The New Orleans Pelicans could have a serious money problem

CJ McCollum & Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
CJ McCollum & Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /

In April, the NBA player’s association and the league front office came to an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that will run for seven years starting from 2023-24 (with a mutual opt-out option available after the sixth year).

This is great news because it means that we will avoid a lockout, which means we don’t need to worry about not having NBA basketball (if you are reading this post, it is safe to assume that you are indeed a fan of the NBA).

However, due to some team spending restrictions, the new CBA imposes, some teams could be forced to make some drastic roster decisions to abide by the new rules. And unfortunately, one such team could be our New Orleans Pelicans.

The team should be able to stay under the luxury tax line heading into the 2023-24 season. However, Jonas Valanciunas wants a new deal after the season, and Herbert Jones will also be a restricted free agent during that time, so who knows how much those deals could end up being.

The year after that, All-Star forward Brandon Ingram will be an unrestricted free agent, and the constantly-improving Trey Murphy III will be in line for new contracts. Surely the Pelicans are going to want to retain both of their services. How much will that cost them?

All this has led some sources to say that the Pelicans have “a zero percent chance” of keeping this current core together by 2025-26. As Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report reported on Thursday:

"“The numbers add up quickly, and there’s “a zero percent chance,” per a Pelicans team source, that the franchise can keep this group together as is, perhaps as early as 2024-25, but certainly by 2025-26.”"

He later goes on to mention that the team may have to start thinking about moving their veteran guard CJ McCollum, who last off-season inked a 2-year, 64-million dollar extension that will keep him under contract with the team through the 2025-26 season.

It’s wild to think that he might be the one to get the boot in order for the team to cut costs because he is the acting president of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), so he was heavily involved in the process of negotiating the new CBA.

Next. 5 teams that could steal Josh Richardson from the Pelicans. dark