Reuters/ Los Angeles
New Orleans Pelicans All-Star forward Brandon Ingram isn’t convinced the NBA restart will go off without a hitch.
The Pelicans are slated to travel to Orlando, Florida, today but Ingram isn’t sure the season will be completed with the coronavirus pandemic still out of control.
“I’m not that confident about that,” Ingram told reporters on Monday. “It looks like everything is going through with Orlando or whatever.... New cases are coming up, different things are happening. I’m not very confident, but they’ve got us going to Orlando (today) so we’ll see.”
The 22-year-old Ingram is averaging a career-best 24.3 points in 56 games in his first season with the Pelicans.
Point guard Lonzo Ball also expressed reservations on Monday.
“I think it’s going to be a day-by-day thing,” said the 22-year-old Ball, who is averaging seven assists and a career-best 12.4 points in 56 games his first campaign with New Orleans. “Obviously nothing is going to be perfect. This is something that’s never been done before. There’s still a lot of question marks. Like I said, I think it’s going to be day-by-day.
“As long as we try to (abide) by the rules, I think that’s going to help get us through the season. I can’t really tell you whether it’s going to work or not. I don’t know how I feel about it, I’m just happy to see my teammates and at least be out there as a team trying to win for the organisation.”
As the Pelicans prepare to travel ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, the status of 65-year-old coach Alvin Gentry still hasn’t been firmed up. Because of his age, Gentry is viewed as being in the at-risk group by the NBA due to the coronavirus outbreak running rampant in Florida.
Associate head coach Chris Finch will likely run the squad if Gentry doesn’t travel.
Another assistant, 67-year-old Jeff Bzdelik, won’t be travelling to Orlando.
The Pelicans are slated to resume the season on July 30 against the Utah Jazz. New Orleans (28-36) is 3 1/2 games behind the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies, who currently hold the final Western Conference playoff spot.
The Pelicans also signed free agent guard Sindarius Thornwell for the reminder of the 2019-20 season on Monday. Thornwell’s signing comes on the same day that the club announced that forward Darius Miller (Achilles) won’t travel to Orlando for the resumption of the season.
The 30-year-old Miller hasn’t played this season since rupturing his right Achilles in August. He averages 6.0 points per game in 253 NBA games (28 starts), since joining New Orleans for the 2012-13 campaign in the first of two stints with the franchise.
“We are extremely encouraged with the progress Darius has made in his recovery process,” Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said in a statement. “The work he has put in both prior to and during these limited mandatory workouts has been remarkable. We look forward to seeing him back at full strength heading into the 2020-21 campaign.”
Thornwell, 25, has a 2.5-point career scoring average in 137 games (18 starts) in two seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers (2017-19). He spent this season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the G League and averaged 9.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 40 games (26 starts).
Thornwell was a college star who led South Carolina to the Final Four in 2017.
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