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3 Bold Predictions for NBA Trade Deadline l New Orleans Pelicans

Lonzo Ball of the New Orleans Pelicans reacts after scoring a three pointer against the Memphis Grizzlies
Lonzo Ball of the New Orleans Pelicans reacts after scoring a three pointer against the Memphis Grizzlies
Omar Josef Guerrero

As the NBA trade deadline draws near, the New Orleans Pelicans could be among the major players on the market. Lonzo Ball’s name has come up in NBA Trade Rumors during the last few weeks and there’s a chance that the 23-year old will not be in New Orleans after March 25, which is the deadline day.

With the New Orleans Pelicans in the midst of a four-game winning streak, will the front office be gutsy enough to pull the trigger on a deal revolving around Ball? Will other players be involved in other trades to improve the team?

Here are our 3 bold predictions for the New Orleans Pelicans ahead of the NBA’s trade deadline:

1. New Orleans Pelicans trade Lonzo Ball for Zach LaVine

NBA.com’s Shaun Powell had this to say about Ball’s future in a New Orleans Pelicans uniform:

“It’s possible that Lonzo’s best fit is elsewhere,” writes Powell. “That would mean another relocation, especially if the Pelicans are unwilling to meet the asking price for an extension and would rather cut ties now and get something for him. That initial contract stalemate last December gives some juice to the trade possibilities floated lately.”

Ever since NBA Trade Rumors began this season about the New Orleans Pelicans possibly dealing Lonzo Ball to another team, the fourth-year guard has upped his play. In the last seven games, Ball has averaged 16.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game. This has increased his value considerably in the trade market.

The Chicago Bulls are reportedly one of two teams interested in dealing with the New Orleans Pelicans for Ball. If the Bulls believe they won’t be able to re-sign Zach LaVine when his contract is up in 2022, he could be trade bait in the coming weeks.

LaVine is not as young as Ball and his play hasn’t exactly resulted in the Bulls winning many games this season. In fact, when the Bulls broke a four-game losing streak in a blowout win against the Dallas Mavericks earlier in the season, LaVine only scored 10 points.

Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls reacts in the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks at MSG
Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls reacts in the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks at MSG

Chicago could be better off with Ball, a player whom they can try and patiently develop in the next few years and also wants to be there.

With the New Orleans Pelicans, LaVine would become part of a young and up-and-coming team in a situation where he isn’t asked to carry a franchise. To make the numbers work, the Pelicans would have to add J.J. Redick and Josh Hart into the mix and New Orleans would also get Denzel Valentine.


2. Eric Bledsoe gets traded to Orlando Magic for Evan Fournier

If the Pelicans get Zach LaVine, you can be almost sure that Eric Bledsoe’s time in New Orleans will be over. The Ball-Bledsoe backcourt experiment will likely be done by this point, with Nickeil Alexander-Walker taking on the starting point guard role vacated by Ball and LaVine coming in as the starting shooting guard.

The Orlando Magic’s Evan Fournier will be a free agent in the offseason and the team might be looking to unload him rather than lose him for nothing. The Magic haven’t been winning many games since their promising 6-2 start to the season. They lost Markelle Fultz to a season-ending injury and are looking for some stability in the backcourt.

Bledsoe could be the answer for them here. He would provide veteran leadership and defense at the point guard position while also making life easier for All-Star Nikola Vucevic.

Eric Bledsoe of the New Orleans Pelicans congratulates Brandon Ingram of the New Orleans Pelicans
Eric Bledsoe of the New Orleans Pelicans congratulates Brandon Ingram of the New Orleans Pelicans

Fournier would come off the bench for the New Orleans Pelicans or be part of an oversized guard lineup, together with LaVine, at various points during a game.

Though the Pelicans could eventually lose him for nothing, Fournier could be convinced to stay if the team enjoys a resurgence this season and gets to the second round of the playoffs.


3. Pelicans keep Steven Adams

As strange as it may seem, the Zion Williamson-Steven Adams pairing works for the New Orleans Pelicans… for now. While most teams prefer their two bigs to be able to shoot the rock from three, the Pelicans have chosen to go in a different direction.

“New Orleans' minus-1.0 overall net rating improves to plus-5.6 with Williamson and Adams on the court,” wrote ESPN’s Andrew Lopez. “The duo helps provide sturdier defense, more efficient offense and an overall spark.”

The pairing is an experiment that the Pelicans are bent on seeing through unless a ridiculous offer involving Adams appears on the table.

Adams provides the New Orleans Pelicans with rim protection, rebounding, and bruising screens. The New Zealand big man's value is greater than what can be seen on the court and his combination will Zion Williamson is surprisingly effective.

With Williamson and Adams this season, the New Orleans Pelicans’ rebounding rate has improved from last season. As Lopez also pointed out,

"They are fourth in offensive rebounding rate (29.8%), sixth in defensive rebounding rate (75.1%) and fourth overall (52.3%).”

Don’t expect Adams to be moved prior to the trade deadline.

Also Read: Boston Celtics 108-122 Utah Jazz: Twitter reacts to Donovan Mitchell's explosive 36-point game


Edited by Parimal

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