Didi Louzada

Southwest Notes: Lowry, Louzada, Barea, Omoruyi

The Mavericks were runners-up to the Heat in the free agency competition for Kyle Lowry, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. A source tells Jackson that the Mavs were willing to pay what Lowry was seeking and he was intrigued by the possibility of playing in Dallas, but his first choice was to join Jimmy Butler in Miami. Lowry wound up getting $85MM over three years, and joined the Heat in a sign-and-trade.

The Pelicans were also interested in Lowry and were willing to offer $90MM or more for three seasons, Jackson adds. However, Jackson’s source says Lowry didn’t give strong consideration to New Orleans.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The new four-year deal for Pelicans swingman Didi Louzada is valued at about $7.69MM, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN. The first two seasons are fully guaranteed and the final two are non-guaranteed. New Orleans held non-Bird rights on Louzada and his contract starts at 120% of the $1.489MM minimum, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Marks notes that the Pelicans still have their entire $9.5MM mid-level exception available, along with a $17.1MM trade exception.
  • Longtime Mavericks player J.J. Barea will return to the organization in some capacity, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). The exact role hasn’t been finalized for Barea, who spent 11 of his 14 NBA seasons with the Mavs. “I’m going to be involved, and I’m definitely excited,” said Barea, who served as an unofficial assistant coach in today’s Summer League game.
  • Rookie forward Eugene Omoruyi talked to Townsend after signing a two-way contract with the Mavericks on Friday (video link).

Pelicans Sign Didi Louzada To Four-Year Contract

AUGUST 13: The Pelicans have officially re-signed Louzada, per NBA.com’s transactions log.

AUGUST 3: The Pelicans have agreed to a new four-year contract with swingman Didi Louzada, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

New Orleans had been hoping to keep Louzada after declining his $1.5MM team option for 2021-22 last weekend. By declining the option and re-signing him on a new deal, the team now has the ability to keep him for years to come.

Louzada, 22, was the No. 35 pick in 2019. He signed with New Orleans toward the end of last season after spending two years overseas, appearing in three games.

The Pelicans finished the 2020/21 season with a 31-41 record — the 11th best in the Western Conference. The franchise parted ways with head coach Stan Van Gundy at the end of the campaign, hiring former NBA guard Willie Green in his place.

Pelicans Decline Team Option On Didi Louzada

The Pelicans have turned down their $1,517,981 team option on Didi Louzada, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN. However, the rookie small forward still may have a future in New Orleans.

Sources tell Lopez that the Pelicans extended a qualifying offer to Louzada and hope to reach a long-term agreement in free agency.

Louzada, 22, signed with New Orleans in late April and appeared in three games before the season ended, averaging 2.7 PPG in 18.7 minutes per night. The Brazilian native was drafted by the Hawks with the 35th pick in 2019 and traded to the Pacers, but didn’t have any NBA experience until he joined the Pelicans.

Louzada, who is also known as Marcos Louzada Silva, spent the past two seasons with the Sydney Kings in Australia’s National Basketball League.

Pelicans Notes: Hayes, Backcourt, Louzada, Alexander-Walker

With several stars out of the lineup, Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes has turned into a reliable scorer, writes William Guillory of The Athletic. Hayes posted his fifth straight double-digit performance Friday night and tied his career high with 19 points.

Hayes’ role has expanded without Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram around to handle most of the offense, Guillory notes. Instead of relying on pick-and-rolls and passes near the basket, Hayes has shown an ability to hit floaters and push shots in the lane.

“He runs great, a great pick-and-roll guy to the rim, great on the offensive glass, high energy and he can finish around the basket,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “He’s been active defensively. Those are the things he needs to keep doing. I think people make a mistake thinking the way to get better is to always expand your game. I’m not saying it’s bad, but if you get away from what you do really, really well, then you start to lose what makes you a really good player. Sometimes you want to expand people’s game. Sometimes you want to narrow it down.”

There’s more from New Orleans:

  • Among the things that went wrong for the Pelicans this season was a disappointing performance from the starting backcourt, claims Christian Clark of NOLA.com. Clark states that Lonzo Ball, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, improved as a three-point shooter but struggles in other areas when his outside shot isn’t falling. Eric Bledsoe, who has one more guaranteed year on his contract, often seemed to be “mentally checked out,” according to Clark.
  • Small forward Didi Louzada, who joined the Pelicans in late April, is getting a chance to play during the final week of the season, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN. “I would expect over these last three games he’ll get some minutes on the floor and we’ll be able to get a look at him,” Van Gundy said earlier this week, “but I don’t know if that’ll be a fair representation of what he can do for a guy to have one practice and not even a full fledged practice.”
  • While the Pelicans didn’t accomplish what they hoped to this season, the organization benefited from the development of Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, contends Scott Kushner of NOLA.com. The team also got to take a long look at Kira Lewis Jr., Naji Marshall and Willy Hernangomez to determine if they will be part of the future.

Southwest Notes: Hardaway, Ball, Tate, Louzada, Porzingis

Tim Hardaway Jr. has been improving his free agent stock with some high-level offensive performances in recent games. The Mavericks guard erupted for 42 points against Detroit last week and tore up Miami’s defense for 36 points on Wednesday, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News notes. He drained a franchise record-tying 10 three-pointers against the Heat. “When you have been hot like that, had it going, you’re not really focused on any records or anything like that,” said Hardaway, who will be an unrestricted free agent after this season. “The game was just coming to me.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball tied his career best with 33 points against Golden State on Tuesday, bouncing back from a 3-for-18 shooting performance the previous game. He vowed to franchise player Zion Williamson in a text message that he wouldn’t have two bad outings in a row, according to ESPN’s Andrew Lopez. “I’m glad he’s my teammate,” Williamson said. “You love to have teammates like that can say stuff like that and come the next day and show out. He just wants to win.” Williamson’s “love” for Ball could be a factor in how aggressive the franchise is willing to be in retaining the point guard as a restricted free agent this summer.
  • The Rockets, who already have numerous players sitting out, added another one to the inactive list when forward Jae’Sean Tate was placed under the league’s health and safety protocols, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. The undrafted rookie has appeared in 65 games, including 53 starts, averaging 11.2 PPG and 5.4 RPG.
  • Didi Louzada has finally completed the work visa process and joined the Pelicans, Will Guillory of The Athletic tweets. New Orleans officially signed the draft-and-stash prospect on April 27. The Brazilian signed a multiyear contract after playing in Australia this season. He’ll be available to play on Friday, Lopez tweets.
  • Kristaps Porzingis is making progress from his sore right knee and Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle expects him to return before the postseason, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets“I anticipate that he will play regular-season games at some point, but I don’t know when,” Carlisle said. The big man has been out since April 29.

Southwest Notes: Gay, Wood, Louzada, Burke

Spurs forward Rudy Gay has secured a $500K bonus after appearing in his 53rd game of the season on Wednesday night, reports Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

Gay’s contract with the Spurs includes a $500K annual incentive if he plays in at least 60 games. However, that 60-game threshold applies to a typical 82-game season. Prorated across just 72 games this season, that worked out to 52.7, meaning Gay had to play in 53 games to earn his bonus.

Because Gay received the bonus last season as well, it was deemed “likely” entering this year and was already baked into his $14.5MM cap hit for 2020/21, Marks notes. As such, the Spurs won’t have to account for a higher cap charge than expected at season’s end.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Christian Wood, who signed a three-year, $41MM deal with the Rockets just five months ago, is out to prove that he’s deserving of an even bigger payday when that contract expires. “I just want to show fans that by the time this contract’s up I think I’m gonna be a max (contract) player,” Wood said this week, per Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston (Twitter link).
  • While Didi Louzada‘s offensive game remains a work in progress, there’s optimism that he can be a positive contributor on the defensive end soon, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. The 22-year-old wing, a second-round pick in 2019, signed his first NBA contract with the Pelicans on Tuesday.
  • Mavericks guard Trey Burke, who signed a three-year contract last offseason, began the season as a regular contributor, but saw his role cut back starting in February, then fell out of the rotation when J.J. Redick arrived earlier this month. Over the last two games, he has once again been a factor, averaging nearly 30 minutes per game, as Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News details. “It could go from you being DNPs to you playing 15 to 20 minutes a night,” Burke said. “You just never know, always got to stay ready. For me, this year has been tough. It’s been something that I’ve kind of battled with myself.”

Pelicans Sign Didi Louzada To Multiyear Contract

The Pelicans have officially signed draft-and-stash prospect Didi Louzada to a multiyear contract, the team announced today in a press release.

A report earlier in the month indicated that the two sides were finalizing a deal, so this move was expected. Will Guillory of The Athletic said last week that Louzada’s first NBA contract is expected to be a two-year deal, though that’s not yet confirmed.

Louzada, who most recently played in Australia with the Sydney Kings, was the No. 35 pick in the 2019 NBA draft. The Brazilian guard averaged 8.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game in 20 contests (24.1 MPG) with Sydney this season, shooting 39.1% from the field and 26.4% from behind the arc.

The Pelicans had been carrying 13 players on their 15-man roster since Isaiah Thomas‘ 10-day contract expired on April 13. Because teams are only permitted to dip below 14 players on standard deals for up to two weeks at a time, today was the deadline for New Orleans to re-add a 14th man. The club still has one open roster spot.

Southwest Notes: Bledsoe, Louzada, Porzingis, Jackson Jr.

Eric Bledsoe‘s season has gone from bad to worse, as Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune details. Bledsoe admitted he “wasn’t paying attention” to Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy when the team was instructed to intentionally foul while up by three points against the Knicks in the closing seconds last Sunday. That led to a game-tying 3-pointer. He was benched for a good portion of the second half against Brooklyn on Tuesday, then saw action in 22 minutes against Orlando on Thursday.

Attempts to unload Bledsoe’s contract could prove troublesome for New Orleans. He’ll make a guaranteed $18.1MM next season, though his $19.375MM salary for 2022/23 is only partially guaranteed.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Didi Louzada‘s contract with the Pelicans is expected to be a two-year deal and he’ll sign it sometime next week, Will Guillory of The Athletic tweets. Louzada, a second-round pick in 2019, most recently played in Australia with the Sydney Kings. The news that the swingman was signing with New Orleans broke on Sunday. He averaged 8.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG and 24.1 MPG in 20 contests with Sydney this season, shooting 39% from the field and 26% from behind the arc.
  • Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis left Thursday’s game against the Lakers with a sprained left ankle but it’s not believed to be serious, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. Porzingis, who was playing the second end of a back to back, rolled the ankle while pursuing a loose ball in the third quarter. He was walking in the locker room afterward.
  • Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. made his long-awaited season debut on Wednesday and looked sharp. He had 15 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in 18 minutes during a 12-point loss to the Clippers. He was relieved to finally play after rehabbing from knee surgery, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk writes. “This is a big win,” he said. “It’s been a long stretch for me.”

Southwest Notes: S. Brown, Mavs, Louzada, Eubanks

Rockets wing Sterling Brown was jumped outside of a club in Miami late on Sunday night, according to Shams Charania and Kelly Iko of The Athletic, who say Brown was hit in the head with a bottle and required medical attention into Monday. Brown, who was admitted to a local hospital early Monday morning, suffered facial lacerations in the incident and was discharged later in the day, per Charania and Iko. The 26-year-old didn’t know the assailants.

While Brown was ruled out of the Rockets’ game on Monday in Miami, that was the fifth straight game he has missed due to left knee soreness, unrelated to Sunday’s incident. It’s not clear whether the attack will push back his potential return date at all.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • The Mavericks have fired director of player personnel Tony Ronzone, sources tell Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. It’s unclear when the dismissal occurred, per Townsend. However, Ronzone was accused of sexual assault in 2019 and that allegation became public last year. According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, the Mavs fired Ronzone after learning new information related to that allegation.
  • While signing draft-and-stash prospect Didi Louzada to a rest-of-season contract will benefit the Pelicans from a cap perspective, allowing them to fill their 14th spot while remaining out of tax territory, John Hollinger of The Athletic questions whether the 2019 second-rounder is ready for the NBA. Louzada, 21, has struggled with his shot in Australia’s NBL and signing him now will make him a little more expensive in 2021/22, when New Orleans will likely be up against the tax line once again.
  • Several members of the Spurs‘ young core are thrilled to see big man Drew Eubanks thriving in an increased role lately, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Eubanks has averaged 10.6 PPG and 9.2 RPG in just 19.8 MPG in his last five games, including his first career start on Saturday. “He’s out there killing it,” Keldon Johnson said after Eubanks put up 13 points and 13 rebounds in Saturday’s win. “I can’t be any happier for Drew. He works so hard.”

Pelicans Finalizing Multiyear Deal With Didi Louzada

The Pelicans are finalizing a multiyear agreement with draft-and-stash guard/forward Didi Louzada, according to a report from ESPN’s Olgun Uluc and Andrew Lopez.

Louzada, who most recently played in Australia with the Sydney Kings, was acquired by New Orleans with the No. 35 pick in the 2019 NBA draft. He averaged 8.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 24.1 minutes in 20 contests with Sydney this season, shooting 39% from the field and 26% from behind the arc.

The 21-year-old Louzada stands at 6’5″ and can play the shooting guard and small forward positions. The Pelicans have until April 27 to sign another player after allowing Isaiah Thomas‘ 10-day contract expire on Monday, Uluc and Lopez note — teams are permitted to dip below the NBA’s required minimum of 14 players (not counting two-ways), but only for up to two weeks at a time.

The Pelicans haven’t touched their mid-level exception this year, so they’ll be able to use it to sign Louzada to a contract longer than two years. His cap hit for 2020/21 can be as low as the prorated rookie minimum, which is good news for a club looking to stay below the tax line.

New Orleans holds a 25-32 record, having put forth inconsistent defensive efforts this season. The club trails the No. 10 place Spurs by three games with roughly one month left in the season, losing a disappointing 122-112 game to New York on Sunday.