New Orleans Pelicans Free Agency and Rumors Thread

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Published: June 30, 2014
Eric Gordon

July 16th

Jason Smith has reportedly signed a 1 year 3.3 million dollar deal to join the Knicks. At the time of his departure, Smith was the longest tenured Pelicans player, appearing in 199 games over the past four season. His absence leaves Eric Gordon as the Pelicans player who has been on the roster the longest. Smith was seemingly the face of the franchise for much of the past two years, and he will be missed.

 

July 8th, 1:30 PM

A little interesting nugget came out of today’s Summer League practice, which was opened to the media for the first time.

 

As Fletcher astutely notes, Luke’s absence can potentially mean that a trade is coming. If you remember, Babbitt was with the team, working out, just a few weeks ago. But now, even though he is on the Summer League roster, he was nowhere to be found today. Why is this important? Well, like Melvin Ely, Babbitt has a non-guaranteed contract, which means that the Pelicans can trade him to make a deal work cap wise, but then the other team can just cut him without having to pay him anything or without him going on their books.

Him not being there makes a trade more likely in my opinion, because if the plan was just to decline the team option, we could have signed him right back up for the minimum, and actually given him a raise in doing so. Remember when we had to release Lance Thomas during summer league last year, then we picked him right back up? Could have done the same thing with Babbitt. However, if you trade a player, you can’t sign them again until the following year. So this is why I think it is far more likely that he is part of a trade. Also, the fact that Jeff Withey was there is an indicator as well, because if the Pels were just planning on waiving all holds and non guaranteed contracts, Withey would likely have to go as well.

So, how would it work? Well, Babbitt and Ely count for about $2.3 million (again, non-guaranteed) meaning that the Pelicans would have to attach about $3.3 million to facilitate a trade that would fall within the CBA’s 150% + 100K rule. If they can, say, work on a trade that sends Rivers and Ajinca elsewhere and Babbitt and Ely to Houston, they would preserve Bird Rights on all their players and keep their MLE and BAE. They could also use Bird Rights on their own free agents and do the same thing (which is the ideal scenario). For example, they can send Roberts and Smith to Detroit, and as long as their first year salary is $3.3 mil or more combined, they keep Bird Rights on everyone else and their MLE, BAE, etc.

A final option could be to work out a sign and trade with Morrow using cap room, as he seems to be the Pelicans free agent garnering the most interest. In this scenario, they would have to renounce Bird Rights to everyone and lose their MLE, but they keep Rivers and Ajinca, while also getting the room exception ($2.8 million) to go after a small forward. Still several options here for Dell, but reading the tea leaves, I would expect a trade that facilitates this Asik deal. The only question is whether it will involve Rivers or one of our own free agents.

 

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July 3rd, 9:30 AM

Bourbon Street Shots has learned that Dell Demps has explored some options that will allow him to complete the trade for Omer Asik while keeping his core in place. Immediately after the Asik trade was announced, I wrote this piece about how Dell would have to trade either Gordon, Rivers, or Anderson to make the deal work financially, but Dell might be trying to pull a rabbit out of his hat by doing the deal another way. It could happen if he does the following:

1. Have Houston take the Pelicans non-guaranteed contracts (Ely, Babbitt, and Withey) – this might already be an agreed upon part of the trade. The Rockets could use these as an asset or just release them to create cap room.

2. Sign and trade one of our own free agents to a third team. For the deal to work cap wise, the Pelicans would have to send out a player whose salary starts at $2.4 million or more next year (and if it is $3.2 million, they can keep Withey, $3.4 million for Babbitt)

So, we have heard that the Grizzlies might have some interest in Roberts, the Mavericks might have some interest in Aminu, and several teams have interest in Morrow. Now, Aminu and Roberts (and even Smith) can be signed and traded using Bird Rights, meaning that we can keep our MLE. Morrow, however, would likely have to be signed using part or all of our MLE because we do not have Bird Rights on him. (Edit: To do a S&T with Morrow, the Pels would have to sign him into cap room, which would make them lose their MLE, but would allow the to use the Room Exception) Would it be worth losing our MLE to keep Rivers and Withey? Before you answer yes, remember that we still desperately need a SF. A couple of other small things to keep in mind here – Both parties (the other team and our free agent) have to agree to the deal and that makes this option more difficult than upon first glance.

First of all, you have to give out either 3 or 4 year contracts to guys that you sign and trade. You can’t sign and trade Smith on a 1 year deal, for instance.  Now, it can be a three year deal with only the first year guaranteed, but that is where the player might object. And the other tough thing with going this route is: Why would that third team help us out? They aren’t going to just do us a favor for nothing. And Dell doesn’t have picks to sweeten the deal. But maybe that cash from Houston can be rerouted. That’s an idea. Also, you could see teams without cap room but with trade exceptions being interested in this route.

There are several teams that can absorb our players using a trade exception, so be on the lookout for that. Morrow seems the most likely candidate here, though as I said before, that would cause us to lose our MLE. The Pelicans would be stacked in the front court and the backcourt, but would have a gaping hole at SF, with only the biannual and Bird Rights to Aminu, Smith, and Roberts left to fix it. It is an interesting option for Dell though nonetheless. __________________________________________________________________________ Update July 2nd, 7:30 PM    

We have heard two names now: Jameer Nelson and Troy Daniels. The thing that they have in common is that they are guards who are best suited off the bench that can shoot. Are they possible replacements for Morrow or Rivers? Stay tuned.

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Update July 1st, 9:30 PM

  These tweets are in reference to the tweets Alex Kennedy sent out earlier today. Let me tell you how this happens. A desperate reporter with little to no track record (Kennedy) is so desperate to break something that he believes everything he hears and tweets it a thousand times. Other teams give him this info, knowing he will put it out, to try to make the Pels seem desperate. The Pels then call someone like Kyler, pissed – see this tweet – and tell him the truth. So, long story short, expect Rivers or Gordon. Same place we were days ago. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Update July 1st, 7:00 PM

 

After seeing what Jodie Meeks got on the open market (3 yrs/ $19.5), the Pelicans might be assuming that Anthony Morrow is gone. If gone, Daniels could be a nice shooter at a fraction of the price.

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Update, July 1st 9:09 AM

A front office source with another team has told me that the Lakers are shopping Steve Nash hard and are willing to take back deals with more than 1 year remaining. Currently, Steve Nash has 1 year and $9.7 remaining on his deal. So, could the Lakers look towards New Orleans? Eric Gordon is working out in LA, loves the city, and would be a decent fit next to Kobe if healthy. From the Pelicans side, this trade would help them facilitate the Asik deal and/or could really help them get into either this free agent market or next year’s. Let’s take a look at what some options would be if a Nash for Gordon trade gets done.

Option 1: Make it a three-teamer with Houston where we also get Asik and the Rockets get the pick. This would allow us to keep all our Bird Rights, MLE, BAE, etc. Then, hold onto Nash as an expiring trade chip or just let him expire and go into the 2015 Free Agent class with the Core Four, Asik, and 15-20 mil in cap room.

 

Option 2: Add Ely, Ajinca, and Babbitt to the deal and you get a big enough trade exception to just absorb Asik’s deal with a trade exception. This puts you right back where you started this summer with all your Bird Rights and th option to use cap room or your MLE.

 

Option 3: Do Gordon for Nash and have another trade with Rivers that lets you make the Asik deal using the 150% rule (would have to add Ely, Babbitt, etc.). Then, you work on a buyout with Nash and stretch him. If you do this, you can instantly get to about $18 mil under the cap right away. Now you go after Parsons or Hayward or Ariza or Deng. Heck, make a pitch to Lebron! Okay, let’s slow down a bit, but you get my point. You can even just sit there and wait on teams to dump salaries to create more space for those big guys or to avoid the lux tax.

The Core 4 and Asik plus $18 mil to spend – not bad, huh?

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Update, July 1st 8:00 AM

The first night of Free Agency has passed and nothing to report on the Pelicans front. Alex Kennedy, who is never right about the Pelicans, tweeted about Andray Blatche telling people that he thinks he can end up in New Orleans, while a Boston Celtics fan, who is a web designer and runs a little blog, tweeted about the Celtics being interested in Rivers. Due to the desire to just want to consume any bit of information, this got some fans into a frenzy, but there is nothing to see here yet. If Woj or Stein reports something, then we should listen (and discuss), but for right now all is quiet.

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Free Agency starts tonight, and just as we did last year, we will keep you up to date on all the latest rumors and rumblings and have instant analysis once anything breaks.

To hold you over, here is a look at the trades that are most likely to happen over the next few days. And you can listen to the podcast as well if you haven’t already.

What are you hoping for over these next few days and what do you think will actually happen?

101 comments
Cubancaniac
Cubancaniac

well ronnie brewer is hitting the market... any thoughts on him???

Cubancaniac
Cubancaniac

Ok so just read that we may be hitting Omri Casspi!!! He has been a favorite of mine from his sacramento days!!! I couldn't understand why byron scott wouldn't play him when he went to Cleveland!!! I don't want to get anyones hopes up but he could def. battle for a starting spot at sf... he's a shooter. Probably another liability on d! But still can space the floor for the starting 5!!!

PelicanSaints
PelicanSaints

Alonzo Gee is just a chip to make the Asik trade work. He will be released after the trade is completed......

Cubancaniac
Cubancaniac

Nevermind...he's a chip in the asik trade

Nithenz
Nithenz

Ok, So Lebron is going to Cleveland...hope this starts the trade season...

lsucpolk
lsucpolk

Ok, Lebron, we get it.  You wield some degree of 'power'.  It's becoming annoying.

jsl05
jsl05

As much as I love Rivers, I feel like I'd rather have the MLE and other exceptions because at this point in our roster building, we have so many guards already that he becomes somewhat of a luxury.  With Jrue, Tyreke, and Gordon already on the roster, there aren't too many minutes left.  So keeping Rivers (who would be receiving minimal minutes that can be filled by B-Rob/Russ) at the expense of upgrading the SF position is not the best decision IMO.

Zed84
Zed84

Lets see Babbit will be traded WOW!! come back with better info than this like a move that's worth wild.

DavidLBrown
DavidLBrown

This is the dullest beginning to free agency I've ever seen. And not just related to the Pelicans, but the entire NBA. Nothing seems to be going on. I guess everyone's waiting on the big free agents to find a team before the frenzy he will begin.

504ever
504ever

Re: 7/3 morning update.

I wonder if question is Morrow and Aminu for about x+$1M or Tucker for x? Maybe Morrow as a long term piece and Aminu as a short term piece better than overpaying to get Tucker?

And get staring SF by summer 2015. Morrow and Aminu split most of SF minutes until then.

If Gordon goes, or team setting up for that, Roberts on 2nd team and as free throw shooting closer not a bad piece at around vet minimum.

Zed84
Zed84

Let us all hope that LeBron re-signs with the Heat and Mello with the Bulls or re-sign with the Knicks tomorrow so the rest of NBA can move on.

PelicanSaints
PelicanSaints

I will predict that Gordon,Rivers,Ajinca are history....

saZam2
saZam2

I like Jameer Nelson as a backup obviously

Caffeinedisaster
Caffeinedisaster

My tab in Chrome says New Orleans PLEICANS Free Agency???  :)

Caffeinedisaster
Caffeinedisaster

Golden State says no to Klay Thompson in trade, but still want Love.

Minny wants Kevin Martin attached to any deal.

bucklezzzman
bucklezzzman

Lebron2Pels & xman2000 are killing me with their Pelicans logic on here smh lmao

polofr3sh
polofr3sh

@Lebron2Pels2014 @polofr3sh How is he overrated? did he make the rookie/Soph allstar game? Is anyone talking about him? He is unknown 2 be considered even rated lol and Monty Williams doesn't develop players 

he is the reason why we had to watch Cp3 do it all by himself with no help, which was sad and painful to watch

i mean Mo pete was the starting 2 ~_~

our past team (Cp3 era) consist of signing veterans and never drafting young talent to develop them 

why we been the same Team we are now 

Fast-foward 2014 and we still trading away future picks and signing 2nd round picks with no upside that only have that see what u get talent like Brian Roberts.


The obvious#

Rivers is a better shooter than Evans and a better defender than Gordon

Younger than both

and has been improving

Evans is the same slasher no jumpshooting guard since he's been drafted

what has improved from his game? how many years has he been in the league now? and

Gordon is injury prone with a weird personality

a straight weirdo who has no interest in improving this team , while he thinks he's a starter and won't accept a bench role


i rather a cheaper younger Rivers thats improving than a overpaid know what your getting guard

polofr3sh
polofr3sh

@Lebron2Pels2014 @polofr3sh How is he overrated? did he make the rookie/Soph allstar game? Is anyone talking about him? He is unknown 2 be considered even rated lol and Monty Williams doesn't develop players 

he is the reason why we had to watch Cp3 do it all by himself with no help, which was sad and painful to watch

i mean Mo pete was the starting 2 ~_~

our past team (Cp3 era) consist of signing veterans and never drafting young talent to develop them 

why we been the same Team we are now 

Fast-foward 2014 and we still trading away future picks and signing 2nd round picks with no upside that only have that see what u get talent like Brian Roberts.


The obvious#

Rivers is a better shooter than Evans and a better defender than Gordon

Younger than both

and has been improving

Evans is the same slasher no jump-shooting guard since he's been drafted

what has improved from his game? how many years has he been in the league now? and

Gordon is injury prone with a weird personality

a straight weirdo who has no interest in improving this team , while he thinks he's is a starter and won't accept a bench role


i rather a cheaper younger Rivers thats improving than a overpaid know what your getting guard

Houpgarou
Houpgarou

Lance talks @ impasse. Gordon / babbitt for Copeland / Lance @ 10.5 a season?

Zed84
Zed84

Some people on this fan base can be a joke I want Gordon & Rivers to stay two mediocre players that don't fit here. Gordon is a strange guy is better off somewhere else and Rivers a total bust and at this point in his career an journeyman like his dear old dad. Gordon & Rivers will hold this team back from any progress. So some of you nuts can be on the Gordon & Rivers train but I got off long ago.

polofr3sh
polofr3sh

Pelicans not getting rid of Austin Rivers....lol

would of happen long time ago

so stop wishing in trying to make the Asik deal make sense

scratch him off list...

theres an interview where Monty explains Rivers going with him for the Usa practices and working with him on The Pelican official website.. Plus Anthony Davis is best friends with him


Anderson is just a shooter, nothing more nothing less...if maybe we signed shooters or allowed this team to attempt more 3point shooting 

His value wouldn't be so noticed

swap him for Greg Mon

and get to the playoffs for once


we had anderson for two years now

he hasn't made much a difference to this roster but shoot 3's and have a few couple good games and play no defense


Peja 2.0

xman20002000
xman20002000

You have to like this team... We just got the C we needed and some of you are still negative... Anderson will return and do we really need to worry looking at the direction we are going... Then wouldn't it be great if we played in the East...  Let's get Danny Granger at SF.....

TristanBisnezzWilliams
TristanBisnezzWilliams

Say McNamara? What sources do you guys trust other than Wojo, Stein, Spears, and Aldridge?

Houpgarou
Houpgarou

Twitter is an f'in mess!!! Does Alex Kennedy have any credibility at all?! He looks like he's about 12 in his pic but acts like he's got sources out the wazoo???

And if ej wasn't enough, where are all these reke haters coming from?? Clearly none of them saw second half of pel season (admittedly he started extremely slow, and training camp injury had him little out of shape and out of step with teammates), doing it all and great chemistry w ad?

youngmoon93
youngmoon93

I don't like none of the trades only trade i would like is and parsons trade i like jeff the rookie from last year and yeah u can trade gordon but keep rivers

xman20002000
xman20002000

@DavidLBrown Well free  agency hasn't begun officially and we are again caught up in the decision making schedule of LeBron and now Melo plus the 3 Amigos in Miami.conundrum..  Frankly I would be moved but not so moved wherever they went but dude we need to move on knowing this is the last big deal for both...  so what...

xman20002000
xman20002000

@504ever  I think Aminu will go to Dallas and perfect a shot...  His defensive numbers are off the chain...  Dallas is supposed to be interested... Didn't he lead the league in rebounds.. and some other category... 

jmbell7
jmbell7

And Aminu, if you hadn't already predicted that.

Houpgarou
Houpgarou

That def seems like a scenario we could insert ourselves into, gordon and Barnes being the compromise when they realize they can't get klay. W's take back martin w love and we take draymond and spare parts like shved, brewer, barea, whatever that allow them to shed needed salary to make it happen and let us take back a little less than ej salary to make room for Omer

Caffeinedisaster
Caffeinedisaster

@polofr3sh @Lebron2Pels2014 Love how Rivers has come along in his 2nd year, but I'd still rather have Tyreke.  When he has spacing, nobody can stop him from getting to the basket or getting fouled.


Ideally I'd like to keep both.

Zed84
Zed84

@polofr3sh @Lebron2Pels2014 Rivers was not in none of those all star games he is overrated because a player like Rivers have basketball bloodlines doesn't mean he's going to be a great player his father wasn't he was journeyman. So stop with the Rivers is the real deal talk because no one is going to agree with you.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara moderator

@Houpgarou Have you noticed we haven't put one of his tweets up here?

That should tell you everything

Houpgarou
Houpgarou

Guess I'll go back to waiting on jimmy smith and john Reid for news.

*crickets*

Zed84
Zed84

@xman20002000 I know you're starting an Keep Gordon fan club and since you're the only member it must be fun those keychain giveaways and I bet your membership cards give fans 10% off at any McDonalds in Phoenix lol.

Houpgarou
Houpgarou

Not true, just throwing out idea. Salaries close to match if we take Copeland back while swapping them dirt cheap Copeland clone Babbitt. Indy always wanted Paul George to play 3 so could use a 2, need someone who can put ball in hoop, and of course eg is an indy homeboy.