Pelicans forward Trey Murphy III recently issued a vague statement about his contract extension talks with New Orleans.

Pelicans Star Speaks On Contract Extension

Murphy, who played a pivotal role in the Pelicans’ playoff appearance this season, is now eligible to negotiate an extension. His current contract extends until 2026 when he will be a restricted free agent.

Murphy’s current rookie contract, drawn up on draft night, sees the Virginia alum get $14.8 million over four years. The small forward has the seventh-biggest contract on the team and makes up around 4% of the team’s cap space, but has arguably played an instrumental role for the Pels.

“We are going to try to do what’s best for me and the Pelicans,” Murphy told Pels beat writer Christian Clark about his expiring contract. “I hope we can get something done. It’s not about money. I just want to play basketball. Hopefully, we can get something done.”

Murphy averaged 14.8 points, 4.9 boards, and 2.2 assists in 57 appearances this season. A sharpshooting forward with explosive potential, he played a huge part in getting the Pelicans to the playoffs. He scored 16 points while adding eight rebounds and six assists in 43 minutes of play in the do-or-die matchup against the Kings.

In the Pelicans’ four-game series against the Thunder, Murphy proved he deserved a bigger contract, averaging 11.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists while adding a defensive presence that New Orleans needed. Although the Thunder swept the Pelicans without much fight, Murphy performed well.

What Murphy’s Contract Could Look Like

New Orleans wants Murphy. They activated a team option in October to keep him at the Smoothie King Center for two years. He’s slated for a salary bump next season that will pay him around $5.1 million. However, how far will New Orleans go in contract negotiations?

With Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram reportedly being shopped around the league, insiders predict Murphy’s new contract could pay him around $20-25 million a year.

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He’s been indispensable for New Orleans in the last few seasons. The Pelicans came to prize his sharpshooting – he shoots in the ballpark of 40% from three each year. His six-foot-eight frame and natural athleticism help him maintain a presence in the paint. His versatility bails New Orleans out when Williamson and Ingram can’t get things working. There’s no doubt that Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon will prioritize tying Murphy to a long-term contract.

New Orleans has several offseason questions to address. They have to figure out how to improve their core and if it means trading Ingram, Williamson, or both. Ingram’s contract expires in 2025, and he was underwhelming in the Pelicans’ playoff run, so it’s likely that the All-Star forward will find a new home in the summer.

They also desperately need to find a way to re-sign Jonas Valanciunas, one of the bright spots in their depressing four losses to the Thunder. Valanciunas hasn’t said much about his contract; instead, he was focusing on the playoff series against the Thunder. However, he’ll likely undergo negotiations with the front office following their first-round exit.

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