Order of Wings: Pelicans add perimeter options Ian Clark, Charles Cooke, Jalen Jones
NEW ORLEANS — Over the past two days, the New Orleans Pelicans have signed guards Ian Clark and Charles Cooke and forward Jalen Jones in their continued pursuit of perimeter scoring.
Clark took a one-year deal worth $1.6 million dollars to come to New Orleans after spending the last two seasons with the Golden State Warriors. Entering the offseason, Clark was expected to be in higher demand this offseason after converting nearly 37 percent of his three point attempts for the Warriors during his stay by the bay. He also shot a career high 48 percent from the floor in 2016-17.
At 6-3, 175 lbs, Clark joins a backcourt that now has an average height of 6-3. Pelicans shooters will have to be productive in order to offset their size disadvantage on the perimeter. But, at the cost and with Clark’s skillset, this is a quality move by Dell Demps and the rest of the Pelicans’ front office.
Cooke, a 6-5 guard out of Dayton, and Jones, a 6-7 forward from Texas A&M, were both signed to two-way deals by the team today. Per terms of their contracts, both players will spend most of their time in the NBA G League, but may spend as many as 45 days with their NBA team during the season.
Cooke led the Flyers in scoring (15.8) and rebounding (5.1) and was named Second Team All-Atlantic 10 and to the Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team. He was also a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 2017 Summer League team and averaged 10.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals over five games.
Jones spent the 2016 season with the Maine Red Claws of the G League, averaging 21.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steals and was named to the NBA G League All-Rookie First Team and All-NBA G League Third Team. Jones played in the G League All-Star game in New Orleans last season.
Playing for the Pelicans’ summer league entry, Jones played in six contests and posted 13.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
With New Orleans nearing the league’s hard cap and now with 14 guaranteed contracts on the roster, the Pelicans clearly have more leverage in their negotiations with free agent forward Dante Cunningham.
Cunningham, who turned 30 in April, is coming off of his most productive season for the Pels. Appearing in 66 games last season (35 starts), DC set highs in field goal percentage (.485), three point percentage (.392), rebounding (4.2) and scoring (6.6).
It appears that Demps is willing to let the market set Cunningham’s price, and with training camp stil nearly two months away, there is plenty of time to get him back into the fold.
Demps has always shown a willingness to go looking for talent. These past two days indicate that he may have found some.
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Sports 1280am host/CCS reporter
David Grubb has more than a decade of experience in the sports industry. He began his career with KLAX-TV in Alexandria, La. and followed that up with a stint as an reporter and anchor with WGGB-TV in Springfield, Mass. After spending a few years away from the industry, David worked as sports information director for Southern University at New Orleans…