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Wizards set to face Pelicans


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The Wizards are set to face the Pelicans tonight. An intriguing matchup for anybody in the league, the Pelicans have two of the biggest names in the NBA frontcourt world: DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. But the team as a whole is 15-15, tied for the 7th best record in the Western conference. Very solid, but unspectacular.

Here’s NBC Sports Washington discussing the Pels:

Few teams in the NBA offer a matchup problem as unique as the New Orleans Pelicans, who feature two All-Star big men in Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. One is lanky with arms that reach to the sky. The other is wider and known for his brute strength. Both can move and shoot unusually well for their size.

On Tuesday night, the Wizards will see the Pelicans’ twin towers for the first time since Cousins landed in New Orleans. He was acquired from the Kings in a Feb. 20 trade, just 16 days after the second and final meeting between the teams in the 2016-17 season.

Cousins is a player the Wizards know well. He and Wizards guard John Wall teamed up at the University of Kentucky back in the 2009-10 season before the two were drafted into the NBA. Veteran players on the Wizards have played against both Cousins and Davis over the years. But now they have to deal with them at the same time.

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Tony Allen out 3-4 weeks with injury

Pelicans guard Tony Allen will be out of action for the next 3-4 weeks. The team announced today that the veteran has been diagnosed with a non-displaced left proximal fibula fracture.

Allen, who is 6-4 and 213, has played a limited role on the team. He is averaging 4.7 points and 2.1 rebounds in 12.4 minutes per game and has not been a serious factor.

Known as a defensive stopper, Allen has played in 820 career regular season NBA games, with an average of 8.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in 22.0 minutes per outing. He has played for Boston, Memphis and New Orleans.

Pelicans waive Josh Smith

Pelicans waive Josh Smith

The New Orleans Pelicans have waived forward Josh Smith.

Smith, 6-9, 225, was originally signed by New Orleans on October 28.

It’s unclear if Smith will be back in the NBA. He’s only 31 but his game appears to be in serious decline.

The Pelicans roster currently stands at 17, including two two-way players.

Pelicans sign Josh Smith

Pelicans sign Josh Smith

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today the team has signed forward Josh Smith after receiving an injury hardship exemption by the NBA.

Smith, 6-9, 225, most recently played for Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association, appearing in 26 games in China, Smith averaged 18.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.0 blocks.

A 12-year NBA veteran, Smith has appeared in 891 career regular season games (772 starts) with Atlanta, Detroit, Houston and the Los Angeles Clippers, holding career averages of 14.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.9 blocks in 32.5 minutes per game. Additionally, Smith has appeared in 73 career postseason games (60 starts), averaging 14.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.5 blocks in 31.6 minutes.

Selected 17th overall by Atlanta in the 2004 NBA Draft out of Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), Smith was named to the NBA All-Defensive Team in 2010.

Smith will wear #5 and be available for New Orleans’ game tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Smoothie King Center.

Pelicans waive Jordan Crawford, sign Jameer Nelson

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today the team has signed guard Jameer Nelson. And in a subsequent move, the Pelicans have waived guard Jordan Crawford.

Nelson, 6-0, 190, most recently played for the Denver Nuggets. In 148 games (59 starts) from 2014-17, Nelson averaged 8.9 points, 4.7 assists and 2.5 rebounds. Last season, Nelson averaged 9.2 points, 5.1 assists and 2.6 rebounds in 27.3 minutes over 75 games for Denver.

A 13-year NBA veteran, Nelson has appeared in 828 career regular season games (639 starts) with Orlando, Dallas, Boston and Denver, holding career averages of 11.7 points, 5.2 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 0.9 steals in 28.4 minutes per game. Additionally, Nelson has appeared in 44 career postseason games, averaging 15.0 points, 4.6 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 0.8 steals. During the 2008-09 season, Nelson helped the Orlando Magic reach the NBA Finals.

Selected 20th overall by Denver in the 2004 NBA Draft out of St. Joseph’s (PA), Nelson was named an All-Star in 2009, averaging a career-best 16.7 points, 5.4 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.

Nelson will be available for New Orleans’ game tonight at the STAPLES Center against the Los Angeles Lakers.

In two games for New Orleans this season, Crawford, 6-4, 195, has averaged 9.0 points, 5.0 assists and 1.0 rebounds in 18.5 minutes.

Alexis Ajinca out with knee injury

Alexis Ajinca out with knee injury

New Orleans Pelicans center Alexis Ajinca sustained an injury to his knee patellar tendonitis, the team announced today.

Ajinca underwent successful bilateral knee injections yesterday by Pelicans Director of Medical Services/Head Team Physician Dr. Misty Suri and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

Fortunately for the Pelicans, they’re super-strong at the center and power forward spots, with DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis as starters. Ajinca is a backup, but will still be missed.

Pelicans waive Cliff Alexander and Perry Jones

The New Orleans Pelicans have waived forwards Cliff Alexander and Perry Jones.

Alexander, 6-8, 245, appeared in all four of the Pelicans’ preseason contests, averaging 2.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in just under nine minutes per game.

Jones, 6-11, 235, appeared in three preseason games for New Orleans and averaged 3.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists in just over 15 minutes per contest.

Rajon Rondo injury update

New Orleans Pelicans guard Rajon Rondo underwent successful surgery this morning to repair a core muscle injury, the team announced today. The injury occurred during New Orleans’ preseason game at Oklahoma City on October 6.

The surgery was performed by Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia. Rondo is expected to be out approximately 4-6 weeks.

Pelicans re-sign Dante Cunningham

Pelicans re-sign Dante Cunningham

The New Orleans Pelicans have re-signed forward Dante Cunningham.

Cunningham, 6-8, 230, originally signed with New Orleans on December 4, 2014. In 212 regular season games with New Orleans, Cunningham has averaged 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds in 24.9 minutes per game. Last season, Cunningham appeared in 66 games (35 starts) for the Pelicans, averaging 6.6 points while shooting .392 from three-point range, and 4.2 rebounds in 25.0 minutes per contest.

Originally drafted 33rd overall by Portland in the 2009 NBA Draft out of Villanova, Cunningham has appeared in 578 career regular season games with Portland, Charlotte, Memphis, Minnesota and New Orleans, with career averages of 6.1 points and 3.8 rebounds in 21.4 minutes.

Pelicans sign Tony Allen

Pelicans sign Tony Allen

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed free agent guard/forward Tony Allen.

Allen, 6-4, 213, most recently played for the Memphis Grizzlies from 2010-17, appearing in 462 regular season games (359 starts) and averaging 8.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.7 steals. This past season for Memphis, Allen averaged 9.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.6 steals in 71 games (66 starts).

Originally drafted 25th overall by the Boston Celtics in the 2004 NBA Draft out of Oklahoma State, the Chicago native has appeared in 798 regular season games with Boston and Memphis (441 starts), holding career averages of 8.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.4 steals. During his 13-year career, Allen has been named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team three times (2012, 2013, 2015) and the Second Team three times (2011, 2016, 2017), joining LeBron James (6) and Chris Paul (9) as the only active NBA players named to at least six NBA All-Defensive Teams.

Additionally, Allen has appeared in 112 career postseason games (50 starts), averaging 6.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals, while helping Boston capture the 2008 NBA Championship.

It’s always interesting to track players who received very limited minutes on good/great teams and see how they do in an expanded role on a team with more of a need for their services. Here’s CSN Bay Area reporting on former Warriors Ian Clark:

Ian Clark hoping to do big things for Pelicans

Ian Clark is no longer on the Warriors.

It took him awhile to find a new home, but on Aug. 1, Clark agreed to terms on a one-year minimum deal (just below $1.6 million) with New Orleans.

“Being able to show what I can do in the minutes I get, I want to be able to expand on that this year,” Clark told the Pelicans’ team website. “I want to show that I can do that in extended minutes and be consistent at it, and help my team win, whether that’s on the defensive or offensive end.

“I want to show that it wasn’t just because of that team.”

The Chicago Bulls have acquired guard/forward Quincy Pondexter, the Pelicans 2018 second-round pick, and cash considerations from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for the draft rights to Ater Majok.

The Bulls acquired the rights to Majok (58th overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft) from the L.A. Lakers on July 7, 2016.

Pondexter (6-7, 220) is a five-year veteran of the NBA who has seen time with New Orleans (2010-11, 2014-15) and Memphis (2011-15). He has posted career averages of 5.3 points and 2.0 rebounds through 279 games (47 starts). Pondexter has a career field goal percentage of .424, with a mark of .365 from the 3-point line. He has 29 postseason games on his resume, and has averaged 6.8 points and 2.6 rebounds through those contests with a .473 field goal percentage and .414 3-point percentage.

The University of Washington product missed both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons due to left knee surgery.

New Orleans Pelicans forward Solomon Hill has been diagnosed with a proximal hamstring tear in his left leg, it was determined following examination by Dr. Michael Gerhardt and consultation with Pelicans Director of Medical Services/Head Team Physician Dr. Misty Suri. The injury occurred while Hill was participating in a basketball workout in Los Angeles, CA.

Hill underwent successful surgery by Dr. Gerhardt in Santa Monica, CA and is expected to make a full recovery. An injury of this nature takes approximately 6-8 months to heal.

A timetable for his return will be determined at a later date.

The New Orleans Pelicans today announced their schedule for the 2017-18 regular season. The Pelicans will open the season at the FedEx Forum against division rival Memphis on Wednesday, October 18, before returning to New Orleans for the team’s home opener against the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors on Friday, October 20 on ESPN at the Smoothie King Center.

The Pelicans will head to the west coast for a three-game road trip before returning home to face the defending Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, October 28.

New Orleans is scheduled to appear on national television 14 times this season. In addition to the home opener against Golden State, ESPN is scheduled to broadcast the Pelicans’ matchups Nov. 17 at Denver, Jan. 26 vs. Houston, Mar. 30 at Cleveland, Apr. 4 vs. Memphis and Apr. 9 at the L.A. Clippers. TNT is scheduled to air the Pelicans’ road contests at Sacramento on Oct. 26 and Mar. 6 against the L.A. Clippers. NBATV is set to broadcast six Pelicans games – Oct. 24 at Portland, Dec. 11 at Houston, Jan. 16 at Boston, Feb. 5 vs. Utah, Mar. 9 vs. Washington and Mar. 24 at Houston.

The Pelicans will play 17 of their 41 home games on Friday (7), Saturday (5), or Sunday (5).

All home games will tip off at 7:00 p.m., with the exception of the five Saturday night home contests, as well as the home game vs. Philadelphia on Dec. 10, tipping off at 6:00 p.m.; two Sunday contests that will tip-off at 3:00 p.m. (Jan. 28 vs. L.A. Clippers, Mar. 11 vs. Utah); two Sunday contests that will tip-off at 5:00 p.m. (Mar. 18 vs. Boston, Apr. 1 vs. Oklahoma City); and the matchups against Golden State on Oct. 20 and Memphis on Apr. 4, which will tip-off at 8:30 p.m. as part of ESPN’s national double-header on those evenings.

The Pelicans’ longest homestand will be four games, which will take place twice during the season – Dec. 4-10 when New Orleans plays host to Golden State, Denver, Sacramento and Philadelphia; and Mar. 17-22 with matchups against Houston, Boston, Dallas and the L.A. Lakers. The Pelicans have three, four-game road trips – Nov. 3-9 with games in Dallas, Chicago, Indiana and Toronto; Dec. 15-23 with stops in Denver, Washington, Orlando and Miami; and Feb. 28-Mar. 7 with contests against San Antonio, Dallas, the L.A. Clippers and Sacramento.

The Pelicans will play Southwest Division rivals (Dallas, Houston, Memphis and San Antonio) four times each (twice at home/twice on the road). The same holds true for Pacific and Northwest Division foes, with the exception of the Los Angeles Lakers (one road game on Oct. 22), the Oklahoma City Thunder (one road game Feb. 2), the Denver Nuggets (one home game Dec. 6) and the Phoenix Suns (one home game Feb. 26). New Orleans will also play each team in the Eastern Conference once at home and once on the road.

Pelicans sign Ian Clark

Pelicans sign Ian Clark

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed free agent guard Ian Clark.

Clark, 6-3, 175, most recently played for the 2017 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors. In 77 games last season with Golden State, Clark averaged 6.8 points while shooting .487 from the field, including .374 from three-point range, 1.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 14.8 minutes per contest. Clark additionally appeared in 16 postseason games, averaging 6.8 points while shooting .506 from the floor, including .361 from three-point range and .941 from the free throw line.

Undrafted out of Belmont University in 2013, Clark has appeared in 196 career regular season games with Utah, Denver and Golden State, holding averages of 4.5 points, 1.1 rebounds and 0.9 assists. Additionally, Clark has appeared in 32 career postseason contests, including two trips to the NBA Finals with Golden State, averaging 5.5 points while shooting .500 from the field, 1.3 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 11.7 minutes per game.

Pelicans sign Charles Cooke to two-way contract

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed free agent guard Charles Cooke to a two-way contract.

Cooke, 6-5, 196, was a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves 2017 Summer League team after going undrafted in June. Over five games in Las Vegas, Cooke averaged 10.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals per contest.

A product of the University of Dayton, Cooke led the Flyers in both scoring (15.8) and rebounding (5.1) during his senior season, while being named to the Second Team All-Atlantic 10 and the Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team.

Beginning with the 2017-18 season, each NBA team is able to carry the standard 15 players on their roster, as well as up to two additional players on two-way contracts. Two-way players 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 sign Jalen Jones to two-way contract

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed free agent forward Jalen Jones to a two-way contract.

Jones, 6-7, 220, was a member of the Pelicans’ 2017 Summer League team, appearing in six contests and averaging 13.3 points and 6.2 rebounds in Las Vegas.

Undrafted in 2016 out of Texas A&M, Jones spent his first professional season with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA G League, where he averaged 21.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steals while earning NBA G League All-Rookie First Team and All-NBA G League Third Team honors, as well as being named to the 2017 NBA G League All-Star Game in New Orleans.

Beginning with the 2017-18 season, each NBA team is able to carry the standard 15 players on their roster, as well as up to two additional players on two-way contracts. Two-way players 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.

Today, the New Orleans Saints (NFL) and New Orleans Pelicans (NBA), along with partner Ochsner Health System, announced that they have agreed to a long-term partnership for the naming rights to the teams’ official training facilities. Now officially known as the Ochsner Sports Performance Center, it is the only facility in all of North American sports that houses both an NFL training and an NBA training base of operations.

“This is a very special announcement for us,” said Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson. “Ochsner has been a great partner for a long time, and to see the growth they’ve undergone in recent years has been nothing short of remarkable. We look forward to a long continued partnership together.”

The Ochsner Sports Performance Center is just the latest venture between the Saints, Pelicans and Ochsner Health System. Ochsner has been a corporate partner of both the Saints and Pelicans for nearly 10 years, and Saints and Pelicans Owners Tom and Gayle Benson have a long and proud history as ardent supporters of Ochsner and the Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center. The Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center offers state-of-the-art cancer services for not only Louisiana residents, but also for patients that travel from all over the world to take advantage of the most advanced, compassionate cancer care available in the region. It is just one of the many extraordinary medical care services and facilities that thrive under the Ochsner umbrella.

“The naming signals a commitment from Ochsner, the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans to use the Ochsner Sports Performance Center to improve health and wellness across the state,” said Warner Thomas, President and CEO of Ochsner Health System. “While the Ochsner Sports Performance Center has been a hub for both basketball-and-football-themed community outreach programs and events annually including initiatives sponsored by both the Saints and Pelicans youth programs and community relations outreach programs, together the partners plan to do more. Dedicated events meant to provide education along with health screenings for the community will be geared toward not only catching diseases like cancer early, but also helping people more effectively manage chronic disease.”

Saints and Pelicans President Dennis Lauscha stated, “Ochsner’s innovative, forward-thinking, patient-first medical teams and facilities are unsurpassed, and their focus on not only treating, but also preventing injuries will translate into a very beneficial partnership. In addition, Ochsner’s community commitment is so closely aligned to that of both the Saints and the Pelicans that this makes Ochsner the perfect partner to further our collective goals and programs.”

“This is an opportunity to offer the same level of high-quality care and the proactive approach to wellness that we provide to our professional athletes and make it more accessible to athletes of all ages and all skill levels,” said David Gaines, Chief Executive Officer – System Retail Services & Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Ochsner Health System. “Together, we will enhance the existing Saints and Pelicans youth and community relations outreach programs portfolio so we can change the conversation and support the movement towards a healthier future.”

The Ochsner Sports Performance Center sits on a 19.5-acre campus on Airline Drive in Metairie, La. located in Jefferson Parish. The main football facility of The Ochsner Sports Performance Center totals 77,504 square feet which includes locker rooms, physical therapy and treatment areas, doctor offices, a multi-media studio, an organizational museum and operations and administrative offices.

In addition, there is a 75,000 square foot modernized indoor practice facility, which soars to 78 feet and allows the Saints to maintain regular practice schedules throughout the year. The indoor practice facility is also home to a 20,000 square foot workout gym, a modern full-service cafeteria, as well as an auxiliary nutritional station that adjoins the player gym.

The outdoor football practice fields at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center, where the Saints will hold training camp this summer, amasses four acres of perfectly maintained grass practice fields used through the football season, while an additional 53,000 square feet of AstroTurf serves as a general practice and mixed-use area.

On the basketball side, the Pelicans relocated to the brand new, state-of-the-art Ochsner Performance Center practice facility prior to the start of the 2013-2014 season. The $16 million, 50,000 square foot practice facility houses a 39,000 square foot practice area that features two full-sized basketball courts, offices for coaches and basketball operations staff and a team theatre for film review and game planning. The building also includes a 12,000 square foot area where the Pelicans’ locker room, players’ lounge, the latest in physical therapy and medical treatment technologies, a cafeteria, barber shop, equipment room, meeting rooms, and a multi-media studio are located.

Pelicans waive Quinn Cook and Axel Toupane

The Pelicans have waived guard Quinn Cook and guard/forward Axel Toupane.

Cook, 6-2, 184, who was signed on March 19 after spending the 2016 training camp with the Pelicans, appeared in nine games last season with New Orleans, averaging 5.8 points and 1.6 assists in 12.3 minutes per game.

Toupane, 6-7, 210, was originally signed by New Orleans on April 10, appearing in two games at the conclusion of the 2016-17 season for the Pelicans, averaging 5.5 points in 20.5 minutes.

Pelicans sign Rajon Rondo

Pelicans sign Rajon Rondo

The New Orleans Pelicans today announced that the team has signed free agent guard Rajon Rondo.

“We are excited to welcome Rajon to the New Orleans Pelicans,” said Pelicans Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Dell Demps. “Throughout his NBA career, Rajon has showed that he’s a great competitor, leader and teammate with significant playoff experience.”

A four-time NBA All-Star and member of the 2008 NBA Champion Boston Celtics, Rondo has appeared in the postseason seven times, including two NBA Finals appearances, with playoff career averages of 14.4 points, 9.1 assists and 6.0 rebounds in 37.9 minutes throughout 96 playoff contests (all starts),

Rondo (6-1, 186 lbs) appeared in 69 games for the Chicago Bulls in the 2016-17 season, averaging 7.8 points, 6.7 assists and 5.1 rebounds in 26.7 minutes per contest.

Originally drafted by Phoenix with the 21st overall selection in the 2006 NBA Draft, Rondo has played in 714 career NBA contests with Boston, Dallas, Sacramento and Chicago, holding averages of 10.7 points, 8.5 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals.

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