Trade guide: Should the Pelicans consider trading Anthony Davis?

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Anthony Davis is a four-time All-Star. (AP)
Anthony Davis is a four-time All-Star. (AP)

The Vertical Front-Office Insider Bobby Marks, a former 20-year executive with the Nets, looks at each team’s roster and trade assets, as well as examining the track record of each team’s general manager during previous trade deadlines.

Previous trade guides: The title contenders | West teams pushing for playoff spot | East teams eyeing home court

A look at three teams that should not focus on a short-term approach just to make the playoffs as the Feb. 23 trade deadline approaches.

NEW ORLEANS
Roster
Player                                                   Value                         Insider info
1. Anthony Davis                               Franchise
2. Jrue Holiday                                      Core                      Expiring contract
3. Buddy Hield                         Starter/development
4. *Solomon Hill                             Top reserve
5. *E’Twaun Moore                          Top reserve
6. *Terrence Jones                          Top reserve                Expiring contract
7. Tyreke Evans                                  Rotation                   Expiring contract
8. Langston Galloway                       Rotation                2017-18 Player option
9. Dante Cunningham                       Rotation                2017-18 Player option
10. Tim Frazier                                   Rotation
11. Omer Asik                                      Roster
12. Donatas Motiejunas                     Roster                     Expiring contract
13. Alexis Ajinca                                  Roster
14. Quincy Pondexter                  Roster/Injured
15. Cheick Diallo                           Development
*Has started but roster value is coming off the bench.

Trade assets

New Orleans’ top asset is not a likely lottery pick, but Anthony Davis.

Putting feelers out for Davis could transform a Pelicans franchise stuck in neutral based on Davis’ on-court value and his manageable long-term contract.

While the new CBA values player retention, the Pelicans’ roster now and into the future will likely feature a common trait: mediocrity.

Other than Davis, free agent-to-be Jrue Holiday and rookie Buddy Hield, the Pelicans’ roster is comprised of rotational players on long-term contracts.

New Orleans does have its current and future first- and second-round picks, including the 76ers’ second-rounder in June.

Should be off the table: first-round picks

The focus should be on the future and not sneaking into the playoffs to face Golden State in a likely first-round matchup.

Having traded multiple first-round picks in recent years, the Pelicans’ future rests on putting value on retaining current and future first-round picks.

With $78 million in guaranteed contracts next season and Holiday’s pending free agency, New Orleans’ roster flexibility could be limited when the offseason approaches.

Jrue Holiday will be a free agent after this season. (AP)
Jrue Holiday will be a free agent after this season. (AP)

GM history at the deadline

Four deadline deals highlight Dell Demps’ tenure since taking over in 2010.

The most noticeable trade was in 2015, when New Orleans acquired Norris Cole in a three-team trade that helped Miami get Goran Dragic from the Suns.

New Orleans in the past two years has also been a facilitator in assisting teams reduce their tax bills.

Last season the Pelicans acquired Jarnell Stokes along with cash from the Heat. In 2015, they received Ish Smith, a future second-round pick and cash from the Thunder.

Smith was waived after the trade was completed.

Post-deadline roster movement

The Pelicans have 15 guaranteed contracts and would need to waive a player to create a roster spot.

New Orleans has the prorated room mid-level exception along with the minimum exception to use.

DALLAS
Roster
Player                                         Value                             Insider info
1. Harrison Barnes                      Core
2. Wes Matthews                   Top starter
3. Dirk Nowitzki                         Starter                 No-trade/2017-18 team option
4. *Deron Williams                 Top reserve       Must consent to trade/expiring contract
5. *Seth Curry                        Top reserve
6. Devin Harris                         Rotation                  2017-18 $1.3M protection
7. Dwight Powell                      Rotation
8. Dorian Finney-Smith  Rotation/development      2017-18 No protection
9. **Andrew Bogut                    Rotation                       Expiring contract
10. Justin Anderson       Rotation/development
11. Yogi Ferrell                Rotation/development       2017-18 no protection
12. J.J. Barea                             Rotation
13. Salah Mejiri                      Development                2017-18 No protection
14. A.J. Hammons                  Development
15. Nicolas Brussino              Development                2017-18 No protection
*Started during the season but are best suited as top reserves.
**Started during the season but is best suited as part of the bench rotation.

Should be off the table: 2017 first-round pick

The Mavericks could have a lottery pick on their team for the first time since 2004, when Dallas acquired Devin Harris, the fifth overall pick in the draft, from Washington.

Though the Mavericks had a lottery pick in 2013, the rights to Kelly Olynyk were traded on draft night for a pair of second-round picks and Shane Larkin.

After a heavy emphasis on winning now and a focus on free agency instead of the draft, Dallas needs to start the retooling process in June with its first- and second-round picks.

Trade assets

Any roster decision the next few weeks could have an impact on the Mavericks’ rebuilding plan this summer.

The Mavericks have been showing signs of life during the past few weeks, but Dallas – with a lottery pick and potential cap space this July – will need to take a cautious approach as the deadline nears.

The Mavericks have the expiring contracts of Andrew Bogut ($11 million) and Deron Williams ($9 million), along with several players with partially guaranteed contracts for next season, including Harris.

Williams, however, must consent to any trade because of his one-year Bird restriction.

The Mavericks have all of their first- and second-round picks, including a 2019 second acquired from Golden State in the Andrew Bogut trade this past summer.

Dallas also can take in (or send out) cash up to $3.5 million in any trade.

GM history at the deadline

Not since 2013 has Donnie Nelson made a deadline deal, acquiring Anthony Morrow from the Hawks.

While Nelson has remained quiet in recent years, 2008 and 2010 deadline deals to acquire Jason Kidd, Brendan Haywood, DeShawn Stevenson and Caron Butler helped the Mavericks to their championship run in 2011.

Post-deadline roster movement

The Mavericks have been one of the most aggressive teams the past two seasons in acquiring players who have been bought out.

In consecutive years Dallas signed Amare’ Stoudemire and David Lee to bolster its frontcourt as the playoffs approached.

Now on the outside of the playoff chase, Dallas’ role will likely be reversed.

The Mavericks, with 15 guaranteed contracts, could gain flexibility if a player such as Bogut is bought out before March 1.

Bogut would have $2.8 million left on his $11 million salary at the end of February.

ORLANDO
Roster
Player                                          Value                             Insider info
1. Evan Fournier                     Top starter
2. Serge Ibaka                         Top starter                     Expiring contract
3. Nikola Vucevic                    Top starter
4. Aaron Gordon                         Starter
5. *Elfrid Payton                     Top reserve
6. *D.J. Augustin                     Top reserve
7. *Bismack Biyombo             Top reserve
8. Jeff Green Rotation        Expiring contract
9. C.J. Watson                             Rotation                   2017-18 $1M protection
10. Jodie Meeks                     Injured/roster                   Expiring contract
11. Damjan Rudez                        Roster                       RFA expiring contract
12. Mario Hezonja                  Development
13. C.J. Wilcox                          Development                     Expiring contract
14. Stephen Zimmerman        Development                 2017-18 No protection
*Has started but roster value is best coming off the bench.

The acquisition of Serge Ibaka was a change in strategy for the Magic. (AP)
The acquisition of Serge Ibaka was a change in strategy for the Magic. (AP)

Trade assets

Orlando has a mixture of starters on rookie contracts (Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon), expiring contracts (Serge Ibaka and Jeff Green), and value contracts (D.J. Augustin and Nikola Vucevic) to go along with the long-term contracts of Bismack Biyombo and Evan Fournier.

Ibaka has value in the league, but with free agency approaching, teams are leery of giving up a package of players or draft picks.

Along with their own first- and second-round pick in the June draft, the Magic could also have the Lakers’ unprotected first in 2019.

That pick would convey to the Magic if Philadelphia receives Los Angeles’ first (protected Nos. 1-3) in 2017.

Realistic expectations

The Magic shifted gears last summer, going from building through the draft to signing high-priced free agents and the risky acquisition of Ibaka’s expiring contract on draft night.

Now eight months after the change, the Magic are in the same position as last February: outside of the playoff chase but with a worse record.

However, that change of philosophy should not come at the expense of future first-round picks.

While the goal is to make the playoffs, Orlando’s management needs to look at the long-term picture and not sacrifice the future health of the organization.

GM history at the deadline

Rob Hennigan has made four trades since being named general manager in 2012.

In a move with an eye toward clearing cap space for the summer of 2016, Orlando last February moved Channing Frye as part of a three-team trade to Cleveland in exchange for a 2016 second-round pick.

The trade cleared $23 million in remaining salary owed to Frye over the next three seasons.

Two days before the Frye trade, in a deal designed to add veteran presence, Orlando traded Tobias Harris for the expiring contract of Brandon Jennings and cap-friendly salary of Ersan Ilyasova.

Ilyasova was traded (along with Victor Oladipo and the 11th overall pick) on draft night for Ibaka.

Post-deadline roster movement

Orlando has one roster spot open with 14 guaranteed contracts.

The Magic also have the prorated room mid-level exception.

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