The New Orleans Pelicans reached a second agreement yesterday during the 2016 free-agent moratorium with E'Twaun Moore. He appeared in 59 games for the Chicago Bulls, and as a starter in 22 contests, he posted averages of 12.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.4 threes in 31 minutes of action.
It had been rumored Dell Demps was very interested in acquiring a combo guard during this free agent period, so it appears it's going to be mission accomplished. Find out how The Bird Writes staff grades the move below!
What I really like about this signing is that it means we are not going to resign Eric Gordon! E'twaun Moore is a very good perimeter threat like Gordon, but is also a solid defender and capable ball handler. The Pelicans desperately needed more two-way combo guards, yet the team didn't break the bank to get one. This is another solid signing that should make the team better, while allowing for a lot of flexibility next off-season.
Entering the offseason, I didn't consider the guard rotation to be a huge area of need. With Jrue, Tyreke (whom I still greatly believe in), Tim Frazier, Bryce Dejean-Jones, the sixth pick (that I assumed would be Hield, Dunn or Murray), James Ennis, Quincy Pondexter and even Toney Douglas, the Pelicans had bodies that were adequate to play in an NBA guard rotation. I was more concerned with wing depth and bigs. Cheick Diallo was a nice surprise in the 2nd round, but he may not be ready right away. So outside of Anthony Davis, the interior seems very fragile. Cunningham has potential, but he's not a good rebounder and New Orleans needs to either make Davis the starting five or improve there while also find someone to play next to him. Therefore, I wasn't all that impressed with the E'twaun Moore signing at first report.
Moore has never inspired a great deal of fanfare until filling in for an injured Derrick Rose this past season. However, he's always played with energy, has shown good defensive instincts, and while he doesn't create great offense for himself, he is a decent facilitator, has a few highlight reel dunks and has a very nice three point stroke. He helps firm up the flimsy perimeter defense, which is huge considering the equally ineffective interior presence. Also, knowing that Tom Thibodeau wanted to lure Moore to the Wolves while already having Rubio, Dunn and LaVine on the roster shows me that he will be an important contributor to the Pelicans. The squad needed a little nasty, and I think they got it. I'm happier with Moore than I would have been with Jeremy Lin, but hopefully Dell Demps still finds room to bring back James Ennis and add some help upfront.
If you told me the Pelicans would sign a combo guard, who shot 45% from beyond the arc, has a 6' 9" wingspan and can guard the 1-3 spots on the floor, for just above 8 million per a year, I might have slapped you for getting my hopes up. Well, Dell Demps did exactly that.
E'Twaun Moore opens up a lot of possibilities for the Pelicans roster. He should be able to play any of the perimeter positions on the floor. I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up a better 3-and-D candidate than Solomon Hill at the end of the day. Excellent, excellent move for Dell Demps and company. Now they just need to ship Tyreke Evans out to make it all come together.
This contract balances out the Solomon Hill contract. It's a steal in this market, and it adds another much needed defensive-minded player to the Pels roster.
I really like this move. In a market where wings like Chandler Parsons are being paid roughly the same amount as LeBron James, the Pelicans scored on an up-and-coming wing player for 8.5% of the cap. Moore has a reputation for a dogged defender and a solid shooter. Moore also has something that this team sorely needs: basketball IQ. If New Orleans is going to make any noise next season, they are going to need to improve from their 28th team defense ranking.
The boost in IQ provided by E'Twaun Moore, draft pick Buddy Hield and Solomon Hill makes it obvious that the team has at least correctly identified their needs. Adding three wing players, two of which are guards, also signals that the team may be preparing to move on from Tyreke Evans -- which sweetens this deal even more. I would look for the Pelicans to move Evans for a backup power forward or draft picks to free up cap space to sign another big man to backup Anthony Davis.
I am a big fan of E'Twaun Moore. He's already got a confident, compact stroke behind the arc. Additionally, he is a superb defender and communicator, an area this franchise has sorely lagged behind for years. This contract sounds like a steal already according to numerous basketball minds who I admire, and I am not going to be contrarian for the sake of it with my grade.
Moore is another good move by the Pelicans. He can play either guard position and has shown the ability to space the floor. He fits many different roles: he could play alongside Evans in the second unit, could be the starting two to bring Hield along slowly, or could combine with Holiday to form a formidable defensive unit on the perimeter. A good signing.
Unlike the Solomon Hill agreement, E'Twaun Moore represents a much surer bet and will cost roughly $5 million less a season! By this time next year, I wouldn't be surprised to see Moore routinely mentioned as one of the top-3 free agent steals of 2016. I wholeheartedly agree with Jason that he's probably an instantaneous upgrade over Eric Gordon.
Moore will help on so many levels defensively: he possesses the versatility on defense to switch all over the perimeter, he communicates well with teammates, and he exudes a hard-nosed style of play. Offensively, he can hit the open man and knock down some big perimeter shots.
Another potential signing who plays multiple spots, is a solid shooter and excellent defender. He is considered to be a very smart player who plays hard -- seems to be a theme for the New Orleans Pelicans this offseason.
Now this free agent, I really like. I love that in his five years in the league his shooting percentages from the floor and three have increased every single season. His free throw percentage is concerning, but for his career, he averages a whopping 0.6 free throw attempts per game so maybe it's nothing to fret over.
If he can play like he did in his one season in Orlando, averaging nearly eight points and three assists, New Orleans might have just added some quality depth to its bench. Best case scenario is Moore recreates what he did when he started 21 games for the Magic: 11 points and 4.9 assists. The two biggest selling points for Moore is that he's gotten better every single year he's been a pro and he's been healthy -- nothing short of an invaluable asset to have when it comes to the Pelicans.