Earlier today, Zach Lowe wrote a comprehensive piece covering the New Orleans Pelicans. In addition to aptly describing how the team still faces more questions than it has answers, including how they ended up in this bleak position to begin with, he revealed several important details.
First, the Pelicans are still struggling immensely with displaying a consistent identity — this isn’t a secret to those of us who follow the team religiously. However, the fact that the front office recently asked the Atlanta Hawks about Dwight Howard is new information, and it means Anthony Davis longterm prospects as the starting center are not set in stone. With each missed game or new injury suffered, does doubt grow in the experiment? Allowing AD to continue enduring additional punishment at the five may not be a plan worth pursuing since the overwhelming positive results have not followed. Perhaps a move away from full-time small ball is being contemplated because Alvin Gentry don’t have enough shooting/scoring to make it work for the entirety of games.
Second, just as Kevin has alerted us in the past, it may not be a sure thing that Jrue Holiday decides to re-sign with the Pelicans this upcoming summer.
Holiday is less so. He hasn't thought about free agency yet -- "not even a little bit," he said. The team is worried he will walk, and that his departure will leave Davis frustrated about the franchise's direction. "I'm gonna do everything in my power to keep him here," Davis said, "but it's a business decision, and he's a grown man with a family."
If the team really believes Holiday wants out, we should prepare ourselves for his name to start popping up in trade rumors as the front office should be keen to get any value for him in return. However, I expect that unless the Pelicans season goes into another death spiral, they’ll take their chances and ride him. It’s really important to note that Anthony Davis wants him back.
Most likely, I’m operating under the assumption that Holiday has not given the oral assurances Dell Demps would like to hear. Whether it’s the agent wanting to get his client the best deal possible or the events that unfolded this past summer — where Lauren faced grave risk for her life — Holiday will not commit to anything until he knows it is also in the best interests for his family.
Lastly, Lowe mentioned that Harrison Barnes was on the Pelicans radar over the summer.
The Pelicans discussed throwing all their money at Harrison Barnes before splitting it among Moore, Hill, and others, sources say. Barnes told ESPN.com this week he would have considered the Pelicans had they contacted him. New Orleans felt they had to move before the Kevin Durant sweepstakes shook out.
Did Demps feel the likelihood of Barnes coming to New Orleans was somewhat remote or did the front office genuinely believe that going after Solomon Hill, E’Twaun Moore and Langston Galloway was the better route? It doesn’t really matter at this point as the Pelicans have made their bed, but it does confirm my suspicions that a greater offensive threat at small forward is a priority, one worth remembering as the team approaches the trade deadline.