Swin Cash

Southwest Notes: Zion, J. Jackson, Belinelli, Cash

After playing limited minutes and sitting in crunch time during the Pelicans‘ first two games – both losses – Zion Williamson logged 25 minutes and was a key contributor down the stretch as New Orleans closed out a Monday win over Memphis. After the game, Williamson told ESPN’s Malika Andrews that he “felt alive again,” per Andrew Lopez of ESPN.

“I ain’t gonna lie to you, it’s just different in a bad way when I’m on the bench in the fourth quarter, and there’s nothing I can do to help my team win,” Williamson said. “So I said I felt alive — it was just great to be out there doing whatever I can to help my team win.”

In addition to Williamson’s contributions, the Pelicans also got 24 points and some key late baskets from Brandon Ingram, while Josh Hart chipped in 15 points and Lonzo Ball was a game-best +15. The performances prompted head coach Alvin Gentry to praise his young core after the win.

“When you have two really young players (Williamson and Ingram) like that who stepped up for you, and Josh Hart, you know, Josh is a very young kid, too,” Gentry said. “I think if you look at it, we have a good, young nucleus of players along with some of the veteran guys we have.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer explores the impact that losing Jaren Jackson Jr. will have on the Grizzlies‘ push to secure a playoff spot. As O’Connor writes, Memphis is well ahead of schedule in its rebuild and should be pleased with the season as a whole, but there’s a chance it will end on a “decidedly sour note.”
  • Speaking of Jackson, he’s staying at the Walt Disney World campus for now, according to Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins (Twitter link via ESPN’s Malika Andrews). However, Jackson may need to leave at some point for treatment and/or rehab work related to his meniscus tear, Jenkins acknowledged.
  • Spurs guard Marco Belinelli, who sprained his left ankle during the team’s first game of the restart last week, is active today after missing a pair of games, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News.
  • David Aldridge of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at Pelicans VP of basketball operations and team development Swin Cash, who is the first Black woman to hold such a high-ranking basketball ops position for an NBA franchise.

Southwest Notes: Aldridge, Finley, Rockets, Cash

Asked earlier this week by a fan which former teammate he’d like to add to the Trail Blazers‘ current roster, Damian Lillard named Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge. That tweet – sent from Portland’s official Twitter account – was soon deleted, but not before Aldridge replied to it with an eyeballs emoji.

Speaking to Michael C. Wright of NBA.com, Aldridge downplayed the significance of his response, but acknowledged that he wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to the idea of returning to Portland and finishing his career with the Trail Blazers. He also diplomatically didn’t rule out the idea of remaining with the Spurs for the remainder of his career.

“I think either one would be fine with me. I feel like I’ve made some good memories in San Antonio. I feel like I’m in a really good family in San Antonio. They understand me. I understand them. So, I like that,” Aldridge said. “I feel I have a lot of history in Portland. So, going back there to finish would be fine also. I’m perfectly fine with finishing my career in San Antonio riding it out until my next chapter, or if things have to change there, and if (the Spurs) decide to go young, then I wouldn’t mind going to (the Trail Blazers).”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Appearing on the McNeil & Parkins Show on 670 The Score in Chicago, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was evasive when asked whether the Bulls have asked to interview Michael Finley for a front office position. However, he said he’d grant Chicago permission to speak to Finley if asked. Finley was identified last week as a potential candidate for the Bulls’ GM opening.
  • As Kelly Iko of The Athletic details, the Rockets only played 14 games after trading away Clint Capela before this year’s trade deadline. That small sample size could be problematic, especially if the season doesn’t resume, since the Rockets will have to make offseason decisions based on whether or not they feel the center-less lineup is a viable approach going forward.
  • William Guillory of The Athletic examines the role that Pelicans vice president of basketball operations Swin Cash has played in her first year with the franchise and the impact she has had on the team’s young players.

And-Ones: Wiseman, Schwartz, Andrews, Hall Of Fame

It’s unlikely that James Wiseman will fall below the top five in the June draft, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reports. The freshman center decided to leave Memphis on Thursday and sign with an agent to prepare for the draft.

Wiseman could have solidified his draft stock had he finished the college season on a high note after his 12-game NCAA suspension ended. However, he could have also slipped some if the Tigers had started losing games with Wiseman in the lineup. Givony continues. The lack of quality big men in a draft and the need of several lottery teams to add an impact big man could also help him, Givony adds.

We have more from around the basketball world:

Pelicans Adding Swin Cash To Front Office

Former UConn and WNBA star Swin Cash is joining the Pelicans’ management group, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who reports that New Orleans is hiring Cash for a senior front office role.

According to Lowe, Cash will assume the title of vice president of basketball operations and team development. Her responsibilities will include scouting and helping to guide player development “on and off the floor.”

Cash, who was a member of championship teams at the University of Connecticut in 2000 and 2002, later spent 15 years as a WNBA player, winning three titles and making four All-Star teams. As Lowe points out, she spent time as an analyst on NBA TV last season alongside David Griffin, who is the new head of basketball operations in New Orleans.

Cash represents the second notable addition to the Pelicans’ front office since Griffin was hired this spring. The club also lured Trajan Langdon away from Brooklyn, making him the Pelicans’ new general manager.

It is becoming increasingly common for NBA teams to add current or former WNBA stars to their front offices or coaching staffs. Sue Bird was hired by the Nuggets in a management role last fall, while Kristi Toliver (Wizards), Lindsey Harding (Sixers), Jenny Boucek (Mavericks), and Becky Hammon (Spurs) are part of the NBA’s assistant coaching ranks.