Herbert Jones

Southwest Notes: Mavs’ Sale, Pelicans, H. Jones, Spurs

Mark Cuban’s agreed-upon sale of a majority stake in the Mavericks has been in the works for quite some time, Marc Stein reports in a Substack post.

Cuban informed commissioner Adam Silver last season that he was pursuing the sale with Las Vegas Sands Corp. Cuban will retain control of the Mavericks’ basketball ops, even though he will no longer hold the majority stake if the Board of Governors approves the transaction.

The partnership hopes to build an arena and casino in Dallas if gambling is approved in the state. Cuban told Everton Bailey Jr. of the Dallas Morning News via email that the franchise would remain in Dallas, despite the incoming owners’ Las Vegas roots.

“I will say on the record the team is not moving anywhere,” Cuban wrote. “We are the DALLAS Mavs.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Pelicans advanced to the in-season tournament semifinals on Monday by defeating Sacramento. ESPN’s Andrew Lopez provides details about a team meeting last month held following a five-game losing streak. Larry Nance Jr. called the meeting, which was described as productive. The players were receptive to constructive criticism. “It just felt a little that we could be better. And I thought we did a great job of addressing exactly what we needed to address and walking into the meeting with a clear direction and a path the meeting was supposed to take. And it took that,” Nance said.
  • Herbert Jones displayed his defensive chops against the Kings’ De’Aaron Fox on Monday, hounding the star guard into a 10-for-25 shooting performance and six turnovers. Jones, who is signed through the 2026/27 season after becoming a restricted free agent earlier this year, also supplied 23 points, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune notes. “Herb was everywhere,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “He was flying around. He was blocking shots. He was getting steals, rebounding the ball. We needed that effort across the ball. This was a big-time win.”
  • The addition of Victor Wembanyama hasn’t resolved the Spurs’ defensive issues. Losers of 14 straight, they’re giving up an average of 123.9 points per game and the coaching staff is emphasizing the fundamentals to the young squad. “Now we are starting from it seems like square one, as basic as it gets about where to be in help side, how to guard the ball, taking away the basket first and forcing them to kick out to tougher shots,” guard Tre Jones told Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. “It seems like so many basic things, but some people have never been taught it.”

Southwest Notes: H. Jones, Grizzlies, A. Holiday, Lively

Pelicans wing Herbert Jones wants to make sure he doesn’t take his foot off the gas pedal this season after signing a four-year, $54MM deal as a restricted free agent over the summer, according to Christian Clark of NOLA.com.

I think the biggest thing for me was after I signed, I never got complacent,” Jones said. “I know it’s not the most somebody has signed for in the NBA. But it’s still a lot of money.

A lot of people, once they get to the first one, a lot of guys back off the gas a little bit. I just wanted to continue to work hard and show my true love for the game. There really was no dollar amount that could slow the grind down.”

With a well-deserved reputation as one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, Jones is off to a pretty remarkable start on that end of the court in 2023/24, especially from a play-making perspective. As Clark notes, Jones is currently averaging 2.1 steals and 1.6 blocks per game, trailing only Anthony Davis in “stocks” (steals plus blocks).

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal details how Jaren Jackson Jr. helped Bismack Biyombo quickly acclimate to the Grizzlies, writing that the two big men had a preexisting relationship, as they’re both vice presidents of the National Basketball Players Association. Following a season-ending knee injury to Steven Adams, the Grizzlies signed Biyombo once Ja Morant was placed on the suspended list. The Congolese center has played a prominent role for the injury-ravaged team, starting eight of his nine games while averaging 7.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG and 1.1 BPG in 25.1 MPG. “He can fit in any locker room,” Jackson said of Biyombo. “He’s a great leader. That’s why he’s doing what he does for his country and does what he does for the union. I know how much he cares about the league. That care carries over to the locker room.”
  • Rockets guard Aaron Holiday, a free agent addition over the offseason, has been playing a regular role with No. 4 overall pick Amen Thompson sidelined due to an ankle sprain, writes Danielle Lerner of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required). “He’s a guy that can play on and off the ball,” head coach Ime Udoka said of Holiday. “Stronger, tougher than his size and then also shoots the ball well, so he’s been invaluable to us with the guys out. He’s been really good lately.”
  • In a conversation with Mark Medina of Sportskeeda, Mavericks first-rounder Dereck Lively touched on his influences, his rookie season thus far, and playing with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, among other topics. Lively will be sidelined for Friday’s matchup against the Clippers due to a lower back contusion he sustained on Wednesday vs. the Lakers, per the NBA’s official injury report.

Southwest Notes: Jones, Doncic, Green, Giddey, VanVleet

Herbert Jones made an immediate impact after returning from a three-game absence due to a right fibula contusion. Jones sparked the Pelicans on a defensive end as they avenged a loss to the Mavericks two days earlier. Two days after Luka Doncic dropped 30 points on New Orleans, Jones held the Mavs star to 16 points in the Pelicans’ 131-110 win.

Doncic gave high praise to the Pelicans swingman after the game, Rod Walker of the New Orleans Times-Picayune notes. “He’s just a great defender,” Doncic said. “You could see his impact today when he wasn’t there for the first game (Sunday). I really admire that guy.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Speaking of Doncic, he wasn’t exactly thrilled with the in-season tournament court at New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center, he told Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. “I mean, outside all of the colors the court today was really bad,” the Mavericks star said. “It was really slippery. And then some places the ball didn’t really bounce. So you know, if we’re going to have these courts we’ve got to make sure that it’s a stable court, so you can play on it. Like in Dallas, you know? It wasn’t stable, so we had to change it.”
  • Veteran forward Jeff Green‘s minutes have fluctuated in his first nine games with the Rockets, but he has been more than just a veteran voice in the locker room, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required). Head coach Ime Udoka lauded Green for his versatility, noting that he has been a good fit as a small-ball five in certain lineups.
  • The Spurs’ No. 1 goal this offseason should be to bring in a lead ball-hander, Kelly Iko of The Athletic opines. A scout that Iko interviewed indicated that the Thunder’s Josh Giddey could be a future target, though there’s no indication Giddey will be available in the short term. Within the same mailbag, Iko gives the Rockets high praise for their Fred VanVleet addition in free agency. VanVleet has improved the club at both ends of the floor, empowered their young players and displayed his leadership skills, Iko notes.

Injury Notes: Davis, Hayes, Jones, Herro, C. Thomas

After previously expressing optimism that he wouldn’t miss additional time with the injury, Lakers big man Anthony Davis was ruled out of Wednesday’s game vs. Houston due to left hip spasms, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes.

The Lakers were also without reserve center Jaxson Hayes, who is dealing with a left ankle sprain, McMenamin adds.

Davis initially sustained the injury on Monday against Miami, exiting the game in the third quarter. Sources tell McMenamin the Lakers are hopeful Davis will be back in action for Friday’s matchup in Phoenix.

Here are a few more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • The Pelicans were extremely shorthanded on Wednesday, with multiple rotation players sidelined for various reasons. A third starter — wing Herbert Jones — was ruled out ahead of the matchup vs. Minnesota due to a right fibula contusion, tweets Will Guillory of The Athletic. With so many players injured, all three of the team’s two-way players (Matt Ryan, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Dereon Seabron) received first-quarter minutes, with Robinson-Earl getting a starting nod, Guillory adds (via Twitter). Robinson-Earl just signed his two-way deal with the Pelicans last week.
  • Heat guard Tyler Herro is off to a strong start in 2023/24, but unfortunately he sustained a right ankle sprain in the first quarter of Wednesday’s game vs. Memphis and was ruled out for the remainder of the contest, the team announced (via Twitter). Bally Sports Heat has the video (Twitter link), with Herro landing on Jaren Jackson Jr.‘s foot following a floater in the lane. Herro was unable to put weight on his leg after the injury and hopped to the locker room.
  • Another player off to a terrific start this season is Nets guard Cam Thomas. Unfortunately, he suffered a left ankle sprain on Wednesday vs. the Clippers and missed the remainder of the game, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter links), who adds that Thomas will undergo an MRI on Thursday. The 2021 first-round pick rolled his ankle after stepping on P.J. Tucker‘s foot (Twitter video link via Lucas Kaplan of NetsDaily).

Pelicans Notes: Valanciunas, Lewis, Ingram, Zion

The Pelicans explored changes at center during the offseason, but it appears Jonas Valanciunas has the starting job locked up heading into training camp, William Guillory of The Athletic writes in a mailbag column. Although defensive issues kept him off the court in late-game situations last season, Valanciunas still provides a reliable presence in the middle with only 11 total missed games over the past two years.

New Orleans reportedly reached out to the Cavaliers this summer about trading for Jarrett Allen, but there’s currently “little traction” on a deal between the teams, according to Guillory. The Pelicans also inquired about Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart, but also to no avail.

Valanciunas has an expiring $15.4MM contract, so he’s likely to be the subject of trade rumors until the February deadline. Guillory expects New Orleans to continue to seek upgrades at center by offering a package of Valanciunas, point guard Kira Lewis and draft picks.

There’s more from New Orleans:

  • An extension for Trey Murphy won’t take effect until the 2025/26 season, so Pelicans management has two more years to determine if the current core can contend for a title, Guillory observes in the same piece. That group, which also includes Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, CJ McCollum and Herbert Jones, showed promised in 2021/22 but fell short of the playoffs last season. The front office will likely try to avoid the luxury tax again this year, Guillory states, but there’s a belief that this is the most talented group the franchise has ever assembled.
  • Pelicans fans shouldn’t be concerned about Ingram’s struggles with Team USA, Guillory adds. Ingram was recently replaced in the starting lineup because he has failed to mesh with the first unit. Guillory notes that Ingram has already proven his status as an elite player, but says it would help if he could show an ability to adjust to a complementary role because he may be in that position more often on a fully healthy Pelicans team.
  • Guillory tweeted workout photos of Williamson along with the statement, “Been hearing good things about the work Zion’s putting in this summer.” Guillory added that Williamson is “really focused” on getting ready for a long season and wrote, “Think he’s gonna come in with a chip on his shoulder.” Injuries limited the 23-year-old forward to 29 games last season, and his health is obviously crucial to the Pelicans’ playoff hopes.

Western Notes: Jones, Wembanyama, Washington, Jackson

Pelicans forward Herbert Jones admits he didn’t expect to sign a lucrative long-term contract at this stage of his career, he told Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Jones, the 35th pick of the 2021 draft, inked a four-year, $54MM deal in July.

“It was crazy, to say the least. It was just, like, crazy how quick it happens to be honest. … It just felt like the time had flown by almost,” the third-year Pelicans forward said. “When it happened, I was super shocked it had happened so quickly into my career, given where I was drafted.”

Jones, noted for his defense, averaged 9.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 66 starts for the Pelicans last season.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Victor Wembanyama is working on his strength and toughness in an unconventional manner. He’s taking lessons from San Antonio boxing great “Jesse” James Leija, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. “I was shocked he was going to work out with us,” Leija said of the Spurs’ top pick. “I didn’t think he would ever do it because he is new and they want to make sure nothing happens to him. But, nah, he was ready. We wrapped him up and he took to it so fast. I was amazed at how fast he picked it up, his skill level.”
  • TyTy Washington has cleared waivers, leaving the Thunder with $2,320,440 in dead money on their salary cap, Spotrac contributor Keith Smith tweets. The 29th pick of the 2022 draft was waived on Friday. Washington played for the Rockets in his rookie season, then was dealt twice this summer. Oklahoma City is off the hook for the $2.43MM and $4.39MM team options on his contract for ’24/25 and ’25/26.
  • Reggie Jackson re-signed with the Nuggets last month and the veteran point guard expects to play a significant role as they look to defend their title. “This is a big season for me and for us in general,” Jackson told The Athletic’s Tony Jones“The understanding that we have to go into the season with is that we have a mark on our backs collectively as a team. But, also, I have to do my part and do everything I can to try and make us as successful as possible.”

Herbert Jones, Jalen Duren Invited To USA Select Team

USA Basketball’s Select Team is rounding into form, with Pelicans wing Herbert Jones and Pistons big man Jalen Duren the latest young players invited to join the roster, according to separate reports from Marc Stein (Twitter link) and James L. Edwards III of The Athletic (via Twitter).

The Select Team, which also features Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Keegan Murray, Jalen Williams, Chet Holmgren, Naz Reid, Trey Murphy, Quentin Grimes and Payton Pritchard, is now up to 11 players.

The primary purpose of the Select Team is to practice and scrimmage against the main Team USA roster as it prepares for the FIBA World Cup, which starts at the end of August. Training camp starts next week in Las Vegas.

However, it’s also an opportunity for the Select players to showcase their talent while being considered for future international competitions. It’s possible a player or two on the Select Team could be used as an injury replacement for someone on Team USA as well. For example, Keldon Johnson, who was a Select Team member ahead of the Tokyo Olympics a couple years ago, replaced Bradley Beal when the star guard contracted COVID-19.

Jones, 24, just completed his second season with New Orleans. The defensive standout recently signed a four-year, $54MM contract as a restricted free agent to stay with the Pelicans.

Duren, 19, was a lottery pick last year. He had an impressive rookie season in 2022/23, averaging 9.1 PPG, 8.9 RPG and 0.9 BPG in 67 games for Detroit (24.9 MPG) en route to a berth on the All-Rookie Second Team.

Pelicans Re-Sign Herbert Jones To Four-Year Contract

JULY 6: Jones’ new deal is now official, according to a press release from the Pelicans.

JUNE 30: Pelicans free agent combo forward Herbert Jones is set to re-sign with New Orleans, his Priority Sports agents Mark Bartelstein and Kieran Piller inform Adrian Wojnarowski and Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link).

New Orleans Jones turned down a cheaper team option for 2023/24 in order to ink the 6’8″ forward to a fresh new four-year, $54MM contract, which is the Early Bird maximum the team is able to offer. In making him a restricted free agent, the club probably had a pretty good idea that the third-year player would accept the agreement.

Christian Clark of NOLA.com reports (via Twitter) that the deal is fully guaranteed.

A rival team could have theoretically offered him a back-loaded Arenas provision offer sheet, which the Pelicans would have been able to match. This four-year, $54MM deal represented the most New Orleans they could offer the 24-year-old directly.

Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets that Jones will net $12MM in the first season of the new contract, adding that his new contract now pushes the Pelicans $4.5MM into the league’s luxury tax. Worth monitoring now is how the club will handle the non-guaranteed $5.4MM deal of veteran New Orleans shooting guard Garrett Temple for 2023/24, which would become fully guaranteed on July 7.

Jones immediately emerged as a versatile defensive option for a playoff-bound Pelicans club during his first season out of Alabama, and was named to the 2021/22 All-Rookie Second Team for his superlative efforts.

Last year, he averaged 9.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.6 SPG and 0.6 BPG across 66 games, all starts, for a 42-40 New Orleans club.

Western FA Rumors: D-Lo, Lakers, H. Jones, Suns, Warriors

There are “strong” indications that the Lakers are trending toward a new two-year deal with free agent point guard D’Angelo Russell, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. According to Fischer, that two-year contract could be worth in the neighborhood of $40MM in total, though the second season may be a team option or non-guaranteed.

While the Lakers have interest in re-signing both Dennis Schröder and Lonnie Walker, it’s unclear which one the club is prioritizing, Fischer writes. Schröder will likely require a raise that exceeds the Non-Bird exception, so if Los Angeles uses its mid-level exception on an outside free agent, the team may have to allot its bi-annual exception to him, Fischer explains. In that scenario, it’s unclear whether the team would have enough room to re-sign Walker to a market-value deal as well while remaining below a hard cap.

Another potential path would see L.A. splits its mid-level between Schröder and a frontcourt player such as Mason Plumlee, sources tell Yahoo Sports. If Schröder doesn’t end up back with the Lakers, a reunion with Bulls coach Billy Donovan in Chicago is possible, Fischer writes. Donovan previously coached the point guard in Oklahoma City.

Finally, Fischer is one of a handful of reporters who have linked free agent forward Cam Reddish to Los Angeles. The Lakers were said to have some trade interest in Reddish – a Klutch Sports client – during each of the past two seasons. He’d be a minimum-salary target, Fischer notes.

Here are a few more free agency rumors from around the Western Conference:

  • Two forwards who had their team options declined by the Pelicans on Thursday figure to take very different paths this summer. According to Fischer, Herbert Jones will likely end up back in New Orleans on a four-year deal worth a little more than $50MM, which would presumably be his Early Bird maximum. Willy Hernangomez, on the other hand, is considered a good bet to accept a lucrative offer from a EuroLeague team rather than seeking another minimum-salary NBA deal, Fischer reports.
  • The Suns intend to bring back several of their own free agents, including Torrey Craig, Damion Lee, Jock Landale, and Josh Okogie, according to Fischer, who says agent big man Drew Eubanks is another strong candidate to end up in Phoenix. Fischer is also the latest reporter to link Yuta Watanabe and Mike James to the Suns.
  • The Lakers and Warriors are among the teams eyeing free agent guard Shake Milton, per Fischer. Free agent forward Dario Saric has also received “strong” interest from Golden State, sources tell Yahoo Sports.

Pelicans Decline Options On Jones, Hernangomez; Will Make Hayes UFA

The Pelicans are declining their team options on Herbert Jones and Willy Hernangomez and opted against issuing a qualifying offer to Jaxson Hayes, according to reports from Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter) and Christian Clark of NOLA.com (Twitter link).

Declining Jones’ $1.84MM option makes him a restricted free agent and the two sides plan to discuss a long-term contract, per Charania. The move is a little odd though, because he would have been a restricted free agent in 2024 even if the Pelicans had picked up the option.

Since he just finished his second season, New Orleans will only have Jones’ Early Bird rights, so he’ll be an Arenas provision restricted free agent, the same as Lakers guard Austin Reaves. It seems likely that the Pelicans have a good sense of what he might sign for by going this route, though they’ll be limited in what they can offer him outright.

Jones has made a major impact for the Pelicans after being selected 35th overall two years ago, averaging 9.7 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.3 APG and 1.6 SPG on .473/.336/.802 shooting in 144 games (135 starts, 29.8 MPG). He’s a top-tier defender, earning All-Defensive votes as a rookie.

Unlike Jones, Hernangomez and Hayes are headed for unrestricted free agency. Both centers were reserves in ’22/23, receiving situational minutes but not much more.

Hernangomez, 29, just completed his seventh season, having made previous stops with the Knicks and Hornets. He averaged 6.9 PPG and 4.7 RPG in 38 games last season (12.1 MPG) and is reportedly a positive locker room presence.

Hayes, meanwhile, has mostly disappointed after being picked eighth overall in 2019, averaging just 5.0 PPG and 2.8 RPG in 47 games (13.0 MPG) in ’22/23. He’s still only 23, is a strong athlete, and there are a dearth of big men on the market, so he could be a buy-low candidate in free agency.