The Pelicans have signed Mirza Begić, a 7’1″ center from Bosnia and Herzegovina who split last season between clubs in Spain and Slovenia, New Orleans announced via press release. Injuries to Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca, the top two centers for the Pelicans, have sent the team scrambling. The Pelicans signed Jerome Jordan this weekend, and though they’d signed Greg Smith just days earlier, Smith failed his physical, prompting the team to void his contract. Begić becomes the 20th player on the team’s roster, bringing the Pelicans to the preseason roster limit.
It’s the first brush with the NBA for the 30-year-old Begić, who went undrafted in 2007. He averaged 7.3 points and 4.6 rebounds in 17.8 minutes per game across a combined 58 appearances for Spanish powerhouse Laboral Kuxta and Slovenia’s Union Olimpija. He spent 2013/14 with Olympiakos of Greece after several years with Real Madrid, so he’s been a part of some of Europe’s most well-known and heavily scouted clubs.
Anthony Davis and Kendrick Perkins are the only fully guaranteed Pelicans who’d offer any sort of conventional fit at center among the 13 healthy Pelicans with fully guaranteed contracts, while Jordan and power forward Jeff Adrien are the only big men among the team’s camp invitees, aside from Begić. The Pelicans announced last week that Ajinca would miss four to six weeks and Asik three weeks, throwing into question whether either will be ready for opening night against the Warriors on October 27th.