Report: Pelicans have considered moving up to No. 2 to draft RJ Barrett
Ja Morant is widely considered to be the second-best player in the NBA Draft behind top prospect Zion Williamson, but there is apparently at least one scenario that could unfold that would see Morant fall past the No. 2 pick.
The New Orleans Pelicans currently hold the No. 4 pick, and there have been numerous reports that they are exploring options to trade it. According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, one possibility they have considered is making a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies to move up to the No. 2 spot, where they would select former Duke swingman RJ Barrett.
If that happened, it would leave the New York Knicks to take Morant third overall. One executive who is familiar with the Knicks’ thinking heading into the draft told Berman that they are sticking with No. 3 and would be “delighted” to take Morant or Barrett. They were previously open to moving back if they were blown away with an offer, but that appears unlikely to happen.
Barrett has openly said that he wants to play for the Knicks, and he has even refused to work out for any other team. Morant emerged as a superstar in his sophomore season at Murray State last year, averaging 24.5 points, 10.0 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Aside from the Pelicans, we have not heard of a team preferring Barrett over Morant.
The Pelicans believe they will be in playoff contention next season even after trading Anthony Davis, and they are said to be speaking with several teams about potential trades leading up to Thursday’s draft.