By Shawn Dennis

Going into the 2020-2021 season, the New Orleans Pelicans had much higher expectations in comparison to last season. When the Bubble came, Alvin Gentry couldn’t get his team to make the playoffs, as they ended with a disappointing 2-6 record and fired Gentry in the process. Moving Jrue Holiday to the Bucks in the offseason to provide Lonzo Ball with more minutes, as well as getting Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe in return, was arguably the best decision to make with the options lined up on the table for Holiday. This starting lineup is quite scary in size with Zion Williamson and Adams controlling the front court, but that doesn’t make up for being ranked 23rd in team defense with a defensive rating of 110.7. To add to their lack of defense, the Pelicans are second in total opponent rebounds, allowing an average of 48.5 rebounds per game. 

The Western Conference in the NBA has been the tougher of the two to win in for, some may say, the last two decades, aside from the two teams LeBron James had played for. Yet most NBA insiders and analysts didn’t count out the Pelicans from being playoff contenders with the freakishly athletic Zion and the offensive capabilities that the former Los Angeles Laker Brandon Ingram has. New Orleans, through their last ten games, has a dismal 2-8 record and is 14th in the Western Conference. 

Bringing in Stan Van Gundy, who has 12 seasons of not just coaching experience, but coaching teams with a younger roster, was an apt move for the Pelicans. Except GM Trajan Langdon didn’t account for one crucial aspect. Van Gundy had never coached in the Western Conference before. Of course this shouldn’t have hampered Van Gundy’s impressive 529-394 record for becoming the Pelicans coach, but now he is playing teams that he didn’t see more than a couple times a year when coaching in the East. 

Now, two things must be said before we take a look at a few players that will inevitably be traded to get some of the rookies playing minutes. First, the blame isn’t exactly on Stan Van Gundy for where the team is currently. It takes longer than 16 games to get a feel for a team and develop chemistry, but that doesn’t mean trades shouldn’t be made. Second, the Pelicans are still amid their rebuild since the departure of Anthony Davis and shouldn’t be anywhere near the panic button unless this losing streak continues after the All-Star break. 

Lonzo Ball, JJ Reddick, Josh Hart, Eric Bledsoe, and possibly Steven Adams (depending on what they can get in return for him), I believe, are all on the trade block. After seeing Lonzo’s younger brother LaMelo Ball be able to shoot without that funky form and the ceiling that he has in comparison to Lonzo, LaMelo’s now living in the shadows both mentally and physically of his brother. Josh Hart has been shooting a poor 42% from the field this season and that’s even worse considering he only takes six shots a game. JJ Reddick is shooting the worst three-point percentage he’s shot in his career thus far and is lucky to get anymore than 20 minutes in a game. Eric Bledsoe is another guy who should be shooting in the mid 50’s and averaging at least 18-20 points per game, but is underperforming to say the least with 13 a game coming off 44% from the field. It goes without saying that the Pelicans need shooters and the guards that they have, aside from the young guys, have all but reached their peaks. 

A team that comes to mind for a worthwhile trade and would make the most sense for New Orleans is the Charlotte Hornets. Terry Rozier may not play as good of defense as Eric Bledsoe, but they are very similar players with similar contracts aside from being 5-years apart. Charlotte doesn’t need to keep all their guards they currently have and they are extremely weak in the front court, but Rozier would offer New Orleans more options on offense than Bledsoe. The Hornets already have one pair of brothers on their team, I don’t think Michael Jordan would turn down seeing both the Ball brothers in Charlotte with the ratings that would come. 

Here’s a three team trade that has been run through ESPN’s Trade Machine that more than likely won’t happen, but should.

New Orleans receives: Terry Rozier

Charlotte receives: JJ Reddick, Lonzo Ball, PJ Tucker

Houston receives: Malik Monk, Caleb Martin, Cody Martin

I love this trade for each team, as they all acquire players that make sense for their needs and have all been discussed in trade rumors. Houston gets better in their front court offense with Malik Monk, who deserves more playing time than what he’s getting. New Orleans has the option to keep Bledsoe or Rozier or trade either of them or away for another guard. Charlotte gains two established veterans that can shoot the ball, along with a new brother tandem that ESPN would eat up. 

Another trade scenario that could occur is with the Orlando Magic. Van Gundy has a familiarity with the organization and may be able to pursue a shooter and a big. Here’s another trade that’s been approved by the Trade Machine.

New Orleans receives: Terrence Ross, Mo Bamba or Al-Farouq Aminu

Orlando Magic receives: Eric Bledsoe, Josh Hart

I don’t think this would make a huge difference for either team, but Ross would provide more three-point shooting and Bledsoe would make a great leader for the up and coming Cole Anthony. 

Lastly, this is a trade that I see happening the most, as rumors have already been swirling between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Pelicans. 

New Orleans receives: Patrick Beverley, Luke Kennard, Mfiondu Kabengele

Los Angeles receives: Eric Bledsoe, Josh Hart

The point guard swap would be beneficial for both teams in this situation, depending on if Bledsoe can start scoring more and if Beverley could accept a role coming off the bench, if necessary. Luke Kennard has always been an above-average shooter and Josh Hart would fit better in the Ty Lue-run offense in my opinion. 

Whatever ends up happening, it’s going to happen soon. The Pelicans can definitely still grab one of the bottom seeds in the West if the cards are played right and Zion stays healthy. Regardless, I think a trade is the best way of making it possible and bringing in one more veteran wouldn’t hurt as long, as they can still create minutes for their rookie point guard Kira Lewis Jr.

Leave a Reply


Recent posts


2020 2020-21 Season Aaron Rodgers Adam Eaton AJ Preller AJ Styles Alabama Aleksander Barkov Alexis Lefreniere Alex Ovechkin Alex Pietrangelo Alex Smith Alex Verdugo Allen Robinson Andre Drummond Andrei Vasilevskiy Andrew Benentendi Andy Dalton Anthony DeAngelo Anthony Rizzo Anze Kopitar Artemi Panarin Art Ross Trophy Asuka Atlanta Braves Atlanta Hawks Austin Auston Matthews Awards Baltimore Baseball Basketball Betting Big E Bill Belichick Blake Griffin Blake Snell Blowout Boston Boston Bruins Boston Celtics Boston Red Sox Bowen Byram Bradley Beal Brad Marchand Brad Stevens Brandon Moreno Bray Wyatt Brian Hoyer Brighton Brooklyn Nets Bubble Buddy Hield Buffalo Bills Calder Trophy Cale Makar Cam Newton Carey Price Caris LeVert Carolina Hurricanes Carson Wentz Carter Hart Charlie McAvoy Charlotte Hornets Chelsea Chicago Cubs Chicago White Sox Chris Godwin Christian Wood Christmas Cincinnati Clemson Cleveland Cavaliers Cleveland Indians College Football Playoff College Sports Colorado Avalanche Columbus Blue Jackets Combat Sports Conference Championships Connor Hellebuyck Connor McDavid Contenders COVID-19 Cowboys Crystal Palace Dallas Mavericks Danny Ainge David Pastrnak Dax Prescott DeAndre Jordan Deiveson Figueiredo Derrick Henry Derrick Rose DeShaun Watson Detroit Pistons Detroit Tigers Dominick Reyes Don Sweeney Dougie Hamilton Draft Drew McIntyre Dwayne Johnson Dylan Cozens Eddie Rosario England Eric Bledsoe Expansion Fernando Tatis Jr. Fines Florida Football Francisco Lindor Frank Lampard Frank Selke Free Agency Free Agents Fulham Futbol General Manager George Springer Gerrit Cole Giannis Antokounmpo Goals Goldberg Golden State Warriors Gregg Popovich Hall of Fame Hart Memorial Hockey Houston Rockets Houston Texans Hunter Renfroe Hurt Business Ice Shaker Igor Shesterkin Ilya Sorokin Indiana Pacers Isaiah Thomas J.T. Realmuto Jackie Bradley Jr. Jacob DeGrom Jacoby Brissett Jakub Zboril Jameis Winston James Harden James Norris Jarrett Allen Jarrett Stidham Jason Robertson Javier Baez Jaylen Brown Jaylon Brown Jayson Tatum Jed Hoyer Jimmy Garoppolo Joanna Jedrzejczyk Joe Flacco John Gibson Jonathan Huberdeau Jon Jones Jordan Clarkson Jose Aldo Josh Norris Jrue Holiday Jurickson Profar Justin Gaehtje Kansas City Kansas City Chiefs Kawhi Leonard Kemba Walker Kenny Golladay Kevin Durant Kevin Owens Kirill Kaprizov Kris Bryant Kyrie Irving LaMarcus Aldridge LaMelo Ball Lana Lance Lynn Larry Nance Jr. Las Vegas Lavar Ball Lawsuit Leadership Legal Leon Draisaitl Lions Liverpool Lonzo Ball Los Angeles Angels Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Lakers LSU Mackenzie Blackwood Malcolm Brogdon Marcell Ozuna Marcus Mariota Mark Stone Matt Murray Matt Ryan Matt Stafford Memories Miami Dolphins Michael Jordan Mika Zibanejad Minnesota Timberwolves Minnesota Wild Miro Heiskanen Mitch Trubisky MLB Moments Montreal Canadiens MVP Myles Turner Nashville Predators Nathan McKinnon Naughty NBA NBA Draft NCAA New Day New England Patriots New Orleans Pelicans New York Jets New York Mets New York Rangers New York Yankees NFC East NFL NHL Nia Jax Nice Nikola Vucevic Notre Dame Ohio St. Ohio State Oklahoma Oklahoma City Thunder Orlando Magic Outfield Patrice Bergeron Patrick Mahomes Paul George Payton Pritchard Petr Yan PGA Philadelphia Flyers Philadelphia Phillies Phillip Danault Phoenix Suns Pittsburgh Penguins Playoffs Predictions Premier League Presidents Trophy Rafael Stone Randy Orton Ravens Relegations Robin Lehner Rocket Richard Roman Josi Roman Reigns Rookies Russell Wilson Ryan Fitzpatrick Ryan Kesler Ryan O'Reilly Sacramento Kings Safety Sam Darnold Sammy Watkins San Antonio Spurs San Diego Padres Sean Couturier Sebastian Aho Semi Ojeleye Shayna Baszler Sheffield United Sidney Crosby Slam Diego Soccer Sports Stanley Cup Stan Van Gundy Steal Steelers Steven Adams Steven Stamkos Super Bowl LV Suspensions Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa Bay Lightning Tampa Bay Rays Taurean Prince Texans Texas A&M Texas Rangers Thanksgiving The Rock Tim Stutzle TLC Tom Brady Tom Wilson Tony Ferguson Toronto Blue Jays Toronto Maple Leafs Toronto Raptors Tottenham trade Trade Deadline Trades Trevor Bauer Trevor Lawrence Trevor Zegras Tuukka Rask Tyler Glasnow Ty Lue Tyrod Taylor Ty Smith UFC Underrated Vancouver Canucks Vegas Golden Knights Vezina Trophy Victor Hedman Victor Oladipo Washington Washington Capitals Washington Football Team Washington Nationals Washington Wizards West Brom Wild Card William Karlsson William M. Jennings Winnipeg Jets World Series WrestleMania WWE Yu Darvish Zach Werenski Zhang Weili