Pelicans find no deals worth doing at deadline
NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Pelicans have decided to ride out the injury riddled roster they have right now for the rest of the season.
The Pelicans chose not to make any late-hour moves before Thursday’s NBA trading deadline, meaning their next deal won’t come until the offseason.
New Orleans (23-30), eight games out of the Western Conference’s final playoff spot heading into Thursday night’s games, has been hampered by injuries to high-scoring forward Ryan Anderson and starting point guard Jrue Holiday.
Barring a draft-day deal, the Pelicans won’t likely have a first-round pick in this June’s NBA draft. Philadelphia owns New Orleans’ pick unless it falls in the top five.
New Orleans may have to rely on free-agency or offseason trades to bolster next season’s roster.
The Pelicans’ decision not to make a deal had a residual effect for 2013 second-round pick Pierre Jackson out of Baylor, who has been leading the NBA Development League in scoring with an average of 29.1 points per game, and who set a D-League single-game record with 58 points.
Jackson’s agent, Colin Bryant, confirmed in a text to The Associated Press that his client has decided to spend the rest of the season playing for the Turkish pro team Fenerbahce.
The Pelicans had declined to bring Jackson up because of a glut on the roster at guard.
During All-Star weekend in New Orleans, when Jackson scored 30 points, including six 3-pointers, in the D-League All-Star game, he said several teams had expressed interest in trading for him. However, the Pelicans were apparently unsatisfied with what was offered for Jackson, who was picked 42nd overall by Philadelphia and then dealt to New Orleans along with Holiday for Pelicans first-round pick Nerlens Noel and a protected 2014 first-round pick.
The Pelicans did not have immediate plans to make general manager Dell Demps or other team officials available following the trade deadline, in part because the team was traveling to Charlotte for Friday night’s game against the Bobcats.
Meanwhile, the Pelicans have revealed no new information about Holiday’s condition since saying on Jan. 10 that he would be sidelined indefinitely with a fractured right shin. Holiday been getting some basketball work in, but as recently as Wednesday night, coach Monty Williams said there was no update on the condition of the 2013 Eastern Conference All-Star.
Holiday’s absence has cost the Pelicans a player averaging 14.3 points and 7.9 assists in 34 games.
There is also no timetable for the return of Anderson, who’d averaged 19.8 points in 22 games before a collision with Boston’s Gerald Wallace on Jan. 3 left the Pelicans’ 6-foot-10 forward with a herniated disk.
New Orleans entered this season optimistic it could compete for a playoff spot, with five young players on the roster who’d all proven they could average double-figures in scoring. But while Anthony Davis, playing primarily at power forward, has emerged as a first-time All-Star capable of averaging 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, injuries have prevented the Pelicans from getting a clear picture of how good their current roster could be.
Still, there are positions at which the Pelicans would like to improve. New Orleans has lacked consistent production from a second interior big man, which they need to lighten the burden on Davis. The Pelicans also have not received consistently strong play from starting small forward Al-Farouq Aminu, who is averaging 7.4 points and 6.7 rebounds.