While the Pelicans’ roster features perhaps the most feared frontcourt duo in the NBA, in Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, the team had to part with a handful of guards to acquire Cousins, and will be looking to fortify its perimeter rotation this offseason. General manager Dell Demps confirmed as much during a recent appearance on WLAE in New Orleans, as Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com details.
“The one thing I’ve learned from all these shows you go on, you don’t want to tip your hand and give people (indications of your intentions),” Demps said when asked about his free agency plans. “Sometimes I like to keep things close to the vest, but obviously shooting is going to be important for us, but also you want to get good basketball players who can make plays – I think that’s the way the game is going right now.”
The Pelicans’ top backcourt playmaker, point guard Jrue Holiday, will be an unrestricted free agent next month, so one of the club’s top priorities will be locking up Holiday or landing a viable replacement. However, after sending Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, and Langston Galloway to Sacramento for Cousins, the Pelicans will also be seeking contributors who can make and create shots at the two or three.
One player who would help fill that hole in the Pelicans’ roster is Quincy Pondexter, who has missed the last two seasons with a series of knee injuries. Pondexter remains under contract with New Orleans and made 37.3% of his three-point attempts in his last healthy season (2014/15), but Demps doesn’t sound like he’s penciling in the veteran wing for a spot in the rotation quite yet.
“It’s a little uncertain right now,” said the Pelicans’ GM. “Obviously he hasn’t played since the (2015) playoffs. He’s had some setbacks. He’s had a couple surgeries. It’s tough because he’s one of those glue-type guys who is a leader not only in the locker room, but on the floor. We’ve missed his defense and his shooting. He was a big piece for us, an important pickup when we made that run to the playoffs. We were hoping to have his services the last two years. He’s going through some testing right now and will be in town this week. We’re hoping to get him back on the floor.”
If the Pelicans are able to re-sign Holiday, they’ll almost certainly remain over the cap this offseason, meaning they’d have the mid-level and bi-annual exceptions available to use on free agents. Those exceptions will be worth about $8.4MM and $3.3MM, respectively.