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Alexis Ajinca Frustrated With Role For Pelicans

The Pelicans have shuffled their frontcourt rotation in recent weeks, resulting in a significant reduction in playing time for big men Alexis Ajinca and Omer Asik. In fact, Ajinca hasn’t seen the court for the team since December 23, and admitted recently in a conversation with French publication L’Equipe that he’s not thrilled to spend so much time on the bench (hat tip to The Bird Writes).

It’s very frustrating because I want to play, bring something to the team,” Ajinca said (his comments have been translated from French).I worked a lot and got back into shape early in the season. It was noted by the coaches and the general manager. And then it came overnight … At first, I was told it was [due to] matchups and then afterwards, I was a little forgotten. Afterwards, when I play, it’s for five minutes and it’s hard to do a lot of things.”

A starter for New Orleans earlier in the season, Ajinca has averaged 4.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and a .465 FG% in 20 games so far. All of those marks are his worst since joining the team for the 2013/14 season. However, he remains under contract for two more years beyond this one, as his deal runs through 2018/19. Ajinca has a $4.638MM cap hit this season, and that figure will increase in each of the next two years.

In Ajinca’s view, a trade or even a buyout could be a realistic outcome. The veteran big man told L’Equipe that he remains motivated to handle the new role professionally and to give 100% effort when given the opportunity, because he doesn’t want potential suitors to be turned off by his attitude.

I have to stay very professional because everyone talks in the league,” Ajinca said in French.If a franchise inquires, they will ask how I behave when I do not play, etc. So we cannot have certain attitudes like being angry at the coach or others even if we are frustrated. … I try to stay myself and work. I’m arguing with my agent right now. We’ll see what happens.”

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3 thoughts on “Alexis Ajinca Frustrated With Role For Pelicans

  1. Adam

    But who would want him? Where would he fit? Not many spots in the league for a big man who can not defend or stay out of foul trouble.

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    • TheFrenchFreak

      He can defend, he is top 5 all league at limiting the FG% from 9ft from the basket. His midrange is also respectable, and he’s insanely long. He does have issues staying out of foul trouble, true

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  2. Adam

    He does have a beautiful jumper, I expected good things from him in Gentry system but that has never shook out. Surely he can alter shots with his length, but his 0.34 rpm is low for a center. I’d like to think there is a role for him to play in the NBA somewhere.

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