Jrue Holiday

New York Notes: Carmelo, LeVert, Beal, Holiday

Is a Carmelo AnthonyKnicks reunion at all possible? Don’t count on it, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Anthony has revived his career with the Trail Blazers and would prefer to re-sign with Portland. However, Anthony has been on team president Leon Rose’s radar since he took the job in early March, Berman continues, and the Knicks have an opening at small forward.

We have more on the two New York City teams:

  • Will the Nets get a third star to join Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving? They may already have something to close to that in Caris LeVert, Brian Lewis of the New York Post opines. LeVert was the team’s best player in Orlando and the alternatives, unless they can pry Bradley Beal from the Wizards, are mostly question marks. Guards such as Jrue Holiday (potential opt-out after next season) and Victor Oladipo (knee issues) may not necessarily be an upgrade over LeVert, Lewis adds.
  • Whether to keep LeVert or trade him in a package for another star is also the topic of choice for HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto. A majority of scouts polled by Scotto believe the Nets should hold onto LeVert, though a deal that would net Beal or perhaps Holiday would change the equation.
  • In case you missed it, the Nets have formally interviewed coach Jacque Vaughn, who hopes to have the interim tag removed.

Pelicans Notes: Williamson, Gentry, Favors, Ball

The Pelicans were a huge disappointment during the restart and it raises some long-term questions about the roster, according to William Guillory of The Athletic.

Zion Williamson didn’t show improvement in his ball-handling or defense despite the hiatus to work on those aspects of his game, and his weight and lack of conditioning were also issues. The staff was cautious regarding the rookie’s minutes and even sat him out for a game during a back-to-back.

The offseason could be complicated by decisions regarding the futures of Brandon Ingram, Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball and Derrick Favors with the franchise, Guillory adds.

We have more on the Pelicans:

  • The team’s poor finish has put Alvin Gentry firmly on the hot seat but he’d like to think the front office has faith in him, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated tweets. Regarding the decision whether to retain him, Gentry replied: “That’s not in my job description. If it was, I wouldn’t fire myself.”
  • Favors said on Monday that he’d like to re-sign with the team, Guillory tweets. The 29-year-old big man heads into unrestricted free agency after averaging 9.0 PPG and 9.8 RPG this season. “Hopefully, they’ll have me back,” he said.
  • Ball was disappointed with his performance in Orlando but he’s generally pleased with how his first year in New Orleans unfolded, Mannix writes. “Overall, I think it was a positive experience,” Ball said. “I’m definitely looking forward to next year. I don’t think the whole season should be put on the bubble. Look at the whole year. We made a lot of growth … I’m proud of that.”
  • As we noted earlier, Williamson, Holiday and Ingram will sit out on Tuesday in what amounts to a meaningless game against Sacramento.

Giannis Antetokounmpo To Miss Monday’s Game

The Bucks and Raptors will face one another on Monday night in a possible Eastern Conference Finals preview, but the MVP frontrunner won’t be taking part in the game. Milwaukee announced in this afternoon’s injury report that Giannis Antetokounmpo won’t play against Toronto due to oral surgery.

It’s probably safe to assume the ailment wouldn’t sideline Antetokounmpo for an important playoff game, but with the Bucks and Raptors locked into the East’s Nos. 1 and 2 seeds, respectively, there’s no real need for the two teams to go all-out tonight.

It’s possible the Raptors will be without some of their key rotation players as well. Kyle Lowry (lower back soreness), Fred VanVleet (hyperextended right knee), and Serge Ibaka (right knee contusion) are all listed as questionable for the second end of a back-to-back set.

Here are a few more injury and availability updates from around the NBA:

  • Rockets star James Harden will sit out on Tuesday vs. San Antonio for rest purposes, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. However, Houston will get two other guards back this week, per Feigen, who says that Russell Westbrook (quad) will return on Tuesday and Eric Gordon (ankle) will play on Wednesday vs. Indiana. Each player will suit up for one of two games in the back-to-back set.
  • The Pelicans have listed Jrue Holiday (right elbow contusion), Brandon Ingram (right knee soreness), and Zion Williamson (right knee soreness) as out for Tuesday’s game vs. Sacramento. Head coach Alvin Gentry said today that the three players are sitting out for “precautionary” reasons, per ESPN’s Andrew Lopez (Twitter link). New Orleans was eliminated from playoff contention over the weekend.
  • It’s not an injury, but Suns center Deandre Ayton didn’t start this afternoon’s game vs. Oklahoma City because he missed his scheduled COVID-19 test on Sunday, tweets Gina Mizell. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links), Ayton was re-tested on Monday morning and received clearance to rejoin the team, arriving late to the game against the Thunder.

Western Notes: Holiday, Duncan, Len, Hield, Schiller

Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday announced today during an appearance on ESPN’s The Jump that he and his wife Lauren will be putting his remaining game checks toward the Jrue and Lauren Social Justice Impact Fund, as Andrew Lopez of ESPN writes.

The aim of the social justice fund will be to help communities in New Orleans, Indianapolis, and the Los Angeles area, according to Lopez. Holiday plays in New Orleans, his brothers Aaron Holiday and Justin Holiday play in Indiana, and the Holiday family is from the L.A. area.

“We want to make an impact,” Holiday told ESPN. “God has blessed us with so much. We know a couple of things that are important are time and money, and right now, we have both. To be able to give away our money to help further this movement and Black-owned businesses that have taken a hit in COVID-19, to us, it felt like the perfect time and opportunity.”

Lopez suggests that Holiday’s remaining game checks could be worth up to $5.3MM — that estimate seems a little high based on my calculations, but considering the veteran guard has a 2019/20 salary of $26MM+, his donations will be substantial.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Spurs assistant coach Tim Duncan won’t be with the team in Orlando, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times, who tweets that Duncan is staying in San Antonio to help oversee LaMarcus Aldridge‘s rehab from shoulder surgery.
  • Like Harrison Barnes, center Alex Len – who recently contracted COVID-19 – isn’t yet with the Kings at the Walt Disney World campus, reports Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “We have to prepare as if we’re not going to have either one of those guys,” head coach Luke Walton said of Barnes and Len. “And that’s just getting ready for what worst-case scenario would be. And there’s a reality that might be it. So our mindset is we prep that we’re not going to have them with us, and we’re hopeful that they rejoin us.”
  • Within the same story, McMenamin passes along Buddy Hield‘s comments on his experience with the coronavirus. The Kings sharpshooter said his symptoms were mild and that the virus resulted in just “a little head cold” and “chills one night.”
  • G League Coach of the Year Martin Schiller, who had been the head coach of the Jazz‘ NBAGL affiliate, is leaving the Salt Lake City Stars to coach Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania, as Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune details.

Southwest Notes: Zion, Grizzlies, Cauley-Stein, Holiday

Pelicans rookie forward Zion Williamson has been frequenting the team’s New Orleans facility – the Ochsner Sports Performance Center – during the NBA hiatus, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps and Andrew Lopez. The Pelicans organization is hopeful that the prized 2019 No. 1 draft pick, now fully rehabilitated from an injury that cost him much of the season, will be able to help catapult the squad to a playoff berth.

The Pelicans, currently occupying the No. 10 Western Conference playoff seed with a 28-36 record, are 3.5 games behind the 32-33 Grizzlies, the present No. 8 seed.

“Those reps against the best players on a bigger stage will be meaningful for Zion certainly as a 19-year-old,” Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said noted. “I think it’s important for those guys to play some meaningful-slash-playoff basketball.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Due to soft attendance numbers during the 2019/20 season, the Grizzlies may be able to exercise an “early termination” option in the team’s lease on its publicly-funded home arena, the FedEx Forum, according to Geoff Calkins of the Daily Memphian. Team owner Robert Pera and local municipalities are anticipated to begin appraising various possible courses of action.
  • Since Willie Cauley-Stein opted out of the NBA season restart in Orlando, the Mavericks‘ depth at center has taken a hit, per Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. With the athletic center out of commission, Maxi Kleber will soak up most of the minutes as the prime backup for Kristaps Porzingis. 7’4″ Boban Marjonovic may seem some additional run. The team agreed to a deal with Trey Burke, a point guard, in Cauley-Stein’s stead.
  • Stalwart Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, a two-time NBA All-Defensive First-Teamer with the club, signed a controversially large five-year, $126MM contract with New Orleans as an unrestricted free agent in 2017. William Guillory of The Athletic looks back on the negotiations between the two sides on that mammoth deal.

Kris Dunn Meets Starter Criteria, Increases Value Of QO

Bulls guard Kris Dunn has been deemed to have met the starter criteria as a result of the shortened season, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). As a result, Dunn will receive a qualifying offer of $7,091,457 instead of $4,642,800 this offseason if Chicago wants to make him a restricted free agent.

We broke down Dunn’s situation in greater depth earlier this month, but the abridged version is this: A player eligible for restricted free agency receives a more lucrative qualifying offer if he starts 41 games or plays 2,000 minutes in the season before he reaches free agency, or if he averages 41 starts or 2,000 minutes in the two seasons before his free agency.

Dunn, who started 32 games this season and 76 in total over the last two years, fell slightly short of the 41-game-per-season requirement, but the criteria became prorated due to the Bulls only playing 65 of their 82 games this season. As a result, the former No. 5 overall pick was considered to have met the starter criteria, increasing the value of his qualifying offer.

As we’ve previously pointed out, the $2.5MM difference could have a real impact on Dunn’s free agency. It’s possible the Bulls will be less inclined to tender a qualifying offer now that it’s worth $7.1MM instead of $4.6MM. If they do move ahead with the QO, it’s possible Dunn will be more inclined to accept it.

If Chicago doesn’t tender a qualifying offer to Dunn, he’d become an unrestricted free agent.

As Marks and ESPN have previously reported, the NBA and NBPA also agreed to prorate the criteria for bonuses and incentives available to players in 2019/20, based on the shortened season. As a result, the following players have now achieved bonuses, according to Marks (Twitter link):

  • Rudy Gobert (Jazz): $250K for a rate of one rebound per 2.52 minutes in 62 games played.
    • Original criteria: A rate of one rebound per <3.2 minutes in 67 games.
  • Solomon Hill (Heat): $532K for 992 minutes played.
    • Original criteria: 1,000 minutes.
  • Jrue Holiday (Pelicans): $255K for 1,922 minutes played; $255K for 55 games played; $255K for 4.9 RPG in 55 games.
    • Original criteria: 2,075 minutes played; 66 games played; 3.15 RPG in 67 games.
  • Tyus Jones (Grizzlies): $858K for 32 wins.
    • Original criteria: 33 wins.
  • Kyle Lowry (Raptors): $200K for All-Star berth and 52 games played.
    • Original criteria: All-Star berth and 65 games played.
  • Patty Mills (Spurs): $250K for 149 three-pointers made.
    • Original criteria: 185 3PM.
  • T.J. Warren (Pacers): $250K for 184 three-pointers made and .375 3PT%.
    • Original criteria: 185 3PM; .370 3PT%.

Heat Notes: Free Agent Targets, Butler, Olynyk, Restart

Though adding reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to their exciting roster remains the top goal for the Heat in 2021 summer free agency, they have many other viable options if Antetokounmpo is unavailable or uninterested, according to The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.

Even with the prospect of a slight decline in the 2021 NBA salary cap due to the coronavirus pandemic causing a league revenue loss, the Heat should still have the cap space to add a maximum-salary free agent next summer to go along their intriguing core of All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, plus developing rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro.

Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo, who trains in South Florida during the offseason, would be a great fit on the wing along with Butler, Jackson notes. Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, Celtics forward Gordon Hayward, and Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie number among Jackson’s other preferences for free agent additions to the Heat in 2021. Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Thunder guard Chris Paul may be available via trade.

There’s more news out of South Beach:

  • The Heat’s top free agent acquisition of 2019, All-NBA swing man Jimmy Butler, has returned to Miami this week in anticipation of a league restart as Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald reports.
  • With just eight non-playoff games left for the top 22 teams, the Heat have officially clinched a playoff berth, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). This means that Heat big man Kelly Olynyk will earn a $400K playoff bonus written into his contract.
  • The Heat’s status for the season restart was explored in another piece from The Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman. Production of Heat game broadcasts will be handled away from the games to accommodate COVID-19 personnel restrictions. Center Meyers Leonard, who injured his ankle during the Heat’s last game to this point, on March 11, has recovered and will be ready once play resumes.

Southwest Notes: Curry, Pelicans, Harden, Mavericks

Despite having multiple opportunities to join the Warriors and play with his brother to this point, Mavericks guard Seth Curry has decided he’d rather compete against Stephen Curry and has turned down those chances, as he explained on Uninterrupted’s “Go Off” with Austin Rivers.

“I thought about it,” Curry said, as relayed by DallasNews.com. “Earlier in my career, I had some opportunities to play on the Warriors and go there and, obviously, take on a much lesser role having teams stacked the way they’ve had them the last few years… I always turned him down, I never really wanted to play on the team, I wanted to play against him. I’m going to be compared to him in some way, in his shadow whether I’m on the team or not so it’s going to multiply if I were on the same team. I’d like to create my own path and doing my own thing…

“He wants me to stay on my path and do my thing. He knows the kind of pressure I get under when compared against him, playing against him and being on the same team. He knows what it will be like so he’s kind of pushed me the opposite direction of going my own separate way.”

Curry, 29, is coming off an impressive season with Dallas, averaging 12.6 points in 24.5 minutes per game. He shot 50% from the floor and 45% from deep, raising those marks from the previous season.

Curry also discussed what it’s like to play with Luka Doncic, his thoughts on the NBA returning to play and more in the video.

Here are some other notes from the Southwest Division:

  • William Guillory and Danny Leroux of The Athletic examine the futures of Derrick Favors and Jrue Holiday, with Favors on track to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and Holiday set to turn 30 next month. Despite Favors entering free agency, the Pelicans‘ top priority is still re-signing Brandon Ingram in restricted free agency.
  • Kelly Iko of The Athletic explores James Harden‘s boot camp, detailing how the Rockets star has stayed in shape throughout the NBA’s hiatus. “I’ve been doing a lot of cardio,” Harden said. “I’ve got treadmills in my houses, weights, and all that good stuff. It really hasn’t affected me like it’s affected a lot of other players.”
  • Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is making sure his players stay ready ahead of the NBA’s decision on whether to resume, as The Athletic’s David Aldridge writes. Dallas has yet to open its practice facility, with Mavericks players relying on virtual instructions, at-home workouts, yoga sessions and more since the league went on hiatus. “I don’t have any doubt that the players are very motivated to play, but (they’re) also, very smart guys, and they understand, I think, that we’re in a very serious part of our history, and things need to be handled the right way,” Carlisle said.

Pelicans Notes: Zion, Ball, Ingram, Holiday

It remains to be seen whether the NBA will be able to resume its 2019/20 season or whether teams outside of the playoff picture will get an opportunity to participate. However, if the Pelicans do get a chance to play this summer, Zion Williamson isn’t worried about needing several weeks to get back into playing shape, as Andrew Lopez of ESPN writes.

“Honestly, I’m ready now,” Williamson told TNT’s Ernie Johnson in an interview earlier this week. “I’ve been staying in shape, working on myself and just staying ready. You never know when the time is going to come when they’re going to say, ‘All right, let’s resume.’ I don’t want to have to look around at my teammates and say, ‘Sorry, guys, I’m not ready.’ So I’m staying ready for my teammates.”

Prior to the suspension of the NBA’s season, the Pelicans were hoping to push for a spot in the postseason, entering the home stretch trailing the eighth-seeded Grizzlies by 3.5 games but facing a favorable schedule. Williamson was disappointed to lose the momentum he and the team were building, but acknowledged to Johnson that the hiatus could be good for his body after he missed the first half of the season with a knee injury.

“It sucks because I had just come back after sitting three, four months without playing basketball or playing in an NBA game,” Williamson said. “As soon as I felt like I was getting going, this happens. It sucks from that perspective. But I think it’s a good thing because it gives me extra time to work on my knee and work on my body overall.”

Here’s more on Zion and the Pelicans:

  • The Pelicans were encouraged this season by the instant chemistry on display between Williamson and Lonzo Ball, one of the centerpieces of last year’s Anthony Davis trade, as Lopez writes in a separate ESPN story. “We think the fit is really, really good,” executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said. “(But) I didn’t think it would look quite like this this quickly.” Griffin added that the team believes the two former lottery picks are “just now scratching the surface of what they can do.”
  • Retaining Brandon Ingram this offseason is a “no-brainer,” but the Pelicans may face a tougher long-term decision on Jrue Holiday, John Hollinger says in a conversation with William Guillory of The Athletic. As Hollinger explains, the team will have to decide whether it makes sense to keep Holiday beyond his current contract, well into his 30s, or whether it might be more prudent to shop him before his deal expires in the hopes of gathering assets that would better line up with a Williamson/Ingram timeline.
  • In the second part of their discussion on the Pelicans’ future, Guillory and Hollinger examine what a Holiday trade might look like if the club goes that route, and explore a few other topics, including Alvin Gentry‘s future in New Orleans and the team’s center spot.

And-Ones: Holiday Brothers, Green, NBA China

Asked in a group interview by Shams Charania of Stadium (video link) about the possibility of playing together in the future, the Holiday brothers expressed interest, even as Pacers guard Aaron Holiday acknowledged that it’s “probably unrealistic” for the time being.

Justin Holiday, who currently plays in Indiana alongside his younger brother on a one-year deal with the Pacers, said that the brothers probably get asked about the idea of teaming up more than they think about it themselves. Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, meanwhile, said that he thinks the three brothers would “be good together” if they did play on the same team.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Top high school recruit Jalen Green, who decided to sign with the G League as part of the league’s revamped developmental program, will be provided with a full-ride college scholarship by the NBAGL if he wants to go to school at a later date, he tells Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).I’m still going to be able to go back to college and finish school,” Green said. “So, it’s not really that I’m missing out on college because I can go back and finish whenever I need to.”
  • In a conversation at The Athletic, former NBA team executives Seth Partnow and John Hollinger traded some big-picture, outside-the-box suggestions for how to change the league. Among the ideas proposed: Expanding the league to 32 teams, revamping the draft workout process, and introducing a “suck tax,” which would hit the league’s worst teams with financial penalties.
  • NBA China CEO Derek Chang is stepping down from his position, the league announced on Thursday in a press release. Chang, who assumed the role in June 2018, will officially depart after May 15, as the NBA seeks a new executive for the position. It has presumably been a challenging year for Chang, who had to deal with the rift between the NBA and China as a result of Daryl Morey‘s tweet supporting Hong Kong protestors.