The New Orleans Pelicans are adding point guard Jared Harper via a two-way contract, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The 24-year-old is averaging 21.2 points, 5.5 assists and 1.6 steals through 14 games for the Birmingham Squadron. He’s also shooting well from 3-point range (40.6% on 7.6 attempts per game).
Jared Harper is AMAZING! The 5’10 dynamite dropped a game-high 35 points (12-19 FG) and 8 assists today for the Squadron. @Therealvinoo— NBA G League (@nbagleague) December 6, 2021
This was Harper’s second game with 35+ points. He’s averaging 22.6 PPG. @GleagueSquadron pic.twitter.com/o8QlPbPLqv
Harper’s production has helped propel the Squadron to a current seven-game winning streak, which includes two victories in the NBA G League Winter Showcase, and a 7-5 record overall in the G League.
After spending time with the team in Nashville during informal workouts, the Pelicans signed Harper to the training camp roster on an Exhibit 10 contract back in September.
With Kira Lewis Jr. tearing the ACL in his right knee, today’s news makes sense, but there’s at least another domino that must fall first. The Pelicans utilized both of their two-way contracts, with the signings of Jose Alvarado and Daulton Hommes, months ago.
Alvarado has been playing well for the Squadron (19.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 3.6 steals) and is a beloved fixture in the Pelicans locker room. Hommes, on the other hand, has been out for a lengthy period with a stress fracture in his right leg.
One other item of note: the Pelicans have applied for a Disabled Player Exception in the aftermath of Lewis’ injury.
The Pelicans have applied for a Disabled Player Exception after losing Kira Lewis for the season due to a torn ACL, a source tells @TheAthletic.— Will Guillory (@WillGuillory) December 21, 2021
The exception should be worth half of Kira's salary (around $1.9 million).
One has to believe the NBA will grant the exception as Lewis is substantially more likely than not to be unable to play until well after June 15, the date selected for the test in the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement.
How would the Pelicans fill this exception once granted? They could sign an available free agent, grab a player off waivers or acquire someone via trade; however, they would be limited to signing a player in the last year of his contract.