Trey Murphy

Southwest Notes: Porter Jr., Murphy, Williamson

Kevin Porter Jr.‘s NBA career could be over, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Appearing on the NBA on ESPN show (YouTube video link), Wojnarowski noted that the serious allegations against the Rockets guard, plus his past issues, have put his career in jeopardy.

“There’s no question, Kevin Porter‘s future, not just with the Rockets, but in the NBA, is very much in peril,” he said. “These are extremely serious allegations.”

Porter was arrested in New York City on felony charges involving a domestic incident with his girlfriend. The alleged attack on his girlfriend left her with a fractured neck vertebra and a deep cut above her right eye.

The league could place him on administrative leave until its investigation into the incident is complete.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Sports injury expert Jeff Stotts believes the biggest issue regarding Trey Murphy‘s meniscus tear is the possibility of re-injury in the future, William Guillory of The Athletic writes. The Pelicans wing will now be at an increased risk for future meniscus problems, Stotts told Guillory in a Q&A season discussing the injury and the recovery process. Murphy underwent surgery for a partially torn left meniscus last week with a projected timeline of 10-12 weeks to return to action.
  • Zion Williamson‘s health will be the key to the Pelicans’ season, according to Shaun Powell of The team is built around him and another injury-riddled season could test New Orleans’ patience regarding its current franchise player.
  • In case you missed it, the Spurs waived Cameron Payne on Monday. Get the details here.

Trey Murphy Undergoes Surgery On Left Meniscus

SEPTEMBER 7: Murphy has undergone surgery to repair his slightly torn left meniscus and is expected to miss 10-to-12 weeks, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). That timeline would have him back in action around mid-November, Wojnarowski adds.

Per a Pelicans press release (Twitter link), Murphy underwent a successful partial meniscectomy and received a biologic injection in his left knee. The release states that Murphy is expected to make a full recovery.

SEPTEMBER 5: Pelicans sharpshooter Trey Murphy III has suffered a meniscus injury in his left knee, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that the injury occurred during a workout on Tuesday.

Murphy will undergo further testing to determine the severity of the injury and the best treatment path, Wojnarowski adds, noting that it’s not yet clear whether he’ll require surgery.

The 17th overall pick in the 2021 draft, Murphy emerged as a full-time starter for New Orleans in his second NBA season. He averaged 14.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in 31.0 minutes per night across 79 appearances (65 starts), posting an impressive shooting line of .484/.406/.905.

If Murphy has to miss a significant chunk of the season, it would be a major blow for a Pelicans team that would badly miss his shooting. However, we’ll have to wait for further updates to get a sense of what sort of recovery timeline the 23-year-old might be facing.

Meniscus injuries can be treated differently depending on the severity. Even if a player has to go under the knife, the recovery timeline varies drastically depending on whether he has his meniscus repaired or removed. Some players have missed most or all of a season while recovering from a meniscus tear, while others have returned within a month or two.

Murphy is entering the third year of his rookie scale contract and will become extension-eligible for the first time during the 2024 offseason. While a big performance this season could benefit him financially, the Pelicans presumably envision him as part of their future and will prioritize his long-term health over his short-term availability.

Questions Surround Pelicans Following Trey Murphy’s Meniscus Injury

Pelicans wing Trey Murphy III suffered a meniscus tear in his left knee on Tuesday, leaving New Orleans without one of its most crucial role players.

The Pelicans have “significant concern” about Murphy’s injury given his status as a staple of New Orleans’ rotation, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported Wednesday via NBA Today (Twitter link). Wojnarowski goes on to say that Murphy has “at least a slight tear” in his meniscus and is undergoing further evaluation to determine what procedure he needs.

The severity of the injury is still to be determined, with Wojnarowski saying Murphy could, in the best-case scenario, be back around the start of the regular season. There are also scenarios in which it may be months before Murphy takes the court.

[UPDATE: Trey Murphy Undergoes Surgery On Left Meniscus]

Murphy, who averaged 14.5 points on 40.6% shooting from three last year, being out is a massive loss for a Pelicans team that seems to continually be dealing with health issues. This latest injury leaves New Orleans with both lineup and existential questions, writes Will Guillory of The Athletic.

Guillory echoes Wojnarowski’s report that if the damage is minimal, the third-year wing could face a recovery time of about six-to-eight weeks. Pelicans stars Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson have combined to appear in 199 games over the past two seasons (out of a possible 328), and Guillory writes that their absences are a huge reason the Pelicans have been unable to take a step forward in a deep Western Conference.

Muprhy was one of the NBA’s most improved players last year, jumping from 5.4 points on 39.4% shooting in 13.9 minutes per game off the bench to 14.5 points on 48.4% shooting in 31.0 minutes (65 starts). As Guillory writes, not only did Murphy’s numbers improve, but his confidence and ability to score in transition put him on another level.

As Ingram and Williamson continue to get healthier ahead of the 2023/24 season, Murphy looked like the perfect fit between the two as a defensive specialist capable of stretching the floor at a high level. Without Murphy, Guillory expects Naji Marshall and Dyson Daniels to pick up some minutes because of their defensive resumes, and that 2023 first-round pick Jordan Hawkins could help offset some of the shooting lost from the Murphy injury.

Guillory also writes that the Pelicans’ medical staff continues to be under a spotlight, with many injuries and longer-than-expected recovery timelines for said players. In order for the Pelicans to truly take the next step as an organization, Guillory writes, they will have to better communicate with the fan base and media about the recovery timelines of injured players.

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.

Reid, Murphy, Grimes, Pritchard Joining USA Select Team

Timberwolves big man Naz Reid, Pelicans forward Trey Murphy, Knicks guard Quentin Grimes, and Celtics guard Payton Pritchard are among the young players joining the USA Select Team in a couple weeks to practice and scrimmage against the main Team USA roster ahead of the FIBA World Cup.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojanrowski reported that Pritchard, Murphy and Reid would attend the American team’s training camp (Twitter links), while Shams Charania of The Athletic reported (via Twitter) Grimes would be present.

Jalen Williams and Chet Holmgren of the Thunder, Rockets guard Jalen Green, Pistons guard Cade Cunningham, and Kings forward Keegan Murray will also be part of the Select Team, as The Athletic reported on Thursday.

Reid, who signed a three-year, $42MM extension at the end of June to remain with Minnesota, averaged career bests of 11.5 PPG and 4.9 RPG last season. Murphy had a breakout second season in 2022/23, averaging 14.5 PPG, 3.6 RPG and 1.1 SPG on a stellar .484/.406/.905 shooting line.

Grimes started the majority of ’22/23 for New York, averaging 11.3 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 2.1 APG on .468/.386/.796 shooting while playing solid defense. Pritchard had the most modest role of the four new players reportedly joining the Select Team, averaging 5.6 PPG on .412/.364/.750 shooting in 13.4 MPG last season.

It’s possible a player or two on the Select Team could be used as an injury replacement for someone on Team USA’s 12-man roster. 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.

The Americans will start training camp for the World Cup on August 3 in Las Vegas, with their first game scheduled later that month in the Philippines.

Latest Rumors On Hornets’, Blazers’ Lottery Picks

Despite New Orleans’ interest in Scoot Henderson, the odds of the Hornets and Pelicans reaching an agreement involving the No. 2 pick appear slim.

While the Pelicans don’t necessarily view any player as “untouchable” as they explore moving up in the draft, they’ve shown little interest in parting with forward Brandon Ingram, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. According to Fischer, the team has received plenty of trade inquiries about Trey Murphy this year, but Murphy isn’t viewed as the type of player who could be the centerpiece of a deal that moves New Orleans up from No. 14 to No. 2.

That would leave Zion Williamson as the most obvious trade chip the Pelicans could use if they’re serious about moving into the top three. However, the organization still believes in Williamson’s upside and “fondly remembers” starting the season atop the Western Conference this past season when Zion was healthy, Fischer writes, noting that a top-three pick would be “merely the starting point” to meet Williamson’s valuation of the star forward. Charlotte is unlikely to share that valuation.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony expressed a similar sentiment during an appearance on Zach Lowe’s Lowe Post podcast, as RealGM relays.

“I’ve been told New Orleans is not trading Zion,” Givony said. “And no interest in trading Brandon Ingram. I would be very surprised if anything ended up happening there at two or three. They were the No. 1 team in the West last year when Zion went down with the injury. If he’s healthy, which he rarely is, but when he’s healthy, he is easily one of the best players in the NBA. So I don’t see it happening. That was pretty much shut down to me as a possibility of Zion to Charlotte.”

Asked by Lowe if the possibility of a Pelicans/Trail Blazers trade involving the No. 3 pick is more viable, Givony essentially dismissed that idea too.

“They haven’t even spoken with Portland,” Givony said. “I think New Orleans has made some calls, just to see what it would take to get to one, get to two, but I don’t think it went past that.”

While the Pelicans have been the team most frequently mentioned this week as a candidate to move into the top three, they’re not the only ones who have looked into that possibility. Fischer says the Raptors and Rockets have conveyed interest in moving up in the lottery, while Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer cites sources who say that Toronto and the Wizards have explored deals to move into the top three.

Presumably, any trade into the top three for the Raptors or Wizards would involve a star player like Pascal Siakam or Bradley Beal, though it’s unclear whether those All-Stars on their own would be enough for a team like Charlotte or Portland to seriously consider a move down. Siakam will be on an expiring deal in 2023/24, while Beal is owed nearly $208MM over the next four years, so neither player has a particularly favorable contract. As we wrote on Thursday, Fischer is skeptical that Houston has the veteran talent necessary to move into the top three.

Givony suggested on The Lowe Post that the Trail Blazers have yet to receive a compelling offer for the No. 3 pick.

“Contrary to what people think, if the draft were tonight, they’re making that pick,” Givony said, per RealGM. “Unless something crazy comes up. Some type of trade that you just can’t say ‘no’ to. At this stage, they haven’t had anywhere near that level of conversation to get fair value for that pick. You very rarely have a chance to get that type of talent, like a Brandon Miller or a Scoot Henderson, in Portland. So they’re not just going to pass up on that unless something absolutely incredible comes out of thin air, which doesn’t appear the case right now.”

Pelicans Notes: Valanciunas, McCollum, Murphy

If the Pelicans decide to shake things up this summer, Jonas Valanciunas could be on the move, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune writes. Valanciunas will have an expiring $15.435MM contract next season and the Pelicans’ coaching staff showed a lack of trust in the veteran center during high-leverage moments, Clark observes. He averaged 14.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.

We have more on the Pelicans:

  • The fact that CJ McCollum played 37 games with a torn ligament in the thumb of his shooting hand shouldn’t be overlooked, Rod Walker of the Times-Picayune opines. By doing so, McCollum displayed the importance of leading by example, a role he embraces both on and off the court. Despite the injury, McCollum averaged 20.9 points and 5.7 assists in 75 games this season.
  • The growth of Trey Murphy in his second season was one of the few bright spots for the franchise in 2022/23, Clark writes in a separate story. Murphy raised his scoring average from 5.4 points per game as a rookie to 14.5 PPG this season. He has developed into a prolific shooter, averaging 48.4% from the field overall, 40.6% on 3-point attempts and 90.5% from the free throw line.
  • In case you missed it, top executive David Griffin said he didn’t anticipate making “huge moves” this offseason.

Grizzlies Notes: Adams’ Absence, Jackson, Williams, Morant

Now that they know they can’t count on having Steven Adams back for the playoffs, the Grizzlies must embrace the new identity they’ve been establishing without Adams – and his offensive rebounding and screen setting – available, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

As Cole outlines, that means Jaren Jackson Jr. may face more challenging defensive assignments in the postseason and that everyone will have to help out on the glass, including guards Ja Morant and Desmond Bane.

Cole also suggests that the Grizzlies should look to take advantage of the added versatility of their Adams-less lineups, since having David Roddy, Xavier Tillman, or Santi Aldama on the court makes the team more switchable on defense.

Here’s more on the Grizzlies:

  • Jackson believes he should win this season’s Defensive Player of the Year award, telling Tim MacMahon of ESPN that he wants it “bad.” However, while Jackson’s ability to protect the rim and anchor the Grizzlies’ defense was his greatest asset during the regular season, his scoring on offense might ultimately determine how high the team’s ceiling is this spring, according to MacMahon, who notes that the big man averaged 22.7 points per game on 51.1% shooting in the nine games Morant missed in March.
  • Writing for the Commercial Appeal, Cole looks back at the Grizzlies’ decision to select Ziaire Williams at No. 10 in the 2021 draft. Williams spent much of the 2022/23 season playing in the G League and battling injuries. Meanwhile, Trey Murphy – whom the Pelicans selected with the No. 17 pick they received from Memphis in the trade that also included the No. 10 pick, Adams, and Jonas Valanciunas – has enjoyed a breakout year in New Orleans, averaging 20.4 points per game on .506/.453/.903 shooting in his last 18 games.
  • In an exclusive report, Gus Garcia-Roberts and Molly Hensley-Clancy of The Washington Post provide more details on the off-court incidents that Morant was involved in during the past year and suggest that local police didn’t investigate those incidents as thoroughly as they could have. The Post’s duo identified and interviewed the teenager who was punched by the Grizzlies guard in a pickup game and spoke to a shoe salesman at a Memphis mall who said he was shaken up after allegedly being threatened by Morant.

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.

NBA Announces All-Star Saturday Night Participants

It was quite a Valentine’s Day for Mac McClung. He was signed to a two-way contract by the Sixers and, hours later, was named as one of the four participants in this year’s Slam Dunk competition during All-Star weekend, according to an NBA press release.

He’ll be joined by the Rockets’ Kenyon Martin Jr., the Pelicans’ Trey Murphy III and the Knicks’ Jericho Sims.

The Skills Challenge will feature a brother act. Team Antetokounmpo, predictably, will include Giannis Antetokounmpo and Thanasis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks and Alex Antetokounmpo of the G League’s Wisconsin Herd.

Team Jazz will include Jordan Clarkson, Walker Kessler and Collin Sexton, while Team Rookies will feature top pick Paolo Banchero of the Magic, as well as the Pistons’ Jaden Ivey and the Rockets’ Jabari Smith Jr. 

The participants in this year’s 3-point contest can be found here.