Jrue Holiday

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.

Pelicans Notes: Holiday, Melli, Projections

The Pelicans will look much different this season after trading away Anthony Davis over the summer. However, the vibe in New Orleans appears to be on the upswing with executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin leading the franchise.

“I feel like the whole vibe, the whole attitude in the facility and with the staff has just been different,” Jrue Holiday said (via Andrew Lopez of ESPN.com). “It definitely feels like people are ready and excited. It’s been like that ever since Griff has come into place.”

Here’s more from New Orleans:

  • Holiday (same piece) said that Griffin is “putting his money where his mouth is,” with the help of team ownership, referring to the upgrades the Pelicans made to their practice facility. Holiday added that he felt like he was walking into a brand new facility when he returned from offseason workouts in Los Angeles.
  • Nicolo Melli, who signed with the Pelicans after playing in Europe for over a decade, is expected to be a highly-valued glue guy in New Orleans, as Jim Eichenhofer of NBA.com relays. “A guy like Nicolo, you can look at his stat line and be like, ‘I don’t understand the intrigue from the NBA for the last three years.’ But it’s what he brings – he’s a team-first guy, a winner. He’s highly motivated and a competitor,” GM Trajan Langdon said. “Those are the kind of people we want here, to be a part of the Pelicans organization. He’s another guy who’s going to make people better, on and off the court.”
  • FiveThirtyEight’s model indicates that the new-look Pelicans could live up to the hype, as Chris Herring passes along. Herring writes that it’s not a total long shot that New Orleans finds its way into the playoffs in year one post-Davis.

Pelicans Notes: Zion, Ball, Holiday, J. Johnson

Zion Williamson appeared to be fully healed from a bruised knee during a promotional appearance today in Harlem, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. The first pick in this year’s draft performed two acrobatic dunks during the 15-minute session, delighting the crowd and a few fortunate youngsters who will appear alongside him in an ad for Air Jordans.

Williamson has been out of the spotlight since concerns about his knee ended his Summer League stint after one half. However, the Pelicans called it minor at the time, and Bondy said he looked to be 100% today as he soared to the hoop.

There’s more from New Orleans:

  • During his appearance this week on teammate Josh Hart‘s LightHarted Podcast, Lonzo Ball said he is looking forward to teaming with Jrue Holiday in the Pelicans’ backcourt (hat tip to Christian Rivas of Lonzo Wire). Ball and Holiday both finished in the top 10 in Defensive Real Plus-Minus rating last season, and both were among the top five in 2017/18. “Jrue is one of the most underrated players, in my opinion; I can’t wait to play with him on both sides of the court,” Ball said. “That’s going to be a lot of fun.”
  • Although the Pelicans could use another veteran presence, it’s unlikely that they’ll be the team to sign Joe Johnson, writes William Guillory of The Athletic. New Orleans already has 18 players under contract, including both two-way slots, plus reported deals with Jalen AdamsJavon Bess and Aubrey Dawkins. The team may get a Disabled Player Exception in the wake on an injury to Darius Miller, but Guillory expects his playing time to go to somebody already on the roster, such as Kenrich Williams or Nicolo Melli.
  • The Pelicans told Williamson and fellow rookie big man Jaxson Hayes to be careful about bulking up over the offseason, Guillory adds in the same piece. The organization believes both players, who are still only 19, may grow a few more inches and they don’t want extra weight to make them more susceptible to injuries in the future.

Thunder Leveraged Clippers, Raptors In George Trade Talks

In what ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski describes as a “wild night of negotiations,” Thunder head of basketball operations Sam Presti leveraged the Clippers and Raptors off one another in Paul George trade talks as the Clippers tried to secure a commitment from Kawhi Leonard.

League sources tell Wojnarowski that the Clippers’ top decision-makers, owner Steve Ballmer, president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank, and GM Michael Winger, “harbored fears” that the Raptors and Thunder were close to reaching a deal that would have sent George to Toronto.

Those fears – and their belief that they’d get a commitment from Leonard if they could land George – prompted the Clippers to surrender a substantial package headlined by young point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and five first-round picks (plus two pick swaps), which the Raptors couldn’t match.

According to Wojnarowski’s report, Presti pursued a deal with the Raptors that would have sent both George and Russell Westbrook to Toronto, with Pascal Siakam as the centerpiece of the deal. However, Raps president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri balked.

Woj doesn’t offer additional details on what the Thunder were seeking from the Raptors, but a trade would’ve had to feature significant expiring salaries (likely at least Kyle Lowry plus one of Marc Gasol or Serge Ibaka). Given the package the Thunder eventually got from the Clippers, it presumably would’ve had to include a boatload of draft picks as well.

George was believed to be willing to join the Raptors if Toronto had worked out a deal for him and if Leonard was willing to stay, according to Wojnarowski.

As Wojnarowski notes in a tweet though, the Raptors ultimately didn’t have the assets to satisfy the Thunder’s demands, with or without Siakam. In other words, Eric Koreen of The Athletic tweets, the Raptors were being used for leverage and may not have been able to reach an agreement with the Thunder even if they’d wanted to. However, the threat of a potential deal with Toronto helped Oklahoma City get the return it wanted from the Clippers.

Here’s more from Woj:

  • To Leonard, the cost of a George trade for the Clippers was “immaterial,” according to Wojnarowski, who says that Kawhi believed PG13 was the co-star he needed to do battle with LeBron James and Anthony Davis in Los Angeles. The Finals MVP also had strong interest in playing for Doc Rivers, sources tell ESPN.
  • The Clippers believed that if they didn’t make a trade for George, Leonard was prepared to sign with the Lakers, per Wojnarowski.
  • Early in the free agent process, before the Clippers knew that George was the trade target Leonard had in mind, the team inquired on deals for Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday and Wizards guard Bradley Beal, but they weren’t available in trade talks, writes Wojnarowski.

Western Notes: Dumars, Thompson, Horford, Morris, Zion

The Kings have named former Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars as a special advisor to GM Vlade Divac, according to a team press release. Dumars, who build Detroit’s 2004 championship team, stepped down from his post with the Pistons in April 2014. “Joe and I played together in the league and is a legend in our sport,” Divac said in a press release. “As an experienced and talented basketball executive, I’m excited to have him serve as a special advisor and expert resource for our incredible front office team.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Former Sixers forward Hollis Thompson will join the Kings’ summer league team, J.D. Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets. Thompson hasn’t appeared in an NBA regular-season game since the 2016/17 season, when he played a combined 40 games for Philadelphia and New Orleans.
  • While numerous teams and agents believe Celtics big man Al Horford will receive a four-year, $112MM offer in free agency, it won’t be coming from the Mavericks, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Horford will decline his $30.1MM player option and has broken off negotiations with Boston.
  • Veteran NBA guard Darius Morris will play for the Spurs’ summer league squad, Shaw reports in another tweet. Morris hasn’t played in an NBA game since the 2014/15 season. He had stints with the Lakers, Sixers, Clippers, Grizzlies and Nets.
  • The Pelicans’ top executive, David Griffin, is trying his best to keep the pressure off top pick Zion Williamson. He said on Friday to ESPN”s Malika Andrews and other media members that Williamson doesn’t have the burden of “saving this franchise.” Griffin added that Williamson is not yet the face of the franchise. “This is Jrue Holiday‘s team,” Griffin said. “Zion is going to be learning how to win at a really high level. At some point, if there is a time that the baton gets passed in terms of who is expected to carry us to win games, it will. That is not now.”

Pelicans Agree To Trade Anthony Davis To Lakers

The Pelicans have reached an agreement to trade All-Star big man Anthony Davis to the Lakers for guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, forward Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

The rest of the Pelicans’ haul includes a 9-30 protected first-rounder in 2021, which becomes unprotected in 2022, and an unprotected first-rounder in 2024.

New Orleans will also have the right to swap unprotected first-rounders in 2o23 and will have the option to defer the 2024 pick until 2025, according to reports from Tim Bontemps of ESPN and Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter links).

[UPDATE: Davis trade will become a three-team deal]

The Lakers immediately become championship contenders with Davis joining forces with LeBron James. Davis’ agent Rich Paul, also James’ agent, had tried to steer trade talks toward the Lakers over the winter after Davis’ desire to be traded was made public. But Davis didn’t get his wish at the time.

Paul and Davis recently met with the Pelicans’ new top executive, David Griffin, who tried to convince Davis to rescind his trade request. Davis declined and expressed his desire to play long-term for either the Lakers or Knicks.

GM Rob Pelinka, who has been under fire after criticism from former Lakers president Magic Johnson, pulled off a major coup by winning the Davis sweepstakes over the Knicks and Celtics, among others. Los Angeles gave up plenty in the deal but didn’t have to include another talented big man, Kyle Kuzma.

Davis could sign an extension with the Lakers but still intends to test free agency next summer, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets.

The Lakers will have either $27.8MM or $32.5MM in cap room after the deal to pursue a high-level free agent, depending upon timing and Davis’ willingness to waive his $4MM trade bonus, ESPN salary cap expert Bobby Marks tweets.

The trade cannot be officially finalized until after the new league year begins in July. It may be even be completed as late as July 30 — newly-drafted players can be traded immediately without signing a rookie scale contract, but if they sign that contract, they aren’t eligible to be dealt for 30 days. Waiting those 30 days would be advantageous to the Lakers for cap-related reasons, as Marks notes (via Twitter).

The Lakers still don’t have quite enough cap room to max out a free agent like Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker but they’re close to it, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Naturally, one of those free agents might take a little less to form a superstar trio in Los Angeles or the Lakers could make other moves to clear more cap room. Walker will be the Lakers’ top free agent target, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.

Boston refused to part with its top young player, forward Jayson Tatum, in trade talks with the Pelicans, Stein add in another tweet. That put the Lakers in the driver’s seat for Davis’ services.

With Ball and Hart joining Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans have greatly enhanced their backcourt. They now have the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in Thursday’s draft. It’s a slam dunk they’ll select Duke forward Zion Williamson with the top pick and theyll get another high-level prospect, unless they have another trade in the works. Williamson and Ingram should be a formidable duo at the forward spots and the Pelicans can now concentrate on bringing in another big man to make all the other pieces work.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pelicans Exploring Multi-Team Anthony Davis Trade Scenarios

The Pelicans have started to provide potential Anthony Davis suitors with the framework of the package they’re seeking in return for their star big man, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. According to Wojnarowski, new head of basketball operations David Griffin is open to multi-team scenarios that would expand the pool of potential assets available to New Orleans.

The Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, and Nets are among the teams that have been in touch with the Pelicans since they began listening to inquiries on Davis, Wojnarowski writes. The Celtics also have interest in AD, though Kyrie Irving‘s uncertain future is a wild card in their potential pursuit. Based on the success the Raptors have had with their Kawhi Leonard acquisition, other smaller-market teams or unexpected suitors may also be emboldened to make a play for Davis, Woj adds.

[RELATED: Top 25 Assets Among Presumed Anthony Davis Contenders]

Based on conversations with front offices who have spoken to Griffin, Wojnarowski suggests that the Pelicans aren’t sure if a single team will be able to provide the package they want for Davis. A multi-team scenario that would allow the club acquiring Davis to flip some of its pieces for assets more favorable to the Pelicans is one idea under consideration.

According to Woj, Griffin is seeking some combination of the following assets: An All-Star player, a young player with All-Star potential, and multiple first-round picks. As Woj explains, the strength of some of those pieces would have an impact on the rest of the package. For example, the better the player headlining the offer, the softer the ask for draft picks might be.

The Pelicans, who are looking to build around Jrue Holiday and presumed No. 1 pick Zion Williamson, haven’t given teams a specific timetable on when they want to finalize a trade, league sources tell Wojnarowski.

However, Griffin would prefer to reach an agreement to acquire any 2019 draft picks before June 20, since it would give the team a better opportunity to scout and meet with potential targets, per Woj. If the Pelicans stick to that stance, it could really accelerate the timeline of a deal, since the draft is just 10 days away.

Some teams with interest in Davis may also be motivated to complete a deal by draft night, since acquiring the All-NBA big man would bolster a club’s pitches to top free agents.

Pelicans Have Begun Listening To Inquiries On Anthony Davis

Despite a desire to hang onto the All-NBA big man, new Pelicans head of basketball operations David Griffin has begun to listen to inquiries on Anthony Davis, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic. As Charania details, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Davis will be moved this offseason, but it shows that the Pelicans are at least open to hearing out potential suitors.

Davis and Griffin recently met for the first time in Los Angeles, and while that meeting was described as respectful and productive, the 26-year-old’s preference to be traded reportedly remains unchanged. The Pelicans could keep trying to win AD over and hang onto him until the 2020 trade deadline – or beyond – but it seems unlikely that he’d relent on his trade request down the road if the team winning the draft lottery didn’t affect his stance at all, Charania writes.

Davis’ preferred list of destinations, reported when he initially made his trade request in the winter, included the Lakers, Knicks, Clippers, and Bucks. Executives around the NBA believe that the Lakers and Knicks – along with the Celtics and Nets – are capable of putting together the strongest packages, per Charania.

[RELATED: Top 25 Assets Among Presumed Anthony Davis Contenders]

While the Pelicans appear more open to the idea of moving Davis, there are no indications that the club is considering making Jrue Holiday available. Charania refers to the veteran guard as a “cornerstone” for New Orleans, adding that Holiday and Griffin have spent time with one another in Los Angeles this spring.

Southwest Notes: Barea, Ball, Davis, Capela, Conley

Point guard J.J. Barea‘s recovery from a ruptured right Achilles tendon is going well and he’s hopeful of playing for Puerto Rico in the FIBA World Cup this summer, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon tweets. The Mavericks veteran suffered the injury on January 11th and underwent surgery three days later.

“The way I feel right now, it looks pretty good,” Barea told MacMahon. “But I’m not going to make a decision until it gets closer.” Barea is doing non-contact basketball activity under the supervision of Mavericks staff members, MacMahon adds, and took 600 shots in an hour last week.

Barea, an unrestricted free agent this summer, is expected to re-sign with the Mavericks.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • While Anthony Davis‘ representatives said he still wants out after meeting last week with executive VP David Griffin, there’s no need for Griffin to rush out and trade the superstar big man, Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Advocate writes. Griffin can wait as long as February’s trade deadline to deal Davis, leaving open the possibility that the team can convince him to change his mind. If Davis remains firm, his wish is more likely to come to fruition if he’s willing to make a commitment to the trade partner, Kushner adds.
  • Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry is intrigued by the possibility of a Lonzo BallJrue Holiday backcourt if Davis is dealt to the Lakers, Andrew Lopez of the Times-Picayune reports (hat tip to the Sporting News).
  • The Hawks, Spurs, Mavericks and Kings are possible destinations for center Clint Capela if the Rockets deal him, Frank Urbina of HoopsHype opines. The Rockets reportedly have made everyone on the roster available at the right price.
  • The Grizzlies should swap veteran point guard Mike Conley while his value remains high after he averaged a career high in points this season, Omari Sankofa II of The Athletic argues.

NBA Announces 2018/19 All-Defensive Teams

The NBA has officially announced its All-Defensive teams for the 2018/19 season, with Jazz center Rudy Gobert once again coming in as the leading vote-getter.

Gobert, a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, was listed on 99 of 100 ballots, with 97 of those ballots giving him a First Team vote, for a total of 196 points (two points per First Team vote; one point per Second Team vote). The All-Defensive nod ensures that the big man receives a $500K bonus, which had been considered likely since he was named to an All-Defensive team last season, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Gobert was closely followed by fellow Defensive Player of the Year candidates Paul George (Thunder) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), who received 195 and 193 total points, respectively.

[RELATED: NBA Announces 2018/19 All-Rookie Teams]

Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday secured a $100K bonus by earning a spot on the All-Defensive Second Team, notes Marks (via Twitter). Like Davis, he was an All-Defensive player last season as well, so that bonus had been considered likely — his cap hits for this year or next won’t be impacted by him earning it.

Here are the full voting results for the All-Defensive First and Second Teams, with each player’s point total noted in parentheses:

First Team:

Second Team:

Raptors guard Danny Green actually totaled 66 points, including 19 First Team votes, while Clippers guard Patrick Beverley had 48 points (14 First Team votes). However, All-Defensive teams are determined by position, so they didn’t make the cut because they ranked fifth and sixth in voting among guards.

Pacers center Myles Turner (39 points), Rockets forward P.J. Tucker (38), Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (24), and Spurs guard Derrick White (15) were the other leading vote-getters.

You can find the full voting results right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.