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New Orleans Pelicans follow logical route: keep Lance Stephenson, waive Alonzo Gee

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The front office’s decision came down to team need.

NBA: Preseason-Dallas Mavericks at New Orleans Pelicans Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans waived Alonzo Gee and his 1-year, $1.4 million guaranteed contract this morning, electing to open a 15-man roster spot for Lance Stephenson.

The move was purely a logical one. At the end of the day, Dell Demps stated that the organization had to prioritize team need above all else as both Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday remain out indefinitely.

As I mentioned yesterday, the Pelicans faced the prospect of entering the season with just Tim Frazier and Langston Galloway comfortable advancing the ball up the floor and getting the team into good sets.

And with Tim Frazier, a backup point guard forced into the starting lineup — whose backup is currently Langston Galloway, a combo guard — Stephenson’s playmaking is a necessity until either Jrue Holiday or Tyreke Evans can return. No one has any idea when that could be; it could perhaps be as early as late November or sometime well after the New Year.

Several have already admonished the team for making what they believe to be a short-sighted move. That may very well turn out to be the case, but did they have any other choice?

The New Orleans Pelicans had to cover all their bases.

Were Frazier or Galloway to suffer an injury, what then? An injury exception would not be available because only Evans and Quincy Pondexter already qualified — Holiday is away from the team for personal reasons. So, the team would need to suffer yet another injury to reach the threshold of 4 concurrent injuries to be allowed to add a 16th member to the roster. Can you imagine the backlash if say Buddy Hield or E’Twaun Moore were asked to fill in for emergency purposes and failed to register more assists than turnovers?

I had hoped the team might have been able to find a taker for Alexis Ajinca, but unsurprisingly the longshot bid probably fell short. Thus, Gee, a fantastic locker room voice and Anthony Davis’ pal, was the unavoidable casualty.

Welp, here we go folks, let the Lance Stephenson era begin in earnest!