Monitoring the Pelicans at the Trade Deadline

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Published: February 15, 2016

The NBA trade deadline is this Thursday, and rumors will be flying right up until the clock his 2 pm central. The Pelicans will be sure to be mentioned with Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon having expiring contracts. Asik has been rumored to the Cavs, and even Tyreke Evans was mentioned at one point.

Will a trade happen? Will the Pelicans stand pat? No one knows for sure but it’s safe to say Anthony Davis will not be moved. We’ll be keeping this posted updated until the deadline with all the rumors we can find. We’ll also have commentary from our writers on the potential deals. So be sure to bookmark this page and keep checking back!

Rumors

Jake: Not surprising news. Anderson has never experienced free agency before, and with the salary cap set to rise next season he’ll have plenty of suitors. No reason for him not to talk to everyone and find the best fit. This could also be another GM leaking this to try and drive down the Pelicans’ asking price for Anderson. Regardless, expiring contracts don’t have nearly the same value they’ve had in the past.

Mason: Largely agree with Jake here; I think the most likely scenario is that a rival team is trying to lower the Pelicans’ asking price. If it did come from Anderson’s camp, while it wouldn’t totally shock me, I would be fairly surprised. If that is indeed what happened, it increases the odds of the Pelicans hanging onto him at the deadline, which implies that he would prefer to remain with the Pels over contributing to a surefire playoff team this spring as a “rental” before his contract expires. But that’s not what the report says; just that he wants to “explore free agency”, so it’s fairly difficult to connect the dots there. His agent could be posturing, but that doesn’t seem like Ryan Anderson’s style, especially if his goal is to stay in New Orleans.

Nick: “The essence of finance is time travel” according to Matt Levine in one of his many well received op eds. Initially, his point is that finance is about taking assets from either the present or the future and moving them to another time period, but his thesis grows to include information flows. That is, new information about a future event can change our behavior in the meantime, which catches us in a little finance version of Schrodinger’s cat… But whatever, right? What does this have to do with Ryan Anderson? Well, information affects the NBA’s asset market much the same way. This leads me to two points. As you hear rumors over the next few days, remember that someone is leaking that information to serve an interest. Also, they are probably interested in manipulating the market (as Jake and Mason so clearly described) not season ticket holders. My second point is the interest that is being served might not always be clear.

Jake and Mason have already done a great job. I only have one thing to add to this specific discussion. Ryan Anderson is sure to have a few suitors. Some of which are going to be able to offer more enticing situations than the others. A team that could offer an extra year on a new contract to Mr. Anderson will gain an advantage, as noted by Zach Lowe below. So this particular rumor may actually suggest more trade activity for Anderson not less, because teams that currently see themselves as 2nd or 3rd in the running for him in free agency want a leg up by being able to offer the 5th year.

Jake: This rumor was out there before Evans underwent season ending surgery so it’s safe to rule him out. But for some reason the Cavs make sense as one of the few teams potentially willing to take on Asik. More than that, I think the Cavs would be a team also willing to trade for Eric Gordon. If the Cavs expect to make the finals and play Golden State or San Antonio, they will need more outside shooting to compete. Gordon can help there. The Cavs will be one of the few teams over the salary cap next season, and expiring deal will help their luxury tax bill and potential give them more room to operate in the offseason. They are have quite a few large contracts which could help make a deal of Gordon and Asik work.

From Steve Kyler at basketballinsiders.com:

Keep an eye on New Orleans Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson, Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker and Utah Jazz forward Trevor Booker – all players the Wizards have at least inquired about.

Jake: Honestly, I’m not sure Anderson helps the Wizards a ton. Their defense is a bit of a mess and he’s certainly not helping on that side of the ball. Is his offense enough to justify taking minutes away from Jared Dudley? Probably not. The Pelicans getting Kelly Oubre back in the trade would be ideal. But Washington isn’t making a run at the playoffs this season so I wouldn’t expect them to trade a young asset for a possible rental of Ryan Anderson.

From Zach Lowe at ESPN.com:

The Pelicans still like the idea of surrounding Anthony Davis with a bruiser; they’ve gone back and forth with the Bucks about Greg Monroe, sources say. New Orleans’ roster is pretty bare going forward, and the team might feel pressure to salvage something from this disastrous, injury-riddled season.

The Pels and Rockets once flirted about a Ryan Anderson-Omer Asik swap, and the Pelicans now have both to send to Houston in exchange for Howard. But the Pelicans are sifting through a pile of potential Anderson offers, and teams have gotten the impression that Dell Demps, the New Orleans general manager, may not have the freedom to toss in a first-rounder after dealing three picks for Jrue Holiday and Asik. Other teams have offered to slap top-of-the-lottery protections onto New Orleans’ 2016 pick, but that hasn’t swayed the Pelicans, sources say. Teams are also confused about whether Mickey Loomis, a top executive for Tom Benson’s New Orleans Saints, has the final say over Demps.

Anderson has drawn a ton of interest, considering his abysmal defense and approaching free agency; dude might earn $20 million per year on his next deal, and some teams would run from that contract. Detroit and Sacramento both hope to sign him in free agency, sources say, but the teams are deciding whether it might be safer to acquire him now and gain that fifth-year edge in the July auction.

Anderson thrived in Orlando under Stan Van Gundy, Detroit’s coach, and he grew up around Sacramento. The Pistons badly want to make the playoffs after a seven-year wait, and they’ve shown some willingness to at least talk about dealing a protected 2016 first-rounder.

Mason: Great info here from Lowe. Key points: Pels still want a bigger, better pairing in the front court next to AD, they have a bunch of offers on the table for Anderson (though zero mention of the quality of those offers, so don’t get your hopes up), Demps may not be allowed to trade their 2016 first round pick, and potential trade partners don’t entirely understand who the ultimate decision maker is within the front office.

Regarding Demps’ ability to trade the Pels’ pick: it is important to consider who that opinion is coming from. Zach wrote “teams have gotten the impression” that Dell may not be able to trade it. While this could be the case, couldn’t it just be that the team has shown that it would strongly prefer to keep it based on where it looks like it may fall at this point? Be careful about taking what other teams believe to be true as the absolute truth; I think we all know the two are nowhere near the same thing in many instances.

42: I think we understood the organizational relationship Loomis has to Demps and others at some point, and I have no evidence or reason believe it changed. Every GM is subject to an owner or their proxy. Dr. or Mr. Buss had the final say for the Lakers, if he wanted it. Demps was subject to Stern when he was the proxy for the League-owner, and Loomis is in that position for Benson. He may do a little more stuff directly on behalf of Demps as a partner than an owner would, but that is the power relationship as I see it. Lauscha is the CFO over it all, and Loomis is sort of a Chief Sports Officer. Benson and Lauscha make the big decisions, like whether to buy a franchise (that was Benson over the advice of some).

As far as the pick trading goes, clearly it is being discussed, so I am not sure it is that off the table. Davis is not being discussed, for instance. Some of what leaks is true, some is true for bow, some is true reporting of belief, some is true reporting of bargaining, and poor writers are left to sift through it all, readers left to make sense of that. To me, gaining or losing a pick is on the table.

Jake: I’m going to ignore the stuff about who is running the team, because I think that is well covered already. To me the big thing is this team is not happy with Asik as their center. Which, of course, should be no surprise. Does Monroe fix what’s wrong with the Pelicans? No, not really. Defensively they’d still be terrible. However, it honestly can’t get much worse than it is now. Offensively, he would really help. Teams play off Asik, and the Pelicans are often forced to put him on the perimeter for spacing reasons. This effectively makes them play 4 on 5 on offense. Getting Monroe who can catch and jump and score consistently would be a big upgrade in that regard. I’d give up a combination of Anderson, Gordon, Evans, Asik (that’s a dream) for him, but not the first round pick.

As for Houston, I just see them being a tough trade partner. Pretty much any deal with them that doesn’t involve Dwight Howard would pretty much require Corey Brewer coming to New Orleans, and his contract and play is horrible. Not interested. As for Howard, you could talk me into Anderson, Asik, plus some filler for him. But I’d be very hesitant to give up the first round pick right now for him. If that’s the best deal the Pelicans have at the deadline, though? I may pull the trigger on it.

From Wojnarowski of The Vertical and Yahoo.com:

The New Orleans Pelicans are pushing hard to find a trade for forward Ryan Anderson, whom they expect to lose in summer free agency, league sources said. Teams trading for Anderson believe he’ll command a starting salary of $16 million-$18 million a season in free agency.

New Orleans and Detroit had serious talks on an Anderson deal in the past few days, sources said, but the Pistons ultimately reached an agreement with Orlando on a trade for Tobias Harrison Tuesday.

The Pelicans are struggling to get back significant value in a trade for Anderson. Washington has talked with New Orleans on a deal, sources said, but paying Anderson the $16 million-plus he can get on the market this summer would preclude the Wizards from clearing the max salary space it needs to pursue Kevin Durant.

The issue for the Pistons – and several teams around the league interested in Anderson – remains this: How much will it cost to re-sign Anderson this summer in free agency? With Harris, the Pistons have cost-certainty on the three-years, $48 million on his deal through the 2018-’19 season.

There were discussions recently where Detroit could’ve ended up with Anderson, and New Orleans with Harris, but those discussions dissolved in recent days, league sources said.

Graham: Nothing too new here, Pels getting offers for Anderson but want more, teams worried about Anderson’s price tag this summer, but Woj does mention that the Pels expect to lose Anderson this summer. Whether that’s just speculation on his part or not, it supports the narrative that the Pels are very much on the side of moving him and starting to retool the roster now rather than riding it out until the summer. The Harris for Jennings & Ilyasova swap could mean the market for Anderson just got a little smaller, but both Detroit and Orlando do have a couple more pieces they could move (Channing Frye is almost a lock to be moved). Personally, it is nice to hear the Pelicans involved in a rumor NOT around an expensive big man. Also worth noting is the possibility of getting into a 3 (or more) team trade. With a couple teams still looking at making a big move Anderson could be used as a chip to help facilitate one of these moves.

From Zach Lowe, (as well as Brett Dawson and Scott Kushner)

Untouchables: Jrue Holiday. Pelicans rebuffing all inquires so far

Graham: Good news, The Pelicans have an idea of the core they want to build around from here on out, and it is basically Holiday and Davis, many of us a BSS believed this to be case. The approach to his recovery this season points to how much the Front Office values the 25-year-old point guard. With his injury history in mind I doubt any offers were close to what the Pels would want for him, what he can bring to the table for Nola is undoubtedly more than any offer they’d get. Also the fact that there have been multiple inquires is good to hear, Holiday’s value is on the rise as long as he stays healthy.

8 Comments

  1. dlowc

    February 15, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=zowm5hv
    I think this is very realistic.
    Omer and Blake Griffin to Cleveland
    Kevin Love, Shumpert, and Cunningham to Clippers
    Lance and Mozgov to Pelicans
    ( Lance option out this year)

  2. Jake Madison

    February 15, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    dlowc I’m not big on bringing Lance here just for the fact that he may opt in. I’d rather keep Asik and Dante at that point. But moving Asik needs to be a priority for the Pelicans.

  3. _CoachD

    February 15, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Jake Madison dlowc Lance has a Team Option so… we could just buy him out or send him home if there is any issue.

  4. Jake Madison

    February 15, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    _CoachD Jake Madison dlowc Thanks! I missed that. It’s just a straight up salary dump for the Pelicans then. Which, while not bad, you at least want to get an asset in return with Dante leaving. Especially because I dont expect them to be big players in free agency.

  5. New City

    February 16, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    So package Pistons were reported offering for Anderson goes to Orlando for Tobias Harris.  Disappointing. He was a player that could have fit longterm plans with Pels. Maybe we didn’t have enough ammo w/out first rounder, though if they had thrown in Dipo, I might have given up our first rounder with Ryno.

  6. Eman5805

    February 16, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Dwight Howard, I am not bullish on this.

  7. Jrue Dat

    February 17, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Anderson for Humphries and Oubre

    Get it done Dell

  8. Jimmy Lee Dobbs

    February 17, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    While Demps is walking on egg shells and the fans sit on their hands. I guess nothing wont be happening in the next 244 hours. Well i guess Dumars will be taking the GM job in June after all.

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