Free Agent Encore: Four Players We Like for the New Orleans Pelicans

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The New Orleans Pelicans will be very tight on cap room after extending their “Big Three.” Here are four guys we think fit well as free agents.

The New Orleans Pelicans, like all teams in the NBA, want to add free agents who will contribute but not hamper their financial flexibility.

The New Orleans Pelicans are no stranger to this but with the upcoming extensions of Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball in the near future and Zion Williamson and possibly Jaxson Hayes in a few years, they need to be extra careful about the players they sign in the offseason.

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In our recent free agent series we looked at a large group of unrestricted free agents ranging from defensive wings to three-point specialists.

Today we’ll look back at four of our favorites, guys who can help the New Orleans Pelicans take the next step as a franchise without jeopardizing what they have already built.

We’ve covered these players in the past, but as the possible cancellation of the season looms, now is the time to start to refresh our free agent big boards.

Here are four guys we like for the New Orleans Pelicans.

Meyers Leonard, New Orleans Pelicans

MIAMI, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 16: Meyers Leonard #0 of the Miami Heat drives to the basket against the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Meyers Leonard PF/C

2019-20 Stats –  6.1 Points, 5.1 Rebounds, 1.1 Assists

Meyers Leonard is a knockdown three-point shooter (42.9%) who would allow the other players on the Pelicans to attack the basket without a big clogging space down in the paint.

At 27-years-old he’s a “young veteran” that fits in excellently with the timeline and personnel of the New Orleans Pelicans.

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While his numbers may not seem encouraging, he’s never played starters minutes in the NBA.

In Portland he was stuck behind Jusuf Nurkic and Al-Farouq Aminu, and after being traded to Miami last summer, he was put behind All-Star Bam Adebayo.

His Per-36 numbers (10.9 Points, 9.0 Rebounds, 1.9 Assists) do show signs that with more time he’d be a solid contributor.

The level of production Leonard could provide in a starter’s role would allow the Pelicans to let Derrick Favors walk in free agency and prioritize spending cap space on their younger players.

Leonard will probably be seeking a deal that pays him close to his current one; he’s in the last year of a 4 year/$41 million he signed in the summer of 2016.

That might be too rich for the New Orleans Pelicans, but if Leonard ends up dropping in cost, he’d be a solid option as a stretch-five along Zion.

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