Pelicans Rumors

Contract Details: Mobley, K. Johnson, Bona, Matkovic

The five-year, maximum-salary contract extension that Evan Mobley signed with the Cavaliers features multiple levels of Rose Rule incentives, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said during the last episode of The Hoop Collective podcast (YouTube link).

According to Windhorst, Mobley’s deal will begin at 27% of the 2025/26 cap if he makes the All-NBA Third Team next season. If he makes the All-NBA First or Second Team or wins Defensive Player of the Year, the starting salary in the extension would be 30% of the ’25/26 cap.

Assuming Mobley isn’t named Defensive Player of the Year and doesn’t make an All-NBA team, his deal would begin at the standard max for a player with four years of NBA experience (25% of the cap).

Here are more details on a few contracts recently signed around the NBA:

  • Keon Johnson‘s two-year, minimum-salary deal with the Nets is partially guaranteed for $250K in 2024/25, Hoops Rumors has learned. That partial guarantee will increase to $700K if Johnson remains under contract through the first day of the regular season. The second year is a team option that would be partially guaranteed for $271,614 if it’s exercised.
  • The four-year contract that No. 41 overall pick Adem Bona signed with the Sixers is worth the minimum across all four seasons and is only fully guaranteed in year one, Hoops Rumors has learned. Bona’s second-year salary of $1,955,377 is just 50% guaranteed, while his third- and fourth-year salaries are non-guaranteed. The fourth year is also a team option.
  • Karlo Matkovic‘s three-year contract with the Pelicans is worth $5.65MM and is fully guaranteed for the first two seasons, with a third-year team option, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. The terms reported by Scotto suggest that New Orleans used the second-round exception to give Matkovic a salary a little above the rookie minimum in 2024/25, with minimum salaries in years two and three.

Pelicans Sign Antonio Reeves To Three-Year Deal

JULY 23: Reeves’ deal is official, according to the NBA’s transaction log.


JULY 22: The Pelicans and second-round pick Antonio Reeves have agreed on a three-year, $5.41MM contract, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. The third year is a team option.

New Orleans likely used the second-round pick exception to sign Reeves at the minimum-salary level. A three-year rookie minimum deal this season is worth $5,408,801.

Reeves averaged 11.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.0 steals per game in five appearances for the Pelicans’ Summer League team in Las Vegas.

Reeves was the No. 47 overall pick and was dealt by Orlando to New Orleans in a draft-night trade. The Magic acquired second-round pick swaps in 2030 and 2031 in the deal.

Adding Reeves puts the Pelicans at 14 standard contracts if Matt Ryan, whose deal becomes guaranteed on opening night, is included in that total, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune tweets.

A Chicago native who spent his first three college seasons at Illinois State, Reeves transferred to Kentucky in 2022 and spent his final two seasons with the Wildcats.

Reeves could emerge as an offensive spark-plug. The 6’4″ guard had a very efficient offensive season in 2023/24, averaging 20.2 points and 4.2 rebounds on .512/.447/.863 shooting in 33 games (31.4 MPG).

What Does Current Depth Chart Look Like?

Southwest Notes: Jackson, Hawkins, Paul, Rockets

Grizzlies forward GG Jackson is already making strides as a rebounder in Summer League play, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Jackson notched two straight double-doubles in scoring and rebounding during his first four Summer League contests. Cole notes that Memphis is frequently tasking the second-year forward with some of the team’s toughest defensive assignments.

On Thursday, Jackson helped the Grizzlies stay undefeated, showing off his improved play-making skills with a six-assist performance, adds Cole in another story. Memphis beat the Clippers in their Summer League semifinal matchup Sunday, and on Monday will square off against the winner of an ongoing Heat-Warriors playoff semifinal.

Jackson was selected with the No. 45 pick out of South Carolina in last year’s draft. The 6’9″ forward quickly emerged as one of the most impressive players in the 2023 class, earning an All-Rookie Team berth for his efforts. Across 48 games (18 starts), Jackson averaged 14.6 points on a .428/.357/.752 shooting line while also chipping in 4.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.5 blocks per night.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Second-year Pelicans shooting guard Jordan Hawkins departed his last game of Summer League with an ankle injury, but X-rays on the ailment were negative, reports Christian Clark of NOLA.com (Twitter link). The No. 14 pick out of UConn, Hawkins averaged 7.8 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.0 assists during his 2023/24 rookie season.
  • In a new interview with Cyro Asseo de Choch of HoopsHype, third-year Spurs guard Blake Wesley reflected on the club’s decision to add 12-time All-Star veteran Chris Paul in free agency over the summer. “He’s a great dude,” Wesley said. “We just worked out with him not too long ago at Summer League. Yeah. So it’s good. He’s a great dude. He’s talking to me, coaching me, telling me to go handle the ball. So I’m enjoying it so far, and I can’t wait to learn and get the knowledge. Really take what he has. So I’m excited.” One of the great facilitators and shooters in the history of the game, Paul has shown an ability to help develop younger guards, so his addition could greatly abet Wesley.
  • The Rockets enjoyed an active Summer League run, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle in a piece unpacking his takeaways from the event. No. 3 draft pick Reed Sheppard has already impressed as a scorer, averaging 20 points per game, though he has struggled with protecting the ball.

Southwest Notes: Kennard, Pelicans, Murphy, Whitmore

Checking in on where things stand between the Grizzlies and Luke Kennard, Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes that the sharpshooter’s return to Memphis “still feels inevitable” even though it’s taking longer than expected.

The Grizzlies declined Kennard’s $14.8MM team option at the end of June, but the expectation has always been that he would return on a more team-friendly cap number. He hasn’t been linked to any other suitors since free agency began.

Sources tell Cole that the Grizzlies would like to keep their 15th roster spot for the sake of flexibility entering the regular season. Since the team currently has 14 players on guaranteed standard contracts, re-signing Kennard may mean trading someone else — Ziaire Williams is rumored to be on the block.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • While head of basketball operations David Griffin said on an ESPN broadcast this week that the Pelicans are “really excited” about what they have at center and are looking forward to playing “small and fast,” it’s fair to wonder if one more move is coming to shore up the position, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. Veteran Daniel Theis currently sits atop New Orleans’ depth chart at the five, with rookies Yves Missi and Karlo Matkovic behind him and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl potentially in the mix as well.
  • Within the same story, Clark reports that the Pelicans and fourth-year wing Trey Murphy have opened discussions about a rookie scale extension. The two sides have “differing viewpoints” on Murphy’s value for now, but there’s optimism they’ll find a middle ground and make a deal before the October 21 deadline, Clark writes.
  • Rockets forward Cam Whitmore has been shut down for the rest of Summer League, but rookie guard Reed Sheppard will continue playing in Las Vegas, reports Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link). Last year’s Summer League MVP, Whitmore has struggled with his shooting efficiency this time around, making just 38.3% of his shot attempts, including 1-of-14 three-pointers, but Houston knows what he’s capable of offensively and he impressed in other areas (7.0 RPG, 4.3 APG, 3.3 SPG).

Pelicans Notes: Matkovic, Theis, Hawkins, Missi

Center Karlo Matkovic signed a three-year minimum contract with the Pelicans on Sunday and expressed his joy to the New Orleans Times-Picayune’s Christian Clark.

“It’s really a big thing for me,” Matkovic said. “Happy for it. Excited. Can’t wait to get back to New Orleans to work with the guys. Excited for the new season, pretty much. Happy.”

He may have been a little overexcited, as he committed seven turnovers in Summer League action against the Magic. On the positive side, Matkovic contributed 10 points, four rebounds and five assists.

We have more from the Pelicans:

  • In the same story, Clark speculates that veteran Daniel Theis could start at center on opening night. Theis was signed to a one-year deal last week. Yves Missi (the 21st pick in last month’s draft), Matkovic, and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl are New Orleans’ other options at center.
  • The Pelicans allowed their opponents to score 114.3 points per 100 possessions when Jordan Hawkins played last season, according to Clark, which limited Hawkins’ playing time. The 14th overall pick last year out of UConn, Hawkins admits he needs to improve defensively to receive an expanded role. “Definitely the defensive end,” Hawkins said. “I think that’s what held me back a little bit. Not being able to guard. So I think my big focus is going to be on guarding. Trying to guard wings. Trying to get bigger. Shooting. Being a 40% three-point shooter for our team. We have guys who can penetrate, get to the hoop. I just have to be able to knock shots down.”
  • Executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin gushed about Missi’s potential during the broadcast of the club’s Summer League opener (hat tip to Dylan Sanders of Pelicans Scoop). “Athletically, he’s going to be in the top one half of one percent at his position, but also as a human being he’s exactly who we want to be,” Griffin said. “You can see he can defend in space. Everything that makes him raw is something we can address, but everything that he brings is innately something really special.”

Charania’s Latest: Markkanen, Warriors, Ingram, Bucks, Trent, Westbrook, More

The Warriors have been the “most engaged” trade suitor for Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen this offseason, but the two teams are divided on what a potential Golden State package would look like, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic.

According to Charania, the Warriors have discussed an offer that would center around Moses Moody and a number of draft assets, including multiple first-round picks, multiple second-rounders, and multiple pick swaps. However, Utah has sought “the bulk of young talent and capital” Golden State controls, including Brandin Podziemski and Jonathan Kuminga in addition to Moody and draft assets. Sources tell Charania that idea has been a “non-starter” for the Warriors.

Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram is another notable name still on the trade market, but teams around the league believe his market is limited, according to Charania, since some potential suitors (including the Kings and Spurs) made moves for other forwards and most other teams aren’t looking to make a major trade at this point in the offseason. If the market for Ingram remains quiet, New Orleans could assess its current group to open the regular season before deciding whether a trade is necessary, Charania suggests.

With most of the NBA’s other teams focused on tweaking their rosters around the edges, one high-ranking team official told Charania, “It might be one of the more quiet summers.”

Here’s more from Charania:

  • The Bucks are in the market for help at shooting guard and are among the contending teams pursuing Gary Trent Jr., sources tell The Athletic. However, due to its proximity to the second tax apron, Milwaukee is limited to a minimum-salary offer, and one recent report suggested that Trent isn’t interested in accepting a minimum deal. The Bucks are hosting a free agent workout this week in Las Vegas, Charania notes, with Will Barton expected to be among the participants.
  • While there has been no action on the Russell Westbrook front as of late, the Clippers and the former MVP still plan to part ways this offseason, says Charania. The Nuggets are considered the favorites to sign Westbrook if he reaches free agency, Charania adds, but Los Angeles is still discussing possible trades.
  • The Grizzlies are exploring trade possibilities involving former lottery pick Ziaire Williams, sources tell Charania. The Grizzlies aren’t far from the luxury tax line and will likely have to shed some salary if they want to use their full mid-level exception or re-sign Luke Kennard while staying out of tax territory.

Pelicans Sign Center Karlo Matkovic To Three-Year Deal

7:27pm: The signing is official, according to a press release from the Pelicans.


7:04pm: The Pelicans are signing 2022 second-round pick Karlo Matkovic to a three-year contract, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. The third year will be a team option, Will Guillory of The Athletic tweets.

While Charania pegs the value of the contract at $4.9MM, a three-year, minimum-salary deal for a rookie would be worth approximately $5.4MM, so it sounds like Matkovic is getting the minimum via the second-round exception.

Matkovic provides depth at center for a team that lost Jonas Valanciunas in free agency. He played 34 games for the Slovenian club Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana last season, then joined the Birmingham Squadron. In 10 games with New Orleans’ G League squad, he averaged 17.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.5 blocks in 31.3 minutes per contest.

Matkovic was selected 52nd overall in the 2022 NBA draft by the Pelicans and had remained overseas until his G League stint.

Matkovic, 23, had six points and six rebounds in 16 minutes in the Pelicans’ Summer League opener this weekend.

The low-cost signing will aid New Orleans regarding its luxury tax concerns, John Hollinger of The Athletic tweets. Matkovic will have a first-year salary of $1,157,153 in 2024/25.

Southwest Notes: Dudley, Lawson, Popovich, Hawkins

Mavericks assistant coach Jared Dudley has made no secret of the fact that he’s hoping to one day serve as a head coach in the league, per Joey Mistretta of ClutchPoints (Twitter video link).

“I want to head coach, that’s my dream and ambition is to be able to do that,” Dudley said. “But at the same time as you can have that, some us aren’t J.J. Redick and get to go right away. I’ve got to be able to do two, three years, four or five years as an assistant. We all have different years, and my time will come later on. My time will eventually come.”

Redick, a one-time former Maverick, took over as the Lakers’ head coach this offseason without any assistant coach experience at the NBA or college level.

Dudley, a 14-year combo forward as a pro, has served as an assistant coach under Jason Kidd since the 2021/22 season. During that window, the Mavericks have appeared in a pair of Western Conference Finals and one NBA Finals. Currently, Dudley is the head coach of the Mavs’ Summer League squad.

There’s more out of the Southwest:

  • High-flying Mavericks wing A.J. Lawson is looking to show he belongs in the league as a regular rotation player, writes Eddie Sefko of Mavericks.com. Though he’s now on a standard contract, Lawson is still trying to prove his mettle on the club’s Summer League team. “The emphasis for me is definitely going to be defending,” Lawson said of his focus this summer. “I want to show I can defend one through four (point guards to power forwards). And also to be able to knock down the open shot. Everybody knows I got speed.”
  • Longtime Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich discussed San Antonio’s offseason roster additions Chris Paul and Harrison Barnes in a courtside conversation with ESPN’s Doris Burke and Mark Jones (YouTube video link). “I think [Paul’s] going to teach everybody a whole lot better than I did,” Popovich said. “Having he and Harrison come into the fold at this stage in their career is really wonderful for the youth that we have.” Popovich also raved about No. 4 draft pick Stephon Castle: “I love his seriousness for such a young kid. I love his pace – you see his expression never changes – he doesn’t go too fast, doesn’t go too slow. He reads the situations. The more minutes he gets, the better he is going to be. He seeks contact, he is an excellent defender and he makes wonderful decisions.”
  • Second-year Pelicans shooting guard Jordan Hawkins, the No. 14 pick out of UConn in 2023, knows exactly where he wants to improve his game this offseason, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “Definitely the defensive end,” Hawkins said. “I think that’s what held me back a little bit. Not being able to guard. So I think my big focus is going to be on guarding. Trying to guard wings. Trying to get bigger. Shooting. Being a 40% three-point shooter for our team. We have guys who can penetrate, get to the hoop. I just have to be able to knock shots down.”

Jamal Cain Signs Two-Way Deal With Pelicans

JULY 13: The Pelicans have officially signed Cain, per the transaction log at NBA.com.


JULY 12: Free agent wing Jamal Cain has agreed to a two-way deal with the Pelicans, Adrian Wojanrowski of ESPN reports (Twitter link).

Cain, 25, spent the first two seasons of his career with the Heat. He appeared in 44 games with the Heat from 2022-24, averaging 4.4 points and 2.0 rebounds per contest.

The 6’6″ guard/forward has impressed in limited stints with Miami, averaging 8.0 points and 5.3 boards in a three-game win streak in 2022/23 as well as recording 18 points and six rebounds in a win over the Warriors in ’23/24.

Cain played the first four seasons of his collegiate career for Marquette before transferring to Oakland. After going undrafted in 2022, he joined the Heat and earned a two-way contract.

While he played sparingly for the Heat in the regular season, he saw much more playing time in Summer League, preseason and the G League in Miami’s system. He averaged 10.9 PPG across nine games in two seasons with Miami in preseason games and then averaged 21.6 PPG, 9.3 RPG and 1.6 SPG on .540/.372/.815 shooting splits in two years with the Skyforce.

Cain angled for a standard contract last offseason but ultimately didn’t receive one before re-upping with Miami on a two-way deal. Due to the Heat’s roster crunch with their young two-way players, Cain didn’t receive a promotion from his two-way deal over the two seasons he spent in the organization. After the Heat filled out all three of their two-way spots early in free agency and then filled out their regular roster, it was clear Cain wouldn’t be returning.

Now, the Pelicans land a productive wing who spent two years in Miami’s successful development program. As our two-way contract tracker for 2024/25 shows, the Pelicans only have one such spot filled — with Malcolm Hill occupying a spot. For what it’s worth, No. 47 overall pick Antonio Reeves hasn’t signed his rookie contract with the Pelicans, so it’s possible he will fill one of those two open spots alongside Cain.