The New Orleans Pelicans are one of the hottest teams in the NBA, as they have won four in a row, have climbed to the 2nd seed and have been rolling on both ends.
The Pels have the league’s 6th-most efficient offense and are 3rd overall in defensive efficiency and they are getting contributions from the stars as well as the role players.
When you consider that they haven’t even played much with their full roster, this team has exciting potential. But there is always room to improve and add depth, so the Pels could be players on the trade market and there is an important date approaching.
December 15th is a key date, as it is when many players with trade restrictions are eligible to be moved. New Orleans doesn’t have any such players, but you can see the whole list of them here.
There aren’t any names that immediately jump out as upgrades for the Pelicans, who still have the contracts of Jaxson Hayes and Devonte’ Graham to go along with a pile of draft picks as possible assets in a trade.
Of course, there will be plenty of other names available as the February trade deadline approaches, which is why it’s fair to ask if the New Orleans Pelicans will be buyers, sellers or neither in the middle of December.
New Orleans Pelicans: Buyers or sellers on December 15th?
My answer right now would be neither. Why mess with what is working?
The Pelicans are getting contributions from just about everyone on the roster, they have great chemistry, know their roles and don’t have a glaring weakness.
They wouldn’t be hurt by losing Hayes or Graham but right now they’d have to get a pretty good player to even crack the rotation and there is no guarantee one will be available this far out from the trade deadline.
We’ve talked about the Pels possibly needing a shot blocker, and there are some names they could pursue, and another consistent veteran shooter for the bench would be nice, but certainly not a necessity at this point.
There is no need to make an early trade just to make one, especially when things are going so well for New Orleans. Waiting until the trade deadline to tweak the roster would be much more prudent, as they would have more time to assess their possible needs.
But there is also the argument that now is the time to go for it, as the Pelicans have a window to win a title right now and the right addition could push them over the top. Trading earlier in the season would give that player more time to integrate into the rotation.
Ultimately, the Pelicans are in a great position because they are good, and can take any calls from a position of leverage. They don’t have to do anything anytime soon and can continue to grow this roster organically while waiting for the right deal to emerge and if it doesn’t they can go to war with the group they have.