The Pelicans are not going to be an elite team unless Zion and Brandon Ingram get better defensive awareness and that is going to take time. Since they are team cornerstones they are going nowhere. It is pertinent they win now because they are on the clock with Zion. Teams like the Trailblazers and the Nets are great offensively yet lack defensive prowess. The Pelicans could push the issue by being even more efficient offensively, similar to teams like Portland and Brooklyn but on a lesser scale. When the Pelicans are winning teams drop into a zone and dare them to shoot threes. Most of the time the tide changes because of their outside shooting failures. They need more efficient three point shooters.
The Hornets have difficulty attracting free agents. They paid excessively for Gordon Hayward and it seems to have worked out for them. They need to get better defensively and get tougher on the rebounding side through the trade market.
Cleveland has already stated they wish to move Andre Drummond but his 28 million dollar salary makes a matchup for a trade virtually impossible. They need to get something for him by the deadline or risk losing him for nothing.
A three way trade with New Orleans, Cleveland and Charlotte would help all three teams. The salaries all match up.
Pelicans get: P.J. Washington and Terry Rozier
Cleveland gets: Cody Zeller and JJ Redick and Pelican 2nd Round Pic
Charlotte gets: Lonzo Ball and Andre Drummond and Pelican 2nd Round Pic
Rozier replaces Ball in the starting lineup. He will be a lethal three point shooter with the open looks he will get when others are double teamed. Jason Hart becomes the shooting guard. P.J. Washington is a deadly three point shooter who is the backup F/C in small lineups when they need to catch up. They can resign Jason Hart and have another year to decide if Kira Lewis is a starter.
Cleveland gets two expiring contracts. They can move Redick for a pick and test ride Cody Zeller as a possible fit the rest of the year. They package Drummond away without having to pay off his contract.
Charlotte replaces Rozier with a guard 5 inches taller and more defensively inclined. The Ball brothers become must watch television combining the biggest backcourt in the NBA with long armed three point shooters who can find Gordon Hayward for baskets. Andre Drummond will clear up anything off the boards.