Jimmer Fredette is likely on his way back to New Orleans.
If the NBA approves the Pelicans’ hardship appeal, sources tell The Advocate that Fredette will sign as its 16th player. The reserve shooting guard spent last season with the Pelicans but was en route to the NBA’s Developmental League after not making an NBA roster out of training camp.
The Pelicans are still waiting on official clearance from the league to go beyond the 15-man roster limit and can only do so because it has at least four players who are injured or sick for longer than two weeks. An independent physician must decide if the length of the injuries meets the guidelines.
New Orleans has been without Tyreke Evans (knee), Quincy Pondexter (knee) and Norris Cole (ankle) since the beginning of the season and recently lost reserve center Kendrick Perkins to a pectoral injury that he expects will sideline him for three months.
Starting center Omer Asik has played just 10 minutes, in one game, this season.
When one of the injured Pelicans’ players return to the court, the team’s roster limit pulls back to 15, forcing general manager Dell Demps to make a roster move. Demps can also apply for a second hardship roster exception if an additional two-week injury emerges in the meantime.
Fredette played in 50 games for the Pelicans last season, struggling to make an impact on either end of the floor. Despite being signed for his reputation as a sharpshooter from 3-point territory (converting 40 percent of his 3-point attempts in his first three seasons), Fredette connected on just 18 percent of his 48 3-point attempts with the Pelicans.
He averaged 3.6 points in 10.2 minutes per game, and proved most valuable at the free throw line, often coming in and the end of games to convert at the stripe. He made 43-of-45 free throws, which generated nearly a quarter of his overall scoring output.
The former BYU superstar was voted college basketball’s 2010-11 Associated Press Player of the Year and was selected No. 10 in the draft. He played his first two seasons in Sacramento, before being traded midseason to Chicago in 2013-14 and ending up in New Orleans last summer.
Fredette was the No. 2 pick in this year’s D-League draft, selected by the New York Knicks’ owned Westchester Knicks. If he’s eventually waived by the Pelicans, Fredette would return to Westchester if not signed by another NBA team.