Sources told ESPN.com on Thursday that the Pelicans have zeroed on Mekel in their search for backcourt depth after auditioning a number of guards this week, including NBA veteran Eric Maynor, Diante Garrett from the D-League's Iowa Energy and former Los Angeles Lakers player Darius Morris.
The procedural delay that scuttled Indiana's plan to sign Mekel last month is not expected to cause any issues if the Pelicans, as expected, complete a deal this week with the 26-year-old from Israel.
Visas for international players in the NBA transfer from team to team when a player is traded, but new visas typically take 72 hours to secure. Mekel's visa with the Mavericks expired when he was waived by Dallas to make roster room for the signing of veteran guard J.J. Barea and then cleared waivers.
The Pelicans recently waived big man Patric Young and reserve guard Darius Miller to create to two roster spots and filled one earlier Thursday by signing former Minnesota Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham. Mekel is expected to fill the other after sources said he impressed the Pelicans in a Wednesday workout.
Mekel actually flew to Boston last month to be in place to meet the traveling Pacers before that deal collapsed, with Indiana facing a ticking clock to take advantage of a temporary hardship waiver granted by the league to sign a 16th player in the midst of an injury crisis.
Mekel then auditioned for the Lakers along with fellow guard Dwight Buycks and forwards Tyrus Thomas, Jordan Hamilton and Quincy Miller, but the Lakers decided not to sign any of the five players they flew in for workouts.
Indiana initially targeted Mekel after his strong preseason, which included a 19-point, nine-assist outburst against the Pacers on Oct. 18 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Mekel then made the Mavericks' opening night roster out of training camp -- beating out three others with NBA experience for Dallas' last spot -- but was subsequently let go when the Mavs had an unexpected opportunity to re-sign Barea at a minimum salary and bring back a key reserve from the Mavs' 2011 championship team.
Mekel played sparingly in the second half of his rookie season after suffering a knee injury in January, but he bounced back with a strong preseason in Dallas. He teamed with Sacramento's Omri Casspi over the summer to lead Israel to 2015 EuroBasket qualification despite Israel being stripped of all its home games in qualifying.