Carmelo Anthony wanting to join up with Chris Paul and James Harden is yesterday’s headline, but today we learned the New Orleans Pelicans are interested in helping the Knicks and Rockets facilitate the deal.
Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Houston and New York are contemplating four-team deals because the Knicks have no interest in acquiring Ryan Anderson, a necessary piece to the puzzle.
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Pelicans have thrown their hat into the ring to be one of the other teams.
The Pelicans, once the home of Ryan Anderson, expressed interest in being one of the clubs involved, according to a source. Anderson’s contract, which has three years and $60 million remaining, needs to be part of the transaction because Anthony’s $27 million pact — plus trade kicker — is so immense. The Knicks have no interest in Anderson because he plays Kristaps Porzingis’ position and is older than the mid-20s-type player the club seeks.
Ryan Anderson returning back to the New Orleans Pelicans? Not a chance, at least we can hope not.
In case you forgot, Dell Demps didn’t actively seek to re-sign Anderson during the last free agency period, this after examining the market for the stretch-four at the 2016 trade deadline. As we eventually learned last summer, the Wizards, Kings, and the Rockets came calling before Houston wound up signing him to a 4-year, $80 million contract.
One year later, Anderson is widely considered overpaid and thus a difficult contract to move. In addition to not wanting to pay market value for his services at the time, the Pelicans decided to change identities, opting to focus on team defense through multiple additions of blue collar type of players. The shift in mentality was largely responsible for the success on that side of the ball as New Orleans improved from 28th to ninth.
So, why would anyone think Dell Demps wants to suddenly reverse course and go back to something that failed spectacularly, especially now with DeMarcus Cousins expected to soak up the majority of minutes alongside Anthony Davis? (And please, no talk of sticking Anderson at small forward — Darren Erman doesn’t want to hear it!)
No, that’s not the right lens.
The Knicks not wanting Anderson on their roster doesn’t mean the Pelicans are interested in a homecoming of sorts. Notice, Woj mentioned four-team deals on the table, and this is why a deal hasn’t been announced yet — no one is excited to step forward and pay Ryan Anderson the remainder of his contract.
As to the Pelicans interest in nevertheless being a trade participant is still quite understandable. They have had a tough time in free agency due a salary cap sheet loaded with dead weight (and face serious risk of becoming a hard capped team), and the best way to enter the upcoming season with a more functional roster is through finding relief on the trade market.
At a minimum, one should assume the Pelicans are looking to off load the contract of either Omer Asik or Alexis Ajinca, maybe an unguaranteed contract or two and players who face the threat of becoming redundant on the roster pending other desired moves.
Over the last day or so, the Pelicans have been linked to trading for Reggie Jackson and becoming one of the teams facilitating Melo to the Rockets. Don't be surprised to read about additional rumors in coming days — they are in a desperate situation. They’re just not Ryan Anderson desperate.