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2020 Trade Targets for the New Orleans Pelicans – Lauri Markkanen and More

| May 25, 2020 6:21 am PDT
2020 Trade Targets for the New Orleans Pelicans

New Orleans was doing everything they could to try and catch the Grizzlies for the 8th and final playoff spot out West. The unfortunate part about the 2019/2020 NBA season possibly not resuming is the Pelicans wouldn’t have a chance to make any noise in the postseason.

The silver lining is that David Griffin would instead walk away with a guaranteed lottery pick and a shot top-4 selection in the 2020 NBA Draft.

We’ve seen how large of an impact Zion Williamson can have, Brandon Ingram is evolving into an elite scorer, and the fact of the matter is Lonzo Ball has developed into a legitimate NBA point guard.

What’s the next step for Griffin and his staff to improve the roster?

Let’s piece together the top trade targets for the New Orleans Pelicans in 2020. Four names come to mind.

Lauri Markkanen, PF, Chicago Bulls

We know that Gar Forman was a big fan of Lauri Markkanen. However, now Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley are running the ship in Chicago, and they may not be as attached to the hybrid Finnish forward.

Lauri struggled to find his rhythm this past year playing under Jim Boylen and would be a tremendous asset in the current system Alvin Gentry runs in New Orleans. At 7’0” with outside range, Markkanen’s ability to stretch the defense would clear space for Zion and Ingram to operate.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker is buried on the Pels’ depth chart and could be packaged with future draft picks in order to lure Lauri out of the Windy City.

Will Barton, SF, Denver Nuggets

It seems unlikely that the Pelicans will be retaining JJ Redick beyond next season. The unrestricted free agent in 2021 will draw interest from numerous contenders heading into the upcoming campaign, and David Griffin would be wise to entertain all offers.

For example, the Nuggets could target Redick in a trade and be willing to part ways with Will Barton and a draft pick.

Barton averaged 15.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game this past season in Denver and is a stingy perimeter defender. Gentry is loaded at the shooting guard position with Jrue Holiday, Josh Hart, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker all locked in for the 2020/2021 season. “Will the Thrill” is more of a prototypical small forward and could immediately lessen the pressure on Zion and Ingram.

Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Minnesota Timberwolves

Talk about a move that could thrust the Pelicans into the thick of the Western Conference hierarchy. Imagine pairing Karl-Anthony Towns up with Zion Williamson in the post. Here’s how a deal could get done.

The T-Wolves were already in the process of completely refurbishing their roster at the 2020 NBA trade deadline. If they want to continue on the path of a total rebuild, they could move KAT and receive the following haul in return.

  • Jrue Holiday
  • Jaxson Hayes
  • Pelicans’ 2020 1st Round Pick

As previously noted, the Pelicans have leeway at the two-guard position to curb a potential loss of Holiday. If Towns is unhappy playing in Minnesota and inevitably wants out, this move makes all the sense in the world. 

Steven Adams, C, Oklahoma City Thunder

It’s safe to say that KAT would be the optimal trade target for the New Orleans Pelicans in 2020, but here’s another possibility.

Steven Adams is penciled in to make more than $27 million next season. With speculation swirling that OKC could be reluctant to extend his contract, Adams figures to be one of the top NBA trade candidates in 2020. Keep in mind, both Derrick Favors and E’Twaun Moore become UFAs when the current season ends. Relinquishing their combined salaries alone creates room for Adams to come on board.

The Thunder could recoup Jaxson Hayes, Josh Hart, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, plus have a bunch of money left over to make a splash in free agency.

Who Will the New Orleans Pelicans Trade for in 2020?

The more I look at the impact Lauri Markkanen could have on the Pels, the more I think David Griffin should seriously pursue his services. If that means including Jaxson Hayes in a potential deal or tossing in his 2020 first-round pick, then so be it.

When I study Lauri’s game and ponder his potential, I see a more athletic version of Dirk Nowitzki who can get up and down the court in transition. Karl-Anthony Towns might be the best player featured on this page, but all things considered, Markkanen could very well be the top trade target for the New Orleans Pelicans in 2020.

Here’s a peek at some other NBA trade rumors. 

Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for GamblingSites.com on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

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