The New Orleans Pelicans learned their fate Tuesday night, they will select 8th in the 2022 NBA Draft. New Orleans will also have their own second round pick (#41) and the Utah Jazz second round pick (#52).
In the future the Pelicans still have a lot of draft assets headed their way. I am going to focus below only on the first round picks.
2023 NBA Draft: Pelicans will have the better of their own and the Lakers first round pick.
2024 NBA Draft: Pelicans will have the better of their own and the Bucks first round pick. They ALSO have the Lakers pick this year OR next year.
2025 NBA Draft: Pelicans will have their own first round pick AND Milwaukee's first round pick if it lands in the top 4.
2026 NBA Draft: Pelicans will have the better of their own and the Bucks first round pick.
2027 NBA Draft: Pelicans will have their own first round pick AND the Bucks first round pick.
Salary Cap and Roster Spots
The odd scenario the Pelicans find themselves in this summer is having more draft picks (3) than open roster spots (1). Everyone from last season's playoff team is already under contract for the 2022-23 season except Tony Snell.
David Griffin, Trajan Langdon, Swin Cash, and the rest of the Pelicans front office could elect to have a very uneventful summer. Draft their preferred target are #8, sell or flip the two second round picks, and then go on vacation after they find two prospects worthy of a Two-Way contract. New Orleans would still be comfortably under the luxury tax in this scenario.
If instead the Pelicans did want to make a play in free agency they would first need to open a roster spot. The most obvious path here is an uneven trade where the Pelicans send out more players than they receive.
We'll find out in the next month and a half which direction the Pelicans prefer. What is clear is this franchise is on its most solid footing since arriving in the Crescent City. Let's hope the Pelicans brain trust can identify the next Herb Jones.