Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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New Orleans Pelicans (Last Year: 30-52)
2016-17 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Omer Asik/Alexis Ajinca
PF: Anthony Davis
SF: Dante Cunningham/James Ennis/Luke Babbitt
SG: Tyreke Evans/Quincy Pondexter
PG: Jrue Holiday/Toney Douglas/Tim Frazier
NBA Free Agents:
SG-Eric Gordon (UFA)
PF-Ryan Anderson (UFA)
PG-Norris Cole (UFA)
C-Kendrick Perkins (UFA)
SF-Jordan Hamilton (UFA)
SF-Alonzo Gee (PO)
PG-Tim Frazier (TO)
SF-James Ennis (TO)
2015-16 Team Salary: Approximately $64.9 million
NBA Offseason Team Needs:
Perhaps no team in the league had worse luck with injuries last season than the Pelicans. Starting wings Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans played a combined 69 games, and New Orleans was left scrambling the remaineder of the season due to a lack of quality depth behind them.
With Gordon a free agent, this becomes an even more pressing need this offseason. The Pelicans need to find at least one starting wing, and they could address that need depending on who is available when they select sixth overall in the 2016 NBA Draft. At a minimum, the Pelicans should look to add two wings who are capable of contributing right away.
2. Frontcourt Depth:
Ryan Anderson is an unrestricted free agent with his ability to stretch defenses from the perimeter, should be a highly sought after commodity. If New Orleans decides not to open its wallets wide enough to keep him or Anderson chooses to head elsewhere, the team has to find some improved depth inside. Depending on how draft night plays out, this could be addressed with the sixth pick, and if not, the Pelicans should scour the free agent market.
3. Shop Evans and/or Holiday?:
Both players are entering the final years of their contracts, and I'm not sure either is deserving of a large extension. Rather than simply lose them in free agency next summer, New Orleans would be wise to shop them around this offseason to see if it can find an upgrade in talent. This certainly isn't a must but can't hurt.
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