The events in New Orleans continue to be intriguing. First the Pelicans hired Willie Green, partly because of his reputation for working with talented players and forming bonds, something they’d like to see him do with former Duke star Zion Williamson.
Then the Pels pulled an interesting trade, sending Steven Adams and one-time Duke recruiting target Eric Bledsoe to Memphis, along with the number 10 pick in 2021 NBA Draft, the number 40 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and a Protected 2022 first-round pick from the Lakers.
New Orleans got back center Jonas Valanciunas, the 10th and 40th picks in this year’s draft and a lot of cap space as Adams and Bledsoe both have large contracts.
So now they have the space to either match any sane offer for Lonzo Ball or to go after another point guard like, say, Kyle Lowry, whose name has come up.
Or maybe something else.
The main goal is to make Williamson want to stay and Pelicans exec David Griffin says that you should look back later at a series of moves as a tapestry, so presumably he’s not done yet.
It’s possible that Valanciunas could get traded again or that he has his eye on some hard-nosed vet who would command Williamson’s respect. Just as a thought, not that we would know, imagine that Jimmy Butler, who is reportedly unhappy with Miami, ended up with the Pelicans. Whatever else you can say about him, that guy works hard. He could be a great influence for a young star.
But if not him, then someone else. There are a lot of really impressive older players who could help Williamson move even further along.