New Orleans Pelicans Getting Wasted In High Octane Free Agency
There was some hope for the New Orleans Pelicans going into this NBA Free Agent period. Some held out hope for LeBron James, but that was unrealistic from the start (still fun though). But the realistic targets appeared to be closer to home.
Most experts were looking for the Pelicans to re-sign All Star DeMarcus Cousins to a "team friendly" deal based on his current injury status. Others were looking for the team to bring back All Star guard Rajon Rondo, who helped the team run a successful up-tempo offense late in the season.
But guess what happened last night?
DeMarcus Cousins joined The Avengers...wait, I mean The Golden State Warriors, and Rajon Rondo joined the best player in the world, LeBron James, with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Pelicans lost out on two of the biggest pieces of last year's NBA Playoff team (who actually won a Playoff series for the first time in a lifetime).
One of the big pieces of news around Cousins was that he apparently received NO significant contract offers as free agency started. Now the word "significant" is inserted in there to protect something, but to see that he only signed a one year mid-level exemption, it sounds like there probably wasn't anything else.
Additionally, some have reported that the Pelicans made NO attempt to resign Cousins.
With Rondo, it appears the Pelicans may have been targeting a different player the whole time. Although their new addition doesn't play the same position, or do the same things on the floor, it seems he took precedent ahead of Rondo on the priority list.
Who are we talking about? Well, the Pelicans signed former Laker forward Julius Randle.
Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis helped land Randle, who had to ask for the Lakers to "renounce" him to allow him to sign with the Pelicans. Randle and Davis are both former Kentucky players, though they never played together, and both are Top 10 NBA Draft picks. But Randle isn't the same caliber of player that Davis is...Randle's career scoring is 13.5 points per game, and he brings down 8.9 rebounds per game.
But at the same time, Davis is about to sign the richest deal in the history of the NBA next summer, so the team needs to be able to handle that financial hit, while keeping Davis happy. So letting him hand-pick his teammates is one way to do that.
But if perception is reality, right now it looks like the Pelicans are getting destroyed in NBA Free Agency. There's still time for the team to add a couple pieces, but there's no guarantee that they will. Because after all, they're under a salary cap, and they don't have a lot of room. Unless the team makes a bunch of salary-dump trades this year, this could be their future for a few seasons.