In the weeks since the first Lonzo Ball trade rumors began surfacing in January, the point guard has busted out of his early-season slump, averaging 16.2 PPG and 5.4 APG on .453/.453/.846 shooting in 18 games. As a result, there’s “little expectation” for now that the Pelicans will move the former No. 2 overall pick in advance of this month’s trade deadline, sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.
However, veteran guards J.J. Redick and Eric Bledsoe still appear to be very available, according to Fischer, who hears that Alvin Gentry‘s coaching staff last season lobbied the front office to move Redick. Now, it seems the Pelicans are hoping to do right by the 36-year-old sharpshooter by sending him to a team close to his family in Brooklyn, Fischer writes.
Here’s more on the Pelicans:
- When the Pelicans dealt Jrue Holiday last fall, the belief was that they’d prefer to receive a package of established players who could help immediately, according to Fischer. When they couldn’t find an appealing deal fitting that bill, the Pels opted for a pile of draft picks instead. Now, with players like Redick and Bledsoe on the block, New Orleans is thought to be after more draft capital. “They just want to accumulate more and more picks,” a league source told Bleacher Report. “They’re in an arms race with OKC.”
- The prevailing thought is that the Pelicans hope to eventually take advantage of their collection of draft picks by packaging them for an impact player, per Fischer. “Their interest is definitely to consolidate and do something sooner rather than later,” a Western Conference official said.
- Having received massive packages in exchange for Holiday and Anthony Davis, the Pelicans will have to be realistic about the far more modest return they can demand for a player like Redick or Bledsoe, Fischer writes. “They’re going to have to lower the asking price,” one scout said.
- The Pelicans are still weighing what position best suits franchise player Zion Williamson, according to Fischer, who says president of basketball operations David Griffin likes the idea of Williamson having the ball in his hands more. So far, the team has focused on playing him at power forward alongside another traditional big man, opting not to add a reliable stretch five to the roster. As Fischer notes, the Pelicans targeted Steven Adams rather than Al Horford in their offseason talks with the Thunder, and they also didn’t seriously inquire on Myles Turner.