The New Orleans Pelicans have declined Didi Louzada’s option for the upcoming season, according to a source. But there is hope that the Brazilian guard will remain in New Orleans for years to come.
Louzada was originally set to earn $1.5 million in 2021-22. By declining his option, the Pelicans created a little bit of financial wiggle room headed into free agency, which begins Monday at 5 p.m.
The Pelicans drafted Louzada in the second round in 2019. He spent two years in Australia with the Sydney Kings before making the jump to the NBA in April. He appeared in three games with the Pelicans last season.
The 6-foot-5 Louzada is a hard-working point-of-attack defender, and internally, the Pelicans are believers in his ability to make an impact on that side of the ball. He has spent a significant portion of the offseason in New Orleans working with assistant coach Fred Vinson on fine-tuning his 3-point stroke.
Louzada was one of three players the Pelicans drafted after trading the Atlanta Hawks the No. 4 pick in 2019. In return, the Pelicans received the Nos. 8, 17 and 35 selections, which they used on Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Louzada, respectively.
Louzada averaged 8.8 points and 3.4 rebounds with Sydney last season. He turned 22 earlier this month.
The Athletic was first to report New Orleans was declining his option.
Didi Louzada spoke almost no English when his season-and-a-half journey with…