New Orleans Pelicans Waive Lance Thomas, Sign Stiemsma

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Published: July 10, 2013

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.

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