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Report: Pelicans want to sign Luke Babbitt but it’s going to cost them

Jan 29, 2014, 4:34 PM EDT

Babbitt shoots over Fournier during NBA basketball game in Portland, Oregon Reuters

To answer your first question, Luke Babbitt has been playing for BC Nizhny Novgorod in central Russia. A city where the high temperature Thursday is predicted to be zero. You might imagine he’d like to get back stateside.

And the Pelicans want to bring him back for the rest of the season, but the question is how much they are willing to pay to do it, reports Chris Haynes of

Former Portland Trail Blazers forward Luke Babbitt and the New Orleans Pelicans were in the final stages of reaching an agreement on a deal for the remainder of the season, one league source informed…

However, BC Nizhny Novgorod isn’t facilitating that move having recently issued a statement saying they won’t sign his letter of clearance, disallowing him to sign with any other team. One person briefed on the situation tells, “It’s going to be a battle” getting him out of that contract.

That statement is the sign of an international team looking for a payday. NBA teams are only allowed to offer $500,000 to get a player out of a contract, although whether they would really pay anywhere near that to get the stretch four Babbitt out of Russia remains to be seen

The Pelicans could use another stretch four off the bench with Ryan Anderson out indefinitely due to a back injury, Babbitt could fill that role. The question is how much owner Tom Benson is willing to pay in salary (minimum deal, certainly) and buyout to get Babbitt.

In his three seasons in Portland Babbitt shot 36.7 percent from three and did particularly well matched against power forwards. However, his defense kept a series of coaches from trusting him much — he could score but got abused by bigger power forwards and isn’t quick enough on the perimeter to guard NBA threes.

The Pelicans would like to give him another NBA chance, we’ll see if they get to. It’s going to come down to money, like it always does.

  1. jvaldas09 - Jan 29, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    The pels were paid 600k to take Taylor contract who they cut so that is where the money is coming from.

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 29, 2014 at 6:14 PM

      It’s not a question of where the money comes from, the NBA set a limit that a team can spend to free a player from an overseas contract. Babbitt is a backup stretch four who would get limited minutes, how much extra over a minimum deal are you willing to pay to get him on your team?

      • nbascreed - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:22 AM

        Jvaidas09, it is ABSOLUTELY about where the money will come from. The Taylor payment was what we call windfall in business. This matters A LOT when making ad hoc expense or purchase decisions during a fiscal year. You’re right. Kurt is wrong.

        The fact that the money is windfall makes any decision less risky, which means the odds of them taking the chance increase.

      • Kurt Helin - Jan 31, 2014 at 7:37 PM

        I will try to explain this in small words so you understand: The NBA does not allow a team to spend more than $500,000 to buy a guy out of an overseas contract. If a team demands more than that, the player himself (or his agent) must put it up. That is all I am saying. It doesn’t matter to me where the Pelicans save money, they can only spend so much of it. The real question becomes is he worth more than the minimum to buy him out of a deal?

  2. csbanter - Jan 29, 2014 at 7:34 PM

    maybe they should pry Adam Morrison out of retirement.

  3. mackcarrington - Jan 29, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    Sounds like the Russians are holding him captive as a political prisoner.

  4. 00maltliquor - Jan 29, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    No, my first question was why?

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