Mirza Begić

And-Ones: Morris, Begić, Jack

The Markieff Morris saga is “reheating,” Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic writes, after Suns coach Jeff Hornacek gave Morris his first benching by coach’s decision since 2011/12, the power forward’s rookie year. Hornacek, according to Coro, spoke with Morris before the team warmed up for Sunday’s game. Morris issued a trade demand in August after his brother, Marcus, was shipped to the Pistons. When training camp started, however, Morris declared he wanted to be in Phoenix. Morris, Coro notes, did not speak with reporters Sunday.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Mirza Begić, whom the Pelicans waived in October, is close to signing with Spain’s Bilbao, according to elcorreo.com (h/t Emiliano Carchia of Sportando).
  • The relationship between Nets guard Jarrett Jack and Stephen Curry extends beyond basketball, Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com details. Curry mentioned the influence Jack (when he was with the Warriors) had on his career during his MVP speech. “I look at Steph like a little brother, but he’s somebody that I look up to and try to be like in a lot of ways,” Jack said, per Mazzeo. “What he said at his MVP speech — to take time out to acknowledge me during a moment where he deserved all of the [recognition] — it was amazing.”
  • Kobe Bryant has hinted at a desire to take a front office job with the Lakers, but he’s since clarified that if he sticks around the NBA after he’s done playing, he wants to be an owner, notes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. “If I’m involved in basketball from a league perspective,” Bryant said, “it would be from an ownership perspective.”

Southwest Notes: Jenkins, Splitter, Pelicans

John Jenkins is the leading scorer for the Mavericks in the preseason so far, and while that’s in large measure because of the absence of some of the team’s key figures, he’s making a strong impression, as Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News details. Jenkins, who left the Hawks in free agency this summer three years after Atlanta picked him 23rd overall, just wishes he could have shown off his game sooner, Sefko relays.

“I put in the work for three years and felt I earned a chance in Atlanta,” Jenkins said. “But I didn’t get it. A lot of guys just need an opportunity. I wasn’t a first-round pick for nothing.”

Jenkins is one of 15 Mavs with a fully guaranteed salary for this season, so his place on the roster seems relatively secure, Sefko posits, even though four Dallas players have partial guarantees. See more from around the Southwest Division:

Pelicans Waive Mirza Begić

The Pelicans have released center Mirza Begić just two days after signing him, the team announced. The 30-year-old practiced with the team, but New Orleans didn’t play any preseason games during his brief tenure. The move reduces the Pelicans roster to 19 players, 13 of whom have full guarantees, and it opens a spot beneath the 20-man preseason roster limit for New Orleans to formalize a deal with Nate Robinson, with whom the team reportedly has an agreement.

Begić, a native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been with some of Europe’s most prominent teams, including Laboral Kuxta and Real Madrid of Spain and Olympiakos of Greece, but he’d never played with an NBA team before. He went undrafted when he was eligible in 2007.

New Orleans has made more roster moves than any other team in the past week as they deal with injuries to Omer Asik, Alexis Ajinca, Norris Cole and now Luke Babbitt, who’s out indefinitely with a left hamstring strain, as the team announced Thursday. The Pelicans signed Greg Smith and voided the contract after he failed a physical, signed Jerome Jordan, waived Corey Webster and signed Bo McCalebb in addition to their moves with Begić and Robinson.

Pelicans Sign Mirza Begić

The Pelicans have signed Mirza Begić, a 7’1″ center from Bosnia and Herzegovina who split last season between clubs in Spain and Slovenia, New Orleans announced via press release. Injuries to Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca, the top two centers for the Pelicans, have sent the team scrambling. The Pelicans signed Jerome Jordan this weekend, and though they’d signed Greg Smith just days earlier, Smith failed his physical, prompting the team to void his contract. Begić becomes the 20th player on the team’s roster, bringing the Pelicans to the preseason roster limit.

It’s the first brush with the NBA for the 30-year-old Begić, who went undrafted in 2007. He averaged 7.3 points and 4.6 rebounds in 17.8 minutes per game across a combined 58 appearances for Spanish powerhouse Laboral Kuxta and Slovenia’s Union Olimpija. He spent 2013/14 with Olympiakos of Greece after several years with Real Madrid, so he’s been a part of some of Europe’s most well-known and heavily scouted clubs.

Anthony Davis and Kendrick Perkins are the only fully guaranteed Pelicans who’d offer any sort of conventional fit at center among the 13 healthy Pelicans with fully guaranteed contracts, while Jordan and power forward Jeff Adrien are the only big men among the team’s camp invitees, aside from Begić. The Pelicans announced last week that Ajinca would miss four to six weeks and Asik three weeks, throwing into question whether either will be ready for opening night against the Warriors on October 27th.