New Orleans Pelicans: Should they be NBA trade deadline buyers or sellers?

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans, NBA trade deadline (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
New Orleans Pelicans, NBA trade deadline (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Why the New Orleans Pelicans should be NBA trade deadline buyers

Zion Williamson is one of the league’s brightest young stars. The Pelicans can’t afford to sit on their hands and wait for things to work themselves out. They have seen that movie before. New Orleans lost Anthony Davis to LeBron James and the Lakers because their old front office didn’t surround him with enough talent. They weren’t proactive, and by the time they tried to make things happen, it was already too late.

With the play-in game being added this season, the playoffs aren’t totally out of reach for New Orleans. Getting Williamson some playoff experience now — even if it’s just a four-game sweep at the hands of one of the West’s best squads — could be extremely valuable later. Davis made the playoffs twice and won just a single playoff series in seven seasons in New Orleans.

The best argument that the Pelicans need to go and get a guy is that they’ve seen how devastating losing can be in a small market. The last thing they need is for Zion to become infatuated with the idea of teaming up with a superstar in a big market as Davis did. Winning can deter that from happening.

Getting Bradley Beal is a pipe dream for everyone — at least for now — but the Pels still have valuable players they can pursue. According to’s Chris Fedor, New Orleans is one of the teams interested in Cavs forward Larry Nance Jr.

Nance makes a lot of sense for the Pelicans. He is signed through 2022-23 on a team-friendly contract, and he’s currently shooting a career-high 38.3 percent from 3-point range on a respectable 3.3 attempts per game.

But New Orleans still can’t stop anybody. A trade for a defensive-oriented player like P.J. Tucker, JaVale McGee, or Aaron Gordon might be the smarter option for this team.