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Pelicans Eyeing Trade to Top 3 in 2023 NBA Draft

The New Orleans Pelicans will reportedly try to acquire guard Scoot Henderson from the Charlotte Hornets or Portland Trail Blazers as the 2023 NBA Draft looms.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans are considering moving up to the top three in the 2023 NBA Draft according to recent reports, as the high-profiled class contains elite prospects at the top.

NBA Insider Shams Charania of The Athletic broke down the Pelicans’ intentions ahead of draft night, saying:

The Charlotte Hornets own the No. 2 overall pick while the Portland Trail Blazers will select third. Both teams are in contention for NBA G League Ignite star guard Scoot Henderson.

As the vaunted No. 1 pick belongs to the San Antonio Spurs who will presumably select French standout prospect Victor Wembanyama, the Pels like what they see in Henderson.

The Hornets are a guard-heavy team with former All-Star LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward all on the roster.

Charlotte also drafted guard James Bouknight last season. Therefore, the 6-9 Brandon Miller may be the more attractive piece, also considering the departure of Miles Bridges.

The Blazers on the other hand could have an entirely different backcourt depth chart after this summer should All-Star Damian Lillard leave town, freeing up space for Henderson.

Should Charlotte take Miller and leave Henderson available at No. 3, the Pelicans have talent and at least one pick in every ensuing draft into 2026 to offer.

The Blazers need help in the interior as well as with their perimeter defense, and New Orleans’ Herbert Jones and Jaxson Hayes are two players that would help in those areas.

Jones will make $1.83 million next season in the final year of his contract. He finished tied for third in the league with 1.6 steals and fifth among small forwards with 0.6 blocks in 2023.

Hayes’ per 36 minutes stats provide a double-double threat and five-tool contributor as a player who has not gotten ample time in Pelicans coach Willie Green’s rotation.

They, among other Pelicans players serve as a complement to any combination of draft picks that the Pels could offer Portland. The ball will be in Portland’s court to accept or forbear.