The New Orleans Pelicans have a bit of cap space, and we’re going to try to figure out whom they should target to spend it on.
Prior to delving into the free-agent pool, it’s important to understand New Orleans’ endgame. The Pelicans will likely want to compete for a playoff spot next season given that that’s what they were shooting for during the 2013-14 campaign, per Grantland’s Zach Lowe.
That’s a tall order in the Western Conference considering that the franchise has a few needs. It’s probably fair to say that New Orleans’ approximate $5 million in cap space won’t allow the team to address all of its issues.
New Orleans requires perimeter defense and size. Again, a few areas of concern, thus prioritizing will be extremely important.
The fastest path to the playoffs requires a top-shelf defense. Fourteen of the 16-best defensive teams last year made the postseason. The exceptions were the Phoenix Suns (48 wins) and Minnesota Timberwolves (40 wins), and they happen to play in the West.
Since the Pelicans share the same conference, they might as well get with the program.
One quick note: New Orleans has the $5.305 million mid-level exception they can use in addition to its $5 million in cap space.
In outlining the free-agent targets, we’re going from worst to best options.