New Orleans Pelicans Waive Lance Thomas, Sign Stiemsma

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Published: July 10, 2013
Thomas

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that they have waived forward Lance Thomas.
Thomas, a 6’8″ forward, appeared in 101 games (19 starts) over two seasons with New Orleans, averaging 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 12.6 minutes per game. In the 2012-13 season, he appeared in 59 contests (nine starts) and averaged 2.5 points and 1.9 rebounds.

Thomas played well in his minutes, but he has been between roles for some time now.

With the trading of Robin Lopez, the Pelicans figure to add a more traditional big man, with rumors pointing to Greg Stiemsma.

Update: Stiemsma has signed a 1-year deal with the Pelicans for the Room Mid-Level Exception, $2,652,000.

The 6’11” 260 lb center from Wisconsin is a free agent after being cut loose from Minnesota after the drafting of Gorgui Dieng made him expendable. Stiemsma has played well has a backup and started 19 games. His play took a step back in Minnesota after his rookie year in Boston. He is a stronger rebounder than Robin Lopez and a better defender.

Here is a review of his play from last season.

Some relevant excerpts:

I like what Greg Stiemsma brings to the team, and I know that’s kind of boring. Well, that fits because I’m a pretty boring person. I like that Stiemer shows up to work, knowing he has a high probability of getting challenged at the rim, and is willing to accept this existence. I like that Stiemsma is the enforcer on this team and isn’t afraid to send a message if he feels it needs being sent. He’s not a dirty player; he’s just a good teammate. It’s why he celebrates 3-pointers (the few that went in) with the first down/3-pointer hand gesture/leg kick. And he got other guys on the team to do it because it’s a fun thing for teammates to do.

Going into this past season, I wasn’t a Stiemsma fan at all and thought it might have been wasted money by the Timberwolves. After a month, I was willing to reconsider. After two months, I was glad I was willing to change my viewpoint on him and not be stubborn about it (Nate Robinson will get no such accordance from me in his career if that ever happens). I like Greg Stiemsma on this team a lot. And I don’t mind that he’s not afraid to get embarrassed out there.

The Pelicans stand with 13 roster spots likely filled, 14 if they land Stiemsma. Having a free roster spot is to the Pelicans advantage if they plan to make trades later in the season. They can sign him to a minimum contract or use part of their $2.6m Room Mid-Level Exception to sign the big man. He made $2.5m last season in Minnesota.

They will likely begin the season with no 42 on their roster.

30 comments
BigBLDavis
BigBLDavis

So Jason Smith starts center right, because I don't see us making anymore more moves until later in the season. 

504ever
504ever

I think this ends the Anderson for Asik rumors, maybe by design. It sends that 'you didn't think we were serious about not linking what you offered' message to Houston.

Kempleton
Kempleton

Stiemsma fills our current need of another big player who will share Center minutes.

While I was watching the Spurs play the Heat in the finals, I was thinking whether we will watch Anthony Davis fighting for another ring when he gets 37. I hope we will. Now, think about the players (except David Robinson) who was the Center next to Duncan: Splitter, Blair, Oberto, Elson, Nesterovic, etc.

Now, we sometimes talk about who has starter quality and who has backup quality. (especially about Aminu we did) Do you think any of those names above has starter quality? Well, they started because they were big (except Blair). So, if the requirement is to be big, Stiemsma is big too. :)

We will need to have a role player at one position at least. Duncan played PF or Center for the Spurs in the finals? Anthony Davis will be able to do the same. He may start most of the games along Stiemsma as PF but will probably finish them at the Center. If and when he is ready he can start at Center along Anderson.

A very exciting season awaits us.

I liked Lance Thomas as a character. Sad to see him leave. I wish him the best of luck.

Pelican Poster
Pelican Poster

Great guy who worked hard for us...don't see many doing what he did in regards to the FRY situation last year...at the end it looked like he had even started developing a mid-range jumper and I want to say we began giving him tougher defensive assignments...he's in Vegas with the team and gets word its time to go...gotta be tough...good luck Lance...too bad his effort and hustle wasn't emulated by some who needed it

jay breez 11
jay breez 11

does Stiemsma start @ center or will Anderson start @ p/f? also does Aminu start @ s/f or Evans? 

ADubya11
ADubya11

ESPN had Brendan Wright (C) from Dallas a possible free agent for New Orleans.  Does Stiemsma change that possibility?  Do any salary cap issues change that possibility?  With a frontcourt of Davis/Anderson/Smith/Stiemsma/Wright/Whithey, I think we'd have our "center" question nipped in the bud by way of plenty of options/rotations depending on what we need at a given moment (offense, defense, rebounds) as Davis continues to develop.

tmbocage1
tmbocage1

Even though he's an upgrade over Lance Thomas, it's still a wasted roster spot. Stiemsma may be a trade piece for Dell, especially if he performs well. I would see him helping Brooklyn or OKC later on. If we keep him, either Jason Smith or Aminu has to go. We need shooters and we got another backup center.

_CoachD
_CoachD

Love this guy. Didn't even realize he had the nice range he has. I wanted him from the day he was released. Wish it was a multi-year deal tbh. Perfect 10-15 MPG guy for Pelicans. Bang with the bigger players in the league.

504ever
504ever

This had to be done, but I am sorry to see Lance Thomas go.  He was a good guy who played smart, and with very high energy.


Thanks to whoever already updated the salary cap page to include Stiemsma.


The Pelicans have already made significant roster upgrades from last season.  Can wait to see the finished product take the court.

reubes
reubes

Does this signal the end of our offseason? I feel like the only remaining possibility is a Gordon trade.

bobmurrell
bobmurrell

The excerpt from the Tumblewolves' blog points to something that I was hoping for - a good veteran presence in the locker room and on the bench. Seems like a good guy who will get our young guys together (if they aren't already motivated enough), have fun and hopefully win games in the process. Not to mention the 8-12min of good defense and boards. 

AngryCookies
AngryCookies

Good pickup plus we got rid of Lance Thomas who is garbage

I haven't forgot those fries

MikeWright0404
MikeWright0404

A good pickup for the Pelicans. He can fill 10 or 12 minutes a game if needed. 

GerryV
GerryV

@hewhorocks  i know kevin Eastman the Celtic Assistant...very smart/bright coach and excellent teacher.....i wish good things for Greg....hope he contributes as he is a good kid and very coachable

hewhorocks
hewhorocks

@504ever  

I think Asik for Anderson would be selling low. Asik is certainly serviceable at center but I'm not sure teams went into time outs saying "We have to control Asik" while Anderson had some coaches pulling out their hair.

GerryV
GerryV

More mobilty than Lopez......bench big who is decent enough to help protect the lane /rim area,,,can make FT's which is important for a big.....one year deal.....hmmm..having one year deal guys makes for a creative package no?..yes?.......

GerryV
GerryV

do not ignore the defensive end of the floor.....defensive stops as you know are critical......its not all about the offense....

tmbocage1
tmbocage1

@GerryV That's what I'm hoping for. Maybe to get some shooters. Considering we have Holiday and Evans running with Gordon, we can finally play more uptempo.

hewhorocks
hewhorocks

Certainly not! Its about identifying and maximizing  your competitive advantage while minimizing your your comparative weakness.  Anderson is a consistent  threat that stretches the floor for your abundance of slashing guards. Anderson is an impact player, but a position the pelicans have depth at.  Asik is a capable defender down low (and certainly  benefited from the direction ofthe low post deity Mchale)  and a good rebounder but Im not convinced that he is of the same caliber. 

Cliff_Paxton
Cliff_Paxton

@kaclemen We may have more depth then you think. We should keep our eyes peeled during the summer league and see how Miller progresses. Also, we have a sniper in Morrow to come off of the bench. I can't wait for this season to start!!


macs21
macs21

@kaclemen Not much depth with Evans, Anderson and Jason Smith coming off the bench?

Find me a team that's not from San Antonio who has a better 8th man than J-Smitty

kaclemen
kaclemen

Flip some contracts

This is phase 1 on Demps master plan. Obtain assets - get them to near peak value then flip them (perfect example - Vasquez). Everyone is auditioning except Davis!

Will be a fun year but I think we have moves fourth coming.

Step 1 stockpile assets regardless of position. Step 2 get talent to buy in and perform step 3 test the market and see if you can bring back quality and comparable talent to round out roster (bonus if you can get them on good contracts).

1U - Holiday, Gordon, Aminu, Davis, Steisma?

2U - Roberts/Rivers, Evans, ?, Smith, Anderson

Closers - Holiday, Gordon, Evans, Davis, Anderson

Not much depth! But electric lineup if they can buy in and sacrifice. Would love to land a Qpondexter, Parsons, Thompson, etc in FA next year if we move Gordon's contract at some point this year.