Tim Frazier took advantage of the last month of a bad season and earned himself a contract.
The point guard agreed to a two-year, $4 million deal with the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, league sources told The Advocate.
Frazier rejoins the franchise after a productive 16-game stint in which he averaged 13.1 points, 7.5 assists and 4.4 rebounds.
At the end of an injury-ravaged campaign, Frazier was one of the few bright spots as the Pelicans played out the string.
General manager Dell Demps originally added Frazier from the D-League on a 10-day contract to bolster a depleted backcourt but instead found a potentially long-term fit.
Frazier’s ability to drive to the basket, push the tempo and distribute from multiple spots on the floor allowed him to flourish in coach Alvin Gentry’s system.
The Pelicans offense performed well in his 16 games as New Orleans experienced no drop-off (maintaining its average of 102.5 points) despite having Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans sidelined with injuries.
That prompted the Pelicans to tender Frazier a qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent.
“He’s an easy guy to pull for,” Gentry said in April. “He really does seize the moment. He has taken total advantage of the opportunities that have been given to him, and I think that’s all you like to see. ... He’s kind of been in and out of the league a little bit, done a great job in the D-League. To be able to come up and play at this level has been really good for him.”
This move also helps round out the Pelicans backcourt. Frazier is the fourth guard added to the roster since July 1 but the only pure point guard of the group.
New Orleans drafted shooting guard Buddy Hield with the No. 6 pick, then signed former Chicago Bulls combo guard E’Twuan Moore to a four-year, $34 million deal before adding New York Knicks guard Langston Galloway.
They join established starters Holiday and Evans, and it’s unclear whether the Pelicans will waive point guard Toney Douglas to stay under the salary cap.
Babbitt dealt to Heat
The Pelicans traded veteran small forward Luke Babbitt to the Miami Heat for a top-55 protected draft pick in 2018 and cash considerations Sunday.
New Orleans reacquired the selection it sent to Miami at the February trade deadline for Jarnell Stokes, who promptly was waived.
Given the protection — New Orleans would have had to finish in the top five in the NBA in 2017-18 to lose the pick — it’s highly unlikely the selection would have changed hands anyway.
The trade was made to help New Orleans squeeze under the salary cap after making a series of free agency additions since July 1.
It ends Babbitt’s stay in New Orleans after three seasons. The former Nevada standout was acquired late in 2013-14; he was used as a rotational player to bolster the offense.
Babbitt played in 137 games for New Orleans, starting 34 and averaging 5.4 points and 2.4 rebounds.
Babbitt’s specialty is his accuracy from beyond the 3-point arc, where he converted 43 percent of his attempts, including an NBA-best 51 percent in 2014-15.
Most of his usage came when the Pelicans faced significant injury problems or were bench-clearing appearances in lopsided games. In his three seasons with the franchise, he averaged 15.7 minutes and sat out entirely of 60 games.
The Pelicans bolstered their wing position by signing Solomon Hill to a four-year, $58 million contract.
He joins small forward Quincy Pondexter, who is expected to return after missing all of last season with a cartilage issue in his right knee.