Three-team trade proposal sees Knicks gain from Pelicans’ obsession

Zion Williamson and Brandon ingram, New Orleans Pelicans. Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Zion Williamson and Brandon ingram, New Orleans Pelicans. Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images /
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New York Knicks
RJ Barrett and Obi Toppin, New York Knicks. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Laying out the three-team trade

The New Orleans Pelicans covet one of the best non-superstar assets in the league right now, the No. 2 pick in a draft with at least two high-level prospects. Their desire for that pick has also been publicized, only increasing the cost for them to add it. They’ll need to give up a legitimate player in Brandon Ingram to help make the value work, and the No. 14 pick on top of it.

With that going out, it’s a matter of finding the right package of players and picks to make it worth the while of the Charlotte Hornets:

The Pelicans get their pick and the opportunity to draft Scoot Henderson. This puts together a young core of Henderson, Dyson Daniels, Trey Murphy III, Herb Jones, and Zion Williamson, with Jonas Valanciunas, CJ McCollum, and Gordon Hayward as the veterans to help guide them forward. That’s a formidable group if Williamson stays healthy, and none of it truly matters if he doesn’t.

For the Charlotte Hornets, this is a matter of building a deep roster around LaMelo Ball. This situation comes about if they want to keep their timeline slow and aren’t absolutely in love with Brandon Miller, which seems like a reasonable possibility.

If so, this deal gives them the opportunity to completely reshape their roster. They get a starting center in Mitchell Robinson to mix with Mark Williams, they have starters at the three and four with Obi Toppin and RJ Barrett to mix with PJ Washington, and they get a late-lottery pick this season and two future firsts to further build things out. The same basic idea works if the Hornets want, say, Immanuel Quickley instead of Toppin and one of the firsts.