Pelicans Rumors

Suns Have Inquired On Tyus Jones

12:58pm: The Suns aren’t the only team to inquire on Jones, though they’ve been the most active in trying to acquire him, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN, noting that the Pelicans have liked him in the past.

According to Wolfson, the Timberwolves have told teams they aren’t interested in moving Jones right now. They also haven’t engaged in extension talks yet with the fourth-year point guard.

8:22am: The Suns, who remain on the lookout for possible point guard targets, have asked about Timberwolves guard Tyus Jones, sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe. It’s not clear how recently that inquiry happened, or if the two teams engaged in any discussions.

Jones appeared in all 82 games for the Timberwolves last season, averaging 5.1 PPG and 2.8 APG as Jeff Teague‘s backup at the point. However, the club acquired Derrick Rose late in the year and re-signed him in the offseason, raising some questions about Jones’ role. According to a June report, Teague suggested last season that the 22-year-old – who averaged 17.9 MPG – should play more.

That same report indicated that Jones considered requesting a trade, but that head coach Tom Thibodeau “reasserted his support” for the youngster, assuring him his role will increase in 2018/19 despite Rose’s return, due to the departure of Jamal Crawford. Still, Jones is entering a contract year and will be eligible for restricted free agency in 2019, so if Minnesota isn’t certain of his long-term role, it could make sense to gauge his trade value.

As for the Suns, they’ve traded Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight within the last year, leaving them without a clear-cut starting point guard. Patrick Beverley, Cory Joseph, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Terry Rozier are among the other potential Phoenix trade targets named by various reports.

For now, the Suns’ depth chart at the point features Shaquille Harrison, De’Anthony Melton, Elie Okobo, and Isaiah Canaan. Canaan is on a non-guaranteed contract while Melton – acquired in a deal with the Rockets – remains unsigned.

Southwest Notes: Davis, Pelicans, Anderson, Mavericks

Jimmy Butler may be the next star to be traded, but Anthony Davis won’t be joining him, according to Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Appearing on a podcast with Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports, Bontemps said there’s a “zero percent chance” the Pelicans will part with Davis this season [hat tip to Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype).

Next summer, Davis will be eligible for a five-year supermax contract that could become the richest deal in NBA history, Bontemps explains. It’s possible that a trade involving Davis could happen in a few years if he decides he’s not happy in New Orleans or doesn’t view the team as a contender, but Bontemps said he won’t go anywhere until he has that contract in hand.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • This Pelicans‘ roster turnover this summer may present the biggest challenges on defense, writes Scott Kushner of The Advocate. New Orleans got noticed for its fast pace last season, but one of the overlooked factors in its success was team defense, which was fourth best in the league after February 1 at 103.4 points per 100 possessions. Davis and Jrue Holiday were first-team All-Defense honorees, but newcomers Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton, who both had negative defensive efficiency numbers last season, have to prove that they contribute at that end of the court.
  • The decision to gamble on former Spurs forward Kyle Anderson may help decide Chris Wallace’s future as GM of the Grizzlies, suggests Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Huge contracts for Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons were already straining the team’s cap when Wallace decided to extend a four-year, $37.2MM offer sheet to Anderson. San Antonio elected not to match, so Anderson will be in Memphis’ training camp next week as its top free agent addition of the summer. It’s a huge risk based on Anderson’s career numbers, which included a career-high 7.9 PPG and 5.4 RPG last season. Giannotto states that the Grizzlies should look to replace Wallace if it doesn’t work out.
  • Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News takes a look at some of the key figures in the Mavericks‘ workplace misconduct case, which resulted in a settlement that was announced today.

Jarrett Jack Signs With Pelicans

SEPTEMBER 19: The signing is official, the Pelicans announced on their website.

SEPTEMBER 17: Veteran point guard Jarrett Jack has agreed to a one-year contract with the Pelicans, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

That doesn’t necessarily mean Jack, 34, will be on the opening-night roster. The contract isn’t guaranteed, Charania adds in another tweet, so he’ll have to compete for one of the backup point guard spots.

New Orleans is well-stocked at point guard with starter Jrue Holiday along with Elfrid Payton, Frank Jackson and Darius Morris on the roster, though Jackson has undergone three foot surgeries and also sprained his ankle in summer-league action.

Along with Morris, the Pelicans have a handful of other players on non-guaranteed or partially-guaranteed deals, including Emeka OkaforJahlil OkaforTroy WilliamsKenrich Williams and Garlon Green.

This is Jack’s third stint with the Pelicans. He played with them during the 2010/11 season and also saw action in two games during the 2016/17 campaign. He played 62 games with the Knicks last season, including 56 starts, and averaged 7.5 PPG and 5.6 APG in 25.0 MPG.

 

Pelicans Waive Emeka Okafor

12:04pm: Bobby Marks of ESPN.com clarifies (via Twitter) that the date for Okafor’s $100K partial guarantee had been pushed back to September 21, which helps explain the timing of today’s move. As such, New Orleans won’t be on the hook for any 2018/19 money for Okafor.

Marc Spears of The Undefeated adds (via Twitter) that Okafor has previously communicated a desire to continue his NBA career into the ’18/19 season, so we’ll see if he’s able to catch on with another club.

11:42am: The Pelicans have parted ways with veteran center Emeka Okafor, announcing today in a press release that the former second overall pick has been waived. Assuming Okafor goes unclaimed, he’ll clear waivers on Friday, becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Okafor, who was selected after Dwight Howard in the 2004 draft, played nine NBA seasons before health problems derailed his career in 2013. After missing four seasons, the big man returned to the NBA for the Pelicans in 2017/18 and provided solid minutes for the team after DeMarcus Cousins went down with an Achilles tear.

In 26 games (19 starts) for New Orleans last season, Okafor contributed 4.4 PPG and 4.6 RPG in 13.6 minutes per contest. He was out of the club’s rotation by the postseason, however, appearing briefly in just one playoff game.

Okafor was one of several players on the Pelicans’ roster who didn’t have a fully guaranteed salary — he reportedly had a $100K partial guarantee, so New Orleans will only be on the hook for that amount. With Okafor no longer in the mix, the Pelicans will have an open spot on their 20-man offseason roster, even after the team officially completes its deal with Jarrett Jack.

Okafor’s departure may be good news for a fellow big man who shares a last name with the veteran. Jahlil Okafor is now the only frontcourt player with a non-guaranteed salary on the Pelicans’ roster, and could be in good position to earn one of the open spots on the 15-man regular season squad.

Sasha Vujacic Works Out For Two NBA Teams

Longtime NBA shooting guard Sasha Vujacic worked out for the Pelicans on Monday, Andrew Lopez of the New Orleans Times Picayune tweets. The Thunder are hosting Vujacic today as he attempts to return to the league, according to RealGM.

Vujacic revealed last month that he was seeking another NBA contract. He spent the 2017/18 season with Fiat Torino of the Lega Basket Serie A in Italy, helping the team win its first even Italian Cup by scoring the deciding layup in the final seconds.

The workouts for Vujacic can be chalked up as teams exercising due diligence with training camp around the corner. The Pelicans have eight wing players on their roster already, though they continue to look for another option at shooting guard. Their offer sheet to restricted free agent Tyrone Wallace was matched by the Clippers a week ago.

The Thunder have a number of options at shooting guard, including Andre Roberson, Alex Abrines, Terrance Ferguson and Hamidou Diallo, though Roberson is still recovering from a knee injury and could remain sidelined until December.

A 10-year NBA veteran, the 34-year-old Vujacic last played in the NBA during the 2016/17 season, appearing in 42 games for the Knicks and averaging 3.0 PPG and 1.2 APG in 9.7 MPG. The highlight of Vujacic’s NBA career was winning two championships with the Lakers.

Vujacic, 34, also had brief stints with the Clippers and Nets.

Pelicans’ Anthony Davis Parts Ways With Agent

Pelicans star Anthony Davis has parted ways with longtime agent Thad Foucher, according to Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. Players are required to file paperwork with the players’ union and wait 15 days before changing agents, ESPN adds.

Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who represents LeBron James, is reportedly a “leading contender” to became Davis’ new representative.

Davis, 25, has two years and $52MM left on his deal with the New Orleans in addition to a $29MM player option for the 2020/21 campaign. In 75 games last season, Davis averaged 28.1 PPG and 11.1 RPG, finishing third in NBA Most Valuable Player voting.

While Davis’ agent change doesn’t necessarily mean anything in and of itself, it may make some Pelicans fans anxious, Scott Kushner of The Advocate tweets. As Kushner notes, then-Hornets guard Chris Paul switched agents in 2010 shortly before requesting a trade.

There have been waves of trade speculation surrounding Davis, who could eventually look to join a bigger-market organization if the Pelicans don’t move any closer toward title contention within the next year or two.

Davis Made Heavy Pitch For Randle

  • Shooting guard Tyrone Wallace can’t be traded by the Clippers without his consent as a result of Los Angeles matching his offer sheet, salary cap expert Albert Nahmad tweets. The restricted free agent signed a two-year, $2.9MM offer sheet with the Pelicans but the Clippers opted to match it on Wednesday despite a roster logjam. The Clippers are prohibited from trading Wallace to the Pelicans for one year, Nahmad adds.
  • Anthony Davis called Julius Randle three times after Randle hit the free agent market to ensure the former Laker would sign with the Pelicans, William Guillory of The Athletic reports. Randle had his rights renounced by the Lakers after LeBron James agreed to sign with Los Angeles and Randle quickly agreed to a two-year, $18MM deal with New Orleans. Randle had more lucrative deals on the table, Guillory adds, but Randle wants to remain with the franchise even though he has an opt-out next summer.

Clippers Match Offer Sheet For Tyrone Wallace

The Clippers have matched the Pelicans’ offer sheet for guard Tyrone Wallace, according to a team press release.

“We identified Tyrone as a versatile, competitive and tough-minded player who adds to the organizational culture,” Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said in a statement. “Ty worked hard with our staff at Agua Caliente and Los Angeles, and his growth has been a reflection of his commitment to getting better. Together with our team’s player development program, Ty demonstrated impressive improvement and contributed meaningfully to our team last season. We are excited to welcome Ty back to the Clippers.”

The Pelicans signed Wallace on Monday to an offer sheet worth the veteran’s minimum, approximately $2.9MM over two years. The Clippers had two days once Wallace signed the offer sheet to decide whether to match it or let him go.

It was generally assumed the Clippers wouldn’t match the offer sheet for the 6’5” restricted free agent, who played last season on a two-way deal. With Wallace back in the mix, the Clips now have 15 players with guaranteed deals, plus non-guaranteed contracts for Wallace and Patrick Beverley, so they’ll have to trade or release a couple of those players by the end of the preseason.

Still, as ESPN cap expert Bobby Marks points out (via Twitter), even though retaining Wallace doesn’t help the Clippers clear their roster logjam, there’s little risk involved in bringing him back for the time being. His new deal features a partial guarantee of $300K (as of September 12), but won’t become fully guaranteed until the new year, and the second season is fully non-guaranteed, with no trigger dates.

The Clippers will now have the opportunity to evaluate Wallace and the rest of their roster in training camp, and will only be out $300K if they decide that the second-year guard isn’t part of their plans after all. That wouldn’t be a terrible outcome for Wallace either, as he’d have the opportunity to reach unrestricted free agency after having collected $300K for a few weeks of work.

With 17 players now vying for 15 spots in L.A., Jawun Evans‘ roster spot becomes even more precarious. The 6’0″ Evans has a guaranteed contract, but it’s only worth the minimum and doesn’t feature any guaranteed money beyond 2018/19. The Clippers also have numerous point guard options, including Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Milos Teodosic, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Clippers’ Decision On Tyrone Wallace Due Soon

The Clippers have until the end of Wednesday to decide whether or not to match the Pelicans‘ offer sheet for Tyrone Wallace, according to Keith Smith of RealGM.com (Twitter link), who hears from a source that L.A. received the signed offer sheet on Monday. RealGM’s log of NBA transactions confirms that Wallace signed his offer sheet with New Orleans on September 3.

[RELATED: Pelicans, Tyrone Wallace agree to offer sheet]

Under the NBA’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team has just two days after receiving an offer sheet to decide whether or not to exercise the right of first refusal. If the Clippers decide not to match the Pelicans’ offer for Wallace, his deal with New Orleans will become official.

Wallace, who finished last season on a two-way contract with the Clippers, received a qualifying offer from the team in June. For two-way players, a qualifying offer is equivalent to another two-way contract offer, with a $50K guarantee. So even though the reported terms of Wallace’s deal with the Pelicans are modest – the veteran’s minimum for two years, with a $300K partial guarantee due next week – they’re more player-friendly than his QO from L.A.

Matching Wallace’s offer sheet wouldn’t cost the Clippers much financially, but a roster logjam makes it unlikely that they’ll bring back the former second-round pick. For now, the Clippers have 15 players with guaranteed salaries, plus Patrick Beverley on a non-guaranteed deal, so they’ll already have to trade or release one veteran on a guaranteed contract to reach the 15-man regular season limit. Retaining Wallace would force the club to make another preseason roster decision.

Additionally, the Clippers’ backcourt is so crowded that there probably wouldn’t be many minutes available for Wallace if he were to return to Los Angeles. Beverley, Lou Williams, Avery Bradley, Milos Teodosic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jerome Robinson, Sindarius Thornwell, and Jawun Evans are all currently under contract with the franchise.

Pelicans Sign Darius Morris

4:25pm: The signing is official, according to a team press release.

9:51am: The Pelicans are continuing their efforts to add depth at the point guard position, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that veteran free agent Darius Morris is signing with New Orleans. Morris will receive a partially guaranteed two-year deal, per Charania. It’ll be worth the minimum.

News of the Pelicans’ agreement with Morris comes a day after word broke that the club is signing two-way restricted free agent Tyrone Wallace to an offer sheet. New Orleans has two openings on its 20-man offseason roster, so the team could add both Wallace and Morris and let them battle it out for a regular season roster spot. Morris could also be an insurance policy in case the Clippers match the Pelicans’ offer sheet for Wallace.

Morris, a second-round pick in the 2011 NBA draft, spent four seasons playing for the Lakers, Sixers, Clippers, Grizzlies, and Nets after entering the league. In 132 total regular season contests (11.1 MPG), the 27-year-old averaged 3.3 PPG and 1.4 APG, last appearing in an NBA game in 2015. Since then, Morris has played in the G League for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and in China for the Guangdong Southern Tigers.

Like Wallace, Morris was one of a handful of free agent point guards who worked out for the Pelicans in August. The club also took a look at Ty Lawson and Erick Green.

If the Clippers don’t match Wallace’s offer sheet with New Orleans, he would become the seventh player on the Pelicans’ roster with a non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed salary. Emeka Okafor, Jahlil Okafor, Troy Williams, Kenrich Williams, Garlon Green, and Morris would also be in the mix on non-guaranteed on partially guaranteed deals.