As the New Orleans Pelicans prepare to make several key roster decisions this offseason, the status of pending restricted free agent Josh Hart is one of them.
Per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, Hart "would like a fresh start" in 2021-22 after spending the past two seasons with the Pelicans.
The Pelicans enter this summer needing to decide if they are going to sign Hart and Lonzo Ball, who is also due to become a restricted free agent, to long-term contracts.
Per David Fisher of The Bird Writes, New Orleans can afford to re-sign both players to lucrative deals and remain under the salary cap if it wants to:
David Fisher @Fish_TBW
Pelicans Salary Cap Estimate for 2021-22<br><br>Assumptions:<br><br>Lonzo @ 4/$85M (or 5/$110M)<br>Hart @ 4/$44M (just over the MLE)<br>Didi @ same contract as Xavier Tillman (2020 35th pick)<br>14th pick<br>Full MLE used (a portion is used to sign Didi) pic.twitter.com/bQzyoP8hFa
Coming off a disappointing 31-41 record in 2020-21 and missing the postseason for the third straight year, the Pelicans might want to explore various options to upgrade their roster.
Zion Williamson will be eligible to sign a long-term extension in the summer of 2022. Brandon Ingram received a max extension worth $158 million over five years last offseason.
Hart was part of New Orleans' return from the Los Angeles Lakers in the Anthony Davis trade. The 26-year-old has had modest success with the organization, averaging 9.7 points on 42.9 percent shooting and 7.2 rebounds per game in 112 appearances.