The New Orleans Pelicans have a big decision looming on Kira Lewis Jr.

New Orleans Pelicans guard Kira Lewis Jr. (Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Pelicans guard Kira Lewis Jr. (Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Pelicans had two players miss all or nearly all of last season and hope to get both back at full strength soon.

One of them was Zion Williamson, whose injury became the subject of endless debate, criticism (some fair, some not) and drama.

The other was Kira Lewis Jr., who was largely forgotten about after he tore his ACL and went out for the season after only playing 24 games.

The 21-year-old point guard had some flashes, and was getting better at running the offense and being an on-the-ball pest on defense, but the Pelicans have other small guards and one of them is going to be the odd man out next season.

Related Story. Who will lead the Pelicans in assists next season?. light

Lewis Jr. can definitely carve out a role for himself, and will be a part of one of several interesting training camp battles for minutes if he is healthy enough to be on the floor.

But the problem is that the Pelicans don’t have a ton of time to make their evaluation of how Kira Lewis Jr. fits into their future plans.

New Orleans Pelicans: The team option on Kira Lewis Jr.

The New Orleans Pelicans have already exercised their team option for Lewis Jr. for next season, but will soon have to decide on the option for the 2023-24 season.

The Pels will have until October 31st to pick up the team option on Lewis Jr. and if they decide to decline, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

The option is for $5.7 million, not bad backup point guard money for a guy who is contributing, but if he’s not, that’s an expensive price tag for an end-of-the bench guy.

This is especially true considering that the Pelicans’ payroll is going to be really expensive at the top after this season, as Zion’s new extension kicks in and the Pelicans will be looking for value contracts at the bottom of the payroll.

Even if they decline his option, there is a chance Lewis Jr. could still end up staying with the Pelicans, but there would likely be some other teams interested in taking a shot at a lottery pick who is still just 21-years-old.

The clock is ticking and we’ll know more about Lewis Jr’s future with the Pelicans in just two months.

Next. Who has the best "Big 3" in the Western Conference?. dark