The New Orleans Pelicans released their preseason schedule on Wednesday afternoon, revealing a four-game slate before the critical 2017-18 campaign.
The Pelicans will unveil their new-look roster on Oct. 3, hosting the Chicago Bulls at the Smoothie King Center to open the preseason. It’s the only chance local Pelicans fans will be able to see free agent acquisitions Rajon Rondo and Ian Clark before the regular season.
They’ll take to the road for the final three contests, starting on Oct. 6 in Oklahoma City, before traveling to Chicago to face the Bulls on Oct. 8.
The preseason ends on Oct. 13 after a game in Memphis against the Grizzlies.
It’s a significantly shorter exhibition schedule than in years past, since the NBA opted to move the season’s start date up by nearly two weeks, opening Oct. 17. The abbreviated preseason was part of the league’s emphasis in adding rest, cutting down on back-to-back contests and one-game road trips.
Last year, the Pelicans played in six preseason contests, which included a two-game trip to China. In 2015, New Orleans played seven preseason games.
It’s a development Pelicans’ coach Alvin Gentry is pleased to see.
“If you ask me, honestly, I think four preseason games would be plenty,” Gentry said two years ago. “It’s just my opinion which doesn’t carry a whole lot of weight around the league. I’m sure they’re not concerned. I think if you could reduce the number of preseason games it would make it a lot easier for teams to play their guys and to be ready.”
Lo and behold, Gentry’s wishes came true.
The next step will be seeing where the Pelicans embark for the 82-game regular season. The NBA has still not released the full schedule, but sources expect it to be formalized next week.