Western Notes: Jones, Wembanyama, Washington, Jackson

Pelicans forward Herbert Jones admits he didn’t expect to sign a lucrative long-term contract at this stage of his career, he told Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Jones, the 35th pick of the 2021 draft, inked a four-year, $54MM deal in July.

“It was crazy, to say the least. It was just, like, crazy how quick it happens to be honest. … It just felt like the time had flown by almost,” the third-year Pelicans forward said. “When it happened, I was super shocked it had happened so quickly into my career, given where I was drafted.”

Jones, noted for his defense, averaged 9.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 66 starts for the Pelicans last season.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Victor Wembanyama is working on his strength and toughness in an unconventional manner. He’s taking lessons from San Antonio boxing great “Jesse” James Leija, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. “I was shocked he was going to work out with us,” Leija said of the Spurs’ top pick. “I didn’t think he would ever do it because he is new and they want to make sure nothing happens to him. But, nah, he was ready. We wrapped him up and he took to it so fast. I was amazed at how fast he picked it up, his skill level.”
  • TyTy Washington has cleared waivers, leaving the Thunder with $2,320,440 in dead money on their salary cap, Spotrac contributor Keith Smith tweets. The 29th pick of the 2022 draft was waived on Friday. Washington played for the Rockets in his rookie season, then was dealt twice this summer. Oklahoma City is off the hook for the $2.43MM and $4.39MM team options on his contract for ’24/25 and ’25/26.
  • Reggie Jackson re-signed with the Nuggets last month and the veteran point guard expects to play a significant role as they look to defend their title. “This is a big season for me and for us in general,” Jackson told The Athletic’s Tony Jones“The understanding that we have to go into the season with is that we have a mark on our backs collectively as a team. But, also, I have to do my part and do everything I can to try and make us as successful as possible.”
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