MARCH 1: Both Frazier’s release and Bertans’ signing are now official, according to NBA.com’s transactions log.
FEBRUARY 28: The Pelicans are making a change to their roster, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports that the team has waived guard Tim Frazier and is working to sign EuroLeague guard Dairis Bertans.
Although neither move has been officially announced yet, Wojnarowski suggests Frazier was released on Wednesday night, while Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets that Bertans has agreed to a two-year deal with a team option for 2019/20. Will Guillory of The Athletic notes (via Twitter) that Bertans will require FIBA clearance, but the hope is that he can join the Pelicans later this week.
Bertans, 29, is the older brother of Spurs sharpshooter Davis Bertans. Like his brother, Dairis is most dangerous from beyond the arc — while Davis ranks second in the NBA with a .469 3PT%, Dairis leads the EuroLeague with a .536 3PT% in 22 games this season for Italian team Olimpia Milano.
Once the elder Bertans exercises the out clause in his deal with Olimpia Milano and officially joins the Pelicans, he’ll be able to sign for a deal worth up to about $274K in 2018/19, ESPN’s Bobby Marks observes (via Twitter). However, that figure is only possible if New Orleans uses the remainder of its bi-annual exception, having given most of it to Elfrid Payton last summer. The Pelicans used their full mid-level exception on Julius Randle.
If New Orleans opts for a minimum salary contract instead, it’ll be worth approximately $199K for this season. Both that figure and the bi-annual number are based on Bertans signing today, so they’d dip a little each day if the move is delayed. Either contract will include a minimum salary (about $1.42MM) for 2019/20. Even if the Pelicans had wanted to go beyond two years for the Latvian guard, they wouldn’t have been able to due to their limited available exceptions.
Meanwhile, Frazier will retain his playoff eligibility for a new team, since he’s being waived before the end of March 1. It’s not clear whether he’ll catch on somewhere else right away, but he could provide some depth at the point for a contender. In 47 games (19.3 MPG) this season, he has averaged 5.0 PPG and 4.4 APG with a .451/.351/.780 shooting line.
These two moves will represent the first two transactions for new Pelicans interim GM Danny Ferry.