With veteran point guard Isaiah Thomas now joining the Pelicans on a 10-day contract, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets that New Orleans will be an additional $110,998 closer to the NBA’s luxury tax cap. Thomas, meanwhile, will earn $159,698 during his 10-day stint with the club.
Marks adds that the Pelicans remains $253,803 below the tax at present, but, assuming new addition James Johnson does not achieve certain bonus clauses in his expiring $16MM deal, the team may save an additional $253K at season’s end.
Thomas will wear jersey No. 24 in tribute to departed Lakers star Kobe Bryant, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN. He last wore No. 4 with the Wizards during the 2019/20 season. The 5’9″ point guard will not suit up this evening for the Pelicans as they face off against the Rockets, due to the league’s coronavirus protocols, but is expected to join the club Monday, tweets Will Guillory of The Athletic.
There’s more out of the Southwest Division:
- Former Heat and Celtics teammates Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk are excited to remain together for the rebuilding Rockets, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Feigen notes that the duo has played more games together than anyone else on Houston. “That’s kind of a crazy stat that [he and I] have played more together than any other two teammates on our team,” Olynyk observed. “Hopefully, we can bring that chemistry.”
- The 21-27 Pelicans will strive to make a playoff push without injured shooting guard Josh Hart. Hart is expected to miss several weeks with a torn UCL in his right thumb, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “Could he get back by the end of the year? Yeah,” head coach Stan Van Gundy said. “But he’s not going to be back in two weeks. It’s a significant amount of time. He’s going to miss the vast majority of what’s left of the season.” New Orleans, the No. 12 seed, is currently just 1.5 games behind the tenth-seeded Warriors (and a play-in opportunity) in the West at present.
- Second-year Spurs wing Keldon Johnson is discovering how to navigate erratic output as he continues to hone his NBA game, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. “That’s just the NBA for you,” his teammate Derrick White said. “The league kind of figures you out, and you just got to make adjustments.” Even still, Johnson has increased his contributions on the floor for San Antonio. He has started 42 of his 44 contests with the Spurs this year, after starting just one game last season, and has seen his minutes and touches increase significantly.