Ashley Landis/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
Though the 2021-22 NBA season is still in its infancy, the early results already beckon for some franchises to swing a big trade.
What’s the best part about the NBA? Trading, of course! The season is about a fifth of the way finished and a handful of teams already ride the struggle bus. Meanwhile, others search for the elusive piece that could catapult them to a higher echelon.
Swapping players gives them a way forward. Trades stir excitement and sometimes act as the highlight of a given year, providing the prospect of hope to turn things around or rebuild for the future. At this stage, there’s still enough time for the former while the latter’s siren song of limitless possibilities always calls in the distance.
Either way, these five NBA teams need to pick their direction and make a trade
5. Down in the bayou
A few words come to mind when thinking about the Pelicans’ season thus far, such as “oof” and “yuck.” New Orleans finds itself above only Houston in the league standings as it awaits Zion Williamson to make his debut this year.
With each day they drift further from contention, their small market plight amplifies. Whenever a “non-destination” franchise lands a star, the ticking of their telltale heart of free agency intensifies unless the right combination of skill and management orbits around him.
New Orleans already bungled the Anthony Davis era and wouldn’t want to watch history repeat itself. So instead of dumping its best player, what if it added more young talent to foster a winning atmosphere, chase the play-in and build something real for next season? For all its faults, New Orleans has draft capital galore and could bowl over another team with an offer sweetened with picks.
2022 1st round pick via the Lakers
2023 1st round pick
A long, do-it-all defensive maven headlining the backcourt would cure a lot of the Pelicans’ ills. Would two unprotected firsts plus a recent lottery pick in Kira Lewis be enough to pry Dejounte Murray from the Spurs? Possibly, but New Orleans would be wise to make something happen before Zion asks for a ticket out of town.