Tag: New Orleans Saints

2013 NBA Draft

Interesting draft note: If Bennett or Oladipo had fallen to No. 6, same Sixers/Pelican trade would have gone down


Just days before the 2013 NBA Draft Nerlens Noel was still the presumptive No. 1 pick and Anthony Bennett was thought to be the guy falling down draft boards.

It was then that the brain trusts of Philadelphia and New Orleans came up with a trade that surprised a lot of people on draft night. It wasn’t all about Noel, explains Dei Lynam at CSNPhilly.com.

Three names supposedly would have supposedly gotten the deal done: Anthony Bennett, Victor Oladipo and Nerlens Noel. Bennett went first to the Cavaliers. Oladipo was selected second by Orlando, and fortunately for the Sixers, Noel was still on the board when the Pelicans picked at No. 6….

This gives insight into the workings of the draft and how deals get done on that night — it hardly happens in a five-minute window. Plans and contingency plans are mapped out in advance.

The trade was Noel and a future first-round pick to the Sixers for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday.

That Philly was open to three players who play very different roles on the court shows what the Sixers wanted — talent. Guys that could be part of the future down the road, not so much next season. With Noel it may work out — if his knee is right he could be the best player out of this draft in three or four years. Which is when it matters because that is when they should have built up talent around him.

Philadelphia is not tanking but they have certainly put themselves in the “Woeful for Wiggins” discussion, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s better than bringing Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and the rest of the gang back to win 41 games.

But it’s a different direction than the Pelicans have gone — Holiday, Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans and Anthony Davis are all young and talented. A lot of things still need to come together, but that is a nice collection of talent and a team on the rise.

Tyreke Evans looking for stable role in New Orleans

Tyreke Evans

A few things made the last few seasons in Sacramento tough for Tyreke Evans.

First, there were a series of injuries that slowed him down. There was a coaching change and just a general instability with the franchise as the Maloof era sputtered to its inevitable end.

Then there was how Evans had different things asked of him all the time by the coaching staff.

“It was definitely hard for me going from the point to the three, back to the two. It really was a challenge for me,” Evans told ProBasketballTalk while speaking from his youth summer camp sponsored by VSP Vision Care. “I think I handled it well, didn’t complain, just went out there and played. So this will definitely be different.”

What will be different is New Orleans, where Evans is headed as part of a sign-and-trade, where he will sign a four-year, $44 million deal.

Evans has yet to speak in any detail with Pelicans coach Monty Williams, but with Jrue Holiday at the point and Eric Gordon at the two (for now, he is reportedly being shopped), Evans is hoping he gets a defined role to fill.

“Pretty much,” Evans said of his hope for some definition of what he will be asked to do. “I’ll have a talk with coach and see what kind of role he wants me to play, it can be any type of role. We got a lot of ones out there, so it’ll be interesting to see kind of role he wants me to play. He’ll quite sure he’ll have me switching a little bit.”

Evans is headed to New Orleans as part of a three-team trade. The Pelicans will send Greivis Vasquez to the Kings and Robin Lopez to the Trail Blazers, while Portland will send the rights to sign No. 39 pick Kansas center Jeff Withey to New Orleans, and a future second-round draft pick to the Kings.

Evans averaged 15.4 points a game last season and played a little better on offense at the three than at the two. However, at times he struggled to defend threes. However, he is now heading into a different system with the Pelicans.

What Evans expects is an up-tempo team that, in his words, will just get out there and play basketball.

“I definitely think we’re going to be a running team,” Evans said. “We got point guards and players who can finish in the open court, and Anthony Davis who can jump and you can throw lobs to him in the pick-n-roll. I think it’s going to be fun just going out there and playing basketball.”

Evans is spending his summer he said working on his all around game, particularly his shooting (he shot a career best 33.8 percent from three last year and wants that part of his game to be more of a threat).

But first he is doing what he has done the past three summers — working with at-risk youth in the Sacramento area at a free camp sponsored by VSP Vision Care.

“I been working with VSP for three years on the camp. I’m pretty excited about it’s, it’s for the kids and it’s free…” Evans said. “They all get an eye exam as too, so that’s a good thing.”

Those kind of health checkups can find things that often may be missed otherwise, Evans noted. The camp is more than just hoops, they get with school supplies and some Nike gear, all paid for by VSP and Evans.

These are youth trying to overcome disadvantages and Evans wants to share with them from his NBA experiences that what pays off is hard work;

“That’s number one thing, beside school, it’s about putting the work in,” Evans said. “What you put in is what you get out. I wouldn’t be in the NBA, I mean, I’m talented, but I worked hard. I tell them if you work hard you get better, and that’s the key to push themselves and just never stop chasing your dream.”

Sometimes, those dreams lead to New Orleans.

Dorell Wright agrees to two-year deal with the Blazers

Dorell Wright

Dorell Wright might have been a key veteran addition to the bench of a contender next season, but he chose to go to a team looking to continue its rebuild instead.

Wright has agreed to a two-year deal worth $6 million to join the Portland Trail Blazers, according to multiple reports, including this one from Jason Quick of The Oregonian.

A nine-year NBA veteran, Wright brings three-point shooting and capable rebounding from the wing position. He played for the Sizers last season, where he averaged 9.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 22.6 minutes per game, while shooting 39.6 percent from three-point distance. For his career, however, Wright’s average from beyond the arc is a much more solid 43.6 percent.

This pickup is another one aimed at solidifying the bench unit in Portland, an area where the team has done an excellent job this offseason. In addition to Wright, the Blazers have added Robin Lopez and Thomas Robinson essentially for nothing, and selected guard C.J. McCollum with the tenth overall pick in this year’s draft.

Dwight Howard and James Harden could form NBA’s best duo

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers

Dwight Howard is a center. James Harden is a guard.

Howard is one of the NBA’s best defenders. Harden is one of the league’s top offensive players.

Howard is an elite interior scorer. Harden’s range extends beyond the 3-point line.

Howard is excellent as the screener in pick-and-rolls. Harden is superb as the ball-handler on those plays.

Howard and Harden, in any system, would be two of the NBA’s best players. Together, they should be great.

They won’t step on each other’s toes the ways LeBron James and Dwyane Wade do at times. Obviously LeBron and Wade have overcome those issues, but the overlaps in their games have caused complications.

Howard and Harden won’t have to deal with that.

Could Howard and Harden even become the NBA’s best duo next season? First, let’s set a baseline using each team’s top duos last season, as judged by combined win shares.

I’ll also slot in Howard and Harden to compare. It’s difficult to know whether Howard’s peak win-share total, set in 2010-11, or his lower total while playing through injury last season is more telling, so I’ll show both.

1. Thunder, 30.5 (Kevin Durant, 18.9; Russell Westbrook, 11.6)

2. Heat, 28.9 (LeBron James, 19.3; Dwyane Wade, 9.6)

Howard (14.4) Harden (12.8) using peak numbers numbers, 27.2

3. Clippers, 24.5 (Chris Paul, 13.9; Blake Griffin, 10.6)

4. Grizzlies, 21.4 (Marc Gasol, 11.5; Mike Conley, 9.9)

Harden (12.8) and Howard (7.6) using last season’s numbers, 20.4

5. Warriors, 20.3 (Stephen Curry, 11.2; David Lee, 9.1)

6. Nets, 19.9 (Deron Williams, 10.9; Brook Lopez, 9)

7. Rockets, 19.8 (James Harden, 12.8; Chandler Parsons, 7)

8. Knicks, 18.8 (Carmelo Anthony, 9.5; Tyson Chandler, 9.3)

8. Pacers, 18.8 (George Hill, 9.7; David West, 9.1)

10. Lakers, 18.5 (Kobe Bryant, 10.9; Dwight Howard, 7.6)

11. Spurs, 17.6 (Tony Parker, 9.3; Tim Duncan, 8.3)

12. Jazz, 15.3 (Al Jefferson, 7.7; Paul Millsap, 7.6)

13. Hawks, 15.2 (Al Horford, 8.8; Kyle Korver, 6.4)

13. Nuggets, 15.2 (Kenneth Faried, 7.8; Ty Lawson, 7.4)

15. Bulls, 14.3 (Joakim Noah, 7.3; Jimmy Butler, 7)

16. Trail Blazers, 14.1 (LaMarcus Aldridge, 7.2; J.J. Hickson, 6.9)

17. Raptors, 12.9 (Amir Johnson, 7.3; Kyle Lowry, 5.6)

18. Celtics, 12.8 (Paul Pierce, 7.2; Kevin Garnett, 5.6)

19. Bucks, 12.7 (Ersan Ilyasova, 6.7; Larry Sanders, 6)

19. Timberwolves, 12.7 (Nikola Pekovic, 6.7; Andrei Kirilenko, 6)

21. Hornets, 12.6 (Ryan Anderson, 6.5; Anthony Davis, 6.1)

22. 76ers, 12.3 (Thaddeus Young, 7.4; Dorell Wright, 4.9)

23. Mavericks, 11.6 (Vince Carter, 6; Darren Collison, 5.6)

24. Wizards, 10.8 (Martell Webster, 6.3; tie John Wall and Emeka Okafor, 4.5)

25. Cavaliers, 10.5 (Kyrie Irving, 5.3; Tristan Thompson, 5.2)

25. Suns, 10.5 (Goran Dragic, 5.7; Jared Dudley, 4.8)

27. Pistons, 10.4 (Greg Monroe, 5.9; Andre Drummond, 4.5)

28. Kings, 9.4 (Isaiah Thomas, 5; tie: DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans, 4.4)

29. Magic, 8.9 (Nikola Vucevic, 5.7; J.J. Redick, 3.2)

30. Bobcats, 8.1 (Kemba Walker, 4.8; Gerald Henderson, 3.3)

Wade is 31, and he has spent his career drawing fouls, a style that is difficult to maintain. He showed during the playoffs that he might already be beyond his days of regularly dominating. That doesn’t mean he’ll fall off a cliff or won’t sometimes look like the best shooting guard in the NBA, but it could mean he and LeBron lose their footing as one of the game’s best two duos.

There are also questions about how Westbrook returns from his injury. Lingering effects could keep him and Durant from retaining their place atop this list.

But if I had to guess today, I’d say Durant-Westbrook will be the NBA’s best duo next season with Howard-Harden coming in second.

Eric Gordon thinks there’s ‘a good to great chance’ he’ll be back with the Pelicans

Eric Gordon

The NBA franchise in New Orleans now known as the Pelicans has been plenty busy this offseason, but all of their moves have involved relatively big-name guards who have the ability to score.

On the surface, that seems like an odd choice.

Eric Gordon is in that position for the Pelicans at a salary of over $14 million, escalating up to $15.5 million over the next three seasons. When healthy he’s a dynamic scorer who many believe is deserving of that contract, but the fact is that he’s managed to play only 51 games in total over the last two seasons due to injury.

There’s also the little issue of Gordon wanting out of New Orleans when he was a restricted free agent, when he famously said his “heart was in Phoenix” after signing a max offer sheet to play for the Suns, which the then-Hornets went ahead and matched.

The moves made by the club so far have Gordon changing his tune, however, and he not only sounds happier to be where he is, but expects to be back next season.

From Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports:

“I’m all in with the Pelicans,” said Gordon, who has been friends with Holiday and Evans since their AAU days. “It would be great if we can all play together. I would say we’d definitely have a chance to make the playoffs.”

While Gordon and point guard Greivis Vasquez could be candidates for a sign-and-trade, Gordon doesn’t expect that to be the case for him.

“I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent, but I do feel comfortable I am coming back,” Gordon said. “I think there is a good to great chance I will be back.”

The Pelicans made a draft-day trade to acquire All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday from the Sixers, and have tendered a four-year, $44 million offer sheet to Tyreke Evans, which he has reportedly agreed to sign.

Despite Gordon’s hunches, he may indeed be a candidate for a trade if the team believes his injury history or attitude is no longer a match for the franchise. But it’s not a surprise that for now, Greivis Vasquez is the odd man out in New Orleans, given his serviceable skill set at a much more affordable price.