The New Orleans Pelicans have re-signed free agents Alexis Ajinca, Omer Asik and Dante Cunningham.
“The Pelicans are proud to welcome the return of Omer, Alexis and Dante to our team,” stated Pelicans General Manager Dell Demps. “All three players were key contributors on our team last season. We are happy all three players elected to return and continue our quest to become an elite team in the NBA.”
Ajinca is coming off his best season to date, appearing in a career-high 68 games (eight starts) in 2014-15, while averaging a career-best 6.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 0.8 blocks. The French native recorded five double-doubles, and scored in double figures 20 times, including a career-high 24 points against Miami on Feb. 27.
Originally selected 20th overall by Charlotte in the 2008 NBA Draft, Ajinca has appeared in 195 career games with Charlotte, Dallas, Toronto and New Orleans, averaging 4.1 points and 2.7 rebounds. Ajinca, 7-0, 220, came to New Orleans on Dec. 20, 2013, signing as a free agent after spending the previous two seasons overseas. In 124 games (38 starts) with the Pelicans, Ajinca has averaged 6.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 0.8 blocks.
Asik, 7-0, 255, who was acquired last off-season in a trade with Houston, appeared in 76 games for New Orleans (all starts) in 2014-15, averaging 7.3 points and 9.8 rebounds, good for 11th highest in the NBA. Additionally, Asik ranked third in the NBA in rebounding percentage at 21.3 percent. Asik led New Orleans in rebounding in 39 games, grabbing double-digit rebounds 36 times, and recorded 13 point-rebound double-doubles.
Originally selected 36th overall by Portland in the 2008 NBA Draft, Asik has appeared in 354 career games with Chicago, Houston and New Orleans, averaging 5.9 points and 7.7 rebounds.
Cunningham, 6-8, 230, was signed by the Pelicans as a free agent on December 4, 2015. In 66 games with New Orleans last season (27 starts), Cunningham averaged 5.2 points and 3.9 rebounds.
Originally selected by Portland with the 33rd overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Villanova product has appeared in 432 career games with Portland, Charlotte, Memphis, Minnesota and New Orleans.