Ryan Anderson is spinning like a top as the trade deadline approaches on Thursday. The New Orleans Pelicans power forward has been connected to the Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards, and Toronto Raptors in recent days according to reports from Zach Lowe, Marc Stein, and Adrian Wojnarowski. These are not random reporters who suddenly pop up onto the Twitter feed; they are the heavyweights with deep connections all around the league.
Late this evening Wojnarowski updated all of us on the status of Anderson in New Orleans. The Pelicans had talks with the Pistons on sending Anderson to Detroit and one possible scenario ended with Tobias Harris (!!) in the Crescent City. Is this at all related to Dell Demps being either unable or unwilling to part with a future first round pick, as Zach Lowe reported earlier this morning? Needless to say, those talks dissolved and Harris ended up in Detroit and as I wrote this afternoon that could have some impact on Anderson's market around the league.
There are two prominent points in the recent report from Wojnarowski that need further evaluation and discussion.
The Pelicans are struggling to get back significant value in a trade for Anderson. Washington has talked with New Orleans on a deal, sources said, but paying Anderson the $16 million-plus he can get on the market this summer would preclude the Wizards from clearing the max salary space it needs to pursue Kevin Durant.
The Wizards are still interested. Zach Lowe has been talking up a Kris Humphries and Kelly Oubre trade for Anderson for weeks now and I am still completely on board. The only know franchises with reported interest in Ryno are the Wizards and the previously mentioned Raptors now that the Pistons are off the board. The Sacramento Kings lurk as a logical trade partner as well. But none of this is the most important part.
The New Orleans Pelicans are pushing hard to find a trade for forward Ryan Anderson, whom they expect to lose in summer free agency, league sources said.
Wojnarowski leads with the most important information. Bold added on my part for emphasis. League sources are saying the Pelicans expect to lose Ryan Anderson in free agency this summer. Read that fragment one more time.
Whom they expect to lose in summer free agency.
This is the crux of the entire matter. If the Pelicans fail to make a move at the deadline their options are primarily to re-sign him this summer or let him walk in free agency. While I understand a sign-and-trade is hypothetically possible, in an era where cap space is plentiful and Anderson is an unrestricted free agent that possibility is quite low.
Letting Anderson walk is not losing him for nothing, as the Pelicans will then have additional cap space to sign free agents or participate in uneven trades if such opportunities arise. However, there is an opportunity now to potentially add additional value in the form of young players on cheap contracts, restricted rights for players about to hit free agency, and/or draft picks.
Wojnarowski wrote "the Pelicans are struggling to get back significant value in a trade for Anderson."
Is the problem the Pelicans idea of sufficient value for Anderson is too high? Right now that is my primary concern. Rumors swirled that the offers for Anderson were poor. That the Pistons were considering adding a first (Lowe's report this morning) and the Pelicans nearly snagged Harris contradict those earlier assertions. So, is the issue that the offers are poor, or that Dell Demps is still asking for too much?