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New Orleans Pelicans rumors, trade and free-agent buzz for this summer

Sportsnaut
Sportsnaut
 29 days ago

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The New Orleans Pelicans are coming off a disappointing 2020-21 season in which they failed to make the playoffs, which is stirring trade rumors, and now, head coach Stan Van Gundy is out after posting a 31-41 record.

Let’s take a closer look at the latest surrounding a critical upcoming season for the Pels as they try to mold a legitimate playoff contender around young superstar Zion Williamson.

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Stan Van Gundy fired after one season as New Orleans Pelicans coach

New Orleans Pelicans rumors: Tomas Satoransky speaks out on Zion trade buzz

The newly acquired combo guard who came to New Orleans from Chicago in the Lonzo Ball sign-and-trade spoke about the speculation swirling around Zion Williamson’s future :

Satoransky isn’t the most visible or outspoken player in the NBA, but he’s dropping some knowledge dimes right here. It’s probably true that Zion isn’t ready to bail just yet on the Pelicans to the point where he’s demanding a trade. At the same time, New Orleans needs to get its act together and become a contender in the next season or two.

Everyone wants to see a phenomenal talent like Zion succeed. It’s just a matter of surrounding him with the right players and coaches, which is easier said than done given his one-of-one skill set. For his part, Satoransky should be valuable, mature role player off the bench who provides a spark to the offense.

New Orleans Pelicans rumors: Team denied Cleveland’s Josh Hart sign-and-trade proposal

The Pels wound up hanging onto Hart on a three-year contract, but before the restricted free agent signed on the dotted line, there was a possibility he’d ultimately be shipped to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor reported that the Cavs have been looking for help on the wing since dealing away Taurean Prince in the trade that landed them Ricky Rubio. They were interested in Hart, but New Orleans denied their pursuit.

Hart is an excellent rebounder for his size, and if he can just get his 3-point shooting up a little, he could be one of the best bargains in the NBA as far as viable role players go.

New Orleans Pelicans rumors: Buddy Hield emerges as trade target

Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported that the Pelicans want to acquire the Sacramento Kings’ sharpshooting guard , but in order to land Hield, it seems like a deal would require Josh Hart to go to the Kings.

As of right now, Hart is a restricted free agent who’s surprisingly not made a decision on where to sign. Sounds like Hart’s decision will go a long way in determining how this shakes out.

Hield may not be a better all-around player than Lonzo Ball, but he may be a better long-term fit to replace him in the Pels’ backcourt.

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New Orleans Pelicans looking to pull off Buddy Hield trade?

New Orleans Pelicans rumors: Team reportedly offered Chris Paul huge free-agent contract

As was reported by Pro Basketball Talk’s Kurt Helin, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said that the Pels offered Chris Paul a $100 million contract before CP3 opted to stay with the Phoenix Suns. Paul actually used the offer as leverage to get a fourth year on his deal in Phoenix.

In an already rather painful offseason, it’s quite a blow for Paul to spurn New Orleans, especially in this fashion. Losing Lonzo Ball may have been a necessary addition by subtraction, but it remains to be seen if new additions like Devonte’ Graham, Tomas Satoransky and Jonas Valanciunas are enough to get the Pels competitive out West.

New Orleans Pelicans rumors: Zion’s family wants him to be traded

A voluminous, unflattering Pelicans report in The Athletic from Thursday reads, in part, as follows:

“Multiple sources have told The Athletic that certain family members want Williamson on another team. For months, sources from all NBA corners have pointed to the Pelicans as a heap of dysfunction.”

That’s not a great look. And the only way for Zion Williamson to get out of New Orleans is via trade, which is virtually impossible.

Consider that Williamson is under contract for three more years, directly under the Pelicans’ control. A trade would mean another young star who wants out from a dysfunctional team would need to go to New Orleans to make it all work.

But why would said other young star OK a trade to somewhere else that’s also dysfunctional? Make no sense.

We could see something unprecedented, yet Williamson doesn’t come across as a demanding diva type of personality. That report from The Athletic also cites people close to Williamson who assert that he “remains focused on basketball and helping New Orleans win next season.”

Welp, the Pelicans really need to nail that coaching hire.

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Best candidates to replace fired New Orleans Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy

New Orleans Pelicans rumors: Top candidates to replace Stan Van Gundy as coach emerge

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted out a list of front-runners to succeed Van Gundy , including longtime NBA superstar Jason Kidd:

The New York Times ‘ Marc Stein reported Teresa Weatherspoon is a “serious” candidate , which would mark the first hiring of a female coach in NBA history.

Weatherspoon and San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon should both have legitimate chances to be head coaches very soon. Who the Pelicans hire will likely make or break whether or not Williamson remains in New Orleans for the long haul.

New Orleans Pelicans trade scenarios for 2021 NBA offseason

Check out the trade scenarios we proposed this offseason — before they came true.

Lonzo Ball sign-and-trade a real possibility

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Jan 21, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (2) warms up prior to their game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Update: Lonzo Ball to Chicago Bulls in sign-and-trade deal

Per RealGM, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on his podcast that Lonzo Ball to the Chicago Bulls is one match in particular to watch for on the NBA trade market this summer.

Ball is a restricted free agent, and will command a hefty salary. It comes down to whether he’s a good enough basketball fit in New Orleans and if the Pelicans can even afford him, especially with Zion’s eventual max contract on the horizon.

Van Gundy getting fired throws a whole other wrench into the Ball saga, too.

Teams that are more ideally situated from a cap standpoint are likely to make a strong bid for Ball. New Orleans is bound to match any offer sheet that Ball signs, but that complicates the framework of a prospective sign-and-trade scenario.

If the Bulls really do want Ball, he’d be a nice fit in the backcourt alongside Zach LaVine. However, they’d have to be patient, and would likely do a sign-and-trade of their own with Lauri Markkanen.

The New York Knicks are another team to watch for in a Ball sign-and-trade, as they could offer the Pelicans a decent number of young assets in a deal that’d be mutually beneficial for two franchises trying to take the next step.

Eric Bledsoe must be traded for team-building purposes

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Dec 23, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Bledsoe (5) moves to the basket as Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) defends during the second half at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Update: Eric Bledsoe traded to Memphis Grizzlies, then to Los Angeles Clippers

Because Eric Bledsoe continues to disappoint and underachieve, there’s no reason New Orleans should hang onto him into next season. He’s an inefficient scorer, more of a ‘tweener than dynamic combo guard and isn’t exactly the most reliable perimeter defender.

Retaining the likes of Ball and Josh Hart means the Pelicans will need to find a Bledsoe suitor. That may prove difficult, because he’s due over $18 million next season and hits free agency again in 2023.

While that’s not a prohibitive cost, teams might find two capable contributors at that combined cost rather than overpaying for Bledsoe. That’s what the Pelicans are certainly hoping for in a potential deal. They would need defensive help and shooting in a Bledsoe trade to execute an ideal offseason plan.

The Los Angeles Lakers stand out as a potential Bledsoe destination, because he shares an agent with LeBron James and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. KCP’s salary is a near match for Bledsoe, and the Lakers could send back a role player as part of the package.

Related: NBA games today – Key dates of the NBA offseason, 2021-22 schedule

Top remaining New Orleans Pelicans trade targets for 2021 NBA offseason

  • Buddy Hield, guard, Sacramento Kings
  • Kevin Love, forward, Cleveland Cavaliers

Related: NBA Power Rankings – Nets, Lakers top dogs with training camp opening

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