Solomon Hill

Injury Notes: Hill, Wall, McCaw, Gordon, Anderson

After missing the Pelicans‘ first 69 games this season due to a torn left hamstring, Solomon Hill returned on Sunday and said he “felt way better than I thought I would,” per William Guillory of The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Despite the fact that he hadn’t appeared in a regular season game since last spring and only played eight minutes, Hill said he felt comfortable on the court.

“I kind of felt after a while that it was like my fifth game back,” Hill said. “It kind of just came and went. … When it was over, (I) was really thinking I can play more. It’s a good sign.”

As New Orleans works Hill back into its rotation, let’s round up a few more injury-related notes from around the NBA…

  • It’s not “etched in stone,” but John Wall could participate in five-on-five practice by the end of this week, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said today (Twitter link via Candace Buckner of The Washington Post). Wall, sidelined since January 25, remains on track to return from his knee injury in advance of the playoffs.
  • Patrick McCaw is set to return to action on Monday night against San Antonio, and Warriors head coach Steve Kerr doesn’t expect the second-year guard to just sit on the bench. Expect McCaw to play about 15 to 20 minutes, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “We need him,” Kerr said.
  • Having passed the concussion protocol, Aaron Gordon will be available to play for the Magic on Tuesday night vs. Toronto, the team announced today (via Twitter). Gordon, a restricted free agent this summer, last appeared in a game on March 7.
  • Ryan Anderson played in both of the Rockets‘ games over the weekend after missing the previous nine contests with hip and groin injuries. As Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes, Anderson struggled a little with his rhythm in his first game back, but said he felt “no pain.”

Southwest Notes: Hill, Ferrell, Murray, Hammon

Pelicans forward Solomon Hill may make his first appearance of the season Sunday, according to Christian Boutwell of The Journal Times. Hill has been sidelined for the past 68 games by a torn hamstring that required surgery in late August. Coach Alvin Gentry told reporters tonight that Hill will undergo preliminary tests before the game to see if he’s able to play.

“Whenever I can get out there, it’s not just about playing, but it’s about contributing,” Hill said. “I’m not trying to take from the team. I don’t care where I am in my situation in recovery … Whatever minutes I play, if they don’t help the team, they hurt the team. That’s my goal, to help the team. If I can’t help the team and I hurt them more than I [help], then I’m going to have a talk with somebody and just be like the group is playing well and I don’t want to take from anybody — especially if I’m not in a situation to be 100 percent or close to it.”

Hill has been participating in practice on a limited basis and has seen most of his action in two-on-two games. He appeared in 80 games last season, starting 71, after signing a four-year, $48MM contract in the summer of 2016.

There’s more news from the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks guard Yogi Ferrell passed the 2,000-minute threshold this week, pushing him into the starter criteria for free agency, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Ferrell, who will be a restricted free agent, will have his qualifying offer and cap hold rise from $1.7MM to $2.9MM. He is averaging 10.1 points per game in his first full season in Dallas.
  • Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray hasn’t been the difference maker that coach Gregg Popovich had hoped when he inserted him into the starting lineup in January, writes Frank Urbina of Hoops Hype. San Antonio is 9-12 since the move and is barely clinging to a playoff spot.
  • Spurs assistant Becky Hammon has decided to remain with the team after having conversations with Colorado State about becoming the men’s head basketball coach, according to Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Hammon is in her fourth season with the Spurs and is considered a candidate to someday become the NBA’s first female head coach.

Injury Updates: Leonard, Hill, Williams, Ross, Wall

Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard will meet with coach Gregg Popovich on Tuesday to discuss his progress rehabbing from a quad injury, Michael C. Wright of ESPN reports. Leonard could return as early as Thursday if both parties feel he’s ready to play again. The team’s franchise player has been sidelined since January 13th with the lingering quad issue that has cost him all but nine games this season. 

In other injury updates from around the league:

  • Pelicans forward Solomon Hill could make his season debut as early as this weekend, William Guillory of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Hill has been sidelined by a torn hamstring suffered in late August.  “We’re so close to the finish line that we’re definitely not going to rush the situation now,” coach Alvin Gentry told Guillory. “I can see a situation where he might be able to play a few minutes here or there.” Hill is in the second year of a four-year, $48MM contract.
  • Suns reserve center Alan Williams could make his season debut on Tuesday, according to Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic. Williams underwent surgery in September to repair the meniscus in his right knee with a six-month timetable to return. He went through a full practice on Monday. Williams, whose three-year, $17MM contract is only guaranteed through this season, averaged 11.4 PPG and 9.1 RPG after the All-Star break last season.
  • Magic swingman Terrence Ross is questionable to return this season, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Ross has been sidelined since November 29th with a knee injury. A bone bruise has stalled Ross’ return, Robbins adds. “Some days it feels good, and then some days it kind of flares up,” Ross told Robbins. Ross has one season left on a contract that pays him $10.9MM annually.
  • Wizards point guard John Wall went through some non-contract drills Monday as he works his way back from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports relays. If medically cleared, Wall could practice in full for the first time on Friday, Hughes adds.

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Hill, Evans, Murray

While the Pelicans have missed Solomon Hill on the court this season, there’s a silver lining to his lengthy injury absence, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks observes. Hill’s contract includes a bonus for playing more than 1,000 minutes this season, an incentive that had been considered “likely” because he achieved it last year.

However, he won’t reach that threshold this season, so his cap hit will be reduced by approximately $489K, and that money won’t count for luxury-tax purposes at season’s end. That will give New Orleans additional breathing room below the tax line in the event that the team wants to make more roster moves in the coming weeks. Hill’s cap hits in future seasons will also be reduced slightly, since that playing-time bonus will now be considered “unlikely” going forward.

Here’s more from around the Southwest division:

  • Pelicans star Anthony Davis almost certainly won’t win this season’s MVP award, but he deserves to be in the conversation, writes Rod Walker of The Advocate.
  • After undergoing an MRI for a rib injury on Sunday, Tyreke Evans has been ruled out of the Grizzlies‘ lineup for Monday’s game (Twitter links). According to Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com (Twitter link), the MRI showed slight cartilage damage, and Evans is considered day-to-day. “We’re not expecting it to be a long absence,” head coach J.B Bickerstaff said. “He’s had this injury before. So we expect to see him back soon.”
  • With Tony Parker averaging a career-low 20.6 minutes per game and Kawhi Leonard appearing in just nine contests this season, the Spurs have had to lean on other players, including Dejounte Murray. The second-year point guard has been a starter since January 21, averaging 26.2 minutes per game since then. Michael C. Wright of ESPN takes an in-depth look at Murray, exploring whether he has the potential to become one of the next great Spurs.

DeAndre Liggins Gets Second 10-Day Deal With Pelicans

The Pelicans have signed guard DeAndre Liggins to a second 10-day contract, the team announced on its website.

Liggins appeared in just one game for New Orleans during the first 10-day deal, scoring four points in 11 minutes. The team needs roster depth with Alexis AjincaFrank JacksonTony Allen and Solomon Hill all sidelined by injuries. The Pelicans were granted a $2.75MM disabled player exception on Wednesday.

Liggins played 31 games for the Bucks, averaging 1.8 points per night, before being waived earlier this month. He has been with seven teams since entering the league in the 2011/12 season.

Once Liggins’ second 10-day contract expires, the Pelicans will either have to release him or sign him for the rest of the season.

Injury Updates: Curry, Griffin, Paul, Hill

Two-time MVP Stephen Curry is expected to return on Saturday during a home game against the Grizzlies, Chris Haynes of ESPN.com reports. Curry will miss his 11th straight game on Friday because of a right ankle sprain but he participated in drills and a 3-on-3 scrimmage during practice on Thursday. “If all goes well, I expect him to play Saturday, but even if it goes well, I’m not expecting him to play (Friday),” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told the assembled media.

In other injury-related news around the league:

  • Blake Griffin practiced on Thursday after practicing with the Clippers’ G-League team on Wednesday, but it’s still uncertain whether he’ll play on Friday against the Lakers, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Griffin has missed 14 games due to a sprained left MCL. Griffin said he would defer to the team’s medical staff. “That’s why we have the team doctors,” he said. “That’s why we have the training staff that we do. They have done a great job so far putting together … a rehab plan and pushing me and getting to this point.”
  • Rockets point guard Chris Paul is expected to play either Friday against the Wizards or Sunday against the Lakers, coach Mike D’Antoni told Jeff Goodman of ESPN (Twitter link). Paul missed his third consecutive game on Thursday due to an adductor strain.
  • Pelicans forward Solomon Hill rejoined the team to watch their victory over the Nets on Wednesday, but he’s not close to returning from the torn hamstring he suffered in August, William Guillory of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Hill was expected to miss 6-8 months and that hasn’t changed. “It’s not going to get any quicker or anything like that.,” coach Alvin Gentry said. “We’re just going to have to let it play out. He’s still got a ways to go before he’s able to get back on the court and actually play.”

Southwest Notes: Conley, Hill, Anderson, Kleber

Mike Conley is making progress with his injured left heel and Achilles and should return in two to three weeks, according to a story on the Grizzlies’ website. The point guard has responded well to therapy and treatment to promote healing, the team says.

No timetable was set for Conley’s return when he first suffered the injury in mid-November. Memphis has gone 0-6 without Conley to fall into 12th place in the Western Conference and fired coach David Fizdale on Monday.

There’s more news from the Southwest Division:

  • Pelicans forward Solomon Hill is improving after surgery in August for a torn hamstring, tweets Scott Kushner of The Advocate. Coach Alvin Gentry told reporters tonight that Hill is a “little bit ahead of schedule” in the rehab process. “We talk to him and communicate with him to try to see what’s going on,” Gentry said. “But it’s just a time injury. You can’t work harder to come back quicker.” Hill was mainly a starter for New Orleans last season, averaging 7.0 points and 3.8 rebounds in 80 games.
  • Spurs swingman Kyle Anderson will be in a strong position when he enters free agency next summer, writes Michael C. Wright of ESPN. With Kawhi Leonard sidelined since preseason, Anderson has stepped into the starting lineup and has impressed San Antonio’s front office with his performance, averaging career highs in points (9.2), rebounds (6.3) and assists (3.2) through 20 games. “Free agency happens this coming July, and he’ll be in a better position because of the way he’s played,” Spurs GM R.C. Buford said. “We’ll be in a better position because we know the role that he can fill with the team that we have. We’ll evaluate Kyle’s free agency as a part of the whole team, but he’s clearly put himself in a position to be respected in free agency.”
  • Rookie Maxi Kleber is getting some of the credit for the Mavericks‘ improved performance over their past six games, relays Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. After a terrible start, Dallas has gone 3-3 since moving Kleber into the starting lineup. “Kleber’s given us a lot more flexibility defensively,” said coach Rick Carlisle. “He’s been one of our better defenders. When you add a guy like that, that can guard people individually and can switch liberally and keep little guys in front of him, that helps.”

Solomon Hill To Miss Part Of 2017/18 Season

4:58pm: Hill has undergone successful surgery to repair the torn hamstring, according to a team press release. The team notes that this injury typically takes 6-8 months to heal, though it added that an official timeline will be provided at a later date.

12:08pm: Pelicans small forward Solomon Hill had surgery for a torn hamstring and could miss a significant portion of the season, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

New Orleans still has just 14 players on NBA contracts, so the team could return to the free agent market in search of a potential replacement for Hill. The Pelicans still have about $2.19MM left on their mid-level exception, along with their full bi-annual exception ($3.29MM). However, the club may stick to a minimum salary signing in order to remain below the luxury tax line.

As Bobby Marks notes on ESPN Now, the Pelicans could also create a little more room by waiving Jordan Crawford, who has a $250K guarantee for the upcoming season.

Hill averaged 7.0 points in 80 games (71 as a starter) in his first season with the Pelicans. He spent the first three years of his career in Indiana before signing with New Orleans last summer. He is under contract through 2019/20.

Jrue Holiday On His Future, Fit With The Pelicans

Jrue Holiday is set to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career, but he hasn’t yet begun to evaluate his options outside of New Orleans, as William Guillory of the Times- Picayune relays. “I haven’t thought about it, not even a little bit,” Holiday said.

Holiday’s teammates want to see him in a Pelicans’ uniform next season. “He’s huge for what we want to do here. I look at the situation, and if we have a full season, I’m pretty sure we’re in the playoffs,” Solomon Hill said. “He’s a game-changer. He’s top-10 in assists, defensively he’s one of the best point guards on both ends of the floor. That’s everything, I think that’s the main goal this offseason is to get him to re-sign and to get him to sign as long as he possibly can.”

The point guard believes he’s a good fit in coach Alvin Gentry’s system and he’s optimistic about the future of the franchise. “It’s been fun to play,” Holiday said when asked about the Pelicans‘ offense since the team traded for DeMarcus Cousins. “Obviously, we’ve been winning more frequently, put some streaks together. It’s been really good. Obviously, we added a big piece and we want to win more frequently, or whatever, but it’s been fun.”

Gentry has recently given Holiday more of a combo-guard role, playing him alongside point guard Tim Frazier in the starting lineup.

“I think that’s when he’s at his best,” said Gentry. “It’s not a negative, it’s more of a positive that, when we have two ball-handlers out there, we can create situations for Jrue where all the responsibility is not on him. I think Jrue is at his best when he’s thinking about scoring also.

“With DeMarcus [on the team], he has a tendency to want to be this ‘point guard’, but I want Jrue to always be aggressive offensively because we need those 16, 17 points that he gives us pretty much on a nightly basis.”

Holiday’s 2016/17 salary is worth slightly under $11.3MM. He’ll almost certainly see an annual salary above that figure on his next deal.

Pelicans Notes: Team Ownership, Asik, Hill, Jones

Tom Benson, owner of the Pelicans and New Orleans Saints, reached a settlement with his estranged heirs, Brett Martel of the Associated Press reports. Benson, 89, had sought to prevent his daughter and her children from inheriting shares of each team (more than 90% of the Pelicans’ non-voting stock, according to ESPN). Had Benson not reached a settlement with his heirs, a trial would have been set to take place Monday, February 6. Benson, who bought the Pelicans (then the New Orleans Hornets) for $338MM in 2012, will maintain controlling shares of each team after the settlement.

More surrounding the Pelicans…

  • Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com praised Terrence Jones‘ pump fake, calling it one of the league’s most unique and effective moves. Jones has enjoyed a stellar bounceback season in New Orleans, averaging 15.7 points with 5.3 rebounds over his last six games. “It’s so damn slow, and it looks just like his shot,” teammate Dante Cunningham said of Jones’ pump fake. “The thing is, you don’t always immediately close out to him, because he’s not necessarily going to kill you with his jump shot, because he’d rather drive and get to the rim. But you watch him and he does it so slowly that you think, ‘Oh, he has to shoot this one,’ so you contest it, but then by the time you get there, he’s still pump-faking.” A free agent-to-be on an affordable contract, Jones is likely to generate interest as the trade deadline approaches.
  • John Reid of NOLA.com had several interesting observations in his Twitter mailbag. Reid endorsed the idea of New Orleans pursuing Wilson Chandler of the Nuggets, calling him an ideal player to use alongside Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. Reid lamented the team’s lack of offense, claiming they “just don’t have enough scoring threats on the roster.”
  • Pelicans GM Dell Demps should be making every effort to unload Tyreke Evans, Alexis Ajinca, and Omer Asik via trade, Reid writes. Additionally, Solomon Hill– inked to a four-year, $48MM contract over the offseason- has not performed up to team expectations. Whereas the team expected Hill to develop into a two-way player, his contributions have largely come on the defensive end.