Southwest Notes: Wembanyama, Kyrie, Bane, Rockets, Liddell

Victor Wembanyama‘s Summer League experience is over after just two games, the Spurs confirmed on Monday (story via Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press). Wembanyama had an up-and-down debut on Friday, making just 2-of-13 shots from the floor, but showed on Sunday why he’s considered the best prospect to enter the NBA in years, racking up 27 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks in 27 minutes of action vs. Portland.

As Reynolds writes, shutting down Wembanyama at this point will give the Spurs an opportunity to evaluate other young players during the club’s remaining games in Vegas. It will also give the No. 1 overall pick a much-needed break — his season in France didn’t end until June, and he has had a demanding schedule of media obligations since arriving stateside last month.

“In the past month, I think basketball wasn’t even 50% of my schedule,” Wembanyama said on Sunday. “I can’t stand it. I know it’s a special moment in my life, but I’m glad it’s over. Honestly. I just want to hoop. I just want to work out, lift because this is my life. Obviously, every first pick is going to go through this. And it just makes me better for the future.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Kyrie Irving‘s new three-year, $120MM+ contract with the Mavericks features a 15% trade kicker, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). There’s also a 15% trade kicker in Desmond Bane‘s five-year, $197MM+ extension with the Grizzlies, Hoops Rumors has learned.
  • New Houston forward Dillon Brooks sees similarities between his new team and his old one, suggesting that the Rockets are where the Grizzlies were a few years ago, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscriber link). “I feel like it’s almost the exact same team,” Brooks said. “Three, four years ago, we had almost the same type of players. Jalen Green (is) like Ja Morant. Jabari (Smith) is like Jaren (Jackson Jr.). Young guys that can expand their game to be among the best or the best in the league. I feel like those two guys are almost the same type of deal.”
  • After missing his entire rookie season due to an ACL tear, E.J. Liddell was thrilled to get a promotion from his two-way deal to the Pelicans‘ standard roster, as he tells William Guillory of The Athletic. “They told me how happy they were about my approach during the recovery process, and that meant everything to me,” said Liddell, whom New Orleans signed using a small slice of the mid-level exception. “I’m just going to keep embracing this opportunity. Keep showing up and doing what I’ve got to do everyday. I’ve just got to keep being me, and it’s great to know they appreciate me for being me. It means the world.”
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