Archive for the ‘ New Orleans Pelicans Blog ’ Category

The New Orleans Pelicans have re-signed free agents Alexis Ajinca, Omer Asik and Dante Cunningham.

“The Pelicans are proud to welcome the return of Omer, Alexis and Dante to our team,” stated Pelicans General Manager Dell Demps. “All three players were key contributors on our team last season. We are happy all three players elected to return and continue our quest to become an elite team in the NBA.”

Ajinca is coming off his best season to date, appearing in a career-high 68 games (eight starts) in 2014-15, while averaging a career-best 6.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 0.8 blocks. The French native recorded five double-doubles, and scored in double figures 20 times, including a career-high 24 points against Miami on Feb. 27.

Originally selected 20th overall by Charlotte in the 2008 NBA Draft, Ajinca has appeared in 195 career games with Charlotte, Dallas, Toronto and New Orleans, averaging 4.1 points and 2.7 rebounds. Ajinca, 7-0, 220, came to New Orleans on Dec. 20, 2013, signing as a free agent after spending the previous two seasons overseas. In 124 games (38 starts) with the Pelicans, Ajinca has averaged 6.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 0.8 blocks.

Asik, 7-0, 255, who was acquired last off-season in a trade with Houston, appeared in 76 games for New Orleans (all starts) in 2014-15, averaging 7.3 points and 9.8 rebounds, good for 11th highest in the NBA. Additionally, Asik ranked third in the NBA in rebounding percentage at 21.3 percent. Asik led New Orleans in rebounding in 39 games, grabbing double-digit rebounds 36 times, and recorded 13 point-rebound double-doubles.

Originally selected 36th overall by Portland in the 2008 NBA Draft, Asik has appeared in 354 career games with Chicago, Houston and New Orleans, averaging 5.9 points and 7.7 rebounds.

Cunningham, 6-8, 230, was signed by the Pelicans as a free agent on December 4, 2015. In 66 games with New Orleans last season (27 starts), Cunningham averaged 5.2 points and 3.9 rebounds.

Originally selected by Portland with the 33rd overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Villanova product has appeared in 432 career games with Portland, Charlotte, Memphis, Minnesota and New Orleans.

Pelicans sign Anthony Davis to contract extension

The New Orleans Pelicans today announced that at 12:01 p.m. local time in Hong Kong, China, All-Star forward Anthony Davis signed a contract extension with the club. According to multiple reports, it is a five-year, $145 million deal.

“Words cannot describe the excitement of the New Orleans Pelicans to have Anthony Davis as the cornerstone of our organization,” said Pelicans General Manager Dell Demps. “Anthony is a great person, a phenomenal player and the ideal representative of his family, the Pelicans and the New Orleans community.

“We are thrilled to have Anthony commit to the Pelicans as we continue to build our team to have sustained success.”

Davis has appeared in 199 games over his first three seasons in the NBA, all with New Orleans, posting career averages of 19.7 points while shooting .525 from the field, 9.5 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.5 blocks per game. The 6-10 forward currently ranks fifth in New Orleans franchise history in defensive rebounds (1,346) total rebounds (1,891) and steals (264), third in points (3,917), points per game and field goal percentage, second in rebounding average (9.5) and first in blocks (501).

“I am very excited to continue to play for the Pelicans and remain a proud resident of the City of New Orleans,” stated Davis. “I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Benson, Dell Demps, Coach Gentry, the entire Pelicans’ organization, my agent Thad Foucher, my family and, of course, all of the incredible fans for their unwavering support. I look forward to many great years together.”

Originally selected by New Orleans with the first overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft out of Kentucky, Davis earned All-Rookie First Team honors after appearing in 64 games and averaging 13.5 points on .516 shooting from the floor, 8.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. In 2013-14, the Chicago native appeared in 67 games, averaging 20.8 points, 10.0 rebounds and a league-best 2.8 blocks per game while being named to his first All-Star Game. This past season, 2014-15, Davis, 22, averaged a career-best 24.4 points on .535 shooting from the floor, 10.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game, ranking fourth, seventh, eighth, and first in the NBA in those respective statistical categories. Davis was selected to his second All-Star game, his first as a starter, while earning All-Defensive Second Team and All-NBA First Team honors, and helping New Orleans make their first playoff appearance since 2011. In four post-season games against the Golden State Warriors, Davis averaged 31.5 points on .540 shooting from the floor, 10.8 rebounds and 3.0 blocks, becoming the first player in 41 years to average at least 30 points and 10 rebounds through their first four career playoff games.

There’s good news in New Orleans. Anthony Davis recently agreed to a massive contract extension. The team has potential. And fans are on board with it all. Here’s the New Orleans Times Picayune reporting:

Last season the New Orleans Pelicans ranked 24th in the NBA in attendance, which included 24 sellouts announced by the franchise.

Pelicans president Dennis Lauscha said during Tuesday night’s conference call with season-ticket holders that they are on track to do much better next season.

”We’re very pleased and happy to say that we’re now in the top three in the NBA in new tickets sales for the season, Lauscha said. ”We’ve had the highest renewal rate in the history of the franchise, well over 90 percent.”

Lauscha also said they have 55-percent increase for deposits on group tickets than they had at the same time last year.

The New Orleans Pelicans today announced its roster for the 2015 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

The Pelicans will hold a mini-camp from July 6-9 at the team’s practice facility in Metairie, La. New Orleans’ first game of the 2015 NBA Summer League is Friday, July 10 against the Milwaukee Bucks, followed by games against the Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn Nets before beginning the single-elimination tournament.

All teams participating in 2015 NBA Summer League are guaranteed to play a minimum of five games. Team will be seeded following the preliminary round, with the top eight seeds receiving a first-round bye.

Full Pelicans 2015 summer league roster is here:

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has traded the draft rights to Branden Dawson to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for cash considerations.

Dawson, 6-6, 225, was the 56th overall selection by New Orleans in the 2015 NBA Draft. The Michigan State product was named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team and Second-Team All-Big Ten as a Senior, averaging 11.9 points and 9.1 rebounds during the campaign.

Alvin Gentry-led teams tend to move fast

The New Orleans Pelicans finished last season with a 45-37 record, and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Golden State Warriors, who went on to win the 2015 NBA championship. Here’s the New Orleans Times-Picayune reporting on how the team may change under new head coach Alvin Gentry:

In the last five years Gentry has finished a season with a team – as the head coach of the Phoenix Suns in 2009-12 and as the associate head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers (2013-14) and Golden State Warriors (2014-15) – his team’s have never ranked lower than 8th in pace and finished first with the Warriors in their NBA title run.

Last year’s Pelicans’ squad finished 16th in the league in scoring averaging 99.4 points per game – the highest mark of Williams’ tenure. Gentry’s teams have led the league in scoring three times in the last six seasons with the Warriors averaging 111.0 points per game a season ago.

One of the things that impressed Pelicans general manager Dell Demps about Gentry was Gentry’s understanding of the Pelicans roster and the willingness to play with a different style in order to succeed in an ever-changing NBA.

“We interviewed a number of candidates, but Alvin talked about all of our players,” Demps said in Monday’s introductory press conference. “He had a great understanding of our team. He had an understanding of how he wanted this team to play. He talked about defense first and how that would make our defense better. I felt like we had a shared vision.

Guard Eric Gordon elects to remain with Pelicans

Eric Gordon exercises contract option to stay with Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that guard Eric Gordon has exercised the one-year player option on his contract for the 2015-16 season.

Gordon, 6-3, 215, appeared in 61 games for the Pelicans last season, averaging 13.4 points while shooting a career-high .448 from three-point range, and helped New Orleans reach the playoffs for the first time since the 2010-11 season. In four seasons in New Orleans, Gordon has averaged 15.4 points while shooting .392 from three-point range, 3.4 assists and 1.0 steals per game.

“I’m really excited to continue playing for the Pelicans,” stated Gordon. “We had a strong finish to last season. And with this core group of young players we have, and with Alvin Gentry’s new leadership and vision, we all expect even bigger things next season.”

Originally selected seventh overall out of Indiana University in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Clippers, Gordon was acquired by New Orleans in a trade on Dec. 14, 2011. In 372 career games with Los Angeles and New Orleans, Gordon holds career averages of 17.4 points on .383 shooting from three-point range, 3.4 assists and 1.7 steals per contest.

“We are thrilled to have Eric Gordon on our roster for the 2015-16 season,” said General Manager Dell Demps. “Eric was a huge contributor to our success last season and we are excited to have him continue as one of the leaders of our team.”

Cole has value, but unclear if his future is in New Orleans

Here’s the New Orleans Times-Picayune reporting on guard Norris Cole, who split last season between the Heat and Pelicans. After becoming a Pelican he played 28 games, averaging 9.9 points and 3.2 assists in 24.4 minutes per outing:

Will Pelicans, Norris Cole stick together?

Cole established his value as a backup point guard in the old Pelicans’ system, and based on the projected product that new coach Alvin Gentry is expected to unleash, Cole could even be considered a good fit as a starter.

He’ll be a restricted free agent on July 1 and the Pelicans will have the opportunity to match any offer Cole might receive on the open market.

Given the uncertain health of Jrue Holiday over the last two seasons, the Pelicans should jump at the chance to get Cole back, depending, of course, on fiscal prudency.

New Orleans has a critical need for a dependable backup at the one, and in the 28 games Cole played with the Pelicans last year he proved he can handle the job.

Celtics assistant headed to Pelicans

Here’s the Boston Herald reporting some assistant coaching job news:

There are comings and goings on the Celtics staff these days, with assistant coach Darren Erman set to leave to become associate head coach for New Orleans under new leader Alvin Gentry. Also, Alex Barlow, who just completed a four-year playing career at Butler, is joining the C’s as assistant video coordinator.

Said director of player personnel Austin Ainge of Erman, “I know they are in discussions. I don’t know if anything’s final or what, but Erman’s a great guy, and if he does leave, we’ll miss him.”

Erman spent four years with the Celts as a coaching assistant before leaving to work for Golden State as an assistant under former coach Mark Jackson. The Warriors fired him in April 2014 for “violation of company policy.” It was later reported that he was secretly taping conversations between players and coaches.

Once Finals end, Alvin Gentry set to lead Pelicans

Here’s the New Orleans Times Picayune reporting on the Pelicans, who have found their new head coach. Alvin Gentry, currently the top assistant with the Golden State Warriors, will begin with the Pelicans after the conclusion of the upcoming Warriors-Cavaliers NBA Finals series.

Once Finals end, Alvin Gentry set to lead Pelicans

When the New Orleans Pelicans initiated their extensive coaching search, sources confirmed the franchise was willing to spend up to $4 to $5 million for Monty Williams’ replacement.

But the Pelicans hired Golden State Warriors lead assistant Alvin Gentry at a bargain price after he agreed to a four year, $13.7 million contract on Saturday, a league source confirmed Sunday.

Yahoo sports was the first to report Gentry’s contract terms with the Pelicans on Saturday night.

Gentry’s salary will average $3.4 million a season, which includes a $4 million team option in the final year of the deal. Gentry’s deal is higher than Williams’ $2.7 million per season salary he earned after signing a four-year, $11 million extension in 2012.

Will Jeff Van Gundy return to coaching?

For now, there’s no reason to actually expect a Jeff Van Gundy NBA coaching return. But it seems like a possibility. Here’s the New Orleans Times-Picayune reporting:

Will Jeff Van Gundy return to coaching?

Jeff Van Gundy declined to acknowledge on the “Dan Patrick Show” on Wednesday if he has been contacted by the New Orleans Pelicans for their vacant head-coaching job.

But Van Gundy didn’t make a point to publicly deny his interest in replacing Monty Williams and coaching superstar forward Anthony Davis.

When asked on the show if he would like to coach Davis, Van Gundy said: ”There is no one who ever coached that wouldn’t want to coach a great player with great character. And so I’ve been able to do that in my life. I’ve already coached a player with a great character and you know how important that is if you want to win big in a situation. I had Patrick Ewing, Yao Ming and (Tracy) McGrady in Houston, (Charles) Oakley and all these guys.

”Anybody who that says, nah … I wouldn’t want to coach (Davis) who is a top-five player and a great person, I wouldn’t believe that if someone said that.”

Tyreke Evans undergoes knee surgery

Tyreke Evans undergoes knee surgery

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that guard Tyreke Evans underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Wednesday evening. A timetable for his return to basketball activities will be announced in the near future.

Evans, 6-6, 220, appeared in 79 games during the 2014-15 regular season, posting averages of 16.6 points, 6.6 assists and 5.3 rebounds. The University of Memphis product appeared in all four of the Pelicans’ post-season games against Golden State, averaging 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists.

The Pelicans qualified for the NBA playoffs this season, but were rudely swept 4-0 in the first round by the Golden State Warriors.

Report: Pelicans interested in Alvin Gentry

Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting on the NBA’s coaching scene:

Report: Pelicans interested in Alvin Gentry

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said this month that he didn’t think Warriors associate head coach Alvin Gentry would be in Golden State for very long — a statement that is starting to look pretty prophetic.

New Orleans president Mickey Loomis and general manager Dell Demps met with Gentry on Monday night in San Francisco, according to Yahoo Sports. ESPN reported that the Warriors granted permission for Gentry to interview for head-coaching vacancies between playoff series.

He also has been mentioned as a front-runner for Chicago’s top coaching post, should Tom Thibodeau be fired, and among the candidates for open gigs in Denver and Orlando. Gentry declined comment on the subject.

Monty Williams fired

Monty Williams fired by Pelicans

nba blog

New Orleans Pelicans head coach Monty Williams has been fired. The team qualified for the playoffs, and although they were swept 4-0 in the first round by the Golden State Warriors, they played pretty well and were competitive for large parts of each game. This has been looming for a while now, though.

More info here: Pelicans fire coach Monty Williams.

Quincy Pondexter recovering after knee surgery

Quincy Pondexter undergoes knee surgery

New Orleans Pelicans forward Quincy Pondexter underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee this morning. A timetable for his return to basketball activities will be announced in the near future.

The Pelicans qualified for the 2015 playoffs as the Western conference 8th seed but were swept in the first round by the Golden State Warriors.

Pondexter, 6-7, 220, was acquired by New Orleans on January 12, 2015 in a three-team trade with Boston and Memphis. Appearing in a total of 75 games this season with Memphis and New Orleans, Pondexter averaged 7.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 23.9 minutes per game. Pondexter appeared in all four playoff games against Golden State, averaging 7.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists.

Warriors sweep Pelicans in first round

Warriors sweep Pelicans in first round

The Golden State Warriors have quickly escorted the New Orleans Pelicans out of the the playoffs and into the offseason. Which is either rude or polite, depending on how you look at it. Rude, because nobody wants to be swept from the playoffs. But polite, because the Warriors ended the Pelicans quickly. They didn’t draw it out. No time was wasted. Time is valuable. Yeah. Anyway, here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting:

For about a month now, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has been waiting for his team to take its game to another level.

The wait is over.

They practiced most everything Kerr has preached this season in a 109-98 victory over the Pelicans on Saturday night to sweep the best-of-seven, first-round series.

The Warriors will play the winner of the Memphis-Portland matchup in the Western Conference semifinals, a series that could start next weekend in Oakland.

With a chance to close out the plucky Pelicans, the Warriors played nearly perfect ball. They outshot the Pelicans 54.2 percent to 22.7 percent from three-point range, dished out 28 assists to 10 turnovers and won in fastbreak points 20-0. The Warriors even beat New Orleans in rebounding (39-36) and paint points (44-40).

The stellar team stats came on the coattails of some brilliant individual efforts. Stephen Curry had 39 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, Draymond Green put up 22 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, and Klay Thompson added 25 points.

Warriors unleash amazing comeback to win Game 3 vs Pelicans

The Golden State Warriors unleashed an amazing comeback to push Game 3 of their first round playoff series against the New Orleans Pelicans into overtime, and then coming away with a shocking win. Golden State now has a 3-0 series lead. Here’s CSN Bay Area reporting:

The Warriors became the third team in postseason history to overcome a deficit of at least twenty points entering the fourth quarter, and win.

Steph Curry’s miraculous game-tying 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds left in regulation will be remembered forever, but he wouldn’t have been able to play the role of hero without a lot of help from his teammates.

“We were pretty desperate,” Steve Kerr said following the historic win. “We went small. We put Shaun Livingston in there. We gave Steph a brief rest to start the fourth … our small unit in the fourth quarter just came in and turned it into a track meet.

“Draymond was fantastic. When you go small and you have to guard (Anthony) Davis, you’re really not getting much help on the backside and Draymond thwarted several lobs and plays at the rim, and got rebounds and then we were able to get out and run.

But I’m gonna have to watch the tape. I’m not quite sure what happened. I’m as startled as everybody else.”

Pelicans re-sign Toney Douglas

Pelicans re-sign Toney Douglas

Pelicans re-sign Toney Douglas

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has re-signed unrestricted free agent guard Toney Douglas.

Douglas, 6-2, 185, appeared in three games for New Orleans, averaging 9.0 points, 4.0 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 22.0 minutes per game while signed to two 10-day contracts with the team. Prior to joining the Pelicans, Douglas played for the Jiangsu Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association, appearing in 35 games while averaging 19.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.1 steals. Drafted 29th overall out of Florida State in 2009 by the Los Angeles Lakers, Douglas has appeared in 300 career NBA games with New York, Houston, Sacramento, Golden State, Miami and New Orleans, averaging 7.8 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists.

Douglas will wear #16 and be available for Wednesday night’s home game against Houston.

New Orleans’ roster stands at 14.

Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis named NBA Players of Week

kyrie irving

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving and New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, March 9, through Sunday, March 15.

Irving helped the Cavaliers to a 3-0 week behind a league-best 37.3 points. The fourth-year guard added 4.7 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals as the Cavaliers posted road victories over the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs and Orlando Magic. Irving led the league in three-point percentage (.867) last week. He recorded his second 50-point game of the season on March 12, when he netted a career-high 57 points during a 128-125 overtime win over the Spurs.

anthony davis

Davis led the Pelicans to a 2-1 week, with averages of 31.3 points (second in the league), 10.0 rebounds (tied-10th in the West), 6.0 assists and a league-leading 4.7 blocks. Davis posted two point-rebound double-doubles and handed out five or more assists in all three games. He tallied 36 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and nine blocks during the Pelicans’ lone loss of the week, a 118-111 double-overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets on March 15.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Denver’s Kenneth Faried, Indiana’s Rodney Stuckey, the Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, Utah’s Rudy Gobert and Washington’s John Wall.

Pelicans sign Elliot Williams to second 10-day contract

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has signed guard Elliot Williams to a second 10-day contract.

Williams, 6-5,180 has appeared in three games with the Pelicans, averaging 4.0 points, 1.0 assists and 1.0 rebounds in 11.0 minutes per game.

Prior to joining New Orleans, Williams played for the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League. Appearing in 25 games for Santa Cruz, Williams averaged 21.8 points, 7.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds in 36.8 minutes per game while being named a NBA D-League All-Star. Williams had signed 10-day contracts with Utah and Charlotte earlier this season, appearing in five games for Utah, averaging 3.6 points in 8.4 minutes per contest.

Selected by Portland with the 22nd overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft out of Memphis, Williams has appeared in 99 career games, averaging 5.3 points and 1.6 rebounds in 13.9 minutes per game.

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