As first reported by Scott Kushner, the New Orleans Pelicans have released Corey Webster this morning in order to sign Bo McCalebb. The maximum number of players an NBA team can carry on it's preseason roster is 20. With the addition of Mirza Begic yesterday, adding McCalebb meant someone would have to leave today.
Some presumed it might be Jerome Jordan, but the dwindling preseason minutes of Corey Webster were indeed a precursor. He never managed to crack the 9 minute barrier in any of the Pelicans first three exhibition games, and this past Monday against the Bulls, he only played 5 meager minutes, all in the first half.
Looking back, this news shouldn't be all that surprising. In New Zealand, Webster primarily operated as an off-guard. From the first moments we witnessed him on the floor with the Pelicans in training camp, he was consistently running the team as a point guard. Asking any player to play out of position is a challenge, but when the move corresponds with stepping onto an NBA court for the first time, the results should have been expected.
Back when I predicted Webster had a decent chance of making the roster, it was assumed he would be see the majority of his minutes at shooting guard, a position where the Pelicans appeared to need the most assistance. Quincy Pondexter was still in rehabilitation, meanwhile the team had Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday and Norris Cole at the point. With this week's news that Cole endured a high ankle sprain, the Pelicans suddenly had a void.
Per Andrew Lopez, enter Bo McCalebb.
McCalebb, who plays point guard, has never played in the NBA after finishing his career at UNO in 2008 as the Sun Belt's all-time leading scorer. His 2,679 career points rank 24th all-time in NCAA history.
When he didn't get an NBA opportunity out of college, McCalebb went on to have a successful career in Europe. He has won championships in Serbia, Turkey and Italy and was named the Italian League MVP in 2012, an award once won by NBA players Manu Ginobili and Danilo Gallinari.
McCalebb, 6-foot, 185 pounds, routinely shot above 60 percent in domestic play with his various European clubs and maintained a 52.1 shooting percentage from the field in Euroleague play.
High ankle sprains can be tricky, but normally the diagnoses fall in the range of 4-6 weeks. When considering the sport of basketball and the likelihood of re-injury to that area of the body (2012 Stephen Curry says hi), the Pelicans need to act quickly is valid.
Gentry envisions the wings all handling the ball often, but with Dante Cunningham, Luke Babbitt and Alonzo Gee all likely to see more time in the early part of the season, truer point guards are needed. Corey Webster proved to lack a skill the Pelicans need the most at this point in time. Were all the point guards healthy, the team might have been willing to let him grow into a role.
With Cole ailing and Holiday on a strict minutes restriction, Evans is all that's left. Now, New Orleans will see what Bo knows.