The NBA Finals are in full swing and that means free agency is right around the corner. Each team will look to improve their squad in one way or another, and the New Orleans Pelicans are certainly one of them. After a rather down year for the Pelicans in 2013-14, they’ll look to reload with a playoff berth in mind.
There’s no doubt that several things could be fixed on the Pelicans’ roster (one of the worst defenses in the league, a below average scoring team) but one major thing that sticks out is their lack of big man depth. Sure, they have one of the best power forwards in the league with Anthony Davis, but what else besides him? There isn’t a whole lot. Ryan Anderson is a great shooter at power forward, but he isn’t a big man in the typical sense where he would play in the paint. Jason Smith is a solid role player, but nothing more than that.
The Pelicans weren’t exactly the best rebounding team last season, ranking 22nd in the league. Despite Anthony Davis’ impressive rebounding, the Pelicans couldn’t pull down a whole lot of boards due to their lack of big man depth. New Orleans may not exactly have the budget to go after someone big like Greg Monroe, but they do need an aggressive, productive big man that can play some minutes off the bench or make some spot starts.
That’s where Josh McRoberts comes in. McRoberts, a 27-year-old out of Duke, has spent the last two seasons playing with the Charlotte Bobcats (well, they’re the Hornets now). Last season he posted 8.5 points per game along with 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists. Those aren’t overly impressive numbers, but in 30.3 minutes per game, mostly off the bench, McRoberts was a huge asset in leading the Hornets to their second franchise postseason appearance.
McRoberts has a player-option with the Hornets. That essentially means that he can either elect to stay with Charlotte for another year, or elect to become a free agent this summer. If he chooses to stay with Charlotte, all of this talk is basically pointless. But if he does choose to head out into the open market, plenty of teams will look to secure the former Blue Devils’ talent.
The Pelicans will have around $14.7 million to throw around this offseason. However, that number is without any of their current free agents re-signed. The Pelicans will see names like Greg Stiemsma, Jason Smith, and Al-Farouq Aminu hitting free agency. It’s safe to assume that at least one of Stiemsma or Smith will be re-signed, leaving New Orleans around $10 million in space.
A guy like McRoberts would probably cost somewhere around $5 million-$7 million dollars per year, based on his quality performance with Charlotte for the past few seasons. Now that’s not a solid number, it could be more, it could be less. Either way, acquiring a big man like McRoberts could prove to be a valuable piece for the Pelicans, who already have some talented players to potentially make a playoff run come next season.