Devonte’ Graham

Devonte’ Graham Suspended Two Games By NBA

Spurs guard Devonte’ Graham has been suspended without pay for two games by the NBA, the league announced today in a press release (Twitter link).

The suspension stems from a 2022 misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired. Graham pleaded guilty to the charge in June and was subsequently sentenced to 12 months of probation, per TMZ Sports.

As TMZ details, Graham was initially charged in July 2022 after police alleged that he was driving 63 miles per hour in a 40 MPH zone while intoxicated in his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina. The incident occurred at around 3:00 am.

Graham was a member of the Pelicans at the time of his arrest but was traded from New Orleans to San Antonio at the 2023 deadline in a deal involving Josh Richardson. He appeared in a total of 73 games for the two teams last season, averaging 7.4 points and 2.7 assists in 18.3 minutes per night, with a shooting line of .374/.352/.748.

Graham remains under contract with the Spurs on a guaranteed $12.1MM cap hit for 2023/24; his contract also covers ’24/25, but only $2.85MM of his $12.65MM salary for that year is guaranteed.

The two-game suspension, which Graham will serve during the first two games of the 2023/24 regular season as long as he’s healthy and remains under contract, will cost him $166,897. That figure represents 2/145ths of his $12.1MM salary.

If the Spurs, who are facing a potential roster crunch this fall, waive Graham prior to the season and he doesn’t sign a new contract right away, he’ll be considered to have served his suspension following San Antonio’s third game of the season.

Western Notes: Beal, Graham, Blazers, Clarkson

New Suns guard Bradley Beal spoke with gathered journalists for an extended introductory press conference, flanked by head coach Frank Vogel and general manager James Jones, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

“I don’t look at the NBA like, ‘Oh, it’s my team,’ ‘Oh, it’s your team,'” Beal said when asked about how the Suns will determinine a hierarchy on offense. “It’s everybody. We all got to compete. We all got to do this thing together and make it happen.”

“But understand that this is ‘Book Nation,'” Beal continued, a reference to All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker. “I understand that this is his stomping grounds, this is his arena, and I’m excited for that. I’m excited to be able to play with two Hall of Famers. I’ve never done that. They’ll push me in ways I’ve never been pushed. Hopefully, I can do the same.”

There’s more out of the Western Conference:

  • After cutting a deal with prosecutors, Spurs guard Devonte’ Graham has pleaded guilty to his 2022 misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired, reports TMZ Sports. Graham, whose sentencing is scheduled for July, may face a suspension from the NBA following the resolution of his legal case.
  • The Trail Blazers, still hoping to thread the needle between their present and future, are hoping incumbent All-NBA point guard Damian Lillard will be satisfied with a solid roster-building summer and will not ask for a trade out of town, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Fischer likens Portland’s plan to the approach Brooklyn took with Kevin Durant last summer, though Durant had requested a trade at that time, while Lillard hasn’t done so. The Blazers added rookie point guard Scoot Henderson with the third overall pick in this year’s draft, and are hoping that some tactical personnel moves will convince Lillard to stick around.
  • With Jazz  guard Jordan Clarkson having now picked up his $14MM player option, there are still a variety of routes forward for Utah and the 2021 Sixth Man of the Year, per Tony Jones of The Athletic. As Jones notes, Clarkson could now either sign a longer-term extension, play out the final year of his deal as the Jazz’s probable starting shooting guard, or the team could coordinate a trade to offload him and free up more minutes and touches for his potential long-term successor, Collin Sexton.

Southwest Notes: Graham, Irving, Brooks, Rockets

When the Spurs acquired Devonte’ Graham from New Orleans in exchange for Josh Richardson at last month’s trade deadline, it was the four second-round picks attached to Graham that represented the main draw of the deal. With that in mind, it’s probably safe to assume Graham will be back on the trade block this summer, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required).

Still, given that Graham’s trade value may be limited and the Spurs won’t move him just to move him, the most likely scenario, in McDonald’s view, is that the veteran guard remains with the club for the 2023/24 season. Graham, who is owed $12.1MM next season and has a small partial guarantee on his $12.65MM cap hit for ’24/25, sounds like he’d welcome a full year in San Antonio.

“No complaints,” Graham said of his time with the Spurs so far. “It’s a great group of guys, great coaching staff. Obviously the fans have been amazing supporting me since I’ve been traded. It’s been an easy transition for me, honestly.”

Graham went on to say that he loves playing for Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and has appreciated the opportunity to take on an increased role since the trade. He was averaging just 15.3 minutes per night in 53 games with New Orleans, but has played 28.2 MPG in 13 games since arriving in San Antonio. He’s averaging 15.5 PPG and 4.6 APG on .408/.389/.800 shooting for his new team.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Looking ahead to Kyrie Irving‘s upcoming free agency, Marc Stein writes on his Substack that the early indications in Dallas suggest a multiyear deal for the talented point guard is “certainly feasible.” Stein views the Mavericks‘ negotiating position as “less than ideal,” given how much the club gave up at the trade deadline to land Irving.
  • After picking up his 18th technical foul of the regular season and earning another automatic one-game suspension, Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks acknowledged that he needs to stop accumulating techs at such a rapid rate, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “I’ve got to tone it down and get back to my mindfulness practice and find ways to channel it better,” Brooks said. A player’s technical foul count resets when the postseason begins, but seven playoff techs would result in a one-game suspension.
  • Kelly Iko and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic take a closer look at the progress some of the Rockets‘ young players have made this season and explore how the team will approach this year’s draft. According to Vecenie, if Houston gets the No. 2 pick, Scoot Henderson would be a better fit for the current roster than Brandon Miller. If their pick lands outside of the top three, the Rockets should either shop it or take a shot on a high-upside player in the next tier, says Vecenie.

Trade Breakdown: Josh Richardson To The Pelicans

This is the seventh entry in our series breaking down the significant trades of the 2022/23 season. As opposed to giving out grades, this series explores why the teams were motivated to make the moves. Let’s dive into a deal between the Pelicans and Spurs

On February 9, the Pelicans sent guard Devonte’ Graham and four second-round picks (details here) to the Spurs in exchange for swingman Josh Richardson.

The Pelicans’ perspective:

Acquiring Graham via sign-and-trade in 2021 didn’t work out for New Orleans. The team wound up dealing for CJ McCollum last year and running him at starting point guard, and Graham got outplayed by undrafted free agent Jose Alvarado in each of the past two seasons.

The Pelicans also had former first-rounder Kira Lewis Jr. return from a torn ACL in 2022/23 and drafted Dyson Daniels No. 8 overall last summer. Carrying five players on the 15-man roster who primarily play the point isn’t ideal.

There’s also the fact that, when healthy, both Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram handle the ball a significant portion of the time and are play-makers. That makes a short (6’1″) subpar defender like Graham an awkward fit.

The 6’6″ Richardson, meanwhile, fills a positional need at shooting guard and is a much better defensive player than Graham. At his best, Richardson uses his 6’10” wingspan, athleticism and quick hands to be disruptive on that end of the floor — he has averaged 2.6 SPG and 0.8 BPG through nine games with the Pelicans (his career marks are 1.1 SPG and 0.6 BPG).

Shedding Graham’s salary over the next couple of seasons — he’s owed $12.1MM in ‘23/24 and a partially guaranteed $2.85MM ($12.65MM base) in ‘24/25 — likely cost the Pelicans at least two second-round picks, if not three. Replacing him with Richardson for an extra second or two was a low-risk maneuver.

Richardson is on an expiring $12.2MM contract, making him an unrestricted free agent this offseason. If the Pelicans can bring him back at a similar rate — essentially swapping Graham’s salary slot for Richardson — that would be solid value. Letting him walk is also a valid option if they’re concerned about the luxury tax going forward.

Richardson has bounced around quite a bit after spending his first four, most successful seasons with Miami, having played for Philadelphia, Dallas, Boston, San Antonio and now New Orleans over the past four seasons.

As is the case with nearly every NBA player outside of the superstars, how a player fits within the dynamic of the rest of the roster largely determines whether he’s successful or not. Richardson is a quality role player, but not on every team.

The 29-year-old sometimes gets the generic 3-and-D label, which I think is a little bit of a misnomer in his case.

While Richardson is a solid defensive player, his offensive game is more varied than just spotting up for open threes. He’s an erratic outside shooter, converting 36.4% for his career from deep, which is right around league average (35.9% over the same eight seasons). However, he has been as high as 46.1% (on his lowest volume as a rookie), and as low as 33.0% (two separate seasons).

Richardson plays with a lot of energy on both sides of the ball and understands how to optimize spacing offensively. If things look congested on one side of the floor, you will see him flying around to an open area to create more room and better passing angles. 90.5% of his career three-point attempts have been assisted — he’s not looking to create his own shot from beyond the arc.

He is a crafty complementary pick-and-roll operator who particularly favors getting his defender on his hip and then stopping and pulling up around 12-to-17 feet. He has been very efficient from mid-range this season, converting 48.5% of those opportunities — that ranks in the 85th percentile, per

If the right-handed Richardson gets all the way into the paint, he prefers to finish with his left hand, often using a scoop shot. He will use hesitation moves or his speed to get to the rim during pick-and-rolls.

The eight-year veteran is an unselfish passer and has a soft touch when throwing lobs, though his handle is a little loose at times, which can lead to turnovers. He generally does a solid job of taking care of the ball and making good reads though, especially for a secondary or tertiary ball-handler – his career assist-to-turnover ratio is 1.97-to-1, a respectable mark for a shooting guard.

This season represents the first time in Richardson’s career that he’s taken more threes than twos, and from an efficiency standpoint you could argue he should have been pushed in that direction sooner, even if he’s just an average shooter from long distance. He’s also not a great rebounder for a two guard and can struggle with bigger, more physical players on defense, as his frame is relatively thin (he’s listed at 200 pounds).

Another weak point is that Richardson will gamble on occasion defensively, reaching instead of using his feet to stick with his opponent. Still, when he’s engaged, he’s an above-average defender.

Overall, this trade made a lot sense for New Orleans. The Pelicans were able to fill a positional need in the short term and get rid of Graham’s contract, which had become problematic given his poor fit and the long-term commitments to other players.

The Spurs’ perspective:

Richardson played some of his best basketball since his Miami days with San Antonio, but he’s 29 years old and on expiring contract. The Spurs are in the midst of their first rebuild in decades, so extracting value for Richardson was logical.

While Graham was redundant on the Pelicans, the Spurs had a glaring need at point guard – Tre Jones is the only other true lead guard on the roster. In fact, Richardson was serving as the backup point at times, and though he did a respectable job, Graham is better suited for the role.

Graham is a good ball-handler and passer. He also takes care of the ball, posting a career 3.09-to-1- assist-to-turnover ratio – 3-to-1 is generally considered a very good benchmark. He is more of a shoot-first point guard who can play off the ball than a traditional pass-first floor general.

This trade is a good example of how statistics can be misleading without context. Richardson is a career 36.4% three-point shooter, while Graham is at 35.7%. On the surface, that seems like Graham is a worse three-point shooter.

Yet if you watch the two play, it would immediately be evident that Graham is a much more dangerous outside shooter. He has taken more than twice as many threes as twos in his career and is able to find shots from long distance in multiple ways.

Graham doesn’t hesitate to pull up from deep in transition, and utilizes dribble moves – including side-steps, crossovers and relocation dribbles – to create his own shot. He can shoot on the move coming off screens, in addition to the typical catch-and-shoot threes.

The Spurs rank just 26th in the league in three-point attempts and 25th in the three-point percentage. Graham’s shot selection can be a little questionable at times, in my opinion, but his ability to stretch the floor and make good reads while passing adds a different dynamic to their offense.

If the young draft picks on San Antonio’s roster can learn from some of Graham’s offensive skills, that would be an added bonus. Several of them are still in the early stages of their development.

In 53 games with the Pelicans this season (15.3 MPG), Graham was averaging just 5.3 PPG and 2.2 APG on .368/.347/.746 shooting. In 11 games (28.1 MPG) with the Spurs, he’s averaging 15.8 PPG and 4.2 APG on .394/.378/.825 shooting. He’s attempting 8.9 threes per game with San Antonio, which is right around what he averaged a few years ago with Charlotte.

Graham is a limited defensive player due to his size and doesn’t always give the required effort; the Spurs are dreadful on that end, ranking dead last in the NBA. Still, they’re barely better on offense (29th), and I do think Graham is an upgrade over Richardson in that regard. In a vacuum, their values are closer than this trade might make it seem – look how similar their contracts are (Graham makes $11.55MM this season).

Unlike New Orleans, San Antonio has plenty of cap room going forward, so adding Graham’s longer-term salary isn’t burdensome. He just turned 28 years old and has already showed in his brief stint with the Spurs that he can still play, so trading him in the future for more assets could be an option.

Another aspect of this deal that I found interesting is that both Graham (No. 34 overall in 2018) and Richardson (No. 40 overall in 2015) are examples of successful second-round picks. The Spurs added four second-rounders in this deal while filling a positional need – that’s a quality return for a solid role player on an expiring deal.

Spurs Notes: Vassell, Branham, Graham, Bassey

The Spurs are more concerned with developing their young players than maximizing their lottery odds, writes Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. Some fans may have been dismayed to see back-to-back wins this week or Devin Vassell‘s return after missing two months following knee surgery, but the organization is committed to getting its young players on the court together to build a foundation for the future.

“I am not trying to tank,” Vassell said. “I am trying to win as many games as possible.”

Vassell is one of five recent first-round picks on the roster, and the Spurs want him to become a clutch-time scorer who’s capable of closing out games. He showed some of that prowess in his return Thursday against Indiana, pouring in 10 points in the third quarter as San Antonio pulled away.

“The shot-making is still there obviously,” assistant coach Mitch Johnson said. “It’s tough in this league when teams have guys that can make shots when there is good defense and there is not really anything going offensively, and he did that for us.”

There’s more from San Antonio:

  • Malaki Branham had a breakthrough in February, leading all NBA rookies by averaging 16.8 points per game, Orsborn adds. The 19-year-old small forward hadn’t topped 7.8 PPG in any other month. “It’s a tribute to him and a lot of the young guys in this program,” Johnson said. “If they trust the process and put in the work, at some point the game usually slows down for them and they find some success.”
  • Devonte’ Graham has been given a green light to shoot since the Spurs acquired him at the trade deadline, and he took advantage Saturday with 28 points in 29 minutes, Orsborn notes in another Express-News article. “As an athlete, you always want opportunity to show you have talent and whatever the case might be,” Graham said. “(Coach Gregg Popovich) gives everybody confidence to just go out and play freely and play the right way.”
  • Charles Bassey has been excelling as the primary backup center since Jakob Poeltl was traded, Orsborn tweets. Bassey had 14 points and eight rebounds Saturday night and tied a career high by making seven shots from the field.

Spurs Notes: Graham, Birch, Sochan, Barlow

Devonte’ Graham dropped 15 games and seven spots in the standings by virtue of the deadline-day deal that sent him from New Orleans to San Antonio, but the Spurs guard intends to make the most of his new situation, telling reporters after the trade that he has no problem playing for a rebuilding team.

“Rebuilding, but they play hard,” Graham said of the Spurs, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “I had the same experience in Charlotte, so I kind of know what this feels like, trying to rebuild but just playing the right way, playing hard and continuing to try to get better.”

After seeing his minutes reduced significantly in New Orleans this season, Graham is also welcoming the opportunity to play a more significant role in San Antonio. He averaged 15.3 minutes per game in 53 appearances for the Pelicans — that number has jumped to 29.7 MPG in his first three games with the Spurs.

“It’s a new adventure, new team, new city,” Graham said. “Optimistic about it. I have always been good at adjusting. Grateful to be around this franchise, a legendary coach (Gregg Popovich) and this young group.”

Here’s more on the Spurs:

  • Veteran center Khem Birch, acquired from Toronto in the Jakob Poeltl trade, has a right knee issue that will keep him sidelined for the foreseeable future, per Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Birch is with the Spurs on their current road trip, but won’t practice or play until being examined over the All-Star break by the team’s medical staff. “It’s going to be quite a while,” Popovich said of Birch’s timeline to return.
  • Spurs forward Jeremy Sochan doesn’t fit the mold of stoic former Spurs stars like Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard, but the team doesn’t mind the rookie’s tendency to “talk crap,” as Popovich puts it. “He’s just so happy to be in the NBA and playing basketball,” Popovich said, according to McDonald. “That’s what he does. It’s his main interest. … Beyond what you see skill-wise out there and IQ-wise, he’s got that heart and courage. He’s not afraid of any situation. He’s not embarrassed to screw up. He just goes on to the next play. It’s a perfect example for how you’ve got to play.”
  • Determining how to properly evaluate prospects coming out of the relatively new Overtime Elite program remains a work in progress for NBA scouts. Still, Spurs two-way player Dominick Barlow has no regrets about his OTE experience and believes it helped prepare him for the next level, McDonald writes for The Express-News. “There are pros and cons, like you are not going to be able to play in college and get that kind of experience,” Barlow said. “That wasn’t a big thing for me. I really wanted to work on my game, that the jump I was able to make in a year was good enough to outweigh that (college experience). I was happy with it.”
  • In case you missed it, Charles Bassey signed a four-year contract with the Spurs that reportedly includes $5.2MM in guaranteed money.

Spurs Trade Josh Richardson To Pelicans

9:47pm: The trade sending Richardson to New Orleans and Graham to San Antonio is now official, the Pelicans announced in a press release.

According to Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link), the 2024 second-rounder going to the Spurs will be either the Bulls’ or Pelicans’ pick (whichever is more favorable), while the 2026 second-rounder will be either the Pelicans’ or Trail Blazers’ pick (whichever is less favorable).

The 2028 and 2029 second-round picks headed to San Antonio are New Orleans’ own.

1:30pm: The Spurs and Pelicans are in agreement on a trade that will send veteran swingman Josh Richardson to New Orleans, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links). Sources tell Charania that San Antonio will receive guard Devonte’ Graham and four second-round picks in the deal.

The four picks are the Pelicans’ second-rounders in 2024, 2026, 2028 and 2029, Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News tweets.

Richardson has bounced around the league in recent years but he provides another versatile two-way option for a Pelicans club that has won three straight after a lengthy losing streak dropped them under the .500 mark.

Richardson has appeared in 41 games, including five starts, for San Antonio this season. He averaged 11.4 points and 3.3 assists in those contests.

The 29-year-old played for the Celtics and San Antonio last season and has also worn the uniforms of the Heat, Sixers and Mavericks during his career. He’s a career 36.5 percent 3-point shooter who has averaged 12 points in 479 NBA games.

Richardson will be an unrestricted free agent after making $12.2MM this season.

Graham is making $11.55MM this season and is signed through the 2024/25 season, though the final year is only partially guaranteed. Graham has been a regular member of New Orleans’ rotation, averaging 5.3 points and 2.2 assists in 15.3 minutes in 53 games.

New Orleans had to surrender draft capital to unload its salary commitment to Graham. San Antonio now has 23 draft picks in the next five drafts, according to McDonald’s count (Twitter link).

Trade Rumors: Beasley, Vanderbilt, Pelicans, Hyland, Pacers

The Jazz have been involved in trade talks regarding Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt and are seeking a first-round pick in return for each player, writes Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Scotto notes that both players were part of trade discussions earlier this season involving the HawksJohn Collins, and he says the Suns are also interested in dealing for them.

Beasley and Vanderbilt have been important contributors since Utah acquired them from Minnesota last summer in the Rudy Gobert trade. Beasley has bolstered the Jazz bench and is averaging 13.6 PPG, while Vanderbilt moved into the starting lineup and is posting 8.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per night.

Utah has interest in acquiring Dorian Finney-Smith from the Mavericks or Jalen McDaniels from the Hornets, sources tell Scotto. He suggests that Beasley and Vanderbilt could be combined in an offer for Finney-Smith, but the Jazz may wait until the offseason to try to sign McDaniels in free agency. Scotto adds that the Suns and Raptors are also watching McDaniels and may attempt to trade for him now to acquire his Bird rights.

Scotto cites the Hawks, Cavaliers and Pelicans as teams that have reached out to Utah about Beasley. He mentions the Knicks as another potential landing spot, as New York had interest in Beasley before he signed his last contract with the Wolves. Knicks executive Gersson Rosas traded for Beasley and Vanderbilt when he ran Minnesota’s front office, and Scotto hears that he has been monitoring Beasley’s availability.

There are more trade rumors to pass along:

  • League executives tell Scotto that Pelicans reserves Devonte’ Graham and Jaxson Hayes are considered to be available. Graham is under contract for $12.1MM for next season and has a $2.85MM guarantee on his $12.65MM salary for 2024/25. Hayes is headed for restricted free agency this offseason.
  • It may seem surprising that the Nuggets are gauging the value of second-year guard Bones Hyland, but trading him is the team’s best chance to improve before the deadline, Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype states in the same story. Denver would like to add a defensive forward, but apart from its rotation the team doesn’t have many players who would be useful in salary matching. Sources tell Scotto the Nuggets are reluctant to part with any draft assets in a deal involving Hyland. Gozlan also points out that getting another wing player now would provide insurance in case Bruce Brown decides to turn down his $6.8MM player option for next season.
  • After reaching an extension agreement with Myles Turner, the Pacers have $10.7MM in cap space to work with on the trade market, Gozlan adds. Indiana and San Antonio are the only teams that still have cap room available for the current season.

Fischer’s Latest: Blazers, Pelicans, Collins, Bucks, Jazz

The Trail Blazers are still committed to building around Damian Lillard and intend to sign Jerami Grant to a long-term deal. One report also indicated that they view Anfernee Simons as “close to untouchable.

However, the remainder of the roster could be in play ahead of the trade deadline, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Starters Josh Hart and Jusuf Nurkic appear to be available — ESPN’s Zach Lowe said a couple days ago that Hart’s name “is very, very hot right now,” and Fischer hears the same.

Nurkic, 28, has been Portland’s starting center for six-plus seasons. He became trade-eligible on January 15 after re-signing with the Blazers this past offseason, inking a four-year, $70MM contract.

The Blazers are targeting players athletic players with size and 3-and-D wings, sources tell Fischer.

Here are several more trade rumors from Fischer:

  • The Pelicans are interested in John Collins, but their talks with the Hawks have yet to gain much traction, sources tell Fischer. New Orleans is said to be looking for offensive upgrades and shooting, while Atlanta is searching for defensive upgrades. Money concerns may dampen the Pelicans’ pursuit of Collins, Fischer notes, as ownership has long avoided the luxury tax.  Like Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, Fischer hears Atlanta is comfortable hanging onto Collins if the team doesn’t find an offer it likes.
  • Jaxson Hayes, Devonte’ Graham and Naji Marshall are among the players the Pelicans have had preliminary discussions about, sources tell Fischer, though not necessarily for Collins.
  • As he has reported multiple times, Fischer continues to hear that the Bucks are shopping Grayson Allen and second-round picks in search of a “defensive-minded forward” who makes around $10MM, which is why they’ve been trying to land Jae Crowder for seemingly months now.
  • The Jazz continue to actively shop Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt and Mike Conley, sources tell Fischer. Other veterans are also considered available. Marc Stein reported last week that the Clippers are interested in Conley, but a source tells Fischer that an L.A. deal for the point guard appears to be “unrealistic.”

Pelicans Notes: McCollum, Nance Jr., Zion, Graham

It sounds like the Pelicans might be interested in extending the contracts of a couple of mid-season additions. Speaking on his latest Hoop Collective podcast (hat tip to RealGM), ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said he’s heard that New Orleans is interested in coming to agreements with CJ McCollum and Larry Nance Jr., who were both acquired from Portland in February prior to the trade deadline.

It sounds like CJ McCollum is having some contract extension talks with the Pelicans,” said Windhorst. “I’m not sure when he can actually sign that. I know he signed his last contract extension in 2019.”

I believe it is next month when they can start talking about that,” said ESPN’s Andrew Lopez. “I know it’s before the season…”

Maybe they haven’t ‘talked’, but I heard they ‘talked’, don’t tell anybody,” Windhorst replied in a hushed voice.

I think the Pelicans are also interested in extending Larry Nance’s contract,” Windhorst added. “We’ll see if that gets done.”

McCollum, who turns 31 in September, is under contract for the next two seasons at a combined $69.13MM, while Nance, who turns 30 in January, has one year left on his deal at $9.67MM.

Here’s more from New Orleans:

  • Zion Williamson offically signed his five-year, designated rookie max extension on Wednesday. At the press conference to announce the deal, he said he’s determined to show the world that he’s a winning player, Lopez relays in a story for “I want to prove that I’m a winner,” Williamson said. “It’s as simple as that. I want to win with coach. As well as with my teammates. The ultimate goal is to win the championship. I feel like that’s what we’re all striving for. Like Griff (executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin) said, we’re hungry. Y’all saw this past year what the team did and I’m just excited to add to that.”
  • With Williamson locked in for the next six years, the Pelicans could be ‘scary’ for the rest of the NBA, according to Christian Clark of “Now it’s going to take work to get there,” head coach Willie Green said at Williamson’s press conference. “What groups play well together? How can we take advantage of different mismatches? How can we put all of our guys on the floor and give them an opportunity to be successful? That takes work. But it all comes together at some point throughout the course of the season, and when it does I think we can be a scary team.” Adding Williamson to a group that made an impressive turnaround to reach the postseason after a miserable start will certainly make the Pelicans an interesting team to follow in 2022/23.
  • Guard Devonte’ Graham, whom the Pelicans acquired in a sign-and-trade last summer, was arrested for driving while impaired on Thursday morning, Clark writes in a separate piece for The incident occurred in Raleigh, North Carolina, Graham’s hometown. The 27-year-old averaged 11.9 PPG, 2.3 RPG and 4.2 APG on .363/.341/.843 in 76 games (63 starts, 28.3 MPG) with New Orleans last season. He was limited to just 10 MPG in the team’s first-round playoff loss to Phoenix. Graham is under contract through ’24/25 for a total of $36.3MM, but the final year is only partially guaranteed at $2.85MM, making the guaranteed portion of his deal $26.5MM.