A lot of expectations heading into this season, but injuries have crushed those dreams. The New Orleans Pelicans aren’t going anywhere for another year, and are already looking to get something out of the relatively bad deals they have with Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon.
Bringing in Evans and Jrue Holiday during the offseason created an exciting young core to go along with Gordon and Anthony Davis. Gordon, who was previously unhappy about the Pelicans matching his sheet offer from the Suns, suddenly wanted in on the exciting project.
But injuries to Ryan Anderson, then to Anthony Davis, then to Anderson again and now to Jrue Holiday have made it clear to everyone involved that this just isn’t there year. After starting out 11-10, they’ve won only four times in their next 18 games, falling way behind in the lost race for the playoff spot in the Western conference.
So what to do? Trade pieces you’re sure you don’t want to carry on with in the future. It seems there’s a consensus that aside from the obvious Anthony Davis success, the Pelicans want to go ahead with Holiday and Anderson as well. Evans, who signed a four-year, $44 million deal in the summer, and Gordon, owed $30 million for the next two seasons, are assets the Pelicans are willing to move.
But to where? While Evans’ contract can be moved to someone who are desperate for some scoring and a player who can play in a few positions, Gordon is a very tough sell. There were talks earlier this season about a deal with the Chicago Bulls that will give them the shooting guard they needed while Luol Deng goes south to New Orleans, but that ship is long gone, having sailed to Cleveland. Evans isn’t that much better as well: Instead of being a great sixth man, they’re paying $11 million a season for someone who scores 13 points a game on 41% from the field.
One deal that might come in mind involved the Indiana Pacers, who have Danny Granger and his expiring contract coming off the bench. The expiring deal works great for the Pelicans, while Gordon would add a better offensive weapon, although he isn’t going to be too happy about being a bench player, even for a contender. Evans? Not the Pacers, but maybe a buyer will present itself soon enough. Moving both of them is going to be extremely difficult.