Pelicans shootaround presented by HUB International: New Orleans adds three players over 48-hour span

DALLAS – It’s that time of the NBA season when you usually need a game program around the league, with numerous players changing addresses as a direct result of – or in the aftermath of – the trade deadline. That’s certainly the case for the New Orleans Pelicans, who have added three different perimeter options since only Thursday. All of them may potentially be needed immediately to contribute, because the Pelicans (23-35, 3 games out of eighth place) are in the thick of a playoff race and only have 24 games remaining on the schedule.

A few hours prior to Saturday’s 7:30 tip-off in Dallas, New Orleans officially signed shooting guard Reggie Williams, who joins point guard Jarrett Jack and guard/forward Hollis Thompson as new faces on a team forced to improvise. One thing each member of that trio has in common is fairly extensive NBA experience; Jack leads the way with 11 years and 803 career games under his belt. Williams has appeared in 205 games over eight seasons, while Thompson has four years and 257 games, all spent with Philadelphia prior to Thursday’s New Orleans-Houston tilt.

They’re also all options from beyond the three-point arc: Thompson is a career 38.9 percent shooter there, followed by Williams at 36.6 and Jack at 34.6. The ability to connect from distance could become an even more important skill on a Pelicans team that now has a pair of All-Stars and top-five NBA scorers in DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis.

“It’s awesome,” Williams said of being a shooter and getting to play with that elite tandem. “Now you add another superstar to the mix, hopefully you can get more opportunities. My job is to knock down those shots.”

Williams played five games earlier this season for the Pelicans, while Jack is a familiar face in New Orleans, having played for the then-Hornets for two seasons from 2010-12. Virtually everything has changed since Jack's prior stint in the Crescent City, including the team’s nickname, colors, coaching staff, ownership, practice facility, you name it. With the Pelicans down to only a few available backcourt options following the Sacramento trade, the 33-year-old can provide leadership and savvy. Jack has 24 playoff games under his belt and made his postseason debut with New Orleans in 2011, making a key final-minute floater in Game 4 of the first round vs. the Lakers.

“I haven’t talked yet to Coach (Alvin Gentry) about what position he’s going to throw me into,” said Jack, who’s played plenty of minutes at both guard spots, after Friday’s practice. “I’m ready and willing to do whatever is necessary.”

Other notes after shootaround at American Airlines Arena:

E’Twaun Moore (personal) and Omer Asik (illness) are listed as out for Saturday’s game. In addition to Quincy Pondexter (knee) being out, that means New Orleans only has 12 players in uniform. Second-round pick and rookie Cheick Diallo is with the Pelicans and among those dozen players. …

The Pelicans waived Omri Casspi (broken right thumb) to create a roster spot that was needed to sign Williams. In an extremely bad piece of luck, Casspi was injured while making his New Orleans debut Thursday and will be sidelined 4-6 weeks. “I think he understood,” Gentry said of Casspi’s reaction to the roster move. “We talked about it and it’s just an unfortunate situation. He was going to be a guy who could help us in the shooting aspect and he has good size. But these kinds of things happen. At this stage, it was just really important for us to have that roster spot. Hopefully he can recover quickly and we’ll see what happens.” …

Gentry on the Pelicans’ need for shooting right now: “We’ve got AD and DeMarcus in there. They’re going to create double-team situations. We have to have guys who are going to make shots.”