NBA Rumors: Predicting offseason blueprints for Lakers, Pelicans, and Suns

NBA Playoff Upsets: Major Stars Out Early and Offseason Outlook for Lakers, Suns, Pelicans
Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers
Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers / Yong Teck Lim/GettyImages
2 of 3

New Orleans Pelicans

Blueprint for the Pels - ball don't lie, time to cut ties

  • Move on from Jonas Valanciunas
  • Trade Brandon Ingram for another star to build around Zion
  • Cut ties with C.J. McCollum

The New Orleans Pelicans are in need of a roster shakeup. The last time they made it out of the first round of the playoffs was in 2018. Obviously, this iteration of the Pelicans isn't working. The starting pieces are clunky. They have intriguing young talent scattered throughout the roster. Zion Williamson, Trey Murphy III, Herb Jones, Dyson Daniels, and Jordan Hawkins are 25 years old or younger. This team has potential. They also have assets.

The Pelicans have an odd frontcourt. Jonas Valanciunas and Zion Williamson don't work together. Luckily for the Pels, Valanciunas and his $15 million salary are off the books this offseason. Good. Let him walk. The Pelicans have several first-round picks this year they can draft to replace Valanciunas' production. Or they can address the need via free agency or through a trade, Valanciunas just needs to go.

Continuing with our trend of bad fits next to Zion, Brandon Ingram is not the right guy to pair with him either. Ingram is a special player and one whom opposing franchises will covet, he's just a bit redundant to what Zion offers and he's three years older and doesn't project to have the same star power as Williamson. Gauging the trade value for Ingram is tricky, but the Pelicans should look to move him for a stretch-five who better fits alongside Zion and draft assets, if available.

Lastly, I think McCollum's time in the Big Easy has run its course. He's a nice combo guard who has had one of the most under-appreciated careers in the league, but that doesn't mean he's the right man for this job. I think the Pelicans will try to move McCollum and recoup back whatever they can. They should look to move him to a veteran/point guard-needy team. He's still a weapon on offense, but it's time for a total makeover here in Nola and McCollum doesn't fit the new timeline.