Solomon Hill

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.

Pelicans Notes: Asik, Ajinca, Backcourt, Evans

Centers Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca have dropped completely out of the Pelicans rotation as the team has found success with small-ball lineups, Justin Verrier of ESPN.com reports. Asik and Ajinca have been glued to the bench the last three games while the club has reeled off four consecutive victories. Forwards Dante Cunningham and  Solomon Hill are the biggest beneficiaries of coach Alvin Gentry’s altered rotation, and their increased minutes have allowed the Pelicans to switch defensively much more easily, Verrier continues. New Orleans has the league’s 12th ­best offensive rating and fourth-best defensive rating since the shakeup earlier this week, Verrier adds. Franchise player Anthony Davis is thrilled with the new look, as he told Verrier. “When we play small it gives us an advantage on both ends of the floor.” he said.

In other developments regarding the Pelicans:

  • Gentry is enjoying the pleasant dilemma of having too many options at the guard spots, Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com writes. Gentry prefers not to have more than four backcourt players in the rotation, Eichenhofer notes. Jrue Holiday and rookie Buddy Hield are the current starters, leaving Gentry to choose from the quartet of Langston Galloway, E’Twaun Moore, Tyreke Evans and Tim Frazier for the remaining minutes. “It’s good to have the depth and have an opportunity that if things aren’t going real well, to stick another guy in and see if he has it for that night,” Gentry told Eichenhofer.
  • Evans, who can also play small forward, will see an uptick in minutes soon, according to John Reid of the New Orleans Times Picayune. Evans had been on a 15-minute per game restriction since returning from knee surgery and is still not cleared to play both games of back-to-backs, Reid continues. Gentry told Reid and other media members that his minutes would increase to 18 or 20 per game on a regular basis. Evans played 18 minutes against the Knicks on Friday. “I don’t think he’s going to go from 15 to 30,” Gentry said. “I think there’s a possibility that he could play 18 minutes or 20 minutes, that’s the natural progression that’s going to happen.”

Western Notes: McGee, Lakers, Hill, Harden

Warriors backup center JaVale McGee will be rewarded with increased minutes, according to Monte Pool of CSNBayArea. The well-traveled veteran has impressed coach Steve Kerr with his play of late, maybe enough to form a “center by committee” with Zaza Pachulia and David West. McGee played 15 minutes Thursday in Denver, finishing with 10 points, three rebounds and two blocks. “He earned some extra playing time for sure,” Kerr said. “We’re still going through different combinations, but he earned the opportunity to play some more.” The Warriors signed McGee in September to a training camp deal that offered a minimum salary for one year with no guaranteed money.

There’s more tonight from the Western Conference:

  • Kobe Bryant‘s retirement has been one of the factors in the Lakers‘ early-season success, contends Mitch Lawrence of Forbes. With Bryant gone, the team has gotten rid of its isolation offense and replaced it with a team-oriented approach. Also, the young players who were afraid of getting on Bryant’s bad side now have more freedom to play their games. Lawrence also credits the hiring of coach Luke Walton, who has already impressed the organization with his leadership skills.
  • Anthony Davis has been spectacular for the 1-9 Pelicans, but free agent addition Solomon Hill says the rest of the team needs to step up, relays William Guillory of The Times-Picayune. Hill, who joined the team on a four-year, $48MM contract, is averaging 5.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. “Everything’s been going towards [Davis], but I think we need to find ways to get everybody else involved,” Hill said. “He’s going to score regardless. You can throw assistant coaches out there on the floor and as long as they get him the ball he’s going to score. We just got to find ways to do it collectively.”
  • Mike D’Antoni is doing his best coaching job with James Harden, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Dempsey says the Rockets’ star, who is averaging 30.0 points and 10.0 assists per night, is the best fit ever for D’Antoni’s up-tempo system.

Southwest Notes: Beverley, Holiday, Hill, Mavericks

After missing the first part of the season with knee problems, Rockets guard Patrick Beverley plans to be ready next week, relays Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Beverley had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee October 25th. Doctors expected him to be sidelined four to six weeks, but he vowed to return earlier. Houston has games scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and Beverley didn’t specify which one will mark his comeback. “I’m completely healed,” Beverley said. “I did a lot of contact [Friday]. I’ve been getting a lot of contact. It’s up to me to get my rhythm. I don’t want to come in and play limited minutes. When I come back, I’m going to be full force. I can’t say what coach is going to do or how many minutes I’m going to play. But when I come back, I come back to play an overtime, a double overtime game.”

There’s more news out of the Southwest Division:

  • The Pelicans are still waiting for confirmation that Jrue Holiday will be returning soon, according to William Guillory of The Times-Picayune. A published report Friday indicated that Holiday, who has taken a leave of absence to care for his ailing wife, will be back next week. However, coach Alvin Gentry cautions that nothing is definite until Holiday provides confirmation. “We’re anticipating him coming back real soon, but we don’t have any answers until we hear back from Jrue and his people,” Gentry said. “When we hear from Jrue and his people, that’s when it’ll become official. We want him back as soon as we possibly can, but we’ll only know that when Jrue and his agent say, ‘Hey, he’s ready to come back and this is when he’s gonna be back’.”
  • Gentry likes how Solomon Hill performed Thursday in his first game off the bench, relays Jim Eichenhofer of NBA.com. Hill came to New Orleans in July on a four-year, $48MM contract and began the season as a starter. “He was a little more comfortable in that situation, and it gave him more opportunity to do a little more with that second group than he would with the first group,” Gentry said.
  • A slow start hasn’t changed the Mavericks‘ goal of making the playoffs, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Free agent addition Seth Curry and rookie Dorian Finney-Smith have helped right the ship after an 0-5 start, and the Mavs are looking forward to getting injured stars Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams back in the lineup. “This is a playoff organization,” said Justin Anderson. “But it’s way early in the season. Once Dirk gets healthy and D-Will gets back and we start rolling with those guys, I wouldn’t be surprised with the talent we have if we start reeling off some wins in a row.”

Southwest Notes: Howard, Parsons, Hill, Matthews

Dwight Howard may be gone, but the Rockets are still benefiting from the teaching he did with younger players, writes Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com. Howard signed with the Hawks this summer after three seasons in Houston, but he left an impression on Rockets big men Clint Capela, Montrezl Harrell and Sam Dekker“Dwight was a great guy; nobody gets to really see the type of person he is off the court,” Harrell said. “Everybody sees him on the court and thinks he’s childish or he’s a big kid. He’s a great guy with the time I spent with Dwight. He cares about everybody on and off the court. He has a heart that’s so big. Whenever I came out of a game, we were always communicating.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Chandler Parsons will make his Grizzlies debut this afternoon instead of Tuesday as originally expected, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. Parsons, who signed a four-year, $94MM deal with Memphis, hasn’t played since he had surgery on his right knee in March. “Felt great in workout. I’m ready to rock,” Parsons wrote in a text message. “No reason to wait.”
  • Solomon Hill signed with the Pelicans over the offseason, but coach Alvin Gentry had his eye on the fourth-year small forward for a long time, relays Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Hill played college ball at Arizona while Gentry was the head coach in Phoenix, and Gentry wanted to trade for him last season. “I just think he’s a good, solid guy,” Gentry said. “He’s a guy who is trying to find himself in what we’re doing. I told him I think he’s trying to fit in too much. He’s a guy who just needs to be who he is. That’s why we signed him.”
  • Wesley Matthews, who joined the Mavericks in 2015, appears to be one of the building blocks for the team’s future, writes Adam Grosbard of The Dallas Morning News. Matthews is adopting an increased leadership role as Dallas tries to rebound from its slow start. “He’s become one of the faces of our team,” said coach Rick Carlisle. “Just his intensity, his presence out there as our best perimeter defender and just his attitude and stuff like that is a big part of who we are. He’s knowledgeable and relentless and he has great pride [on defense].”

Pelicans Notes: Stephenson, Holiday, Evans, Hill

Lance Stephenson, who recently signed with the Pelicans, sat down with Justin Verrier of ESPN.com to discuss a number of topics, included how the swingman believes he has changed over the past few years. “When you come into the NBA as a youngster, you got babied all your life,” Stephenson said. “Everybody from when you were younger saying, ‘You’re gonna be in the NBA. You’re this and that.’ But once you get in the NBA, there are a lot of guys similar to you, so you have to learn how to do different things to keep developing. So you’ve got to put in the hard work and learn from other guys, see how they work out. Really, I feel like all the stuff I’ve been through has made me a better player. I feel like God puts you in situations to help you succeed in the long run.

When asked why he chose to join New Orleans, Stephenson told Verrier, “I liked this team, and I see a couple young guys that I could potentially help and show all the other stuff that I learned from other places, from guys like Chris Paul, Paul George, Paul Pierce. Just teach them, and help them believe and show them the right way to work out there and what it takes to make it to the conference finals, and getting that work in every day.

Here’s more from New Orleans:

  • Pelicans GM Dell Demps told Verrier (Twitter link) that there is no timetable for Jrue Holiday to return to the team, but he’ll be welcomed back with “open arms” when he does. The point guard has taken a leave of absence to help care for his ailing wife and their newborn child.
  • Demps confirmed to Verrier (via Twitter) that Tyreke Evans won’t be available to play until at least December. The exact timetable should become clearer within the next two-to-four weeks, Verrier adds. Evans is still recovering from the two surgeries on his right knee he underwent last season.
  • Evans isn’t the only ailing Pelican, with Quincy Pondexter also not likely to be available until December at the earliest, though, the forward could potentially be sidelined until January, journalist Guerry Smith tweets. Pondexter underwent cartilage replacement surgery on his left knee back in January.
  • Solomon Hill, who signed a four-year, $48MM deal with the Pelicans in July, understands more will be asked of him this season, writes Scott Kushner of The New Orleans Advocate. “I wouldn’t say the actual role is so much different,” Hill said. “But the level where I need to be for this team is definitely different.
  • Chris Copeland nearly joined the Pelicans three seasons ago, but he landed in Indiana instead, the forward told Jim Eichenhofer of NBA.com. The 32-year-old is excited that he is now in New Orleans after signing with the team this week, the scribe relays. “I’ve thought I was coming here a few times before this,” Copeland said. “For whatever reason, it didn’t pan out. I’m just glad it actually came full circle and I get the opportunity to try again this year. It’s a great city. I tell people time and time again, it has some of the best food in the world, and the atmosphere here is special.”
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