New Orleans has been receiving calls about the availability of Lonzo Ball and JJ Redick and has shown an openness to discussing trades around both with interested teams, sources tell The Athletic.
With the Pelicans off to a disappointing 5-10 start and Ball and Redick in contract years, it’s smart business for David Griffin to gauge the interest of two players who are questionable fits at best for this roster moving forward.
After an improved showing prior to the coronavirus pandemic temporarily shutting down the 2019-20 campaign, Ball’s production has slipped and he’s been unable to snap out of his funk. He averaged 7.1 points on a horrid shooting line (30.5 FG%, 28.1 3PT%, 55.6 FT%) in the Orlando bubble and his struggles have seemingly carried into the 2020-21 season (12.0 points but career-low 3.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists to go with a 38.9 FG% and 29.1 3PT%).
With the change in strategy under new head coach Stan Van Gundy, Ball’s wide-ranging talents that are best suited for the open floor have largely gone unused. The Pelicans currently play at the 24th slowest pace (98.24), down from the fourth-fastest (103.89) just a year ago. Moreover, the half court offense is now often being initiated by either Brandon Ingram or Zion Williamson, even further limiting Ball’s potential to make an impact.
Redick appears to be another player who could use a change in scenery. A career 41.4 three-point shooter, JJ has been unable to find the range this season, currently shooting an anemic 30.0% from deep.
15 games in, Redick’s issues feel more than a slump, too. The offense is failing to create the open looks he’s been accustomed through over the years, and it’s no sure thing that New Orleans figures things out quickly enough to make a 2021 playoff run.
One team that has recently shown interest in Redick are the Warriors. Brian Windhorst revealed back last November that Golden State was kicking the tires on Redick prior to the addition of Kelly Oubre Jr.
“One of the players that the Warriors targeted before making the Oubre deal, I’m told, is JJ Redick from the New Orleans Pelicans. He’s obviously one of the best shooters in the league. The Pelicans were not amenable to making a deal under the terms. But keep an eye on that situation as things go forward.”
Lo and behold, the Warriors could be eyeing Redick again. Also included in today’s article from Shams Charania was the following tidbit:
The Warriors and Pelicans discussed a potential deal involving Kelly Oubre Jr., sources said. There isn’t traction as of yet. Like many conversations around this time, it is a scenario.
Could the Pelicans have interest in flipping Oubre for Redick? Possibly in some package, yes.
Both players are on expiring deals and New Orleans is in desperate need of wing defenders as much as reliable shooting. Oubre is younger and could prove himself a fit, earning a new contract with the Pelicans. Don’t forget that Redick has stated several times of his desire to win a championship before his career comes to a close.
While no one is confusing the Warriors as a legitimate threat to the Lakers or Clippers, Golden State is currently sitting in a tie for the 8th spot in the West with a 9-8 record. Stephen Curry has been as advertised, but he could use a little a more space to operate. Opposing defenses have been able to fully concentrate on Steph with Klay Thompson out for the season after tearing his right Achilles tendon in November.
One has to believe Redick would welcome another trip to the playoffs at the end of this campaign, and if things work out, he could find himself on a team with championship aspirations once Thompson returns next season.
As for the Pelicans, if Ball and Redick are not in future plans and the team isn’t likely to make the playoffs, then it’s best to start thinking development. Getting rookie Kira Lewis Jr. and Nickeil Alexander-Walker a lot more run in important minutes alongside Zion and BI now could pay big dividends on next season’s success.
Stay tuned for further updates.