Report: Pelicans want to contend next season, could trade No. 4 pick
The New Orleans Pelicans will have an entirely new look next season after trading away the best player in franchise history, but that does not mean they consider themselves to be in rebuilding mode.
In addition to Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart, the Los Angeles Lakers also sent the No. 4 overall pick in the upcoming NBA draft to New Orleans as part of their trade package for Anthony Davis. According to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, the Pelicans are exploring the possibility of trading that pick for a starting-caliber player before Thursday. With a core that will include the aforementioned three players and once-in-a-generation talent Zion Williamson, they believe they can contend and reach the playoffs next season.
Spears was also told by sources that Ball, Ingram and Hart are all excited for a fresh start and to play alongside Williamson. We already saw a glimpse of that with their social media activity after the big trade.
If Williamson can adjust to the NBA quickly, there’s no reason the Pelicans should be aiming for anything less than a playoff berth. The Western Conference could be wide open next season with Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson potentially missing the entire year, and New Orleans has a solid young foundation. Executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin has a good track record with quickly building winning rosters, so it’s no surprise he is looking to do the same in his new role.