CLEVELAND — Cavaliers swingman Dylan Windler underwent surgery on his left knee and will be sidelined indefinitely — another blow for the rookie.
A first-round draft pick in 2019, Windler has been slowed by injuries in his young career. His first NBA season was wiped out by a stress fracture in his left leg suffered just before training camp.
He made his pro debut this season but broke his left wrist in the Cavaliers’ opener and was sidelined for a month.
The team said Windler had the knee procedure on Tuesday at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. The Cavaliers said the operation was to “address ongoing patella tendinopathy concerns” and came after consultation between Dr. Brian Cole, who performed the surgery, and Dr. James Rosneck, the team physician.
It’s not clear how long Windler will need to recover.
Windler was the No. 26 overall pick two years ago by the Cavalier, who were intrigued by his shooting ability and versatility after he starred for four seasons at Belmont.
The 24-year-old averaged 5.2 points in 31 games this season.
Sources — Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton to return for third season
The Sacramento Kings will bring head coach Luke Walton back for a third season, sources confirmed to ESPN.
The Kings extended their record-tying 15-year playoff drought after a second consecutive 31-41 season under Walton, who has two years left on his deal.
Sacramento is in the midst of a multiyear rebuilding process around De’Aaron Fox, first-round pick Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield, and assured Walton throughout the season it would be patient with the team’s growing pains.
In the two years since replacing Dave Joerger, Walton has seen his team get off to encouraging starts only to fade, plagued by the usual issues of poor defensive play and inconsistent offense.
Not all the blame falls on Walton’s shoulders; as was the case last season, injuries played a major role in Sacramento’s struggles. Fox missed the final 12 games while in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Forward Marvin Bagley III missed 22 games with a broken bone in his left hand and four more with a groin injury.
Haliburton’s season ended prematurely due to a left knee injury, and Harrison Barnes sat out the last eight games of the season with a left adductor issue.
There are signs of hope for next season, with Haliburton playing his way into Rookie of the Year consideration and Fox making another leap on the heels of his five-year, $163 million extension.
Walton is the team’s 10th coach since the Kings last made the playoffs in Rick Adelman’s final season in 2005-06. He’s also the sixth coach owner Vivek Ranadive has hired since buying the team in 2013.
NBC Sports Bay Area first reported that Walton would return next season.
Lonzo Ball, set to be restricted free agent, says he ‘would love’ to return to New Orleans Pelicans
But now, for the first time, Ball could have a say in his next destination as he approaches restricted free agency this summer.
The Pelicans would have a right to match any offer sheet Ball signs with another team — or they could work with him and his agent at Klutch Sports to negotiate a sign-and-trade. Ball, who spoke to reporters on Monday, said he wouldn’t mind staying around in New Orleans for the next contract.
“That’s a conversation between me and my agent moving forward. But obviously I would love to be back,” Ball said. “I built a bond here with the coaches and the teammates who are here. I definitely wouldn’t mind coming back at all.”
Pelicans forward Zion Williamson wouldn’t mind that either.
“It’d be dope,” Williamson said of Ball possibly coming back to the Pelicans. “Me, Brandon [Ingram] and Zo, the three of us have a great relationship. I really would want Zo to come back. He knows that.
“But you know, like I said, the reality of the situation is Zo is grown man so he’ll make the decision that’s best for him. The only thing I can say is, I hope he stays.”
Ball posted career highs in scoring (14.6), 3-point percentage (37.8%), field-goal percentage (41.4%) and free-throw percentage (78.1%). His free throw numbers marked a huge growth from his marks last season (56.6%).
However, Ball’s assist totals dropped to 5.7 per game, just a tick above the 5.4 he posted in Los Angeles two seasons ago adjusting to playing alongside LeBron James. It came as Ball accepted a new role in the Pelicans’ system this season.
“I think my shooting picked up from all levels of the court,” Ball said. “That was the main thing for me this year. My role was different this year. Kind of more of a 3-and-D role. I think I fit into it pretty well. I think overall it was a solid season for myself.”
Ball said he didn’t think about his upcoming free agency during the season but now that the year is over, he can shift his focus there. If that means continuing in the 3-and-D role elsewhere, or in New Orleans, he’s fine with that.
“I think I’m a basketball player. Whatever the coach wants from me, I’m going to go out there and do it to the best of my abilities,” Ball said. “[Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy] put me in a little different position this year than I’ve been in my whole life. But I think I made the most of it. And I think I had a pretty good year.”
While Williamson wants to continue to play with Ball, the feeling is mutual, even as Ball knows he has a tough decision to make.
“He’s a one-of-a-kind player as well,” Ball said of Williamson. “I’ve never played with somebody like that. Like I said, I think we have the pieces. We just have to put it together. We’re a young team. We’re only going to get better. If we can keep it together, that’d be great. But I can’t tell the future. I’ll just wait for the call and see what happens.”
Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal says hamstring is not 100 percent ahead of play-in game vs. Boston Celtics
Beal said his hamstring did not worsen after he scored 25 points and grabbed six rebounds in 35 minutes during the Wizards’ 115-110 win over Charlotte on Sunday, clinching the eighth spot for Washington.
“There’s no setbacks which is good,” Beal said. “I didn’t injure it any worse than what it was. Obviously it still probably won’t be 100 percent. It is just a matter of managing it as best I can.”
Washington head coach Scott Brooks said Beal “felt great” and that point guard Raul Neto, who missed Sunday’s game with a strained left hamstring, will be a game-time decision against Boston on Tuesday night.
Beal — who shot 8-for-27 but said he learned what he could and couldn’t do on his hamstring after the first half against Charlotte — will continue to receive treatment on his hamstring before the Wizards play the seventh-seeded Celtics. Beal missed three straight games after straining the hamstring and not playing at the end of regulation and in overtime during a 133-132 overtime win over Indiana on May 8.
He called his decision to return and play against Charlotte a “hard-headed” one because he wasn’t fully healthy but did not want to let his teammates down.
“I felt good,” Beal said of how he was feeling after the game. “I would say I am not as sore as I thought I would be. Not as beat up as I would have thought.”
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