Considering the struggles that they’ve had since the All-Star break, the New Orleans Pelicans could have used the reinforcement Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt would have provided to the roster after the NBA trade deadline.
Unfortunately, with the Utah Jazz determined to trade veteran point guard Mike Conley Jr. and his oversized contract, the Jazz sent the duo the Los Angeles Lakers instead.
This information, passed on by ESPN insider Zach Lowe on The Lowe Post podcast, is likely to rub Pelicans fans the wrong way. However, business is business, and Utah had to choose between a trade package centered around significant “draft equity” and one centered around a lightly protected 2027 first-round pick.
“The Pelicans were close to getting Beasley and Vanderbilt from Utah at the trade deadline, or close-ish,” Lowe tells ESPN writer Kevin Pelton on The Lowe Post.
“They had a pretty good offer on the table. It was a draft equity-based offer with a pick that maybe was not as good as the Lakers pick that they ended up trading, but pretty close, I think, from what I’ve heard.
“But one of the issues was – maybe the picks weren’t exactly equivalent – but then another issue was [Mike] Conley and the Jazz’s determination to get off of [Conley’s contract] and could the Pelicans figure that out somehow? And it became a little complicated.”
The Lakers have truly benefitted from the arrivals of Beasley and Vanderbilt, with the former providing them with the type of 3-point threat they’ve been looking for all season and the latter a reliable backup center with starter-level talent. Unfortunately for the Pelicans, if they want either one of these players, they may have to wait another season.
Both Beasley and Vanderbilt are under contract with the Lakers through the 2023-24 season.