Pelicans Waive Guard Gal Mekel

Published: December 19, 2014

The Pelicans announced today that they have decided to waive Gal Mekel. Here is a press release from the team:

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has waived point guard Gal Mekel.

Mekel, 6-3, 191, was signed by the team on December 5 as an unrestricted free agent. Mekel appeared in four games with New Orleans, averaging 1.5 points and 3.3 assists.

The Wichita State product appeared in 31 games during the 2013-14 season for the Dallas Mavericks and appeared in all eight of Dallas’ 2014 preseason games.

New Orleans’ roster now stands at 14.

Mekel appeared in only 4 games for the Pelicans and logged just 43 minutes. During that time, Mekel did struggle as a scorer. He shot only 15 percent from the field and never got to the free throw line. On the other hand, Mekel excelled as a distributor averaging 10.9 assists per 36 minutes.

After announcing Mekel’s release, writer David Pick tweeted the following:

Hearing that New Orleans have released point guard Gal Mekel. Pelicans hopeful the Israeli floor general clears waivers.

That second sentence is a bit interesting. For those of you who don’t know, when a player is waive he stays “on waivers” for the next 48 hours. During that time, another team can claim the player and take on his contract. If no team claims the player, he “clears waivers” and is free to sign anywhere as a free agent. If two teams claim a player on waivers, he goes to the team with the worst record. Also, as soon as a player is waived, his roster spot is open. We don’t have to wait for Mekel to clear waivers to immediately sign or trade for a player to take that open spot.

The Pelicans financial situation won’t change if Mekel is claimed off waivers or clears waivers. So why is the team hoping that he clears waivers? Well, one explanation is that the Pelicans could make a trade that brings in one more player than they send out. In this case, that extra player in the trade would take Mekel’s recently vacated spot.

Now, let’s say the Pelicans don’t want to hold on to that new guy they just received in the trade. In other words, they like Mekel more than the new player, but they needed the extra player to make the trade work. Then, they could waive the new guy and bring back Mekel into his old spot. I know it seems silly and confusing, but these are the rigid rules of the NBA CBA. Also, we should note that these types of moves won’t affect a team’s salary cap.

The Pelicans have done this type of thing before. Lance Thomas was actually waived twice by the Pelicans and was brought back both times. Once he was signed to a 10 day contract after being waived, and the other time he signed a deal for the rest of the season. The point is this type of thing happens.

At any rate, the real question is what, if anything, happens next. The Pelicans have already made a couple of in season moves to improve their roster. This may be the first domino in another series of moves to improve the bench or find a missing piece for a playoff push. The free roster spot could also be used in the trade, or nothing could happen. Frankly, we are not sure what this move means… yet.

When we do find something out, Bourbon Street Shots will be here to break it down for you. Stay tuned. This could get interesting (or stay boring). 


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