The New Orleans Pelicans have a new addition to their team, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, who revealed via Twitter, “New Orleans has claimed free agent guard Ish Smith off waivers, league source tells Yahoo Sports. Smith has a one-year non-guaranteed deal.”
This comes in the wake of the recent injury news that the Pelicans will be without Tyreke Evans. The move is not a huge surprise as John Reid of NOLA.com reported yesterday that Smith was at the Pelicans practice. Asked about whether they would put in a claim, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said,
”I think we’re always open,” Gentry said. ”We have not closed the door on anything. But there is a possibility. We just have to evaluate the injury situation and the progress that guys are making.
The Pelicans also made moves on Saturday to make room for Smith, waiving Bo McCalebb, guard Bryce Dejean-Jones and forward Jeff Adrien. That dropped the Pelicans to 14 roster spots filled, one short of the NBA maximum.
The move was necessary as the Big Easy is absent Evans for six to eight weeks and backup point guard Norris Cole, who has a sprained knee, may miss as much as the first month of the season.
Smith has bounced around the league over the last five years, playing for eight teams prior to his arrival in New Orleans. He has career averages of 10.6 points and 6.7 assists, per Basketball-Reference.com. While he’s unlikely to be a difference-maker this season, he’s a veteran stop gap until the Pelicans’ guards get healthy.