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Odds for New Orleans Pelicans Starter’s Next Team Revealed

Mar 5, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; A general view of the basketball shoes of New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas (17) against the Toronto Raptors during the warmup before a game at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Recent reports have indicated the New Orleans Pelicans will likely move on from starting center Jonas Valanciunas after three seasons. According to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, the Pelicans do not consider Valanciunas the best center in a Zion Williamson-led offense.

There’s a sense Jonas Valanciunas won’t return as a Pelican this offseason in free agency, I’m told. Valanciunas essentially split center minutes with Larry Nance Jr. this season and was benched often to close games. When Zion is healthy and playing, Valanciunas occupies the paint and clogs driving lanes for Zion. While he’s still a double-double threat, he’s not an ideal fit for this roster, and his near double-double production will likely be more valued by other teams on the unrestricted free-agent market.

With Valanciunas likely on the move, odds for his next destination have been revealed. Currently, the Sacramento Kings (+400) are the betting favorites to sign the Lithuanian native. The Los Angeles Clippers (+500), Charlotte Hornets (+550), Utah Jazz (+550), and Chicago Bulls (+550) are the next teams in line.

Last season, Valanciunas averaged 12.2 points and 8.8 rebounds over 23.5 minutes per game. All these numbers are the lowest he has put up in his Pelicans tenure.

Odds for New Orleans Pelicans Starter’s Next Team Revealed

Jonas Valanciunas Is Not the Only Center the Sacramento Kings Are Pursuing

Valanciunas is not the only big man the Kings may pursue. According to Evan Dammarell of Right Down Euclid, the Kings could have interest in Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen, who could be on the move.

“The general vibe across the league according to sources is that Allen and Garland are the two who could become available for the right price if Mitchell re-signs with the Cavaliers. While Allen has been linked to the New Orleans Pelicans for quite a while now, sources tell Right Down Euclid that the Oklahoma City Thunder and Sacramento Kings could be interested in the former All-Star.”

Adding a center would allow the team to move Domantas Sabonis back to his natural position at power forward. Whether Valanciunas is on his way to Sacramento remains unclear.

Could Jonas Valanciunas Join the Los Angeles Lakers?

Another team that may show interest in acquiring Valanciunas’ talents is the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the Lakers (+900) are tied with the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks for the ninth-best odds to sign him. Much like Sabonis and the Kings, adding Valanciunas would help the Lakers move Anthony Davis back to power forward. While Davis is versatile and talented enough to play both big man positions, it is likely in L.A.’s best interest to move him back to his natural position and add a pure center like Valanciunas.

The Last Word on Jonas Valanciunas

Valanciunas is a good and reliable starting center. Furthermore, he can provide real value to a contending team. His rebounding ability and exceptional offensive game can help most teams in the league. Although he may not be the Pelicans’ ideal center, Valanciunas should find a new home in no time.


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