FEBRUARY 14: The Pelicans have officially signed Okafor to a second 10-day contract, the team announced today (via Twitter). Due to the All-Star break, it will run through February 25, technically making it a 12-day deal.
FEBRUARY 13: After earning his first NBA start since 2013 on Monday night, veteran center Emeka Okafor saw his 10-day contract with the Pelicans expire. However, the team won’t let him get away. According to Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link), New Orleans will re-sign Okafor to a second 10-day deal.
The second overall pick in the 2004 draft, Okafor hadn’t played an NBA regular season game since the 2012/13 season before he signed with the Pelicans earlier this month. In three contests, including last night’s start, the 35-year-old has held his own, averaging 5.0 PPG and 5.7 RPG in 14.3 MPG.
The timing for Okafor’s second 10-day contract remains unclear. New Orleans plays one more game before the All-Star break, facing the Lakers on Wednesday. If Okafor finalizes his new deal today or tomorrow, it would run through February 25, since 10-day contracts require a player to be with the team for at least three games. As such, the All-Star break could turn Okafor’s new deal into a 12- or 13-day contract, assuming the Pelicans don’t wait until after the break to finalize it.
Having created two open roster spots when they sent three players to the Bulls in exchange for Nikola Mirotic, the Pelicans signed DeAndre Liggins and Okafor to fill out their squad. However, the club created another opening by waiving Rashad Vaughn after the deadline. After re-signing Okafor, the Pels will be carrying 14 players on their 15-man NBA roster.
When Okafor’s new 10-day contract expires, the Pelicans will have to decide whether to part ways with him or lock him up for the rest of the season.