Pelicans Scoop: Free Agency Addition

Published: June 30, 2017

The New Orleans Pelicans are on the eve of free agency. Jrue Holiday will be meeting with the team first thing he can at 12:01 am Saturday, does that change our writers’ minds on him returning to the team? Will the Pelicans be active in free agency? And who will they target? We’ve got answers to all that and more!

The Pelicans free agency plans depend on what happens with Jrue Holiday. Do you see him back in New Orleans next season?

Jake Madison: For a long time I expected him gone due to a combination of Holiday not liking it here, and due to how high his salary might get. I still think the first part is true, but recently the market for point guards has become constrained. I don’t think it’s dried up like some say, but it is certainly more limited than it was before. Given they are meeting with him at 12:01 Saturday I expect him to be back now.

Ryan Schwan: I think I’ve settled on the fact he’ll be back.  The only teams I see at a threat at all at this point are Minnesota and Chicago (if they decide they aren’t actually rebuilding)  The Pels always offer their own guys lucrative deals.  I doubt anyone will beat it.  

Jason Calmes: Yup. I know there is info going both ways, but the market seems to be pushing him to NOLA, and their arms seem open.

Michael Pellissier: Yes. I think Jrue will be back with a high price tag. I wrote an article about his tendency to turn the ball over down the stretch in close games, but largely, I like him as a player.. just not as the de facto initiator of the offense.



Whether Holiday re-signs or not, what are the Pelicans biggest needs heading into free agency?

JM: Shooting, guard depth (ties into shooting), and some wing offense. Spacing the court is vital to the Anthony Davis-DeMarcus Cousins pairing, as will be getting some scoring elsewhere–all while not destroying the defense.

RS: Another wing player to spell Hill that can keep the defense rolling.  This team’s chance at being special is going to be its ability to defend while the two big men will carry the load offensively.  If they can get a wing guy who can come in, lock in defensively, switch all over, and watch the big guys score, then I’m happy.

42: Shoooooooooooooting. I’m confident that they will find a guy who will bring enough defense that comes along with his most critical skill, and the guy has to be able to pass. Within that, they’ll go for shooting, shooting, shooting.

MP: A wing who can defend multiple positions. You lose a lot of perimeter agility by playing 2 bigs, even if they are more mobile than average ones. You get more interior protection, which is great, but you have to compensate with the other 3 players to make up for the lack of perimeter mobility.  If the 3 non-bigs can all switch and cover ground, we could still have a solid defense, and one who should rebound well.


Who are some players you’d like to see the team target?

JM: In terms of free agents I think their are some decent 2nd and 3rd tier type options. A guy like CJ Miles who can hit three’s and defend multiple positions. Tony Snell for some length and shooting on the wing. Even a relatively unknown guy like Ian Clark (backup guard on the Warriors) could be a nice cheap option.

RS: Justin Holiday is nice.  If Jrue walks, Beverly, Teague and Rubio are top of my list, with Mills and Collison as fall back players.  I’d kick the tires on Dion Waiters, but he’s unlikely to take what the Pels are paying – so instead I’d wait until Boston waives Olynyk and look at getting his goofy ass.

42: David “The Champion” West, but that is silly to hope for and is just for my fandom. I’d like Patrick Beverly targeted, even if we get Jrue. He’s a good player on a good contract, and he’ll be an asset later in a trade, if necessary.  Yeah, he’d be a guy to get in trade, likely. I’ll try to zag for possibly lower tier guy that might be cheaper . . . Thabo Sefolosha. In terms of two different kinds of reclamation projects whose contracts would have to reflect that: Michael Carter-Williams, Derrick Rose. I’ll only take Rose if the New York incidents were clearly due to the Knicks and their . . . stuff. For a fun, locker room signing . . . Nene. For a

MP: Some repetition here, and in no particular order — Tony Snell, Andre Roberson, Patty Mills, Tim Hardaway Jr., Ricky Rubio, Dion Waiters, and I think Reggie Bullock is worth a flier.  Would also potentially target Wilson Chandler in a trade using a first if we could make the math work.

Do you see the Pelicans being very active in the free agent market?

JM: Not in terms of big names. The biggest name the sign will probably be Jrue Holiday. After that it will be tweaking the bench using the salary cap exceptions they have left. It could be a busy period, just without any sexy names.

RS:I see the Pelicans being very active in trying to trade away some of their bad contracts.  I also see the Pelicans probably failing miserably to do so, holding on to them, and letting another year lapse on them, making them actually not so bad next year.

42: I see them signing Jrue and trying to fill in for the most part. If they can move contracts or get a star, they’ll do what they can, but I see small signings to adjust the bench.

MP: Well, keeping Jrue takes up most of the room and it’s hard to move a lot of the salary we have.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Dell deal a future first to get a wing.


Do the recent trades of Chris Paul and Jimmy Butler affect your thinking about how to build this Pelicans team?

JM: Yes and no. I think it adds more urgency to get competitive right now as opposed to bidding their time and waiting for the right move to make. But overall this team wasn’t on the Rockets level prior to Chris Paul heading there. As for the Wolves, that just makes the road to the playoffs tougher, hence more urgency.

RS: No.  To quote Bob, “Baby Steps.”  Get to the playoffs and stop sucking.  Establish continuity, convince Boogie you are going the right way.  Then look for more pieces and be opportunistic.  Morey didn’t have the best package to offer – he convinced a star his place was the baddest around, which lowered the price of getting him.  The Pels need to get to that 50-win level, and then maybe something awesome happens.

42: Nope. Just need one playoff spot, and they aren’t winning a title. Just do what you can to hone the team, let the rest happen, hope a star decides to take a shot on you.

MP: Not at all.  The goal is to keep Boogie –> hopefully keep Davis down the road.  Best avenue to do that is by winning, which was already the goal.

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