Starting center Emeka Okafor did not suit up for New Orleans Wednesday on the first game of a six game road trip, and he could be out a while longer than that, coach Monty Williams said. Here is his quote, via NBA.com.
“From what I’ve heard it’s one of those weird deals,” Williams said. “I just heard yesterday he’s not going to travel with us and he’ll stay at home.”
New Orleans is not talking about what it is, but reportedly he will be out until after the All-Star game. Okafor provides the Hornets a solid 9.9 points and 7.9 rebounds a game, he’s not dominant but he shoots an efficient 53.3 percent. His PER of 15.7 is near the league average, but also near the top on the struggling Hornets.
With Okafor and Carl Landry out, a lot more falls on the shoulders of Chris Kaman, who took 23 shots (10 more than anyone else on the team) in the Hornets surprise win over the Bucks Wednesday. He only scored 18 points on those 23 shots.
With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.
The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.
And so the search goes on.
The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.
With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.
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