Taurean Prince

Injury Updates: Randle, Clippers, Sixers, Wolves, Blazers

The Knicks received both good and bad news on Wednesday night versus Miami. The good news is point guard Jalen Brunson was able to play after missing the past two games with a sprained right hand, and the Knicks came away with an important victory (Twitter link via the team).

The bad news is power forward Julius Randle sprained his left ankle after landing on Bam Adebayo‘s foot following an offensive rebound (YouTube link), with Randle remaining on the floor for a while in pain. He stayed in the game to shoot free throws, but headed back to the locker room with a trainer.

Randle was able to limp off the floor on his own, but as soon as he was back in the team’s tunnel he was bent over in discomfort. The Knicks later ruled him out for the remainder of the contest (via Twitter).

Hopefully the injury isn’t severe, particularly so late in the season. Randle has appeared in all 77 games for the Knicks and was named to his second All-Star team last month.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Clippers star Kawhi Leonard was ruled out of Wednesday’s game in Memphis due to personal reasons, per Law Murray of The Athletic (Twitter links). Head coach Tyronn Lue said the team is hopeful Leonard will only be out one game. On a positive note, Norman Powell was able to return to action after missing the past 11 games with a shoulder injury — he was previously listed as questionable.
  • Sixers stars Joel Embiid (calf soreness) and James Harden (Achilles soreness) were active for Wednesday’s game vs. Dallas, tweets Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN was the first to report the news (via Twitter). Embiid missed Monday’s loss in Denver with the injury, while Harden had missed four straight games.
  • The Timberwolves had several late additions to their injury report (Twitter link) ahead of tonight’s game in Phoenix. Kyle Anderson, Anthony Edwards, Taurean Prince, Austin Rivers and Matt Ryan are all dealing with an illness that head coach Chris Finch described as an “intestinal flu,” according to Chis Hine of The Star Tribune (Twitter link). Edwards and Anderson were able to suit up, but the Wolves later ruled out (via Twitter) the other three players as well as Jaylen Nowell, who continues to battle left knee tendinopathy.
  • In addition to four starters being held out with various injuries and surgeries sidelining a couple other players, the Trail Blazers added three young players to Wednesday’s injury report ahead of their matchup with Sacramento (Twitter link). Second-year guard Keon Johnson is out with a fractured right finger, while second-year big man Trendon Watford will miss his second straight game with a sprained right ankle. Fourth-year wing Cam Reddish is doubtful due to lumbar soreness.

Northwest Notes: Jokic, Vucevic, Porter Jr., Micic, Prince

Bulls center Nikola Vucevic doesn’t think Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic should be penalized for being a prior Most Valuable Player award winner when voters make their selections this season, he told K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

“I think he deserves to get another one, the way he’s playing. I think you take him out of that team, it’s not even close to the same team,” Vučević said of the Nuggets’ franchise player. “The things that he does, you look at his stats, the efficiency he’s playing at, it’s very impressive. And it’s not like he’s putting up numbers and they’re not winning. They’re (25-0) when he has a triple-double. And he plays in a winning way. He makes the right play. He doesn’t force. He doesn’t try to do something just to do it. It’s all within the flow of the game. It’s winning basketball.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Nuggets may finally reach the Finals this season in large part because of Michael Porter Jr’s maturity, Harrison Wind of TheDNVR.com writes. Porter has made himself a force at both ends of the floor after teams previously tried to take advantage of his defensive shortcomings. “I think Michael Porter has been just tremendous on both ends of the floor all season long,” coach Michael Malone said.
  • Serbian guard Vasilije Micic has hired the Wasserman Media Group as his new representative, HoopsHype tweets. Micic, whose draft rights are owned by the Thunder, is a two-time Euroleague Final Four MVP and is considered the best guard in Europe. However, it’s unclear whether the Thunder would have a role for the 29-year-old if he pursued an NBA career next season and he could be traded if he wants to make the jump.
  • Taurean Prince‘s value to the Timberwolves is reflected in their won-loss record, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes.  They are 24-17 when he plays and 10-16 when he doesn’t. “He’s like the ultimate glue guy with a little bit extra spice to it,” guard Mike Conley said. “You think he’s just three-and-D and all of a sudden, coming off pin downs, he’s making plays for guys. He’s being a leader. … He’s got a full game to him that’s really big for our second unit.” Prince has a non-guaranteed salary of $7.455MM next season and Minnesota has to make a decision on his contract status before free agency.

Northwest Notes: Gordon, Jackson, Dunn, Timberwolves

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone told reporters, including Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link), that there’s no firm timeline for Aaron Gordon to return from his rib injury.

Based on Malone’s wording, the team is taking Gordon’s injury one day at a time, but he was ruled out for the sixth consecutive game on Sunday, tweets Singer. Reserve big man Zeke Nnaji was also listed as out with a shoulder injury.

Gordon is having a career year for the Nuggets, averaging 17.3 PPG, 6.9 RPG and 2.9 APG on .587/.397/.623 shooting through 49 games (30.3 MPG). Denver has a five-game lead on Memphis for the No. 1 seed in the West, so the team will likely be cautious with Gordon in an effort to get him back to full strength for the playoffs.

Here’s more from the Northwest:

  • The Nuggets signed guard Reggie Jackson after he was bought out by the Hornets. Typically players acquired on the buyout market don’t have much of an impact on their new teams, but Jackson could be critical for a Nuggets team whose bench unit has struggled all season long, Singer writes for The Denver Post (subscriber link). “You just want to play well,” Jackson said. “They brought me here for a reason. Part of me is like, ‘I don’t want to mess it up. Let’s keep it rolling.’”
  • Kris Dunn is making an immediate impact for the Jazz after they signed him to a 10-day contract, according to Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune (subscriber link). After notching 11 points, one rebound, one assist and two steals in 16 minutes in his Jazz debut versus Oklahoma City, Dunn followed that up with 15 points, eight assists, seven boards, one steal and one block in 23 minutes versus San Antonio. Utah was victorious in both efforts, with Larsen saying the veteran guard was arguably the team’s second-best player against the Spurs on Saturday.
  • In the Timberwolves‘ latest injury report (Twitter link), three key rotation players are questionable for tonight’s game in Golden State. Center Rudy Gobert is sick, guard Jaylen Nowell has left knee tendinopathy, and forward Taurean Prince is dealing with a personal matter.

Scotto’s Latest: McDaniels, Hornets, G. Williams, Nuggets

Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels drew significant trade interest around the NBA ahead of Thursday’s deadline, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who reports that about half of the league’s teams reached out to express interest in the 22-year-old.

However, after keeping him out of the Rudy Gobert blockbuster last summer, the Timberwolves continued to turn away inquiries on McDaniels. The front office views the third-year forward, who becomes extension-eligible during the coming offseason, as a member of the team’s core, Scotto writes.

McDaniels’ brother Jalen McDaniels was on the move this week, as the Hornets sent him to the Sixers in a four-team deal that also involved New York and Portland. According to Scotto, Charlotte was anticipating a strong free agent market for Jalen this offseason and was concerned about being outbid for the 25-year-old, who will be an unrestricted free agent.

After trading for him at the deadline, the Sixers are hoping to use their Bird rights on the older McDaniels brother to retain him, but they’ll face competition. League sources tell HoopsHype that the Jazz, Pacers, and Spurs are among the clubs expected to show interest in McDaniels in the summer.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • With McDaniels no longer on the roster, the Hornets are prioritizing re-signing P.J. Washington this summer, as well as potentially negotiating a new deal with Miles Bridges, says Scotto.
  • The Celtics turned away multiple teams who expressed interest in trading for forward Grant Williams, Scotto reports. Clubs were interested in acquiring Williams ahead of his restricted free agency to secure his Bird rights, Scotto writes, adding that some executives around the NBA believe Boston will be hesitant to match an offer sheet exceeding $15MM+ per year for the forward this summer. The C’s never offered more than $50MM in guaranteed money over four years last fall when the two sides discussed an extension, Scotto notes.
  • Before sending him to the Clippers, the Nuggets discussed possible deals involving Bones Hyland with the Hornets (Jalen McDaniels), Timberwolves (Taurean Prince), and Knicks (Cam Reddish), according to Scotto.
  • In case you missed it, Scotto’s latest story for HoopsHype also included an interesting item on the Grizzlies’ offer for Mikal Bridges and some info on potential suitors for veteran wing Terrence Ross.

Scotto’s Latest: Hart, Knicks, Thybulle, Prince, Nuggets, Suns

The Knicks are among the teams with interest in Trail Blazers wing Josh Hart, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Previous reports have linked the 27-year-old to the Cavaliers and possibly the Heat.

Hart is expected to decline his $12.96MM player option for 2023/24, which is non-guaranteed, in search of a long-term deal. His cap hit for ’22/23 is also $12.96MM.

As Scotto notes, Hart won a national championship in college at Villanova with Knicks guards Jalen Brunson and Ryan Arcidiacono. Through 51 games (33.4 MPG), he’s averaging 9.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 3.9 APG and 1.1 APG on .504/.304/.731 shooting.

The Knicks have a number of options for potentially matching Hart’s salary in a trade. However, since the Blazers are unlikely to be interested in Derrick Rose or Evan Fournier, combining some smaller contracts could be in play — Cam Reddish and Obi Toppin would work, for example.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • Sixers wing Matisse Thybulle is drawing a significant amount of interest around the NBA. In addition to the Warriors, Kings and Hawks, the Pacers, Trail Blazers, Bucks, Mavericks, Hornets, Raptors and Suns have all had exploratory conversations with Philadelphia regarding the former first-round pick, Scotto reports. A two-time All-Defensive Second Team member, Thybulle is playing a career-low 12.1 minutes per game in ’22/23 and will hit restricted free agency if he’s tendered a $6.28MM qualifying offer, Scotto notes.
  • The Nuggets are interested in Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince, sources tell Scotto. Prince’s cap hit this season is $7.3MM and he has a non-guaranteed $7.65MM cap hit for ’23/24. In addition to Bones Hyland, the Nuggets are also open to moving Zeke Nnaji for a roster upgrade, sources tell HoopsHype. Prince has dealt with injuries in ’22/23, but has posted a rock-solid .479/.389/.833 shooting line in 33 games (21.1 MPG) off Minnesota’s bench. Ish Smith ($4.73MM) would likely be included if one of Hyland ($2.2MM) or Nnaji ($2.6MM) were moved for Prince due to salary-matching rules.
  • When Scotto asked Suns forward Cameron Johnson about his impending restricted free agency, he suggested he hopes to remain in Phoenix going forward. “I love being in Phoenix,” Johnson replied. “I love the team, the staff, and the city. The organization has treated me really well to this point. Whatever the future holds, the future holds. Phoenix has really become a home to me. These guys have become my brothers, which from my understanding, is not something you should take for granted in professional sports.”

Wolves Rumors: McLaughlin, Russell, Reid, Hyland

Jordan McLaughlin‘s return from a calf injury may be the spark the Timberwolves need to move up the Western Conference standings, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. After missing the past 30 games, McLaughlin was back on the court Sunday, playing nearly 12 minutes in a win over the Nuggets. The backup point guard helped Minnesota’s offense become the best in the league over the second half of last season, and his play-making has been missed while he’s been out of action.

“He just brings a pace to the game,” coach Chris Finch said. “Gets off it early. Makes all the right plays. Competes his butt off on defense. It was good to see him back out there.”

When he suffered the injury in November, McLaughlin was originally considered to be day to day. He returned in early December after missing five games, but reaggravated the calf and admits that he might have tried to come back too soon.

“Calf injuries, anything with the lower extremities, you never know,” McLaughlin said. “It may feel good, but it may not be good. It could’ve been that, but you never know.”

There’s more from Minnesota:

  • Having McLaughlin available may change the Wolves’ philosophy heading into the trade deadline, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. The team has been mentioned as a possible suitor for Kyle Lowry or Mike Conley, but with McLaughlin back, and Kyle Anderson and Anthony Edwards sharing the playmaking duties for the starting unit, Krawczynski doesn’t see a strong need to bring in an experienced point guard. He points to perimeter defense, bench scoring and rebounding as more pressing priorities.
  • Trade talks regarding D’Angelo Russell are likely to continue up to the deadline, but his improved shooting numbers over the past two months will make it tough to part with him, Krawczynski adds. The Clippers are among the interested teams, but so far have been unwilling to part with Terance Mann in a potential deal.
  • Krawczynski confirms that the Wolves have engaged in extension negotiations with Naz Reid during the season and believes both sides would prefer a new agreement over a trade. Karl-Anthony Towns is expected to return from his calf injury sometime after the All-Star break, but Krawczynski states that uncertainty about Towns’ timeline makes it difficult for Minnesota to part with Reid.
  • Krawczynski identifies Nuggets guard Bones Hyland as a name to watch as the deadline draws near. Wolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly drafted Hyland when he was in Denver and still believes in his potential. Krawczynski suggests it may take an offer of Reid or Taurean Prince to land Hyland.
  • The front office investigated the possibility of acquiring Kyrie Irving when his trade request became public last Friday, but decided against submitting an offer to Brooklyn, per Krawczynski.

Bamba, Rivers, Suggs Suspended For Fight

The NBA has announced suspensions (via Twitter) for three players involved in an altercation during Friday night’s game between the Magic and Timberwolves.

Orlando center Mohamed Bamba was suspended for four games and Minnesota guard Austin Rivers received three games for their roles in the fight. Magic guard Jalen Suggs received a one-game suspension for escalating the incident, and Wolves forward Jaden McDaniels was fined $20K for running into the fray and pushing Bamba in the back.

All four players were given technical fouls and were ejected from the game. Minnesota’s Taurean Prince was also ejected, but he wasn’t disciplined by the league.

Bamba appeared to start the fight with a comment to Rivers after his missed three-pointer late in the third quarter. Rivers took exception and challenged Bamba on Orlando’s bench. Both players threw punches, although it looked like none of them connected. Suggs tackled Rivers, and McDaniels and Prince also got involved.

The NBA’s press release states that Bamba tried to “continue to engage with Rivers in a hostile manner in the corridor outside the locker rooms where he also aggressively shoved a security representative,” which explains why he got the longest suspension.

Five Players Ejected From Magic-Wolves Game After Scuffle

Orlando’s Mohamed Bamba and Jalen Suggs, as well as Minnesota’s Austin Rivers, Taurean Prince and Jaden McDaniels, were ejected from Friday’s MagicTimberwolves game after a scuffle broke out, reports Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel (subscriber link)

It appears as though Bamba may have initiated the incident by saying something to Rivers after he missed a three-pointer, as Markelle Fultz looked absolutely shocked by whatever was said (Twitter video link via Rob Perez).

Clearly Rivers didn’t appreciate the comment, as he returned to Orlando’s bench (Bamba wasn’t in the game at the time), and then a fight broke out between Bamba and Rivers, with punches thrown, though none appeared to connect (Twitter video link via Bally Sports North).

Suggs then ran into the fray and tackled Rivers, with chaos ensuing. Prince and McDaniels were both shoving and trying to get involved, so apparently they were ejected for escalating the altercation.

According to Pierre Noujaim of Fox 9 Minneapolis (Twitter link), Bamba and Rivers tried to continue the fight in the arena hallway after being ejected, and had to be restrained, presumably by security.

All five players are likely to face suspensions and/or fines, with Bamba and Rivers almost certain to receive the most significant penalties.

Bamba is typically a backup center, but he started the game for the Magic, with Suggs a reserve guard. Losing them to suspensions would affect the team’s rotation, but not as substantially as it would the Wolves, as McDaniels is a starter and Prince and Rivers are two of Minnesota’s primary reserves.

Trade Rumors: Anunoby, Hornets, Prince, Beasley, Crowder

The Raptors have told teams they’ll wait until their current road trip is over before making a decision on their direction at the trade deadline, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said in an appearance on NBA Today on Thursday (YouTube link). With games in Houston on Friday and Memphis on Sunday still on tap for Toronto, potential trade partners will have to wait a few more days for clarity.

However, if the Raptors do make OG Anunoby available, Windhorst expects there to be several playoff teams vying for his services.

“If the Raptors are willing to put OG Anunoby on the trade block, I believe – conservatively – there could be six or seven different teams, a lot of them contenders for the title this year, who are willing to put in a significant offer for him,” Windhorst said. “It would really depend then on whether the Raptors prioritized getting young players… or if they decided to focus on draft picks, because that would change the order of teams that you’d like for OG.”

In the same TV segment, Windhorst’s ESPN colleague Bobby Marks observed that it would help potential Anunoby suitors if they could get some clarity on whether the NBA will tweak its contract extension rules in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Based on the current rules, if he were to sign an extension, Anunoby could only get a 20% raise on next season’s $18.6MM salary (or on his $19.9MM player option for 2024/25). As such, he may be inclined to wait for free agency to sign a new contract, since he could get a bigger raise at that point. However, if the new CBA loosens restrictions on veteran extensions, a team acquiring Anunoby now would be in a better position to extend him before the end of his current contract.

CBA negotiations are ongoing, so it’s unclear if teams will have a real sense by the February 9 deadline of whether or not those rules will change.

Here are a few more trade rumors and notes from around the NBA:

  • The Hornets are engaged in trade talks about “almost all of their veterans,” ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Insider link) writes, citing league sources. While Lowe doesn’t name specific players, we’ve previously heard Mason Plumlee, Terry Rozier, and Kelly Oubre, among others, referred to as possible trade candidates.
  • In his Lowe Post podcast, Lowe mentions in passing that teams are calling the Timberwolves about forward Taurean Prince “a lot.” Lowe doesn’t provide any additional details, but it seems safe to assume that Minnesota isn’t eager to move one of its key role players, given the team’s playoff aspirations. The Wolves currently rank sixth in the West at 28-26.
  • Rival executives tell Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report that they believe the Jazz have at least one team willing to offer a first-round pick for veteran wing Malik Beasley. It’s unclear what sort of protections that first-rounder might have or whether Utah would have to take back a multiyear contract for salary-matching purposes.
  • The Bucks aren’t the only team that has requested and received permission to speak to Suns forward Jae Crowder, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link), who says there are “others” who have done the same.

Wolves Notes: Edwards, Gobert, Reid, Garza, Prince

Anthony Edwards‘ evolution into the franchise player in Minnesota remains a work in progress, but the Timberwolves guard is viewed by teammates and coaches as a great listener who is willing to put in the work necessary to reach stardom, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports writes in a profile of the former No. 1 overall pick. One area of focus for the Wolves this season has been encouraging Edwards to find his teammates rather than forcing shots when opposing defenses double-team him.

“One thing we preach to him a lot is the essence of offense in the league is not how much you score, but when they put two on you and you create an advantage,” head coach Chris Finch said. “No matter how they do it, pick-and-roll trap, early gap help, all that stuff that comes from the gravity he creates, just trying to continue to find the right play and trusting his teammates to score. Keep trusting the right pass.”

While Edwards is averaging a career-best 4.4 assists per game through 40 appearances this season, it’s his scoring ability that makes him special. He’s averaging a career-best 23.7 points per contest so far this season and led the Wolves to a victory over Portland on Wednesday with a game-high 32.

“He’s six years away (from his prime) and he’s already this good,” teammate Austin Rivers said that night, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link). “Franchise player. He’s the guy here. There’s no doubt about it.”

Unfortunately, Edwards exited Friday’s game in the third quarter due to a sore left hip that has been bothering him as of late, tweets Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. The Wolves still managed to pull out a solid 128-115 win over the visiting Clippers.

Here’s more out of Minnesota:

  • Seth Partnow of The Athletic took a closer look on Friday at some advanced stats that suggest Rudy Gobert‘s defensive impact has declined this season, writing that the big man’s regression is a cause for concern. Hours later, Gobert delivered perhaps his best game since arriving in Minnesota, piling up 25 points and 21 rebounds in the team’s victory over the Clippers. “I don’t think we’ve seen the best Rudy yet,” he said after the game (story via Hine). “I’ve been putting in a lot of work. My teammates are sticking with me. The coaching staff is sticking with me. And I know that it’s going to pay off. It’s a long season. My goal is to just keep raising my level every day and set the tone for these guys.”
  • After missing the Wolves’ previous two games due to back spasms, backup center Naz Reid played just nine minutes on Friday before exiting early due to the same injury, Hine writes.
  • With Reid and Karl-Anthony Towns both sidelined, two-way player Luka Garza got a chance to crack the rotation this week and delivered with 23 points in 27 minutes during the two games Reid missed. Though Garza felt comfortable on the offensive end of the court, he was more concerned about how he performed on defense, Hine writes for The Star Tribune. “I know that’s the decider of how long I can stay in this league,” Garza said. “If I could become a real rotation piece, it’s how good I get at that end. … I think at the end of the day, just playing hard is going to help you most of the time.”
  • Taurean Prince‘s return has given the Wolves a shot in the arm, Hine says in another Star Tribune story. Prince has played 47 total minutes off the bench in his two games back after missing 20 consecutive contests due to a right shoulder injury. He scored double-digit points on Wednesday and Friday, both Minnesota wins. “He was our most consistent player in a lot of ways in his role, when he went out,” Finch said on Wednesday. “I knew what I was going to get from him every night. He knows who he is. His game is super well-defined and he sticks to his strengths, so definitely pleased to have him back.”