Willy Hernangomez

Southwest Notes: M. Brown, Grizzlies, Pelicans, Wall

Mavericks fans have been clamoring for Moses Brown to get a longer look at center, but head coach Jason Kidd appears in no rush to insert the 22-year-old into the rotation, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

Dwight Powell and Willie Cauley-Stein remain ahead of Brown on the depth chart, Boban Marjanovic is still in the mix, and Kidd also sounds interested in experimenting more with Maxi Kleber in the starting lineup, shifting Kristaps Porzingis to the five. As a result, the Mavericks’ head coach isn’t making any promises to the fans who want to see more of Brown.

“He could get a chance,” Kidd said, per Townsend. “I think for fans, or for anybody, if they look at our roster we have quite a few centers. So there’s a committee of centers. And at some point, maybe he [Brown] has an opportunity to play.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal takes a look at what’s next for the Grizzlies with Ja Morant sidelined due to a sprained knee. Morant has the league’s third-highest usage rate among point guards, so Memphis will try to replace him using a committee, with Tyus Jones, Desmond Bane, De’Anthony Melton, and Kyle Anderson all taking on added ball-handling responsibilities.
  • Jaxson Hayes opened the season as the Pelicans‘ primary backup center, but Willy Hernangomez has taken over that role in New Orleans’ last four games. Scott Kushner of NOLA.com writes that Hayes was handed his minutes, while Hernangomez – who re-signed with the team over the summer – has fought to earn his.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic is confused about why John Wall and the Rockets are at an impasse over whether or not he starts. Hollinger thinks Houston should be open to putting Wall in the starting lineup, where he could make life easier for Jalen Green, but also believes Wall shouldn’t be too hung up on starting, since potential suitors aren’t going to view him any differently if he’s coming off the bench.

Pelicans Notes: Zion, Alexander-Walker, Hayes, Jones

Zion Williamson‘s weight and conditioning are receiving increased scrutiny as his recovery from offseason foot surgery drags on, according to Christian Clark of NOLA.com, who notes that multiple members of the national media have focused on the issue this week.

In a Substack article about the Pelicans star, veteran reporter Marc Stein suggested that Williamson has to be a “more active participant in his own recovery” and must find a way to better manage his weight. Former teammate J.J. Redick, now an analyst for ESPN, stated that Zion “has to be in better shape.” TNT’s television studio analysts also weighed in on the subject on Tuesday, with Charles Barkley joking that recent video of Williamson working out “looked like me and Shaq had a baby.”

Pelicans fans can’t be thrilled that Williamson continues to battle health problems as Ja Morant continues to emerge as one of the league’s brightest young stars in Memphis, but it’s revision history to suggest New Orleans should’ve drafted Morant over Zion with the No. 1 overall pick in 2019, Stein notes. According to Stein, he recently asked executives from 10 different teams about that choice and only one said he might’ve been willing to take Morant first overall two years ago — and even that exec acknowledged that team ownership probably wouldn’t have signed off.

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • The 1-8 Pelicans can reasonably expect to be better once Williamson and Brandon Ingram (hip) are back on the court, but it’s a discouraging sign that other young breakout candidates – such as Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Jaxson Hayes – are off to underwhelming starts this season, writes William Guillory of The Athletic.
  • Hayes, who is typically the backup center behind Jonas Valanciunas, was replaced on the depth chart by Willy Hernangomez in Wednesday’s game, Clark writes for NOLA.com. Hayes only logged four minutes and didn’t play in the second half. It’s unclear if that was just a one-game change or if Hernangomez could see more action going forward, says Clark.
  • Pelicans rookie Herb Jones was placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol on Wednesday after sustaining a concussion in Tuesday’s game vs. Phoenix, the team announced in a press release. He’ll have to show he’s symptom-free before being cleared to return.

Pelicans Notes: Hernangomez, Jones, Murphy, Marshall, Green

Willy Hernangomez‘s new three-year contract with the Pelicans will be fully guaranteed for the first two years with a team option for year three, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link).

Lopez also provides the year-by-year breakdown of Hernangomez’s new deal. The Pelicans held the big man’s Non-Bird rights, giving them the ability to offer a starting salary worth 120% of his $1,939,350 minimum salary. That means Hernangomez will earn $2,327,220 in 2021/22, with 5% annual raises on that amount. The three-year contract will be worth about $7.33MM in total.

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • Herb Jones‘ three-year contract with the Pelicans will be worth more than the minimum for the first two seasons, according to Lopez, who tweets that the No. 35 pick will earn $1.7MM in 2021/22 and $1.785MM in ’22/23. Both of those amounts will be fully guaranteed, followed by a minimum-salary ($1.836MM) team option in ’23/24. New Orleans is using a small part of its mid-level exception on Jones.
  • William Guillory of The Athletic checks in on the Pelicans who have turned heads at the Las Vegas Summer League, writing that Trey Murphy and Naji Marshall look capable of emerging as regular rotation players on the wing. New head coach Willie Green has also done a good job emphasizing ball movement and defensive activity, according to Guillory, who says those are two areas the team needs to improve in 2021/22.
  • After reaching a deal with restricted free agent Josh Hart, the Pelicans look like they’ll be just about finished with their offseason business, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. The team will have 15 players on guaranteed contracts and will have to rely heavily on internal growth from its young players in order to compete for a playoff spot in 2021/22.

Pelicans Re-Sign Willy Hernangomez To Three-Year Deal

AUGUST 16: The Pelicans have officially re-signed Hernangomez, the team announced today in a press release. The club also confirmed Didi Louzada‘s new deal, which was finalized last week.

“The passion Willy and Didi have for their teammates and our greater Pelicans community is reflected every day in their approach to the game,” Pelicans head of basketball operations David Griffin said in a statement. “Their joyful outlook, work ethic, attention to detail and desire to grow and evolve as professionals has been infectious and we look forward to continuing towards our goals together deep into the future.”


AUGUST 6: The Pelicans have agreed to a three-year deal with Willy Hernangomez that will keep the veteran big man in New Orleans, agents Jim Tanner and Guillermo Bermejo tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The third year will be a team option, tweets Christian Clark of NOLA.com.

Hernangomez, 27, spent his first four NBA seasons in New York and Charlotte before joining the Pelicans as a free agent last November. In his first year with the team, he averaged 7.8 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 1.1 APG in 47 games (18.0 MPG) and was the starting center in the season’s final weeks.

Most recently, Hernangomez represented Spain in the Tokyo Olympics, posting a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) in the team’s quarterfinal loss to Team USA earlier this week.

Hernangomez was on a minimum-salary contract last season and New Orleans only held his Non-Bird rights, so the team’s ability to offer a raise without using cap room or another exception (ie. the mid-level) was limited. We’ll have to wait for the financial terms on Hernangomez’s deal to get a sense of how the Pelicans are re-signing him.

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.