Rumors: Pelicans looking to make bold move in the 2024 NBA Draft

The Pelicans want to fill needs during the 2024 NBA Draft.
New Orleans Pelicans, David Griffin
New Orleans Pelicans, David Griffin / Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans will help shape the 2024 offseason league-wide. Brandon Ingram is on the trade block and David Griffin said changes were coming (subscription required). New Orleans could have multiple new starters and hopes to improve their fit around Zion Williamson.

Jonas Valanciunas is an unrestricted free agent and is expected to sign elsewhere. The Pelicans are taking a massive risk in letting their starting center walk, especially as a team that wants to contend. New Orleans may regret it, but it will increase their aggressiveness in finding an upgrade.

The Pels have the 21st overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. They declined the Lakes draft choice until 2025 from the Anthony Davis trade, which should make this rumor less surprising. New Orleans may make a blockbuster deal over the next few days.

Pelicans exploring trade options for their first-round pick

HoopsHype’s Michael Scott reported that New Orleans is “opening to trading” their first-round pick. The Pelicans have multiple holes to fill and wants to win now. Expect the franchise to search for an immediate difference-maker in any deal.

This should not be shocking. New Orleans declined to take 17th overall from the Lakers. The Pelicans hope LA takes a step backward, but there is no guarantee. The uncertainty of the 2024 draft class coupled with the Lakers' aging roster made that decision easier.

The Pels should trade this pick if they can find a deal involving a starting center. Cody Zeller is a free agent too, and the franchise may get stuck without a five on their roster. They do not have cap space. It leaves them just their mid-level exception and minimum contracts to add in free agency. If the Pelicans want a difference-making center, they must acquire one via trade.

Several teams are shopping their first-round selections this year. Finding a deal won’t be easy, especially with the Pelicans picking 21st. Their best bet may be trying to add a young talent in the draft and making a separate trade to add a starting big man.

Do not be surprised to see the Pels target a center if they keep their selection. New Orleans needs to add multiple big men this offseason. Getting a developmental five capable of blossoming into a larger role likely sounds more appealing to David Griffin and the front office than getting a ten to 15-minute per-game backup in free agency lacking upside.

The New Orleans Pelicans are a franchise to watch this summer. They are exploring multiple trades, including discussing Brandon Ingram. There could be a massive shakeup. It is what the Pels need if they want to become serious title contenders, so stay tuned to see how it all plays out.