NBA notebook: Pelicans staff adds WNBA legend Weatherspoon

The New Orleans Pelicans hired WNBA legend and Hall of Famer Teresa Weatherspoon as a two-way player development coach, the team announced Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Apr 6, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; WNBA former player Teresa Weatherspoon during the Basketball Hall of Fame press conference at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Weatherspoon, 53, most recently served as director of player and franchise development for the WNBA’s New York Liberty. Her main focus at New Orleans will be to work with players on two-way contracts such as Josh Gray and Zylan Cheatham. Such contracts allow teams to shuttle the players between the NBA roster and the club’s G League affiliate.

AJ Diggs was also hired in a similar role, according to the Pelicans. Weatherspoon and Diggs will also work closely with the club’s G League team, the Erie BayHawks.

“I am thrilled to welcome and AJ and Teresa to our coaching staff here in New Orleans,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said in a statement. “As we continue to put an increased emphasis on player development, AJ and Teresa will play an integral role with our younger players and will be a huge asset to our players and staff both here in New Orleans and Erie.”

--Memphis Grizzlies guard De’Anthony Melton will be sidelined for four to eight weeks due to a stress reaction in his back, the team announced. He was acquired from the Phoenix Suns in the offseason, and averaged 5.0 points, 3.2 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 50 games (31 starts) for the Suns as a rookie last season.

Memphis also announced that rookie point guard Ja Morant is fully recovered from the arthroscopic knee surgery he underwent in June. Morant was the No. 2 overall choice in the 2019 draft out of Murray State.

The Grizzlies also said that forwards Dillon Brooks (right big toe) and Jaren Jackson Jr. (thigh) are fully recovered from injuries sustained last season. Jackson averaged 13.8 points and 4.7 rebounds in 58 games (56 starts) last season, and Brooks averaged 7.5 points in 18 games. Forward Kyle Anderson, who averaged 8.0 points and 5.8 rebounds in 43 games (40 starts) last season, is still recovering from thoracic outlet decompression surgery performed in April.

--Free throws will be less frequent and will potentially carry more weight this season in the NBA G League after an experimental rule change for the 2019-20 season was announced.

Players will attempt only one free throw that will be worth one, two or three points depending on the number of foul shots that would have been awarded under standard NBA rules.

The rule will not apply to the last two minutes of the fourth quarter or the entirety of any overtime period.

--Field Level Media