Wesley Matthews

Health Updates: Lakers, Horford, Matthews, Payton

The Lakers will be shorthanded on Wednesday night in Toronto, according to Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group, who tweets that star forwards Anthony Davis and LeBron James have both been ruled out by the team.

Davis is still battling the non-COVID illness that forced him to leave Tuesday’s contest in Cleveland early, while James is getting the second night of a back-to-back set off due to left ankle soreness. The Lakers have also listed guard Patrick Beverley as doubtful to play due to right knee soreness.

Here are a few more health-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Celtics big man Al Horford has been ruled out for Wednesday’s game vs. Phoenix after entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team announced today (via Twitter). If Horford has tested positive for COVID-19, it will likely be at least a few days before he’s cleared to return, so his availability for the rest of Boston’s West Coast trip is up in the air.
  • Bucks wing Wesley Matthews has also been placed in the health and safety protocols and will be unavailable for Wednesday’s contest vs. Sacramento, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Like Horford, Matthews could miss more games beyond tonight’s.
  • Trail Blazers guard Gary Payton II is inching closer to his season debut following offseason abdominal surgery. Teammate Damian Lillard told reporters on Wednesday that Payton practiced in full today, tweets Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian.

Central Notes: Osman, LaVine, Middleton, Matthews, Pistons

Cedi Osman has received sporadic playing time and has been the subject of trade rumors but the Cavaliers forward has usually taken advantage of his opportunities, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes.

After playing just seven minutes against Charlotte on Friday, Osman got 37 minutes of court action the next night against Miami and put up 20 points and 12 rebounds. He’s likely to receive plenty of playing time on Monday with Caris LeVert out due to an ankle sprain.

“He’s one of those guys where there’s a spirit and an energy that we depend on, and we know the lift he gives us,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “I think Friday night he didn’t play as much, and I think he wanted to show he was going to take advantage of his minutes.”

Osman’s future beyond 2022/23 is uncertain, as his salary for next season isn’t guaranteed.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Zach LaVine said there’s no ill feelings between him and Bulls coach Billy Donovan, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic writes. LaVine was upset when he was benched during a loss to Orlando on Friday. “Me and Billy talk all the time,” LaVine said. “It’s a tough decision. Obviously, I’m a competitive guy. I want to play. I just told him I feel like I’ve earned the right to go out there and try to play through a bad game. His decision was to try to do the best thing for the team, which I respect. If we won, obviously I would’ve been ecstatic. We lost, I wasn’t. I had a terrible game.”
  • The Bucks assigned Khris Middleton and Wesley Matthews to the G League’s Wisconsin Herd, Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. That allowed the rehabbing players to get some practice time. The Bucks didn’t practice since they’re playing against Portland on Monday.
  • The Pistons played without three injured starters — Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart — at Sacramento on Sunday and lost despite scoring a season-high 129 points. Coach Dwane Casey said the team needs to push through adversity, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. “It’s not ‘Woe is me’ right now in the locker room,” Casey said. “We’ve got to stay together, stay connected.”

Central Notes: White, P. Williams, Mobley, Bucks, More

Bulls guard Coby White, the seventh overall pick in the 2019 draft, was eligible for a rookie scale extension up until Monday’s deadline, but he never really thought he’d sign a new deal this year, according to Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago.

“No, no. I didn’t,” White said on Tuesday. “I wasn’t really focused on that. Just play this year out. I put in a lot of work this summer, so let my work show, and take it from there.”

White also dismissed the idea that entering a contract year and playing for his next contract will provide any extra motivation this season: “Nah, I love playing basketball. That’s all the motivation I need. I love playing, I love hooping. I’ve had motivation my whole life. I ain’t gonna change nothing now.”

In other Bulls news, the team’s 2020 lottery pick, Patrick Williams, will open the season as the starting power forward, head coach Billy Donovan confirmed today (Twitter link via Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic). Williams came off the bench in multiple preseason games as Javonte Green shone, but Green will be part of the second unit to open the season.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • The Cavaliers feel as if Evan Mobley has Hall of Fame potential and believe his development is the key to whether the team can become a legitimate championship contender, Chris Fedor writes in an excellent article for Cleveland.com. “Evan needs to be in a position where people look at us and say, ‘Evan is their best player,'” assistant coach Greg Buckner said. “It can’t be, ‘Donovan (Mitchell) is their best player, Darius (Garland) is their best player or J.A. (Jarrett Allen) is their best player.’ It has to be Evan.” That view is shared by head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, according to assistant coach Luke Walton. “J.B. talks about it all the time with us: We need Evan to be one of the best players in this league, if not the best player in this league, if we’re gonna win championships,” Walton said. “That’s our mission coming from J.B. — help him get to that level.”
  • Hoops Rumors has confirmed that Didi Louzada is eligible to become an affiliate player for the Cleveland Charge after signing a two-way contract (rather than an Exhibit 10 deal) with the Cavaliers on Monday and being waived shortly thereafter. Michael Scotto of HoopsHype first reported the Cavs’ plan to secure Louzada’s G League rights.
  • With Khris Middleton and Joe Ingles already ruled out for the start of the season, the Bucks will also be without Pat Connaughton for a few weeks, prompting Eric Nehm of The Athletic to explore how the team will deal with all its injury absences. As Nehm details, George Hill, Jevon Carter, and Wesley Matthews all figure to play increased roles, with young wings Jordan Nwora and MarJon Beauchamp potentially seeing action too.
  • Pacers forward James Johnson was happy to earn the team’s final roster spot, beating out Langston Galloway and Deividas Sirvydis. However, as Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files relays, Johnson knows that he can’t get comfortable yet, since his contract still isn’t fully guaranteed for the season. “It’s an honor for this spot, but at the end of the day I’m still vulnerable,” he said.

Bucks Notes: Middleton, Giannis, Lopez, Injuries

Khris Middleton wants to be on the court when the Bucks open their season Thursday at Philadelphia, but the decision will likely be made for him by the team’s medical staff, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Middleton was knocked out of the playoffs by a sprained MCL in his left knee, but it was a torn scapholunate ligament in his left wrist that he suffered late in the season that forced him to have surgery.

Middleton said his legs feel rested after his first full offseason since 2019, but he’s not sure if he’ll get medical clearance to play in the opener.

“I would like to, but I’ve learned in the past to trust my training staff and doctors,” he said. “They know what they’re doing. This is my first time going through this and they’ve been through it many a times and they’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. So I’ve learned just listen to ‘em. I mean, you can push yourself, but don’t really.”

Middleton is starting his 10th season in Milwaukee, and his future with the organization is going to become an important topic at some point. He hasn’t decided what to do with his $40.4MM player option for next season, although he admits that staying with the Bucks is his first choice.

“I think everybody knows that,” he said. “Even though I know you’re really not supposed to say it for all the reasons out there, but I think everybody knows deep down that I want to stay. But also, you know it’s a business. Things change, things happen. You just never know. For sure I would love to stay. If everything works out … Of course if they give me whatever I want I’m there! I’m there.”

There’s more on the Bucks:

  • Coach Mike Budenholzer dismissed any concerns about the team’s 0-5 preseason, but Giannis Antetokounmpo said it shows there are areas that need improvement, Owczarski adds in a separate story“Right now, I feel like we’re not vocal enough,” Antetokounmpo said. “We’re not urgent enough. We’re not hungry enough. But at the end of the day, it’s the preseason. We have the whole regular season to find ourselves.”
  • The preseason struggles might be a result of a new defensive scheme that Budenholzer is implementing, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic. The Bucks are placing a greater emphasis on trying to prevent opponents from taking three-point shots. “I think it’s about finding that balance,” Brook Lopez said. “I don’t think it’s for lack of trying or anything like that. We’re figuring things out, and that’s what these preseason games are for, and I think we’re confident of the team we’re capable of being.”
  • The Bucks have some health concerns heading into the regular season, Nehm tweetsPat Connaughton is “going to be a little bit” due to a calf injury, Budenholzer said. Thanasis Antetokounmpo has been sidelined with a non-COVID illness, and the team hopes Wesley Matthews will be cleared to return Monday.

Central Notes: Middleton, Lopez, Stewart, Bagley, Bey

Khris Middleton won’t be ready to play by opening night as he recovers from wrist surgery. Joe Ingles is still rehabbing from a major knee injury.

So who will step up in their place? Eric Nehm of The Athletic examines potential lineup combinations the Bucks may use in their absence. Pat Connaughton will likely start until Middleton returns, though Jordan Nwora and MarJon Beauchamp will have opportunities to establish themselves as rotation pieces. Wesley Matthews and Grayson Allen will fight for minutes at shooting guard.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Middleton has a $40.4MM option on his contract for the 2023/24 season, while center Brook Lopez will be an unrestricted free agent unless he signs an extension. However, there hasn’t been any buzz about it at Bucks camp, Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. In fact, Lopez claims that “I wasn’t exactly aware this was a contract year” until the subject was brought up.
  • Isaiah Stewart and Marvin Bagley may be more suited to playing center but they’ll both see action at times at power forward this season, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. That will allow Nerlens Noel and rookie Jalen Duren to get some minutes off the bench. “It’s tough,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “What’s going to have to manifest itself is – it’s not natural right now – for Isaiah to kind of slide to the four just to open some spots for everybody.”
  • While most of the attention regarding the Pistons is focused on their young backcourt of Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey, third-year forward Saddiq Bey has served notice that he could be an offensive force this season, according to James Edwards III of The Athletic. “He’s putting the ball on the floor a lot better, finding guys a lot better,” reserve guard Cory Joseph said. “We know how he can score and the attention he’s going to get. He’s making the game better for himself and everyone around him right now. He’s playing really well.”

Contract Details: Monk, Bucks, Edwards, Dort, Jones

Malik Monk‘s two-year deal with the Kings is worth approximately $19.42MM in total, with a first-year salary of $9.47MM, Hoops Rumors has learned. While Sacramento used most of the mid-level exception to bring Monk aboard, the team still has $1,017,781 left on the MLE, which is the exact value of the rookie minimum salary.

The Kings didn’t have a second-round pick in this year’s draft, so that leftover mid-level money won’t go to a 2022 draftee. But the club may have it earmarked for a player like Sasha Vezenkov, a 2017 second-rounder whose draft rights were acquired from Cleveland last month. Using that leftover mid-level money, Sacramento could offer Vezenkov – or another player – a minimum-salary deal that exceeds two years.

Here are a few more details on recently-signed contracts from around the NBA:

  • As expected, Joe Ingles got the full taxpayer mid-level exception ($6.48MM) from the Bucks, while Bobby Portis‘s four-year deal is worth the most he could receive using his Early Bird rights ($48.58MM), Hoops Rumors has learned. Portis’ contract includes a 15% trade kicker and a fourth-year player option.
  • Wesley Matthews‘ new deal with the Bucks is a one-year, minimum-salary contract, while the team used Jevon Carter‘s Non-Bird rights to give him a first-year salary ($2.1MM) worth a little more than his minimum ($1.97MM). Carter’s second-year player option is for the veteran’s minimum.
  • Kessler Edwards‘ two-year deal with the Nets, which features a second-year team option, is – as expected – worth the minimum.
  • Luguentz Dort‘s five-year contract with the Thunder includes a team option in year five and has a total base value of $82.5MM. It can be worth up to $87.5MM if Dort earns $5MM in total unlikely bonuses ($1MM annually), tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
  • Tyus Jones‘ two-year deal with the Grizzlies begins at $15MM and declines to $14MM in 2023/24, per Marks (Twitter link). The deal includes an additional $1MM in unlikely incentives related to the team’s performance, Marks adds.

Bucks Re-Sign Joe Ingles, Wesley Matthews, Jevon Carter

JULY 6, 6:38pm: The Bucks’ deal with Ingles is now official, the team announced in a press release.

“Joe is a proven shot maker who will add great depth to our roster,” general manager Jon Horst said. “He is a terrific person and teammate who will fit in well with our team and community. We’re thrilled to welcome Joe and his family to Milwaukee.”


JULY 6, 2:29pm: The Bucks have issued a press release announcing their new deal with Carter and have also officially re-signed Matthews, per NBA.com’s transactions log. The Ingles signing figures to be formalized very soon.


JUNE 30, 6:04pm: Free agent forward Joe Ingles has agreed to a one-year contract with the Bucks worth $6.5MM, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Ingles’ wife Renae first broke the news on Twitter.

The Bucks have also agreed to bring back a pair of their own free agents, agreeing to a one-year deal with swingman Wesley Matthews and a two-year pact with guard Jevon Carter, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links).

The $6.5MM salary for Ingles indicates he’ll be getting the team’s taxpayer mid-level exception. Carter’s deal will be worth $4.6MM over two years, with a player option on year two, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. That figure suggests Carter may be getting slightly above the veteran’s minimum using his Non-Bird rights.

It’s a somewhat surprising use of Milwaukee’s taxpayer mid-level exception, given that Ingles just underwent surgery on a torn ACL in February. The 34-year-old seems extremely unlikely to be ready to go by the fall and may not get back on the court until 2023. If and when he’s healthy though, he’ll be a nice fit for a Bucks team that could use his ball-handling, shooting, and defensive versatility.

As for Matthews and Carter, they played modest reserve roles for the Bucks in 2021/22, but should be useful depth pieces. Matthews, in particular, had a strong playoff run, starting all 12 of the Bucks’ postseason contests and making 40.0% of his threes.

Bucks Notes: Middleton, Portis, Connaughton, Matthews

The Bucks‘ defense performed relatively well in their second-round series vs. Boston, holding a Celtics team that led the NBA with a 122.6 offensive rating after the All-Star break to a 108.8 mark in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. However, Milwaukee’s own offense struggled — the team ranked third in the league with a 114.3 offensive rating in the regular season, but its 99.7 second-round mark ranked last by a wide margin among the eight remaining clubs.

One reason for Milwaukee’s offensive struggles was Khris Middleton‘s absence due to an MCL sprain. The Bucks were left wondering after Sunday’s Game 7 loss whether they’d be the ones advancing to face Miami in the Eastern Finals if their second-leading scorer had been available vs. Boston.

“Obviously, we weren’t trying to make excuses, ‘We don’t have Khris, and oh, it’s going to be tough for us.’ No, no, no,” Giannis Antetokounmpo said on Sunday, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “I think everybody went out there and competed, gave everything they had and that’s what we did from Game 3 against Chicago until Game 7 against Boston. But, if we had him, maybe it would have been a different story. But we didn’t.”

“We could’ve used him,” Jrue Holiday said of Middleton. “We definitely could’ve used him. He makes big shots and big plays on both ends, but especially the offensive end. Yeah, we missed him, but we also want him to be OK for the future, too. Yeah, he’s missed.”

Middleton confirmed on Monday that his MCL injury was a Grade 2 sprain and said it will heal on its own in the offseason without any surgical intervention (Twitter links via Eric Nehm of The Athletic and Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Middleton added that he wanted to play in Games 6 and 7 vs. Boston and didn’t experience any setbacks, but team doctors said the risk was too high for him to return so soon (Twitter link via Owczarski).

Here’s more on the Bucks:

  • Asked about his upcoming player option decision, Bobby Portis spoke at length about how much he has enjoyed his two years in Milwaukee, but deferred to his agent on his contract situation. “That’s on the organization and my agent to figure that out,” Portis said (Twitter link via Nehm). “I don’t really discuss numbers or contracts or none of that. I love it here. I love being a Buck, but it definitely comes down to them making it work.” The Bucks would have Early Bird rights on Portis, who has certainly outplayed his $4.56MM option.
  • In his preview of the Bucks’ offseason, ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) takes a closer look at Portis’ free agency, noting that the Bucks could offer him up to about $22.6MM over two years using the Early Bird exception. Marks also explores potential new contracts for Pat Connaughton, who can reach free agency by turning down his player option, and Middleton, who is extension-eligible.
  • Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype previewed the Bucks’ summer too, examining the upcoming free agent and extension decisions facing the team.
  • Veteran wing Wesley Matthews told reporters on Monday that he’ll definitely continue his NBA career and would like be back with the Bucks (Twitter link via Owczarski). The 35-year-old said that he hopes not to have to wait until December to sign his next contract, as he did this past season.

Bucks Notes: Hill, Matthews, Horst, Antetokounmpo, Ibaka

George Hill returned to action in Game 3 of the Bucks’ series against the Celtics and had no setbacks. The veteran guard is not listed on the injury report for Monday’s game, Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. Hill, who hadn’t seen action since April 8 due to an abdominal strain, played 11 scoreless minutes with one assist in Game 3.

We have more on the defending champions:

  • Wesley Matthews‘ excellent defense and the Bucks’ scheme frustrated Jayson Tatum in Game 3. Tatum now has to figure out how to get to his sweet spots more frequently, Jared Weiss of The Athletic writes. Weiss takes an in-depth on the Bucks’ plan against Tatum and how he might counter in Game 4.
  • Boston fumed about a no-call in the closing seconds of Game 3. Surprisingly, Bucks GM Jon Horst also felt the officiating wasn’t up to par, as he told Eric Nehm of The Athletic“I couldn’t do their job. You couldn’t do their job,” Horst said. “Officiating is hard, just like playing is hard and coaching is hard, and I think we all have a standard of trying to get better and improve. And at the end of the day, that’s what stood out to me. We have to improve. That wasn’t a quality playoff basketball game, and I think officiating played a role in that.”
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo takes all kinds of punishment and doles it out, too. His teammates marvel at his mental toughness with defenses constantly collapsing on him, Steve Aschburner of NBA.com writes. “He’s so good at being mentally strong,” center Brook Lopez said. “He obviously has lots of guys throwing themselves at him when he’s trying to get into his moves and make plays for himself and everyone else. He does a great job of sticking with it, staying in the game, and just keeping his mojo … It can be frustrating at times. He does a great job of just kind of letting it go like water off a duck’s back.”
  • Serge Ibaka was a late scratch from Monday’s game due to a non-COVID illness, Lily Zhao of FOX6 tweets. Ibaka has made two cameo appearances in the series.

Bucks Notes: Middleton, Holiday, Matthews, Tucker, Hill

The Bucks have confirmed that Khris Middleton will miss Games 3 and 4 of their series with the Celtics, but they’re not speculating about his availability beyond that, according to Steve Megargee of The Associated Press. A report last week indicated that Middleton was likely to be sidelined for the entire second-round series and could be in jeopardy for the conference finals.

“We feel really good about where he is,” coach Mike Budenholzer said after Thursday’s practice. “We continue to hope he makes progress.” Budenholzer responded, “We’ll see,” when asked if Middleton could possibly play against Boston.

Middleton suffered an MCL sprain in his left knee on April 20 during Game 2 of Milwaukee’s first-round playoff series against Chicago. An examination was set for this week to reevaluate his condition and determine when he might be able to return. He averaged 14.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists in two playoff games against the Bulls.

There’s more from Milwaukee:

  • Jrue Holiday and Wesley Matthews have become the destructive defensive duo they talked about forming nearly five years ago, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. When Holiday was with the Pelicans and became a free agent in the summer of 2017, Matthews tried to convince him to join the Mavericks. However, New Orleans made Holiday a five-year, $150MM offer that was too good to pass up. “It was pretty close,” he said. “But I ended up staying with New Orleans. Money wins.”
  • In an interview with Marc J. Spears of Andscape, Heat forward P.J. Tucker says he felt disrespected by the Bucks’ offer after helping the team win an NBA title last season. Tucker added that he loved playing in Milwaukee, but management wasn’t willing to risk going into luxury tax territory to keep him. “For me, it wasn’t even about money,” he said. “It was more about respect because they basically told me to go find an offer and they would match it. After hearing that for me, I’m not coming back even if I had to take less money. To me, that was disrespectful. So, as soon as they said that, I told my agent Andre [Buck], basically, ‘We are moving on, whatever we get out of that, that’s what we’re doing.’”
  • George Hill is making progress toward returning from an abdominal injury, Nehm tweets“He’s getting close. We’ll see how he responds to today,” Budenholzer said on Thursday. “He pretty much did all of practice and did some extra, a play group, afterwards. I think we just gotta see how he comes out of that.”