The New Orleans Pelicans have dealt with injury trouble during the offseason, preseason and now the regular season.
Bobby Marks explained what the latest injury means for New Orleans (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. The Pelicans could also call up one of their two-way contracts, Charles Cooke or Jalen Jones.”
Cooke, however, is a guard while Jones is a wing. During the offseason, New Orleans decided to re-sign forward Dante Cunningham to fill in as injured wing Hill recovered from injury.
Jrue Holliday and Ian Clark will likely take the majority of the minutes at point guard with E’Twaan Moore and Jordan Crawford at the shooting guard position. Tony Allen, who signed during the offseason as well, can provide depth in the backcourt without Rondo as well.
But without Ajinca, the team does not have much depth in the frontcourt for their second unit. Omer Asik and Cheick Diallo are their only healthy big men off the bench.
Some options who may come to mind for the Pelicans if they receive the league exception include David Lee, Tiago Splitter, Roy Hibbert, Emeka Okafor, Anderson Varejao, Josh Smith, Jordan Hill, Charlie Villanueva, DeJuan Blair, Kris Humphries and JJ Hickson.
Head coach Alvin Gentry briefly coached Lee while he was an assistant for Golden State during the 2014-15 season.
Dell Demps, who is the general manager for the Pelicans, was the VP of Basketball Operations for the Spurs when they drafted Blair in 2009. Kevin Hanson, an assistant for the team, was a player development assistant for San Antonio at that time.
Hill and Smith, meanwhile, played for Houston for current New Orleans assistant Chris Finch.
DunkWire, Alexis Ajinca, Anderson Varejao, Charlie Villanueva, David Lee, DeJuan Blair, Emeka Okafor, Frank Jackson, JJ Hickson, Jordan Hill, Josh Smith, Kris Humphries, Rajon Rondo, Roy Hibbert, Solomon Hill, Tiago Splitter, New Orleans Pelicans