Derrick Favors (22) and Brandon Ingram reach for a rebound in Toronto

Pelicans have nine free agents as market opens Friday evening

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

If this week of NBA transactions, rumors and reports hasn’t already been wild enough, get ready – now it’s time for free agency. The league announced earlier this month that the 30 teams would be allowed to begin negotiating with free agents Friday at 5 p.m. Central. On Sunday, you may want to keep one eye on football and the other on Twitter, because NBA teams can officially announce signings of players at 11 a.m. Central, an hour before seven games kick off in NFL stadiums.

New Orleans enters Friday’s free-agent period with nine free agents, divided into two categories: Unrestricted and restricted. To make a long story short, unrestricted free agents have the ability to sign a contract with any NBA team of their choice, while teams can retain a restricted free agent by matching an offer sheet extended to that player from another club. Here is the list of Pelicans free agents, in order of category and how many minutes they logged during the 2019-20 regular season:

UNRESTRICTED

Derrick Favors (51 games, 1243 minutes)

In his first season in Crescent City, started at center 49 times, after missing early-season stretches of games due to injury and personal reasons. Pelicans went 24-27 in the games he played.

E’Twaun Moore (56 games, 1020 minutes)

Four-year Pelican was out of rotation early in 2019-20 but later appeared in 40 of NOLA’s final 44 games. Started 80 games for ’18 team that reached Western Conference semifinals.

Jahlil Okafor (30 games, 467 minutes)

Often was third-string center when Favors was healthy last season, but started nine times, including memorable games of 20-plus points in wins vs. Denver and Detroit.

Sindarius Thornwell (2 games, 35 minutes)

Added to the roster for Orlando bubble for depth and defense at the wing. Appeared in the final two games of restart after Pelicans were mathematically eliminated.

RESTRICTED

Brandon Ingram (62 games, 2104 minutes)

A first-time All-Star last season, led New Orleans in scoring (23.8 ppg) and ranked third in assists (4.2 apg) and steals (1.0 spg). Posted career highs in three-point and free throw percentage.

Kenrich Williams (39 games, 832 minutes)

Injury curtailed his impact after he made significant contributions and started 29 games as a rookie in 2018-19. Played in 35 of team’s first 37 games, but then just four of final 35.

Frank Jackson (59 games, 797 minutes)

A rarity on Pelicans roster in that he compiled his best stretch of 2019-20 during the Orlando bubble. Second-year guard capped season with 18- and 31-point games vs. Kings and Magic, respectively.

Zylan Cheatham (4 games, 51 minutes)

Over 34 games in G League with Erie, averaged 16.3 points and 11.9 rebounds. Highlight with Pelicans was an 11-minute outing at Detroit in which he contributed to overtime win.

Josh Gray (2 games, 23 minutes)

Lake Charles native was G League’s fifth-leading scorer at 22.5 points per game over 37 appearances. Appeared in back-to-back mid-November games for Pelicans, including home win over Golden State.

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