Wilson Chandler

And-Ones: Fans In Arenas, W. Chandler, 2021 Draft, More

For the time being, only five teams – the Jazz, Pelicans, Magic, Rockets, and Grizzlies – are continuing with their plans to have some fans in arenas when the regular season begins, sources tell David Aldridge of The Athletic.

The Mavericks and Heat each confirmed today that they won’t have fans for their preseason games, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link) and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Miami also won’t host fans for its Christmas Day game, as Chiang notes.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The NBA intends to administer a daily point-of-care, rapid coronavirus testing system for the 2020/21 season, according to Shams Charania and Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter links). Those tests would return results within 30 minutes in teams’ home markets and within 90 minutes on the road. In the event of invalid results, the player would undergo another rapid test at least 30 minutes after the first one and could participate in team activities while awaiting the result, sources tell The Athletic.
  • Veteran forward Wilson Chandler is expected to leave Zhejiang Guangsha, his team in China, a source tells Sportando. Chandler, who finished the 2019/20 season with Brooklyn, signed to play in the Chinese Basketball Association in the fall. It’s unclear whether or not his reported exit is related to an NBA opportunity.
  • ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz have published their first list of the top 100 prospects for the 2021 NBA draft. Oklahoma State point guard Cade Cunningham leads the way, followed by USC’s Evan Mobley and Jalen Green of the G League Ignite.
  • Speaking of Green and the Ignite, they’re scheduled to scrimmage on December 15 and 17 against a group of veteran G Leaguers, according to Givony (all Twitter links). It’s unclear whether or not those games will be streamed, but NBA teams will get access to the film, according to Givony, who says Isaiah Briscoe, Tariq Owens, and Bryce Alford will be among the vets scrimmaging against the Ignite.

And-Ones: Marijuana, Team USA, K. Alexander, W. Chandler

After not testing players for marijuana during its summer restart, the NBA will continue to forgo those tests for the 2020/21 season, league sources tell NBA reporter Ben Dowsett (Twitter links).

As Dowsett explains, this decision is largely tied to COVID-19 safety protocols, since testing for marijuana only increases the amount of close contact required for players. Still, Dowsett notes that there’s no guarantee the testing program will ever return in its previous form. The expectation from many people in the league is that marijuana testing may be on the way out, per Dowsett.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich acknowledged this week that putting together the roster for the Tokyo Olympics may be a challenge, given how late the NBA season will run. “The timing does make everything difficult,” Popovich said, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. “And it will demand some real soul-searching and out-of-the-box type of thinking to put together the best team we possibly can.”
  • Free agent big man Kyle Alexander, who finished the 2019/20 season on a two-way contract with Miami, has reached an agreement to sign with Baloncesto Fuenlabrada in Spain for the 2020/21 season, the team announced (Spanish link). Alexander made his NBA debut in the Orlando bubble, appearing in two of the Heat’s eight seeding games.
  • ESPN.com has provided a primer on how the 2020/21 NBA season will work, including details on the league’s COVID-19 protocols, the new postseason play-in format, and more.
  • Wilson Chandler, who joined the Zhejiang Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association after finishing last season with the Nets, spoke on an episode of The Realm podcast about why he decided to continue his career in China. Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News shares some of the highlights from the discussion.

Wilson Chandler To Play In China In 2020/21?

A reunion with China’s Zhejiang Lions for the 2020/21 season may be in the cards for Nets forward Wilson Chandler.

After Chinese journalist Zhang Duo was among those to report (via Twitter) that Chandler had signed with Zhejiang, Alex Schiffer of The Athletic (Twitter link) cited a source close to the forward who indicated that those reports were inaccurate. However, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando says (via Twitter) that while Chandler’s deal with Zhejiang isn’t done yet, it’s expected to be finalized eventually.

One of several players who opted out of the NBA’s restart this summer, Chandler technically remains under contract with the Nets until the 2019/20 league year ends. The 33-year-old was a part-time contributor in Brooklyn this year, averaging 5.9 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 35 contests (21.0 MPG).

Although he was a regular rotation player in ’19/20, Chandler missed the first 25 games of the season due to a PED suspension, and wasn’t as effective or efficient as usual after making his Nets debut — his .404 FG% and .306 3PT% were among the lowest marks of his NBA career.

While Chandler apparently hasn’t finalized any agreement with Zhejiang so far, a move to the Chinese Basketball Association wouldn’t be shocking, since his NBA production has slipped and he has some previous CBA experience. The former DePaul standout signed with the Lions in 2011 during the NBA lockout and averaged 26.6 PPG and 11.6 RPG in 32 games in the Chinese league.

We’ll have to wait for further confirmation on Chandler’s next move, but it sounds as if he’s at least discussing a return to Zhejiang, even if it’s not a done deal yet.

Lou Williams Expected To Play In Restart; Beal Still Undecided

Seven players so far have opted out of the NBA’s restart this summer, but Clippers guard Lou Williams is unlikely to join that group. Despite previously expressing uncertainty about his status, Williams is expected to suit up for the Clippers as they pursue a title at Walt Disney World, head coach Doc Rivers said on Wednesday.

“As far as Lou, all indications (are) that yes, he is (playing),” Rivers said on a Zoom call, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. “Obviously, up until we get on the plane, anything can happen. But I do expect Lou to be with us. I would be very surprised if he’s not.”

Meanwhile, another high-scoring guard, Bradley Beal, remains uncertain about his status for Orlando, as Youngmisuk writes in a separate story. Beal’s teammate Davis Bertans has already pulled out due to injury concerns ahead of his upcoming free agency. Beal’s backcourt mate and fellow All-Star John Wall won’t be in attendance either, as he continues to focus on his Achilles rehab and a 2020/21 return.

According to Youngmisuk, Beal is considering health factors too as he weighs his options.

“I have yet to make (my decision),” Beal told reporters on Wednesday. “I am still working my tail off every single day as if I am playing. It is more or less a decision that will come down to the medical staff and coming back from zero to 100, and then I have some nagging stuff from the end of the year that we are trying to clean up, too. We are looking at it from all angles. I am definitely working out every single day here. It is good to be back in the facility. … I am not swayed one way or another.”

Here’s more on certain players’ participation decisions:

Nets Notes: Durant, Practice Facility, Chandler

Nets star forward Kevin Durant, who won’t participate in the NBA’s restart as he continues to rehab his Achilles injury, won’t accompany the team to the Walt Disney World campus, reports Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

The news doesn’t come as a real surprise. Teams’ traveling parties are limited to 35 people and Durant has said he’s not sure he’d want to participate in the Disney restart even if he were fully healthy. Since he now won’t make his Brooklyn debut until December, there’s no urgency for KD to ramp up his 5-on-5 work in July and August, so it makes more sense for him to continue his rehab program away from the team for now.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Brooklyn’s practice facility reopened on Tuesday after being closed for several days following DeAndre Jordan‘s and Spencer Dinwiddie‘s positive coronavirus tests, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Brooklyn is one of a handful of NBA clubs that has closed its facility amid COVID-19 cases, as we detailed earlier today.
  • Appearing on The Court Vision podcast with Jameer Nelson and Ben Stinar, Nets forward Wilson Chandler further explained why he has decided to opt out of the NBA’s return. “For me, personally, I think like the unknown of this whole COVID thing and just having a grandmother who’s 87 – she just turned 87 – and battling all types of illnesses and having young kids, I think it’s more important for me to be at home with my family and taking care of my family,” Chandler said, as Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype relays.
  • Alex Schiffer of The Athletic explores how the Nets will fill the hole in their rotation created by Jordan’s opt-out, and briefly touches on Jacque Vaughn‘s candidacy for the team’s permanent head coaching job.

Wilson Chandler Opts Out Of NBA Restart

Nets forward Wilson Chandler has informed the team that he’s opting out of the NBA’s restart for the 2019/20 season, he told ESPN’s Malika Andrews. According to Andrews, Chandler wants to spend more time with his family, including his grandmother (who raised him) and his three children.

“As difficult as it will be to not be with my teammates, the health and well-being of my family has to come first,” Chandler told ESPN. “Thank you to the Nets organization for understanding and supporting me in this decision, and I will be watching and rooting for our team in Orlando.”

The season is set to resume at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida later next month, with Brooklyn’s first game coming against the Magic on July 31. The Nets are already set to play without the likes of Kevin Durant (Achilles rehab), Kyrie Irving (shoulder) and Nicolas Claxton (shoulder) once the season restarts. The team will be able to sign a substitute player to replace Chandler, but not its injured players.

Chandler, a 6’8″ forward, averaged 5.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 21 minutes in 35 games with the Nets this season, mostly providing depth off the bench. In addition to Brooklyn, Chandler has made past NBA stops with the Knicks, Nuggets, Sixers and Clippers. He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

Teams are required to submit their final rosters on Wednesday, July 1. Blazers forward Trevor Ariza, Lakers guard Avery Bradley, Mavericks center Willie Cauley-Stein and Wizards forward Davis Bertans have also opted out of the NBA’s restart to this point.

And-Ones: Blazers, Chandler, Magic, Grizzlies

The Trail Blazers have started a COVID-19 emergency relief fund to support local non-profits which serve the community, as the team announced on its website. To date, more than $35MM has been raised by NBA and WNBA teams and players to combat organizations impacted by the coronavirus.

As we wait to see when the pandemic will subside and the NBA will return to action, let’s take a look at some basketball notes from around the league:

  • Wilson Chandler was experiencing a late-season surge with the Nets before the coronavirus forced the league to suspend the season, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Chandler will be a free agent come the offseason.
  • Josh Robbins of The Athletic breaks down the Magic‘s improved offense prior to the suspended season, exploring what it might mean going forward. Aaron Gordon spending the majority of his minutes at the four, which is his natural position, played a major role in the team excelling.
  • Regardless of how and when the season resumes (or doesn’t), the Grizzlies showed enough progress to be optimistic about their future, Michael Wallace of NBA.com contends. Memphis is in the playoff picture and No. 2 overall Ja Morant looks like a future star.

New York Notes: Coronavirus, Knicks’ Future, Chandler, Nets

The Knicks aren’t among the eight teams that have been ordered by the NBA to undergo coronavirus testing, tweets Steve Popper of Newsday. Madison Square Garden released a statement today explaining the status of the team and the NHL’s Rangers.

“We have been following the recommendations of local and national health officials and continue to monitor our players closely,” the statement reads. “As of now, with our players remaining asymptomatic, none of them have been tested for COVID-19. We will remain in close contact with health officials and the NBA and NHL.” (Twitter link).

It was revealed yesterday that four members of the cross-town Nets tested positive for the coronavirus, with Kevin Durant the only one who has been identified. As of this morning, 1,339 people in New York City have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Malika Andrews of ESPN.

There’s more from New York City:

  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic expects a lot of turnover on the Knicks‘ roster during the next three seasons, with RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson the only players likely to remain in New York the entire time. Vorkunov expects Dennis Smith Jr. to be traded during the offseason, possibly for a second-round pick, just to get rid of his contract. The draft lottery will be filled with point guards, so a prospect may be the long-term answer, rather than Frank Ntilikina. An extensive roster turnover could come by the summer of 2021 as the Knicks have four first-round picks over the next two drafts.
  • In the wake of the Nets’ positive tests, Wilson Chandler tweeted that the manager of the building where he lives has asked him to keep away from common areas. “Building manager called me saying ‘Oh, I seen Nets players had the virus. We would like to know your status. And if you could possibly stay out of the lobby etc. We can’t afford to lose our staff,’” Chandler wrote. He adds that she didn’t ask specifically if he had been tested.
  • In case you missed it earlier, the Nets are defending their decision to have the entire team tested for coronavirus, saying some players were showing symptoms and all the testing was done through a private facility.

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Gasol, Raptors, Nets, C’s

As Sixers general manager Elton Brand weighs possible trade scenarios this week, the final pre-deadline look he got at his roster came on Monday, when Philadelphia was run off the court by Miami in a 137-106 blowout. The Heat’s dominant win extended the 76ers’ losing streak to three games and drew some criticism from All-Star guard Ben Simmons.

“We were soft,” Simmons said of the Sixers, per ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe. “… The physicality side of things, we gotta step that up. That comes with experience, also just comes with personality. Don’t get bullied.”

While Simmons’ comments likely won’t have any direct impact on what Brand does at the deadline, Wolfe points out that the former No. 1 pick also called the Sixers “soft” last January. The club’s deal for Tobias Harris came a few weeks later.

This time around, the Sixers aren’t as well-equipped to make a blockbuster trade, so a move around the edges – possibly for a shooter – is more realistic. For the most part, it’ll be up to the current group to get out of its latest slump, which has dropped Philadelphia’s road record to 9-18 for the season.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • It sounds like Raptors center Marc Gasol, who is dealing with a hamstring injury, will likely be sidelined through the All-Star break, tweets Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. Gasol’s hamstring isn’t viewed as a serious issue, but the club wants to be cautious.
  • There are several reasons why the Raptors are unlikely to make a major trade at this season’s deadline, including the way their roster is constructed and their intrigue with the pieces they already have, writes Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.
  • The Nets also look like a long shot to make a splash on the trade market this week, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Everything that Lewis is hearing from team and league sources points toward Brooklyn doing something relatively minor if the team makes a move at all. Rodions Kurucs, Dzanan Musa, Theo Pinson, and Wilson Chandler are among the Nets’ trade candidates, in Lewis’ view.
  • The Celtics‘ trade deadline plans could be affected to some extent by what they expect Gordon Hayward to do with his $34MM player option this summer, says Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Boston has a few different paths this offseason depending on whether Hayward opts in, leaves in free agency, or signs a new long-term deal with the C’s. As Bulpett relays, the veteran forward isn’t ready to make a decision on that option. “I haven’t thought about it at all,” Hayward said.

Eastern Notes: Chandler, Griffin, Hayward

Wilson Chandler, who recently returned to the Nets from a 25-game suspension, is finding that there’s a big difference between being in great physical shape and NBA game shape, but he’s having no problem adjusting to his new teammates, as Brian Lewis of the New York Post relays.

“It’s very different,” Chandler said. “When you’re playing, you’ve got bodies, you’ve got a lot of athletic guys, a lot of strong guys. So just maneuvering around them, bumping and grinding with those guys, plus having to run up and down the court is a whole different dynamic.

“As far as the plays and teammates, it’s been pretty easy. Kicking off the rust has been hard. But that’ll come in a couple weeks, a few weeks, however long it takes. Cardio, lift, explosiveness, stuff like that.”

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Blake Griffin has struggled to be an impact player for the Pistons this season but coach Dwane Casey believes the power forward can contribute by being more of a playmaker, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press passes along. “He’s not shooting the ball well; that’s the bottom line and it’s no fault of anybody’s,” Casey said. “Players go through that, but out of that, I think he’s a good facilitator. He can pass the ball out of there. There are things he can do to help us win.”
  • A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston wonders if load management is in Gordon Hayward‘s future. The wing only saw 27 minutes of action for the Celtics against the Raptors on Christmas.
  • Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald details how the Heat discovered Duncan Robinson. Robinson went undrafted in 2018 but Miami added him to their Summer League squad before signing him to his current NBA contract.