Pelicans' ownership must change this stance (or risk staying mediocre)

The NBA's new CBA has severely affected its teams. Teams are forced to spend in efforts to win a championship. New Orleans must spend to win or risk s rebuild?
Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin (pictured)
Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin (pictured) / Sean Gardner/GettyImages

The NBA just reached a massive 11-year, $76 billion media rights deal with several platforms and networks. In the most financially prosperous era in league history, there's money to spend as the league and its teams continue to generate large sums of revenue. Teams can't afford to lack spending in an era where other teams are spending freely with no regard for the consequences. The blueprint for winning has been established, and it starts with emptying pockets and exhausting all resources.

Additionally, the new league CBA agreement not only requires teams to spend. but forces them to choose spending to contend with or undergo a full rebuild. Among other CBA rules, teams must pay 90 percent of their salary cap space by the start of the regular season. With nearly every team's cap situation finalized, where does New Orleans stand? Are they among the NBA's spending teams, or trying to remain cheap in their efforts to win?

New Orleans must spend in order to win

Nearly two-thirds of the league is hard-capped by either the first or second apron. For New Orleans, they are amongst the teams hard capped to the first apron ($178.1 million). With that in mind, the Pelicans have been hesitant to sign former All-Star Brandon Ingram to a contract extension. New Orleans has a future contract negotiation with Trey Murphy III, who enters restricted free agency in 2026. The organization also has to decide on re-signing CJ McCollum, a free agent in two seasons.

Herb Jones is under contract through 2026-27, Zion Williamson is signed through 2027-28, and Dejounte Murray has a player option in 2027-28. With many of the core players intact, the Pelicans championship window is established through nearly 2030. With that in mind, the New Orleans front office must sacrifice their pockets or sacrifice winning to remain cheap. There's no more winning cheap in the NBA, and the Pelicans can set an example for the league by extending Brandon Ingram.

The CBA's structure puts the league on an even playing field for both small market and large market franchises. While the Pelicans are considered a small market team, the NBA's 'parity era' has been instrumental towards small market teams winning. The Pelicans have the roster to compete for a championship, but they can't achieve those heights if they refuse to spend big money on its roster.