Jordan Hawkins

Pelicans Rumors: Zion, Ingram, Hawkins, Murphy, More

After being swept in the first round of the playoffs, head of basketball operations David Griffin said at the end of last month that the Pelicans are going to actively look to improve this summer. Those comments drew plenty of attention from rival executives, Michael Scotto told William Guillory of The Athletic on the latest HoopsHype podcast.

Scotto hears New Orleans plans to build around Zion Williamson and the Pelicans will be looking for “positional upgrades to improve their spacing” around the former No. 1 overall pick. Guillory confirms the team was pleased with Williamson’s progress — both on and off the court — particularly in the second half of the season.

Rival front offices view Brandon Ingram as the “most likely” Pelican to be dealt this offseason, per Scotto. As Scotto notes, Ingram is entering the final year of his contract, which will pay him $36MM in 2024/25.

According to Guillory, if Ingram were to hit unrestricted free agency in 2025, he would likely receive a max or near-max deal, which is what his camp would almost certainly be seeking in a potential extension. Still, trading Ingram after he was hampered by a knee injury and struggled mightily in the postseason isn’t ideal from a value perspective, so it’s challenging to come up with deals that make sense for New Orleans, Guillory observes.

Here’s more on the Pelicans from Scotto and Guillory:

  • Aside from finances, one of the reasons the Pelicans may be open to moving Ingram is they want to get more playing time for a pair of high-volume floor spacers in Jordan Hawkins and Trey Murphy, according to Scotto. Hawkins struggled to crack the rotation in the second half of his rookie campaign due to the team’s backcourt depth and his defensive shortcomings, Guillory notes, but the team remains high on his upside.
  • As for Murphy, he’ll be eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer, and Scotto believes the North Carolina native will be seeking a deal for at least $25MM annually, pointing to the contracts Devin Vassell and Jaden McDaniels signed last offseason as “starting points.” Guillory thinks the team would prefer to extend Murphy before next season begins rather than waiting until restricted free agency in 2025.
  • Scotto expressed skepticism that CJ McCollum will be traded due to his leadership and professionalism, and Guillory has heard similarly, stating that the 32-year-old guard likely has more value to the Pelicans than rival teams. McCollum also set a franchise record for three-pointers made in ’23/24, Guillory notes, so he’s certainly capable of spacing the floor.
  • There’s an expectation that Jonas Valanciunas will likely sign with a new team in free agency, per Scotto. Guillory says he’d be “pretty surprised” if the Lithuanian center returned to New Orleans after he was benched at times down the stretch of the season. While he wasn’t an ideal fit with Williamson, Valanciunas should have some value on the open market, Guillory adds, since he remains productive and has been quite durable throughout his career.
  • Another free agent who could be on the move is Naji Marshall, with Guillory stating the team is “pretty much sold that he’s leaving” due to financial reasons. The 26-year-old wing shot a career-best 38.7% from three, is a solid defender, and is one of the few Pelicans who played well in the postseason, so he’ll be a name to watch in free agency, Guillory notes.
  • While the Pelicans could decline their team option on Jose Alvarado to make him a restricted free agent, Guillory doesn’t think that will happen. Alvarado is “very motivated” to stay with New Orleans, but Guillory suggests the team will likely wait a year before deciding what to do with him.
  • The Pelicans could also make some minor changes to their coaching staff, Scotto reports.

NBA Announces Player Pool For 2024 Rising Stars Event

The NBA has officially revealed the 11 rookies, 10 sophomores, and seven G League players who will take part in the Rising Stars event at All-Star weekend in Indianapolis next month.

The following players, as voted on by NBA coaching staffs, made the cut:

Rookies

Sophomores

G League Players

As was the case last season, the Rising Stars event will consist of four teams and three games. The seven G League players will comprise one team, coached by former NBA forward Detlef Schrempf. The other 21 players will be drafted to three squads coached by former NBA and WNBA stars Pau Gasol, Jalen Rose, and Tamika Catchings.

The four teams will be split into two first-round matchups and the winners of those two games will face one another for the Rising Stars championship. The two semifinals will be played to a target score of 40 points, while the final will be played to a target score of 25 points.

All three contests will take place on Friday, February 16 as part of All-Star weekend’s opening night.

Western Notes: Kuminga, Moody, Suns, Mavs, Hawkins

While the Warriors appear open to various trade possibilities, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic hears Golden State’s front office isn’t actively shopping 2021 lottery picks Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.

According to Vecenie’s sources, GM Mike Dunleavy Jr. places a high value on both young players and prefers to keep them, but he also recognizes that other teams value them as well. It remains to be seen how things will shake out over the next three-plus weeks until the February 8 deadline.

Vecenie’s full article focuses on this season’s trade candidates, with Pascal Siakam, Dejounte Murray and Zach LaVine at the top of his trade board.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Suns‘ “big three” rotation was slow to form with all three players dealing with various injuries in 2023/24, particularly Bradley Beal, who has been limited to 15 games thus far. However, in recent games, head coach Frank Vogel seems to have settled on a substitution pattern he likes, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic details.
  • Star guard Luka Doncic will miss Monday’s game vs. New Orleans — his third straight absence — due to a right ankle sprain, the Mavericks announced (via Twitter). Starting forward Derrick Jones Jr. is a new addition to the injury report — he’s sidelined with a right calf contusion. Rookie center Dereck Lively, meanwhile, will return from a five-game absence after dealing with a left ankle sprain, and Maxi Kleber will be active for the second straight contest after a lengthy absence due to a toe injury.
  • With the Pelicans near full strength, rookie guard Jordan Hawkins had received erratic playing time of late. That changed in a major way during Saturday’s victory over Dallas, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. CJ McCollum, Trey Murphy, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson all missed the contest — the second of a back-to-back — for various reasons, creating an opening for Hawkins, who responded with a career-high 34 points (on 11-of-19 shooting), five rebounds and four assists in 37 minutes. “I was just playing basketball,” Hawkins said. “Early in the season, I got a chance to play a lot. I wasn’t really nervous or anything. I looked at it like, ‘I’m going to hoop and show what I can do.’ No CJ, Trey, BI or Z. I knew the shots were going to be there. I just had to make them.”

Southwest Notes: Brooks, Hawkins, Morant, Rose

Current Rockets guard Dillon Brooks felt unsupported as member of the Grizzlies during last season’s Western Conference playoffs, as detailed by Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix. Brooks was lambasted on social media following public disputes with the likes of Draymond Green and LeBron James, which ultimately paved the way for his exit from Memphis.

The Grizzlies fell to the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs last season in disappointing fashion. Brooks made comments suggesting LeBron was past his prime, calling him “old,” and then received backlash from fans and players alike. The former Oregon Duck averaged 10.5 points in that series, shooting a poor 31.2% from the field, prompting the team to let Brooks know he wouldn’t be brought back under any circumstance.

What I didn’t like about Memphis was they allowed that so they can get out of the woodwork, and then I’m the scapegoat of it all,” Brooks said. “That’s what I didn’t appreciate. And then ultimately they’ll come to me on the low, as men, one on one and tell me something, but then not defend me when everything went down.

Brooks spent the first six seasons of his career with the Grizzlies after they selected him with the 45th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He spent 345 games there (318 as a starter) and averaged 14.5 PPG across those seasons. After the Grizzlies didn’t bring him back, he was signed-and-traded to the Rockets on a brand-new four-year, $86MM contract. Still, he wasn’t happy with the way his time in Memphis ended.

It wasn’t what I wanted,” Brooks said. “The whole season was not what I wanted. I feel like we did better when I was a focal point in that organization. They chose a different route. But I’m happy that through all the bulls–t I was able to get what I always deserved.

Now, Brooks is part of a Houston team that appreciated the defensive tenacity, grit, and veteran know-how he brings to the franchise. He’s averaging 13.7 points while hitting a career-best 53.3% of his 3.3 deep-ball attempts per game, helping the Rockets get out to a 6-3 start on the season.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Pelicans rookie Jordan Hawkins is off to a strong start to his career, writes NOLA.com’s Christian Clark. Hawkins ranks 11th in the NBA in three-pointers, is shooting 36.4% on catch-and-shoot threes and is averaging 13.7 points per game. “Don’t care if I miss a shot,” Hawkins said. “I know the next one is going in. That’s the mentality you have to have. You have to have tough skin to be a shooter. I’m going to use it now as much as I can. Me having a bad game, missing a shot, I know I can’t hang my head. I know the next one is going in. Because my team needs me.” The Pelicans selected Hawkins with the 14th overall pick in the 2023 draft.
  • A Shelby County Circuit Court judge granted Grizzlies guard Ja Morant an immunity hearing in his civil case, which stems from allegations that he punched a teenager at his home in July 2022, reports to Memphis Commercial Appeal’s Lucas Finton. Morant has not been criminally charged and his attorneys argue the altercation was in self defense. The hearing is set for Dec. 11. According to documents, during a pickup basketball game at Morant’s home, the teen threw a basketball at Morant’s head, which caused the Grizzlies guard to swing at the teen. Thursday’s ruling marks a win for Morant, according to Finton, who writes that with immunity on the table, he’s one step closer to being removed from the case.
  • Grizzlies guard Derrick Rose is expected back “very soon,” according to The Memphis Commercial Appeal’s Damichael Cole (Twitter link). Rose hasn’t played since Oct. 30 as he deals with a knee injury.

And-Ones: Sarr, Thompson, Miller, Hawkins, Jacobs, Officiating

Perth Wildcats big man Alexandre Sarr sits atop the 2024 draft board compiled by The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie, though it’s a lukewarm endorsement. Sarr, who draws comparisons to Brooklyn’s Nic Claxton, occupies the No. 1 spot by default, as he’s looked the best of the prospects who have been in action, Vecenie explains. USC guard Isaiah Collier and G League Ignite wing Ron Holland are next on Vecenie’s list.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren squared off on Tuesday but they’re not the only rookies who have made a strong impression, Sam Amick of The Athletic notes. The PistonsAusar Thompson, the HornetsBrandon Miller and the PelicansJordan Hawkins have also played their way into the Rookie of the Year discussion early in the season.
  • Malique Jacobs had to come up with $250 for a tryout with the Pistons‘ NBA G League squad, the Motor City Cruise. The former Kent State player not only earned an invite to training camp, but claimed a spot on the roster. The Athletic’s James Edwards profiles Jacobs’ underdog story.
  • There have been some questionable ejections this season and Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill spoke with NBA head of referee development and training Monty McCutchen about that issue, as well as other concerns regarding the officiating.

Pelicans Sign Jordan Hawkins To Rookie Deal

Jordan Hawkins has signed his rookie scale contract with the Pelicans, according to NBA.com’s transactions log.

Hawkins was the No. 14 pick in last month’s draft after helping Connecticut win the national championship as a sophomore.

The 21-year-old shooting guard earned first-team All-Big East honors by averaging 16.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists last season.

Hawkins is eligible to receive $4,310,160 in his first season and can earn $20,599,055 over the four-year contract, as our breakdown of rookie scale salaries shows.

Hawkins is the 17th first-rounder to reach a contract agreement. You can track the status of all 58 draft picks in our round-up of signings.

The Pelicans didn’t have a second-round pick this year, so Hawkins was their only draftee.

Southwest Notes: Irving, Wembanyama, Rockets, Morant, Hawkins

There will likely be an “extremely limited” market for Kyrie Irving outside of Dallas, Adrian Wojnarowski said during an appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Tuesday (YouTube link). According to Wojnarowski, that’s why the “full expectation” is that Irving will re-sign with the Mavericks.

“The question will be what kind of a deal does he goes back on,” Wojnarowski said. “How many years on a contract? I don’t think the money will be as much of an issue as how many fully guaranteed years are there for Kyrie Irving. I think that’s where the negotiation is going to be between he and the Mavericks.”

While there are no obvious non-Mavericks suitors for Irving at this point, it sounds like Kyrie intends to explore all his options. Appearing on NBA Today on Wednesday (Twitter video link), ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said Irving plans to take meetings when free agency opens on Friday. According to Shelburne, the mercurial guard hopes to end up somewhere that “feels like home” and where he can spend the rest of his playing career.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama won’t take part in the California Classic Summer League in early July, but will be joining the Spurs when they travel to the Las Vegas Summer League, the team announced today. Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee has the story.
  • Under new Rockets head coach Ime Udoka, players will have to earn their minutes, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, who writes that winning will be prioritized over player development in “phase two” of the team’s rebuild. “A lot of the (playing) time and positions, those things have been given, so to speak, with the young guys,” Udoka said on Monday. “There’ll be changes now in phase two. We are adding some more young pieces but also adding some veterans. So I think this will kind of raise the level of competition. Nothing is handed out anymore.”
  • Lucas Finton of The Memphis Commercial Appeal has the details on Ja Morant‘s latest dealings with the legal system. According to Finton, the Grizzlies guard has filed a motion to dismiss an ongoing civil suit related to the punch Morant threw at a then-17-year-old during a pickup basketball game last summer.
  • The Pelicans believe they got the “best shooter in the draft” when they used the No. 14 overall pick on Jordan Hawkins, general manager Trajan Langdon told reporters, including Christian Clark of NOLA.com, on Tuesday.

Pelicans Notes: Hawkins, Roster, Scoot, Miles

With the No. 14 pick in the lottery last night, the Pelicans opted to play it safe in drafting Connecticut shooting guard Jordan Hawkins. William Guillory of The Athletic considers the 6’5″ swingman, who won a title with the Huskies this past spring, the ideal new addition to the club heading into the 2023/24 season.

New Orleans had been floated in potential trade scenarios for the Trail Blazers’ eventual No. 3 pick Scoot Henderson, as the team has clearly been hamstrung by major injury issues plaguing star forwards Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.

“He takes pride in what gets him on the court, and he understands what his game really is,” team president David Griffin said of Hawkins. “I think the winning nature of his background and the way he approaches the game really fits well with us. I know our coaching staff was really excited when they saw him work out.”

There’s more out of New Orleans:

  • Pelicans general manager Trajan Langon is not anticipating major personnel changes this summer after the team opted to hold onto its draft pick, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “I don’t foresee a whole lot of change between now and then,” Langdon said. “I think we are happy with our roster.” Griffin, meanwhile, offered a hint into what skills New Orleans is looking to add during the rest of the offseason. “We were looking for rim protection and shooting [in assessing draft candidates],” Griffin said. “We feel like we certainly addressed part of that [during the draft]. But I think as we go through, if we’re able to address that other portion, we would.”
  • New Trail Blazers point guard Henderson, the third pick in Thursday’s draft, explained his pre-draft meeting with the Pelicans, who reportedly had some interest in trading up to acquire him, per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Henderson indicated that the encounter amounted to “just making sure I wasn’t missing on any opportunity or anything like that.”
  • The Pelicans continue to build out their bench for 2023/24 behind third-year head coach Willie Green. Marc J. Spears of Andscape reports (Twitter link) that New Orleans is expected to hire ex-Celtics assistant coach Aaron Miles, a former colleague of Green’s when both were assistants on the Warriors.

Draft/Trade Rumors: Am. Thompson, Blazers, Beal, Brogdon, More

Many view the 2023 NBA draft as having a “big three” of Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson and Brandon Miller, but league sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer that Amen Thompson, who is ranked No. 4 on ESPN’s big board, is expected to receive consideration from the Trail Blazers at No. 3 if Henderson goes No. 2 to Charlotte.

Still, O’Connor has Portland selecting Miller in his latest mock draft, with Thompson heading to Houston at No. 4. As O’Connor writes, Thompson could make sense for the Blazers if they decide to trade Damian Lillard, but there’s been no indication that’s in the plans as of yet.

Here are a few more draft and trade-related rumors:

  • Multiple sources tell O’Connor that the Raptors registered interest in Bradley Beal while he was still with the Wizards, but the three-time All-Star preferred to go to the Suns. O’Connor doesn’t specify what Toronto may have offered for Beal or if the talks advanced at all.
  • According to Adam Himmselsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link), the Clippers decided to pull out of their three-team trade talks with the Celtics and Wizards because they didn’t have time to complete a physical on Malcolm Brogdon. The three sides were facing time constraints, as Kristaps Porzingis had a midnight ET deadline to pick up his $36MM player option as part of the trade (he wound up being sent to Boston anyway in a separate deal). Brogdon reportedly suffered a torn tendon in his right elbow during the Eastern Conference Finals and recently said he hoped to avoid surgery. Sources tell Himmelsbach that even if the 30-year-old does need surgery, there’s a belief that he’d be ready to go by the start of 2023/24.
  • In addition to the Raptors and Mavericks, the Hawks have also discussed trades with the Celtics, reports O’Connor. It’s unclear which players or draft picks may have been discussed. For what it’s worth, there’s a “strong belief” around the league that the Celtics aren’t done making moves, writes Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com.
  • O’Connor hears that Chris Livingston, who opted out of his remaining pre-draft workouts a couple weeks ago, impressed teams with his shooting ability prior to making that decision. O’Connor has the Kentucky wing going No. 43 to Portland.
  • Jordan Hawkins is a name worth monitoring for Lakers fans, according to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter link), who reports that Hawkins met with the team. The UConn wing is considered one of the best shooters in the draft and is currently No. 16 on ESPN’s board, while the Lakers control the Nos. 17 and 40 picks.

Draft Rumors: Lively, Miller, Henderson, Amen Thompson, Whitmore

Dereck Lively’s strong showing during the pre-draft process could make him a top-10 pick, according to Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. The Duke center was considered to be a mid-to-late first-rounder when he declared for the draft, but sources tell Wasserman that he has been impressing teams with his shooting touch during his pro day and workouts.

Lively didn’t have a large role in the Blue Devils’ offense, averaging just 5.2 points and 3.4 field goal attempts per game. However, teams have watched his videos from high school and believe he may have potential as a stretch four. That combined with his shot-blocking ability give him the profile of a modern NBA big man.

The Wizards at No. 8 are considered the highest potential draft spot for Lively, according to Wasserman, who hears that the Mavericks at 10, Magic at 11, Thunder at 12 and Pelicans at 14 are also interested.

There are more draft rumors to pass along, all from Wasserman:

  • Brandon Miller and Scoot Henderson both have supporters in the Hornets‘ front office, sources tell Wasserman. Today’s planned workout and meeting with owner Michael Jordan could tip the scales on which player is selected at No. 2. Miller has been the presumed pick for several weeks, but Wasserman hasn’t been able to track down how that rumor began. Most scouts that he’s talked to see Henderson as the better player, but Charlotte has to consider who would fit best alongside LaMelo Ball.
  • The Rockets‘ choice at No. 4 appears to be coming down to Amen Thompson or Cam Whitmore. Sources tell Wasserman that the team likely views Thompson as the best player available, but its confidence in landing James Harden in free agency could influence whether it wants a play-maker like Thompson or a scorer like Whitmore. The Villanova forward has been impressive during pre-draft workouts and has made the decision more difficult for Houston’s front office, Wasserman adds. Sources tell him that Thompson is still considered the more likely choice because of his fit with Jalen Green.
  • Olivier-Maxence Prosper has raised his stock continuously since the draft combine and may go in the top 20, according to Wasserman’s sources. The Marquette guard has worked out for at least 16 teams, displaying defensive skills, a competitive attitude and shooting potential. Several lottery teams are interested, according to Wasserman, but they may consider trading down for him.
  • Arkansas’ Anthony Black is considered to be the most likely choice for the Wizards, and sources tell Wasserman that the Jazz are expected to take Black at No. 9 if Washington passes on him.
  • Michigan’s Kobe Bufkin appears to have reached lottery status, with rival teams seeing the Raptors as his floor at No. 13. Wasserman notes that Bufkin hasn’t taken part in many workouts, which could indicate that he has received a draft promise.
  • Wasserman identifies Lively, Bufkin, Indiana’s Jalen Hood-Schifino and France’s Bilal Coulibaly as players who have probably risen into the lottery, leaving Baylor’s Keyonte George and Arkansas’ Nick Smith Jr. as the most likely to slide into the 15-20 range.
  • Belmont’s Ben Sheppard may be a target for teams looking to trade up into the middle of the first round, Wasserman adds.
  • Wasserman hears that the Rockets aren’t expected to keep their pick at No. 20 and appear willing to trade it for a future first-rounder.
  • Once Kansas sharpshooter Gradey Dick is off the board, UConn’s Jordan Hawkins will be the next target for teams in need of shooting help, according to Wasserman, who states that the Magic might consider him at No. 11.