Archive for the ‘ New Orleans Pelicans Blog ’ Category

The New Orleans Pelicans have acquired forward Wesley Johnson from the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for center Alexis Ajinca.

In a subsequent transaction, the Clippers then waived Ajinca.

“Wes is a versatile player and a consummate professional who impacts the game on both ends of the court, and brings a strong, positive presence to the locker room,” said Frank. “We want to thank Wes for his contributions to the Clippers organization, and wish him, and his family, the best of luck in New Orleans.”

Johnson, 31, averaged 5.1 points and 2.9 rebounds in 17.8 minutes across 222 appearances (52 starts) in three seasons with L.A. The eight-year NBA veteran holds career averages of 7.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in 22.7 minutes through 571 games (321 starts) with the Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers. The Corsicana, Texas native was originally drafted by the Timberwolves with the 4th pick in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft. The 6-foot-7 forward played his first two years of collegiate basketball at Iowa State before transferring to Syracuse.

Ajinca, 30, holds career averages of 5.3 points and 3.9 rebounds across 293 appearances in seven NBA seasons with Charlotte, Dallas, Toronto and New Orleans. A native of Saint-Etienne, France, the 7’2”, 248-pound center was selected 20th overall by Charlotte in the 2008 NBA Draft.

The New Orleans Pelicans have waived guard Jarrett Jack and forward Garlon Green.

Green, who was originally signed on July 24 after playing on the Pelicans’ summer league team in Las Vegas, appeared in four preseason games, averaging 4.0 points and 1.5 rebounds. Jack, who signed with New Orleans on September 19, appeared in three preseason games, averaging 3.3 points, 2.0 assists and 1.0 rebounds.

New Orleans’s roster currently stands at 16, including one two-way player (Trevon Bluiett).

Pelicans waive  Darius Morris and Brandon McCoy

The New Orleans Pelicans have waived guard Darius Morris and center Brandon McCoy.

McCoy, who signed with the Pels on September 29, played in three preseason games, and averaged 2.7 points and 2.7 rebounds.

Morris, originally signed on September 4, appeared with New Orleans in three preseason contests, and averaged 1.7 assists per game.

New Orleans’s roster currently stands at 18, including one two-way player (Trevon Bluiett).

Pelicans finish NBA preseason 0-5

Preseason is just a warmup, but it’s still not exactly a positive sign when a team fails to register a single win. Here’s The Advocate reporting on the Pelicans, who lost all five of their 2018-19 preseason games:

Nothing matters until next Wednesday’s regular-season opener at Houston, but the New Orleans Pelicans joined a very small list by losing their preseason finale against the Toronto Raptors.

Despite facing what amounted to a junior varsity lineup while playing their regular starters in a dress rehearsal for the games that count, the Pelicans could not muster up enough defense to win, falling 134-119 on Thursday night at the Smoothie King Center.

Toronto never trailed in the second half, shooting 53 percent from the floor and 43.8 percent from the 3-point line.

“It’s concerning,” coach Alvin Gentry said. “More so than anything, we’ve got to do a much better job of just guarding the ball and keeping it in front of us.”

Pelicans sign center Brandon McCoy

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed free agent center Brandon McCoy.

It is very likely a non-guaranteed deal that merely brings McCoy to training camp.

McCoy, 7-1, 250, went undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft. The Chicago native spent one season at UNLV, appearing in 33 games and averaging 16.9 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks.

McCoy will wear #12 for the Pelicans. New Orleans’ training camp roster now stands at 20.

Anthony Davis no longer has DeMarcus Cousins as a teammate, but new squad member Julius Randle could do big things next to him. The two form one of the most interesting frontcourt combos in the league, and are worth keeping an eye on, especially early in the season to see how well they learn to play together. Of course, chemistry development takes time. Here’s The Advocate reporting:

“The stuff I’ve seen (Julius) do with the Lakers has been awesome,” Davis said. “His ability to be a playmaker. His ability to score out of the post on anybody. It can be bigger guys or smaller guys. He’s going to go through your chest and get a bucket, go to the line. He’s another guy who can do pretty much everything. When you have a guy like that, it’s hard not to be excited to play with a guy like that. I’m excited to see how it flows in a game.”

Collectively, David and Randle averaged 44.2 points and 19.1 rebounds last season for their respective teams. That’s 28.1 points and 16.1 rebounds for Davis and 16.1 points and 8 rebounds for Randle.

Randle looks forward to the possibilities.

For the first time in his NBA career, he’ll be playing alongside an MVP-caliber player.

“I’ve never been in a situation where I got to play with a player like AD,” Randle said. “For me, I feel like it makes my job a lot easier. I can just go out there and do what I naturally do, which is play hard. Everything else works itself out because he takes so much pressure off all of us. We already know hat he can do on both ends of the floor and how he affects the game.”

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Pelicans waive Emeka Okafor

Pelicans waive Emeka Okafor

The New Orleans Pelicans requested waivers on center Emeka Okafor today.

Okafor, 6-10, 252, appeared in 26 regular season games last season with New Orleans after signing with the team on February 3, 2018 and finished the season with averages of 4.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game.

It’s tough to say if Okafor will find his way back into the NBA. Right now he’s a longshot to make a regular season roster.

Pelicans sign Jarrett Jack

Pelicans sign Jarrett Jack

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed guard Jarrett Jack.

Jack, 6-3, 200, most recently played for the New York Knicks, appearing in 62 games last season (56 starts) while averaging 7.5 points, 5.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 25.0 minutes per contest.

This will be Jack’s third stint with New Orleans, as he appeared in two games with the Pelicans in 2016-17 and 115 games between 2010-12. In 117 regular season games for New Orleans, Jack has averaged 11.1 points, 4.0 assists and 2.6 rebounds in 25.1 minutes per game.

Selected 22nd overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 2005 NBA Draft out of Georgia Tech, Jack has appeared in 867 career regular season games with Portland, Toronto, New Orleans, Golden State, Cleveland, Brooklyn and New York, holding averages of 10.8 points, 4.6 assists and 2.9 rebounds in 27.8 minutes per contest.

On the Pelicans and their defense

Here’s The Advocate with some thoughts on the Pelicans and what makes them tick when things are going their way:

But underneath the waves of full-court sprints and lit-up scoreboards, the backbone of the Pelicans’ success was their stingy and savvy defense. Despite the onslaught of speed, they were able to stymie opposing offenses from scoring efficiently in transition, while effectively bottling up the halfcourt pick-and-roll.

From Feb. 1 onward, New Orleans allowed just 103.4 points per 100 possessions, the league’s fourth-best overall output and ranked No. 1 in defending the pick-and-roll. It allowed the Pelicans to win 20 of their final 28 games, while vaulting both Holiday and Davis to be the only teammates named first-team All-Defense selections.

Now, a week away from the opening of training camp, and with a recalibrated roster in place, the Pelicans’ mission is to re-engineer their defense to match the output generated in those final 35 games.

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Anthony Davis is one of the league’s top stars, though his Pelicans squad needs more talent for their win totals to turn anyone’s heads. But on an individual level, Davis has decided to make a change. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis has parted ways with longtime agent Thad Foucher, sources told ESPN.

To officially change agents, players are required to file paperwork with the players’ union and then wait 15 days. Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who represents LeBron James among others, is a leading contender to represent Davis, sources said.

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The L.A. Clippers have exercised their right of first refusal and will retain guard Tyrone Wallace.

Per NBA rule, the Clippers had two days to match the offer sheet provided to Wallace by the New Orleans Pelicans.

Wallace spent training camp with Los Angeles before the club’s G League affiliate, the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, acquired his returning player rights from the Salt Lake City Stars in October 2017. He spent the early part of the 2017-18 season with Agua Caliente, appearing in 26 games and averaged 22.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.3 assists. On January 6, Wallace signed a two-way contract with the L.A. Clippers, appearing in 30 games for Los Angeles and averaged 9.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 28.4 minutes.

“We identified Tyrone as a versatile, competitive and tough-minded player who adds to the organizational culture,” said Frank. “Ty worked hard with our staff at Agua Caliente and Los Angeles, and his growth has been a reflection of his commitment to getting better. Together with our team’s player development program, Ty demonstrated impressive improvement and contributed meaningfully to our team last season. We are excited to welcome Ty back to the Clippers.”

A native of Bakersfield, CA, Wallace was selected 60th overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2016 NBA Draft out of the University of California, Berkeley.

Pelicans sign Darius Morris

Pelicans sign Darius Morris

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed guard Darius Morris.

Morris, 6-4, 195, most recently played for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA G League, appearing in three games at the end of the regular season and averaging 19.0 points, 7.7 assists and 4.7 rebounds.

Selected 41st overall in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, the University of Michigan product has appeared in 132 career regular season games with the Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies and Brooklyn Nets, holding averages of 3.3 points, 1.4 assists and 1.0 rebounds. Additionally, Morris has appeared in 65 career G League games with Los Angeles and Rio Grande Valley, averaging 19.1 points, 6.4 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals

Pelicans waive DeAndre Liggins

Pelicans waive DeAndre Liggins

The New Orleans Pelicans waived guard DeAndre Liggins today.

Liggins, 6-6, 209, appeared in 27 games (three starts) for New Orleans last season after being originally signed on January 10, averaging 1.6 points and 1.0 rebounds in 9.0 minutes.

The Pelicans had an interesting offseason. Their biggest change is losing DeMarcus Cousins, who is still healing from injury, and adding power forward Julius Randle, who could do big things alongside superstar Anthony Davis. Other roster changes took place as well, but that’s the big one.

As for Liggins, he was a longshot to make the regular season roster, but could latch on with another team.

Pelicans sign Jahlil Okafor

Pelicans sign Jahlil Okafor

Jahlil Okafor’s quest to find his place in the NBA will continue, now in New Orleans.

The Pelicans signed Okafor, a free agent center, today. According to ESPN.com, “a source told ESPN that Okafor’s deal includes a partial guarantee for the 2018-19 season and a team option for the following season.”

Okafor, 6-11, 275, played last season with the Philadelphia 76ers (two games) and Brooklyn Nets (26 games), averaging 6.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in 12.6 minutes per contest.

Originally selected with the third overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft out of Duke University, Okafor has appeared in 131 career regular season games (81 starts) with Philadelphia and Brooklyn, holding career averages of 12.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks in 23.5 minutes per game.

CBS Sports had this to say about the signing: “The Pelicans’ big men that they’ll certainly be keeping in rotation next season now include Anthony Davis, Julius Randle and Nikola Mirotic. Last season, each of those three players averaged over 12 percent of their points on the fast break. For Davis, it was 12.7 percent. For Mirotic, 14.6 percent. And for newcomer Randle, 16.8 percent with the Lakers. The Pelicans as a whole led the league in pace last season, according to NBA Stats, and their pace only increased after DeMarcus Cousins went down just before the All-Star Break. After Cousins’ injury, they led the NBA in percentage of points scored in transition at 17.7 percent.”

Pelicans sign forward Troy Williams

Pelicans sign forward Troy Williams

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed free agent forward Troy Williams.

Williams, 6-7, 220, was a member of the New York Knicks’ 2018 Summer League team, appearing in five contests and averaging 11.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 20.6 minutes per game.

During the 2017-18 season, Williams appeared in 21 contests for the Knicks and the Houston Rockets, averaging 6.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game. He also played in 19 games (17 starts) last season for Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA G League, averaging 19.8 points while shooting 46.4% from the field, 5.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 29.1 minutes per game.

Originally undrafted in 2016 out of Indiana University, Williams has appeared in 51 career regular season games for Memphis, Houston and New York, holding averages of 6.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 16.9 minutes per game.

Pelicans sign Trevon Bluiett to two-way contract

The New Orleans Pelicans today signed guard Trevon Bluiett to a two-way contract.

Bluiett, 6-5, 215, joined the Pelicans’ Summer League team after going undrafted out of Xavier (OH) in 2018. In four Summer League games, Bluiett averaged 18.3 points on .565 shooting from the field, including .536 from three-point range. In his first two outings at the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2018 in Las Vegas, Bluiett scored 24 and 26 points, respectively, while connecting on six three-pointers in each contest.

In 142 collegiate games at Xavier, the Indianapolis native averaged 15.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists. During his senior season, Bluiett averaged 19.3 points while shooting .417 from three-point range on his way to being named to the All-Big East First Team for the third consecutive season, as well as a Consensus Second-Team All-American.

Per NBA rules, each team is allowed to carry two players on two-way contracts in addition to the standard 15 players on the roster. Players signed to two-way contracts will spend the majority of the year in the NBA G League, but can be called up to their NBA team for a maximum of 45 days during the season.

Pelicans re-sign Ian Clark

Pelicans re-sign Ian Clark

The New Orleans Pelicans have re-signed guard Ian Clark.

Clark, 6-3, 175, appeared in 74 games with New Orleans during the 2017-18 regular season and averaged 7.4 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 19.7 minutes per game. After the All-Star break, Clark averaged 11.0 points while shooting .488 from the field and .368 from three-point range, 2.0 assists and 2.0 rebounds in 24.8 minutes per game. Clark additionally appeared in nine postseason games, averaging 7.8 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists while shooting .424 from the floor, including .357 from three-point range.

Undrafted out of Belmont University in 2013, Clark has appeared in 270 career regular season games with Utah, Denver, Golden State and New Orleans, holding career averages of 5.3 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 13.1 minutes per game. Additionally, Clark has appeared in 41 career postseason contests, averaging 6.0 points while shooting .475 from the field and .354 from three-point range, 1.3 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 13.7 minutes per game.

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed forward Julius Randle and guard Elfrid Payton.

Randle’s contract is reportedly a two-year, $18 million deal. And Payton’s contract is reportedly a one-year deal.

Payton wasn’t really thought of as a long-term part of the Magic. He hasn’t yet proven if he’s worthy of starting on a good team vs being a bench contributor. He definitely belongs in almost any team’s backcourt rotation. And should presumably continue to improve.

Randle was thought of as a long-term part of the Lakers’ future. At least until the emergence of Kyle Kuzma, the signing of LeBron James, and the need for salary cap flexibility. Randle probably wanted a serious long-term contract from the Lakers. But this isn’t the right time for them to commit to that. They would have liked to keep him. But business is business, and right now the Lakers’ business is making roster moves devoted to getting some stars around LeBron James by next offseason.

Payton, 6-4, 185, played last season with the Orlando Magic (44 games) and Phoenix Suns (19 games), averaging 12.7 points, 6.2 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 28.7 minutes per contest. In 300 career NBA regular season games with Orlando and Phoenix, Payton has averaged 11.2 points, 6.4 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 29.5 minutes per game.

A native of Gretna, La., Payton starred at John Ehret High School before playing collegiately at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. After a three-year collegiate career where he was a two-time member of the First-Team All-Sun Belt and the 2014 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year, Payton was selected 10th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by Philadelphia before being acquired by Orlando in a draft night trade.

Randle, 6-9, 250, had previously spent his entire four-year NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers after being selected seventh overall in the 2014 NBA Draft out of the University of Kentucky. This past season, Randle appeared in all 82 regular season games for the Lakers, averaging a career-high 16.1 points on a career-high .558 shooting from the field to go with 8.0 rebounds – including 2.2 on the offensive end – and 2.6 assists in 26.7 minutes per game.

In 238 career regular season games (182 starts), Randle holds career averages of 13.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 27.8 minutes per game

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The New Orleans Pelicans and Head Coach Alvin Gentry have agreed to a contract extension. Gentry, the Pelicans’ head coach since 2015, will now be under contract through the 2020-21 season.

Gentry in 2017-18 led the Pelicans to one of the best seasons in team history, finishing the regular season with a 48-34 record and advancing to the Western Conference Semifinals for just the second time in franchise history. The 48 regular season wins were the third highest total in franchise history.

And team success continued in the postseason, as the Pelicans swept the Trail Blazers in four games during the first round, and in doing so became first team seeded sixth or lower to sweep a first-round playoff series since the 2001 Charlotte Hornets.

The Pelicans saw a 14-win increase in 2017-18 over their 2016-17 win total, the largest jump in the Western Conference, and the second largest in the NBA behind Philadelphia (24 games).

“I am extremely thankful to Mrs. Benson and the Pelicans organization for their support and confidence in my abilities to lead this team,” said Gentry. “Since day one, they have treated me like family and have provided us with the necessary resources to compete at the highest level. Mrs. Benson has been incredibly supportive of our coaching staff and players, and I couldn’t be happier to work for such an exceptional owner. I am excited for the great opportunities that are ahead for our organization and the City of New Orleans.”

Over 246 games as Pelicans head coach, Gentry has a record of 112-134 (.455).

Draymond Green crashes Pelicans huddle

The Warriors have eliminated the Pelicans in five games. During Game 5 last night, GS forward Draymond Green successfully eavesdropped on a Pelicans huddle and mostly got away with it. Here’s the San Jose Mercury News reporting:

Draymond Green revealed a bit of his silly side on Tuesday.

In the first quarter of the Warriors’ 113-104 win over New Orleans, he took a break from jawing with Rajon Rondo and firing up his team to engage in some levity.

As Pelicans’ coach Alvin Gentry gave instructions to Rondo, Green walked over and joined their huddle — until a referee yanked him away.

“I saw the play,” Green said. “They were watching something of us. It was good.”

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