Pelicans Sign Alexis Ajinca

FRIDAY, 5:21pm: The Pelicans officially announced the signing, via press release.

TUESDAY, 4:48pm: Former first-round pick Alexis Ajinca is on his way back to the NBA, according to Gabriel Pantel-Jouve of Catch-and-Shoot (French link). Pantel-Jouve writes that Ajinca’s club in France announced that the 25-year-old will be leaving Strasbourg to sign with the Pelicans.

Ken Berger of confirms with league sources that Ajinca is in the process of finalizing a buyout with Strasbourg and will ink a two-year deal with the Pelicans. According to Berger, the deal is expected to be fully guaranteed, and will be worth the minimum. New Orleans will also pay $575K to Ajinca’s team in France, the standard buyout amount under NBA rules.

Ajinca, who was selected 20th overall by the Bobcats in 2008, appeared in just 71 NBA games for the Bobcats, Mavericks, and Raptors, and hasn’t played in the NBA since 2010/11. However, the big man has been playing well in France this season, averaging 13.9 PPG and 6.9 RPG in just 24.2 MPG (12 contests) for Strasbourg.

The Pelicans opened up a roster spot on Friday by releasing Josh Childress, so no corresponding roster move will be necessary to officially add Ajinca.

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