Steven Adams

Trade Rumors: Pelicans, Bledsoe, Knicks, Pacers, Holiday, More

The Pelicans are hoping to move off some of their expensive, longer-term contracts, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, who points to Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams as two players who fit that bill. Since neither Bledsoe nor Adams looks like a positive trade asset at this point, a more appealing young player like Lonzo Ball could “serve as a reward” for a trade partner who is open to absorbing one of those contracts, Vardon writes.

Reports from Ian Begley of SNY.tv and Mike Mazzeo (Twitter link) also suggest that the Pelicans are looking to dump some long-term salary. Begley hears from sources that New Orleans has spoken to multiple teams – including the Knicks – about attaching a first-round pick to Bledsoe’s contract in potential trades. It’s not clear what sort of return the Pels are seeking in exchange for Bledsoe and a first-rounder.

Meanwhile, Mazzeo hears that the Knicks and Pelicans have discussed the possibility of a trade that includes both Ball and Bledsoe, but that New York would want to find a third team to take on Bledsoe’s contract in that scenario.

Here are a few more of the latest trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • Although at least one “prominent voice” within the Knicks‘ organization is in favor of acquiring Andre Drummond from the Cavaliers, the majority of the front office doesn’t view the big man as a fit, according to Begley.
  • The Pacers have held numerous trade discussions this week about Myles Turner, Aaron Holiday, and Doug McDermott, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). A previous report stated that Indiana would have to be blown away to move Turner this week, but Holiday and McDermott are more viable trade candidates.
  • Addressing the Holiday situation, J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star cites league sources who say that many people around the Pacers guard are hoping he’s dealt this week or during the offseason. Playing time is a top priority for Holiday, and he has seen his minutes dip to 18.0 per game under Nate Bjorkgren this season (after averaging 24.5 MPG a year ago). According to Michael, the Knicks and Suns have had interest in Holiday in the past, but it’s not clear if he’s on either team’s radar now.
  • If LaMarcus Aldridge is bought out rather than traded, the Suns would be in the mix, though the Heat and Nets would probably be ahead of Phoenix in the pecking order, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

Southwest Notes: Wall, Adams, Richardson

Christian Wood thought new Rockets teammate John Wall was back in “All-Star mode” Thursday as he played his first regular season game in 735 days, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Wall has been counting the days, as he told reporters after he posted 22 points, six rebounds and nine assists in a win over the Kings.

“It was great, man, just to get out there and have fun,” he said. “When I get between those four lines and once the ball touches my hands after the jump ball, I was fine. I was happy to be able to compete with some of the best guys in this league and (demonstrate) that I have the ability to be one of the best point guards in this league.”

Wall said he feels “amazing” after being sidelined for more than two full years by surgeries on his left heel and a ruptured Achilles tendon. He displayed the explosiveness he had before the injuries, getting six of his eight baskets on layups and dunks. Coach Stephen Silas believes Wall, who has been in quarantine for the past week, will improve as he gets more familiar with playing alongside James Harden.

“They haven’t been together, and we’re still trying to figure it out — who has it and who’s playing off the ball some,” Silas said. “They’re kind of figuring it out on their own with my help. That relationship has to grow and get better and better.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Wall talked to Shams Charania of The Athletic about the difficulties he faced after the injuries, including the possibility that his foot might have to be amputated (video link). “It was tough,” Wall said. “I went through three or four different infections. So it got to the point where, ‘OK, are you going to have to cut your foot off or not?’ That’s where it got real with me.”
  • It was fake crowd noise because no fans are allowed in the arena, but the Thunder made sure Pelicans center Steven Adams received a loud ovation in his return to Oklahoma City Thursday night, according to NOLA.com. Adams spent seven years in OKC before being traded to New Orleans during the offseason.
  • Mavericks guard Josh Richardson patterned his game after Jimmy Butler and can’t believe he was involved in the trade that brought Butler to Miami, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel“I really like Jimmy Butler a lot. Especially when he was rising in Chicago, I was a big fan,” Richardson said. “… And it was crazy like actually being in a Jimmy Butler trade. It was kind of like surreal, because he was one of my favorite players and I was getting traded for him. And that was like a really interesting thing for me.”

NBA GMs Vote Lakers As Offseason Winners, Title Favorites

The NBA’s general managers liked the Lakers‘ offseason moves and are bullish on the team’s chances to repeat as champions in 2020/21, as John Schuhmann of NBA.com writes in his annual survey of the league’s GMs.

An impressive 81% of the responding general managers picked the Lakers to win the championship in 2021, which is the third-highest percentage any team has received since Schuhmann began conducting his annual GM survey 19 years ago. The Clippers ranked second at 11%, while the Nets and Heat received one vote apiece.

Meanwhile, the Lakers (37%) beat out the Suns (22%) and Thunder (15%) in the voting for best offseason roster moves. The Hawks, Bucks, and Sixers each received two votes, while the Trail Blazers got one too.

Here are a few more of the interesting responses from Schuhmann’s GM survey, which is worth checking out in full:

  • The Suns‘ acquisition of Chris Paul (44%) and the Bucks‘ trade for Jrue Holiday (33%) were voted the moves that will have the biggest impact this season. The Clippers‘ signing of Serge Ibaka (15%), the Pelicans‘ deal for Steven Adams (11%), and the Trail Blazers‘ trade for Robert Covington (11%) were the front-runners for the most underrated offseason player acquisition. Gordon Hayward‘s $120MM contract with the Hornets (54%) was voted the most surprising offseason move.
  • While NBA GMs view Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (39%) as the favorite to win Rookie of the Year over Warriors big man James Wiseman (29%), Wiseman received the most votes (36%) among this year’s rookies to be the best player in five years, followed by Ball (25%). Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton, meanwhile, was voted the biggest steal in the 2020 draft (43%).
  • Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic were the top choices as the player GMs would want to start a franchise with today. They each received 43% of the vote, with Lakers stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James and Pelicans youngster Zion Williamson also picking up votes.
  • Speaking of Williamson, he helped the Pelicans receive the nod for the team with the most promising young core (41%). The Grizzlies (22%), Hawks (11%), Celtics (11%), and Nuggets (11%) also got multiple votes.

Southwest Notes: Vassell, DeRozan, Tucker, Pelicans, Redick, Bledsoe

Spurs swingman DeMar DeRozan is helping to teach rookie Devin Vassell the nuances of the NBA game, Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express News writes. Vassell was selected with the 11th overall pick in the draft and also plays on the wing. “A lot of times, even in practice, he comes to me and asks questions,” DeRozan said. “That’s big for a young guy to to be able to come to our vets and just ask questions, ask what he is doing wrong, what he can do better.” Vassell had 12 points, six rebounds and three steals in 24 minutes during his preseason debut.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Seeking an extension, Rockets forward P.J. Tucker says he wants to go “where I am wanted,” Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Tucker promises to “do my job” even if the club doesn’t offer him an extension. Tucker, who will make approximately $7.97MM this season, will enter unrestricted free agency next summer.
  • The Pelicans’ acquisition of center Steven Adams from the Thunder and subsequent decision to give him an extension was a head-scratcher, John Hollinger of The Athletic opines. They could have instead acquired a better shooter in Al Horford or re-signed Derrick Favors. They also would have been better off holding onto George Hill, rather than dealing him in the same multi-team trade involving Denver and Oklahoma City, Hollinger contends. Hill is a better shooter than Eric Bledsoe and New Orleans also has enough depth at the point, Hollinger adds.
  • Bledsoe will have to pass a series of tests before he can rejoin the Pelicans, coach Stan Van Gundy told The Athletic’s Will Guillory and other media members (Twitter link). Bledsoe left the market due to a personal matter and missed a COVID-19 test. J.J. Redick was held out of the team’s preseason game on Monday due to contact tracing.

Pelicans Notes: Ball, Bledsoe, Adams, Holiday, Ingram, Williamson

The Pelicans won’t be choosing between Lonzo Ball and recently-acquired Eric Bledsoe as their starting point guard, according to executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin. New Orleans’ top executive envisions that they’ll form the starting backcourt, Andrew Lopez of ESPN tweets. The Pelicans had a similar setup last season, when Ball and Jrue Holiday shared ballhandling duties. The Pelicans acquired Bledsoe from the Bucks and center Steven Adams from the Thunder, along with draft picks, in a four-team deal that sent Holiday to Milwaukee.

New head coach Stan Van Gundy said that Griffin has prioritized toughness and competitiveness at a very high level, and Bledsoe and Adams fit that mold, Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Times Picayune tweets.

Griffin and Van Gundy dropped some interesting tidbits during their Monday press conference:

  • Griffin had pursued Adams for a very long time, according to Kushner (Twitter link). Griffin was impressed with Adams since meeting him prior to the 2013 draft. Adams, who was selected with the No. 12 pick that year, received a two-year, $35MM extension as part of the four-team deal.
  • The front office wanted to do right by Holiday by trading him to a title contender, Lopez notes (Twitter link). Griffin said Holiday’s career timeline to compete for a championship differed somewhat from the Pelicans’ timeline.
  • Brandon Ingram‘s five-year contract doesn’t include a player option, Lopez adds in another tweet, but there is a trade bonus. Ingram officially signed the $158.25MM contract on Monday.
  • Zion Williamson will not have any restrictions heading into training camp, according to Van Gundy. The coach anticipates the early days of camp will look different because they haven’t played as much pickup due to COVID-19 restrictions and a short offseason (Twitter link).
  • The team’s disappointing showing in the Orlando restart convinced Griffin the team needed more “elite competitors” and didn’t have “enough of a work ethic identity,” Kushner relays (Twitter link).

Contract Details: Adams, Hernangomez, Bol, Bacon, McDermott

After receiving a trade bonus worth $2MM as part of the deal that sent him from Oklahoma City to New Orleans, Pelicans center Steven Adams will have a new 7.5% trade kicker on his two-year extension with his new team, tweets Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. That kicker will give Adams a rare opportunity to potentially cash in on two trade bonuses between free agencies.

Meanwhile, Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports reports (via Twitter) that another new Pelicans center, Willy Hernangomez, will only have a partial guarantee on his new deal with the team. Hernangomez is assured of receiving at least $700K of his $1.74MM minimum salary for 2020/21, Smith notes.

Here are a few more notes on recently-signed contracts from around the NBA:

  • Both years on Bol Bol‘s two-year contract with the Nuggets are fully guaranteed, tweets Eric Pincus. Denver used a portion of its mid-level exception to complete the $4.2MM deal.
  • Dwayne Bacon‘s new two-year contract with the Magic is for the veteran’s minimum and will be non-guaranteed for 2021/22, tweets Keith Smith. If Bacon remains under contract for more than three days after 2021’s free agency moratorium ends, he’ll get that full guarantee on year two, Smith adds.
  • While most of the two-way contracts that have been signed by players in the last week are only for one year, Sean McDermott’s deal with the Grizzlies will cover two years, tweets Smith.

Pelicans Sign Steven Adams To Extension

NOVEMBER 24: Now that the trade sending him to New Orleans has been completed, the Pelicans have officially announced their extension agreement with Adams.


NOVEMBER 23: As part of the trade that will send center Steven Adams from Oklahoma City to New Orleans, the Pelicans are signing Adams to a two-year contract extension worth $35MM, sources tell Zach Lowe and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links). The deal, which will run through 2022/23, will be fully guaranteed, per the ESPN duo.

Teams are permitted to extend players as part of trades, though those deals are limited to three total years, including the ones remaining on the player’s current contract. Since Adams is on an expiring contract, the Pelicans are able to tack on two new years. Worth $17.5MM annually, the extension will represent a dip from the big man’s current $27.5MM salary.

As we relayed earlier tonight, the Pelicans reportedly pursued Adams during the 2019 offseason. Their willingness to surrender a first-round pick for him and sign him to an extension are two more signs that he’s a player they value significantly.

In 2019/20, Adams averaged 10.9 PPG, 9.3 RPG, and 2.3 APG in 63 games (26.7 MPG) as Oklahoma City’s starting center, helping to anchor the team’s defense. He’ll presumably take on a similar role in New Orleans, playing alongside Zion Williamson in the Pelicans’ starting five.

Adams is now on track to reach unrestricted free agency at age 30 in 2023.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Four-Team Jrue Holiday, Steven Adams Trade Officially Complete

The Pelicans, Thunder, Bucks, and Nuggets have officially completed the four-team trade that will send Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee and Steven Adams to New Orleans, the Pelicans announced today in a press release.

In total, the mega-deal involves 10 players, five draft picks, and two future pick swaps. The trade breaks down as follows:

  • Bucks acquire Holiday and the draft rights to Sam Merrill (No. 60 pick; from Pelicans).
  • Pelicans acquire Adams, Eric Bledsoe, the Bucks’ 2025 first-round pick (unprotected), the Bucks’ 2027 first-round pick (unprotected), and the right to swap first-round picks with the Bucks in 2024 and 2026.
  • Thunder acquire George Hill, Darius MillerKenrich Williams (sign-and-trade), Josh Gray (sign-and-trade), Zylan Cheatham (sign-and-trade), the Nuggets’ 2023 first-round pick (top-14 protected), the Wizards’ 2023 second-round pick (from Pelicans), and the Hornets’ 2024 second-round pick (from Pelicans).
  • Nuggets acquire the draft rights to RJ Hampton (No. 24 pick; from Bucks).

The deal began when the Bucks and Pelicans reached an agreement on a trade sending Holiday to Milwaukee last week. From there, the Thunder got involved when New Orleans agreed to flip Hill to Oklahoma City in a trade for Adams.

A draft-night deal between the Nuggets and Pelicans that involved the Nuggets’ 2023 first-rounder and the Bucks’ No. 24 pick (sent to New Orleans as part of the original Holiday agreement) was folded in to make it a four-team trade when the Pels agreed to flip Denver’s ’23 pick to OKC as part of the Adams package.

As cap expert Albert Nahmad has pointed out (via Twitter), it’s an intricate, complex transaction that had to make use of a slew of CBA rules. The Pelicans, who are signing Adams to a two-year extension as part of the trade, needed to sign-and-trade Williams, Gray, and Cheatham to Oklahoma City and guarantee most or all of Miller’s $7MM salary in order to abide by salary-matching rules.

Meanwhile, Adams gets a trade bonus worth a little over $2MM as part of the deal, while the Thunder create the largest trade exception in NBA history, worth $27.5MM, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).

Unfortunately, as Nahmad observes (via Twitter), Oklahoma City will likely have to use that massive TPE immediately to accommodate the acquisition of Al Horford. Still, as John Hollinger of The Athletic writes, the Thunder should come out of their series of transactions with a handful of usable trade exceptions, including one worth $15.4MM.

A full breakdown of this offseason’s trades – including the ones not yet made official – can be found right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southwest Notes: Adams, Cousins, Wood, Haliburton, Covington

The Thunder are trading center Steven Adams to the Pelicans and it isn’t the first time New Orleans tried to make that happen, ESPN’s Royce Young tweets. The Pelicans pursued an Adams trade last offseason when the Thunder shook up their roster by trading Paul George and Russell Westbrook but the teams couldn’t work out an agreement at that time.

We have more news from the Southwest Division:

  • A workout on Monday convinced the Rockets to sign DeMarcus Cousins, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Cousins’ workout squelched any concerns about Cousins’ health, Haynes adds. Cousins agreed to a non-guaranteed one-year deal.
  • The acquisition of Christian Wood should have a major impact on the retooled Rockets, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. Wood, who’s headed to Houston on a sign-and-trade, should provide elite production in pick-and-rolls with two star play-makers setting him up. Wood’s perimeter shooting will facilitate the Rockets’ small lineups by provide spacing for Westbrook with his ability to attack closeouts off the dribble and finish, Feigen adds.
  • The Mavericks tried to trade up in the draft to land guard Tyrese Haliburton, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe (hat tip to RealGM). Dallas attempted to trade multiple picks to lottery teams in the 7-11 range to make that move. Haliburton was ultimately selected at No. 12 by the Kings. The Mavs also tried to work out a deal with the Rockets for small forward Robert Covington, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, but Houston instead chose to deal him to the Trail Blazers.

Northwest Notes: Favors, Adams, Nuggets, Murkey

Even though he was a good fit in New Orleans, Derrick Favors missed playing for the Jazz, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. Favors spent more than eight seasons in Utah before being traded last summer to free up cap space, so he was thrilled to get the opportunity to return.

“The history behind everything that came with playing for the Jazz meant a lot to me,” said Favors, who agreed to a three-year deal Friday worth about $27MM. “I made my career there, and I grew up in Utah. There were different teams that showed interest. But I wanted to make the best decision for myself and my family.”

Favors will return to a different role, Jones notes. He was a starter for most of his time in Utah, but he will be used primarily as a back-up center and power forward, though he may start some games against smaller teams. The Jazz had other options if they couldn’t sign Favors, Jones adds, including at least two players who were starters last season, but they couldn’t play both positions.

There’s more from the Northwest Division: