Naji Marshall

Southwest Notes: Winslow, Mavs, Wood, Marshall

Grizzlies executive VP of basketball operations Zach Kleiman has until August 1 to make a decision on the team’s $13MM option on Justise Winslow, and may still see the forward as part of the team’s future, writes Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

“There’s a lot of encouraging things that we saw from Justise,” Kleiman said. “I think he’s a player who can be very valuable and could potentially fit with what we’re doing.”

The oft-injured 25-year-old appeared in just 26 of a possible 72 games this season for Memphis due to a variety of maladies. He was out of the Grizzlies’ rotation in their first-round playoff series loss to the Jazz.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle acknowledged that, after a 45-point outburst from Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard in Game 6 of the teams’ first-round series, Dallas will need to get creative in a crucial Game 7, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “We have done everything in this series, and we’ll have to be ready with the kitchen sink in Game 7.” The Mavericks’ lone All-Star, Luka Doncic, has pushed his team to the brink of an upset thanks to his incredible play. Thus far in the series, he is averaging 40.8 PPG, 9.7 APG, 9.5 RPG, and 1.5 SPG.
  • When he was available, Rockets center Christian Wood proved his mettle during his first season with the club, says Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. The 25-year-old Wood, who has two years and $28MM left on the three-year contract he signed with Houston before the season, averaged 21.0 PPG (shooting 51.4% from the field and 37.4% from deep) and pulled down 9.6 RPG in 41 games.
  • Undrafted Pelicans rookie small forward Naji Marshall grew up as an underdog, which has served him well on his journey to the NBA, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. Clark notes that the Pelicans are hoping that Marshall could prove to be a sharpshooting swingman capable of fulfilling a variety of needs. Last month, New Orleans inked Marshall to a four-year contract (including the rest of the 2020/21 season). The deal is non-guaranteed for the 2023/24 season.

Pelicans Notes: Ingram, Griffin, Williamson, Marshall

The Pelicans made big news on Friday when they announced Zion Williamson would be out indefinitely with a fractured left ring finger. Somewhat under the radar was GM David Griffin’s comment about Brandon Ingram‘s status. Griffin said that Ingram’s left ankle sprain “is going to sideline him indefinitely,” Andrew Lopez of ESPN tweets. Ingram was injured during Tuesday’s game against Golden State.

We have more on the Pelicans:

  • As we noted, Griffin ripped the league’s officiating regarding Williamson, despite the fact he’s among the top five in the league in free throws per game. Griffin says Williamson’s power game and physical style shouldn’t influence how games are officiated, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times Picayune relays. “I’ve heard officials say this to (head coach) Stan (Van Gundy): ‘Look, the kid’s a beast. He just brings about a bunch of contact,’” Griffin said. “OK, well that doesn’t have anything to do with what you’re supposed to be calling. I almost feel like they didn’t know how to deal with someone so sudden and so strong. So they sort of threw their hands up in the air.”
  • Griffin’s claims regarding the lack of calls for Williamson are broken down in detail by Will Guillory of The Athletic. Guillory says that Griffin’s claims have some validity, balanced out by the fact that the league doesn’t want every game to turn into a parade to the free throw line. Thus, while it’s logical for Griffin to support his franchise player, his claims will likely fall on deaf ears.
  • Newcomer Naji Marshall will receive approximately $120K this season, about double the minimum he could have gotten, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Instagram video). The breakdown on Marshall’s four-year contract include a $1.5MM guarantee for next season, $1.8MM for the 2022/23 season and a $1.93MM team option in 2023/24.

Pelicans Sign Naji Marshall To Four-Year Contract

MAY 7: The Pelicans have made it official, issuing a press release to formally announce Marshall’s new contract.


MAY 6: The Pelicans have reached an agreement with rookie forward Naji Marshall on a new deal that will promote his from his two-way contract to a spot on the 15-man roster, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Sources tell Charania (Twitter link) that the deal will cover four years — the rest of this season, plus the next three. It will be fully guaranteed through 2022/23, with a non-guaranteed fourth year, Charania adds. The Pelicans will use a portion of their mid-level exception to complete the signing.

Charania pegs the value of the deal at $5.3MM, which indicates it’s a minimum-salary contract. That comes as no surprise, since today is the first day that the Pelicans were able to add a 15th man to their roster on a rest-of-season minimum deal without surpassing the luxury tax line.

Marshall, who signed a two-way contract with New Orleans in December after going undrafted out of Xavier, has emerged since the start of April as a regular rotation player for the club. For the season, he has averaged 6.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game in 26 contests (19.8 MPG). He has knocked down 37.3% of his three-point attempts.

The 23-year-old also participated in the G League bubble at Walt Disney World, recording 15.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 1.6 APG on .490/.349/.696 shooting in 12 games (26.9 MPG) for the Erie BayHawks.

Once the move is official, the Pelicans will have an open two-way contract slot, which they could fill before their season ends on May 16, if they so choose.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pelicans Notes: Marshall, Ball, Hayes, Offseason

Pelicans wing Naji Marshall has emerged as a bright spot as the team deals with injuries, Christian Clark of NOLA.com writes. Marshall has given New Orleans production in the absences of Josh Hart (thumb), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (ankle) and Lonzo Ball (hip), doing so on a two-way contract.

“He’s putting it on the floor and making plays,” head coach Stan Van Gundy said. “He’s taking advantage of his opportunity. I like that. He’s doing a good job there. And we’ll continue to see what he does the rest of the year.”

Marshall signed with New Orleans after going undrafted last year. The 23-year-old is averaging 5.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 16.9 minutes in 16 games this season, shooting 38% from the floor. He most recently added 16 points on Saturday against Washington and 14 points on Thursday against New York.

Here are some other notes out of New Orleans tonight:

Pelicans Sign James Nunnally, Waive Will Magnay

11:35am: The Pelicans have officially signed Nunnally and cut Magnay, the team confirmed in a press release.


11:24am: The Pelicans will waive Magnay to make room for Nunnally, a source tells Will Guillory of The Athletic (Twitter link).

A 6’10” center from Australia, Magnay appeared in just one game for the Pelicans this season, going scoreless in three minutes. He also averaged 9.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 1.5 BPG in 10 appearances (22.2 MPG) for the Erie BayHawks in the G League.


10:08am: The Pelicans intend to sign veteran wing James Nunnally to a two-way contract, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Nunnally, 30, made his NBA debut back in the 2013/14 season, but only played in 13 contests that season, then didn’t appear in an NBA game again until ’18/19. In total, he has played in 28 regular season games for four teams, having spent most of his professional career overseas in Europe and Asia.

Most recently, Nunnally played for Fenerbahce during the 2019/20 season. While he had a limited role for the Turkish club in EuroLeague play, he continued to knock down three-pointers at a high rate (.417 3PT%), something he has done throughout his international career.

The Pelicans don’t currently have an open two-way contract slot, but have an opening on their 15-man roster, even if they re-sign Isaiah Thomas to a second 10-day contract once his first deal expires tonight.

Naji Marshall has been a rotation player for the Pelicans as of late and seems unlikely to be waived, so if the team cuts a two-way player, Will Magnay is the more likely choice. New Orleans could also promote Marshall to the standard roster to open up a two-way spot for Nunnally, though the club doesn’t have much breathing room below the luxury tax line.

Southwest Notes: Wood, Aldridge, Jackson, Hinton, Pels

There was some optimism that Rockets center Christian Wood, who has missed the team’s last 13 games due to a right ankle injury, might be able to return to start the second half, but it appears he’ll need a little more time to get back on the court.

Wood has been listed as out for the Rockets’ Thursday game in Sacramento, after ESPN’s Tim MacMahon first reported (via Twitter) that he was expected to miss the game. Wood has resumed basketball activities, per MacMahon, so his absence shouldn’t last much longer.

The odds of the Rockets making a run at a play-in spot are long, but if they want to have a chance, they’ll need Wood back in action — they’ve lost all 13 games he has missed.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • The impending divorce between LaMarcus Aldridge and the Spurs has been a long time coming, according to Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News, who suggests the team was starting to move on from the veteran big man last summer, when it made a push for a playoff spot without him. As the Spurs have adopted a new offensive approach, they’ve played better this season with Aldridge off the court (+2.5 net rating) than on it (-5.6 rating).
  • Grizzlies power forward Jaren Jackson Jr., who has yet to play at all this season due to a knee injury, will be out for a while longer. A source tells Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal that Jackson is continuing to ramp up his basketball activities and will be back this season, but his status won’t be updated until later this month or early next month.
  • With the NBA G League season about to end, more young players are being recalled to their NBA clubs. The Mavericks have transferred two-way guard Nate Hinton back to the NBA from the Santa Cruz Warriors (Twitter link), while the Pelicans brought back Wenyen Gabriel, Naji Marshall, and Will Magnay from the Erie BayHawks (press release).

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Marshall, Porzingis, Grizzlies

While it may be tempting to continue revamping their roster around cornerstone players Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans have now won six of eight games and no longer look like a team on the verge of a fire sale, writes Scott Kushner of NOLA.com.

“I said to guys when all that was going on that it’s natural,” Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy said. “You’re losing games so people are going to say, ‘Oh shoot, they’re going to blow it up.’ And the rumors are going to start. If we were winning then, like we have in the last seven, then the rumors go away. Because people will think you are happy with your team.”

Multiple reports in late January indicated that the Pelicans were exploring the possibility of moving Lonzo Ball, J.J. Redick, and/or Eric Bledsoe. Those rumors have died down as of late, though that doesn’t mean those players are off the trade block, as Kushner notes. This season’s trade deadline is still six weeks away, so there’s plenty of time for New Orleans to consider whether dealing one or more of those veteran guards makes sense.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

Pelicans Sign Naji Marshall To Two-Way Deal

DECEMBER 8: The Pelicans have officially signed Marshall to his two-way contract, according to the NBA’s transactions log. New Orleans has now filled both its two-way slots, with big man Will Magnay occupying the other.


NOVEMBER 19: Undrafted Xavier power forward Naji Marshall has verbally agreed to sign a two-way contract with the Pelicans, a source tells Matt Bacbock of Babcock Hoops (Twitter link). Andrew Lopez of ESPN confirms (via Twitter) that New Orleans is adding Marshall on a two-way deal.

Marshall, the No. 12 player on ESPN’s list of undrafted prospects, was a primary offensive facilitator during his junior year at Xavier, averaging 16.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 4.0 APG. Within his scouting report on the former Musketeer, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony notes that Marshall’s “toughness and activity” are major pluses on defense.

Marshall won’t be limited to just 45 days of NBA service in his rookie season, as two-way players in 2020/21 are allowed to be active for up to 50 regular season games.

LaMelo Ball Headlines List Of Draft Combine Participants

Potential No. 1 overall pick LaMelo Ball will be among the prospects participating in the revamped virtual draft combine this week, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Ball is scheduled to take part in team interviews and a media session this week, but may not participate in any other portion, Jeremy Woo of SI.com cautions (via Twitter).

While Ball’s participation might be limited, many of this year’s other top prospects aren’t taking part in the event at all. As Woo points out (via Twitter), Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, Obi Toppin, Onyeka Okongwu, Cole Anthony, Aaron Nesmith, Devin Vassell, and Saddiq Bey are among the players who don’t appear on the list of participants sent out by the NBA.

The list of top prospects besides Ball who will be participating in the event includes Precious Achiuwa, Deni Avdija, Tyrese Haliburton, RJ Hampton, Killian Hayes, Theo Maledon, and Isaac Okoro, among others.

Here’s the full list of combine participants, via Charania:

  1. Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis
  2. Ty-Shon Alexander, G, Creighton
  3. Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
  4. Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas
  5. LaMelo Ball, G, Illawarra Hawks (Australia)
  6. Desmond Bane, G, TCU
  7. Tyler Bey, F, Colorado
  8. Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke
  9. Yoeli Childs, F, BYU
  10. Mamadi Diakite, F, Virginia
  11. Devon Dotson, G, Kansas
  12. Paul Eboua, F, VL Pesaro (Italy)
  13. CJ Elleby, F, Washington State
  14. Malachi Flynn, G, San Diego State
  15. Trent Forrest, G, Florida State
  16. Josh Green, G/F, Arizona
  17. Ashton Hagans, G, Kentucky
  18. Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
  19. Josh Hall, F, Moravian Prep
  20. RJ Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers (New Zealand)
  21. Jalen Harris, G, Nevada
  22. Killian Hayes, G, Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany)
  23. Markus Howard, G, Marquette
  24. Elijah Hughes, G/F, Syracuse
  25. Isaiah Joe, G, Arkansas
  26. Mason Jones, G, Arkansas
  27. Tre Jones, G, Duke
  28. Nathan Knight, F/C, William & Mary
  29. Kira Lewis, G, Alabama
  30. Theo Maledon, G, ASVEL (France)
  31. Karim Mane, G, Vanier College (Canada)
  32. Nico Mannion, G, Arizona
  33. Naji Marshall, F, Xavier
  34. Kenyon Martin Jr., F, IMG Academy
  35. Skylar Mays, G, LSU
  36. Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington
  37. Sam Merrill, G, Utah State
  38. Zeke Nnaji, F, Arizona
  39. Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville
  40. Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn
  41. Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
  42. Reggie Perry, F, Mississippi State
  43. Myles Powell, G, Seton Hall
  44. Payton Pritchard, G, Oregon
  45. Immanuel Quickley, G, Kentucky
  46. Jahmi’us Ramsey, G, Texas Tech
  47. Paul Reed, F, DePaul
  48. Nick Richards, F/C, Kentucky
  49. Grant Riller, G, Charleston
  50. Jay Scrubb, G, John A. Logan College
  51. Jalen Smith, F, Maryland
  52. Cassius Stanley, G, Duke
  53. Lamar Stevens, F, Penn State
  54. Isaiah Stewart, F/C, Washington
  55. Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford
  56. Xavier Tillman, F/C, Michigan State
  57. Kaleb Wesson, F/C, Ohio State
  58. Kahlil Whitney, F, Kentucky
  59. Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State
  60. Robert Woodard II, F, Mississippi State

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is unable to hold its typical in-person draft combine this year, but the league has put together an alternative combine that will feature interviews through videoconferencing as well as the making of “pro day” videos, which will include strength and agility testing, anthropometric measurements, and shooting drills. Participants will also undergo medical testing and exams.

For more details on this year’s combine, be sure to check out our full story on the changes.

Xavier’s Naji Marshall Declares For NBA Draft

Xavier’s Naji Marshall is entering his name in the 2020 NBA draft pool, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, who reports (via Twitter) that the junior forward is testing the waters and keeping his options open.

Marshall, 22, averaged 16.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 4.0 APG in 31 games (35.7 MPG) for Marshall in 2019/20. He has struggled with his shooting efficiency, however, posting a .420 FG% and .281 3PT% over his last two seasons.

While he’s a candidate to be selected, Marshall isn’t a lock to come off the board in the 2020 draft. ESPN currently has him ranked 71st overall on its big board.

Marshall also tested the draft waters a year ago before opting not to go pro. If he doesn’t like the feedback he gets during this year’s pre-draft process, he could return to college for one final season before becoming draft-eligible in 2021.