NBA Rumors: Jonas Valanciunas could be part of Pelicans' retooling of the roster

The New Orleans Pelicans are likely headed toward some big changes this summer.
New Orleans Pelicans v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One
New Orleans Pelicans v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

NBA Rumors: Heading into the offseason, the New Orleans Pelicans could be eyeing some big moves. Jonas Valanciunas could be a part of them.

Even after making the NBA Playoffs twice in the last three years, there's a growing belief that the New Orleans Pelicans could be on the verge of some big changes. Heading into the offseason, the biggest questions surround the futures of Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas.

Ingram has one year remaining on his contract and will likely be seeking an extension this summer from the Pelicans. However, the recent reporting surrounding this dynamic between Ingram and the Pelicans doesn't seem to point out that an extension is on the way. But that's another conversation for another day. When it comes to Valanciunas, he's eligible to test free agency this summer. And according to a recent report, there appears to be a good chance that he will end up on a new team this offseason.

As he prepares to enter the offseason with the goal of one more long-term contract at the age of 32, the Pelicans may no longer feel he falls in the same timeline as the rest of the core. And if the Pelicans decide to begin a retooling around Zion Williamson, over Ingram, it'd be a decision that makes even more sense.

The market for Jonas Valanciunas

Even though the NBA has slowly moved to a more perimeter-oriented game in recent years, there's still a strong market for defensive anchors at the center position. And that's exactly what Valanciunas continues to be at this point in his career. Valanciunas is coming off another productive season in which he averaged 12 points and nine rebounds on 56 percent shooting from the field.

For any team that is looking for a consistent stopgap at the center position, Valanciunas is going to emerge as an appealing free agent. And with the center free agency market not especially strong, with the exception to Isaiah Hartenstein (who is likely going to re-sign with the New York Knicks), Valanciunas could emerge as one of the most sought-after bigs this summer.

It'll be interesting to see what direction the Pelicans decide to go in this offseason and depending on that, we should get a clearer indication of how this roster could look at the start of next season. At least for now, it appears there's a good chance Valanciunas ends up relocating this summer.

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