NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Pelicans have made a splash, but a smart splash, immediately into NBA free agency opening Sunday evening.
Free agent guard JJ Redick, one of the game’s great shooters, is set to join the Pelicans, according to multiple league sources.
The former Duke standout and ex-Philadelphia 76er has agreed to a 2-year, $26.5 million deal with New Orleans.
The Pelicans also picked up EuroLeague star Nicolo Melli, as well as big man Derrick Favors from the Utah Jazz. All three additions to the team come on 2-year deals that won’t wreck New Orleans’ bank or their long term plans.
Redick, 35, was selected 11th overall by the Orlando Magic in the 2006 NBA Draft. The 14-year league veteran has hit 1700 three pointers in his career and is 41 percent shooting from behind the 3-point line.
While he’s an older player, the highest scoring season of his career was last season. He’s still playing at an extremely high level.
Again, Redick's contract doesn't wreck what the team is building. It's two years and $26.5 million total, so that contract won't sit on the books for long.
Melli, a power forward from Italy, played for Turkish club team called Fenerbahce. He was the leading scorer in the EuroLeague final this season.
He’s 6’9” and 235 pounds, making him big enough to play inside, but definitely also can stretch the defense out, meaning he’ll shoot a lot of threes – something he’s extremely proficient at. He’s shot 42 percent from behind the 3-point line over the past four seasons.
The Pelicans need shooters. Melli is 28, and possibly the best part of his deal is that its $8 million over two years, so it’s deal that doesn’t crush the salary cap now or going forward.
The third piece on a busy first day of free agency for the Pelicans came late Sunday, as they acquired Favors from the Jazz. Favors is a 6'10" banger. He played nine years in Utah, averaging 11 points and seven rebounds per game this past season.
He's 27, an Atlanta native and played his college ball for Georgia Tech before being drafted third overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. The Pelicans needed another big body to help protect Zion Williamson, and they got it.
Melli’s mother, by the way, is from Nebraska. She was on the U.S. volleyball team that won a silver medal in the 1984 Olympics.