It was announced Tuesday that the Pelicans have signed veteran forward John Salmons to a one-year contract. Apparently, this deal was agreed upon last month, but general manager Dell Demps had to work out some kinks in his contract before it could be finalized.
The addition of Salmons is a puzzling one, given that the Pelicans re-signed forward Darius Miller earlier this offseason and already have Luke Babbitt on the roster. There are reports out there suggesting that Babbitt and Miller were going to fight it out for the starting small forward spot once training camp gets under way.
This would mean (at least I hope) that Tyreke Evans will become the primary sixth man.
Where does Salmons fit in all of this? Is he merely a veteran presence that will be brought in to show the younger players the right way to play in the league?
From that perspective, the move makes sense I guess. If he is expected do anything more than that though — such as start at small forward — there may be a potential problem.
Salmons, for lack of a better term, seemed washed up last year while he played for the Toronto Raptors. He played in 60 games and averaged a pedestrian 5.0 ppg with 2.0 rpg.
In no way should he be ashamed of that fact either because he is 34 years old. The decline usually comes quickly for 34-year-old wings in the NBA unless your name is Ray Allen.
The true irony in this Salmons signing is that the Pelicans may not have enough cap room to fit Ramon Sessions (or any other capable backup point guard) onto the roster. Sessions makes more sense because of the lack of depth at point guard, unless you count Jimmer Fredette and Austin Rivers as such (for the record, I would not).
Signing Salmons definitely is a step in the right direction from a veteran presence standpoint. It is difficult for fans to comprehend the importance of a veteran leader on a young, up-and-coming basketball team such as the Pelicans.
Seemingly, he will fill that void.
The Thunder had Kevin Ollie when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were beginning to figure out their way in league, before eventually taking it by storm. Maybe John Salmons can have the same kind of impact on Anthony Davis and the rest of the young core.