Babbitt shoots over Fournier during NBA basketball game in Portland, Oregon

Report: Pelicans reach deal to bring in Luke Babbitt


We told you a couple days ago the Pelicans wanted to bring in Luke Babbitt for the rest of the season, but there was one big hurdle in the way — agreeing to a buyout with his Russian team.

That hurdle has been cleared.

And soon Babbitt will be playing in New Orleans, reports Chris Haynes of

Former Portland Trail Blazers forward Luke Babbitt and the New Orleans Pelicans have reached an agreement on a two-year deal, a league source informed….

However, (Babbitt’s Russian team) BC Nizhny Novgorod wasn’t facilitating that move having issued a statement saying that they will not sign his absentee letter, disallowing him to sign with any other team. The two sides reached a buyout yesterday and Babbitt is expected to report to New Orleans on Tuesday.

You can be sure this is a minimum contract and the second year of that deal is a team option. Also, terms of the buyout from Russia are not yet public, but NBA teams are limited to spending $500,000 on such buyouts.

New Orleans would like to have another stretch four off the bench with Ryan Anderson out indefinitely due to a back injury. Babbitt is going to get a chance to help fill that role. We’ll see how that goes.

Babbitt was drafted No. 16 overall by the Timberwolves then was traded on draft night to Portland (the Martell Webster deal). Babbitt is a tweener (6’9”) forward who shot better as a four (career 36.7 percent from three) but was a defensive liability. So much so that a series of coaches never found a regular rotation spot for him.

Babbitt played out the three years of his rookie deal in Portland but was not retained by that team and couldn’t latch on with another so it was off to Russia. Now he’s back and will try to prove he should stick in the NBA.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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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.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

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

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Welcome to America, Fenerbahce Ulker.

The Turkish powerhouse was in America playing some exhibition games this preseason, and they got a first-hand reminder that Kevin Durant is back. KD had 13 points in the Thunder’s easy 111-81 win.

Not to be outdone, Russell Westbrook got in on the act.