5 Pelicans who definitely won't be back, 2 who shouldn't return next season

These Pelicans could be wearing a different uniform to start the 2024-25 season.
New Orleans Pelicans, Brandon Ingram
New Orleans Pelicans, Brandon Ingram / Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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The New Orleans Pelicans suffered another disappointing early exit after being swept by Oklahoma City in the first round of the playoffs. They topped the Kings in the Play-In Tournament to advance as the eighth seed but were no match for the top-seeded Thunder. The Pels have made the playoffs just twice in the last six years and have made two first-round exits. New Orleans' roster is up against the luxury tax and cannot contend for a title, so changes must be made.

The Pelicans have talent. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram are All-Stars. They have role players too, but the pieces just do not fit and there are always health issues. It is time to shake things up. The Pels may just change the supporting cast around Zion and BI, but do not rule out a blockbuster trade. New Orleans cannot just run it back and expect a different result.

Multiple players are headed towards free agency and others could be on the trade block. These Pelicans may be wearing a different uniform to start the 2024-25 season.

Won’t be back: Cody Zeller

New Orleans signed Zeller to a one-year veteran minimum contract last summer. They wanted a veteran backup big man behind Jonas Valanciunas and Zion Williamson. Zeller has struggled to stay healthy in the past and never found a role in New Orleans.

He averaged just 1.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 0.9 assists in 7.4 minutes per game over 43 contests. After Dec. 11, Zeller never played in more than five consecutive games. He was not part of Willie Green’s rotation for most of the season, and it is fair to wonder how much the 31-year-old has left in the tank.

Cody Zeller won’t be back with the New Orleans Pelicans next season. He is a free agent and will likely try to sign with a contender on a veteran minimum contract where he can play a more consistent role.