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.
Should the Pelicans make a trade by the deadline?
Charlie: Yes, I believe they should in some capacity. The Pels are 2 deep at four of the five traditional positions but are still versatile within the roster to fill the backup hole at power forward by committee. Given the realities of this team’s ceiling in 2020 and the mix of players, contracts and depth on the roster, I think it would be beneficial to look forward and see what could be netted from players like E’Twaun Moore, Darius Miller’s expiring contract, Frank Jackson as he heads into free agency, etc.
One could even make an argument to discuss the future of Derrick Favors with the Pelicans despite his vital role in turning the season around. He will be a free agent this summer and a sparse market should make him a seriously attractive second option behind Andre Drummond among centers. Coupling this with his hometown Atlanta Hawks clear need/desire for a veteran big, and I admit I’m less than certain Favors is set for a long term future in New Orleans.
Kevin: The Pelicans should stiff arm all big moves — Jrue, JJ or Favors — until the offseason, unless they are dramatic overpays. There simply isn’t enough time to evaluate fit with Zion’s return coming this close to the trade deadline. Trajan Langdon and David Griffin should use the remainder of the season to evaluate fit and needs around Zion and Brandon Ingram while in a competitive playoff hunt. The experts are saying this is a down year in the draft, and the free agency glass will be one of the weakest in sometime. The Pelicans’ front office could do themselves some good — hanging onto trade assets in a straight acquisition desert.
Preston: No. The Pelicans are set in the backcourt. Right now they’ve got talented players riding the pine such as E’Twaun Moore and NAW. Due to their expansive depth at the position, it may even be worth selling if a prospective buyer offers enough.
At the 3, Josh Hart has been productive behind Ingram. There’s no need to upgrade that position. At the 4, the Pelicans appear to be giving Melli a longer look behind Zion and Ingram in supplemented minutes. At the 5, Hayes is the long term answer and it looks to be the front office’s short term one behind Derrick Favors as well.
Oleh: Absolutely, but it should be a move around the edges. With his contract up this summer and JJ Redick, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Josh Hart under on the books for the 2020-21 season, E’Twaun Moore deserves an opportunity to showcase himself elsewhere. Otherwise, Moore will likely suffer a minutes crunch in New Orleans and go underutilized for the remainder of the season barring a major injury or two to the roster.
Grubb: I don’t think they should. There is no reason to add more change in a season with more than its share already. Find consistency, and let this team gain some sort of identity now that Zion is on the court and figure it out. The number one goal this season has always been player development. Making a short-sighted deal to chase the playoffs seems misguided at best.
Fish: Letting the assets they have available (Darius Miller’s contract, expiring contract of E’Twaun Moore, the restricted rights for Frank Jackson) roll over to the summer doesn’t maximize this team’s future. They should cash those in, even if they roll those into largely future assets.