The New Orleans Pelicans are reportedly shopping Nikola Mirotic. If the team finds an acceptable deal, who is your ideal trade partner and return?
Preston: One year of salary and a mid to late first. Niko for Brandon Knight and a first strengthens Houston, which will only hurt Golden State’s odds of another title. If Houston can manage the upset, Durant would most assuredly leave and head to...New York? And then the Anthony Davis trade to the Big Apple becomes a slam dunk.
Kevin: If the Pelicans were to trade Anthony Davis to Brooklyn before this deadline as I outlined yesterday, I’d retain Mirotic because I feel he’d fit our future team very well. However, I think the Nets actually make a lot of sense for Mirotic right now if they are removed from the Davis derby. Mirotic for an expiring like Jared Dudley and the Nets 1st round pick in 2019 and the Knicks 2nd is what I’d start with, but I’d settle for just the 1st and Dudley or Carroll (but I think they’d keep Carroll for the playoff run). The four is an area of weakness in Brooklyn and Mirotic would immediately be a huge upgrade on a team that loves taking threes.
Other landing spots could be Denver for Will Barton, Utah for a 1st and salary (Sefolosha, Udoh, Niang and Neto for example), Portland for Mo Harkless and a 1st, Oklahoma City for Patrick Patterson, Alex Abrines and a 1st, Philly for a gamble on Markelle Fultz — though I’d try to give them Julius Randle and Darius Miller instead or Toronto for a 1st and CJ Miles, Malachi Richardson and Greg Monroe as salary filler (though CJ has an additional year).
I’d be fine with any of those deals, but really I keep circling back to really wanting that Brooklyn Davis trade and then keeping Mirotic to round out the starting five.
Charlie: I would love Mirotic to land somewhere he’d excel. Utah has recently been mentioned as one team who might pursue him, and given his contract status, I’d be very happy with something along the lines of Derrick Favors non-guaranteed deal and their ‘19 1st round pick with Top 10 protection.
Mike: If the Pelicans manage to get anything in return for Randle and Mirotic, that would be great. Perhaps there is a scenario in which Mirotic expresses a desire to stay, which I would not mind, but something would be better than nothing, even if it winds up being a relatively low-value pick.
Travis: This is an interesting idea — Niko sure seems like the perfect piece for competitive, maybe overachieving teams, in the midst of the playoff race. The Nets seem destined to make the playoffs regardless of any move, but maybe they think they can re-sign him and help solidify their spot in coming years. A guy as valuable to the here and now, though, I imagine it unlikely that teams would be willing to give up draft picks, so maybe a flier on a youngster? How about my favorite man Rodions Kurucs (Brooklyn would never do it, but I like writing and saying his name).
David Grubb: I’d like to see the Pelicans send Niko to Utah. The Jazz need more shooting and they could make a very strong push to earn home court advantage in the first round push with a healthy Mirotic. In return, I’d ask for Derrick Favors and a first round pick. Favors has had a very solid season, posting 11.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in only 23 minutes per game. With only one unguaranteed year left on his deal after this campaign, the Pelicans would have the choice of waiving him this summer or utilizing him as a trade asset next season.
David Fisher: Utah is at the top of my list. A first round pick and salary to match (Derrick Favors works) is a fine return. Nikola would be superb in Utah’s rotation.
Oleh: Like Kevin, I don’t feel the Pelicans should trade Nikola Mirotic just for the sake of making a deal. There’s never been a knock on his effort so he would fit the new culture that the Pelicans have already begun to build in the post-AD era well. Plus, his three-point shooting would be invaluable to the group returning next season as they’ve struggled immensely over the six games he’s missed. That said, if re-signing him to a reasonably priced contract isn’t possible and the Pelicans can nab a good young asset in return, it makes sense to move on.
Although I’ve heard differently, I feel the Pelicans should try to weasel some team out of their 2019 first round pick in this trade market, which emphatically favors the sellers. The Jazz are in need of a boost up the standings and they’ve targeted Mirotic in the past. The 76ers have been relying on the likes of Mike Muscala and Wilson Chandler and Niko would be an immediate upgrade. Lastly, there’s the Nets, who would like nothing more than to solidify their bid for the playoffs and possess two first round picks, but if they’re adamant about keeping them, cross your fingers and ask for Rodions Kurucs. Like Travis, I’m enamored with this smart and versatile 20-year-old player who goes extremely hard on each possession. After watching Frank Jackson and Kenrich Williams lately match Jrue Holiday’s intensity and movement on the court, I hope to see the Pelicans soon add more players of the same ilk.