A week after his contract expired, starting guard Bryce Dejean-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 (2 p.m. Thursday) 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 multiyear agreement that would guarantee him more than just the remainder of this season. The Pelicans are opting to keep their roster numbers flexible with the potential of taking on additional contracts in a trade.
The Pelicans practiced for the first time since the All-Star break Wednesday evening without Dejean-Jones. New Orleans doesn’t play until after the trade deadline, hosting the Philadelphia 76ers at 7 p.m. Friday.
Dejean-Jones expressed a preference to stay in New Orleans, although sources said 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.”
According to multiple reports, the Pelicans remained active this week in attempting to find a trade for forward Ryan Anderson, who will be a free agent at the end of the season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were showing strong interest in Anderson on Wednesday, according to reports by the New York Daily News and Yahoo Sports’ The Vertical, perhaps as part of a multiteam deal.
The Vertical reported Wednesday that the Pelicans were in discussions on a multiteam trade that could have brought Orlando small forward Tobias Harris to New Orleans with Anderson landing in Detroit. Ultimately, Harris was dealt from the Magic to the Pistons.
The Washington Wizards have shown interest in Anderson, according to BasketballInsiders.com, which Wednesday reported the possibility of a trade that would involve Anderson and Wizards forward Otto Porter.
League sources said at last weekend’s All-Star Game that the Pelicans were making a strong effort to move Anderson. But while several teams have expressed interest, some are reluctant to part with significant assets for a player who could opt to test the free-agent market.
Despite reports of trade talks this week, the Milwaukee Bucks are not looking to deal center Greg Monroe, USA Today reported Wednesday, citing sources with knowledge of the situation.
The Pelicans were among teams reportedly engaged in some discussion about Monroe, a New Orleans native.