The New Orleans Pelicans have had a busy offseason, and if you are reading the national media, you’d think it was a complete disaster.
Zach Lowe recently had this to say about the Pelicans’ free agency so far and I’ve seen this opinion mirrored by several other writers and even some fans of New Orleans:
"“Pelicans have to be one of the big losers in FA. Gave up two picks to not get Lowry. Traded a 1st round pick + Lonzo for Graham, Satoransky, and Temple. To give up three picks and lose the best player in Lonzo… boy oh boy… it’s hard to look at this series of events and feel good about NOLA.”"
I do agree that David Griffin has not managed his assets well, as it is not good to have to give up draft picks to get off a contract, as he did with Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams.
I’d also agree that the Lonzo Ball saga probably didn’t go to plan, but I have no problem with the Pelicans’ decision not to offer that ridiculous contract, as Ball simply has not earned it. Knowing this, Ball should have been traded at the deadline, as they could have gotten some assets for him instead of trading him away for nothing but a decent bench player in Satoransky.
But I don’t agree that the Pelicans have been the biggest losers in free agency and think they should be better next season with the moves they did make.
New Orleans Pelicans: Jonas Valanciunas is a big upgrade over Steven Adams
Valanciunas came to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of a trade, so technically he is not part of the Pels’ free agency.
But it’s unfair to ignore this addition, as it makes the rest of the Pelicans’ moves look better when viewed as a whole.
Valanciunas is a big upgrade over Adams, as he provides all the of the defense and rebounding but can also score and step away from the hoop, something the Pelicans desperately needed around Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.
The Pels might have missed out on Kyle Lowry in free agency, but they made a trade that will make them better and cleared some cap space, so it can’t be ruled a disaster even though Griffin was mostly cleaning up his own mistakes.