No team in the NBA is floundering more than the Pelicans. The only other winless franchise heading into Thursday was a perennial doormat, the Sixers, whose best-laid plans were shattered when top pick Ben Simmons suffered a preseason foot injury.
New Orleans lost its first eight games despite the efforts of its franchise player Anthony Davis, who is averaging 30.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.0 blocks. Clearly, the Pelicans have done a poor job surrounding the 23-year-old with the necessary pieces to be a contender. So, does it make any sense to explore trade options for Davis?
On the surface, the notion seems silly, almost unfathomable. Why would they give up on a budding superstar, a likely future MVP, who is under team control through at least the 2018/19 season?
Certainly, it would require a haul of quality young players and draft picks to even consider making such a move. And the Pelicans would basically be waving the white flag on the next few seasons, like the Sixers did in their rebuilding process.
The flip side is that the franchise has nosedived since its playoff appearance in 2014/15, after which Davis agreed to an extension. They hired a veteran coach in Alvin Gentry with the anticipation of being perennial playoff team but injuries and questionable personnel decisions have set them back.
Their current second- and third-leading scorers, guards E’Twaun Moore and Tim Frazier, won’t be mistaken for the backcourt of J.J. Redick and Chris Paul. They have two starters, Solomon Hill and Omer Asik, averaging a combined 8.1 points.
To be fair, the Pelicans have been without arguably their second- and third-best players. Tyreke Evans is expected to return sometime next month from a knee injury, while Jrue Holiday should be back soon after taking care of his ailing wife. But Evans has undergone three procedures this year, and both players are unrestricted free agents after the season.
The Pelicans lost Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon in free agency and signed two unheralded players in Moore and Hill. In the long run, those moves might turn out to be solid investments but the Pelicans are undeniably lacking in impact players beyond Davis.
New Orleans could pin its hopes on attracting top free agents and finding a big-time player in the lottery. But its lottery pick from this year’s draft, Buddy Hield, has yet to find his shooting stroke.
Another potential issue is that Davis has struggled to stay on the court. He’s never made it through more than 68 games in any of his first four seasons.
That leads us to today’s question: Given the state of the franchise, should the Pelicans even consider trading Anthony Davis?
Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic. We look forward to what you have to say.