It sounds like the Pelicans might be interested in extending the contracts of a couple of mid-season additions. Speaking on his latest Hoop Collective podcast (hat tip to RealGM), ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said he’s heard that New Orleans is interested in coming to agreements with CJ McCollum and Larry Nance Jr., who were both acquired from Portland in February prior to the trade deadline.
“It sounds like CJ McCollum is having some contract extension talks with the Pelicans,” said Windhorst. “I’m not sure when he can actually sign that. I know he signed his last contract extension in 2019.”
“I believe it is next month when they can start talking about that,” said ESPN’s Andrew Lopez. “I know it’s before the season…”
“Maybe they haven’t ‘talked’, but I heard they ‘talked’, don’t tell anybody,” Windhorst replied in a hushed voice.
“I think the Pelicans are also interested in extending Larry Nance’s contract,” Windhorst added. “We’ll see if that gets done.”
McCollum, who turns 31 in September, is under contract for the next two seasons at a combined $69.13MM, while Nance, who turns 30 in January, has one year left on his deal at $9.67MM.
Here’s more from New Orleans:
- Zion Williamson offically signed his five-year, designated rookie max extension on Wednesday. At the press conference to announce the deal, he said he’s determined to show the world that he’s a winning player, Lopez relays in a story for ESPN.com. “I want to prove that I’m a winner,” Williamson said. “It’s as simple as that. I want to win with coach. As well as with my teammates. The ultimate goal is to win the championship. I feel like that’s what we’re all striving for. Like Griff (executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin) said, we’re hungry. Y’all saw this past year what the team did and I’m just excited to add to that.”
- With Williamson locked in for the next six years, the Pelicans could be ‘scary’ for the rest of the NBA, according to Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “Now it’s going to take work to get there,” head coach Willie Green said at Williamson’s press conference. “What groups play well together? How can we take advantage of different mismatches? How can we put all of our guys on the floor and give them an opportunity to be successful? That takes work. But it all comes together at some point throughout the course of the season, and when it does I think we can be a scary team.” Adding Williamson to a group that made an impressive turnaround to reach the postseason after a miserable start will certainly make the Pelicans an interesting team to follow in 2022/23.
- Guard Devonte’ Graham, whom the Pelicans acquired in a sign-and-trade last summer, was arrested for driving while impaired on Thursday morning, Clark writes in a separate piece for NOLA.com. The incident occurred in Raleigh, North Carolina, Graham’s hometown. The 27-year-old averaged 11.9 PPG, 2.3 RPG and 4.2 APG on .363/.341/.843 in 76 games (63 starts, 28.3 MPG) with New Orleans last season. He was limited to just 10 MPG in the team’s first-round playoff loss to Phoenix. Graham is under contract through ’24/25 for a total of $36.3MM, but the final year is only partially guaranteed at $2.85MM, making the guaranteed portion of his deal $26.5MM.