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New Orleans Pelicans searching for center upgrade, exploring trade for All-Star

Entering the offseason, many tabbed the New Orleans Pelicans as a team to watch for a potential blockbuster trade. Typically those types of moves occur on draft day or early in NBA free agency, but the Pelicans stood their ground. That doesn’t mean the front office is done trying to negotiate trades.

According to John Hollinger of The Athletic, the Pelicans are still interested in finding a better starting center, one that fits the goal of winning now and building for the future. At 30 years old, Jonas Valanciunas may not fit a long-term timeline.

That may be why the Pels’ front office is exploring a trade for All-Star center Jarrett Allen from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Allen has three years left on his contract, where he’s set to earn $20 million each season. Plus, he’s still just 25 years old and could help the Pelicans not just for the upcoming season but for many years to come.

Of course, the Cavs would have to be willing to part with their starting center and be enticed by what the Pelicans are willing to part with. So far, there’s been no indication a deal is close.

As Hollinger points out, another potential solution in New Orleans could be trading for Detroit’s Isaiah Stewart, another young center who brings rebounding and paint protection to the table. Still just 22 years old, the Pistons may someday consider parting with “Beef Stew” since they have several bigs, including Jalen Duren and James Wiseman. But they also just signed Stewart to a four-year, $60 million extension, and thus, he cannot be traded until July 1, 2024.

The Pelicans may still be seeking an upgrade at the center position, but if Allen and Stewart are some of their primary targets, New Orleans might have to wait a while before striking a deal. We’ll see how aggressive the Pelicans get in their pursuit to upgrade a roster that was on track for a top seed in the Western Conference before injuries struck last season.

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