Pelicans Rumors

COVID-19 Updates: Murphy, J. Green, Wigginton

Pelicans rookie wing Trey Murphy III entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Monday prior to New Orleans’ win over Indiana, according to the team (via Twitter).

The 17th overall pick in the 2021 draft, Murphy has played a minor role for the Pelicans this season, averaging 3.8 PPG and 2.1 RPG in 36 games (12.8 MPG). The 21-year-old hasn’t logged more than three minutes in a game since December 28, so his absence didn’t affect the club’s rotation on Monday. He’ll remain in the protocols until at least this weekend unless he can exit early by registering two consecutive negative tests 24 hours apart.

Here are a few more protocol-related updates from around the league:

  • Nuggets forward JaMychal Green is no longer on the team’s injury report, indicating that he has exited the COVID-19 protocols, as Mike Singer of The Denver Post tweets. Jamal Murray is the only Nugget still in the protocols, and he’s not ready to return from his ACL surgery yet anyway.
  • Bucks two-way player Lindell Wigginton entered the protocols over the weekend, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Wigginton is the only Milwaukee player currently in the protocols.
  • As our health and safety protocols tracker shows, there are currently 12 players in the protocols. Only the Grizzlies (three players) and Pistons (two players) have more than a single player affected at the moment. We’ll continue to update that tracker going forward, but since the number of players entering and exiting has declined significantly in the last couple weeks, it will likely be updated just once or twice per day, rather than several times.

Jaxson Hayes Charged With 12 Misdemeanors

Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes has been charged with 12 misdemeanors in Los Angeles related to a domestic incident last summer, TMZ reports.

The charges lodged by the city attorney in Los Angeles County against Hayes include – but are not limited to – inflicting corporal injury (domestic violence charge), destroying property, use of force, resisting a police officer, and using force and violence against an LAPD member.

Hayes was originally charged with a felony after the July incident and was held on $25K bond. The incident occurred after police were called to a home where Hayes was staying due to a domestic disturbance. Hayes allegedly tried to prevent law enforcement from entering the home and the confrontation became so heated that a Taser was used on Hayes. Hayes was taken to a hospital to treat minor injuries and an officer also sought medical treatment.

Hayes apparently pushed the officer into a wall, causing an arm injury to the policeman.

During the arrest, Hayes claimed he couldn’t breathe. A probe within the LAPD was launched regarding that claim but the results are unknown, according to the TMZ report.

Hayes, the eighth pick in the 2019 draft, was out of the Pelicans’ rotation for a portion of this season but has appeared regularly since late December. He’s averaging 6.8 PPG and 3.4 RPG in 33 games off the bench.

Herbert Jones Gaining Confidence In Three-Point Shot

  • Pelicans forward Herbert Jones is gaining confidence in his three-point shot, Christian Clark of NOLA.com writes. Jones has been working closely with assistant coach Fred Vinson on his mechanics. In 42 games this season, he’s shot 50.2% from the floor and 40% from three, scoring 9.1 points per game.
  • In a separate story for NOLA.com, Clark examines the strength coach that Zion Williamson is working with. The strength coach, Jasper Bibbs, does not work for the Pelicans, who haven’t seen Williamson play since last May. Williamson suffered a setback in his rehab from foot surgery roughly six weeks ago, but no timetable was issued for a return.

Western Notes: Alvarado, Payne, Crowder, McLaughlin

Pelicans rookie Jose Alvarado is elated about the start to his professional career, William Guillory of The Athletic writes. Alvarado signed a two-way contract with New Orleans after going undrafted last year and has appeared in 18 games so far this season.

“I’m still at the beginning, but I feel like this is about as good of a beginning as I could possibly ask for,” Alvarado said in his interview with Guillory. “I just want to keep it going and show everybody how grateful I am to be here.”

Alvarado, 23, played college ball at Georgia Tech for four seasons. In addition to his 18 NBA appearances, he’s also played in five G League games this season, averaging 19.8 points on 52% shooting from the floor and 43% from three-point range.

Along with Alvarado, the Pelicans also have Devonte’ Graham, Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Kira Lewis Jr. and others in the backcourt. Gary Clark currently occupies the team’s other two-way spot.

Here are some other notes out of the Western Conference:

  • Suns guard Cameron Payne and forward Jae Crowder suffered wrist injuries in the team’s win over Indiana on Saturday, Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic writes. Both players exited the game early and won’t play in Monday’s contest against Utah, according to Kellan Olson of 98.7 Arizona Sports (Twitter link). Crowder sustained a wrist contusion, while Payne suffered a sprain. “It’s tough,” teammate Mikal Bridges said. “It kind of put my mood down a little bit when at the end the game seeing those guys hurt a little bit. You always want to have your whole team out there, but just pray for them tonight and next man up, but yeah, obviously you always want to have your team out there.”
  • Timberwolves guard Jordan McLaughlin has exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team announced on social media. McLaughlin has missed five straight games. He’s appeared in 28 contests this season, averaging 2.2 points and 2.4 assists in 11.2 minutes per contest.

Pelicans’ Didi Louzada Out Indefinitely With Torn Meniscus

Pelicans wing Didi Louzada has suffered a torn medial meniscus in his left knee and is out indefinitely, the team announced. Louzada suffered the injury during the second quarter of a game between the Pelicans’ G League affiliate, the Birmingham Squadron, and the South Bay Lakers on Friday. A surgery date has yet to be determined.

Louzada was suspended for 25 games without pay in November for violating the league’s anti-drug policy. He returned from the suspension less than two weeks ago, but hasn’t suited up for a game with New Orleans since the incident.

A 22-year-old from Brazil, Louzada was the 35th overall pick in the 2019 draft. After spending his first two seasons in Australia, he signed with New Orleans in late April 2021. The Pelicans turned down their team option on him last summer in order to sign him to a new four-year contract that includes two fully guaranteed seasons.

Louzada has logged just seven minutes in two games this season after appearing in three contests as an NBA rookie last spring.

He appeared in four games with Birmingham this season, averaging 11.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 24.3 minutes per contest.

And-Ones: Anigbogu, Crabbe, Trade Deadline, Maker

Former Pacers center Ike Anigbogu has signed a contract in the NBA G League, he told Hoops Rumors. Anigbogu will join the Birmingham Squadron, the Pelicans‘ affiliate.

Anigbogu, 23, was drafted No. 47 overall in 2017. He spent parts of the 2017/18 and ’18/19 seasons with Indiana and its G League affiliate, appearing in 14 NBA games.

Anigbogu also signed with the Pelicans for training camp in December of 2020. Along with Anigbogu, Birmingham’s roster currently features former NBA players Jared Harper and Joe Young.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the association:

  • Free agent Allen Crabbe has been acquired by the Knicks‘ G League affiliate in Westchester, according to Marc Stein (Twitter link). Crabbe holds seven years of NBA experience, last playing with Minnesota during the 2019/20 season. In 381 career games, he’s averaged 9.1 points per contest, shooting 42.5% from the floor and 39% from behind-the-arc.
  • Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype examines which players have increased their value ahead of the trade deadline. The deadline falls on Thursday, February 10 this season, which is now less than three weeks away.
  • The Nets‘ G League affiliate in Long Island has acquired former NBA center Thon Maker, a source confirmed to Hoops Rumors. Maker has made past stops with Milwaukee, Detroit and Cleveland, owning 263 games of experience. The former No. 10 pick last played in Israel.

Checking In On Traded 2022 First-Round Picks

We’re over halfway through the 2021/22 NBA regular season, which means it’s a good time to take a look at where things stand with 2022’s traded first-round picks. Many of the traded first-rounders for the ’22 draft come with protections, so there’s a chance they might not change hands this year after all.

Using our list of traded first-round picks for 2022 and our reverse standings tool, here’s our breakdown of which of those traded picks are most and least likely to change hands, and which ones remain up in the air:


Picks that will definitely change hands:

  • Thunder acquiring Clippers‘ pick (unprotected).

When the Clippers traded a series of first-round picks and swaps to the Thunder in the Paul George blockbuster in the 2019 offseason, they weren’t counting on losing both George and Kawhi Leonard to long-term injuries in the same season. That’s the case this year though, and it could result in Oklahoma City receiving an extra lottery pick.

The Clippers are currently in a play-in spot, so their pick could move to No. 15 or lower if they make the playoffs, but for now it’s projected to be No. 11 or No. 12 (they’re tied with the Knicks in the NBA standings).

  • Thunder acquiring Suns‘ pick (top-12 protected).

The Thunder will also receive a first-round pick from another Pacific team, though that selection appears likely to end up at the very end of the round — the Suns have the league’s best record so far, so their pick would be at No. 30.

  • Grizzlies acquiring Jazz‘s pick (top-six protected).

The pick the Grizzlies are getting from the Jazz will fall near the end of the first round too. For now, it projects to be No. 25 or No. 26, as Utah is tied in the standings with the Heat.

  • Grizzlies or Pelicans acquiring Lakers‘ pick (unprotected).

The Lakers will send their first-rounder to the Pelicans if it lands in the top 10 or to the Grizzlies if it’s between 11-30. It’s certainly possible things continue to go south in Los Angeles and the pick moves up into the top 10 — if the Lakers don’t make the playoffs, their pick could even jump into the top four via the lottery.

For now though, the more likely scenario is that Memphis will get the Lakers’ pick — it would be No. 15 or No. 16 (they’re tied with Minesota) if the season ended today and L.A. clinched a playoff spot in the play-in tournament.


Picks that definitely won’t change hands:

  • Thunder acquiring Pistons’ pick (top-16 protected).
  • Hawks acquiring Thunder‘s pick (top-14 protected).

There’s still a lot of basketball to be played this season, but it seems pretty safe to pencil in the Pistons and Thunder as non-playoff teams, which means they’ll keep their first-round picks in 2022. Right now, Detroit’s at No. 2 in the lottery standings, while Oklahoma City’s at No. 4.

Given how weak the bottom half of the Western Conference has been, the Thunder could theoretically sneak into a play-in spot and make the playoffs, but it’s an extreme long shot — the teams ahead of them in the standings will be more motivated to push for the postseason.

Assuming they keep their pick this year, the Pistons will owe the Thunder their top-18 protected first-round pick in 2023. If the Thunder’s own pick is protected, they’ll instead send the Hawks their 2024 and 2025 second-round selections.


Still up in the air:

  • Hornets acquiring Pelicans‘ pick (top-14 protected)
  • Bulls acquiring Trail Blazers‘ pick (top-14 protected)

At this point, it looks more likely than not that the Pelicans and Trail Blazers will keep their own lottery-protected first-round picks.

Portland, despite holding the West’s No. 10 seed for now, has a tenuous hold on a play-in spot with Damian Lillard sidelined for a while. New Orleans may have some potential for a second-half surge, especially if Zion Williamson returns, but the team is on the outside looking in for the time being. Either team would have a difficult path to a playoff spot as a lower seed in the play-in tournament.

Currently, the Pelicans’ first-rounder projects to be No. 6 or No. 7 (they’re tied with San Antonio), pending lottery results. Assuming that pick ends up in the top 14, New Orleans would instead send their 2022 and 2024 second-round selections to the Hornets.

If the Trail Blazers keep their first-round pick, currently projected to be No. 9, they’d owe the Bulls their top-14 protected first-rounder in 2023.

  • Hawks acquiring Hornets‘ pick (top-18 protected)

The Hornets‘ first-round selection, which was just traded from New York to Atlanta in the Cam Reddish deal, is right on the edge and could go either way. It’s top-18 protected and is currently projected to be at No. 19, meaning the Hawks would receive it if the season ended today (as long as the seventh-seeded Hornets clinched a playoff spot in the play-in tournament). That could change quickly though.

  • Rockets acquiring most favorable of Heat‘s or Nets‘ pick (Heat get least favorable).

Finally, the Rockets will control the two most favorable picks of the following three: their own first-rounder, the Nets first-rounder, and the Heat‘s first-rounder; Miami will get the least favorable of the three, unless the Heat’s own pick lands in the top 14 (in which case Miami would keep it and Houston would get the other two picks).

It seems safe to assume at this point that the Rockets will keep their own selection and the Heat will make the playoffs, so it’ll come down to whether Brooklyn or Miami finishes higher in the standings. Currently, the Heat are a half-game ahead of the Nets, so Houston would get Brooklyn’s pick (No. 24) and Miami would hang onto its own (No. 25 or No. 26).

Brandon Ingram Sprains Right Ankle

  • The Pelicans held Brandon Ingram out of the fourth quarter of their Thursday win over New York due to a sprained right ankle, says Andrew Lopez of ESPN. There are currently no plans to have the forward an undergo an MRI, but the team will evaluate the injury further before determining how much time – if any – he’ll have to miss. New Orleans doesn’t play again until Monday, so Ingram’s ankle will have a few days to heal.

Southwest Notes: Gordon, Chriss, Mavs, Pelicans, Spurs

Rockets guard Eric Gordon has been the subject of plenty of trade speculation already this season, and those rumors figure to continue heating up with the February 10 deadline just a few weeks away. However, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes, Gordon isn’t dwelling on the possibility that he could be playing for a new team next month.

“I’m not even thinking or worried about that,” Gordon said. “Things happen. Get traded or not, you’ve still got to play the game of basketball. Fortunately, I’ve been here for going on six years now, and it’s been really good. I know the situation I’m in. I’m looking to just continue to play my game and look forward to continue to thrive with this group of guys.”

A Monday report indicated that the Rockets are expected to seek a first-round pick in any Gordon trade.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Marquese Chriss‘ new two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Mavericks includes a fully guaranteed salary for 2022/23, according to Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link).
  • New Mavericks president of basketball operations Nico Harrison will be involved in some key decisions at this season’s trade deadline, but he’s hoping to get a good look at the roster at full strength before making those decisions, per Brad Towsend of The Dallas Morning News. “I think you can always improve,” Harrison said. “But as I look at our team, we haven’t been whole for a while. I’m really excited to see how [good] we are, now that we’re whole.”
  • Examining the Pelicans‘ outlook for the trade deadline, Will Guillory of The Athletic contends that the team should try to acquire one more reliable perimeter player, while Christian Clark of NOLA.com makes a similar argument, writing that the team lacks consistent creators in its backcourt.
  • Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia has joined the Spurs as a minority owner, as first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic and officially announced by the team. The franchise has brought in multiple minority stakeholders since Peter J. Holt took over as managing partner in June, according to Charania, who says 13 previous investors have sold off equity. Besides Gebbia, other new minority owners include Bay Area investment firm Sixth Street and Michael Dell, the founder of Dell Technologies.

Latest On Jerami Grant

The Pistons aren’t a lock to trade Jerami Grant before the February 10 deadline, but the veteran forward may be this winter’s most popular trade candidate, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

“He’s the grand prize of this deadline,” one team strategist told Fischer. “… He fits everywhere.”

“He’s gonna have so many suitors,” an assistant general manager said. “They’re just gonna wait them all out.”

According to Fischer, the Lakers, Trail Blazers, Knicks, Jazz, Wizards, Celtics, Pacers, Timberwolves, and Kings are among the teams that have signaled some level of interest in Grant. Sources tell Bleacher Report that the Pistons are seeking multiple first-round picks, or one first-rounder along with a high-upside young player.

Fischer likens Grant’s situation this season to Aaron Gordon‘s in 2020/21, a comparison Shams Charania made when first reporting Grant’s availability in December. Like Gordon, Grant is a versatile frontcourt defender who has one-and-a-half seasons left on his contract and will be extension-eligible.

That extension eligibility will be important. Any team acquiring Grant will want assurances he’ll sign a new deal, according to Fischer, who hears from sources that the 27-year-old hopes to receive a four-year offer in the range of $112.7MM (the maximum he can get prior to 2023 free agency).

Fischer does share one complicating factor, writing that Grant wouldn’t be enthusiastic about joining a new team that doesn’t feature him as a “primary offensive option.”

Here’s more on Grant:

  • A November report indicated that the Pistons may be willing to offer a package of Grant, Kelly Olynyk, Saddiq Bey, and a future first-round pick for Ben Simmons. According to Fischer, the Sixers weren’t particularly enthusiastic about that concept, but when it leaked, it alerted teams that Grant might be available, which has helped accelerate his market.
  • Some people around the league view the Wizards as the favorites for Grant, says Fischer, noting that Wes Unseld Jr. coached the forward as an assistant in Denver. Sources tell Bleacher Report that Wizards center Montrezl Harrell, who is on an expiring $9.7MM contract, has been considered available via trade. Harrell could be included in any Washington offer, along with at least one of Rui Hachimura or Deni Avdija, Fischer suggests.
  • Fischer classifies the Lakers and Jazz as unlikely destinations for Grant based on the limited assets those teams have to offer. He also downplays the possibility of the Celtics or Grizzlies acquiring the Pistons forward, writing that neither team is expected to seriously pursue him.
  • As others have reported, the Bulls don’t appear comfortable with the idea of moving Patrick Williams in a deal for Grant, according to Fischer.
  • According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, there’s a belief that the Pelicans will look to be buyers at this year’s trade deadline, and Grant is considered a possible target for them.