Zach Collins

Spurs Guaranteeing Zach Collins’ 2022/23 Salary

The Spurs have decided to guarantee Zach Collins‘ salary for the 2022/23 season, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link).

Collins signed a three-year, $22MM deal with San Antonio last summer, but only the first year was fully guaranteed. His 2022/23 salary of $7.35MM was partially guaranteed for half that figure ($3.675MM). Keeping him under contract through today’s salary guarantee deadline will ensure he receives the full amount. His $7.7MM cap hit for ’23/24 remains non-guaranteed.

A series of foot injuries have limited Collins to just 39 games since the start of the 2019/20 season, but 28 of those came for the Spurs in the second half of ’21/22. In those 28 appearances, he put up 7.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 2.2 APG in 17.9 minutes per contest, flashing some of the promise that made him the 10th overall pick in 2017.

Bartelstein is confident that bigger things are ahead for his client, as he said to Orsborn: “He is going to have an amazing summer and will take his game to another level next season.”

The Spurs now have nine players on fully guaranteed salaries for ’22/23, with Thursday’s three draft picks – Jeremy Sochan, Malaki Branham, and Blake Wesley – expected to join that group. Keita Bates-Diop, Tre Jones, and Jock Landale remain under contract without full guarantees.

Southwest Notes: McCollum, Collins, Landale, Knight, Alvarado

CJ McCollum sees tonight’s game against the Trail Blazers as the “final closure” on the trade that sent him to the Pelicans, writes Andrew Lopez of ESPN. McCollum’s family joined him in New Orleans recently, but this week marks his first time back at his Portland house since the February 8 deal.

“I had conversations and was able to talk to some of my teammates and obviously I still talk to them to this day,” said McCollum, who spent his first eight and a half NBA seasons with the Blazers. “I talked with the staff. It’ll be good to see (coach Chauncey Billups), talk about our teams. Talk about our football teams. Just kind of catch up and get back to business. Get the win and get outta here. This is the final step. You know this is going to happen at some point. But it’s good that it’s happy emotions opposed to the opposite. I like to call it a happy breakup. One where you’re not bitter at your ex.”

Although McCollum was a fan favorite in Portland and loved playing there, it was clear by the trade deadline that it was time to move on. He has quickly become a team leader with the Pelicans, averaging career-best numbers with 25.9 points, 6.5 assists and 4.9 rebounds in 19 games.

“It was a team I kind of zeroed in on and they obviously zeroed in on me,” McCollum said. “I knew what I signed up for and what I was going to be asked to do, and I’m doing it. They held up their end of the bargain as well. I’m happy to be in this situation.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Zach Collins‘ return from injury and Jock Landale‘s emergence late in his first NBA season have stabilized the Spurs‘ frontcourt rotation, per Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. San Antonio is especially happy with Collins, who is delivering on the three-year, $22MM gamble the organization took on him after missing nearly two full seasons and undergoing three ankle surgeries. Landale is giving the team a reason to consider guaranteeing his $1.56MM contract for next season.
  • Brandon Knight was on the court tonight, one day after rejoining the Mavericks on a 10-day contract, tweets Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. Knight flew to Cleveland to meet the team, which needed backcourt help with Spencer Dinwiddie, Trey Burke and Frank Ntilikina all missing the game.
  • The four-year deal the Pelicans gave rookie guard Jose Alvarado when they converted his two-way contract carries a $1.1MM guarantee for next season, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Years three and four are non-guaranteed, and the team holds an option on the final season.

Southwest Notes: Collins, Grizzlies, Murray, Pelicans

Spurs big man Zach Collins played his first NBA game in nearly 18 months on Friday night, recording 10 points, seven rebounds and two steals off the bench in just 13 minutes. His performance helped San Antonio defeat Houston 131-106, as the Spurs bounced back from a 17-point loss to Miami on Thursday.

“He was pretty awesome for his first pro game in two years,” head coach Gregg Popovich said of Collins, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). “I can’t even imagine what was going through his head before and during the game. He was very good. A lot of rust in there probably after a couple of years. We are happy for him.”

Collins last played in August of 2020 with the Blazers. He has undergone two surgeries on his foot since then, also signing a three-year, $22MM deal with San Antonio as a free agent last offseason.

Collins only played 11 games in 2019/20 and missed the entire ’20/21 season. During the ’18/19 campaign with Portland, he averaged 6.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 17.6 minutes per game, appearing in a total of 77 contests.

There’s more from the Southwest Division today:

  • Mark Giannotto of the Memphis Commercial Appeal makes a case for why the Grizzlies shouldn’t harm their chemistry by making a major deal ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. Memphis currently owns the third-best record in the NBA at 36-18. The team has seen productive seasons from MVP candidate Ja Morant, big man Jaren Jackson Jr. and others, showing great chemistry on both ends of the floor.
  • Spurs guard Dejounte Murray isn’t bothered by not making the All-Star team, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets. Murray is averaging a career-high 19.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and 9.2 assists per game. “I am not going to be mad, angry about it,” he said. “I didn’t make it, it’s fine. Everyone that made it, we were well deserved. Good for them. Just to be in the conversation, from where I come from…I am thankful and grateful.”
  • William Guillory of The Athletic examines potential trade scenarios for the Pelicans, who currently rank 11th in the Western Conference at 20-32. New Orleans is only one game behind Portland (21-32) for a spot in the play-in tournament. The team will be seeking its third straight win when it plays Houston on Sunday.

Western Notes: Mitchell, Carmelo, Pelicans, Collins

Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell will return to action on Friday night vs. Brooklyn after missing the club’s last eight games due to a concussion. While he’s happy to be back, Mitchell admitted to reporters on Friday that it’s been a long few weeks recovering from his second concussion of the season and his fourth concussion overall.

“I got to a point where I was kind of a little nervous,” Mitchell said, per the Jazz’s website. “… To be honest, I was like, ‘What happened?’ because I knew this was bad. I really wasn’t doing anything on my phone, not playing Xbox, not leaving the house. … It was bad. The headache (and) the nausea were pretty messed up.”

Mitchell and the Jazz are still missing Rudy Gobert, but they’ll be facing a shorthanded Nets club. Already without Kevin Durant, Brooklyn announced today that James Harden will be out due to left hamstring tightness.

Here are a few more notes from around the Western Conference:

  • Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony exited Thursday’s game against the Clippers early due to a right hamstring strain, but there’s optimism that the injury isn’t serious, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Sources tell Wojnarowski that Anthony is being considered day-to-day for now.
  • Pelicans big man Willy Hernangomez and guard Garrett Temple entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Thursday, per Christian Clark of NOLA.com (Twitter link). New Orleans now has three players in the protocols, with the two new additions joining injured wing Didi Louzada.
  • Spurs big man Zach Collins, who isn’t on Friday’s injury report, is thrilled to be cleared to play in an NBA game for the first time since August 2020 after enduring a long, challenging recovery process following an ankle injury. “I’m excited, nervous, anxious — but mostly excited,” Collins said on Thursday, per Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. “Now I’m back to normal life.”

Zach Collins Could Make Spurs Debut On Friday

Zach Collins could make his long-awaited Spurs debut on Friday. Head coach Gregg Popovich said there’s a “good chance” that the oft-injured power forward would be active against Houston in the second game of a back-to-back set, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets.

As Orsborn notes, Collins hasn’t played in an NBA game since he logged 17 minutes for Portland against Brooklyn in the Orlando bubble on August 13, 2020. The big man has only appeared in 11 NBA games the last two seasons due to shoulder, foot and ankle injuries.

Collins prepped for his return with a stint in the G League. He played four games for the Austin Spurs and averaged 15.3 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.8 APG and 1.8 BPG in 25.7 MPG.

Collins was signed to a three-year, $22MM contract last summer, which includes a partial guarantee for next season. The third year is non-guaranteed.

The 10th pick of the 2017 draft, Collins became an unrestricted free agent when the Trail Blazers decided not to extend him a $7MM qualifying offer.

Collins had a major setback in late June when another fracture was discovered in his left foot. He underwent a second revision surgery to repair a left medial malleolus stress fracture.

Southwest Notes: Bates-Diop, Jones, Collins, Ingram

Keita Bates-Diop is out of the league’s health and safety protocols, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News tweets. The Spurs forward, who has missed four games, is no longer on the team’s injury report. San Antonio plays Golden State on Tuesday.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Grizzlies guard Tyus Jones is out of the league’s health and safety protocols, according to the team’ PR department (Twitter link). Jones was available to play against Philadelphia on Monday.
  • The Spurs have recalled forward Zach Collins from their G League affiliate, the Austin Spurs, Marc Spears of The Undefeated tweets. Collins played four games and averaged 15.3 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.8 APG and 1.8 BPG in 25.7 MPG. Collins, who has only appeared in 11 NBA games the past two seasons due to shoulder, foot and ankle injuries, has yet to make his San Antonio debut after undergoing foot surgery last summer.
  • Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram didn’t suit up against Cleveland on Monday but he should return soon, Jim Eichenhofer tweets. Ingram has been out since January 20th with an ankle injury. “He’s getting better and better,” coach Willie Green said. “We expect him back soon.”

Injury Updates: Ball, LaVine, Nader, Collins, Lopez, Carter

Lonzo Ball and Zach LaVine will both miss the Bulls‘ upcoming three-game road trip so they can receive treatment for knee injuries, writes Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. Coach Billy Donovan updated their conditions in a media session before tonight’s game, saying the team’s first treatment plan for Ball’s knee was unsuccessful.

Ball, who was sent back to Chicago before Monday’s contest in Memphis, had his diagnosis changed from soreness in the knee to a bone contusion. Donovan said a timetable for his return won’t be set until the medical staff sees how he responds to the new treatments, adding that doctors haven’t considered the possibility of surgery yet.

“I think the biggest thing right now is what are the steps that we can do to get him back and get him healthy,” Donovan said. “I haven’t gotten into any detail with them (doctors) about that other than, hey, we’ll try this treatment, we’ll try this therapy, see how it goes, and then whatever the next step is that will be. But I haven’t been told what any next steps are gonna be.”

LaVine, who hasn’t played since leaving last Wednesday’s game in the first quarter, is responding to therapy for pain in his left knee, Donovan added. There’s no timeline for LaVine’s return either, but Donovan said he has been shooting free throws and doing strength training.

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • Suns forward Abdel Nader is making progress after missing the last 28 games with an injury to his right knee, but it will be a while before he can play again, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “He’s starting to ramp up,” coach Monty Williams said. “He hasn’t done any 1-on-1, 2-on-2, 3-on-3. So he’s still a ways away.”
  • Spurs center Zach Collins is getting closer to making his season debut after playing in the G League Monday, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express News (Twitter link). Collins expects to play another G League game Friday, and coach Gregg Popovich said there’s not a definite time when he’ll be called up.
  • The Bucks haven’t set a timetable for center Brook Lopez to return after having back surgery in early December, tweets Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We felt positive when we had the surgery,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “All the reports coming out of it, the hopes and the expectations. So nothing’s changed, nothing’s new. … This is all kind of to some degree what we expected, planned and we’ll continue to monitor and see how he progresses.”
  • Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. missed his seventh straight game tonight with soreness in his left hamstring, but acting head coach Jesse Mermuys said he’s “very close” to returning, tweets Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel.

Zach Collins Plays G League Game, Nears Return For Spurs

The Spurs took a gamble on Zach Collins in free agency and the oft-injured forward could make his San Antonio debut sometime this month.

Collins was assigned to the G League Austin Spurs on Sunday, as Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw tweets, and he recorded eight points and three blocks in 19 minutes against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Monday.

Collins expects to play one more game for the Austin Spurs on Friday before returning to the NBA club, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News (Twitter link).

“Then after that, if that goes well, and the ankle responds to that well, then I should be going back up (to the Spurs),” Collins said.

However, coach Gregg Popovich said that’s not necessarily the case, Orsborn reports in another tweet.

“He’s been out for a long time, I mean a really long time,” Popovich said. “He needs this to get his rhythm back and to feel comfortable and have confidence in himself, physically, as much as playing-wise.”

Collins was signed to a three-year, $22MM contract last summer, which includes a partial guarantee for next season. The third year is non-guaranteed.

The 10th pick of the 2017 draft, Collins has seen his career sidetracked by injuries. Collins became an unrestricted free agent when the Trail Blazers decided not to extend him a $7MM qualifying offer. He has only appeared in 11 games the past two seasons due to shoulder, foot and ankle injuries.

Collins had a major setback in late June when another fracture was discovered in his left foot. He underwent a second revision surgery to repair a left medial malleolus stress fracture.

One of his new teammates, Doug McDermott, said the team is eager to see Collins get back in action. He hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since August 2020 at the Orlando bubble.

“It’s been a long journey for him,” McDermott told Orsborn (Twitter link).

Injury Notes: Nance, Zion, P. Williams, Z. Collins

An MRI on the injured right knee of Trail Blazers forward Larry Nance Jr. showed no significant damage, the team announced in a press release. While that’s good news for the Blazers and for Nance, who sustained the injury on Wednesday, the 29-year-old remains unavailable for the short term. According to the club, Nance will be reevaluated in one week.

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

  • Zion Williamson will continue his rehab from offseason foot surgery away from the Pelicans, the team announced in a press release. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Williamson has moved his rehab to Portland, Oregon. The former No. 1 overall pick, who called the recovery process a “difficult” one, continues to only participate in partial weight-bearing activities, according to the club.
  • The Bulls still aren’t ruling out the possibility of Patrick Williams returning from his left wrist injury by the end of the season, as Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes. Reports at the time of Williams’ injury indicated he would likely miss the rest of the regular season — the Bulls provided a four-to-six month timeline. “Patrick is coming back slowly, the schedule is to be determined,” president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said during an appearance on the Mully & Haugh Show on 670 The Score. “We’re not going to put any pressure for him to come back. We’re just going to go from week to week, we’ll see how he improves. We’ll see in terms of a date. I don’t want to put any timeline on it, but it would be great to have Patrick back by end of season.”
  • Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said this week that big man Zach Collins is nearing a return from offseason ankle surgery, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “He was (doing basketball activities) until the new (COVID) restrictions came in,” Popovich said. “But he’s cleared to play once he gets a rhythm, and if he gets a chance to play some 3-on-3 or 5-on-5 or 4-on-4. … It’s kind of difficult now, but he’s almost ready to go.”

Injury Notes: Mobley, Bryant, Middleton, Luka, Z. Collins

No. 3 overall pick Evan Mobley missed Wednesday’s contest for the Cavaliers with a sore hip, tweets Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. In a follow-up tweet, Fedor cites a source who says Mobley sustained the injury in Miami on Dec. 1 after a hard fall. According to Fedor, the team has been managing and treating the injury, but Mobley’s pain has lingered.

Fedor notes Mobley wanted to play against Houston on Wednesday, but the day off will allow him extra rest ahead of the team’s upcoming road trip, which starts Saturday at Milwaukee. The Cavs beat the Rockets 124-89 in Mobley’s absence.

Here are some more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. says center Thomas Bryant, who’s recovering from a torn ACL, is expected to make his debut sometime in January, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (via Twitter). Hughes notes that the team had previously mentioned December as a possible target for return, but apparently Bryant isn’t ready yet.
  • Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer is hopeful that two-time All-Star Khris Middleton could return as soon as Friday, Eric Nehm of The Athletic relays (Twitter link). Middleton suffered a hyperextended knee on Monday and warmed up prior to Wednesday’s game.
  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic was ruled out for Wednesday’s contest against the Lakers and will miss the team’s game at Minnesota on Sunday as he continues to rehab his sore left ankle, Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News relays. The Mavs lost to the Lakers in overtime, 107-104.
  • There’s no target date set for Zach Collins to return for the Spurs, writes Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. “Just whenever I’m ready, whenever I am feeling good,” Collins said at a charity event to promote youth literacy. “I haven’t played so long, conditioning and getting the rhythm back is where I am at right now.” Collins has had multiple surgeries on his left ankle, the latest being in June. He hasn’t appeared in a game since August of 2020.