NEW ORLEANS - The New Orleans Pelicans announced that forward Lance Thomas has been waived and renounced their rights to Louis Amundson, Xavier Henry and Roger Mason, Jr. The moves open the door for two new veteran additions.
New Orleans cut ties with the foursome of reserves to free up salary cap space to sign other veterans to fill the needs of a reshaped roster.
Sharp-shooting free agent wing Anthony Morrow and center Greg Stiemsma are the new Pelicans additions.
Mark J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports the 27-year old Morrow will sign a two-year deal for the veteran minimum. The six-year veteran out of Georgia Tech has shot over 42 percent from 3-point range in his NBA career. His signing likely signals the end for Roger Mason Jr. in New Orleans after one season. The 6-foot-5 journeyman has played for the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors and New Jersey Nets in the NBA to date.
Stiemsma, recently cut loose by the Timberwolves, signed with the Pelicans on a one-year deal. The team does nto disclose financial tems but the contract is worth $2.7 million, according to his agent Mark Bartlestein via ESPN's Chris Broussard. The 27-year old played professionally in South Korea, Turkey and the NBA D-League for NBA stints with the Boston Celtics and Minnesota. He appeared in 76 regular season games (including 19 starts) for the Timberwolves last season averaging 4.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game in 15.9 minutes.
The 6-foot-11 shot blocker out of Wisconsin may end up as the starting center for the Pelicans, replacing Robin Lopez who was traded away to Portland as part of the sign-and-trade to bring former Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans to the Crescent City. New Orleans also received the Blazers second rounder, Kansas center Jeff Withey, in the three-team deal.
With the additions of big salary guards Evans and All-Star point guard Jrue Holliday, New Orleans has essentially reached this season's newly-announced salary cap figure of $58.678 million.
The Pelicans also announced a 11 a.m. Thursday press conference for what was termed as "a major announcement" at their new facility off Airline Drive in Metairie.
More from the Pelicans on the departing veterans: Thomas, a 6-foot-8 forward out of Duke, appeared in 101 games (19 starts) over two seasons with New Orleans, averaging 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 12.6 minutes per game. In the 2012-13 season, he appeared in 59 contests (nine starts) and averaged 2.5 points and 1.9 rebounds.
Amundson, who signed with the team on March 12, 2013, appeared in 18 games with the Hornets this past season averaging 2.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 11.7 minutes of action. The 6’9” forward also spent time with the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Chicago Bulls this past season.
Henry averaged 3.9 points and 1.8 rebounds in 50 appearances this past season. After being acquired in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies early in the 2011-12 season, the Oklahoma City native has appeared in 95 games with New Orleans, averaging 4.6 points and 2.1 rebounds over that time.
Ten year veteran Roger Mason appeared in 69 games during his lone season in New Orleans. The Virginia product, signed as a free agent prior to the 2012-13 season, averaged 5.3 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists while starting in 13 contests during the season.
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