What is your dream trade for the New Orleans Pelicans to pull off between now and the end of free agency?
Nico Baguio: Honestly? I don't know. At this point, I don't really know what value our players have around the league (maybe except for AD). Tyreke is a very specific player. Jrue has that injury stigma. Ditto for QPon. Asik is just a bad contract in the eyes of most GMs/Asst GMs. Literally the only guy that may have value is Ajinca. That said, excluding S&Ts, I think the "dream" trade for me is this: Ajinca + Cunningham FOR Gibson + Tony Snell.
CHI gets two bigs to replace the two they're losing (one in a trade [Gibson] the other to free agency [Gasol]). Ajinca is locked into a pretty solid contract and Cunningham showed great promise as a poor man's 3&D. Pels get out from Ajinca & Dante's contract and get a solid player (on an expiring deal) in Taj + a look at a possible 3&D candidate in Tony Snell (no he's nowhere near average but he's still 24 and he's shown glimpses). That's it. I don't expect the Pels to trade FOR another first round pick.
Kevin Barrios: Without much in the way of tradeable assets, I'd only realistically — and I'm making a big stretch of reality here — see us being able to flip our first for a disgruntled star. Chicago happens to have that, and their sketchy front office have already started painting Jimmy Butler as a problem. I'd have absolutely no problem shipping out our first and anyone or thing not named Davis or Holiday for the solution we've needed for a while on the wing. Butler has been a tremendous perimeter defender since arriving in the league, he's an iron man and his scoring and passing ability have blossomed over the past few seasons. Davis, Butler and Holiday would make an imposing big three that should all play at high levels for many years. However, if Butler is on the market other teams will have more to offer, but you did say dream scenario.
David Fisher: The Denver Nuggets are going to be a theme here; I'd see if Gary Harris is available. If the Pelicans land 3rd in the lottery maybe New Orleans can pry Harris out of former assistant GM Tim Connelly's hands. Harris is almost a year younger than Buddy Hield and has two years of NBA experience. Last year Harris shot 35.4% behind the arc while averaging 12.3 points a game. While undersized he's a hard-nosed defender and is capable of defending either guard position.
Harris is a compromise between my desire for youth and the Pelicans continuing push for young veterans. Still on his rookie contract for two seasons, trading for Harris sacrifices just two years of team control for a player with demonstrated NBA value. The only way this (realistically) happens is if the Pelicans move up in the lottery and the Nuggets are enamored with a prospect unlikely to fall to their position in the draft. Of course, if Harris is off the table trading back for multiple picks with the Nuggets might still be reasonable. Imagine if the lottery broke like so.
via Tankathon - LOL Eastern Conference in this scenario
New Orleans might receive offers from the Boston Celtics (5 & 16), Phoenix Suns (6 & 13), and/or Denver Nuggets (7 & 15). All it takes is one of those franchises to be in love with Dragan Bender (or another prospect) and the Pelicans walk out of the draft with a guard (Jamal Murray, Buddy Hield, or Kris Dunn) and a second first rounder (Denzel Valentine, Marquese Chriss, or Domantas Sabonis). Step one is lottery luck on May 17th.
Jonny Harvey: You did say dream, right?
There are few great centers in the league. Omer Asik is not one of them. Nikola Jokic, well, he could be. Pelicans include their first round pick into this trade that would never happen, and the Pelicans get the perfect future pair to Anthony Davis and a wing that can create offensively.
Nikola Jokic might be on his way to becoming one of the more well rounded big-men in the game. He understands spacing better than most rookie big men, and some three and fourth year players, and he has both a post game, and an outside shot. He’s also 21 years old. For this reason, there is no way the Nuggets part ways with him.
Quentin Haynes: A trade for Jusef Nurkic. I’m not 100% what would be needed to acquire him, but pairing Davis with Nurkic sounds fun to me and could be the perfect frontcourt pairing. Nurkic’s stock is down at the moment and it seems like everyone loves Nikola Jokic, I would make a call, just to see how much it would cost to pry the big man out of Denver.
Oleh Kosel: The Pelicans trade Tyreke Evans, either Omer Asik or Alexis Ajinca and their 2016 first round pick to the Bulls for Jimmy Butler. The caveat is that New Orleans first rounder likely needs to represent one of the top two overall picks following a fortunate NBA lottery outcome in May.
It's no secret Butler has issues with several teammates, but the bigger problem is his apparent rocky relationship with management and Fred Hoiberg. If their franchise is committed to the head coach, Chicago has little choice but to trade Butler, yet in moving from one of the top players in the NBA on a decent deal (think in new salary cap terms), it's going to come at a steep cost. With teams like the Celtics and Suns waving a slew of future draft picks and other enviable young talent, the Pelicans are going to need to land that Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram chip and then trade it.
The thought of shipping out another young, cost-controlled asset is not an ideal scenario, but Butler is an All-Star shooting guard in his prime. Alongside Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis, New Orleans would boast three certifiable two-way talents, and enter the 2017 season with one of the most formidable cores in the Western Conference.
In addition to Simmons or Ingram, the Bulls could get a look at Evans to serve as an eventual replacement for Derrick Rose -- their offense needs a more dependable option at point guard. Chicago has some nice options in Doug McDermott, Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis but no one to get them the ball on a consistent basis. If it pans out, the Bulls could theoretically complete a rebuild on the fly, and pending other free agent moves, be back in the playoffs in a year's time.
Owen Sanborn: [Sorority girl voice]
Literally ANYTHING to unload Asik's contract.