Sunday, June 30 at 5pm was officially the start of the NBA's annual foray into madness known as free agency. Teams like the Brooklyn Nets got significantly better by adding the two largest fish in free agency with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving while other teams are still holding their breath to see where Kawhi Leanord will end up.
The Pelicans, however, were one of the teams who quietly yet significantly improved during free agency.
The Pelicans started the day by signing EuroLeague power forward Nicolo Melli to a two-year $8 million contract. Melli, a 29 year old 6'9 forward who played for Fenerbahce, was the leading scorer in last year's EuroLeague Finals and shot around 40% from three throughout his career. It is assumed the Pelicans will use Melli to stretch the floor with his shooting to help Zion Williamson.
Once free agency officially began, the Pelicans swooped in and signed guard JJ Redick to a two year $26.5 million contract. Redick, 35, is famously known for his shooting having shot 39% from three last year and over 40% throughout his career. Redick's ability to shoot from deep as well as his veteran leadership were two qualities the Pelicans were in need of.
Later in the day, the Pelicans acquired big man Derrick Favors via trade with the Utah Jazz. Favors will help shore up the frontcourt alongside Zion Williamson. Favors, 27, will provide defense, rebounding and rim finishing for the Pelicans, all intangibles the Pelicans were looking for.
These three new additions to the team will be able to provide much needed experience to a young roster. During this year's free agency, the Pelicans and David Griffin not only added depth but also managed to find complimentary pieces to place around incoming star Zion Williamson.