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Dairis Bertans finally lands in New Orleans, eager to start NBA career with Pelicans

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The newest addition of the roster is excited to show off his sweet shooting stroke.

FIBA Olympic Basketball Qualifying Tournament Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

Dairis Bertans has finally graced the Smoothie King Center with his presence.

In the wee morning hours on the last day of February, the New Orleans Pelicans were rumored to be close to a deal with Davis Bertans’ brother out of the Euroleague. The team officially signed Dairis on March 2nd, replacing Tim Frazier’s recently vacated spot on the roster. Six days later, Bertans was standing in front of local media, happily answering a variety of questions and wearing an unmistakable grin on his face through most of the proceedings.

After giving media the correct pronunciation of his name (D’Iris), he exhibited glee about becoming a part of the National Basketball Association.

“I’m super excited about it,” said Bertans. “I’ve been trying to get to the NBA before through the summer leagues. I was close, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. I’m really happy New Orleans gave me this chance.”

From Dairis’ perspective, the timing of events couldn’t have worked out more perfectly.

“It was actually...a couple of weeks ago,” responded Bertans to the question of when he first learned about the opportunity to join the Pelicans. “It was Friday — I remember because we had a national team break. I was going back home from Milan and then he {Bertans’ agent Arturs Kalnitis} told me. I really didn’t believe it in the beginning because, you know, sometimes if things come up and then it usually doesn’t work out in the end. But then we played the game with the national team and we lost — I mean, we won but we didn’t qualify for the world championship. I was pretty upset. I wasn’t talking, not even to my wife. And then this news came and my agent told me, ‘That’s it. It’s a done deal.’ So that really changed the way I felt.”

When Dairis broke the news to his brother, Davis was excited: “He was excited, of course. I mean, think about it, Latvia is a small country and we now have four NBA players and two are brothers. It’s crazy.”

As for any brotherly guidance, Dairis stated, “Yes, the advice was shoot the ball.” After everyone shared a genuine laugh, Jen Hale quickly inquired about who shoots it better {among the brothers} and Dairis replied, “We’ll see that, but I shoot, I shoot better.”

(In case you’re wondering, no, the Pelicans do not have any more matchups remaining on the schedule against the San Antonio Spurs.)

Since Bertans arrived right before the game against the Toronto Raptors tipped off, he stated that he didn’t get the chance to meet the coaches and his new teammates until he walked out onto the court for warmups. However, he did expect to talk to pertinent personnel in depth tomorrow morning.

Despite being 29 years of age, Dairis’ goal is the same as any competitor climbing the ranks within his profession: to prove he belongs on the highest level.

“I want to show that I can play here,” said Bertans. “That I can play at this level and that’s my goal. First of all, to try to help the team as much as I can. And there is what, fifteen, fourteen games left? And then also my goal is just to prove to myself that I can be here. I can play here.”

When asked if he wants to play this Sunday against the Atlanta Hawks, Dairis didn’t hesitate. “I want to play — I wanted to play today. But we’ll see. It’s up to the coaches now, but I want to play, of course.”

As to whether Friday’s game was his first ever NBA attended contest, Dairis proclaimed the Pelicans-Raptors matchup was his third.

Bertan’s final question of the night referenced his familiarity with the city of New Orleans. Dairis admitted, “About the city? No. I knew where it was. I knew I was going to be close to my brother. And that’s it... But I’m excited to be here.”