The Pelicans did not extend a qualifying offer to small forward Darius Miller by Monday’s deadline, an NBA source said, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Miller, a teammate of Anthony Davis’ at Kentucky, was picked in the second round of the 2012 draft (46th overall) after helping the Wildcats win the NCAA title. He made progress much of last season, his second with the team, and down the stretch averaged in double figures and showed potential with an all-around game.
“Darius made a lot of progress this season,” coach Monty Williams said at season’s end. “You have to remember that he missed the start of the season. The thing I’m most pleased about has been his playmaking; I didn’t know he had that. But he has to become more consistent.”
An offer of $1,115,243 would have made Miller a restricted free agent, meaning the Pelicans could have matched any offer from another team and retain him. But the Pelicans are clearing salary-cap space to fit center Omer Asik, whom they obtained in a trade with the Houston Rockets, and also to sign a small forward.
Miller missed the first 17 games of the season with a stress fracture in his left foot. He played 45 games and averaged 4.4 points.
He was pressed into a prominent role in the last seven games after injuries to guards Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans and Brian Roberts. His best performance came against the Los Angeles Clippers on March 26: He scored 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting and was excellent defending All-Star point guard Chris Paul.