FRIDAY, 10:10am: New Orleans has formally announced the signing on the team’s website. The Pelicans haven’t announced a corresponding move, so the team has indeed taken advantage of the league’s permission to expand its roster to 16 players.
THURSDAY, 3:10pm: The Pelicans have received clearance from the league to add Southerland without waiving a player, reports Shams Charania of RealGM. The NBA lets teams carry 16 players on a temporary basis if they have four or more players who have missed the past three games and who will continue to be unavailable to play. The Wolves received the same allowance last season. Southerland’s deal won’t carry into 2014/15, Charania adds.
2:00pm: The Pelicans will sign James Southerland, a source tells Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter link). Southerland has been playing for the D-League affiliate of the Lakers. New Orleans has a full 15-man roster, so the team will have to waive someone to accommodate Southerland, who was with the Bobcats at the beginning of the season.
The 6’8″ small forward appeared in just one game for three minutes for the Bobcats, who waived him in December after carrying him through preseason and the first six weeks of the regular season. Charlotte let him go largely to clear room for Chris Douglas-Roberts, who could more readily step in for an injured Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and coach Steve Clifford spoke highly of Southerland, who once more drew NBA interest in early January.
Southerland went undrafted out of Syracuse this past summer, and he’s averaged 14.7 points and 6.5 rebounds in 28.6 minutes per game in the D-League. The Pelicans announced today that Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon will miss the rest of the season, so perhaps New Orleans is adding Southerland to bolster its roster for the final week. I think it’s more likely that the Pelicans have the future in mind, and that his deal will cover next season with non-guaranteed salary.