Thomas has not played an NBA game since Feb. 3, 2020, with the Washington Wizards. He did play two games with Team USA this February, leading the team in scoring in FIBA qualifying wins over the Bahamas and Mexico while shooting 50% from deep (6-of-12).
During the 2019-20 season, Thomas averaged 12.2 points and 3.7 assists in 40 games with the Wizards.
Thomas, 32, is a two-time All-Star who was a second-team All-NBA selection in 2017 after averaging 28.9 points per game for the Boston Celtics while helping lead them to the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
But a hip injury Thomas suffered that season has slowed him down ever since.
Sources said Thomas has been in New Orleans undergoing COVID-19 testing, which will allow him to join the team immediately. The deal is expected to be finalized Saturday, clearing the way for Thomas to join the Pelicans before Sunday’s game at Houston.
The Pelicans needed to sign a player by Saturday to reach the NBA’s 14-man roster requirement. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the Pelicans are $346,000 below the luxury tax, so 10-day contracts work better for the team in the short term.
New Orleans has been hit with the injury bug and will be without four players Friday night against the Atlanta Hawks. Zion Williamson (right thumb sprain) and Brandon Ingram (first MTP — big toe joint — irritation in his right foot) will miss their second consecutive games; Lonzo Ball (right hip flexor strain) will miss his sixth game in a row; and Josh Hart, who sprained his thumb against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, is out as well.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst contributed to this report.