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.
Predict the trade that the Pelicans will make.
Charlie: Should the Pelicans make a trade, I can see two diametrically different paths for them ahead. One being the failure to generate enough momentum wins by Feb 6 that would lead to a Jrue Holiday sweepstakes. The other a win streak or statement wins against Memphis, Houston or Milwaukee that give the Griff and Langdon the confidence to make a bolder roster upgrade/rotation trim to push for the playoffs. Particularly for this season, I’d be inclined for them to add a more versatile stretch big man in the wake of Nico Melli’s growing pains transitioning to the NBA game.
Kevin: If the Pelicans do make a trade I think it will be for a tweener forward that can rebound, stretch the floor some, provide veteran leadership and give effort on the defensive end. The two targets I see that can be had without giving up too much of the future are DeMarre Carroll and Marvin Williams.
Carroll is likely easier to acquire as he has two years after this one on his contract, and is buried on the Spurs bench. DeMarre’s nickname is, “The Junkyard Dog” and would be a solid replacement for the Kenrich Williams spot we saw earlier in the season. The season has been disastrous for Carroll, but he was a big part of Brooklyn’s exceptional chemistry last season. He’s not a great shooter from deep, but has enough to be schemed into an effective ambient scorer — last season he converted 43% of his attempts from the left corner three and 83.3% of his cutting layups.
If the cost is Darius Miller and a couple of unwanted seconds, I believe Carroll’s intangibles and IQ are very much worth it. He has at least one more year on his contract at just under $6.7M, but the following year is completely non-guaranteed at $7M, making the extra years on the deal kind of a moot point or trade-filler if the move doesn’t work out.
Preston: If the Pelicans were to make a deal, Nemanja Bjelica would be my pick. Given his age (31.7) and the nature of their financial commitments, the Kings are unlikely to bring him back this summer. Getting something of value for him before he goes would be optimal and it may even come to resemble the deal that brought Nikola Mirotic to Milwaukee in 2019.
Imagine if the Pelicans turned around and dealt all the picks for Mirotic to acquire a 6’10” sniper to take his place?! Bjelica is the perfect bench partner for Zion. He ranks in the 100th percentile in eFG when playing the 5, 98th in mid-range and 98th in threes. At 43.8 percent, he’s the eighth best three-point shooter in the NBA.
Oleh: E’Twaun Moore is going to get traded to a team in need of perimeter shooting and scoring off the bench and there’s no contender which needs more help in those areas than the Philadelphia 76ers. However, the Sixers already sit over the tax and are probably considering on either moving Tobias Harris or Al Horford — two players that should be off the Pelicans’ radar for positional and salary reasons.
If a three-teamer can’t be configured with Philly, then I’m looking at the Brooklyn Nets. They’ve shot it worse from the perimeter than the Sixers all season, ranking in the bottom five of the league, and they’re going to need to start making plans for placing veterans alongside Kyrie and Durant next season. Possessing Moore’s Bird Right’s would help plug both issues. The Nets have a slew of draft picks in their war chest and/or maybe Rodions Kurucs or Dzanan Musa can be pried away with New Orleans enriching a potential package.
Grubb: The only move that I could see the team making is for a swing 2/3 or 3/4 to add length on the perimeter. If Melli is going to play as he has of late, they don’t need to add to the power positions, and they already have a glut of combo guards.
Fish: I expect the Pelicans to trade Darius Miller and at least one second round pick or two for a healthy NBA body. Like Grubb, I think adding size and rebounding should be at the forefront. Robert Covington may be too expensive, but one of the New York Knicks power forwards, Dario Saric from Phoenix, or Ed Davis from Utah could be potential targets.