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Pelicans sign two-year veteran centre Stiesma

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The Canadian Press
7/10/2013 7:27:59 PM
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NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Pelicans signed centre Greg Stiemsma on Wednesday, hoping to bolster a front court that recently lost starting centre Robin Lopez in a trade.

The Pelicans did not release terms of Stiemsma's deal. However, a people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that Stiemsma got a one-year deal worth $2.7 million. The people also said the Pelicans signed guard Anthony Morrow for about $2 million over two years, with a players' option for the second year.

The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because neither the terms of Stiemsma's contract nor Morrow's signing had been announced.

The 6-foot-11 Stiemsma has averaged 3.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in about 15 minutes per game during his first two seasons. Morrow, a 43 per cent career 3-point shooter, has averaged nearly 11 points during five NBA seasons.

Meanwhile, the Pelicans announced that Tyreke Evans, whom the Hornets effectively acquired in a three-team trade agreed to on July 4, had officially become a member of the club.

The trade brought the Pelicans Evans from Sacramento and second-round draft choice Jeff Withey, a centre out of Kansas, from Portland.

"We are very excited to welcome Tyreke and Jeff to the Pelicans family," general manager Dell Demps said in a statement released by the club. "They are both young, talented players that fit in our system and can contribute to the success of our team moving forward."

Evans said on his Twitter page that he was headed to New Orleans to be introduced to media at an event to be hosted by the club on Thursday.

Evans also wrote: "I'm excited to be a part of this young new team!"

In exchange for Evans and Withey, the Pelicans sent Lopez and guard Terrel Harris to Portland and shipped guard Greivis Vasquez to the Kings.

The Pelicans hope the 7-foot Withey can develop into an effective defensive player in the NBA. As a senior at Kansas last season, Withey set the Big 12 Conference single-season record for blocks with 146.

The Pelicans also announced the re-signing of small forward Al-Farouq Aminu, which was reported last week. However, under NBA rules, teams were not allowed to discuss such transactions publicly until Wednesday. The 6-9 Aminu, heading into his fourth NBA season, started 71 games last year. He averaged career highs of 7.3 points and 7.7 rebounds.

New Orleans waived forward Lance Thomas and renounced their rights to forward Lou Amundson, and guards Xavier Henry and Roger Mason Jr., the club said.

Stiemsma, who starred at Wisconsin, began his pro career in Boston, where he played in 55 games for a Celtics club that went to the 2012 Eastern Conference finals. He moved to Minnesota last season, playing 79 games and starting 13. Known for his ability to alter or block shots, he was pursued by numerous teams, one of the people familiar with the deal said. In New Orleans, he'll have a relatively good opportunity to compete for playing time following Lopez's departure to Portland.

Morrow entered the NBA with Golden State, averaging 13 points in his second season. He has since played for New Jersey, Atlanta and Dallas. His production and playing time fell dramatically last season, in which he averaged only 4 points in less than 10 minutes per game.

The 6-8 Thomas was waived following a pair of seasons as a reserve. The former Duke standout played 101 games with 19 starts during the past two seasons with New Orleans. Last season, he averaged 2.5 points and 1.9 rebounds in 59 games.

Mason, a nine-year veteran, played in 69 games with 13 starts last season. In his only season in New Orleans, he averaged 5.3 points and 1.1 assists in 17.7 minutes.

The 6-9 Amundson was acquired in a mid-season trade and averaged 2.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 18 games.

Henry, drafted 12th overall by Memphis out of Kansas in 2010, averaged 3.9 points in 50 games last season, his second in New Orleans.

Greg Stiemsma (Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)
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