Should the New Orleans Pelicans trade Hayes and NAW now?

Nickeil Alexander-Walker #0 and Jaxson Hayes #10 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Nickeil Alexander-Walker #0 and Jaxson Hayes #10 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans are one of the most disappointing teams in the NBA any way you look at it.

Without Zion Williamson, they are sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference and are currently only ahead of the tanking Pistons and Magic in the win column in the entire NBA.

The Rockets and Thunder, two rebuilding teams with no intention of winning this season, both have a win more than the New Orleans Pelicans, who entered this season with aspirations for a playoff berth.

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With Zion not coming back any time soon, the playoffs are probably already out of reach, so while the Pels do have a valid excuse, another lost season with no playoffs is still pretty disappointing.

What’s worse is that they haven’t seen any growth from their other young players, as Nickeil Alexander-Walker is arguably having his worst season and Jaxson Hayes just got sent to the G-League.

Both players will enter the final year of their rookie deals next season. The question is whether the Pelicans should pick those options up or send these two packing.

New Orleans Pelicans team payroll situation is tricky

The New Orleans Pelicans aren’t going to have a ton of cap space next offseason to add free agents and it’s clear they need more quality depth, as their bench is awful.

Tomas Satoransky’s $10 million will come off the books and Josh Hart’s contract is only partially guaranteed, but other than that, every other guy is signed through next season, assuming they pick up the team option on Zion.

Jaxson Hayes is on the books for $6.8 million and Nickeil Alexander-Walker for just over $5 million, so they could clear another $12 million in space by trading these two for players whose contracts are up after this season.

That, coupled with Sato’s money, would be enough to add another quality player in the $20 million range.

Of the two, I’d say NAW is far more likely to stay, as he is still a value contract that would be easy to trade next season. It would be hard to find a player making so little that had his promise.

Hayes $6.8 million is another story, as he has barely played, showed no signs of growth and may just be a dunk machine who can’t actually play basketball.

The New Orleans Pelicans will have to decide if these two are part of the long-term plans, because if they aren’t, they need to trade them for expiring deals before the deadline so they have some money to spend on free agents next offseason.

Next. Should the Pelicans be patient or make a trade?. dark