Larry Nance Jr.

Cavaliers Notes: L. Nance Jr., P. Nance, Travers, Roster Opening

In an appearance on the Wine and Gold Talk podcastLarry Nance Jr. said he feels fortunate that his younger brother will get a chance to carry on the family tradition of playing for the Cavaliers. Pete Nance will reportedly be offered an Exhibit 10 contract after being part of the Cavs’ Summer League team. Nance Jr. played several seasons in Cleveland, and his father was a star with the Cavaliers in the 1980s and ’90s.

Nance Jr. was in Las Vegas to watch his Pelicans teammates in action as well as his younger brother, who is trying to earn a spot in the NBA as an undrafted prospect. He believes his brother can succeed at the professional level and offered him some advice on how to deal with his first Summer League.

“We talk all the time,” Nance Jr. said. “Going into Summer League, I think the biggest thing I told him was, he had such momentum, coming off obviously a rough college season, but then the momentum he built going into draft workouts and then being (at the draft combine) in Chicago training for it, just carrying that over into Summer League was great. Just go be aggressive, shoot your shots when you decide you want to shoot them and play your game.”

There’s more on the Cavaliers:

  • Nance also talked about the circumstances that led to him being traded to Portland prior to the 2021/22 season. The team had just drafted Evan Mobley, whom Nance said was obviously headed for stardom, and gave a five-year extension to Jarrett Allen. With Kevin Love also on the roster, Nance didn’t believe he would get regular rotation minutes if he stayed in Cleveland. “It had gone from me really enjoying playing the Larry Nance Jr. thing, in my dad’s footsteps … and at a certain point it became a little redundant. I still loved being in Cleveland, still loved having my family around and loved playing for the Cavs, but I needed to step away from all this and go play on a playoff team and really go show what I’ve got.”
  • The Cavaliers and Luke Travers reached a mutual decision that he will continue to play in Australia, he told Australian media outlet Code Sports (hat tip to Mike Battaglino of Cavaliers Nation). A second-round pick in 2022, Travers was one of the Cavs’ top players in Las Vegas as they won the Summer League title. “The talk is just one more year (in the NBL) and hopefully it’s a good one,” he said. “To be able to come back, it’s what I wanted to do to continue to develop my game in Melbourne and I’m coming here to win. Coming over here, there’s a lot of clarity. They (Cleveland and Melbourne United) have been awesome about it, so getting that (uncertainty) out of the way makes everything else easier.”
  • In a subscriber-only story, Chris Fedor of looks at 10 possible free agent options for the Cavaliers with their open roster spot, including Kelly Oubre, Terrence Ross, Derrick Jones and T.J. Warren.

Pelicans Notes: Valanciunas, Draft Picks, Injuries, Nelson

Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas is entering the final year of his current contract with the club and will be eligible to sign an extension this summer. It remains to be seen whether New Orleans views the veteran big man as part of the team’s future, but Valanciunas tells Kestas Rimkus of (hat tip to that he’d be interested in working out a new deal to stay with the Pelicans.

“We had some talks with (the Pelicans). I think this summer won’t be easy for them because they will have to make a few key decisions. Our season didn’t go as planned, so there will definitely be changes,” Valanciunas said. “… I would like to stay and extend my contract. Obviously, during the season, you try to help the team as much as possible, but when the summer comes, you try to take care of your own things – how to extend the contract and stuff.”

Valanciunas, who will earn approximately $15.4MM in 2023/24, started all 79 games he played for New Orleans in ’22/23. However, head coach Willie Green frequently opted to use Larry Nance Jr. at center during crunch-time minutes in the second half of the season, raising questions about Valanciunas’ role going forward.

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • Christian Clark of takes a closer look at the first-round picks the Pelicans control in the coming years, observing that the team will be keeping a close eye on the Lakers and Bucks, since those teams still owe New Orleans draft assets from the Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday trades. The Pelicans control the Lakers’ 2024 first-rounder but have the option of acquiring the team’s 2025 pick instead — if LeBron James opts out of his deal with L.A. in 2024, deferring that first-rounder could be an intriguing option, Clark notes.
  • After another season affected by injuries, the Pelicans will restructure their player care and performance team, sources tell Clark. Star forwards Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram missed more games (90) than they played (74) in 2022/23.
  • Hiring Aaron Nelson away from Phoenix to run the club’s player care and performance department was one of David Griffin‘s first moves when he joined the Pelicans in 2019, according to Clark, who notes that Nelson “did not come cheaply” and that the team approved several of his requested changes to the practice facility. However, Nelson may not be back with the Pels at all next season — if he is, it won’t be in the same role, Clark writes. As Clark details, there have been complaints during Nelson’s tenure about his inflexibility, and he clashed with Williamson and former head coach Stan Van Gundy.

Southwest Notes: Rockets, Zion, McCollum, Irving, Grizzlies

Assuming Victor Wembanyama, Brandon Miller and Scoot Henderson will be the first three picks in the draft, who will the Rockets target at No. 4? Kelly Iko of The Athletic explores that question in his first installment of the team’s big board.

With the assistance of a high-ranking scout, Iko puts Amen Thompson at the top of the list. Thompson would make a great fit for Houston defensively, given its current talent level, though there are questions about the Overtime Elite guard offensively. Villanova forward Cam Whitmore follows him on Iko’s list, thanks to his explosiveness and athleticism in the open floor.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Pelicans guard CJ McCollum dispensed career advice to oft-injured Zion Williamson, RealGM relays. Speaking on the Ryen Russillo Show, McCollum said he and Larry Nance Jr. have engaged in multiple conversations with Williamson, whose toughness was questioned when he didn’t play after Jan. 2 due to a hamstring injury. “Your ceiling is unlike anything the NBA has ever seen,” McCollum said of his advice to Williamson. “But it’s up to you to take full advantage of whatever that is. I can’t want it for you. Mom can’t want it for you. Dad can’t want it for you. Staff can’t want it for you. So, it’s up to you to decide what that looks like. You’ve got to figure out what you want to do with this game, because this game will go where you take it.”
  • Following a report of a  “handshake deal” with the Mavericks, along with attending Lakers games during the postseason, Kyrie Irving indicated on Instagram he’ll control the narrative of his free agency (hat tip to RealGM).  “If you hear something about my career, it’s going to happen direct like this,” Irving said. “I am an independent agency. It’s just me.”
  • In a subscriber-only story, Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian details the lessons that the Grizzlies learned during their abbreviated playoff run. He opines they need to be patient with the team’s core and coach Taylor Jenkins but aggressively pursue ways to improve their postseason chances.

Larry Nance Jr. To Miss Play-In Game

Pelicans big man Larry Nance Jr. won’t be available for Wednesday’s play-in game against the Thunder due to left ankle soreness, the team announced (via Twitter).

Coach Willie Green told reporters prior to the game that Nance was going to test his ankle in warmups to see how it responded, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN.

Nance was added to the injury report on Tuesday, with New Orleans listing him as questionable. He was able to play 17 minutes in Sunday’s regular season finale.

Nance was one of the Pelicans’ most reliable bench players this season, averaging 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in 65 games. His absence could lead to more minutes for fourth-year center Jaxson Hayes.

If New Orleans wins tonight, Nance will have two more days to recover before the next play-in contest Friday at Minnesota. Another victory would put the team in a playoff series against the Nuggets that would begin Sunday night.

The Pelicans are already short-handed without Jose Alvarado, who is out with a right tibial stress reaction, and Zion Williamson, who hasn’t played since early January due to a strained right hamstring.

Earlier on Wednesday, Nance responded to rumors that the organization is upset with Williamson over his prolonged absence.

“No one in our locker room is looking at Z any type of way,” Nance tweeted. “We’re with him every step of his rehab, and support his process, physically AND mentally! Don’t listen to people saying things just to get views!!”

Southwest Notes: Williamson, Nance Jr., Harrison, Lofton

Pelicans star forward Zion Williamson, who won’t play in the play-in tournament and is considered unlikely to be available in the first round if the team makes it that far, admits that his hamstring issue is more mental than physical at the moment, according to Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

“I can pretty much do everything,” said Williamson, who hasn’t suited up for the Pelicans since Jan. 2. “It’s just a matter of the level that I was playing at before my hamstring. I’m just a competitor. I don’t want to go out there and be in my own head and affect the team. I can just be on the sidelines supporting them more. I know myself. If I was to go out there, I would be in my head a lot. I would hesitate on certain moves. And that could affect the game.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Pelicans have added Larry Nance Jr. to the injury report for their play-in game against the Thunder on Wednesday, according to a team press release. The forward is listed as questionable due to left ankle soreness. He’s averaging 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds this season.
  • Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison vows that the team won’t miss the postseason next season, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News tweets. “They (the fans) should be frustrated. I’m frustrated. This year was unacceptable. … We’re going to evaluate everything, and we’re not going to be in this situation again.”
  • Kenneth Lofton Jr.‘s four-year contract with the Grizzlies is guaranteed for next season and is worth a total of $6,927,014, but it’s non-guaranteed for 2024/25 and includes a team option in 2025/26, Hoops Rumors has learned. He received a $1MM salary for 2022/23, which was well above his prorated minimum. The remaining three years are at the minimum salary. Lofton had his two-way contract converted over the weekend.

Injury Notes: Nance, Mitchell, Kuzma, LeBron, Suns

After missing six games due to a left ankle sprain, Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr. returned to action on Sunday vs. Portland. However, Nance logged just eight minutes and acknowledged after the game that he isn’t at full strength yet.

“I think it was pretty clear that I’m not 100%,” Nance said, per Christian Clark of “For me, it’s more about if I can play, you’re going to get what I got at all times. We got a win. I did my job.”

Even though Nance – who has averaged 22.0 minutes per game off the bench this season – couldn’t reclaim his usual rotation role in his first game back, head coach Willie Green appreciates the 30-year-old’s willingness to play through pain with New Orleans in the thick of a playoff race.

“Larry is a leader,” Green said. “He wants to be out there on the floor. He has been talking about it the last three, four days. These guys understand that coming down the stretch, it’s going to be a tight race for the playoffs. He’s trying to get himself ready for the last 14 games. It was huge to have him on the floor. His presence was felt.”

Nance isn’t on the Pelicans’ injury report for Tuesday’s game against the Lakers, so he’ll be available for that one, even if his minutes are once again limited.

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

  • The Cavaliers have ruled out Donovan Mitchell (finger sprain injury management) for Tuesday’s contest vs. Charlotte, tweets Chris Fedor of Starting center Jarrett Allen (right eye contusion) is also unavailable for a second straight game.
  • Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma has been ruled out for Tuesday’s game against Detroit due to a sore right knee, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Washington is currently a half-game back of Chicago for the No. 10 spot in the East.
  • Lakers star LeBron James, who is making his way back from a right foot injury, did his first on-court activity at a Tuesday shootaround, taking a few free throws after he completed his weight lifting and rehab work, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter links).
  • Suns head coach Monty Williams called it a “good sign” that GM James Jones said Kevin Durant would probably be available now if the playoffs had begun. “With those kind of injuries, you tend to get better every day, and he’s getting around-the-clock treatment,” Williams said of KD (link via Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic). The Suns’ coach added that Landry Shamet‘s return from a right foot injury isn’t imminent: “He’s just been getting up shots. He’s about the same. He’s just getting more treatment. Just trying to figure it out. How can we get back to a place he can get back to a full practice and then progress from there.”

Pelicans’ Jose Alvarado, Larry Nance Jr. Out Multiple Weeks

Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado and forward Larry Nance Jr. will be sidelined multiple weeks, the team announced in a press release.

Alvarado has been diagnosed with a stress reaction in his right tibia. He will be reevaluated in three weeks. Alvarado has appeared in 61 games this season, averaging 9.0 points and 3.0 assists in 21.5 minutes. He played 15 minutes against Orlando on Monday.

Nance Jr., who suffered a left ankle sprain during Saturday’s game at New York, will be reevaluated in two weeks. Nance has appeared in 50 games, averaging 7.7 points and 5.9 rebounds in 22.3 minutes.

Zion Williamson continues to make progress with rehabilitation for his right hamstring strain, according to the release. Further updates will be provided following medical imaging next week. Williamson hasn’t played since Jan. 2.

Alvarado’s injury opens up more playing time for Kira Lewis Jr. and Dyson Daniels. Jaxson Hayes, who played 25 minutes against Orlando, will likely absorb most of Nance’s minutes.

Injury Notes: Green, Nance Jr., VanVleet, Dedmon, Gordon

Warriors forward Draymond Green missed his second consecutive game on Sunday due to a right knee contusion, according to Kendra Andrews of ESPN. Green suffered the injury on Thursday when he bumped knees with the Lakers’ Jarred Vanderbilt. Green’s knee unexpectedly flared up Sunday afternoon, something coach Steve Kerr categorized as a “setback.” He may undergo an MRI.

We have more injury-related news:

  • Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr. will miss Monday’s game against Orlando due to a left ankle sprain, the team’s PR department tweets.
  • Raptors guard Fred VanVleet missed both of the team’s games this weekend for personal reasons, Blake Murphy of Sportsnet tweets. VanVleet is away from the club due to the birth of his third child.
  • Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said before Saturday’s contest that backup center Dewayne Dedmon is expected to miss a couple more games but doesn’t have a long-term injury, Kyle Neubeck of tweets. Dedmon has yet to make his Philadelphia debut due to a hip issue.
  • Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon returned to the lineup on Sunday night after missing the previous five games due to a left rib contusion, Mike Singer of the Denver Post writes.

Pelicans Notes: Richardson, Daniels, Zion, Nance

Having inserted new addition Josh Richardson into his starting five ahead of incumbent second-year swingman Trey Murphy, Pelicans head coach Willie Green spoke on Saturday about that decision, per Christian Clark of (Twitter link).

Richardson, who arrived to the Pelicans via the Spurs in a trade deadline deal, has started the club’s last two games ahead of Murphy, on Thursday and Saturday.

“Just want to give us a different look,” Green said of the change. “Looking at that lineup over the past few weeks, we wanted to make an adjustment. Trey will still play 25 plus minutes. Just putting a bit more know-how on the floor with Josh. And Herb (Jones). Being able to guard multiple guys. Trey getting some minutes against teams’ second units. We want to see if that helps us.”

There’s more out of The Big Easy:

  • The Pelicans have gone 7-17 since All-Star forward Zion Williamson injured his right hamstring. As a result, the team has plummeted in the Western Conference standings while Williamson remains out indefinitely. Andrew Lopez of ESPN identifies three key questions for New Orleans heading into the 2022/23 season’s closing stretch. When he was available, Williamson was his typically spectacular self, averaging 26 PPG on .608/.368/.714 shooting splits. He also chipped in 7.0 PRG and 4.6 APG in his 29 healthy contests.
  • Pelicans rookie point guard Dyson Daniels returned to the floor tonight for New Orleans after missing 12 games with a right ankle sprain, reports Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans Podcast (Twitter link). The 6’8″ guard was selected with the eighth pick in the 2022 draft by New Orleans. He has averaged 4.5 PPG on .445/.333/.621 shooting splits, 3.5 RPG, 2.5 APG and 0.9 SPG across his 39 games for the Pelicans thus far.
  • Veteran Pelicans reserve forward Larry Nance Jr. departed the team’s road game tonight against the Knicks with what New Orleans is calling a left ankle sprain, Clark tweets. Nance was subsequently ruled out for the remainder of the contest.

Injury Notes: Shamet, Caruso, Harris, Nance

Landry Shamet (right Achilles soreness) will miss a third consecutive game on Friday when the Suns visit Toronto, but it sounds like he’s closer to returning than some of his injured teammates. Shamet is aiming to make it back before Phoenix’s road trip wraps up on Wednesday, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.

“Whenever they give me the green light,” Shamet said. “… There’s a reason they get paid to do what they do, the training staff. … I feel good to go right now, but I trust them to let me know when I’m ready to go.”

The Suns are also missing Devin Booker (groin strain), Cameron Johnson (meniscus tear), Cameron Payne (foot strain), and Jae Crowder (not with team), so getting Shamet back would give the rotation a lift.

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

  • Bulls guard Alex Caruso will return on Friday vs. Detroit following a three-game absence due to a sprained right shoulder and a stint in the concussion protocol, writes Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. The Bulls won two of three games without Caruso available, but will welcome him back with open arms — the club has a plus-3.7 net rating when he’s on the court this season, compared to a minus-5.3 mark when he sits.
  • Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris, who has missed the last three games due to soreness, is remaining in Brooklyn while the team travels to Charlotte for Saturday’s game, tweets Nick Friedell of ESPN. Harris will be reevaluated in a few days, Friedell adds.
  • Pelicans forward/center Larry Nance Jr. left Wednesday’s game early due to what the team dubbed a neck contusion/spasm (Twitter link). Nance, already bothered by a shoulder issue, was in “a lot of pain” on the bench, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN, and is considered doubtful to play on Friday vs. Philadelphia, per the official injury report.