The New Orleans Pelicans could be in a position to have their very own Big Easy-Big 3 if Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony can come to some sort of agreement. Jackson wants Anthony gone and the Knicks will continue to listen to offers for the All-Star player. However, Anthony loves the New York Knicks and wants to stay– unless the right team comes along.
Enter the Pelicans.
At the trade deadline, the Pelicans weren’t major players in the market. A deal was made at the All-Star break that snagged the team DeMarcus Cousins, couple that with an already loaded roster and the Pelicans didn’t have the cap space to take on Melo’s contract. Well, that could change with a quick phone call and let go of a high-priced PG.
Jrue Holiday is a Free Agent and his asking price is expected to be in $15-16M range. The Pelicans can afford to resign him but if they were to go after Anthony, then Holiday becomes a secondary thought. Jackson, with his latest statement, has to understand that he will not get equal value for Anthony and here’s why. The Knicks are desperate to rid themselves of him and may be willing to accept pennies on the dollar in return. The only issue is– Anthony has an NTC (No Trade Clause). As much as Jackson and James Dolan wants him out-of-town, it’s ultimately Anthony’s decision.
However, where the Pelicans weren’t buyers during this past deadline they very well could be major players this offseason.
Anthony has a list of teams he would like to go to but his price tag may be too high for those. The Los Angeles Clippers may be in store for a facelift if they happen to flame out the playoffs. The Cleveland Cavaliers have no cap space and the Boston Celtics and Anthony do not fit. But what about teaming up with Cousins and Anthony Davis?
It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. If the Pelicans were to let Holiday leave, that would save them close to $15M there. What they could offer the Knicks is a package that includes Omer Asik ($10.5M) and Solomon Hill ($11.7M). Both players combined would clear off $18M+ making way for the Pelicans to absorb Anthony’s $26M per year salary.
The PG duties can be handed to Tim Frazier who averaged 7 points and 5 assists last season. Pairing him with Anthony, Cousins, and Davis will take any scoring pressure he may have felt if Anthony wasn’t there. A consistent perimeter threat is exactly what the Pelicans need. If Melo can come in and provide the outside shooting and slashing he’s known for that will open the lane up for Davis and Cousins. They will be almost unstoppable.
The Pelicans missed the playoffs this year due to a lack of an outside presence. The bench can be solid contributors with Alexis Ajinca, E’Twaun Moore, and Jordan Crawford. Depending on where the lottery ball falls for the Pelican they can pick up a PG or SG in the draft like Malik Monk, Dennis Smith Jr or De’Aaron Fox. The Pelicans have options but it all begins with that one call to the Knicks.
Carmelo has to weigh his options and despite how bad he wants to stay in NY and refused to let Jackson run him out– he has to go. That NTC must be waived or his career is over. He may never get to play with LeBron or Chris Paul but Davis and Cousins is one heck of a consolation prize.