New Orleans Pelicans trade with the Brooklyn Nets
Looking at this trade strictly from an asset perspective, there is no way the Pelicans would do it.
Not only is Valanciunas easily the best player involved in this trade, but he is making considerably less money than Joe Harris, who is due $18 million this season and just under $20 million in the next one.
Sumner is really just a throw-in who probably wouldn’t make the roster, so the only other asset is a distant first-round pick for a team that is already loaded with them.
The real issue is that Harris has major injury concerns, something New Orleans knows plenty about after watching their star sit for an entire season. Shooters who don’t do much else don’t tend to age well (ask JJ Redick), again, something the Pelicans have first-hand experience with in recent history.
Valanciunas is a year younger and has mostly been very reliable in his career, not to mention the fact that he is coming off one of his best seasons. He’s given a preview of how he could fit with Zion Williamson by extending his range and becoming a better passer.
He’s still under contract for two more seasons at a value rate and gives the Pels some extra toughness and experience around the rim.
But concerns about his fit are real, so there’s a chance New Orleans would at least think twice about a trade like this.