5 Players Pelicans will most likely trade before training camp

Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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Naji Marshall Return
Naji Marshall, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

Naji Marshall

Before the start of NBA Free Agency, the Pelicans exercised a team option for Naji Marshall, securing him for the 2023-24 season but also making way for him to be an unrestricted free agent after this upcoming year. Sooner rather than later, the Pelicans are going to need to make a long-term decision on Marshall. Maybe the plan is to base that decision on his performance during the 2023-24 season, but trading him before the start of the season could also be on the table.

If Marshall takes another step forward this season, which is what the Pelicans are hoping for, he’s likely going to command a healthy raise next summer. Especially on the open market, there’s a very real chance that he ends up being a cap casualty for the Pelicans. New Orleans can’t pay everyone, and there are a few young players on the team’s roster that they’ll likely prioritize big paydays for over Marshall. Even though those may not come for another year or two, it’s something that the front office already has to be thinking about.

Marshall has improved vastly through his first three seasons with the Pelicans. He’s an intriguing young player that might still be getting better. At the same time, he may also be one of those players that you cash in on as an asset rather than keep around long-term.