Jrue Holiday

Pelicans Notes: Davis, GM Search, Gentry, Holiday

Shortly after the Pelicans dismissed general manager Dell Demps on Friday, Sam Amick of The Athletic cited sources who said there was no plan in place for how to handle the Anthony Davis situation after the All-Star break. On Sunday night, a tweet from Scott Kushner of The Advocate suggested that there’s still no resolution.

According to Kushner, there are people within the Pelicans’ organization who believe that Davis has played his last game for the team. However, the big man played in the All-Star Game on Sunday and his shoulder injury isn’t expected to sideline him going forward. He has also made it clear he wants to play down the stretch.

[RELATED: Anthony Davis plans to play rest of season, confirms teams on trade list]

With the NBA not stepping in to clarify its position on the issue, it’s not clear what the tipping point will be, according to Kushner, who predicts that the situation will continue to be a “weird” one going forward.

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • The Pelicans, who reportedly plan to target high-level executives for their GM opening, are expected to hire a search firm to vet outside candidates, per Amick.
  • In a column for The Advocate, Kushner argues that the Pelicans’ next general manager should learn from Demps’ mistakes — namely, Demps’ strategy of trading first-round picks for “young veterans” backfired, since New Orleans’ rosters during the last several years typically lacked depth and were short on affordable rookie contracts.
  • While the Davis saga has been a mess for the franchise, head coach Alvin Gentry and star guard Jrue Holiday have emerged as “sympathetic, admirable figures,” Kushner writes in a separate piece for The Advocate. According to Kushner, “Gentry and Holiday are the stewards who should be remembered for carrying a wounded franchise across a period of dread with dignity and pride.”

Pelicans Notes: Davis, Holiday, Tatum

Chatter surrounding the Pelicans sitting Anthony Davis for the rest of the season resulted in the league informing the franchise that there would be consequences if the All-Star doesn’t play, sources tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. The NBA referenced the rules put in place two seasons ago restricting teams from resting healthy players. The Pelicans were told the fine would be $100K for every game that Davis sat.

New Orleans’ front office met with Davis after the trade deadline passed to discuss the plan for the rest of the season. Davis expressed his desire to play as many games as possible as the season winds down. The team decided it would act “ethically” and give Davis the role he had prior to his latest injury with a few caveats.

Davis will not play in back-to-backs and it’s possible that his minutes could be reduced. Davis will get to choose which end of the back-to-back he will play for the remainder of the season, sources tell Windhorst. After tonight’s tilt with Minnesota, the team has 26 games remaining.

Here’s more from New Orleans:

  • Will the Celtics offer Jayson Tatum to the Pelicans in exchange for Davis over the summer? Sean Deveney of Sporting News confirms previous reports indicating while Boston has made no promises, the Pelicans were left with the impression that Tatum will be on the table in future trade talks.
  • The Celtics were upset about the news of Kyrie Irving‘s level of interest in New York as they feel the story was planted by Davis’ agent in an attempt to deter the team from being comfortable with promising a haul to the Pelicans for Davis. “It was cheap and underhanded,” a source tells Deveney.
  • The Pelicans are expected to watch Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr. closely over the remainder of the season, Zach Lowe of ESPN.com writes. Lowe contends that the Knicks will need the Pelicans to increase their interest in at least one of their prospects if they don’t land the No. 1 pick and are going to have a chance at trading for Davis this summer.
  • Jrue Holiday has no interest in being on a lottery-bound team and if the Pelicans eventually trade Davis, his level of content will depend on what comes back in the trade, Lowe adds in the same piece.

Lowe’s Latest: Sixers, Mirotic, Hornets, Nets, More

The Buckstrade for Nikola Mirotic was made sweeter by the fact that the Sixers were in the hunt for the Pelicans‘ power forward before New Orleans opted to send him to Milwaukee, writes ESPN’s Zach Lowe in his post-deadline round-up.

According to Lowe, the Sixers offered a pair of second-round picks in their offer for Mirotic, which the Bucks bested by surrendering four second-rounders. Before the 76ers acquired Tobias Harris, they also discussed the general framework of a Mirotic/Markelle Fultz swap with the Pelicans, according to Lowe, who notes that it’s unclear whether those talks would have gotten serious if Philadelphia hadn’t completed its blockbuster deal for Harris.

Lowe’s article is packed with several more tidbits on the trade deadline, so we’ll round up the highlights here:

  • The Hornets came close to acquiring Marc Gasol from the Grizzlies for a package that would have included a lottery-protected pick, but the deal fell apart over “last-minute haggling” on the price, sources tell Lowe. Charlotte also pursued Harrison Barnes, but any offer that included a first-round pick would have also included multiyear salary the Mavericks didn’t want, Lowe reports.
  • Before the Grizzlies sent JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple to the Clippers, Memphis discussed a deal involving the duo for the Nets, according to Lowe, who says the return would’ve featured Allen Crabbe and Denver’s first-round pick. The Grizzlies, who had tax concerns, settled instead on L.A.’s offer, which didn’t include a draft pick.
  • At least one of the offers the Wizards received for Otto Porter featured a low first-round pick, but it would have been meant taking on multiyear money, per Lowe.
  • Kris Dunn probably could have been had at the deadline, but the Bulls likely wouldn’t have listened to inquiries on Zach LaVine unless someone had “overwhelmed” them, Lowe writes.
  • The Magic told teams in recent weeks that they wouldn’t part for Terrence Ross for anything less than a first-round pick, sources tell Lowe. Orlando ultimately kept Ross on its roster.
  • Jrue Holiday is a player worth keeping an eye on if and when the Pelicans eventually trade Anthony Davis. Sources tell Lowe that Holiday wants a chance to compete in the playoffs and is waiting to see what New Orleans gets in return for Davis.

Pelicans Plan To Hold Onto Jrue Holiday

The Pelicans are turning down all offers for Jrue Holiday, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. There has been speculation that New Orleans might launch a full rebuilding project in the wake of Anthony Davis‘ trade request, but so far the front office hasn’t budged on its plan to keep Holiday.

The 10th-year guard is enjoying his best season since joining the Pelicans six years ago. He is posting career highs with 21.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, and his 8.0 assists per night match his career best mark set with Philadelphia in 2012/13, which was his only All-Star season.

Holiday could serve as the cornerstone in New Orleans once Davis is gone. He is signed through the 2020/21 season, making $25,976,111 in each of the next two years, and has a $26.865MM player option for 2021/22. He is the only Pelicans player with a contract that runs past next season.

ESPN’s Bobby Marks suggests there would be “a line of teams outside the Pelicans’ training facility” if Holiday ever became available in trade talks (Twitter link). Marks states Holiday’s combination of production and value put him on a level with Wizards guard Bradley Beal as a trade asset.

Pelicans Notes: Ball, Davis, Lakers, Demps

Although Lonzo Ball would reportedly resist a trade to New Orleans, the Pelicans see him as an important part of any potential deal for Anthony Davis, according to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. Sources tell her that Ball would become the starting point guard in New Orleans and would be given every opportunity to become a star.

Ball’s representatives had expressed concern that he might not have a clear role in a crowded Pelicans backcourt where Elfrid Payton is the starter at point guard and Jrue Holiday can also play that position. However, Holiday “doesn’t want to be a point guard” and prefers his current role, according to one source. It’s not clear whether the Pelicans intend to keep Payton or trade him to another team if they acquire Ball. He has an expiring $3MM contract and will be a free agent this summer.

There’s more Pelicans news to pass along:

  • The Lakers believe New Orleans is targeting Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Ivica Zubac as the main components of a Davis trade, relays Sam Amick of The Athletic in an examination of the key players in the drama. However, he adds that L.A. should be prepared to give up Brandon Ingram if that’s what it takes to get a deal finalized before next week’s trade deadline. Sources also tell Amick that LeBron James has been visibly frustrated over the direction the Lakers’ season has taken since he was sidelined with a groin injury on Christmas Day. L.A. has fallen to ninth place in the West, which should increase the urgency to acquire Davis as soon as possible.
  • There has been speculation that the way the Davis situation has played out will eventually cost GM Dell Demps his job, but Justin Verrier of The Ringer points out that there’s no obvious candidate to replace him. In previous years, there was speculation that the Pelicans might ask Joe Dumars to take over, but Verrier suggests Dumars might have been responsible for those rumors. Many of Pelicans’ top executives also work for the NFL’s Saints and don’t have the basketball expertise to run a team. Former Hawks executive Danny Ferry has been serving as a consultant and could be next in line if Demps is dismissed. Verrier’s comments are part of a larger look at whether the NBA has a future in New Orleans.
  • Davis will talk to the media Friday afternoon for the first time since making his trade request, tweets Scott Kushner of The Advocate.

AD Notes: Holiday, Aftermath, Odds, Injury

Guard Jrue Holiday admits the main reason he re-signed with the Pelicans was the presence of Anthony Davis, Andrew Lopez of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Holiday signed a five-year, $131.8MM contract in the summer of 2017. “He’s like 90 percent of the reason that I stayed,” Holiday said. “He’s a talent that comes once in a generation. A 7-footer who can do everything at his skill level.” Holiday revealed that Davis notified his teammates over the weekend of his decision to decline a super-max extension with the franchise and request a trade. “He had to what he had to do for his family and what’s best for his career,” Holiday said.

We have more on Davis and the Pelicans:

  • Davis’ decision is a failure at all levels of the franchise, including Davis himself, Scott Kushner of The Baton Rouge Advocate opines. Davis was unable to carry the franchise on his back, while Pelicans management failed to surround him with enough quality pieces. Instead of methodically building a deep roster of young talent through the draft, the Pelicans tried to take a shortcut into contention and that strategy blew up in their faces, Kushner notes. GM Dell Demps traded away his next seven first-round picks after Davis was drafted and that resulted in a shaky foundation, Kushner adds.
  • The Lakers are the favorites to land Davis’ services, Nick Goss of NBC Sports Boston relays. Odds posted by B/R Betting have the Celtics as the second choice in the AD sweepstakes, followed by the Knicks, 76ers and Rockets.
  • Davis won’t play against the Rockets on Tuesday, according to Hunter Atkins of the Houston Chronicle. Davis will miss his fifth consecutive game due to a finger injury.
  • Davis’ salary options if he’s dealt are broken down in detail by Danny Leroux of The Athletic. Leroux also examines the logistics of making a swap. Any team other than the Kings, who have ample cap space, would have to send out a minimum of $20.25MM to make a trade happen.

Lonzo Ball’s Camp Doesn’t Want Him In New Orleans

Lonzo Ball‘s camp would prefer that the second-year point guard be traded to a third team if talks between the Pelicans and Lakers heat up, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Los Angeles is one of the major players in the quest for Anthony Davis, whose desire to be traded became public on Monday.

Ball’s group would want him to go to a team that doesn’t already have an established point guard, Charania adds. New Orleans has Elfrid Payton and combo guard Jrue Holiday in starting roles.

The thinking among Ball’s people is curious, considering Payton isn’t on any list of elite point guards. The former Magic guard is averaging 9.8 PPG and 5.8 APG in 26.9 MPG.

If a deal was struck between the Pelicans and Lakers, Ball wouldn’t be able to play right away wherever he wound up. Ball suffered a high ankle sprain last week and will be sidelined 4-6 weeks.

Southwest Notes: Davis, Smith Jr., Cuban

There’s no imminent news that would ruin Christmas dinner for Pelicans fans per se, but Kevin Garnett believes that Anthony Davis to the Lakers “has to happen.”

Martin Rogers of USA Today spoke with the former All-Star about the rumors that LeBron James is courting the Pelicans’ superstar center. Garnett, of course, strung together a Hall of Fame-worthy career as a lone wolf in Minnesota before a 2007 trade put him in a position to win a title with the Celtics.

Anthony Davis playing in New Orleans, I don’t want to say they are wasted days, but they are non-days,” Garnett said. “He needs to be somewhere where he can be with another guy and they can have a run at a championship. He has been [with the Pelicans] long enough. It is time for a change now. This is it. No better time to do this.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • The struggling Pelicans blew a 19-point first-half lead and lost to the upstart Kings this week. Point guard Jrue Holiday thinks that the squad and the coaching staff need to get on the same page. “It’s kind of the same story for us,” Holiday told Michael Wagaman of The Associated Press. “Between the coaches and the players, we have to get on the same page when it comes down to the last four minutes.
  • The Mavs have only employed the services of Dennis Smith Jr. once since December 4. Fortunately, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News write, the sophomore has shown great progress from his wrist injury and plans to be back in the lineup before the new year.
  • Mavs owner Mark Cuban and forward Harrison Barnes plan to chat to clear the air after coming away with different stances on a contentious comment made by the former. Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News wrote about Cuban’s implication that American-born players failed to learn fundamental basketball skills at a young age as well as their European counterparts.

Woj’s Latest: Butler, Timberwolves, Thibodeau

In a piece regarding the final days of the Jimmy Butler saga in Minnesota, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN provides a closer look into the Timberwolves‘ front office and the back-and-forth that went down before the trade was finally completed. Let’s dive into some of the highlights he provides:

  • Tom Thibodeau sold Timberwolves‘ owner Glen Taylor on passing on the initial offer from the Heat centered around Josh Richardson because he believed that Pat Riley would come back with a better offer down the road (the Heat never returned with Richardson on the table in subsequent trade talks).
  • Taylor considered firing Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden this past summer before the Butler saga broke out and continues to think about the possibility of replacing both of them.
  • According to Woj, the Timberwolves desperately tried to find other trade partners throughout the past week, including reaching out to the Pelicans and Wizards, to no avail. The Wolves actually had “extensive” discussions with the Pels, but New Orleans wouldn’t offer Jrue Holiday or multiple draft picks. Washington, meanwhile wouldn’t offer Bradley Beal, which comes as no surprise.
  • The Sixers initially offered the Timberwolves their choice of Robert Covington and Dario Saric in an offer for Butler before eventually agreeing to include both players.
  • The Sixers believe they are operating out of a position of leverage when it comes to dealings with Butler. According to Woj, there are league executives that understand that Butler must be on his best behavior in order to get the full five-year max contract he desires this summer.

Southwest Notes: Spurs, Holiday, Watanabe

After playing 16 seasons in the NBA, former Sixth Man of the Year Manu Ginobili retired earlier this week. His departure now opens the door for increased roles on the Spurs for both Derrick White and Lonnie Walker, writes Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype.

As Kalbrosky notes, Ginobili was used as the primary ball handler in pick-and-rolls for a majority of his possessions last season, and was also used as a spot-up shooter. White also excelled on these play types during his 17 games as a rookie for the Spurs last season. White was also dominant in the G League, meaning he may be ready for an increased role in his second season in the NBA.

Walker, meanwhile, has shown tremendous flashes of potential. At Miami, he was also thrust into the role as a spot-up shooter and ball handler. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich does not generally give a lot of playing time to rookies, but with Ginobili gone, it’s possible he may change his tune with Walker.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Pelicans caught up with starting point guard Jrue Holiday to discuss the team’s 2017/18 playoff run, the team’s acquisitions like Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton, his off-season preparation, and what he expects for this upcoming season.
  • According to Michael Wallace of Grind City Media, Grizzlies rookie Yuta Watanabe is a perfect developmental prospect for today’s NBA because of his combination of length, shot-blocking and three-point range. Watanabe, 23, is trying to become only the second Japanese player to see action in an NBA game.
  • In another article for HoopsHype, Kalbrosky looks at how even though the Spurs have always been at the forefront of basketball analytics, they will now heavily rely on two of the most mid-range-happy jump shooters in the NBA in LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan.