Trey Burke

Injury Updates: LeBron, LaVine, Murray, Powell, Knicks, More

Facing a must-win game in Phoenix on Tuesday and looking to keep their play-in hopes alive, the Lakers will once again be without star forward LeBron James, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. James, who continues to deal with a left ankle sprain, has been ruled out for a second consecutive game and will now have missed three of the last four.

If the Lakers lose to the Suns and the Spurs win in Denver, L.A. would be officially eliminated from play-in contention by the end of the night.

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

  • Bulls guard Zach LaVine (knee) will likely miss Tuesday’s game vs. Milwaukee, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). LaVine’s left knee has been an issue for much of the season, though he has been able to play through the discomfort for the most part — this would only be the second game he has missed since the All-Star break.
  • Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (ACL) has “really ramped up” his activity in the last week, Wojnarowski said on NBA Countdown on Sunday (video link). While Wojnarowski describes Murray as “aggressive” in his efforts to get back on the court, he cautions that the guard is still experiencing some soreness at times in his surgically-repaired left knee.
  • Norman Powell (foot) will be a full participant in Tuesday’s practice for the Clippers, according to head coach Tyronn Lue, who noted that the team isn’t playing five-on-five today. Lue is hopeful that Powell will be able to return within the next several days, tweets Mirjam Swanson of The Southern California News Group.
  • Asked today about whether Julius Randle (quad) or Derrick Rose (ankle) will play again this season, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau responded, “I don’t see it happening” (Twitter link via Fred Katz of The Athletic).
  • Mavericks guards Sterling Brown and Trey Burke are out of the COVID-19 protocols and will be available on Wednesday vs. Detroit, per head coach Jason Kidd (Twitter link via Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News).
  • Out since March 14 due to a high ankle sprain, Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels has been upgraded to questionable for Tuesday’s game vs. Washington (Twitter link). I think he’s had a really good week, good evaluation,” head coach Chris Finch said (Twitter link via Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic). “Just not sure if he’s ready to play in the game tonight, but try to push him today in our ‘stay in shape league‘ and see how everything goes.”

Trey Burke Second Mavs Player To Enter Protocols

4:53pm: Burke did not make the window for his daily COVID-19 test, per head coach Jason Kidd (Twitter link via Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News). All unvaccinated NBA players are still being tested every day. This marks the third such instance this year that Burke has entered league protocols due to a missed test.


1:29pm: Veteran guard Trey Burke has become the second Mavericks player to enter the NBA’s health and safety protocols in recent days, joining fellow reserve Sterling Brown, the team’s PR department tweets.

As Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News observes (via Twitter), this is the fourth time Burke has entered the protocols this season — he had two stints in the fall for not participating in the daily testing requirement for unvaccinated players, and a third in December when he contracted COVID-19.

Coach Jason Kidd stated after Brown tested positive that the team was hoping to avoid another outbreak before the playoffs.

That’s just part of the league. That’s just part of the world is COVID now, right? So it happens. We move forward. Next guy up,” said Kidd, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). “We just hope that it doesn’t spread throughout the team here late in the season. But we have to be prepared that something like this could happen going forward.”

The NBA was decimated by players entering the COVID-19 protocols back in December, with a record-breaking number of 10-day contracts handed out via the updated hardship exception to keep the season afloat and mostly remain on-schedule — there were a total of 11 postponed games, and all but one (Cavs at Hawks on March 31) have since been played.

Things have been much smoother since mid-February, with Devin Booker and CJ McCollum the being the only two players to enter the health and safety protocols prior to Brown and now Burke.

Through 39 games this season in a limited role (10.7 MPG), Burke is averaging 5.3 PPG and 1.3 APG on .395/.313/.870 shooting. He holds a player option next season for $3.3MM. After beating Utah on Sunday, the Mavs (46-39) have overtaken the Jazz (45-30) for the No. 4 seed in the West.

Southwest Notes: Mavericks, Toliver, Kleiman, Rockets

With several key Mavericks players exceeding their season-long minutes per game averages since the All-Star break, head coach Jason Kidd wants to make a concerted effort to ease those players’ workloads going forward, per Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com.

“We’d like to get more guys involved here, Sterling (Brown) and Trey (Burke),” Kidd said. “We’ve been running the minutes for those eight to nine guys that we have been playing. So we want to get everybody involved and get some of the minutes down for Luka (Doncic) and Reggie (Bullock). We’re playing Reggie over 40 minutes a night. So those are the things I’m looking at.”

As Sefko outlines, Doncic (37.5 MPG) and Bullock (37.0 MPG) have been the Mavericks’ most-used players since the All-Star break, but the team is also leaning heavily on Jalen Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith. Expanding the rotation should help the club avoid overusing those players without having to rest them for full games.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Mavericks assistant – and WNBA star – Kristi Toliver spoke to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic about how she ended up on Dallas’ coaching staff, what it’s like to remain active as a WNBA player while holding an NBA job, and her future coaching aspirations.
  • In a separate story for The Athletic, Vorkunov examines Zach Kleiman‘s rapid ascension through the Grizzlies‘ front office and the admirable job he has done since becoming Memphis’ top basketball decision-maker. Kleiman has helped turn the team into a legit contender since being named executive VP of basketball operations at age 30 in 2019. “I wouldn’t be in this position without (Grizzlies owner) Robert Pera’s vision and emphasis on organizational culture,” Kleiman said. “He entrusted me to lead basketball operations despite me being a relative unknown in NBA circles, and has challenged us to be intentional about establishing and sticking to our core tenets.”
  • The Rockets are in position to finish with the NBA’s worst record for a second consecutive year, but all is going according to plan, according to Rahat Huq of The Houston Chronicle, who argues that team owner Tilman Fertitta deserves credit for signing off on a full-fledged rebuild rather than trying to stay competitive as a borderline playoff contender following last year’s James Harden trade.

COVID-19 Updates: Randle, Williams, Nurkic, Burke, Bradley

Knicks forward Julius Randle has exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team announced today (via Twitter). Randle, who only entered the protocols last Thursday, will be listed as questionable for Tuesday night’s game vs. Indiana.

The Knicks were hit hard in December by COVID-19, but are in pretty decent shape for the time being. Nerlens Noel is the only player on the roster who is still in the protocols.

Here are more protocol-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Suns head coach Monty Williams has cleared the COVID-19 protocols and will return to the club for Tuesday’s game against New Orleans, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Kevin Young, who temporarily replaced Williams as Phoenix’s head coach, will revert to his assistant role.
  • Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic broke the news on Monday that he had cleared the health and safety protocols and would be back in Portland’s starting lineup. He logged 26 minutes on Monday in his first game since December 21.
  • Mavericks guard Trey Burke took part in the team’s shootaround on Monday, a pretty good indication that he has exited the protocols, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Burke didn’t play on Monday, but could be back later this week.
  • Bulls center Tony Bradley apparently cleared the protocols on Monday, having been listed as out due to return to competition conditioning on the team’s injury report.

Luka Doncic, Trey Burke, Nerlens Noel Enter Protocols

Two more Mavericks players have entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, according to the team (Twitter link). Luka Doncic and Trey Burke are the fifth and sixth Dallas players in the protocols.

It’s especially tough timing for Doncic, who appeared to be on the verge of returning to action after missing the Mavs’ last five games due to a left ankle ailment. Assuming he has tested positive, he’ll now be out for the next 10 days or until he can return two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

We suspected that two more Mavericks may have entered the protocols today, since the club has now signed or reached agreements with six replacement players in the last week. The NBA’s new roster rules allow clubs to sign a replacement for each player in the protocols.

Meanwhile, a former Mav has also been placed in the COVID-19 protocols today, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who tweets that center Nerlens Noel is the latest Knicks player to be affected by the virus.

New York now has seven players in the protocols, though a couple of those players – Obi Toppin and RJ Barrett – have reached the 10-day mark and should hopefully be cleared soon.

Maxi Kleber To Miss At Least 7-10 Days With Oblique Strain

Mavericks power forward Maxi Kleber is set to miss at least seven-to-10 days of action with an oblique muscle strain, per Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). Caplan notes that the injury had initially been considered a back strain.

The 6’10” big man has primarily backed up starting power forward Kristaps Porzingis, who will also miss tonight’s home game against the visiting Heat. This season, the 29-year-old Kleber is averaging 7.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 1.2 BPG in just 18.8 MPG for Dallas.

There’s more availability news coming out of Dallas before tipoff tonight.

Caplan reports that Porzingis will also not play tonight against Miami, but adds that head coach Jason Kidd sounds optimistic Porzingis will be available for tomorrow’s contest against the Spurs. Porzingis has been sidelined by a back injury for the Mavericks’ past three games. Kidd said today that Porzingis was “progressing” in his recovery from the injury, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN (via Twitter).

With Porzingis and Kleber both absent, tweener forward Dorian Finney-Smith looks to be the starter at power forward for Dallas. Reserve guard Jalen Brunson appears set to move into the starting lineup at shooting guard, while swingman Tim Hardaway Jr. would subsequently shift up a slot to starting small forward.

Reserve point guard Trey Burke did not comply with the league’s mandated COVID-19 testing window for the second time in the last four games, but is still set to travel with the club to San Antonio tonight, per Caplan. MacMahon tweets that Burke will now miss his second game of the young 2021/22 season due to not wanting to get vaccinated, and will not be compensated for this missed game.

Bobby Marks of ESPN adds (Twitter link) that Burke will miss out on $34,389 per each missed game as a result of not following COVID-19 protocols for unvaccinated players. Burke is earning $3.2MM this season and holds a $3.3MM player option for next season.

Southwest Notes: Morant, Burke, Wieskamp, Temple

Grizzlies guard Ja Morant says he’s motivated by his desire to be recognized as an All-Star player, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports writes. Morant, who has been on a scoring tear this season, averaging 30.5 PPG and 8.5 APG, says he has a chip on his shoulder after being passed over for the All-Star Game in his first two NBA seasons.

“I feel like it took me averaging 35 points a game to finally get some All-Star recognition,” Morant said. “But, I really can’t speak too much on that. I feel like my chip will never leave.”

We have more on the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks guard Trey Burke will not play against San Antonio on Thursday due to COVID-19 protocols, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Burke is not sick, but he missed part of his protocol sequence, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Unvaccinated players are required to go through more COVID protocols between games than those who are vaccinated. Burke, who is signed through 2022/23, has only made two brief appearances this season.
  • Rookie Joe Wieskamp is taking a positive approach to being assigned to the G League by the Spurs, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News tweets. “It was really fun to be around the (NBA) team and go to the games, but obviously we weren’t getting too many minutes, if at all,” he said. “This gives us an opportunity to go out there and play and develop.” The former Iowa wing is playing on a two-way contract.
  • Pelicans guard Garrett Temple is doubtful to play on Friday after injuring his ankle on Wednesday, according to a post on the team’s website. “It’s still pretty sore with his left ankle,” coach Willie Green said. “We’re not sure about (Temple’s availability for) tomorrow, but we’ll know more as we get closer to the game.”

Southwest Notes: Mavs, Grizzlies, Rockets, Pelicans, Gordon

Appearing on the podcast 10 Questions with Kyle Brandt, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he has a vaccine mandate for his employees.

“It is your choice. It is absolutely, positively up to you. But there are consequences that come with that,” Cuban said, per Selby Lopez of The Dallas Morning News. “If you work for me, I require my employees to be vaccinated unless there’s a doctor’s reason where they can’t be.”

Since the NBA doesn’t require its players to be vaccinated, that mandate doesn’t apply to the players on Dallas’ roster such as Trey Burke, who said during training camp he remains unvaccinated.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • John Hollinger of The Athletic interprets the Grizzlies‘ summer trades of Jonas Valanciunas and Grayson Allen as signals that the team isn’t feeling pressure to take another big step forward after making the playoffs last season. Hollinger expects his old club’s end-of-season record to look similar to last year’s, projecting a 41-41 finish.
  • Hollinger also recapped the offseason and previewed the upcoming season for the Rockets and Pelicans. He was confused by Houston’s four-year commitment to Daniel Theis, given that most other veterans on the roster seem to be on the trade block, but expects the Rockets to be entertaining in 2021/22, projecting 26 wins. Hollinger had mixed feelings on New Orleans’ offseason, but suggests the moves look better in totality than they did individually at the time, and forecasts 43 wins for the Pels.
  • Rahat Huq of The Houston Chronicle explores whether the Rockets should hang onto Eric Gordon or focus on trying to find a trade that gets him to a contender as soon as possible. As Huq observes, it’s difficult to find a good match for Gordon at this point, so it probably makes sense for the team to sit tight and see if more opportunities open up by the trade deadline or next offseason.

Southwest Notes: Hardaway Jr., Burke, Vaccinations, Benson

Tim Hardaway Jr. re-signed with the Mavericks this summer on a four-year, $75MM contract. He was given the option by head coach Jason Kidd of being a starter or sixth man. Hardaway chose the former, Dwain Price of the team’s website writes.

“I asked him in the summer what he wanted to do, and he wanted to think about it,” Kidd said. “So when he came back – that was enough time for him to think – and I asked for the answer, and he wants to start.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Guard Trey Burke has a sketchy future with the Mavericks, as Marc Stein of Substack details. The Mavericks explored the trade market for Burke during the offseason before signing Frank Ntilikina. With 15 fully guaranteed contracts and one partially guaranteed deal, the team has a decision to make. Waiving Burke would cost the team $6.45MM, since his contract runs through next season, which includes a player option for 2022/23. Dallas is expected to explore more trade scenarios before waiving a player with guaranteed money, Stein adds.
  • The Pelicans hope to be fully vaccinated by opening night, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune relays. “The league has done a really, really good job of making it almost unanimous that almost everyone is fully vaccinated,” executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin said. “I would say that by the time the regular season rolls around, we get to that point.”
  • The Pelicans have received numerous offers from interested buyers but owner Gayle Benson isn’t selling, Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune reports. Despite disadvantages such as having one of the lowest TV revenue deals in the league, Benson is intent on keeping the franchise and leaving it in New Orleans. “There is no way, as long as I’m going to be alive, that I would sell the Pelicans,” Benson said.

Mavs Notes: Chandler, Powell, Burke, Ntilikina

Former Mavericks center Tyson Chandler doesn’t officially have a role on his old team’s coaching staff, but he’s present at training camp and is sharing his knowledge with Dallas’ players, writes Dwain Price of Mavs.com.

“For me, I just want to help in any way I can,” Chandler said. “(Head coach) Jason (Kidd) called me and said, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘Nothing much. Working out.’ And he’s like, ‘Well, come by.’ So I came by and I’m just trying to lend my knowledge and help any way I can.”

Chandler isn’t sure whether he wants his unofficial role with the Mavericks to lead to something more formal down the road. For now though, Kidd is happy to have his former teammate around working with the club’s big men.

“He started helping out, and he wanted to see if he loved it,” Kidd said. “We’re lucky to have someone like that who can help our bigs. It was great to hear players mention him yesterday. That’s a sign of Tyson is doing the right thing.”

Let’s round up a few more Mavs notes…

  • Dallas’ plan to open the season is to have Dwight Powell starting at center alongside power forward Kristaps Porzingis, Kidd said on Wednesday (link via Eddie Sefko at Mavs.com). Kidd added that he wants to experiment a little with different lineups early in the year “to see what combinations work.”
  • The Mavericks said earlier this week they’re hoping to get 100% of their roster vaccinated against COVID-19, but guard Trey Burke said on Wednesday that he’s “not trying to rush into a decision,” per Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link). Burke said he wants to learn more about possible long-term effects of the vaccine.
  • Kidd had a hand in the Mavericks’ decision to sign Frank Ntilikina, having pushed for the move, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link).