3:34pm: Jones’ deal with the Pelicans is now official, the team announced in a press release.
1:17pm: The Pelicans have reached an agreement to sign second-round pick Herb Jones to a three-year contract, according to Will Guillory of The Athletic (Twitter link). The third year of the deal will be a team option, Guillory reports.
Jones, 22, is a 6’8″ forward who spent all four years of his college career at Alabama. As a senior in 2020/21, he averaged 11.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 3.3 APG on .446/.351/.713 shooting in 33 games (27.3 MPG). The No. 35 overall pick, who also contributed 1.7 SPG and 1.1 BPG, was named the SEC Player of the Year and SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
While the exact terms of Jones’ new deal aren’t yet known, two guaranteed years has been the standard for players drafted in his range. The Pelicans will use a small portion of their mid-level exception to complete the signing, so they could go a little higher than the rookie minimum if they so choose.
Once New Orleans officially signs Jones and free agent big man Willy Hernangomez, the team will have 15 players on standard contracts, with Josh Hart still a restricted free agent. If Hart were to re-sign with the Pels, Wenyen Gabriel (who is on a non-guaranteed deal) would likely be the odd man out.