Over the past few weeks, there have been several reports that have suggested the Pelicans could trade Jonas Valanciunas at some point this offseason. Considering that Valanciunas is entering the final year of his contract with the Pelicans and the fact that his production and role with the team have changed in the last year, it’s easy to see why New Orleans could weigh the option of trading him before the start of the season.
Valanciunas is still just 31 years old and could play a vital role for a team. If the Pelicans keep him, he would be valued. However, you can argue that, at this point, the most value that he offers for the Pelicans is via trade. It’s unlikely that the Pelicans will re-sign him after the season, and if the front office realizes that now, a trade would likely make sense for both sides.
The big question is whether or not the Pelicans will get enough value on the trade market for Valanciunas in their eyes to warrant them pulling the trigger before the start of the season. And that’s not guaranteed. Because of that, there’s a chance he could be kept on the roster to start the season, then reevaluate his place with the team before the NBA Trade Deadline.