The New Orleans Pelicans May Pursue Deals Involving Julius Randle And Nikola Mirotic

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The New Orleans Pelicans have reportedly paused negotiations with the Los Angeles Lakers over Anthony Davis, but they continue to shop around other members of their frontcourt as they move on from Davis.

New Orleans acquired Nikola Mirotic last year for a first-round pick, which eventually became Chandler Hutchison, and the ability to dump Omer Asik’s contract. The team is probably searching for a similar package of an asset and bad salary to move Mirotic, who will be a free agent this summer, at this deadline.

Mirotic has been an efficient scorer this season but has only played in 32 of 54 games for the Pelicans, who continue to deal with injuries at an alarming rate. Nevertheless, there figure to be suitors for a stretch four with Mirotic’s lack of conscience, including the Utah Jazz, who made overtures for the forward last season — but Utah’s focus currently seems to be on Mike Conley.
Julius Randle is also on the block for New Orleans. Randle signed a two-year deal with the Pelicans this offseason with a player option for next year, and could thus be thought of as akin to a free agent for a team looking to shed salary. Randle has been an offensive force in New Orleans, and at age 24, could be a building block for a developing team.

However, Will Guillory of The Athletic reports that the Pelicans are more interested in retaining Randle, who “has developed a strong bond with the team’s coaching/training staff.” As New Orleans constructs a new roster without Davis, the team sees Randle as a piece of its puzzle moving forward. He is averaging a career-high 19.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game this season.

The Pelicans have yet to make any moves thus far despite being at the center of the trade deadline circus.