Pelicans Scoop: Another Trade Deadline Letdown

Published: February 18, 2016

Hundreds, nay thousands, of trade machine proposals were thrown around the interwebs by Pelicans fan, yet nobody got it right. Jarnell Stokes for a protected 2nd round pick was not the move Pelicans fans were hoping for. Some wanted a guy who could help them win now, others wanted a young prospect, and most wanted draft picks for guys like Ryan Anderson or Eric Gordon. But at the end of the day, nothing of significance happened, and fans are understandably disappointed, because this is what the rumor mill does – It gets our hopes up, only to let us down.

So, after this seemingly uneventful day, the BSS crew took on some of the pressing questions surrounding the trade deadline and its possible long-term ramifications.

  1. How Disappointed are you that the Pelicans didn’t make a significant move today?

Michael McNamara: I’ve got to admit that I woke up this morning expecting the Pelicans to fetch a late 1st round pick for Ryno. Instead, they basically got some money to pay Bryce Dejean-Jones. Maybe they get a look at Jarnell Stokes. Maybe. Not a great day, but you also gotta remember the saying, “Sometimes the best trades are the ones you DONT make”

Graham McQueen: I’m disappointed, but the deadline ramps up people’s expectations. First it is I hope we do something to improve/for the future but the closer that deadline comes it turns to I just hope we do SOMETHING. Gotta wonder what the state of the organization is, what Dell was allowed to do, and what the offers were. A lot of unknowns.

Shamit Dua: I am very meh. I kind of talked myself into last night. Anderson was literally the only thing of value we could have moved, and I didn’t think teams would be willing to make a play for him. I do wish we could have gotten some sort of asset for Ryan, and it will suck seeing him walk, but I guess cap space is something. Stokes will be an interesting look and is an unguaranteed contract – just like Dell likes.

Christopher Romaguera: Quite disappointed. The Pelicans needed to salvage whatever worth they had accomplished over the last season and a half. The team didn’t sell high on players following the playoffs. By not trading Anderson they are placing themselves between a rock and a hard place. Anderson will win the team some games this year (worsening the pick), while also giving him all the leverage. If the Pelicans let all their players go, they will have a pedestrian amount of cap space with a team that doesn’t look like they are ready to compete. They won’t have enough to sign a ‘star’ player or fill the bench up to replace the players they are losing. Putting them in a situation that they were in last year, over pay for ‘continuity,’ or take a step back.

Michael Pellissier: Very disappointed from an entertainment perspective and moderately disappointed from a long-term franchise perspective.  Watching this team can be a trial and I was hoping to get a wing that could play basketball at an NBA level.  Long-term, I am disappointed that we couldn’t squeeze even a minor asset out of any of our expiring players.

42: I am pretty disappointed, but I am more angry from a basketball perspective. I’ll enjoy the games given that Ryno is playing, because I really like him, and that has value to me. I do want to add that my negative feelings and evaluation stem more from a series of a lack of moves that, I feel, will likely result in a net failure for the franchise and for Demps. There is a narrow opportunity to cash in, so I’ll keep an eye out for that, but I’ll not be holding my breath for it, either. I get it, and I understand, but I understand why many things fail . . . that doesn’t make them not a failure.

  1. Would you have given away Ryan Anderson for a 2nd round pick and an expiring if that was the best deal on the table?

McNamara: I probably would have, but it would not have been for the pick. It would have been so the Pelicans could get worse over the 2nd half of the season. I prefer the 6th pick to the 8th pick. I prefer a 21% chance at a top-3 pick over a 10% chance at one. And as cold as it sounds, I also prefer AD making 25% of the cap to 30%, and trading Anderson (even for a 2nd), would have helped accomplish all of those things.

Graham: yea most likely, but that screams we are desperate to do something, anything. Perception matters and the fact that they didn’t make a meaningless (or bad) trade speaks a little to me. Stick to the plan (I hope the have one). Tho at least with this you get a little asset moving forward as opposed to not.

Shamit: For sure. You get a little worse to get a little better later (pickwise). The 2nd likely never would have seen the light of day here, but could have been used in a smaller trade next season. The writing is clearly on the wall for this core, so why not try out Jrue, BDJ, Stokes etc in bigger roles?

CR: Yes. Second round picks are essentially lottery picks. Anything acquired would have been beneficial. Just having more possessions available for players who will be here next year (whether it is Bryce Dejean-Jones or Jarnell Stokes or Jrue Holiday) is a move worth making for me. Currently there are a lot of expiring contracts for the Pelicans occupying the court and controlling the ball.

MP: Probably not, but I would’ve taken a protected future first in a heartbeat, which I believe we could have done.

42: I would not consider the deal unless the expiring was a good business draw (just an example) or the player was of the “type” that they need to bring in this offseason, making the trade a virtual tryout. That gets in considered. At some point, they have to act like winners, and winners don’t grovel for scraps. I get that. Winners . . .funnily . . . also win, which is an issue here. The swagger may not be warranted, but I get the posture. At some point, however, Dell needs to change things or they will be changed for him. I think his timeline is longer than most people believe, but that may not have ever been true or it may have been true and changed . . . or will change. Time will tell.

  1. Are you surprised that Montiejunas and Markieff Morris were able to fetch 1st round picks, but Ryan Anderson was not?

McNamara: Honestly, I am surprised those guys took a 1st to get. Morris is a headcase that shouldn’t have yielded any more than a 2nd in my opinion. Phoenix simply couldn’t keep him in their locker room. Montiejunas simply isn’t that good, he is somewhat injury prone, and the best case scenario is that he plays well and you gotta pay him huge money next summer, or the one after. But teams value guys they can control, and you couldn’t control Ryno past this year, so teams got picks for those guys, while the Pels couldn’t get one for Ryno.

Graham: Not really surprised at Morris. Despite everything Kieff is a good player when he’s focused and playing, you can’t deny that. If you get him focused, you have a pretty good player on a friendly contract. There are always teams out there that are willing to take a flyer for good players even if they have issues. In washington’s case they are getting pretty desperate to improve as well so they fit that profile. Montiejunas I am surprised at tho, but like Mike said, teams were worried about Anderson just being a rental, not the case with either of those guys.

Shamit: Absolutely, seeing as Tobias didn’t even fetch a first. But both players come with a level control that Anderson doesn’t come with. Montiejunas is a restricted free agent, and Morris is on a cap friendly deal. Anderson is liable to walk and make bank. I think it just hammers home what has been a common theme lately- expirings aren’t worth that much.

CR: I am not, because the only way to up-the-ante late at the deadline is with first round picks. Detroit and Washington placed an emphasis on winning this year, which is something a few teams that didn’t trade (like Sacramento) also have placed an importance on. It is not surprising to see first round picks added late in the deadline (look at the Miami Heat with Dragic and Portland with Afflalo last year.)

MP: Yes. I wouldn’t trade anything of value for Morris.  I’m a fan of Motiejunas, so I am less surprised that he was enough to generate a 1st.

42: No. Those guys are more controlled, contractually speaking at least. Also, “firsts” have many different values. Detroit can presumably still draft a guy they like this season and have future protection, too. Same for Washington. It’s not high risk for either side. Anderson’s contract may be felt to be a larger risk even if it is a larger near-term benefit than a 9th-ish pick.

  1. Moving forward, do you see any way that Ryan Anderson re-signs this summer? How high do you think the Pelicans would be willing to go to keep him?

McNamara: I actually do think there is a chance. I mean, everyone says that Anderson is going to get a huge contract and is destined to leave, but who is giving him this contract. If teams LOVED him, they would have given a late 1st in a bad draft for his Bird Rights. Detroit got two Ryno types, so SVG isn’t a huge threat. Where else? Sacramento? Ryno wants to spend the next four years in that hell hole? Washington has Morris now, etc. etc. I say there is a 20-30% chance, and I think they would (and should) go as high as 4 years/$70 million.

Graham: I do see a chance he comes back but honestly it is time to move on, this team needs to be shaken up. It’s not that I don’t like him as a player or person it is just time to part ways, that’s why it is disappointing that we could part with nothing to show for it. If he is willing to come back for less than what people are throwing out there, then sure, great. But I’d hope for a sign and trade and a new direction over that anyway.

Shamit: Yes, I can see him coming back due to lack of a market. A lot of teams that “needed” his skillset filled it. I think Sacramento will likely be the biggest player and will definitely sell being the hometown team, but money will ultimately sway him. We can offer the most years, though I hope we don’t offer 5.

CR: Slim. I also think it would cost an exorbitant amount of money. Maybe the team convinces him to sign early while people are still fawning over Al Horford, but I’d assume someone will offer him money, and that it may be too much for the Pelicans to afford.

MP: From the outside looking in, it seems like the Pelicans and Ryan Anderson have a healthy relationship, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he stayed.  They just paid 10ish million a season to keep Asik (which sure seems like a mistake), but Anderson is far more valuable–so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him around 15-17 million per year under the new cap.  To make that worth the money, I think the Pelicans need some far better wing defenders, though–the defense is putrid right now and you have to cover for Ryno’s weak defense if you want to keep him. Defensive length and athleticism on the perimeter are so important in today’s NBA and the Pelicans need it badly.

42: I think he may decide to stay here if the market passes him by, but he’ll follow the money. This contract signing could very well the single moment where he can make over 50% of his lifetime earnings while exercising some choice about where to play without significant financial penalty for exercising that choice. He’ll stay if they are the highest bidder, but I don’t see why the Pelicans would outbid anyone for a guy who lacks the ability to play every available minute with AD just by the nature of the team. It’s not the best use of basketball resources. Maybe there are other business reasons since he is liked by the fans, but they’ll like a guy who helps the team win, too, if such a man can be found.

  1. Now that we know the picks and cap room the Pelicans are likely to have heading into the summer, give me your dream (realistic) offseason as of right now.

McNamara: It’s cheating to say they land the 1st pick, so I won’t do that. Instead, I will assume they land the 7th pick in the draft lottery, to go with two second round picks around 40 and 42. On draft night, they trade Tyreke Evans to the Cavs for a fake 2nd round pick. Then, they draft Jamal Murray at 7, Taurean Prince or Nigel Hayes at 40, and Monte Morris or Gary Payton II at 42. In Free Agency, I use my cap room to sign Allen Crabbe, Langston Galloway and Kent Bazemore. Basically, I get a bunch of young guys who can shoot and/or want to defend for my 1-3 positions. Add that to Quincy coming back, and I like my perimeter D and shooting now. And that’s what you have to put around AD.

Graham: Dream off season – just get all the wings on good contracts you can. I (somewhat) like the foundation of Holiday and Davis, with role players in Asik, Pondexter, and Cunningham to build around. If we overpay for someone who isn’t going to be that 2nd banana (Anderson), that affects our chances of ever signing or trading for him. Good contracts are easy to move and easy to dump and we need capable wings. Bazemore is someone I had my eye on who would not cost much and has played in both Golden State and in Atlanta (ball movement systems) and who couldn’t be worse than guys like Cole and Gee. Pels are one of the worst corner 3 shooting teams in the league, just getting a wing who can do that consistently would do wonders.

Shamit: Outside of lucking out in the lottery, see if you can acquire a player like Vucevic or Valanciunas with the current pick/ future picks + Tyreke. Everyone will have cap space this summer, so I don’t think we can compete in the free agency. But we have the space and maybe the assets to absorb a player like that and add to the core. Someone you know you want. Then I would fill out the rest of the team with wings as suggested by everyone else.

CR: The long game. Use your lottery pick to draft and develop a player. Do the same with the second round picks. Don’t draft someone to stash and trade three years later. Use the draft to add to the core of presumably Holiday and Davis. Target young cheap vets (like Brandon Rush) on the open market. See if teams trying to sign max free agents are willing to part with smaller salary guys who have underperformed (Justin Holiday). See if you can get any value for Tyreke Evans, and go into the season with no ball-stoppers on offense, and with players who want to (and are capable of) playing defense and sharing the ball.

MP: Step one would be to ship Tyreke and Asik for just anything–I have been down on Tyreke since last season because I don’t think he fits in an offense where the ball is shared. Step two would be to load up on average to above-average wings who can make simple decisions as secondary ball-handlers and knock down open 3s.  Find one or two of these kinds of wings and then find a younger guy to develop long-term.  

42: Valanciunas.


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