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Are Nets, Pelicans talking trade? Speculation or a hint of something more?

New Orleans Pelicans v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

In a Hoop Collective conversation late Tuesday, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Andrew Lopez discussed whether the Pelicans and Nets might agree to a trade centered on Kevin Durant and Brandon Ingram ... and possibly New Orleans draft pick from June’s Draft, Dyson Daniels.

While at times the conversation appeared speculative, the sense of the conversation was that conversations may have already taken place between Brooklyn and New Orleans. Windhorst noted that while New Orleans has not been seen as part of the first order of Nets trading partners — Phoenix, Miami and Toronto — it could provide a “clean” deal for the Nets. No need for a third team.

Windhorst started the conversation by asking Lopez, who covers the Pelicans for ESPN about New Orleans interest in KD.

Windhorst: “Are the Pelicans kind of straddling the line here while still believing they’re in it for Kevin Durant should the Nets go that way?”

Lopez: “It makes sense. It’s a clean deal. if they opted to be in it. Other teams, obviously the Phoenix which has the base year compensation thing if they end up trying to trade DeAndre (Ayton). Things get complicated and hard cap comes into play. If the Pels decided to put Brandon Ingram on the table I think they only need four and a half million dollars to match salaries. You can go in there.

Windhorst hinted that there have been discussions and Lopez said he “assumes” there have been talks. But both said it would probably be, at this point, very preliminary.

Windhorst: “I don’t know what they’re offering. Maybe they haven’t offered him yet but if you put Griff (David Griffin, EVP of the Pelicans) on the stand and ask, ‘did you offer Brandon Ingram?’ he’d say, ‘No, your honor that is not accurate, I suppose. I mean if they are having conversations, they have to know it would involve Ingram. They’re not taking, with all due respect, a hot package around CJ McCullum.”

Lopez: “I assume that has been discussed. But of course If that was an offer there. If it was ‘offered.”

Windhorst: “Everybody gets very upset. ‘How dare you? How dare you?’”

Lopez added he believes that of all the destinations suggested for Durant, New Orleans presents the “cleanest” deal.

Lopez: “So no offer. It’s the cleanest of the deals you don’t really have to have a third team involved. They have the young All-Star and they have the picks. So whichever route the Nets want to go, it’s all at one stop down here in New Orleans.”

Windhorst asked Lopez to gauge where the 6’8” power forward fits among the various young players rumored to be on the Nets radar.

Windhorst: “Andrew, you know Brandon Ingram. You covered him. If you were the Nets would you still be taking the Pelicans call?”

Lopez: “I would. For sure. And of all the young budding star conversations that we’ve been putting together in theoretical trades ... We’re not reporting on these ... We talk about a Utah package that if they were brought in as a third team. If we’re talking about Donovan Mitchell or DeAndre (Ayton), or Scottie Barnes, or Brandon Ingram, as a GM, I‘d have the assets ranked neck-and-neck between Barnes and Ingram as the most desirable player of that group that have been in the conversation.

“It’s not just because of his game that is reminiscent of Kevin Durant, but you’re going to put him with Ben Simmons. You need someone who can score! He has a three-level game when it comes to scoring, and quite frankly, he’s seen a lot in his short time in the league where I don’t think he’d be fazed by the New York market or the upheaval of being with another roster. He’s been through a lot since he’s been in the NBA.”

As for Daniels, the No. 8 pick in the 2022 Draft, Windhorst suggested that the Pelicans can include the 6’8” G League Ignite guard in any deal ... as long as they don’t sign him to a contract. Daniels, an Australian, is 19 years old.

Windhorst: “The reason I mentioned Dyson Daniels is that once you sign a rookie, you can’t trade him for 60 days. Obviously th season is a long way away so that wouldn’t be a deterrent. But if you weren’t 100 percent sure, you would hold off.”

In general, Windhorst said the Nets are prioritizing “players over picks” in any Kevin Durant trade, specifically, “a star player or high-level star players.”

Meanwhile, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report wrote Wednesday that the Nets do not have a deadline.

Despite Durant’s trade request from Brooklyn—mere hours before free agency commenced on June 30—the Nets are not operating with any sense of urgency to move Durant, sources told B/R. After a flurry of trade chatter heading into the holiday weekend, league personnel have begun discussing the potential for Brooklyn to retain Durant—as well as Kyrie Irving—into the regular season, should a commensurate package for the two-time Finals MVP never emerge. There’s no pressure on Brooklyn.

As for the possibility of teams other than the Lakers having interest in Irving, Fischer dismissed it, saying, “while the Mavericks and Sixers have been discussed as theoretical destinations for Irving, league sources contacted by B/R have strongly discounted Dallas and Philadelphia’s interest in the All-Star guard.”