Jaxson Hayes (10) and Trey Murphy III converse during a game vs. Sacramento

Pelicans practice report presented by HUB International: G League-assigned players will return to NOLA tomorrow

by Jim Eichenhofer

After a relatively hectic schedule that’s had New Orleans play 26 games – tied for most in the NBA – the Pelicans do not have any back-to-backs on their December docket. However, third-year center Jaxson Hayes and rookies Trey Murphy III and Jose Alvarado are actually about to participate in their own, multi-league version of a back-to-back over the next 48 hours.

New Orleans first-year head coach Willie Green explained after Tuesday’s practice that the trio was assigned Monday to the Birmingham Squadron in the G League, but their trip to Alabama is expected to be brief. Hayes, Murphy and Alvarado will play in tonight’s Birmingham home game vs. Mexico City (7 p.m., ESPN+), but then return to New Orleans for Wednesday’s home game against Denver.

“(The goal of the assignment was to) just get them a game (in Birmingham),” Green said. “That’s all it is, getting them some game reps, and they’ll be back here tomorrow.”

Murphy has logged the most NBA minutes in 2021-22 among the group at 372, while Hayes has played 232, but is not currently part of the Pelicans’ rotation. Two-way contract player Alvarado has 38 minutes under his belt in seven regular season appearances.

Other news:

Josh Hart last played Nov. 29 in a win at the Clippers. On the team’s most recent injury report Saturday, he was listed as questionable due to left knee soreness. An updated, league-mandated report is forthcoming Tuesday afternoon ahead of Wednesday's game.

“He didn’t go through practice today, but we’ll see how he feels tomorrow,” Green said, referring to the Wednesday gameday vs. Denver. “I think he’ll go through shootaround, so we’ll see (what his status will be against the Nuggets).”

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