The New Orleans Pelicans had a huge blow to their season following the unfortunate Achilles tendon injury suffered by DeMarcus Cousins in the final seconds of their 115-113 win over the Houston Rockets last week. Cousins is now out for the rest of the season after he underwent surgery to repair the torn tendon on Wednesday.
New Orleans has lost twice in three games since then with Anthony Davis solely carrying the offensive load once again. The team is still in the thick of the playoff hunt, though, settling at the seventh spot in the West with a 28-23 record, one-and-a-half games ahead of the eighth-seeded Denver Nuggets.
Despite Cousins’ loss, some analysts predict that the Pelicans will be able to return to the postseason this year, and it is also expected that the club would want to make some noise while they were in it. Thus, the team has been mentioned in the latest trade rumors, particularly as a buyer before the February 8 deadline.
The Pelicans have actually begun the wheeling and dealing on Thursday via a trade with the Chicago Bulls, sending sweet-shooting big man Nikola Mirotic to the Big Easy in exchange for Omer Asik, Jameer Nelson, Tony Allen, and a future first-round pick.
Mirotic would be a big help to Davis not only offensively but also in manning the team’s frontcourt. Still, the Pelicans are anticipated to pull off more trades soon.
One of the most recent trade speculations regarding the Pelicans is a suggested deal involving Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker. Michael Saenz of FanSided’s Sir Charles In Charge proposed a scenario that would move Walker and Nic Batum to New Orleans for a trade package that includes Jrue Holiday, Solomon Hill, and two 2018 draft picks (first and second round).
Walker has been the subject of a lot of trade rumors since ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Hornets have placed him on the trade market. The seven-year veteran floor general has reportedly piqued the interest of several teams, including the Detroit Pistons, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Los Angeles Lakers to name a few.
Saenz said that Walker would instantly “bolster” the Pelicans’ perimeter offense with his potent outside shooting. Last year’s All-Star is averaging 22.8 points per game in 49 games this season, shooting 42.5 percent from the field, including a 37.0 percent clip from three-point range.
Meanwhile, getting Batum would give New Orleans more veteran presence on the court and inside the locker room as well, something that is said to be a welcome addition to Davis.
More importantly, acquiring Walker would mean that the Pelicans will have a chance to form their own Big Three when Cousins comes back from injury. Saenz predicted that head coach Alvin Gentry’s squad could finish as a top 3 seed in the West next season if everything goes according to plan.