According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the New Orleans Pelicans are one of several teams interested in upgrading their talent level on the wing, but a lack of tradable assets and high asking prices are hampering efforts.
New Orleans is limited in its tradable assets. No one is taking the moribund contracts of Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca without the Pelicans including a first-round draft pick -- if not more -- in the deal.
The Pelicans are optimistic that they can get starting small forward Solomon Hill back from a hamstring tear before March, but they’ve remained active. Teams are targeting the availability of Brooklyn’s DeMarre Carroll, Utah’s Alec Burks, Orlando’s Evan Fournier and Atlanta’s Kent Bazemore, among others.
DeMarre Carroll is the most interesting name on the list because the salaries of Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca work nicely in a trade. Moreover, Carroll may be the most attainable as he’s much older than the rest of the listed group and his production has noticeably slipped since his days in Atlanta.
As I mentioned last month, Carroll should be an enviable target for the Pelicans organization because Solomon Hill and Tony Allen are not guaranteed to return to 100% form as quickly as the Pelicans might hope and offense is not a primary concern for Head Coach Alvin Gentry.
One thing to keep in mind is that regardless of the trade target, the Pelicans are keenly interested in moving Asik and Ajinca because of next year’s salary cap sheet. If General Manager Dell Demps re-signs DeMarcus Cousins — and that remains the plan according to Woj, then New Orleans has to be careful about adding any salary to future seasons. The Pelicans are already responsible for $94 million in contracts during the 2018-19 season and will have another $43 million in cap holds to contemplate.