Pelicans Notes: Murphy, Alvarado, Valanciunas, Draft, Arena

A rookie scale extension for Trey Murphy will be one of the Pelicans‘ offseason priorities, but it will take a significant offer to make it happen, according to Christian Clark of Clark sees a new contract for Murphy falling somewhere between the four-year, $94.5MM deal that Brooklyn gave Cameron Johnson last summer and the five-year pact Devin Vassell signed with San Antonio that includes $135MM in guaranteed money.

Murphy came off the bench in 34 of the 57 games he played this season, but Clark points to an April matchup with Golden State as evidence that he can handle a full-time starting role. With Brandon Ingram sidelined by an injury, Murphy scored 24 points and sank six three-pointers, three of which were from 30 feet or longer.

New Orleans reportedly plans to explore trades involving Ingram this summer, creating an opportunity for Murphy to replace him in the starting lineup. Clark views Murphy as a better fit alongside Zion Williamson and Herbert Jones, adding that all three will be under long-term deals if Murphy signs an extension.

There’s more from New Orleans:

  • The Pelicans are very likely to pick up their $1.99MM team option on Jose Alvarado, Keith Smith of Spotrac states in an offseason overview of the team. Option decisions on Jeremiah Robinson-Earl ($2.2MM) and Matt Ryan ($2.4MM) are less certain, but Smith expects New Orleans to keep both players unless the front office decides it needs to open a roster spot. The more difficult choices, according to Smith, are what to do with center Jonas Valanciunas and small forward Naji Marshall, who will both be unrestricted free agents if they don’t agree to extensions by late June. Smith expects a one- or two-year deal for Valanciunas if he’s brought back, while Marshall seems likely to wind up elsewhere.
  • The Pelicans need to find a big man in the draft, and there should be plenty of decent options when they pick at No. 21, Smith adds, listing Zach Edey, Yves Missi, DaRon Holmes II and Kel’el Ware as players who could still be on the board. Smith expects New Orleans to defer the first-round pick that it’s owed from the Lakers, which is at No. 17, and take L.A.’s first-rounder next year instead.
  • The Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District voted to delay planned improvements to Smoothie King Center because Pelicans owner Gayle Benson, who also owns the NFL’s Saints, is delinquent on payments for upgrades to the Superdome, Clark and Jeff Duncan write in a separate story. ASM Global, which manages the Superdome, contends the Saints are $11.5MM behind and haven’t made a payment since December. The NFL team issued a statement (via Twitter) saying it has no problem paying the $11.5MM — or its $41MM share of the $58MM project — but added, “We have, however, asked for certain documentation over an extended period and we have not received that documentation.” Last year, the Pelicans extended their lease at the arena through June of 2029.
View Comments (11)