Pelicans an easier trade partner than the Raptors

New Orleans Pelicans, Zion Williamson, Pascal Siakam. (Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports)
New Orleans Pelicans, Zion Williamson, Pascal Siakam. (Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports) /

Ever since the Portland Trail Blazers earned the third overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, the race has been on among several teams to poach that pick in order to draft highly-coveted G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson.

Our New Orleans Pelicans have emerged as one of those teams, as last week, it was reported that the team may be willing to part ways with either Zion Williamson or Brandon Ingram to acquire that pick from the Blazers.

Another team that has been widely speculated to be in the mix for the Blazers’ pick is the Toronto Raptors, who could be willing to part ways with their star forward to move up in the draft.

However, just like with any business, relationships are everything when negotiating trades, and in this particular instance, it seems that the Pelicans have a better relationship with the Blazers than the Raptors.

According to reporting from Action Network’s Matt Moore, the Pelicans’ previous relationship with the Blazers – which was forged through the CJ McCollum trade in February of 2022 – could help them in a potential trade for the third overall pick.

"“There’s a pre-existing relationship between the Blazers and Pelicans’ front office after their deal two years ago sending CJ McCollum and Larry Nance to New Orleans,” wrote Matt Moore. “That helps grease wheels. Williamson is a big-swing, high-risk, high-reward play. This potential trade doesn’t solve the defensive issues with Lillard, but if the options are a discount with the Pelicans for [Williamson] or paying through the entire nose for OG Anunoby, [Williamson] seems like great value.”"

Later in the news dump, Moore mentioned that some front office executives have mentioned that the Raptors are a tough group to negotiate with.

"“Speaking of Anunoby, there is a growing sense among executives who have called the Raptors (albeit with some caution) that Pascal Siakam may be easier to deal with than Anunoby currently. One savvy executive did mention that he felt that was a means to judge market value if and when the Raptors do decide to trade Anunoby. However, it’s fair to say front offices are pretty worn out on the attempts by Toronto to get ‘blood from a stone’ as one executive put it at the deadline in any deal. Multiple sources have described the Raptors as frustrating to deal with. So why keep calling? ‘There are only 29 teams to work with.'”"

Maybe the Blazers are willing to overlook Williamson’s health concerns because of their relationship with the Pelicans? Maybe they are willing to take a little less in a deal from them than they are from the Raptors? Or maybe this turns out to just all be smoke and mirrors?

With the draft coming up this week, I guess we will soon find out.

Next. 5 trades for the Pelicans to move up and draft Scoot Henderson. dark