Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Williamson, Silas, Adams, Lecque

The Pelicans have never paid the luxury tax but that could change soon, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

Owner Gayle Benson is willing to pay the tax, according to Pelicans executive VP David Griffin, since the team has the ability to become a serious contender.

We’re not bound by, ‘We won’t pay the tax,'” Griffin said. “We will not frivolously pay the tax. If this team is in a position to be as good as we hope to be, I don’t think resources are going to be the reason we won’t get where we need to go.”

The Pelicans are currently approximately $3.6MM below the NBA’s luxury tax line of $150.3MM.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Following a season in which he rehabbed a foot injury, Pelicans big man Zion Williamson left his coach and teammates awestruck in two practices Tuesday, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN. “What stood out was his force more than anything,” coach Willie Green said. “He got down the floor quickly. When he caught the ball, he made quick decisions. Whether it was scoring, finding a teammate. It was really impressive to see.” Williamson inked a five-year, max extension this summer.
  • Rockets coach Stephen Silas wasn’t thrilled by what he saw during Wednesday’s practice, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “I saw we have a lot of work to do,” Silas said. “(It’s) day two, obviously. We did a good job of putting things in. We scrimmaged quite a bit today and it’s evident, it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s going to be a process for us. We’re going to have to learn from mistakes and watch film and get better as a result.”
  • Steven Adams taking 3-pointers this season? It’s not out of the question. “He’s definitely putting in the work over the summer,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins told Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “I even told him if you’re open, shoot it. I want him to be aggressive.” However, Adams hopes to keep it a secret weapon. He’s only made one 3-pointer in 14 career attempts.
  • The Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Rockets’ G League affiliate, acquired the returning player rights to guard Jalen Lecque from the Raptors 905, the team tweets. The Vipers traded away the returning player rights to Christian Vital. Lecque played four games with the Pacers in 2020/21.
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