What’s Next In New Orleans?
Now that the Pelicans have arguably one of the most talented frontcourts in the NBA, they need to develop a team that can contend in the Western Conference.
They are currently the 11th seed, but are only 2.5 games out of the 8th seed. They have plenty of time to get into the playoffs, but they are going to need to make some more moves if they want a chance to advance.
Their total roster has 13 players, but nine of those play at either a forward or center position. The only guards left on the roster are Tim Frazier, Jrue Holiday, E’Twaun Moore, and Quincy Pondexter. Solomon Hill can also fill in as a decent shooting guard if need be, but they are big heavy in a league that is thriving on small ball.
There are a lot of good guards that will be free agents this summer, the question will be finding one that is in the Pelicans price range.
Anthony Davis has been making a big push to Jrue Holiday. Bringing Holiday back would probably cost them anywhere from $15 million to $20 million. They can probably unload the contracts of Omer Asik and Quincy Pondexter to free up another $13 million.
As much as the team would probably love to bring in one of the star guards hitting the market, (Chris Paul or Steph Curry) the money they have available makes it basically impossible without gutting the roster and signing a bunch of minimum players.
Derrick Rose would be in that next level. He gives them a valuable asset in terms of scoring and distributing the ball. However, is it enough to warrant the spending and the risk of his injury history? Probably not.
The options at the middle of the road in terms of price are actually pretty good, but many of these may end up seeking more money or remaining loyal in some cases.
The first option would be Jeff Teague. He would be a solid veteran presence and has proven he can ride with star players. He is currently making $8 million, and averaging 15.4 PPG and 8.1 APG. Those statistics could allow Teague to look for money this year, probably reasonably up to the $15 million range. This puts him on the edge of the affordable line for the Pelicans.
Option number two may come down to that players loyalty and how his current team handles their own free agents, J.J. Redick. Redick is currently making just under $7 million, but is averaging a very nice 15.1 PPG. The Clippers are more than likely going to throw as much money as possible at Blake Griffin and Chris Paul to keep their big three intact. This could leave Redick as the odd man out. Redick could theoretically demand more money from certain teams as he could go from the fourth option to the second or third on another team. If he would choose to leave, he would be a great addition to spread the floor for the Pelicans. The best situation here is if they could get him for $13 million or less.
The last option here is probably a stretch based upon the rumors of his latest contract requests, but shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope would bring a great scoring option from the wing. Pope is averaging 14.2 PPG, but is supposedly asking the Pistons for at least $20 million on his new contract. If that is the case, he is a stretch to obtain, but even getting him for $15 million would be a great price and a possibility for the Pelicans.
There seems to be no talk of any other moves happening for the Pelicans before Thursday’s deadline, but this off-season will be key to the future of this franchise.