Sindarius Thornwell

Southwest Notes: Ball, Thornwell, Rockets, Spurs

As of Wednesday, Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball seemed more likely than not to be traded this week. But Thursday’s deadline came and went without a Ball deal, and the former No. 2 overall pick is now on track to reach restricted free agency with New Orleans later this year.

In the view of Will Guillory of The Athletic, the Pelicans made the right move by hanging onto Ball, who has noticeably improved since joining the team two years ago and complements New Orleans’ star forwards (Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram) well. Guillory suggests there were “legitimate” offers on the table, with the Hawks, Knicks, and and Bulls among the teams in the mix, but the Pels ultimately opted to take their chances with the point guard in restricted free agency.

Ball’s free agency will provide its own set of challenges, particularly since the Pelicans also want to retain RFA-to-be Josh Hart and may have to move off Steven Adams‘ or Eric Bledsoe‘s contract to re-sign both Ball and Hart and avoid the tax. An aggressive offer sheet for Ball from a rival suitor could also force New Orleans into a tough decision. But Guillory believes there would be a trade market for Ball down the road even if his next contract is worth a little more than the Pelicans would like.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • After signing Sindarius Thornwell to a pair of 10-day contracts, the Pelicans had been considering a rest-of-season deal for the veteran guard. If that happens though, it’ll have to be a little later this spring. As Andrew Lopez of ESPN notes (via Twitter), New Orleans moved so close to the tax line following its deadline-day trade that a rest-of-season signing at this point would push team salary over that threshold.
  • Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle explains the thinking behind the Rockets‘ decision to trade Victor Oladipo to Miami for a relatively modest return. As Feigen details, Oladipo’s days in Houston were likely numbered if the Rockets had hung onto him through the deadline, and the team wanted to open up more minutes for Kevin Porter alongside John Wall, so the front office opted to take the best offer available for Oladipo on Thursday.
  • With several veterans on expiring contracts, the Spurs were in position to shake up their roster at the trade deadline. However, as is typically the case in San Antonio during the season, the team opted to stand relatively pat instead, making just one small financially motivated move, acquiring Marquese Chriss and cash from Golden State. Noting that the Chriss trade was the Spurs’ first deadline deal since 2014, Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News examines the club’s decision to once again remain quiet at the deadline.

Southwest Notes: Lonzo, Terry, Thornwell, Dieng

Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball may be on the move at the trade deadline, a possibility that could be predicated on the fact that Ball is hoping to make around $20MM annually on his next deal, per Sam Amick of The Athletic. The 6’6″ UCLA alum, 23, is currently earning $11MM in the final season of his rookie deal, and will enter restricted free agency this summer.

Ball is enjoying the best scoring season of his career, averaging a career-high 14.2 PPG. He is connecting on a career-high 42.5% of a career-most 12.1 field goal looks a night, including a career-best 38.5% from long range on a career-most 7.8 three-point looks a night. His 76.7% free throw percentage is also leagues beyond his previous high of 56.6%, though the volume remains modest (1.1 attempts a night).

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks point guard Tyrell Terry is not traveling with Dallas at present for personal reasons, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News tweets. “I don’t have any timetable for him being back,” head coach Rick Carlisle said of Terry. The rookie, who has appeared in 11 games for Dallas, has been sidelined from the team for the past seven contests.
  • Though Pelicans swingman Sindarius Thornwell has run out of 10-day contracts with New Orleans, he may latch on with the club for the rest of the year as early as this Friday, depending on what trade deadline transactions transpire for the Pelicans by Thursday, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link). The 6’4″ wing has appeared in 14 games for New Orleans this season.
  • Grizzlies reserve center Gorgui Dieng, who has been out of the lineup for almost a month, seems more likely to be bought out than be traded due to his hefty $17.3MM expiring deal, per Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Though Dieng has some appeal as a lengthy stretch big man, connecting on a career-best 47.9% from long range this season, his salary may preclude a deal. The Grizzlies have prioritized rookie big man Xavier Tillman Sr., the No. 35 pick in the 2020 draft out of Michigan State, over Dieng in their rotation.

Southwest Notes: Hayes, Vaccine, Gay, Mavericks, Wood

Pelicans big man Jaxson Hayes has regained his rotation spot and he’s determined to hold onto it, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune writes. In his past five games, Hayes is averaging 11.4 PPG, 3.8 RPG and 1.4 BPG in 17.5 MPG. The 2019 lottery pick, who had his third-year rookie-scale option picked up by New Orleans in December, has displaced Willy Hernangomez as the second-unit backup center.

The main thing I took away was I never want to be in that position again,” Hayes said of his February benching. “It’s not like it was a bad thing. I just always want to be on the court.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Eligible members of the Pelicans organization received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN. A majority of the players who were eligible received the shot did so, including Sindarius Thornwell, Lopez tweets. Italian Nicolo Melli also received the vaccine, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.
  • The Spurs had four games prior to the All-Star break postponed due to coronavirus issues. Two of the affected players, Rudy Gay and Derrick White, expressed their gratitude to the team’s training and medical staffs for the high quality of care to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News“They’re just great people, the most helpful people I’ve been around, and they care about us,” Gay said.
  • While the Mavericks plan to give stars Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis periodic nights off, don’t expect coach Rick Carlisle to give the team’s four rookies extended playing time, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News writes.
  • Rockets big man Christian Wood is hopeful of returning to action on Tuesday, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Wood has been sidelined since February 4 due to an ankle injury. He’s listed by the team as doubtful.

Sindarius Thornwell Gets Second 10-Day Contract With Pelicans

The Pelicans have signed guard Sindarius Thornwell to a second 10-day contract, the team announced on Twitter.

This is the third contract of the season for Thornwell, even though he has been with New Orleans virtually the entire time. He signed a non-guaranteed deal in training camp, then was waived last month to avoid having his $1.62MM cap hit locked in for the entire season.

Teams can only offer players two 10-day deals, so if the Pelicans want to keep Thornwell after this one expires, they’ll have to sign him for the rest of the season. Thornwell has appeared in 11 games so far, starting one, and averages 1.4 PPG in 4.8 minutes per night.

The former South Carolina star was a second-round pick in 2017 and spent his first two NBA seasons with the Clippers. He joined the Pelicans as a substitute player for the restart last summer, but only played two games in Orlando.

The signing leaves New Orleans with one open roster spot.

Several 10-Day Contracts Expire; Multiple Teams Have Roster Spots To Fill

All seven of the 10-day contracts that were signed during the final week of February have now expired. As our 10-day tracker shows, that list included three Nets deals (Tyler Cook, Iman Shumpert, and Andre Roberson), along with contracts signed by the Pelicans (Sindarius Thornwell), Raptors (Donta Hall), Lakers (Damian Jones), and Kings (Norvel Pelle).

None of those players have been re-signed to a second 10-day deal so far, but that comes as no surprise. The five teams that had players on 10-day contracts won’t begin their second-half schedules until Thursday at the earliest (Friday for the Lakers), so it doesn’t make sense to sign someone to a 10-day contract now and waste the first few days of the deal.

That doesn’t mean that all the players listed above will get a second 10-day stint with their respective teams later this week, but some of them seem like good bets to stick around a little longer. Jones, for instance, looked good during his 10 days as a Laker, putting up eight points in eight minutes in his first appearance and earning a start in Sacramento last Wednesday.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that the Lakers and Pelicans are now carrying 13 players on standard contracts, while the Nets are carrying just 12. The NBA requires teams to have a minimum of 14 players under contract (not counting two-ways), but clubs are permitted to dip below that minimum for two weeks at a time.

So even if those three clubs decide not to bring back the same players on 10-day contracts, they’ll have to add a player (two players in Brooklyn’s case, but one will be Blake Griffin) at some point during the next couple weeks.

The Jazz are also in this boat, but will have to add a player even sooner. They dipped to 13 players on standard contracts when they waived Shaquille Harrison on February 24, so we can probably expect them to sign a player to a 10-day deal before the second-half schedule gets underway this week.

The Hornets, Cavaliers, Pistons, Rockets, Clippers, Bucks, Timberwolves, Suns, Trail Blazers, Kings, Spurs, and Raptors also have openings on their 15-man rosters, but aren’t under any pressure to fill them in the near future, since they’re all at the 14-player minimum.

Most teams with open roster spots will fill them before the end of the regular season, but for the time being, it makes sense for those teams to either hold them open or fill them with players on 10-day deals in order to maximize their roster flexibility for the March 25 trade deadline.

Pelicans Sign Sindarius Thornwell To 10-Day Deal

After waiving guard Sindarius Thornwell on Monday, the Pelicans have brought him back on a 10-day contract, the team announced in a press release.

Thornwell was released for financial reasons before his contract would have become guaranteed for the rest of 2020/21. Instead of having his $1.62MM cap hit locked in for the season, he’ll make about $111K on his new 10-day deal with New Orleans.

The 26-year-old has appeared in 11 games this season, making one start, and was averaging 1.4 points in 4.8 minutes per night.

Thornwell signed a substitution contract with New Orleans prior to the NBA’s restart last summer and got into two games in Orlando. He re-signed with the team during the offseason.

Pelicans Waive Sindarius Thornwell

FEBRUARY 23: The Pelicans officially waived Thornwell on Monday, per’s transactions log.

FEBRUARY 22: The Pelicans intend to release guard Sindarius Thornwell, reports Will Guillory of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Thornwell appeared in 11 games for New Orleans this season, but saw limited action, averaging just 4.8 minutes per contest. In 53 total minutes, he scored 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting, chipping in four steals.

According to Guillory, the Pelicans were happy with Thornwell’s performance, but will make the move for financial reasons. The 26-year-old’s minimum-salary contract isn’t fully guaranteed, so by waiving him prior to Wednesday’s salary guarantee deadline, the club will save some money and create more breathing room below the luxury tax line.

Rather than counting for $1,620,564 against the Pelicans’ cap, Thornwell will have a cap charge of $721,484, assuming he goes unclaimed on waivers, as Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. New Orleans will move approximately $1.4MM below the tax threshold, Marks adds (Twitter link).

Because the Pelicans already have an open spot on their 15-man roster, releasing Thornwell will reduce their total standard contracts to just 13. The league-mandated minimum is 14, but teams can dip below that number for two weeks at a time. New Orleans will have to add a 14th man within two weeks and will likely do so by utilizing a 10-day contract — 10-day deals can be signed starting on Tuesday.

Pelicans Sign Wenyen Gabriel, Sindarius Thornwell

NOVEMBER 30: Both signings are now official, per RealGM’s NBA transactions log.

NOVEMBER 23: The Pelicans are filling two of their roster spots with forward Wenyen Gabriel and guard Sindarius Thornwell, ESPN’s Andrew Lopez tweets.

Both will play on veteran minimum deals. Gabriel is receiving a two-year contract with a team option for the 2021/22 season.

New Orleans plans to go with a 14-player roster, including restricted free agent Brandon Ingram, Will Guillory of The Athletic tweets. Ingram has yet to sign but he’s expected to get a max contract.

The Pelicans also plan to fill both two-way slots, Guillory adds.

Gabriel began last season with the Kings and was traded in midseason to the Trail Blazers. The undrafted Gabriel appeared in a combined 30 regular-season games as a rookie and also saw action in four postseason games.

Thornwell was part of the Clippers’ rotation for two seasons but appeared in just two games with the Pelicans last season after signing as a substitute player during the restart. Otherwise, he spent the 2019/20 season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the G League.

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Favors, Rockets, Clarke

When the Pelicans announced on Monday that they’d signed Sindarius Thornwell, they indicated in their press release that the guard is a substitute player, but didn’t reveal which player on the roster he’d be replacing. More than 24 hours later, we have no further clarity on which New Orleans player will be supplanted by Thornwell.

According to John Hollinger of The Athletic (Twitter link), Thornwell is replacing a player who tested positive for the coronavirus and the Pelicans can’t name that player for privacy reasons. The team previously announced that three players tested positive for COVID-19, but the identities of those players wasn’t reported. Still, it will likely just be a matter of time until we know which Pelican won’t participate in the summer restart, if only by the process of elimination.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Pelicans center Derrick Favors, whose contract expires at season’s end, admitted today that he weighed the risk of suffering a pre-free-agency injury this summer before ultimately deciding to play. I definitely thought about it,” Favors said, per Will Guillory of The Athletic (Twitter link). “But I trust my body and I trust what I’ve done.”
  • Rockets GM Daryl Morey said this week that he isn’t too concerned about the 2020/21 salary cap uncertainty, having concluded that any fluctuation is “probably not going to impact us too much,” tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets – and as I pointed out when I previewed Houston’s ’20/21 cap – a shifting tax line could affect the Rockets, since they already have more than $123MM committed to six guaranteed contracts.
  • Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke, who missed the team’s last eight games before the hiatus due to a quad injury, said on Monday that he feels like he’s back to full health, as Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. “Over these past five to six weeks, I’ve gotten back to the player that I was. I feel like I’m pretty much the same health that I was pre-injury,” Clarke said. “I got the same balance and running habits, so it’ll all just be about my habits on the court.”

Pelicans Sign Sindarius Thornwell As Substitute Player

6:25pm: Miller has been officially ruled out as he continues his rehab from right Achilles surgery, ESPN’s Andrew Lopez tweets.

1:04pm: The Pelicans have officially signed free agent guard Sindarius Thornwell for the rest of the season as a substitute player, the team announced today in a press release.

Thornwell, 25, was selected with the 48th overall pick in the 2017 draft and spent the first two years of his professional career with the Clippers. He appeared in 137 total games for Los Angeles, averaging 2.5 PPG and 1.3 RPG on .415/.342/.689 shooting in a limited role (10.7 MPG).

After being waived by the Clippers last July, Thornwell spent the 2019/20 season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the G League, averaging 9.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 4.5 APG in 40 games (28.9 MPG). The 6’5″ guard is considered a strong perimeter defender.

It remains to be seen which player on the Pelicans roster is being replaced by Thornwell. According to Christian Clark of (Twitter link), swingman Darius Miller isn’t traveling to Orlando with the team due to his ongoing Achilles recovery, but an injured player like Miller isn’t eligible to be replaced by a substitute player.

At this point, a substitute player can only be signed to replace a player who voluntarily opts out of the NBA’s restart or who has tested positive for COVID-19. No Pelicans players have announced they plan to opt out, but three tested positive for the coronavirus in June. We’ll have to wait for further updates to confirm which player is being replaced by Thornwell and why — the player in question will be ineligible to return this season.