New Orleans Pelicans: Potential draft trade with the Pistons

The New Orleans Pelicans made the playoffs this season but still walked away with the 8th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft courtesy of the Lakers.

It’s a rare chance to get to add a top-10 pick to a playoff team, so the Pels have a chance to set themselves up for sustained success with the right pick.

New Orleans is not likely to be back in the lottery for a long time, so this could be their last chance to add an impact talent at the top of the draft. The Pelicans might see this as the time to push in some of their assets and trade up in the draft, as they could get a guy who is part of the future core and start building a dynasty.

There are a few teams in the top-5 that might want to trade, as Sacramento is looking for a player to help them win now (good luck Kangz!) and the Detroit Pistons are still rebuilding and may relish the chance to trade back and grab another asset or two.

Here is a trade with the Detroit Pistons that does not involve Jerami Grant and would allow the New Orleans Pelicans to trade up in the 2022 NBA Draft.

New Orleans Pelicans: NBA Draft trade with the Detroit Pistons

Here is a trade that would allow the Pelicans to get one of the top-5 players in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Pistons Get
Jaxson Hayes
#8 pick 2022 NBA Draft
2023 1st-round pick (Swap with LAL)
Pelicans Get
#5 pick 2022 NBA Draft

Why the Pistons would do it: Detroit needs depth and talent at center and has the time and patience to develop Jaxson Hayes. They would only move back three spots and probably think they can still get an impact player in that range to put with Cade Cunningham. They also get a future first-round pick. It really would depend on what the Pistons thought of Jaxson Hayes and his ceiling, as he is still just 22-years-old and would basically be like adding a second lottery pick for Detroit.

Why the Pelicans would do it: If the Pelicans wanted to draft a guy like Bennedict Mathurin (who won’t likely be there at 8), then this is what it would likely take to move up. They would do this if they didn’t think Hayes was part of the future and didn’t want to extend him. Hayes’ role could be reduced when Zion Williamson returns, so this would actually solve a problem and clear an additional $6.8 million in cap space next season. Next year’s pick from the Lakers isn’t likely to be in the lottery (unless the Lakers stink again which would be amazing) and the Pels won’t have space to add another young player anyway, so they might as well try to add one better player instead. The Pelicans could use some of their assets to get a guy they think can be part of their future core, which will be a lot easier with the 5th pick than the 8th.