Coming into the offseason, the New Orleans Pelicans’ payroll had some bloated contracts that looked like they’d be dragging the Pels down for years to come.
Eric Bledsoe had two years remaining and did not produce. Steven Adams had already gotten a 3-year extension and didn’t look like he was a good fit, and Lonzo Ball was in line for a massive raise.
Flash forward a few weeks and all three are gone, which not only made the Pelicans better as a team but improved their payroll situation considerably.
They did take back Jonas Valanciunas, but he is only making $14 million this season, which is a bargain when you compare him to Steven Adams, and the deal only runs for one year, so if it doesn’t work out, the Pelicans can move on.
I think they dodged a bullet by not signing Lonzo Ball, as now the roster is more or less set, could be better than last season, and the Pels still have a massive $17 million trade exception to use to add talent at some point.
New Orleans Pelicans: The Pels have zero bad contracts
If you look around the NBA, there aren’t many teams who can say that they have zero bad contracts, and the New Orleans Pelicans are one of them.
Their highest paid player is Brandon Ingram, who is an under-25 year-old All-Star who is locked up for the next four seasons. His salary is right in line with guys who are at his level, and considering he hasn’t even hit his peak yet, this could end up being a bargain.
Other than him, and the aforementioned Valanciunas, no one on the Pelicans is making more than Josh Hart’s $12.5 million per season.
Everyone else is either on a rookie contract or minimum deal, so the Pelicans cap sheet is clean and will have plenty of space moving forward.