The New Orleans Pelicans are currently a team that needs to make a push upwards in the standings. They have two talented young stars who are cementing themselves as mainstays in this league: Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. The talented young duo is good, but the team success hasn’t been there: the Pelicans are currently in possession of a 4-7 record after their most recent loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Pelicans could elect to make a move for an experienced veteran to help them compete for a spot in the playoffs.
The Toronto Raptors have a player that the Pelicans could want, who is in the last year of his contract. Franchise legend Kyle Lowry is 34 (soon to be 35) and could possibly be traded before his contract expires. Lowry deserves to go to a team where he can compete for one of the last years of his career, and that team could be the Pelicans. Here is the potential trade:
New Orleans Pelicans Receive: Kyle Lowry
Toronto Raptors Receive: Lonzo Ball, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Eric Bledsoe
Toronto Raptors Trade Kyle Lowry For A Solid Package
Kyle Lowry will hit free agency after the end of the 2020-21 season, and there is no guarantee that the Toronto Raptors will retain him. Lowry could want a long term contract from the Raptors, but he is one of the only players over 30 on the roster. Toronto seems like it could go with a younger core, and trading Lowry would clear up space for Norman Powell to start, who has shown to be solid when in the starting lineup. It would be simply prudent to get some assets for a player that might leave at the end of the season, while also letting the franchise’s younger players have more touches.
The Pelicans would send out three players to acquire Lowry. Lonzo Ball is a young piece that is also a restricted free agent next season: the Toronto Raptors could match any offer made for Ball in free agency, and have a young point guard for the future. Lonzo Ball is an elite playmaker who can also shoot the 3PT shot: during 2019-20 he was shooting 37.5% from beyond the arc on 6.3 attempts per game. While Ball has been struggling more this year, the Toronto Raptors could use some size at the guard position, and with their development system, Lonzo Ball could become a solid two-way point guard.
Eric Bledsoe and Nickeil Alexander-Walker could bolster the reserves, as the Raptors bench has struggled at times this season. Eric Bledsoe could either be traded down the line or he could stay and become a solid veteran for the franchise. Nickeil Alexander-Walker could become a spark plug scorer off of the bench as well, with the potential to start if Ball doesn’t work out for the Raptors. This trade gives the Raptors some value for their aging star.
The New Orleans Pelicans Create A Big Three
Despite the fact that Kyle Lowry has gotten older, he is still playing at an All-Star level. Lowry is currently averaging 18.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 7.2 APG. Lowry can run the offense at a high level and create for his teammates. Playing with a passer of Lowry’s caliber could potentially help Zion Williamson utilize his scoring to the fullest. Lowry is the type of player that elevates a team with a few stars to a contender. Lowry is never going to be your leading scorer, but he offers great leadership and passing, with championship experience on top of that.
Playing as the third scoring option behind Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram would be nothing new to Lowry. Lowry was notably the third scoring option during the 2018-19 Toronto Raptors championship run, and he is a player that is willing to sacrifice usage to win basketball games. Lowry would also provide good spacing, as he attempts 8.1 3PT shots per game while hitting them at a 37% clip. Plenty of point guards who use their vision to succeed play late into their 30s: Jason Kidd and Steve Nash are recent examples, and Lowry could follow the trend.
This move would give the New Orleans Pelicans an established third option for their young stars. After Lonzo Ball rejected an extension during the offseason, they could potentially elect not to re-sign him. It would make sense to try and get an upgrade on the roster: none of the players in the trade package are untouchable and getting a 6-time All-Star could be appealing for a franchise with high aspirations. If Lowry plays well, the Pelicans could elect to re-sign him: if not, that’s a huge contract off the salary books. This trade would give the New Orleans Pelicans a great two-way point guard who can help teach their young stars how to win at the highest level.