The New Orleans Pelicans had another disappointing season after finishing the year only winning 34 games to put them 10th in the Western Conference. Most would say that they underachieved due to the talent they possess. They did rob the Sacramento Kings in a blockbuster trade during All-Star Weekend to get the one and only DeMarcus Cousins to form a dynamic duo between he and Anthony Davis. If they are going to be a scary team in the league, then this offseason will be huge for their future.
Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and a future 1st & 2nd round pick to Sacramento for DeMarcus Cousins via @NBA sources
— Hoops Nation 🔥 (@GoHoopsNation) February 20, 2017
So, lets look at some of the things they will face in the offseason.
Alvin Gentry: Alvin Gentry just wrapped up his second season as the head coach of the Pelicans and in both of those seasons he did not win more than 34 games. He finished 30-52 in his first season and only increased the win column by four in his second. After New Orleans brought in Cousins, they should be expecting to win around 45 games at least. They have a tough choice to make with Gentry this offseason. They might want to retain him to show Cousins a state of consistency within their organization, something he did not have in Sacramento, or move on from Gentry and try to find a coach that works better with their system. It is rumored that the Pelicans intend to keep him, at least for now.
Jrue Holiday: The 26-year-old will be going into the summer as an unrestricted free agent and the Pelicans will have to try their best to re-sign him. New Orleans has put themselves in a tough money situation as of now. They have overpaid many players, resulting in limited cap space. If Jrue Holiday leaves, it will be tough to find a new starting point guard. Some players to look at would be Spurs’ Patty Mills and Kings’ Darren Collison. Collison would be fitting due to the chemistry between him and former teammate DeMarcus Cousins.
Supporting Cast: One of the struggles the Pelicans are facing is the lack of depth to surround Cousins and Davis. The Pelicans might have the best big man combo in NBA history. If they get a good supporting cast, it might be game over. They really need some more wing players and another guard. Mainly, the Pelicans need guys that can shoot the three to space the floor and can also provide on the defensive end. Players such as C.J. Miles, Mike Dunleavy, and Thabo Sefolosha would fit that role. Maybe they could reunite the two Holiday brothers and bring in Justin Holiday.
The Pelicans adding two perimeter scorers might be our only hope against GS. Merge em with the Wizards. These are drastic times
— Victor Dukes (@VictorDukes23) June 5, 2017
To get that done they will need to get rid of some contracts. Omar Asik’s and Alex Ajinca’s contracts combine for 34.1 million. Since they are both bigs, they are the most useless contracts on the roster. It is unlikely, but if they can free up enough cap space, they might go after some restricted free agents such as Jonathon Simmons and Ben McLemore.
If they do all of these things correctly then you better watch out for that team in New Orleans.
Potential Free Agents: Jrue Holiday (Unrestricted), Dante Cunningham (Unrestricted- Declining Player Option), Donatas Motiejunas (Unrestricted), Jordan Crawford (Non-Guaranteed), Axel Toupane (Non-Guaranteed) and Quin Cook (Non-Guaranteed)
Likely Summer of 2017 Cap Space: None
Realistic Maximum Summer of 2017 Cap Space (using $101M estimate): $13.8 million
2017 Draft Assets: No first round pick (traded for Cousins) but have own second round pick (#40) via Sports Illustrated.