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In this recent article, http://nyloncalculus.com/2014/10/17/rookie-scale-option-decisions/, Nylon Calculus creates a metric to analyze 1st round draft choices over the last four years. Under that analysis, Jimmer has a 94% chance to be a bust in the NBA.

Currently Jimmer is an NBA minimum salary player trying to make it with his 3rd team.  How many teams have to say "no" to Jimmer before you realize he has serious limitations?

10 hours, 51 minutes ago on Rounding out the Rotation: the Pelicans’ Seventh Man

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@thouse @Michael McNamara

And in that Nylon Calculus article, also says Rivers has "done little to demonstrate his ability to compete in the NBA. It is highly unlikely that this changes in 2015."  It also places Rivers in the "Let Them Walk" category of 2012 draft players whose option year should not be picked up based on demonstrated basketball play!

13 hours, 7 minutes ago on Why Dell Demps Should Pick Up Austin Rivers’ Option

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I agree that the possibility of having something like $8M in expiring contracts to trade for a SF this year is important, and we all know how Dell constructs deals piece by piece miles out from the final trade.  Rivers expiring contract could be a big piece in a larger SF trade.

Where I disagree is the Rivers turning into something much above a replacement player.  Right now it's hard to see Rivers being paid more than 1x-2x his NBA minimum salary.  The kind of improvement in his game that we have seen even this preseason is evolutionary when he needs revolutionary change to be a sought after FA whose contract price gets driven up.  So I think this factor also says don't pick up River's $3.1M option.

1 day, 3 hours ago on Why Dell Demps Should Pick Up Austin Rivers’ Option

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For what it is worth #2:

6. I hope so, but I am not holding my breath.

7. I agree with Pellissier: middlin' with a chance to be as high as 10.

8. I agree with MM:  Babbitt.  He has heart, he wants it, and he can shoot the 3 ball.

9. I agree with Calmes: it's complicated and not primarily numbers based.

10. I am closest to Grayson's 9th.  My actual answer is a cheat: 7th-10th depending on many factors, a good number of which are out of the Pelican's control.

1 day, 9 hours ago on New Orleans Pelicans Season Preview Part Two

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1.  Eric Gordon is a 2nd team "instant offense" kind of guy.  That may be a $10M guy with the new TV contact looming, but he isn't worth his current salary.

2. I am with MMc: Ajinca. (But watch out for Babbitt and his best of the rest shooting.)

3.  I am with Pelliissier:  the Bigs (Cs & PFs).

4. I am with Pelliissier: the SF position.

5. I am with nearly everyone: Evans.  He has an off the chart ability, driving. (But watch out for Jrue's all around game as he gets back into basketball after his time away.)

2 days, 5 hours ago on New Orleans Pelicans Season Preview Part 1

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This is good stuff and this theory bears watching as the Pelican's play out the season (with some older players).

3 days, 6 hours ago on In Defense of Being Young

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I feel like this article is making me (overly?) optimistic.  None of the three guys you project AD's 2014-15 season to be like (Kevin Garnett’s and Tim Duncan’s 1999-2000 season’s or David Robinson’s 1989-90 season) had to deal with the murderous current NBA Western Conference.  Looking at those player's teams in isolation is nice, but I don't recall their Western Conferences being anything like today's Western Conference.  In fact, I think their Western Conferences were closer to today's (L)Eastern Conference than today's Western Conference.  

What scares me is we could be an amazing team by historical standards this year and still be a year (and a good SF) away from the playoffs because of the greatness of the current Western Conference.

4 days, 4 hours ago on Is Anthony Davis on the Verge of Becoming a Full-Fledged Superstar?

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Yes, SF is our Achilles Heel! Yes it will be a problem until the off season, where we will hopefully resign Asik and attract a quality starting SF who wants to play with our core.  

For now we need to hide the problem (play Tyreke and Ryan there a lot) and develop our depth (Miller is the best all around choice with Babbitt being the designated shooter, especially when we are trying to come back and need to trade our 3s for their 2s).  That leave Salmons as a veteran teacher and example setter, and a stop gap SF because of injuries to others or limitations in the other SFs.

Think about it we have great depth at C/PF (Asik, Davis, Anderson, & Ajinca) good depth at PG/SG (Holiday, Evans, & Gordon), but only 2nd or 3rd team players at SF.  So we play a lot of PF or SG at SF and hope the play of our backups at SF improves.  Next year we fix the starting SF position and use our more developed SF backups to their natural roles on the 2nd and 3rd team.

We are "on schedule" in our rebuilding process for the playoffs next year, with a chance we get in this year and a year early.

4 days, 17 hours ago on Is Small Forward Really a Problem for the Pelicans?

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Rivers can't shake another replacement player who is he is competing with and pull away from him as far as playing time goes?  "This scares me" round 2.

1 week, 4 days ago on In the NO Podcast Ep 190: Fredette v Rivers?

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

Part of my comment was about the PER originated concept of "replacement player", as compared with PER itself.  But the bigger point is both of these guys have play to at a (much) higher level than they have shown in their career.  They can do it a lot of ways.  

I agree for Jimmer it is much simplier: shoot like an assassin from 3, play tolerable defense, & handle the ball adequately.  For Rivers, it is more than good defense and hit spot up 3s.  He has to make free throws, finish at the rim, and move from a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio towards a  3:1 assist to turnover ratio.  

Can these guys do this against NBA backups?  We will see.

2 weeks, 6 days ago on A Most Intriguing Second Unit

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Like! But a lot of this hinges on both Jimmer and Rivers being something they have not yet shown in the NBA: quality (significantly above replacement level) reserves.

2 weeks, 6 days ago on A Most Intriguing Second Unit

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In the big picture, the question is will Austin make significant improvement this year?  He and Anthony Davis are 6 months apart in age and entered the NBA in the same year.  Are we waiting for AD's significant improvement?  No.  Now is that a completely fair comparison?  No, but you get my point.  We keep waiting for Rivers to beat out replacement level players, first Brian Roberts and now Jimmer Fredette.  Rivers in year 3 has to be  so significantly above replacement level that he approaches the role of high quality 2nd team player.  Will he?  I am skeptical.

4 weeks, 1 day ago on A Critical Time for Austin Rivers

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@ryanschwan @504ever

My point about the Spurs was many of their players are average or below.  (I know they aren't all on the court together.)

Where I think we disagree is your using "measured categories" for our guards while I look at skills.  I believe Tyreke is exceptional at driving the ball, but that isn't one of the "measured categories" you are using.  

I also see Jrue and Tyreke's skill set as stronger in the cluster of non-scoring categories, which makes me very happy.  Jrue had to be a volume scorer at Philly, cause his teams sucked.  So I wouldn't be surprised to see him become a more efficient scorer with fewer turnovers.  With better perimeter shooters around him now, I see Tyreke becoming a more efficient scorer, too.  And they have everything else so they both have the potential to become above average players in my mind.

1 month ago on Average Guards Galore

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I would like to see this same analysis done after this season and next.  I don't think Jrue Holiday's, Tyreke Evans', and Eric Gordon's stats while playing for other teams (or our injury riddled, crappy center by committee one last year) are relevant when compared to stats on the Pelicans team this year.

Also, I would like to see Ryan Anderson and Omir Asik's play analyzed using the same methodology.  I bet they would look average, too.  Since they do some things very well (defend and rebound for Asik and 3 point shooting for Anderson) and somethings poorly (score for Asik and defense for Anderson).

My point is, GMs and coaches fit teams together based on specific playing abilities not composite abilities.  Some guys look horrible on one team and great on the next.  Why? The new team can cover their weaknesses and highlight their strengths.  We have players with an extraordinary skill: Asik defense and rebounding, Anderson 3 point shooting, Evans driving the basketball, and Davis may end up with several.  And other players who are very good as several things.  It about how player's strengths and weaknesses compliment each other as a team.  Some players may be average overall as individuals, but compliment each other so well that they form an above average unit.  (Think Spurs.)  That is what I hope we have on our team in 2014-15.  If that happens, I expect to see everyone's stats improve.  (Read from top now.]

1 month ago on Average Guards Galore

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In my opinion, there are three major rules in NBA that impact the draft.  First, with only five players on the court at a time, one player can make a huge difference.  So everyone wants that one guy or, in many years, guys.  In leagues where you start 9 or 22 guys, it's a different story.  Second, the NBA has a soft salary cap.  So rich teams can afford larger total salaries.  This distorts the free agent market by handicapping poor teams with fairly paid, but less costly players; they are competing for free agents against teams with almost unlimited funds.  Finally, most NBA salaries are guaranteed for the life of a player's contract.  So bad decisions hamstring a less wealthy team for the length of the contract. 

The number of players on the court can't be changed, but the other things can.  I think a hard salary cap would also reduce the length and amount of guaranteed dollars in contracts.  That would be my first step to ending tanking.  It would make free agency a more viable way for lower quality teams to improve and weaken the impact of the draft.  Why tank and alienate fans when you can build through free agency?  You only need one or two free agents to make major improvements in your team.

My problem with the draft part of your article is there are teams that are legitimately weak and, if they could make good draft decisions (I'm talking about the current Cleveland management, and teams that drafted Bowie, Oden, and Michael Olowokandi), would have been well served by the current lottery system.  

Also, aside from Philly this year, how often do teams fire sale players?  Philly only got the 3rd pick in possibly a two superstar player 2014 draft.  All they may end up with is another young, unproven in the NBA, injured C. (They cornered that market!)  In a few years, Philly's tank may look stupid and deter others.  The best Philly could do in a two superstar player draft is not get either one?!

2 months, 3 weeks ago on Tanking and Conferences

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Maybe we have our cake and eat it too.  We run when the opportunity presents itself: get a rebound and push the pace.  Maybe we score on the secondary break when Davis or Asik out run their man.  This is a versatile team, weakness at SF not withstanding.  So I except us to play at different paces depending on the lineup. the match ups, etc.

3 months, 1 week ago on Why The New Orleans Pelicans Shouldn’t Play Transition Basketball

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

It's a quality issue, too.  To me, this is THE question for this season: are our SFs good enough to make the playoffs?

3 months, 1 week ago on New Orleans Pelicans Add Shooters in Salmons, Fredette, and Miller

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@Michael McNamara

I worry this was the last roster spot. So not getting a SF is my downside.

3 months, 1 week ago on New Orleans Pelicans Add Shooters in Salmons, Fredette, and Miller

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In the big picture, it is very likely we have our longterm solution at C and we will get a significant upgrade at SF within a year.  But in my opinion the quality of our SF position this year is similar to last year's, and that is a disappointment and a concern for the 14-15 season.  There are only two experience SFs on the roster: oldie Salmons (who I like more than most) and bowling ball Evans (who is really a guard and will probably play guard next year).  I thought we needed a youngish athletic '3 &D' SF.  

So why did we sign Jimmer?  Does he make Rivers more expendable?  Do we know we are not picking up Rivers $3.1M option for 15-16 and need a backup plan?

Overall, the Asik deal makes this summer a great success and I am happy with the one year Salmons deal.  But I thought we would sign a CDR type SF for the minimum, not a one dimensional PG.

3 months, 1 week ago on New Orleans Pelicans Add Shooters in Salmons, Fredette, and Miller

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

That's the hard part, the actual line-up with a 9 man rotation.  Who is the 9th guy and under what circumstances does he play? Casspi?  Waive Casspi and sign CDR to a minimum deal (if possible)? To me the 9th guy has to be a SF.

That's why Monty is the coach and we all play coach.  

3 months, 1 week ago on An Educated Guess on the New Orleans Pelicans Rotation

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Oh my gosh, you anticipated my one complaint in the conclusion: I don't see an 8 man rotation or Rivers getting 18 minutes/ game with all players healthy.  I do see a 9 man rotation with another SF who allows our big three guards (Holiday, Gordon, and especially Evans) to play more at the guard spot and play Rivers less.  Who is that SF?  I was hoping CDR but it looks like we spend the Room Exception on Salmons, who I like more than most but....

Also, I don't see Davis averaging 38 minutes/game or Asik at 28 minutes/game.  I suggest Davis will average fewer minutes and Asik more.  But I am really nitpicking here.


Overall outstanding work, again.  (Miss you on Twitter. Your Asik piece coming out soon?)

3 months, 1 week ago on An Educated Guess on the New Orleans Pelicans Rotation

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@jmbell7 Agreed!

3 months, 1 week ago on New Orleans Pelicans Sign Russ Smith

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@Jason Calmes @504ever

My argument isn't Asik versus Morrow, it's Morrow versus Rivers.  We had to get Asik, but I believe we could have traded Rivers (& Babbitt, Withey, etc. as necessary) to get the Full MLE and Bi-Annual.  Then we would have kept Morrow and possibly resigned Babbitt, Withey, etc after the trade.  Outside of our Core 4 and untradable Gordon, I value Morrow more than any 3 of the others.  The odds of replacing the others was very high (see Aaron Gray).  The odds of replacing Morrow are very low.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Farewell, Anthony Morrow

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@Pelican Poster @504ever

Morrow is an elite shooter who provided very good leadership.  There is no may we will get that for the Room MLE this year.

Rivers is potential.  You can get that anywhere.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Farewell, Anthony Morrow

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This is where having the Full Room Exemption would have really helped.  That is a very reasonable contract for Morrow and all signs say he liked the Pelicans and they liked him.  He was gone once we traded Gee into cap space, which was my main concern yesterday after the Gee trade was announced.  To me it was Rivers versus Morrow and more Dollars to spend. I think I would have chosen Morrow.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Farewell, Anthony Morrow

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@Michael McNamara @504ever What if your choice is Morrow (@ only $10M over 3 years) and CDR versus Rivers and Babbitt?

3 months, 2 weeks ago on LeBron’s move to Cleveland allows Dell Demps to get creative with Asik trade

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@Michael McNamara

I am willing to say that this is probably an A-/A offseason already (assuming Morrow wasn't really an option for us) and I am hoping it becomes A/A+.  [I know Gordon won't be traded this off season!]

CDR and even your favorite, Jordan Hamilton, might be acceptable short term starters at SF now but end up 2nd teamers after we upgrade SF next summer.  

3 months, 2 weeks ago on LeBron’s move to Cleveland allows Dell Demps to get creative with Asik trade

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

Not sure. That's why I said my argument is limited to Morrow for now.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on LeBron’s move to Cleveland allows Dell Demps to get creative with Asik trade

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Not touching this one MM?

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Russ Smith and the New Orleans Pelicans Complete a Thrilling Comeback

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

I agree my complaint is currently limited, constrained to Morrow and he might have told us "see ya".  So I will have to wait and see what SF we end up with.  

I am a big "in Dell we trust guy" but that cuts both ways.  I am sure he knows what he could get for that nearly $5M, but his reputation also creates the perception that Dell could have done something significant at SF (possibly including Morrow) with that $5M. 

I am a big CDR fan and was when he was drafted.  I wanted us to pick him with our late 1st, which we sold (brilliant!).  CDR went early-mid 2nd round and I was surprised.  He would be a nice get, but is he a starting SF?  To me he is more like those backups Dell pulls out of his hat every year, and that concerns me.  

Dell addressed the starting C position and hopefully we keep Asik long term.  But if anything, we have a bigger hole at SF to go with our abundance of guards: Holiday, Evans, Gordon, Rivers.  Again, that is a concern pending Dell's next moves (without nearly $5M in exemptions).

3 months, 2 weeks ago on LeBron’s move to Cleveland allows Dell Demps to get creative with Asik trade

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So the upshot of the Gee trade was we lost nearly $5M in exceptions this year (the Bi-Annual Exemption and our MLE goes from Full to Room) to keep Rivers????  I think this move was a mistake.  That nearly $5M was money we could have used to sign Morrow, who can play some SF, and some other help at starting SF.  Instead we get a backup guard, Rivers, who hasn't been able to beat out Brian Roberts?  We already have Holiday, Evans, and Gordon.  How many minutes can Rivers play?  

I believe that hole at SF will determine our playoff fate in Western Conference this year.

The only thing that would change my mind is keeping Ajinca (Withey is at least a year away from the 2nd team), signing Morrow, and signing a reasonable, stopgap/temporary, '3 & D' SF.  (Or the miracle, trading Gordon.)

3 months, 2 weeks ago on LeBron’s move to Cleveland allows Dell Demps to get creative with Asik trade

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I knew it was you on the BBS twitter account.  Where have you been?

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Russ Smith and the New Orleans Pelicans Complete a Thrilling Comeback

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@KujoBrodaDaggs

In what universe is Hibbert close to Asik, let alone possessing a skill set the Pelicans need?  Asik is a near perfect match for this team.  What he brings, rebounding and defense, are the two biggest weaknesses on tis team by any (every?) statistical measure.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Lebron and Melo Are Handcuffing Dell Demps

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Hopefully, the delay hits Houston, and all of the other teams, evenly, so we have time to play things out.  My assumption is Dell has talked to Houston about the time element are they are being reasonable.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Lebron and Melo Are Handcuffing Dell Demps

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@Larry Lemoine @504ever

My assumption is we will get a '3 and D' SF at a minimum.  There are plenty left: http://hoopshype.com/free_agency/small_forwards_2014.htm

Let's see what happens.

3 months, 3 weeks ago on Omer Asik and Potential Pelicans Lineups

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Re: 7/3 morning update.

I wonder if question is Morrow and Aminu for about x+$1M or Tucker for x? Maybe Morrow as a long term piece and Aminu as a short term piece better than overpaying to get Tucker?

And get staring SF by summer 2015. Morrow and Aminu split most of SF minutes until then.

If Gordon goes, or team setting up for that, Roberts on 2nd team and as free throw shooting closer not a bad piece at around vet minimum.

3 months, 3 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans Free Agency and Rumors Thread

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The 1st team is practically set (Asik, Davis, SF, Evans, & Holiday) and looking good; I think that is the point of the article.  The 2nd team is up in the air until we see who stays and who goes.  I believe Anderson stays, but what happens to potential 2nd teamers like Ajinca, Smith, Aminu, Rivers, Roberts, and even Gordon?  That, along with the additions, will determine the option for the 2nd team.

3 months, 3 weeks ago on Omer Asik and Potential Pelicans Lineups

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On Gordon/Nash give me Option 1, maximum current flexibility. 

3 months, 3 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans Free Agency and Rumors Thread

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

Getting Asik is great, because he is a big time upgrade and a near perfect C for us.  Getting a starter quality SF would be a very good upgrade, too.  

My concern isn't limited to Ajinca; it's losing so much of last year's 2nd team: Rivers, Roberts, Aminu, Jason Smith, Ajinca, and likely Morrow.  Who are our current projected 2nd teamers?  A 'coming off surgery' Anderson, a 'cancer on defense' Eric Gordon, a 'near rookie' Withey, 'blah' Miller, and rookie Russ Smith? And, after the Asik trade, how much money will we have to sign to get better 2nd teamers?

Everyone in the West is staying the same or getting better.  So our bench becomes a big deal.  Usually when you upgrade, the prior starter (at C and SF in our case) become the back-up.  We may not retain either experienced back-up and lose several other guys.

3 months, 3 weeks ago on The New Orleans Pelicans Options Heading Into Free Agency

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Yes, but I think it is harder as the height requirements go up. There are only so many skilled 7 footers on the planet. And my belief is Ajinca will benefit greatly from an off season with the Pelicans

I strongly suspect Dell has a plan to allow him to keep Ajinca, of not Rivers and Ajinca.

3 months, 4 weeks ago on The New Orleans Pelicans Options Heading Into Free Agency

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

Thanks, Michael.  I don't mind Asik for Rivers.  I see Rivers as an NBA minimum salary type player this past year. I don't see him being worth the $3.1M option for 2015-16 we would have to choose to pick up this October.  So he might have been gone for 2015-15 anyway.  I see Babbitt as getting cut by the team that gets him in trade and we get Babbitt back if we want him.  I am trying to salvage Ajinca, who I like as a backup C and who is cheap.  Maybe and somehow we acquire a small trade exemption (or a fake contract) we can ship to Houston.  Maybe the big miracle happens and we trade Gordon for enough less salary to keep Ajinca (and possibly Rivers).  Even if we ship out Rivers and Ajinca, I like the Asik deal.  The possibility of keeping Asik longer term is real, and that is a big deal to me.

3 months, 4 weeks ago on The New Orleans Pelicans Options Heading Into Free Agency

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@mateor

To me, the best part of this article is the "small rant".  Please reread it.  I basically says Dell gets players as good as draft picks from overseas, the 2nd round players as trade 'throw ins', and players not drafted.   (And of course he could have bought picks, too, if he wanted.)  So we don't need draft picks entering draft night to get young, cheap, quality players

As far as Dell's moves for big pieces, which one(s) do you not like: Anderson, Holiday, Evans, and/or Asik. I like them all.  It sounds like you don't like the Holiday trade and the Asik trade.

Maybe its time for Ryan S. to repost his value of a 1st round draft pick article again.  It shows that any pick outside the top 9 is suspect, historically, and those are the very picks you are complaining about Dell trading.  (There is also a drop off after the top 5 picks, too.  But let's be realistic, you don't get an All Star very often without including at least one top 5 pick.  Oh wait, we did!)  

Ryan can you repost, please?

4 months ago on New Orleans Pelicans Add Patric Young to Summer League Roster

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

Thanks! This helps me and perhaps other readers.  

So Rivers and Ely plus about $2M of salary need to be traded out.  So could we  sign Miller and Babbitt, unguaranteed, and trade them to get to $2M?  Then if Miller and Babbitt are cut, we can resign them before camp?  

Does Southland figure in here as a guy we can sign unguaranteed and trade, too?  If so for how much? $0.816M, or can we sign him for $2.0M and trade him to balance this out?

4 months ago on The New Orleans Pelicans Options Heading Into Free Agency

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

Also, would signing Aminu (or Smith or Roberts) into cap space an trading him for a pick help us keep our MLE, etc. by increasing cap space?  Why does renouncing Bird rights not help us keep our MLE, etc.?  If players we trade are cut, are there limits on when we can resign them?

4 months ago on The New Orleans Pelicans Options Heading Into Free Agency

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

What are the cap numbers for Asik, Rivers, Ely, Southerland, Smith, Aminu, Roberts, Miller, Withey, Babbit and Ajinca?  (I assume Rivers is $2.439M, Roberts and Miller are $1.115M each, Withey is $0.816M, and Babbit and Ajinca are $0.981M each.)

If we trade Rivers, how much more salary do we have to shed to keep our MLE and Bi-Annual? ( I assume around $6M.)

4 months ago on The New Orleans Pelicans Options Heading Into Free Agency

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@polofr3sh

The same Harrison Barnes  who was called out by his college coach his last year in college for being a wus who didn't rebound or drive, and only took jump shots?  The Harrison Barnes who never passes? The Harrison Barnes nicknamed "Fools Gold"?  NEVER!

4 months ago on The New Orleans Pelicans Options Heading Into Free Agency

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My first choice is trading Gordon, but the Cons there are it is unrealistic, or you likely take back cheaper but longer contracts that are short term gain but longer term pain.

My second choice is trading Rivers.  He isn't core to this team, and Asik for Rivers is a deal you do every day and twice on Sundays.

I wouldn't trade Anderson, plus his value must be low coming off of surgery, and I wouldn't stretch Gordon until I know what he will do with his option year.

I suspect there are some more trade Rivers scenarios where we can keep the MLE and Bi-Annual, I just don't know what they are.  Wish I could talk to a capologist. (Rivers plus Ely is $4.6M of salary.  So adding $3.8M gets you there. Renounce Smith and Roberts, guys you figure to sign for cheap anyway?)

4 months ago on The New Orleans Pelicans Options Heading Into Free Agency

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At this point, I am more concerned about Rivers and understanding all of the cap stuff.  I liked the idea of Pierre as a change of pace, Isaiah Thomas type guy, but I am happy to see how Russ Smith plays out.

4 months ago on New Orleans Pelicans Trade Pierre Jackson for Russ Smith

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@mateor Please explain the value of a pick 11-20 versus Asik, and why you didn't count the draft picks we received in trade, Withey and Pierre, in your post above?

4 months ago on Pelicans Set to Acquire Omer Asik From Rockets for Future 1st Round Pick

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