HomeViral2024 NBA Trade Deadline: Pelicans' Terrifying Nightmare Unleashed!

2024 NBA Trade Deadline: Pelicans’ Terrifying Nightmare Unleashed!

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There is only one NBA Trade Deadline outcome that would be a bigger nightmare for the New Orleans Pelicans than standing pat with the current roster.

The NBA’s February 8th trade deadline is just a week away and a couple big deals have already been made. OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam found new basketball zip codes so the Toronto Raptors can fanally jumpstart are rebuild. The New Orleans Pelicans got in on that early action, too, sending former lottery pick Kira Lewis Jr. out with a second-rounder to duck below the luxury tax.

Executive Vice President David Griffin could have possibly waited to see if another team would give up an asset for Lewis Jr. Instead the front office decided to get ahead of the action early, doing their only piece of necessary business well before the bidding began for more talented options. Now the Pelicans can go into the last week of the bidding wars with no pressure to shed salary in what could have become a more complex, costly deal.

Fans might get upset if New Orleans stands pat, but that is not the worst outcome that could happen before the trade deadline. Prices for some All-Star level talents are going to be too steep for the Pelicans, as tax-paying contenders take one final swing before the punitive damages of the new CBA kick in next season. No, the most awful scenario for New Orleans would be missing out on an opportunity to upgrade on the cheap.

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Pelicans must be ready to buy at trade deadline

Pelicans, Zion Williamson, David Griffin

For instance, Dejounte Murray is reportedly still the top target for the Los Angeles Lakers. The Pelicans own the Los Angeles’ first-round pick in 2024 but can defer it to next year’s draft. New Orleans needs that pick to be as valuable as possible. Letting LeBron James team up with Murray at the cost of D’Angelo Russell and a single, far-into-the-future first-round pick would stoke up the frustrations of the Smoothie King Center’s most loyal customers.

New Orleans needs to be active on the phones so the franchise does not miss out on a golden opportunity. The Pelicans are inconsistent but can beat any contender on their best day. Griffin has to make sure the team does not get worse by being inactive and losing out to lower-valued trade packages at the deadline.

The Pelicans could go big-game hunting and still avoid the luxury tax. Dream acquisitions like Jaren Jackson Jr. or Lauri Markkanen would cost several first-round draft picks plus either Dyson Daniels or Herb Jones. Jordan Clarkson (Utah Jazz), Bruce Brown (Toronto Raptors) and Malcolm Brogdon (Portland Trail Blazers) are also some intriguing options with enticing price tags. Sending out feelers on how much wiggle room each team has is just part of Griffin’s job; so is hanging up if they want to haggle about including Jones.

The Pelicans can afford to stand pat, though that seems unlikely. They can probably even afford to overpay slightly to bring another playoff contributor into the fold. The most nightmare-ish possibility over the next week is the front office missing out on a clearance rack type deal and a difference-maker instead lands with a Western Conference rival. The organization already has a reputation as being very frugal. Fans will be near revolt if they realize the bids were cut-rate low and the Pelicans still didn’t buy.

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