Ryan Anderson is among the hottest names available at the 2016 NBA trade deadline, and the New Orleans Pelicans are looking to move the power forward.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, New Orleans is “pushing hard to find a trade” because the team expects to lose Anderson during free agency.
Wojnarowski reports the Pelicans and Detroit Pistons had “serious talks” about Anderson before the Pistons acquired Tobias Harris from the Orlando in exchange for Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova.
Anderson is a valuable commodity because he’s a big man with shooting range. The 27-year-old boasts a career 42.3 mark from beyond the arc.
The glaring issue with Anderson is his shoddy defense, but any roster with a capable rim-protector can atone for that deficiency. A secondary problem is cap space, since Anderson has an expiring contract and figures to receive a handsome raise this offseason. Wojnarowski projects Anderson will command a starting salary of $16 million.
In order to acquire the veteran, a team must part with truly meaningful pieces. Whichever franchise is bold enough to trade for him must be ready to pay Anderson during free agency. While valuable, he’s not worth potentially setting back a club’s future.
Perhaps better said, Anderson is a difference-maker, not a franchise savior.
If the Pistons are indeed out of the picture, the Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings are the popular names in the Anderson chase. The Boston Celtics are also an option, though it’s worth noting they’re basically tossed into every potential trade scenario because of accrued assets.
However, neither Washington nor Houston would become title contenders by adding Anderson. Boston could make the case — and maybe, maybe the Toronto Raptors if they retained key contributors — but that’s about it.
New Orleans might decide it’s better to trade Anderson before he leaves this summer, and only then will a potential suitor avoid giving up too much.