There’s been quite the variety of rumors surrounding the Pelicans since their season ended back in May. From a coaching divorce and possible future partnerships to potential player movement and similar chatter about direction, the Pelicans have checked a lot of boxes when it comes to news and speculation.
One thing is clear to all fans though, this summer is going to be a critical period for the New Orleans Pelicans. Important decisions await David Griffin, Trajan Langdon and company to usher out a better overall product. Those working on Airline Drive feel the pressure of making the first playoff berth under the current regime.
Roster additions and subtractions, both large and small, are expected. Draft day could prove pivotal. Free agency and the trade market will all need to be closely monitored and several splashes likely made.
One could say that nothing will be off the table as New Orleans should consider almost every plausible option. That leads us to Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton.
Collin Sexton is reportedly 'very available,' per @ByJasonLloyd— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) July 11, 2021
"I thought the Cavs were going to write the check to pay Sexton a max contract this summer, but based on what I’ve been told the last few months from sources around the league, I no longer believe that’s true." pic.twitter.com/a637mcehQB
The three-year pro out of the University of Alabama has found himself amid trade speculation this offseason, after posting career-highs in several major categories this season.
But rumors surrounding Cleveland’s locker room drama over the past year, the fit next to ascending backcourt mate Darius Garland, and a looming contract extension to go along with what the Cavaliers may do with the third overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, leaves many around the basketball world pondering Sexton’s value.
At the young age of 22, it’s rare to see a player of Sexton’s caliber become available. So, who is Collin Sexton truly as a basketball player? What forces are trying to push him out of Cleveland? And how would he fit in New Orleans if a trade were to be finalized?
We caught up with Justin Rowan of The Chase Down Podcast to set the facts straight by graciously answering all of our questions. You should follow Justin on Twitter @Cavsanada, his co-host Carter Rodriguez @Carter_Shade and the podcast @ChasedownPod.
1. To observers that mainly know Sexton from only box scores and video highlights, who is he as a basketball player? What positives does he bring?
Immediately, he brings you three-level scoring. This third season was very impressive because he adjusted well to playing off ball more, while increasing his scoring AND playmaking all at the same time. While he isn’t the most willing 3-point shooter yet, he is a good one and has been an efficient scorer for a while now.
He’s also one of the hardest workers in the league and has made massive strides during each season and the offseason. Every time he steps on the court, he’s better than he was the previous game.
2. When a player of Sexton’s talent level gets mentioned in trade rumors, the fan bases of connected teams often wonder what’s wrong with the player alone, forgoing other possible contributing factors. Let’s be honest though, 6’1 guards that finish a season scoring 24 points per game don’t grow on trees.
So, what went wrong in Cleveland for Sexton’s name to fall into the rumor mill?
Yeah, I think what’s being done is more due diligence vs. feeling the need to move him. It does seem like both sides are not on the same page with what an extension would look like. Sexton’s agent represents Donovan Mitchell and likely has pointed out that his age 22 season is stronger than Mitchell’s, Jamal Murray or other player that received a max.
If I had to guess, the Cavs are likely gauging the market and seeing what sort of returns are available out there. Combining assets to Sexton to see if it can net them a proven young player like Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram. They understand his value and how good he is so I’m doubtful they’re looking to move him for spare parts.
3. What’s the biggest misconception about Sexton for those who don’t closely follow him or the Cavs?
That he’s inefficient or not a willing passer. I think there might be some baggage with teammates that were there for his rookie struggles, but his AST% is in a really healthy place for a shooting guard and his playmaking metrics at BBall Index also tell the story of a better passer than his raw numbers indicate.
Sexton still isn’t someone that consistently passes guys open and creates offense for them. But he’s getting better at recognizing the open man and capitalizing on those opportunities.
4. If you had to make the final call, would you trade him?
Only if it made the Cavs better. I wouldn’t trade Sexton for picks or unproven players. But if an opportunity came up where the Cavs could package him with future picks or other players on the roster in a deal that made the team more balanced/better, I would be open to it.
5. What do you think a possible Pelicans/Cavs could look like if an agreement was actually reached?
I think Ingram would be the target, but that would obviously cost more than just Sexton. I’d assume players like Taureen Prince, Cedi Osman, Larry Nance Jr. and future picks would likely be in the mix in such a move.
While I don’t think the third overall pick would be on the table, the Cav’s 2022 first with light protections could be an interesting asset as well as Houston’s second round pick next season. Any move would likely be a consolidation of talent and assets from a Cavs perspective compared to looking to get spare parts back for him.
That was our time with Justin Rowan and the Chase Down Podcast family. Be sure to listen to their July 6th episode where they go into the Sexton rumors in great depth.
Hope you all enjoyed this latest edition of Outsider’s Perspective. Geaux Pels!