Why signing Jose Alvarado was a great move for the Pelicans

Jose Alvarado #15 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Jose Alvarado #15 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

If you are wondering why Jose Alvarado is smiling, it’s because his pockets just got a whole lot fatter. The New Orleans Pelicans announced they were signing the undrafted guard to a four-year contract reportedly worth $6.5 million.

The energetic guard has been one of the Pelicans’ most reliable bench players, averaging 6.1 points, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game for New Orleans.

But numbers don’t really quantify his impact on the game, as his relentless defense, hustle and pace have been propelling the Pels’ bench for weeks and are things that don’t always show up in the traditional stats.

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It may seem an odd move to sign another small guard to a roster that already has two (Kira Lewis Jr. and Devonte’ Graham) but keeping Alvarado for the foreseeable future was a smart move by the New Orleans Pelicans for several reasons.

The New Orleans Pelicans need cheap production

The Pelicans already have two max players on their roster and are about to have a third when Zion Williamson signs his extension. They have money tied up in Jonas Valanciunas, Devonte’ Graham and Larry Nance Jr. for next season and an extension for Jaxson Hayes looming.

The Pelicans’ roster is top-heavy when it comes to salaries, so they are going to need production from guys who aren’t on max deals. This is why it is vital to keep a steady supply of young talent, so you can find impact performers on rookie deals like the Pelicans have with Herbert Jones.

Being able to fill a productive rotation spot with a guy making $1.6 million per year is a huge advantage for any contending team, just ask LeBron James, who I am sure would have loved to have Jose, Trey Murphy III and Herb Jones on his side during the Pelicans’ big comeback win over the Lakers.

If you are going to have three guys making the max at the top of your payroll, you have to have productive players at the bottom of your payroll to balance it out.

Jose Alvarado is turning into the heart of the New Orleans Pelicans

Not only is Alvarado producing, he is a hard worker who is likely to get better over the course of his contract. He’s shown more willingness to shoot the 3-point shot of late and is already very good at running the offense with the second unit.

But he also has a huge impact on the Pelicans just with his personality and hard work. It is clear that Alvrado’s teammates love him and that he is a big part of the chemistry we are watching this young team build with coach Willie Green.

He is a favorite of Brandon Ingram (who seemed as happy about the new contract as Jose was) and the fanbase. Yesterday was declared Jose Day on Pelicans’ social media and they released a video of his highlights.

Alvarado is an underdog who went from an undrafted Summer League guy to a two-way contract and just kept grinding in the G-League and from off the Pelicans’ bench when he got his chances.

Before long, Willie Green couldn’t keep him there and Alvarado has been a part of the rotation ever since. He is the type of guy that everyone cheers for and we’ve seen him repeatedly change games with his energy when his teammates rally around him.

Jose Alvarado is one of the best stories of the season for the New Orleans Pelicans and it is great to see him get rewarded, especially since it also happens to be a smart move for the franchise.

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