The New Orleans Pelicans have been mediocre throughout the course of this season. If the playoffs were to start today, the Pelicans would find themselves in the 8th spot with a 15-16 record, surely with a first-round exit. With the amount of talent the Pelicans have, especially in the front-court, there is no reason why they cannot be a solid team in the West. But since the arrival of DeMarcus Cousins as a result of a trade last season, the team has not been able to reach their potential. The lack of production has not only created rumors of trading Cousins but also star power forward Anthony Davis has entered the conversation. So where could these players be traded to? Let us take a look at a couple options.
Changes Possibly Coming for the New Orleans Pelicans
Cousins is averaging 26.2 points and 12.3 rebounds per game this season. As a center in this league, Cousins has an elite offensive ability. He can shoot the three as well as take his defender off the dribble. The one weakness of Cousins is his mental game. Cousins gets too frustrated and emotional throughout the course of a game. This aspect of his game will scare teams away. But his offensive ability could be worth the risk in the right system. And with Cousins ability to leave at the end of the year, the Pelicans should consider moving him quickly.
Cleveland emerged as an early contender to acquire Cousins before the trade deadline. The Cavaliers have a lot to offer as well. With a potential number one pick in next year’s draft and Iman Shumpert, a player the Pelicans have shown interest in, the Cavaliers may have the best pieces to offer. For Cousins, this may be the best option. The presence of LeBron James could help Cousins in his mental game and help him unlock his full potential. James has never played with such a dominant offensive force. If this trade were to transpire, it would shake up the whole landscape of the NBA.
After the Celtics acquired Kyrie Irving this off-season, you cannot discount their ability to attract and obtain more star power. The most intriguing piece the Celtics could offer for a player like Cousins is a protected 2018 Los Angeles Lakers draft pick. Add on a couple of solid bench players and the Pelicans could be desperate enough to make the deal. If the Celtics could acquire Cousins and Gordon Hayward came back healthy, the Celtics could have the firepower to rule the east for years to come.
The most recent team to enter the conversation is the Washington Wizards. Even with the injuries of John Wall, the Wizards have a 17-14 record and are 6th in the East. With an elite backcourt consisting of Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards could put themselves in contention if they land Cousins via trade. The issue is they may not have as much to offer as other teams looking to add Cousins.
In all reality Cousins is the more likely trade option for the Pelicans, but Davis has come up in the conversation. The most likely thing that could result in Davis being traded is if he pulled an Irving and demanded a trade. Davis has said all he wants to do is win, so if the Pelicans do not turn it around this could push Davis to take matters into his own hands. If Davis were to be placed on the trade block, there is not a team in the NBA that would not be interested in acquiring him. Averaging 25.7 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, Davis is a special young talent. Not to mention he does not appear to have the same mental weaknesses as Cousins.
The trade deadline is still a long way away. But if one of these two stars is traded, things could become very interesting in the NBA. The Pelicans better hope they can turn things around soon, or they may be forced to part ways.