The New Orleans Pelicans are one of the weirdest teams in the NBA. They have a solid collection of young talent and two All-Stars in Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, yet they are more than a few games away from the play-in game.
The 2020-21 Pelicans season is at a crossroads, as with only 30 games left after a matinee matchup with the Denver Nuggets, New Orleans needs to decide whether they want to make a playoff push and go for the 10 seed or be sellers at the deadline.
Here are two trades that the Pelicans could make before the trade deadline on Thursday, March 25.
Pelicans trade Eric Bledsoe, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, 2022 second round pick to the Magic for Aaron Gordon.
The talented Magic forward has been on the trade block for the last few seasons, and according to NBCSports, Orlando is looking for a lot in exchange for the former Arizona Wildcat.
This is not a bad return for the Magic, as they would get a reliable veteran guard in Eric Bledsoe, who can slide in as the starting point guard for a squad that hasn’t had trouble keeping a consistent starter in that spot in years.
While they would have to take another year of Bledsoe’s contract after this shortened season, getting a young player in Alexander-Walker who has shown flashes as a multi-faceted scorer and a second round pick certainly sweetens the deal.
As Aaron Kellerstrass for Pelicans Debrief touched on earlier this week, the Pelicans already struggle with spacing and adding a below-average shooter in Gordon doesn’t help that problem.
But a Williamson-Gordon front court is intriguing, as Williamson and Lonzo Ball are the two best playmakers Gordon has ever played with. They can find the high-flying big man on backdoor cuts and off rim-runs on the pick-and-roll, which makes a very good offensive team in New Orleans even better.
Gordon has also been dependable on defense this season. While advanced statistics have never been kind to him, he’s usually guarding the other team’s best player, as Gordon makes the Magic almost four points better in defensive rating when he is on the floor.
The Pelicans can certainly use that defensive help, being that they boast the third-worst defensive rating in the league.
While Gordon can be a little limited offensively and doesn’t space the floor well, he’s still an upgrade over Steven Adams and Jaxson Hayes as a small-ball 5 alongside Williamson, Ingram, Ball and Josh Hart in crunch time.
New Orleans trades J.J. Redick, 2022 second round pick
Philadelphia 76ers for Mike Scott, Terrance Ferguson, Matisse Thybulle
Redick has been rumored to be on the trade block for months now, as the veteran can provide three-point shooting off the bench and clutch floor-spacing for a team looking to make a title push.
Philly would be a great fit for Redick. He previously played there for two seasons, and also played under head coach Doc Rivers when he was with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Sixers star Joel Embiid has made it clear that he loved playing with Redick when he was on one of the first episodes of Redick’s ‘The Old Man and the Three’ podcast.
Redick gives Philly a quality shooter who has been in a lot of big games, and you can never have enough of those guys when the playoffs roll around.
The package above is a great return for Redick, who has sort of become a luxury for the Pelicans.
As much of a steady veteran presence as Redick has been in New Orleans, they don’t necessarily need him with their current roster, as Ball, Bledsoe, Alexander-Walker and rookie Kira Lewis make for a crowded backcourt.
For the Pelicans, Scott and Ferguson are expiring contracts who are not likely to be a part of the Pelicans future, but getting a second round pick and one of the league’s best young defenders in Thybulle makes this a no-brainer for New Orleans.