After starting off the season strong, the Pelicans have quickly spiraled back into irrelevance, placing 14th in the West with an 18-22 record after 40 games. It couldn't be a worse time to stink.
With Anthony Davis' 2020 free-agency looming, some were already of the mindset that the star would force a trade this summer in an effort to join a team that had a higher ceiling. With each game the Pelicans lose, the chances of that happening only get better.
The best, and maybe only option for New Orleans is to make a trade. Another star would significantly help the Pelicans' chances and may have them able to compete with the West's higher level elites.
Per Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, there's one guy in particular that could be a realistic get for NOLA: Bradley Beal.
“The Pelicans are 14th in the Western Conference and spiraling. Every loss is viewed as referendum on Anthony Davis’ future. That isn’t necessarily fair, but they cannot afford to ignore it. Forking over multiple future picks is a monstrous gamble when Davis hasn’t signed on the dotted line, and [Bradley] Beal doesn’t solve everything wrong with the Pelicans. (They need defensive versatility.) But this is the type of trade that gets Davis another All-Star running mate and elevates New Orleans’ ceiling in a jam-packed Western Conference.”
As Favale points out, giving up picks is a massive risk when they have no promise of Davis' long-term future. If he elects to leave in that scenario, it would put the Pelicans in a nightmarish position for years to come.
Unfortunately picks is the only real asset they have (besides Davis) that can bring them a star player. That's what it'll likely take to get a guy like Beal.
No doubt, the organization has serious decisions to make. And what they decide to do from here will ultimately determine what happens this summer and the next.