Johnathan Motley

Southwest Notes: Holiday, Motley, Gasol

The addition of Rajon Rondo to the Pelicans‘ lineup has helped bring out the best in Jrue Holiday. William Guillory of The Times-Picayune writes that the converted shooting guard is playing some of the best basketball of his New Orleans tenure.

Holiday has established himself as a desperately needed perimeter scoring option, especially now that the presence of Rondo allows him to focus on scoring. The extra offensive output comes at an ideal time for the Pelicans, as they’ve been without Anthony Davis for the past three games..

I think Jrue is one of the best. He’s easily one of the top three 1-on-1 players in our game today,” Rondo, who signed with the Pelicans in the offseason, said. Since Rondo has slid into the lineup, Holiday has averaged 20 points and 4.4 assists per game with a .483 field-goal percentage.

His aggression and just taking advantage of being a bigger guardHe’s one of the best two-way players in this league when he’s aggressive. That’s the guy we need for our team to go to the next level,” Pelicans big man DeMarcus Cousins added. “He’s been playing great, he’s taken our team to another level and we’re a tough team to beat when he’s playing that way.”

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • The Mavericks have added Johnathan Motley to their active lineup for the first time this season after the two-way contract signee averaged 22.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game in the G League, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes. “[When you’re in the G League] you can’t just try to be a guy and get everybody else involved,” teammate J.J. Barea, an alum of the NBA’s minor league, said. “You got to kill it. That’s how you get noticed.
  • The NBA has fined Marc Gasol $15K for dropping an F-Bomb on live television, the league announced. It’s been a rocky season for the Grizzlies.
  • The Rockets have looked impressive with Chris Paul back in the lineup, not only on offense but on defense. Sam Amick of USA Today writes that Paul’s defensive presence – in addition to P.J. Tucker‘s and Luc Mbah a Moute‘s – has helped Houston make a name for itself with the fifth-best defensive rating in the league.

Mavericks Notes: Nowitzki, Mejri, Motley

Dirk Nowitzki, entering his 20th season with the Mavericks, will have a lot of questions surrounding his health and productivity. While the 39-year-old was still productive in 54 games last season, averaging 14.2 PPG and 6.5 RPG, his shooting (.437% )from the field was the lowest figure since his rookie season. As Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes, the legendary Maverick could become a bench player in 2017/18.

Sefko notes that coming off the bench would help keep Nowitzki’s legs fresh and perhaps prevent long term injuries. The German-born All-Star missed several games last season with Achilles tendon issues and considering the mileage on his body, pushing the near 40-year-old legend could only result in further damage.

However, the Dallas scribe is adamant in mentioning that if Nowitzki did not feel he could help, he would not play. “He will probably split time again between power forward and center, and the long-talked-about scenario of him coming off the bench might finally be in the cards, although he still seems better suited to start, keeping those creaky old legs from stiffening up after pregame warmups,” Sefko writes.

Below you can find additional notes surrounding the Mavericks organization:

  • While Salah Mejri found his way into 73 games for Dallas last season, Eddie Sefko writes in a separate piece that he will have to prove himself in 2017/18 if he wants to remain with the Mavericks. Mejri averaged just 2.9 PPG last season and entering the final year of his deal, he will need to show improvements across the board.
  • While he does not figure to get much NBA playing time, Johnathan Motley, who signed a two-way deal with the Mavericks, feels he can provide energy and size if called upon, NBA.com’s Earl K. Sneed writes. Motley enjoyed three good years at Baylor and went undrafted this year but could see time if the Mavericks are struck by injuries.
  • Once from Sefko, he writes that Motley’s role with the team is uncertain but the two-way deal gives Dallas a choice to shuttle him between the NBA and G-League. If he stays healthy and proves he can be effective in the NBA’s minor leagues, he will get a look from the team, Sefko adds.

Motley Signs Two-Way Contract With Mavs

The Mavericks signed forward Johnathan Motley to a two-way contract on Monday, the team announced in a press release. The news was relayed by Mavs.com beat writer Earl K. Sneed.

The 6’10” Motley went undrafted last month after the Baylor big man declared for the draft after his junior season. He averaged 17.3 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 2.3 APG and 1.1 BPG in his final college season. He’s played two games in the Orlando Summer League with the Mavs, averaging 3.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG and 1.0 BPG.

The agreement was reached last month but the signing is now official. Motley was projected as a second-round pick but teams were reluctant to take him because of a knee issue.

Teams are allowed to sign two players under two-way contracts. Those players will spend most of next season in the NBA G League and not more than 45 days with their NBA team. Two-way players are paid a corresponding daily amount based on the number of days they play in each league.

Mavericks Will Sign Motley To Two-Way Contract

Power forward Johnathan Motley of Baylor has agreed to a two-way contract with the Mavericks, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical.

The two-way deal, a feature of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, permits teams to keep two extra players under their control, even if they aren’t on the active roster. They will receive what amount to G League contracts, but the salaries will be higher than what G League players typically get, and no other other team can sign them. See here for more information on two-way contracts.

Motley, 22, averaged 17.2 points and 9.9 rebounds in 33 games during his junior season with the Bears. He was projected as the 42nd pick in the final mock draft by DraftExpress and 47th by Chad Ford of ESPN.com, but a knee injury made teams reluctant to take him, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News.

Motley’s contract cannot be finalized until the NBA’s new year begins July 1st.

Southwest Notes: Morey, Rockets, Noel, Ferrell

Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who recently signed a four-year extension, continues to work on large-scale moves after a quiet draft, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. On draft night, the Rockets had just one second-round pick and used it on Isaiah Hartenstein, who will remain overseas next season, Feigen tweets. The Rockets also traded their second-round pick, Dillon Brooks, to the Grizzlies for a second-round pick next season. Morey discussed his approach:

“We were very focused on two things, to get someone who can help us now and in the future. The second, we did a lot of potential discussions with teams that advanced a little bit today. Obviously, we’re focused on the team now, focused on chasing Golden State. Anything we can push in the future to help us upgrade the team, potentially through trade, we’re ready to do.”

The Rockets were discussing Paul George with the Pacers on Thursday and continue to do so, but nothing was considered close on draft day, per Feigen. The team was simultaneously having conversations directed at making cap room available if they needed it for an expensive free agent addition. Morey stated that the team was considering some deals to move into the first round of the draft, but the Rockets prioritized saving cap space to pursue big trades.

What else is going on in the Southwest division?:

Draft Notes: Jackson, Bako, Collins

The Hornets worked out a handful of possible first-round draft picks Sunday, including familiar face Justin Jackson. Alongside video footage of Jackson following the workout, Diedra Laird of the Charlotte Observer writes that club additionally auditioned Bam Adebayo, Luke Kennard and more.

Jackson, a North Carolina product, is being forecast as the No. 19 overall pick in NBADraft.net‘s latest mock draft. Duke product Kennard, on the other hand, has been projected as the No. 12 pick. Adebayo, out of Kentucky, is currently forecast to go No. 17 in that same mock.

Although the Hornets will pick earlier than any of those projections at No. 11, it’s reasonable that they could elect to take a flyer on a blue chip prospect that played their college basketball in state.

There are more pre-draft workout notes from around the league:

Draft Notes: Briscoe, Fox, Ferguson, Artis

Kentucky guard Isaiah Briscoe had to cancel his remaining workouts because of an ankle injury, according to Adam Zagoria of FanRagSports. The scheduled sessions were with the Lakers, Kings, Bucks and Pacers. Briscoe had reportedly been impressive in workouts with the Knicks, Sixers and a few other teams. DraftExpress lists Briscoe 71st in its list of top 100 prospects.

There’s more draft-related news as the clock winds down toward Thursday:

  • De’Aaron Fox, Briscoe’s backcourt partner at Kentucky, is intrigued by the prospect of joining former Wildcats Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker in Phoenix, writes Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated. The Suns hold the No. 4 pick, but seem unlikely to take another guard unless they make a trade to clear out their already overcrowded backcourt. Fox, who is considered a top five pick, sees the Lakers at No. 2 as another possibility. “I’ve heard they’re trying to move D’Angelo [Russell] to the 2,” he says. “Even if he does play point, I feel like we could play together. A lot of teams play two point guards anyway.” Fox touches on several other subjects, including his rivalry with UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, in a wide-ranging piece.
  • Regardless of the order, the first five picks in the draft appear to be set, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Turner talked to several league executives and found a consensus. After Washington’s Markelle Fultz is taken at No. 1, Ball, Fox, Kansas’ Josh Jackson and Duke’s Jayson Tatum will round out the top five. However, some believe Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac has a shot at being the fifth pick.
  • Terrance Ferguson, who is projected as the Nets‘ pick at No. 27 in the latest mock drafts from DraftExpress and Chad Ford of ESPN.com, will work out for Brooklyn today, according to NetsDaily.com (Twitter link).
  • Pitt’s Jamel Artis has scheduled workouts today with the Pistons and Monday with the Thunder, tweets Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders.
  • The Jazz held a workout Saturday that could be their last one before the draft, relays Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News. Baylor’s Johnathan Motley was the highest-ranked prospect on hand, joined by Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss, Houston’s Damyean Dotson, North Carolina’s Isaiah Hicks, La Salle’s Jordan Price and Southeast Missouri State’s Antonius Cleveland. “It was great,” Motley said. “Played with a lot of energy, played good defensively and shot the ball well during the workout. I think I did pretty good.”

Draft Notes: Josh Jackson, Fultz, Smith Jr., Heat

Kansas forward Josh Jackson paid a visit to Kings today, but didn’t go through a workout, tweets Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Jackson is expected to be one of the first players selected next week and probably won’t be around for Sacramento’s pick at No. 5. There have been rumors that the Kings would like to move up, but a report today said they aren’t willing to give the Sixers the fifth and 10th picks to get No. 3.

There’s more from a full day of draft workouts:

Southeast Notes: J. Johnson, Heat, Hawks, Hornets

When James Johnson was asked about whether his affection for the Heat could translate into a team-friendly contract in free agency this offseason, the forward took a measured stance Sunday, reports Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Johnson reiterated his love the organization, while maintaining that a business decision must be made:

I love this place so much and the opportunity they gave me. I couldn’t thank them enough. Down the line, it’s hard in this phase of my career to try to find somewhere that you call home or you want it to be home and things like that. So you know the love I have for this team is up there. But it’s just something I got to let the agent and Pat [Riley] discuss and try to figure out, and then just give my last say so at the end.”

Johnson enjoyed a career season in 2016/17, averaging 12.8 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 3.6 APG.

Here’s what else you should know from the Southeast division:

Workout Notes: Nets, Bulls, Evans, Dorsey

The Nets worked out several prospects today, according to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Jaron Blossomgame, Devin Robinson, Wesley Iwundu, Damyean Dotson, London Perrantes and Tarik Phillip all participated in drills for Brooklyn.

There’s more news on prospects meeting with teams. Here’s the latest:

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