The New Orleans Pelicans are back in the playoff hunt. Health has been a key factor, but the Western Conference is loaded. The Warriors and Lakers are battling for the final Play-In Tournament berth. There is no guarantee New Orleans will make the playoffs, but they have quieted the Zion Williamson trade rumors.
If the Pelicans plan on making the postseason, they should upgrade their roster before the Feb. 8 trade deadline. They have three first-round picks from other teams plus all of their own. New Orleans could make a massive splash or just add shooting to plug their biggest hole.
The Pelicans must prove they can contend for a title. Brandon Ingram can be a free agent in 2025, and Zion Williamson may request a trade if the franchise falters. It is time to make a massive splash and go all in.
Do the Pelicans make a blockbuster trade before the deadline?
Several All-Stars are rumored to be available. New Orleans has not chased Zach LaVine or DeMar DeRozan. Dejounte Murray could be an interesting fit if the Pelicans are looking for a lead ball-handler and playmaker. The Jazz may be exploring the market for Lauri Markkanen, and he could be a dynamic fit next to Zion Williamson in the Big Easy.
Markkanen is proving his All-Star season was no fluke. The seven-footer is averaging 23.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 32.6 minutes per game while shooting 49.4 percent from the field and 38.5 percent on his 3-point tries. He is still improving and would give New Orleans the luxury of having at least two elite scorers on the floor at all times.
The Jazz are looking to sell high, so the Pelicans would have to pay a massive price for Lauri Markkanen. Here is a closer look at a mock trade, and if New Orleans should even consider it.