Grade the Trade: Pelicans land another star to pair with Zion in mock blockbuster

The Pelicans may have another blockbuster trade up their sleeve before the Feb. 8 deadline.

New Orleans Pelicans, Zion Williamson
New Orleans Pelicans, Zion Williamson / Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports
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What would the Pelicans give up for Lauri Markkanen?

Jazz president Danny Ainge got massive hauls for Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert to begin Utah’s rebuild. Markkanen was part of the package from Cleveland for Mitchell, and he won’t be selling low. The 26-year-old All-Star will generate interest from around the league, and it would likely take three first-round picks plus young talent to enter the bidding.

Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley offered this hypothetical trade that sees New Orleans land a third star.

Markkanen to NOP

Getting two floor-spacing big men helps New Orleans solve their shooting woes. They are 25th in 3-pointers made and 27th in threes attempted this season. The floor will shrink even further in the playoffs, and the Pelicans need shooters. Getting two big men capable of making over 38 percent from three would be massive.

The Pelicans explored trading Jonas Valanciunas for a center upgrade in the offseason, but is this the move? Getting a third star and a quality role player would be a plus, but does it leave New Orleans with enough defense and rim protection?

This would be a bold move by the New Orleans Pelicans. It has to make them a title contender for it to be worth it. Does it accomplish that goal?