The trade deadline is fast approaching. David Griffin has warned that some may be confused by their approach to the trade deadline, leading many to believe the Pelicans may be buyers. With less than a week left, we asked our staff how they think Griffin, Trajan Langdon, and the New Orleans front office will approach the trade deadline. Then, in true blogging fashion, we asked how our staff would do it themselves if they were calling the shots.
Will the Pelicans make a trade by the deadline on February 6th?
Charlie: Unfortunately for the crowded rotation I don’t think the Pelicans make a deadline deal this year. Given the team’s roller coaster season and myriad injuries up and down the roster, I feel that unless the team craters substantially by February 6, they will continue to try and sort through the current roster while making a playoff push.
Kevin: Zion’s return coming so close to the deadline means that the staff and front office have very little time to figure with enough certainty what the team needs around Zion and Brandon Ingram (the true future of the franchise). It’s almost reckless to make any major moves with so small of an evaluation period without getting an absolute haul. However, I do see some minor work around the edges — moves for a stretchy 4, a reserve center that is a better rebounder and defender than Jahlil Okafor or a wing defender that rebounds to improve the defense when going ultra-small with Zion at the 5 spot. With a weak free agent class this summer, the Pels would be best suited to move on from JJ, Jrue or Melli then should any of those moves be deemed necessary, but I do think an edge move is made.
Preston: No. The simplest solution would be to send out Darius Miller with a few seconds for an expiring player slightly north of $10 million. The Pelicans could use that to improve depth at the 3, 4 or 5 but I believe they’re content with what they have at those positions. They’re willing to give Nicolo Melli and Jaxson Hayes the benefit of the doubt at this point and three-guard lineups have been able to adequately fill the 3 spot. As long as they stay healthy, they’ll stand pat.
Oleh: On the fence here honestly; however, I’m going to wager that the Pelicans indeed make a move although it’s not going to be of the blockbuster variety fans typically want to see — you’re staying put Jrue Holiday! The trade would likely involve E’Twaun Moore or Darius Miller.
Grubb: In a word, no. They have no reason to make a deal unless they are hit with another injury prior to the deadline.
Fish: Yes, I think they do make at least a small move to utilize the trade chip of Darius Miller’s contract. Additionally the Pelicans have a lot of draft capital for 2020 and a very young roster that isn’t the best place to add multiple rookies again this summer.