Pelicans Beat: Looking at Tyreke, Iggy, Gordon, and Predicting How This Whole Thing Plays Out

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Published: July 1, 2013

1. What are your thoughts on the Pelicans rumored pursuit of Tyreke Evans?

Michael McNamara: I think, more than anything, that Dell wants to build an uptempo team with multiple ball handlers that can attack the rim. This franchise has had a lack of guys who can create for themselves and others, and because of that the offense has suffered. If Dell can land Evans and plays him with Gordon and Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans will have three guys who can get out in transition and also make plays in the half court.

Mason Ginsberg: I still think that Evans can succeed in the right situation – he is clearly a talented player – but David Aldridge’s tweet that the Pelicans would have a “big offer sheet” in hand worries me. The Pelicans have to be wary of doing what they arguably did to acquire Holiday – paying for what they think he can become instead of what he is.

James Grayson: I really do like Evans the player. Remember this guy is a former rookie-of-the-year for a reason. He is a very good finisher around the basket and has that Jay Bilas 6’11” wingspan! As mentioned before the “big offer sheet” in hand concerns me. For $6-8 million a season I’d be OK, but heading into the $10 million range without moving Eric Gordon and I’m puzzled. Another issue: who’s the shooter other than Ryan Anderson? Too many ball-handlers, not enough shooters.

Michael Pellissier: As Mason and Grayson have said, the big offer sheet scares me. Evans is elite getting to the basket, and I like him if he’s in the right situation. I sincerely doubt Evans and Gordon would be a good pairing with our roster, because they would probably need a stretch 4, and if we play Anderson/Tyreke at 3 and 4, our defense would really suffer. If we can shed Gordon’s behemoth contract, I don’t mind overpaying for Tyreke by a couple million per year.

Jake Madison: Offensively he is incredibly talented, but I worry about his defense and the contract Dell would have to give him in order to bring him to New Orleans. The thought of the Kings taking the full time to match the offer terrifies me and it could cause the team to miss out on other SF options. Court spacing also worries me with a Holiday, Gordon, Evans lineup.

Jason Calmes: I’m fine with Tyrke at $5m – $7m, give or take, as his deal may need to exceed the MLE to shrink the market for him. He’s a tough dude and can get to the rim. With a skilled point guard, some of his minues are instantly hidden. He took some unnoticed steps forward this past season (Thanks, Maloofs!) by demonstrating he can hit the three at about an average rate, bringing his TS% to 0.558, which is quite nice. He’s bigger than Gordon, if slighter, but quite powerful nonetheless. He’d fit, and I the off-the-court swirl about him dwindles when he gets a fresh start, especially with a stable and structured franchise like the Pelicans.

Joe Gerrity: Eh. He’s shown little to no improvement offensively since his rookie season, and I just don’t think he’s a good fit with Jrue in the backcourt. Those two would need a sharpshooting wing to help space the floor or the offense would struggle to operate efficiently. He’s shown apathy on the other end way too often for my liking as well. If you’re walking back on D in your early 20’s, I tend to believe it’s a sign that you just don’t really care that much.

2. If acquiring Andre Iguodala meant shedding Robin Lopez and handing over a 4 year/50 million dollar contract, would you do it?

MM: In a heartbeat. Look, Lopez was a great stop gap last season, but Monty is going to pull the minutes restriction off of Anthony Davis this year, and there just won’t be as much opportunity for Lopez to play anyway. Guys like Robin Lopez can be replaced, while there are only a handful of Iguodala’s in the league. You don’t miss out on the chance to get one of those guys because Lopez is a slight improvement over a guy like Samuel Dalembert, who you can get later in free agency.

MG: Initially, I said “absolutely”, and while I still think that I’d so it, it’s not as much of a no-brainer for me anymore. After reading theories about how Jrue only really excelled offensively once Iguodala was traded, I’m hesitant to be all aboard the Iggy train. His contributions on the defensive side of the ball are undeniable, and he would be an immense help in that regard. The question is whether or not he’s worth handing a huge contract if there is a chance that he could actually prevent Jrue and others from reaching their full offensive potential.

JG: I really am torn by Andre Iguodala. His defensive capabilities are indisputable. My issue again is that he offers little in the way of offense. The numbers are all down: his rebounding, assist percentage, turnover percentage (is up) and win shares. Historically players on the wrong side of 30 don’t improve their offensive skill set outside their jump-shot, so if the Pelicans sign him they better hope he’s been practicing.

JM: Easily. Davis has shown that defensively he can play with anyone, and once he puts on some more muscle, Lopez isn’t as important a player for the Pelicans. Iguodala playing on the wing with Holiday and (potentially) Gordon would be an absolute monster defensively. Lopez can be a defensive liability at times–particularly defending the pick and roll–so moving him wouldn’t hurt the team as much since a solid defensive center can be found.

MP: Yes. I think this team needs a difference-making veteran, and Iggy would provide just that. Lopez is a fine role player, but I am a firm believer in doing what it takes to get difference-makers, even if you lose a good role player in the process. Iggy would provide the wing defender we so desperately need.

JC: I think so. If Iguodala is the guy, you pay what it takes and lose the lower tier guys necessary to get him. If the Nets have taught us anything, it’s that nickel is important and amassing large contracts isn’t always so bad. Iguodala just opted out of a deal that would have paid him over $16m this season, so it’s doubtful he’ll take too much less. He’s got value and he’ll hold it, so fine by me. Oh, he’ll play well, too.

Joe: Instantly. That contract is solid, I love Iggy’s game, and adding him to the roster would give the younger guys a veteran star to work and grow with.  I’m not sure this works as well if you have Tyreke on the roster instead of Gordon, but you cross that bridge when you come to it. As for Lopez, he’s just a decent option at center for a bad team. His inability to cover pick and rolls drastically reduces his long term value. He was a nice piece to have last year, but with Davis growing up and Anderson in need of at least 32 a game there’s just no reason to keep Lopez if it means not getting Iggy.

3. What does the rumored interest in Evans and Kevin Martin tell you about Dell’s plans for Eric Gordon?

MM: It tells me that Dell has a suitor lined up for Eric Gordon if he wants to pull the trigger. Martin and Gordon simply can’t play together, and even though I could see Tyreke playing small forward because of his incredible wingspan, I just don’t think Jrue, Gordon, and Evans offer the floor spacing this team needs. If either of those guys are signed, I think Gordon’s chances of being traded go up significantly.

MG: I’m with McNamara on this one; Dell must know that he can move Gordon easily if he decides that he needs to do so. Simply put, between the Pelicans trading for Holiday and the rumors of a big offer sheet on the table for Evans, you have to start to wonder where the cap space for both moves is coming from. There are other ways to do it (moving Greivis and Smith or Lopez), but by far the easiest way would be to unload Gordon’s contract.

JG: Tells you little. I mean, Gordon hasn’t done anything for this organisation and so I think Dell is playing it by ear. Like McNamara said (and what I’ve said many times before) is that the interest in shooting-guards must mean he has something planned. The question is when? As well how would the salaries work too? There’s no way a line-up of Holiday-Gordon-Evans works, especially with the need to space the court.

JM: There has to be some plan for them to move him. There isn’t enough cap space to make some of the moves Dell wants. But by unloading Gordon’s contract, it becomes a non issue. Kevin Martin is an attacking guard who can create his offense, his upside isn’t as high as Gordon’s, but his contract would be cheaper and he’d still fit in well.

MP: It tells me Gordon could be traded at the drop of a hat, unless I am way off-base in saying that Gordon and Evans don’t fit together. I have also heard that Evans doesn’t want to play anywhere if he’s made into a 3. Is that true? Maybe, maybe not, but I think Dell sees Evans as a different version of Gordon. It is clear that Dell wants shot-creators in a bad way, which isn’t surprising for anyone who watched our offense last year.

JC: It just says that Dell knows Gordon is a player, and asset, but not a franchise cornerstone (too soon?) that can’t be moved for the greater good. They used all of last season to get his value out of the depths of my laundry hamper, and they need both gauge his value and cash in if they get to or exceed the agreed upon strike price. It’s a pretty good strategy coming from the pretty good city that is New Orleans.

Joe: It simply shows that we need more Dealer Dell t-shirts. Gordon’s name wasn’t even mentioned in a recent PR piece by the team which promoted the draft. To think that Dell hasn’t had multiple conversation about trading Gordon is just foolish. That Dell is targeting guards should remove any and all doubt that our maxed out shooting guard is on the table. Whether or not it happens is another story.

4. Of the second tier small forward options available this summer, who is your favorite?

MM: I am a big fan of Earl Clark, but Martell Webster is at the top of the list for me. He is a solid defender, but his strength really lies in his perimeter offense. With the space that Davis running to the rim and Gordon and Holiday penetrating would give him, I could easily see him being one of the top three-point shooters in the league if we were to acquire him.

MG: As I said on Fourth Down on Four last night, Dorell Wright and Martell Webster are my two favorites thanks to their ability to knock down threes and their long wingspan on defense. Both are 27 and 26 years old respectively, so regression isn’t a significant concern. Webster would probably be the slightly better option, but I would rather have Dorell Wright at $3 million/year than Webster at $5 million/year, so it all depends on what each player commands in free agency.

JG: I really like Chase Budinger. You know what you’re getting and while many doubt he has room to grow, maybe that’s just what the Pelicans need? A player that can come in, hit his threes, defend and run the floor.

MP: Honestly, I would be happy with most of them. I think Andrei Kirilenko would give us a lot of versatility in our frontcourt and would fit well next to Anderson and Davis. Chase Budinger, Dorell Wright and Martell Webster would help us by stretching the floor and probably wouldn’t cost too much to do so.

JM: I like Webster and Wright. Their skill sets fit the need of the team on both sides of the ball. They are also cheaper options which allow the team to keep some of their cap flexibility in place. I love Budinger but I don’t see the Pelicans signing him.

JC: Give me Webster or Wright. They are of the right age and have the right skill sets. AK47 is too old and too costly. Copeland is too unproven, Budinger is just a smidge below then. I’ll take Webster at the higher price, but Wright for less and with @dwrightway1 as a twitter handle is also just fine.

Joe: Dorrell Wright is probably the best choice of the second tier, but only if he agrees to pay a fine every time he chooses to take a shot that isn’t either in the paint or from beyond the three point line. I’m sick of watching long jumpers, and Wright has shown a propensity to take (and miss) too many of them.

5. Prediction time: How does this next week or so play out?

MM: The Pelicans make a sign and trade deal with Sacramento, sending Greivis Vasquez to the Kings for Tyreke Evans. Then, Eric Gordon is moved to the Charlotte Bobcats for Ramon Sessions and Jeffrey Taylor. The Pelicans use the rest of the money to sign Chase Budinger and Carlos Delfino.

MG: Vasquez is traded, not to clear cap space, but because he turns out to be a valuable asset to a team looking for a starting caliber point guard on an insanely cheap contract (perhaps to a team looking to sign Dwight Howard). Vasquez & Lopez to Houston for Omer Asik is a possibility if the Rockets think they’re landing Howard and the Pelicans decide they don’t need to go out and get an expensive player at small forward. I’ve already probably made one wrong prediction, so I’ll stop here.

JG: The Pelicans sign Tyreke Evans to a 4 year-$40 million offer sheet, Kings match. Then the Pelicans go after remaining free-agents at the small-forward position, most notably Dorell Wright. Trade Vasquez and Robin Lopez OR Jason Smith to Denver for Danilo Gallinari. Fill in the center position as needed.

JM: We’ll hear a lot of rumors about the team being interested in almost every small forward available in free agency. Ultimately, I think they miss out on the top talent players like Iggy and Evans, end up signing Wright, and trade Gordon, giving them flexibility to make a move near the trade deadline

MP: Evans is signed and traded to us for Vasquez and Gordon is moved to another team. Dell goes after some second-tier small forwards and grabs two of them, electing to play them by committee.

JC: Demps tries to get Deng for Gordon. The Bulls “need help for Rose” but have no real room in which to operate, so moving Deng for some offense they’ll control for 2 – 3 years who can also defend well is smart for them. The Pelicans get a solid vet on an large expiring contract who will likely take a discount next season. If that gets lined up, do what it takes to get Tyreke or Kevin Martin, including cutting or trading Lopez or including Vasquez, if necessary.

Joe: As much as I want to believe that Iggy is on his way here, he’ll probably go to a team more ready to truly contend. Vasquez won’t be here when the season starts, but we’ll land Kevin Martin, a temporary patch at the small forward position, and a few smaller pieces. Dell will retain some flexibility. As for Gordon, it wouldn’t surprise me if he winds up starting the season on the roster. A few months of solid play would drastically increase his value, which is at or near historical lows currently.

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