While Pelicans Twitter is hoisting Dell Demps on their shoulders like the classic scene from “Rudy” for not only dumping Omer Asik’s seemingly untradeable contract, but also acquiring Nikola Mirotic, a 2nd round pick from Chicago and clearing roster spots for a bought out center — likely Gretna’s finest, Greg Monroe, he’s certainly still looking to add at least one more piece to the puzzle. This new player will likely be a short term bandaid considering the team’s payroll and the looming tax situation, yet what if he’s allowed the luxury to go all in and give Tom Benson a luxury tax bill on par with the Brooklyn Nets a few years back?
If possible, we are in a position to build a roster that will not only compete for a high seed this year, but could be dominant for years to come — even if DeMarcus Cousins comes back at 70% of himself. As I said in the first two pieces, “even when I can’t sleep, I can dream.” Let’s explore some of my wildest dreams and the nightmares of those who would have inherited that luxury tax money...
* Note: Due to protections on the ‘18 1st round pick the 1st rounder in any trade scenario defaults to first available (which is likely 2020 so I’m calling it that for brevity).
I don’t think I need to explain my fascination with Rodney Hood to you anymore. I’ve written about it several times, tweeted about it constantly, spoken on the podcast about him and what his game would bring as well as what it could mean marketing-wise for the team. If Benson is committed to spending this kind of capital, I’d give Utah the ‘20 1st and Frank Jackson to make this work. If Frank becomes his ceiling pairing Jackson and rookie phenom, Donovan Mitchell could be electric — especially with Ricky Rubio creating for them if he isn’t moved. Even if Boogie suffers a huge setback next season, a roster of Holiday, Hood, Hill, Mirotic, Davis, Miller and Moore would be fantastic — add Boogie and no one wants to play the Pelicans.
Here’s two versions of the same trade. The Pelicans need athleticism and perimeter defense — another local (assuming Greg Monroe is added) would provide that as well as his blossoming offensive game on a very favorable contract. The Wizards are a bit of a mess despite being in the playoff mix — but John Wall will miss significant time, and rumors of locker room disputes continually bubble to the surface. Yes, Washington could become a blow it up candidate. Kelly Oubre Jr. wouldn’t seem like a player they’d move on from in a blow it up scenario considering his age, contract and versatility. However, if he is on the wrong side of the key piece they want to keep they may be willing to move him for the right price. Option 1 seems more likely, but both would require a 1st and maybe even a 2nd to be thrown in.
Jonathon Simmons is on a great value deal. He could also make Solomon Hill expendable should the Pelicans want further salary relief — though ideally I’d love to have both. Orlando needs to gather assets to dump other bad contracts and get younger. Sending two seconds with Frank Jackson may peak their interest as Ajinca’s contract won’t be the worst thing for them to swallow to make the deal work.
Kyle Anderson is a unique prize. At 6’-9” and 230lbs he has the size to play the three and four, but he has the ball skills and agility to also play the one and the two. He would give the Pelicans the ability to construct #RealBig lineups that would be hard to scheme around. He rebounds, he defends and he makes plays. He is a timid scorer with a limited jumper, but he finishes well at the rim and is very good at getting to the rim when he’s aggressive. However, he’d rather create for others than himself — think of him as a selfless Tyreke Evans with Rondo’s passing ability. He’s been key in keeping the Spurs afloat with Kawhi Leonard’s multiple absences, but without Leonard the Spurs likely know they don’t have much of a chance at a championship this season despite being 3rd in the West. We’ve seen the Spurs move seemingly important parts for draft picks in the past — see swapping George Hill for the draft pick that became Kawhi — so a 1st in ‘20 plus the chance to develop an athletic freak of a blank canvas like Cheick Diallo could work. However, I’m not getting my hopes up.
Stanley Johnson has a broken jumpshot and just hasn’t fit in in Detroit. It’s hard to say how he fits now that Blake Griffin is part of the engine, but he’s seemingly been in trade rumors for much of this season. The Pelicans take him for youth, his contract and defense — they’ll hope to fix his jumper, but if not Miller, Moore, Holiday, Davis, Mirotic, Clark (this season, and possibly next) and Boogie can carry they scoring load. This definitely takes a 1st from the Pelicans and probably a second, maybe 2.
Glenn Robinson III is currently in the G-League working back from an injury. Robinson is a ridiculous athlete on the wing that would provide some leaping and quickness to a team sorely lacking it. GR3 will be a free agent this summer, but despite being an Indiana native, the Pacers may have concern that he may be looking for other opportunities. I don’t think I give a 1st for him, but a couple of 2nds would be fine with me. I would also add Frank Jackson if needed and that 2nd round pick we got in the Mirotic deal as well instead of the two 2nds.
I really liked James Ennis III when he was a Pelican. You could do a lot worse than having him in your rotation for simply Ajinca and the 2nd that was thrown in in the Mirotic deal. Perhaps Memphis could even use that pick to send out in a Tyreke Evans deal to get the 1st rounder they desperately want in return.
Dealin’ Dell, get to work: