If the following, and depressing to many, scenario comes to fruition this summer — Jrue Holiday leaves New Orleans — who should the Pelicans immediately target in filling the vacancy? (It can be through either free agency or trade.)
Jason: If I am wrong about Jrue Holiday and he does decide to leave New Orleans, then this off-season will be interesting and potentially quite devastating. Not including the pipe dreams of the Pelicans landing a third superstar at point guard (like a CP3 homecoming, keep hoping though), free agency does not offer much selection. My top choice to replace Holiday is Jeff Teague, and that’s because he is pretty much the same guy, except in a smaller, healthier frame.
While they are both former one-time All-Stars, it’s difficult to also not notice Holiday is younger and a more favorable option due to his higher ceiling and rapport with Anthony Davis.
If the Pelicans do not re-sign Holiday and fail to bring in a viable replacement (such as Teague, Patty Mills, George Hill, Darren Collison, etc.), Dell Demps may quickly find himself on the hot seat again and would be forced to work some more trade deadline magic to find a point guard to run the offense. Maybe the Pelicans could go back to targeting Reggie Jackson, or say the Lakers end up taking Lonzo Ball, they could target Jordan Clarkson or D’Angelo Russell? Just thinking about these options has me hoping now more than ever that Holiday re-signs!
Kevin: In the third part of my three-part offseason plan I detailed some personnel moves I'd like to see the Pelicans get done. That plan involved keeping Jrue Holiday and still trading for Elfrid Payton as a bolster. If Jrue leaves, I still like Payton as the replacement.
People are really high on Patty Mills, but I have a lot of concerns about his size, his defense and how much of his offensive abilities are a product of being in the Spurs' system. I also find that he isn't great creating off the dribble, which worries me with how our offense should work. With Boogie likely being the main playmaker within a potentially redesigned Chris Finch offense, however, New Orleans really needs more of a defender and/or scorer to fill that role than we do a gifted passer like Ricky Rubio.
Guys that could possibly be had that could fit the team’s defensive needs are Eric Bledsoe and Marcus Smart — if Boston is making a big move and their trade partner would prefer an extra pick or two from NO rather than Smart. Scorers (though Bledsoe should be considered a scorer even if he isn't an incredible shooter) are a bit tougher to find, so maybe Goran Dragic, Darren Collison or Kemba Walker could fit that bill if the Pels make strong offers.
Jamile: If Holiday bounces, I think the Pelicans actually have some solid options. Perhaps they go after the older version of Holiday in George Hill. I wouldn't mind some combination of a point guard and a guy like CJ MIles who can play 1-3 and provides shooting, defense, and IQ.
However, if I was a decision maker in the front office, I would go hard after Patty Mills and hope to sign CJ Miles using the mid-level exception. If Mills balks, move on to Jeff Teague. I don't see many options for a trade unless somebody is desperate to dump a guard after the upcoming draft.
David: Nico Baguio and I have been pumping up the idea of Ricky Rubio for weeks and I'm not about to stop now. It would require a trade, and likely for New Orleans to tack on a future first round pick in the deal without sending any "bad" contracts (talking about Omer Asik) to Minnesota. At this point, I'm fine acting with only the short term in mind. The clock on Boogie's free agency is ticking and Anthony Davis isn't far behind. The time for patience has expired. (The time for analyzing the failure of having patience in the past, however, has not.)
As for Rubio, he's a superb passer and defender who has long been knocked for his lack of shooting. I don't think shooting is the only method to create space and movement on the court and Rubio is far more capable of running a Gentry (or is it Gentry/Finch now) offense than Jrue Holiday anyway. Rubio rumors are not dying and he's a much better fit in New Orleans than being stuffed into Phil Jackson’s triangle in New York.
Oleh: Back in late April Darren Collison sat atop my wish list, yet I can safely say nothing has changed. While I would ultimately prefer George Hill, I’m interested in focusing on a much more feasible and sufficient option at the same time.
During the six seasons Tim Duncan and David Robinson spent together, Avery Johnson and then a 37-year-old Terry Porter started at point guard before giving way to a 19-year-old Tony Parker. The Spurs won two championships during that time period and made the playoffs all six years.
So while a lot of other point guards rank ahead of him, Collison is more than satisfactory at the position considering his ability to run an offense, get his own shot, and sink the deep ball. Furthermore, I strongly believe his familiarity with DeMarcus Cousins, Alvin Gentry and New Orleans would be key for a quick transition if Holiday decides to sadly walk away from the organization.
Ryan: Someone who could fill the void immediately could be a free agent like Jeff Teague or George Hill. The Pelicans could go after Kyle Lowry, but that would be incredibly pricey. Yet since a tandem of Lowry, Davis and Cousins would be so dangerous and the team should swing for the stars, I’m going all in with Lowry as the next best option.
Travis: How about Chris Paul?! :)