Jrue Holiday

Pelicans Notes: Davis, Griffin, Holiday, More

Making his first public appearance today as the Pelicans‘ new executive vice president of basketball operations, David Griffin offered an interesting take on the Anthony Davis situation.

As Will Guillory of The Athletic relays (via Twitter), Griffin said that after meeting with agent Rich Paul, he believes that Davis could be open to staying in New Orleans. Griffin has yet to speak to Davis directly, but plans to do so in the hopes of establishing whether AD is all-in or all-out on the Pelicans (Twitter link). He’s committed to convincing the 26-year-old that it’s possible to win in New Orleans (Twitter link).

It still seems like a long shot that Davis will be a Pelican to start the 2019/20 season, but Griffin made it clear today that he won’t let the All-NBA big man go without a fight, tweets Scott Kushner of The Advocate. As Kushner notes (via Twitter), New Orleans’ new head of basketball operations doesn’t think the Davis well is poisoned, and believes Paul is excited to work together.

Here’s more from Griffin’s introductory presser:

  • According to Griffin, he made some “outrageous” demands during his meeting with the Pelicans, and the team was on board, giving him confidence that owner Gayle Benson is 100% committed to the franchise’s success (Twitter link via Kushner). Griffin provided some clues at the changes he wants to make, mentioning his desire to invest in areas such as analytics, player performance, and the medical department (Twitter link via Kushner).
  • Griffin is excited about several of the players currently under contract with the Pelicans, singling out Jrue Holiday as someone who represents everything the Pelicans want to be (Twitter link via Guillory). The former Cavaliers GM said he “absolutely” feels as if Holiday is a foundational piece for the club (Twitter link via Kushner).
  • Responding to the idea of New Orleans as a small-market team, Griffin said that it would mean more to win in a “small” market, adding that it’s “bulls–t” to say winning in New Orleans isn’t possible (Twitter link via Guillory).
  • Pelicans president Dennis Lauscha said the Pelicans looked at more than 100 candidates for the job before hiring Griffin (Twitter link via Kushner). Obviously, the club narrowed that list down to a much smaller group before beginning interviews. Griffin, who has been a candidate for other front office openings, said it took him about a half-hour in the interview room for him to realize that the Pelicans’ job was the one he really wanted (Twitter link via Kushner).

Pelicans Notes: Davis, Holiday, Payton, Randle

While it has long been considered a formality that the Pelicans will move Anthony Davis during the offseason, the star center acknowledged today that, with his contract set to run through at least 2020, it’s not a given that he’ll be playing for a new team next fall.

“I’m under contract still,” Davis said, per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. “I have a year left. Obviously it’s a possibility it could happen. I don’t have ill will towards anybody. I know that it’s a possibility that next year I could be here as well. So I can’t be mad if I’m here next year.”

Davis, who said that he has no regrets about requesting a trade from the Pelicans earlier this year, admitted that the saga was a “wild” experience, but said he’s excited to see what the future holds. Davis’ future figures to be in the hands of New Orleans’ next general manager — while Danny Ferry assumed interim GM duties, Dell Demps‘ permanent replacement has yet to be hired.

“Seeing who the Pelicans make their GM and having a conversation with that person about the future,” Davis said when asked about his next step. “My time here has always been great. I love playing here. It’s something that I will definitely hold in my heart forever, but the next step is waiting on the Pelicans [to fill] that GM job.”

Here’s more on Davis and the Pelicans:

  • As Friedell details within the same article, Davis also attempted to sidestep responsibility for wearing a Looney Tunes shirt reading “That’s All Folks” on the day of what could have been his final game as a Pelican. “I didn’t choose it,” AD said. “I actually didn’t choose it. It was hanging for me already when I put my clothes on.”
  • Addressing the Davis situation, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry said the 26-year-old is a “great kid” who got some “bad advice,” Friedell writes in another ESPN.com story. “We’re going to move on regardless of what [happened],” Gentry said. “We’ve got great ownership. We’re going to have great leadership. We got a bunch of guys in there that believe in each other. So it doesn’t matter what [happens], we’re going to be good next year.”
  • In his end-of-season presser, Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday said that Demps used to keep him in the loop on major decisions, adding that he hopes the franchise will continue soliciting his input (Twitter link via Will Guillory of The Athletic).
  • Holiday also offered his two cents on free-agents-to-be Elfrid Payton and Julius Randle — he’d like to see the team bring both players back, if possible (Twitter link via Guillory).

Southwest Notes: Bzdelik, Conley, Davis, Holiday

Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni missed a second consecutive game with the stomach flu today, but fortunately for the Rockets, associate head coach Jeff Bzdelik has been able to pick up the slack in D’Antoni’s absence.

Unfortunately, the Rockets do not yet know whether Bzdelik, 66, will return to the team next season after he told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle that he hasn’t yet thought about his future beyond this season.

“That’s a really good question. I don’t know the answer to it,” Bzdelik said when asked whether he intended to return to the Rockets next season. “First of all, none of us have any guarantees on tomorrow… I work for a great organization, great ownership, great management. I work for a great, great man and basketball coach in Mike. I work with great people. I thoroughly enjoy my job.”

Bzdelik, who retired after the end of last season due to an unspecified personal issue, returned to the Rockets in November.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division this evening:

  • Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian takes a detailed look at the value of Mike Conley to the Memphis franchise in the wake of what could be the final few games of the 31-year-old point guard’s career with the Grizzlies. Additionally, Herrington analyzes some variables that may affect whether the team ultimately trades Conley.
  • While recognizing that Anthony Davis is the greatest player in franchise history, Scott Kushner of The Advocate writes how Davis’ connection with the Pelicans franchise and the city of New Orleans imploded the second he demanded a trade. Both Davis and the Pelicans are sick of losing, but were never able to come up with a joint solution to the problem.
  • In another article for The Advocate, Kushner details how Davis’ inevitable departure may lead to Jrue Holiday being the new face of the Pelicans, a role and challenge that Holiday is ready to embrace. “I’m going to go with it,” Holiday said. “I’m excited to run with it. I guess I’d like to be more involved with decisions and decision-making moving forward.”

Southwest Notes: Holiday, Pelicans, Rockets

Although he has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2018/19 season, Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday will still receive a $255K bonus for appearing in at least 66 games and averaging at least 7.3 assists per contest, ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes. Holiday averaged 7.7 APG in 67 games, and also achieved three separate bonuses for his games played, total minutes, and rebounds per game.

As a result of flipping some unlikely to bonuses to likely for 2019/20, Holiday will see his cap hit for next season increase to $26,231,111, according to Marks, who adds that the number could increase by another $100K if the standout guard is named to one of the NBA’s All-Defensive teams.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • While the Pelicans are no longer vying for a postseason spot, the final couple weeks of the season could go a long way toward determining which players fit into the club’s plans beyond this season, writes Scott Kushner of The Advocate.
  • Elfrid Payton is one Pelicans players whose future remains uncertain. William Guillory of The Athletic takes a closer look at what the future may hold for Payton, who will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
  • The Rockets‘ G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, recently claimed Daniel Hamilton off waivers, tweets Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days. Hamilton will be eligible to participate in the postseason for the Vipers, who finished atop the NBAGL’s Western Conference.
  • With the regular season winding down, the Rockets are aiming to trim their rotation to nine players in preparation for the playoffs. However, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle details, the club is still figuring out who those nine players will be.

Pelicans’ Jrue Holiday Out For Season After Surgery

Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday had surgery this morning to repair a core muscle injury, the team announced on Twitter. He will be sidelined for about six weeks before returning to basketball activities, well past the end of the regular season.

Holiday hasn’t played since March 6 after being diagnosed with a lower abdominal strain. The Pelicans had considered ruling him out for the rest of the season, but no official announcement was made before today’s operation.

The 28-year-old was having his best NBA season, posting career highs in points (21.2), rebounds (5.0) and assists (7.7). He is under contract for two more years, with a $26.865MM player option for 2021/22.

Southwest Notes: Brunson, Vucevic, Pelicans, Holiday

Jalen Brunson‘s play in recent weeks has made the Mavericks look even wiser for dealing second-year guard Dennis Smith Jr. as part of the Kristaps Porzingis blockbuster, according to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News.

A high second-round pick, the rookie guard out of Villanova has averaged 15.8 PPG and 4.3 APG over the past 10 games for the Mavericks. Brunson, who has become a starter since the trade, signed a partially-guaranteed four-year, $6.1MM contract last summer.

“He does everything right,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of Brunson. “He works at his craft and pays attention to detail. … This guy was the 33rd pick in the draft. Pretty good.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Signing Magic free agent center Nikola Vucevic would make the Mavericks an offensive powerhouse but also create defensive concerns, Townsend opines.  Dallas will have ample cap room to pursue free agents this summer and have been linked to Vucevic. “Vucevic would be a great fit in terms of being able to space the floor offensively and when you’re talking about potentially (Kristaps) Porzingis out there at the same time and Luka (Doncic), you’re talking about potentially an offensive team that’s unstoppable or about as close as you can get,” Townsend said in a podcast. “And Vucevic can score with his back to the basket he’s really rounded into an all-around player this year. Is he going to protect the rim for them? No, he’s not.”
  • Making the right lottery pick, determining the business and basketball impact of an Anthony Davis trade, figuring out whether to retain or trade Jrue Holiday and deciding whether to retool or rebuild are the biggest challenges for the Pelicans front office this summer, ESPN’s Bobby Marks writes. Marks takes a long look at all of these issues as part of a series that breaks down every team’s offseason moves.
  • The Pelicans might eventually shut down Holiday and E’Twaun Moore for the rest of the season, Will Guillory of The Athletic tweets. Holiday is nursing an abdominal injury and Moore is dealing with a quad issue. Coach Alvin Gentry told Guillory the team would be  “overly cautious” during their recovery.

Jrue Holiday To Be Re-Evaluated In 7-10 Days

Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday will be re-evaluated in 7-to-10 days after being diagnosed with a lower abdominal strain, the team announced. Holiday underwent an MRI on Thursday morning which revealed the injury.

Holiday, a top-tier defensive guard who’s in his sixth season with New Orleans, has averaged a career-high 21.2 points, five rebounds and 7.7 assists in 67 starts this season. Guards Frank Jackson and Ian Clark could see more playing time during his absence.

The Pelicans have games against Toronto, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Portland and Phoenix in their next 10-day stretch, with four of those five contests set to be at home. The team currently holds a 30-37 record, good for the No. 12 spot in the Western Conference.

To this point, Holiday hasn’t missed any time this season and sat just one game last season after multiple years with injury concerns. The Pelicans’ injury report for Friday against Toronto also includes Dairis Bertans (personal), Trevon Bluiett (right thumb surgery) and E’Twaun Moore (left quadriceps contusion) as out, with Jahlil Okafor (right ankle sprain) listed as questionable.

Pelicans Notes: Bertans, Holiday, Resiliency

Dairis Bertans‘ new two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Pelicans will be non-guaranteed for next season until August 1, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (via Twitter). If Bertans remains under contract through that date, he’ll receive a $150K partial guarantee. That partial guarantee will subsequently increase to $300K if he’s still on his deal through November 4. It’ll become fully guaranteed next January.

It’s not clear yet whether Bertans will be part of the Pelicans’ 2019/20 plans — that could hinge in part on what sort of pieces the club receives in its eventual Anthony Davis trade. Based on the structure of Bertans’ contract though, New Orleans won’t be forced into making any early decisions. The team could theoretically audition him throughout training camp and the preseason and only be on the hook for $150K if he’s waived just before the regular season begins.

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • While fans and league observers may have expected the Pelicans to start bottoming out after Davis’ trade request, the team has been resilient over the last few weeks, winning recent road games in Denver and Utah. This isn’t what tanking looks like, says Scott Kushner of The Advocate.
  • Will Guillory of The Athletic makes a similar argument as Kushner, identifying Jrue Holiday and head coach Alvin Gentry as the driving forces that have helped the Pelicans stay focused and competitive. New Orleans has “dodged the toxicity” that has affected fellow lottery teams like the Lakers, Guillory writes.
  • After previously locking in a $255K bonus for surpassing the 2,075-minute threshold for 2018/19, Holiday has now secured another $255K bonus by playing in 66 games, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. As Marks notes, Holiday should also earn another $510K in performance-based incentives this season.

Danny Ferry Outlines Pelicans’ Plan For Anthony Davis

Speaking to reporters on Thursday afternoon, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry confirmed that Anthony Davis will be back in the lineup on Friday, but declined to go into further detail on the club’s plan for the All-Star big man beyond that game. New interim general manager Danny Ferry filled in those gaps later in the day, explaining to the media how the Pelicans will handle the Davis situation going forward, as Andrew Lopez of NOLA.com and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst relay.

Sources tell Windhorst that there were discussions between Davis and the Pelicans during the All-Star break about adjusting their plan to have him keep playing in every game. However, as Ferry outlined on Thursday, Davis will continue to see playing time for New Orleans over the season’s final month and a half — his minutes will just be kept in check to a greater extent than they have been so far in 2018/19.

In 45 games this season, the former No. 1 pick is averaging 36.0 minutes per contest. That number figures to be in the 20-25 MPG range going forward, according to Ferry.

“League rules made it clear Anthony has to play,” Ferry said. “As we’ve done previously, we will continue to follow their lead but also be focused on the future of the team.”

Focusing on “the future of the team” means that Jrue Holiday‘s minutes are also expected to be cut back, per Ferry. The Pelicans will give more of those minutes to their younger players down the stretch, with Frank Jackson, Cheick Diallo, Kenrich Williams, and Stanley Johnson among the youngsters who should benefit from New Orleans’ new plan.

The ostensible goal will be to develop those players, though the Pelicans probably won’t mind if they drop a few places in the standings and improve their position in the 2019 draft lottery. Ferry added that he, Gentry, president of basketball operations Mickey Loomis, and owner Gayle Benson are all on the same page with regard to the organization’s plan going forward.

“Mrs. Benson is committed to building a successful organization and has promised the resources and willingness to do whatever is necessary,” Ferry said.

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.”