MARCH 30: The Pelicans confirmed today that neither Asik nor Pondexter will return to action this season. Asik, who is recovering from a gastrointestinal infection, is expected to resume basketball activities in about three or four weeks.
MARCH 24: Two players on the Pelicans’ roster, center Omer Asik and shooting guard Quincy Pondexter, are not expected to return for the rest of this season, head coach Alvin Gentry confirmed today, per Justin Verrier of ESPN.com.
“Both of those guys will be gearing toward the summer and next year, really,” Gentry said.
Asik, who started 19 of the 31 games he played for the Pelicans earlier this season, hasn’t been a real part of the club’s rotation since mid-December. The veteran center has appeared in just three games for New Orleans since December 21, and hasn’t seen the court at all since February 10. As Verrier notes, Asik contracted a bacterial infection that caused him to lose a significant amount of weight.
As for Pondexter, it has been a long road back for the 29-year-old, who has been sidelined by knee injuries for each of the last two seasons. Pondexter hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since April 2015, when he was a starter for the Pelicans in their first-round loss to the Warriors.
While it’s not particularly surprising that Asik and Pondexter won’t return for the Pelicans this season, it will be interesting to see how they fit into the team’s plans going forward. Asik’s contract continues to be an albatross for New Orleans — it will exceed $10.5MM next season and increase to $11.2MM+ in 2018/19. Pondexter, meanwhile, has one more year left on his deal at just under $4MM next season. Both players could be on the trade block this summer, though they’ll probably have very limited value.