At the trade deadline the New Orleans Pelicans traded for Jarnell Stokes, and in the process received $721,300 in cash for helping the Miami Heat sneak under the luxury tax. However, that filled the Pelicans roster to the maximum 15 players under contract without signing 10-day contract hero Bryce Dejean-Jones. Someone had to be waived in order to keep BDJ in a Pelicans uniform.
Jar. Stokes was owed $273k by New Orleans for the remainder of the season. With the cash acquired from Miami, New Orleans will make $450k.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) February 19, 2016
At the time I mentioned the Pelicans could waive a number of players who have poorly (or rarely) performed. Instead, as expected, New Orleans waived Stokes. Choosing to pass on youth, possible development, and a cheap contract (Stokes was on a minimum contract next season and unguaranteed at that) in a long line of short sighted moves.
Thanks to Eric Pincus at Basketball Insiders we have the details of that contract Bryce Dejean-Jones signed. The remainder of his contract this season is $169,883; meaning the Pelicans pocketed over $275k in the combined Stokes and Dejean-Jones transactions. New Orleans would have made that amount regardless of who they waived, they simply chose to waive Stokes instead of, say, Kendrick Perkins.
Dejean-Jones is not guaranteed anything beyond this season. If he participates in the Summer League and Skill and Conditioning Program he will be guaranteed $80k. If Dejean-Jones is still under contract on July 25th the guarantee increases to $100k. The remainder of his contract is fully unguaranteed.
I'm excited the Pelicans locked in Bryce Dejean-Jones into a cheap contract that makes him a restricted free agent in 2018 without committing to any guaranteed salary. Using the Mid-Level Exception to do so follows my recommendations from early February and does one better by locking BDJ in at the minimum instead of an amount slightly above. I remain disappointed and concerned that the Pelicans once again punted on youth and development by waiving Jarnell Stokes.
Will we see a reprise of this same impatience at the draft? Will the Pelicans keep their own first round pick for the first time since Anthony Davis was a rookie? Pelican fans have every reason to be worried that the front office on Airline Drive will again take an ill-advised shortcut.