NBA Rumors for Sat, March 28
InsideHoops NBA rumors updated 12:00 p.m. ET. More stories and other news also appears on the InsideHoops basketball blog.
For the third time in less than six months, Durant will have surgery on his bothersome right foot. The latest is a bone graft procedure scheduled for early next week in New York. It comes with a 4-to-6 month recovery timetable — easily the longest of the three surgeries — and sets his projected return to basketball activity between late July and late September, right at the heels of training camp. Oklahoman
This latest step was decided upon after week-long consultation between three of the country’s premier foot and ankle specialists — Dr. Martin O’Malley in New York City, Dr. James Nunley at Duke University and Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, who performed the first two surgeries. Oklahoman
After the Jones fracture was discovered in his right foot during training camp, Durant had the original surgery, which knocked him out six weeks, and a screw inserted to help with the healing. The second surgery, performed in late February, was to replace that screw, which was irritating the foot by rubbing against his bone and causing continued soreness. Oklahoman
Jones fracture surgeries have a success rate of between 92 percent to 95 percent. “It’s a little unusual that this didn’t heal,” Dr. Steven B. Weinfeld, a foot and ankle specialist from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said. “Once you put the screw in, these usually heal reliably.” Oklahoman
Hassan Whiteside offered a close look at his injured hand before Friday's road game against the Atlanta Hawks and it didn't look pretty. Miami Herald Blog
Whiteside split his right hand between his forefinger and ring finger during the Heat's game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday. It's a significant injury and could sideline him for several games, or perhaps longer. Whiteside cut his hand on the rim and the wound required 10 stitches. The laceration split the webbing between his fingers. Miami Herald Blog
"I don't even want to catch the ball, to be honest," [Whiteside] said before sitting out Friday night's game against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena, the final game on this four-game trip. "I could play, but I don't think I'd be that effective. "I don't think I can rebound or block any shots or even catch the ball." South Florida Sun Sentinel
Dirk Nowitzki on being the founding member of the 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 1,000 blocks, 1,000 3-pointers club: “That’s a weird club, obviously. With one weirdo in it. That usually means that big guys like that are not shot-blockers like me.” Dallas Morning News
Hawks forward Mike Scott is out of the walking boot he has worn since suffering a left big toe sprain on March 11 at the Nuggets. The timetable for Scott’s return was set at two to four weeks. He missed his eighth game Friday when the Hawks hosted the Heat. Atlanta Journal Constitution
Even Shaquille O'Neal wonders "what if?" What if, after spending the first four seasons of his NBA career with the Orlando Magic, he hadn't signed a free-agent deal to join the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996? "Knowing what I know now, I would've stayed," O'Neal said. "I would've stayed and fulfilled my seven years and then looked at it differently after my seventh year." Orlando Sentinel
Flanked by Penny Hardaway, Horace Grant, Nick Anderson and Dennis Scott, the mammoth center led Orlando to the 1995 NBA Finals, where the Magic lost to Hakeem Olajuwon's Houston Rockets in four games. The next year, the Magic fell to Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference finals in four games. O'Neal never played for the Magic again. Orlando Sentinel
The Magic initially made him a low offer, and the Lakers swooped in with a $121 million offer and the lure of Hollywood. The Magic eventually offered O'Neal a deal that eclipsed the Lakers' offer, but it was too late. Restricted free agency didn't exist in those days, so the Magic were powerless to prevent O'Neal from leaving. Orlando Sentinel
The soon-to-be 23-year-old Enes Kanter is in position to land a significant deal. Despite clear and obvious issues defensively, he could be the third-most sought after center on the free agent market after Marc Gasol and DeAndre Jordan. Prominent teams like the Knicks and Lakers should have ample room available under the salary cap. Several others could wind up significantly under the salary cap depending on how their free agency period unfolds. If Kanter can’t negotiate a deal to his liking with the Thunder, he should be able to find an offer sheet elsewhere. By submitting a qualifying offer, the Thunder will be able to match any signed offer sheet within three days. Oklahoman
Complicating matters is the salary cap spike that will occur in 2016. The cap is expected to be around $67 million for 2015-16. According to some forecasts, the cap could swell to around $90 million in 2016 and perhaps $105 million in 2017. Many players and agents will have to weigh the pros and cons of locking in long-term security this summer and taking short-term deals in order to re-enter free agency and attempt to grab even more money while it’s raining dollars. Oklahoman
Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Monta Ellis exited Friday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs due to a right knee injury. The Mavs announced that Ellis would not return to the game. ESPN Dallas
The Toronto Raptors clinched their second straight Atlantic Division title, beating the Lakers 94-83 on Friday night behind 18 points from Lou Williams and 19 from Jonas Valanciunas. AP
Rockets forward Donatas Motiejunas will be out for the next one to two weeks with lower back pain and tightness, the team announced on Friday. Motiejunas was having pain on Wednesday when the Rockets defeated New Orleans. He didn’t shoot around on Friday before the Rockets hosted Minnesota. Houston Chronicle
Al Horford has particularly struggled in the past seven games. In the recent span, he is shooting 40 percent (36 of 90) and averaging 10.7 points. That includes a 21-point game against the Lakers on March 15. “I have to be able to bring different things to help our team win, especially on defense,” Horford said. Atlanta Journal Constitution
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