The Home of Fantasy Sports Analysis

Weekly NBA Roundup: Pelicans Take Necessary Risk


New Orleans Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans came into the offseason in a bad salary-cap situation. The contracts of Solomon Hill, Omer Asik, and E’Twaun Moore have made it nearly impossible to improve upon their big two of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. The Pelicans made the only move they could at the start of free agency when they re-signed Jrue Holiday to a five-year, $126 million deal. With that decision, it was going to be tough to improve the team through free agency, and the team didn’t have the assets to improve through the trade market.

With that said, this week the Pelicans made one of the only moves they could, and it was a very risky one. New Orleans signed Rajon Rondo to a one-year deal, which will reunite him with DeMarcus Cousins for the time being. While Rondo has been criticized as an assist hunter in the past, he’s a good fit for the Pelicans and is a high-upside signing that they needed to make. His signing will allow Holiday to play off the ball, where he fits well. Rondo could also create a disaster in New Orleans with his big ego and need to be ball-dominant. However, that risk is outweighed by the reward. The most important thing for the Pelicans is the need to convince Cousins to sign long-term. Adding Rondo, even though it’s risky, is an important step to doing that.

Orlando Magic

The Magic waited out the free agent market with their cap space, intent on not making the same mistakes they did last summer. Because of their patience, they were able to take advantage of what amounted to be a weak restricted free agent market. Two of the top restricted free agents had their qualifying offers pulled, making them unrestricted. Jonathon Simmons was one of those RFAs, and the Magic stepped in and signed him to a very team-friendly deal. Simmons will make $20 million over the next three years in Orlando, and it’s a good fit for both parties.

[the_ad id=”384″]Simmons will step in as a backup at the one, two, and three. His versatility should allow him to get at least 20 minutes per game and put up the kind of numbers he couldn’t reach in San Antonio. Simmons is capable of getting his own shot, something that nobody else on Orlando is capable of doing. He has the ability to steal a starter spot at the two from Evan Fournier. Even if he doesn’t, the Magic should have a valuable trade asset on a good contract for the next three years.

Los Angeles Lakers

Last week, I deemed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope a loser of the week because his market had almost dissipated. This week his loss is the Lakers’ gain, and in the long run, it may work out for him too. Caldwell-Pope signed a one-year deal with the Lakers that will make him $18 million and allow him to re-enter the market next summer. He should be able to recoup some of his long-term value after spending a year in Luke Walton’s system. Caldwell-Pope should garner more open shots than he did in Detroit. The passing of Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram should create better scoring opportunities, while not relying on him as a top scoring threat.

For the Lakers, his defense will help, as he’ll be able to defend the opponent’s top guard. That will free Lonzo Ball up to guard the weaker opponent, allowing him to expend more energy in transition and on offense in general. His shooting will allow the Lakers to play a true five-out system that should create the space that Luke Walton desires. Not to mention, Caldwell-Pope is represented by Klutch Sports Group, the same agency that reps LeBron James. The Lakers could be doing Klutch a favor in the hopes of bringing James in next summer.


Nerlens Noel

The Dallas Mavericks are in an enviable spot, with an aging superstar willing to take way less than he’s worth. That should allow them to pay one of their best young players in a big way. Unfortunately for Nerlens Noel, his market hasn’t materialized, which might allow the Mavericks to severly underpay him. They aren’t currently in a position where they have to shell out a lot of cash to retain him. Their worst case is that Noel takes his qualifying offer and becomes unrestricted next summer.

For Noel, his options are limited. There are only three realistic options that could offer him more than $18 million per year. First, the Nets could put together a tough offer sheet, as they’ve been known to do, but they just took Jarrett Allen in the first round. The Suns could offer a deal worth around $19 million per year, but they have Dragan Bender as their long-term center. The Bulls are Noel’s other option, but they’d have to renounce Nikola Mirotic to offer Noel what he’s looking for. Noel’s best option is to wait out the Mavericks, and simply sign his qualifying offer if they don’t meet his demands.

Houston Rockets and Carmelo Anthony

For a while, it looked like Carmelo Anthony would get his wish and be bought out by the New York Knicks. Anthony was primed to join the Rockets to play alongside Chris Paul and James Harden to form a big three. Unfortunately for Anthony, that changed when Scott Perry was hired as the Knicks’ general manager. The Knicks have since reversed course, saying that Anthony will not be bought out, even saying they could keep Anthony. The latter is clearly a big problem for Anthony, who appears to want to go to a franchise that is ready to win. The former, however, is an even bigger problem for the Rockets.

The Rockets were in a position to sign Anthony for the vet minimum because he would be making most of his money from the buyout. Now, to get Anthony the Rockets must absorb his contract, which has two years and roughly $54 million remaining. Not only that, Anthony has a player option for the second year of his deal. While the contract isn’t great, the real issue is what the Rockets will give up. The Knicks have made it clear they won’t give Anthony away. So to match salaries, the Rockets will have to move Ryan Anderson, while also giving up an asset like Clint Capela to the Knicks. While having Anthony on the Rockets would be fun, the loss of Capela could make the move a negative in the long run.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.