Gerald Green

Southwest Notes: Ingram, Grizzlies, Davis, Pelicans, Green

Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram returned to the lineup on Sunday after missing 10 straight games with right hamstring soreness, as the team shared on social media (Twitter link). New Orleans started Ingram alongside CJ McCollum and Jonas Valanciunas for just the 11th time this season.

The Pelicans acquired McCollum from Portland on February 8, of course, but injuries have prevented the club from maximizing its potential. Zion Williamson also reportedly isn’t expected to play this season as he rehabs from a right foot injury.

The Pelicans own a 31-43 record, leading the No. 11 ranked Spurs by one game. By holding the No. 10 seed, New Orleans would qualify for the play-in tournament and could make the playoffs. Ingram has averaged 22.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game, playing a key role in the team’s success.

Here are some other notes from the Southwest Division:

  • Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal explores why the Grizzlies are 16-2 without Ja Morant this season. Morant is having an MVP-caliber season, averaging 27.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists per contest. However, his supporting cast has stepped up on both ends, leading to Memphis’ unexpected jump up the Western Conference standings — the team has the NBA’s second-best record, at 52-23. “They talk about what they got to do going out there every single night to set a tone offensively, defensively, but with their spirit,” head coach Taylor Jenkins said. “It’s not just on the floor, it’s off the floor.”
  • The 2019 Anthony Davis trade between the Pelicans and Lakers has never looked better for New Orleans, Jeff Duncan of opines. The Pelicans have a young core headlined by Ingram, while the Lakers and their veteran core sits just a half-game ahead of New Orleans in the standings. Still, the Lakers won a title in 2020 largely because of Davis. The Pelicans are seeking their first playoff appearance since 2018.
  • Veteran guard Gerald Green has the option to play in Puerto Rico, but he remains focused on landing an NBA opportunity, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. Puerto Rican club Gigantes de Carolina announced Green’s signing on Saturday, but his agent cautioned it’s simply an option for after the season. Green retired from professional basketball in October, joined the Rockets‘ coaching staff, then unretired and joined the team’s G League affiliate in January.

Gerald Green Signs In Puerto Rico

Free agent guard Gerald Green has signed in Puerto Rico with Gigantes de Carolina, the team announced on social media today. Green, a 12-year veteran, will head overseas for the first time since 2011.

Green most recently played for the Rockets’ G League team. He averaged 18.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 20 games this season, playing 28.9 minutes per contest. He also shot 43% from the floor and 37% from deep during those outings.

Green retired as a player in October and joined the Rockets’ coaching staff as an assistant. He then resumed playing in January, choosing to join Houston’s NBAGL affiliate with hopes of returning to the NBA.

At 36 years old, time is running out for the former Slam Dunk Contest winner, but a successful overseas stint could help attract NBA interest. Along with Houston, he’s made stops with Boston, Minnesota, Dallas, New Jersey, Indiana, Phoenix and Miami in his career.

Southwest Notes: Valanciunas, Pelicans, Brooks, G. Green

Raptors fans may not recognize Jonas Valanciunas‘ game on Sunday when the Pelicans center plays in Toronto for the first time in more than three years, writes Josh Lewenberg of TSN. Valanciunas, who was traded midway through the Raptors’ championship season, has improved as an outside shooter since then and has made a career-high 37 three-pointers in less than half a season.

“These days, the NBA has changed and you’ve gotta be versatile and you’ve gotta be able to shoot the ball,” Valanciunas said. “I want to play in this league as long as I can and to help me do that, it’s adding the three-point shot.”

After being traded to New Orleans in the offseason, Valanciunas has become a centerpiece of the team’s offense, averaging a career-best 18.6 points per game along with 11.9 rebounds. He said his improvement as a scorer began when Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, who was an assistant at the time, worked with him during summer visits to Lithuania.

“Honestly, it started with Nick, he helped me develop this,” Valanciunas said. “He was the first guy who pushed me to do that, and I hope I’m going to use that against him on Sunday.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Pelicans could use another outside shooter to make a run at the play-in tournament, and William Guillory of The Athletic identifies a few targets ahead of the February 10 trade deadline. He proposes deals involving the Hawks’ Cam Reddish, the Kings’ Buddy Hield, the Magic’s Terrence Ross and the Thunder’s Mike Muscala and Kenrich Williams.
  • Grizzlies swingman Dillon Brooks suffered a left ankle injury in the second quarter of today’s game with the Clippers, according to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Brooks had to be helped off the court after getting fouled on a drive to the basket and wasn’t able to shoot his free throws before leaving. The team’s second-leading scorer at 19.3 PPG, Brooks just returned Thursday from health and safety protocols. He also missed time at the start of the season with a fractured left hand.
  • Gerald Green, who stepped away from his role as assistant coach with the Rockets to become a player again, has signed with Houston’s G League affiliate in Rio Grande Valley, tweets Mark Berman of Fox 26.“It’s a great opportunity,” Green said. “The Vipers being affiliated with the Rockets, me being affiliated with the Rockets, it’s like a perfect match.”

Southwest Notes: Bane, Tillie, Terry, Spurs, G. Green

As the 30th overall pick of the 2020 draft, Grizzlies second-year guard Desmond Bane is used to being overlooked, but he’ll always feel like he should’ve gone off the board earlier, according to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic.

I will never let it go,” Bane told The Athletic. “I feel like teams had their chance to get me and knew who I was. It wasn’t like I was one of those one-and-done guys. You had four years to do your research on me. All my background stuff checked out. That’s on them.”

Bane has proven to be an ideal fit with star Ja Morant, Vokunov adds. After putting up 9.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 68 games (17 starts) as a rookie, Bane has increased those numbers to 17.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists through 39 games this season. He also sports a stellar shooting line of .466/.416/.906 for the 26-14 Grizzlies, currently the No. 4 seed in the West.

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Keith Smith of Spotrac provides contract details (via Twitter) for Killian Tillie and Tyrell Terry of the Grizzlies. Tillie was promoted to a standard deal from a two-way contract last week, with Terry taking his two-way spot. Smith relays that Tillie will receive a portion of the room exception for his two-year deal, which is fully guaranteed at $1,901,625 for both 2021/22 and 2022/23, while Terry signed a two-year, two-way contract.
  • Spurs forward Keita Bates-Diop leans on an ancient philosophy to adjust to life as a NBA journeyman, especially during a pandemic, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Bates-Diop, an avid reader, utilizes Stoicism to deal with the uncertainties of life. “I’ve tried to be even-keeled throughout it all, just trusting the work without getting too emotional, too high or too low,” Bates-Diop said. “It’s all about acceptance. Accepting the things that happen, the things you can and can’t control. That was a big thing for me, separating the two.
  • Spurs rookies Joshua Primo and Joe Wieskamp performed well in a blowout loss on Tuesday, but both players know they’re going to spend more time in the G League when the team returns to full strength, Orsborn writes in a separate article for the Express-News. Coach Gregg Popovich says Primo is very mature for his young age (he just turned 19 two weeks ago). “Joshua has an uncanny maturity about him, kind of a steady demeanor,” Popovich said. “He is not awed by the NBA or anything like that. He makes good decisions. He definitely knows how to play. It’s just a matter of getting stronger and aware that these are men and they are coming after your head, so to speak. He just has to get used to that physicality and all that sort of thing.”
  • 35-year-old veteran Gerald Green, who recently decided to unretire and take another shot at the NBA, will be playing for the Rockets‘ G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Rockets Assistant Gerald Green To Resume Playing, Plans To Sign With G League

Gerald Green, who joined the Rockets as a player development coach in October, plans to revive his playing career and sign a G League contract, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Green’s goal is to eventually return to the NBA, Charania adds.

The 35-year-old swingman has played 12 NBA seasons, most recently with Houston in 2018/19 when he averaged 9.2 points and 2.5 rebounds in 72 games. He suffered a broken foot in October of 2019 and hasn’t played since, although he worked out for the Rockets in September.

Selected by the Celtics with the 18th pick in the 2005 draft, Green began his career as a spectacular dunker, winning the 2007 Slam Dunk Contest and finishing as runner-up a year later. He developed into a reliable three-point shooter and was a rotation player as Houston reached the Western Conference Finals in 2018.

Green played for eight NBA teams, with 658 total games and a career scoring average of 9.7 PPG.

Gerald Green Retires, Joins Rockets Coaching Staff

Veteran guard Gerald Green has retired from the NBA as a player and will be joining the Rockets as a player development coach, the team announced (Twitter link).

Green, who played 12 seasons in the NBA, worked out for the Rockets last month, but wasn’t picked up by the rebuilding team. He joined the Rockets for the 2020/21 preseason, but was waived before the season started due to cap constraints. He suffered a broken foot in October of 2019 and missed the entire 2019/20 season because of the injury. The last time he played in regular season games was in 2018/19, when he was a rotation player for the Rockets.

The 18th pick of the 2005 draft, Green played in 658 NBA games during his 12 seasons, holding career averages of 9.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 0.9 assists in 19.8 minutes per game, with a shooting slash line of .417/.361/.818.

Arguably his best individual season came in 2013/14 with Phoenix, when he played all 82 games (48 starts) and averaged 15.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 28.4 minutes per game, with a shooting line of .445/.400/.848.

The Houston native played for eight teams over the course of his career: the Celtics, Timberwolves, Mavericks, Nets, Pacers, Suns, Heat, and Rockets. He had two separate stints with both the Celtics and Rockets.

An amazing athlete, Green was one of the best dunkers the NBA has ever seen. He was the champion of the 2007 Slam Dunk Contest and runner-up in 2008. He also developed into a strong, albeit streaky, three-point shooter in the latter portion of his career, playing important minutes in Houston’s run to the Western Conference Finals in 2017/18.

Rockets Work Out Gerald Green, Monta Ellis

Veteran guard Gerald Green worked out for the Rockets this week, Kelly Iko of The Athletic tweets. Houston also took a look at another longtime NBA guard, Monta Ellis, Rockets insider Alykhan Bijani tweets.

Green, 35, did not play in the league last season. He was invited to the Rockets training camp but was waived. He missed all of the previous season with a broken foot.

Green was a regular rotation player for the Rockets during the 2019/20 season, appearing in 73 games. He also appeared in 11 postseason games that season. In 658 career regular season games, Green averaged 9.7 PPG.

Ellis, who has been out of the league since 2017, also worked out for the Mavericks this week. During his 833 career regular season games, Ellis averaged 17.8 PPG. The Pacers used the stretch provision to distribute Ellis’ remaining salary after his last NBA season and he’s still on their books for $2.245MM. Ellis turns 36 next month.

The Rockets have 18 players on standard contracts, including 14 guaranteed deals, so it would be surprising if the rebuilding club signed either player.

Austin Rivers Receiving Interest From Nuggets

The Nuggets have some interest in free agent guard Austin Rivers, league sources tell Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Rivers is one of a handful of available guards being eyed by the Nuggets, according to Singer, who previously identified Troy Daniels and Gerald Green as a couple other veterans on the team’s radar.

Denver focused on upgrading its frontcourt at the trade deadline, acquiring Aaron Gordon from Orlando and JaVale McGee from Cleveland. However, those deals put a dent in the club’s backcourt depth, as Gary Harris and R.J. Hampton were among the outgoing pieces.

Since then, the Nuggets have signed Shaquille Harrison to a two-way contract, but they still have one opening on their 15-man roster and they intend to fill it sooner or later. A 10-day signing is a possibility, per Singer.

As Singer explains, COVID-19 protocols have complicated the process of bringing in players for workouts and auditions, which is slowing down Denver to some extent. Additionally, the Nuggets would like to find a player who could be relied upon down the stretch and in the postseason if needed, but who would be content with not seeing much – or any – playing time on a typical night. It’s unclear if Rivers fits that bill.

Rivers began the season with the Knicks, averaging 7.3 PPG, 2.2 RPG, and 2.0 APG with a .430/.364/.714 shooting line in 21 games (21.0 MPG). The 28-year-old fell out of the team’s rotation though, and was eventually sent to Oklahoma City at the trade deadline. The Thunder subsequently waived him. While Milwaukee was rumored to be a potential landing spot for Rivers, the Bucks signed Jeff Teague instead and haven’t circled back to Rivers so far.

Nuggets Notes: Frontcourt, Murray, Daniels, Morris

A pair of trades at the deadline have left the Nuggets with a logjam in the frontcourt and not enough playing time to go around, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. The team added Aaron Gordon and JaVale McGee to a talented group that already had Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. seeing heavy minutes.

“That’s my biggest challenge right now,” coach Michael Malone said. “You have Paul Millsap, who’s been a starter here for four years. You have JaVale McGee, who we traded for at the trade deadline, and you have JaMychal Green, who we pursued heavily in free agency. All those guys bring value to our team, but it is truly impossible to play all three.”

Malone indicated he plans to rest Millsap on the second night of back-to-backs, which applies to five of the 20 games the Nuggets have remaining. Singer believes the odd man out could be Green, who signed with the team in November and has a $7.56MM player option for next season.

“They’ve all been very professional, I have to say that,” Malone said. “It’s not easy. I don’t think any of them love the situation, but what trumps everything is this. We’re trying to win a championship. We need all 15 guys in that locker room. It’s about sacrificing and investing in each other if that is truly our goal. The guys have been tremendous with their professionalism. As long I communicate with them, I think they’ll continue to be that way.”

There’s more from Denver:

  • Jamal Murray has missed the past three games with a sore right knee, but Malone isn’t worried that it will be a long-term issue, Singer tweets. Murray is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game with the Celtics.
  • The Nuggets are looking at a pair of NBA veterans to fill the roster spot they opened this week by waiving Gary Clark. Shooting guard Troy Daniels, who signed with Denver last March, is a name that Singer says he has heard floated repeatedly (Twitter link). Daniels, 29, appeared in six games for the Nuggets last season, with five coming at the restart in Orlando. He also saw limited action in six playoff games. Denver is also considering 35-year-old shooting specialist Gerald Green, Singer adds (via Twitter). Green was in training camp with the Rockets in December, but was waived before the season began. He missed all of last season with a broken foot.
  • After a brief stay in the starting lineup, Monte Morris asked Malone if he could return to a reserve role, tweets Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports. Morris has started 11 of the 40 games he has played this season, but is more comfortable coming off the bench.

Southwest Notes: Richardson, White, Harden, Green, McLemore

Mavericks guard Josh Richardson plans to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. Richardson is eligible to sign an extension at any point this season but apparently doesn’t plan to take that path (Twitter links). The Sixers dealt Richardson to Dallas last month along with second-round pick Tyler Bey for Seth Curry. Richardson holds an $11.6MM option for the 2021/22 season, the final year of his current contract.

We have more from around the Southwest Division:

  • The Spurs signed guard Derrick White to a four-year, $73MM rookie scale extension prior to Monday’s deadline and White is brimming with optimism at the organization’s direction, Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News writes. “I’m excited with the direction we’re going,” White said. “I’m excited to keep getting better and improving and getting back to where the Spurs should be. I’m excited to be here for that process.”
  • James Harden dismissed a question about his future with the Rockets when he met with the media on Monday, Kristie Rieken of The Associated Press writes. Harden also downplayed his late arrival to training camp. “We keep talking about what I missed,” he said. “I think everybody, the entire league is in catch-up mode in a sense of we only had a short time for training camp, so everybody’s trying to get into game shape because obviously the season just ended a few months ago.” There’s reportedly tension between the disgruntled All-Star and his teammates as the season approaches.
  • The Rockets are hopeful are bringing back Gerald Green as a player or in another role, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Green was placed on waivers over the weekend due to cap constraints after he signed a non-guaranteed contract prior to camp. “He’s still going to be part of the family, obviously,” coach Stephen Silas said. “We’re going to figure out a way if he doesn’t get picked up by somebody else for him to be a Rocket, which he should be.”
  • Rockets guard Ben McLemore is not with the team because he’s self-isolating, according to the league’s injury report, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Houston hosts the Thunder on Wednesday.