New Orleans Pelicans: Trade, pending or core? Where each Pelican fits

Steven Adams #12, Brandon Ingram #14, Zion Williamson #1, Josh Hart #3 and Lonzo Ball #2 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Steven Adams #12, Brandon Ingram #14, Zion Williamson #1, Josh Hart #3 and Lonzo Ball #2 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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The New Orleans Pelicans are going to have a lot of roster decisions to make before the trade deadline and some won’t be easy.

The Pelicans have had a terrible start even though the cornerstones Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram have played well.

It takes time to build a quality roster and some of these players are definitely not part of the long-term plans.

Related Story. Will the Pels be buyers or sellers at the deadline?. light

The New Orleans Pelicans can be put into 3 categories: guys they would trade right now and should be actively shopping. This is the “trade” category.

The “Pending” category are the players whose future is still unclear, but they have favorable contracts and aren’t killing the team. The Pels could trade any of these players but probably aren’t actively shopping them.

The final group is the “Core,” the players who are part of the long-term plans because of their talent, age or contract.

Remember, contracts matter, so even though you may think Lonzo Ball is a better player than Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Lonzo is on the final year of his deal and thinks he is getting a big raise while NAW is signed through 2022-23 at a reasonable price.

Let’s start with the “Trade” category.

New Orleans Pelicans: who should the Pels trade?


J.J. Redick

Redick has not played well this season and his trade value probably would have been higher a few months ago.

Nevertheless, his contract would be easy to move and a lot of contenders would take a chance that Redick’s shooting will come around, which I am sure it will.

The chances of the Pels getting much in return are dwindling every time Redick misses a shot, so he could be the first one to go if the Pels decide to make a trade.

Nicolo Melli

The Pelicans aren’t getting anything of value for Melli unless they attach an asset even though he is on a team-friendly contract.

If the Pels were willing to take on another terrible player on a similar deal or a slightly better one on a worse deal, then they could probably move Melli. That’s not likely to happen, so Melli won’t be traded unless his salary is needed as filler in a bigger deal.

Eric Bledsoe

Bledsoe hasn’t been terrible but he hasn’t been very good either.

He is on a reasonable contract and is one of the few Pelicans who plays defense, although even that hasn’t been great this season.

The Pels probably aren’t actively shopping him but they would definitely listen or include him in a deal so Bledsoe is not part of the long-term plans.

Lonzo Ball

Coming into the season, Pels’ fans and management wanted nothing more than for Lonzo Ball to play well, cement himself as part of the core, get a max deal and stay with the Pelicans.

It’s not all his fault that things have gone poorly, as Stan Van Gundy isn’t getting the most of his talents and he’s been reduced to a 3-and-D wing.

I still think Lonzo is going to be a very good player in this league but the Pels would be taking a risk if they didn’t trade him before the deadline, as they have no guarantee he’ll stay or that they will want to pay him his asking price.

Unfortunately, the Lonzo Ball era could come to an end with the New Orleans Pelicans if things don’t turn around.