The NBA trade deadline will arrive a few weeks earlier this year, falling on February 8th at 3:00 p.m. ET, so expect to start reading about various rumors, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, and of course, all actual transactions in coming days.
With the New Orleans Pelicans fighting tooth and nail for a postseason berth — one game separates four teams in the Western Conference for three spots, Head Coach Alvin Gentry staring at several holes on the roster and General Manager Dell Demps needing to offload several cumbersome contracts before the next free agency period, one has to assume the organization will most definitely fall into the class of a “buyer.”
The biggest obstacle for the front office will be a lack of tradable assets. Outside of the team’s future draft picks, there’s little else to tempt opposing GMs. The Pelicans young talent — Cheick Diallo and Frank Jackson — has shown practically nothing and the two players Demps would love to unload — Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca — are criminally unproductive yet saddled with bloated contracts.
One has to assume the regular rotation contributors will stay put. Obviously the core — Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Jrue Holiday — are off limits, but I can’t foresee the Pelicans dealing away E’Twaun Moore, Solomon Hill nor Darius Miller.
No one is going to ask for Rajon Rondo, Jameer Nelson or Tony Allen, and Dante Cunningham, thanks to a CBA rule involving players who re-sign with their previous team on a one-year contract, has the right to veto any trade proposal.
Yet, a lot of needs exist.
- Behind Davis and Cousins, there isn’t a single reliable big body.
- The play at point guard has been sporadic at best.
- And the biggest hole in my opinion: the Pelicans need a good-sized wing who can split time at both small forward and power forward.
We’re going to present you a number of trade scenarios over the next several weeks, but here’s my latest dream scenario.
The biggest prize in the deal is Nikola Mirotic — but he’s heading to Utah. Mirotic has right to veto a trade, but word is he wants out and wouldn’t mind ending up with the Jazz. The heart wants what the heart wants.
In landing the prized stretch-four, the Jazz have to give up something of value to Chicago, and in this case, it’s Dante Exum, the oft-injured but still promising guard who is headed for restricted free agency. No, Utah doesn’t view Ricky Rubio as the future, but they’re more than willing to roll with Donovan Mitchell. Plus, it’s not a bad idea to move on after four years of unlucky injuries to address another area of great need because a starting combination of Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert is far from an ideal future.
For the Pelicans, I LOVE the idea of ditching the contracts of Asik and Ajinca while getting two versatile wings to boost the bench for potentially the price of one future first round draft pick. Furthermore, bringing the Holiday brothers together could unlock something more and Joe Johnson is a wonderful veteran, can play both forward positions, and is on an expiring deal!
With the Chris Finch offense fully engaged in New Orleans, Rondo and Holiday offer enough backcourt depth because a lot of schemes are running through Boogie or AD anyway. Once Solomon Hill returns, I’d rather see Ian Clark, Justin Holiday and Moore split most of the minutes at shooting guard because Jrue is ready to spend a lot of time back at the one.
As additional sweetners, the Jazz can toss a future second towards Chicago, and if pressed, the Pelicans, too.
What does everyone think?
The biggest need for the New Orleans Pelicans is...
This poll is closed
A solid point guard
A versatile wing
Another big man