The New Orleans Pelicans are a team in dire need of assistance on several fronts, and we’ve learned over the last 24 hours that Dell Demps, the team’s general manager, has inquired about the availability of numerous players linked in previous trade rumors, specifically at the center position.
The biggest news maker has been Jahlil Okafor, as everyone from Marc Stein to Adrian Wojnarowski has linked the former hyped center to the Pelicans. Although New Orleans would love to include Omer Asik, the trade proposal appears centered around Okafor for Alexis Ajinca and a protected 2018 first round pick.
Okafor, however, has not been the only center in the front office’s crosshairs. Wojnarowski made mention of interest in Brook Lopez, and Keith Smith reported on social media that Nikola Vucevic was also coveted.
This interesting development — trading an asset to land a center — appears to favor Anthony Davis more than furthering Alvin Gentry’s run-and-gun style of attack because it should allow AD to move back to power forward on a more regular basis. Davis has stated on multiple occasions that he views himself as a four, but for the good of the team, has agreed to man the five for the time being.
Although he seemed to have little to no knowledge of the day’s events, Anthony Davis appears to be on board with the news.
Anthony Davis was surprised to learn about today's reports about Pelicans trade talks. "Whatever the team needs. Whatever happens, happens"— Justin Verrier (@JustinVerrier) February 7, 2017
Don’t forget all of these latest rumors are not the first time Demps has expressed an interest in bringing an offensive-minded center to New Orleans. Before last year’s trade deadline and then during the following offseason, Greg Monroe’s name was linked to the Pelicans. Then, just last month, the front office reportedly inquired about Dwight Howard.
The message should be abundantly clear: the New Orleans Pelicans do not picture Anthony Davis as the team’s full-time center in the future.
If the Pelicans had enjoyed a remarkable run since exclusively going smaller, perhaps adding a center would not dominate trade discussions. However, a 9-11 record and middling offensive statistics, scream try again.
In addition, when you’re one of the best players in the league and the franchise player in a small market, your voice carries a lot of weight. Anthony Davis has spoken and obviously the New Orleans Pelicans are listening.
It’s important to note that many fans are seemingly willing to accept this new direction as long as it doesn’t come at too steep a price.
Poll time! Who is in favor of seeing Jahlil Okafor in a Pelicans uniform?— The Bird Writes (@thebirdwrites) February 7, 2017