New Orleans Pelicans: Trade for OG Anunoby
I think this is a compelling idea for all three teams, as the Magic get a developmental player under more team control and a late first-round pick for Mo Bamba, who is a guy I think the Pelicans should target.
The Raptors not only get some future assets but two guys who would likely make them better now, so I don’t think either Orlando nor Toronto would hang up the phone.
But here are some reasons why the Pelicans would walk away from a deal like this. Let’s just do it bullet-point style:
- Herb Jones is still on a rookie contract, and will likely not be making as much as OG Anunoby on his next one. Getting production from value contracts will allow the Pelicans to keep their high-paid stars at the top of the payroll without sacrificing depth.
- Jones is a better all-around defender than Anunoby and doesn’t need shots or the ball in his hands to make an impact.
- The Lakers pick could end up being a top-5 pick, so the top-2 protections would still allow the Pelicans the dream scenario of landing Victor Wembanyama, but what if they ended up in the top-4? This is a pretty good draft, and they’d potentially be missing out on an elite talent that they would have under cost control for many years. The Pels have a chance to add lottery picks to a playoff team two years in a row, which would set them up for long-term and sustainable success.
- Are we sure OG Anunoby is a good fit with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram? He’s not a great 3-point shooter, and hits just 35 percent of the catch-and-shoot variety. He takes nearly twice as many field goal attempts as Herb Jones, though fewer than the combined attempts of Herb and Jonas.
- Anunoby is only locked up through next season, after that, he has a player option. If he keeps improving, he’s going to opt out and get a big raise, potentially putting another max contract on the books if the Pelicans want to keep him.
- Jonas Valanciunas is a good player and can carry the Pelicans offensively at times when their shots aren’t falling.
- Herb Jones is a fan-favorite and beloved by his teammates. A move like this could mess up the chemistry or at least sour some of the young Pelicans on the loyalty of the franchise.
There are probably more reasons, but it really comes down to contracts, chemistry and fit.
But there are plenty of reasons why the New Orleans Pelicans would absolutely do a deal like this.