According to the latest NBA rumors, the New Orleans Pelicans were interested in trading for Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star center Jarrett Allen and Detroit Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart this offseason. However, no trade ever materialized.
“This offseason offered another taste of the business of the sport, where Valanciunas’ name featured prominently in New Orleans’ trade conversations,” wrote Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.
“The Pelicans inquired about switchable centers boasting greater mobility than Valanciunas’ plodding paint presence brings. New Orleans was most notably linked to Cleveland All-Star center Jarrett Allen and the Pistons’ bouncy big man Isaiah Stewart.”
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Source: The New Orleans Pelicans are closely monitoring Jarrett Allen’s situation in Cleveland.
It’s become well known among league circles that the Pelicans are in the market for a long-term answer at center as Jonas Valanciunas enters the final year of his contract.
— Jake Weinbach (@JWeinbachNBA) August 8, 2023
“Although no trade materialized, and Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin has since traveled to Manila to visit with Valanciunas and Team USA forward Brandon Ingram, New Orleans’ All-Star swingman,” Fischer added.
In 68 starts with the Cavaliers in the 2022-23 season, Allen averaged 14.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.2 blocks, and a career-high 32.6 minutes per game. The 6-foot-11 center also shot 64.4% from the floor and 73.3% at the foul line.
NBA Rumors: New Orleans Pelicans were interested in trading for Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen, Detroit Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart
Allen, 24, is owed $60 million over the next three seasons. This is part of the five-year, $100 million contract he signed with Cleveland in August 2021. Of course, the University of Texas at Austin product could have easily replaced the 11-year veteran, and Valanciunas understands this point.
“You can’t be safe all the time and sitting and know where you’re going to be the next day,” Valanciunas said. “You have to expect everything. There’s no hard feelings. Trades happen. It’s not like an unusual thing.”
— Pelicans Lead (@PelicansLead) July 31, 2023
Meanwhile, Stewart made 47 starts in his 50 appearances this past season with the Pistons. The New York native averaged career highs of 11.3 points, 1.4 assists, and 28.3 minutes per game. Stewart also shot 44.2% from the field and a career-best 73.8% at the foul line.
In Detroit’s 128-114 win over the Golden State Warriors on Oct. 30, the Washington recorded a career-high 24 points and 13 rebounds in 33 minutes as a starter. He finished 6-of-10 (60%) shooting from the floor, 2-of-5 (40%) outside the arc, and 10-of-11 (90.9%) at the line.
Additionally, Stewart signed a four-year, $15.10 million rookie scale contract with the Pistons in November 2020. His $5.26 million team option for the 2023-24 season was exercised last September.
New Orleans brass seems committed to finding a young, suitable replacement for veteran center Jonas Valanciunas
Furthermore, the Pelicans were reportedly interested in exploring a trade for Allen and Stewart back in July, according to William Guillory and John Hollinger of The Athletic.
Valanciunas has one more season left on his two-year, $30.14 million contract, and Guillory said that “his limitations on the defensive end have limited his effectiveness late in games.”
“If they can make the money work and get the right fit, New Orleans is in a decent position to pull off a trade like this because it still has all its future first-round picks,” Hollinger wrote.
“They can hang on to the unprotected [Los Angeles] Lakers and [Milwaukee] Bucks picks in case they cash in a lottery ticket and make deals involving multiple protected firsts of their own.”
As a matter of fact, Valanciunas’ contract carries a 15% trade bonus. So, an in-season trade is possible.
More importantly, the Pelicans declined Willy Hernangomez’s $2.56 million option for the 2023-24 season. The 6-foot-11 center then signed a three-year deal with Spanish professional club, FC Barcelona. Cody Zeller signed a one-year, $3.2 million deal with New Orleans as well.
Other NBA rumors are on the main page.
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Source: Basketball Insider