Willy Hernangomez

Olympic Notes: Spain, Simmons, Nigeria, Turkey, Garland

Veteran center Pau Gasol, who has represented Spain in four Olympic tournaments so far, remains on track to be part of the team in Tokyo, per an Associated Press report. Gasol was one of 18 players included on Spain’s preliminary roster for the Tokyo games, joining his brother – Lakers center Marc Gasol – and Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio.

Timberwolves forward Juan Hernangomez, Pelicans big man Willy Hernangomez, and projected first-round pick Usman Garuba are among the other notable names on Spain’s preliminary roster, according to The Associated Press.

Here’s more on the Tokyo Olympics:

Pelicans Notes: Hernangomez, Van Gundy, 3-Point Shooting

Pelicans executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin would like to re-sign reserve center and unrestricted free agent Willy Hernangomez after the Summer Olympics, Christian Clark of NOLA.com reports. Hernangomez is a member of the Spanish national team.

“Willy is going to play meaningful basketball games,” Griffin said. “He’s going to go there, and even though we can’t sign him officially necessarily before he leaves for Spain, he’s going to go there identifying himself as a Pelican, and that’s important for us.”

Hernangomez started nine of New Orleans’ final 10 games and averaged 12.3 PPG and 10.4 RPG.

We have more on the Pelicans:

  • There was tension at times between coach Stan Van Gundy and his players during the season, Scott Kushner of NOLA.com reports. However, Van Gundy was thrust into the role of ‘bad guy’ who held players accountable, since the team’s young stars didn’t do that. It’s crucial that accountability shifts from Van Gundy to Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram in order for the defense and late-game execution to improve, Kushner adds.
  • The team sank to the bottom five in the league in 3-point shooting this season and Griffin said he’ll upgrade the roster in that area, Clark writes in a separate story. With extra first-round picks at his disposal, Griffin has the assets to trade for a perimeter threat or two. He could even deal this year’s lottery pick for proven talent, Clark adds. “We’re in a situation where there is a world of optionality to us,” Griffin said. “The pick assets we have give us incredible flexibility.”
  • Why could Tuesday turn out to be a pivotal day for the Pelicans organization? Get the details here.

Pelicans Sign Jarrod Uthoff To Non-Guaranteed Deal

DECEMBER 2: The Pelicans have officially signed Uthoff, according to RealGM’s transactions log.


NOVEMBER 30: The Pelicans are signing free agent forward Jarrod Uthoff to one-year contract, reports Will Guillory of The Athletic (Twitter link). The minimum-salary deal will be non-guaranteed, Guillory adds.

Uthoff, 27, has played for a handful of teams in the NBA and the G League since going undrafted in 2016, as well as spending a stint in Russia in 2018/19. Last season, he signed a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies in February and then joined the Wizards as a substitute player during the summer restart.

Although Uthoff only got into seven NBA games in 2019/20, he had a big year in the G League, averaging 19.0 PPG, 10.7 RPG, and 3.1 APG with a shooting line of .491/.367/.790 in 34 games (34.9 MPG) for the Memphis Hustle. He was named to the All-NBAGL First Team.

Uthoff is probably unlikely to make the Pelicans’ regular season roster, but the team doesn’t have a full 15-man squad of guaranteed salaries, so the door’s not entirely closed if he impresses during the preseason.

New Orleans has also officially announced its previouslyreported deals with free agents Willy Hernangomez and Wenyen Gabriel.

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.

Pacific Notes: Harrell, Zubac, Oubre, Kings

Montrezl Harrell decided to sign with the Lakers because he wasn’t convinced the Clippers wanted to keep him, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Speaking to the media for the first time since accepting a two-year, $19MM offer to change teams, Harrell indicated that he would have remained with the Clippers if he believed they were interested.

“I feel that if you spend your career in any place long enough, you’re going to want to still keep playing there and keep growing there,” he said. “So, of course I still have great respect for those guys and for that organization. But like I said, as far as they wanted me back, obviously it doesn’t seem that way, does it?”

The new deal for the reigning Sixth Man of the Year contains a player option for 2021/22 that could have him back on the market in July. Some observers have suggested his connection to Klutch Sports prompted him to join fellow clients LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but Harrell said that wasn’t a factor.

“As far as my decision, it didn’t have any effect, because at the end of the day, my decision doesn’t affect neither one of those guys’ lives as far as their living conditions,” he said. “I have a family I have to provide for, so my decision was my decision.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Any further roster upgrades for the Clippers may have to come through trades, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times, who identifies Ivica Zubac, Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams as their best assets. A rival executive tells Greif that Zubac would likely bring the greatest return because he’s only 23 and can still develop his game. Zubac is under contract for three more seasons at a total of $21MM. Williams, who is in the final year of his deal at $8MM, may have limited trade value because of his age and defensive liabilities. Executives who Greif spoke to believe it would be difficult to unload Beverley’s contract, which pays him $27MM over the next two seasons, and the Clippers would likely have to attach draft picks to move him.
  • After being traded from Phoenix to the Warriors, Kelly Oubre appeared to take a shot at Suns owner Robert Sarver, notes Nick Friedell of ESPN“I can play for an owner — somebody who actually cares about the organization and not just the perception of the organization on the media end of it,” Oubre said in a radio interview.
  • New Kings general manager Monte McNair looked for versatile players in the draft and tried to alter the roster to better fit De’Aaron Fox‘s timeline, writes Greg Wissinger of The Sacramento Bee. That’s why he pursued 25-year-old Wesley Iwundu and 26-year-old Willy Hernangomez, although both signed with other teams.

Free Agency Rumors: Ibaka, Iwundu, Hernangomez, Bazemore

Big man Serge Ibaka was not bereft of contending suitors in free agency, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Scotto notes that the Raptors, the team with whom Ibaka spent most of the last four seasons, apparently offered a one-year, $12MM deal to Ibaka for an encore appearance in 2020/21. Toronto was believed to be unwilling to offer multiple years, which would have cut into the team’s projected 2021 cap space.

The Nets also wanted Ibaka, but could only afford a taxpayer mid-level exception, which would have started at $5.7MM this season. Ibaka ultimately inked a two-year, $19MM contract with the Clippers.

Here are more free agency rumors:

  • Though swingman Wesley Iwundu ultimately opted to sign a two-year, veteran’s minimum contract with the Mavericks, the Hawks, Pelicans and Kings were also in the running for Iwundu’s services this offseason, Scotto reports in the same piece.
  • The Mavericks and Kings also considered adding reserve center Willy Hernangomez before he agreed to terms with the Pelicans on a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal, per Scotto. Hernangomez’s 2019/20 club, the Hornets, also apparently wanted to re-sign the 26-year-old big man.
  • Scotto reports that former Kings wing Kent Bazemore also found himself in high demand this offseason before agreeing to a one-year veteran’s minimum deal with the Warriors. The LakersClippersBucksCeltics, Suns, Knicks, Nets, and Hornets were all interested in adding the three-and-D vet this offseason.

Pelicans Sign Willy Hernangomez

NOVEMBER 24: The Pelicans have officially signed Hernangomez, per the NBA’s transactions log.


NOVEMBER 22: The Pelicans are set to sign center Willy Hernangomez to a one-year veteran’s minimum contract, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium tweets. With four years of NBA experience to his credit, Hernangomez should earn $1,737,145 on such a deal.

The 250-pound 6’11” journeyman center, 26, started his NBA career with the Knicks, who drafted him with the 35th pick in 2015. Hernangomez finally joined New York for the 2016/17 season, and was eventually flipped to the Hornets in 2018. He will now back up starting Pelicans center Steven Adams, sent to New Orleans in a recent trade by the Thunder.

Hernangomez will essentially replace reserve center Jahlil Okafor in the New Orleans rotation. Okafor left the Pelicans for the Pistons in free agency. Hernangomez holds career averages of 6.9 PPG and 5.4 RPG in just 14.4 MPG.

Free Agency Rumors: Lakers, Hornets, Pelicans, Baynes, Bazemore

The Lakers anticipate being “first in line” to talk to two of their veteran free agents, Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley, when free agency opens, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Howard and Bradley are expected to draw interest from multiple other clubs, including perhaps the Warriors, but it sounds like L.A. has interest in bringing back both of them. The Lakers and veteran forward Jared Dudley also have mutual interest in a new deal, Scotto adds.

Here’s more from Scotto on free agency:

  • The Hornets are expected to be in the market for a free agent center, according to Scotto, who notes that the team will likely lose Bismack Biyombo and Willy Hernangomez in free agency.
  • Scotto echoes a rumor we heard earlier in the week, writing that the Pelicans are expected to show interest in free agent center Aron Baynes.
  • The Kings and Kent Bazemore are expected to have mutual interest in reaching a new deal, according to Scotto, who notes that the free agent swingman will likely speak with a number of teams once free agency begins.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Hawks, Collins, Wizards

The Hornets have officially published the list of 17 players who will participate in their in-market bubble mini-camp this week and next, including 13 players on the NBA roster and four from their G League affiliate.

Among the most interesting inclusions on the Hornets’ list are Dwayne Bacon and Willy Hernangomez, both of whom are eligible for free agency this offseason. A number of veteran free agents have opted out of these voluntary mini-camps so as not to risk injury, but Bacon and Hernangomez are young players who are unlikely to generate major interest on the open market, so they’re not jeopardizing massive paydays by participating.

The two Hornets players who aren’t taking part in the team’s group activities are Nicolas Batum and Bismack Biyombo. As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes, Biyombo’s absence doesn’t come as a major surprise, since he’s an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Batum, meanwhile, has one year left on his contract, but he has been in France for much of the summer and his wife is pregnant with the couple’s second child, per Bonnell.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • While he acknowledged that the 2020 NBA draft class may not be as star-studded as some past groups, Hornets head coach James Borrego is confident that the team will be able to use the No. 3 pick on a player who will “really add value to our program,” as he tells Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Mitch (Kupchak) and I have dialogue every day,” Borrego said. “I’m excited about the third pick and the 32nd pick, as well. That’s a really good pick for us. The more I dig in, the more I like.”
  • Speaking today to reporters, Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk confirmed that the club anticipates having contract extension discussions with John Collins‘ reps once they’re able to do so (Twitter link via Brad Rowland of Uproxx). Collins will become eligible for a rookie scale extension once the 2020/21 league year begins.
  • Michael Lee and Ben Standig of The Athletic explore the missteps the Wizards have made since 2015 that led them to their current position — capped-out and in the lottery for a second consecutive year.

Hornets Notes: Offseason, Washington, Monk, Hernangomez

The Hornets lobbied to be included in the NBA’s restart this summer and are “very disappointed” not to be part of it, president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak said on Tuesday, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. However, Kupchak and head coach James Borrego accepted the league’s decision and will be satisfied with an opportunity to conduct team activities this summer.

As Bonnell details, Borrego thinks it would make sense for the bottom eight teams not invited to Orlando to be permitted to practice while the other 22 clubs are playing at Disney in August.

“The amount of time they’re spending with their teams and their players as a unit, we believe we should have the same. That would level the playing field a little bit more,” Borrego said. “For me, it’s more about the time that we have (to work with players and to scrimmage) — that it syncs with what (other teams are) getting in Orlando — and also the live play, which we don’t get a lot in the summer.”

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • Also within that Bonnell article linked above: Borrego said he thought P.J. Washington should be on this season’s All-Rookie First Team, and Kupchak said that the Hornets are still in talent-acquisition mode rather than focusing on fit. “At some point, we’ll hopefully be that advanced, to sit down and talk about, ‘Hey, we’ve got five or six guys with great talent, now how do they fit together?'” Kupchak said, according to Bonnell. “I don’t think we’re there right now.”
  • In a separate article for The Observer, Bonnell digs into whether the Hornets have any realistic paths to acquiring a star player.
  • Now that Malik Monk has been reinstated following his drug suspension, he’s set to enter a big year in 2020/21. As Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer writes, the Hornets may have to move on from Monk next year if he doesn’t take a noticeable step forward after three up-and-down seasons.
  • Willy Hernangomez will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, but he said today that he plans to remain in Charlotte for most or all of the summer, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Hernangomez added that he’d “love” to re-sign with the Hornets if possible.I love Charlotte, I love the group of guys we have,” he said, per Bonnell (Twitter links). “I want to be part of the young core that we have.”