Herbert Jones

Trade Rumors: Anunoby, Crowder, Heat, Thybulle, Wood, Russell, Plumlee

The Raptors will be looking for young talent rather than draft assets if they decide to trade OG Anunoby, multiple league insiders tell Christian Clark of NOLA. Toronto plans to wait until its current road trip ends on Sunday before making a decision on whether to part with Anunoby or any of its other top players.

Clark points out that the Pelicans can offer players such as Dyson Daniels, Herbert Jones and Naji Marshall, who are all on team-friendly contracts, along with a large collection of draft picks. In addition to holding all its own first-round picks over the next five years, New Orleans is owed future first-rounders from both the Lakers and Bucks.

Anunoby is one of the league’s top perimeter defenders, ranking first in both steals and deflections per game, and he shoots 39.2% on three-pointers. He can be used at shooting guard in a fully healthy lineup or he can handle either forward slot if Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson continue to battle injuries.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the league:

  • The Bucks have been considered a potential landing spot for Jae Crowder, but John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM tweets that the Suns are unlikely to accept Milwaukee’s latest offer of Serge Ibaka, George Hill, Jordan Nwora, and second-round draft capital. Gambadoro also doesn’t expect Phoenix to wind up with Anunoby (Twitter link).
  • Assuming the Heat don’t make a play for Kyrie Irving, their main focus before the deadline will be finding another power forward or center who would be worth giving up a first-round pick, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Jackson talks to a scout from a rival team about several trade prospects and what it would take to acquire them.
  • The Hawks have joined the Kings as suitors for Sixers guard Matisse Thybulle, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack article. Sources tell Stein there’s a significant chance of Thybulle being moved by the deadline.
  • The Clippers are considering Mavericks big man Christian Wood and Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell, Stein adds in the same piece. He also states that the Kings have contacted the Hornets to see if Mason Plumlee is available. Sacramento is hoping to deal Richaun Holmes and Alex Len and would like to improve its interior defense.

Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram Talks Toe Injury, Recovery

Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram has now missed 15 consecutive games — and over a month of action — due to a left big toe contusion, having sustained the injury on November 25. Based on his comments to the media on Thursday, it doesn’t sound like his return is imminent.

“Confidence in pushing off,” Ingram replied when asked what’s holding him back (Twitter link via William Guillory of The Athletic). “Confidence in being back to who I want to be. Trying to be explosive. Just trying to be myself. That’s the biggest thing. If I don’t feel like myself, then I know it’s not time to be on the floor.”

Guillory notes (via Twitter) that Ingram didn’t mention anything about dealing with pain, just that the recovery process has been unpredictable. When the 25-year-old was asked if he was close to returning, his reply was pretty vague, tweets Christian Clark of NOLA.com.

It’s hard to tell. Some days I feel really, really good, and the recovery is bad. Some days, recovery is good. Whenever I feel 100%, I’ll give it a go. But it’s hard to say right now,” Ingram said.

Unlike last season, when the Pelicans struggled mightily without the former All-Star, the team continues to play well even with Ingram sidelined in 2022/23. Still, he was averaging 20.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.7 APG and 0.9 SPG on .472/.467/.868 shooting through 15 games (32.1 MPG), and he was the Pelicans’ top performer in last year’s playoffs, so they’re obviously a better team when he’s available.

On a positive note, second-year defensive ace Herbert Jones was back at practice on Thursday, per Clark (Twitter link). Jones was placed in the health and safety protocols over the weekend.

Injury Updates: Finney-Smith, Green, Beal, Williamson, Payne

Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith will be out for several more games. He’ll be reevaluated in two weeks, per coach Jason Kidd, Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com tweets. Finney-Smith hasn’t played since Dec. 19 due to a groin injury. Guard Josh Green, who has been out since Dec. 9 due to a sprained right elbow, will get an examination on Friday.

We have more injury-related news:

  • On a night when the Wizards finally had a full, healthy roster, star Bradley Beal departed with just over four minutes remaining on Tuesday due to left hamstring soreness, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Beal has been limited to 23 games this season after missing time with thigh and right hamstring injuries.
  • Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, who has missed three games due to a stint in the league’s health and safety protocols, is listed as probable to play on Wednesday against Minnesota, according to a team press release. Herbert Jones, who was also placed in protocols over the weekend, is listed as questionable.
  • Suns guard Cameron Payne, who has not played since Dec. 13 due to a right foot strain, is hopeful of returning during the team’s in-progress six-game road swing, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic reports. “It’d be hard just sitting back and watching, but kind of got to fight through the discomfort,” Payne said. “Just try to get me back to 100%. Just get me back to normal. I think I’m getting close. It’s been a rough two weeks, week and a half, but it’s coming to a close. Just getting close.”

Southwest Notes: D. Green, Kemba, Pelicans, K. Martin

Appearing on NBA Today on Friday alongside Grizzlies wing Danny Green, who is recovering from an ACL tear, Brian Windhorst said that his fellow panelist might end up being a trade chip before February’s deadline.

“This is awkward, I’m sorry to say this, Danny,” Windhorst said (YouTube video link). “… One of the (trade possibilities) that people are talking about is if the Grizzlies want to upgrade, will they call about Danny Green and a draft pick? … I do think you will hear your name, I’m sorry to say, in some trade discussions.”

“I’m not shocked. At this point in my career, I hear my name quite often,” Green, who has been traded four times since the 2018 offseason, responded with a smile.

While it would make sense for the Grizzlies to dangle Green’s expiring $10MM contract along with a draft pick or two in an effort to upgrade their rotation, Windhorst also offered a couple reasons why a deal might not happen. As he points out, Memphis wants veteran leaders to complement its young core, and Green has won three championship rings. Additionally, the club has a solid record in the draft and may be reluctant to part with its picks.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • With several Mavericks regulars sidelined, point guard Kemba Walker played 42 minutes in Saturday’s loss to Cleveland and looked like his old self. Walker put up 32 points and seven assists and was a plus-7 in a game Dallas lost by a single point, then told reporters after the game that he felt “really good out there” (Twitter link via Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News). While they shouldn’t expect that sort of production on a regular basis, Walker’s impressive play could be a significant development for the Mavs, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.
  • The Pelicans no longer have All-Defensive mainstays like Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis on their roster, but homegrown players like Naji Marshall, Jose Alvarado, Herb Jones and Dyson Daniels are buoying one of the NBA’s best defenses, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com (subscription required). New Orleans currently ranks sixth in the league in defensive rating (109.7).
  • In an in-depth story for The Houston Chronicle (subscription required), Danielle Lerner profiles Kenyon Martin Jr. and explores how the forward has become a crucial “glue guy” for the Rockets. “He’s always been like a smart player, but I think he’s even smarter now,” head coach Stephen Silas said of Martin. “You know he’s not gonna make a mistake. He knows where he’s supposed to be. When it comes to defensive coverages or offensive plays, he’s usually in the right spot. And, you know, he is one of the guys that kind of gets us going with our transition game as well. So to have someone who’s running the floor and crashing the glass and using all this athleticism, but also a cerebral player, that makes him valuable.”

Pelicans Notes: CBA, Jones, Ingram, Marshall, Nance

Zion Williamson‘s continued evolution into a superstar and his health are foremost among the factors that will determine the Pelicans‘ long-term ceiling, but the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations currently taking place between the NBA and the players’ union will also have a major impact on the team’s future, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

As Windhorst writes, New Orleans’ roster – one of the NBA’s deepest – is starting to get more expensive and the club is one of two NBA franchises never to have paid the luxury tax, so any major changes to the tax system, including the possible implementation of an “upper spending limit,” would be of particular interest to the Pelicans.

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • Pelicans forward Herbert Jones appears set to return from a five-game absence due to a left ankle sprain, having been listed as probable to play on Tuesday in Utah, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link). Brandon Ingram will remain sidelined to a great left toe contusion — he hasn’t played since November 25, but New Orleans also hasn’t lost a game while he has been sidelined.
  • Described by his teammates as a “junkyard dog” and a “Swiss Army knife,” Naji Marshall isn’t one of the Pelicans’ top eight scorers, but he has become an important role player who brings physicality to the court and good vibes to the locker room, writes William Guillory of The Athletic. The former undrafted free agent is on a team-friendly minimum-salary contract that runs through next season.
  • Like Marshall, big man Larry Nance Jr. is a valuable reserve whose production off the bench has been a key part of the Pelicans’ depth, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com (subscription required). A go-to option at center in fourth quarter lineups due to his defensive versatility, Nance is justifying New Orleans’ decision to sign him to an extension during the preseason. The team has a +11.6 net rating in his 553 minutes so far this season.

Southwest Notes: Walker, Hardy, Vassell, Zion

If there was a bright side to the Mavericks‘ 29-point loss to the Bulls Saturday night, it provided an opportunity for newly signed Kemba Walker to make his season debut, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

A late starting time Friday, followed by a flight, meant the Mavs didn’t arrive in Chicago until 3:45 a.m. Coach Jason Kidd held out Luka Doncic, Josh Green and Maxi Kleber, who are all dealing with minor injuries, creating an opportunity for Walker. He responded with eight points and five assists in 20 minutes while playing for the first time since February.

“I wouldn’t say (I felt) super-comfortable,” Walker said. “But it’s my first game with new guys, trying to see where I can fit in, so it might take a little time. Or might not, I don’t know. But it was good to be out there with those guys. They made me feel good. They’ve been treating me well since I got here.”

The Mavericks also got an extended look at Jaden Hardy, a 20-year-old rookie who has spent much of the season in the G League. The second-round pick played 23 minutes Saturday and scored 15 points.

“It was a long travel day, but it felt good being out there being with the guys,” he said. “It was a tough loss, but I think we’ll put this one in the past and be ready for the next one.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Spurs swingman Devin Vassell sat out Thursday’s game with knee soreness and wasn’t sure he was going to play Saturday until warmups, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. He was on a minutes restriction, but scored 18 points off the bench. “I am going to play through it the whole season,” Vassell said of the knee issue, which has caused him to miss five games so far. “It’s good sometimes and it’s not sometimes. But I have to play through it. I have to be here for my team, so that’s what I am going to do.”
  • Zion Williamson‘s late-game 360 dunk to punctuate the Pelicans‘ win over the Suns Friday night led to a skirmish (video link), but he considered it a manner of revenge for last season’s playoff loss, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN. Several players exchanged words after the dunk, but no punches were thrown. “I got carried away a little bit. I admit that,” Williamson said. “But you know, I was in that locker room when my brothers were down because the Suns sent us home last year. That’s a tough moment to be a part of. So in that moment, I got carried away. I admit that. … If they were to do the same thing, I wouldn’t have no problem with it.”
  • The Pelicans are still without Brandon Ingram and Herb Jones for today’s rematch with Phoenix, tweets Will Guillory of The Athletic. Ingram will miss his seventh game with a toe injury and Jones will sit out his fourth with an injured ankle.

Southwest Notes: Popovich, Zion, Ingram, Jones, Hardy

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is unavailable for Friday’s game against New Orleans after undergoing a minor medical procedure earlier in the day, per Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News (subscriber link). Assistant coach Brett Brown is serving as head coach in his place.

According to McDonald, Popovich met with reporters prior to the game with the intention of coaching, but decided to sit out shortly thereafter. He’s also expected to miss Sunday’s contest versus Phoenix.

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • Pelicans forward Zion Williamson had his most complete two-way performance of the 2022/23 season in Wednesday’s victory over the Raptors, writes William Guillory of The Athletic. Playing without fellow high-scoring starters Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum, Williamson finished with 33 points (on 12-of-15 shooting and 9-of-12 from the line), 10 rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocks. According to Guillory, none of Toronto’s strong defenders could slow Williamson down on offense, and his defensive energy was contagious. “I told him tonight in the locker room that he was a monster. He carried us. He continued to make the right plays over and over again,” head coach Willie Green said. “He was flying around on both ends of the floor … It’s just impressive. Impressive to see.”
  • Second-year forward Herb Jones suffered a left ankle sprain in New Orleans’ victory over Toronto and did not return (Twitter link). X-rays were negative, but Jones and Ingram (left great toe contusion) were both ruled out Friday against the Spurs, the Pelicans announced in a press release. Ingram has now missed three straight games with the injury, which he suffered a week ago.
  • 2022 second-round pick Jaden Hardy dominated in his G League stint with the Texas Legends, the Mavericks‘ affiliate, averaging 29.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists on .548/.482/.844 shooting in nine games (34.1 MPG). Prior to Thursday’s loss to Detroit, head coach Jason Kidd said he hoped to find some minutes for the rookie guard after Dallas recalled him. “Hardy’s playing extremely well in the G League. We hope on this road trip we can find some time for him to get on the floor. Hope that presents sooner than later, but he’s with us this week, and we’ll see how the schedule [goes],” Kidd said, according to Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). Hardy has only played 10 minutes over three games thus far with the Mavs.

Southwest Notes: H. Jones, Kemba, Mavs, Spurs

Pelicans forward Herb Jones is a bargain on his current contract, which pays him $1.79MM this season. But he’ll be looking at an eight-figure annual salary worth “at the very least” the mid-level exception and “almost certainly above it” on his next deal if he continues on his current path, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst predicted in his most recent Hoop Collective podcast.

Windhorst’s comments stemmed from a discussion of a feature by Marc J. Spears of Andscape on the second-year Pelicans forward. As Spears details in his story, Jones prefers to live modestly and think “long-term” for his family — he still drives his car from college and wears Pelicans gear rather than spending extravagantly on a new wardrobe.

“If he wants to drive a Dodge Charger and keep wearing the team-issued gear, that’s fine, but he will have tens of millions in the bank doing so,” Windhorst said with a laugh.

Jones, who told Spears that he aspires to be named to the NBA’s All-Defensive team, is under contract for one more season after this one, with a minimum-salary team option for 2023/24. He’ll become extension-eligible during the 2023 offseason and would be a restricted free agent in 2024 if he hasn’t signed a new deal by then.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • New Mavericks point guard Kemba Walker said during Tuesday’s TNT broadcast that he aims to bring ball-handling skills and leadership to the franchise, describing himself as a “good locker room guy” (Twitter link via Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News). On Wednesday, Walker told reporters, including Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News, that he hopes to play for the Mavs “sooner rather than later,” adding that he feels “really good” physically. “I feel as good as I’ve felt in a very long time,” Walker said. “I really took my time and made sure I felt better before I really started ramping myself up as well. Yeah, I know I can just say that, but I guess we’ll just have to see for real.”
  • Head coach Jason Kidd said that using the team’s 15th roster spot on players with non-guaranteed salaries will give the Mavericks the flexibility to keep auditioning free agents until they find one they want to commit to. “Some could say we didn’t give (Facundo) Campazzo a fair shot,” Kidd said, per Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. “He didn’t play a lot of minutes. But this is the way we want to use this 15th spot – look at different situations or different guys. Hopefully, Kemba is the guy if Luka (Doncic) or Spencer (Dinwiddie) are out that he can play that role as a backup.”
  • Point guard Tre Jones and several of his young Spurs teammates aren’t accustomed to losing as much as they have so far this season and don’t want to get used to it, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “A lot of us come from the background of winning — that’s why we are here,” Jones said. “We talk about it in the locker room. We talk about it every single day, trying to figure out how we can turn this thing around and start stacking some wins again.”

Pelicans Notes: AD Trade, Jones, Marshall, McCollum

The Anthony Davis trade continues to look great for New Orleans, according to Christian Clark of NOLA.com, who writes that the Lakers‘ failures will be the Pelicans‘ successes for at least two more years.

After receiving Los Angeles’ first-round pick in 2022 and using it to draft Dyson Daniels, New Orleans has swap rights with L.A. in 2023 and will get the Lakers’ first-rounder in 2024 (with the option to defer it to 2025). Given the way the Lakers have been playing, that means the Pelicans could have at least one more lottery pick headed their way, even if they make the playoffs.

In addition to the draft picks the Pelicans secured in the Davis trade, Brandon Ingram has turned into an All-Star caliber cornerstone for the organization. Plus, Josh Hart – who was part of the Davis blockbuster – was a key piece of the outgoing trade package in the 2022 deadline trade that sent CJ McCollum and Larry Nance to New Orleans.

The Pelicans will visit the Lakers on Wednesday night at Crypto.com Arena.

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • The Athetic’s Mike Prada, Jovan Buha, and Will Guillory also revisited the Davis trade, debating whether it can be viewed as a successful deal for both teams, given that the Lakers won a title with AD in 2020.
  • Pelicans forward Herb Jones appears to be ready to return to action after missing three games due to a hyperextended right knee. He has been listed as probable to play in Wednesday’s game in Los Angeles.
  • Naji Marshall, who is on a minimum-salary contract that runs through 2023/24, has been an important contributor for the Pelicans with Jones and Ingram sidelined as of late, Clark writes for NOLA.com. Marshall has scored 15 points and shot at least 53.8% from the field in each of his last three games, all starts. “Naji’s a dog, but he’s also very coachable and from a teammate perspective, like if you tell him, ‘Naj, maybe you should do it like this,’ he’s not gonna fight you on it,” Zion Williamson said. “He’s just gonna go out there and he’s going to do what’s asked of him. You love to have players like that on your team.”
  • In a Q&A with Mark Medina of NBA.com, CJ McCollum discussed his adjustment to a point guard role, how he’s dealing with a sprained finger, and where he thinks the Pelicans fit in the Western Conference pecking order. “It’s the Warriors and everybody else,” McCollum said, adding that New Orleans still has “a lot we have to learn and improve” after losing in the first round of the playoffs last season.

Zion Williamson Back For Pelicans On Sunday

Pelicans star power forward Zion Williamson will make his return to the floor for New Orleans on Sunday, the team has announced (via Twitter). New Orleans is facing off against the mighty Clippers on the road in an afternoon matinee today.

The Pelicans also revealed that standout second-year forward Herb Jones will remain sidelined with a hyperextended right knee. Forward Brandon Ingram is still in the league’s concussion protocols.

Across three healthy games this season, Williamson has averaged 22.0 PPG while connecting on 49.1% of his field goals and 71.4% of his free throws. He is also chipping in 6.7 RPG, 2.3 APG, 2.0 SPG and 0.7 BPG for New Orleans.

The 6’6″ Duke alum was sidelined for the Pelicans’ prior two contests. He missed all of the 2021/22 NBA season due to a right foot fracture.