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Pelicans, best signings

5 best free agent signings in New Orleans Pelicans history

For the most part of their history, the New Orleans Pelicans have built mainly through the draft with their selection of franchise stars in Chris Paul and Anthony Davis. Nonetheless, the Pelicans, who started out as a franchise in 2002 following the then-Hornets’ relocation to New Orleans, have been the destination of choice for some solid role players due to the existence of big-time names such as Davis and Paul.

Here are some of the best signings in New Orleans Pelicans franchise history.

Ryan Anderson

After winning the 2011-12 Most Improved Player award with the Orlando Magic, Ryan Anderson signed a four-year, $34 million deal with New Orleans. Already establishing himself as one of the league’s premier marksmen from beyond the arc, Anderson converted the second-most 3-pointers in the 2012-13 season with 213 triples made, coming only behind Stephen Curry.

Anderson instantly established great chemistry with Anthony Davis, as Anderson’s outside game complemented the young Pelicans superstar’s style of play. Anderson also played a key role for New Orleans when it made the postseason as the No. 8 seed in 2015.

In four seasons with the Pels, Anderson turned in the best stretch of his career with averages of 16.1 points and 5.9 rebounds while making 2.3 3-pointers a night.

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo played just one season with the Pelicans, but he sure did make an impact for them. After spending over eight seasons in Boston, Rondo bounced around four different teams prior to his current gig with the Los Angeles Lakers. His last and arguably most successful stop came with the Pelicans, where the pass-first point guard signed a one-year deal worth $3.3 million.

Rondo started 63 of his 65 appearances in New Orleans. He averaged 8.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 8.2 assists in 26.2 minutes per game. The four-time All-Star also broke the franchise record in assists when he dropped 25 dimes in a game in late December 2017.

Rondo established great chemistry with then-Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis. He became a key piece in their 2018 playoff run when they swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round. The Pelicans got a glimpse of Playoff Rondo in that series, with the veteran point guard averaging 11.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 13.3 assists while shooting 48.7 percent from the field.

Peja Stojakovic

After spending the majority of his first eight seasons in the NBA with the Sacramento Kings, Peja Stojakovic became a free agent in the summer of 2006. The three-time All-Star agreed to a five-year, $64 million sign-and-trade deal to join the then-New Orleans Hornets.

Unfortunately, his first season with New Orleans was cut short to injury and he played just 13 games in 2006-07. The following season, however, Stojakovic played and started in 77 games for the Hornets. He became a key contributor for them that year with averages of 16.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.0 3-pointers while converting 44.1 percent of his triples.

Stojakovic’s strong play helped New Orleans win a franchise-record 56 games. The Hornets finished that season as the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, but eventually bowed out of the playoffs in Round 2 against the San Antonio Spurs.

JJ Redick

After a heartbreaking 2019 postseason with the Philadelphia 76ers, JJ Redick signed with the New Orleans Pelicans on a two-year, $26.5 million deal in the summer of 2019.

Knowing that the Pelicans had steady depth at the guard positions, Redick was prepared to accept whatever role coach Alvin Gentry gave him. As he has done for his entire career, Redick continued to do what he does best: shoot.

In his first season with New Orleans, Redick held averages of 14.9 points while making 2.9 3-pointers a night on 45.2 percent shooting at the time of the NBA’s hiatus.

Jrue Holiday

Jrue Holiday initially came to the Pelicans in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. Though his first four years with the franchise were riddled with injury, New Orleans still prioritized signing the two-way combo guard when he became a free agent in the summer of 2017. The Pelicans gave him a five-year, $126 million contract.

With the Pelicans, Holiday established himself as one of the best perimeter defenders in the entire NBA. In the 2017-18 season, he helped lead New Orleans to one of the best seasons as a franchise, making the postseason as the No. 6 seed.

Pelicans fans will always remember Holiday for his magnificent performance in their first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers. Holiday’s top-notch defense on Portland’s star guard tandem of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum played a major part in their upset and sweep of the third-seeded Blazers.

Holiday is the veteran leader of an up-and-coming Pelicans team starring a terrific young core of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball.