There have already been plenty of rumblings about New Orleans Pelicans power forward Ryan Anderson being available in a trade. ESPN's Zach Lowe reports the Pelicans are sorting through a pile of offers for the impending free agent to decide whether any are good enough to pull the trigger.
The Pelicans are going nowhere this season and are looking to retool, so trading Anderson right before he's set to get a huge raise in free agency makes sense. Lowe reports that the stretch 4 may get a contract worth $20 million a year, which seems crazy given he's a one-way player, but it's the reality for productive talent in this new climate that's expected to see the salary cap rise to $92 million this summer and $108 million in 2017.
Anderson is averaging nearly 17 points and six rebounds this year while shooting 38 percent from three and his offense could provide a boost to a team looking to make a playoff push.
Why the Pelicans would trade Anderson
The Pelicans could theoretically look to re-sign Anderson, but with the franchise looking for a shake-up, paying his hefty price tag doesn't seem all that reasonable. With that in mind, New Orleans would like to get something for its asset instead of having him walk in free agency for nothing.
The Detroit Pistons and Sacramento Kings are two teams said to have interest in Anderson. He enjoyed a lot of success in Orlando under current Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy and Detroit has shown some willingness to consider parting with a protected 2016 first-round pick to acquire the forward, according to Lowe. He could help the Pistons get into the playoffs, and then they'd hope the Van Gundy connection would entice him to re-sign.
If the Pelicans have the opportunity to get at least one quality asset for Anderson, they should jump at that.
Why the Pelicans wouldn't trade Anderson
Yahoo Sports' Marc Spears reports that Anderson wants to explore free agency, so the fact that he may be a rental could depress his trade value. While a team like the Pistons may be willing to consider giving up a first-rounder, they could ultimately decide against it. If so, New Orleans may not want to simply dump Anderson for scraps. If they don't want to keep him, they could look to work out a sign-and-trade in the offseason.
If the Pelicans are looking to trade Anderson as part of a bigger package for an upgrade, there could be additional stumbling blocks. Since New Orleans used three picks to acquire Jrue Holiday and Omer Asik, there's an "impression" around the league that Pelicans general manager Dell Demps won't be allowed to send out another first-rounder even with some protections on it, according to Lowe.
Likelihood of Pelicans trading Anderson
Anderson is a hot commodity at this trade deadline, but it's unclear what teams are willing to part with for a potential rental. Despite that obstacle, it still seems more likely than not that he gets moved as the Pelicans look to reshape their roster.
We give an Anderson trade a 7/10 chance of happening.
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