The New Orleans Pelicans have the draft assets to trade for a superstar like James Harden.
The New Orleans Pelicans have approximately 800 future draft picks after trading Jrue Holiday to the Milwaukee Bucks, then trading three picks in the 2020 NBA Draft for future selections.
This is a smart move, as small-market teams like the Pelicans need to rely on the draft and trades to get their stars, as most of the top free agents are heading to the coasts.
Even after trading the 2023 Denver pick, George Hill and two second-rounders for Steven Adams, the Pelicans still have a lot of draft capital.
The Pels are hoping that Milwaukee will be a lottery team by the time they get the Bucks’ unprotected picks in 2025 and 2027, picks that could be worth a ton if Milwaukee doesn’t re-sign Giannis Antetokounmpo.
But teams can only add so many rookies to the roster, so some of these picks will obviously be moved before they are conveyed.
The Pelicans not only have a ton of picks but currently have at least four guys under contract who are some kind of point guard or tweener shooting guard, so they have a surplus from which to trade.
New Orleans Pelicans: Trading for James Harden could make sense
The Houston Rockets are in a tough spot, as both Russell Westbrook and Harden have expressed some level of dissatisfaction this offseason, with Harden reportedly asking for a trade to the Brooklyn Nets.
The Nets don’t have the combination of young talent and picks that the Rockets would likely covet in a trade.
The Rockets have next to zero future draft capital after trading for Westbrook and would be looking to recover some of what they lost if they do move either him or Harden.
But how many picks would it take?
Is 31-year-old Harden worth risking the future? Let’s take a look at a potential trade.