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NBA Rumors: How Injuries To Scottie Barnes and Russell Westbrook Affect Raptors and Clippers. Plus, Shake Milton, TJ Warren

Los Angeles reserve point guard Russell Westbrook and Toronto Raptors star forward Scottie Barnes will be sidelined for an extended period after suffering significant injuries last night.

Westbrook suffered a broken hand in the Clippers 140-115 victory over the Washington Wizards and is out indefinitely.

“I just feel bad for Russ right now,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said postgame. “You never want to see a player get hurt…

“I don’t know if he needs surgery or anything yet, but he’s out right now, so just suffered trying to figure it out.”

NBA Rumors: How Injuries To Scottie Barnes and Russell Westbrook Affect Raptors and Clippers. Plus, Several Teams Reportedly Interested In Shake Milton

Westbrook suffered the injury early in the second quarter when he attempted to pick the pocket of Wizards guard Jordan Poole.

While there is no official timeline for how long Westbrook will be sidelined as it depends on where the fracture is, it appears likely that the 35-year-old will probably miss the rest of the regular season.

Westbrook had settled nicely behind James Harden as the Clippers’ backup point guard. However, that job now falls to Bones Hyland unless the Clippers decide to make a move for Shake Milton, who will be a free agent once he clears waivers.

Hyland hasn’t seen a lot of time this season but has been effective in the games he has appeared in. In fact, the 16 minutes Hyland played against the Wizards was his first appearance since Jan. 31. While Hyland was just 1 of 7 from the field against the Wizards, he did dole out seven assists and committed one turnover.

Hyland averages 6.0 points and 2.0 assists while shooting 35.4% from the field and 29.4% from the 3-point line in 13.2 minutes over 20 appearances. He has scored in double figures five times this year.

Los Angeles is fourth in the Western Conference with a 38-20 record, though the Clippers are just 4-4 in their last eight contests. The Clippers are two games behind third-place Denver Nuggets.

While Hyland is likely to serve as the Clippers’ backup point guard for at least the start of their upcoming road trip, several players can run the point when Harden takes a breather.  So, Hyland may not get an overabundance of minutes. However, Norman Powell, Terance Mann, and possibly Amir Coffey should see extended minutes.

Scottie Barnes Out Indefinitely

Barnes is out indefinitely after breaking his hand in last night’s loss to the Golden State Warriors. Barnes sustained a fracture to the third metacarpal bone of his left hand in the second quarter. The injury appeared to occur in the second quarter when Immanuel Quickley inadvertently kicked Barnes’ hand as the two tried to contest a layup from Jonathan Kuminga on Friday night.

It will be surprising if the 2023-24 all-star, who was having a career season, plays again this year. The 22-year-old will likely miss at least a month and may need surgery. The Raptors are in the 12th spot in the Eastern Conference at 22-38 and are four games out of the conference’s final play-in spot.

Toronto could go a number of ways to fill Barnes’ starting spot. The Raptors could choose to go small and start Gradey Dick, Ochai Ogabji, or Bruce Brown. They could also go bigger pairing Kelly Olynyk alongside Jakob Poeltl.

Toronto Raptors Promote Javon Freeman-Liberty From Two-Way Contract

The Toronto Raptors converted Javon Freeman-Liberty’s contract from a two-way deal to a standard deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Charania said that Freeman-Liberty will receive a multiyear deal.

Freeman-Liberty has appeared in just two games for a total of four minutes. However, the 24-year-old point guard has been sensational for their G-League club, Raptors 905,

In 26 G-League games, Freeman-Liberty averaged 23.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 4.2 assists. He produced six double-doubles, connected on 2.3 treys a game while compiling a shooting slash line of .461/.345/.830.

    “Javon is quiet guy who came into camp and made a lot of noise,Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic said earlier today. ” … We’re really proud of what he’s accomplished this year.


Freeman-Liberty is an athletic scoring two-way point guard who is a capable distributor. He is a solid distributor, rebounder and defender.

Toronto (22-37) entered the season knowing that they had major decisions to make before the summer with three of their key rotational players headed to free agency. The Raptors ultimately decided to trade OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam instead of losing them for nothing.

The Raptors netted three first round picks, Quickley, RJ Barrett, Brown, Ogbaji, and Olynyk from all their transactions. As a result of all the moves, Freeman-Liberty slots third on the Raptors point guard behind Quickley and Brown and as their fifth or sixth guard overall.

Still with the Raptors likely headed for the lottery, Rajakovic added he would like to get Freeman-Liberty some regular minutes at some point. The Raptors are currbently in 12th place in the Eastern Conference, four games out of thenal play-in spot.

Freeman-Liberty replaces D.J.Carton on the roster. Carton’s 10-day contract expired today. Carton saw four minutes in one appearance for the Raptors.

Nets Promote Jalen Wilson To Standard Contract, Signs Jacob Gilyard To Two-Way Deal

The Brooklyn Nets made two roster moves yesterday. The Nets converted 2023 second-round draft pick Jalen Wilson’s two-way deal to a standard pact.

Wilson received a three-year deal though HoopHype’s Michael Scotto reported that next year will only be partially guaranteed and 2025-26 will be a team option. The Nets used a portion of their mid-level exemption to sign Wilson.

Wilson didn’t get much time with the Nets early in the season. But the 23-year-old forward was impressive during his time with the G-League’s Long Island Nets and is now seeing regular rotation minutes.

Wilson has appeared in 10 straight games for the Nets, including one start. Overall, he has produced one double-double and averages 5.0 points and 2.6 rebounds while compiling a shooting slash line of . 468/.433/.905.

The Nets didn’t have to waive anyone to sign Wilson. But the transaction did open up a two-way spots for the Nets, who filled that opening with Jacob Gilyard per Scotto.

Gilyard who was on a two-way contract with the Memphis Grizzlies before being waived on February 24. The 25-year-old averaged 4.7 points and 3.5 assists with a shooting slash line of .417/.425/1.000 in 37 games, including 14 starts. He scored in double-figures six times.

Gilyard is an excellent ball-handler who doesn’t turn the ball over much. Gilyard is not very efficient offensively as he is essentially strictly 3-point shooter and doesn’t get to the free throw line much. He is a solid perimeter defender though he struggles against bigger and quicker players.

Gilyard doesn’t project to get many minutes with the Nets as he is essentially seventh on the guard depth chart. However, Ben Simmons is dealing with a leg injury and Cam Thomas will miss his third straight game on Saturday night with a leg injury.

Lakers Make A Pair of Two-Way Moves

The Los Angeles Lakers have inked veteran big man Harry Giles to a two-way deal. Since the Lakers didn’t have an open roster, they chose to part ways with Dylan Windler, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

Giles made his return to the NBA this season after sitting out two seasons due to knee injuries. The 6-11 big man signed a two-way contract with the Nets this fall and appeared with 16 games before being waived on Feb. 8.

Giles showed some promise in his limited minutes with the Nets averaging 3.6 points on 50% shooting and 1.8 rebounds in 5.1 minutes. He was very efficient around the rim and within 10 feet and within.

Giles has appeared in 158 career games and could see time with the Lakers are a little upfront with injuries to Christian Wood and Colin CastletonWood, dealing with efusion in his left knee, has been out since Feb. 15 though he is expected to be revaluated this week. Castleton has appeared in just two games for the Lakers and is slated to miss several weeks due to a fractured wrist. Thus leaving, Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Rui Hachimura, Taurean Prince and Jaxson Hayes to handle the frontcourt minutes.

Windler saw 28 minutes in eight games for the Lakers. He appeared in three games for the New York Knicks before being waived and signing the Lakers on Jan. 6. Like Giles, the athletic 6-6 wing won’t be eligible to sign a two-way contract after this season. So,if Windler doesn’t hook up with a team this season, he may have a hard time getting another NBA job.

Teams Potentially Interested in Shake Milton

Milton is a free agent after he worked out a buyout from the Detroit Pistons last night, per Charania. Charania added that “multiple postseason contenders” are interested in signing Milton once he clears waivers. Since Milton was waived prior to end of Friday he is still eligible to play this postseason.

Milton has come off the bench for most of his career though he has made 45 career starts. The 27-year-old combo guard is an excellent ball-handler and can get to rim though he is just an average distrubutor and 3-point shooter. He also has struggled on the defensive end the past two years.

The Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, Orlando Magic, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Clippers and Sacramento Kings.

Other News

  • The Philadelphia 76ers have released Kenneth Lofton Jr, who was on a two-way contract. With the move, the Sixers will have three open roster spots, including one two-way spot.

  • The Minnesota Timberwolves plan to sign T.J. Warren to a 10-day contract  pending a physical exam early this week, according to Charania.

Warren has not played this season and only 46 contests since the beginning of the 2019-20 campaign with 42 of those appearances coming a season ago.  But Charania said that the Wolves have been monitoring his progress throughout the season.

Warren is a combo forward known for his shooting and scoring prowess. The 30-year-old, whose career has been derailed by injuries, averages 14.6 points and four rebounds while posting a shooting slash line of .506/.354/.780.

Minnesota has one open spot and could have another once Justin Jackson’s 10-day deal expires tomorrow. Jackson has seen one minute on the court in two appearances for the Wolves since inking his deal. So, presumably the Wolves will waive Jackson and fill that spot with Warren.

  • The Charlotte Hornets have signed Marques Bolden to a two-way contract. Bolden has appeared in three NBA games this year, one for the Hornets when on a 10-day contract, and 10 over his career. To make room for the 25-year-old, the Hornets waived Nathan Mensah.

Mensah, who went undrafted out of San Diego State in June, signed a two-way contract with the Hornets on Dec. 14. He appeared in 21 contests for the Hornets, averaging 1.3 points and 2.4 boards over 12.3 minutes of action.

  • Mike Muscala officially signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder.


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