Hornets signing-and-trading Devonte’ Graham to Pelicans for first-rounder
The Pelicans new point guard?
Devonte’ Graham from the Hornets.
New Orleans will send Charlotte its 2022 lottery-protected first-round pick, source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 3, 2021
Graham built himself into a solid NBA player. This is a nice deal for the former second-round pick, though it’s a little disappointing for the Pelicans to settle for Graham after being linked to better players as they attempt to win now around Zion Williamson.
Graham is a good long-range shooter and improving distributor. But at 6-foot-1, he has limitations as a defender and finisher.
Will Graham even start in New Orleans? Pelicans lead executive David Griffin reportedly wanted Kira Lewis and Nickeil Alexander-Walker to start in the backcourt. Graham isn’t necessarily good enough to start if the team is predisposed to elevating those youngsters.
What happens to the draft pick if New Orleans misses the playoffs? The protections in future years are essential to evaluating the transaction, though this could be a nice asset play for Charlotte leveraging matching rights on the restricted free agent.
The Hornets already had LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier at guard then drafted James Bouknight. Graham was getting squeezed.