The New Orleans Pelicans are reportedly hoping to execute a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies whereby they’ll receive the second overall pick in exchange for their fourth pick via the Los Angeles Lakers (plus additional compensation) to select RJ Barrett tomorrow in the 2019 NBA Draft.
That is, if you believe the rumors being spread by New York City media.
According to an NBA source, New Orleans has explored moving back to gain more assets and also had internal talks about moving up to the second pick to take Memphis’ selection and draft RJ Barrett to team with his Duke compadre Zion Williamson. Barrett and Williamson are best friends.
That trade-up maneuver, however unlikely, would allow Murray State’s Ja Morant to fall to the Knicks at No. 3. The Knicks had Morant higher on their board than Barrett at the Chicago combine, but that also was before Morant recently underwent knee surgery.
According to an NBA executive who has spoken to the Knicks, president Steve Mills is locked in at keeping the third pick and delighted to take either Morant or Barrett, the 6-foot-7 Duke lefty swingman. While the Knicks were open to moving back after the lottery for a whopping offer, they are now comfortable staying put.
Then Peter Vecsey, a long-time NYC sports columnist, posted a similar take on Twitter tonight.
NOLA, I’m told, is assembling assets in all out effort to leapfrog Knicks into second slot in order to snare RJ Barrett. Obviously, Pels are offering Grizz No 4 pick as part payment. No pity parties planned. NY would land Morant or Garland. Memphis would pluck point that drops...— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) June 20, 2019
Funny thing is, I have a hard time believing that this story has much merit.
David Griffin has already come to terms on the Anthony Davis trade with the Lakers that has netted Lonzo Ball at point guard and Brandon Ingram at small forward. Alvin Gentry and Griffin have praised each of these players at different times in the past, long before they were ever destined for New Orleans. Thus, with Jrue Holiday at the two, the starting lineup on the perimeter seems all set to begin next season.
Also, numerous talent evaluators have stated that they believe Ja Morant is the second best player in this draft. In case you missed it, the Grizzlies traded Mike Conley Jr. earlier today. In return from the Jazz, Memphis received three wings: Jae Crowder, Grayson Allen and Kyle Korver. Are we to believe that the Grizz are excited to move down and voluntarily take Darius Garland, who isn’t assured to be a good facilitator, while a gaping hole sits at point guard? Normally when a team is in the midst of a rebuild, quality over quantity reigns supreme. Outside of Zion Williamson, Ja Morant is the only other player deemed to possess star potential from this draft class.
Or how about this train of thought: the Pelicans front office, one which so meticulously designed a package of future draft picks, a swap and a deferment, wants to pay a steep price in assets to move up in the draft and select RJ Barrett while Morant still sits on the board??
Nope, I just don’t see this as a scenario the Pelicans front office is entertaining. If anyone does, please explain it to me in the comments section below!