The New Orleans Pelicans finally made it back to the NBA playoffs in the Zion Williamson era. Incredibly, though, they did it without Williamson. He watched from the bench as mid-season trade acquisition CJ McCollum turned the team around and lead them to the playoffs.
With Williamson looking to make a long-term commitment to New Orleans, the front office will need to be aggressive in building their roster this offseason. One thing the Pelicans could use more of is perimeter shooting. They ranked 27th in 3-point percentage last season and 24th in attempts. With one of the league’s most feared slashers coming back, they will need the shooting to go along with it.
Jaxson Hayes, Kira Lewis Jr. and the abundance of the Pelicans’ future draft picks can be used to find upgrades this offseason. Three options that could be obtained via trade are Myles Turner, Eric Gordon and Seth Curry.
Pelicans trades to make after hard-fought loss in 2022 NBA Playoffs
3. Swap Jonas Valanciunas for Myles Turner
Just about every team with a need at center this offseason will call the Indiana Pacers about Myles Turner. Although Jonas Valanciunas had a strong season, New Orleans may be better off with someone who can space the floor more.
With Williamson coming back, the Pelicans will need the paint open. Turner shoots from deep more frequently than most big men and has the athleticism to be a lob threat.
Turner would also add to the Pelicans’ defense with his phenomenal shot-blocking. Not many ball handlers could get around Herb Jones but having Turner behind him would make offenses quiver.
Offering Valanciunas and Lewis may entice Indiana, as they would add a speedy, skilled guard next to Tyrese Haliburton and get a skilled player they can flip at the deadline. It may take draft picks to get done but Turner’s fit would be worth it.
2. Bring Eric Gordon back
The Houston Rockets opted to hold onto Eric Gordon at the trade deadline. Their focus is on their youth and the upcoming draft. With more young players to give minutes to next season, they could look to finally ship him off. Now that he has refined his game in Houston to be more 3-point oriented, the Pelicans should consider bringing him back.
Brining Gordon back would give the Pelicans a strong 3-and-D presence. He and Devonte’ Graham would be a strong one-two punch off the bench. The veteran wing could also be useful in a closing lineup in close games.
The contracts of Larry Nane Jr., Garrett Temple and Willy Hernangomez match with Gordon’s deal. It will take draft picks to make it worth it for the Rockets. The Pelicans would be wise to have another scoring option off the bench.
1. Offer draft capital for Seth Curry
With Joe Harris coming back next season, Seth Curry’s role with the Brooklyn Nets may be minimized. The Pelicans should look to add his brilliant shooting.
The Nets may be interested in adding more draft picks, which could allow them to find more future contributors or swing another blockbuster trade. The Pelicans have plenty of them after the trades for Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. Using Nance’s contract and the required draft capital to bring in Curry.
Curry has shot at least 42 percent on triples in every full season of his career. Using him as the primary scorer off the bench or as an option in the starting lineup would make the Pelicans’ offense more dangerous.