The Pelicans’ mounting injuries finally benefited them.
On Tuesday morning, the NBA granted New Orleans (0-6) a hardship exemption, league sources confirmed to The Advocate, clearing the way to sign shooting guard Jimmer Fredette as the 16th man on the roster. Fredette will be on the active roster for tonight’s 7 p.m. tip-off against the Dallas Mavericks in the Smoothie King Center and sources expect him to play.
He is the third guard added to the Pelicans' roster since the final preseason game, joining Ish Smith and Toney Douglas.
The hardship exemption is reserved for teams suffering prolonged injuries to at least four players for a minimum of two weeks. On its injury report entering Tuesday’s game, the Pelicans listed Tyreke Evans (knee), Norris Cole (ankle), Quincy Pondexter (knee) and Kendrick Perkins (pectoral) as unable to play.
An independent physician evaluated the injuries this week to make sure their severity met the NBA’s guidelines.
When one of the injured Pelicans’ players return to the court, the team’s roster limit pulls back to 15, which will force 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 18.8 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 entering at 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 Associated Press Player of the Year in 2011, before being 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.
“Sometimes it’s about finding the right situation at the right time in this league,” Fredette said on a conference call last week. “I haven’t been able to find a spot where I’ve had a long-term contract. That happens to lots of guys.”