Pelicans prepare to take flight with bolstered roster

The makeover of professional basketball in New Orleans becomes official, as the Pelicans prepare to take flight next season with a bolstered roster that includes versatile guard Tyreke Evans and All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday.

Evans arrived in New Orleans Tuesday ahead of a scheduled press conference Wednesday at 11:00 am to introduce him to the Crescent City.

“I am officially signed with the N.O. Pelicans! I’m excited to play & played for 2 great cities with great fans. Amazing,” Evans said via Twitter.

“On my way to the airport, headed to N.O. for my press conference tomorrow. I’m excited to be a part of this young new team! #Pelicans,” Evans later said in a tweet before departing for New Orleans.

Evans comes to New Orleans in a sign-and-trade deal with the Sacramento Kings.

Holiday’s arrival is via a draft night trade with the 76ers for the rights to first-round draft pick Nerlens Noel.

That trade also delivered second-round draft pick Pierre Jackson to the Pelicans, a 5’10” former Baylor point guard, who was chosen 42nd overall by the 76ers.

Shooting guard Anthony Morrow will also provide depth for this young team. Morrow’s name has appeared on rosters for the Warriors, Nets, Hawks and Mavs over the past several seasons. He sports a career average as 42.4% three-point shooter.

It’s not just the Pels’ backcourt that has been infused with talent.

New Orleans also adds a pair of centers in rookie Jeff Withey, out of Kansas, and veteran Greg Stiemsma.

Stiemsma is a blue-collar Wisconsin product, known for his defense and shot blocking, which are favorite traits of Coach Monty Williams. Undrafted in 2008, Stiemsma made it to the NBA via the D-League, appearing in 76 regular season games for the Minnesota Timberwolves last season, averaging 4.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game in 15.9 minutes. The 6’11” center led the team in rebounding nine times and registered his first career double-double against Phoenix in March.

The addition of six new faces meant the exit of several now former New Orleans players as the team waived forward Lance Thomas, who started 19 games over the past two seasons, averaging 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds per game during his tenure. The Pels also renounced rights to forward Lou Admunson, guard Xavier Henry and guard Roger Mason.

Players returning to New Orleans for the inaugural season as the Pelicans include Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, Jason Smith, Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers, Brian Roberts and Darius Miller.