The trade deadline came and went. Despite the Pelicans being rumored to possibly moving Austin Rivers, the rights to Pierre Jackson, looking for suitors to take Eric Gordon's contract, and possibly utilizing their newly acquired Disabled Player Exemption (DPE), in the end it was for not. Let us review the lack of carnage.
Jordan Hill and the DPE
This potential trade was probably the most likely all along. The Lakers, as seen here at Sham Sports, have paid the luxury tax in each of the past SIX seasons. Before the insanity started, the Lakers had a salary cap number of $79 million, about $7.3 million over the luxury tax line. Since LA is a luxury tax repeater, this set up the Lakers for an $18.8 million luxury tax bill (Go Here for more) ON TOP of that $79 million in salary. Chump change considering their TV deal but resetting the luxury tax clock is of significant value.
The Steve Blake trade, discussed in excruciating detail here by Mark Deeks, cut the Lakers cap number to about $77 million. This also cut the Lakers luxury tax bill from $18.8 million to $13.1 million. Total outlay decreases about $7.7 million, that is not an insignificant amount, even if the Lakers are rolling in money. If the Pelicans (or Nets) and Lakers could have come to an agreement which returned no salary to Los Angeles the Lakers cap number would have decreased to $73.5 million. The tax bill at that point is about $4.4 million. Total savings to the Lakers for making that deal? $12.2 million. Somehow, that amount of monetary savings alone was not enough.
Sense is Brooklyn & New Orleans are leaders for Jordan Hill. Charlotte, ATL among others who've expressed interest— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 20, 2014
New wrinkle in Jordan Hill trade talks: Word is Lakers are seeking second-round pick as part of deal on top of dumping Hill's salary— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 20, 2014
As you can see here at RealGM, the Pelicans do not own their own second round draft pick until 2018. The Pelicans are "owed" 2016 second round picks from the Clippers and Sacramento. The protections on the Clippers pick mean it is unlikely to be conveyed. The protections on the Sacramento pick combined with the swap rights Milwaukee has with the Pelicans 2016 pick mean it is most likely the Pelicans will keep their 2016 pick. All of this to say it was unlikely the Pelicans could satisfy the Lakers demands without a secondary move to acquire an additional future second round pick. While those were changing hands all day (hello Philadelphia), it is difficult to see a means for the Pelicans to have gained one today.
Eric Gordon Still in New Orleans
This really should not surprise anyone. Yes the Pelicans have probably been taking calls for him in recent days. The lack of a deal should not be construed as a lack of effort; instead it can more easily be attributed to a lack of desire (see this article) or a lack of decent offers. I tend to lean more toward the latter, but I do not profess to be plugged into the Pelicans front office either. Gordon's contract will become less onerous as time goes on, but large expiring contracts are not what they used to be either. It may be in the Pelicans best interest, considering the likely poor offers, to just sit and wait.
Pierre Jackson Headed to Turkey
As seen below, Pierre Jackson is headed to play for Fenerbache Ulker in Turkey. This should not be misrepresented as the Pelicans sending him to Turkey or losing his NBA rights. The plan initially was for Pierre to play in Europe all along according to reports. However, he did not stay in France and instead was the 4th pick in the NBA D-League draft. He has been very effective in the D-League for the Idaho Stampede, leading the league in scoring. Now he is headed overseas, where he will presumably be paid much more handsomely.
If the Pelicans stick to their script, Pierre Jackson will likely be signed this summer and brought into the fold. Other options (depending on his performance in Turkey and the effect it might have positively or negatively) may open up for his rights to be traded to another team. Projecting what is likely to happen is a bit of a crap shoot. I personally see little evidence to demonstrate Monty Williams and Jackson will be a good match. It is probably lined with long stays in the Monty Dog House. For Pierre's NBA value, it is probably best to sell high; once he suits up for the Pelicans it is much easier to see how his value will decrease (attitude problem, immature, benched, etc all due to personality clashes with the head coach) than how it may increase. Not to say it is impossible, but remember the lesson of Marcus Thornton.
I had hoped for landing Jordan Hill. His per 36 stats are similar to Robin Lopez last year and his Bird Rights would have potentially been valuable. Trading for Hill and owning those rights would have opened up the Mid-Level Exception (MLE) for another addition, for instance, a shooter on the wing.
Jordan Hill as a starter this yr: 23.2 mpg, 10.6 points, 8.4 boards 53.6% Robin Lopez as starter last yr 26 mpg, 11.3 pts, 5.6 rebs 53.4% .— Michael McNamara (@McNamara247) February 20, 2014
Now instead, any move to bring in Hill as a free agent is most likely to take up a great deal, if not all, of the MLE. That is not to say that Hill was going to be some kind of savior either. He has been injury prone for much of his career -- this is only his second year to log more than 50 games in five total NBA seasons. A move like that seemed to be a no brainer from the outside. However, in the negotiations for whatever reason the Lakers determined 30 more games of Jordan Hill was worth $12.2 Million to them. Is that ridiculous? Most people would think so.
Regardless, the Pelicans stood firm today. Mostly due to either lacking assets to trade (a second round pick) or valuing their assets more than the offers they received. (Did the Lakers ask for Pierre? Were the Gordon offers uninspiring?) It is not a case of right or wrong yet, and remember many of the rumors may have been pure white noise. With the passing of the trade deadline, the Pelicans can now turn all their attention to the 29 games remaining on the schedule. Will they make the playoffs? Hehe. But ideally Jrue Holiday can get back to 100% and then both he and Anthony Davis can work on their on-court chemistry while the team attempts to slog its way back to .500.
Now on to the trade machine with an entire new year of expiring contracts...