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The reported unhappiness of Zion Williamson will likely shape, at least in some capacity, how the New Orleans Pelicans operate this offseason. So, while the team has a treasure trove of draft picks in the coming years, including five picks in this year’s draft highlighted by the No. 10 pick, adding that many rookies to a team looking to win in the short-term is not a compatible strategy.
With that in mind, it’s not too surprising that ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported the Pelicans are more than open to dealing the No. 10 pick in the upcoming draft in his latest mock draft released on Tuesday.
On paper, the Pelicans need to continue to add shooting to maximize the playmaking and slashing ability of Zion Williamson. In reality, the last thing the team needs is another rookie, and the No. 10 pick is believed to be one of the most available of any in the lottery, simply due to the team’s expedited timeline. (Josh) Giddey has a number of fans around the NBA, is getting looks much higher than this slot and could be a definite target for a team looking to move up in the draft.
This raises a lot of interesting possibilities for New Orleans. The obvious first guess is to try to predict what players could be had with the No. 10 pick. In a draft that has a clear top five players then a drop to a larger next tier of players, the 10th pick has value but not demonstrably greater value than the picks around it.
Another potential outcome is that the 10th pick could be used to offload a contract like Eric Bledsoe’s. In a straight salary dump, the 10th pick would be an overpay, but if the Pelicans bringing back another asset whether in a pick or a player in the trade, it could make sense.
By unloading Bledsoe’s contract, the Pelicans could then potentially retain either or both of Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, each of whom had a far greater impact than Bledsoe. It all opens a set of interesting scenarios that could play out over the next month.
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