with DeRozan leading the way. He has a strong case to be a top-five MVP candidate this season.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Several current All-Stars heaped praise on new Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton, writes James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star. Haliburton, who participated in the All-Star weekend festivities during the Rising Stars contest and the Clutch Challenge this year, hopes to return to a future All-Star weekend for the main event. “That’s the goal,” Haliburton said of playing in the All-Star game. “Don’t know when, but eventually I’ll be back, and I’m looking forward to it.” Bulls All-Star guard Zach LaVine spoke about how Haliburton can benefit from his fresh start in Indiana. “Tyrese is off the charts, and him getting a different opportunity now in Indiana I think is gonna be big for him,” LaVine said. “Obviously getting traded and me being traded young as well [from the Timberwolves to the Bulls], you have to take it one way or another… You’re a little shell-shocked at first, but once you embrace that opportunity and go after it, I think he’s gonna be great.”
  • Pacers backup point guard T.J. McConnell appears likely to miss the rest of of the 2021/22 season, per Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Given the original timeline projected for the 6’1″ veteran’s recovery from a December surgery for a torn scapholunate ligament in his right wrist, this news is not entirely unexpected. McConnell has appeared in just 24 contests this year. McConnell, 29, has averaged 8.7 PPG, 5.0 APG and 1.1 SPG while shooting 50.3% from the field and 80% from the free throw line.
  • Provided that the Cavaliers are able to retain their core of power forward Evan Mobley and All-Stars Darius Garland and Jarrett AllenJason Lloyd of The Athletic suggests that Cleveland should do its darnedest to add 11-year Cavaliers veteran LeBron James, who would reach free agency in 2023, at age 38, if he doesn’t sign an extension before then. During an active 2022 All-Star weekend in Cleveland, James went out of his way to praise the team-building work of team president Koby Altman“I think Koby and those guys have done an unbelievable job drafting and making trades,” James told Lloyd. “The door’s not closed on [the prospect of James making yet another Cleveland return].” The Cavaliers could conceivably carve out cap space during the 2023 offseason in part by moving off the $17.3MM salary owed forward Lauri Markkanen and perhaps by picking up and then offloading the $8.9MM team option of wing Isaac Okoro.

Central Notes: DiVincenzo, McConnell, Brogdon, White, Sexton

Bucks swingman Donte DiVincenzo has heard his name in trade rumors but he’s not fretting over it, as he told Eric Nehm of The Athletic. DiVincenzo hopes to remain in Milwaukee this season.

“What can you focus on? What can you control? I can control my attitude and my effort every day,” DiVincenzo said. “And those are two things that no matter what, the business side is going to handle itself, I can control the attitude and effort. And if a trade happens? I went through a trade! I experienced that. I’m cool. I want to be here.”

DiVincenzo wasn’t signed to a rookie scale extension during the offseason. He’ll be a restricted free agent this summer.

“I’m not one to focus on what’s four or five months ahead of me,” he said. “If you sit down and focus on coming in every day and focus on what do I have to do today and get better today? Everything else takes care of itself.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • T.J. McConnell had the pin taken out of surgically repaired right wrist but the Pacers guard is “weeks, not days” away from returning, coach Rick Carlisle told James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). When McConnell underwent hand surgery in early December, the prognosis was that he could be out the rest of the season. There’s still no timetable for Malcolm Brogdon‘s return, Boyd adds in a separate tweet. Brogdon was shut down 10 days ago due to right Achilles soreness.
  • Coby White has been showing versatility as the Bulls try to figure out what role he’s best suited for with the current roster, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times writes. White isn’t upset about having to switch gears on the fly. “Whatever the team needs me to do,” he said. “My role changes all the time. I’ve just got to adapt and continue to adjust. It’s nothing new for me. I’ve been doing it for awhile. Whatever the team needs I’m down to do whatever.”
  • The Cavaliers are not expecting Collin Sexton to return from meniscus surgery this season even though the young guard is optimistic about his recovery, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer said on the Wine and Gold Podcast (hat tip to HoopsHype). “Everybody that I’ve talked to in the organization, there is nobody that even in their mind once considered the possibility of Collin Sexton returning for the postseason,” Fedor said. Sexton indicated recently he hadn’t ruled out a potential return during the playoffs.

COVID-19 Updates: Grant, McConnell, Doumbouya, More

Pistons coach Dwane Casey said forward Jerami Grant has cleared the league’s health and safety protocols and is currently reconditioning, according to Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link).

In 21 games this season (33.2 MPG), Grant is averaging 20.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.1 SPG and 1.1 BPG. He was cleared for on-court work earlier this month in his recovery from thumb surgery, but then was placed in the league’s health and safety protocols.

At least 10 teams are reportedly interested in dealing for Grant, who’s one of the hottest names on the trade market.

Here are some more COVID-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Pacers guard T.J. McConnell has exited the health and safety protocols and is back with the team, but he’s still unable to play as he rehabs from hand surgery, Scott Agness of FieldhouseFiles tweets. McConnell might miss the rest of the season with the injury.
  • Lakers two-way forward Sekou Doumbouya has cleared the protocols and is back with the team’s G League affiliate in South Bay, per the NBA’s injury report.
  • According to the same report, Raptors two-way rookie David Johnson has exited the protocols and is back with the Raptors 905, Toronto’s G League affiliate. Johnson was the 47th overall pick of the 2021 draft out of Louisville, but has appeared in just two games for the Raptors for a total of two minutes.
  • Bulls head coach Billy Donovan informed reporters, including K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link) that assistant coaches Maurice Cheeks and John Bryant both tested positive for COVID-19 and have entered the health and safety protocols.
  • Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said that assistant coach Chip Engelland has entered the protocols, but assistants Becky Hammon and Darius Songaila have exited. “It’s like a merry-go-round,” Popovich said, as Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News relays (via Twitter). Mike Finger of the Express-News tweets that all of the Spurs’ front-bench assistants and a dozen players have been placed in the protocols this season.

COVID-19 Updates: Grant, Batum, Herro, McConnell, Smart, T. Jones, Jenkins

Sidelined since December 10 after surgery on his right thumb, Pistons forward Jerami Grant has now entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Grant has been making progress toward playing again and began a rehab assignment with the G League’s Motor City Cruise this week.

Grant is considered the “grand prize” by some observers heading into the trade deadline and has been the subject of rumors involving at least nine teams. His time in the protocols could further limit the number of games he can play before Detroit has to make a decision on a deal.

He and rookie center Luka Garza are the only players currently in the protocols for the Pistons, who recently were among the hardest-hit teams in the league by COVID-19.

Here are some more protocol-related updates:

  • Clippers forward Nicolas Batum has been placed in the protocols, tweets Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Batum also spent time in the protocols in November.
  • Heat guard Tyler Herro has entered the protocols, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). Herro is the only Miami player currently in the protocols.
  • Pacers guard T.J. McConnell, who may miss the rest of the season after having hand surgery, has been placed in the protocols, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files.
  • Celtics guard Marcus Smart has exited the protocols, the team announced in its injury report. However, he’s not playing tonight due to “return to competition reconditioning.”
  • Spurs guard Tre Jones has cleared the protocols, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express News. He missed seven games while he was out of action.
  • Taylor Jenkins is out of protocols and is coaching the Grizzlies tonight, according to Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian (Twitter link). Jenkins missed six games.

T.J. McConnell Undergoes Hand Surgery, May Miss Rest Of Season

2:21pm: The Pacers issued a press release confirming that McConnell underwent surgery today to repair a torn scapholunate ligament in his right wrist. According to the team, the guard will be in a cast for the next 10-to-12 weeks. Once he gets the cast off, the Pacers will provide an estimate for his recovery and return to action.

12:52pm: Pacers guard T.J. McConnell has undergone surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right hand, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, McConnell is expected to miss several months and may not return at all this season.

McConnell has only made six starts for the Pacers in 2021/22, but he has been an important part of the team’s rotation. Entering action last Wednesday, the 29-year-old had appeared in all 23 of Indiana’s games and was averaging over 25 minutes per contest, with 8.7 PPG, 5.0 APG, and 1.1 SPG on 50.3% shooting.

McConnell left last Wednesday’s contest vs. Atlanta after playing just three minutes, having suffered what was initially called a right wrist injury. The veteran guard received multiple opinions on how to treat the ailment and it appears he and the team ultimately decided surgery was the right path.

It’s possible that McConnell’s status is a factor in the Pacers’ apparent willingness to pivot to a rebuild rather than continuing to push all-out for a playoff spot.

McConnell re-signed with Indiana in the offseason, agreeing to a four-year deal worth nearly $34MM. He’ll become trade-eligible on January 15, but because he’s unlikely to be of much use to contending teams this season, he’ll likely remain with the Pacers through the February 10 deadline. If Indiana falls out of the playoff hunt, the club may focus on getting McConnell back to 100% for the start of next season, rather than trying to bring him back this spring.

Injury Notes: Adebayo, Jalen Green, Warren, McConnell, Towns, Porzingis

Heat star Bam Adebayo says he’s always been a positive person, but after learning of the thumb injury that will sideline him for roughly six weeks, he understandably had a tough day on Wednesday, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald relays.

I’m not the type of person that will put out negative energy. So I always think positive. But today was a downer,” Adebayo said after watching Wednesday’s lopsided loss to the Cavaliers. “But for these six weeks, I can’t change nothing about it. That’s my only option.”

Coach Erik Spoelstra says there’s no way to replace what Adebayo does for Miami and the team needs to weather the storm until it gets healthier.

We need a little bit of time just to assess everything and formulate a new plan, a new direction,” Spoelstra said. “… Collectively as a group, we’ll make the necessary adjustments. When you lose an All-Star player, it’s never easy. But this is the league.

When I look around the league, I see a lot of teams dealing with injuries and guys out and guys coming back. There’s a lot of that going on right now and we just have to weather the storm and recalibrate and figure out a new plan, new direction, which our guys are very capable of doing.

Here are some more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • Rockets coach Stephen Silas says rookie Jalen Green isn’t close to returning from his strained hamstring, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “Nothing really new,” Silas said on Friday. “He is still injured. He is progressing in a good manner but slowly. We’re just going to continue to evaluate week-by-week. But he’s not going to play any time soon.”
  • Pacers guard T.J. McConnell, who was previously said to be out “a while,” is wearing a cast and is now expected to be out for “weeks, not days” according to coach Rick Carlisle, the team announced (via Twitter). The Pacers also tweeted that T.J. Warren will not be playing in December, per Carlisle. He will have more scans on his foot at the end of month or in early January. Warren has yet to play a game this season after playing in just four games last season.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns missed Friday’s game for the Timberwolves with a tailbone contusion, the team announced (Twitter link). Towns had a hard fall late Wednesday night. He did warm up for the game, which is a good sign that it should be a short-term injury.
  • Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis was also sidelined for Friday’s game, per a team public relations announcement (via Twitter). He has a knee contusion. It’s unclear how long he might be out.