Practical Max Cap Space: $689,326
Nikola Mirotic- $12.5 Million through 2019
Solomon Hill- $26 Million through 2020
Key Free Agents:
Best Free Agent Target:
Despite losing DeMarcus Cousins to a devastating injury, the New Orleans Pelicans still had a tremendous season. Anthony Davis lead the team in one of the more surprising NBA playoff upsets over the Blazers and were able to swing one game versus the Warriors (which is more than the Cavs can say they did). Going into the 2018 offseason, the Pelicans will look to maintain this momentum and continue their progress as a playoff team in a competitive Western Conference. But, there is one pivotal decision that they will have to navigate as they get to free agency. The decision surronding Cousins will be an interesting one for New Orleans. On one hand, he is by far the best player Davis has ever played with and they worked together well when Cousins was on the court. Their combination with Jrue Holiday is a solid big three and is certainly a playoff team with come contending upsode. But, with Cousins super severe injury status and the amount of salary he will likely command, he could do more damage to the Pelicans roster than good. Even if Cousins is re-signed at a fair contract, there is no guarantee that he will be the same player he was before his injury. Plus, the team played very well with Davis at the center so they may use those lineups a lot going forward, putting Cousins’ role in question. Surely re-signing Cousins will come down to a matter of price, as the Pelicans can’t really afford to give Davis, Holiday and Cousins over $20 million each, especially given his injury. All in all, it is probably still in the best interest for New Orleans to retain Cousins and playoff star Rajon Rondo. This would allow them run their team back in 2019 and hope they can get back to the postseason, provided they can get a healthy Cousins out there wreak havoc on opposing frontcourts.