As a general rule, if you have the opportunity to acquire a point guard with three years and $51 million left on his contract after you’ve already handed a five-year, $125 million pact to another floor general, you absolutely do it.
Such is the mindset in New Orleans, apparently.
According to Basketball Insiders’ Michael Scotto, the Pelicans and Detroit Pistons have talked about a potential trade that would land E’Twaun Moore, Alexis Ajinca and, possibly, Quincy Pondexter in Motor City, with Reggie Jackson heading to The Big Easy:
The Detroit Pistons and the New Orleans Pelicans have discussed a trade of Reggie Jackson for E’Twaun Moore and Alexis Ajinca, league sources told Basketball Insiders. . . .
New Orleans would save nearly $1.3 million next season if Pondexter gets included in the trade. The following season, Detroit would save $2.9 million. The season after that, Detroit would save $9.4 million. Those numbers are courtesy of colleague Eric Pincus’ salary sheets for Detroit and New Orleans.
This theoretical trade proves it’s possible to hate a trade for both sides.
Flipping Jackson for what amounts to $13.6 million in savings over the next three seasons is dumb. It’ll end up being more if the Pistons have plans to play the luxury tax, but still, this isn’t a deal you make unless you’re fairly certain his knees are shot and you have the utmost confidence in a combination of Langston Galloway, Ish Smith and Moore running your offense. Both Stanley Johnson and Tobias Harris can run some pick-and-roll, but you don’t want to be overly reliant on wings creating for everyone else—especially when arguably your best pick-and-roll wing, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
There’s more incentive here for the Pelicans, who would clearly be asset-hoarding as an attempt to get out from under Ajinca’s and Moore’s deals. Even so, they’d be making a huge gamble trying to slot Jackson alongside Jrue Holiday. Though both have shown they can drill catch-and-shoot threes in the past, trying to balance their touches, even while staggering minutes, will be a nightmare when factoring in possessions for Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.