Minnesota has been ravaged by injuries — Kevin Love (hand), Ricky Rubio (knee), Chase Budinger (knee), Brandon Roy (knees), J.J. Barea (foot), and Nikola Pekovic (ankle).
So as we hinted could happen, they have brought in some help — a one-year deal with swingman Josh Howard, reports Chris Broussard of ESPN and other sources. This is a one-year minimum deal and he could play for Minnesota on Friday if he passes a physical (he worked out for the team already, this shouldn’t be an issue).
While many people remember the Howard who was a scoring machine with Dallas five years ago, he was not nearly as effective his last couple seasons in Utah. Last season he averaged 8.9 points per game on 39.9 percent shooting and 24.3 percent from three, with as many turnovers as assists. He had a PER of 10.5 — the kind of number that gets a younger player sent to the D-League.
But he may be the best guy out there on the free agent market. Minnesota also reportedly talked with Mickael Pietrus but he wanted more than the veteran minimum. If Howard can give Minnesota any depth until their guys get healthy (Roy may not be that far away, but he can’t take on heavy minutes).
To make room for Howard someone on the roster has to be let go, so it sucks to be Will Conroy with a non-guaranteed contract right now.
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.
Kevin Durant with huge dunk on visiting Fenerbahce Ulker