Jazz Rumors

Free Agent Stock Watch: Playoff Edition

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. With the playoffs in full swing, we take a look at players on teams still alive in the postseason:

Lou Williams, Hawks, 34, PG/SG (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $24MM deal in 2018

When the Clippers and Hawks swapped veteran point guards at the trade deadline, the general consensus was that Los Angeles pulled off a coup landing Rajon Rondo. Doesn’t look that way right now. Rondo has only played nine minutes in the last four games against Utah, while Williams had 15 points, three assists and two steals in 23 minutes during Atlanta’s dramatic Game 5 comeback at Philadelphia on Wednesday. Williams may not possess Rondo’s leadership qualities but he’s been instant offense for many seasons wherever he’s played. Williams has been in the league since 2005 but he can stick around a few more seasons due to his offensive prowess.

Jeff Green, Nets, 34, PF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.56MM deal in 2020

It’s amazing to think that the Jazz had no use for Green midway through last season and put him on waivers. The Rockets scooped him up and he was highly productive. He’s doing the same thing for the Nets. After a solid regular season, Green battled a foot injury that sidelined him for six postseason games. Back in action, Green delivered a monster performance in Game 5 against Milwaukee, firing in 27 points while draining 7-of-8 3-point attempts. Green won’t have any trouble finding work as an unrestricted free agent this summer, whether he re-signs with Brooklyn or joins another contender.

Reggie Jackson, Clippers, 31, PG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.33MM deal in 2020

A TNT broadcaster called Jackson “Mr. June” as he made several clutch baskets in Game 5 at Utah on Wednesday. He’s not on the level of baseball’s “Mr. October” but this Reggie Jackson is proving to be a consistent playoff performer. He averaged 15.4 PPG against Dallas in the opening round, including a 25-point outing in Game 6. He scored 29 points in Game 2 and 22 in Game 5 against the Jazz. Jackson has also kept his turnovers down to a minimum. Jackson had to settle for the veteran’s minimum in free agency last year. He’s due for a substantial raise when he enters the market again this summer.

Mike Conley, Jazz, 33, PG (Down) – Signed to a five-year, $152.6MM deal in 2016

Conley finally got his first taste of the All-Star Game this season. He got off to an imposing start in these playoffs, scoring 20 or more points in the first three games against Memphis. The injury bug soon bit him as Utah closed out the series and he’s been sidelined with a hamstring strain throughout the second round. That’s the main concern with Conley as he enters unrestricted free agency – he’s had numerous leg injuries in recent seasons. That could limit the amount of years teams will be willing to offer him.

Jazz Notes: Mitchell, Conley, Gobert, Game 5

After a Game 5 loss to the Clippers Wednesday night, Jazz star Donovan Mitchell admitted his right ankle has become more painful throughout the series, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Utah is on the verge of elimination after letting a critical game slip away at home, and Mitchell wasn’t able to play his normal style. He finished with 21 points, his lowest scoring total of the postseason, and made just 6 of 19 shots from the field.

“It’s something I’m going to have to deal with,” Mitchell told reporters after the game. “… I ain’t got nothing else to say. Like, it’s tough when you’re trying different things that you normally do and you see spots you can get to, but you can’t, so you got to find a way to make it happen. It’s tough, but I got to find a way. Otherwise, I’m going to be home.”

Mitchell, who had a string of six straight 30-point games before Wednesday, is still feeling the effects of an ankle sprain that caused him to miss the final 16 games of the regular season and the playoff opener against Memphis. He  said he has aggravated the injury several times during the series with the Clippers.

“For most of my life, I’ve been able to push by, explode by, and jump through people or over people, and for the first time in my career, I’ve had to play on the floor,” Mitchell said. “Knowing when to attack, picking my spots, finding my teammates, I think that’s the biggest thing, being able to kind of get off, hit them when they’re doubling me and engaging the blitz. And I think I did a solid job of that. I can do better. It’s a learning process and it sucks that I’m learning this through the playoffs, but it is what it is and no excuses.”

There’s more from Utah:

  • Mike Conley had “a small setback” in his recovery from a strained right hamstring, but he still hopes to return before the series ends, according to Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. Conley, who was hurt in the final game of the first round, said he had been preparing to play in Game 3, but he re-injured the hamstring before that could happen. “This is why it’s been extended a bit longer than I know we all would like. Obviously, if I could play, I would — there’s no question about that,” Conley said. “But the progress we’re making now is really good. It’s just a little delayed.”
  • The Jazz have been relying on their skill level all season, but it will take grittiness to win in Los Angeles and return home for a Game 7, states Tony Jones of The Athletic. Rudy Gobert suggested that his team got too relaxed after a fast start Wednesday. “I didn’t feel like there was a sense of urgency for us defensively at the beginning of the game,” he said. “In a way, I wish we hadn’t made so many shots. Then, we would have thought about playing better defensively. We let them get comfortable. And when we let a team this good get comfortable, you put yourself in a tough position either way.”
  • Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer examines how Mitchell has been able to turn himself into a dangerous three-point shooter and what it means for his game going forward.

Draft Notes: Mamukelashvili, Carr, Champagnie, Figueroa, Cockburn, Sims

Seton Hall’s Sandro Mamukelashvili is scheduled to work out for the Pistons on Thursday, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. The 6’11” Mamukelashvili already worked out for the Jazz, Thunder and Hornets. He’s currently listed as the No. 56 overall prospect on ESPN’s Best Available list.

We have more news and insights on this year’s draft:

Clippers Fear ACL Injury For Kawhi Leonard

12:37pm: More imaging will be performed on Leonard’s knee to determine the severity of the injury, but those tests will have to wait until the swelling subsides, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

11:57am: The Clippers fear that forward Kawhi Leonard has suffered an ACL injury, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Leonard will miss Game 5 of Los Angeles’ series against the Jazz on Wednesday night due to a right knee injury that the Clippers referred to today as a sprain. Neither the team’s announcement nor Charania’s report indicates that Kawhi is undergoing an MRI on his injured knee, but presumably that would be the next step to determine if there’s any damage to the ACL.

A full tear of the ACL would be a worst-case scenario for Leonard and the Clippers, but even a partial tear would almost certainly be a season-ender — that’s the injury that has kept Spencer Dinwiddie on the shelf since December. A low-grade sprain would be the best case, tweets Jeff Stotts of In Street Clothes.

The timing couldn’t be much worse for Leonard and the Clippers, who have won two games in a row against Utah and are just two games away from making the Western Conference Finals for the first time in team history. With Kawhi unavailable on Wednesday – and potentially for longer than that – the Clippers have suddenly become major underdogs to get past the Jazz and into the third round.

We’ll provide more updates on Leonard’s status as they’re reported or announced.

Mike Conley To Remain Sidelined For Game 5

Jazz point guard Mike Conley will remain on the sidelines for at least one more game, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), who hears from sources that Conley won’t be available for Game 5 vs. the Clippers on Wednesday. The team has confirmed the news.

Conley has been out since Game 5 of Utah’s first-round series vs. Memphis due to what the team is referring to as a mild right hamstring strain. Despite the strain being classified as “mild,” the Jazz aren’t taking any chances with their starting point guard, since they want to reduce the risk that he re-aggravates the injury once he returns.

With Conley on the shelf, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles have taken on increased ball-handling and play-making responsibilities. Mitchell continues to deal with a nagging ankle injury himself, though he hasn’t missed any time since the first game of the postseason.

While the Jazz have clearly felt the effects of Conley’s absence over the last couple games – both Clippers wins – the team will be back at home tonight and will face an L.A. squad that will also be missing an All-star. Kawhi Leonard has been ruled out for Game 5 due to a right knee injury, which the Clippers fear is an ACL issue.

Conley has been initially listed as questionable for every game in this second-round series so far, and head coach Quin Snyder said this week that he’s “making progress,” but it remains unclear when the 33-year-old might be cleared to play.

Kawhi Leonard To Miss Game 5 Due To Knee Injury

10:05am: Leonard has been diagnosed with a right knee sprain and will be out for Game 5, the Clippers announced this morning. There’s no timetable for Kawhi’s return, the team added.

8:13am: The Clippers may be without one of their two All-NBA forwards on Wednesday night, according to Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, who report (via Twitter) that Kawhi Leonard is expected to miss Game 5 vs. the Jazz due to a right knee injury.

Leonard suffered that knee injury in the fourth quarter of Game 4, coming down awkwardly after a drive to the basket and grimacing in apparent pain. He told reporters after the game that he would be “good” going forward.

It seems that may not be the case after all, however. Windhorst tweets that Leonard told teammates on Tuesday night to prepare for him to potentially miss Wednesday’s game. According to Windhorst and Shelburne, Kawhi’s status for the rest of the series beyond Game 5 remains up in the air as well.

We shouldn’t assume Leonard is out for tonight’s game until we get official confirmation — after the Nets ruled out James Harden on Monday for Game 5 of their series, he ended up playing 46 minutes on Tuesday. It’s possible that Kawhi, like Harden, will end up receiving medical clearance to give it a try. For the time being though, that doesn’t seem likely.

If Leonard is unavailable, Paul George would shoulder the brunt of the offensive load for the Clippers, who won consecutive games at home to tie up the series. The Jazz, playing without Mike Conley and with a banged-up Donovan Mitchell, appeared to have lost the momentum in Games 3 and 4, but facing a Kawhi-less team in Utah on Wednesday would put them back in the driver’s seat to advance to the Western Finals.

Leonard, who was named to the All-NBA First Team on Tuesday, has been one of the league’s top performers in the postseason as well. After averaging 32.1 PPG on .612/.425/.898 shooting in the Clippers’ first-round win over Dallas, he has put up 27.3 PPG on .506/.333/.846 shooting in four games vs. the Jazz.

NBA Announces 2020/2021 All-NBA Teams

The NBA has officially announced the All-NBA First, Second, and Third Teams for the 2020/21 season, with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way as the lone unanimous selection for the First Team.

Antetokounmpo and Nuggets‘ MVP Nikola Jokic were the two top vote-getters, combining for 998 out of a possible 1,000 points, with Warriors guard Stephen Curry following shortly behind. Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic rounding out the top five.

The full All-NBA teams are listed below, with their vote totals in parentheses. Players received five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote, and one point for a Third Team vote, so Giannis scored a perfect 500 — First Team nods from all 100 voters.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Among the players who just missed the cut were Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (69), Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (44), Nets guard James Harden (41), Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (37) and Heat center Bam Adebayo (32). A total of 12 other players received votes. The full results can be found here.

Today’s announcement has major financial implications across the league. Tatum, who received more votes than Kyrie Irving but still fell 20 votes short of a final forward spot, will lose out on a projected $32.6MM on his rookie scale extension, as his next deal will start at 25% of the cap instead of the 30% he would have received if he’d been named to an All-NBA team. Likewise, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Kings guard De’Aaron Fox and Adebayo will all receive starting salaries worth 25% of the cap on their respective extensions as a result of missing out on All-NBA honors.

Doncic, having been named to his second consecutive All-NBA First Team, will be eligible for a 30% extension that would be worth a projected $201MM+ and is almost certain to be offered this summer. Doncic has previously made clear his intentions to sign the extension when offered. It will go into effect for the 2022/23 season.

Embiid is now eligible for a super-max contract extension, which would run for four years, starting in 2023/24, and would be worth a projected $191MM, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. It’s unclear whether the Sixers will immediately put this extension on the table this offseason.

Bradley Beal‘s deal will not change with his first career All-NBA selection, as he is already eligible for a 35% contract extension on his next deal. Jokic, having been named MVP previously this week, also sees no change in his possible future super-max extension, which will be worth approximately $241MM.

Hoops Rumors readers accurately picked 12 of this season’s 15 All-NBA players in our poll. Devin Booker, Adebayo, and Tatum were your picks who didn’t make the official list.

Mike Conley Making Progress, Still Day-To-Day

  • Jazz point guard Mike Conley, who has yet to play in the second round due to a mild right hamstring strain, is “making progress” but remains day-to-day, head coach Quin Snyder said on Monday, per Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link). While Utah could still conceivably win the series if Conley remains unavailable, the last couple games have showed how much the team misses its starting point guard, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic.

NBA All-Defensive Teams Announced

The NBA has officially announced the voting results for its two 2020/21 All-Defensive teams.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert, the Defensive Player of the Year for the third time in four seasons, and Sixers guard Ben Simmons were unanimous selections for the All-Defensive First Team. Both players made the First Team lists of all 100 tallied ballots, for a perfect total of 200 points. Votes are given to 100 media members.

This marks Gobert’s fifth straight appearance on the All-Defensive First Team, and the second consecutive All-Defensive First Team honor for Simmons.

Warriors forward Draymond Green garnered 176 points (including 80 First Team votes). Green was named Defensive Player of the Year in the 2016/17 season. This year’s nod is his fourth First Team honor, and his sixth total All-Defensive team.

Two Bucks players rounded out the All-Defensive First Team this season. Guard Jrue Holiday netted 157 points (65 First Team) and All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year, earned 135 total points (43 First Team). Antetokounmpo has just made his third straight All-Defensive First Team, and his fourth All-Defensive team overall. This is Holiday’s second All-Defensive First Team appearance and his third overall All-Defensive team.

[RELATED: Rudy Gobert Named Defensive Player Of The Year]

Two All-Defensive First-Teamers have unlocked contract bonuses associated with the honor. Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets that Gobert will receive a $500K bonus for the inclusion this season. Marks adds (Twitter link) that Holiday will pocket a cool $100K for making All-Defensive First Team. Holiday has other contract incentives associated with his team’s further postseason advancement.

The All-Defensive Second Team honorees are led by Heat stars Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, who each netted 111 points (37 First Team votes) apiece. Adebayo makes his second All-Defensive Second Team with the nod today. This is Butler’s fifth such honor.

Simmons’s Sixers teammates Joel Embiid and Matisse Thybulle also make the cut. It is the third All-Defensive team nod for Embiid and the first appearance for Thybulle. Clippers All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard, a former two-time Defensive Player of the Year, rounds out the All-Defensive Second Team this season.

Here are the full voting results for the All-Defensive First and Second Teams, with each player’s point total noted in parentheses:

First Team:

Second Team:

Suns guard/forward Mikal Bridges, Hawks center Clint Capela, and Pacers forward/center Myles Turner were among the highest vote-getters who missed the cut for the Second Team. You can find the full voting results right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mike Conley Ruled Out For Game 4

Jazz point guard Mike Conley remains on the shelf for Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals vs. the Clippers, the team announced today (via Twitter).

Conley has been sidelined since Game 5 of Utah’s first-round series vs. Memphis due to what the team is referring to as a mild right hamstring strain. Despite the strain being classified as “mild,” the Jazz are playing it safe with their starting point guard to reduce the risk that he re-aggravates the injury after returning.

With Conley out, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles have taken on increased ball-handling and play-making responsibilities. Mitchell is banged up himself, but said he’ll be good to go in Game 4 after leaving Game 3 early due to a sore ankle.

The Jazz currently hold a 2-1 lead over the Clippers. Conley’s next chance to return will be on Wednesday at home for Game 5.