A week after his contract expired, starting guard Bryce Dejan-Jones is still not an official member of the New Orleans Pelicans.
Sources close to situation said the Pelicans are waiting until after the trade deadline (Thursday at 2 p.m.) to complete a new deal with Dejean-Jones, who has already played through the maximum allowable two 10-day contracts.
The sides met often leading up to the All-Star game, with Dejean-Jones seeking a multi-year agreement that would guarantee him more than just the remainder of this season. The Pelicans, meanwhile, are opting to keep their roster numbers flexible with the potential of taking on additional contracts in a trade.
The Pelicans re-open practice for the first time since the All-Star break on Wednesday evening, which Dejean-Jones won’t participate in. However, New Orleans doesn’t play until after the trade deadline, hosting the Philadelphia 76ers at 7 p.m. on Friday night.
Dejean-Jones has expressed a preference to stay in New Orleans, although sources say he’s also been in discussions with the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Memphis Grizzlies, Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs.
The Pelicans’ only rookie quickly rose from an end of the bench afterthought to a relied-upon starter during his 21 days with the team. A season-ending injury to Tyreke Evans, and coach Alvin Gentry’s preference to keep Jrue Holiday as a reserve, thrust Dejean-Jones into a critical backcourt role.
He averaged 26.4 minutes over his past eight games, scoring 8.3 points, pulling down 4.4 rebounds and converting 42.6 percent of his shots.
The contract expiration forced Dejean-Jones to miss the Pelicans’ 121-95 loss to Oklahoma City on Feb. 11. Gentry responded by starting forwards Alonzo Gee and Dante Cunningham together for the first time.
“I like it here,” Dejean-Jones said in January. “I think the system suits me well and I was given the chance to go out and play and make the most of it. I mean, I’m on a 10-day so you only have so many chances to prove yourself and they’re giving them to me.”