The Pelicans currently find themselves in a strange situation, they aren’t bad enough to get a high draft pick, but aren’t good enough to make the playoffs in the loaded West. Obviously, they could trade Anthony Davis and blow it all up, but they’re also moves that allow them to become more competitive right now. If they want to keep Davis around they need to start winning. Half of their losses have been by 7 points or less, meaning they only need a small adjustment to improve. If the New Orleans Pelicans make one really good trade they should compete for home court in the West. The problem is the Pelicans have almost no assets making any trade extremely difficult.
*I will not be including a trade with the Wizards because I already discussed that here*
Suns: Solomon Hill, 2019 1st round pick (Top 10 protected), Future 2nd
Pelicans: TJ Warren
This trade gives the Pelicans the perfect wing they badly need. Warren’s ability to be an offensive threat and not be a disaster on defense is exactly what the Pelicans need. Warren will fit well in the Pelicans fast-paced offense and should provide a lot more value than Hill. This season Warren has shot 46% from three. The Pelicans have struggled to knock down threes this season, but adding Warren would give them the necessary shooting depth. The Pelicans lack a starting-caliber small forward and Warren might be the perfect player to fill that need.
For the Suns, the draft assets are the primary benefit, but Hill’s contract is also perfect. His $12 million contract will expire in 2020, at the same time as Ryan Anderson’s $21 million contract. With both of those contracts off the books, the Suns will have lots of money to play with that offseason. They will be able to sign a third star to compliment Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton or facilitate a trade that brings in whatever players they need. The other benefit of getting rid of Warren is creating more playing time for Josh Jackson and Mikal Bridges. The Suns have a logjam at the wing so getting rid of Warren would benefit their other developing players. Also, as previously mentioned, the draft assets are huge. There is a good chance that the Pelicans fall into the middle ground of 11-18. Adding another decent draft pick allows the Suns to add to their young depth, or trade it for value elsewhere.
Magic: Solomon Hill, Wesley Johnson, 2 Future 2nds
Pelicans: Evan Fournier
The Pelicans would benefit a lot from this trade. Adding Evan Fournier gives them another talented wing player to compliment Jrue Holiday. Their offense needs a floor spacer like Fournier. They currently rank 19th in 3 pointers made, so Fournier, who has averaged 1.9+ threes made per game since 2015-15, will help. In fact, Fournier’s 1.9 threes per game are better than every Pelican player expect Nikola Mirotic. He is also a more respectable defender than the Pelicans other shooters such as E’twaun Moore and Darius Miller. Also, not having to give up any truly valuable asset is a huge win for the Pelicans.
Although the Magic are currently the 7th seed in the East, this trade gives them the perfect opportunity to dump Fournier’s salary. If the Magic want to become true competitors they need to add an elite point guard. A playoff spot would be nice, but having the space to sign somebody like Kemba Walker would be way more valuable. They would take back Hill who could be moved in the offseason as an expiring deal and Johnson who will be off the books after this season. This gives them much more flexibility than Fournier’s 3-year $51 million contract. They already have a young big 3 between Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac, and Mohamed Bamba and Fournier doesn’t fit into their future plans. Dumping him for cap flexibility and building around their young core makes more sense than trying to hold on.
Do you have different trade ideas? Comment below! Or contact me