Ater Majok

And-Ones: Morris Trial, Kyrie, Pelicans, NCAA

The trial for Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris, who are accused of aggravated assault, got underway today in Phoenix, writes Terell Wilkins of The Arizona Republic. Jury selection for the trial, which will take place in Maricopa County Superior Court, concluded on Wednesday, and opening statements will be delivered on Monday, per an Associated Press report (link via ESPN.com).

The trial will be worth watching for fans of the Celtics and Wizards, since the Morris brothers would face suspensions from the NBA if they’re convicted — a violent felony results in at least a 10-game ban. Even if the Morris brothers reach plea deals, they could be subject to discipline from the league, with the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement empowering commissioner Adam Silver to decide on an appropriate suspension in that scenario.

Here are a few more odds and ends from across the NBA:

  • While many NBA observers were dumbfounded by Kyrie Irving‘s trade request, Warriors forward Draymond Green suggests he gained a newfound respect for Irving, as Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post details. “I don’t think people take into account that he put so much pressure on himself by doing that,” Green said. “He’s basically saying, ‘I’m ready to deliver.’ That’s big. That says a lot.”
  • The Pelicans have renounced their draft rights to 2011 second-rounder Ater Majok, according to RealGM’s log of official NBA transactions. New Orleans now holds the draft rights to just one non-NBA player — big man Latavious Williams.
  • The relationship between the NCAA and the NBA wasn’t always strong during David Stern‘s days as commissioner, but Adam Silver has struck a more conciliatory tone, and that’s beginning to show, writes Jonathan Givony of ESPN. As Givony explains, the invite list for a recent student-athlete symposium suggests the NCAA’s philosophy on preparing underclassmen for the NBA is evolving.
  • Using the NBA’s response to its DNP-Rest issue as a jumping-off point, Tom Ziller of SBNation.com makes the case that the league is too focused on marketing a small handful of star players, and ought to make an effort to showcase more stars in nationally televised games.

Pelicans Trade Quincy Pondexter To Bulls

SEPTEMBER 1, 2:55pm: The deal is now official, the Pelicans announced in a press release.

In exchange for Pondexter, a 2018 second-rounder, and cash, the Bulls are sending the Pelicans the draft rights to Ater Majok, according to Brett Martel of The Associated Press (Twitter link). Majok, a 2011 pick who is currently playing in Lebanon, had his rights traded from the Lakers to Chicago in last summer’s Jose Calderon swap.

AUGUST 31, 4:52pm: There has been a clarification regarding the trade courtesy of CSN Chicago’s Vincent Goodwill. The Bulls will receive Pondexter and a 2018 second-pick, as well as cash.

4:44pm: The Bulls and Pelicans are finalizing a trade that would send Quincy Pondexter to Chicago for a second-round draft pick, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets. An update, however, suggests that it will be New Orleans giving up the pick in addition to Pondexter.

Pondexter hasn’t seen NBA action since 2014/15 when he started 28 games for the Pelicans and 30 contests total. Since then, he’s struggled through a particularly troublesome knee injury, his health remaining in limbo ahead of the 2017/18 season.

While the Bulls may end up ultimately waiving Pondexter, the second-round pick will serve them well as they navigate a long anticipated rebuild. The addition of Pondexter’s $3.9MM contract will presumably be absorbed into Chicago’s $15.3MM trade exception, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.

Considering New Orleans’ need for a perimeter threat in light of Solomon Hill‘s long-term hamstring injury, the 29-year-old Pondexter would be an extremely valuable asset for the franchise if there was any sense of optimism that he could be healthy for the upcoming campaign. In June, however, general manager Dell Demps spoke about how uncertain the forward’s status was.

We had previously identified Pondexter as a candidate to be waived and stretched before the August 31 deadline, particularly given New Orleans’ proximity to the tax line. However, by finding a trade partner for the veteran swingman, the Pelicans will avoid carrying his cap hit in 2017/18 or stretching it across the next three seasons.

Pacific Notes: Gallinari, Majok, Moreland

The Lakers, who have deals with 17 players, plan at least one more signing before the start of camp, reports Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). It remains unclear whether undrafted center Robert Upshaw will join the team. Upshaw was reportedly close to signing with the team back in July, but some personal issues have delayed the two sides coming to terms on a deal.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • There are no trigger dates attached to Eric Moreland‘s $200K partial guarantee that is included in his deal with the Kings, according to former Nets executive Bobby Marks (Twitter link). The partial guarantee is in effect from day one, and will not be dependent on Moreland remaining on Sacramento’s roster through a specific date.
  • The Lakers have made their required tender of a one-year, non-guaranteed, minimum salary offer to Ater Majok, which will allow the franchise to retain his draft rights, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders relays (via Twitter). Majok was the No. 58 overall pick out of UConn in the 2011 NBA Draft. The center currently plays for Trefl Sopot of the Polish Basketball League.
  • If Danilo Gallinari‘s stellar play during the final two months of the 2014/15 season and this Summer’s Eurobasket tournament are any indication of what is to come from the small forward, the Nuggets got themselves a steal in their renegotiation-and-extension of his contract, Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com opines (Twitter link).

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Western Notes: Allen, Hayes, Majok

Despite having already proven his versatility to the team, Tony Allen knows that he’ll have to fight for minutes this season on a deep Grizzlies squad, Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal (subscription required) writes. For his part, Allen indicated that he’d willingly accept any role the team asked him to play, Tillery adds. “I don’t get into that. It is what it is. It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish,” Allen said. “I just want to come in, go to work and when I leave [the coaches] will be like, ‘He put his all out there on the line.’ Starting doesn’t mean anything to me. I’ve already shown that.” The 33-year-old appeared in 63 games for Memphis in 2014/15, including 41 starts, and averaged 8.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 26.2 minutes per contest.

Here’s more from out West:

  • Chuck Hayes‘ one year, minimum salary deal with the Clippers is non-guaranteed, former NBA executive Bobby Marks confirms (via Twitter). Dan Woike of the Orange County Register first reported that no guaranteed salary would be a part of the agreement. That means his salary wouldn’t have bearing on any would-be hard cap unless he makes the opening night roster, as Marks points out (Twitter link).
  • Lakers draft-and-stash power forward Ater Majok has signed with the Polish club Trefl Sopot, the team announced (translation courtesy of Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). Majok was selected by Los Angeles with the No. 58 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
  • Timberwolves combo forward Anthony Bennett hopes to use his strong play for Team Canada this Summer as a springboard to a strong NBA season, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca writes. Former NBA player and current GM of the Canadian senior men’s team, Steve Nash, is a firm believer in Bennett’s potential, Lewenberg notes, with Nash saying of the young forward, “For me, just to be around him and to see how seriously he’s taking it and how hard he’s worked and how hard he’s trying to pick up the details, like I said, those are the ingredients that are going to make him a great NBA player and a guy that plays in the league for a long time. So I’m [incredibly] proud of Anthony and the work he’s put in this summer.” Minnesota would reportedly be willing to deal Bennett for the right price, though the team isn’t actively shopping the 2013 No. 1 overall pick.

Lakers Work Out Ater Majok

FRIDAY, 2:11pm: The team is conducting Majok’s workouts with its D-League affiliate in mind, and not the NBA roster, Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding tweets.

TUESDAY, 11:02pm: The Lakers are bringing in Ater Majok for a series of workouts, according to Shams Charania of RealGM. The 6’11” Majok was selected 58th overall by Los Angeles in the 2011 draft and appeared on the Lakers’ summer league team in 2012 but is yet to see any regular season NBA action since being drafted. Los Angeles is also reportedly eyeing Quincy Miller, who is similarly slated to work out for the club this week. However, Charania cautions that the pair of players’ auditions for the team are unrelated, suggesting that there’s a shot both of them end up signing deals.

The Lakers’ roster currently sits at a league-maximum 15 players, but the non-guaranteed contracts of Ronnie Price and Wayne Ellington could be waived to make room for one or both of Majok and Miller. Price and Ellington’s pacts are set to become partially guaranteed if kept on the books past November 15th, and the latter of the duo has just been provided an indefinite leave of absence to mourn the loss of his father.

The NBA granted the Lakers a disabled player exception worth $1,498,680 as a result of the season-ending injury to rookie Julius Randle, but there’s been no indication that the team would spend any more than the minimum salary to bring in Majok, who has spent time in Slovakian, Belarusian, German and Korean leagues since being drafted in 2011. At 27-years-old, Majok would be older than a typical rookie, but his experience might benefit a young Lakers’ roster that’s lacked depth in the season’s early going.

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