With the New Orleans Pelicans decimated by injuries and trapped on an eight-game losing streak before Monday’s win over Memphis, the New York Daily News has reported that the New Orleans front office will look to move both Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans before the February 20 trade deadline.
That's a little shocking. When you consider Gordon and Evans have had successful NBA careers, are still young and had comparable college numbers to those of similar players in this impending class, the Pelicans options to trade themselves into a tank proves to be anything but a no-brainer.
Gordon, still 25 years old, has averaged 17.6 points, 3.3 assists and 2.6 rebounds for his injury-riddled NBA career and played on the USA team that won gold in Turkey in the 2010 FIBA World Championship. The Clippers selected Gordon No. 7 overall in 2008 after he averaged 20.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists for Indiana.
Evans, a 24-year-old who won the 2010 NBA Rookie of the Year, has averaged 16.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists in his 5-year career after being selected No. 4 by Sacramento in 2009. Evans was a play-making point-forward in his lone year at Memphis, averaging 17.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game.
2014 NBA Draft
If both Gordon and Evans were having their respective freshman campaigns in college this winter, they would certainly be considered two of the top prizes in this loaded draft. Gordon was better than DraftExpress’ current top-rated shooting guard and No. 10 overall prospect, Gary Harris, averaging 18-5-3-2 for Michigan State -- a player whose upside may be Gordon himself.
The question is -- who would want them? Gordon has been injured throughout most of his career and is currently owed $30 million over the next two seasons. He's good, but that's big money for a guy who's played over 80% of a season just once in five years prior. Evans, on the other hand, is awful. This right after an offseason where New Orleans pried him away from Sactown for a steep $44 million over four years. He prompted our friends at The Bird Writes to tweet this on MLK Day:
Tyreke's shot chart this season. I will name it the "Red Wedding". Any objections? pic.twitter.com/MA996jpbBN— David Fisher (@usnfish) January 20, 2014
Neither guy will be easy to move, and for the middling to horrible return they'd get, probably just aren't worth moving. That coupled with Anthony Davis being quite good, Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson eventually returning, and the assurances made to the fanbase prior to the season that winning was the top priority means they aren't and won't be tanking. It's likely a lost year for them, but that doesn't mean they're packing it in halfway through. They're 7 games back of Phoenix for the 8th seed and 10th in the lottery. Close to right where the Sixers want them.
The Pellies have had a rough stretch of late partially due to bad luck and brutal scheduling -- they're not this bad. They'll pick up a few wins against lesser competition and inch their way towards the playoff hunt come March. Sixers fans concerning themselves with losing the pick this season should the Pelicans wriggle their way into the top 5 shouldn't panic just yet.