The Pelicans’ first move of the trading season wasn’t exactly a splash.
Several sources confirmed to The Advocate that New Orleans traded a “very protected” draft pick to the Miami Heat in exchange for bruising power forward Jarnell Stokes.
A source also said it’s still “to be determined” whether Stokes is on the Pelicans’ official roster by the end of Thursday. The move saves Miami from a significant tax payment and the draft pick is unlikely to ever actually change hands because of the strong protections.
ESPN reported the Heat gave New Orleans more than $700,000 as part of the deal, meaning even if the team decides to buy Stokes out of his $845,000 guaranteed contract, the franchise still nets an overall profit.
If no other deals are struck today, the Pelicans’ decision for the final roster spot will likely be between Stokes and starting shooting guard Bryce Dejean-Jones, whose second 10-day contract expired prior to the All-Star game.
It’s a low risk, low reward, low profile move for the Pelicans, who are also in active trade negotiations with several other teams regarding the future of forward Ryan Anderson and guard Eric Gordon amongst others.