As the NBA’s 2021 trade deadline draws closer, several interesting trade ideas have started to surface. These include a hypothetical three-team blockbuster deal that would send Lonzo Ball to the Chicago Bulls and Victor Oladipo to the New Orleans Pelicans. In the proposed scenario by Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, the Bulls would receive Ball, the Pelicans would get Oladipo and P.J. Tucker, and the Houston Rockets would acquire Lauri Markkanen, J.J. Redick, a 2021 first-round pick, and a 2022 first-round pick.
Though they are the ones who would be giving up the most trade assets, the suggested deal might make a lot of sense for New Orleans. It could enable the Pelicans to surround Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson with two quality players that could help them carry the team in the 2020-21 NBA season. And, as Favale noted, pairing Ingram and Williamson with Oladipo would allow them to create their own “Big Three” in New Orleans.
“Allow us to begin with the Pelicans. Does a Brandon Ingram-Victor Oladipo-Zion Williamson troika count as a Big Three? We’re going to say yes. Is it one New Orleans should want to forge? Debatable. Oladipo arms the Pelicans with another body who can attack set defenses and deliver secondary playmaking. He historically isn’t the cleanest off-ball fit and has seen his efficiency drop in Houston, but he’s converting 42.1 percent of his spot-up triples on the season. New Orleans also needs more bodies to throw at wings on defense, and he’s exactly that, albeit in pint-size form.”
Oladipo and Tucker would arguably be great additions to the Pelicans. Tucker would give them a defensive-minded big man and veteran presence in the locker room, while Oladipo would give the team an All-Star-caliber player in their backcourt. Oladipo may have been through plenty of ups and downs in the past few years, but this season, he’s shown several glimpses of his old self. If he continues to improve his game and manages to stay away from any major injury, he could potentially strengthen the Pelicans’ chances of ending their playoff drought this year.
Meanwhile, if the deal pushes forward, it might not only be beneficial for the Pelicans but also for the Bulls and the Rockets. At first glance, some people may think that the arrival of Ball would create a logjam in a Bulls backcourt that already features Coby White and Zach LaVine. However, Ball offers a different skill set than the two Windy City guards. He could give them a pass-first floor general who is a great perimeter defender.
For the Rockets, the proposed scenario would allow them to turn two expiring contracts into assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process. Aside from the two future first-round selections, they would also be receiving a young and promising big man in Markkanen, who could form an intriguing frontcourt duo with Christian Wood.