New Orleans Pelicans Hot Topics: Gordon, Granger, Rivers, Burke, and More

Published: June 4, 2013

Time to catch up once again on some hot topics as the New Orleans Pelicans prepare for arguably their most important offseason ever. With approximately $13 million in cap room (with the ability to get that number over $20 million), some tradeable assets, and the #6 pick in the draft, the Pelicans figure to be major players this offseason. Here is the latest:

News and Rumors

– Chad Ford’s latest mock draft is full of some juicy tidbits. First, he states that the Pelicans “have not given up on Austin Rivers.” Well, duh. Who thought they had? But Ford takes it a step further and says that the Pelicans will likely not bite on a point guard in the draft because they seem happy with what they have at the point. Second, he says that people inside the organization see Anthony Davis as a 4 long term, meaning there is a need for a center (can’t we wait for Pekovic?!). So, with that in mind, Ford has us selecting Alex Len even though all three point guards (Burke, McCollum, and MCW) were on the board in his mock.

Dell Demps is in Europe right now, scouting not only draft prospects, but possible free agents that we can add to the roster or give Summer League tryouts to. Remember, it is not always about the home run. As Ryan pointed out on the podcast last night, Dell scouted these playoffs last year and invited Roberts to Summer League. Now the Pelicans have a solid 4th or 5th  guard on a cheap contract. Once Dell returns, the Pelicans will hold individual workouts for prospects. likely beginning next week.

– The Indiana Pacers were eliminated by the Miami Heat last night, and the #1 question I have got today is: Granger and #23 for Eric Gordon, what would you say? First of all, I gotta say it makes at least some sense for both teams. For the Pacers, Paul George is  a small forward, so it would be hard for he and Granger to play well next to each other. Also, financially, Indiana is basically locked into their current team. Paul George is going to get a max contract that kicks in at the beginning of the 2014 season, just when Granger comes off the books. With David West’s cap hold this year, the Pacers really don’t have any money to upgrade their roster, so why not swing for the fences with Gordon and hope he stays healthy? If he does, that is a team that can own the East for the next couple of years.

For the Pelicans, it would be great to add a solid veteran presence and it would also be nice to get out from Gordon’s contract. The cap actually figures to jump up nearly $3 million next summer, so the Pelicans can put themselves in prime position to be players in that class with Granger coming off the books. All that said, I don’t think Dell does it, but let me add this one tweek to the trade. What if Dell called the Bobcats and they said that they would flip #4 for #6 and Tyler Hansborough? You call Indy back up and ask for Granger and Psycho T, then flip him to Charlotte and now, at #4, you are pretty much guaranteed either McLemore or Oladipo to replace Gordon at the 2- would that be good enough? Sound off below.

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  1. jsl05

    June 4, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    I love these informational roundup pieces.  Thanks!
    I wouldn’t be upset if we took Len.  As Ryan said on the podcast last night, Len isn’t a great rebounder.  Plug in SkyNet.  Len has a nice overall game.  He can shoot well and be a rim protector, which would allow AD to roam the paint.  
    I’d be fine with taking Saric, too.  If Rivers and Gordon are the guards, Saric can occasionally initiate the offense and be our Ginobili-type player.  
    I’d do the Granger trade in a heartbeat.  He can fill that small forward spot this year and maybe in the future if we like him.  Also, we can get a guy that has one elite talent at 23.  Sergey Karasev, Reggie Bullock, and Tim Hardaway Jr. may be available; one of those guys could really help space the floor.  Or we could go big and get Jeff Withey or Gorgui Deng to help in the rebounding department.  Remember, this is a deep draft.  Most importantly, Gordon would be off our books, and we could build around AD.
    If we did get Hansborough instead, I’d do that deal; and I think they would, too.  Moving up and having Granger would be a huge win.
    The salary central page and the writer bio page are great.  Thanks for helping Pels fans be the most informed.
    The podcast is part of life, and I can’t imagine what I’d do without it.  I’ll try to get everyone I know to rate it.

  2. bobmurrell

    June 4, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    You forgot to add the fact that EJ is from Indianapolis and Granger is from NOLA, so I feel like both of those guys would probably want that as well – ample playing time in spots that are wide-open for them, and the chance to play at home.

  3. creeddude96

    June 4, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Gotta keep Gordon. No way in hell I trade him for granger

    • jsl05

      June 4, 2013 at 7:30 pm


  4. lsutigers33

    June 4, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    I like this move as one of the SF we should look at with little risk due to one year review on the player.  We are not going to get a CP, DH, etc. 
    Would like it better if we could package something for phx’s pick for EG and then have the flexibility to do something with 6.    Then we could get olidipo at 5 and still have 6 pick to trade back and make something happen for saric, KCP, MCW, or keep it and look at Burke, Zeller.

    • Caffeinedisaster

      June 4, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      lsutigers33 Phoenix idea is nice, but I don’t think Gordon can be traded there until July.  I wonder if they pick Oladipo and hold him for us….

  5. Caffeinedisaster

    June 4, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Max contract guy with knee issues for older max contract guy with knee issues?  At least Gordon played more than 5 games this season.  I only like the second move where we flip Hansborough for Charlotte’s pick.  I’m not in love with Granger like some.  He’s on the downswing of his career.

    • Michael McNamara

      June 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm

      Caffeinedisaster I dont think anyone loves Granger, they love the idea of getting out from under a big contract two years earlier. The thinking is: If neither of these guys are in our long term future, why not choose the guy who will be off our books faster?

      • Caffeinedisaster

        June 4, 2013 at 4:09 pm

        Michael McNamara Caffeinedisaster The way I’m looking at it:  If he’s not part of the long term future, hold off for the trade that will secure that future.

  6. LaNative

    June 4, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    I really think we need to upgrade at the point guard position – so, I’m having a hard time with not selecting one.  Yes, I like GV but he’s not a starter and  we see the value of fast point guards especially in the West – so that’s my only knock on GV.  I love the Granger deal (if possible).  I like EG’s game but am really concerned about his attitude.

    • Caffeinedisaster

      June 4, 2013 at 3:53 pm

      LaNative I wonder if that’s why they’re so interested in Saric.  He plays the 3 AND sets up the offense.  Much like when Rivers brought the ball upcourt to allow Vasquez to set up the offense.  Having Rivers/Gordon playing off the ball in the backcourt with Saric setting up could be interesting.

  7. xulapaul

    June 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I love the proposed trade with Indiana and Charlotte!  Would Charlotte swap places just for Hansbrough?  If so, it gets us (1) rid of Gordon & Gordon baggage, (2) a solid vet with no long term strings, and (3) a young building block going forward.  We would still have an issue at PG and C, but those can be dealt with later.

  8. nolafredo

    June 4, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Danny Granger and #4 gives us Danny Granger (fills the SF hole) AND a shot at our preferred G — Oladipo, McCollum, Burke, maybe even McLemore depending on how Draft Night unfolds.
    How can I not root for that?

  9. 504ever

    June 4, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Can’t see why Indy would take on two additional years at $14-15/year AND give us a draft pick, but I’d do it.  Ditto the Hansborough to move up two spaces trade.  Sadly, I doubt either will happen.
    Also, I wrote earlier worrying about the Pelicans ducking a PG in the draft, even with first choice of PGs, because of having Rivers on the roster and wanting him to feel like the answer at PG.  I am completely opposed to ignoring the PG position when drafting at 6 absent Porter, or someone similar, falling to us.

    If the Pelican reach for Saric at 6 to avoid taking a PG (presumably because of Rivers), then I think we need new management.  I don’t think it will happen, but I wanted to put it out there.

    • Michael McNamara

      June 4, 2013 at 4:48 pm

      504ever Out of curiousity, why is it a “reach” to take Saric at 6? Because most mock drafts don’t have him going higher than 10 or 13? Those things mean nothing, especially this time of year. 
      At this time of year, Paul George was slated to go mid-20’s. Dion Waiters was going to Phoenix at 14. 
      Not picking on you 504, this is for everyone who brings up this point. Mock drafts are not real. I know we all know that, but do we? As a GM, you don’t try and get cute and figure out who is going to take who behind you. You set your board, and to hell with whether Sacramento and Detroit have him 5th or 50th. Not your concern. 
      For instance, we didn’t have a pick that year, but Dell had Kenneth Faried WAY higher on his board than 21. If he would have had the 12th pick and taken him, would that have been a reach? Would it matter now? 
      It only takes one team to fall in love with a guy, and that is where he is taken. Reports are that Portland likes Saric at 10, Dallas at 13. And other teams might have people in there front office who can actually keep their mouth shut, so that’s why we dont hear about their interest. 
      Dell can’t worry about any of that. You make your board and draft off that. If Dell thinks Saric is better than anyone else available at that pick, he should take him.

      • 504ever

        June 4, 2013 at 9:56 pm

        Michael McNamara504ever 
        I call Saric a reach at 6 based on my assessment of his game.  He has dribble skills and is crafty, sort of like Rudy Fernández, but not terribly athletic and he is only a 30% international 3pt shooter.  With very advanced ball skills, but not a lot of athleticism or a great stroke, he seems to be closer to his max upside that other players available thru say the 9th pick.  So I call him a reach.

        I’d like you to answer the question: Where would you draft Saric based on your board?

      • pelsfan2313

        June 5, 2013 at 12:04 am

        504ever Michael McNamara  
         Still missing the point. Your board doesn’t matter. It all comes down to how Demps evaluates the prospects before him. He’s getting the big bucks for a reason.

      • 504ever

        June 5, 2013 at 9:18 am

        How could anyone miss that point?!  But that point has NOTHING to do with Michael’s and my conversation here. 
        No one knows what Dell thinks.  So Michael and I were offering our opinions about Pelican options, just like everyone else.  We even couched it as our opinions rather than ‘the Pels have to do this’.  Michael’s point was don’t rely on mock drafts right now and I responded I wasn’t.  
        Just to be clear, someone being a GM and is getting paid big bucks doesn’t make them infallible.  Just look at the Hornets management when they had a big three of CP3, DWest, and Chandler.
        More to my earlier point, look at the Blazers passing on somebody named Michael Jordon cause they had Clyde Drexler and drafting Sam Bouie (Greg Oden 0.0) instead.  
        If Porter doesn’t fall to us, Dell could easily reach (in my opinion) for a non-PG like Saric rather than taking Best Player Available (BPA).  Management has already been making noise like position will be a factor in this draft.  To me that means not drafting a PG at 6, regardless of how good any are, because Rivers is on the roster.  That is a scary thought.

        Michael is a huge proponent of BPA.  So I asked him where he has Saric now.  Again, NOTHING to do with what Dell thinks, ’cause no one knows.  I was just curious what Michael thought.

      • Michael McNamara

        June 5, 2013 at 10:41 am

        504ever Michael McNamara Fair. I understand that is your assessment. I don’t think Dell agrees. I have Saric at 7 on my board, meaning there will be a player or players available that I personally like better. I have McCollum at 4, and I think he will be there, so I would take him. But I don’t think Dell agrees, and I know he has seen a lot more of Saric than I have. 
        From what I have seen, I think he has the potential to be the most unique player in this draft. A guy that is hard to plan for. Think Lamar Odom in his prime. If Dell thinks the Pelicans have the foundation in place to get him to his ceiling, I see the rationale in thinking he is BPA because you just can’t find guys like that

      • veezyv

        June 8, 2013 at 8:28 pm

        Michael McNamara 504ever I actually want McCollum too.  I think that makes us more flexible to potentially trade vasquez or gordon.

  10. eMariii123

    June 4, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    So we’re basically choosing between having Gordon / Porter Jr. and Granger / Oladipo.
    Porter and Oladipo are a wash.

    Gordon at 23 yrs old, still young locked in for 3yrs, and SHOULD be fully healed from that initial surgery as it has been 2yrs.
    Granger at 30yrs, on the decline, won’t be 100% next yr, contract expires after next yr.
    I know I’ll be with the minority on this one but i gotta go with Gordon and Porter. There is no guarantee that we’ll be able to sign a big time player when Granger comes off the books. We already have a potential all-star in Gordon on our roster. A small market team needs to try to hold onto players of that calibur once they get them. You can’t bank on us making a big splash in FA just because we have the money to do so – there are still 29 other teams trying to sign guys too. I think we gotta give Gordon one more chance, AT LEAST until the trade deadline next year to prove himself, as he should be 100% healed from that initial surgery like I said before. If it doesn’t work out, then you trade him. Small market teams can’t live by “what if s”.

    • ericsnow

      June 4, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      Granger is on the decline doesn’t make since to give up all that for him when we can pick up josh smith without giving up anything way better upside and younger and on a longer contract

      • macs21

        June 4, 2013 at 10:26 pm

        ericsnow Josh Smith isn’t a Small Forward though. No doubt he’s a great player, but I think you guys might be forgetting that Grangers contract is a minimal risk as we can let him walk the season after and have heaps of cap space for that off-season

      • ericsnow

        June 5, 2013 at 12:01 pm

        True the contract is better but how are we going to attract other star players without a few of our own yes he not a true sf he can guard the 3 4 5 he a 4 with the speed of a 3 he is exactly what we wanted amuniu to turn out to be n also can guard super star sf which we had trouble against this season durant melo lbj ect also if we trade eg the only thing we would have in return for trading the best pg in the league would be rivers who will be sitting on the sideline most season if we draft Burke

  11. ericsnow

    June 4, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    If we trade Gordon for Granger that would make the cp3 trade 2 – 3 worst trades n hornets/pels history 2 to the kobe trade or the chandler trade which brought us okafor why we traded for scraps… Gordon will eventually live up to his contract fans are just being impatient he played hurt all year n still lead The team n scoring if he leaves we will be no better than the wizards or cavs or dare I say suns…

  12. usnfish

    June 4, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    It depends on who is there at #4 for me.
    If Ben McLemore for some reason slips to #4 then I do it in a heartbeat.  I wouldn’t sacrifice the asset (potential of Gordon ever getting healthy) for Oladipo.  A great defensive wing player in the NBA (assuming that Oladipo does become that) just does not cost that much.  
    This is not to say that offensive is more valuable than defense.  Rather, offense costs more than defense in the NBA.  Free agent scorers are terribly overpaid (Jamal Crawford, J.R. Smith) compared to defenders.  I would rather use the assets in the draft to gain scorers (at well below market rate) and use the savings to slightly overpay for defenders, a rate New Orleans pays anyway as a generally “undesirable” market in the free agency.

  13. thebetterdirtybirds

    June 4, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    So basically we are giving Gordon and 6 for Granger, 4, and 23? Uh, definitely! We are losing our contract with Gordon, giving us even more cap space to sign a big time free agent/agents, we are filling our small forward need with a solid Granger, guaranteeing ourselves Mclemore, Oladipo, Noel, or Porter, and at 23 we can easily get a Schroeder or Withey. Imagine this lineup: Schroeder/Vasquez, Mclemore/Oladipo, Granger, Davis, and Pek with withey, rivers, anderson and maybe Brewer coming off the bench: that is definitely a playoff-caliber lineup, also with potential.

  14. Jared Ennis

    June 4, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    I really wanted to have faith in Eric Gordon….I tried.  But I just can’t convince myself to rely on him. I would take Granger for him. Granger was playing at a high level before he got hurt. If Charlotte would take our pick and psycho T for the fourth, then I am all for it.

  15. macs21

    June 4, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    The Pacers have cap trouble (big time) next year if they do that trade, I give them about a 5% chance of accepting.
    Grangers contract coming off the books lines up perfectly with Paul George’s max kicking in, they can afford to keep Granger for one more run and then either re-sign him for less, maybe something like 2 years 25 mil or 3 years 30 mil given his injury history, but they can’t afford to pay Gordon.
    They’d be running with Hill (9), Gordon (14), George (15), West? (8), Hibbert (14). That leaves them literally 0 space for the bench.
    As much as I’d jump at the opportunity to do that trade – and I voted for it above – I just don’t see them pulling the trigger on it.
    I’m starting to feel like Buzz Killington on all your trade proposals here Mike Mac haha. If we can pull some/one of them off though I’ll be the happiest guy around when I’m wrong!

    • macs21

      June 4, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      DISCLAIMER: The only way I see us potentially losing that trade would be if Gordon plays out his contract relatively uninjured. I.e. averages 70+ games a season and plays the playoffs each year.
      If he does that he’s an all-star putting up 23/3/4 or something with above average D. At this point, you’d have to bet against Dipo or McLemore putting up those numbers.

  16. SnowofSX2

    June 4, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Great article! Honestly the only way I’d do a Gordon for Granger trade is if it included the Bobcats scenario so we can replace the SG spot. Other than that, I wouldn’t do it. Granger is just as injury prone as Gordon but lets face it, Gordon is younger and probably has a better chance of being healthier than Granger. He could also be traded later on for something more you never know. 
    Mclemore or Oladipo
    I like that roster if  you ask me

  17. jsgrayson

    June 5, 2013 at 12:06 am

    Don’t forget to rate the Podcast on iTunes guys!

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