Darius Miller

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Pelicans’ Darius Miller ruptures Achilles tendon

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The Pelicans seemingly re-signed Darius Miller to a $7.25 million starting salary with $7 million unguaranteed salary the following season for two main reasons:

1. They want his contract to facilitate a trade.

2. They want his outside shooting to help them make the playoffs.

No. 2 is out the window.

Pelicans release:

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that forward Darius Miller underwent successful surgery this morning to repair a ruptured right Achilles tendon.

This will likely sideline Miller all season.

The Pelicans are deep and can withstand this injury. But this puts more pressure on 28-year-old rookie Nicolo Melli, who signed from Europe, to serve as the bigger shooting forward. Miller already proved he could fill that role.

New Orleans could still use Miller’s high salary in a trade. But some other teams might have valued his production. That’s obviously off the table now.

Miller’s best bet might be the Pelicans having to guarantee his 2020-21 salary for a trade next summer. Otherwise, he’s likely entering free agency at age 30 coming off a major injury.

Pelicans emerge from gloomy end to Anthony Davis era with Zion Williamson, bright future

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NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.

The Pelicans hired a lead executive with a championship pedigree. They deftly handled a superstar trade request, securing a massive return. They made savvy additions through draft, trade and free agency.

But the very best thing to happen to New Orleans this offseason was the bounce of ping-pong balls.

Despite holding just a 6% chance, the Pelicans won the lottery. They of course used the No. 1 pick on Zion Williamson – a generational prospect whose potential, age and contract status makes him even more valuable than Anthony Davis, both generally and specifically to this team.

This is my third year, grading offseasons. Before this, I hadn’t reckoned with how to account for lottery results. The Kings have been big risers the previous two years. In 2017, they jumped five spots to the No. 3 pick, but because of a previous pick swap, had to move down closer to their original slot. Last year, Sacramento jumped to No. 2, but pick a player (Marvin Bagley III) I ranked lower, anyway.

This wild lottery demanded a judgment on whether to include the drawing.

Ultimately, I’m grading teams’ offseason results, not the teams’ offseason decision-making. So, I am including lottery results in the grade.

That’s a big reason the Pelicans perform so well. T

heir decision making was also excellent, though.

They secured maximum return from the Lakers for Davis. Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, the No. 4 pick, two future first-rounders (including a deferment right on one) and a first-round swap rights another year? That’s a dream package.

New Orleans compounded the return by flipping the No. 4 pick, a late second-rounder or two and Solomon Hill‘s burdensome contract to the Hawks for the Nos. 8, 17 and 35 picks and a potential future first-rounder. That’s such great value for the Pelicans.

No. 8 pick Jaxson Hayes and No. 17 pick Nickeil Alexander-Walker both looked good in summer league. (No. 35 Marcos Louzada Silva will spend next season overseas.)

New Orleans instantly formed a deep young group to grow around Williamson.

The Pelicans still have a prime Jrue Holiday, who I deemed worthy of All-NBA last season. If even a couple of the youngsters make a leap, New Orleans could compete for the playoffs next season.

To that end, New Orleans added a couple quality veterans. The Pelicans signed J.J. Redick to a two-year, $26.5 million contract. They also traded just a couple second-rounders for Derrick Favors, whose unguaranteed salary the Jazz had to unload.

Darius Miller re-signed for $7.25 million next season with a $7 million unguaranteed salary the following year. That’s a high number for him, but that contract could be more useful in a trade than if he were making less.

New Orleans is well-situated for the present and future with a variety of possible paths forward. That’s incredible considering the malaise Davis’ trade request instilled.

Getting Williamson changed everything. The Pelicans are doing their best to make the most of the addition.

Offseason grade: A

New Orleans signs Darius Morris to compete for guard spot on roster

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The New Orleans Pelicans are looking for depth at the guard and wing spots, and at the wing they are doing and old-school tryout during training camp. At guard, New Orleans has a borderline All-Star in Jrue Holiday (they want to say he’s not the point, he’s the two guard, but are they going to want the ball in his hands or Elfrid Payton‘s?), after that it gets thin.

Now add Darius Morris is going to get his shot at a spot, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Morris last played in the NBA in 2015 in Brooklyn and may be best remembered for a couple of seasons with the Lakers at the start of this decade (they drafted him in the second round in 2011). The past couple of seasons he has primarily been in the G-League, but has played in China as well.

The Pelicans need guard depth. Behind Holiday there is Payton, Ian Clark, Frank Jackson and likely Tyronne Wallace (they put in an offer sheet on him the Clippers are unlikely to match). Rarely is there a lot of drama in NBA training camps, due to guaranteed contracts, but this season in New Orleans will be different — roster spots and minutes will be available. Should be interesting to watch.

New Orleans waives DeAndre Liggins

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Friday was the day to waive and stretch players for the upcoming season, and it’s the day a number of players have been let go from their contracts. While not ideal for the players, it’s better it happens now as opposed to when training camps have already started, this way players have a better chance of landing on the training camp roster of another team.

Enter DeAndre Liggins, who was waived by the Pelicans on Friday. He played in 23 games for them last season, starting three, but he still averaged just nine minutes a game.

He just got squeezed by the numbers. On the court, he would have been behind E'Twaun Moore, Darius Miller, and Solomon Hill. Plus the Pelicans’ payroll is pushing the tax line and Liggins was owed $1.8 million, but could be bought out for $75,000.

Liggins likely will land on another training camp roster.

Warriors use big second quarter to pull away, rout Pelicans

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OAKLAND, Calif. —  Kevin Durant had 26 points and 13 rebounds, Draymond Green dazzled all over the floor with his fourth career postseason triple-double, and the Golden State Warriors thoroughly overmatched the New Orleans Pelicans for a 123-101 win in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals Saturday night.

Green finished with 16 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists, three steals and two blocks and just with his hustle and energy helped the defending champions pull away with a superb, decisive second quarter.

Now, they likely get Stephen Curry back for Game 2 on Tuesday night and all that he brings – even if in a limited role initially.

Anthony Davis had 21points and 10 rebounds, scoring 10 in the first quarter before having a tougher time generating shots the rest of the way to finish 9 for 20. Jrue Holiday was held to 4-for-14 shooting and 11 points.

Golden State again played without two-time MVP Curry, who has been sidelined since March 23 with a sprained left knee. Coach Steve Kerr called it “very likely” Curry would play Game 2 in the best-of-seven series.

Klay Thompson, who led Golden State with 27 points, hit back-to-back 3-pointers late in the first half that made it 76-48. But New Orleans ended the second on a 7-0 run and Darius Miller‘s 73-foot heave at the halftime buzzer counted after review, getting the Pelicans within 76-55 at the break. They hit another buzzer-beater to end the third but it was way too late.

Rajon Rondo had nine points and dished out 11 assists for New Orleans.

But once Golden State got going in transition, Oracle Arena started rocking and the Pelicans couldn’t keep pace – with tempo being something the Warriors know is key this series. They opened the second with a 13-5 burst and were on their way.

Davis, who averaged 33 points, 12 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in a first-round sweep of Portland, made 5 of 7 shots in the opening period.

Green has been brilliant on the boards as Golden State keeps taking its defense up a level. He had games of 19 and 18 rebounds in the final two matchups of a five-game series with San Antonio in the first round.

Nick Young started at forward for the Warriors while 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala remained in the starting lineup in place of Curry as Golden State won a franchise-record 13th straight postseason home game.

The Warriors swept the Pelicans in the only other playoff meeting between the franchises in the 2015 first round as Golden State went on to capture its first championship in 40 years.