Following a one game hiatus, Bryce Dejean-Jones will be back in uniform for the New Orleans Pelicans following the All-Star break. Shams Charania reported earlier tonight that a 3-year deal is being finalized to keep him in the Crescent City for at least the remainder of the 29 games of the 2015-16 campaign.
The Pelicans and rookie starter Bryce Dejean-Jones are finalizing a three-year deal, sources tell The Vertical. Partial guarantee in Year 2.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 19, 2016
After his second 10-day contract expired following the matchup with Utah Jazz on February 10th, his future grew cloudy. Dell Demps didn't opt to sign him to a rest of the season contract immediately, but as many correctly surmised, New Orleans was likely interested in maintaining their flexibility through the trade deadline. Available roster spots can be valuable for a host of reasons, and we witnessed this when the Pelicans added Jarnell Stokes earlier in the day from the Miami Heat.
Back at the start of this month, our own David Fisher laid out three scenarios which could keep Dejean-Jones in a Pelicans' jersey for the rest of the season. Early indications are New Orleans went with the most favorable option -- a multi-year deal using the mid-level exception.
Ideally Dell Demps will merge the approach of both Hinkie and Morey by offering Dejean-Jones a contract greater than the minimum for at least three years but with some of those years unguaranteed to mitigate the risk. The remainder of the MLE is the only path to offer a contract greater than two years to secure those valuable full bird rights.
During his short tenure, Dejean-Jones has become a fan favorite. In a season that quickly spiraled downwards into an unfathomable abyss, the rookie out of Iowa State has been a rare beacon of light. The Pelicans had been without a tantalizing rookie since Anthony Davis first appeared in New Orleans.
There is, however, one problem with the Dejean-Jones signing. After acquiring Stokes before today's trade deadline, the New Orleans roster currently stands at 15 players, the maximum allowed.
Due to Quincy Pondexter's season-ending injury, the Pelicans were granted a Disabled Players Exception, but unfortunately, it may only be used to sign a free agent to one season. With Dejean-Jones contract slated to be for three years, this option is obviously off the table.
Thus, another member of the roster must be waived before BDJ can return. The most likely candidate to be waived is Jarnell Stokes, the newest addition that has already netted the Pelicans just over $350,000. (Marc Stein reported the Heat sent $700,000 along with Stokes to the Pelicans.) Other candidates for dismissal include Kendrick Perkins and Luke Babbitt.
Admittedly, I don't know much about Stokes outside of a brief glance at his latest D-League statistics and the few articles I googled earlier today. However, it seems that someone who is leading the NBDL in PER and has drawn comparisons to Paul Millsap in the past might be worth a look. After watching Babbitt the last several years, I'm quite confident he isn't a long-term piece. And although Perkins has served as a wonderful mentor to Anthony Davis, he could just as easily fulfill the same role in some coaching capacity.
That said, it's wonderful to say that Bryce Dejean-Jones is as valued by the New Orleans organization as he was by a number of fans. Welcome back and may your stay be a long and fruitful one.