Josh Hart

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Josh Hart hires chef so he won’t get fat on New Orleans food

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Josh Hart is now a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, and he will be part of a young core in the Big Easy that is hoping to make a push for the Western Conference playoffs this season.

Hart arrives in Louisiana from the Los Angeles Lakers, and it’s already been difficult for him to stay in shape. According to Hart, he had to hire a chef to make sure that he wasn’t partaking in all the calorically-dense fare that New Orleans has to offer.

Via Twitter:

This seems like a good idea, and I’m always surprised when NBA players don’t have chefs working for them part-time. Most of them make enough money to have someone at least do some prep work for them, and when stories come up about how much candy some of these guys eat it’s sort of mind-blowing.

You can understand how difficult it would be to resist all of the temptation in New Orleans. Good for Hart, and this is great news for the Pelicans. Having a chef and being smart about nutrition is proof that Hart is locked in for the season.

Kyle Kuzma still bothered by ankle injury, reportedly could miss start of Lakers’ camp

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Kyle Kuzma left Team USA before it went to China for the World Cup with what was publically called “left ankle soreness.” Although, with the way players left that team, there was speculation about how injured any player was vs. him being allowed to leave on his terms rather than be cut.

Turns out, Kuzma’s ankle injury was legit — so much so he could miss the start of training camp, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

On one level this doesn’t sound serious in a “he could miss time during the season” kind of way, but any foot or ankle injury is a cause for some concern because they can linger. Stress injuries, the precursor to a fracture, are overuse injuries, which is another concern.

Kuzma returns to a very different team when the Lakers open training camp Saturday — Anthony Davis is in, while the former young core of Lonzo Ball/Brandon Ingram/Josh Hart are out (and in New Orleans). The Lakers are title contenders thanks to LeBron James and Davis being on the roster, but there are a lot of questions about if the supporting cast around them is up to that task.

A lot is going to fall on Kuzma’s shoulders, he will need to be the No. 3 option on this team, and play much better defense than he has in the past, to get the Lakers where they want to go.

While his shoulders will have that weight, his feet will apparently be clad in Puma shoes (once those feet are healthy, anyway). Kuzma’s wallet will get a lot heavier from that too, which is a good thing from the young star.

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

Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram says he’s ‘pretty close’ to resuming normal workouts

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METAIRIE, La. — Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram says he’s “pretty close” to resuming normal workouts as he continues to recover from surgery to address a blood clot in his right arm.

Ingram says he has not resumed shooting, but has worked on his shooting form while also conducting ball-handling and passing drills, as well as lower-body workouts.

Ingram did not give a specific timeline for his return to full basketball activities with the Pelicans, the team to which the Lakers traded him this offseason as part of a multi-player and multi-draft pick deal for six-time All-Star Anthony Davis.

Ingram spoke about his health on Tuesday during formal introductions at Pelicans headquarters for him and three other new players: guard Lonzo Ball, swing player Josh Hart, and center Derrick Favors.

Ball and Hart also were part of the Davis trade. Favors was traded by Utah to New Orleans.

Ingram was averaging 18.3 points and 5.1 rebounds last season before he was diagnosed with deep venous thrombosis in early March.

Brandon Clarke named Summer League MVP, leads Grizzlies to Vegas title

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Brandon Clarke made his mark in Las Vegas.

The No. 21 pick in June out of Gonzaga, he averaged 14.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game in leading the Grizzlies to the championship game, and for that he was named the Las Vegas Summer League MVP.

(That award has been won by Damian Lillard, Blake Griffin and John Wall, but also Josh Shelby and Glen Rice Jr. Most winners of the award had good careers as role players — Randy Foye, Jerryd Bayless, whatever Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart become — but it’s a mistake to think it’s a precursor of NBA dominance.)

Clarke wasn’t done, he had 15 points and 16 rebounds in the championship game, leading the Grizzlies past the Timberwolves 95-92. Memphis is your 2019 NBA Summer League Champions.

Memphis raced out to a 15-point lead early in the title game.

In the end, it was a balanced attack that won Memphis the game. Grayson Allen led the way 17 points, but Clarke, Bruno Caboclo, and Dusty Hannah’s all had 15 points, while Tyler Harvey added a dozen.

Minnesota was led by Kelan Martin with 19 points.