Pelicans’ EJ Liddell expected to be under contract during 2022-23 season

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New Orleans Pelicans second-round pick EJ Liddell is reportedly expected to eventually be under contract with the team this season, according to Christian Clark of NOLA.com.

Liddell, the 41st pick this year, had surgery in late July to reconstruct the torn ACL in his right knee suffered in the Las Vegas Summer League. He is expected to miss significant time recovering from the injury and could return to play at some point this season.

The 21-year-old hadn’t signed a contract with the Pelicans prior to the injury and is not guaranteed a roster spot as a second-round pick. The team holds his rights in the meantime and could look to sign him once he is cleared to play.

Here is the situation with Liddell, according to the report:

Although Liddell remains unsigned, the expectation inside the Pelicans organization is that he will either be on a standard contract or two-way deal during the 2022-23 season. Signing Liddell to a two-way contract or standard contract would require the Pelicans opening up a roster spot via trade or by waiving a player.

The Pelicans were ecstatic to draft Liddell this year and were quite surprised he was still available at 41. The team will work with him as he goes through the rehabilitation process in order to get him signed onto the roster, in some capacity.

The team did not put a timetable for him to return to the court.

Liddell, who was a consensus All-American, averaged 19.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2.5 assists last season at Ohio State. He led the Big Ten in blocked shots and was ninth in the country in free throws made (169) and seventh in attempts (221).

New Orleans begins training camp on Sept. 27.

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Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire