The New Orleans Pelicans announced earlier today that forward Darius Miller underwent successful surgery this morning to mend a ruptured right Achilles tendon.
Miller was signed to a two-year deal worth just over $14 million with the second year unguaranteed only days into the 2019 free agency period.
If you may remember, Solomon Hill tore his hamstring in offseason workouts two years ago in late August. Despite an underwhelming statistical line, Hill’s injury had a sizable impact as he was expected to be the starting forward alongside Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday. Miller, on the other hand, was only expected to carve a role off the bench at best for this coming season — the current team’s depth is widely regarded to be one of its biggest strengths.
According to ESPN analyst Bobby Marks, the Pelicans may apply for a Disabled Player Exception if the NBA feels Miller’s injury will keep him out until June 15. Considering the long recovery times associated with Achilles ruptures, this feels like a safe bet. If so, the Pelicans will be granted $3.625 million, but they would need to create space on the likely regular season roster for another body (13 guaranteed contracts + partial guarantees of Jahlil Okafor and Kenrich Williams).
One possible name to fill that vacancy behind Brandon Ingram: Joe Johnson. Although Johnson didn’t play in the league last year, he is garnering interest from front offices — which includes the Pelicans — after his performance in the Big3 basketball league and winning their MVP trophy.
Add the Pelicans to that list of interest in Joe Johnson, a source said. Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry and VP David Griffin watched Joe Johnson play in the @thebig3 in New Orleans last week. https://t.co/ubMxbwqKfu— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) August 28, 2019
At 38 years of age, Johnson may have little left in the tank, but he does have several things going for him. One, this Pelicans roster could use a hefty injection of more proven perimeter shooting, and two, Johnson is a known commodity to Alvin Gentry thanks to their time spent together with the Phoenix Suns.
Get well soon, Darius.