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Report: Pelicans reach deal to bring in Luke Babbitt

Feb 1, 2014, 10:29 AM EDT

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

We told you a couple days ago the Pelicans wanted to bring in Luke Babbitt for the rest of the season, but there was one big hurdle in the way — agreeing to a buyout with his Russian team.

That hurdle has been cleared.

And soon Babbitt will be playing in New Orleans, reports Chris Haynes of

Former Portland Trail Blazers forward Luke Babbitt and the New Orleans Pelicans have reached an agreement on a two-year deal, a league source informed….

However, (Babbitt’s Russian team) BC Nizhny Novgorod wasn’t facilitating that move having issued a statement saying that they will not sign his absentee letter, disallowing him to sign with any other team. The two sides reached a buyout yesterday and Babbitt is expected to report to New Orleans on Tuesday.

You can be sure this is a minimum contract and the second year of that deal is a team option. Also, terms of the buyout from Russia are not yet public, but NBA teams are limited to spending $500,000 on such buyouts.

New Orleans would like to have another stretch four off the bench with Ryan Anderson out indefinitely due to a back injury. Babbitt is going to get a chance to help fill that role. We’ll see how that goes.

Babbitt was drafted No. 16 overall by the Timberwolves then was traded on draft night to Portland (the Martell Webster deal). Babbitt is a tweener (6’9”) forward who shot better as a four (career 36.7 percent from three) but was a defensive liability. So much so that a series of coaches never found a regular rotation spot for him.

Babbitt played out the three years of his rookie deal in Portland but was not retained by that team and couldn’t latch on with another so it was off to Russia. Now he’s back and will try to prove he should stick in the NBA.

  1. mrlaloosh - Feb 1, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    Just remember, silly Babbitt. Trix are for kids. Stay off Bourbon St.

  2. fraudguy - Feb 1, 2014 at 9:48 PM

    “Babbitt was drafted No. 16 overall by the Timberwolves then was traded on draft night to Minnesota (the Martell Webster deal).”

    That must have been one heck of a deal for him to get traded back to the same team.

  3. shanelsweet - Feb 1, 2014 at 10:12 PM

    That Martell Webster has been quite a nice player for the Wizards this year. Plays hard, good defender and nice 3 point threat. As the backup to Ariza, he’s been really pretty good and earned his salary. Here’s hoping he doesn’t blow out a knee or something like he did with the Wolves. He’s come a long way back.

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