After signing a two-year, $14.2 million deal with the New Orleans Pelicans this offseason, Darius Miller ruptured his Achilles shortly after, and will miss the entire 2019-20 season. Although it may not seem like a huge loss for the Pels, Miller provided quality minutes for them the last two seasons, and shot 41.1 percent from 3-point range in 2017-18. Miller’s coming off a season where he averaged 8.2 points on 39 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from deep in 69 games, and New Orleans will need to find someone who can match the 3-point shooting and floor spacing he provided off the bench.
There are still some talented players on the open market whom New Orleans could target, but with this young of a team it’s important that the fit works as well with whichever veteran they decide to add. Players like J.R. Smith and Nick Young — who can both fill it up from deep — could be adequate options to give you 15 minutes a night off the bench. Considering VP of Basketball Operations David Griffin has experience in working with Smith from their Cleveland Cavaliers days, that seems like a obvious choice. The Pelicans have a little extra cash to throw at any of these players as the league has granted them a disabled player exception for Miller in the amount of $3.625 million, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Before Joe Johnson signed with the Detroit Pistons, the Pelicans were reportedly one of the teams targeting the reigning BIG3 MVP, and he would’ve been an ideal fit as a veteran leader for the younger players. While it’s highly unlikely it’ll happen, perhaps the Pelicans could take a swing at Carmelo Anthony and see if he would be willing to come off the bench for them on a one-year deal. However, with his likely aspirations for a championship, it’s doubtful he’ll even consider it.
Another player the Pelicans could target is Iman Shumpert, who declined a contract from the Houston Rockets earlier this offseason. Shumpert provides a great defensive presence and was a spark plug for the Rockets off the bench last season after they acquired him from Sacramento Kings in a three-way trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers.