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Pelicans sign Jeff Adrien to non-guaranteed 1-year deal

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The initial report came from Marc Spears:

Immediately, most fans raised an eyebrow. Jeff Adrien, a basketball journeyman that has played professionally in places like Spain, Italy and China, was going to fill one of the two remaining roster spots (if you believe Norris Cole will eventually be awarded a contract). This, when earlier in the day Jeff Withey agreed to a 1-year partially guaranteed deal with the Utah Jazz.

However, minutes later, Scott Kushner of The Advocate helped to solve a lot of the confusion.

Last season, Adrien spent some time with the Timberwolves. After Minnesota were without the services of Nikola Pekovic and Ronny Turiaf, the organization used a hardship exemption on Adrien as the only standing center remaining on the team was Gorgui Dieng. In 17 games and 12.6 minutes a contest, he averaged 3.5 points and 4.5 rebounds; however, he won over plenty of fans with his hard-nosed, physical approach.

During his run, though, the Wolves were in the midst of a 1-18 drought, so not surprisingly the team decided to go in a different direction. He ended up traveling to China to play with the Guangdong Dragons, the same team that featured Emmanuel Mudiay.

If Adrien happens to wow Alvin Gentry and coaching staff nearly a month from now then there is a chance he could be rewarded with a contract. Despite his height, he is a fantastic rebounder (he led the 2014-15 Wolves in both TRB% and DREB%) and a solid defender thanks to a 7'3'' wingspan and possessing well above average strength. He might be an option for limited minutes as a small ball center.

More likely though, this move will end up amounting to just a training camp invite. Coaches have always praised his work ethic so it shouldn't shock anyone that NBA teams continue to give him tryouts. At the very least, he can be counted on to display exemplary effort during the Pelicans upcoming training camp that is going to be held at the famed Greenbrier Resort.

Dell Demps is probably looking for the Pelicans to get off to a much stronger start at the outset as compared to a year ago. Thus, the coaching staff wants to have the team as prepared as possible before the tip-off of the first game against the Golden State Warriors. Having the strongest competition around from the very first day of practice would help matters.

In addition, David has recently mentioned that the schedule is rather unkind during the first portion of the regular season.

So let's welcome Jeff aboard, regardless of the length of his stay.