Pelicans: What will it take to keep Josh Hart? 5 salary comparisons

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

When the New Orleans Pelicans and Josh Hart failed to come to an agreement on an extension, both sides knew it was a risk.

The risk for Hart is that he would have a poor season and lower his value while the risk for the Pels was just the opposite.

Nearing the midway point of the season, it’s still hard to know if the risk paid off for either of them.

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Hart has been very good at times and is certainly one of the Pels’ best defenders and continues to be one of the best rebounding guards in the NBA.

But his shot has been inconsistent and the Pels could use some more size around Zion Williamson. While Hart does fit the mold of the type of guy they’d like to have around Zion, it’s unclear if the Pels think he will be worth the raise that is certainly coming.

Here are five players who will give you an idea of what Hart might get as an annual salary and whether the New Orleans Pelicans can afford it.

New Orleans Pelicans: 5 players who compare to Josh Hart

Josh Hart is definitely not in the top tier of NBA shooting guards that includes guys like James Harden, Klay Thompson and Devin Booker.

You have to go a little further down the list to find some comps for Hart, who is more in line with guys who are 15th-19th in annual salary for shooting guards.

That list includes Tim Hardaway Jr., Bogdan Bogdanovic, Evan Fournier, Eric Gordon and Caris LeVert.

Hart scores fewer points per game than any of these guys, averaging just 9.1 while the rest of them are in high double digits aside from Bogdanovic, who is having an off year so far.

Hart is a better rebounder than any of these guys and is also the best defender, so even though he doesn’t score as much or shoot as well as most of them, he brings value to the table in other areas.

It’s fair to say that Hart belongs in this group as a player, which is not good news for the New Orleans Pelicans and their salary cap.

All of these guys are making at least $16.2 million per season with Hardaway Jr. making the most at $18.9 million per season. Hart will probably fall somewhere in the middle of that, so the Pels are looking at a pretty steep price for a guy who has been fairly inconsistent and is already 25-years-old.

That is pretty much the magic age in the NBA, as most players are who they are at that point and while they might improve slightly, the ceiling has been set.

There is probably no way that the Pels can pay Hart upwards of $16 million a year and keep Lonzo Ball, so this decision is probably going to come down to which player they prefer.

Lonzo Ball has a much higher ceiling, as he can defend as well as Hart at this point and is a much-better offensive player as well.

Unfortunately, it is going to be tough for the New Orleans Pelicans to retain Josh Hart because some other team is almost certain to offer him a salary in that range and he’s unlikely to turn it down just to stay in New Orleans.

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