Should the Pelicans trade for the Cavaliers’ 2018 first-round pick?

The biggest NBA news in the past week or so has come from the Cleveland Cavaliers, as they traded away their All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to the eastern conference rival Boston Celtics. In the deal, the Cavs received Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and most intriguing, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick. Some have speculated that Cleveland would keep the pick if LeBron James decides to leave the team next offseason. However, stronger rumors have suggested that the Cavs are looking to package the pick in a trade to bring another star to their team. In this scenario, they would be making an attempt to do whatever’s necessary to ensure that LeBron stays in Cleveland for years to come. But one of the most prominent teams that have been linked to a possible deal have been the New Orleans Pelicans.

Here are the possibilities that are being discussed among analysts and fans alike, as no official talks have yet surfaced. The Cavaliers seem like they’d be open to moving the top draft pick in 2018, along with All-Star Kevin Love for another star player. They could also throw in a role player to the mix, such as Iman Shumpert. So who would they be looking to get in return? The most realistic option here would be DeMarcus Cousins. It seems like a lot to trade for just Cousins, but this could possibly be a move worthwhile for the organization. Kevin Love has performed well during his time in Cleveland, but he has always seemed like a third-wheel to Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. Cousins could bring some new elements to this team that Love doesn’t bring to the table. However, a bigger trade that could technically happen, would be a move to bring Anthony Davis to Cleveland from New Orleans. Imagining Anthony Davis and LeBron James sharing the court during the NBA regular season is a scary thought, and could pose as a serious threat to the Golden State Warriors. While these are all interesting prospects, should the Pelicans really consider any of these options?

The easy answer here is simply, “no”. Let’s first discuss a deal that would involve DeMarcus Cousins. For starters, the vision in bringing Cousins in would be forming a strong front with Anthony Davis. They spent less than half a season together last year after Cousins was acquired, which is not nearly enough time for the two to build a cohesive chemistry on the floor together. To see their full potential, a full season’s worth of games will prove whether this acquisition was worthwhile and can bring New Orleans into the playoffs. They’d also be trading for a draft pick, and although it’s likely to be a top-five pick in next year’s draft, do the Pelicans really want another prospect they’d need to develop? It would be foolish to assume that Anthony Davis will stay with the Pelicans if they can’t start winning games or at least start making runs in the playoffs. The Pelicans front office should be looking to bring in top talent now with Davis, rather than looking at a future prospect.

As for trading away Anthony Davis, this makes little sense to the Pelicans. While they’d get a lot of assets in return for their star, it’s hard to imagine that it’d be an improvement for their organization, as Davis is regarded as one of the top talents in the NBA. They must realize the risk that Anthony Davis will want to leave New Orleans, but similarly to what Cleveland is doing, they should be looking to do whatever it takes to keep their superstar. And in acquiring Cousins, it would seem that’s the path they’re currently on, especially acknowledging that their top pick from last year’s draft Buddy Hield was sent to the Sacramento Kings in the trade. So while they would get a lot in return if they were to deal either of their two All-Stars, the New Orleans Pelicans shouldn’t be expected to budge on any future offers that may come their way this season.

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