During Friday’s All-Star festivities, both Anthony Davis and Buddy Hield were asked about the Jahlil Okafor rumors floating around the league. While Hield gave the typical response of not paying attention to the chatter, Davis admitted to the media that he has a good relationship with Okafor.
“Me and him were real close. We actually played on ESPN one time, and he did get the best of me. He’s a good player. He’s finding his in the league, a big body. It’s always fun when that matchup comes up.”
Although the game Davis is referring to occurred back in high school, it’s apparent a strong relationship exists between the two players. Consequently, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Davis would perhaps be a strong proponent of an Okafor trade.
That said, the Pelicans have expressed a lot of interest around the league to add a center before the trade deadline. Would you like to see them acquire Okafor, Brook Lopez, Nikola Vucevic, another attainable center (name him), or just sit pat?
Jason: Nikola Vucevic
As a dreamer, I would like to see the Pelicans sit pat and look to acquire Andre Drummond in the coming off-season. However, more realistically, I would like to see them go after Vucevic. He is a solid offensive option at the five with a good mid range jump shot. He is also a true center which allows for Davis to play the 4. However, unlike Jahlil Okafor, he isn't completely worthless on the defensive end and should not cost as much to acquire as Lopez.
Kevin: Kyle O’Quinn
I don't like any of the centers that have been linked to the Pels in recent trade rumors. I still believe this team is best with AD at the 5 and would try to find a better 4 to slot alongside him. However, if I'm hunting a 5, it's easily Kyle O'Quinn. He's still young, he's on a great contract, he plays good D, has a nice post game, can hit from mid range, has stretched it out to the three point line at times (however, I would beg him not to) and he's a nice play maker in the post.
Chris: Andre Drummond
The Pels need a legitimate center if AD is not going to play there long term and I would love it if the Pels could add a upper echelon player without giving up Jrue Holiday. I would like to add the C's in the following order: Drummond (Detroit has put out their feelers on his trade value), Vucevuc, Okafor and Lopez. Obviously, Drummond would be a fantastic add for the Pels and would give the Pels an opportunity to build a team in the mold of the LA Clippers. Their core of CP3, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan would be similar to Jrue, AD and Drummond. Jrue is no CP, but then again really nobody is.
The others would give the Pels a "better" C situation, but I placed them in that order based on the amount that I believe the Pels would have to give up to acquire that player. I just worry that Dell is going to make a decision for the short term that will effect the Pels in the long term, where he should no longer operate.
Jamile: Jahlil Okafor
I’m not that deeply interested in any of the rumored centers, but if you force me to choose, I wouldn't mind kicking the tires on Okafor. Pretty sure I’m be in the minority here and "Jah" does have several glaring deficiencies, yet the Pels could do worse than kicking the tires on a player drafted in the top 3 of a recent NBA draft. If anything gives me pause, it's his lingering knee injury. Pelicans can't afford to have anymore players on the shelf.
Now, i'm much more excited about Andre Drummond who is rumored to be on the trading block. Unfortunately, the Pelicans probably don't have enough assets to pry him away from the Pistons.
Zach: Stand pat
I am under the impression the Pelicans really aren't that far away and adding a center won't get New Orleans where they want to be. I'm not a make a move for the sake of making a move guy so I say no thanks to Okafor, Lopez, Vucevic or anybody else. If anything, I'd rather Chieck Diallo get minutes and grow.
Oleh: Nikola Vucevic
As mentioned earlier, I’m personally not gung-ho about the front office trading valuable assets for an incomplete center, but the fact that the Davis experiment at the five hasn’t taken off and he’s continued to maintain he’s a power forward, the Pelicans are almost forced to act before the start of next season.
If an non-overpay deal becomes available before the trade deadline, Dell Demps likely needs to push the button. I would prefer Vucevic over the rest of the options simply he’s more than capable in a few areas and he reportedly shouldn’t cost as much as a Drummond or Lopez.
Fernando: Nikola Vucevic
I'd like for the front office to pursue Vuvevic: he can knock down a jump shot, has excellent footwork, can score in the post, and is a very good rebounder. He also has a team friendly contract for two more years after this season.
Brett: Nikola Vucevic
Nikola Vucevic is a perfect fit in New Orleans, but to trade Jrue Holiday for him would be inane. Nor would it be anything I would suggest as a wise move if the team wants to continue to compete at a high level (which it hardly is, at this point). Holiday is a top-15 point guard, a bonafide starter, and Vucevic can be had at cheaper cost than his services most likely are worth. His defensive shortcomings would be covered by Anthony Davis; he would thrive off Davis’ double teams…as I wrote already for The Bird Writes, it is a move that seems too perfect. The other two aforementioned names I’m 100 percent cool with passing on. Not a fan of bigs that cannot play defense (Okafor), nor those anemic to glass work (Lopez).
Travis: Stand pat
Our own David Fisher wrote a story recently about this idea and I mostly have to agree with him. Those types of guys — offensive-first big men with defensive deficiencies — are for teams that are already playoff caliber and have the core pieces in place to make up for their shortcomings. Enes Kanter works for OKC because they have Steven Adams; Okafor might work out in the long term for Philly because they have Joel Embiid.
I'd like to see New Orleans make a move just because it's more fun to watch a new guy in your favorite team's uniform, but I'm realistically not expecting someone to come in and make an impact unless we start trading major assets like Jrue Holiday or future Pelicans picks.
David: Stand Pat (but call Miami)
Travis outlines my concerns above. I reject these options (Lopez, Okafor, Vucevic) because they don't fit and will sink the defense. But, I would give Pat Riley and the Miami Heat a call. No, not for Hassan Whiteside.
A small adjustment to the reported offer for Brook Lopez makes the salaries work for Chris Bosh. Adding E'Twaun Moore instead of Tim Frazier makes the trade successful. Bosh is under contract for the next two seasons instead of just next year like Lopez. Bosh comes with the greatest risk due to health concerns but also the highest possible reward. If the Pelicans are determined to swing, why not swing for the fences?
The NBA trade deadline is fast approaching. What should the New Orleans Pelicans do?Posted by The Bird Writes on Thursday, January 12, 2017