Pelicans Sign Melvin Ely, Waive Greg Stiemsma

The Pelicans have signed Melvin Ely and waived Greg Stiemsma, the team announced. Ely, an eight-year NBA veteran who last saw regular season NBA action in 2010/11, has been playing with the D-League affiliate of the Mavs. Stiemsma’s one-year, $2.676MM contract was about to expire anyway, so the Pelicans won’t take much of a financial hit even if he goes unclaimed off waivers. It’s unclear whether Ely is joining the team simply for the final three days of the regular season or has a non-guaranteed 2014/15 tacked on to his deal.

Ely was the 12th overall pick in the 2002 draft, but he never averaged as many as 10 points per game in the NBA. The 35-year-old has averaged 5.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in 16.0 minutes per contest with a 10.6 PER over his NBA career. The Byron Irvin client was with the Grizzlies in preseason this past fall and was briefly on the preseason roster of the Mavs in 2012. He produced 15.8 PPG and 5.5 RPG in 28.9 MPG for the D-League’s Texas Legends this season.

Stiemsma is something of a curious cut for the injury-ravaged Pelicans, who’ve been using him as a starter of late. The 28-year-old is averaging 2.9 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 18.3 MPG overall, but those numbers aren’t much different in games he’s started. New Orleans is carrying 16 players thanks to special permission from the league, as I detailed when the team signed James Southerland last week.

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