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Timeline: Injuries Force Pelicans Roster Shuffle

No team has made more moves since training camps began this season than the Pelicans, who’ve endured a seemingly unending stream of injuries. They began with Quincy Pondexter still recovering from offseason knee surgery, and he’s yet to play this season. It only worsened from that point, and executive VP of basketball operations Mickey Loomis and GM Dell Demps have been shuffling the roster ever since. Here’s a timeline of the past five weeks leading up to today, when the Pelicans made yet another move, their 17th transaction in October.

  • September 24th — Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry announces that Jrue Holiday will be under a minutes restriction until January as he continues to recover from a stress reaction injury in his lower right leg that cost him 42 games last season, as John Reid of The Times Picayune details. That means no more than 15 minutes in regular season games and no back-to-backs, Gentry says.
  • September 29th — The Pelicans open camp with 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts, shooting guard Bryce Dejean-Jones on a deal that’s partially guaranteed for $50K, plus non-guaranteed deals with wing players Chris Douglas-Roberts, Sean Kilpatrick and Corey Webster. Power forward Jeff Adrien, also on a non-guaranteed pact, is the team’s other player in camp, giving the Pelicans an 18-man roster.
  • October 3rd — Backup center Alexis Ajinca suffers a right hamstring strain in the preseason opener for New Orleans. The team announces two days later that it expects him to miss four to six weeks. He misses the rest of the preseason but returns in time for the regular season opener.
  • October 7th — Starting center Omer Asik suffers a right calf strain in practice. The team announces the next day that Asik is expected to miss three weeks. He hasn’t played yet, though a chance exists that he will Saturday, tweets John Reid of The Times Picayune.
  • October 9th — The Pelicans sign center Greg Smith, who played for the Mavericks last season.
  • October 10th — The team voids its contract with Smith, who failed his physical.
  • October 11thJerome Jordan, who played for the Nets last season, signs a non-guaranteed deal with the Pelicans.
  • October 11th — Backup point guard Norris Cole suffers a high left ankle sprain in practice. He’s reportedly expected to miss six to eight weeks.
  • October 12th — Small forward Luke Babbitt, a candidate to start, strains his left hamstring in a preseason game. Three days later, the Pelicans announced that he would be out indefinitely. He hasn’t made it back yet, but like Asik, he may also play in Saturday’s game, Reid notes in the same tweet.
  • October 13th — The Pelicans sign Mirza Begić, a 7’1″ center from Bosnia and Herzegovina who’d never been in the NBA before. He spent last season playing in Spain and Slovenia. His deal is non-guaranteed. The move takes New Orleans to 20 players, the preseason limit.
  • October 15th — New Orleans waives Webster. The roster goes down to 19.
  • October 15th — The Pelicans sign former University of New Orleans point guard Bo McCalebb, an NBA neophyte. It’s a non-guaranteed deal with a partial guarantee of $50K that would go into effect if he sticks for opening night. The roster goes back to 20.
  • October 16th — Begic hits waivers, dropping the roster to 19.
  • October 16th — The Pelicans sign point guard Nate Robinson, who’d been a free agent since a pair of 10-day contracts with the Clippers expired last spring. That takes the roster up to 20 players again.
  • October 16th — New Orleans waives Jordan, knocking the roster down to 19 once more.
  • October 20th — Swingman and occasional point guard Tyreke Evans undergoes right knee surgery that’s expected to keep him out six to eight weeks.
  • October 23rd — The Pelicans waive Douglas-Roberts and Kilpatrick. The roster is at 17.
  • October 24th — McCalebb goes on waivers before his partial guarantee kicks in. The team also releases Adrien and Dejean-Jones. That leaves New Orleans at 14 players, one below the regular season limit.
  • October 26th — The Pelicans claim Ish Smith and his non-guaranteed contract off waivers from the Wizards. The well-traveled point guard was briefly a Pelican last season but never suited up for the team. He finished the season with the Sixers, playing well. The move gives New Orleans 15 players.
  • October 26th — Dejean-Jones clears waivers, forcing the Pelicans to eat his partial guarantee of $50K.
  • October 27th — Gentry increases the minutes restriction on Holiday to 20, as Reid detailed. Holiday sits out the opening game of the regular season, the first of a back-to-back for the Pelicans. Robinson starts at point guard at plays 19 minutes. Smith comes off the bench to play 38 minutes.
  • October 28th — Holiday starts and plays 21 minutes, slighly exceeding his increased minutes limit. Smith plays close to 29 minutes off the bench. Robinson, in a reserve role, appears for only four minutes.
  • October 29th — The Pelicans waive Robinson, and the roster goes back to 14.
  • October 30th — Point guard Toney Douglas, who played for the Pelicans last year and whom they waived in July, re-signs with New Orleans. Again, the roster reaches 15 players.

The Pelicans, with playoff aspirations, sit 0-2 heading into their home opener Saturday against the Warriors in a rematch of Tuesday’s opener at Golden State. Still, for all their woes, Anthony Davis remains unhurt, so it could be much worse.

The RealGM transactions log was used in the creation of this post.

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2 thoughts on “Timeline: Injuries Force Pelicans Roster Shuffle

  1. John Colby Roessler

    I think there is a large misconception on what Jrue’s minutes restriction actually is. He’s not strictly on a 15 min restriction until January. That’s what it STARTED as. It’s been bumped up to 20 will continue to be bumped up incrementally until early 2016 when he’s fully able to go. He’ll continue to sit on back-to-backs, either the first or second depending on the game I guess, as well until he’s unrestricted which I’m thinking is January.

    • Chuck Myron

      Good points. I’ve updated this a bit to reflect the increase in his minutes limit.

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