Dante Cunningham

Reports: Pelicans signing Luke Babbitt and Alonzo Gee

Leave a comment

The Pelicans, coming off a breakthrough playoff appearance, are keeping the band together.

They’ve re-signed Omer Asik, Alexis Ajinca and Dante Cunningham.

Add Luke Babbitt to the list – with Alonzo Gee joining him in New Orleans.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

These are only slightly above minimum contracts – or maybe even minimum deals with generous rounding. So, don’t expect either player to move the needle too much. Everything starts and ends with Anthony Davis.

But Babbitt has a chance to contribute as a stretch four in Alvin Gentry’s spread offense. That would mean more minutes for Davis at center, another plus.

Gee provides length on defense, which could help New Orleans switch more often (a la Gentry’s old team, the Warriors).

Now that players can finally, officially sign deals here’s a list of who did at midnight


The moratorium is over.

The NBA’s practice of allowing more than a week of negotiations between players and teams before anyone can actually put pen to paper to sign a deal has never gotten more scrutiny, thanks to DeAndre Jordan and his house guests. There could be changes in the future.

But the system wasn’t changing this year, and that moratorium ended when the calendar flipped from July 8 to 9 (Eastern time). Here is a list of who we know signed with teams immediately after midnight. There may be more, and the majority of players will sign later in the day (and have press conferences where they will talk to the media), but here is the list as we have it now (in no particular order):

• Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
• Omer Asik (New Orleans Pelicans)
• Alexis Ajinca (New Orleans Pelicans)
• Dante Cunningham (New Orleans Pelicans)
• Brandon Bass (Los Angeles Lakers)
• Al-Farouq Aminu (Portland Trail Blazers)
• Ed Davis (Portland Trail Blazers)
• DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers)
• Luis Scola (Toronto Raptors)
• Brandan Wright (Memphis Grizzlies)

With Anthony Davis and Pelicans drained, Warriors deliver down the stretch


Dante Cunningham found himself matchup with Stephen Curry after a scramble resulted in yet another loose ball escaping the fatigued Pelicans. Cunningham turned around and practically told Anthony Davis, “You take him.”

Davis staggered forward, stumbling on his own tired legs.

Curry held the ball at his side, rhythmically rocking his head side to side like the seconds hand on a grandfather clock.

5… 4… 3…

Soon enough, 2-0 lead.

Golden State ended Game 2 on a 9-1 run, taking a strong punch from the Pelicans and emerging with a 97-87 win.

“We were right there. We gave ourselves a chance,” Davis said. “But at the same time, we want to win a game. That’s all we’ve been talking about, is trying to get one on the road. And it’s tough when you’re battling like that.

“We know that we can beat this team.”

The Warriors’ 97 points were their fewest in more than three weeks and their fewest in a win since the All-Star break.

New Orleans successfully slowed the pace, contested shots and took Golden State out of its comfort zone. But, late, the Warriors seemingly realized they could play that style, too – and their depth allowed them to grind longer than the Pelicans.

Davis (26 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks) gave his all, but he just couldn’t keep up for all 45 of his minutes. With Davis struggling to even get up and down the floor, New Orleans fell apart.

In the last four-and-a-half minutes, the Pelicans made no shots, missed five, committed two turnovers and allowed three offensive rebounds in six opportunities. Even completing passes became difficult.

Earlier, though, Davis changed everything. He scored 10 first-quarter points – following his 20 fourth-quarter points in Game 1 – and attracted significant defensive attention. Davis wisely dished when the Warriors collapsed, and nobody benefited more than Eric Gordon, who finished with 23 points on 5-of-10 3-point shooting. Norris Cole (11 points) also made timely plays, and New Orleans led by as many as 13.

But the Warriors got enough splash with 26 points from Klay Thompson and 22 from Curry. Even Leandro Barbosa (12 points) had a stretch of lighting up the Pelicans.

Most importantly, Golden State’s league-best defense rose to the occasion. Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green had their fingerprints all over this one, and Green – who played 42 minutes – was tasked primarily with defending Davis, who shot 9-for-22.

“I ask Draymond if he’s tired, and if he says no, I leave him in. If he says yes, I leave him in,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s a very scientific approach.”

New Orleans has probably had enough of how the Warriors do things in Oakland, where they’ve won 41 of 43 games this season behind an energetic crowd that showed up tonight. The only two teams to win there, San Antonio and Chicago (in overtime), are better than the Pelicans.

Good news for them: The series shifts to New Orleans for Game 3, and the Pelicans should have a better chance there.

If anyone has energy by Thursday.

Pelicans-Rockets nearly had a very screwed-up ending (video)

1 Comment

His Pelicans down two to the Rockets, Eric Gordon intentionally missed a free throw with 1.7 seconds left.

Then, everything went haywire.

Dante Cunningham just took multiple steps behind the baseline and then jumped up to save the ball, as if that were in any way allowed. By rule, Cunningham is considered out of bounds, because that’s where his feet were last established. So, as soon as he touched the ball, even though he was in the air, it should have been ruled out of bounds and Houston ball. Somehow, the refs missed that.

Then, Miller passed to Tyreke Evans while the clock just stopped at 0.3 seconds. That allowed Evans enough time to get off a final attempt.

Thankfully, he missed. If he made it, the replay center would still probably be trying to sort through that mess. The game would either just be ending or overtime would be tipping off any minute now.

Pelicans’ Ryan Anderson suffers knee sprain, has to be helped off court (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

While they picked up a road win in Miami, Saturday was a rough night for New Orleans. First, their superstar in the making Anthony Davis aggravated his sprained shoulder and had to leave the game.

Then this — sharpshooter Ryan Anderson went down grabbing his knee and had to be helped off the court. Officially the Pelicans called it a sprain after the game. We will see in the next 24-48 hours if that gets changed to anything worse once an MRI is done, and the doctors get a better look at it. (Davis will be re-evaluated on Sunday as well.)

Anderson was battling for rebound position after a missed Dante Cunningham shot when Mario Chalmers inadvertently stepped on his ankle, twisting Anderson’s leg awkwardly. He instantly went to the ground grabbing his knee.

Anderson is a key bench player for a Pelican team trying to fight for the final playoff spot in the West. He averages 14.8 points shooting 34 percent from three, plus grabs 5.2 rebounds playing 29 minutes per game for New Orleans.

Why this is potentially very bad for the Pelicans: When Davis and Anderson are on the court together the team’s offense jumps to 112 points per 100 possessions, and they outscore opponents by 5.8 points per 100. That combo plays well together, and if one or both are lost for an extended period it’s a blow to the team’s already fading playoff dreams.

(Hat tip to James Herbert of CBSSport.com for the video.)