The New Orleans Pelicans will sign Jameer Nelson, who will replace injured point guard Rajon Rondo during his recovery from a sports hernia.
He reportedly received interest from other teams including the Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder.
If they wait until October 24 to officially bring him on the team, they can potentially not waive anyone on their roster. Bobby Marks explained they are eligible for the hardship exception (via ESPN):
“The injuries to Alexis Ajinca, Rajon Rondo, Solomon Hill and Frank Jackson has the Pelicans eligible starting October 23 to apply for the hardship exception. The exception would grant New Orleans an extra roster spot. The Pelicans are currently $980K below the luxury tax and $1.55M below the hard cap.”
Nelson is a natural fit for the Pelicans, who have struggled to stay healthy even early this season. He isn’t a long-term starter, as that role belongs to Rondo, but he can fill in well in his absence.
The team already knows what they’re getting in the 35-year-old point guard. Chris Finch, an assistant for New Orleans, was an assistant for Denver when Nelson was on the team last season.
Much like fellow veteran Tony Allen, Nelson can serve as a valuable mentor for younger players on the team like 19-year-old point guard Frank Jackson. In fact, his former head coach Michael Malone spoke about the impact Nelson had on younger players while on the Nuggets (via BSNDenver):
“I think his ability to mentor and help players is something that people didn’t hear enough about because I think Jameer has a great basketball mind and he has a passion for the game.”
They used an isolation-style offense on 6.4 percent of plays, also similar to the 6.9 percent from Nelson.
Rondo is expected out for one month, which means Nelson can step in as the starting point guard for the team in his absence. He has experience in the role and should be a serviceable option.