The New Orleans Pelicans are not in the playoffs this season but will be watching the first round series between the Clippers and Mavericks closely.
The Dallas Mavericks jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the Clippers and already the rumors and gossip are starting to fly around what might happen if the Clippers fail in the playoffs again.
The Clippers will have two key free agents in Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka, who both have player options that they are likely to decline in favor of more lucrative long-team deals.
If the Clippers lose to the Mavericks in the first round, there might be big changes in Los Angeles that could benefit the New Orleans Pelicans.
Could the New Orleans Pelicans land Kawhi Leonard or Serge Ibaka?
It’s hard to say what the enigmatic Kawhi Leonard might do this offseason regardless of what happens in the playoffs. I could definitely see him joining forces with another star or two somewhere other than the Clippers.
It’s hard to see him coming to New Orleans after spending years trying to get to Los Angeles, but If Kawhi thought his best chance at long-term success was to latch onto a couple of young stars, then who better than Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram?
It’s a long shot but Leonard would be the perfect fit as he would provide the defense and 3rd consistent scoring option that they lack.
Serge Ibaka might be a better candidate and is another guy who could fit in well with the New Orleans Pelicans, as he is a good defender who can cover a couple of positions. But his minutes, production and shooting numbers all dipped this season and he is on the wrong side of 30, so he’s more likely to stick with a title contender.
Is George Paul a fit on the New Orleans Pelicans?
In the scenario where the Clippers lose in the first round and Kawhi Leonard decides to leave, the Clippers might decide to sell high on Paul George and start over.
If they did, there might be some interest from the Pelicans, who could put together a package of young players and picks that few teams could match.
If the Pelicans could get it done without giving up Brandon Ingram, then it would be a no-brainer, as Paul is another guy who would be a perfect fit and help fix a lot of glaring problems.
If the Los Angeles Clippers lose in the first round you can expect some amount of fallout and the New Orleans Pelicans could benefit.