The New Orleans Pelicans and Washington Wizards have been linked to numerous rumors prior to the upcoming trade deadline. The proposed deals have centered around Ryan Anderson, and normally, Kelly Oubre Jr. This morning, however, that equation partially changed. According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, Otto Porter is now the central figure in the trade talks, not Oubre.
The Washington Wizards have been fairly active in the march up the trade deadline and the guy to watch is forward Otto Porter Jr. The Wizard like Porter a lot, but there is a sense that Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson could be obtained in trade, but that the cost could be Porter. At this point, there does not seem to be a deal; however, the Wizards are planning to make another run at several of the players they covet and and Porter could be the guy they have to move to make a deal.
It appears the Wizards still value Anderson, but they remain divided about the Pelicans asking price. Consequently, they are looking elsewhere, likely checking to see if Porter can fetch a greater return, another player can be acquired without having to move their starting small forward, or simply find a deal that assumes a lot less risk.
As an aside, the Wizards seem reluctant in trading Oubre or Porter. Could this mean they do not like their chances of signing Kevin Durant this coming off-season? Maybe there's some small truth to this theory, but it's more likely for the fact that both Oubre and Porter have plenty of team friendly years left under team control.
As we all know, Ryan Anderson sadly does not, and David made mention late last night that this hurts the Pelicans' leverage in talks. Prospective teams must accept the risk that Anderson could leave in free agency this coming July or command a salary north of $16 million per season. The Wizards do not want to end up either dealing a nice future piece for a rental, nor commit a great deal of salary to another player thereby eliminating the possibility of signing a top tier candidate of Durant's caliber this summer.
The Anderson fishhook remains in the water, but the Pelicans are still looking for that strong bite to reel a big fish in.
Can they catch a small forward from the Wizards? Stay tuned!