Report: Pelicans among teams interested in trading for No. 1 pick in 2021 NBA draft

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The New Orleans Pelicans could be looking to cashing in on its copious amounts of draft assets this summer. Trades of Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis in the last two offseasons have netted the Pelicans dozens of draft picks in upcoming years and with the pressure on for this offseason, New Orleans could start using those assets in trades.

A report on Wednesday from DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony indicated that the Pelicans are one of a number of teams evaluating a trade for the No. 1 pick.

“Teams including Cleveland, Houston, New Orleans and Oklahoma City are among those making overtures to evaluate what it would take to move up to the No. 1 slot, sources say, but those talks are at an early stage, and any trade is unlikely to be consummated until much closer to the draft, if at all. From all accounts, Detroit is comfortable standing pat at No. 1 and taking Cunningham but will be active in exploring the possibility of trading down and obtaining additional assets, with Mobley a potential target if something gets done.”

The Pelicans are in an interesting position, loaded with assets but also needing to make substantial strides forward after consecutive losing seasons with Zion Williamson. That losing, and the coaching turnover as well, has reportedly led to an unhappy Williamson, which will shape how New Orleans operates this offseason.

Based on the report, it appears the target for the No. 1 pick would be Cade Cunningham for New Orleans, which would present another interesting scenario. With Lonzo Ball entering restricted free agency, Cunningham would ease the pressure on the Pelicans to match an offer sheet.

However, a prospect like Evan Mobley could also be an intriguing pairing alongside Williamson. Mobley would present a potential long-term solution to the frontcourt, allowing the team the chance to move on from Steven Adams and, thus, making it easier to retain Ball and/or fellow restricted free agent Josh Hart.

All of it is intriguing and opens up plenty of possibilities for New Orleans’ future, should they make a move to the top spot in the draft.

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