The New Orleans Pelicans are finalizing a two-year deal with free agent guard Archie Goodwin, per Shams Charania of The Vertical. In order to make roster space, the team will reportedly waive guard Lance Stephenson, who was announced on Saturday to be undergoing groin surgery and will be on the shelf indefinitely.
Goodwin was released by the Phoenix Suns just prior to the start of the regular season, falling out of favor amidst a crowded backcourt in the desert. He now joins a depleted New Orleans rotation that is currently without their starting backcourt in Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans — both are yet to appear in a game this season.
Last season, Goodwin appeared in 57 games for the Suns, starting a career-high 13 of them. Despite averaging under 20 minutes per game, he averaged 8.9 points and 2.5 rebounds per contest in what would be his third and final season in Phoenix.
Taken in the first round (29th overall) of the 2013 NBA Draft by the Suns, the 6-foot-5 combo-guard played just one season at the University of Kentucky before turning pro. A former five-star recruit out of Sherwood, Arkansas, the two-time Arkansas Mr. Basketball and McDonald’s All-American has yet to have a legitimate starting spot in the NBA.
Stephenson was averaging 9.7 points and 4.8 assists per game in the team’s first six games of the season. With the groin injury putting him on the sideline for the foreseeable future, the team could not continue to play with roster spots down, as the injury bug has flattened a roster that has gotten off to an 0-6 start to the season.
However, ESPN’s Marc Stein reports the Pelicans will work with Stephenson on his rehab and may be open to re-signing him when he gets healthy.