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Pelicans remain confident in core group at trade deadline

Not making any moves was probably the best thing the Pelicans could’ve done this year.

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson reacts after a score by guard Jrue Holiday during the third quarter against the Denver Nuggets at the Smoothie King Center. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans have youth galore and talented veterans, so it was smart of them to stay the course and hold off on making changes to their roster at the 2020 trade deadline.

Superstar rookie Zion Williamson has played all of eight games and is still adjusting to to the NBA game while developing chemistry with his teammates. He’s averaging 19.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest while shooting a staggering 44.4% from deep. Not bad for the presumptive centerpiece of a franchise with little pro experience under his belt. Although some have speculated that his return from injury could spark a playoff push in New Orleans, the team would be far from contending for a championship. The Pelicans are 5..5 games back from the eighth seed, so there’s no need to shake things up.

Jrue Holiday has been seen as New Orleans’ most valuable trade asset. The two-way guard has long been considered one of the leagues hidden gems, and several contenders have been in hot pursuit of him at the trade deadline in recent years. Some thought he could be pried from the Pelicans amidst Davis’ trade request last year. However, he has remained a staple alongside the budding Lonzo Ball in his team’s starting backcourt.

Other potential trade candidates are Brandon Ingram and JJ Redick. Ingram has blossomed into an All-Star and is averaging career highs in points (24.9), rebounds (6.4), and assists (4) while shooting 40% from three. He’s primed to command a major contract soon, but New Orleans seems intent on keeping him for the long haul. The names of three-point shooters as efficient as Redick (46.1%) will always be tossed around at the trade deadline as potential additions to contending teams. But his floor spacing, leadership, and postseason experience could prove to be valuable down the road.

The Pelicans might not be a playoff team, but tons of other franchises would love to be in their situation. Being conservative now will allow them to evaluate whether the pieces they have