Anthony Davis

Southwest Notes: Boogie, Davis, Curry, Anderson, Diallo

Having been eliminated from the playoffs, the Pelicans will regroup and focus on 2017/18, Justin Verrier of ESPN writes. As Alvin Gentry notes, the Pels will benefit from Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins having a full preseason to learn how to play off one another.

“You can see he [Davis] and DeMarcus are going to be fine together,” Gentry said. “You put them in a training camp and you’re able to really hone in on what you want to do and how they can play together. They can be very, very effective. I think we have a chance to move forward.”

Aside from questions surrounding Jrue Holiday‘s free agency, the Pelicans will also have to sort out a roster shuffled by the Cousins trade. Over the season’s remaining four games, Verrier points out, the Pels would be best served to showcase Cheick Diallo and Quinn Cook over their frontcourt veterans.

More from around the Southwest…

  • Mavs coach Rick Carlisle isn’t sure Seth Curry will return by the end of the regular season, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News reports. Depending on the condition of Curry’s left shoulder, the team could shut down the former Blue Devil. “Seth’s doing all right,” Carlisle said. “I’m not sure at this point (about him playing in the final three games). It’s not something that we just rubber stamp and send him back out there. I hope he can play a couple of games, but if it’s not the right thing, he won’t do it.”
  • Ryan Anderson will play limited minutes in tonight’s matchup with Detroit, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. An ankle injury had sidelined Anderson for Houston’s last six games. As the postseason nears, Anderson is eager to get back on track. “I’m going to play limited minutes, but that’s the plan,” Anderson told Feigen. “I’m excited about it. I feel strong. I feel good. I feel ready to go. It’s going to take a game or two to get back. That’s why we have these last few games to get ready and get mentally prepared for the playoffs, and physically.”
  • The Pelicans not having a designated D-League affiliate resulted in an “unorthodox” year of development for Diallo. A former Kansas Jayhawks standout, Cheick was assigned to the D-League seven times, playing for three different teams in 2016/17. “I just want to play, you know?” Diallo told Scott Kushner of The Advocate. “I go to any place and I don’t even know the coaches or the players on some of these D-League teams. Sometimes I didn’t even know where I was, whether in North Carolina or Texas or wherever. I just know the D-Leagues helped me a lot and it would help anyone a lot.”

Southwest Notes: Boogie/Brow, Randolph, Barea

The Pelicans still have a ways to go following their acquisition of DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer writes. Anthony Davis won’t become a free agent until 2020, but if Pelicans ownership doesn’t build a better team around him by then, Davis could leave for greener pastures.

“Cousins is a talented, ball-dominant player, but his biggest talent diminishes Davis’s value,” O’Connor writes. “The Brow’s worst offensive skill is his 3-point shooting, yet when Cousins bulldozes defenders, all Davis can do is float around the arc.”

The ‘elephant in the room’ regarding the Cousins deal, O’Connor writes, is Boogie’s agent stating it is “highly unlikely” DeMarcus would sign an extension following a trade. Despite acquiring Cousins for excellent value, his departure would leave the Pelicans back at square one.

“Right now the Pelicans are a team with zero title hopes, clinging to 8-seed dreams,” O’Connor concludes. “Over league history, stars stuck in those spots don’t stick around too often. Maybe things will be different with Davis, but it won’t be unless the Pelicans make drastic changes before time’s up.”

More from around the Southwest…

  • Grizzlies vet Zach Randolph shared his memories of playing in the tournament with Michigan State. “When we went to the Final Four. Playing in front of our home crowd and having all the State fans being there in a big arena, it was a great experience,” Z-Bo told Grizzlies.com. Vince Carter also spoke about the experience of participating in March Madness, talking up the Final Four-bound Tar Heels. “I think they’ve established themselves as a one seed,” Carter said. “It’s all about luck and a little opportunity, but I think if they just stay disciplined and be who they are, they should be ok.”
  • Donatas Motiejunas spoke about the contract debacle he endured with the Rockets. “I try not to look at it. At the end, everything is going to be cleared up,” D-Mo told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle“It was a long time for me not playing basketball of course. There were a lot of options, I thought about playing in Europe, a lot of teams were offering me a contract.” A free agent-to-be, Montiejunas has accumulated four DNPs in New Orleans’ last seven games.
  • Mavs coach Rick Carlisle liked the aggression his team showed following J.J. Barea‘s altercation with Blake Griffin. “That was such a blatant flop, I mean how physical did you think it was?” Carlisle told Eddie Sefko of Dallas News. “The nature of that play was aggressive. It got our fans going. I think it got us going. And it was kind of one of those situations where you take a stand. And that’s how it’s got to be from here on out for our team.” While the original ruling on the court was a Flagrant-2 foul on Barea, Carlisle hopes the league can overturn the call.

Southwest Notes: Motiejunas, Davis, Anderson

Donatas Motiejunas passed up on a contract that could have paid him as much as $37MM over four years with the Rockets, deciding instead to sign a one-year minimum salary arrangement with the Pelicans. The power forward hasn’t played much in New Orleans, but he doesn’t regret his decision, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes.

“Life is too short to regret for something,” Motiejunas said. “We’ll move aside and look forward. I try not to look at it. At the end, everything is going to be cleared up. Everyone’s going to forget that situation. I try not to think about it.”

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Motiejunas was “fighting for his rights,” for a fair deal, according to his agent, B.J. Armstrong, as Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com relays (ESPN Now link). At the time, Motiejunas was considering options outside the NBA.  “It was a long time for me not playing basketball of course,” Motiejunas said. “There were a lot of options, I thought about playing in Europe, a lot of teams were offering me a contract.”
  • Although the Pelicans‘ February acquisition of DeMarcus Cousins was a good step forward in building a competitive roster around Anthony Davis, the team still has a ways to go, and doesn’t have a ton of flexibility, writes Kevin O’ Connor of The Ringer. Anthony Davis can’t become a free agent until 2020, but if New Orleans doesn’t take steps toward contention soon, speculation about an eventual departure will grow louder.
  • Ryan Anderson will miss the next two weeks with an ankle injury, Walkins passes along in a full-length piece. The power forward is expected to be back before the end of the season. “The important thing is he can play two or three games before we get into the playoffs,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “And it looks like he will be on that timetable, we won’t push it, and we’ll deal with whatever and hopefully he’ll be back sooner rather than later.”

Milo Taibi contributed to this post

Southwest Notes: Parker, Pelicans, Selden, Mavs

Tony Parker spoke about his role on the Spurs with Jabari Young of MySanAntonio.com, saying he’s “blessed” to still have fun playing the game.

“Guys have worse (injuries); you know? Knees, Achilles, stuff like that,” Parker said. “I’ve been playing for 16 years. All season long for the Spurs, and then all summer internationally. And the way I play, with speed and going into the trees (the paint), getting hit so many times and going to the ground so many times, I feel very blessed to still be out there.”

Parker realizes his limitations at 34 years old, unable to fill the stat sheet the way he did in 2008/09, when he averaged 22 PPG with 6.9 APG. Nevertheless, Parker occupies an important spot in Gregg Popovich‘s rotation, and will be relied upon as San Antonio continues its march toward the postseason.

“It obviously helps if I play well,” said Parker. “I love it. I think the evolution in anybody’s career is, as you get older, you have to adjust to who is the main guys on your team. Try to be a factor just like Manu (Ginobili) did. Just like Timmy (Duncan] did. I just try and do the same thing.”

More from around the Southwest…

  • Having now won four of their last five, the Pelicans are starting to gel offensively, William Guillory of NOLA.com writes. The Pels have reason for optimism following their winning stretch, but must keep up their pace with only 12 games left in the regular season. “When all three of us are playing well like that, we’re tough to beat,” said Anthony Davis, referring to himself, DeMarcus Cousins, and Jrue Holiday. “Guys are stepping up and making big plays, especially at the right time. Guys are doing things that we need them to do. I just feel like we’re gelling and clicking at the right time.”
  • Grizzlies coach David Fizdale told Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal that Memphis’ signing of Wayne Selden was a result of Chandler Parsons‘ season-ending injury. Selden, who had most recently received NBA minutes with the Pelicans, was signed to a multiyear contract.
  • While there’s no “magic wand” to fix the Mavericks‘ problems, there are adjustments Rick Carlisle can make, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas News writes. “Philly’s a team you can learn from,” Carlisle said of Dallas’ recent blowout loss to the Sixers. “They win their games on sheer persistence and hard play. And that’s what’s gotten us wins when we’ve been successful over the last two months. We took a pretty significant step back last night. We watched film. We saw the nightmare of last night. It’s pretty clear we’ve got to adjust our disposition. And we’ve got to move the ball better.”

Pelicans Notes: Cousins, Davis, Crawford

The Pelicans‘ “new-look” roster is struggling, Justin Verrier of ESPN writes. While the blockbuster trade for DeMarcus Cousins brought peak national interest, the Pels currently sit 4.5 games behind Denver for the eighth seed. Anthony Davis had no answers for the team’s recent shortcomings.

“I don’t know the reason. We’re just not making shots,” Davis said. “Guys are in the gym every day practicing those shots and making those shots. But it’s not disrupting everything else we’re doing. Of course, it helps when we make them. Whoever’s shooting, if they’re open, we tell them to keep shooting. That’s the only way it’s going to help our offense.”

The team’s period of adjustment with Boogie and AD has been “jarring,” despite the modest resources the team gave up to acquire Cousins.

More from NOLA…

  • With Cousins by his side, Davis could cement his role as basketball’s greatest rising star, Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report writes. “He [Davis] turns 24 Saturday, more aware than ever that the only way to make that leap from hypothetical franchise player to historic one is via winning,” Ding writes. “His positivity regarding the Pelicans franchise despite poor personnel work by management and the uninspired hiring of Alvin Gentry has now been rewarded with Cousins’ arrival, so the window for excuses is starting to close.”
  • Jordan Crawford, who scored 19 points in his team debut Wednesday, discussed his NBA return with William Guillory of NOLA.com. “(Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry) said he was going to play me and I was surprised he threw me in so early,” Crawford said. “I just wanted to be aggressive and play my game. I worked towards it–getting back. It feels good just to continue the process.”
  • Cousins was fined $50K for “two instances of inappropriate language directed toward fans,” Justin Verrier of ESPN writes. Cousins was caught on tape in each instance, following match-ups with the Jazz and Lakers. Damian Lillard of the Trail Blazers took issue with Boogie’s fine, tweeting “Boogie got fined 50k ? For saying something back to a fan? Smh I done had some wild stuff said to me out there…. That’s a lot of bread.” (Twitter link)

Southwest Notes: Parsons, Noel, Cousins, Davis

Chandler Parsons played in back-to-back games for the first time since signing with the Grizzlies this summer, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. The action came Friday and Saturday against his two former teams, the Mavericks and Rockets, and although he didn’t put up great numbers, Memphis was encouraged to have him on the court. Parsons has battled through a string of injuries since joining the Grizzlies on a four-year, $94MM deal last summer, appearing in just 32 games so far and averaging less than 20 minutes per night. “Look, I signed a four-year deal. I didn’t sign a one-year deal,” Parsons said. “The team expectations for me are to go very slow. It’s going to be a long process.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Nerlens Noel may be claiming the Mavericks‘ starting center spot sooner than expected, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Noel made his first start Friday since joining the team and responded with 15 points and 17 rebounds in a win over the Grizzlies. “He did a good job, very active,” Carlisle said of his new big man. “It’s very difficult to outrebound this team and when you got a guy getting 17, that’s a big part of that. He did a very good job.”
  • Many thought the Pelicans were a sure thing to grab the final playoff spot after acquiring DeMarcus Cousins, but they’re running out of time to make a postseason push, notes Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune. New Orleans was two and a half games behind Denver for the eighth spot in the West when it traded for Cousins on February 25th. Since then, the Pelicans are 1-4, with the only victory coming in a game where Cousins was suspended. They have fallen to 24-38, which puts them in 13th place, four games in back of the Nuggets. “It’s still a work in progress,” Cousins said after Friday’s loss to the Spurs.
  • Cousins has adapted quickly to life in New Orleans, according to Justin Verrier of ESPN.com. He and Anthony Davis had a minus-11.9 net rating while sharing the court heading into Friday’s game, but individually they have the highest player efficiency ratings in the league since the All-Star break. Despite the struggles, Cousins has found no trouble settling into his new home. “He definitely embraced it all,” Davis said of Cousins’ experience on Fat Tuesday in New Orleans. “He kept telling me he was happy to be here.”

And-Ones: Cavs, Bogut, Barnes, Holiday

The Cavs won’t make a decision on Larry Sanders until after the trade deadline, Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com passes along (ESPN Now link). Cleveland is also keeping an eye on the Andrew Bogut situation. The Cavs would like to bring the center aboard and they’re expected to be in the mix for him.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Several teams have expressed interest in Matt Barnes, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com tweets. Sources tell Shelburne that he’s waiting until after the trade deadline to make a decision.
  • Jarrett Jack will audition for the Pelicans, Marc Stein of ESPN.com tweets. New Orleans is pursuing backcourt help after trading away several players in the DeMarcus Cousins deal.
  • Point guard and pending free agent Jrue Holiday said the Pelicans “see me as a part of [the future],” the team tweets. The organization is calling Holiday, DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis their version of a Big Three.
  • Mike Bibby and Ricky Davis will be the co-captains of the Ghost Ballers, the fourth official team in the new 3-on-3 league, according to a press release on BIG3.com.
  • Thunder center Enes Kanter returned to practice on Wednesday for the first time since undergoing arm surgery, Royce Young of ESPN.com reports. It’s uncertain whether Kanter, who suffered a broken arm punching a chair on the bench on January 26th, will return to action on Friday against the Lakers.
  • Former Rockets center Yao Ming, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last year, has been appointed as president of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to an ESPN.com report. He gave up ownership of the league’s Shanghai Sharks in order to take over his new role.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post

Anthony Davis Lobbying Jrue Holiday To Re-Sign With Pelicans

Anthony Davis reiterated this week that he has no plans to leave the Pelicans, and now that he’s settling in for a long-term stay in New Orleans, the former No. 1 overall pick is working on making sure one of his most talented teammates sticks around in a while. As ESPN’s Marc Stein writes, Davis said on Thursday that he intends to be “very involved” in trying to persuade Jrue Holiday to re-sign with the Pelicans this summer.

“I’m doing that right now,” Davis said. “I talk to Jrue all the time. He’ll make his own decisions, but of course we like him here. … We need him to continue to play well and then, at the end of the season, hopefully he decides to re-sign with us.”

Although the Pelicans have had a disappointing season overall, they’ve played much better when Holiday has been in the lineup, going 21-21 with him and 2-13 without him. A .500 record for the season would put New Orleans in playoff position in the Western Conference, but currently the club is vying with a handful of teams for the No. 8 seed.

Unlike Davis, who is under team control through at least the 2019/20 season, Holiday will have the opportunity to hit the open market this July, and could decide to join a new team at that point. While it’s a little early to identify a list of potential suitors for the veteran point guard, the Sixers are believed to be interested in reacquiring him, and Philadelphia should have a good chunk of cap room available in the offseason. Our list of 2017 free agents by position features several intriguing point guards, though marquee players like Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, and Kyle Lowry are considered very unlikely to change teams.

Holiday, 26, is enjoying one of this best seasons as a pro in 2016/17, shooting a career-high 46.8% from the field and 39.3% from three-point range. He’s also averaging 16.3 PPG, 7.5 APG, and 1.6 SPG in 42 games.

Anthony Davis: ‘I Don’t Plan On Leaving’ Pelicans

It has been another disappointing season so far for the Pelicans, who remain in the hunt for the No. 8 seed in the West but are currently just 22-34, 12th in the conference. Still, despite the fact that the team appears headed for its fourth losing season in five years since drafting Anthony Davis, the former No. 1 pick told reporters on Tuesday that he has no desire to leave New Orleans.

“I don’t plan on leaving, so make sure you write that down,” Davis said when asked about trade speculation, per Jeff Duncan of The New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Davis’ stance, which he has expressed in the past, doesn’t come as a real shock. He’s in the first year of a long-term contract, which means he won’t be eligible for free agency until at least 2020, and the Pelicans have never expressed any desire to move him. If a star player wants a change of scenery, he could put pressure on his team by privately or publicly expressing his dissatisfaction, but Davis hasn’t done that. He suggested on Tuesday’s conference call that he remains confident in New Orleans’ ability to contend.

“We’ve got to find a way to keep fighting,” Davis said. “We have a team that is able to compete for the playoffs. We showed that a couple of times this year (in January wins against the Cavaliers and Spurs). We feel we are just as good as any other team in this league. We just need to find a way to stay a little more healthy and be a little more consistent.”

Even though they’re currently 12 games below .500, the Pelicans appear to be prepared to buy, rather than sell, at next week’s trade deadline. Recent reports have indicated that they’re eyeing players like Jahlil Okafor and Brook Lopez as they dangle their 2018 first-round pick in search of a center to complement Davis in the frontcourt. For his part, Davis says he’s not lobbying the team to make a move.

“That’s up to the front office,” Davis said. “Whatever the front office tries to do, they come to me and ask me my opinion. But right now I’m just trying to help the team win and do my job.”

Kennedy’s Latest: Suns, Collison, Thunder, Pacers

The Suns would like to package their young players and draft picks in order to bring a star to Phoenix, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype writes. Executives around the league tell Kennedy that they expect the Suns to continue their rebuild and trade away some of their veterans should they not be able to land a star player.

Here’s more from Kennedy’s piece:

  • The Kings have made several players available, including Darren Collison. The point guard, who will be a free agent after the season, has seen an expanded role on the team since Rudy Gay injured his Achilles, as I wrote in this week’s Fantasy Hoops.
  • It’s unclear whether the Thunder will be buyers or sellers at the deadline, but they are expected to be active. “They will do something, one way or the other. They won’t stand pat,” one anonymous GM told Kennedy.
  • The Pacers are willing to trade anyone on the roster with the exception being Paul George, Kennedy reports.
  • The Carmelo Anthony-to-Cleveland trade talks were “overblown,” Kennedy adds. The Cavs are still looking for outside help, as they are reportedly in trade discussions with several teams.
  • Anthony Davis isn’t going anywhere and Jrue Holiday is unlikely to be traded, but anyone else on the Pelicans‘ roster is on the table in trade talks, according to Kennedy.
  • Serge Ibaka was traded to the Raptors earlier today and a source tells Kennedy that Toronto was his preferred destination.
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