New Orleans Pelicans: Trade for OG Anunoby
I think you can make a compelling case for a trade like this from the point of view of the New Orleans Pelicans:
- A starting five of CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram, OG Anunoby, Zion Williamson and Mo Bamba/Larry Nance Jr. would arguably be the best in the NBA.
- Anunoby might not be quite as good as Herb Jones defensively (arguable for sure), but he’s very good, and currently leads the NBA in steals. This wouldn’t be much of a downgrade defensively, though I would argue that Herb is more versatile overall.
- Anunoby offers the Pelicans an insurance policy for injuries to Ingram and Zion, as he scores 18 points per game and is far more of a consistent offensive threat than Herb.
- OG’s contract isn’t as cheap as Herb’s rookie deal, but it’s not bad. They’d get him for just over $18 million next season and then he has a player-option for the season after. Even if he gets a big raise, he’d essentially slide into Valanciunas’ pay slot this season and next, then the combined salaries of JV and Herb (after his extension) the year after. In the end, it will cost roughly the same to have OG as it would to have JV and Herb.
- Anunoby and Bamba are both still young, so this doesn’t sacrifice the long-term window title of this team, while giving them the best chance to win right now.
- Bamba is a better fit with Zion and BI than Jonas is. He is a good shot blocker and rim runner who doesn’t need the ball at all.
- Jaxson Hayes and Kira Lewis Jr. don’t even play for the Pelicans right now, so essentially they are giving up an aging center, Herb Jones and two first-round picks for a stud wing and a rim protecting center, which in a vacuum sounds like a pretty good deal.
- The Pelicans are giving up on the Lakers’ pick, but who cares? Do they really more young players? Dyson Daniels is a very good player and wasn’t even able to crack the rotation right away. He’s still only 19-years-old. The Pelicans would still have Jose Alvarado and Trey Murphy III, so it’s not like they’d be giving up all of their young players. Herb Jones is only a year younger than Anunoby.
- The New Orleans Pelicans would have both the Hernangomez brothers, and who doesn’t want to see that happen? The Hernangomaii are great teammates and underrated players.
- Them Pels still have another Lakers’ pick coming to them in either 2024 or 2025 plus all of their own picks.
- The window to win titles in the NBA can close quickly. There are no guarantees that players will keep getting better or will stay healthy long term, so you need to go for it while you can. This deal would allow the Pelicans to go for it now without sacrificing much long term.
I have to say, as far as fake trades go, this was a pretty good one with plenty to discuss. So what do you think, should the Pelicans push in their chips for a move like this or stick with what they have?