- Pelicans forward Anthony Davis has cleared the concussion protocol and is probable for Monday’s game, tweets Scott Kushner of The Advocate. Davis was diagnosed with a contusion of the orbit bone above his right eye after a collision the third quarter of Friday night’s contest. He was removed from the game and didn’t re-enter.
- Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas participated in some five-on-zero drills and worked on his shot today in practice, relays Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com (Twitter link).
- Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis has swelling in his elbow caused by bursitis, but says it isn’t the reason for his recent shooting problems, according to Ian Begley of ESPN (Twitter link). “At the end of last season, it was really swollen; it was really, really big,” he said of the elbow. “But it was never really bothering me. Now this season, kind of fell on it a couple of times. It wasn’t bothering me either. In Sacramento, I fell kind of on the side. It was a new spot. It was much more sensitive. Now I’m doing treatment. Today’s the day I’m almost back to normal. I almost don’t feel it at all anymore.”
- Wizards guard John Wall will miss today’s game with soreness in his left knee, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post.
- Warriors forward Kevin Durant suffered a sprained ankle last night and will sit out today’s game in Brooklyn, tweets Warriors PR.
NBA rosters will undergo some changes over the course of the 2017/18 season, particularly around the trade deadline, and those changes may have an impact on teams’ cap sheets for future seasons. Based on the NBA’s current rosters, however, we can identify which teams are most and least likely to have cap room in the summer of 2018, which will dictate the type of moves those clubs can make in the offseason.
We’re taking a closer look at each of the NBA’s 30 teams by division this week. Today, we’re tackling the Southeast division. With the help of salary information compiled by Basketball Insiders, here’s how the summer of 2018 is shaping up for the five Southeast teams:
Since the start of the 2016 offseason, the Heat have handed out lucrative long-term contracts to Hassan Whiteside, James Johnson, Dion Waiters, Kelly Olynyk, and Josh Richardson. It will be Tyler Johnson‘s deal that will be the toughest to swallow in 2018/19 though. Because of the way his 2016 offer sheet from the Nets was structured under the old CBA, Johnson’s cap charge will jump from about $5.88MM this season to $19MM+ next year.
Barring major cost-cutting moves, the Heat will be well over the cap in 2018/19, and may end up surpassing the luxury tax line too.
Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $116,377,251
Projection: Over the cap
The Hornets have six players on their roster set to make at least $12MM apiece in 2018/19, including two – Nicolas Batum and Dwight Howard – earning about twice that. Most of those contracts won’t be easy to move, and Charlotte won’t want to dump the more team-friendly salaries from that group, like Kemba Walker‘s $12MM expiring deal. As such, we can expect the Hornets to head into the 2018 offseason as an over-the-cap club.
Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $115,896,497
Projection: Over the cap
Despite the fact that John Wall‘s super-max extension won’t go into effect until 2019/20, the Wizards have nearly $116MM committed to just eight players next season. Even if the team were to trade a non-core player on an eight-figure salary, such as Ian Mahinmi or Marcin Gortat, it wouldn’t be enough to create meaningful cap space.
Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $78,180,655
Projection: Up to approximately $19.5MM in cap room
The summer of 2018 will be a good test for just how attached the Magic’s new front office is to the old regime’s top draft picks. Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton will be restricted free agents, and if Orlando intends to retain both players – or even just Gordon – the team’s cap room will disappear. Letting Gordon and Payton walk and waiving Shelvin Mack and his non-guaranteed salary would get the Magic up to nearly $20MM in cap space.
Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $56,232,915
Projection: Up to approximately $41MM in cap room
The Hawks’ maximum available cap space for 2018 will hinge in part on whether Dewayne Dedmon and Mike Muscala decide to pick up their respective player options. Those options being exercised would reduce the Hawks’ max cap room to about $31MM, which would still be more than enough to make a major addition or two — or to take on a couple undesirable contracts along with picks or young players, if Atlanta isn’t ready yet to accelerate its rebuilding timeline.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Wizards didn’t have the flexibility to go out and make major moves in free agency this offseason, so after keeping their roster relatively intact, they had to bet on improvement from within for the 2017/18 season. As Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter have been making good on that bet so far this season.
Bradley Beal, in the second year of a maximum-salary contract with the Wizards, is coming off a career season and has looked even better so far in 2017/18, averaging a career-high 25.7 PPG and .503 FG%. As for Porter, he’s in the first year of a max deal of his own, and he’s topping last season’s career year so far too, with new career-bests in PPG (18.3), FG% (.569), 3PT% (.525), RPG (6.9), and several other categories.
It still feels like the Wizards might meed a midseason trade to turn into a legit title contender, but with the Cavaliers looking vulnerable and the Celtics missing Gordon Hayward, the door is open for Washington to make a move in the East this year.
Tests conducted today on John Wall‘s injured left shoulder showed no structural damage, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical. The star guard is reporting soreness and is questionable for Sunday’s game with the Raptors.
Wall was diagnosed with a sprained shoulder after Friday’s game with the Cavaliers, according to Brian Windhorst on ESPN Now. X-rays taken Friday night were negative, but Wall had his arm in a sling as he left Capital One Arena.
Wall said the damage was done when he ran into the Cavs’ Channing Frye on a play in the fourth quarter. He told reporters he should have left the game after that happened.
The Wizards are relieved that they won’t be without their leader for an extended time. The four-time All-Star is averaging 20.5 points and 10.4 assists through eight games.
The Wizards have benefited from third-year swingman Kelly Oubre‘s energy so far this season and the 21-year-old is earning a more substantial role with the squad, Chris Gehring of the team’s official site writes.
The Magic have jumped out to a 6-2 start this season despite the fact that much of the core they’ve featured this season is a carryover from last year’s team that finished just 29-53. The X-Factor that’s helping the team perform so much better in 2017/18 could very well be Jonathon Simmons, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes.
Simmons signed a three-year deal worth $20MM this summer and has earned the trust of head coach Frank Vogel early in his Magic career.
“He has earned the trust. You know, when we put the ball in his hands, typically, he makes good things happen,” Vogel said. “He’s a good decision maker, and he’s a threat going to the basket. I mean, he really attacks the rim and will get to the free throw line and will finish. He does a good job making the extra pass, too. I do have a lot of trust; he’s earned it very early with me in his stay [with the Magic].”
Through eight games with the Magic so far this year, Simmons has averaged 15.8 points and 3.6 rebounds.
There’s more out of the Southeast Division:
- According to the man himself, Nicolas Batum could be cleared to practice in the next nine days. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, caught up with the Hornets swingman as he recovers from a torn ligament in his left elbow that has sidelined him since early October.
- The Heat have looked thin on the perimeter thanks to a rash of injuries at the position. In a question-and-answer with readers, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel discusses whether or not the team ought to have considered using the money spent on Kelly Olynyk to pursue a wing, like Rudy Gay.
- The Wizards parted ways with Carrick Felix earlier today but have no immediate plans to fill the vacant roster spot, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post tweets.
The Wizards have cut shooting guard Carrick Felix from their roster, the team announced today in a press release. Felix will become an unrestricted free agent this weekend, assuming he clears waivers.
Felix beat out Donald Sloan for a spot on the Wizards’ roster to open the season, but his hold on that 15th and final slot was precarious, since his salary remained non-guaranteed. The 27-year-old didn’t end up playing any regular season minutes for Washington during his stint with the team. In fact, the one time he got on the court, he was suspended for it — the NBA banned him one game for leaving the bench during last Friday’s altercation between the Wizards and Warriors.
Because Felix’s contract was non-guaranteed, the Wizards will only be on the hook for a prorated portion of his minimum salary. By my count, Felix should receive about $132K for his brief stay in D.C. That figure takes into account the money he lost due to his suspension, though perhaps Bradley Beal will compensate him for that game, as he suggested a few days ago.
“I might help him out, man. It was all my fault, anyways,” Beal said of last week’s altercation. “I gotta help my guy out. We might start a Go Fund Me and help out my guy Carrick Felix. He’s gonna need some cash, for sure.”
The Wizards now have an open spot on their 15-man NBA roster.
Wizards forward Markieff Morris was ready to make his season debut in tonight’s loss to the Suns, but he had to serve a one-game suspension first, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Washington. Morris, who has been sidelined since abdominal surgery in late September for a sports hernia, was suspended for leaving the bench in Friday’s game against Golden State.
- Also suspended after Friday’s altercation was Wizards guard Carrick Felix, who is less able to afford the loss of money or playing opportunities, Hughes writes in a full story. Felix earned a roster spot with Washington after being out of the NBA since 2014. His only previous experience was seven games with the Cavaliers. “I might help him out, man. It was all my fault, anyways,” said teammate Bradley Beal. “I gotta help my guy out. We might start a Go Fund Me and help out my guy Carrick Felix. He’s gonna need some cash, for sure.” Hughes notes that Felix served his suspension in Sunday’s rout at Sacramento, which could have provided his first game action of the season.
The Wizards won’t pick up their 2018/19 team option on power forward Chris McCullough, sources tell Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). The decision will result in McCullough becoming eligible for unrestricted free agency next July.
McCullough, 22, was selected with the 29th overall pick in the 2015 draft and spent most of his first two NBA seasons with the Nets before being sent to Washington along with Bojan Bogdanovic in a deadline deal earlier this year.
Even in Brooklyn, on a rebuilding squad, McCullough didn’t see much playing time, with the Nets frequently assigning him to the G League for further development. The young forward’s minutes dwindled further after he joined the Wizards — he only has only played 15 total minutes in three games since arriving in D.C. in February.
While the Wizards aren’t necessarily giving up on McCullough, they’ve decided not to guarantee his 2018/19 salary, which would have added $2,243,326 to team payroll. After exercising Kelly Oubre‘s option earlier this month, Washington is currently projected to carry approximately $116MM in guaranteed salary next year, putting the club at risk of ending up in tax territory again.
The NBA announced on Sunday that Wizards players Carrick Felix and Markieff Morris have each been suspended one game without pay for leaving the bench during Friday’s on-court confrontation between Warriors forward Draymond Green and guard Bradley Beal.
Felix and Morris will serve their suspensions the next game each player is active and physically able to play.
Green ($25,000) and Beal ($50,000) were issued hefty fines for their roles in the skirmish. Beal’s fine is higher than Green’s because he initiated the fight. Green was issued a fine for failing to disengage from Beal, the league noted in the press release.
Wizards’ forward Kelly Oubre Jr. was also fined $15,000 for aggressively entering the confrontation.
It was a tumultuous week for the Warriors as Stephen Curry was fined $50,000 on Monday for throwing his mouthpiece at a referee in the fourth quarter of Golden State’s 111-101 loss to the Grizzlies last Saturday. Andre Iguodala was also fined $15,000 for abusive language toward a referee during the sequence.