Grade the trade: Pelicans land surprise All-Star center in bold proposal

The Pelicans must upgrade their roster this offseason, and it will take bold moves like this.
New Orleans Pelicans, Brandon Ingram
New Orleans Pelicans, Brandon Ingram / Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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The New Orleans Pelicans are not satisfied after another first-round playoff exit. They traded for C.J. McCollum to make them a contender, but the roster doesn’t fit. Lead decision-maker David Griffin says changes are coming (subscription required). Expect a serious roster shakeup if New Orleans plans on becoming a serious contender.

The Brandon Ingram trade rumors are not going anywhere, but they cannot just trade the star wing. The Pelicans need a point guard, a starting big man, and to see their young talent continue to improve if they want to make a push. It is a lot to ask, but a must.

Jonas Valanciunas is expected to depart in free agency. He was on the trade block last summer and heads on to the open market searching for a long-term contract. New Orleans can let him leave, but it won’t solve their center woes. Finding a starting big man capable of thriving next to Zion Williams is a must this offseason.

Pelicans are in the market for a starting center this offseason

Several centers are projected to be available. How many actually hit the market and are traded? It is impossible to say, but the Pelicans need a specific option. Zion’s lack of shooting and rim protection puts more pressure on their starting center to anchor their defense and stretch the floor. Those options are tough to find, but one may be available.

The Timberwolves just reached the conference finals, but their spending is a concern. Karl-Anthony Towns is on a monster contract. If Minnesota dumps his deal, they could avoid the harshest spending restrictions, but that is not enough. The Wolves want to win, which could set up a perfect All-Star swap.

KAT can certainly stretch the floor and does not lack confidence. Is that enough for the Pels to make a blockbuster move? Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes outlined this hypothetical trade that could benefit both sides.