January 19, 2021
NBA Rumors: Pelicans Could Get Kyrie Irving For Bledsoe, Redick, Hayes & Three First-Rounders

With Kyrie Irving's absence from the Brooklyn Nets due to personal reasons continuing with no end in sight just yet, rumors have been swirling regarding the six-time All-Star's status and future with the club. He has also been mentioned in multiple trade scenarios in recent days, with the latest suggesting that the New Orleans Pelicans could be among his more plausible suitors if he gets moved before the March 25 deadline.

As explained on Saturday by NBA Analysis Network, the Pelicans have mostly been making moves to get younger, shipping Jrue Holiday to the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2020 offseason and building around young stars such as Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson. However, the publication added that the organization could "set up a bit of a big three" by acquiring Irving and having him team up with the two forwards — a move that might help them return to the postseason sooner rather than later.

According to the outlet, New Orleans could theoretically acquire Irving by offering three of their key role players — veteran guards Eric Bledsoe and J.J. Redick and second-year center Jaxson Hayes — and one first-round pick each from the 2021, 2023, and 2024 drafts. This deal could allow the Pelicans to field an even more competitive team in the talent-laden Western Conference, where they currently sit at 13th place with a 4-7 record.

"The NBA is a league that is dominated by perimeter players and this is a chance for the Pelicans to add one of the best. To compete in the extremely difficult Western Conference, stars will have to be teamed up on one team. Irving would be a tremendous fit alongside Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson."

Eric Bledsoe, Zion Williamson, and JJ Redick of the New Orleans Pelicans listen to head coach Stan Van Gundy during a timeout.
Getty Images | Michael Reaves

According to NBA Analysis Network, the Nets could benefit from the proposed transaction by simply getting rid of Irving, who "became a headache" toward the end of his stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers and was a "complete disaster" when he moved to the Boston Celtics. The site added that Kevin Durant and the newly-acquired James Harden are still good enough to keep Brooklyn in contention in the Eastern Conference.

Although he's seemingly at the tail-end of a lengthy professional career, Redick could contribute to the Nets with his outside shooting and extensive postseason experience, according to the publication. Bledsoe, who arrived in New Orleans during the offseason in the Holiday trade, might also be able to bring something to the table, as he is a veteran talent who could excel as a playmaker and ball-handler.