Just ten days remain until the NBA trade deadline. Business, in forms of rumors flying around the league, is about to pick up. Of course no trade talk is truly complete without writers bringing New Orleans Pelicans power forward Ryan Anderson into the mix. Stretch fours on cheap expiring contracts are extremely rare. Anderson is reportedly available and the Pelicans have under performed to a significant degree.
When asked "what trade would you like to see in the East" two ESPN writers mentioned Ryan Anderson as a target for playoff contenders to acquire. Tom Haberstroh mentioned swapping Anderson for Luol Deng and Hassan Whiteside; an idea he first brought up on the Zach Lowe Show in early January. Chad Ford had a different suggestion, bringing Anderson's old head coach Stan Van Gundy into the fray. It is no secret that the Pistons are huge fans of Anderson.
Detroit's Stan Van Gundy wants to make a playoff splash, and a Pistons-Pelicans deal would make sense.
Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans for Stanley Johnson, Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova would give both teams what they need. Detroit would get upgrades at the 4 and the 3 (and an opportunity to re-sign Andersen), and the Pelicans get a 2015 lottery pick (Johnson), a salary dump (Evans) and two expiring contracts.
In the short run, the move would also boost the Pelicans' lottery odds from the current estimate of a 4 percent chance to add LSU star Ben Simmons next to Anthony Davis.
Before we get into Ford's rationale there is one other report to keep in mind. Marc Stein reported last week that the Pistons are interested but are willing to be patient.
The Detroit Pistons, as our own Zach Lowe noted in a recent podcast, are huge fans of Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson.
Which should come as a complete non-surprise when you remember that Pistons coach/team president Stan Van Gundy so successfully unleashed Anderson as a stretch-4 in Orlando flanking Dwight Howard.
So why don't the Pistons make a run at Anderson before the Feb. 18 trade deadline?
Sources say they're waiting for free agency, when they'll have a clear path to pursue an SVG/Anderson reunion without surrendering any of their current assets.
It must be nice to have a coach also act as the President of Basketball Operations and elect to be patient while pushing for the playoffs. If only the Pelicans would have had the opportunity to select a coach with the last name Van Gundy to do that last May. But, I digress.
This would be an excellent trade for the Pelicans. Stanley Johnson is an absolutely enormous wing. At the draft combine he measured 6'6.5" tall with a 6'11.5" wingspan and weighed 242 pounds. He has yet to turn 20 years old and as the good folks over at Detroit Bad Boys note Johnson is making strides on offense. However, the real potential for Johnson is like his collegiate teammate Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, on the defensive end. For a team absolutely starved of capable wing players the potential Johnson has already shown would be another breath of fresh air beside King Cake Baby himself Bryce Dejean-Jones.
Of course, this trade almost has no chance of happening. Which is the sad tale of how the value of both Anderson and Evans has plummeted. Getting just ONE former lottery pick attached to salary flotsam (Ilyasova is only guaranteed $400k in 2016-17) is probably too much to ask for from a team willing to be patient. To be fair, Ersan Ilyasova isn't terrible, more like average. Brandon Jennings is working his way back into NBA shape after tearing his Achilles last season.
Hopefully Dell Demps is working the phones to see what offers are out there for anyone on the roster not named Anthony Davis or Jrue Holiday. I just don't think this one is in the cards.