Joe Mussatto: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort and Theo…

Joe Mussatto: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort and Theo Maledon are all available for the Thunder tonight. Darius Bazley (low back soreness) and Isaiah Roby (right foot soreness) are questionable. Al Horford (rest) is out.

More on Load Management

Brad Townsend: Carlisle on Porzingis: "I think there's a good chance that, eventually, he'll be playing back-to-backs. I'm just not exactly sure when." Carlisle says he believes Porzingis is working steadily toward meeting that threshold.
Tim MacMahon: Mavs are listing Kristaps Porzingis as questionable for tonight’s game vs. Suns due to injury recovery. They are being cautious about playing Porzingis in back-to-backs — but the Mavs are desperately in need of a win after losing 7 of 9.
Eddie Sefko: Kristaps Porzingis (knee maintenance) will not play tonight vs. Houston, the fifth game in seven nights for the Mavericks. Victor Oladipo out for Rockets for load management. Rick Carlisle says he's doing exceptionally well.
Tony East: Victor Oladipo, whose Rockets are playing on the second night of a back-to-back tonight, is out this evening. He’s still resting on one of the nights of B2Bs, even on his new team.
Nick Friedell: Kerr gave some of his veterans a day off in advance of the upcoming back to back against the Spurs and Knicks. Kerr said as of now everybody’s minutes will remain the same — but he wants to see how the games play out.
Dane Moore: Ryan Saunders says that Karl-Anthony Towns won't necessarily miss all back-to-backs. Saunders says "the plan is fluid". Saunders says this situation is unique because KAT happened to return on the front-end of a back-to-back.
Josh Robbins: The decision not to play Aaron Gordon (left hamstring injury management) was taken because this is the first game of a back-to-back, Steve Clifford said. Clifford added the hope is that Gordon won't need to be held out any more games in back-to-backs for the rest of the season.
Cayleigh Griffin: #Magic injury report gets longer as Aaron Gordon is OUT (Left Hamstring; Injury Management) Aminu, Carter-Williams, Fultz, Isaac, and Okeke are also out. Fournier is questionable (Back; Low spasms)
Jim Owczarski: The #Pistons will have Blake Griffin back tonight off rest while Josh Jackson (ankle) is considered questionable. They lost Killian Hayes for a long while the other night. The #Bucks, once again, will be without Pat Connaughton, Torrey Craig and Sam Merrill.
Tom Azarly: Kawhi Leonard, who isn't listed on the Clippers injury report, is expected to play tonight against the Warriors. It'll be his first back-to-back set since April of 2017.
Mark Medina: Steve Kerr said it's clear how much he will increase Draymond Green's workload. He was at 18 minutes on Friday against Portland. Kerr: "We're not going to all of a sudden throw him out there for 30 minutes tomorrow."
Duane Rankin: #Suns injury report vs. Nuggets Dario Saric (right quad soreness, injury management) OUT. Part of #Suns plan in bringing Saric back as this is 2nd of back-to-back for Phoenix. Played at Utah last night. Abdel Nader (concussion protocol) and Jalen Smith (left ankle sprain) OUT
Brandon Rahbar: Daigneault on if Horford will rest on every back to back: “Remains to be seen but we’ve had success (with Gallinari). It’s certainly not us dictating to Al, we’ve had conversations with him. We’re going to have him on a plan this year to have him play at a high level all season.”
Joe Mussatto: Al Horford (rest) is listed as out tonight against the Magic. Ty Jerome (left ankle sprain) is also out. George Hill (neck spasms) is questionable.
Rod Beard: #Pistons injury report for Monday at #Hawks: OUT: Blake Griffin (left knee injury management) Derrick Rose (rest) QUESTIONABLE: Jahlil Okafor (right ankle sprain) PROBABLE: Sekou Doumbouya (right foot soreness) #DFS
Malika Andrews: The Nets will decide tomorrow morning if Kevin Durant will play in this back-to-back, Steve Nash says. The Nets face the Hornets tonight and the Grizzles tomorrow.
Ava Wallace: Scott Brooks said the team is still deciding how to handle Russell Westbrook and Davis Bertans' minutes with a back-to-back this weekend. Brooks has said Westbrook won't play back-to-backs. Bertans' minutes will "slowly increase."
“Obviously, every game matters, but we’re competing for something that’s [bigger]. We don’t ever want to shortchange our stuff,” James said before the season. “For me personally, that’s a fine line with me, but understanding that it’s a shortened season. … The offseason is going to be the shortest season for any professional sport ever. We’re very conscientious about what we’re going to do going forward as far as me personally.”
But with a compressed schedule and the disrupted rhythm of a typical NBA offseason, rest will likely be more rampant. Lakers coach Frank Vogel said his plans for James to rest are “definitely fluid.” “There will be conversations between the coaching staff, the front office, the medical team and LeBron,” Vogel said. “Just sort of on a day-to-day basis, see how he’s feeling and we’ll see how that plays out.”
A new study on NBA teams in the bubble has examined the effect of travel-related sleep issues and sports performance. The study revealed there’s truth to the idea behind “home court advantage,” according to a press release on the study: It found travel-related sleep issues like jetlag can mess with players’ accuracy and performance.
Researchers found the NBA teams that didn’t travel had improved shooting accuracy and better rebounds compared to before the pandemic. In other words, home court advantage — the idea that a sports team performs better when they play on their own court or field, rather than having to travel to the opposing team’s city — is real.
In a memo sent to teams by the NBA Monday morning, the league laid out resting policies for the 2020-21 regular season -- including granting significant flexibility to teams resting players in non-nationally televised games, particularly at the start of the season. The memo, which was obtained by ESPN, says that flexibility applies to teams playing back-to-back games and presents examples of possible scenarios, including, "to rest a key veteran player who played a substantial role on a team that advanced deep into the 2020 Playoffs, or to rest a player who is still returning to full strength after recovering from COVID-19."
Mark Medina: LeBron James on if he will load manage this season: "We'll be as smart as we can be." LeBron said "every game matters" and "we never shortchange our stuff." But considering the short offseason, LeBron said "we're very conscientiousness of what we do going forward."
Mike Trudell: LeBron on how he feels physically, lining up with basically every other year: “Right now I’m sore as hell … it’s Day 2 of camp. That’s been my whole career except when I was 18 or 19. But nothing that’s stopping me from being on the floor."
Kendra Andrews: Malone wants to be mindful of the load Jamal and Nikola played in the playoffs. He doesn’t plan on playing them crazy minutes in the preseason, but when regular season games come around, he won’t run them into the ground but understands they are needed for this team to win.
Welcome to HeatCulture 2.0, then – the kinder, gentler version that gets the same results without nearly the collateral damage. Erik Spoelstra may sneer at the term “load management,” but what Miami has done with its player usage this season has been a lot more Spursy than anything they’ve tried in the past. Truth be told, the hardcore #HeatCulture has been almost #Cancun-like in terms of the minutes demands on its best players. This carries over from the regular season, too. No Heat player ranked in the league’s top 30 in minutes per game. Butler led the team at 33.8, and he missed 15 games for assorted reasons that were definitely not load management so we won’t call it that. Most notably, he only played in four of Miami’s eight seeding games, and one of them was a 15-minute cameo.
Cayleigh Griffin: To clarify: Russell Westbrook has already been on a minutes restriction the last two games. 25-28 mins in Game 5; 25-30 mins in Game 6. In his media availability, he was asked if he’ll continue to be on one. He said yes. He missed nearly 3 weeks with a strained quad.
Even beyond the overall level of opposition rising significantly as we move through playoff rounds, the exploitative nature of repeated games against the same opponent can change the value of various skillsets. Players who thrive on mistakes can lose effectiveness once those mistakes go away. Predictable tendencies become more easily schemed, specific limitations attackable; witness Chris Paul seeking out opportunities against Robert Covington at the end of Game 6. Covington is a wonderful overall defender who excels in most areas of team defense, but sometimes struggles to contain ball-dominant scorers in one-on-one situations. We don’t have a great model for which types of players tend to fade in this environment, and it is likely that there is a mix of traits which are simply less valuable in the playoffs regardless of opposition, while other situations where the specifics of the pairings turn certain matchups into a bad series for this player or that.
Andrew Greif: Clippers star Kawhi Leonard (injury management, left knee soreness) will NOT play today vs. Portland. Decision was just made. This is the same approach to back-to-backs the Clippers have taken all season with Kawhi. Clippers play Sunday, as well.
Jamie Hudson: Nuggets Injury Report vs. Blazers today: Troy Daniels (right hip; tightness) and Jamal Murray (left hamstring; tightness) are questionable. Will Barton (right knee; soreness), Gary Harris (right hip; muscle strain) and Paul Millsap (rest) are out.
Here’s how it would go, Swin Cash says, if the New Orleans Pelicans give in to what everyone on earth wants them to do – play Zion Williamson 40 minutes a night – and the first pick in last year’s draft got hurt in the Orlando bubble. “If anything were to happen – oh, my goodness,” Cash said with a laugh on this week’s “Hoops, Adjacent” podcast. “They’d be ripping us a new one. Fire ’em all!”
Being smart, Cash, the Pelicans’ vice president of operations and team development, knows better. What happens with the Pels in Orlando does not matter when weighed against the next 10 years – at all. No one in the Big Easy will give a damn in three years if the Pelicans rally to the eighth spot in the west now if Williamson is healthy and beasting opponents in 2023. So keeping him on his current pitch count designed by the team’s medical staff will continue to be official club policy, no matter what it does to New Orleans’ postseason hopes, and no matter what NBA Twitter says. Kowtowing to the “microwave mentality,” as Cash puts it, is franchise suicide. And she’s been far too accomplished in her career to recommend giving in to the will of the moment.
Mark Followill: For tonight's Mavs vs Nuggets game at 7p on @FOXSportsSW. Porzingis (left knee, injury recovery) and Seth Curry (left ankle sprain) are out. Cauley-Stein and Kidd-Gilchrist who were out due to illness in San Antonio last night are probable.
Storyline: Load Management
More HoopsHype Rumors
October 6, 2022 | 10:04 am EDT Update

Ime Udoka unlikely to coach Celtics again?

Michael Scotto: I spoke with four NBA executives this week about the Ime Udoka situation in Boston. Each of those four executives told HoopsHype they don’t think Udoka will return as coach of the Boston Celtics after his yearlong suspension is done. Jared Weiss: That’s the consensus. I haven’t had anyone in the organization tell me they don’t think he’s coming back. I feel like they’re moving on with that expectation and that the reason for a suspension is more about whatever legal processes are happening right now rather than they genuinely want to reassess it in the future. I’m sure there is some degree of uncertainty about whether or not they would bring him back. I don’t think it’s like he’s fired, and it’s set in stone, and that’s it. I’m sure there’s some evaluation that has to be done at some point, but it seems so unlikely that he would come back.

Robert Williams walking with a crutch

Jared Weiss: I haven’t heard anything indicating there would be an earlier time frame than the 2-3 months. I just saw him walking around the other day. He’s got a single crutch on the side where the knee (surgery) is. He’s basically using it as a big cane essentially to support his walking. He’s walking pretty gingerly. It’s not like he’s full on limping, but he doesn’t look like he’s putting all of his weight on his knee the way he normally would, and he’s not doing full strides like he normally would. I think he’s definitely got a ways to go before getting back out there, and I’d presume they’re going to go on the more conservative time of this time frame because he’s already come back a few different times in his career, and the results haven’t been good. They’ve got to take as much time as they can because if he goes down again for this injury, you’ve got to worry about his career at that point.

Robert Williams' injury influenced Boston to sign Blake Griffin?

Michael Scotto: I think the absence of Robert Williams affected the way they went about filling Danilo Gallinari’s roster spot. There were some rumblings out there about Carmelo Anthony before Blake Griffin. One of the reasons the Boston Celtics targeted Griffin was the team prioritized defense. Griffin was one of the league leaders at drawing charges. With Williams being out to start the season, Griffin can play the five. Offensively, Griffin can help with DHOs (dribble handoffs). Melo would’ve been a fine stretch four and could’ve replaced that role similar to Gallinari, but that wasn’t the focus after the surgery for Williams, I’m told.

NBA executives believe Grant Williams is worth $12-13 million in extension talks

Michael Scotto: Following the recent extension for Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr, I spoke with four NBA executives, and they told HoopsHype they projected Grant Williams to be worth between $12-13 million annually in any extension talks. One executive told me, “For an extension now, he’s probably in the $12-14 million territory. I think $15 million is not out of the question, but definitely on the high end, and it means they’d think he’s going to be a starter.”