Jaxson Hayes

Pelicans Center Jaxson Hayes Receives Probation Sentence

Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes has been sentenced following his July 2021 felony arrest in the Los Angeles area, per an Associated Press report.

Hayes was sentenced to three years of probation, 450 community service hours, and a year’s worth of weekly domestic violence classes, which he will take online. He will also make a restitution payment, the amount of which has yet to be set.

The incident in question saw police called in response to a domestic disturbance issue — Hayes allegedly resisted arrest upon authorities’ arrival on the scene and was tased twice during the interaction. Initially charged with a felony, Hayes pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of resisting an officer and false imprisonment in February.

The New Orleans big man went to the hospital following the altercation for treatment, while an officer thrown against the wall by Hayes received treatment for an elbow injury.

Though Hayes was arrested in L.A., Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office spokesman Rob Wilcox said that he would be permitted to fulfill his community service obligations in New Orleans.

Hayes is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason. If he doesn’t receive a new deal, he’ll become a restricted free agent in 2023.

Pelicans Notes: Offseason, Jones, Murphy, Alvarado, Zion

When the Pelicans got off to a 1-12 start this season, it looked like the team was headed for another lottery finish and some difficult offseason questions. Instead, New Orleans managed to turn things around, earned a playoff berth via the play-in tournament, and gave the NBA-best Suns all they could handle in the first round of the playoffs.

“To get to the playoffs, we continued to believe in ourselves. Continued to get better, believing in this organization,” Brandon Ingram said after Thursday’s Game 6 loss, according to Will Guillory of The Athletic. “New coach. New players. Figuring it out so fast. You don’t think about it in the moment because we just lost, but we definitely came a long way from the beginning of the season.”

As Guillory writes, the first-round loss to Phoenix was a tough one, given how competitive the Pelicans made the series (they were outscored by a total margin of 668-659 across six games). But after laying a strong foundation of young talent, the franchise looks poised to remain competitive and continue improving in the coming years.

There are still some pressing offseason questions facing the Pelicans, with both Zion Williamson and Jaxson Hayes eligible for rookie scale extensions, but all of the team’s young players are under contract for 2022/23, Guillory notes. And while there has been plenty of speculation about Williamson’s long-term commitment to New Orleans, the team couldn’t have done much more this spring to make him want to be part of the future.

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • The Pelicans wouldn’t have gotten as far as they did this season without the contributions they received from a trio of unheralded rookies, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN, who spotlights Herbert Jones, Trey Murphy, and Jose Alvarado. Jones emerged as a legitimate All-Defensive candidate, Murphy knocked down 38.2% of his three-point attempts, and Alvarado provided energy and hustle plays off the bench. All three players are under contract for multiple years going forward.
  • In his Pelicans offseason preview, ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) examines the big decision the team must make on a potential Williamson extension and points out that veterans like CJ McCollum and Larry Nance Jr. will be extension-eligible this summer as well.
  • Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype also looks ahead to the Williamson contract negotiations and the other key roster decisions facing the Pelicans this summer. As Gozlan writes, New Orleans doesn’t have much breathing room below the projected luxury tax line, which will affect the club’s ability to make full use of its mid-level exception.

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Nance, Wall, Spurs

The Pelicans are aware that evening their current first-round playoff matchup against the top-seeded Suns will require them to keep their cool, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com.

In the middle of Game 3’s second quarter, Pelicans big man Jaxson Hayes was ejected from the contest, an eventual Suns win, after aggressively pushing Phoenix forward Jae Crowder. New Orleans would go on to lose at home by a narrow margin (114-111). The Suns now have a 2-1 series edge.

Pelicans head coach Willie Green acknowledged that Hayes let his emotions get the best of him in that instance, but that the team overall has been effective at managing its emotions in a playoff environment.

“I thought we’ve done a really good job of that this series,” Green said of the Pelicans’ approach to their emotions. “We had a moment — the Jaxson-Jae Crowder thing. But other than that, it was a close game coming down the stretch, the last five minutes. They pulled away a bit. But we’re doing a lot of good. We just have to be better down the stretch.”

New Orleans will face off against the Suns in a big Game 4 today.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr. is confident in the team’s core even without star forward Zion Williamson, writes Logan Murdock of The Ringer“We’re the real deal,” Nance tells Murdock. “This team is here and this team is for real… And we have a top-10 asset that hasn’t even touched the court yet.” Murdock notes that three promising New Orleans rookies have emerged as key additions to the club’s playoff rotation: Herbert Jones, Jose Alvarado, and Trey Murphy III. Star veterans CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram have proven they belong in these playoffs thus far.
  • Rockets veteran point guard John Wall is expected to opt in to the final season on his max deal, worth $47.3MM in 2022/23. Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report suggests that Wall’s agents and Houston brass will discuss the possibility of a buyout arrangement if the Rockets are unable to find a trade partner for Wall before the 2022 draft in June. Should Wall be bought out, the Heat and Clippers may have interest in adding the former All-Star, says Fischer.
  • With the team’s youth movement fully underway, the Spurs are ready for an offseason typical of San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich: one full of Popovich’s exacting standards, per Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. Third-year forward Keldon Johnson knows what to expect from Popovich, who wants to see Johnson improve his defense. “He’s hard on me because he wants me to be great,” Johnson said. “If it was anything different, I wouldn’t want that.” McDonald writes that San Antonio All-Star guard Dejounte Murray will need Johnson, forward Devin Vassell, and rookie shooting guard Joshua Primo to develop for the Spurs to return to the playoffs.

Pelicans Notes: Lineup, Griffin, Ingram, Alvarado

The Pelicans‘ “jumbo” lineups weren’t working in Game 1 of their first-round series vs. the Suns, writes William Guillory of The Athletic. The team found success in the second half of the regular season by starting Jaxson Hayes at power forward alongside center Jonas Valanciunas, but the two big men had matching plus-minus ratings of -11 on Sunday, the worst marks of any player on either team.

Hayes ended up playing just 11 minutes, with Trey Murphy coming off the bench to play 26 minutes. New Orleans was a plus-six when Murphy was on the court and the team’s offense was functioning better, says Guillory. However, head coach Willie Green told reporters on Monday that he’s not planning to change his starting lineup, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link).

“Not at the moment,” Green said. “I think as a group, we didn’t have a great first half. That wasn’t one individual, that was us as a team. We have to be better. We have to do the things we do better, harder and with more force and see where we are after that.”

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • Pelicans VP of basketball operations David Griffin has made some mistakes since being hired to head up the team’s front office in 2019, but he deserves credit for putting together a team that made the playoffs even without Zion Williamson available all season, Rod Walker of NOLA.com opines. Walker believes the Pelicans look like a potential top-three squad in the West with a fully healthy Williamson.
  • Griffin’s faith in Brandon Ingram as a franchise leader on and off the court has been rewarded, according to Scott Kushner of NOLA.com, who points to Ingram’s performances in play-in wins over the Spurs (27 points) and Clippers (30 points) as indicators of the forward’s ability to handle the spotlight and step up in big games.
  • Pelicans rookie guard Jose Alvarado is joining Puerto Rico’s national team, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). As Charania observes, Alvarado will get a chance to face Team USA this summer in qualifiers for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
  • Jason Quick of The Athletic takes a look at the long-standing bond between Willie Green and his first-round coaching rival Monty Williams. After the two men were teammates in Philadelphia, Green played for Williams in New Orleans and then was an assistant on his Suns staff. “Monty and I are not just friends,” Green told Quick. “We are like … that’s like my older brother. I look up to Monty.”

Southwest Notes: Gobert, Mavs, Morant, Tyus Jones, Hayes

In an appearance on The Lowe Post podcast, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said the Mavericks would have “significant interest” in Jazz center Rudy Gobert if Utah makes him available this summer. Gobert would also “love to play with Luka (Doncic),” according to MacMahon (hat tip ProCity Hoops via Twitter).

Gobert would prefer to stay in Utah, MacMahon stated, but Dallas would be “very aggressive” in pursuit of the three-time Defensive Player of the Year if he’s put on the market.

Of course, this talk was based on Utah’s performance in the playoffs this season, as the team could make major changes if it’s unsuccessful in making a deep playoff run — it could even be a championship-or-bust scenario, depending on how certain players react. Still, it’s interesting that the Mavs apparently value Gobert so highly, given his pricey contract over the next several years.

Here are a few more notes from the Southwest Division:

  • Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said that Ja Morant is starting to ramp up his activity and is “feeling good,” according to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal (Twitter link). Morant’s sore right knee is expected to be reevaluated next Thursday. He’s expected to be back for the team’s playoff run.
  • Tyus Jones‘ strong play starting in place of Morant could make him too expensive for the Grizzlies to keep this summer, Cole writes. Jones is leading the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio for the fourth straight season and could be in line for a raise on the $8.4MM he’s earning in 2021/22. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer in a pretty weak point guard class. In 21 starts this season, Jones is averaging 12.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG and 6.8 against 0.95 TOPG, a ratio of about 7-to-1. He’s also a solid defender and sports a .450/.373/.838 shooting line in 30.3 MPG as a starter.
  • After switching from center to power forward, Jaxson Hayes‘ future in the league looks bright, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. The former first-round pick is eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer, but multiple sources think an extension might be unlikely, Clark relays. One reason for that is Hayes has some positional overlap with Zion Williamson, so New Orleans might want to see how they fit together before committing to Hayes long-term. Assuming he sticks with the Pelicans through next season and doesn’t sign an extension, Hayes would become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2023 if the team gives him a qualifying offer.

Western Notes: Snyder, Lakers, Warriors, Nurkic, Hayes

After writing last week that he has heard Quin Snyder‘s name mentioned as a possible Gregg Popovich successor in San Antonio, Marc Stein says in his latest Substack article that he has also heard Snyder suggested as a probable candidate to replace Frank Vogel if and when the Lakers seek a new head coach.

Stein cautions that Snyder won’t necessarily be available this offseason. The details of the Jazz head coach’s contract aren’t publicly known, but his deal is believed to run for at least one more season beyond 2021/22.

However, according to Stein, coaching sources have said Utah has been unsuccessful in its attempts to further extend Snyder, creating the sense that he “might be more gettable than advertised.” There’s a sense that major changes could be in store for the Jazz if they don’t make a deep playoff run this spring — it remains to be seen if Snyder’s job could be among those potential changes.

Here are a few more notes from around the Western Conference:

  • With James Wiseman‘s return up in the air following a recent setback, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said on Sunday that head of basketball operations Bob Myers and the front office are “constantly looking at options” for frontcourt help (Twitter link via Kerith Burke of NBC Sports Bay Area). Golden State hasn’t made a change to its 15-man roster since re-signing Gary Payton II to be the team’s 15th man on October 19.
  • The NBA has yet to announce anything, but Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic could be facing a fine after a video surfaced showing him grabbing a fan’s phone and tossing it away following Sunday’s game in Indiana.
  • Jaxson Hayes‘ shift from center to power forward has allowed him to defend more on the perimeter and become an ancillary shot-blocker and rebounder instead of having to anchor the Pelicans‘ defense, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. Hayes, who will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason, has played some of his best basketball since adopting his new role. “I feel like playing the four, I’m out guarding more guards and switching one through four instead of playing in my actual drop coverage like the other bigs,” Hayes said. “… I can showcase more of what I can do on the defensive end.”

Pelicans Notes: Ingram, Hayes, Alvarado, Graham, McCollum

Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram didn’t practice on Thursday, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune tweets. Ingram is recovering from a hamstring strain that has kept him out of action since March 6. New Orleans has lost four of five games since Ingram was sidelined and will begin a three-game road trip at San Antonio on Friday. The team has listed Ingram as out for the opener of the trip.

We have more on the Pelicans:

  • The team’s struggles without Ingram reinforces the need to keep him on the court by any means necessary, Scott Kushner of NOLA.com opines. They may have to reduce his playing time, or Ingram may need to get stronger this offseason. New Orleans is 3-16 in the games he has missed.
  • Jaxson Hayes has expanded his offensive game this season, which complicates the team’s long-term picture, William Guillory of The Athletic writes. Hayes has thrived at power forward and would have to move back to center on a regular basis once Zion Williamson returns from injury, whether this season or next. Both players are eligible for rookie scale extensions this summer and the Pelicans will have to decide whether to lock up Hayes long-term or see how the situation plays out.
  • Jose Alvarado (finger) and Devonte’ Graham (hip) are listed as questionable to play on Friday, Andrew Lopez of ESPN tweets.
  • One bright spot for the club in the Pelicans’ loss to Phoenix on Wednesday was the return of CJ McCollum. After exiting the league’s health and safety protocols, McCollum played 32 minutes, scored 21 points and dished out nine assists.

Pelicans Notes: McCollum, Hayes, Temple

The Pelicans, who rank 28th in halfcourt scoring efficiency this season, addressed one of their biggest weaknesses when they agreed to acquire CJ McCollum from Portland, says Christian Clark of NOLA.com. McCollum’s new backcourt partner Devonte’ Graham is excited about the move.

“He’s got everything in his bag,” Graham said of McCollum, per Clark. “Obviously, he’s a hell of a player. He’s going to bring extremely good offense and take a lot of pressure off B (Brandon Ingram) in those 1-on-1 situations.”

As Clark notes, the deal hasn’t yet been officially announced, so it’s possible it will be expanded to include a third team before it’s formally finalized. However, if that happens, it seems more likely to affect the Blazers than the Pelicans, since Portland needs to trade or waive a player to complete the move.

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • Jaxson Hayes‘ recent success in a power forward role boosted his value among Pelicans staffers, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who suggests that’s one reason New Orleans put Nickeil Alexander-Walker and not Hayes into the deal for McCollum.
  • Pelicans wing Garrett Temple exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols and will be available on Tuesday night vs. Houston, according to the team (Twitter link). Didi Louzada, who is headed from New Orleans to Portland in the McCollum trade, also cleared the protocols this week. There are now just two NBA players still in the protocols, including Pelicans center Willy Hernangomez.
  • Zach Harper of The Athletic likes the McCollum trade more for the Pelicans than the Trail Blazers, giving New Orleans a grade of A-minus for the deal. However, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton isn’t as bullish on the trade from the Pelicans’ perspective, writing that the move reflects “tremendous internal pressure” to win now. Pelton gave the Pels a grade of C-minus.

Pelicans, Blazers In Serious Talks About CJ McCollum

CJ McCollum is now the biggest name that people around the NBA expect to be dealt before this Thursday’s trade deadline, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who confirms that the Pelicans, Knicks, and Hawks remain in the mix for the Trail Blazers guard. Fischer also reported that the Pacers are among the teams believed to have interest in McCollum.

While a handful of new clubs have been identified this week as potential suitors for McCollum, the Pelicans may still be the frontrunners. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), New Orleans and Portland are engaged in “serious” discussions about McCollum, with those talks ongoing today.

Sources tell Bleacher Report that the Blazers, after sending Norman Powell to the Clippers, remain focused on creating more financial flexibility going forward and have expressed little interest in taking back future salary in a potential McCollum deal.

As Fischer explains, Portland wants to sign Anfernee Simons to a long-term deal this offseason and appears increasingly unlikely to trade Jusuf Nurkic, since he and the team have mutual interest in working out a new contract this offseason. If they keep McCollum and sign Simons and Nurkic to lucrative new deals, the Blazers would be at risk of going back into luxury tax territory next season.

A Pelicans offer for McCollum seems likely to include some combination of Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Jaxson Hayes, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, according to Fischer, who notes that New Orleans also still has a surplus of first-round picks available to include as sweeteners, if necessary.

Fischer suggests that a Hawks proposal for McCollum may include Danilo Gallinari and Delon Wright‘s expiring contract. He’s skeptical that the Knicks would be able to make an appealing offer, pointing to Evan Fournier‘s and Julius Randle‘s long-term contracts as pieces Portland wouldn’t want to take back. Theoretically, New York could put together a package of players on shorter-term contracts, such as Alec Burks, Kemba Walker, and Nerlens Noel, but it’s unclear exactly which players the club would be willing to put on the table.

Marc Berman of The New York Post, confirming the Knicks have talked to Portland about McCollum, says New York also had interest in Powell before he was sent to Los Angeles.

Southwest Notes: Rockets, Brunson, Finney-Smith, Grizzlies, Hayes

The Cavaliers team that Houston defeated on Wednesday has provided a blueprint for the Rockets to follow as they go through their own rebuild, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Cleveland patiently accumulated talent while enduring seasons of 19 wins, 19 wins (again), and 22 wins, and that patience is paying off this year.

“They have a bunch of young guys, and had some rough years for sure, but stuck with those young guys,” Rockets coach Stephen Silas said on Wednesday, per Feigen. “Those young guys were working together during the summer and going to Summer League and getting a little bit better to the point they are really having a good season led by J.B. (Bickerstaff) and the job J.B. has done and them sticking with J.B. and the organization being super solid with that group. That’s what we’re looking for here.”

Asked about the Rockets, Bickerstaff acknowledged that he could see some similarities between his own team and Houston, pointing to the young backcourt of Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. as a duo worth building upon.

“This group, especially being able to play with the size of those guys, they have big guards who can play different positions and score different ways,” Bickerstaff said of the Rockets. “They’re what the future of the league looks like, that size and skill.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Amid speculation about whether the Mavericks will trade or re-sign a pair of 2022 free-agents-to-be, Jalen Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith, Dalton Trigg of DallasBasketball.com reached out to team owner Mark Cuban and received the following response: “We will do all we can to keep (both Brunson) and Dorian.”
  • Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News outlines how the trade exception the Mavericks created in last summer’s Josh Richardson deal could come in handy at the trade deadline.
  • With the Grizzlies firmly in control of a top-three seed in the West, Tim MacMahon of ESPN takes a deep dive into the young squad’s success and its short- and long-term goals. “Obviously, everybody’s ultimate goal is to win a championship,” All-Star point guard Ja Morant told ESPN. “We’ve just got to make sure we’re laying brick by brick each day to get better. At the end, we’ll build an empire.”
  • Playing almost exclusively at power forward, Pelicans big man Jaxson Hayes racked up 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting on Monday vs. Cleveland. The performance prompted head coach Willie Green to say after the game that jumbo lineups with Hayes alongside center Jonas Valanciunas are “something we’re definitely going to explore” more going forward, per Christian Clark of NOLA.com.