One scenario that deserves some exploration is a trade centered around Tyreke Evans for Wilson Chandler. The New Orleans Pelicans should add another perimeter player while the Denver Nuggets consider finding insurance for Emmanuel Mudiay.
At the very least, I have to admit that it might be time for a salary dump, provided it would allow the Pelicans to add the desired key personnel. The Pelicans need to make another move or two this offseason because holes on the roster sit unfilled. As David alluded, it's preferable Dell Demps agrees to a trade with another team as so precious little cap space remains.
Tyreke Evans, Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca all had trouble adapting to their new head coach, Alvin Gentry. Although they all succumbed to injury at one point or another, the trio tallied enough time on the court to demonstrate the current system in New Orleans does not best suit them.
Unless some team is desperate to reach the salary floor -- as in they've entirely exhausted all other options -- Asik is probably here to stay. On the flip side, Ajinca's contract is appealing, yet it's difficult to imagine the team getting back the right value in return for his low salary in this new cap environment. Traditional bigs are no longer in demand, and when necessary, downright expendable. Just have a look at what the Golden State Warriors did earlier in the day to create space for Kevin Durant. Andrew Bogut, the starting center on the best regular season team in history, was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in a pure salary dump.
Thus, all eyes must turn to Tyreke, the oft-maligned player who caught the most flack on the team for everything he failed to do in a satisfactory manner. After three years, we've learned he performs best when dictating possessions and that cannot continue to be his full-time responsibility. The problem is Jrue Holiday is also on the roster, and he showed last season he is better suited to run Gentry's high-octane offense.
Why the Nuggets do it:
Emmanuel Mudiay had a rookie season to forget. Although he was only 19 years of age, it can't serve as an excuse because young point guards must have stronger first-year performances. Have a glance at the list of rookies since 1980 who were of the same age, shot under 40% from the floor and averaged over 6 assists per 100 possessions.
It's pretty clear that those who struggle this badly with their shots do not last very long in the league. One way for the Nuggets to cover spending the seventh overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft on a bust would be to find an immediate band-aid. Among the present free agents, the Nuggets would be wise to trade for another point guard, and Tyreke Evans might be their best option.
Mike Malone is a competitor and loves to win. Even though he is very cognizant of Denver's long game, he always fears his team might develop bad habits that spring up from all the losses. The Nuggets have several solid veterans, but having a floor general who is completely representative of Malone's warrior mentality would go a long way. Evans, who possesses as much heart as anyone, could fit perfectly as an extension of the head coach on the floor.
For a team that is more concerned about the future, the Nuggets might be willing to move Wilson Chandler, a player who sat out the entire 2015-16 campaign due to injury. They have Danilo Gallinari entrenched at small forward and Gary Harris emerged as an efficient shooting guard. Off the bench, Will Barton looked like a potential Sixth Man of the Year candidate prior to the All-Star game, and Tim Connelly just drafted Jamal Murray, an incredible shooter from the University of Kentucky. They all need minutes.
If for some reason the Nuggets were to balk, Dell Demps could throw in one of the 2017 2nd round draft picks or move Evans that would return a draft pick. The Pelicans would create the cap space to go after a more useful free agent while the Nuggets would take a major step to reaching the salary cap floor. The Nuggets are approximately $18 million away from reaching the $84.729 million floor. Although the team has until the end of the 2016-17 to reach satisfy the requirement, Evans could represent much more than contract filler, possibly become their point guard of the future in the event Mudiay doesn't pan out.
Why the Pelicans do it:
As mentioned, Evans does not fit the current construction of the roster. Ideally, the Pelicans still need more perimeter players to surround Holiday and Anthony Davis, and Wilson Chandler would make for a great fit. He is a veteran who has admitted to knowing his role, a mindset exhibited similarly by Quincy Pondexter.
In the NBA, I’m more of a role player. I try to get guys involved and just do whatever the team needs me to do to get a win.
Chandler stands 6'8'' can shoot the three, grab a rebound and guard the 2-4 positions on the floor. He is everything the Pelicans hope Solomon Hill will be someday but only in the here and now... provided injuries do not rear their ugly head again. And if there are some issues, he could serve as a wonderful mentor for the ex-Pacer.
If the Nuggets refrain from sending back Chandler, the Pelicans could still benefit from shipping Evans out. They would create an additional $10+ million -- enough to re-sign Tim Frazier and add another free agent. Or, they could go in an entirely different direction and perhaps land another decently sized fish like Terrence Jones.