The Pelicans aren’t content adding just Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson to a dynamic backcourt that already included Eric Gordon and Greivis Vasquez.
They’re also ready to offer Tyreke Evans, a restricted free agent, a sizable contract. David Aldridge of NBA.com:
Using numbers from ShamSports.com, the Pelicans have $61,356,465 in salary counting against the cap, which is expected to be set at $58.5 million. But they can reduce their salary commitments to $47,121,716 by renouncing free agents Al-Farouq Aminu ($3,749,602 of additional cap space), Xavier Henry ($3,201,370), Louis Amundson ($884,293) and Roger Mason ($884,293) and waiving players with partially unguaranteed contracts Robin Lopez ($4,619,761), Lance Thomas
Long story short, if the expected salary cap comes to fruition, the Pelicans could offer Evans a contract starting at $11,378,284. More than likely, that would prevent the Kings from matching and make Evans a Pelican. Even more likely, New Orleans wouldn’t offer quite that much, but that’s the amount available.
If the Pelicans sign Evans, would they use a three-guard backcourt, making Evans their nominal small forward, or would they explore a trade of Gordon? It’s always nice to add talent, but it’s not always simple to do or handle once its done.
Signing Evans to an offer sheet, which hasn’t yet happened, would merely be step one of many for New Orleans.
A story in three parts:
1. After posting 46-15-7-7 in a win over the Lakers, frequently injured 76ers center Joe Embiid declared himself to be 69%:
2. ESPN analyst Jalen Rose called that joke “unprofessional:”
3. Embiid upgraded his status to 81% with a “shoutout to Jalen Rose:”
The Celtics established themselves as one of the NBA’s elite teams, a contender for the Eastern Conference title, during their 16-game win streak.
However, that hot streak to start the season will matter as much as Thanksgiving leftovers in the back of the refrigerator in April by the time the playoffs roll around. This is a team that still has work to do.
Which is what Kyrie Irving was getting at in this post-loss quote from Friday night, via Israel Gutierrez of ESPN.
“There’s still a lot to accomplish going forward,” Irving said. “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”
This team still needs to get better and more consistent. The Celtics had to come from behind in the fourth quarter in eight of the 16 wins, and while the team defense was impressive the offense still can be hit and miss. Al Horford and Kyrie Irving play well off each other, but this is still the 20th ranked offense in the NBA. They are taking more long midrange jumpers than most coaches want, but the bigger challenge is they have not been finishing around the basket.
Titles are not won in November. Irving gets that. Jayson Tatum will hit the rookie wall at some point (they all do) and he needs to prove he can break through. Al Horford is playing maybe the best ball of his career and needs to keep it up. The Celtics need to keep their defensive focus (the fundamentals are there to have a top five defense). I could go on but you get the point, and so does Irving — there is a lot of work for this team to do.
Boston is off to a fantastic start, but it’s just that.
Gregg Popovich is a basketball lifer.
He’s the NBA’s most experienced active head coach. Before that, he was the Spurs’ general manager. Before that, he was an NBA assistant. Before that, he was a college head coach and assistant. Before that, he was a college player. Before that, he was a youth player.
The San Antonio coach has seen everything.
Popovich, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN:
“Never, never,” Popovich said when asked whether he has seen such a condition hampering one of his players. “What’s really strange is that [point guard] Tony [Parker] has the same injury, but even worse. They had to go operate on his quad tendon and put it back together or whatever they did to it. So to have two guys, that’s pretty incredible. I had never seen it before those guys.”
“I keep saying sooner rather than later,” Popovich said jokingly. “It’s kind of like being a politician. It’s all baloney, doesn’t mean anything.”
The 26-year-old Leonard is one of the NBA’s biggest on-court stars. He might be the league’s best defender, and he has built himself into an offensive force. The Spurs (11-7) have fared fine without him so far, but they’ll need him to accomplish their main goals – this year and beyond.
Hopefully, Leonard’s health is better than it sounds here, because Popovich’s answer sure isn’t encouraging.