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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Was CJ McCollum Trade the NBA’s Most Undervalued Move?

  • The Pelicans were headed straight for the lottery until they traded for CJ McCollum.
  • Signed through 2024, NOLA has a lethal Big Three with Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and McCollum.
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Pelicans started 1-12, played the entire season without Zion Williamson, and looked like they were headed for the lottery for a fourth straight season.

Then they traded for CJ McCollum. 

On Wednesday, McCollum nearly put up a triple-double, and with help from Brandon Ingram’s 37-point outburst, the Pels tied their series with the 1-seed Suns. 

Now, with Phoenix star Devin Booker potentially out (hamstring), NOLA could make a run — and the McCollum trade is looking like this season’s most undervalued move

  • In 26 regular-season games with the Pelicans, McCollum averaged career highs in PPG (24.3), RPG (4.5), APG (5.8), SPG (1.3), and FG% (49.3).
  • Since February’s trade, NOLA is eighth in offensive rating (117.2). Before, it was fifth-worst (108.0).
  • Including the play-ins and postseason, the Pelicans are 12-7 when both Ingram and McCollum play together.
  • They traded Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Didi Louzada, their 2022 first-rounder (protected), and two future second-rounders.

McCollum is making $30.9 million this campaign and signed through 2024 — he’ll make a total of $69.1 million over the next two years.

The Pels should also have Zion back next season — which would immediately form a lethal Big Three with Zion, Ingram, and CJ. 

With their core locked in and a lottery pick from the Lakers, the Pelicans are set up nicely for the future — no matter what happens in the first round.

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