No team is more aggressive on the trade market right now than the New Orleans Pelicans. They want to win now and prove to Anthony Davis he can succeed there, but at 20-22 the Pelicans are 2.5 games out of the playoffs in the tightly bunched Western Conference. The Pelicans are trying to add talent specifically on the wing, and might even give up a protected first-round pick to do it.
One target: Orlando’s Terrence Ross.
The Pelicans have shown interest in Orlando small forward Terrence Ross, who has had a career year, but is a free agent this summer and uncertain to re-sign with the Magic.
Orlando has been reluctant to deal Ross as the team has been within range of a playoff spot, but four straight losses have left the Magic seven games under .500 and perhaps ready to give up the postseason dream and get back to the long-term rebuilding project…. The Magic’s preference has been to trade Jonathon Simmons, who has struggled this season. Simmons is signed for next season, at $5.7 million, but only $1 million is guaranteed. Still, teams pushing for the postseason (like New Orleans) prefer Ross for a first-rounder. The Magic may have to budge on that if they want a pick.
Orlando is 17-24 but in the top-heavy East that still has the team just two games out of the playoffs. Not that they should be thinking playoffs. Orlando is young and should be thinking about adding talent long term to go with Jonathan Issac, Mo Bamba, and the rest, not make the eight seed so they can get crushed in the first round.
A first-round pick, even a protected one, would be a help with the rebuild. A deal like Ross for Solomon Hill and a pick could work.
Ross is averaging 13.3 points per game, is shooting 39.3 percent from three, has a good 54.7 true shooting percentage, and is playing as well as he ever has at a position of need in the NBA. He could help the Pelicans, who have looked better since Nikola Mirotic and Elfrid Payton returned from injury. Is all of that and adding Ross enough to keep Davis in the Big Easy? Probably not, but the Pelicans have to try.
This is just something to watch. New Orleans or somewhere else, Ross could well be on the move before the deadline.