Not just those two guys. Eric Bledsoe has also been involved in trade talks. And in a lot of cases, it’s the Pelicans making the calls.
Unlike Ball and Redick, Bledsoe isn’t an impending free agent. He’s due $18,125,000 next season with $3.9 million of $19,375,000 guaranteed the following year. So, there isn’t the same urgency.
But similar logic applies. The Pelicans aren’t nearly as good as they hoped to be. Their veterans could be more valuable to better teams. New Orleans could gain assets for a future window of competitiveness. The Pelicans could also clear playing time for younger guards Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis to develop.
Acquired from the Bucks in the Jrue Holiday trade, Bledsoe was never necessarily in New Orleans’ plans. He and George Hill were matching salary. The Pelicans already flipped Hill to the Thunder. The trade was primarily about draft picks.
Bledsoe is a good defender and at least a good-enough-for-the-regular-season 3-point shooter. But the 31-year-old isn’t attacking the rim as well as he did even a year ago. Maybe that’s a product of New Orleans’ poor spacing. Maybe that’s due to aging. Even in better times, Bledsoe struggled in the playoffs. His $16,875,000 salary is high enough that matching won’t be simple. The rest of his contract isn’t seen as appealing.
Though Bledsoe would help some teams, it’s not certain one values him enough to pry him from the Pelicans. But the more eager New Orleans is to trade him, the more likely it is to happen.