The Missing Piece: Trading out of the 2014 Super Draft

Published: May 25, 2013

Though I always try to do the pieces in this series as objectively as possible, two things have become blatently clear to me in this last week, and as a result, this Missing Piece will be more subjective than any of the others. The two things are as follows:

1.) The 2014 NBA Draft appears to have the most talent since the infamous 2003 Draft.


2.) The New Orleans Pelicans need to trade their 2014 1st round pick NOW!

The second statement doesn’t seem to naturally follow from the first, unless of course my argument was that I wanted to sabotage the Pelicans. But read that first statement again. Did you notice that I used the phrase ‘appears to have’, as opposed to saying that it ‘has the most talent? I say that because it is impossible to judge a draft this far out, and this year’s draft is evidence of that. Remember when James McAdoo, Tony Mitchell, and Alex Poythress will are projected top five picks? You should, it was just a few months ago that they were all projected to go high and become difference makers in the league. Archie Goodwin was another sure fire lottery pick and Steven Adams was #1 or #2 on some mock drafts last August. Then those guys actually played games this year and the rest is history. Now, look at some of these 2014 mock drafts, the one’s that imagine the ceilings for all these 17 and 18 year old boys. Of course the 2014 draft looks strong in that context, but how much do you want to bet that half of the guys in the top 16 of that mock draft aren’t even in the discussion for being a lotto pick this time next year?

But even if you believe that this year will be different, wouldn’t you agree that selling a stock at its peak is almost always a good idea? The Clippers did it to us when they gave us the Minnesota pick for CP3 and the Rockets did it when they gave up Toronto’s pick to acquire James Harden. In thoery, those picks were so tempting to the teams that acquired them because they weren’t a player with flaws; they were abstract, endless possibilities, and GM’s like those so much more. Each of those picks were the second best assets in trades that landed superstars. Heck, you could argue that at the time the Thunder traded James Harden, the Toronto pick might have been the most coveted long term asset in that deal. Flash forward a couple months later and that has turned into the 12th pick in a weak draft and it probably couldn’t fetch you a solid 7th or 8th man in a trade. Same could probably be said for Rivers, who New Orleans took with the Minnesota pick. The Rockets and Clippers sold high. The Pelicans should do the same.

And you gotta believe that any team that trades for the Pelicans first round pick in 2014 thinks that they will get a top 7 or 8 pick, and why shouldn’t they? New Orleans has finished last and second to last in the Western Conference the past two years. You sell that pick early in the offseason, before you make massive improvements, and teams will give you more than they would after you signed an Iguodala or a Pekovic. When you add all of these factors and combine it with the fact that the team wants to create a winning culture, everything points to trading this pick when its value is at an all time high. So, now that we have all agreed on this philosophy, let’s take a look at who we can target.

1. Anybody in the 2013 Draft

Pick up the phone and tell them that you will trade the 6th pick and your 2014 1st rounder and you can move up as high as you want in this draft if you identify a particular player that can be a major piece moving forward.

2. Rajon Rondo

If the Celtics decide to blow it up this year, they will at least entertain offers for Rajon Rondo. Our pick this year and next plus either Vasquez or Austin Rivers might be hard for Boston to pass up.

3. Nicolas Batum

The Blazers like him, but Monty loves him. If they identify a small forward that they love at number 10 this year, they could move Batum for Robin Lopez and our 2014 1st rounder.

4. Al Horford

I was told by a little birdie that if Atlanta strikes out on CP3 and Dwight, they might consider blowing it all up and trying to pick up multiple picks in the 2014 draft. Our 2013 and 2014 1st rounders plus Robin Lopez could make them a very interesting team by 2015. I was told they love CJ McCollum. McCollum, Wiggins, and Willie Cauley-Stein could make them Thunder East.

The formula is there and the time is right for the New Orleans Pelicans to sell an asset right now at its absolute peak. If they truly believe that this past season will be the last one where they will lose more than they win for the foreseeable future, then they need to move the 2014 pick while the other 29 times in the league believe that the 2014 draft will be chalk full of All-Stars and the Pelicans will be a bottom feeder once again. Pray on their hope. Pray on their ignorance. Pray on their fantasies. Pray on all of this by trading the pick as soon as possible to get the missing piece.

The Missing Piece is a weekly feature that you can find every Saturday on For past articles in this series, click here.


  1. daThRONe

    May 25, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    I’m all about building our core via the draft so I’m strongly against this idea. Rookie contracts are far too valuable to give away and now with the new tax rules kicking in those rookie contracts will sky rocket in value.

    • BowToTheBill23

      May 25, 2013 at 11:43 pm

      daThRONe Exactly, rookie contracts are incredibly valuable, especially in a loaded class. That was his point. Like he pointed out, a top 5 pick (according to those trading) on a rookie contract in a loaded draft class is worth an absolute ton. That’s what he was saying how a Minnesota and Toronto pick of even less value helped net a superstar.

    • Michael McNamara

      May 25, 2013 at 11:47 pm

      daThRONe Those picks you love and covet so much eventually become an actual player. Those players, more often than not have the impact that Jeremy Lamb or Austin Rivers had/have. Meanwhile, CP3, Harden, etc. actually help your team win. 
      But most GM’s think like you, and in theory, it makes sense, but teams who actually get the proven, solid player seem to win these trades far more than the teams that bet their future on these picks. 
      Multiple ways to build. Some GM’s think like you, some might think like me, and that just proves to me that Dell could get this done if he decides to be bold and take this tact.

      • 504ever

        May 26, 2013 at 12:18 am

        Michael McNamaradaThRONe 
        In addition to 2014 rookies being on long cheap contacts, look at who was drafted where in 2003.  If 2014 is anything like 2003, there will be great players available at many slots throughout the draft/

        5.  Wade
        6- Kaman
        7. Hinrich
        11. Pietrus
        12. Collison
        18. West
        27. Perkins

        28. Barbosa
        29. Howard

        While the value of our 2014 pick may be high now, it may not be significantly overvalued, and injuries are always part of the game.  So you never know where the Pelican’s will draft in 2014 no matter what off-season moves they make.
        Finally, most of your trades involve sending back to back high 1st round picks for expensive players.  That will never happen, failing to draft well and have productive, cheap, drafted players killed the CP3, West, and Chandler Hornets.  We draft West, then CP3 and acquire Chandler, and we can’t get another draft pick right!  So we lose all three of those guys.

      • thouse

        May 26, 2013 at 10:34 am

        @Michael McNamara

        That’s just incredibly short sighted. Look at the roster of the Pacers and the Grizzlies- both teams are littered with guys they drafted, nurtured and took the time to develop. They filled in the holes by trading or making smart signings for help. It is paying off as both teams have very competitive, young cores. They will be playoff teams for years.
        As a non glamour market, the team needs to build for long term success. If next year’s 1st can help nab Horford or Rondo (or another All-Star), then I agree that you move the pick. But moving a rookie deal in a post repeater tax world just because it has the highest value is silly for a small market. Much rather see them move Vasquez or Lopez since their value is at its peak.

      • Michael McNamara

        May 26, 2013 at 12:26 pm

        thouse WHo did the Grizzlies draft on their current roster? ZBo- no. Gasol- no. Allen- no. Prince – no. Bayless – no. Pondexter- no. Of the 7 guys playing significant minutes, Conley was the only one they drafted and developed.

      • New City

        May 26, 2013 at 1:17 pm

        Golden State? San Antonio? Indiana? Oklahoma ?

      • soulbreaker

        May 26, 2013 at 1:27 pm

        New City this year are players like Tony Mitchell, Dennis schroeder, Mcollum,Jamaal Franklin, Adekotumbo, Steven Addams, Gobert, very raw, very young, but somes with a ton of talent and teams like Indiana and GS know this, and with good scouting and good coaching create good teams(even elite ones). But one problem, our team is really short, now we don´t have enough pieces to trade, we need depth

      • thouse

        May 26, 2013 at 2:10 pm

        Michael McNamaraGasol signed his first NBA contract with Memphis in 2008 and has played every minute of his career in Memphis. Considering he was playing pro ball in Europe, I doubt he ever set foot in a Lakers facility. If you want to play semantics, knock yourself out.
        Moving drafted players has helped Memphis out too. Vasquez and Gay have brought back pieces that are solid contributors to their success and gave them promise going forward (Davis).
        If they can get Horford or Rondo for next year’s 1st, I’m all about it. But sending out a future pick for something less than an All-Star is not a smart long term strategy

  2. creeddude96

    May 25, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    No teams in the modern era but the thunder and spurs have ever been lucky enough to land the players they landed in the draft. So Dathrone, it can’t be done. Name one team who’s currently in the playoffs built solely on the draft. Not anyone below the top two seeds in the west and not anyone in the east. If you build solely on the draft, without bringing in any young vets or vets, you become what the kings are today. A train wreck. Do you want to be a train wreck relying off of luck, or a formidable team for years to come?

    • daThRONe

      May 26, 2013 at 12:06 am

      I never said solely on draft I said core. And you answered your own question the Spurs.
      There are teams like the Warriors and the Cavs who have young nucleus with the potential to be championship contenders. In this league where the odds are stacked against non-glamour teams that’s all IMO you can ask for.

  3. palochak

    May 26, 2013 at 12:08 am

    that’s a lot of eggs in one Al Horford basket, but I’d do it in a heartbeat

  4. daThRONe

    May 26, 2013 at 12:16 am

    I think cost is an area completely being ignored here. What is a Rondo going to cost this team? All of our remaining cap space.
    What’s our core Gordon who’s often injured, Rondo coming off of major knee surgery, Anderson who only does one thing great?
    Does Nick Batum or Al Horford take us from the bottom over the top? Not sure if Batum even makes us a playoff team.

    • palochak

      May 26, 2013 at 12:52 am

      daThRONeIs there someone realistic that WOULD take us over the top that we can fit into our cap space? I think you take Horford or Batum and run with it. 
      If you factor in what we’d have to pay those rookies, plus Lopez, you’d be within a few million of Horford’s contract. Same with Batum.

      • daThRONe

        May 26, 2013 at 8:02 am

        palochak daThRONe 
        Yes, but IMO it’s even more risky than evaluating draft classes. Trading for Bledsoe/Jordan is something that has the potential. It’ll be “one teams trash the Pelicans treasure” type situation.
        I’m not sure Boston, Portland, or Atlanta would even part with either player. Especially Portland as they have no reason to rebuild. I think if ATL part with Horford it will be for another vet just on a cheaper contract as they are in the Howard “sweepstakes”. Boston seems as the better option of the 3 as they may shift into total rebuild however it’s not realistic to expect him to be 100% next season(if at all) and we only have two season(really one) to convince Gordon to stay here(if we assume he’s part of the plan moving forward).

  5. creeddude96

    May 26, 2013 at 12:17 am

    Takes alot of luck to do what only two teams have been able to do. Why wait another year? This team has plenty of youth. now of course we don’t have to trade the pick, but it is not essential that we keep it either

    • daThRONe

      May 26, 2013 at 7:44 am

      It takes a lot of luck to win period. Unless you are the Lakers or can do with the Celtics/Heat did. People are greatly over stating the success of non-glam teams altogether.
      Yes we are young, but we aren’t very talented. We only had two players who consistently can create with the ball. One is already over 25 and is a major liability on defense. The other was injured as usual and I have serious doubt he will remain here past the 2014-15 season.
      The obvious benefit of building via the draft is the flexibility it offers. As a non-glam team drafting offers us IMO the best option to bring in affordable difference makers on this team.

  6. Michael McNamara

    May 26, 2013 at 1:44 am

    I made this argument two years ago with the Minnesota pick. Said we should have traded it before the season because the value would likely decrease. Check out this thread. Similar thinking still prevails. In this thread, people would “think about” trading the pick for Rubio and Love. Wouldn’t do it for Rubio and Derrick Williams. The pick just has so much potential!
    It became a player. It became Austin Rivers. These picks always become players. Very few players turn out to be good, let alone great. Again, read a page or two of this thread, then scroll down and see if similar arguments arent still being made.

    • daThRONe

      May 26, 2013 at 8:12 am

      Michael McNamara 
      The pick turned into Rivers because that’s who we drafted. Mo Harkless, Andrew Nicholson, Jared Sullinger, John Jenkins, Jeffery Taylor, Draymond Green, Festus Ezeli, Evan Fournier, and John Henson all taken after 10 all had at least solid rookie seasons. Talent will always be in the draft no matter how moderate. It’s on our front office to find that talent.

  7. soulbreaker

    May 26, 2013 at 2:56 am

    if this the case, we can look players like Ryno= 22/26 years, high PER, undervalued for some reason,soon to be FA or buried in the bench. One is Blatche, Bledsoe off course, Tyreke, Ed Davis, Darren Collison, Demarre Carrol, Brandan Wright, Greg Smith, JJ Hickson,among others. This is awful, it´s like a a lost generation, all of them have huge holes in their game

    • 504ever

      May 26, 2013 at 9:45 am

      I like this, and think the Collison idea in particular has been under-explored on this site.  Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think Dallas made him a qualifying offer.  So Collison is an unrestricted free agent (UFA).  I bet we could sign him to something like a 3 year $10-12M deal, which would be great in my opinion.  I am not sure I see Al Jefferson, at age 30, wanting to leave 43-39 Utah for 27-55 New Orleans, but I do see Collison coming here for the chance to start he craves.  (I’d like Bledsoe more, but I am not sure I want to pay what the Clippers want.  I am willing to give Gordon, OR two of Vasquez, Lopez, and a 1st rounder.)

      • thouse

        May 26, 2013 at 10:45 am

        504ever soulbreaker 
        If Collison is an upgrade from Vasquez, it isn’t by much at all. He’s faster but he is only 8 months younger and looking at his 4th team in 5 seasons.

      • soulbreaker

        May 26, 2013 at 10:50 am

        thouse 504ever soulbreaker sure, but is better than Roberts,  and we need cheap depth like hell

      • soulbreaker

        May 26, 2013 at 11:21 am

        thouse 504ever soulbreaker wow i forgot talk about OJ Mayo , and maybe the most dangerous: Bynum. Bynum with 1 year $10m and options can be a real option. If he is broke, well we don´t lose anything, but if we win….

      • thouse

        May 26, 2013 at 11:55 am

        @soulbreaker I happen to like Roberts as a backup guard. Not saying they shouldn’t look for a better player but is Collison really $2-3million better? 
        If they move Gordon and don’t get a 2 back, I really like the idea of going after Mayo.

      • 504ever

        May 26, 2013 at 2:07 pm

        thouse 504ever soulbreaker  
        I see Collison as an upgrade over Vasquez and a pure PG, which Vasquez is not.   So Collison is a better player with a different flavor.  His presence frees up Vasquez to play SG or SF, or Vasquez can play PG against bigger PGs.

  8. Edbballin504

    May 26, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Keep in mind MM that we can’t trade our first rounder in back to back years. Gotta keep one under the rules. So if you feel 2014 pick has more value then it means we must make a selection this draft at 6.

    • Michael McNamara

      May 26, 2013 at 10:36 am

      Edbballin504 All you gotta do is draft the player for the team this year, then trade the player you drafted and the 2014 pick. Super simple. Not a problem at all

      • Edbballin504

        May 26, 2013 at 10:53 am

        I didn’t look at it that way. You sure it’s that simple? Sounds like a major loop hole if so.

      • Michael McNamara

        May 26, 2013 at 12:32 pm

        Edbballin504 yes, the rule states that you must own a pick in one of the next two drafts. So, once the 2013 draft is over, the Pelicans must own either their 2014 pick or their 2015 pick

  9. Edbballin504

    May 26, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Also what is difference between Horford and Al Jefferson? Can someone compare and contrast the players. Sell me on why I should give up a 2014 pick for Horford when I can have jefferson outright by signing him as a free agent and keeping our pick?

    • daThRONe

      May 26, 2013 at 9:21 am

      Only thing I can think of is money. Jefferson will likely cost us more on the open market than Horford under contract. Also Horford is 1.5 years younger.

      • Edbballin504

        May 26, 2013 at 9:25 am

        daThRONe Edbballin504 Jefferson makes $12m each year for the next 3. You think Jefferson will cost more than that????

      • daThRONe

        May 26, 2013 at 10:27 am

        Edbballin504 daThRONe 
        You mean Horford makes 12 mil correct?
        Jefferson just made 15 million last season. I would think (and maybe I jaded about being in a small market) it would take some where in the area to get him to come and play here.

      • Edbballin504

        May 26, 2013 at 10:52 am

        Correct I meant Horford makes $12m, I apologize. As far as jefferson is concerned, I see him being forced to take a pay cut. $15m or more is a bit much for his services. I see $12m as his rate. I think he’d come here before going to another small market if we wanted him. He’s from Mississippi and Monty loves utilizing his big man on the block. Those 2 things plus the fact that we are serious about being a contender should be enough to convince him, especially when you consider our competition for his services.

      • soulbreaker

        May 26, 2013 at 11:01 am

        Edbballin504 if we can pay him $10m, or even better $8m for 3/4 years, well welcome home haha. Other options are JJ Reddick and/or Brewer

    • soulbreaker

      May 26, 2013 at 10:12 am

      Edbballin504 well, first Al Jefferson can´t defend anyone, Horford is one of the best p/r and one vs one defender in the league, Horford is the better rebounder, lightly best passer and can play FP and C. Remember, this year Utah (and Minessota before) with Millssap Favors and Kanter(weird team btw) plus Al barely was a mediocre team, Atlanta with Smith(!!!) Teague, and bodies, was a very good defense(for years) and above average team in general, Jefferson simply can´t do that, not as a starter anyway. Imagine Robin Lopez bigger stronger in general

  10. dschmid4

    May 26, 2013 at 11:32 am

    McNamara’s reasoning is sound. How can you argue with sell high? 
    But, I don’t think we are 1 or 2 steps away from being a contender.  Maybe 1 or 2 steps aways from becoming a playoff team, but  that 8-9 seed is not a great spot to be in.
    From my perspective the question is, how can we have the best team possible when A Davis hits his prime?  I would argue we are unlikely to get there by trading away draft picks for players currently in their primes, because A Davis is still a couple seasons away. I also don’t think bringing in a star post player would be the best thing for Davis’ development.
    Losing sucks, but don’t trade away the future – just yet.

    • Michael McNamara

      May 26, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      dschmid4 But again, people are assuming these draft picks will be good players when they make an argument such as yours. The chances of a draft pick being as good as Rondo or Horford even when they decline 10% in 4 years is very, very slim. You wanna help Davis out, get him a guy who can show him what winning basketball is now, and who will still be productive when Davis hits his prime. Remember Tim Duncan. He had older guys in DRob, Avery, and Elliot who helped him win early and when it was time for those guys to leave, he helped the next group become winners. This idea of having a bunch of 20 year olds come up together almost never works from what I’ve seen

      • daThRONe

        May 26, 2013 at 1:54 pm

        You guys are selling in Dell we trust t-shirts(one I may have to purchase to wear to the draft next month). Do you trust him? How much of the failure is about poor talent evaluation? IMO it’s the overwhelming majority of the problem and why the same teams are always drafting in the lotto.

      • cnoel23

        May 27, 2013 at 11:12 am

        Michael McNamara dschmid4 I don’t agree with this argument at all about selling our 2014 pick.  If anything I think it would be better to double down on the 2014 draft and try to get a second pick in the first round of next years draft.  When it comes to winning at the highest level and not just trying to field a team that can go to the playoffs and get beat in the first round, you need all star caliber talent.  Just look at where All-Stars are selected in the draft.  About 90% or more of the players in the All Star game every year were lottery picks.
        If our offseason is successful, the 2013-14 New Orleans Pelicans won’t be much better in terms of record than this past year.  I understand your argument that its hard to project talent.  That said, I disagree with your logic about using players like Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress to try and prove your point.  The 2013 NBA Draft has been projected to be awful for over an entire year as this year’s class of college freshmen has been considered the worst group in decades by many NBA scouts.  In fact, last years Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, OR left scouts disgusted they wasted their time with the event.
        The 2014 draft has multiple future All Stars in it.  If players were allowed to go out of High School, the top 5-6 players in this years draft would be high school players and probably 7-8 of the Top 10.  Not every one of these guys will pan out, but there are a lot of can’t miss prospects in next years draft class.  I don’t want us to tank and there is no guarantee we get one of the can’t miss studs in next years draft class, but I don’t think this draft is one where it is smart to zig when others zag.

      • Michael McNamara

        May 27, 2013 at 11:25 am

        cnoel23 Michael McNamara dschmid4 It “has” multiple All-Stars in it? That is a sentence that states a fact. It is a fact that there are multiple All-Stars in next years draft class?
        It is nice in theory to say we should “double down” on this class, but that is my entire point. That is what EVERYONE is trying to do. There are 30 teams trying to acquire more picks for this draft, which makes it a seller’s market, not a buyer’s market. You would have to give up a ton to get someone to give you there pick in this draft, but if you become one of the lone seller’s, you are the one getting a ton in return.
        I have seen too many “can’t-miss” prospects miss. Give me a guy who truly can’t miss because he has proven he can play at a high level in this league and you take the chance on 19 year olds.

      • cnoel23

        May 27, 2013 at 12:44 pm

        Michael McNamara cnoel23 dschmid4 Give me examples of your can’t miss propects.  Nobody said Alex Poythress was a can’t miss propect.  The Hornets players you listed Simmons, Armstrong, and Rivers were not can’t miss propects.  They were all shots in the dark.  Unless you have been asleep on the 2014 class or want to be the guy who passes on the future of our franchise, I don’t see the logic at all.
        The best way to destroy our franchise is to go all in on someone like Brandon Jennings or Andre Igoudala.  Brandon Jennings isn’t an upgrade over Vasquez.  Just a HUGE mistake.  Igoudala will make us better, but he won’t get us more than a 8 seed and first round exit.  Thats not good enough.

      • Michael McNamara

        May 27, 2013 at 1:21 pm

        cnoel23 Michael McNamara dschmid4 Who is projected to be there at 10-14 that is can’t miss? I believe in Wiggins and I believe in Parker and Marcus Smart to a degree. Who else is certifiably can’t miss? If the Pelicans plan to be competative this year, they figure to be drafting between 10-14. Will there be a good player there? Always is. Can the Pelicans identify them and will they take him? That is the hard part. Not as hard to identify Rondo or Horford. 
        Trust me, I get your logic- everybody has the same logic in the league. It is good in theory, but it is highly dependent on several things outside of your control. I would go the other way on this one. It is simply where the value is

      • daThRONe

        May 27, 2013 at 1:43 pm

        I understand your point. However there’s a reason why everybody wants in on this draft. Similar to how McDonalds never have problems with any of their franchises. A solid investment is just that.
        If I thought as a team we where closer to bring complete for years to come I’d be willing to trade next years draft pick. For example if we were the Cavs I’d feel way more comfortable auctioning off our pick to the higher bidder. However I look at this roster and I don’t see the talent to warrant that strategy.
        You make it seems is if teams will be willing to trade known commodities for unknown picks. Why would the Celtics, Hawks, or Blazers just “gift” us these proven players if depending on the draft is such a low percentage way of team building?

  11. dschmid4

    May 26, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Now if the Celtics want to swap moody max contract guards with knee issues; Gordon for Rondo straight-up sounds pretty good. But I don’t think that would be likely to happen.
    Another observation –  while you do want to sell high, it only really helps you in you are able to buy low with the proceeds.  Of the 4 options above, the 2013 draft and Rondo might qualify. But you have to pick a winner from the current 2013 draft class, who is it?  And rondo, well he is a moody, max contract guard with knee issues.

    • Michael McNamara

      May 26, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      dschmid4 I know he isn’t  a sexy, fun player to watch, but Al Horford is one of the 20 best players in the NBA. Put it this way, he is far better than somebody like Blake Griffin and is on a much better contract. Plus his game doesn’t rely on athleticism, so I can see him playing at a high level for at least 6 more years, then at a solid level for another 2-3. That one is a home run for me.

  12. LieutenantKumar

    May 26, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    How about this current pick, the 2014 pick, and Lopez for DeMarcus Cousins?

    • 504ever

      May 26, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      Only when a drug addict is the Pelican’s GM, and that probably insults drug addicts.

      • soulbreaker

        May 26, 2013 at 1:31 pm

        504ever LieutenantKumar he can be fixed but later with a good program and good veterans, but more interesting is Evans

  13. Michael McNamara

    May 26, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Another one: The Jazz traded Deron Williams for all these picks and cap space. Flash forward a couple years later and those picks turned into fringe starters with some upside and they have all this cap space and nothing to do with it. Meanwhile D-Will is playing like a superstar. The Nets botched other moves, so they are probably stuck as a 4-5 seed, but that has nothing to do with the D-Will trade. Should they have held on to these young, cheap guys who look good on their books, but don’t help them win? 
    Eventually, you gotta pay guys. Guys on rookie contracts don’t win basketball games.

    • soulbreaker

      May 26, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      Michael McNamara Kanter and Favors can be stars but with Millsap and Jefferson and w/o wings… but look Denver, the melo trade transform a fringe team into a contender(W/o gallo against GS remember), and ny is lock in a one way star, one mess and an old Chandler

    • 504ever

      May 26, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      Michael McNamara  
      Yeah, but Utah had no choice, just like the Hornets with CP3, D-Will wanted out (to only selected teams) so their hand was forced.  That’s why Utah settled for draft pick based compensation.  And i agree with Soulbreaker, Kanter and Favors can be stars on that team.

      • soulbreaker

        May 26, 2013 at 1:40 pm

        504ever Michael McNamara it´s insane, how in the hell you have two young 17 pts/10reb per 36 min with good defense and good attitude(kanter lost 50 lbs in one summer… FIFTY!!!!) buried with two fringe starters in the same position, two talented wings in hayward and Burkes….and your pg is Mo Williams, your back up is Jamaal Tinsley, your starter sf is Marvin William… all this for two years

  14. dschmid4

    May 26, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I actually love Al Horford. He is a  great player. But I love Davis more.  And I think a player of Horford’s stature in the post limits Davis’ development.  I think there is far more danger in rushing the process and getting locked into  too many current star contracts. I would be a lot more open to trading picks if we weren’t locked into a Gordon’s contract. So get rid of Gordon for something more of relative value – then start trading picks.

  15. shantadiva

    May 26, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    I’m sure Dell is looking at deals like this. He probably thinks other GMs are over valuing this year’s draft class and there is some value there.  Got to find a piece that you want and then be able to make a deal.

  16. usnfish

    May 26, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I also wonder if Denver could be talked into Wilson Chandler for our 2014 First Round pick.  Chandler is not as good as Batum, but is only a year older and nearly half the cost.  Denver has a much greater need to shed salary than Portland and has greater depth to sustain success while dealing Chandler (which could help them resign Iguodala).  
    Portland trading Batum would be a stretch because they would be required to spend a ton of money ($20 Million plus) just to reach the salary floor at that point.  I think Chandler could be a better value for the cost (pick and salary committed).

    • soulbreaker

      May 26, 2013 at 2:41 pm

      usnfish with two 2nd rounds maybe, 1nd pick? no thanks

    • LieutenantKumar

      May 26, 2013 at 2:42 pm

      usnfish I like the idea, but I don’t think Wilson Chandler is the type of player I want to trade my 2014 1st for. I say go big (by including this year’s pick) or go home.

  17. dschmid4

    May 26, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    I live in Colorado, and end up watching a lot of Nuggets game.  I like Chandler. He’s a versatile wing and a good defender, plus he can play a little 4 depending on the match-up.  I think Denver would take that trade.
    But Chandler has been a bit injury prone, while in Denver.  At this point, I think our (the pelican’s) 2014 pick should be worth more.  I wonder if we could get him for our 2013 pick? 
    His 3 pt shooting was much better this year than his career average . Whether that is a real improvement or statistical variation may take another season to sort out.

  18. eMariii123

    May 26, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    What happens after trading Lopez, 2013 1st and 2014 1st for Horford? Our frontcourt would be set, and we’d have another starter in Gordon, but we’d still have holes at pg and the other wing spot, with Vasquez left as our only real trade chip. 
    Bledsoe would be out of the question, as Vasquez alone is not enough to get him while teams like the Jazz will be offering guys like Paul Millsap. A guy I really like is Wilson Chandler. He’s a tough, productive wing on both sides of the court and on a great contract (3yr/20mil left) which would leave us with 8-9 mil to spend on a pg in free agency.  We could do a straight swap for Vasquez. Denver saves money that they can use to re-sign Iguodala and Corey Brewer, and we fill a need with a young vet on a good contract, maintaining flexibility.
    A lot of people don’t like Brandon Jennings because he’s a chucker that shoots a poor %. But, could this just be a factor of him being forced to be the #1 option his entire career? Think about it, on this team, he would the #3 or even #4 option behind Gordon, Horford, and maybe Davis. If he can be had for 8-9 mil per year, that’s great. If we need to offer more, I still think you do it, even though it will likely mean having to dump Jason Smith’s contract, as Jennings will help this team more than Smith will. 
    After signing Jennings, all of our cap would likely be used up, so we should sign minimum salary guys for 1 or 2 years to fill up the remaining spots this year, and each year after this we use the MLE to bring in solid role players.
    Jennings/Gordon/Chandler/Davis/Horford starting, and Anderson/Rivers/others off the bench.

    • Edbballin504

      May 26, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      eMariii123 Jennings is a RFA, and if he agreed to a deal that low to play for us dont you think MIL would just match? To pry him away, we would need to offer a sign and trade and with our draft chips gone to ATL for Horford do you think we have the assets to get it done? But if we could pull Jennings and Horford off while keeping EG, Davis, and Anderson I think thats a nice core to go to battle with.

    • Edbballin504

      May 26, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      Also, If we trade Lopez and this years 1st plus next years 1st (for Horford) we would have about $25m in cap space before the trade. Horford is $12m so that leave $13m. Lets say Jennings costs us $10m, that leaves us with $3m left….not enough to bring in Chandler unless you can give up $3.3m (Chandler makes $6.3m next season). GV, Rivers, or Jason Smith each make between $2.1m – $2.5m so that wont work unless you give them 2 of the 3. DEN already has 2 PGs in Lawson and Miller so I don’t see them being interested in GV or Rivers and there lies the problem.

      • eMariii123

        May 26, 2013 at 7:12 pm

        Edbballin504 If we have 25 mil before and we trade Lopez, his 5 mil comes off the books so we’d have 30 mil, then subtract Horford’s 12 mil, leaving us with 18mil after the trade. If you say Jennings will cost 10 mil, that leaves us with 8 mil after getting both him and Horford. Chandler will make slightly less than 7 mil, plus Vasquez’s 1.5 or so mil comes off, leaving us with roughly 2.5 mil after all these moves.

      • Edbballin504

        May 26, 2013 at 8:09 pm

        eMariii123 Edbballin504 the 25 is after Lopez is gone. It’s 20m if we keep Lopez.

    • Edbballin504

      May 26, 2013 at 5:35 pm

      Heres a realistic way to get it done it all under the cap:
      Lopez, our #6 pick and 2014 unprotected 1st round pick to ATL for Horford and their #18 pick this year.
      Vasquez and #18 to MIL for Jennings in a S&T @$10m/y,  4 years for Jennings.
      Jason Smith to DEN for Wilson Chandler.

      • 504ever

        May 26, 2013 at 6:15 pm

        I don’t want Jennings under any circumstances and why would Denver gift us Chandler for Smith?

      • Edbballin504

        May 26, 2013 at 8:11 pm

        504ever Edbballin504 They’d do it to save around $4m so they can bring back Iggy without it killing them financially. Plus they get a productive big for cheap who can backup Faried….much better than Anthony Randolph.

      • ericsnow

        May 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm

        I like this trade it all depends on the draft if porter going 1 would make noles drop to us ill keep lopez until the final yr of his contact n use the extra money to to bring over a back up for Gordon maybe a trade for lamb from okc for a amuniu n a future second rounder

      • eMariii123

        May 26, 2013 at 7:14 pm

        Edbballin504 I could see this happening, although Denver wouldn’t do that trade for Chandler. We could sign a guy like Corey Brewer or Martell Webster instead though.

  19. jsl05

    May 26, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    I don’t think we should trade the pick necessarily now. I think we have to see what the direction of the team is. If we can find a way to trade Eric Gordon, we need to keep it because we probably are going to be bad again next year.
    I would hate the idea of trading both picks away because that is just not how you build a team. I re-listened to almost all of Dell’s interviews from last year, and he definitely knows that this will not be merely a quick fix. He knows it will take time.
    I don’t think we should trade the pick until after we pick our guy for this year so that we have a better idea of what our team will look like.
    I am fine with not being a playoff team next year. That is the mistake many a fan of rebuilding team make. I don’t think trading our pick this year and next year’s pick for quasi-stars will help us achieve our goal of sustained success.

    • dschmid4

      May 26, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      jsl05 I dont think the Nuggets would bite on Vasquez now, because they still have Andre Miller in the back-up point role. In a lot of ways they are similar players (Miller and Vasquez) on opposite ends of their career.

    • soulbreaker

      May 26, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      jsl05 if boston trade us Bradley Pierce and one or two picks for Gordon and other, i take it in a blink. After that we can think in others

  20. dschmid4

    May 26, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    On second thought, the nuggets may just let Iguodala walk and then they probably will want to hold on Chandler and Brewer. Iguodala was good , but not really max contract good.  His PER of  15 is pretty average and even if it under estimates his true value due to his defensive ability, it still doesn’t look like a max contract. 
    Besides is he is a Franchise player, why couldn’t the Nugget rely on him for consistent offense in the playoffs?

  21. ericsnow

    May 26, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Depends on how the draft go some say noles might slide down to 6th if so ill pick him up to pair with davis and have the future robinson Duncan front court cant really make a decision on how much this yrs pick is worth until 1-5 get drafted last year a lot of teams went against the grain when picking n some payed off but if all the top 3 talent is gone at 6 ill trade for cousins for lopez n aminu n next year 1st rounder not top 7

  22. soulbreaker

    May 26, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Gordon , Gordon, Gordon, if Gordon had played like, well, Eric Gordon, Dell had armed a heck of a team, young, cheap, with a lot of space. But this fool for whatever reason, denied the team, denied the city(for Phoenix? really?) and between injuries, stupid comments and awful, horrible effort and play,  reduced his market value to crap, and derailed the team´s plan too. We would not have this conversation with Eric Bledsoe instead of Gordon

  23. jsl05

    May 26, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    After looking at his measurables, watching the DraftExpress video, his combine interview, Hoops Summit highlights, and highlights for his German team, I think Dennis Schroeder is very similar to Rajon Rondo.  In my opinion, it’s not worth giving up so many assets to get Rondo when you can likely add assets by getting a guy very similar to him on a cheaper contract.

  24. Jared Ennis

    May 26, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    I went back and watched some Celtic games this year and I love how Avery Bradley plays. In Monty’s system, he wants an attacking defensive point guard, I know Michael mentioned that an Avery Bradley and Paul Pierce for Eric Gordon and #6 pick could happen. I would love that. The time for losing is over. Let’s start to contend and build a winning culture.

  25. Michael McNamara

    May 26, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Last thing I will say is that my philosophy is that when everybody else is zigging, you get the most value by zagging. There is this belief around the league that rookie contracts are gold, so I use that belief to my advantage and sell them when they are at their peak value. I look at the final four teams in the playoffs and I only see two guys who are rookie contracts really helping their team win. Rookie contracts are great in theory, but usually those guys won’t start helping you win until they get on their second contract, and by then they are getting paid big bucks. 
    I understand the new “conventional wisdom”, but all that tells me is that it is a seller’s market for those willing to go against that conventional wisdom.

    • jsl05

      May 26, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      None of the guys are on rookie contracts now, but they were. OKC had Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka, and Harden all on rookie contracts; and they all grew together.
      I’m not sure the goal is playoffs for us next season. The goal is sustained success.
      Indiana drafted George, Hibbert, and Hansborough somewhat recently; it’s paying off now.

  26. eMariii123

    May 26, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Another trade target that MM mentioned earlier in the year – Kevin Love. Could a package of 2013 1st, 2014 1st, and Ryno be enough? Minnesota knows Love is bolting as soon as his contract is over.

    • eMariii123

      May 26, 2013 at 7:28 pm

      Heck, you can even throw Lopez in there as well. When you have a chance to get a player of Love’s calibur, you go for it. I think Minnesota seriously thinks about this trade.

    • Michael McNamara

      May 26, 2013 at 9:25 pm

      eMariii123 People ask a lot about Love. Now that Kahn is gone, I think they are going to go all out to patch things up with Love. I dont think they move him until next summer at the earliest. They will do everything this year to improve the team and convince him that he needs to be there long term

  27. lsutigers33

    May 26, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    I would go for trading conditional 2015, but 2014 does look solid as it stands now.
    I don’t think any of the players mentioned are worth 2 #1s.

    • Michael McNamara

      May 26, 2013 at 9:24 pm

      lsutigers33 some recent number 1 picks in our history:
      Rivers, Hilton Armstrong, Cedric Simmons, Julian Wright- all were in the top 15. Again, people think of the picks in the most positive light because a pick in and of itself has no flaws, just “potential” and a good contract. But are you telling me you wouldn’t give up any two of those players above for Horford or Rondo?

      • 504ever

        May 26, 2013 at 10:17 pm

        Michael McNamara lsutigers33 
        It’s hard to fault current management for draft mistakes by prior management, but that’s what you do when you list three horrible draft picks from the horrible old regime with Austin Rivers.  (I am as ambiguous about Rivers as the next guy.  He hasn’t shown much yet, but he is “young to the NBA game” and just two years removed from high school. He may still be a quality piece for this team, although probably not at PG in my opinion.)
        If the current Pelican management drafts anything like the much older CP3 and DWest management, these next 1st round picks are valuable.  
        I am all for contrarian thinking.  But the model can’t just be all contrarian thinking.  There has to be more thought.

      • Michael McNamara

        May 26, 2013 at 10:34 pm

        504ever Michael McNamara lsutigers33 The same guys who drafted CP3 and West took Kirk haston, Simmons, Armstrong, and Wright. Why? Because it is an inexact science. “If” you pick the right guys, of course it is better to have picks at their price, but that is so hard to do. 
        I guess the best way to sum this debate up is: The picks have the highest ceiling, but the odds of you hitting that ceiling is maybe 5%. Maybe. Horford, Rondo, etc. have a floor 10 times higher that the floor of the picks, however.

      • 504ever

        May 27, 2013 at 7:15 am

        Michael McNamara 504ever lsutigers33  
        But the scouting department was significantly different!  Remember?

  28. nicobaguio

    May 26, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    I’d be perfectly fine with the 4th one. Not sure about the others. 
    To me it comes down to whether who’s worth MORE than 12 million per year?
    Horford (yes, that’s his contract # and it’s steady and non-increasing). 
    the 6th pick this year (which will be around 2.6 million) + another pick next year (hopefully somewhere between 10 to 18 w/c means a salary of around 1.9 to 1.2 million) + Lopez (5.1 million) + leftover (approximately around  3 million)?
    I think it’s pretty clear who wins this. 
    We’d have to trade Ryan Anderson (which would make me REALLY SAD) but that’s inevitable. I’d love to do a complicated 4-way trade where we get Bledsoe + Jimmy Butler for Ryan Anderson. Something like: 
    LAC trades Bledsoe, 25th pick for Asik
    HOU trades Asik, Motiejunas for Anderson
    CHI trades Jimmy Butler for Motiejunas + 25th pick
    NOP trades Anderson for Bledsoe + Jimmy Butler
    LAC does to make their defense better (and yes, Asik is better than DeAndre by a mile). HOU does this trade to help entice Howard (what’s more enticing than Harden/Parsons/Anderson or Kobe/Metta/Pau?? I think the 1st one wins). I have no good reason why CHI would do this trade. I just know (or think) that value wise, it’s a good one. We obviously do this to get good value out of Anderson, getting two starting caliber guards to pair with Gordon. I also think Monty would LOVE to have those 2, utilizing them (defensively) the same way he used CP3 and Ariza. 
    I’m comfortable moving forward with a starting five of Bledsoe/Gordon/Butler/Davis/Horford with a bench of Roberts/Rivers/J.Smith + whoever we can get with the few cap space we have left (if we do use it). I think that team can compete for a playoff spot and/or actually contend depending on two things: 
    1. Gordon’s health be willing 
    2. Bledsoe/Butler/Davis’ improvement.

    • Michael McNamara

      May 26, 2013 at 9:27 pm

      nicobaguio Yeah, as you said on Twitter, I have no idea why Chicago would do that. They have a guy in Mirotic overseas that is close enough to Montiejunas and they LOVE Butler. 
      Also, giving Houston Anderson and the potential to pair him with Dwight, Parsons, and Harden really scares me

  29. DavidLeBoeuf

    May 26, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    sounds great.  One problem:  Can’t trade 1st round picks in back to back years.  so, moving on….

    • nicobaguio

      May 26, 2013 at 8:28 pm

      DavidLeBoeuf You’d have to do a verbal agreement with the other team to pick the guy they want. Example, we pick Alex Len with the 6th pick. At the opening of FA (I think around July 7? You can negotiate contracts starting July 1), ATL loses out on Howard (who decides to go to HOU) and Paul (who decides to stay with LAC) and they’re blowing up. It would just become Horford for Alex Len, 2014 pick, Lopez. That’s perfectly possible in the CBA. No rules were broken.

    • Michael McNamara

      May 26, 2013 at 8:33 pm

      I would never put something up here that is not doable. I know the CBA backwards and forwards and every rule and loophole. I appreciate you looking out, though.

      • shantadiva

        May 27, 2013 at 6:00 pm

        Michael McNamara Yea, but wouldn’t @nicobaguio proposal require Atlanta to take back salary fairly equal to Horford?  If there is a pick involved doesn’t the salary match thing go out the window?

      • nicobaguio

        May 27, 2013 at 8:32 pm

        shantadiva Michael McNamara in the ATL case, ATL would have copious amounts of cap space from losing out on CP3 and Howard (the premise of the trade). Hence, they wouldn’t need any salary to come back to them. We’re not as clean on the books as they are but we can absorb some salary commitments.

  30. dschmid4

    May 26, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    it really comes down to  the value you get for what a team pays a player and the acquisition costs. The cap being what is – you want players on a contract that gives you value.  Lebron, Durant etc will give you value no matter what you pay them.  Ryno is a good value. A Davis was a good value last year and will be an over the top good value in the near future. Vasquez for all of his faults is a good value. Eric G. well not so much as far as value.  Al Horford in my opinion is a good value on his current contract. Jefferson less so.
    The acquisition cost for most of our current players has been fairly low. Chris Paul was a big price to pay for what we got  in some ways, but he was leaving one way or another. Good players on their first and second contract tend to be good values. trying to get an established all star to town is good to cost you in the acquisition process, on the contract itself or likely both. The trade scenarios up top seem to cost a bit too much in my opinion. Two first round picks is a lot when you are likely to drafting in the first 10.

    • Michael McNamara

      May 26, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      There is one sentence that sums it all up in your comment- “Good players on their first and second contract….”
      I totally agree, and this is why teams covet these picks. They always assume that they will get the good players, but history shows that you are more likely to get an average or below average player.
      But it seems like that is never a consideration, even though it is the most likely outcome

  31. cwelker1989

    May 26, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    I take the Horford deal in a heart beat.  Nic Batum would be nice especially because of his connection to Monty but I take Al Horford averaging a double-double at 26 and an even $12 million over the next three seasons  than Nic Batum getting paid just south of that over the same period of time, being two years younger, and just one year less of NBA experience.
    I also feel like Horford is the type of center than can be easily paired with Davis in the front court.  A guy that gives you more bulk but not height in the front-court, something Davis make up for with his length and athleticism.  Horford and Davis starting with Anderson, Smith, and maybe a more traditional backup big-man/center would give the Pelicans a very dynamic and deep front-court at a bargain price.  That still leaves a glaring hole at small forward but the Pelicans would show improvement which would give them time to continue improvement while still maintaining financial flexibility.

  32. Michael McNamara

    May 26, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Also, another philosophy I have: The better your team, the better they make lesser players look. Hard to explain what I mean here, but I will put it like this. Do you think Jummy Butler would be this good if he was on Sacramento? How about Norris Cole if he went to Charlotte? 
    You get a guy like Horford or Rondo in here and that makes the game so much easier for all the role players and now they can just concentrate on their role. You keep bringing in all these young guys and dont have any defined roles and that is when you get into trouble. 
    This team needs to get good, then it can bring in rookies at the end of the first round and they will have bigger impacts than guys taken in the top 10 on crappy teams. So, I am not against adding young guys- I just want young guys to have small roles like Butler did coming into the league. Then they grow a little bit each year and wind up way better than higher drafted guys (Aminu) who are asked to do too much for crap teams

  33. soulbreaker

    May 27, 2013 at 5:08 am

    watch this post Compare one prospect to others in the past and his results, through thinks like height weight(if exist) bench press and other measurements, and the numbers in ncaa season and/or euro season, building  a model of the fisrt three years of the player, what is the most likely case for him, the worst and the best. In the 2012 draft was insanely accurate if the player play enough minutes. In this model Shabazz is absolutely putrid, Cody Zeller is David Lee´s clone(like MM said before), Steven Adams is a defensive beast, Gobert is a gamble(huge upside, but high risk too), Oladipo can be from Jimmy Butler to Brandon Roy(!!), among others. Watch his post about others ( still lacks many of course), absolutely awesome

  34. macs21

    May 27, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    I guess my only disclaimer for this would be that our pick becomes inherently (substantially) less valuable if we do trade it for someone good.
    In the below examples I’m assuming trades take place on draft day. I’m also assuming we wouldn’t give away a completely unprotected pick.
    1 – Bennett (Most Upside) + top 3 protected 2014 pick to Atlanta for Horford.
    We then have a Starting line up of PG/Gordon/SF/Davis/Horford and a bench of Rivers, Anderson, Roberts, J-Smitty and Miller. Assuming we have even average starters (reasonably, Jeff Teague and Matt Barnes) at the other two positions then that rotation will most likely make the play-offs. Thus our pick becomes much less valuable than if we’re rolling with a roster more comparable to this year.
    2 – Porter/Saric/Len + top 3 protected 2014 pick to Blazers for Batum
    Pretty much rinse and repeat as above. We run with PG/Gordon/Batum/Davis/C and the same bench (also, likelihood of keeping Lopez here would increase) which is also gonna be pushing for the playoffs.
    In either sceario, our pick is most likely somewhere in the 13-20 range (depending on Gordon’s health) and is therefore not anywhere near the value as an asset as it would be if we were trading it for a player who wasn’t as solid as Batum or Horford. I used them as examples as they were the ones you mentioned in the article.
    Sure GM’s make bad decisions, but I think they’d be able to assess the impact signing a top 30 player to a team with some good young talent would have in terms of improvement for the Pels. Particularly a guy like Horford.
    Just saying that I doubt a GM would expect us to finish with the 6th-8th worst record around either of those rotations. Particularly allowing for the 8 mil or so cap space we’d still have left after absorbing a guy with a contract like Horfords.

    • macs21

      May 27, 2013 at 8:48 pm

      By the way, Mike Mac, I’m in no way disagreeing with you here. I think a trade like that would be great.
      I just think it would be so great for us that other GM’s might recognise that and be less likely to pull the trigger on it.

      • Michael McNamara

        May 29, 2013 at 3:32 pm

        macs21 I dont mind disagreement anyway. Love it actually, keeps us all sharp. 
        Your point about other GM’s is a smart one, they are hiring more intelligent GM’s every year. The days of fleecing guys might be over soon

  35. JayDogon

    May 29, 2013 at 6:09 am

    I love the thinking behind this, I hope Dell reads it or at least has a similar thought

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