After bowing out, but in a promising style, to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the NBA playoffs, the New Orleans Pelicans must consider trades to improve their roster. Brandon Ingram is much-improved, while the CJ McCollum addition is paying off. The Pelicans’ top player, in terms of potential at least, Zion Williamson didn’t play all season long. Should he be back to full health, paired with all the other Pelicans pieces, this team can be quite solid next season.
New Orleans Pelicans: Two Trades to Consider
Filling Needs for Both Sides
New Orleans needs Williamson insurance. They have promising rookies as well as draft capital, but Markkanen is proven. He may not be the most elite defender, but he can score in a variety of ways. He brings size and length as well and showed that he can play both forward positions in Cleveland. Markkanen is also an option as a small-ball five due to his ability to stretch the floor. Osman arrives as a two-way wing option.
Graham arrived in New Orleans with the expectation of replacing Lonzo Ball. He was also fresh off a very good season with the Charlotte Hornets. Graham, however, did not live up to expectations and Jose Alvarado took his minutes. Cleveland needs a backup option for Darius Garland, and Graham can do this. He’s an above-average offensive player who should do well off the bench like his former Hornets role. Nance Jr. already had a tenure with the Cavaliers, so the team knows him well. He’s a strong backup option for young star Evan Mobley. This deal also gets Cleveland out of Markkanen’s contract. It’s not a horrible one, but they don’t particularly need his fit with their frontcourt.
A Straight-up Swap
New Orleans Pelicans receive Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Washington Wizards receive Devonte’ Graham
For starters, Graham’s contract isn’t bad, it’s just not ideal. Now with McCollum in New Orleans, and Alvarado’s emergence, the Pelicans don’t need Graham. The Wizards, however, need a point guard.
Acquiring Graham gives the Wizards a starting point guard, while Caldwell-Pope leaving opens more time on the floor for young players such as Deni Avdija and Corey Kispert. Assuming Bradley Beal returns, then Washington will have plenty of offensive firepower. Graham isn’t the best option for Washington, but it’s an option nonetheless.
Caldwell-Pope is a veteran who can really help this young Pelicans squad, much like McCollum did. He can either start or come off the bench, either role is fine for him. He brings in solid perimeter defense as well as shooting, so he fits in quite nicely here. New Orleans will also be able to come off his contract quickly should things not work out. Ingram, McCollum, and Williamson are already a great “big three,” assuming all are healthy, so adding a role player like Caldwell-Pope to the collection of solid and young players is a move geared towards immediate success.
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