Pelicans Sign Forward Despite Torn ACL

A second-round draft pick needs all the help they can get to make it to an NBA roster. So when New Orleans Pelicans' 41st overall pick in this year's draft, EJ Liddell, tore his ACL in Summer League, it was terribly disheartening for the 21-year-old forward. But the Pelicans have done right by the young man, signing him to a two-way contract. 

The 6'6" forward is out for the season due to the injury, but he'll now take one of the Pelicans' two-way spots, which means, as John Hollinger points out, that Liddell will get a year of service time, bumping his minimum salary for next season will to nearly double what it could have been if they chose not to sign him. 

Liddell was a second-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft out of Ohio State where he averaged 19.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.6 blocks per game. He was a consensus third-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten, as well as earning Big Ten All-Defensive honors.

Before he injured his knee in the Pelicans' second preseason game, he had shown a bit of the dynamic skills the team hopes he can eventually provide.

Signing a two-way contract means that a player can't appear in more than 50 games with the NBA team that season, which obviously won't be an issue with Liddell as he recovers from the ACL tear.

Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports