The Pelicans have signed James Banks and Malcolm Hill, the team announced in a press release. In order to create the roster space to sign both players, the team waived Zylan Cheatham and Jared Harper.
Banks, a 6’10” center, went undrafted out of Georgia Tech in 2020 after making the ACC All-Defensive Team in both his junior and senior seasons. He spent last season in Israel with Hapoel Be’er Sheva, playing 13 games while averaging 5.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 20.5 minutes per game. He most recently played for the Cavaliers at the Las Vegas Summer League.
Hill, a 6’6″ wing, is a well-traveled international veteran. He’s played for teams in the Philippines, Germany, Kazakhstan and Israel over the past four seasons. During the 2020/21 season, Hill played for Hapoel Jerusalem.
Harper, a 5’10” point guard, spent his rookie season on a two-way contract with the Suns in 2019/20, then spent most of last season on a two-way pact with the Knicks. Harper rarely saw NBA action, but he played well in the G League, averaging 20.5 PPG and 5.9 APG in 30 MPG across 46 games the past two seasons.
Cheatham spent his rookie season on a two-way contract with Pelicans. He played very well at the G League level, but only saw action in four NBA games. He received a full minimum salary last season as part of the Steven Adams sign-and-trade, but was waived by OKC before he ever played a game for the team. After being waived, Cheatham briefly spent time with Minnesota on an Exhibit 10 contract, then appeared in 15 G League games for the Iowa Wolves.
The Pelicans have 15 players with guaranteed contracts and both two-way slots are filled, so Banks and Hill are probably long shots to make the regular season roster. However, because both players are on Exhibit 10 deals, if they’re waived before the start of the regular season and spend at least 60 days with New Orleans’ G League affiliate, the Birmingham Squadron, they’d be eligible for bonuses worth up to $50K in addition to their G League salaries.