The New Orleans Pelicans have been involved in a ton of offseason rumors, most of which revolve around the NBA Draft.
The most recent noise has the Pels reportedly trying to strike a deal with division-rival Memphis involving the 10th pick in the NBA Draft and Eric Bledsoe.
We knew heading into the offseason that two things were true: The Pelicans want desperately to get off of Bledsoe’s contact but unfortunately there isn’t much of a market for him.
That means if the Pelicans want to get his contract off the books, they are going to have to attach an asset, in this case, the 10th pick in the NBA Draft.
Giving up assets to move off a contract is the definition of bad management, especially when Bledsoe was supposed to be an asset himself after coming over in the Jrue Holiday trade.
Not only that, but they’d potentially be helping the Memphis Grizzlies, who are in their division and figure to be battling it out with the Pelicans for a playoff spot next season.
Even though it is not an ideal situation, I still think this trade with the Memphis Grizzlies makes sense for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Pelicans: A deep NBA Draft means moving back is no big deal
This is a very good and deep NBA Draft with some potential franchise changers at the top and a whole lot of very good prospects littered throughout the first round.
If the Pelicans were to use their 10th pick to get off Bledsoe, but get the 17th pick back in the process, they would still likely be able to find a similar talent.
The difference between the 10th pick and 17th has never been that great in the NBA Draft and especially this year, when the entire first round should be pretty good.
The Pelicans need shooting and can probably still get a shooter like Corey Kispert, Trey Murphy III or Nah’Shon Hyland at that point in the NBA Draft.
There are also a number of talented defenders who are projected to go in that range, so moving back seven spots shouldn’t limit the Pelicans’ ability to find impact talent.
Pelicans: Cap space is more important than a draft pick at this point
The Pelicans are desperate to build a winner around Zion Williamson right away so that he doesn’t get ideas of fleeing after his rookie contract, something that has never actually happened with a star player.
They already have a ton of young and raw talent in Kira Lewis Jr., Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, so the Pels don’t really need another young player, but what they do need is the cap space ditching Bledsoe would provide.
Getting rid of Bledsoe would allow the Pelicans to add another impact veteran via free agency or trade and could lead to a guy like Kyle Lowry coming to New Orleans.
The Pels would be loathe to help their division rival, but they would also be helping themselves by getting rid of Bledsoe and his contract. This would be David Griffin admitting he made a mistake by bringing Bledsoe to New Orleans in the first place, but at this point it’s better to cut ties before they throw another season at a sunk cost.