J.J. Redick

J.J. Redick Out At Least Two Weeks With Hamstring Strain

After leaving Friday’s game with a leg injury, Pelicans guard J.J. Redick has been diagnosed with a left hamstring strain, the team announced today in a press release. According to the Pelicans, Redick will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

Redick, 35, has been a key contributor in his first season in New Orleans, averaging 14.9 PPG, 2.6 RPG, and 2.0 APG in 54 games (26.4 MPG). The veteran sharpshooter has been his usual effective self from beyond the arc, knocking down 2.9 three-pointers per game at a 45.2% rate.

The Pelicans lost one of their top outside threats, Darius Miller, to a season-ending Achilles tear before the regular season began, but have still been one of the league’s most dangerous three-point-shooting teams in 2019/20. They currently rank third in both threes per game (14.1) and 3PT% (.375). However, Redick is the team leader in both categories and New Orleans will miss his floor spacing.

In Redick’s absence, E’Twaun Moore figures to take on a larger role, while Nickeil Alexander-Walker has a chance to earn some rotation minutes again. Jrue Holiday and Josh Hart will likely be leaned on heavily by the Pelicans too as the club continues its push for a playoff spot.

Lowe’s Latest: Redick, Bertans, Collins, Drummond, OKC, More

A number of players who have been mentioned as trade candidates this season may not be moved – or may not be available at all – at Thursday’s deadline, ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes in an article jam-packed with trade-related rumors and speculation.

For instance, teams who have called the Pelicans asking about J.J. Redick have been “shooed away,” sources tell Lowe. The Wizards have taken a similar approach to clubs inquiring on Davis Bertans, though Lowe notes that could change if Washington is offered something concrete that moves the needle more than a future first-round pick.

As Shams Charania of The Athletic reported last week, teams have been monitoring John Collins in case the Hawks think about trading him, but there’s no indication Atlanta has interest in moving Collins “on any of the general terms being bandied about,” Lowe writes.

The Pistons‘ talks involving Andre Drummond aren’t entirely dormant, but it’s “far from a sure thing” that he’ll be moved, according to Lowe, who suggests that even if Detroit does make a deal, the return will likely be less than the team envisioned.

Meanwhile, the Thunder have been mentioned all season long as a potential seller, given their offseason moves and their veteran trade candidates. But the safest bet is that they stand pat with guys like Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schroder, and Steven Adams, per Lowe.

As Lowe points out, the Thunder could still have leverage to make deals after the season, when Schroder and Adams will be entering contract years and Gallinari will be a prime sign-and-trade candidate. The Heat are among the teams to inquire on Gallinari this season, sources tell Lowe.

As noted above, Lowe’s latest ESPN piece is filled with many more trade rumors and notes. Here are several of the highlights:

  • Lowe confirms a previous report that the Nuggets and Heat are among the teams to express interest in Jrue Holiday. Lowe also names the Raptors as a club that would be an ideal fit for the Pelicans guard, but he has a hard time envisioning a deal involving any of those teams unless they’re willing to part with young players like Michael Porter Jr., Tyler Herro, or OG Anunoby, which seems unlikely.
  • The Pacers could probably net a first-round pick for backup guard Aaron Holiday, but haven’t shown any real interest in moving him, says Lowe.
  • The chatter about the Trail Blazers making a major win-now move has died down, sources tell Lowe.
  • According to Lowe, the Lakers have explored the Kyle Kuzma market and are eyeing several ball-handlers, including Kings swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic, who has also received interest from the Hornets.
  • The Sixers don’t intend to include Matisse Thybulle in any deal and seem most likely to “tinker” around the edges of their roster, per Lowe.
  • The Grizzlies have asked for a first-round pick from teams inquiring on Jae Crowder, according to Lowe. However, he’d “bet heavily” against any potential trade partner meeting that price.
  • Lowe provides updates on both Morris brothers, suggesting that the Knicks “seem hell-bent” on keeping and re-signing Marcus Morris, and citing sources who say the Pistons could probably get a second-round pick for Markieff Morris.
  • A lot of teams have asked the Bucks about Sterling Brown, while Pistons youngsters Christian Wood and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk have also generated interest, according to Lowe, who thinks that Detroit is more likely to engage in talks on Wood than Mykhailiuk. Lowe also hears that a few clubs have “poked around” on Kings big man Harry Giles, and identifies Denzel Valentine (Bulls), Jakob Poeltl (Spurs), Marvin Williams (Hornets), and Malik Monk (Hornets) as other under-the-radar trade candidates to watch.

Pelicans Ready for Zion Williamson’s Debut

The long wait for Zion Williamson is almost over as the celebrated rookie is set to make his NBA debut tonight. He was projected to miss six to eight weeks after undergoing meniscus surgery in late October, but the actual recovery time turned out to be 13 1/2 weeks as the Pelicans were extremely cautious with their franchise cornerstone. Williamson tells Andrew Lopez of ESPN that the long wait was often difficult for him to accept.

“There’s a lot of times when I wanted to punch a wall or kick chairs because it’s frustrating,” Williamson said. “To not be able to move your body the way you want to, not to make any athletic movements; I mean, it’s tough. Especially because I’m 19 and I haven’t even played my first NBA game. It was tough but I battled through it.”

The rehab process included changes to his diet and the way he moves to help reduce the stress on his knees. That includes learning a new way to land after jumping.

“I think it’s not landing straight legs, kind of don’t let all my force go into my legs,” he said. “It’s a lot of technical stuff. I really couldn’t explain it to you, to be honest. I could probably show you on a video better.”

Williamson is aware of the immense expectations surrounding his first regular season game. A sell-out crowd is anticipated, and teammate Brandon Ingram said this week he expects every home game to be sold out for the rest of the season. The Pelicans have played their way back into the playoff race after a 6-22 start, and fans believe Williamson will push them over the top.

He doesn’t mind sharing that enthusiasm.

“We did go through a bad stretch, but things have turned around,” Williamson said. “Everybody’s been playing better. I’m just looking to go join in and have some fun.”

There’s more surrounding the star rookie’s first game:

  • The Pelicans have “really pulled back in trade talks among all their players” in hopes of making a playoff push, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Tuesday on SportsCenter (video link from Tommy Beer of Forbes). The New Orleans front office wants to see how the team does in the seven games before the February 6 trade deadline before making a decision on the availability of Jrue Holiday and J.J. Redick, Woj adds.
  • Williamson’s debut comes with a few concerns, notes Dan Devine of The Ringer. Playing alongside Derrick Favors gives the Pelicans two frontcourt players with limited shooting range, and Zion’s presence might take away shots from Ingram, who is making a bid for the All-Star team. Also there are questions about whether New Orleans’ best small-ball lineup — Williamson, Ingram, Holiday, Redick and Lonzo Ball — can defend well enough to be effective.
  • Williamson has half a season to try to pass Grizzlies guard Ja Morant in the Rookie of the Year race, writes Preston Ellis of Bleacher Report, who observes that nobody has ever won the award while playing fewer than 50 games.

Pelicans’ Jrue Holiday Available Via Trade?

The Pelicans are believed to consider Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram untouchable in trade talks, and have remained reluctant to trade J.J. Redick, league sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter links). However, according to Stein, there’s a belief that Jrue Holiday is available via trade.

Stein cautions that it would surely require a substantial offer to convince the Pelicans to part with Holiday. Based on Stein’s report, it sounds like the team is open to listening to inquiries, but won’t actively shop its standout guard.

Still, as recently as this summer, when David Griffin took over as New Orleans’ head of basketball operations, Holiday was viewed as entirely off-limits. It appears the club’s dismal 6-21 start to the season has influenced the front office’s thinking on the subject.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski suggested on Sunday that Holiday loves New Orleans, but might not be opposed to a change of scenery if it means avoiding an extensive rebuild.

Holiday, 29, is considered one of the NBA’s best defensive guards, and has also been his usual productive self on offense so far this season. In 25 games, he has averaged 19.4 PPG, 6.8 APG, and 5.0 RPG with a .454 FG% and a .338 3PT%. He has shot 48.9% from the field and 38.9% on threes over his last 17 games, following an early-season slump.

Holiday is under contract through at least 2020/21, with matching cap hits of $26.2MM this season and next season. He also has a $27.1MM player option for 2021/22. If the Pelicans begin fielding trade offers in earnest, he could quickly become the most intriguing player on the trade block this winter.

Woj, Lowe On D-Lo, Mavs, MPJ, Love, VanVleet, More

Approximately 120 players around the NBA became trade-eligible on Sunday, signaling the unofficial start of the NBA’s 2019/20 trade season. To celebrate the occasion, Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe hosted an ESPN special to survey the trade market, discussing which teams are most likely to make moves and which players are most likely to be dealt.

Here are several of the highlights from that discussion between Woj and Lowe:

Western Conference:

  • The Warriors may field trade inquiries on D’Angelo Russell leading up to February’s trade deadline, but they’re unlikely to actively shop him and probably won’t move him before the 2020 offseason, according to Wojnarowski (video link).
  • Wojnarowski believes the Mavericks would like to acquire a standout center to complement Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis (video link). He cites Montrezl Harrell as one player who might fit that bill, though Dallas would have to wait for the Clippers‘ big man to reach free agency.
  • The Nuggets essentially view Michael Porter Jr. as “untouchable,” says Wojnarowski (video link).
  • Wojnarowski and Lowe expect contenders to keep a close eye on Pelicans guards Jrue Holiday and J.J. Redick as the deadline nears (video link). According to Woj, Holiday loves New Orleans, but it’s not clear how patient he’ll be with the team’s rebuilding process.
  • Woj and Lowe note that the Clippers pursued Marcus Morris in free agency and could have interest in him again on the trade market. Lowe wouldn’t be surprised if the club tries to see what it can get using a package of Maurice Harkless, Patrick Patterson, and its first-round pick (video link).
  • Wojnarowski views 2019/20 as a pivotal year for the Rockets, adding that GM Daryl Morey seems to have given up trying to find a way to trade for Grizzlies wing Andre Iguodala after exploring multi-team scenarios earlier in the year (video link).

Eastern Conference:

  • Wojnarowski thinks the best the Cavaliers can realistically expect in a Kevin Love trade is a protected first-round pick, an expiring salary, and another throw-in player (video link). Woj adds that it seems as if Love is “ready to go,” having lost patience with the rebuild in Cleveland.
  • Count the Raptors and Heat among teams that will be reluctant to make any moves that compromise their 2021 cap flexibility (video links). According to Wojnarowski, Toronto wants to re-sign Fred VanVleet this summer, but continues to eye Giannis Antetokounmpo for ’21. As for the Heat, they seem less likely to trade young players for veterans than they have been in the past.
  • Pistons owner Tom Gores “loves” Andre Drummond, but the club will soon have to have a serious conversation about whether to go all-in on the veteran center or whether to try to shop him, per Woj (video link).
  • Lowe thinks players like Timberwolves forward Robert Covington and J.J. Redick will be on the Bucks‘ radar if they’re available, adding that Milwaukee appears willing to go over the tax line for the right deal (video link).

J.J. Redick On Pelicans’ Tough Start: “We Can Turn This Around”

Entering the season, the Pelicans added sharpshooting veteran J.J. Redick on a two-year pact to bolster a young, promising team that appeared to be a postseason contender. Through the season’s first 26 games, the 6-20 Pelicans are the second-worst team in the Western Conference.

The absence of heralded first overall pick Zion Williamson along with inconsistent play for young players has not helped New Orleans’ causes. Given the slow start, it’s possible that the Pelicans could explore trading some veterans but for Redick, though that is not the focus.

“I don’t pay attention to that stuff. I’m all-in on the Pelicans. I’m all-in on this group,” Redick said, per Will Guillory of The Athletic (Twitter link). “I think we can turn this around. That’s 100% my focus.”

Redick, 35, has provided the Pelicans with his trademark solid play, averaging 15.8 PPG while shooting 45.3% from beyond the arc. If New Orleans decided to shop the veteran, the team could likely command a solid return of picks. But if Redick has a say, the Pelicans will continue to fight to improve and hopefully creep back into playoff contention.

O’Connor’s Latest: Thunder, Blazers, Love, Iguodala, More

As we relayed earlier this morning, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported that the Rockets have “serious interest” in Timberwolves wing Robert Covington. That tidbit was just one of many in a longer article jam-packed with notes and observations on the NBA’s trade market, so let’s round up some of the other highlights from O’Connor’s piece…

  • As expected, Thunder veterans Chris Paul, Steven Adams, and Danilo Gallinari are all available, league sources tell O’Connor. However, as Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Monday, Oklahoma City also seems willing to take on bad contracts and unwanted money, according to O’Connor, who hears that getting out of tax territory isn’t necessarily a priority for the club. The Thunder don’t anticipate a major tax bill this season and know they won’t be back over that line in future years, so they’re willing to live with a slightly bigger penalty this season if it means acquiring extra assets.
  • Speaking of Gallinari, the Trail Blazers are expected to pursue the Thunder forward, league sources tell The Ringer. O’Connor also hears that Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love would like to play for his hometown team in Portland.
  • O’Connor identifies the following teams as ones that appear most open to trading late first-round or early second-round draft picks: The Bucks, Raptors, Clippers, Celtics, Sixers, and Mavericks. Some of those clubs hold other teams’ picks and could dangle those in trade talks. For instance, Milwaukee owns Indiana’s lottery-protected first-rounder; Philadelphia has New York’s and Atlanta’s second-rounders; and Dallas controls Golden State’s second-rounder.
  • League sources tell O’Connor that Davis Bertans (Wizards), Marvin Williams (Hornets), J.J. Redick (Pelicans), and Marcus Morris (Knicks) are among the veterans who are candidates to be dealt before the deadline. Redick likely won’t be moved, but multiple execs believe New Orleans could strongly consider the idea if the right offer comes along.
  • O’Connor hears that there’s “no world” in which the Grizzlies buy out Andre Iguodala. Memphis will trade him — it’s just a matter of when and where, says O’Connor. A source tells The Ringer that the Grizzlies are open to any type of trade package, even if it means taking back a multiyear contract.

Pelicans Notes: Williamson, Griffin, Offseason

Pelicans players, coaches and executives alike are trying to shield phenom Zion Williamson from as much of the pressure and spotlight that comes with being the most-hyped player since LeBron James that they can, but it may be a futile endeavor, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

Vardon admits it’s an admirable strategy, to try to create an environment in which Williamson matures into an adult naturally, to the degree that’s possible as a professional basketball player. But it’s hard to convince people that this is Jrue Holiday‘s team when everybody and their mother at media day only wants to hear from Zion, even if it meant waiting after the Pels purposely didn’t bring him out until later.

“He’s still 19, a very young 19,” Pelicans’ Executive VP of Basketball Operations David Griffin said. “I think Zion is finding more comfort just with himself as a man, as a person. And that’s really important to us. We don’t have expectations that we are hoisting on him with the players. It’s really about finding himself, finding comfort with his teammates, finding his role and we’re blessed. All Zion wants to do is win.”

But whatever Griffin says, the NBA didn’t “put (the Pelicans) on national TV 30 times” because of anybody but Zion, and New Orleans knows this. So try as they might, the Pelicans probably won’t be able to protect Williamson from what’s coming at him this season.

There’s more news this evening from the Big Easy:

  • As training camp gets underway, William Guillory of The Athletic writes that the Pelicans’ uncertainty entering camp might be higher than it is with any other NBA franchise, as New Orleans only returns five of 20 players from last season’s roster – Holiday, E’Twaun Moore, Darius Miller, Jahlil Okafor, and Frank Jackson.
  • Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com explores how Griffin was able to make good on his promise to bring multiple, accomplished NBA veterans to New Orleans when he took over in April. One example? Griffin managed to bring in J.J. Redick, Derrick Favors, and Nicolo Melli, a trio that boasts a combined 30-plus seasons of professional experience.
  • ICYMI, Luke Adams took a look at how New Orleans was able to successfully transition from one franchise player to another in the span of a few months, among other Pelicans’ related tidbits, as part of our 2019 Offseason in Review series.

Pelicans Notes: Ingram, Ball, Redick, G League

Former Lakers Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball, whose 2018/19 seasons ended early due to health issues, have been full participants in the Pelicans‘ voluntary offseason workouts in New Orleans, a source tells Andrew Lopez of ESPN.com.

Ingram was shut down in March due to a blood clot, while Ball hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since January as a result of an ankle injury. The fact that both players are participating in workouts without restrictions is great news for the Pelicans, who acquired the duo – plus Josh Hart and a handful of draft picks – in the summer’s blockbuster Anthony Davis trade.

Ingram is technically eligible to sign a rookie scale extension up until October 21, the day before the regular season begins. However, the Pelicans are unlikely to make a long-term commitment to him before he appears in a single regular season game for the club. In the 2020 offseason, after New Orleans’ decision-makers have had a full year to evaluate the duo, Ingram will be a restricted free agent and Ball will be eligible for an extension of his own.

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • Appearing on ESPN’s Lowe Post podcast with Zach Lowe this week, new Pelicans sharpshooter J.J. Redick cited a desire to play with Jrue Holiday as one reason why he signed with New Orleans, despite the fact that he didn’t have a pre-existing relationship with Holiday and hadn’t played with him in the past. Redick also said that he hopes to play a lot for the Pelicans this season, but doesn’t care whether he starts or comes off the bench.
  • The Erie BayHawks – New Orleans’ new G League affiliate – confirmed this week in a press release that Marc Chasanoff will be the team’s general manager. The BayHawks also announced several other members of their basketball operations staff, including Billy Campbell as assistant GM.
  • After helping to build up the Long Island Nets during his time in Brooklyn, new Pelicans assistant GM Trajan Langdon will look to do the same with New Orleans’ new G League team. William Guillory of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at the first steps Langdon is taking toward that goal this year.
  • We passed along a few more notes on the Pelicans on Tuesday, including a report on the team applying for a disabled player exception.

Eastern Notes: Harris, Satoransky, Leonsis, Heat

Nets shooting guard Joe Harris could double his salary in free agency next summer, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Harris will make $7.67MM during the upcoming season and Scotto notes that veteran shooting guards received well above that figure in free agency this summer. Danny Green signed a two-year, $30MM deal with the Lakers while J.J. Redick got a two-year, $26.5MM contract with the Pelicans.

Harris might get even more, as Scotto points out that several other comparable shooting guards are making between $17.2MM and $20MM this season. The Nets hold Harris’ Bird Rights, giving them the inside track on signing him.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Tomas Satoransky‘s price tag became too much to bear for the Wizards in restricted free agency, as Fred Katz of The Athletic details. The Bulls offered him a three-year, $30MM contract and Washington felt that was too much for a player who’d be a backup once John Wall returned from his Achilles injury. A sign-and-trade was worked out that brought back a 2020 second-round pick and other considerations to Washington. Satoransky wasn’t disappointed. “I always felt like, for me, it was always harder than for others,” he said of his experience in Washington. “I had to always keep proving (myself) to people. And I always felt like, ‘Man, I’ve done enough to have that.’ So, I felt this needs a new start.”
  • Wizards managing partner Ted Leonsis will be more visible with a new front office structure in place, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “Our owners are going to be more involved,” Leonsis said. “You constantly have to gauge back and forth: is it good to be involved, or is it not good to be involved? Every agent, every player that I’ve talked to said the more they see Raul Fernandez and Laurene Powell-Jobs and me, the more connected they feel to what our vision and what our ultimate plan is.”
  • Any package that the Heat would send out in a potential Bradley Beal and Wall deal with the Wizards would need to include James Johnson, Dion Waiters, Justise Winslow and Kelly Olynyk for salary-matching purposes, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald details. Trading for Beal alone would probably require the Heat to give up their three best assets, Bam Adebayo, Winslow and Tyler Herro, but they wouldn’t realistically be able to attach a draft pick until next June, Jackson adds.