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Bleacher Report is predicting that the New Orleans Pelicans will land Houston Rockets’ superstar James Harden via trade
The New Orleans Pelicans are off to a solid start to their 2020-21 NBA season, but that doesn’t mean their roster couldn’t improve. Now, most of us are probably assuming that the Pelicans want to improve their roster by improving their rotation, but Bleacher Report had a different idea.

In a post crafted by their entire NBA staff, Bleacher Report laid out their predictions for the rest of the NBA season. The biggest bombshell in that piece was that the Pelicans would be the team that will land James Harden.

Here’s how they explained it:

“Rejoining Kevin Durant may make a lot of sense for Harden. But ultimately, it will be the Pelicans with the best offer of young players (Lonzo Ball, Jaxson Hayes, etc.), veterans (one or both of Cheap JJ Redick Jersey and Eric Bledsoe) and draft considerations. “

Their argument certainly makes sense. Unlike Harden’s list of preferred destinations, the New Orleans Pelicans can offer the Rockets the best combination of veterans, young players, and draft picks. I’m all with that argument, but should the Pelicans make the move? And would they?

TRENDING: Rotations issues are boosting the Pels’ risk of injury
Re-analyzing a New Orleans Pelicans-James Harden trade
We wrote about a potential James Harden trade a while ago, and the deal we laid out gave the Rockets Lonzo Ball, J.J. Redick, and virtually all of their first-round assets. Now if that’s the deal, great sign me up. Upgrading Lonzo Ball with James Harden would instantly make the Pelicans a title contender.

However, I think the Rockets will want more than just Cheap Lonzo Ball Jersey. I think they’d probably want Cheap Brandon Ingram Jersey. If the Rockets would take Ball, they’d probably want Cheap Eric Bledsoe Jersey and a prospect like Cheap Kira Lewis Jersey. or Cheap Jaxson Hayes Jersey as well. In my estimation, those deals just leverage too much of the future, especially any including Ingram.

With that being said, I could see this prediction coming true if the Rockets don’t want to acquiesce to Harden and settle with lower offers from Brooklyn or Philadelphia. Maybe the Rockets’ best offer would be the trade we described with Jaxson Hayes included, and if that’s the case, we’re in business Pelicans fans!

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The New Orleans Pelicans moved franchise-icon Cheap Jrue Holiday Jersey to the Milwaukee Bucks in an offseason trade that brought back a haul.

Not only did the Pelicans get All-Defensive player Cheap Eric Bledsoe Jersey, but also a chest of future draft assets to be conveyed down the road.

RELATED STORY: Why the Giannis contract is good for the Pelicans
Yesterday it was announced via Shams Charania that Giannis signed a five-year supermax extension to stay with the Bucks:

Breaking: Giannis Antetokounmpo says he is signing a contract extension with the Milwaukee Bucks. The two-time MVP will sign a five-year, $228.2 million supermax extension with the franchise, the largest deal in NBA history, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 15, 2020

On one hand, this is good for the future of smaller market teams and the NBA, but on the other, it could be bad for the New Orleans Pelicans’ future draft picks.

New Orleans Pelicans: Giannis contract shouldn’t affect future Pelicans’ draft picks.
When news of the Giannis signing broke, Pelicans’ fans let out a collective sigh, as we were secretly hoping he would flee Milwaukee for greener pastures.

Why? The Pels have a load of future picks from the Bucks and if they don’t have Giannis, those could potentially be very valuable picks.

RELATED STORY: 5 overreactions to the 114-92 win over the Miami Heat
Now that they have Giannis, those picks are all going to be in the high 20’s right? Not necessarily.

The Pelicans don’t start conveying the Bucks’ picks until 2024 (the right to swap), one year before Giannis’ new contract expires.

If the Bucks haven’t won a title by then, there is every chance that Giannis’ next contract will be with another team. By 2024 the Bucks could be ready to trade Giannis and bottom out.

Even if that is not the case, the Pelicans will have their pick in 2025, another swap in 2026 and another unprotected pick in 2027, when Giannis will either be gone or at least over 30-years-old.

Of course, he could still be very good and may stay with the Bucks forever, in which case all of those picks could lose value.

David Griffin gambled smartly, as he prepared for the eventuality that Giannis would stay in Milwaukee, nabbing picks that should be far enough out for it not to matter.

Giannis’ signing could help the Pels with Cheap Zion Williamson Jersey, and it keeps him out of the West without affecting the picks too much, so this couldn’t have worked out much better for New Orleans.

When Zion Williamson told reporters about not having any sort of restrictions on him this season, he was happy. The smile on his face was bright and his happiness shined through on the video call last week.

After the New Orleans Pelicans’ 114-92 win over the Miami Heat in their preseason opener Monday night, it was clear that any restrictions were a thing of the past.

“It felt great to be out there for extended stretches,” said Williamson, who dealt with what the team dubbed “burst restrictions” last season. “It was great to experience that again.”

Williamson played 33 minutes, 13 seconds against the Heat, the third-most minutes he has played in an NBA game — preseason or otherwise.

“It was a different feeling. I can’t even lie,” Williamson said. “It was a different feeling for sure. I think I was only able to finish a game maybe three, maybe four times last year. But it was a great feeling. When the clock struck zero, I was almost like, ‘Wow, it’s been a while.'”

Williamson actually finished 11 of 24 games last season, but forgive him if his memory is a little hazy as the Pelicans won only three of the 11 he finished. Still, he rarely played for long stretches. That changed Monday. He played 10:19 in the first quarter, more than in any first quarter last season, according to ESPN Stats and Information. In fact, he played at least 10:19 in only three quarters total last season.

Williamson looked like his old self on the court as he finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds. He had only two double-doubles in 24 regular-season games last season (he did have one in the preseason last year), and his 11 rebounds would have tied his career high.

Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy said he was impressed with Williamson’s effort on the defensive glass, where he pulled down eight rebounds — which also would have been a career high.

“He hasn’t really been doing much of that in practice, to be honest, and it wasn’t a strength last year,” Van Gundy said. “For him to be able to rebound the ball the way he did on the defensive end was good.”

Van Gundy was also impressed with Williamson’s free throw shooting as he went 10-of-11 from the line. The only times last season when Williamson, a 64% free throw shooter, shot above 90% were when he hit his only attempt against Utah in the bubble and when he knocked down both attempts against Cleveland on Feb. 28.

“The free throws, I feel like I’m going to get fouled a lot,” Williamson said. “That’s free money. I gotta make that.”

Williamson worked this offseason with Pelicans assistant coach Fred Vinson, who was credited with helping Cheap Lonzo Ball Jersey and Cheap Brandon Ingram Jersey with their shot improvements.

“Me and Coach Vinson have been putting in a lot of work every day in practice, free throws, working on the jumper, working on everything involving my shot,” Williamson said. “That’s been really helpful up to this point.”

Williamson was sitting at 26 minutes when he checked out after the third quarter but came back to play the final 6:38 for Van Gundy, who said he wanted to get his starters about 30 minutes because they have only two preseason games.

Williamson has said how tough it was to play under restrictions last season. He said it was hard to get a rhythm going, so hitting the 33-minute mark Monday was something that felt right.

“That’s why I play basketball,” Williamson said, “to play a lot of minutes and help my team win.”

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Cheap Zion Williamson Jersey will head into his second NBA season with “no restrictions,” the New Orleans Pelicans star said Sunday.

Talking to reporters as the Pelicans opened their training camp, Williamson flashed the biggest smile of the day when asked about what limitations he might have this season. “Me and [Pelicans] coach [Stan] Van Gundy have talked and from what I know now, there are no restrictions. None,” Williamson said.

When asked about being happy about that, he added, “Of course. I love to play basketball. With no restrictions? Why wouldn’t I love that?”

Van Gundy told reporters earlier on Sunday that Williamson has “no limitations in practice. That’s a good thing.” He added that Williamson easily passed his conditioning test, which included a three-minute run on the court.

“He and Nickeil [Alexander-Walker] probably did theirs the easiest,” Van Gundy added. “I thought in practice he gave really, really good effort as did everybody. It’s all been positive so far.”

Williamson dealt with “burst restrictions” last season when he returned in January from a knee injury that sidelined him for the first half of the regular season. At the time, Williamson expressed some frustrations with his limited minutes but still managed to have a productive season, averaging 22.5 points and 6.3 rebounds in just 27.8 minutes per game.

In the NBA’s Florida bubble, Williamson missed time leading up to the first game because of a family issue and once again was on restricted minutes, playing an average of 20.7 minutes in five of the first six games before being shut down for the final two.

But now that he’s entering the season healthy, there are no plans for any restrictions moving forward — something that Williamson is more than excited about.

“I think it definitely will be different because, well, it was tough, man. When you’re going through rehab and when you’re finally able to step on the court, three minutes goes by, four minutes by and … you gotta get subbed out. It was a lot,” Williamson said.

“I tried to make the most of the situation and I think I did the best that I possibly could. But it’s going to be a lot different.”

The manner in which Anthony Davis forced his way to the Lakers did not sit right with lifetime Celtics fan Bill Simmons.

During the 2018-19 season, Anthony Davis made a public request to be traded from the New Orleans Pelicans. Ahead of the season, he’d signed with Klutch Sports. Rich Paul then went on to declare that Davis would not re-sign with any team other than the Lakers who tried to trade for him.

Also Read: ‘I’ve never faked illness’: When Dirk Nowitzki called LeBron James and Dwyane Wade childish for mocking his cough in 2011 NBA Finals

Davis became the subject of the biggest trade rumors of the NBA till the Lakers officially traded for him ahead of draft night 2019. The Lakers became instant title favorites as soon as they acquired him.

Bill Simmons criticizes the circumstances of the Anthony Davis trade
Simmons was one of those who was clamoring for the Celtics to even trade Jayson Tatum if that’s what it took to land AD. But on The Ringer Podcast, he sang to a different tune:

“You get villainized if pull a Eli Manning or John Elway on draft day or demand a trade, but if you do that in NBA everyone will say ‘you do you or he only has so many years to make money’. What Anthony Davis did to New Orleans was genuinely lousy.”

“He signed 5-year extension, halfway thru, ‘yea can you trade me now, and only to the Lakers’. The internet was like ‘he is only using his leverage!’. That never sat right with me.”

Also Read: ‘LeBron James was the MVP last season’: Skip Bayless doesn’t like Jared Dudley pushing Lakers star Cheap Anthony Davis Jersey for MVP

In the end, Simmons sticks out as a Celtics homer who is plainly disappointed at AD’s success with the Lakers.

Williamson hopes the start of a brand-new season unleashes an old version of himself as well.

“I want to show that I’m a basketball player. I’ll do whatever the team needs me to do on offense or defense no matter what it is to win. I’m just a competitor,” Williamson said.

“When I’m healthy and competing, I’m just a different kind of player. I think that’s the player everyone fell in love with.”

Last season was a trying one for Williamson for another reason as the Pelicans stumbled to a 30-42 record and missed the playoffs.

With the moves made this offseason, Williamson and Cheap Brandon Ingram Jersey, who recently signed a five-year max contract extension, are now the undoubted cornerstones of the franchise moving forward.

“If we want to be winners, we have to do things outside the norm or uncomfortable for us. That’s where being professional comes into play,” Williamson said.

“Losing is just not fun. It’s needed because it makes you better. What don’t break you will make you. That’s a part of ups and downs. But if we want to win, we have to remember what we’ve been through and stay steady onto the winner’s mindset.”

Part of being able to change that mindset will come with how Van Gundy approaches the game. Sunday’s practice consisted of 30 to 40 minutes of Van Gundy breaking down defensive concepts and then over two hours of getting after each other in defensive drills.

“He’s a very detailed guy,” Williamson said of Van Gundy. “We went through a lot. I felt like we got a lot done for one day, especially the first day. I’m excited to continue to work with him.”