2. Josh Hart
As a general rule, you can never have enough two-way bodies. Once you have your stars (like the Pelicans have with Williamson and Ingram), you want to surround them with players who can do three things: shoot, defend, and put the ball on the floor when necessary. One guy who fills all those boxes is Trey Murphy III. But as many of you know, the Pelicans will be without their promising two-way forward for at least the first month of the regular season.
With him being out, it would be nice to other guys who could check those boxes. And who better to have than Josh Hart. After being traded to the New York Knicks at the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline, Hart played a massive role in pushing the Knicks to being two wins away from the Eastern Conference Finals, averaging 32.1 minutes per game during their run. Too bad he couldn’t be doing that for our Pelicans in 2023-24.
3. Josh Richardson
This one really hurts. At least we were able to get CJ McCollum for Hart. We acquired Josh Richardson during the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline, and then they lost him for nothing this offseason to the Miami Heat. To make matters worse, they signed him to the veteran minimum. So, money wasn’t the reason we lost him.
Like Hart, Richardson would be a great player to fill in for Murphy during his absence. While he and Hart aren’t the exact same player, they both are capable of shooting, driving, and defending. But unlike Hart, he realistically could still be here without giving up any other key contributors.