Tyrese Haliburton

Pacific Notes: Haliburton, Parker, Bowman, Smith

Kings rookie Tyrese Haliburton has gotten off to a fast off the bench during his rookie season, averaging 13.2 PPG and 5.4 APG. However, the young guard isn’t concerned about not being in the starting lineup (he’s started just two games this season), according to The Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson.

Instead of worrying about his place in the lineup, he switched the subject of discussion to the new fad NBA Top Shot.

“Naw, I’ve been on NBA Top Shot all day,” Haliburton said, via Anderson. “… I’ve been trying to explain to my teammates why they should get into it. There are two things that a lot of us love and that’s money and basketball, so put them together and good things can happen.”

Here’s more around the Pacific Division:

  • Kings forward Jabari Parker was placed in the health and safety protocols prior to Thursday’s game against the Knicks, relays Jason Anderson of The Bee (Twitter link). It’s unclear when 2014’s second overall pick – who has only appeared in two games this season – may be cleared. He joins teammate Hassan Whiteside in the protocols.
  • The ClippersG League affiliate (the Agua Caliente Clippers) has waived guard Ky Bowman after he suffered a season-ending injury (Twitter link via JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors). Last season, Bowman averaged 7.2 PPG in 45 games for the Warriors.
  • The Suns have recalled rookie forward Jalen Smith from the G League (Twitter link via Gina Mizell of Suns.com). Smith was the 11th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft but has only appeared in just eight NBA games. Since the Northern Arizona Suns aren’t in action this season, the rookie had been playing for the Agua Caliente Clippers, averaging 8.3 PPG and 4.7 RPG in six games (16.3 MPG).

Western Notes: Porzingis, Mavs, Cousins, Mulder, Kings

The Mavericks have put on a full-court press in downplaying reports from Bleacher Report and SNY.tv suggesting that they’d gauged Kristaps Porzingis‘ potential value on the trade market. Team owner Mark Cuban sent messages to beat reporters on Tuesday denying that the team had discussed Porzingis with anyone and expressing displeasure with at least one of the anonymous quotes in the Bleacher Report story.

Additionally, as Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News reports, multiple other key members of the organization disputed the idea that Porzingis might be a trade candidate. Townsend says he was told that the “pat answer” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson gives to teams asking the Mavs about trades is that Luka Doncic and Porzingis are off the table.

According to Townsend, he was also “emphatically” told that the Mavericks haven’t initiated discussions with any franchise about a Porzingis trade, and that when one team did inquire about the big man, “the answer was a quick no.”

When a team swiftly and emphatically denies a report about a rumored trade discussion, it’s sometimes the case that the report got some details wrong, or was altogether false. However, in this instance, multiple reputable reporters had similar stories, and the Mavs’ insistence that they’d never deign to consider a Porzingis trade feels a little over the top, given his injury history, his contract, and his good-but-not-great production.

While I don’t expect the Mavericks to actually trade Porzingis this season or even in the offseason, it’s not unreasonable to assume the team is doing some damage control here and won’t consider the former lottery pick completely off-limits going forward.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Although the Mavericks have had on-and-off interest in DeMarcus Cousins for years and could use some rebounding help, Dallas isn’t considered a viable landing spot for the veteran center, who is currently on waivers, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.
  • Warriors guard Mychal Mulder had been viewed as a candidate to be released today, before his full-season salary became guaranteed, but Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link) hears that Mulder isn’t going anywhere for now. The 26-year-old has another non-guaranteed season on his deal, so Golden State will retain some flexibility with him this offseason if he remains on the roster.
  • In spit of the Kings‘ eight-game losing streak and Tyrese Haliburton‘s increased production (17.1 PPG and 5.4 APG on .529/.485/.778 shooting in his last 11 games), head coach Luke Walton has no plans to change the starting lineup and insert the rookie guard, writes James Ham of NBC Sports California.

California Notes: Haliburton, Smailagić, Gasol, George

Kings rookie shooting guard Tyrese Haliburton, selected with the No. 12 pick out of Iowa State in the 2020 draft, is looking like a great long-term addition for Sacramento, writes Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated.

The 6’5″ two-guard is averaging 11.8 PPG, 5.4 APG, and 3.8 RPG across 20 games for the Kings. He also holds sparkling shooting numbers, boasting a slash line of .484/.433/.867.

“Ty has that ‘it’ factor,” veteran Kings forward Harrison Barnes said. “He’s going to be special in this league for a long time on and off the floor.”

There’s more out of California:

  • The Warriors are sending second-year big man Alen Smailagić to join their G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, for the Orlando NBAGL “bubble” campus season, according to a team press release. Across 14 games, the 6’10” Smailagić averaged 4.2 PPG and 1.9 RPG in 9.9 MPG during his rookie season in 2019/20. He has yet to play for Golden State this year, having undergone knee surgery last month.
  • Though Lakers starting center Marc Gasol is averaging a career-low 3.8 PPG (albeit in a career-low 19.4 MPG), Los Angeles head coach Frank Vogel is not concerned, according to Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. Gasol’s shooting numbers, however, are a bit unsettling: he is connecting on just 36.8% from the field and 31.7% from deep. He made 38.5% of his three-point looks last season. “He’s out there to defend and rebound and play-make from the top of the key and sometimes that’s going to mean he’s going to get a couple of good looks at the 3-point line, a few short rolls and some other situations, some post-up on switches and whatnot,” Vogel said.
  • Clippers star forward Paul George has been sidelined for the past two games with a bone edema in his foot, according to Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. Head coach Tyronn Lue would not speculate on the duration of George’s absence. “I don’t know,” he said. “We’re going to miss him. We wish him a speedy recovery.” George is averaging a stellar 24.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 5.5 APG in 20 games this season.

And-Ones: Vaccines, Ball, Trade Candidates, Defenders, All-Star Voting

In an effort to alleviate players’ – and some coaches’ – fears and skepticism about receiving COVID-19 vaccines, the NBA is arranging mandatory meetings over the next two weeks between its top medical expert and all 30 teams, Sam Amick, Joe Vardon and David Aldridge of The Athletic report. Teams felt there was a need to provide information and insight on this issue to its players.

The NBA wants everyone associated with the game — players, coaches, referees and chief front office personnel — to get the shots, not only for safety reasons but also as part of a national volunteering-public relations campaign.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • LaMelo Ball ranks as the leading candidate for the Rookie of the Year award, according to Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. The Hornets guard ranks first in assists and steals, second in rebounding and third in scoring among all rookies despite coming off the bench in all but two games. Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton sits in second place for Wasserman, who ranks the rookies from 10-1.
  • With Wizards guard Bradley Beal apparently off the market, there won’t be another blockbuster trade this season to rival the James Harden deal, Tim Bontemps of ESPN opines. Some of the players who could be moved by March’s trade deadline are Lonzo BallJ.J. Redick, P.J. Tucker, George Hill, Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon, though Hill and Gordon are currently injured.
  • Rudy Gobert‘s contract with the Jazz is a rare case in which a defensive stalwart is compensated like a elite scorer, Aldridge notes in a separate Athletic story. Aldridge takes a closer look at why top defenders are generally not as valued as scorers.
  • Kevin Durant has received the most All-Star votes in the early returns, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets. Beal is the top vote-getter among Eastern Conference guards. LeBron James has the most votes among Western Conference forwards and Stephen Curry leads all Western Conference guards by a wide margin.

Eastern Notes: Haliburton, Knicks, Ellington, Bulls

Kings rookie Tyrese Haliburton made the Knicks pay on Friday for choosing not to draft him last month, Greg Joyce of the New York Post writes.

Haliburton, who was selected with the No. 12 pick in the draft, finished with 16 points and four blocks off the bench in the team’s victory over New York. The Knicks ultimately bypassed Haliburton in the event and chose to draft Obi Toppin at No. 8 instead.

“I guess it fueled me personally,” Haliburton said with a grin, as relayed by Joyce. “But I love it here. I’m glad I slid to 12. … It’s not hard feelings or nothing, it is what it is. It’s a business, I don’t care.

“My job is to make them think about that when they go to sleep. So I’m just going to go out there and be the best player I can be. I’m not that big into that [motivation].”

There’s more from the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • Drew Maresca of Basketball Insiders examines three potential trade targets for the Knicks, including Hawks forward John Collins. New York has opened the season with a 8-9 record, last making the playoffs during the 2012/13 campaign. Atlanta could choose to explore Collins’ trade value if the team feels comfortable starting Danilo Gallinari and Clint Capela going forward.
  • Pistons veteran Wayne Ellington made the most of his opportunity as a starter on Friday, scoring 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting from deep, Keith Langlois of NBA.com writes. Ellington, one of the league’s most underrated three-point shooters, has shot 48% from behind-the-arc in his first 11 games this season after signing with Detroit in free agency.
  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report explores whether the Bulls should trade Zach LaVine or Lauri Markkanen. Chicago has opened the campaign at 7-9 under new head coach Billy Donovan after finishing 11th in the Eastern Conference last season.

New York Notes: McGee, Noel, Toppin, G League, Nets’ D

The Nets were granted on Friday a disabled player exception worth approximately $5.727MM due to Spencer Dinwiddie‘s season-ending injury. With that in mind, HoopsHype’s Yossi Gozlan takes a look at some of the frontcourt players Brooklyn could pursue in a trade that would fit the salary slot. JaVale McGee, Nerlens Noel, Ed Davis and Bismack Biyombo are among those options for the Nets, who could use another veteran in the middle.

We have more on the teams in New York City:

  • The Knicks had concerns about Tyrese Haliburton‘s slender build when they passed on the point guard in favor of Obi Toppin during the draft lottery, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Haliburton has made an immediate impact with the Kings, who selected him with the No. 12 pick. Toppin, the eighth overall selection, has played an average of 12 MPG the last four games after recovering from a calf injury.
  • The Knicks unveiled their G League roster for the Orlando “bubble” season, which is slated to begin next month. According to a team press release, forwards Louis King and Skal Labissiere and guards Myles Powell and James Young have been named affiliate players. Affiliate players remain free agents available for any of the 30 NBA teams to sign.
  • The Nets know they can’t rely on the offensive prowess of their Big Three to make the Finals, Brian Lewis of the New York Post notes. After giving up 147 points to the Cavaliers in a double-overtime loss, they must focus on defensive improvement. “We feel positive in that we can improve defensively; but it’s definitely got to be a priority,” coach Steve Nash said.

Pacific Notes: Curry, Leonard, Matthews, Haliburton

Stephen Curry could be in contention for a third MVP award if he keeps playing the way he has this week. After scoring 62 points last Sunday, Curry sparked the Warriors to a shocking comeback win over the Clippers Friday night. He hit nine 3-pointers, had 11 assists and went 13-for-24 from the field in the 38-point performance, leaving some teammates in awe, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

“He’s making shots that you be like, ‘Whoa!'” Andrew Wiggins said. “There’s not a lot of shots that he can’t make. As soon as he steps over half, he’s a threat, so he causes a lot of attention. So when he gets rolling, you just sit back and watch and let him roll.”

Curry continues to add to his historically great numbers, Youngmisuk notes. Among the 78 players in NBA history with at least 100 30-point games, Curry has a .783 winning percentage, which ranks third all-time behind Larry Bird and Hal Greer.

“There’s not too much you have to say beyond it’s just who Steph is,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s been doing this for many, many years and one of the reasons he’s a two-time MVP and he’s a phenomenal basketball player. And usually with Steph when he has a tough game he bounces back [in] the next one. That’s part of his character, part of his competitiveness.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers star Kawhi Leonard called for the team to change its mindset after letting that game against Golden State slip away, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. L.A. was outscored 64-40 in the second half while taking just 12 shots in the paint. “I don’t feel like we took any, pretty much, good shots in that fourth quarter,” Leonard said. “Some of us didn’t know the play we were running but, yeah, we have to know what we’re running, execute it and then live with the make or misses.”
  • The Lakers‘ deep lineup creates a challenge for coach Frank Vogel, who has to find minutes for a variety of players, notes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. Wesley Matthews, who is being used as a reserve for the first time in nearly a decade, said Vogel has made that transition easier. “When you know when you’re coming in, when you’re coming out, you can start usually preparing yourself and you can get ready and then you can start watching the game a little bit differently,” Matthews said. “He’s a great communicator so far with me and that really helps my curve here.”
  • Kings rookie Tyrese Haliburton made his first career start Saturday with Richaun Holmes sidelined, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports. Coach Luke Walton and his staff have discussed using Haliburton as a starter, but haven’t committed to making the move permanent.

Injury Updates: Burks, Lecque, MCW, Haliburton

Veteran guard Alec Burks, who has missed the Knicks‘ last four games due to a sprained left ankle, underwent further testing on that ankle and is now in a walking boot, according to the team (Twitter link). He’ll be re-evaluated in about 7-10 days.

It’s an unfortunate setback for Burks, who scored 22 points in each of the Knicks’ first two games and had already racked up 18 points in 21 minutes when he was injured on December 27. However, the club has managed to win four of five games since he suffered that ankle injury (including the one he left early).

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

  • Pacers guard Jalen Lecque has suffered a Grade 2 left ankle sprain and has been ruled out indefinitely, the team announced in a press release. Lecque, acquired by Indiana in an offseason trade, will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
  • Michael Carter-Williams has been diagnosed with a mild bone bruise and a sprained ligament in his left foot, according to the Magic (Twitter link). Carter-Williams has been ruled out for Wednesday’s game vs. Cleveland and may miss additional time — his return will depend on how he responds to treatment, per the team.
  • Kings rookie guard Tyrese Haliburton, who has missed the team’s last two games due to a bone bruise in his left wrist, has been upgraded to questionable for Wednesday’s contest against Chicago, tweets Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Even if Haliburton isn’t able to play tonight, it sounds like he’s close to a return.

Western Notes: Clarkson, Green, Kings, McLaughlin

Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson has been fined $25K by the league for making contact with a game official, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. The incident occurred during the second quarter of Utah’s loss to the Suns on Thursday. Clarkson, one of the top reserves in the league, re-signed with the Jazz on a four-year deal in November.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Draymond Green‘s season debut with the Warriors didn’t go smoothly, Nick Friedell of ESPN notes. Green didn’t make a basket in 18 minutes and failed to have a significant impact on the defensive end. He missed most of training camp, all three preseason games and the first four regular-season games due to COVID-19 protocols and a foot injury. “Draymond just looks like he’s getting his wind,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He looked like a guy who missed training camp and has been working his way to get onto the floor. It looked like an exhibition-style game for him; and that’s not a criticism, it’s just where he is physically.”
  • Until rookie Tyrese Haliburton suffered a wrist injury, the Kings had seemingly settled on a closing group of De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Haliburton, Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic“With that group, you know the shot can come from anywhere,” Fox said. “You have multiple guys on the court who can make shots, get in the paint, get to the free throw line and things like that.”
  • Guard Jordan McLaughlin waited until the deadline to sign his qualifying offer from the Timberwolves and he doesn’t regret that decision, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. McLaughlin signed his two-way contract on December 17, which delayed his season debut as he cleared COVID-19 protocols. “It was definitely tough,” McLaughlin said. “I’m a team guy, and I want to be with the team and do everything I can, but me and my agency, we had to figure out what was best for my case and scenario.”

Kings Rookie Haliburton Has Wrist Bone Bruise

Tyrese Haliburton has been one of the league’s top rookies during the first two weeks of play but he’ll be out for at least a week, according to a team press release.

The Kings guard underwent an MRI in Houston on Friday which confirmed a left wrist bone bruise. He suffered the injury during Thursday’s game against the Rockets.

His condition will be updated when the team returns to Sacramento next week. The Kings play at Houston on Saturday and Golden State on Monday before returning home.

The 12th overall pick in the draft out of Iowa State, Haliburton has scored 10.6 PPG while shooting 50% from the field. He’s also averaging 4.4 APG while playing 26.8 MPG off the bench.

“He plays beyond his years and we all have the utmost confidence in him with the ball,” starting point guard De’Aaron Fox told Shaun Powell of NBA.com. “He steps up to the occasion. He understands the game so well … you would have thought he’s played a few years already.”