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New Orleans Pelicans sign Will Magnay to two-way contract

The 22-year-old NBL center was coveted by multiple NBA teams

Brisbane Bullets Training Session Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans are adding Will Magnay from the National Basketball League (NBL) in Australia to a two-way contract, according to ESPN’s Olgun Uluc.

The 22-year-old center posted a line of 8.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in an average of 21.8 minutes per contest (27 total games) for the Brisbane Bullets. For those efforts, he was awarded the NBL20 Most Improved Player Award.

The numbers do not necessarily jump off the page alone; however, realize those statistics represent significant improvement from Magnay’s 2018-19 season, where he was largely invisible in an average of 4.3 minutes a game.

Not a known commodity to the average fan in the United States, Magnay has sat on the radar of multiple NBA teams for some time.

The Brisbane Bullets big-man garnered interest from at least five NBA teams — including the Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, sources said — but it set to officially sign a two-way contract with the Pelicans over the weekend.

There were rumors last February that the Golden State Warriors were going to sign Magnay to a 10-day contract, but the deal never came to fruition. Then another false report was published prior to the restart inside the Orlando bubble that Magnay was likely to join the Dallas Mavericks.

Why are NBA teams so enamored with Magnay? Because the athleticism and talents stand out on his 6’10 frame. While he made only 6 of 32 three-point shots in the NBL, the jumper exhibits a good amount of rhythm and solid enough form.

Magnay has some impressive fast-twitch muscles for his height that allow him to get to the rim easily or make life very difficult for opponents trying to score on the other end.

It’s not difficult to understand what the Pelicans may see in Magnay. In a perfect world, his development continues to substantially grow under their tutelage, where someday he’ll be able to carve out a meaningful role alongside Zion Williamson, offering stellar shot-blocking and some floor-spreading shooting ability.

If allowed to dream for a moment, can anyone else see a solid screener who will run aggressively to the rim and finish strongly as well as offer pick-and-pop potential out to the three-point line? I think I can, but now for a healthy dose of reality: it took Magnay several years in the NBL to finally make a mark. This, after leaving the US following his freshman year at Tulsa to turn pro in Australia.

As of this writing, the Pelicans are set to enter training camp next week with 14 players on the roster and several two-way contracts (Magnay, Naji Marshall). Expect for the Pelicans to announce additional training camp bodies in the near future.

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.