Though it wasn’t splashy, the New Orleans Pelicans made a move Thursday, acquiring a player in the NBA draft.
The Pelicans traded the rights to Pierre Jackson to the Philadelphia 76ers for Louisville point guard Russ Smith, whom the Sixers selected in the second round with the 47th overall pick.
The move, however, did not address the Pelicans’ need at small forward. Late Thursday night, Pelicans General Manager Dell Demps was asked if Smith may be moved to another team or if that trade precipitated another trade.
“No, not yet,” Demps said.
Smith gives the Pelicans three point guards, not including free agent Brian Roberts, and five guards overall. And Demps has expressed interest in bringing back Anthony Morrow, which now does not seem possible after the team added center Omer Asik in a trade Wednesday with the Houston Rockets, let alone the Pelicans’ need for a small forward.
Asked if he would sign an undrafted free agent small forward, Demps said he’s mulling it over.
“Our staff is on the phone making some calls to people who didn’t get drafted,” Demps said. “But that’s one of the things we need to think about. Do we want to bring in a guy undrafted? Is he ready to play? Do we want to bring in an undrafted guy to develop, or do we want to look at some guys who are already seasoned vets who can come in an play right away?”
Of course, the former would be a lot cheaper than the latter.
Oddly, Jackson was selected by the 76ers last season at No. 42 and was sent to the Pelicans in the Jrue Holiday trade, in which Philadelphia received the Pelicans’ selection at No. 6, Kentucky center Nerlens Noel, and this year’s first-round pick, the 10th overall.
Jackson excelled in the NBA Development League and also played in Europe.
On Wednesday, the Pelicans obtained Asik, the 7-foot, 260-pound center from the Houston Rockets, who were clearing salary-cap space in an effort to sign small forward Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James.
Now the Pelicans need to clear space for Asik’s $8.3 million salary. Demps said the Pelicans should be OK with the salary cap.
Internet reports Wednesday had the Pelicans at the center of trade proposals for a first-round selection in Thursday’s draft, with Holiday the potential bait. Earlier reports said guards Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans were on the trading block for the same reason.
“We like Jrue a lot and look forward to him being out point guard of the future,” Demps said.
Earlier reports said guards Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans were on the trading block for the same reason.
The Pelicans begin play in the Las Vegas Summer League on July 11, and will have mostly free agents, rookies and other young players, on their roster.
Smith, who played four years at Louisville, helped the Cardinals to two Big East tournament championships, an American Athletic Conference title and four NCAA tournament appearances, including two final fours and the 2013 NCAA championship.
Demps said he liked the fact that Smith is a proven winner.