Tag: Diante Garrett

Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant

Thunder still waiting on roster exception, hope to qualify by Wednesday


The Thunder began Monday night’s contest against the Nets with just nine healthy players, with injuries to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeremy Lamb, Anthony Morrow, Mitch McGary and Grant Jerrett decimating the roster in the early portion of this season.

When it was over, they were down to just eight, as Andre Roberson left with a foot injury that saw him leave on crutches.

The team applied for a roster exception in order to go out and get some help, but it’s a bit of a complicated process that involves an independent physician’s evaluation, and because of that, Oklahoma City is still waiting for league approval, which it hopes will come by Wednesday.

From Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman:

Previously, the Thunder had expected to receive an additional roster spot following Saturday’s game against Denver due to what the league calls a hardship, when four or more players are out at least two consecutive weeks with injuries. Each injured player must miss three straight games within the two weeks.

But because league rules mandate that an independent physician must determine whether the injuries will keep each player out for two consecutive weeks, and the outside doctor didn’t see it that way, the Thunder did not qualify for the exception. The player in question is Anthony Morrow, who is nursing a sprained MCL.

Of course, that means Morrow has a chance to return sooner than the original four-to-six week timeline placed on his recovery. Since that is a possibility, and the rule prohibits players who return early from playing, the Thunder doesn’t want to eliminate a potential opportunity to get Morrow back sooner.

The Thunder are expected to target a point guard once the exception is granted, with names like Ish Smith, John Lucas III, Diante Garrett and Michael Jenkins reportedly at the top of their list.

Oklahoma City is in real danger here, considering the strength of the other teams in the Western Conference. Fall too far behind in the standings, and it may be too late to climb back into the playoff hunt once Durant, Westbrook and the rest of the team finally make it back to full strength.

Report: Raptors trade Steve Novak to Utah Jazz

Steve Novak

The Utah Jazz have some interesting young pieces up front — Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Jeremy Evans — but none who can really stretch the floor. In general the Jazz were one of the worst three point shooting teams in the NBA.

They have a shooter now — Steve Novak.

The Raptors have traded him to the Jazz, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

In a move to create salary cap space, the Toronto Raptors have reached an agreement to send Steve Novak to the Utah Jazz, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Along with Novak and the two years and $7.2 million left on his contract, the Raptors will send a future second-round draft pick to Utah, sources said. The deal can’t be completed until the league’s moratorium ends on Thursday. The Jazz will send the Raptors guard Diante Garrett, who, with a $915,000 non-guaranteed deal for this season, will be waived, sources said.

That clears out cap space for the Raptors, who just agreed to pay Kyle Lowry $12 million a season starting next year.

Novak is a stretch four who is a career 43.2 percent shooter from beyond the arc but didn’t really fit in the Raptors rotation much last year, lost behind Patrick Patterson.

Bobcats waive Ben Gordon after deadline for him to join playoff roster

Ersan Ilyasova, Ben Gordon

A year ago, the Charlotte Bobcats tried to trade Ben Gordon – and apparently couldn’t.

A week ago, they tried to buy out Gordon – and apparently couldn’t.

But they could waive him.

Bobcats news release:

Charlotte Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins announced today that the team has requested waivers on guard Ben Gordon. The Bobcats roster now stands at 14 players.

“With the recent acquisition of additional backcourt depth to our roster, we believe this is in the best interests of both parties,” Higgins said. “We want to thank Ben for his contributions over the past two seasons and wish him the best as he moves on in his career.”

By not waiving Gordon before midnight, the Bobcats ensured he’s not eligible for a playoff roster. This was either a negotiation gone nowhere or a “screw you” move by a team fed up with a player who’d been a bit petulant.

Assuming Gordon didn’t agree to a buyout – why would he after midnight? – he’ll get the remaining $ 3,571,765 he’s owed. So, if the Bobcats were trying to punish him, they’ll only go so far.

But this makes it unlikely any team signs Gordon for the rest of the season.

Teams not interested in the playoffs probably don’t want an over-the-hill veteran taking minutes from young players. Teams in the playoff hunt probably don’t want to waste time integrating a player who can’t play in the postseason.

But maybe there’s a middle-ground team who could use Gordon: the New York Knicks.

The Knicks’ playoff chances range from slim to none, but they’ve already traded their first- and second-round picks. They have no incentive to tank.

New York can make best use of its remaining games by making Carmelo Anthony happy before he enters free agency. Even if the Knicks miss the playoffs, a few extra wins could only help.

There’s no guarantee Gordon – who’s posted negative win shares this season and last, one of only nine players to do so* – would actually help New York. A shooter making just 37 percent of his 2-pointers and 28 percent of his 3-points tends to carry little value.

Which is why the playoff-bound Bobcats would rather pay Gordon to go away than keep him.

*The others: Al Harrington, Tornike Shengelia, Marquis Teague, Drew Gooden, Quincy Miller, Diante Garrett, Tyshawn Taylor and Dexter Pittman.

Jazz make it official, sign Diante Garrett to replace Jamaal Tinsley

Diante Garrett

We told you yesterday when the news broke that Utah was cutting lose Jamaal Tinsley that the Jazz could turn to the D-League for his replacement.

They have. Utah has signed Diante Garrett from the Iowa Energy, the team announced.

Garrett, age 25 out of Iowa State, played 19 games for the Suns last season in a reserve role and didn’t exactly blow any doors off. Before that he played in Europe. He was in camp this preseason with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Utah has John Lucas III also on the roster to play the point, but they are ultimately waiting for the return of Trey Burke, who they want to run the show.

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Wednesday night’s games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $3,000. Starts at 7pm ET. Here’s the link.

Garrett will get a chance to show he belongs on the rebuilding Jazz, we’ll see what he does with the opportunity.

Westbrook has knee surgery Tuesday, will miss 4-6 weeks of regular season

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Westbrook looks on during a timeout against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half of their NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City

This is bad news for the Thunder — not “the season is lost, woe is me” kind of news but for a team with championship aspirations it is a step back.

Russell Westbrook had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to reduce swelling on Tuesday, the team announced.

The big news — it pushes back his recovery timetable to the point he will miss a month to six weeks of the regular season. He will be back somewhere around Thanksgiving, and even then history suggests it will take a month or so of playing in games to get his feel back.

Westbrook first suffered an injury in a collision with Patrick Beverly of the Rockets during the playoffs. With Westbrook out and defenses able to load up on Kevin Durant, the Thunder were eliminated in the second round.

The Tuesday surgery showed the meniscus healed properly but there were other things to be cleaned up, Thunder GM Sam Presti said in a conference call, as reported by Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman.

“The origin of the swelling that was discovered was caused by the presence of a loose stitch…”

“Although we lost a little bit of time, we gained a tremendous amount of confidence in the recovery and the knee itself…”

“We all know (Westbrook). His work and his diligence through this process has been nothing short of spectacular.”

Westbrook — an All-Star and Olympian who averaged 23.2 points and 7.4 assists a game last season — should be back for the second half of the season and a playoff run. In a deep Western Conference the lack of Westbrook to start the season could cost the Thunder playoff seeding slots.

While he is out a lot falls on the shoulders of Reggie Jackson the third-year player out of Boston College who averaged 14 minutes a game last season but was going to be asked to do a lot more this year with Kevin Martin (the replacement for James Harden) gone. Behind Jackson are Derek Fisher and rookie Diante Garrett.