Trey Burke

Southwest Notes: Louzada, Burke, Rockets, Crowder

The Sydney Kings of Australia’s NBL announced Wednesday that Pelicans’ 2019 second-round pick Didi Louzada will be returning for his second season (Twitter link). The Brazilian wing player had confirmed the news of him coming back to Sydney a couple of hours earlier (Twitter link).

Last season as a rookie, the 21-year-old Louzada averaged 11.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 1.7 APG for Sydney. The NBL’s 2020-21 season is scheduled to begin in December and will wrap up in April.

Matt Logue of The Telegraph reported that Louzada can make his NBA debut at any time as the Pelicans own his draft rights. As things stand, there’s not a set date on when the 2020/21 NBA regular season will begin.

Here’s more from across the Southwest Division:

  • Before he joined the Mavericks in the bubble this summer, Trey Burke battled COVID-19, writes Callie Caplan of The Dallas News. The veteran guard discussed his trials and tribulations with the virus, including being quarantined for weeks in a Dallas hotel. “At this point, it was like 21, 22 days,” Burke said. “I was really concerned at that point because I was thinking my career was in jeopardy. I needed an opportunity before the bubble, and Dallas, a team I’m familiar with, calls me, and I can’t get to the bubble because of coronavirus.” The former first-round pick was eventually cleared to join Dallas in Orlando after his 25th day of quarantine.
  • With Mike D’Antoni not returning next season, the Rockets are beginning their search for a new head coach, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Wojnarowski reported on Wednesday that Houston has received permission to interview Nuggets assistant coach Wes Unseld Jr. and Mavericks assistant coach Stephen Silas. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle initially reported the Rockets’ interest in both assistant coaches, along with five other head coaching candidates.
  • At NBA Finals Media Day on Tuesday, Heat forward Jae Crowder spoke about his brief time with the Grizzlies this season, writes Mark Giannotto of Commercial Appeal. The veteran forward explained how he had to take on more of a leadership role for the young Grizzlies’ team. “Being in Memphis, I took on a different role. I took on a role I’d never taken on before in an NBA locker room,” he said. “And that’s just being a main leader, being a main vocal point, being the main guy who the young guys can lean on.” Crowder was acquired by Miami in a multi-player trade at February’s trade deadline.

Mavericks Notes: Doncic, Injuries, Porzingis, Game 6

The Mavericks don’t expect star guard Luka Doncic to be under any restrictions when their series with the Clippers resumes Sunday, writes Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. Doncic had been dealing with the effects of a sprained left ankle he suffered in the second half of Game 3, but an unexpected three-day break in the playoff schedule has allowed it to heal.

Doncic fought through the pain to deliver a remarkable performance in Game 4, posting 43 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists and nailing a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. He is officially listed as questionable for Game 6, but coach Rick Carlisle told reporters today that Doncic has made significant progress.

“Ankle’s doing well, all things considered,” Carlisle said. “The extra two or three days is a plus, certainly. In practice today, he looked pretty good, so going into tomorrow, I don’t think he’s going to be limited.”

There’s more Mavericks news to pass along:

  • Injuries will be a concern as Dallas tries to keep its season alive, Caplan adds in the same story. In addition to Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr. (cervical strain), Dorian Finney-Smith (left hip strain) and Trey Burke (left ankle sprain) are all listed as questionable for Game 6.
  • The knee issue that has sidelined Kristaps Porzingis may change the way the Mavericks deal with him moving forward, suggests Tim Cato of The Athletic. The team needs to recognize that Porzingis could eventually develop chronic knee problems, Cato states. He advises the Mavs to expand their frontcourt depth in case Porzingis has to miss numerous games every season and points out that there has never been another 7’3″ player with his mobility who plays so many minutes. Cato believes the organization should consider limiting Porzingis to about 30 minutes per game and reducing his travel schedule.
  • Like all the remaining teams, the Mavericks face the challenge of putting aside the emotions of a difficult week and concentrating on basketball, Caplan writes in a separate story“We’re going to go … whistle to whistle, timeout to timeout,” Carlisle said, “and we’re going to do everything possible to get to a Game 7.”

Injury Updates: Westbrook, Gordon, Lowry, Mavs

After initially being ruled out for Game 5 due to his quad injury, Rockets guard Russell Westbrook was upgraded to questionable today, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle tweets.

With the Rockets and Thunder set to tip off at 5:30 pm central time tonight, Westbrook is expected to test his strained quad on the court before the game, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who tweets that the All-Star point guard will be a game-time decision.

While it remains to be seen whether Westbrook will get the go-ahead to play tonight, it sounds as if he’s getting awfully close, which means the odds we’ll see him in action before the end of the series are increasing.

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

  • Magic forward Aaron Gordon (hamstring) has been ruled out for Game 5 against Milwaukee, the team announced today (via Twitter). We heard on Tuesday that Gordon was still having trouble running up and down the court and that the club didn’t want to risk him suffering a more serious injury. If Orlando loses today, Gordon’s season will be over without him getting a chance to play in the postseason.
  • Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (ankle sprain) didn’t practice again today, as Marc Stein of The New York Times tweets. However, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca doesn’t necessarily view that as a bad sign, tweeting that there would be no sense running Lowry through a full practice even if he’s feeling good and plans to play on Thursday. Lowry’s status for Game 1 against Boston remains up in the air.
  • Four key Mavericks players – Kristaps Porzingis (knee), Luka Doncic (ankle), Dorian Finney-Smith (hips), and Trey Burke (ankle) – are listed as questionable to play in Game 6 on Thursday, with Dallas’ season on the line, according to Brad Townsend and Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter links).

Free Agent Stock Watch: Restart Edition

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. With the first round of the playoffs ongoing at the Orlando campus, it’s time to examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors.

Jordan Clarkson, Jazz, 27, SG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $50MM deal in 2016
The late-December deal with the Cavaliers that sent Clarkson to Utah was one of the most impactful trades this season. Clarkson filled a much-needed role as a scorer off the bench for the Jazz. He has reinforced his value during the restart, particularly during the first-round series with Mike Conley leaving Orlando for the birth of a child. Clarkson averaged 22.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 3.0 APG in the first two playoff games against Denver and was a team-best +33 in Friday’s Game 3 win. Utah will certainly try to retain Clarkson but the Jazz will have competition for one of the league’s top reserves in the prime of his career.

Paul Millsap, Nuggets, 35, PF (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $90MM deal in 2017
Michael Porter Jr. has been playing some small forward for Denver during the restart due to injuries but his future in the current NBA is at the four, the spot Millsap has occupied when healthy. Millsap’s performances in the restart have been rather forgettable – 10 points or less in five of seven seeding games, along with 21 total points and seven rebounds in 65 minutes during the first three games of the Utah series. Perhaps the Nuggets will bring back Millsap if he’s willing to accept a modest contract and a bench role. It’s hard to see any other team viewing the big man as a starter at this stage of his career, so interest in him may be limited.

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Nets, 25, SG (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $2.48MM deal in 2019
Luwawu-Cabarrot has been one of the big surprises in Orlando. The Nets staggered into Orlando with a depleted roster, but the performances of Luwawu-Cabarrot and other unsung players allowed them to win five seeding games. He scored 24 or more points in three seeding games and has been a major factor off the bench against Toronto in the Nets’ first-round playoff series, averaging 21.5 PPG in the first two games while making 47.4% of his 3-point attempts before the Raptors slowed him down on Friday. His $1.8MM salary for next season is not guaranteed, but he has forced Brooklyn’s hand to retain him beyond this season.

Trey Burke, Mavericks, 27, PG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $229K deal in 2020
Burke filled a roster spot this summer with Willie Cauley-Stein opting out of the restart. Though the Mavs still had other guard options, Burke has played steady minutes off the bench, averaging 12.0 PPG and 3.8 APG in the eight seeding games. He impacted Game 2 of the playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers, scoring 16 points in 18 minutes. If nothing else, the 6-foot point man who has played for five organizations proved this summer he belongs on an NBA roster as a second-unit floor leader.

Jeff Green, Rockets, 33, PF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $696K deal in 2020
Raise your hand if you thought Green would be an impact player this postseason after the Jazz lopped him off the roster to add a G League standout. The Rockets rescued him off the scrap heap and he’s been a marvelous fit in Mike D’Antoni’s small ball system. Green scored in double digits in all but one of the seeding games and he’s been a huge factor against Oklahoma City in the playoffs, averaging 18.5 PPG and 6.5 RPG in 35.0 MPG through two games. If D’Antoni remains in Houston beyond this season, Green will likely re-sign there. If not, the journeyman has earned another opportunity to wear an NBA uniform.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southwest Notes: Zion, Burke, Doncic, Harden

Zion Williamson played just 14 minutes in Saturday’s blowout loss to the Clippers, and his time is expected to remain limited in Monday’s showdown with the Grizzlies, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Williamson was barely a factor yesterday, making 3-of-7 shots and committing three turnovers in the 23-point defeat. The Pelicans came to Orlando with hopes of reaching the playoffs, but have now dropped to 12th place with six games remaining.

The team was heavily criticized for not using Williamson down the stretch of its opening loss to the Jazz, but vice president David Griffin explained yesterday that the star rookie didn’t have much practice time to get back into game shape after the four-month hiatus. Williamson briefly left the Walt Disney World campus to tend to a family matter and was quarantined upon returning.

“It makes sense to me that there’s so much attention — obviously, he’s a phenom,” Griffin said. “The league office itself takes as much interest in this as the fans do, and I’m grateful, frankly, that the fans take as much interest as they do. What I’m frustrated by is that there has to be a conspiracy theory involved when literally there’s not one thing different that’s being done with him than was done for every player on this roster when we got here, and he missed 13 days of what those guys got. Now all of the sudden, because the stakes are raised and because, unfortunately, we were selected for seven national (television) games, we’re supposed to reinvent the wheel.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Trey Burke had a memorable debut with the Mavericks, scoring 31 points and hitting eight 3-pointers Friday night, but barely played in the fourth quarter as Dallas saw a big lead slip away, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. “I think some of the guys on the side were wondering the same thing,” Burke said, referring to his teammates. “I just got here. I know Coach has a lineup at the end of the game that he trusts at this point.” Coach Rick Carlisle explained that Burke, who was signed as a replacement player for Willie Cauley-Stein and has only been in Orlando for about a week, was tired late in the game.
  • The Mavericks feature an offense that statistically ranks as the NBA’s best ever, but they have trouble holding onto leads, notes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Luka Doncic believes that will eventually change with experience. “We’re a young team. We’ve got a lot to learn,” he said. “We’ll get better for sure. I know we’re going to get together when it matters most in the playoffs, so I’m not worried about that.”
  • Ahead of their meeting tonight, McMahon examines the history of the feud between Rockets star James Harden and the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, which began with last year’s MVP race.

Southwest Notes: Mbah A Moute, Rivers, Porzingis, Spurs

Speaking today to reporters for the first time since reporting to the NBA’s campus and clearing quarantine, Rockets forward Luc Mbah a Moute confirmed that his arrival was delayed because he had contracted the coronavirus, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

Mbah a Moute signed with the Rockets on July 7 as a substitute player replacing Thabo Sefolosha, but didn’t arrive in Orlando until last Wednesday. According to Feigen, Mbah a Moute said today that he dealt with “chills (and) body ache” while battling COVID-19, adding that the recovery was “tough.”

Meanwhile, Mbah a Moute’s teammate Austin Rivers hasn’t tested positive for the coronavirus, but remains quarantined in his hotel room after briefly leaving the Orlando campus last week. Rivers, who returned on Saturday, is scheduled to complete his four-day quarantine period on Tuesday and should be ready to go for the Rockets’ first seeding game this Friday vs. Dallas, Feigen writes for The Chronicle.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis was held out of Sunday’s scrimmage because he missed a mandatory coronavirus test on Saturday, though head coach Rick Carlisle wasn’t overly upset by the mistake, per Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. “This situation was one where he just took his eye off the ball a little bit in terms of the day-to-day protocols and procedures,” Carlisle said. “It can be challenging on off days to keep track of the schedule. I almost missed testing on our first off day. … It’s an innocent mistake, but it’s significant.”
  • Trey Burke just signed with the Mavericks on July 1 and was late arriving to the NBA’s campus in Orlando, but he believes his experience playing for Carlisle in 2018/19 will help him quickly adjust, Sefko writes at Mavs.com. “I feel comfortable, rather than other places coming into a new place and it’s a brand new system and a brand new coaching staff,” Burke said. “I pretty much know the pace that coach likes to play with, I know how hard he can be on guys and I’m ready for that.”
  • With LaMarcus Aldridge and Trey Lyles sidelined for the summer, the Spurs are experimenting with some guard-heavy lineups, according to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. One unit, which features recent first-rounders Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, and Lonnie Walker playing alongside each other, could be a preview of the club’s future backcourt, McDonald notes.

Western Notes: Burke, Spurs, Fox, Barnes

Mavericks guard Trey Burke worked out at the Orlando campus for the first time on Friday, Tim McMahon of ESPN tweets. He wasn’t a full go but did some conditioning work and ran through sets, coach Rick Carlisle told MacMahon. Burke was signed as a substitute player but didn’t arrive at the campus until Wednesday.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is rotating his assistants to run the team during scrimmages against other clubs, Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press tweets. Becky Hammon was the head coach for their Thursday scrimmage, Mitch Johnson will run the show on Saturday and Will Hardy will guide the team on Tuesday.
  • Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox had no restrictions during Friday’s practice, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. Fox sprained his ankle after the team arrived from Sacramento. He took part in non-contact drills earlier this week.
  • Kings forward Harrison Barnes passed his COVID-19 tests in Sacramento and headed to Orlando on Friday, Ham reports. “He’ll have to start his two-day quarantine once he gets here and pass that protocol before he can join us on the court,” coach Luke Walton told Ham and other media members. Barnes tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this month but Sacramento held his roster spot in anticipation he would recover in time.

Southwest Notes: Mbah A Moute, Burke, Mavs, Winslow

Another Rockets veteran has reported to the NBA’s campus, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link), who hears from a source that forward Luc Mbah a Moute arrived in Orlando on Wednesday.

James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Mbah a Moute didn’t initially travel with the Rockets to Orlando, but Harden and Westbrook have since arrived and started practicing with the club. Mbah a Moute will have to go through a brief quarantine period and return a pair of negative COVID-19 tests, but after that, Houston should be at relatively full strength.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

Southwest Notes: Kidd-Gilchrist, Grizzlies, Curry, Johnson

Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist finally joined the Mavericks at the Orlando campus on Saturday, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Brad Townsend, and explained that his late arrival was due to personal reasons, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News tweets. “I had some personal things I had to handle in my family,” he said. “I’m just happy to be here.” Guard Trey Burke still hasn’t joined the team but he should arrive soon, Townsend adds.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The extended layoff will result in a new look for the Grizzlies’ rotation, Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal notes. Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke, Justise Winslow and Grayson Allen are healthy again and the first three will play major roles in Memphis’ aim to make the playoffs.
    [UPDATE: Grizzlies’ Winslow Out For Season With Hip Injury]
  • Seth Curry said his success with the Mavericks is due in large part to coach Rick Carlisle’s faith in him, he told Dwain Price of the team’s website. Curry, who signed a four-year, $32MM deal last summer, is averaging 12.6 PPG in 24.5 MPG while making 45.3% of his 3-pointers this season. “He allows me to play on and off the ball, and he just gives me a lot of opportunities and a lot of minutes,” Curry said. “He’s given me the most minutes of my career so far and it allows me to get better as the season goes along, so it’s been a great fit for both of us.”
  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has stated he’s more interested in player development than securing a playoff spot in Orlando. That will benefit a player like 20-year-old rookie swingman Keldon Johnson, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News writes. “I just love the chance to get out there and show what I can do,” he said. The late first-round pick in the June 2019 draft averaged 7.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 1.3 SPG in the last four games before the hiatus.

Western Notes: Mitchell, Thunder, Williamson, Burke

Jazz teammates Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert appear to be patching up their relationship, Sarah Todd of the Deseret News writes. “Right now we’re good,” Mitchell said in a Zoom conference with the media. “We’re going out there ready to hoop.” In the wake of his positive test for COVID-19 in March, Mitchell was said to be frustrated with Gobert. the first NBA player to test positive. The situation reportedly remained tense even after Mitchell recovered from the virus.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • While 25 players around the NBA have tested positive for the novel coronavirus since June 23, there have been no positive tests among Thunder players and staff members, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman reports. All players have returned to Oklahoma City for mandatory individual workouts and the team will fly to Orlando next week.
  • Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry is confident rookie star Zion Williamson will continue to make a big impact once plays resumes, he indicated in a interview with William Guillory of The Athletic. “I think he’s worked extremely hard during the time away,” Gentry said. “I think, to some degree, you’ll see everybody a little rusty when we come back because we’ve been away for so long. But he’ll get himself right, and I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t pick up right where he left off. “
  • The Mavericks felt they had enough depth up front to replace Willie Cauley-Stein, which is why they signed point guard Trey Burke as a substitute player, according to Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. Dallas also had a need in the backcourt with Jalen Brunson and Courtney Lee injured. “As we looked at the profile of the team, we felt there was more of a need at that backup (guard spot), scoring off the bench,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. Cauley-Stein was one of the players who opted out of the restart.