New Orleans Pelicans keeping tabs on potential trade for an All-Star center

New Orleans Pelicans
Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans have already experienced a sizable roster shift this offseason. They acquired Dejounte Murray from Atlanta, injecting another All-Star into a talented lineup. But they also lost Jonas Valanciunas, who signed a contract with the Washington Wizards. His departure leaves a massive void at the starting center position in the Bayou.

Rookie Yves Missi, who the Pelicans drafted with the 21st overall pick, is one option, but the 20-year-old may need more time to develop before snagging the starting role. Daniel Theis was recently signed to a contract, but the 32-year-old has never averaged more than 24.6 minutes per game.

So, the Pelicans are likely to keep hunting for another starting center to replace Valanciunas, but there aren’t many options in free agency, certainly not a proven starter. This could lead New Orleans to head back to the trade market.

Related: NBA Rookie of the Year 2024-25: Alexandre Sarr and Zach Edey emerge as early frontrunners

New Orleans Pelicans like Jarrett Allen and Wendell Carter Jr

According to The Athletic’s William Guillory, the Pelicans have long had their eye on two centers. Specifically, Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star Jarrett Allen and Wendell Carter Jr. of the Orlando Magic.

“Cleveland’s Jarrett Allen and Orlando’s Wendell Carter Jr. are both players the Pelicans have coveted for some time, according to team sources. Each possesses qualities that New Orleans is looking for now and down the line at the position. Allen, in particular, is a player the Pelicans have kept tabs on for years.”

William Guillory on New Orleans Pelicans center replacements for Valanciunas

However, Guillory cautioned that Cleveland may not be willing to part with Allen, especially since hiring Kenny Atkinson, who had success with Allen in Brooklyn. Landing Carter from Orlando may be easier to accomplish, but if the Pelicans are using Brandon Ingram as they centerpiece, they’d likely have to find a third team to facilitate a trade. With Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner, there’s no need for Ingram in Orlando.

Aside from Allen and Carter, it’s hard to find an obvious replacement for Valanciunas, but at least the Pelicans have a younger alternative already on the roster with Missi.

Related: NBA MVP race 2024-25: Will the NBA have a new MVP winner?

Mentioned in this article:

More About: