Move 1: Chicago Bulls trade Alex Caruso
Big moves off the bat to start the rebuild. The Bulls acquire a 6-foot-8 playmaking 20-year-old in Dyson Daniels in addition to a 6-foot-8 modern, 23-year-old forward in Trey Murphy III. Maybe a second-round pick or two is included on Chicago's side, but this is a great haul for the Bulls and the Pelicans. Before you tell me that Dyson Daniels and Trey Murphy are untouchable, really think about if they are.
Out of the two right now, Murphy is the one who sees consistent minutes and would be missed the most. He averages 14.8 points, four rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game while playing 27.0 minutes per contest. Why would the Pelicans be willing to move on from a 23-year-old who's having such a solid season? It's simple really, they are looking to be more competitive in the Western Conference.
The Pelicans have a logjam at their forward positions. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram need to play the majority of the minutes. Veterans Naji Marshall and Herbert Jones also soak up some of those minutes, as does newcomer, Jordan Hawkins. Torrey Craig would be a great veteran depth piece if something were to happen to any of them, which is why losing Murphy isn't truly awful.
Dyson Daniels has yet to truly make an impact 2 years into his career, as this season he's averaging 4.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game while playing 22.4 minutes per game. It's tough to give time to a struggling young player when your team is trying to make playoff noise. Just ask the Boston Celtics and Aaron Nesmith. The Pelicans could use a big point guard to run the offense, hit open shots, and play strong defense which is why Alex Caruso becomes an invaluable player for this team. In theory, he is a player capable of playing 3 positions, but addresses the Pelican's biggest current need which is perimeter defense and guard depth.
So while it might seem silly initially to be giving up on young talent so soon, the Pelicans would actually be gaining +1.0 win shares, +0.56 offensive efficiency, and +1.46 defensive efficiency. This helps the now.
The Bulls, meanwhile, pluck two young, up-and-coming studs from the Pelicans, who, if given more minutes, could develop into star players.