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The New Orleans Pelicans declined a team option on Herb Jones‘ contract, sources confirmed to ESPN on Thursday, but the team is hopeful of bringing him back on a longer deal.

Jones becomes a restricted free agent with early Bird rights, so New Orleans could still have him back in the fold.

Jones, 24, was a second-round draft pick of the Pelicans in 2021 and quickly found himself in the starting lineup because of his skills on the defensive end. Jones has started 135 of a possible 144 games for New Orleans over his first two seasons.

He has averaged 9.7 points, but the defensive end is where he has stood out. Jones just missed making an all-defensive team his rookie season.

Jones shot 33.7% from 3-point range as a rookie and 33.5% last season but did see some improvement in his shot late after a rough start, going 44.4% on 2.3 attempts per game after the All-Star break.

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the maximum contract the Pelicans could extend Jones is a four-year deal worth $53.3 million. The Athletic first reported New Orleans was going to decline the option on Jones.

Sources also told ESPN that the Pelicans declined a $2.6 million team option on center Willy Hernangomez and declined to extend a qualifying offer worth $7.7 million to center Jaxson Hayes.

Hernangomez spent three seasons in New Orleans primarily as a backup. He averaged 6.9 points and 4.7 rebounds last season in 38 games.

Hayes, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2019 draft, has seen his role fluctuate over the years with New Orleans. He has spent time as a center and power forward during his young career. He had his best stretch starting at the 4-spot alongside Jonas Valanciunas during the Pelicans’ playoff push in the 2021-22 season.

Hayes averaged 11.0 points and 5.7 rebounds over the final 24 games of that season. However, last season he settled back into a backup role at both positions, averaging 5.0 points and 2.8 rebounds in 47 contests. Sources said the Pelicans could still look to bring Hayes back.

New Orleans also pushed back a guarantee deadline on the contract of Garrett Temple, a source told ESPN. The 37-year-old Temple, a native of nearby Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is set to make $5.4 million next season and originally had a guarantee date of Thursday. The Pelicans and Temple agreed to push that date back to July 7.

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Sources — Pelicans decline Herb Jones option, hopeful of longer deal