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Former Portland Trail Blazers forward Luke Babbitt and the New Orleans Pelicans were in the final stages of reaching an agreement on a deal for the remainder of the season, one league source informed CSNNW.com.
Babbitt, 24, was playing for BC Nizhny Novgorod of the Russian Professional Basketball League. Two other NBA teams continue to be in the mix for his services, but at the time of his recent departure from the Russian club, his intention to was to sign a deal with New Orleans, another source said.
However, BC Nizhny Novgorod isn’t facilitating that move having recently issued a statement saying they won't sign his letter of clearance, disallowing him to sign with any other team. One person briefed on the situation tells CSNNW.com, “It’s going to be a battle” getting him out of that contract.
In 18 games for Novgorod this season, the stretch-four Babbitt was averaging 13.2 points, shooting 57 percent from three-point range and pulling down 3.7 rebounds per game.
New Orleans announcing Ryan Anderson would be sidelined indefinitely with a herniated disk initiated the pursuing of Babbitt.
Out of the University of Reno-Nevada, Babbitt was taken No. 16 by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2010 NBA Draft and was subsequently traded to Portland on draft day. He spent three seasons with the Trail Blazers prior to his mini stint overseas.
He has an NBA average of 3.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and a 36 percent shooting clip from three-point range. The 2011-12 season was his best year, shooting 43 percent from long distance.